Tad Williams' Message Board

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'
-    Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Welcome to the message board for tadwilliams.com. All comments are welcome, whether kudos or brickbats. However, please bear in mind that Tad would like this to be a friendly, civil message board, at least in the relations between users. We reserve the right to remove postings, or even ban postings, from anyone who crosses the boundary of reasonable taste. Basically, you can argue vigorously with someone, but watch your language, okay? We have a lot of young readers as well as grown-ups, so please show them some respect.

But the main requirement here is: have fun.


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#26 2015-06-23 13:27:40

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Ad1tu wrote:

And what a curse it is...! My husband plays. I can't ever keep up. I have no idea what half the characters do. But sometimes its fun to watch him play Techies and blow people up.

I am sorry to say so, but I hate your husband :D . Plenty of extremely annoying heroes in DotA, but Techies might be #1. Pudge and Silencer probably duke it out for #2, followed by all the illusion heroes.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#27 2015-06-23 13:32:14

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished my second (well, 1.5th, kinda) playthrough, where I replayed only Act 2 and 3 (which are much shorter than Act 1). It's almost a different game, with very little overlap. In total it was much easier, now that I am better with the controls and know some effective combinations (well, run around, use Aard, hit them when they're down (and alone)), but there still was one very, very challenging fight that took me 10+ attempts.

Started my 3rd (at least) attempt to beat Magicka. Making decent progress, but it's already challenging and I'm not even half-way through the game.

Also made some minor progress on Battle Isle 2 and am playing Mini Metro and DotA 2 on the side (though not as much DotA as usual).


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#28 2015-06-24 13:18:06

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished Magicka.

My fingers are broken, my brain is mush, but I finished it. The concept is awesome and the realization is really good too, but it's very stressful for me and I probably would not have finished the last levels without a couple peeks into a guide. I did manage most of the game without, but looking into the guide afterwards, I could have had a much easier time if I used some spells properly.

Even knowing what to do, executing it is hard enough. I keep confusing myself by mistyping, mixing up the various execution methods (right click, shift-right click, middle click), starting a spell then needing another...

Also making slow progress on Battle Isle 2. Not sure yet what I will play next, before I buy the new video card for Witcher 3 (99% going to buy a 970).


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#29 2015-06-24 13:40:14

Kenan
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From: Gothenburg, Sweden
Registered: 2005-06-19
Posts: 8985
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

on my iPad I am playing Curling!


Wouldn't the plural form of Olaf be Olaves? ;) - Firsfron of Ronchester

 

#30 2015-06-24 14:42:54

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Started X-COM Enforcer, which was part of an X-COM pack on Steam a while ago. It's every bit as rubbish as its reputation. Decided one hour is enough hilarious awfulness. Quick way to wittle down the games list... X-COM Interceptor may suffer the same fate.

For some reason the strategy games in the series are amazing and the spinoffs are hilariously bad.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#31 2015-06-24 17:49:17

Ad1tu
Pilgrim
From: Buffysadharc
Registered: 2004-02-22
Posts: 6459

Re: What are you playing now?

Peter wrote:

Ad1tu wrote:

And what a curse it is...! My husband plays. I can't ever keep up. I have no idea what half the characters do. But sometimes its fun to watch him play Techies and blow people up.

I am sorry to say so, but I hate your husband :D . Plenty of extremely annoying heroes in DotA, but Techies might be #1. Pudge and Silencer probably duke it out for #2, followed by all the illusion heroes.

Bahaha. My husband's best friend hate him too for this reason so its OK :P


If you should do what makes you happy, and no one can tell you what makes you happy, then that means no one can tell you what to do!

Tamishu's Ramblings

 

#32 2015-07-01 18:27:03

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Started Witcher 3 about 6 days ago and I've already managed 25 hours of gametime. Yep, it's good. Really good. It has the depth of Witcher 1 (and then some), a lot of the storytelling qualities of the second title (though it's a bit less story focussed) and a huge open world that neither title had.

