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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#51 2015-08-15 17:26:31

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished C&C 3 - Tiberium Wars. Definitely one of the better single player campaigns I've played. Don't think the Unit Balance is really good, but the mission design is fairly nice and it's one of the better non-Blizzard RTS for single player.

That's it for C&C, I won't play the addon or C&C 4. That cuts down my to be played list by a fair bit.

Starting Borderlands now.


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

 

#52 2015-08-17 07:30:28

Ad1tu
Pilgrim
From: Buffysadharc
Registered: 2004-02-22
Posts: 6455

Re: What are you playing now?

It was on sale this weekend, so I picked up The Talos Principle. Played through a handful of the levels over the weekend. It's a puzzle / logic game. You have a (so far) small map with various obstacles in between you and your goal. But there's also recordings you can pick up, and terminals you can interface with, and between the two, there is some interesting backstory. And there's a giant (GIANT!) tower in the middle that you are NOT SUPPOSED TO ASCEND. So that's obviously something you have to do later.


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

 

#53 2015-08-17 14:58:17

Auros
Pilgrim
From: San Mateo, CA
Registered: 2001-11-23
Posts: 7615
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

I've downloaded The Talos Principle but haven't played it at all yet...  Haven't played any other video game but Ingress since I started on that... :-/

I walked about 26 miles, over the course of 13 hours, yesterday, with a gang of my fellow Resistance players, completing a series of missions all over San Francisco.  My feet have blisters and my muscles are sore, but it was epic.


Irreverent Father Auros, High Priest of the Church of Erotic Pantheism
the Aurosphere -- Me, myself, and I.
Strange Horizons -- Your weekly source for speculative fiction.
The Resistance wants YOU to defend humanity from Alien Mind Control!

 

#54 2015-08-17 16:29:01

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Keeping pace with a friend on her Warcraft 3 playthrough. Did 2 1/2 missions today.

No progress on Borderlands however. Still very much at the start, slowly configuring the game the way I want it. The options menu in Borderlands is pretty awful (no V-Sync? Really?) and it's one of the earlier games that use rendering techniques incompatible with MSAA, yet doesn't have the workarounds of modern games yet (using DSR 2,25x (1,5 x 1,5) + FXAA with good results).

Still need to get the sound working as I want it (low volume for effects, high volume for voices).


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

 

#55 2015-08-23 15:21:46

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished Borderlands (1). Enjoyable mix of FPS and Action RPG, which I'd describe as Diablo: The FPS. Randomized weapons, skill trees, leveling by killing lots of stuff, respwaning enemies, areas you can replay endlessly. The game can be played in a co-op mode as well.

It has far more quests than Diablo (especially compared to D2), but not quite as many items and not quite as much focus on grinding. But most obviously, you don't click things to hit them, you aim and shoot very much like in an FPS, with no easy targeting like in Mass Effect.

I enjoyed the core gameplay and the presentation, yet the game has some weaknesses in the story and storytelling department. Some problems with the gameplay as well (hard to make use of gold - again, like in Diablo 2...), but for the first game in a series, they got pretty close to nailing it.

I'd rate it an 80, but I suspect with some friends it would be even more fun and more sustainable. I'll definitely be looking out for the DLC and Bordlerands 2 in a sale. Got to make sure my list of unplayed games doesn't ever shrink...


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

 

#56 2015-08-23 15:35:09

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

My current to be played pile:

1 on Origin
~42 on Steam (I will probably drop a few of those and one of them is actually 2 games).
14 on GOG (again, not too sure what I'll actually play)

Really, it's the same as reading. I buy more games than I can play, I re-play old games, so the pile doesn't shrink, sequels add to the pile and prompt more re-plays. Bit louder for the neighbours though, unless you laugh a lot when reading.


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

 

#57 2015-08-26 15:38:34

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Scratch that 1 game on Origin, finished Battlefield 3 (which I only picked up because it was 99 cents and I wanted to look at the graphics).

Game was a typical military shooter. Very short (5h, despite me being terrible and dying a lot), not my thing and with some weird decisions in the storytelling. At the start I was about to give it a 60 rating because of some tedious "react by pressing button x, oh no you pressed the wrong button, rewatch that 1min cutscene!" gameplay. They also threw around lots of names early in the story, in very quick dialogue (being a native might help there) and it's loaded with military acronyms throughout. Apparently you should have spent hundreds of hours studying military tactics and procedures so you can fully understand the dialogue (though I have to admit it's not required to finish the game).

