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Item Getter
Dec 14, 2015


Glad somebody did this as I also wanted to post about it after the ones about Marathon. I think that even though Myth was very ahead of its time and still holds up very well today, out of any game it's the game I would most want to see a modern version of because it would be flat out amazing with modern graphics. Myth III gave us a small taste of it with the switch to fully polygonal graphics even though it was handed to an inexperienced team and was not good by most accounts. Too bad it will never happen though given the current state of Bungie and the fact that it didn't make a big splash in the RTS genre as a whole.

To get back to what you are saying about the narrative point of view, it's interesting to mention how a lot of the big battles in the game happen off-screen and you only hear about them in briefings. In most games the Fallen Lords would be a standard series of bosses that you would directly face off against one by one during the course of the game. In Myth many of them are defeated or nearly defeated off screen in battles that sound epic due to the strength of the game's writing and narration. And many of them are never directly encountered in the game at all, only mentioned in the mission briefings. Though it might be the product of technical limitations it definitely gives them a larger than life feel of being distant unstoppable enemies, that would perhaps have been cheapened if you just encountered and fought all of them like normal bosses. Though maybe part of that is that 1990s Bungie in general had an odd aversion to putting conventional boss fights in their games.

Myth II had some very cool levels introducing castle sieges and such, though the story felt like it took a step back from the original since they mostly did away with the concept of the cycle from the first game. Even though Western developers rarely go down this route, the cyclical nature of the game's setting would have been a perfect vehicle to make a typical JRPG sort of series where none of the games directly relate to each other except for common themes in the story.

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El Grillo
Jan 3, 2008


Fun Shoe

Erwin the German posted:

This will be a Post, or several Posts. I started making a top ten, then I just kept adding more and more as I thought about it. The top ten will still be there, but I’ll be writing a bit about other games I have a lot of love for, too. Silly images and music included.

10. Neverwinter Nights (Enhanced Edition)


I actually debated a lot on whether I even wanted to include this - it’s a game I’ve poured an immense amount of time and effort into, but looking back, it’s also one that’s caused me a lot of personal problems, or at least been a sort of catalyst for. It was this game I got my ex into as a way to give us something to do together - a few months later, we split and she ended up with someone from the game. Obviously a lot of that has less to do with Neverwinter Nights and more to do with the relationship, but it’s unavoidably hard to mentally divorce the two and draw connections. I’ve been playing this game for a decade now, and have had a lot of good times on it - I’m a roleplayer, and this is one of the absolute best avenues for roleplaying in a video game that’s out there. But it’s telling that I often take lengthy breaks from playing this for months at a time, burnt out and more emotionally drained for my troubles.

But, it’s one of those things I keep coming back to, regardless - because I am a roleplayer, and it doesn’t get much better than NWN for me. As a game, it’s strictly fine - one of Bioware’s earlier efforts, with some pretty miserable-to-average official campaigns. It uses the old, nasty and busted DND 3 rules, before 3.5 codified things for years, a system that the game’s worse sequel uses. Base game wise, you’d still have a lot of content to sift through, and persistent worlds to check out if you’re into roleplaying or even just playing an RPG with other people. Or fighting them. Whatever.

That said, the game has been modded out to the gills, and I’ve seen people do amazing thing with it - write entire new stories and modules, some of them extremely good, a lot of them average, and a few(lot) that are extremely horny. Modded out persistent worlds such as EFU (Escape from insert U word here), City of Arabel and, most recently, Risenholm are places I have invested a ton of blood, sweat and tears into. I highly recommend the aforementioned Risenholm, a server I’m in right now as I write this - the code magic that went into this server is nothing short of genius, and practically reinvents the combat loop of the game, much for the better. That the quality of roleplay on average is also high is just the icing on the cake. If you’re into the idea of roleplaying in a game, RPG mechanics, dice rolling, and a moderate amount of jank, you can do a lot worse than Neverwinter Nights.

I’m actually not huge on the music of the base game, but in yet another plug for Risenholm, a server which has its own custom-made soundtrack-
https://soundcloud.com/edelweissrecords/shentars-stand
Great effortpost as a whole, but this hit me in particular - NWN is an insane game. The fact its community is still going pretty strong after almost 20 years, is ridiculous. But the way Persistent Worlds operate, in terms of the time you invest in your character, the poo poo they get put through, the way you have to work with others and create in-game storylines and personal relationships with them... it can be emotionally draining at times.

But holy gently caress it's fun.

Also I think a lot of D&D / RPG nerds really don't know that something like NWN exists. Occasionally you see posts on twitter or reddit where someone asks for (or theorycrafts about) an online RPG where players can create worlds and act as Dungeon Master to other players, dynamically making stories using a bunch of engine tools to create NPCs, monsters, buildings and so on on the fly... and someone replies saying 'do you know about NWN' and it blows their minds, lol.

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




Item Getter posted:

Myth II had some very cool levels introducing castle sieges and such, though the story felt like it took a step back from the original since they mostly did away with the concept of the cycle from the first game. Even though Western developers rarely go down this route, the cyclical nature of the game's setting would have been a perfect vehicle to make a typical JRPG sort of series where none of the games directly relate to each other except for common themes in the story.

I fully agree with you. I think Myth II was a great game (warlocks! heron guard!), but didn't push gameplay enough to stand on its own as an equal to the first, and the narrative quality falls down quite hard due to repetition and derivation. It is a great case study of sequelitis syndrome as Myth II is a very enjoyable game, but simply can't hack it like the original. Also, your JRPG comment is very relevant as one game that gives me the same vibe of Myth is Dark Souls, and quite a lot of it. Miyazaki's minimalism is far more deliberate and disperse, having many more fragments and breadcrumbs, but they definitely share the mood.

haveblue
Aug 15, 2005




Toilet Rascal

Myth ruined RTSes for me. I will never build out another tech tree

Myth 2 may have taken a step back in campaign quality but it stepped forward in multiplayer and moddability

External Organs
Mar 3, 2006

A cheerful person, he is known as the king of vulgarities (cursing?)

Casualty.

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




thread gives me an excuse to practice writing, and I am taking it

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

(First of all, let's make a historic correction of record that this game should've been called Brian Reynold's Alpha Centauri, for he was the lead designer of this jewel.)

When I think of this game nowadays, I feel that there is a lot missing in the usual discussions and remembrances of it, especially towards its feel. SMAC, as it is affectionately known, is Millennialism: the Game for me. Released in 1999, it was a true product of its time. Games were getting really ambitious as there was more money to go around, capital costs for development were stable and fairly tolerable in terms of risk (so you could literally afford to be more creative), managerial overgrowth didn't start to creep in; publishers were open to novel ideas, especially from more established studios; developers and game-makers had far less to worry about the market wanted or not. These circumstances were some that contributed to create a peculiar dynamic moment in the industry, perhaps its most vibrant phase - Alpha Centauri wouldn’t be made today because it couldn’t be made today. I mean, check these lists out:




This is a list of superheavy hitters, genre-spanning and genre-defining. This is more than two decades ago, and many of their benchmarks and conventions established are still to be overcome, to be challenged, to be innovated upon. Game development at its cutting edge - with some studios that became household names from their efforts from that period - enjoying far more resources than ever, seems incapable of casting off such long shadows when they could do so much more.

