While I am meaning to replay Planescape: Torment at some point soon, I felt that I should probably leave it off until my mind is released from the brilliant but bewildering complexity of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series. With the days increasingly lengthy from a new job bookended by at least 1h30 of commute, I also felt that maybe I needed to settle in a bit before biting into a super-giant slab of RPG… So I wanted to play something a little more lightweight.
I enjoyed Venetica the first time around, and that was a long time ago, so why not give it another spin and see what falls out?
Today marks the seventh birthday of the Excerpts. Blog I (yes, I used Roman numerals for… about five minutes) was published today, the 18th of May, in 2006.
Seven years, eh? That’s only three years less than I’ve been modding WC3 for.
I guess I should celebrate or something.
Sometimes, the development process runs away with you. One day, you just want to make a weapon based only the vague assertion that “it should be the most powerful weapon in the game”, but then you have the bigger problem of finding somewhere to put it.
Then, after a while, you come up with the answer… And it’s terrifying.
OMD’s new album English Electric is pretty much the best thing since Dazzle Ships.
Last night, they played at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in support of this. The whole place stood up and danced right from the beginning, and every song was bookended by rapturous applause. The band stood there with giant cheesy grins on their faces — it’s clear that they love doing what they do, and they get as much of a buzz seeing us go wild to it as we do actually going wild to it. The tunes are consistently excellent and were performed with gusto, the new songs fitted seamlessly into the set and (always a worry) were greeted by the same ecstatic reception as the old classics. They may be old men, but they continue to top their game with every show.
Which was in stark contrast to support act John Foxx and the Maths, who played extremely angry “dark synth” slightly too loud for comfort with a total poker face. Some of it was all right, but the set was fairly homogenous. And slightly threatening.
With the advent of proper golden plastic, rather than foil-wrapped strange-milky-white bits, I guess a set like this was inevitable. I remember when mirrored silver pieces were exciting rarities until the foil chipped off — now it’s hard to buy a set that doesn’t have a few softly metallised gold or silver pieces.
So I jumped ship from a job recently, and (as is surely going to become a lifelong tradition) was gifted with Lego by my esteemed colleagues.
While revisiting material for the SPRPG Diaries, I’ve ended up replaying as many unsavoury maps as I have classy ones that I’ve eventually presented to you. Even so, some of these have got me to thinking that I do actually enjoy the very basics of WC3 RPGs: RTS controls on a single hero with a pleasant suite of abilities. (By the way, if you’ve spotted something that might be worth a punt for the Diaries, do drop me a line.)
I attempted to play a very recent RPG campaign release a couple of weeks ago, and I was struck by how… Well, crap it was. It had lavish terrain, all the HD imported art you could imagine — but the game itself was pretty much nonexistent, even in terms of attack-move-and-unload-spells-to-win. How difficult can it be to set up a compelling little hero with meaty abilities and set him loose on a world of creeps? Apparently too difficult for some. (I guess “don’t fill him up with passives” is a good start. Critical Strike and Evasion may make for a “realistic” combat system, but it’s hella boring to operate.)
So I got to thinking about going back to basics, stripping away all the weapons systems, backpacks and triggered knockbacks, to see if WC3 can actually stand on its own out-the-box RPG-lite hind legs.
An associate recently remarked to me, on the subject of this blog, that the game reviews and so on are so much less personal than… well, things like this, and much of what came before the move from MySpace.
It got me thinking… I’m not sure that’s true at all. While an obviously personal story might be obvious, I’m sure that the reviews (and, hell, the developer diaries) are just as revealing, if in a slightly different way. You can tell a lot about a man by the things that he likes and the way he works, and I reckon the minutiae of what I focus on in each blog probably speak louder than any real-life anecdotes from the grim world of work and pubs. (The The Day I Made an Arena Sequence springs to mind as a good illustration, being both a technical chronicle and an unbroken train of throught.)
As a real-life friend once noted on attempting to play This Wreckage, “every character sounds like you”. All the entries here sound like me… Don’t they?