The Flare Path: And The Judgement Of Solomon

By Tim Stone on October 17th, 2014.

Are you ‘feature complete’ yet? Have you written that novel, made that parachute jump, found that special someone? By my calculations my own personal beta test still has about 250 years left to run. Circa 2264 the handful of people that backed my 1970 Kickstarter campaign will get an email thanking them for their patience. The email will include the following changelog.

New in Version 1.0

  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Charm
  • Gravitas
  • Wisdom…

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How Doom Got Me Suspended

By John Walker on October 17th, 2014.

Doom was, of course, originally released in 1993. It wasn’t until 1995 that it saw me get in trouble at school. We had fewer games then, and especially fewer games that could run on the crappy 486s that lined the edges of my sixth form (year 12, younglings) form room.

In the mid-90s, schools decided they needed computers. No one was quite sure what for, but they were needed. The Conservative government of the time encouraged it, and local councils would provide special funding for schools to invest in hundreds of beige boxes, so that there could be computers in every classroom. For which there was absolutely no purpose. The entire curriculum was written around text books and library resources, and the only software that was of any limited use was Encarta 95. Meanwhile, a History & Politics A Level class of twelve students was sharing textbooks one between three, because the school had no budget to buy more. Computers were being used as doorstops. It was very silly.

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Hard Choices: The Great DIY Vs Pre-built PC Debate, Part 2

By Jeremy Laird on October 16th, 2014.

After last week’s missive, the comments were alive with la passion PC. And it was all good. But the one critical aspect we didn’t look at in detail was the value proposition. Do you really save a chunk of change with a DIY build? A matter of some simple sums, you say?

Would that it could be so. The reality is that the variables quickly get out of control. Much depends on your budget, how flexible you are on spec, what kind of warranty you want, even where you are in the world. There are no definitive answers, folks. However, what I can do is spec up my ideal PC via both separate components and a few of the usual suspects from the PC building industry here in Blighty. The upshot makes for some interesting observations that highlight the various pitfalls, pros and cons, hell even some of my own personal peccadilloes, when it comes to DIY vs pre-built PCs. So get comfortable. This is going to take a while. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Chat About Banner Saga-Powered Roguelike Bedlam

By Alec Meer on October 16th, 2014.

A couple of weeks ago, a roguelike which uses the Banner Saga engine to create a rather attractive post-apocalyptic cocktail of FTL, The Oregon Trail and XCOM popped up on Kickstarter. Bedlam’s around $90k into its $130k goal, with just eight days left on the clock. I’ve had a chat with the devs, who include veterans of Darksiders studio Vigil, about what they’re aiming for with the game, what the Banner Saga engine enables them to do, what they’ve changed about it, and the 80s/90s comics visual influences for this game of desert bandits and desert death-buses. Also – what about that other game called Bedlam?
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Wot I Think: The Evil Within

By Adam Smith on October 16th, 2014.

At its best, The Evil Within is the sequel that Resident Evil 4 deserved and that subsequent viral not-zombie games failed to be. That’s reason enough to recommend the game to anyone who believes Resident Evil 4 is a fine thing to emulate, and that is probably true of everyone who has played Resident Evil 4. There’s much to celebrate in Mikami’s return to survival horror but the course of true terror does not run smooth. Here’s wot I think.

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Interview: Steve Sinclair On Warframe’s Archwing Update

By Philippa Warr on October 16th, 2014.

It's basically a red laser space Eye of Sauron

When I last played Warframe it was very much a vanilla space ninjas game. Just over a year later and there are still space ninjas but they sit alongside extras like tradeable space puppies. The player activity has been extensive too – there are user-created clan dojos so big the developers have had to add teleport functions to the game to make them navigable. As I write this it’s at number ten in the Steam top games list with 16,382 people playing right now. It’s also about to get wings.

In Warframe you play as one of the Tenno, an ancient warrior race who must don exo-armour (the titular warframes) to fight militarised clones called the Grineer. In the latest update, Archwing, players will be able to use new augments to allow their warframes to fly and fight in the vacuum of space. To find out how the Archwing update will work I spoke to Steve Sinclair – creative director of Warframe developer Digital Extremes.

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Have You Played… Dark Scavenger

By Adam Smith on October 16th, 2014.

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Dark Scavenger is an odd game and it necessitated a very odd Wot I Think. I’ve encountered all sorts of strange creations during the few years I’ve been writing for RPS and many slip out of my mind quicker than a greased pig at a country fair. This bizarre ‘turn-based point and click adventure’ has stayed with me though. I said at the time that it would have been a cult classic had it been released on the Amiga back in the day and as time goes by, I’m convinced that it deserves cult classic status right now. Deliriously imaginative, it’s quite unlike anything else I’ve played before or since.