Combat is also roughly like the second game, but more refined and expanded. It appears to be a huge game and filled with detail. It's also drop dead gorgeous. The best looking game I have played and by quite a margin.

Very little to complain about, they even built a good inventory system, something I haven't seen in ages. It's actually designed for PC, not a console. After the decent inventory and terrible looting system of Witcher 1 and the better looting, but worse (but still acceptable) inventory of Witcher 2, they finally got it right. Not too much weight / inventory management either. Good tradeoff of realism and usability for me.

My main complaint would be the bad scaling. While it looks stunning on high detail and still good on medium detail, even low detail won't give you smooth gameplay on a 3 year old fairly high end GTX 670. Even if you bought a very fast 770 1-2 years ago, you're still playing medium detail and might have to drop a couple settings down to low. Low doesn't look great and it's still slow.

They also managed to get another ordered dithering pattern into the otherwise stunning game, but fortunately it's rare and thus more funny than bothersome. It almost looks like a joke by the graphics programmers.

I haven't been this impressed by a game in a while.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#33 2015-07-02 07:05:22

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Another minor gripe: The shops do not show which recipes and books you have / have read. That's a little annoying. Witcher 2 had the same problem (at least partially, can't remember the details), yet Witcher 1 did it perfectly.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#34 2015-07-02 07:27:43

Merenwen
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 2387

Re: What are you playing now?

That sounds very promising. I am interested in this game, too, but I hadn't the opportunity to play it yet.

I started a re-play of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on my old N64. :)

 

#35 2015-07-02 08:35:46

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

I hope you have a nice, new video card then. Unless you are happy with 30fps, then it's managable for most gaming computers. Not only the best looking, but also the most demanding (in terms of GPU power) game I've played so far.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#36 2015-07-10 08:35:11

Merenwen
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 2387

Re: What are you playing now?

I rented The Witcher III for PS4 from the video rental store. It is a desaster. The game doesn't work right, there are sound and graphic bugs and it just stops in the loading screens. I deleted it and installed it a second time without the patches, and it seems to work for now. Aren't patches supposed to fix bugs?

I looked it up and saw that there are many people who have these problems, regardless which console or pc they have. Either you are lucky, Peter, or it really does depend on the hardware. I am a little disappointed. They shouldn't release games that have so many bugs. They should work on every console / pc. So let's see if the game itself is good, as long as I am able to play it...

 

#37 2015-07-10 12:22:54

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

It's not too bad for me. In terms of graphics it would have worked for modest standards on my old video card (which is about 30-50% faster than a PS4, I'd say, but then the PS4 probably runs it at 720p and 30fps to make it work) and it runs extremely well on my new card. Very consistent framerates (if you turn off the hair stuff) and it's gorgeous. I think they could have done a better job making it work on slower video cards, but it does run well if you have good hardware (not true for all games, the new Batman and AC:Unity slowed down on all PCs in some areas and so do many other games, if not as badly).

The game itself is somewhat buggy, which has been true for all Witcher titles, but it's not bad enough to really affect playability. But I have had to reload or restart the game 10-20 times by now, because the character got stuck or the controls bugged out (today I couldn't mount the horse and I got stuck in combat, though I could fix the latter by jumping after I defeated the monster (not possible in combat, you'd roll instead)).

For a game this big and complex, that's ok, but not great. Seems like you are having far more problems though, as I maybe have a minor problem every 3 hours or so and most can be gotten around by saving and reloading.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#38 2015-07-10 16:28:04

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Merenwen wrote:

They should work on every console / pc. So let's see if the game itself is good, as long as I am able to play it...

I've thought about this a bit more. Games like Witcher 3, which aim to push the envelope on the visuals, have never been kind to older PCs or entry level video cards. It's possible to make a game scale, but it requires a lot of work. Just turning off some features won't do, you'll have to have different version of most shaders and I suspect Witcher 3 uses very little to no static lighting, which makes it hard to scale down to very low levels.