Back to the tail-end of the 20th Century. Having established that games were getting Really Good, let’s move on, shall we? Meanwhile, in the world, interesting things happened. In 98, you had stuff like the Good Friday agreements, the Euro accord, Clinton with his balanced budgets, dictators like Suharto stepping down and Pinochet arrested... The world was coming together into a better place? Neoliberalism was winning? If you were in the rich part of the world and also in the right side of the society there, it could look like that, if you didn’t care for a finer reading of what was going around you.



At the same time, Clinton was getting impeached for being a total loving scumbag ("but less so than a Nixon or a Reagan!") the Balkans were being stoked into a fire, India and Pakistan were arming themselves with nukes, Iraq had to be bombed again (not for the last time) and Europe agreed to prohibit human cloning in a major Union commission about the matter. In the Far East, China was about to soar further than ever before in its relevance to worldwide capitalism. This brave new world was going somewhere strange.



1999 had a foreboding feel. Y2K was coming up; NATO bombs the poo poo out of Yugoslavia; Dow Jones for the first time ever soars past 10K; a human chromosome was decoded in its entirety in a landmark scientific achievement; Columbine kids are shot and Napster goes live; Microsoft stocks soar making Bill Gates the richest man while nail bombs by neo-nazi David Copeland killed innocents in Brixton, Spitalfields and Soho in London. As technological advancement seemed to notch up a couple of gears together with globalization pushing free markets everywhere, carrying the New Vision of Future promised, the same old poo poo did not only keep happening but seemed to happen more and worse.



Did we not reach the End of History? Was the same old poo poo supposed to go on like that? Was it not established that computers, robotics, global markets and limitless digital telecommunication were going to deliver the brave new world and solve famine, war, disease and poverty and global warming?

That was a problem. People felt it, even in the privileged corners of the Earth. It got to them, too. The question popped in the heads of some neoliberal luminaries, at the eve of the new Millenium, gnawing at them: what the gently caress, exactly, was going wrong?

---



So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Genesis, 3:24

If you played the game, you will remember the intro. I played the game a good ten years after the release, but I was immediately struck by its effective use of real-world footage to make an immediate point: turns out that the End of History didn’t work at all. We had to get out. If this is the continuation from Civilization’s science victory, SMAC argues that Civilization’s inherently liberal bias about human history is wrong. Reynolds not only gives out one hell of a statement right out of the gate, but lays one hell of a burn at Civ also: this is no great song of progress, no arc that naturally bends towards justice; this is failure. By doing so, SMAC took a position and created a far more interesting narrative than otherwise would. “Keeping politics out of games”, which was something coming up right quick in the years that followed in the industry, is foolish. SMAC is fondly remembered because, among other things, it embraced that humans were not only political animals but also ideological beings: the big I-word is used at the intro and completely necessary to describe the game’s narrative.

What SMAC’s text proposes for the player is to choose a drat side because History, far from being over, has to be solved on another planet. Or, in a more symbolic read, how the gently caress do we start to solve the same old poo poo around us? Dealing with questions like these in fiction is what makes it engrossing and interesting: having the legalist-collectivist-totalitarian Hive duke it out with ultracapitalist Morgan Industries, or the neofascist Spartan Federation battle with the socialist-eco-authoritarian Stepdaughters of Gaia is the historical continuation of material problems left unanswered, ideologies that were not made radical before Planetfall, but far before, here at Earth of the late 21st century. If you were to witness the agricultural collapse of the Middle East, what’s there to say that you wouldn’t become like a militant Gaian?

(Something interesting came up, thinking about it right now: if you have children, isn’t there a possibility that a granddaughter of yours might have to be Deirdre Skye in order to survive?)



Of course, this is still an American game made in the late 90s. Santiago isn’t a neofascist, she is a militarist. Godwinson isn’t a theocratic fundamentalist, she is a zealot. Lal isn’t a moralist neoliberal, he is a “humanitarian”. Besides, the devil-in-the-details of a game’s narrative come through in its relation to its mechanics. Social Engineering, where you configure your society, gives you several options in regards to its general political design, what form of economic organization it is going to have and what ideals to uphold, then later what sort of vision of the future society it wants to pursue. You are only locked from the options who are antagonistic to the faction’s ideological premise: Morgan Industries can’t go for a planned economy, for example.

So, plausibly, you can have Chairman Yang can play a free-market theocracy, no biggie, at the cost of losing his inherent bonuses from Planned economy and Police State politics. Really subtle commentary there. Green is somehow a magical socio-economic metastate that lies beyond planning or laissez-faire, very much in the Greenpeace-like vibes of utopian sentimentalism, that we just need to come together to recycle our domestic trash and reduce our carbons, maaaaaaan. It is worth saying that Green economics is op as gently caress: you negate its penalty with an easy building from early game and once you have enough bases the efficiency bonus gives you a greater economic benefit than free-market without its costs. Better than free-market and planned without breaking a sweat, as a rainbow shines behind a baby koala riding a smiling panda - quite a 90s mood. Then there is the fact that Morgan does spectacularly well with it…



Of course, we can disregard that in favor of what point it is trying to make, because the game asserts a narrative. Personally, this is the main reason why SMAC has been so successful and has such an enduring appeal and charm to it. Most 4X strategy games do not have clear stories by themselves, only the story-from-play, like how your Japan game in Civilization was highly engaging because you started next to an aggressive country and had several close calls until you managed to win that critical war. Then you might have games with plenty of background and highly elaborate settings, like Total War: Warhammer, but they are still story-from-play. SMAC does something different: it offers you a story that you unravel through play, through the same “song of progress” mechanic from Civilization, only that instead of contemplating human history through scientific and technological advancement, the player is now reading a mystery novel, not knowing where progress leads. Through the clever use of quotations from the leaders, each advance brings relevant commentary on what they are doing, thinking, considering and trying to achieve, either as individuals themselves or through their factions.

The prestige here is a very clever one and is amazing in effect. All leaders start with their motivations delineated and willing to make a brave new world that works this time, but in the context of what happened to Earth. As progress unfolds, they themselves change - such as the life-extension technology which makes them functionally immortal and its terrifying implications - and come to a personal ideological and existential conflict, addressed through the datalink quotations. Miriam Godwinson, even though the fundamentalist, understands the material necessity of technology to ensure their enterprise. As technology becomes more and more ridiculous, she quickly reverses course and starts castigating others, like Zakharov, the leader of the scientificist ideology, for their careless and relentless drive of progress. She gets really spooked about teleportation. Then there’s her last quote.

quote:

“Go through, my children! The time of miracles is upon us. Let us cast off sin and walk together to the Garden of the Lord. With God’s mercy we shall meet again on the other side.” — Sister Miriam Godwinson, “Last Testament”

Her own personal resolution is to throw herself into the fire. She surrenders to the miracles of God through technology, techno-millenarianism realized. It’s great in its ambiguity, too: if she is losing, that’s her going out; if winning, it is the realization of her New Jerusalem. If you look at what some Silicon Valley types talk and dream about on this matter, squinting your eyes just right, there isn’t a lot of difference from messianic promises of salvation found in the Abrahamic creeds.