Once the names started making sense, the story got a little more credible and I guess for a military FPS the gameplay is fine. They did try to mix it up, with some vehicle and aircraft combat, though I don't think it works particularly well.

I did expect a lot from the graphics and came away a little disappointed, but the game is also a little older than I remembered. There are too many cheap, shiny surfaces and the textures, faces and vegetation aren't that great either, even for the time. Especially for a game meant to push the limits.

The lighting is pretty good for the most part, but the lensflares and particle effects are breathtakingly good. The smoke especially is the best I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing work.


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

 

#58 2015-08-26 15:41:39

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Next game: Baldur's Gate. I started it twice, I probably got within an hour or two of the end in my second attempt (and just to the big city in the first, IIRC, so maybe 2/3). This time I shall research a good party combination and make sure I kill every monster I can find in every area I can find.

I suspect I was a level or two short of what I needed the last time around (and in at least one attempt I did not have the priest and thus had huge problems with mages, due to the lack of silence).


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

 

#59 2015-08-29 13:14:19

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Started on Baldur's Gate. As usual for D&D games, the start is really difficult (well, not the 2h Tutorial, but the bits right after), because starting HP in the D&D rules are ridiculously low and can nearly double for level 2. There's also a ton of luck involved, with both you and your opponents having a low chance to hit.


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

 

#60 2015-09-06 14:24:19

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished my re-play of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos. A friend played, so I tried to keep up. She decided to play on hard, which made it way, way more challenging. I had to cheat on the last mission of the Undead campaign, by playing it on slow speed (giving me more time to micro) and I caved and played the very last mission (Night Elf campaign) on easy (she did the same on the Undead mission and used cheats for the very last one, so I'm not alone in failing those).

I am afraid she's going to play Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne on hard as well...

Still working on Baldur's Gate. Played around 25 hours, I think (game time is inflated hugely by me being on the Desktop, researching things). It's much easier than the last time around, because I did not figure out everything by myself, but read a lot about the game, so I have several good items that I very likely missed in my previous playthrough, because they are found far from the story areas.

I finished the story elements outside of Baldur's Gate (the city) and I have almost all the items I want from outside as well, yet I should finish more areas and farm experience. Which isn't the most exciting thing in the world, so motivation is down. It should come back when the story picks up again in BG.


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

 

#61 2015-09-11 15:12:41

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished Baldur's Gate. Barely.

I had indeed come within 3 fights (2 big one small) of finishing the game in my last playthrough. Now I know why I stopped. Each of those fights took me several attempts, despite being max level (for the original game, I did not reach the additional level allowed by the expansion, except for my mage) and having pretty much the best gear in the game (I used lists this time, though my first two attempts were without internet resources). I finished the very last fight with half my party dead, but didn't care anymore. Keeping my party members and a million summoned monsters from bumping each other into the (non removable) traps while chasing teleporting mages isn't all that fun.

There's no question that BG is one of the all time classics and was an immense achievement for its time. The gold box games did a great job with the tactical combat (again, for their time), but Baldur's Gate made it more approachable, added nice graphics a good UI and it simulated the whole role playing aspect, with reputation, exploration, stories and characters that none of the preceding D&D games touched.

The game has an immense amount of depth for D&D nerds. It's also a little inaccessible to everyone else, though to a lesser degree than previous games. I believe a lot of my troubles stem from my lack of knowledge about the D&D spells and their interactions in the game.

That said, I enjoyed only parts of this playthrough. Knowing the story from previous attempts, there was little magic left, little to explore. Some of the highlights included finding new things I hadn't noticed before and doing much better in all the fights except for the last 2 (well, I did better, but I still died a ton).

Without the magic of exploration and the wonder of doing all this in 1998, as well as a lack of D&D nerdiness, the shortcomings of the game (did I mention the godawful pathfinding?) hurt my enjoyment as well. I do remember liking it a lot on my first playthrough, but it always strangely overwhelmed me when I reach the big city. There is so much freedom, so much to explore and the game makes it somewhat difficult, hiding entrances, marking nothing on the map.

Not sure yet what to play next. I will play BG2 soon, which is one of the reasons for this playthrough (aside from wanting to finally finish one of the big classics), but I will play a couple different genres first, to avoid getting RPG burnout (I finished 5 big RPGs this year).


