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SWG – Hangin’ with my Thune and other handy slash commands

Got a little bit of time to play in between massive work-dumps, so here are some more screenshots. They mostly involve Heloise, who is going to be my swordsman/doctor and just got her AOE melee attack (also known as Spinning Attack of Massive Lair Doom). If you scroll down past all that, you might even get some useful chat commands relating to structures (houses, harvesters, factories).

Below, Ysharros hanging with her thune pet in a purely decorative role. She’s not buffed (and just got killed by gurks for being a n00b), so she’s just using her level and her pet’s level to ensure Heloise can get the snorbal missions she desires. For the uninitiated, SWG missions are level-related and although I have no idea how the details work, I do know that more levels = more money (and harder missions, but not that much harder).

hangin-with-my-thune

Hangin’ in Hispania, Lok

Next, Heloise standing in a big pile of dead snorbals. Basically, once you acquire the Spinning Attack of Massive Lair Doom (aka SAMLAD), you target the lair and just spam that one attack while the three waves spawn and stampede in to attack you. Which is perfectly justified if you ask me, but it didn’t stop me from doing my best to cause a mass snorbal extinction event. For the more uninitiated, snorbals are non-aggro, perfectly harmless elephant-type creatures. They’re good milking too, incidentally, but that day I was all about the FILTHY LUCRE. Oh hey, that might be a good character name.

pile-o-snorbals-2

GREAT WHITE ZABRAK HUNTER

In another Hemmingway moment, here’s Heloise killing a Kimogila, yeah baby!!!

…OK, it’s actually only a baby kimogila. I feel guilty about it but I did take a selfie all the same.

Kimokill

RAWR

Let’s see, what else is in the pix folder… Oh yeah, my Entertainer-to-be busting some really, really, REALLY bad moves in Mos Eisley. I’d forgotten quite how bad beginning dancers are. She hasn’t had much playtime so she hasn’t improved, and I haven’t quite made up my mind to go the AFK-levelling route yet. I did it at the keyboard the first two times, dammit, and it was FUN. And, as it happens, Mos Eisley cantina is a totally happenin’ place, so maybe I’ll give it I shot. Dunno yet. Having too much fun using the SALAD — no, wait, SAMLAD attack on snorbal lairs.

Fleurette_begins_her_career

Stayin’ alive

OK last one, just to show folks the effect of using the various SweetFX mods as well as the ClearSkies mod (direct DL link here). It lets you see almost too far into the distance, something 2003 computers probably would have struggled to do — I know mine did — but it does cut out the insanity-inducing whistling sandstorms and the incredibly thundery rainstorms. Which, since I now live on Lok as a proud member of SWG-U, does make playing a little quieter. Even if those distant mountains look a little polygon-y…

clearskies-and-Nims

Nym’s Stronghold, Lok

Now on to some actually useful stuff for other SWG-EMU players. And if you’re not playing, come join us. You know you want to.

SWG Slash commands

These are for people — like me — who don’t like using radial menus because they’re slow, clunky, slow, annoying, and slow. If you’re extra-super-smart you’ll find ways to combine these into macros, such as a harvester maintenance-adminchars-power-naming macro that lets you do a bunch of things with a single button press (in this case add money and power to the harvester, name whatever alts you need as admins, and give it a funky coloured name if you’re into that sort of thing – which I am). They won’t make coffee, select a resource to harvest, empty a hopper or decorate for you, but they are useful. Check out this page if you want even more of them, just note that not all these commands are available in SWGEMU.

/pay [amount] — e.g. /pay 1000

Adds the specified amount of maintenance to the structure you’re in, near, or have targeted. Easy enough for houses and factories, can be a bit more hit-or-miss when you have a harvester targeted but are closer to another (assuming it’s also yours). You can’t add maintenance to structures you’re not admin for, so no worries there.

/setpermission admin [charname] — e.g. /setpermission admin Ysharros

Toggle command which adds [or removes] the specified character from a structure’s admin list. This can be a house, harvester or factory.