Zakharov, on the other hand, starts brash, smug and self-assured, then starts to have his doubts, then reaps the harvest brought by his arrogance. They start figuring out what sort of stuff happens under event horizons and then, well, the brave scientist suggests not thinking about it. As the very Planet-mind starts to awaken to deal with the foreign invader, the aspiring dominator throws himself on his knees, seeking the mercy of this impossibly great alien god. The Planet, turns out, has been unconsciously trying to figure out what sort of thing has landed on it, and when the humans started to annoy it, it started to bite back with psychic metamorph fungus that were produced as mere immune response. The leaders quickly figure out that if these things gave so much horrifying trouble when the Planet was taking a nap, what the hell it shall unleash on them once it is up for real? How the gently caress can we survive if the very nature around us is going to be actively hostile against us? Why the gently caress did we trash Earth?

---



Here’s the kicker of my critique, though. Some of what I mentioned has been already treaded quite enough, many times. What I really want to point out is that, at a certain point in the game, humanity is back again at the intro, perhaps far worse due to the much advanced technological conditions. With all that technological advancement and progress in another planet, how in the gently caress we are dealing with the same old poo poo again?

Or, to put it in another way, it is 1999, we are on the eve of a new millennium… Why?



SMAC, for me, is a categorical classic work for that reason alone. It manages to encapsulate and reproduce a degree of postmodern catastrophism not achieved anywhere else in gaming. Each advancement is not a merry positive event, it is an increment of tension on History. It captures a feel that defines that period very much, a sort of neoliberal blue about the possibilities of man, a half-conscious realization that progress by itself won’t bring a better future.



The canonical suggested ending is that Deirdre achieves a psychic link with Planet to mindmeld humanity to it, achieving a state of transcendence. My personal read is that the narrative proposes that progress must be directed into something worthwhile, not done aimlessly just because. Progress done to elevate and better humankind is how we get past the same old poo poo, and I agree. However, I disagree with SMAC on the implication of “humans gonna be human”, so we must be something else through the intervention of an alien god. Reynolds was very much a man of his time and place, and quite possibly very skeptical of humanity at the time as many others were; an understandable conclusion. Yet, history is made by the great masses of humankind acting to circumstance: all that is solid eventually melts into air, opening new possibilities.



Thirty years past the End of History, now we understand again that it is far, very far from being over. But looking especially at these last two, it is incredible to come back at this and realize how contemporary it feels with its mood, even with its now-retrofuturistic looks. A classic by the merit of enduring relevance.

Hooplah
Jul 15, 2006


fuck money
smoke bitches
get trees


dead gay comedy forums posted:

thread gives me an excuse to practice writing, and I am taking it

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Wow, thanks for that. Excellent read. was gonna suggest you get that in the cspam games thread but i see you're way ahead of me.

i've never played smac but that makes me want to

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011






That makes me want to *re*play it.

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




Hooplah posted:

Wow, thanks for that. Excellent read. was gonna suggest you get that in the cspam games thread but i see you're way ahead of me.

i've never played smac but that makes me want to

thanks! you definitely should, it has a gog version which is very playable with some screen adjustments. The power curve makes it very easy to do some obscenely OP power moves never possible in Civ, have fun!

(btw definitely play the complete version but disable the xpack features, alien crossfire is Bad. Extremely so)

Xarbala posted:

That makes me want to *re*play it.

Last time I got the itch was three years ago, hahaha, but it feels very rough for me in TYOOL 2021. I kinda wish Firaxis did a remaster or the internet pulls an OpenTTD or Daggerfall Unity on it, this is a game that really deserves the treatment

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

Swimming upstream
into the sunset





How do you feel about the Alien Crossfire expansion?

Fly Ricky
May 7, 2009

The Wine Taster

I just wanna say that write-up makes me want to play Alpha Centauri so bad, but I don’t think I can because I’m a Mac guy.

One the best in this thread.

Zerilan
Jan 11, 2008

I have to believe I can do this.







Sweet Home - Capcom, 1989(Famicom)

Released at the very tail end of the decade and not playable in English until fan localizations years later, naturally I didn't get to play this game until the 80s were long in the rearview mirror, but wanting to mention it is half the reason I started writing this post to begin with. A video game adaptation of an 80s horror game, Sweet Home is the spiritual predecessor of Resident Evil and defines Survival Horror before the genre even had that name. People love to use "ahead of its time" to talk about ambitiously designed games, and no game embodies that phrase to me more than Sweet Home.


Sweet Home is about a group of 5 people investigating the haunted estate of fresco painter Mamiya Ichirou, cursed by the ghost of his wife. Trapped in the mansion by Lady Mamiya, only by confronting and exorcising the ghost can they escape. The characters can be controlled individually, or in teams of up to 3 members. Each member brings along with them a unique tool: A lighter for burning obstacles and lighting candles, a medical kit for curing status, a key that unlocks certain doors, a camera that reveals hints from the frescos scatted in the mansion, and a vacuum for removing broken glass and cleaning frescos too dirty to photograph.


Each person can hold their signature tool, 2 items, and one weapon. You can't set items down, only swap them out with other items. Items picked up may be either reusable or consumable tools. A plank of wood to cross small gaps, a shovel for digging holes, tonics to restore health. Many items are like Resident Evil puzzle items where you might wonder why you found a decorate spear until you see the one suit of armor not holding one. Many items can also be used in battle with special effects against certain enemies.


Speaking of battles, Sweet Home's combat is an RPG style with a first person view towards a single enemy. The monster designs are an amazing showcase of beautiful 8 bit horror. Despite being in a max team of 3, you can use the call command to control another character's team to bring them to you so you can fight with the full 5 man squad. Options to deal with monsters are to strike with your weapon, use your tools for special effects, or pray at them, the equivalent of a magic attack. Many monsters have a weakness to a certain tool and figuring out what to use against each one will end battles quick and keep the attrition from wearing you down. Making heavy use of tools and treating monsters more as puzzle obstacles than things to directly fight is key.


Survival really is the key in this game too. Damage from enemies and obstacles, falling from a wooden plank that breaks as you cross, and other hazards are just waiting for their chance to end a character's life. When someone dies in Sweet Home, it's permanent. You not only lose them in combat but that's 2 less free item spaces to make use of. Items exist that can replace the function of a character's signature tool, but those have to be carried in a normal slot. Just 1 or 2 deaths can make the inventory management feel impossible.


Finally at the end is Lady Mamiya. More of a puzzle than a traditional boss, she can only be defeated by discovering the needed items to perform an exorcism and the correct order to use them in. Not that being a puzzle doesn't mean she won't be unleashing tons of damage to stay alive through during it.


There's multiple endings once Lady Mamiya's spirit is set free, depending on the number of survivors. The endings for 2 and 3 alive are essentially the same, so effectively there are 4 possible endings you can get.


The game does have some flaws and the inventory management and menu'ing and item swapping can feel tedious at points. It's definitely a game that rubbed up against the limitations of the Famicom and the 4 button + dpad controller. That aside, it's a game that still holds up extremely well and is absolutely worth it to play just to experience the game that is one of the key origin points of video game horror.


Credit to Breaking Canon and Miketopus's LP as screenshot sources
Next game I'll post about : smiles, saunas, and stone hands

Groovelord Neato
Dec 6, 2014




Ice Phisherman posted:

How do you feel about the Alien Crossfire expansion?

Alpha Centauri is in my all-time top ten and I think it's the best written game I've ever played and I liked the expansion (especially since it added my favorite faction the socialist Free Drones). Some of the other factions are really interesting like the Cult of Planet and the two alien factions but I would always mix and match my favorites from the base game and the expansion. I have so much of the text and especially audio etched into my brain until the day I die. One of my favorite artifacts of the time of the initial game's production was the end of the video for the Longevity Vaccine secret project showing someone flipping through the channels of Morgan's TV networks and landing on a clip of Morgan and Lal as South Park characters yelling at each other.

Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.

Groovelord Neato fucked around with this message at 15:28 on Jun 17, 2021

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs


dead gay comedy forums posted:

thanks! you definitely should, it has a gog version which is very playable with some screen adjustments. The power curve makes it very easy to do some obscenely OP power moves never possible in Civ, have fun!

(btw definitely play the complete version but disable the xpack features, alien crossfire is Bad. Extremely so)

Last time I got the itch was three years ago, hahaha, but it feels very rough for me in TYOOL 2021. I kinda wish Firaxis did a remaster or the internet pulls an OpenTTD or Daggerfall Unity on it, this is a game that really deserves the treatment

There's a Civ 4 mod which sort of tries to do this (Planetfall), but it doesn't capture quite the same feeling. Mileage varies on whether that's good enough.

Hyrax Attack!
Jan 13, 2009

We demand to be taken seriously



Groovelord Neato posted:

Alpha Centauri is in my all-time top ten and I think it's the best written game I've ever played and I liked the expansion (especially since it added my favorite faction the socialist Free Drones). Some of the other factions are really interesting like the Cult of Planet and the two alien factions but I would always mix and match my favorites from the base game and the expansion. I have so much of the text and especially audio etched into my brain until the day I die. One of my favorite artifacts of the time of the initial game's production was the end of the video for the Longevity Vaccine secret project showing someone flipping through the channels of Morgan's TV networks and landing on a clip of Morgan and Lal as South Park characters yelling at each other.

Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.

Oh yeah SMAC is awesome. It was amazing to play through cold and having no idea what techs or wonders would be next. It was even a bit scary with stuff like the dream twister or using a planet buster for the first time and expecting it to only destroy a city.

Definitely one of the most quotable games. The drone quote is great, others I like:
"What actually transpires beneath the veil of an event horizon? Decent people shouldn't think too much about that."

"Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into a fungal vortex and held off four waves of mind worms, saving an entire colony.
We immediately purchased his identity manifests and repackaged him into the Recon Rover Rick character with a multi-tiered media campaign: televids, touchbooks, holos, psi-tours--the works. People need heroes. They don't need to know how he died clawing his eyes out, screaming for mercy. The real story would just hurt sales, and dampen the spirits of our customers."

Groovelord Neato
Dec 6, 2014




A handsome young cyborg named Ace
Wooed women at every base
But once ladies glanced at
His special enhancement
They vanished with nary a trace.

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




Ice Phisherman posted:

How do you feel about the Alien Crossfire expansion?

the content it adds like base buildings etc is good, then there are the Free Drones who should have been in the original, as they are the only ones who can fill an actual open spot in the narrative - what about the lowly drone? - but the rest, well, imho they gently caress it all up. For it to work, it has to retroactively change the narrative, and it makes a mess doing so

- Cult of Planet is baaaaaaaaad because not only burns a lot of steps (awareness of psionics and Planet is an entity to just begin with) but also redundant, as both Gaians and Believers already address their concerns. if they were a minor faction that popped out from another due to an event or something, they would have the potential to be really interesting, as religious fanatics recognizing the living god beneath their feet would be something very relevant but then you couldn't make them playable from start. Maybe a civil war event for the gaians, or something as such

- Cybernetic Consciousness offers nothing and makes no sense from the tech perspective too (cybernetics are not available at Planetfall); again, as a minor faction popping out from University (most likely), would be an interesting midgame conflict if properly hashed out, but they stand for nothing other than the ~~AlGoRiTHm~~

- Data Angels, jesus loving christ. Peak aughts digital libertarianism and the perpetual annoying mistake of every 4X, the "espionage" faction that has to be put in to excel at the mechanic and making a mess out of the gameplay flow because almost nobody likes it.

- Nautilus Pirates, oh my loving god next

- the aliens: well, they are the ones who gently caress it all up even though they are not the worst part. What was supposed to be the culmination of a historical struggle through the ideologies represented has to be thrown out of the window once aliens get involved because, well, loving aliens are around

so besides cult of planet and drones, no other faction offers ideological substance: data angels are based of pseudo-anarchist hacktivism, the consciousness stands for absolutely nothing, the pirates are there because of archipelago maps and the aliens are doing their thing which would be game-changers for all others. By the datalink quotes, Zakharov and Deirdre and Morgan start to collaborate once Planet is in the verge of awakening, which is a very human and properly historical reaction to have: let's get together or we are loving toast. Aliens would be at least the same and they switch the entire focus of the game on them, turning SMAC into an average sci-fi story

that's my gripe with it

Hyrax Attack!
Jan 13, 2009

We demand to be taken seriously



dead gay comedy forums posted:

the content it adds like base buildings etc is good, then there are the Free Drones who should have been in the original, as they are the only ones who can fill an actual open spot in the narrative - what about the lowly drone? - but the rest, well, imho they gently caress it all up. For it to work, it has to retroactively change the narrative, and it makes a mess doing so

- Cult of Planet is baaaaaaaaad because not only burns a lot of steps (awareness of psionics and Planet is an entity to just begin with) but also redundant, as both Gaians and Believers already address their concerns. if they were a minor faction that popped out from another due to an event or something, they would have the potential to be really interesting, as religious fanatics recognizing the living god beneath their feet would be something very relevant but then you couldn't make them playable from start. Maybe a civil war event for the gaians, or something as such

- Cybernetic Consciousness offers nothing and makes no sense from the tech perspective too (cybernetics are not available at Planetfall); again, as a minor faction popping out from University (most likely), would be an interesting midgame conflict if properly hashed out, but they stand for nothing other than the ~~AlGoRiTHm~~

- Data Angels, jesus loving christ. Peak aughts digital libertarianism and the perpetual annoying mistake of every 4X, the "espionage" faction that has to be put in to excel at the mechanic and making a mess out of the gameplay flow because almost nobody likes it.

- Nautilus Pirates, oh my loving god next

- the aliens: well, they are the ones who gently caress it all up even though they are not the worst part. What was supposed to be the culmination of a historical struggle through the ideologies represented has to be thrown out of the window once aliens get involved because, well, loving aliens are around

so besides cult of planet and drones, no other faction offers ideological substance: data angels are based of pseudo-anarchist hacktivism, the consciousness stands for absolutely nothing, the pirates are there because of archipelago maps and the aliens are doing their thing which would be game-changers for all others. By the datalink quotes, Zakharov and Deirdre and Morgan start to collaborate once Planet is in the verge of awakening, which is a very human and properly historical reaction to have: let's get together or we are loving toast. Aliens would be at least the same and they switch the entire focus of the game on them, turning SMAC into an average sci-fi story

that's my gripe with it

Those are good points although I thought the aliens were an interesting addition. Ideally they would have had their own distinct tech tree and units, but I can understand that sort of massive change would be beyond the scope of an expansion pack.