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

 

#62 2015-09-15 13:31:25

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished DeathSpank.

Very well designed Indie title, but not 100% my thing in terms of gameplay and not as funny as I had hoped.
They did put a great amount of thought into all of the game systems and it plays really smoothly, with no hiccups or problems (from either a technical or game design perspective).

I guess I am impressed, but only moderately entertained.

Someone got a 66-sided die so I can decide on the next game? (I guess 3d20+1d10, subtract 3, reroll if I get 67... but it's a clear case for rand(66) over dice)


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

 

#63 2015-09-15 14:39:47

Auros
Pilgrim
From: San Mateo, CA
Registered: 2001-11-23
Posts: 7615
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Your proposed die set will not generate an equal distribution of outcomes -- with multiple dice, very low and very high numbers are less likely than those in the middle.  (For example, with 2d6, there is only one way to roll a 2, 1+1.  But there are six ways to roll a 7.)

Code:

lefkochrysos:Desktop rmharman$ perl -e 'print( 1 + int( rand 66 ), "\n" );'
32

There.


Irreverent Father Auros, High Priest of the Church of Erotic Pantheism
the Aurosphere -- Me, myself, and I.
Strange Horizons -- Your weekly source for speculative fiction.
The Resistance wants YOU to defend humanity from Alien Mind Control!

 

#64 2015-09-16 02:17:51

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Makes sense with the dice. That's not an easy way to get a random number for a Windows user though :D . Much easier to use the Javascript console of your browser.

"Math.floor(Math.random()*66)+1"

But I am sure there are a billion websites to do the trick. Most likely going to play Assassin's Creed II next, but it's never certain until I actually start playing.


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

 

#65 2015-09-16 02:20:18

Auros
Pilgrim
From: San Mateo, CA
Registered: 2001-11-23
Posts: 7615
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Perl is available for Windows. :-)

http://strawberryperl.com/


Irreverent Father Auros, High Priest of the Church of Erotic Pantheism
the Aurosphere -- Me, myself, and I.
Strange Horizons -- Your weekly source for speculative fiction.
The Resistance wants YOU to defend humanity from Alien Mind Control!

 

#66 2015-09-16 03:35:08

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Of course it is, but why would I install it just for a random number? :)
I have no intention of learning the language and it's rarely used on Windows (I assume some cross platform software will come with a bundled Perl interpreter).

Turns out powershell can do it as well, though all of this is using cannons to shoot sparrows :D .


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

 

#67 2015-09-16 11:20:53

Kenan
Pilgrim
From: Gothenburg, Sweden
Registered: 2005-06-19
Posts: 8976
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Peter wrote:

Finished Baldur's Gate. Barely.

I also loved BG back in the day. I remember most of the time was spent generating good scores for the characters before actually starting the game... back in the day before point buying.
I played it MP with a friend, and we finished the game together.
We also played through Icewind Dale. But not BG2, that one I played alone... but got stuck and never finished. I still have the discs here though!


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

 

#68 2015-09-20 15:56:15

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

My first game on the Infinity engine wasn't Baldur's Gate, which I played much later, but Planescape Torment, which is one of my favourite games of all time. I also played Icewind Dale before I played BG, so BG was a bit of a disappointment in some ways, because the newer games had some tweaks to play better.

It did charm me after a bit, but then chewed me up with the very high difficulty. As I said, I think it's mostly my lack of D&D knowledge that results in bad spell usage. I also do get bored with most games after a while and then I don't explore as much as I could and end up with worse gear and lower levels.


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

 

#69 2015-09-20 15:58:38

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

And after all this talk about rolling dice or playing Assassin's Creed II, I ended up starting Caesar III. Another game I started several times, but never finished. I am certain I got within 3 missions of finishing it, but I might have gotten within 2.

So far I finished 6 out of 11 missions in this playthrough, but given the increasing difficulty and the increasing size of the cities, I suspect I'll be halfway through when I finish mission 8.


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

 

#70 2015-09-28 15:46:21

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished Caesar 3.
I really finished Caesar 3.

It's at least the 4th time I started the campaign and I got pretty far every time, yet I never finished it. Now I did. It didn't feel THAT hard, though it's certainly not easy, especially if you can't google stuff (which would have been true for my first attempt, which was before I had internet). I am pretty sure I did look up stuff on attempts 2 and 3, but I probably understand more now than I did then.

