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Gonna try to stop being a moron from now on. Having been on the equivalent of purgatory in the form of teacher training I decided to take some r&r to recuperate. Post coming tomorrow(hopefully god damnit!).

Topics this week are:

  • Fallout New Vegas and why I prefer it over Fallout 3
  • Fable 3 and why I think it’s a cozy game while suffering from a case of the mainstreaming.

There’s also a piece about Blizzard that’s brewing in my head. Look at this in preparation for the coming sentence. Only the first few seconds.

I want to talk about Blizzard. And how I hate them. I intend for it to be a more analytical piece on how Blizzard hasn’t created any original content since the dawn of time. I am of course speaking about IPs, although you could argue that nothing they’ve made so far has been original since they’ve always been standing on the shoulders of giants and then honing those ideas in their own products. Which is true for almost all companies. But Blizzard being one of those studios one expects a little more. Futile hopes, certainly, but hopes none the less.

For tomorrow! Ta!

 

(Woops! Almost forgot it’s Sunday! Not too late yet!)

8th of Lignite, 1058 Age of Myths

A few days ago Kol Tusungerush locked himself in the workshop. He had fallen to the craftsman’s inspiration. He was quite adamantly demanding that we deliver turtle shells and some sort of bones for him to work on. His vision was clear, and though Ekol the bookkeeper assured him that we had no such bones in storage he stubbornly refused to leave the workshop until items had been delivered to him.

We  decided to be wary and hope he settled down. This being an expedition into pacified lands we did not bring any weapon experts who could put him in place and have him face dwarven judgement for his foolish behaviour. This inaction proved to be Kol’s undoing as he yesterday broke out of the workshop and tipped over Amos’ lama. Amos was upset over this, but not quite as upset att Kol seemed to be. He was acting very erratic and constantly spoke to himself about some form of bone carving to appease whatever delusion that was tormenting him.

9th of Lignite, 1058 Age of Myth

Narm the carpenter tripped over Kol as he was bringing wood into the carpentry earlier today. This was a most unsightly event as the  whole debacle that ensued took several minutes to resolve before work resumed.

When one cog in the machinery malfunctions, so does the rest. Several parts of our meticulously planned tasks for the day were put on hold while waiting for Narm’s products. Why do we have plans when they cannot be adhered to anyways? A corpse is only a corpse. No amount of emotions is going bring it back. I resolved the situation as quickly as possible by ordering Errok the farmer to drag the corpse out to the dump. Wouldn’t want to spread any miasma around. And I also suspect he is slacking off while the crops need no tending. I know how much he hates the garbage dump and the smell of rotten turtle.  Serves him right.

Oh well, at least now we’ll have the materials the next time someone is in danger of going insane over needing to carve in a pile of bones.

4th of Lignite 1058, Age of Myths

I hear them knocking on the door.

They yell: “KOL COME OUT! WE NEED YOU TO DO SOME WORK!”

I know what they want. I know the score. They don’t want me to finish my baby.

They don’t want me to finish my beloved. But I tell them. I tell them. I tell them what I need.

But they won’t bring it. They have it stashed somewhere. There are storage rooms below where we don’t go.

They must bring it soon. I must make it soon. I see it so clearly.

 

6th of Lignite, 1058 Age of Endless Laughter

They say we don’t have it. They say we don’t have the bones.

But I need those bones. I need them now. I must finish my job.

I can’t silence the laughter if I can’t finish it. They must bring it. They must.

 

7? of Adamantium, Age of Treason

WHERE IS IT I MUST HAVE IT …

 


Edit 1: This one is also before the sunday post, so it’s bound to be a little odd. Well, it serves to be some further instruction in how the game works:

Expedition four. Also known as the one where Kol went mad after having locked himself in the craft workshop.

This time playing Dwarf Fortress with the wiki tabbed down in the background I came prepared to answer most questions that could arise. Having already whetted my appetite and eager to come back for more I set off immediately. The fourth expedition came equipped with miners, masons, craftsmen, carpenters, cooks, etc. Most of the dwarves doubled in a couple of roles. It would be needed to set up the initial settlement.

