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17th October 2021: It's Cold Out There

I know I wasn't really bothered about playing this expansion so soon, as I'd pretty much had my fill of this after going through the base game, but I figured I'd better get it out of the way.

So, with the straight-forward plan of just completing the quests, and not doing much else, I dove into the Frozen Wilds, the expansion to Horizon Zero Dawn.

Gotta admit, while this was very much more of the same, and quite playable and enjoyable, I still got quite irritated going through it. This is because, in addition to the little things that annoyed me from the base game, this also added something that ramped up the irritation: the combination of darkness and howling blizzards. It meant that so often while pushing through this, I struggled to see anything.

Granted, it probably didn't help that I was in a bit of a rush and just wanted to get it done and gone as fast as possible, but I really could have done without that issue.

Other than that, it's a fairly typical expansion that does typical expansion things, like adding in tougher enemies and more powerful weapons, without really explaining why those stronger enemies and weapons aren't in the base game.
And it did very little to expand on the story of the base game, other than during a conversation with a benevolent AI at the end of the game. And even that didn't really do much to tell us what is actually going on.

But whatever. It's done and uninstalled, and I can move on to something else.

It's so hard to see anything

It's so hard to see anything

Apparently there are two enemies out there

Apparently there are two enemies out there

Aloy activates stealth mode. Or there's a graphics bug. Hard to tell.

Aloy activates stealth mode. Or there's a graphics bug. Hard to tell.

Frostclaw thinks it's a prairie dog

Frostclaw thinks it's a prairie dog

Stabby stabby stabby

Stabby stabby stabby


I have continued to dabble with the original Settlers game, just for old time's sake. On a lazy weekend, during which I should surely have been doing something else, I jumped into another skirmish. This one was against a single opponent on the largest map size the Amiga emulator could handle, which was 5. I went into this after reading more of the manual and with much more of a game plan. After all, I'd got a score to settle with the CPU after last time.

Though the large distance between the two forces gave me a lot of preparation time, I struggled quite a lot to get up to speed. This is because, even though I'd placed myself near two large mountain ranges, all I could find was coal. Of the other resources, all I could find were scraps here and there.

As our two territories neared, I built a sturdy front line to my north east out of three guard towers, which were backed up by a garrison and a warehouse for supplies.

The enemy team kicked it off with a few rapid incursions into my territory, which luckily only saw one of my huts fall. Now things had kicked off, I unleashed my full fury, and though many of my knights fell, I was able to cut through towards their castle. Defending their main building was a tower and a garrison, which I claimed after some gruelling fights. From this position, it was not too hard to take out the surrounding huts and lay seige to the castle.

Victory was inevitable as I now had a 70-30 power advantage according to the graph, and though I toppled the castle, the game did not end. Another quick flip through the manual told me that I have to make them surrender to properly win. So off I went, smashing any of their huts that were protecting their economy or warehouses.
But still they did not surrender, even though they had no way of fighting back. My attacks had even sent me slicing through their territory to join back up with my southern borders.

After 9 hours of this, I had had enough and called it quits. So even though I was the one that technically quit, I'm going to claim the moral victory.

There's coal in them there hills

There's coal in them there hills

The reds are first to attack my front line

The reds are first to attack my front line

I counter their second attack and a huge rumble kicks off

I counter their second attack and a huge rumble kicks off

My forces reach the area of their castle and make a nuisance of themselves

My forces reach the area of their castle and make a nuisance of themselves

The map near the start and end of my decisive push

The map near the start and end of my decisive push


Because I'm a bit of an idiot, I decided to try and get my old MS-DOS version of Settlers working. I knew I couldn't get multiplayer working on this because an old serial mouse and port are required, but I thought that, if I was going to play the missions, a higher resolution would surely be better.
I could never get this working back in the day, and if I remember correctly it was because I couldn't get the sound to work. As I'd not tried it since learning about the existence of DOSBox, now seemed like a perfect time. Why I couldn't get it working before I will never know, as it works just fine on DOSBox.

I started a big 4 player deathmatch against 3 CPUs on a map of size 8, which is 3 bigger than the Amiga can go. I was immediately disappointed. It's nice to see more on the screen, but the audio is not very good, and scrolling the map is even more sluggish than on the Amiga.

It was then that I discovered something called Freeserf. This is a new version of Settlers that someone started to make a few years ago. It doesn't look like it was ever finished, but it's apparently open source which has allowed other people to pick it up and do their own things. The most promising one of these is Freeserf.net, which looks like it will focus on multiplayer, including LAN and internet play. This would be awesome for us, but the multiplayer sections still are not implemented properly, and when I gave it a quick look, the AI is useless.

