I have the worst luck.  Off traipsing across the countryside in Minecraft semi-aware of my own mortality looking for rare flowers and roots.  I’d actually found several when I fell into a watery hole I couldn’t escape.

..I nearly threw my mouse across the room.  That’s the hazard of a wireless mouse.

 

In other news, I’m trying to organize a guest blog about Witcher 3.  We’ll see what happens.

 

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This was..

..nearly the end. At least for my Minecraft server. I was plagued by problems I couldn’t seem to resolve. I spent most of this recent Memorial Day weekend troubleshooting an odd amount of CPU lag that resulted in terrible gameplay performance.

It was Mystcraft. And while I shall miss it, the adventures it was sure to provide, I won’t lose any sleep over it. The server runs much better and I’m nearly back to where I was Saturday evening when it all came apart.

For the interested I’m running these mods under Minecraft 1.7.10

Ars Magica 2
Thaumcraft 4
Bibliocraft

These mods are additive and provide an alternate course through the normal Minecraft progression. Ars Magica being focused around spells you carry with you in a spellbook and various boss monsters you can summon. Thaumcraft is more about Alchemy and Artifice and about combining elements to create new bits. Golems, enchanted lanterns and powerful staves are to be found here. Together with Bibliocraft I have things to build, discover and collect and a means to keep them. Bibliocraft on it’s own is quite enjoyable as it gives you bookcases and potion racks you can see your items stored upon.

Biomes O’Plenty for the plethora of additional terrain features. Treecapitator for a quality of life upgrade.

Thuamic Tinkerer and Forbidden Magic are addons for Thaumcraft adding some elements to the system I’d played with before and that I really liked. Chickenchunks as it lets me setup a farm that will cook over time while the server is running. If you play single-player this isn’t useful at all. Antique Atlas as it provides a classic “old-time” book you can build that is immediately better than the ingame map (and for less effort). There’s some tweaks for making it work with Biomes O’Plenty but that’s a discussion you can follow on the official minecraft forums.

I’ll finalize this with one of my more favorite mods in the collection, Butterflymania. This is pure personal interest. With over 200 butterflies of varying rarity and biome requirement it’s there as a rainy-day “Let’s just run around and do whatever” focus.

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Another Day, Another Minecraft Post

It was delving into Tekkit around day 3 that I started to see what this was about. Some mods focus on automating tedium of mining, collecting, refining and producing. Operating within FTB’s “Magic World 2” there were so many chests in my fortress, you almost needed a map to know where things were. But it was an adventure as each little extra bit of the mods asked for another resource I hadn’t stocked up.

Tekkit added a lot of materials to build, a lot of technology to improve upon the experience. But to me, Minecraft has always been a magical journey. A world wracked by strange forces.

So I started thinking about an earlier idea. Building my own modpack.

I did it and so I once again construct a fortress of solitude. Though this time I can husband Bees and collect Butterflies.

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Minecraft – Tekkit

I decided to fire up another minecraft server. Poke around with some high-tech stuff, see how it compares to the magic I experienced in another modpack. Almost immediately I found a portal to a netherspace where I encountered a big red eye and spent 10 minutes falling through Limbo. I found my way out, but I experienced a sense of loathing and fear I hadn’t had in a long time.

Actually, the fear I hadn’t felt since my first days play Dying Light. An experience I’m not interested in revisiting.

I haven’t actually built anything tech-related yet. So far it’s “Build a house, start a farm, fend off zombies”.

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All I want for Summer is a Q-36 Space Modulator

I’m almost a sucker for 4x games where I can manage a space empire and conquer worlds with earth-shattering weapons. So it was by this personal problem I picked up Star Ruler 2 and StarDrive 2. We’ll talk about both today, for they each have traits I find appealing.

I’m a fan of long-winded space strategy. If I can manage my empire, colonize moons and asteroids, build star-rupturing bombs and harvest space-dust into new worlds then I’m in my happy place. For that reason I still play Space Empires for time to time.

Star Ruler 2 caught my attention in one gameplay review when at 4 minutes in the reviewer was looking at ship design. Your ships are single modules with an amount of space attached to it symbolizing the size/power of the module. For example, you could have one big engine or many small engines pushing you around the map. Research is managed through a large flat development map where your research points are spent to buy a project (as opposed to the usual “Invest until complete” model).

Notably Star Ruler 2 plays in realtime and plays like an RTS with each planet being a resource hub, colony ships being deployed as a tiny train to the destination planet. It plays like some other stripped down 4x games and while It’s got some really neat elements (I like ship design and research) I’m less fond of the fleet management model. It has elements that make me think it’s still in some form of development and for that I hold onto my interest in case it matures into a game I inadvertently spend 100 hours in.

StarDrive 2 came up because I have StarDrive 1 and rather liked other parts of it’s design. It plays on a turn-based direction and features a micromanaged ship design where you select a component, it’s size and then have to place it in the limited amount of space for the ship you’re working with. It features alien races referenced from popular media in cluding one Mythos-inspired “tentacle face” alien culture. This game feels the most polished but it uses an interesting research approach where you have the choice of several categories and in each category you have several options. Once you research one of those options that category updates to new options and you are unable to research the old options any further. This does force you into some interesting strategic choices but leads to some frustrating ones.