I think they just picked the XBox One as the base level. The PC version will be a bit less efficient due to DX 11, but mostly the XBox version likely runs at 720p and 30fps, maybe a bit more for the PS4. Even less demanding PC Gamers demand 1080p at 30 fps and that's relected in the recommended specifications. So you need about as much performance as the PS4 has. If you want 60 fps and high detail (though medium looks pretty ok), you need more than twice that performance and that's pretty demanding, even for modern systems.

So while I wish low detail would be both faster and better looking, they do make good use of the resources at medium and high detail. It's slow, but it also looks amazing.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#39 2015-07-11 07:51:27

Merenwen
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 2387

Re: What are you playing now?

Peter wrote:

For a game this big and complex, that's ok, but not great. Seems like you are having far more problems though, as I maybe have a minor problem every 3 hours or so and most can be gotten around by saving and reloading.

Had no further problems so far since I played it without downloading the patch. But I have read that the patch is necessary for certain quests at a later point. I think I will chance it for now. I have to give it back anyway today. I really don't know yet if I want to buy it. It is fun, though, and it looks pretty nice without the graphic bugs.

 

#40 2015-07-11 16:14:04

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Maybe wait for a patch or two and see if it gets cheaper (though that doesn't work as well as it does on PC, where the next steam or GOG sale will probably chop off 30%)? I discovered no major visual bugs in the PC version, in fact it's been pretty free of even minor glitches (like weird clipping), which is very impressive.

Only things were some clipping on Dandelions clothing and some occurences of an annoying dithering pattern, which most people won't even notice.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#41 2015-07-16 12:14:08

rimses
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 5424

Re: What are you playing now?

Resumed playing Panzer Corps.

It is really kind of addictive.

(currently stuck in Barbarossa campaign).


If the subjective character of experience is fully comprehensible only from one point of view, then any shift to greater objectivity-that is, less attachement to a specific viewpoint-does not take us nearer to the real nature of the phenomenon: it takes us farther away from it

-Thomas Nagel, What is it like to be a bat?

 

#42 2015-07-17 15:31:36

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished Witcher 3. Got bored of the side missions at some point and just beelined for the finish. Which is perfectly normal for me. Very few games have side missions and mechanics that are good enough to keep me playing for 100+ hours without the big carrot of a story line.

Might go back once all the DLC and patches are out and maybe replay it on a higher difficulty. I would like to play around with some of the different options and see how much they change the outcome of the story. All the Witcher games give you a lot of freedom in this regard.

Almost exactly 100h for me, though you could easily play another 50, just exploring the world and finishing all the side quests.

I'd rate it at 90/100. Very impressed by the graphics and gameplay. Good story. Good inventory system (I think that may be the first game (I played) to do this well in a decade) and UI in general.

Only downsides are poor scaling on older system and a fair amount of bugs that cost it 5%. They didn't hurt the playability too much, since most could be fixed with a save/reload, without having to backtrack and redo anything. Quite a few crashes too, though I can't be sure they aren't related to my system (which used to be super-stable, but I have no expierence with the new video card installed).


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#43 2015-07-17 15:40:27

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

I've been making super slow progress on Battle Isle 2 as well and I played some Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (yes, Rally, not Dirt, it's ancient). One of those old titles I still play every now and then, just like Master of Orion 2.

I'll probably play some smaller and older titles next, since dumping a ton of heat into my room is not a good idea.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#44 2015-07-21 16:50:50

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Started and finished Command & Conquer (the original 1995 title) this week. Also bought Dirt Rally and played a bit. It's pretty difficult and I am incredibly bad with a gamepad. Probably because I have only used one a couple hours all my life...

More glacial progress on Battle Isle 2 as well. Not sure I'll ever finish. At this rate it would take a year.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#45 2015-07-22 15:05:14

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Started on Tiberian Sun (C&C 2), though I won't get far before Linz, especially since my eyes have had enough of games for now. Had to search for fan patches for both games, due to numerous issues.

C&C had a silly scrolling mechanic that scrolled by a certain amount per frame. Not good if your computer is 50x as fast as the game expects. Never a good idea anyway. Who bases it on frames not time, yet does not lock frame rate to screen refreshes (maybe the DOS version did that)?
Palettes also got corrupted, resulting in weird artifacts both in game and in the videos.

