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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.

Sims 4 – Bug Vindication

After getting all shirty with my excessive multiple births in the Sims 4 (here and here among others), across no less than three legacy families (one of which I didn’t even bother blogging about), it turns out that I was right. It warn’t nat’ral. It was a bug. Which has now been fixed.

From the Sims 4 patch notes (a useful link for any Sims 4 player if you don’t have it already):

  • Sim fertility levels had reached an all-time high recently, and twins were popping out all over! Our specialists have examined the issue, and administered a correction to the abundant babies. Sims should no longer find they are having twins (or triplets) at an alarming rate.

That was in the January patch, so I guess I’ve been ignoring the Sims for some time now. And in the February patch, they added genealogy – and about damn time, said every Sims player evar, even the ones who don’t play legacies, because duh.

Also from the patch notes:

  • Genealogy is now available. You’ll be able to look at your Sims’ family history, including brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents (and some greats, and great greats, and…), step relationships (like Step-Father), half relationships (like Half Brother), and of course, Spouses.

I shall close with a picture of Parcheesi being followed by creepy-stalker Gordon, because I rediscovered it in my screenshots folder and because I couldn’t find an appropriate celebration-screenie that didn’t involve lots of babies and/or pregnant women. Including this one, as it turns out. But at least I wasn’t Wi-flagged in the Sims 4. I wonder if I saved my Mirage Legacy saves, or whether I deleted them in a fit of pique…

CreepyStalker

 

 

Kickstarting stuff

Inspired by Atherne’s recent post, here are a few Kickstarter projects I’ve looked at and/or backed that still have a few (or more) days to go.

First off, a Shadowrun game which I initially backed out of nostalgia but became interested in for its own sake. I didn’t even play that much Shadowrun back in the day, but it was during my personal golden age of tabletop RPGs and I couldn’t not chip in a few bucks. The Kickstarter is doing quite well and closes in a few days. Click the image for the link.

HK final weekend

And then there’s THE MOST EPIC KICKSTARTER EVER, which set out to raise a modest 10k and ended up with Dr. Evil MEEELIONS. It also has a handful of days to go. I’m super glad my initial backing now comes with 8000% extra boxy and arty and cardy goodness, and look forward to getting hammered while playing it. Hopefully not literally.

Exploding kittens

Next is the MassivelyOP Kickstarter. Again, while I didn’t spend a whole lot of time reading Massively, I do respect it as a reporting presence in the gaming world and I’m tired of people in the gaming world losing their jobs. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Daybreak, and I’m sad both because I e-know or at least respect some of the folks involved and because I’ve got some skin in the game with Landmark and EQNext. AND because I should have known better than to believe the whole “this is going to be great for everyone!!!” announcements that were made last week.) I’m such a humble bundle that for the first time I backed a project for none of the rewards; also, the rewards were pretty lame, but that’s exactly NOT why I chipped in, so it’s all good.

I’m eagerly following updates on some older projects I backed. I have no idea if you can get hold of this stuff or not — if you can, yay for you, and if you can’t, ya boo sucks.

The first, Vow of Honor, is an RPG I backed for the above-mentioned nostalgia reasons, but now I’m really looking forward to getting the results into my hot little hands. For several years I’ve been wanting to get some tabletop RPG going again and it’s never really happened, for a number of reasons. (All right, curious Georges, here they are. 1) We only have 2 local players, one of whom is insanely unreliable (but I still love him) (not in a creepy cheating way) (he makes killer martinis – literally). 2) I don’t want to drive into ABQ and play with people I don’t know. That would mean leaving my Mum’s basement. 3) I haven’t yet looked into Virtual Tabletop options with any seriousness. 4) There is no four. The Holy Hand-Grenade taught us that.) On the bright side, I’ve wormed my way into a virtual game which should be starting Real Soon Now™ and can do some field-testing on the VT option he chose; it’s also a group with some dear, dear friends I haven’t seen in 15+ years, so I’m extra-keen.

And last but not least there’s The Breakfast Cult, another RPG I backed for a lark but now cannot wait to get, and for which my enthusiasm should require no explanation. Anything that manages about 8 references just in the title has got to be major win.

 

breakfast cult

I don’t really browse Kickstarter much, so most of these came to my attention through other people’s posts on Facebook and blogs and elsewhere. In that vein, if my beloved-and-much-abused-and-neglected readers are backing or watching anything interesting, please post a link in the comments below.

 

 

BloggyXmas? Thieves, all of them!

I’m getting this whole THEY STOLEZ MY IDEAZ!!! rant in before it’s too late, just so that when I post on the 11th I won’t have to open with it. I probably will, mind you, but this way I have a choice.

You can find the bloggy advent calendar here, and in the sidebar, probably until next July because it’ll take me that long to remember to remove the widget. In case you’ve never had an advent calendar before, click on each day to reveal adventy bloggy community goodness. And chocolate.

Oh wait, no, that’s only if you get a REAL advent calendar. Silly readers.

I was going to include the daily links for the supremely click-lazy but I changed my mind, because like Mr. Burns I am unpredictable and fickle. And also because Syl deserves much click-love for the idea.

And now for something completely different: a baby platypus. Happy holidays!

baby platypus

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