Gaming

Blog 810: Atrox

I seem to have a thing for games that end in “ox”. We all know Exon is a vast tribute to Nox, and one of the other reasons I built my old XP computer was Safrosoft RoX… and then we have this RTS Atrox. Like Age of Empires II, Atrox suffers from having a 256 colour palette in a 65-million colour world and so needs to be played in the past.

History has likely forgotten it for more reasons than that, though. Atrox is a Korean Starcraft clone that is… Well, just how closely they managed to copy Starcraft with such a small core team is actually quite impressive. Three asymmetric factions. Two resources in convenient little semi-circles. The same cliff/plateau/ramp style of terrain.

Even so, it’s one of those games that’s been lodged in my psyche since the day I first set eyes on it, so let me tell you why it’s deserving of at least a little attention…

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Gaming

Blog 806: The Conquerors

I remember seeing a (p)review for the Age of Empires II expansion pack The Conquerors in an issue of PC Gaming World at the time… In fact, I’ve still got it on my shelf. (It’s the same issue that gave Deus Ex a very lacklustre write-up. Oops.)

I remember misreading the word “allies”, in tiny text next to a tiny screenshot, as “aliens” and getting really excited for all the wrong reasons.

Well, it turned out okay in the end.

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Gaming

Blog 793: The Age of Kings

I’ve menitoned Age of Empires II obliquely many times throughout this blog but never actually written about it directly. Which is actually a massive oversight, because it has the dubious honour of being the first PC game I ever bought, so it’s a foundational influence in how I started to dream of making my own worlds — it did, after all, also include my very first level editor.

So twenty-odd years later, with lockdown madness causing a spiral ever deeper into nostalgia, isn’t it high time we took a proper look at a true classic?

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Game Development

Blog 787: The RTS I’ll Never Make

I might spend most of my time gushing over story-driven role-playing games and shooters, but I’m still partial to a real-time strategy every so often. I like building up a base and training all the little people and sending them off to conquer in my name.

The thing I don’t like about RTSes is that they’re all designed to be played against other people in fair and balanced short-form matches, whereas I like sinking into stories and experiencing them at my own pace. I want an RTS without that multiplayer pressure, one that has the time and space to ride all the way into the sunset.

I’m too busy building Exon to even consider a different project, let alone one of such magnitude, but it’s fun to think about these things now and again. So let’s talk about the RTS that I’ll never make…

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Gaming

Blog 785: Warzone 2100

On the subject of my latest Exon video, I was told it “looks a lot like Warzone 2100“. I replied that I had never heard of this game, let alone played it, but if it’s an a late-90s/early-00s 3D game then I’m interested.

Turns out that not only is it a grotty old 3D RTS, but it was open-sourced in 2004 and is now patched-up and totally free. Jackpot!

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Game Development, Gaming

Blog 728: If I Wrote… C&C4: Tiberian Twilight

I was interested in C&C4: Tiberian Twilight, despite all the rumours of its horror. The core concept — trading standard base building and assault for a mobile super-vehicle — seemed quite interesting to me. For a man that favours the ultra-versatile solo operatives of RPGs and FPSes, the conceit had legs.

The game did not deliver anything of what I imagined; it is exactly as bad as everyone says. So instead of delving into that den of iniquity, let’s indulge instead in what it could have been, had somebody with dreams more like mine been at the helm…

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Gaming

Blog 721: Tiberian Fun

Real-world associate Chris McPhail and I might have been going through Star Wars in our Close, But No Biscuit podcast of late, but there’s another piece of cultural media that deeply affected my robot designs — Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. The goody-goody Global Defence Initiatve forces had several grungy, industrial, brutalist, utilitarian hulks that evoked power and strength and resilience so much that I took my first faltering steps into 3D modelling trying desperately to ape them. If Star Wars set the robot wheels in motion for me, then Tiberian Sun gave them life.

Look at it this way — if I’d known the Final Sun level editor existed at the time, I’d have cut my modding teeth on Tiberian Sun over Age of Empires II. Oh yes.

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