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Videogames: Spooktober Season


Fez

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On 12/6/2021 at 12:49 AM, Werthead said:

Replaying Skyrim and I continue to marvel at how this game which has so very, very many flaws is still very weirdly compelling. Like I planned to quickly run through the game for the anniversary but I've ended up sinking 30 hours into it and will probably finish out the main quest at least, though I don't feel the urge to go as crazy with it as I did my Fallout 4 replay.

Its a game I've been able to play over about 10 years without feeling like its out of date. Its very limited in some ways but incredibly freeing in others. I've struggled to get into something like Witcher 3 on multiple occasions, but could easily jump into a new Skyrim save. Its because it gives me the freedom to play how I want to, create a character I want to and mould it. It really does feel like an open world game, where other games only pretend to be.

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9 minutes ago, Rhom said:

I am unfamiliar with this as well.

Do tell

A RTS game set in space, where you have a giant mothership that can build other ships, and you mine asteroids for resources, and battle enemies. I don't remember when the first game came out, late 90s or early 2000s, it had a sequel that continued the story and then an expansion that kinda got lost called Cataclysm, which unfortunately I didn't play. 

It had a great story driven campaign that was among the most challenging I've ever played and well devised from a story perspective, too. It has the feel of Battlestar Galactica, probably because it was inspired by it, and in return you can argue that this game inspired the re-imagined BSG show.

A few years ago there was a prequel called Deserts of Kharak, which set the gameplay on land, on a planet rapidly becoming a desert, where the original story began. The feel of the game is similar.

Now Gearbox is making a 4th game, but technically a sequel of Homeworld 2, so it's called Homeworld 3.

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3 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

It had a great story driven campaign that was among the most challenging I've ever played and well devised from a story perspective, too. It has the feel of Battlestar Galactica, probably because it was inspired by it, and in return you can argue that this game inspired the re-imagined BSG show.

I seem to remember the developers initially really wanted to do a BSG game, but couldn't get the rights, so they had to develop their own setting. Damn, Homeworld is one of the games I really need to play myself at some point...

Btw, this is an absolute surprise given how dead the sequels seemed with Relic's death, but... well, damn:

 

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6 hours ago, Werthead said:
 

Fuck yeah.

Still a year (well, maybe 10 months if we're lucky) to wait, which is annoying.

Wasn't expecting the orchestral Adagio for Strings but it certainly got my attention. I'm probably too bad at RTS these days for it, but I may try anyway!

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Yup, Homeworld was released in 1999 and was way ahead of its time, with a minimal UI, great AI and real 3D movement in space (your ships can move in all planes, not just back and forth). It used that in really inventive ways, like one mission had your fleet near a supernova with lethal radiation levels, so you had to maneuver your fleet along veins of dust that blocked out the radiation. The veins snaked all over the map in three dimensions and really changed your way of thinking about how a battlefield map can work in space. The game also used group-select commands for everything, so by holding down the "camera" button and drawing a box around a group of ships, the camera would follow all those ships simultaneously, whilst selecting your ships and drawing a box around the enemy with the "attack" button pushed down would result in your ships targeting only those enemies and ignoring others.

Your ships also used "strike force AI", so you could band-select a bunch of ships of different classes and then target an enemy fleet, and your ships would engage based on ship type, so your intercepts would attack enemy bombers, your fighters would target interceptors and your bombers and capital ships would target enemy capital ships. At any point you can pause the action and fly the camera through whatever's going on to get some great screenshot space battle pr0n.

The game also had a persistent fleet and a persistent economy, unlike StarCraft or most other RTS games. At the end of each mission, whatever fleet you had would hyperspace out and would then arrive in the next mission, and any resources you had at the end of one mission would be transferred to the next, which allowed you to sometimes just start missions and just focus on objectives rather than having to build from scratch each time. The first game notoriously had no build cap on salvaged ships, so you could end up with an absolutely ridiculous fleet if you prioritised salvaging enemy ships rather than destroying them.

The series was also good for its minimalist storytelling: cut scenes were either black-and-white 2D animations or in-engine shots of your spaceships. There weren't unending cut scenes of grim-faced looking space dudes staring at screens, which was a relief. The game also had an amazing art style influenced by 1970s and 1980s SF novel covers by the likes of Chris Foss and Peter Elson, and a soundtrack mixing amazing original music with classical pieces (and, in the original release, an exclusive if highly random song by prog rockers Yes).

There are four games in the series so far: Homeworld (1999), Homeworld: Emergence (2000, originally called Cataclysm but renamed because Blizzard were dicks), Homeworld 2 (2003) and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak (2016). Homeworld and Homeworld 2 were re-released in 2015 as Homeworld Remastered, a very well-done remastering of the first two games with more modern graphics and UI. I also did a series of articles on the lore and backstory of the games.

There's also a metric butt-ton of mods for the series, including inevitable Mass EffectBabylon 5Star Wars and Star Trek mods (and I think The Expanse as well).