Having been around the ropes for a bit I sorted out all the woodcutting and plant gathering immediately. I let the miners dig their way into the mountain and make the first part of the settlement. On the left in the above image is the masonry and the soon to be smelter. The smelter will not be operational until quite some time into the game, due to lack of charcoal and furnace operators. But it was there at least. An affirmation of this settlement’s determination to not vanish. Immediately to the right of the cavern entrance is a storage zone. It was designated to store rocks like the storage space to the right. When the miners dig their way into the mines they leave rocks behind that the other lazy jobless dwarves can haul off to some storage area or for the garbage pit. Having a craftsworkshop just above the stone storage unit means the dwarf responsible for the workshop can get materials quickly for his work.

After getting production rolling I needed somewhere to store all the finished goods. When the trade caravans came rolling in in Autumn I would need to be able to trade stuff for an anvil to get my metalsmith making some armor and preparing a militia. With the need for storage of various things I built a warehouse by the expedition cart. Which is also the place where the lama hangs out. The warehouse had a food storage and kitchen attached to it. These would later be destroyed to move all storage into the mountain. Our dwarves wouldn’t want no thieves to come and steal all their stone cups. The roaming elephants could also prove to be a problem. Having only one dwarf able to wield an axe with the intention to kill could be highly problematic if the elephants decided to stampede through the outer settlement.

Having finally made the settlement somewhat self-supporting there were a need for fresh blood. A furnace operator would be swell. And well, other kinds of people would be great. Finally some people came.. Among others a dwarf named Kol Tsungerush

*remember, this post was written before the gravy*

*having already posted the Sunday post, this one in its pre-written state might be a bit redundant, so might even the next post be so I’ll post it tomorrowtoday aswell.*

Expedition Two, also known as the one with the wrong people in the right place.

So, this time I came equipped with the knowledge of how to assign skill points to the dwarves. While this is all swell and dandy, I didn’t actually know what I’d be needing. This is how it went. Seven dwarves. One lama. And one War Dog.

The expedition had one miner, a cook, a trapper, a mason, a carpenter, a woodsman and a farmer. This time I resorted to the in-game tutorial for hints on how to make them work. It’s a bit wonky in the beginning. There are a ton of keys you need to be aware of. You have to designate areas for cutting wood, gather plants, mine, etc. It’s all pretty shady in the beginning, but you get the hang of it fairly soon. So, it wasn’t long before my woodsman stopped loitering by the cart and finally decided to do something! My miner started picking out the first little burrow. It was pretty awesome.

With the wood I had gathered I made a house too! I made it into a carpentry. That’s where the carpenter dwarf would endlessly toil  at making beds and doors for the burrow. I now know, though, that the building lacked a roof. Sure was lucky no rain came during the second expedition.

With the carpentry in gear I had started to get some beds and other necessities going. So I could finally start making my burrow inhabitable! I also made some new workshops. And of course craftworkshop. That damned craftworkshop. After I started construction of it I realised that I actually needed a craftsman to finish it. I didn’t know it at the time, but you can assign a dwarf to do anything, really. It’s just that they’ll suck at it without training. But I didn’t know it so I thought it was all over. This expedition was doomed to fail. So I abandoned it. I tweaked my seven dwarf lineup. And soon a third expedition was on its way. This expedition left the designated site immediately after arriving. But the forurth one…

Saucy times again!

At the time of pre-writing, I have been playing Dwarf Fortress non-stop since I sent out my first expedition. This despite the fact that I rebooted my Company of Heroes campaign. Anyone who has tried Company of Heroes will know that it’s a great game. Awsome in fact.

