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10:10 AM on 06.06.2008  

Civilization Revolution: Mini Review

As anyone who has looked at the front page lately will know the demo of Civilization Revolution went live yesterday and I for one could not wait to get my hands on it. I have a long history with enjoying this same game over and over again every 2-3 years.

Side note, ever look at release years for games and realize, I was between 4-8 when I first played that game, how the hell did I do that?

Don't let the name of the game, the trailers, or developer interviews fool you, this is the same Civilization you've played 4 times before. The trailer should be "Its Civ 4 with cartoony visuals, Simish dialogue, and reduced options!"

Revolution is well adapted to the Xbox360, the controls are well streamlined although I did feel that many features from previous games were cut. The game on a whole felt easy and accessible. Unlike some previous Civ games that almost required you to understand all the games subtle mechanics to do well. One example is that you no longer need to build roads yourself or irrigate land tile by tile.

From my experience with the demo, enemies never attack you, even if you surround their cities for 300 years with the weakest units available. It definitely makes the game accessible to anyone but I think it will probably have a negative impact on the replay value. Also in contrast a enemies will be able to defend their cities very well, I had to advance from Warriors, to Horsemen, to Legions, and finally to Catapults before I was able to sack one enemy city. And yes I combined three units to create an army.

While playing I was unsure how long the demo was going to last, I'm sure it said so somewhere but I'll be damned if I could tell. It seems like I was allowed about 2 hours of playtime, or just before obtaining gunpowder. 2 hours is certainly enough time to remind you if you like this type of game or not. For me it left me wanting more difficulty, more land to explore, and more battles. I have hope that the full game will provide all these things and with online multiplayer I'm sure all the difficulty required will be found there.

For newcomers Civ Revolutions is a great introduction to the series. For veterans Revolution will impress with its cartoony visuals but ultimately doesn't seem as deep an experience as Civ 3 or 4. However with the inclusion of online play, achievements, and the fact that it’s on a console it is worth several play throughs.

Recommendation: Play the demo and decide for yourself.   read


8:34 PM on 03.24.2008  

RPG Character Customization

I am working on an RPG engine for the PC in my spare time at work and at home. You can read a little more about the general project here.

I have some design decisions I'd like to pose to the community to help me select the direction I should go in.

1) How do you feel about creating your own party in an RPG, you set the names and classes and possibly even get to tweak the starting stats and their growth areas?

I am leaning towards a limited customization system maybe naming/classing one or two starting characters but having additional characters be predetermined.

2) Should characters awaken and be cured of poison automatically after battle?

If I had designed this game before Lost Odyssey I would have said of course not, there is nothing more tense then being stuck out in the wild without an antidote and losing HP every couple steps. However with those concerns gone it allows the general pace of the game to speed up, which in an RPG is sometimes appreciated.

3) Should characters automatically become rested whenever they enter a town?

Again before Lost Odyssey I would have said no you must go to the obligatory Inn and pay 30gil in order to rest of the days troubles. But realistically if you get to anywhere in the town you would be able to rest and not having to sit through two or three loading screens and a repetitive dialogue box is something not to be taken lightly.   read


2:34 PM on 03.24.2008  

Help me create an RPG

Greetings Destructoid,

I am working on an RPG engine for the PC in my spare time at work and at home. So far I have a simple character and monster system with the ability to add as many levels, monsters, spells, characters, or items as I wish. What I don't have is a story or the determination to draw an entire games worth of graphics. I've been working on this project for a couple weeks now but I've been holding back asking for community input until I had made significant progress.

The game will be PC only. Its built on top of a database programming language so the graphics are pretty limited and tend to get blinky if I try to do too much. There are graphic engines I could bring into this programming language but I'd have to care enough to spend $250 of my own money. Currently levels only move left to right for testing but later on you will be able to move in four directions (think final fantasy 1). Battles are turn based again, think final fantasy. I don't have any plans to sell the game, so I won't pay you for your scribbles. If you want to work on the project I will email you an alpha version of the game that will allow you to import any artwork or dialogue you are working on. When the game is completed I will create a fancy windows installer and host the game so that the public can enjoy.



So where do you folk come in? Anyone who wants to create graphics and/or a storyline for this game should comment here with their email address and what they would like to contribute or email me at restingsound [at] gmail [dotcom].   read


10:09 AM on 02.05.2008  

DDR in my elementary school?