The other version of Freeserf that looks promising is Forkserf, which is not being developed for multiplayer, but has much more enhanced AI. However, when I looked at this one, it has none of the quality of life additions that Freeserf.net has, such as being able to zoom in and out with the mouse wheel, and inverting the map scroll direction.

So what I really need is the two developers of these to get together and actually make a complete game that is great for both single player and multiplayer. I can only wait and hope...

Getting my old MS-DOS version working

Getting my old MS-DOS version working

Three AI players struggle along in Freeserf.net

Three AI players struggle along in Freeserf.net

4th October 2021: Horizon Zero Done

Phew, finally got back around to Horizon Zero Dawn. I first started playing this around 18 months ago, but a huge Final Fantasy shaped distraction got in the way, and I never went back to it. I would have jumped right back in, if not for the fact that I was having to use controller to aim with.

For quite a while, I thought it would be a game I would never get to finish, until it was released on GOG late last year. Great! I could play it with mouse and keyboard at last! Well, not quite. Turns out, the game requires Windows 10, which I did not have at the time. So late last year I started planning the build of a new PC, and even bought a copy of Win 10, along with several of the components. However, the worldwide GPU shortage was in full swing, and continued all through this year, so I was not able to finish the build.

Eventually, I gave up and bought a new Win 10 laptop, which for some reason didn't seem to be hit as hard on the supply front. As much as I would have preferred a full tower, and as much as I would have preferred never to have to use Win 10 (I seriously fucking hate it), I could at least play this game at last.

So for the past few weeks, that's exactly what I've been doing.

Now to get all the crap out of the way first, I'm glad this game had been out on PC for so long before I played it. There were some really strange technical bugs during my playthrough, and this is after many patches. What it was like on launch I have no idea. The people who played it back then have my sympathies.
Most of my issues were with the audio, especially with combat sounds not triggering for ages after they were supposed to, and other sounds such as the stampede getting stuck on loop over and over until I vacated the area. It also really annoyed me how every time I booted the game I had to wait for the shaders to optimise. It's only supposed to do this once, on the first boot, but according to what I could find on the net, some unlucky people have to sit through this every time. And I was one of them. Sigh.

Chaos breaks out

Chaos breaks out

Are these two Sawtooths still arguing?

Are these two Sawtooths still arguing?

Never stand between me and my loot

Never stand between me and my loot

Just how fast is this elevator descending?

Just how fast is this elevator descending?

The actual game itself was enjoyable enough, but with some repetitive, irritating things, like all the looting and crafting. I guess I got the same sort of feel out of it as I did Witcher 3, except I enjoyed the combat more in that, and the irritating elements in this irritated me a little more so. However, definitely a good game and one I'm glad I've played.

This game has received so many plaudits over the years for its setting and story, but I'm actually not sure what to think of them. There are elements I definitely enjoyed, and there are some interesting nuances that set it apart from similar stories, but at its core, it's just another "humans make machines, machines turn on humans" story, and the world the developers made felt like it deserved better than that.

I've got no immediate plans to play the expansion, but I'll get back to it soon no doubt, while its still fresh in my mind and still installed.

Pig in a tree

Pig in a tree

Handy of them to paint everything I can climb on in yellow

Handy of them to paint everything I can climb on in yellow

Corrupted Thunderjaw trying its luck

Corrupted Thunderjaw trying its luck

Tie your Stormbird down, tie your Stormbird down

Tie your Stormbird down, tie your Stormbird down


Me and me old mucker Dave took a right trip down memory lane recently when we re-visited the original Settlers game on an Amiga emulator. It must have been getting on for 20 years since we last played this, which was on an Amiga 1200 that Dave had suped up for the place we were working at back then. So it had been quite a while.

We did a 4 player deathmatch with two CPU players, but Dave and I agreed not to attack each other, as we couldn't really remember the game at all. I took control of the blue team, and Dave the red.

The pink and yellow CPU players took off at a pace and started rapid expansion of their territories. I got a slow start as I was too busy reading the manual and trying to remember what to do, but Dave smartly followed the CPU's lead and started building stuff all over the place.

It was the very aggressive pinks that first started causing trouble, as they attacked the other CPU. Dave also joined in attacking the yellows, but I came under attack from the pinks who were picking fights all over the place. My tiny territory couldn't handle it, and they broke through to my castle. After several waves of attacks, my castle started burning, essentially putting me out of the game. How that happened I am not sure, as there were still 50+ knights in there defending it. I'll have to continue reading the manual...

