Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that there are two words — as well as variations of these words — that get me more excited than almost any other. Those are “procedurally generated”, as well as its cousin, “randomly generated”. I mean, I’ve always loved randomness in games because replayability is a big factor in my enjoyment of a game, but lately this one factor has been even more important than ever. I started thinking of this topic because recently a game I had NO interest in called Don’t Starve shot to the top of my interest meter once I read “Randomly Generated New Worlds” in the list of the game’s features. I don’t even LIKE survival games that much, but randomly generated worlds? Sign me the hell up. This made me begin to wonder both why I love procedural generation so much, and how it figures into the realm of space gaming.
Hey kids, how are ya? I’m chiming in because I just had a Google+ Hangout session with some friends over on Broken Forum in which they graciously took the time and helped me learn Kerbal Space Program a little better, and it was hilarious. With their help, I made my first orbit and also landed on the Mun! Yay!
It’s on the long side (as these things can get), and I’m still learning about these Hangouts, so for a spell I forgot to click on my little chat window to focus it on the game. I also think I need to learn to use some of the programs my buddy Paul told me about after the last hangout. I apologize for any quality issues, but please bear with me as I’m still learning. :)
Aaaanyway, I hope you enjoy it!
Back in January, I got a PM on Matrix Games’ forum asking if I wanted into the beta for Distant Worlds: Shadows, the third expansion for what’s become my favorite space 4X games (and one of my favorite games period). I would’ve been excited at the time…had I thought to visit the forums themselves. ;) I totally missed the boat in getting in on the beta MONTHS ago, so yeah, sadface. Thankfully, however, I was brought into the beta until a couple of weeks ago, and crammed several hours of playtime with one of the more recent beta versions. Make no mistake, this expansion adds a TON of stuff to an already bountiful game, and in this preview, I’ll look at the main additions to the game — pirate factions, ground combat enhancements, the Age of Shadows and so on — and discuss how these affect the game on their own, as well as how they affect the traditional empire play that the game is known for. With that said, let’s dive in. :)
Hey guys and gals. I’m chiming in because I just finished a massive Google+ Hangout on Air with some folks from Gamers with Jobs in which they asked me to show them Distant Worlds with the new expansion, Shadows. It kinda goes all over the place, but it shows a good bit of gameplay from the empire’s side of things. You can expect my formal review of Distant Worlds: Shadows likely tomorrow.
Enjoy the video! (Also, this is my second Hangout on Air ever, and I barely had any idea what I was doing, so please be gentle ;)
Hey guys, welcome to my weekly op-ed column that I’m calling “Spacing Out” (the name was a joint effort between my girlfriend and I ;). I realized I’d not been really writing enough op-ed pieces, and came up with the idea of doing them weekly, both as a writing exercise and a way to put thoughts and ideas out there to share and discuss with y’all. :) I’ll be doing these every Wednesday, because if I don’t set a specific day to do ‘em, I never will, you know? ;) Recently, 4X games have been on my mind after the recent release of StarDrive. After I made my decision to put my review of the game on hold, I was taken to task on a forum I frequent for not liking other recent entries in the 4X space race, such as Endless Space and Sword of the Stars II. This got me to thinking, what HAS been going on with spacey 4X games of late?
Continue reading “Spacing Out: The Trouble with 4X Games” »
Hey kids, welcome to episode #13 of the Space Game Junkie! This time, Jim and I get up early in the morning to talk to Malcolm Sparrow, the lead developer of space combat and trading game Dominium (formerly known as Dominion) and it’s current Kickstarter campaign. This podcast is a bit shorter than usual because we did it at 6 AM my time, and I had to rush to work afterwards, just so y’all know. ;) As a treat, you’re all hearing me pre-coffee. ;)
As always, we invite you to comment on the podcast below, invite you to subscribe to us via RSS or iTunes, and thank you for listening. Enjoy! :)
A few short months ago, Strike Suit Zero was released and, while I mostly enjoyed it, I found it to be too difficult and frustrating for the sake of being difficult and frustration (or, at least that’s how it felt). The game, with it’s multi-tiered checkpoint system and somewhat ridiculous mission objectives could turn fun into frustration in short order. Since my review, the developers have implemented checkpoint-saving, difficulty levels and better targeting systems to make the game more accessible, which is awesome, but I’ve not found much cause to return since those features were added. Imagine my surprise when, seemingly out of nowhere, a stripped down version of Zero was announced entitled Strike Suit Infinity. Rather than being a story/mission-based game, this one is just a score-chasing game where all you do is kill waves and waves of enemies. Does this tighter focus mean a better game? Read on to find out, my friends…
So I have a disclaimer to hit y’all up with at beginning of this thing…as much as I love Fraps, sometimes it pisses me off. Why? Because I hit the screenshot button in Fraps for this session of the game as soon as I got to the menu, noticed through the flashing frame rate indicator that it had indeed begun taking screenshots, and started my game. I then didn’t even think of it because I typically trust Fraps to keep going once it starts. HOWEVER, this time…it stopped with the screenshot you see above.
Therefore, and I apologize for this, but this installment of my StarDrive review will be almost entirely text with no screenshots at all. I didn’t want to go back to previous saves to get them because that felt…disingenuous? Something like that. I do assure you though, things DID happen, you’ll just have to trust me that they happened as I describe here. Maybe next time I’ll balance it all out with an screenshot-only review or something. ;) That said, please enjoy the wall of text that is part two of my StarDrive review…
Helllooooooooooo everyone, and welcome to episode number eleven of the Space Game Junkie Podcast. This week, Jim and I bring on long-time friend, former video games journalist and fellow Star Trek afficianado, Denny Atkin, to talk about the highs and lows of Star Trek gaming. With the recent movie-based game hitting virtual shelves, I thought it’d be fun to have a look back at what is likely the most inconsistent franchise in all of gaming. ;)
We hope you enjoy what is, so far, our longest podcast. :) As always, we invite your thoughts in the comments or on the forum, and we ask that you subscribe to us via RSS or iTunes. :) Thanks for listening!
Continue reading “SGJ Podcast #11: Star Trek Games (or Warp Factor WTF)” »
So in this next mission in TIE Fighter, we take on a Nharwaak base. What happens? Yeah, the above, a lot. Watch me flail about in Battle IV: Mission II – “Attack the Nharwaak” several times to really no avail. Enjoy! ;)