I did pick the easier mission (military or peaceful) for each step, which helped, especially with the very last mission, which I imagine is an absolute nightmare on peaceful, whereas the military mission is actually quite easy (only one truly hard wave of enemies, which I needed a second attempt against).

It's a fantastic game for the time, really impressive work. Good UI, fairly good AI (the walkers are a nightmare of course, but they are part of the challenge in building good cities) and very solid programming. Still works with a little patch and doesn't ever crash and there are very few bugs in general.

Even before Baldur's Gate this is the game I attempted most often, but never finished.

I might play the other missions now, but I'm not sure I will follow through to the end. Other games are waiting.


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

 

#71 2015-10-16 03:13:52

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Still working on the fantastic, but fantastically difficult Warcraft 3 - The Frozen Throne campaign in hard mode. Maybe the best RTS campaign ever designed, but it's too difficult on hard mode for me to truly enjoy and I do not like the mechanics of the game as much as those of Starcraft.

4 1/2 missions left, but the friend driving me to replay the damn thing, and do it on hard, is a couple missions behind, so I started the Starcraft 2 - Wings of Liberty campaign on hard, which is still easier for me than WC3:TFT on normal. SC2 on brutal is fairly close to WC3 hard, with a couple of very hard missions.

Only took me a couple days to get through the WoL campaign and now I'm trying to play through the campaign on normal mode as quickly as I can. First run was about 4:20, but I winged it with what I remembered from watching Raelcun's speedrun at AGDQ 2013. I didn't remember much and didn't understand the mission tree very well, so I ended up playing 2 missions I didn't need to and I made a couple other mistakes, costing me tons of time. Of course I also messed up some missions, though I did not have to replay any.

Now I am making my way through the correct route, mission by mission, repeating them as needed to learn the correct moves. If I can pull it all off in a single run, that should get me to a little above 3 hours. Of course I am doing this on normal (read: very easy) difficulty, while the speedrun by Raelcun (~3:25) was on brutal, at a marathon and he got really unlucky and made a lot of mistakes, having to redo several missions and losing time on many others missions.

Dime, whom I know mostly for his Doom speedruns, did a near perfect run with Raelcun's strategies with only minor modifications (except for one mission, where he has a better strat) in ~2:30. I'd have to practice for a hundred hours to get that time on normal and he does it on brutal, with almost zero mistakes. Those people are insane.


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

 

#72 2015-10-29 10:03:11

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

After getting every achievement on Wings of Liberty (story mode) not related to the Lost Viking arcade, I have worked my way through Heart of the Swarm. First playing it on normal, since some of the achievements are hard to do on the higher difficulties (at least for me), then played it on hard, getting all of the hard mode "mastery" achievements and now I am working my way through brutal mode, which so far isn't living up to its name. Most missions are slightly easier than hard mode with an achievement. I have only done 8/20 missions on brutal yet, and I expect some of the remaining missions will be properly hard.

When I'm done with that, I get to wait for the Legacy of the Void release, which is scheduled for the 10th of November.


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

 

#73 2015-11-01 06:59:58

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39617
Website

Re: What are you playing now?

Finished everything I wanted to do on Heart of the Swarm, including a playthrough on max difficulty and played the prologue to Legacy of the Void, though I have not played it on the higher difficulties yet (I am awful at Protoss).

Fooled around some more with Wings of Liberty speedrunning.


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

 

#74 2015-11-04 10:45:38

Ad1tu
Pilgrim
From: Buffysadharc
Registered: 2004-02-22
Posts: 6455

Re: What are you playing now?

At husband's recommendation, I am trying out Fallout: New Vegas. Played about an hour last night, and by played for an hour, I really mean I played for 15 minutes and spent 45 minutes making my character and doing the "tutorial" stuff. lol


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

 

#75 2015-11-05 00:14:55

Genisis X
Pilgrim
From: permanent existential crisis
Registered: 2005-05-08
Posts: 15088

Re: What are you playing now?

Ad1tu wrote:

At husband's recommendation, I am trying out Fallout: New Vegas. Played about an hour last night, and by played for an hour, I really mean I played for 15 minutes and spent 45 minutes making my character and doing the "tutorial" stuff. lol

Yep. That's how RPG's are done ;)

I think I spent over an hour in character creation for pillars of eternity ;)

-X


I was going to do more things, but I'm staring uselessly at my computer again...
-Magpie

 

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