Yeah the additional factions would have worked much better as you said if they were small city states that appeared as the game went along, especially as it doesn't make sense for cult of planet or cyborgs to have been there from the start. I had thought the premise for these factions were a bit thin, especially the data angels. It would be cool if they were a unique group existing in the narrative, like as mercenaries that could be hired for hacking (that could also work for the pirates), but it makes little sense for them to have the same behavior as other factions and be building farms and mines. And in a game renown for top tier writing, not a fan of their La La Land faction quote:

quote:

What's more important, the data or the jazz? Sure, sure, 'Information should be free' and all that—but anyone can set information free. The jazz is in how you do it, what you do it to, and in almost getting caught without getting caught. The data is 1's and 0's. Life is the jazz.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

Swimming upstream
into the sunset






I mostly agree. I think that having a kind of minor faction pop out of each existing faction would have been neat as gently caress for Crossfire. Didn't happen though.

Free Drones are hands down my favorite faction. The tech malus is bad but it's not as bad as The Believers because you can get your economy going faster which means that you can ramp up sooner. Also your military. So like The Believers you can just spam units. Also it's stupidly easy to trade tech in this game if you have anything which I'm not a huge fan of. I prefer tech agreements from later 4X's.

I enjoy The Believers as heels or playing as them to beat everyone up and take their lunch money. The University and The Morganites are especially great to vassalize early on. You get this dump of tech and resources and I play the game style where you take over a base and you get a tech. Unlike trading tech, looting feels more earned because I bled for it. Or they did. And when I'm satisfied that they can no longer threaten me I'll give back some of their land so that they can be a better vassal state. And I feel like you could play this same role as Cult of Planet or The Free Drones.

Tactically, Cult of Planet is a loving nightmare to play against once you get the techs to plant fungus. Go full mindworms, have zero roads, plant that poo poo in the water to restrict naval travel and only air power or late game hovertanks can reasonably attack you. Infantry is slow and your mindworms can dance around them and pick them apart. A bit like the creep advantage from Starcraft only more pronounced. And also like The Gaians you can just seize wild mindworms and send them at your enemies. And though I don't really see the AI play this way, imagine an empire that is almost 100% covered by fungus. The land will require high casualties to assault, higher to take, your mobility is poo poo and the land is functionally worthless unless you have late game fungus techs.

Sadly the AI doesn't really know how to play them and they tend to end up weak.

Gynovore
Jun 17, 2009

Forget your RoboCoX or your StickyCoX or your EvilCoX, MY CoX has Blinking Bewbs!

WHY IS THIS GAME DEAD?!

Just in case anyone is still on the fence, SMAC is one of the best strategy games ever ever ever. I bought it when it came out over 20 years ago and still reinstall every few years.

Look it's only $1.50 on GOG! Go get it!

Ice Phisherman posted:

Tactically, Cult of Planet is a loving nightmare to play against once you get the techs to plant fungus. Go full mindworms, have zero roads, plant that poo poo in the water to restrict naval travel and only air power or late game hovertanks can reasonably attack you. Infantry is slow and your mindworms can dance around them and pick them apart. A bit like the creep advantage from Starcraft only more pronounced. And also like The Gaians you can just seize wild mindworms and send them at your enemies. And though I don't really see the AI play this way, imagine an empire that is almost 100% covered by fungus. The land will require high casualties to assault, higher to take, your mobility is poo poo and the land is functionally worthless unless you have late game fungus techs.

This is true, but the Gaians can do the same thing at least as well, and not be hobbled with money/industry penalties.

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs


My big hesitation about rebuying/reinstalling is that I really like SMAC as an experience, but it's still ultimately tied to Civilization 4X gameplay, which i've only ever been lukewarm on. I kind of wish there were more genres in which to experience the setting.

But yeah, if you haven't played it already, hard to beat at that price. I've certainly recommended trying out worse games in the Strategy Games thread at that dollar value.

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs


Okay, I realized that my negativity's showing, so good as an excuse as any to try and dispel that by writing another review. Frankly speaking, this one deserves a more in-depth review, but and all that.



Hades



Officially released in September 2020, but in early access for quite a while before then, Hades is a rogue-like action role-playing game/dungeon crawler by Supergiant Studios. In it, you play as Zagreus, Prince of the Underworld and son of the God of the Dead, Hades. You're sick and tired of dear ol' dad's dismal domains, so you take your sword and try and hack and slash your way out. Your benevolent relatives up on Olympus support this endeavor, offering you powerups to make your sword do more damage, or improve your movement capacity, or even trigger a special ability. You even might fight a boss or two. And then you die.



At which point your sorry corpse washes up back in the House of Hades and you realize that this is a Supergiant production as the overall set of circumstances that lead to you trying to run away from home unfolds into a much larger narrative involving a large cast of lovable characters, which is equally as much of a draw (if not moreso) than the slick ARPG gameplay. In fact, the narrative also performs a clever function of mitigating the frustration that players often feel as they die over and over again. You know that there's more story waiting for you just beyond the horizon, so you steel yourself to go back out into the Underworld in the hopes of unlocking more, which combined with gameplay improving (and option-widening) metaprogression slowly makes you good enough at the game until you hit the point where you win... which itself unlocks additional story as well as a sort of challenge mode that lets you customize the game to your preferred level of difficulty.



My experience with Hades is a bit wonky because I started playing in early access just after the final boss was released, but make no mistake, this is still a game that you can easily dump dozens, if not hundreds of hours into. Even after you beat the "proper" story, there will still be lots of subplots to untangle in order to make sure that everybody gets their happy ending and collectibles to unlock, and masochism level Heat runs to perform. It was my favorite game of 2020 before it was fully released, and I still found excuses to come back to it later in the year. Less so these days because i'm done with 99% of the game, but I still get the itch every so often to try and go back and clear 32 Heat with the last few weapons or fill out the last few bits of the in-game encyclopedia. But really, those are just excuses for an opportunity to try this gem out again.

Jossar fucked around with this message at 22:27 on Jun 17, 2021

doctorfrog
Mar 14, 2007

Great.



IIRC, SMAC's soundtrack was a bunch of wav files that the game would thread continuously through your play, along with sound effects, based on "how things were going." It wasn't seamless, but it was pretty subtle, and mostly matched in theme. I wouldn't mind it a bit if someone played the game for 20 hours and recorded only the ambient sound from the game as they played.

Groovelord Neato
Dec 6, 2014




Ice Phisherman posted:

I mostly agree. I think that having a kind of minor faction pop out of each existing faction would have been neat as gently caress for Crossfire. Didn't happen though.

Free Drones are hands down my favorite faction. The tech malus is bad but it's not as bad as The Believers because you can get your economy going faster which means that you can ramp up sooner. Also your military. So like The Believers you can just spam units. Also it's stupidly easy to trade tech in this game if you have anything which I'm not a huge fan of. I prefer tech agreements from later 4X's.

I enjoy The Believers as heels or playing as them to beat everyone up and take their lunch money. The University and The Morganites are especially great to vassalize early on. You get this dump of tech and resources and I play the game style where you take over a base and you get a tech. Unlike trading tech, looting feels more earned because I bled for it. Or they did. And when I'm satisfied that they can no longer threaten me I'll give back some of their land so that they can be a better vassal state. And I feel like you could play this same role as Cult of Planet or The Free Drones.

I always wiped out the Believers first. Always.

It's a shame how weak the spiritual successor was. A game like AC that played like Civ 4 would be god-tier.

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




Groovelord Neato posted:

I always wiped out the Believers first. Always.

