Did some work behind the scenes of the game blog page so that the game filters now work much better.
A couple of months back I found loads of old notes about all the old Epic Space Marine games we played, starting from back when I was in high school. I thought it would be a good idea to type them all up as best I could, and upload them all. While I was at it, I also converted the Epic-S and 40K battle reports from their PDF state to HTML, and they can be found on the Warhammer 40K page.
Finally got my pointing pictures up and into the Vault. Don't ask me why.
This is where you can read any of my irregular wafflings about computer gaming. The whole point of this blog is to help motivate me to properly finish games, whether they be recent ones or older ones I played when I was younger that I never managed to beat.
Just recently Scoob and I have been going through Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, and playing that pretty old FPS got me thinking about a really old FPS, in the shape of Dark Forces. I had played this not long after it came out in the 90s, but never finished it. Last time I looked at the game, someone was working on a promising mod for it called DarkXL, which made the game a little more up to date and added in proper mouse controls. It was my plan to wait for that mod to be completed, but unfortunately it doesn't look like it's had any development for some years.
Out of curiosity, I did some searching as to whether there were any other ways to play the original game a bit more comfortably. As luck would have it, many people had reported success using a tool called GlovePIE, which makes it possible to play with the mouse.
So after a great deal of tinkering to get Dark Forces, DOSBox, GlovePIE and Fraps all configured so that I could play and take screenshots, I once again stepped into Kyle's boots, around two decades after first doing so.
This was a massive nostalgia trip, and though I couldn't remember all of the levels and locations in the game, many of them brought back memories of playing it as a teenager. Without a doubt, playing it with the mouse helped a great deal, and it was nowhere near as awkward as trying to play it on the keyboard. Yet, the game does not have a targeting reticule, and instead Kyle kind-of auto-aims at enemies in his line of sight. This means sometimes you can try and shoot at one enemy, but Kyle picks another and your shots go off in a totally different direction. Also, it makes it impossible to lead your targets when they are moving, as Kyle always aims at where they are at that moment. It made fighting flying enemies a lot harder such as the Dark Troopers and Boba Fett.
I thought at first that the game seemed really easy, and I picked up enough spare lives to max out at 9. Then I got captured by Jabba the Hutt and had to fight his Krayt Dragon. I didn't think I was supposed to fight it hand to hand so instead I was running around trying to escape somehow. By the time I gave up and just punched the thing in the face a bunch, I had lost 5 lives and was down to 4. From that point on, the game became a lot more challenging, and included some shady level design such as placing sneaky enemies waiting to ambush you as you go up elevators and such. My lives were slowly whittled away and I only had two remaining when I went against final boss General Mohc. Luckily, that guy gave me no trouble compared to his Dark Trooper underlings, and I was able to pull out the win.
Pretty damn stoked to have finally finished this game, as it's one of a handful that have hung over my head for years. It also means that I've completed the entire Jedi Knight series featuring Kyle, at long last. Cool.
The other game I've been playing, though not really a lot, is Star Wars The Old Republic. I got back into this for a few reasons, most of them related to World Of Warcraft. See, back in May, a couple of things happened that really got me nostalgic for my WoW days.
Firstly, a Youtuber I had watched since the WoW Cataclysm beta, named TotalBiscuit, passed away from cancer. That got me thinking about those first vids I watched of his and just looking back at my very short time in that expansion.
Then, another online personality I watch sometimes called Crendor, started to do a challenge in WoW with his mates called the Darkest Dungeon challenge. I watched a few of those streams as they played through the first few dungeons as Alliance characters, and that got me thinking back to my early days as Jack Gooty going through those same dungeons.
At this point, I was hankering for a bit of MMORPG action, but as I still refuse to pay sub fees I decided to re-install TOR instead. This at least made some sense, as I've never hit top level in that game or even completed a single character's storyline.
I've literally just been chilling out in this game. I went back to the planets I raced through last time, being Taris, Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine, before catching up to where I left off in Kreethen's story on Alderaan. And that's pretty much where I'm at right now.
Nothing's really changed in the game, though this time I installed it without BitRaider so I'm having no problems at all logging in.
In a surprising turn of events, I've also spent a lot of time exploring new, and re-exploring old, MMORPGs these last few weeks.
Up first was The Old Republic. I didn't play this that much a year ago because I only really wanted to play the class quests, but was being made to play a lot of grind quests in order to stay levelled. Recently I read on a forum somewhere that it might now be possible to level up doing only those quests, while adding in one or two other quests here and there to keep the levels up. So I thought I'd give it a try.
I quickly found out that what I'd read was not true. On my Jedi Kreethen's third planet, Taris, I needed to go up 5 levels to match the level of the next quest but I only went up 3. From then on it became about how far I could go until the enemies were too strong for me to take out. Honestly, I got a lot further than I thought I would, getting through Taris, Nar Shaddaa and Tatooine, before finally reaching a quest on Alderaan that was too high level. As all the enemies were 6-7 levels higher, and kept resisting or dodging my attacks, there was no way I could win. Oh well.
Still, I haven't minded playing it this time, even though every planet's class quest was essentially the same: find an ill Jedi, beat them into submission, then cure them, so maybe I'm a bit more open to the MMO style of gameplay at the minute.
Yet, there were some things that annoyed the hell out of me. For instance, quite early on the game gives you a massive ship which you can fly around the galaxy in, but you need to be level 20 to learn how to ride a tiny speeder. How does that make sense? Also, if I used my mouse to turn and move the camera, rather than turn using the keyboard, the camera would very often leap around all over the place in a very hyperactive way, especially when in combat. Pain in the ass. There was also a hell of a lot of running around involved, especially before I had my speeder. I know I was skipping a lot of grind quests, but this felt worse than the old Star Trek Online exploration missions at times.
Probably the biggest bug I had wasn't to do with the game at all, but the launcher. A few times when logging in, the launcher would take ages re-organizing the game data and verifying, a known bug with the BitRaider distribution platform which the game uses. It's somehow tied to multi-core processors, but guess what: every computer these days has a multicore processor. How that has not been fixed yet is beyond me. Apparently there is a way to remove BitRaider and download the game another way, but it doesn't seem worth it unless I feel motivated to go back to it later.
Need a lift soldier?
The invisible speeder
Is my Jedi gonna get to visit a strip club?
They're not gonna make my task any easier are they?
Naughty Qyzen! Get off the furniture!
I'll have it blue
Twonking some elite droid
Why does every Star Wars game end up on Tatooine at some point?
This thing was supposed to be an almost-invisible shadow. Hmmmm.
Can't visit Tatooine without killing some Tusken Raiders
Meeting my match on Alderaan
As expected we didn't play Star Wars The Old Republic for all that long. Me and Scoob managed to get through the starting world with our Sith characters, and I trudged through the first two worlds with my Jedi, but MMOs are just too boring, and it couldn't keep hold of our attention. I really wanted to continue the stories, but the game forces you to do all the typical MMO grind quests to get high enough level to do the story quests.
Arrggh, everything burns!
Time to die big guy
Klapdud gets pistol-whipping
Kreethen gets his lightsaber
Die, Sith scum
How am I reaching through this wall?
Are we in the Construct?
Finally looking like a Jedi
Is that you Han?
Strange graphics bug makes Klapdud's companion lose her clothes