(Pro-writer tip No.1: Cursive writing makes words seem more  important)

And yet I have been playing this ascii game for all of my free time. Today I managed to force myself to stop playing sometime at midnight. Though I have to admit I played for just a little bit more to build a brewery and assign a brewer. Dwarf Fortress is a veritable black hole of time draining. When I was putting pizzas into the oven earlier today I set the timer to 13 minutes. These 13 pizza minutes usually feel fairly long. Meaning I have time to do some serious internet browsing. But when I sat down to play DF while waiting it felt like it took only a heartbeat before the alarm went off. I thought to myself “What the fuck? I just set the timer..?” But no, I was just consumed with trying to keep the goblin thief from kidnapping one of the babies.

I well enough understand that most people will look at this game and only see the interface. A block of grass, a block of stone, a block of stone, a block of dwarf, a block of armored dwarf, etc. It’s a shame. Because when you begin to scratch the surface of this complex, unforgiving, fantastic game, you realize that it’s one of the best games ever. Fully knowing how subjectively fucking insane that sounds I hold firm to this notion. Dwarf Fortress is an amazing game. The tag-line is “losing is fun”. Partly because there is no winning. And partly because you’ll fail. And you just have to be able to find the fun in failing. Here’s something I ripped from the DF wiki to illustrate this:

“A free dwarf will get assigned the job of pulling the lever. This dwarf might be a long way away, and the delay in pulling the lever can result in fun.”

“There is no built-in indication of what a lever does, and pulling them to see what will happen can be immensely fun.”

What I’m getting at is, if you can’t see the hilarity of accidentally flooding your fortress and wiping out fifty lives, then you’re probably not very good company on a desert island.  These things that tend to happen are kind of part of how a Dwarf Fortress game characterizes itself. The very infrastructure of DF is one that doesn’t give you any clear-cut goals to pursue, but provides probably the most amazing framework ever for making  its own stories. Like the one where Kol Tsungerush went mad after having locked himself in his craftsworkshop. Or the one where the fortress broker tried to sell crafted goods to the merchant without the merchant having a chance to make a profit, resulting in an insulted merchant and a dwarf settlement without their much needed anvil. Or the one where the militia commander started hoarding various random items from the public storage in his own room, and calling them his personal belongings.

They weren’t his personal belongings. And as I resume the pre-writing of this post he has filled the hallway with his personal belongings. He is now also the proud commander of 9 dwarven defenders. All fitted with steel armor and weapons. They’re currently hard at work training in the barracks. To spice up the training I decided to steal an idea from off of the internets. Training in Dwarf Fortress is mainly done by repeating tasks. I.E if you’re an armorsmith you will train your armorsmithing skills by making armor. Armor-usage and dodging is trained in a similar fashion where the dwarves have to be put in situations where they get hit and have to dodge. Hence I made their barracks into a danger-room with spike-traps emerging from the floor. To operate these traps I have assigned a jobless dyer to pull a lever constantly to make sure the militia is properly harassed. I just wish that the militia personnel don’t get any funny ideas like having children or getting pets. Because if they bring the children or the pets inside the danger room it will result in fun

.

Fun happened in the danger room after writing the previous paragraph

Dwarf Fortress has a nigh perfect formula. But I guess it requires a lot from the player. It’s not mainstream and it probably won’t ever be. But it’s a game that simulates a dwarf fortress to perfection. My next plan is to capture live elephants and make them into war elephants. I have a feeling that the goblins will be knocking on my gates soon. And in a proper paranoid fashion I’ve made ballistas and directed them at the main fortress entrance. After this fortress is in so much fun that I’ll have to abandon it I think I’m gonna make a dwarven scouting expedition in Goblin territory. That way I’ll be in for a lot of fun. You should go ahead and have some fun too. Dwarf Fortress is free.

Expedition One, also know as the expedition that vanished.

So, my first encounter with Dwarf Fortress was very exciting. I can’t really put to words why I like this game, and am terribly excited about starting to play it again. Because my first expedition failed. But there is something about this game that’s just wonderful.