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Cities: Skylines

Cities isn’t hard. Some people will tell you this. You should politely tell them it’s not hard, it’s just that SimCity is easy.

And it is. I don’t really have to consider population education level when growing my city in SC.

Now let me tell you about a little offshoot of new industry we’ll call “Can’t hire enough people stupid enough to work here”. It was a Problem.

Then I crossed the magical 7500 people mark and presto, problem solved. See, I had a mess of old-industry holdouts that were properly staffed and had no problems. So when I converted them to Offices the system of Education balance corrected itself.

Now I can’t seem to stop growing.

It’s good, Get it. It’s leagues better than SimCity. Leagues.

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Saga of Ryzom: The Long Game

Hello Everybody,

I’m here today to talk to you about my further ventures in MMO-space. Latest up is Saga of Ryzom, a french mmo launched back in 2004. It features a robust modular skill system where you can adjust the balancing cost vs power on your abilities. You don’t select a class and instead use the skills you want to be good at, focusing on what you want to do and not what you need to do.

There’s no end-game, in the usual sense. You have the freedom to go and do as you wish, to explore a world with an ecology. I’ve seen creatures migrate in herds, I’ve seen family pods out of their regions and predators preying. It’s free to play and worth looking into if you like the open nature of Minecraft but want a bit more structure and a multiplayer experience.

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Crying Far

I felt a little empowered after Dying Light, when i made my first few steps into Far Cry 4. This was after a friend bemoaned not having anyone to play the Co-Op with. I frequently have these problems and in an effort to counter my own misfortune I agreed to join him. So it was last night when I stepped my first feet among the Himalayas and used my slightly used knife to kill a guard and take his gun.

These weren’t zombie’s and my weapons weren’t about to break. So I gutted him, took his gun and shot his mates.

Mind you, these were radical extremists under the leadership of a madman. Or so I’m told. I didn’t care, I just wanted a gun.

It’s a shooter as shooters go. Just a bit of RPG with crafting and exploration and loot to collect. The controls on vehicles feel a little squirrely but hey, they can’t all be Warthogs.

Gunplay is easy, the weapons sound good and generally feel like they have authentic stopping power. I find myself assaulting encampments with 80’s Action Movie strategy. From on high, with guns blazing. The main character is voiced and carries a good level of uncertainty; This isn’t an action hero, he isn’t the veteran of 3 campaigns and hundreds of kills. Me? I was in the dusty streets of Harriban killing zombies. This guy is from another place and another time and just wanted to bring his father’s ashes back home.

And I’m going to do that, just after I find a rocket launcher.

Far Cry 4, well recommended if you liked the previous games, enjoy shooters but want more plot than Call of Duty and personally I suggest it if you liked Skyrim but want guns and trucks instead of bows and horses.

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Dying Light – I’m almost there..

I found my place in Dying Light. I battled my fear and was able to spend nights running around the city avoiding acutely aware monsters. I taunted them from rooftops and I bathed them in handmade fire.

As I near the end I felt I should give you my thoughts, announce my victory.

I’ve enjoyed the character work on the main protagonist. His vocalizations when things aren’t going his way, his expressions of annoyance or fatigue are excellent and justified. This is a man who spends days without a shower, hot meal or a comfy bed. In fact, when standing before one safe-house in particular he comments on how comfy a particular sleeping bag looks. As I near the end, yes.. that does in fact look comfy.

All of the quest and dialog work is rendered in voice, there’s no corner cut on what side quest is you staring at an animated goon while a wall of text is presented. No, this sniveling human who -needs- a candybar is telling you in his sniveling voice. I don’t know I’ll stick around much past plot-completion. As it is I’m already looking at my next project. In fact you’ll hear about it later this week.

That said, Dying Light is a fun game with well done acrobatics and an interesting position on the zombie genre. You’re not some lone-wolf stoic veteran of six campaigns lugging your every worldly possession into the wilderness. You’re an operative with ‘some skill’ and you get better as you progress. This isn’t plot-locked progression, you actively improve with every jump, climb and zombie you club.

I haven’t delved into the numbers but this looks like a 20-hour game outside of side content. There’s co-op so you and your pals can team up to punch zombies together.

Check it out and if you’re a fan of Far Cry, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed and Fallout 3.. well, then there’s a little of something in Dying Light for you.

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Dying Light – 20 minutes at a time

I picked up Dying Light during a weekend moment of poor decisions-making. For full cover price.

That being said, I enjoy what little I play of the game. My previous efforts to build immersion were hit and miss until I started Dying Light. Immediately I’m feeling the apprehension. Smash a zombie.. Anxiety.. scale a wall.. Dread. I think my first session lasted an hour and a half because I paused the game and went to dinner. Ever since then I give it about 20 minutes in the morning before work. That’s as long as it takes for anxiety to creep up on me and convince me that staying in this nice cozy shelter is good enough.

If I play at night, I barely make it past the game menu. But that’s playing with headphones. In the dark.
..what? I take my immersion seriously. Not seriously enough for an Oculus though.

We’re going to cut it here but I’ll say you should take a look if you enjoyed Fallout 3 style post-apocalypse survival and lurking zombie horror.

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