A patch fixed both issues, yet introduced rare mouse outages in the menu (have fun saving... took me a while to figure out an easy way to do that) and random crashes. Only by the last missions had I figured out better settings for that patch, resulting in some 5 second freezes, but no crashes.

Tiberian Sun seems in better shape, yet despite my computer being at least 20x as fast as this game expects, it's actually suffering from bad frame rate, because their graphics programmer thought it a good idea to read data from video memory. Not a good idea then, a very, very bad idea now. Apparently he did it for no good reason, because a patch changing only a few bytes fixes the problem.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#46 2015-08-03 08:53:35

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Gave up on Tiberian Sun when the videos started crashing. It seems more stable without the patch, but then it's too slow to be playable. The game simply isn't good enough to warrant more than an hour of trying to fix the problem.

Started on C&C Renegade 2 days ago and am nearly done. Considering how badly it was received at the time, it's not a bad game, though it's neither particularly good looking nor good at telling a story and doing groundbreaking things.

I'll probably play C&C 3 after that. Red Alert 2 will almost certainly exhibit the same problems as Tiberian Sun, so I'll leave that out and I don't think I'll bother with the rest of the series. C&C 4 had catastrophic reviews, so I don't think I'll bother with that either.

In the end I now know why only the first game and the initial Red Alert were truly famous. With Dune 2 and Command & Conquer, Westwood defined the RTS genre as we know it. If Dune 2 had slightly better controls, it would be the best RTS ever made (considering its time of course), because in any other sense it was incredible for its time (great looks, lovely interface, with an encylopedia, decent story telling, some neat ideas and just a ground breaking new game type not seen before).

C&C added a modern UI (selecting as many units as you want and moving them with one click, yay! (in Dune 2, you moved the units one by one and Warcraft let you select no more than 4)), slightly better mission design and cool videos (for the time, they don't impress much today and seem rather pointless).

Yet comparing Tiberian Sun to Starcraft in the next generation, it just doesn't hold up. The mission design, story telling, unit design, unit control, pretty much all of it is worse, often by a staggering amount. Never mind that Starcraft still works on a modern system.

C&C 3 has a much newer engine, so I expect that will still work just fine and look pretty good (Generals on an earlier version looked good and played ok). I am curious if they managed to design a good single player campaign, which seems to be a Blizzard exclusive when it comes to RTS (Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander are great RTS, but the campaigns are fairly weak).


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#47 2015-08-03 08:55:38

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

In general I am trying to play a mix of old favourites, new games and gems I missed in their day. The C&C collection I mostly picked up because I did not own C&C and Red Alert, which I did play in my youth. But I was curious how the series developed from there.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#48 2015-08-04 12:51:53

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished C&C Renegade. Quick, mindless shooter. Some fun ideas, such as being able to drive many vehicles from the C&C games and the ability to make your life easier by destroying barracks, heliports and other C&C buildings to reduce the number of enemies.

Graphics are very sub-par for the time and gameplay is a bit mindless, mostly due to masses of really dumb enemies. Still, was somewhat entertaining :) .


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#49 2015-08-09 07:26:07

Merenwen
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 2387

Re: What are you playing now?

I finally started Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae, a demo for the upcoming game in 2016. I was so happy when they said a few days ago that the game will be released sometime next year and not 2017. Can't wait to finally play it! 

After that, I will play Final Fantasy: Type0, the main game which had the download code for the demo. :)

I also saw that they are making an Attack on Titan game for PS4. Even if that game is only half as awesome as the anime, it is going to be epic. I am very curious how the fighting will work, with all the flying around.

Last edited by Merenwen (2015-08-09 07:26:32)

 

#50 2015-08-09 07:58:35

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39622
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Currently working on C&C 3 - Tiberium Wars, which looks and plays pretty well compared to C&C 2. They still managed a major blunder (limiting it to 30fps), but it's bearable in an RTS.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

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