/setprivacy (toggle)

Makes the specified structure private or public. Pretty sure this only affects houses, and it allows other people in. Or not, depending on which way you’re toggling.

/addpower [amount] — e.g. /addpower 20000

Or if you’re really lazy — like me — /addpo 20000. Adds the specified amount of power to the harvester you’re near or have targeted. Can be a bit hit-or-miss when you have a harvester targeted but are closer to another (assuming it’s also yours). You can’t add maintenance to harvs you’re not admin for, so no worries there. I think.

/structurestatus

Brings up a structure’s status menu that tells you how much maintenance is in it and other details depending on the structure.

/transferstructure [charname]/target — e.g. /transferstructure Ysharros (or to whoever you have targeted)

Does exactly what it says on the tin. I can’t remember if it works for ALL structures or just houses and factories, but I suspect all. You get a lot back and your target loses a lot (or more depending on the structure).

/createvendor

Go on, guess what it does. Useful for creating vendors without going to the structure control terminal or whatever it’s called. Vendors are created in your inventory and require a house to be public, because what’s the point of having vendors if nobody can come in? (Storage. Company. Decoration. Moving on.)

/tip [amount] [charname]/target bank — e.g. /tip 1000000 Ysharros bank or /tip 1000000 bank (with target selected)

Tips someone from your bank with a 5% service charge if you’re lacking in ready cash as I always am. I could also be wrong on this one. I always forget the syntax. You’re welcome to try it out exactly as written above if you’re playing SWG. /halo

That’ll do for now. I may turn that list into a handier and dandier reference page if there seems to be enough interest. Or maybe just to remind myself how to bank tip someone. Speaking of mundungous tips, apparently I missed out on a ONE MILLION CREDIT handout two of my fellow Donkeys lucked into the other day. Dammit.

On the RL front, the rescuees are doing well, thanks to those who have asked. :) Here’s a crappy phone pic of them enjoying some sun. It’s still extremely hard to get near the black one, but she’ll creep closer when her sister is getting tickles.

girlygirls

 

SWG – Mastery and Miscellany

This CH stuff is all from a couple of weeks ago, in fact, because times they have been pretty busy in the meantime. More on that later (briefly, as it’s mostly RL stuff).

Ysharros went out hunting with the Donkey Business crew and one of the graul mauler lairs on Dantooine spawned an elite at the end. And not just an elite, but an elite + elite baby. Said baby, a Graul Mangler, took no less than seventeen attempts to tame (and trying not to kill the damn thing every time it aggroed after a failed attempt), even with Ysh’s awesome +taming camo pants. She needs more +taming gear, I know, and some whatever-the-taming-bonus-food is. Anyway, she got him. Suggestions for names welcome.

Graul_mangler

Later that same day I hit Master Creature Handler and headed back to Theed, the home base of the Stylish Corpse alt-collective (but not for much longer). I decided to hang out in front of the spaceport a bit and show off my Master status and awesome pets (as is apparently all the rage in front of Coronet Spaceport); within a few seconds another Master CH joined me, pulled out some of her pets, and we got to talking. A couple of minutes later we had half a dozen creature handlers of various levels hanging out and talking shop, and that is exactly what I loved about SWG — the fact that hanging out and chatting with like-minded folks can trump whatever else you might have been about to do. I’m glad to see it’s alive and well in the Emulator.

Turns out the Graul Mangler baby is pretty rare. I wasn’t able to find any info on it and nobody else had seen one before. It is now level 39 (compared to the level 35 normal mauler), so not much help because you can’t pull him out with another graul since Master CH is limited to 70 levels of pets. Baby stats below. I’ll try to remember to take a shot of the grown-up stats.

mangler_statsIf anyone knows or remembers anything interesting about these guys, do let me know in the comments.

Another couple of I’m-a-Master-CH-aren’t-I-awesome screenshots and we’ll move on. Note that those maulers are baby sized; they’re about three times that now.