It's a shame how weak the spiritual successor was. A game like AC that played like Civ 4 would be god-tier.

be still my beating heart

Cascade Failure
Jan 8, 2010


"I sit in my cubicle, here on the motherworld. When I die, they will put my body in a box and dispose of it in the cold ground. And in the million ages to come, I will never breathe, or laugh, or twitch again. So won't you run and play with me here among the teeming mass of humanity? The universe has spared us this moment."

Anonymous; Datalinks

Sardonik
Jul 1, 2005

if you like my dumb posts, you'll love my dumb youtube channel

Few things on Alpha Centauri -

First, anyone who's interested in the wealth of lore in the game should check out the Paean to SMAC which goes into great depth on basically every shred of it in the game.

Moreover, Brian Reynolds himself posted some commentary on some of the pages, for example:

"Industrial Base Page posted:

“Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill.”

— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, “The Ethics of Greed”

Brian Reynold's comment posted:

Two little thoughts I can’t resist leaving here:
(1) This is my personal favorite of all the “blurbs” (to use the jargon we used on the team at the time), in the sense that I felt like it did the best job of getting a character/thought/setting across in the best aesthetic style. It’s always the first one I remember when I think of the game.
(2) I always kicked myself for not coming back and polishing up the nonsense word “forgotten” which initially got there probably to maintain the meter or rhythm of the sentence. If I had it to do over again it would be replaced with “so-called” which I think is much stronger and more on point.

Second, the game's music is generated entirely procedurally. You probably figured this out pretty quick by the music livening up when a base facility is constructed, or otherwise navigating to a city. It's a little disappointing that there's no 'official' soundtrack given the strength of the opening theme/menu music, but some combinations of the generated ambience are on youtube.

Third, and admittedly I can't find any solid backing for this so it may just be a rumor, but I've heard that the AI for each faction is customized to a significant degree. Much more than modern games where everything basically has the same AI, but with different modifiers governing the algorithm. This would kind of make sense with how different some of the factions wind up playing.

Overall 10/10, definitely a game with actually something to say ideologically and frightfully ahead of its time in ways I don't think we've come to appreciate yet.

Sardonik fucked around with this message at 04:31 on Jun 21, 2021

iSurrender
Aug 25, 2005
Now with 22% more apathy!

There are a couple of other games that can compete for the spot as my personal favourite game,
but I would not disagree with anyone who said SMAC is the best game in the world.

Zerilan
Jan 11, 2008

I have to believe I can do this.







This has definitely convinced me to give SMAC a shot despite that not really being a genre I play much.

Next game I'm going to efffort post on is going to be River City Ransom, my personal all-time favorite, and just realized I'm gonna have to replay it this week to get some screenshots.

luchadornado
Oct 7, 2004

A boombox is not a toy!



A few years ago, I spent a few weeks recovering from a surgery, and needed something to pass the time. I started going through my Steam backlog of unplayed games, and eventually I got to Terraria. I had tried it for 20 minutes back in 2012 and found it incredibly boring, but I thought I'd give it another chance.

Terraria is a 2D action-adventure sandbox developed by Re-Logic, and released in 2011. It just got its final update in 2020, and has sold 35 million copies. Worlds are randomly generated, although you can provide a seed, and some seeds have some fun/interesting properties. It's very easy to dismiss it as a 2D Minecraft clone that's focused on exploration and building, but that's a mistake in my opinion.

You start a new game in a forest, with a guide nearby, and some starter equipment. That's it. No intro, no story, no direction. Yes, this is boring as poo poo, but trust me it gets better.



The graphics, music, and sound effects are similar to a PS1-era 2D game, and while serviceable, do nothing to entice you to continue playing. And that's probably my biggest complaint about the game: the game does not present a great reason to keep playing beyond the first screen. You can run from one end of the world to the other (on a small world) in a minute or two. There are a handful of biomes like forest, jungle, snow, desert, crimson, and corruption but nothing really interesting in any them, save for a single brick building where a giant skull appears and kills you if you try entering it. There is an NPC here, again with vague interactions. If you're lucky you might also run into one other NPC in the ocean. What I'm getting at is that the world feels small and empty. That's not a good thing.

What's the appeal then? At some point, you go from stabbing at slimes with an awkward copper sword to flying around on a demon fish spraying Martian invaders with Golden Showers and firing rainbows out of your Meowmere sword. Or maybe you'd rather kill some Doomsday Cultists and unicorns and trigger the end of the world?



While Terraria's core gameplay contains elements of exploration and building, the appeal in Terraria is more about progression. And a large part of that progression is randomly located deep underground in crystal caves, dungeons, temples, and even Hell. Unfortunately, if you aren't following an online guide this isn't really evident at all. Here is a graph of progression showing just how deep it is:



Terraria has dozens of progress gates, and nothing in-game to really hint at many of them. When you get a certain amount of health, an early boss will randomly spawn. If you travel down into the corruption or crimson biomes and break 1 weird object a meteor might fall that you can mine to make crazy magic space laser guns. If you break 3 a boss will spawn. Beating some of these bosses give you new ore types, that you can make ingots from, and then make new armor, weapons, and tools from. These new tools can then be used to harvest new resources, which give you further new ore types, and the cycle repeats several times.

Let's talk about NPCs. Right out of the gate, there's the guide, and maybe one or two other NPCs wandering around above or below ground. You can build houses that they'll move into, and then they'll sell new items. They also unlock other NPCs and events, for example if you find a Bound Goblin deep in under the surface and free him, that unlocks a random chance every day of a goblin army invading - an event where wave after wave of goblins assault your home. There are 20+ NPCs, and some range from "kind of useless" to "allows me to reforge my items into Legendary versions". Several NPCs can live together in a "town" that allows you to place a teleportation pylon, so you can quickly warp around the map, but this is based on figuring out which NPCs like living by each other, and gives you a reason to make a snow-themed town, a jungle town, etc.

There are also accessories. You start with several slots, and gain more by entering hard mode or playing on a higher difficulty. Accessories range from relatively boring stat increases to radically game-changing like giving you the ability to run super fast, fly, climb walls, breathe underwater, and more. Some accessories have their own progression trees where you can combine them into a powerful item that has all the benefits of the combined accessories, like the Terraspark Boots that have the in-game tool-tip of: Allows flight, super fast running, and extra mobility on ice, 8% increased movement speed, Provides the ability to walk on water, honey & lava, Grants immunity to fire blocks and 7 seconds of immunity to lava, Reduces damage from touching lava. This is the crafting guide for these boots:



You also can collect money. What good is money for? Well, weapons and accessories all roll with a random modifier like "Broken", "Warding", and "Godly". Once you unlock a specific NPC you can gamble all your hard-earned money away on re-rolling in an attempt to get the perfect modifier.

Aside from armor, weapons, tools, and accessories there are all sorts of other things that you'll find and want to hoard: consumables, potions, herbs, buckets, piggy banks, fireworks, golfing equipment, mounts, and more. Some are easy to get. Some like the Slime Staff which summons a pet slime to fight for you, have a 0.01% drop rate from slimes, so if you want to get all the loot, or even just some of the coolest loot, you'll be exploring and grinding for quite awhile.

