Thursday, January 18, 2007

What A Novel Concept

It's been a quite while since I mentioned a UT2004 mod on the site. Hell, it's been quite a while since I've even played a UT2004 mod. Tactical Operations: Crossfire was the only interesting looking thing on the Happypenguin front page this morning, so the choice of topic was fairly obvious.

TO: Crossfire is another mod in the "extremely influenced by Counter Strike" vein, what with the buying weapons and what not, but it's far more of a straight up action game. One stray bullet is not going to kill you, unless it's a headshot or a grenade, and this alone makes it a bit more interesting than the countless Counter Strike ripoffs out there (not that they can't be entertaining).

Weapons sound convincing, voice work is well done, and the music is more than serviceable. The highlight of TO: Crossfire, however, is the map design, at least for me. Each map has certainly had a lot of time and effort put in, not to mention that by this point in UT2004's lifespan, mappers have gotten to know the limitations of the engine very well.

I hopped on a few public servers and had a good enough time. Nearly everybody I played with was far better than me, but what the hell, I've only been playing since this morning. It's good to see that there is a community built around the game, as playing with bots is certainly not as fun as it could be. To be fair, the bots are lackluster in pretty much every UT2004 mod out there.

Next week is the 3rd anniversary of Avert Your Eyes, so a year's recap is in order although, with as many posts as I've missed this year, I could probably just cut and paste every post from this year and it wouldn't be too long of a read. See you next week folks.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Well, They're Used To Shareware Anyway...

Late last night I decided it was time to scrap my current Linux install and go for something exciting and new. I'm still in the middle of configuring the new install, and I'd like to get back to that as soon as possible, so it's going to be a short post today folks.

Today's subject is AstroMenace, an old-school style vertical scrolling shooter with new-school 3D graphics. It's closest relative would probably be Chromium B.S.U, if you happen to be familiar with it. right down to the (optional) mouse-driven control scheme. An interesting twist is that you earn upgrades to your ship not from powerups, but from money you earn on a per-level basis.

AstroMenace has a bit of a narrative, a welcome addition for those who desire a bit more motivation than "kill it because it's there." It's mostly a gimmick, but it's a gimmick that works well in AstroMenace's surprisingly consistent world. The graphics definitely help this cohesiveness - it almost looks like a 3D space shooter that has been restricted to two dimensions of gameplay.

Something to take note of for those of you who don't happen to run Linux: while AstroMenace is freeware (yes, freeware, nothing open source here) on Linux, it's shareware on Windows. Yep, you've gotta pay. Would I pay if I had to? It's an interesting question but not one I can give a definitive answer to. Would I consider buying it? Sure.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

One One One

Well, now that the holidays are out of the way, it's back to posting in full force. Rappelz Epic 3 came out a few weeks ago - essentially it's an expansion pack.

The pace of the gameplay has been sped up, albeit not considerably. It's definitely faster paced, but it hardly feels like an action game as the patch notes would have you believe. It's not just the gameplay that has been sped up, either: experience gain is now nearly doubled and the rate at which you gain job points has been increased as well.

Not everything about the update is sunshine and roses, however. Players started to realize that, once installing the (mandatory) update their stamina was not regenerating when the were logged off, as it had before. Now the only method of reacquiring stamina is stamina potions which are either given as quest rewards or, more commonly, bought from the cash shop. I'm not into paying real money to build a fictional character so, more or less, it means no stamina for me.

As far as I'm concerned, the experience gain was raised, so it evens out: no big deal right? Not everyone seems to share my opinion on this matter. Within a day or so every other message on the Rappelz message board was pleading for the offline stamina gain to be brought back. "Now paying players have an advantage, it's unfair" they cried. Guess what? Paying players always had an advantage and, no, it's not unfair.

The people at Gpotato are in business. A key part of being in business is, you guessed it, making money. It's a free game, folks. Nobody forced you to download it, and nobody is forcing you to play it.