Graul_babies

Ysh_MasterCH

In more recent news, the Donkey Business crew has finally decided to join an existing player association, SWG-University or <SWG-U>. In an amazingly Luddite turn of events, SWG-U doesn’t have its own website *gasp!*, but they are nonetheless an excellent, friendly, helpful and fun group of people, at least the ones I met. Their basic tenet appears to be identical to mine in most respects, i.e. “Don’t be a dick” — except I’m more exclusive (Just DON’T be a dick) whereas in the EMU, SWG-U is more “Don’t be a dick with characters in our guild” — which is about all they can control anyway, so it makes sense. A few Donkeys have already moved to the PA’s town on Lok (University Campus), and I plan on doing so as soon as time allows, which should be this week because work and that pesky Real Life game are finally letting up a bit. That’s my Swordsman/Doctor to be, Heloise, admiring the Lokian night sky.

University_Campus_Lok

Speaking of Real Life, here’s one of the reasons I haven’t been able to play much lately:

Twiglet_and_CocoWe rescued two Basenji girls who had to be rehomed together as they are litter-sisters and have only ever known each other. I gather they were supposed to be breeding stock for a puppy breeding operation, but the breeder had trouble finding a male and just gave these girls to a rescue. I guess it’s good that the breeder at least decided to rehome them (she says, trying to be charitable). For those who like dogs, might like Basenjis, and might like to rescue one, here’s the link to the rescue site: Basenji Rescue and Transport (BRAT). Do your research though: these dogs are not for everyone, hence the name of the rescue org.

Because the foster-mom was unable to meet us halfway, we decided to drive up to Missouri and get them, which was an almost 2000-mile round trip and, while fun, totally wore us out. But it’s going very well so far — the new girls get on really well with our dogs but are quite wary around people, especially the black one – who as the pic shows is not easy to catch on camera.

So that’s one of the things I’ve been busy with lately, why I haven’t played much, and why I haven’t blogged much. Hopefully the next few weeks will be a bit less frenetic. I wouldn’t mind having time to log into WoW again either…

 

SWG – The Master Speaks

I mentioned Raph Koster’s post a few days ago, but as it turns out there are a bunch of them about SWG and I’m still cursing the loss of Google Reader (yes I bloody well hold a grudge, at least in this case). So for my own convenience and that of a couple of other people who keep saying they need to read those posts — and they do, they’re fascinating — here are some links.

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 1

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 2

SWG-tagged posts

That should be enough to get you started.

It’s weird how often Mr. Koster says they didn’t end up with what they wanted for various systems in SWG (especially crafting!), when I and many others still remember it as the best crafting system ever, bar none. Actually to me it was the only real crafting system ever, bar none. All the others were just… bleh. Even EQ2, and I love EQ2 crafting — but it never even remotely compared to SWG crafting. The difference is one of several orders of magnitude in terms of complexity and depth. EQ2 is fun, but it’s whack-a-mole: once you’ve figured it out, you’ll never get anything but pristine (and yes, that was true even in the days when Death By Forge was a possibility).

And this is why SWG worked for crafters and people who wanted to be part of a society and not just someone who ran a ‘toon’ (apologies to all of you who use it, but I hate that term). It’s also why I doubt anyone will ever design another SWG. More’s the pity, but at least we have the Emulator:

I get asked this question all the time. In fact, now that I do consultancy from time to time, it’s not unusual for a company to come to me and say “can you put in crafting like SWG? Our players say it was the best ever!” Usually, they have actually, you know, designed their game already, or even built it. And I have to tell them, “No. You build your game around it, not the other way around.”

In other more fluffy news, I managed a little bit of playtime in between bouts of being sick and feeling sorry for myself. Here’s a pictorial account:

Coronet by night

Coronet by night

Poor Heidegger, can't hold his liquor

Poor Heidegger, can’t hold his liquor

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

SWG – poor me

I’ve been sick as a slicehound all day today. Of course I have, it’s that MMO gaming rule again: I made time to play last night and the server crashed. Made time to play this morning and spent it wanting to pray to the porcelain god instead. All the fun of being drunk without the drinking part. Ho hum.

