Thursday, June 22, 2006

With A Whimper

For a long time, it seemed like the moment of which we are now standing on the cusp might never come. Now that I'm staring it right in the face, I know that it has been in the back of my mind for quite a while. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a somewhat heavy heart that I present to you this: the last Anarchy Online post ever.

Simply put, I couldn't do it anymore. When a game starts to feel like you have to play it, it just really isn't a game anymore. At least, not to me. I should have known what I was getting myself in to - I'm not a guild type of guy. I'm aware that the concept of being a loner in the world of MMORPGs might be an alien concept to some, if not many, but that (excuse me for using an awful RPG pun) is just how I "roll".

Just leaving the game is one thing. The manner in which I left, however, is another. Well, I just stopped showing up. At first, I was even trying to trick myself: "Maybe I'll feel like logging on again soon. Maybe this is just a break." I knew that wasn't true. It started slowly enough - first I stopped logging on often, then not at all, then I stopped even bothering to read the organization forums. Then, one day earlier this week, I uninstalled the game. Perhaps not the most tactful way for the second-in-command to leave his organization, I'll admit.

All that said, I feel great. Until now, whenever I was playing something that wasn't AO, it almost felt as if I was "cheating" on AO with the other game. That's no way to spend your gaming time. Now, I can actually enjoy gaming again, and that's no small victory. I'll be honest, I even feel like playing MMOs again. I'm just going to make sure not to get wrapped up in the game, so yes, it's back to being a loner for me.

Speaking of MMORPGs - I downloaded FlyFF (Fly For Fun) the day after I uninstalled AO. I've only made it to level 14, and you don't get to pick a job until level 15, so I haven't really seen much of the game yet. I will, though, and I'll be back with more on that next week.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Again, Not The Food

Sometimes, this project hits its rough spots. One of the problems of having an Open Source gaming focused blog is that, if nothing particularly interesting happens over the course of a week, you're left with no subject material. Two times in two weeks I was struck by this nasty occurrence (insert bitching about your favorite game never being mentioned on this site here) but, luckily, the drought has ended.

I'm consistently impressed with the quality of each Sauerbraten release, and the game is only getting better. The most recent update includes a whole slew of new features, maps, and other various improvements. Nexuiz also had a new release this week, a 2.0 release at that. I'll be honest - I'm becoming less and less optimistic about Nexuiz turning in to a game I'd actually like to play, so much so that I haven't bothered downloading it yet. I may not at all, only time will tell.

Back to Sauerbraten. It looks like Nexuiz won't be able to wave its "prettiest open source game" banner (something I never agreed with, anyway) for much longer. Full screen shader support made it in to the game with this release, allowing light bloom and all that stuff the kids go crazy for these days. It's in its infancy stages right now, but it looks quite good already. Enough about the graphics stuff - moving on.

The "Capture" gameplay type (along with the maps this game type takes place on) is, hands down, my favorite new feature. If you've played any of the "Battlefield *" games, you'll be quite familiar with the mechanics at work here. There are various control points scattered about the maps, and your objective is simple: control more of them than the other team does. The "Capture" maps are generally much larger and sprawling when compared to the deathmatch maps, further adding to the Battlefield-esque feel. Make no mistake though, this is still Sauerbraten - you're not playing this game looking for realism. You're still moving at around the equivalent of 60mph, and it's going to take a hell of a lot more than a few shots to bring you down.

The single player mode of the game has been greatly improved since the last release, feeling a little less Quake and a little more Quake 2. Checkpoints have been introduced at various points throughout the levels, and the general layout and design feels a lot more solid than Cube's singleplayer mode did. The respawn points alone are very handy, given the tendency of some of Sauerbraten's mappers to create brutal single player levels.

That's about it for this week, folks. If you already know and like Sauerbraten, make sure you get the new release. If you aren't familiar with Sauerbraten or Cube at all - download it anyway. I highly doubt that you'll be disappointed.