With my remaining knights I joined Dave in several counter attacks against the pinks and we caused some good damage before the hour was too late to continue.

It seemed to re-ignite a passion for this old game in Dave, and I too am wondering if I should try to play through the missions, as I've never really put any focus on the single player side of any Settlers game.

No doubt there will be further forays into this series at some point.

My geologist finds nothing as Dave gets to building

My geologist finds nothing as Dave gets to building

Dave's red dudes make an incursion into enemy territory

Dave's red dudes make an incursion into enemy territory

My buildings burn as the pinks take more of my shrinking land

My buildings burn as the pinks take more of my shrinking land

The pinks get all up in my castle's business

The pinks get all up in my castle's business

13th August 2021: Evil Remade

I've been planning this blog entry for quite a while, and working towards it for the last 3 or 4 months. The reason for this is that it was exactly 10 years ago today that I finished and uploaded my maps for the original Resident Evil, and I thought it would be cool if I could do the same for the remake.

Unfortunately, while I've got Jill's map all ready to go, I've just not managed to find the time to play through Chris's mission and make that map as well. Yes, I've been busy doing other things, but it's mostly because I'm not really into Resident Evil games that much at the moment, and as such I've really lacked motivation to push through it. If this anniversary wasn't rapidly approaching, Jill's map probably wouldn't be ready by now either.

There's also the issue of how much of a slog it is to make these maps. As much as I like seeing them completed, their creation massively amplifies the play time needed.

Jill Resident Evil Remake map

Jill Resident Evil Remake map

Before this run, I'd never played this remake as it always used to be a Nintendo thing. So outside of map making, how was the actual game, and how did it compare to the original?

Well, as you would expect, there are definite improvements here, especially with the graphics which are much darker and more atmospheric. The writing and voice acting are only marginally better than the original's cheese-fest, though.

The main difference I found was the new control scheme, which allows you to control the character with the left analogue stick rather than using tank controls via the d-pad. This method was definitely better for combat, and allows very easy dodging of nearly every enemy, making the game waaaaay too easy. However, the new controls can lead to some confusion in areas with changing camera angles.

But all-in-all, it was just like playing a slightly better version of the original game all over again. I could have done without it, to be honest. I'd much rather see a remake (yes, another) of this in the current Resident Evil style, the way they remade Resi 2 a couple of years back. I know that game is full of Steam DRM, but every time I see it on sale I get very tempted.

Dodgin' some zombinos<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Dodgin' some zombinos
(webm video)

Here, I got you a gift

Here, I got you a gift

Bye bye Richard

Bye bye Richard

Cooking up some Crimsonhead chowder<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Cooking up some Crimsonhead chowder
(webm video)

Barry! Get me out of this hentai movie!

Barry! Get me out of this hentai movie!

Playing Ring o' Rosie with the Tyrant<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Playing Ring o' Rosie with the Tyrant
(webm video)

In terms of my future forays into this franchise, I still have Resident Evil 0 and 4 to play, and I know very little about either. Who knows, maybe one day I'll fancy making maps for one or both of those, and that will motivate me to come back to this game and complete the set.
But for now, this is where my journey into Resident Evil Remake ends.

4th August 2021: There's Some Gooses Looses Aboot These Hooses

So, there was a game that came out a couple of years ago that caught my attention for being something new and odd. Since then, the developers have also added local co-op to the game, so it made sense that Scoob and I would eventually get around to giving it a go.

This game is the awesomely named Untitled Goose Game.

In this game, the players control some unruly geese who go around the town attempting to complete a "to do" list of sorts. Unfortunately for the townsfolk, this means the geese become proper nuisances, as they steal, break and spoil all manner of objects.

For example, one task sees the geese tripping over a boy so they can steal his glasses, while another has the geese manipulating events so that a woman accidentally prunes the prize rose of her next door neighbour.

A lot of these tasks were fun to complete, but some were a real pain in the ass, like when you have to take a football from one side of town to the other in order to poke it into a set of goals in someone's garden. Controlling the geese themselves was not super easy to do, so controlling the geese into trying to control a ball up and down slopes and through small gaps was even worse.

Still, it was a few hours of harmless fun (well, maybe not for some of the townsfolk), and it's another one ticked off my own to do list.

Scoob and I argue over who is going to sweep up

Scoob and I argue over who is going to sweep up

Yes! Fear us, human!

Yes! Fear us, human!

You can not see me. You can not see me.

You can not see me. You can not see me.

Goose rings its own bell

Goose rings its own bell

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