Now for the big one, bosses. Vanilla Terraria has 31 bosses, over half of which are optional. The one shared trait is that they all drop cool and useful items with a varying degree of rarity, so you might need to farm bosses to get a specific item. Most bosses, and especially as you go up in difficulty, require preparation, and the concept of an arena. Fighting Skeleton? You probably want a series of platforms that help you dodge his attacks. Fighting the Wall of Flesh? You'll want a long bridge over the lava ocean. Fighting Plantera? You'll probably go through a process something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD8NHwvpzVk

There is also the concept of "classes" in that you can be a melee fighter, thrown weapons master, ranger (gun or bow), summoner, mage, or even a yo-yo user. Mods add more classes like the bard, healer, paladin, etc. You're not locked into these classes however, so if there's a fight that's just wrecking your melee fighter, maybe try switching to a ranger.

Once you beat the final boss you can keep playing in the sandbox, but many will start a new world and ramp up the difficulty from classic to expert or master, where mobs and particularly bosses get incredibly more challenging, but also drop new items. There's also the concept of softcore/mediumcore/hardcore which determines what happens to your character when you die. The most recent update introduced the concept of Journey Mode which allows you to research items that you find to create an infinite supply, and control things like difficulty, spawn rate, time, and weather all on the fly. It's a really great way to play the game how you want and remove tedium once you've already experienced the more grindy aspects.

Finally let's talk about mods. Terraria has something called tModLoader which is a very well-supported mod engine. There are a ton of mods out there that range from simple things like changing the UI or adding a new weapon, but a lot of people gravitate towards the overhauls like Thorium or Calamity, as these add new items, classes, and dozens of bosses that really extend the life of the game. You can also play multiplayer!

I think I'll wrap up by saying that although the game has a decidedly low-tech, retro appeal and can feel very directionless in the early game, if you can survive that to the point where you start upgrading your weapons/armor and beat a few bosses, there's a good chance you'll be hooked by the progression aspects of the game especially if you're a fan of Metroidvanias. And if you're bored progressing, you can always go fishing, play golf, build resource farms, or really just build whatever cool thing you envision:

Oldstench
Jun 29, 2007

Let's talk about where you're going.


Terraria is one of those games that I really want to like but I just bounce off of it so hard every time I try to play it. I have no knack for design either so I don't even get to build cool tree-houses or whatever. It's always the same boxes stacked on top of one another.

Senerio
Oct 19, 2009

Ooh! Are we messing with Adora?





So it's already been talked about in the thread, but I want to talk about a single moment in my Dark Cloud 2 experience.

So seeing it in the thread decided to make me want to do another playthrough, and it went well until I started to experience drift in my PS5 controller.

That said, I want to very specifically talk about Spheda

What is Spheda

Spheda is Sphere Golf. After clearing out a dungeon, you can attempt to fix a distortion in time by knocking a colored ball into a floating portal.

The ball and portal have 2 possible colors, red and blue. The ball, upon bouncing off any surface, will alternate between the two colors, and in order to close the portal it needs to be the opposite color.

Other than that, the controls are more or less standard for a golf game. You hit the button, then using the control stick you assign slice/topspin/etc, and then hit the button again. You can only play Spheda as Max, because back in 2002 girls didn't like to play minigames.

Anyway, I was playing through Dark Cloud 2 and this happened:

https://twitter.com/Senerioh/status/1376617007613939722

I'm mostly posting this because I'm very bad at Spheda and this was a sick trick shot I pulled.

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




helicity's review actually made me get Terraria

it is stardew valley in the right ways that my brain felt missing from playing it

Pain of Mind
Jul 10, 2004
You are receiving this broadcast as a dream...We are transmitting from the year one nine... nine nine ...You are receiving this broadcast in order t

Was behind reading through this thread and was getting disappointed that every Bungie game except the best one was getting mentioned, but finally Myth showed up. In late 1997 my parents along with high school aged me bought a Power Mac G3, and to show it off they said I could grab a game to go with it. Seeing as how the Mac game selection was terrible at the time and there were only a handful of games there, I grabbed a game called Myth that I had never heard of because it had cool box art. Seeing as how Myth has already been touched on somewhat, I am going to expand on what actually made the series great: the multiplayer. This is going to be light on pictures because I cannot really find many pictures showing the multiplayer interface, and even though I can surprisingly still get into Myth II to watch saved videos of matches, 23 years of hardware and OS updates means that I am having enough technical issues getting screenshots from within the game to be usable outside of the game that every picture I am going to show is just a generic one from google images.

While Myth 1 might have had a better single player campaign, in my mind Myth is almost exclusively a multiplayer game in the same way Unreal Tournament is. The decent single player campaigns were just so people without internet connections did not get ripped off and were bonus gameplay. Myth II had a few technical tweaks compared to Myth, but it also came out just a year later and effectively shut down multiplayer Myth as the entire community moved to Myth II, so that is the game that is going to be focused on here.



The Myth multiplayer interface was ahead of its time, with about 14? different rooms that each contained a bunch of individually hosted game lobbies that you could view by game type, map, people within the lobby for the game. Within each lobby you then had integrated chat as well as the ability to see everyone's custom icon and in-game rank, game settings etc.


(I have no idea who these people are, this was just on google images for an example picture)

There were also ranked and unranked games, where for ranked you could work your way up through a bunch of different status icons and numerical rankings that you could see online. I think it was the first time I actually had any sort of individual presence on the internet, where I could look at the multiplayer rankings and see my in-game name on a webpage.

The game was very well balanced, where all units were mostly viable, and things such as move speed were extremely valuable to completing game objectives. There were no buildings or unit production, each map had a set amount of points for building your army, and I always felt this more small scale tactical fighting was much more enjoyable than the APM fests that more popular RTS became. You cannot waste units, and with the robust physics engine where things like arrows are rendered physical objects, what might differentiate an experienced player from a novice would be things like dodging arrows while using attack ground functions to shoot where you think your opponent would be, not just directly attacking units. This is more pronounced with the Myth II unit Warlock which fires a homing fireball with a large explosive radius. If two Warlocks directly attack each other, both will die since they are not fast enough to run away from the explosion radius, but if you attack ground where you think they will be in a few seconds and already are running away, you can kill them while you make it out of range. Also, the Z axis matters, where your ranged units like archers and dwarves will be more accurate and have greater range if they are up on a hill, so location of battles matters.

A sample picture from Myth 1 showing the unit points to build your army at the beginning of a game:



There are both light and dark unit maps, where dark units tend to be stronger and faster moving games, while light units tend to be weaker. This image shows light units. Myth II also has quite a few more units types than Myth 1. The points don't directly correlate with strength. Just describing units from this image - Ghols are quite weak, but they are the fastest unit in the game and can close ground on archers and dwarves who are ranged units, as well as pick up items and throw them. The thrall are actually fairly strong fighters who are also undead which means they can go into deep water and just hangout unseen until they can be used to ambush something later, but they are very slow moving and can be easily kited by a dwarf who can kill 20 of them if they are not supported by faster units. Thrall both hit harder and have more HP than warriors, but warriors run a bit faster so they can actually close ground on dwarves and archers, and their shield is actually functional where 1 on 1 a warrior will beat a thrall because he can block their attacks and get hits in every now and then. Wights are just suicide bomber undeads who can also hide underwater and cause a lot of damage if someone is not paying attention and they get ambushed by one. Journeymen from Myth 1, or their better fighting lore changed selves Heron Guards in Myth II can heal units to keep them fighting longer since every unit is valuable, but they can also heal to directly kill an undead unit (funny enough this actually works on Soulblighter, one of the main bosses from the Myth 1 campaign). A commonly used strategy was to heal your own Wight to kill it, where it would drop 2 ghol throwable "pus packets" that when thrown by a ghol have a small paralyzing explosion, but then you would also have dwarves drop their special item which is an explosive satchel which can also be picked up by ghols, and you could have a fast moving suicide bombing squad of ghols that would throw satchels and then detonate them with the pus packets, potentially causing a lot more targeted damage than 4 ghols and a wight can normally cause.