Nonetheless, Ysharros the Mundungo-Creature-Whisperer-to-be got lucky in the couple of hours I did manage. As soon as I got in I headed to Mos Espa on Tatooine — I have no idea why, it’s just where I felt I should go to look for critter-babies. And indeed as soon as I step out of town the first creature I see is a baby mynock. TAMED!

mynockbaby

Mynock baby!

 

A little further on I spot a Rill baby… TAMED!! Actually, that one was harder. It was more wary of me, possibly because I killed its parents before I noticed it was in the group. Ahem. /mask_scent to the rescue!

Rillbaby

Rill baby!

It took me 2 seconds to remember the commands I used to use for attack, follow and store (shockingly they are attack, follow and sleep (which I preferred back then and don’t mind now)). Getting xp through combat was going to prove something of a challenge, however, given that these babies have a whole 33 hit points…

But then I spotted a bio-engineered non-CH pet store… And then I spent ALL MY HARD-EARNED MONEY on a bio-engineered bluurg. Because I used to have one and this guy looked just like him. TAMED!!! He lost most of his stats, of course, but I’d never have been able to tame a bluurg at this stage even if I could remember what planet they come from.

Boozy beggar

Vegas baby!! (Also, Boozy beggar.)

I’m thinking of going with philosopher names for my pets this time. One needs a theme, and given how I felt today it seemed appropriate — I intend of course to be guided by The Philosopher Song for my selections. I can’t actually name them in-game yet (need a fourth command and eleventy-zillion CH XP), but we’ll get there.

Last but not least a comparison of the client graphics with SweetFX and without. Looks better don’t it? The backpack and hair textures are pretty good.

SweetFXNow back to feeling sick and sorry for myself.

SWG – I informed you thusly

It’s been linked all over the place these last couple of days, but I’m going to add a link here for the perhaps 1.2 people who may not have seen it elsewhere.

“It” being Raph Koster’s article, in which among other things he states

Well, my opinion is Jedi are evil. Heh.

I couldn’t agree more. The absolute BEST time to be in SWG (despite all the compromises and cuts and issues mentioned in the post) was at the beginning, before the first damn-it-to-the-ninth-circle-of-MMO-hell Holocron ever appeared on the scene. Brute force is not a good way to be doing anything in a game, unless all you care about is getting something just to say you got something.

I’ve never been like that, which is why I was so comfortable in SWG. And I know I’m not like most people, and that many people I know did (sort of) enjoy the Holocron grind — or maybe they simply enjoyed being able to say they were keeping up with the Jedi-Joneses — but yes, there was a time before Holocrons and the whole time after.

It skewed planetary economies, for one thing. It skewed player relationships, for another. And it turned the game into a giant, afk-if-possible grind-fest. That can’t be right. A repetitive activity is only a grind if it’s overly long and/or becomes tedious – but the profession grind, that was a grind and it fundamentally changed the nature of the game for a lot of people I knew, myself included. And everyone else, of course, as we ended up with NGEs and CUs and all the sturm und drang those brought with them.

The other thing that broke SWG, in my opinion, was caving in and putting in a loot system. But maybe that and Jedi aren’t that unrelated. Some players seem to care mostly about opening loot boxes and achieving things, even if they don’t value the achievement at all after it has been obtained.

Eh, I’m getting bitter and maudlin. Go read the article for yourself. Extra points if you know the title reference.

Sims 4 Expansion Goodness

The whole Sims franchise is like a well-oiled juggernaut of simmish addiction, at least for those of us who play. Every new version of the game launches with a very small set of features compared to the mature (and much-expanded) version it’s replacing, and then feeds us expansions and stuff packs several times a year to keep our enthusiasm whetted and our wallets empty.

Or maybe it’s just me. I didn’t play the Sims 1 or 2 very much at all, but 3 hooked me at launch in 2009 and is the single-player game I go back to the most frequently. Or was, since it’s now been replaced by the Sims 4. Which launched its first expansion — Get To Work — this week.