So, beginning my first game without using tutorials went something like this:

In the beginning there was nothing. Then I clicked create new world.

After I did the world begun. First there was no stuff in the world. But then land was generated. And oceans, rivers, forests and deserts. Time passed and people were generated into the world. Human settlements of varying sizes with roads and stuff. In the year 252 the world generator had killed of 13114 people. And there had also been a lot of events. I’m guessing there’d been a lot of prophecies and make-believe stuff. As is wont to happen in the early days of civilization.

In the year 601 there were quite a lot of historic figures living. There were a lot of dead ones too. Humans seemed to have settled many of the islands. Those goddamned humans. I wonder how my dwarves will deal with their kind. Eventually DF had generated my world. And I think it’s time to clarify here. Dwarf Fortress creates a unique world. Each generated world has its own lore and history. Every world you create for your DF game will be different. Different gods. Different settlements. Different historic grudges. Everything is going to be unique. If you don’t think that’s cool.. You should probably stay in school.

After my world was created, and I saw that it was good. I started my first expedition. Seven brave dwarven settlers were to go out into the unknown and lay the first ramparts to the great Dwarven Fortress.

It was going to be great.  Seven dwarves. Like in the fairy tale yeah? Well, if the fairy tale had a donkey in it. There were seven dwarves and a donkey.

My seven dwarves(and the donkey) started out by their cart. And this is where the game begins. For about an hour I tried pressing various buttons. Trying to figure out how to do stuff and failing miserably at it. At some point I pressed a button changed my view down one step. Leading me into the ground. After some time I gave up and abandoned the game. I had at the beginning of the expedition also managed to miss out on assigning points to all the dwarves. So it was a failure from the get-go. Seven unskilled dwarven peasants were not gonna do any good. So it was time for a do over.

And so, seven dwarves and a donkey are lost to history. But seven new ones and a dog are on a journey to start an outpost somewhere else. We will see if they succeed.

Edit 1: As you might notice I’m using a hot sprite-set for the game. Yeah, those are some delicious graphics.

I am back!

Yes, it’s quite true!

Having been on hiatus for the better part of summer and feeling generally sick of this blog, I’ve finally found something exciting to write about. Minecraft started it all. Yes, Minecraft. The best game you’ve never played. It’s a game where you’re a blocky little man, chopping and picking blocks of materials and placing them out again in various square positions making yourself houses, bridges, railroad tracks, castles, watchtowers,  the Starship Enterprise, giant dicks, whatever your imagination can muster, really.

It’s ugly. Terribly much so. But it’s charming. It’s lego. You spend your days(in the game) gathering materials, building, excavating and crafting. And the nights. God, the nights. You spend them in your makeshift shelter, or in your castle, or in a safe spot in your mines. But not out in the open. Because the monsters are there. And they all want you to die.

It’s a cozy setup. There is no ultimate reward other than satisfaction for making a huge castle or a vagina canyon. You can’t win the game. But it’s easy to fall into a sort of building trance where all that goes into the making of a structure becomes the sole purpose of it all. Here is some of my work:

My safe haven. The gravity defying house in the sky. I even built a railroad-track in the sky from the house to another floating island. The furnace cart that is supposed to push my carts are however much too weak, so the distance would be traveled quicker by foot. The point remains however. I made a railroad.

It’s all pretty swell.

Anyways. The thing about Minecraft is that is has recently generated quite an internet buzz. I’m proud to say that I got on the train before websites like Penny-Arcade decided to show it off. So I’ve got a lot of internet cool in me. But people who get this game shoved in the face tend to think: “What the fuck is this shit?” Because it looks like, well, shit. But, considering the fact that it progressively generates new random terrain for ever step you take into an unexplored direction, for an infinity no less. It’s not that ugly. You can’t afford a computer that can process every block of information that is contained in every square under and above ground, if it’s rendered in the Crysis engine. You might even find your computer stressed to the limit with the graphics as they are in the game right now. Because it can get BIG.