There were a bunch of different game types as well for multiplayer games:
Body Count - doing the most damage to win, aka just kill stuff
Territories - whoever holds the most flags spread out across the map wins
Flag Rally - same as territories but each flag is numbered and whoever accrues the most wins, or the game ends if someone captures them all (multiple people can own each flag)
Captures - movable balls that you can play soccer with and try and move to a defendable area, same rules as territories
Scavenger Hunt - captures with the same rules as flag rally
Last Man on the Hill - whoever has uncontested control over territory around an unmovable flag at the end of the game wins
King of the Hill - like last man on the hill, but you accrue time when you are within range of the flag, and whoever has the most time in range of the flag at the end of the game wins
Steal the Bacon - like last man on the hill, but a ball that you can move
Stampede - you have a bunch of animals you need to protect that you need to get to flags in your opponents territory
Assassin - each team has a target to kill (usually the Baron model who does not fight), and whoever kills the most wins. If yours is killed you are eliminated.
Balls on Parade - like assassin, but a ball you need to kick around rather than a unit you control, and I believe you need to possess the ball at the end of the game for it to count but I cannot remember

Wikipedia had other game types listed like hunting but I have 0 memory of them, maybe they were just never used because they were dumb.

For free for all games, I recall maps having up to 6 teams or individuals, and since units were valuable and not replaceable, you could not just suicide rush someone to win a game of King of the Hill or whatever. You wanted to drive them away, but if you got into a full blown fight where you kill them, even if you still have half of your army left there are still 4 other teams that can now easily bully you out of game objectives. It felt like it had a unique combination of tactics, maneuvering, and strategy compared to more typical base building RTSes due to the different game modes and the fact that you could never out economy someone.

It also had a robust clan system since a half of the multiplayer experience was playing team based maps/games. Eventually "anonymous" super clans formed, which were essentially all star teams where everyone's identity was masked. Your account login was tied to you in game, so you could change you name and stuff like that but people could always look at your profile to see your login as who you were. To make another account you had to buy the game again. I was a member of the first super clan, and was probably the most nobody out of anyone within the clan. As a nobody I was invited as a founding member (I think you needed a minimum of 3 people to form a clan, but I cannot remember), mainly by catching the founders eye with strong 1 on 1 tournament play. I recall people trying to guess who I was out of bigger tournament names, but nobody was ever able to guess. Honestly, even if someone would have found out I would imagine the answer would be "Who?". Other super clans formed, I recall one based on a gimmick of everyone being named after Street Fighter characters who I feel were our main nemesis. It was a very social game, and I feel like it ended up where your clan would have clan allies who you might scrimmage and just play casually with, and others you disliked. You could also play the single player campaign in multiplayer, so often to unwind or just mess around a mob of people would be playing through single player maps on the hardest difficulty.

As touched on above, there is a massive tournament scene for the game, both team based and individual, some 1 vs 1, some free for all. Some of them were hosted by Bungie, others were just done by the community, pretty much all of them offered prizes even though they were free to enter. These tournaments would often have hundreds of people. I recall the bigger prizes that most tournaments had were Voodoo 3 video cards (I think Bungie had some sort of deal with them?). I won one in an individual free for all tournament. I recall the top 4 people would receive a Voodoo 3 2000, and that if I scored above this one guy in the match I was guaranteed no worse than 4th place. It was a free for all tournament, but I still suicide rushed him in the finals and won, guaranteeing my video card. Of course, I had to get a bunch of adaptors to get it to work on a mac, but it was a lot better than integrated video and it was out of budget of high school me. I recall winning a few other things as well, like $20 from a community hosted tournament. I also recall losing a 2v2 tournament at a fairly advanced stage of the tournament because I was playing with an IRL friend and we had Junior Prom on the day of the match. There was definitely skill gaps among players and it was a small enough community where you could look at a tournament bracket and think "wow, this is a tough bracket, it has X and Y in it". People could make a name for themselves in game by being good at the game.

It also had video replays of games ahead of its time. I have quite a few videos from tournaments (I hosted a lot of matches since I had cable internet in 1998), if you think you might be in one I can always browse them to see. I distinctly remember downloading tournament game replays from opponents to try and see what strategy they use etc, or if there is just an interesting match or one of your adversary clans gets beat and you just want to watch it.

The game came with map making and mod making developer tools, so it had a big mod scene as well. I recall playing the WWII total conversion mod a lot, where the map was disabled and you had little army guys running around shooting RPGs at each other.

I feel like if the game came out a few years later it would have been an e-sports thing, since it was balanced enough, easy to follow, individual matches were fairly short since they were timed vs other RTS games, and it had a large tournament and multiplayer scene, but alas it did not. I would buy Myth 1 or 2 in a second if they showed up on steam with the same multiplayer (and hopefully some graphics updates). Myth III does not exist.

Pretty sure this is my longest post on SA in 17 years, look what you have gone and made me do.

Pain of Mind fucked around with this message at 13:35 on Jun 21, 2021

Sway Grunt
May 15, 2004

Tenochtitlan, looking east.


Reveilled posted:

Okay, I wanna finally fully write out my thoughts on the most disturbing horror game I ever played, Analogue: A Hate Story

Slight delay maybe, but I picked this up just now because of your post. I don't know when I'll be in the right frame of mind for something this grim and oppressive, but it sounds like a worthwhile experience.

grill youre saelf
Jan 22, 2006


I use my real name, because I'm cool like that.



I was introduced to the first two myth games when I went to a friend's house in 8th grade. His dad was SUPER into apple and had various g3s and power books we set up on lan. One of my best multi-player experiences. (We also played the poo poo out of the original unreal tournament!)

dead gay comedy forums
Oct 21, 2011




myth II was definitely the best one in terms of multiplayer fun and gameplay balance, as the dark had far more bullshit on their favor (come on, Trow + Fetches were always incredibly ridiculous) for hilarious effect

Chadzok
Apr 25, 2002



I'd like to make a gigantic effort post about how Endless Legend is the closest and best successor to Alpha Centauri we currently have but this single sentence will have to do.

A remake of SMAC in an Amplitude engine would be incredible.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



Just like SMAC, Endless Legend has a DLC to add aquatic empire to the game and it doesn't work right and kind of derails the games balance.

Endless Legend is a real good game, if not clear from the above because it is.

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Hyrax Attack!
Jan 13, 2009

We demand to be taken seriously



Agreed that Myth 2 owned, especially as we also only had a Mac so options were limited.

To add to the effort post about why the game owned
-I picked up the game as the Total Codex which included a ton of great mods including WWII and Wild West.
-Tons of fun to play single player maps online as your team leader decided who controlled which units. This worked great as the best players would be given warlocks or dwarves to micromanage (so a noob wouldn't launch a fireball into a rock from a foot away and doom the team) and newer players (often me) would be assigned archers. Which worked great as I'd still be contributing to the team without worrying about non-optimized satchel charge placement.
-It was amazing how the gore stuck around on the battlefield, and how the ghols could pick up heads to throw.

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