I haven’t had a chance to explore absolutely everything or even a small fraction of everything, and if you want that kind of coverage you’re probably already reading Carl’s site. (I can’t imagine being a Sims player and not knowing that place. It’s like being a WoW player and not knowing WoWHead.) But what I have tried out is surprisingly fun, even if the novelty is likely to wear off in about 6 months… Just in time for the next expansion. Like I said, well-oiled machine.

All I’ve tried so far is the Detective career, which is pretty much like any procedural you’ve ever watched on TV complete with clue analysis, crime map, and good-cop / bad-cop suspect interrogations. It’s fun. It won’t be fun forever, but it beats watching the clock roll round while you wait for your Sims to emerge from their career rabbit-holes. The only thing that worries me a bit is that there appears to be almost no career progress when you don’t accompany your Sim to their ‘active career’, but I guess that’s the downside to what appears to be slightly quicker progression than the standard ‘vanish off to work’ careers.

Working DetectiveGiven that I tried what I thought would be the least fun career first (the new ones are Detective, Doctor and Scientist) I’m hopeful the other two will be quite entertaining and perhaps a little less repetitive. The major problem with the detective career is that it’s not exactly demanding of the little grey cells, at least as far as the player is concerned. But then again, the Sims was never conceived to be demanding in that particular sense.

The other thing I’m trying out is Retail, where you can open (or buy) a store and sell pretty much anything you can think of that’s buyable in the game. Old Sims 2 players apparently really missed that feature, and I can see how it would be fun, but I haven’t been able to do much with it yet. It requires a fairly sizeable cash investment even if you’re building your own store rather than buying an existing one, and if you don’t use cheats (which I could have, I suppose, but it didn’t occur to me in this case) it takes a while to build up that kind of money. And it really makes the expansion earn its title, because one of your Sims has to be in the store to manage it when it’s open, so my current household of two roomies who each have a ‘real’ job have been spending their weekends at the store, wondering what happened to their already-precious free time.

My wannabe retail mogul is Yvana Trumpe, because Yvana Sellyoustuff seemed a bit tacky. There she is eating one of the first meals she ever made, which looks disturbingly like Soylent Green.

Soylent Green is people!

Soylent Green is people!

She’s also an author, but her real aspiration is to have a pool filled with Simoleons that she can bathe in. That’s on hold for a bit (I’d forgotten Sims can change their aspirations whenever they want if you’re not playing under the Legacy rules), but it’ll be back. Someday that store will make money, and Yvana will have an army of children lackeys to run the store for her while she bathes in bills.

(I lie. Yvana is really nice, and her roomie Rebecca is really nice too. I can’t play nasty Sims. I tried locking them in their original basement room by deleting the stairs out but I couldn’t stand their piteous mewling for more than a Sim-hour. I’m weak.)

(I lie twice. They didn’t mewl. They turned on the boom-box and danced, and I still felt bad and let them out. I even let them live above-ground now.)

 

The Daedalus Project, part deux

It isn’t really, but it is Nick Yee from the above-mentioned Daedalus Project. If you’re a gamer, over 20, and haven’t heard of that rather massive study some years ago (in which I and a number of gamers I know took part), you might want to check it out. The data may be a little out of date but there’s still some really interesting stuff there.

Anyway, I got the following email today:

Dear friends and fellow gamers,
I’m happy to announce a new survey project aimed at gamers in general.
Fellow game researcher, Nic Ducheneaut, and I recently started a consulting practice around game analytics. As part of this, we’re gathering new survey data to explore a wide range of topics, such as: genre preference and motivations, hot button issues among gamers, etc. As with the Daedalus Project, we plan to share findings and conduct surveys at regular intervals.
To participate or to find out more about this study, go to:
http://nickyee.com/gaming/
And as always, I’d really appreciate your help in spreading the word about this survey to your fellow gamers!
Cheers,
Nick

I am hereby very happily spreading the word. And I really, really, really won’t even think the word GamerGate and how some people who study gamers (and write about them) have a firmer grasp on ethics and honesty than others.

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