Anyways. Ignoring the game based on looks is a big mistake. Because it’s an awesome experience. And for 10 dollars it’s got a great dollar per hour of fun ratio. This general arrogance that’s directed towards the game for its more shallow flaws got me thinking of another super ugly game that is supposed to be awesome. Dwarf Fortress.

Yes. That is how Dwarf Fortress looks without mods. It’s a game about an expedition of dwarves arriving at some place. And then you take control and make them do stuff. Like building dick monuments, making mines, or whatever you can do. As far as I can understand, at least. It’s open ended in the same way as Minecraft, but somewhat more complex. Your dwarves will starve, they will get eaten by monsters, etc. etc. It’s supposed to be hard. So I am gonna try it. And I’m gonna blog about it.

My first post in the series will detail my first attempt at Dwarf Fortress. Without using any tutorials. Wish me luck. Or rather wish my dwarves luck. I fear they will need it.

I just remembered I had a blog.  Since starting the dreariness of a 9-5 job I kind of forgot that I had one. Anyways, since Håkan asked I shall here present som thoughts on E3.

First of all, as I noted earlier, E3 came as something of a shocker this year. I’m not one to note down dates in press-releases, so I didn’t actually know the exact kick-off for the E3, but I had a vague recollection of June. So E3 crept up on me, kind of like a bad rash which feels real nice to scratch. Yes, that’s how I’d describe E3 this year. Like a rash. You don’t always keep in mind it’s there, but sometimes you just check in on it and give it something of a scratch, and it feels good. I poked my head in to the E3 coverage every once in a while and it was an alright scratch. While there were no releases that blew me away, it wasn’t wholly disappointing either. It never is in fact, it’s just that usually E3 brings awaited footage of games you have been waiting on for a LONG time, or some new spectacular IP reveals.

This year’s E3 brought details on motion gaming. Kinect and Move. Both useleless concepts in my opinion. Just as I feel the motion controls for the Wii are useless. My favourite Wii game, Monster Hunter 3 as you might recall, is shite with the motion controls and calls for the use of the Classic Controller Pro. Hence more of it seems like a waste of time. On some level I don’t really view this motion fad as gaming at its core. It’s something else.. something dark and horrible. And I do hope it’s just a fad. Because I really don’t want to be playing my fps games on Kinect. Nor do I want to play my racing games(not that I play any) holding on to a make-believe steering wheel rather than a bulky expensive store bought steering wheel that I can actually show off to my friends. The make-believe steering wheel also has no second-hand value, so you can’t sell it off when you’re in need of your dope.

Highlights then. A bit of talk about the upcoming X-Com game. I dig that. And some gameplay vids(which were leaked) of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the game that started this blog. It looks true to the original Deus Ex so my excitement has been refuelled. And just generally a lot of games that look cool. Metal Gear Rising, for example. With Peace Walker being the last game in the Snake canon of the series it seems fitting to put Raiden at the helm again. This time him subbing for Dante. DMC and Bayonetta being the sort of games I generally don’t play for their, I don’t know.. japaneseness, Metal Gear Rising looks to improve on the concept with another sort of japaneseness that I quite like. Cutting people in half never looked so good.

Blizzcon ought to be soon too right? Hopefully we’ll see that goddamned new IP they promised us last year.

So, E3 has begun. It started sort of under the radar without me noticing it. Kind of like how Patapon 2 came to the stores without it being featured in any of the online magazines. Well, up till now there’s been nothing to ramble about. The reveals have been sort of lukewarm in the excitement factor. I’m sure we’ll see some cool features soon, but this E3 seems like a disappointment. Anyways, here are some actual big news.

http://www.jp.playstation.com/scej/marusen/

For those who have tried it, you’ll notice a very specific art-direction when the lightning flashes. Yes, it’s back. Back again. Tell a friend. It’s Patapon 3, hopfully. My favourite race of war-crazy eyeballs have returned to conquer yet another tribe of blob-men. Looking forward to it!