So this morning I did my civic duty and voted in the democratic primary. In my town like most towns I assume, the elections are held in elementary school. Every time I go there waves of nostalgia wash over me as I walk through halls, and today was no different. I walk past the principal’s office where I remember once seeing a friend of mine take a swing at the dictator, I walk past the gym and see the same gym teacher still teaching miniature humans to climb a rope and roll around on the floor. I walk past the lunch room where I got my first kiss, you get the idea.

As I follow the signs for voting I notice they say "secondary" gymnasium. Apparently there has been a whole new wing added onto the school in the last 17 years. I also notice there are two security guards standing watch not for the elections but for everyday security, in an elementary school. Maybe things aren't so similar anymore. As I am leaving I stopped for a second to look back into the gym for once last dose of delicious nostalgia, kids climbing ropes, swinging on bars, playing dance dance revolution, walking across balance beams, tumbling across the floor.

If you were reading closely, or just read the title you might have noticed I said children were playing DDR in school as a supervised activity. I don't really know what to think of this, or if I should think anything. On the one hand DDR is mildly entertaining and can make you sweat if you try hard. On the other hand shouldn't the children just be climbing the rope? Am I just jealous that these young whipper snappers get to have more fun than I did?   read


9:10 AM on 01.26.2008  

Four48 take on Paper Mario

The Four48 guys (the guys who tried to beat all four 3d zelda games in one weekend) are about to start a new quest, completing Paper Mario in 20 hours. While they are playing they accept donations for Child's Play and have thus far raised $1569.33. They are planning weekly marathon gaming/charity events and have become my personal heroes.

Their live webcast starts at 10CST at http://www.cameronbanga.com/ check it out.   read


9:28 AM on 01.08.2008  

Broken Rock Band Foot Pedal Woes

On December 20th, 2007 after just a month of ownership my foot pedal snapped in half. I got the game most excited for the drums and after just messing around with friends on easy and medium I had finally begun to put forth an effort to beat the solo tour on hard.
Let me stop for a second and give you some details I only way 145lbs, I was sitting down, barefoot, and had always kept my equipment at room temperature.
I had some trouble on a couple of songs having to repeat them multiple times but overall I was making good progress going through the tour. Until "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Long Islands own Blue Oyster Cult. On my first try I got 92% percent through the song when there was a loud crack and I could feel my pedal flopping around lifelessly beneath my foot. I tried to go on but without a functioning pedal it was hopeless, I was booed of the stage.

I immediately went to EA to start the process of ordering a replacement pedal. It has not yet shipped. My question to the destructoid collective is will / should EA replace the pedal for free or is it my fault it broke? On the online form there is no option to say "The cheap plastic broke in half", I had to lie and say it just "Stopped Functioning". Do you think I am going to have to pay $125 for a new foot pedal?

After almost a week of waiting for the new foot pedal I got serious about repairing mine myself. With a couple pieces of aluminum on the top and bottom and a shitload of duct tape I am happy to say my pedal has been functioning 100% for over a week now and is now cushioned and slightly contoured to my foot. I am continuing with the replacement from EA because the duct tape is already beginning to peal up a bit and like all early adopters I feel I shouldn't be punished for my mistake.

When I ship this pedal back I am going to try and transfer the aluminum supports onto the new pedal so that it doesn't snap like the old one. Perhaps I should contact EA and let them know that reinforced foot pedals hold up better than plastic only. Has anyone received a replacement pedal? For what reason? Did EA charge you for it? Was the replacment built better than the first one?   read


9:36 AM on 12.03.2007  

How I learned to not suck at multiplayer first person shooters.

First off I'm 22 which I believe puts me in the perfect position to have experienced the golden age of videogames. DOS->Windows Vista, NES->Wii. The first FPS I ever played was Doom 2. When my grandparents were buying a computer "an IBM clone" we went to a computer show where I was granted the opportunity to pick out any game I wanted.

Doom 2 plus a Simpsons mod disc won. I was 10 at the time and this game was pretty scary, probably not rated for 10 year olds. I cheated my way through the game and although I found the level design creatures and game mechanics interesting I was never very good at it. There were multiplayer options but I never got a chance to use them so I just ran around invincible killing everything in sight. From memory for the nostalgic: IDDQD, IDKFA, IDCLIP.