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The RPS Verdict: Middle-Earth – Shadow Of Mordor

By RPS on October 16th, 2014.

MOOOOOORRRRRRRRRDDDOOOOOOOOORRRRRRR, is the primary form of communication about Monolith’s Middle-hyphen-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor. However, we managed to break free of this trapping, and instead converse about the game in ever-so-slightly more erudite form. Below Jim, Alec and John have a natter about orc killing matter.
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Lo-Fi Let’s Play: The Institute

By Leigh Alexander on October 16th, 2014.

I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones. Come along on a visitation of a different era that’s one part meditations on my childhood, one part adventure game criticism, and one part preservation effort. Bonus: Everyone says the quiet talk, lo-fi handmade feel and keyboard tapping triggers ASMR responses. Please enjoy!

Following on from last week’s Colonel’s Bequest — definitely the ‘best’ computer game this series has looked at — I decided to continue a ‘scary games’ theme for October. Searching for niche titles that don’t already have a major following, I looked into The Uninvited, A Personal Nightmare and even the original Alone in the Dark. The first two I couldn’t quite get to run reliably (advice on how to use a MiniMac for Uninvited, please!), and the latter was, I’m afraid, too tedious for me to want to record.

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Frictional Thoughts: Alien, Amnesia And Horror Simulators

By Adam Smith on October 16th, 2014.

Over at Frictional Games’ official blog, creative director Thomas Grip has written an extensive and thoughtful analysis of Alien: Isolation. It’s worth reading in full, providing a brief history of the ‘horror simulator’ genre that runs from 3D Monster Maze (1982) to the modern interpretations found in Slender and the like. Isolation gets a post-mortem treatment that begins simply – “Alien: Isolation is an interesting game” – then veers into a wham-bam takedown – “At its core it fails to be a faithful emulation of the original Alien (1979) movie” – and, BOOM – “it really is just a pure horror simulator, like Slender or 3D Monster Maze, just with more sections to play through”.

Grip does have lots of positive things to say about Creative Assembly’s game though and a few thoughts for the future. That’s SOMA talk.

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The Elitist, Part One: How To Make Money In Space

By Brendan Caldwell on October 15th, 2014.

Elite: Dangerous was recently updated with some new features. Brendan takes us on a journey through space in this new series, where he will be exploring faraway stars and getting into trouble with the space police.

My first mistake was packing my cargo hold full of stolen explosives. My second mistake was trying to fly that cargo full of explosives, at high speed and with my engines off, through a tiny opening in a giant space station. By the time I realised my trajectory was all wrong, I had already belly-flopped into the metallic surface of the station, hundreds of metres away from the gateway I had intended to speed through. I exploded on impact. Such is the fate of many pilots who try to emulate the Isinona Manoeuvre.

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Dote Night: Navigating The Friendship Skill Gap

By Philippa Warr on October 15th, 2014.

Can't speak French but lets the funky warding do the talking

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

There’s a sensation I think a lot of people who play multiplayer games with friends will recognise. It’s that moment of realisation that the skill and interest levels of your friendship group have started to diverge.

There were a large number of people who arrived at Dota 2′s doors a couple of years ago in a flurry of excitement. This was back when the game was in beta. Every now and again Steam would joyfully announce you had new items in your inventory and you would rush to check them out. It would always be five new keys for Dota 2. Honestly, that game was basically the digital game distribution platform version of Tribbles.

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Minecraft In 2014: Your Guide To Servers

By Duncan Geere on October 15th, 2014.

Minecraft gets more popular every day, but we don’t talk about it much anymore. To find out what the game is like in 2014, we asked Duncan Geere to impart his wisdom. The result is a three-part series which will run across this week. Part one looked at Minecraft mods, part two is below…

Multiplayer has been a cornerstone of Minecraft ever since it was first added to the game in June 2009. Mining, farming and building a house on your own is great, but exploring the game’s procedurally-generated landscapes as a group is far more fun. Building a massive penis out of gold blocks on the roof of your friend’s mansion is pretty fun too.

A sizeable chunk of the Minecraft community in 2014 are players who spend the majority of their in-game time on public or private multiplayer servers. These range wildly in theme and tone – some are centred around survival, some around arcade-style minigames, others around building epic structures and yet more about roleplaying a complex society. From CivCraft to Spleef, Minecraft’s multiplayer servers show that when you put millions of people together into a blocky world, the result is an explosion of emergent creativity.

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