In short, the Homeworld franchise is probably the single best original space opera setting in video game history (not necessarily the best story, since Mass Effect and arguably Halo are more character and story-focused) and one of the very best real-time strategy franchises. And it's quite bizarre that no-one else has really tried to do something similar (the various Star Trek and Star Wars RTS games that have come along since are very basic in comparison). The excellent Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock comes close, but that has only limited movement on the Z plane and it has phase-based combat rather than real time.

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10 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

A RTS game set in space, where you have a giant mothership that can build other ships, and you mine asteroids for resources, and battle enemies. I don't remember when the first game came out, late 90s or early 2000s, it had a sequel that continued the story and then an expansion that kinda got lost called Cataclysm, which unfortunately I didn't play. 

It had a great story driven campaign that was among the most challenging I've ever played and well devised from a story perspective, too. It has the feel of Battlestar Galactica, probably because it was inspired by it, and in return you can argue that this game inspired the re-imagined BSG show.

A few years ago there was a prequel called Deserts of Kharak, which set the gameplay on land, on a planet rapidly becoming a desert, where the original story began. The feel of the game is similar.

Now Gearbox is making a 4th game, but technically a sequel of Homeworld 2, so it's called Homeworld 3.

Okay, so I've established before that I have zero willpower or patience.  

I got on Steam looking for the games, they didn't seem to have them.  (Jedi Fallen Order was on sale for something like 60% off... so... you know...)

So then I get on GoG and they do have the Homeworld Remastered Collection.  I grabbed it.  It includes the original versions of the first and second games.  Before I install them and get rolling, any opinions here on if I should just play the originals?  Do the remasters fundamentally change anything in a negative way?

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Typing "Homeworld" into Steam brings up the "Homeworld Remastered Collection", "Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak" and "Homeworld 3" (for wishlisting).

They're all quite expensive at the moment, I'd recommend holding fire. The games are regularly discounted well below £10 apiece.

There's also "Homeworld: Emergence" on GoG (which isn't part of the Remastered collection), which is a separate and very good game.

Play the remasters. The originals were amazing back in the day, but they do look dated by modern standards. The remasters are superb.

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22 minutes ago, Rhom said:

So then I get on GoG and they do have the Homeworld Remastered Collection.  I grabbed it.  It includes the original versions of the first and second games.  Before I install them and get rolling, any opinions here on if I should just play the originals?  Do the remasters fundamentally change anything in a negative way?

Like Werthead said, play the remaster as it only adds and doesn't detract. Like Wert said, the campaign has persistent assets from mission to mission. In the original game, you had to linger in a system to gather all resources before moving along even after the mission goals were complete. In the remaster version they've streamlined this - all available resources still not collected automatically add to your tally when you hyperspace out of the system.

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Having fun with Elite Dangerous.

Been doing missions for Imperial factions, and just been promoted to Lord.

Few dicy moments in combat; was winning a battle when I accidently engaged silent running. Cue a frantic few minutes of evasive action while I tried to disengage silent running and get my shields and weapons back on.

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Speaking of RTS games, was surprised to see that there's a new Dune RTS coming.  

It's described as a "4X RTS" though. Not entirely sure what that means; maybe something like Stellaris?

The Star Wars Eclipse trailer looked very exciting, until I saw that it's the latest Quantic Dream game. I do not care for David Cage's storytelling.

Very excited about the new Space Marine.

The two other best announcements IMO from The Game Awards last night were:

confirmation that FFVII Remake (with the Yuffie stuff) is coming to PC. And that Alan Wake 2 is coming

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Fez said:

It's described as a "4X RTS" though. Not entirely sure what that means; maybe something like Stellaris?

The hexagonal city makes me think Civ style settlement building. Not sure how you can mix that with real time battles, but I guess it's not impossible if it's indeed handled similar to Stellaris.

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1 hour ago, Fez said:

 

Speaking of RTS games, was surprised to see that there's a new Dune RTS coming.  

It's described as a "4X RTS" though. Not entirely sure what that means; maybe something like Stellaris?

The Star Wars Eclipse trailer looked very exciting, until I saw that it's the latest Quantic Dream game. I do not care for David Cage's storytelling.

Very excited about the new Space Marine.

The two other best announcements IMO from The Game Awards last night were:

confirmation that FFVII Remake (with the Yuffie stuff) is coming to PC. And that Alan Wake 2 is coming

 

 

 

 

 

43 minutes ago, Toth said:

The hexagonal city makes me think Civ style settlement building. Not sure how you can mix that with real time battles, but I guess it's not impossible if it's indeed handled similar to Stellaris.

Check out the same developer's last game, Northgard. It's literally a 4X RTS and is very good.

It's...hard to explain. You build military units and workers like in an RTS and can move them around explored areas of the map, but you can only support x number of workers in a tile (each map is divided into tiles like a 4X). To open up a new tile, you have to send in an explorer unit. One it's opened, your troops and workers can enter and do normal RTS stuff. Each tile has a limited number of resource and build slots, so you can't build willy-nilly all over the place and you can't go berserk tasking 50 workers on gold or something, like you can in an RTS.

It's an interesting approach and it works quite well, one you get into the headspace.

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