Fast forward a couple of years and dozens of games later and I went to a friends house who was playing his nintendo 64 in his parents bedroom. He was playing a game I'd never heard of called Goldeneye 007. And he handed me a controller so we could play against one another. I was happy to get a chance to play a new videogame but I wasn't aware of the pain I was in for.



In match after match he slaughtered me mercilessly. In a game with small but confusing boards, limited spawn locations and complex controls (for its day) I was severely outmatched. I remember playing the complex and having his sneaking through those crouching holes and blowing me away without me even knowing where he was. After about an hour his friend showed up to play with us, great I thought now I will have some time to breathe. Wrong again, apparently this friend had the game at his house to and the bastards would team up on me to deal out the punishment rather than facing each other.

No matter which set of choices I was killed again and again until finally...
Proximity Mines. (Yes I know this is a remote mine, google failed me.) These weapons were the great equalizer where for once the hunted could start setting traps. I would run through the boards putting mines around every corner, under the staircases and in general where they'd be most difficult to see. The friends (read: bastards) would go straight for the machine guns in an attempt to get the direct kill but I would line the halls with mines and hole up in places such as the bathroom of the facility. Eventually I became so good with these tactics that they refused to play proximity mines anymore.

After that I learned to adjust my skills for use with remote mines I perfected the throw and detonate maneuver to create a firewall surrounding my victim. Of course my opponents would use the mines themselves but this is what gave me the opportunity to work slowly with the zoom and aiming to practice shooting mines lying on the ground or attached to walls, eventually becoming quick and accurate enough to hold my own in straight out fire fights.

Sure it took a while and I still got my ass kicked plenty the confidence I gained from those cheap proximity mine kills are what enabled me to keep playing and learn to compete. Proximity Mines in Goldeneye 007 are how I learned not to suck at multiplayer first person shooters. How about you?   read


8:40 AM on 09.20.2007  

SSBB Cover Art



The Super Smash Bros. Brawl cover art has been released or so says Amazon. Nothing groundbreaking, no pictures of sonic and birdo. I'd say its standard high quality Nintendo work.

Are they all leering at each other or at you?   read


8:23 AM on 09.19.2007  

Swing your Wiisaber at friends and family.

Today Star Wars Force Unleashed, (you know that star wars games with the ridiculous physics that we've been see videos of) has been annouced for a release on the Wii.

Waggle your Wiimote as if it were a lightsaber. Waggle the nunchuck to use your force powers. So how much of the force can you unleash?

"The Wii is a great platform for The Force Unleashed, because t he console's motion-oriented controllers really bring the game to life," said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts. "We' ve worked hard to make the Wii version of the game unique in order to truly let you unleash the Force."

I hope for the Wii's sake that this implementation will be as impressive as it sounds because the last thing the Wii needs is another red steel.

[edit: I almost forgot, freeze yourself until Spring 2008]

via TheForce.Net   read


9:27 AM on 08.28.2007  

God of War: Betrayal Blog Header / Fake Game Tuesday?

In God of War: Betrayal of Christ kratos has been magically transported into the body of JC just before his death. In two exciting levels of hack and slash action you will destroy the entire roman empire, persian empire, chinese empire and the jews.

I for one blame GIS: Betrayal   read


12:26 PM on 07.05.2007  

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Control Schemes

If you are like me you've been religiously checking Smash Bros Dojo every morning as soon as you wake up since the day the site was launched. This morning I read some uninteresting news about how there were going to be "Smash Attacks" in Brawl and was about to shrug it off as just more fluff when I noticed this gem.



Notice the sideways wiimote only controls "Press 1 and 2 Simultaneously", this feature alone could be groundbreaking. I've always had a hard time in the heat of battle controlling the Forward A attack with the Smash Forward A attack which serve two entirely different purposes. This simple control modification will eliminate those problems and make quicker/faster play possible.

Take for example Sheik from Melee, Forward A is a super fast roundhouse that sends enemies straight into the air (or just high enough to roundhouse them again and again). Smash Forward A is a slow double roundhouse that hardly damages enemies and leaves Sheik exposed for long periods of time. In melee you could easily slip up and use the wrong attack, in brawl you will be able to 100% control the timing of these moves.

I didn't think it was possible, but again I am even more psyched to play this game.   read







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