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Videogames: Spooktober Season


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I have been playing Diablo 2 after not playing anything in a while. I am still early on but it's pretty fun so far. I also bought Batman Origins, Inquisition and Tales of Arise from Steam. I already have Inquisition but I thought maybe I'll be more into it on the PC and it was four bucks.   I was looking at the Guardians of the Galaxy game but I am not sure if I want it or if I would rather have it on PC or console. 

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I saved up and got my son an Oculus 2 for Christmas (his number 1 gift choice). He let me try it out, and I was shocked out much it tricks your brain and makes you feel like you've entered a different world. I get motion sick when I move, so I played Five Nights at Freddy's--wow! Intense and scary. My brother and sister in law tried it out, and it was hilarious watching my sister in law rip the headset off when her power ran out because she kept the doors closed.

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Okay, so I had plenty of fun with GTA V and while RDR2 stays on my radar I still went ahead and got myself Rimworld instead.

What can I say? In a lot of ways it IS the kind of survival adventure I always wanted, especially in regards to the simple but crucial farming. I'm still using the tutorial game though and put the event difficulty to the second-lowest because I really wanted to get to grips to the game mechanics first. Just reached my first summer and got a message warning me that I should prepare for my first winter. Given how stupidly long it took my rice field from the tutorial to drop some food, I'm genuinely worried that I will die in winter and for that reason I set up a second potato field and while waiting for it to drop anything tasked my colonists to scour every berry bush in the direct vicinity.

I also constructed a wind powered fridge, but the wind keeps stopping and I haven't researched batteries yet (and looking up how they work people tell all kinds of horror stories about batteries constantly exploding, so I'm a bit worried about that as well). So my fridge does work, but sometimes shuts off and then my rice/meals and meats start degrading, with the meat obviously being the most problematic. At the same time I'm getting a bit stumped about expanding my colony. I need bigger living quarters since my people keep complaining about them looking like the cells from prison architect without floors, so I wonder whether I could just switch their purposes, build larger rooms to put the beds in while at the same time using the smaller ones for my workshops. I also generally want a larger colony building with corridors allowing traversal instead of the one blob with different rooms that I have right now. Unfortunately the first two rooms like this that I have constructed are 5x5, which my colonists still deem boring instead of awful, the wiki says 6x6 is optimal. Demanding little fuckers. They should be happy I gave each a shelf, a cupboard and some decorations I stole from the nearby haunted ruins! Also I still need to work on the flooring, it's not like I'm lacking any materials what with the copious amounts of sandstone boulders filling up my landfill... And then comes electricity. I guess for the winter I need some heating and I guess once I got a battery I can also replace my torches with electric lights.

Ah... and I want to try to tame a boar. Somehow a sow self-tamed herself and I built her a tiny little animal pen, but some more pigs would be neat to be able to store up meat for winter as long as they can graze on their own. And I now read you can completely avoid my worries by setting up an inside farm with special lamps. Still so much to figure out. Also I managed to catch a raider and try to convince him to join the colony. A short time later a drop pod with an old man crashed nearby, this one I rescued and let go to improve my relationship with a neighbor. I'm wondering why even neutral looking tribes are so hostile...

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Well I still haven't found a Steam sale game to get but instead I picked up the early access Wartales. It's similar to Battle Brothers, but the combat is more accessible and more immersive thanks to seeing actual people and animals, not just chess figurines move on the map. It has features that are tediously realistic, which I don't mind, like actually having to return to your contract person to get paid, instead of coin just appearing in your funds, and having to stop often to rest and feed your party. But others are more silly, like forging armor and weapons. Being in early access the game is certainly in a rough state and would benefit from numerous quality of life features, yet I still enjoy it.

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I'm intrigued by Wartales, as it's the same people who made the very splendid Northgard which threw an excellent spin on standard RTS/management ideas. They're also doing Dune: Spice Wars.

I'm not doing Early Access, though, as I know that by the time the game comes out in its final mode I'd be so bored of it that I'd have lost interest. Feature-complete versions or nothing, I feel.

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I've been playing the Anniversary Edition of Skyrim. The game is still compelling and it's great fun to just wander about in, especially with the travelling music. Plus, being a werewolf is fun. I also don't think I ever played the expansions, so that's something new.

But there's some seriously noticeable flaws. The amount of glitches is pretty ridiculous. Half the time I've set off with a companion they've inevitably gotten caught on a wall or something and remained there running whilst I clear out everybody. I've seen flying mammoths, a guy trying to walk his horse into a house, using a light attack and having the enemies zoom away spinning and flying upwards,  and a plot conversation where the NPC got stuck repeating the same phrase over and over and over. Way too many times, during a conversation, the music is far too loud; or, even worse, several people will start speaking at once. The dragon fights get a bit boring and repetitive after awhile, even if the Dragonborn powers are cool. The main quest plot and the characters are pretty much nothings. Compared to stuff like Horizon: Zero Dawn or Witcher III, Skyrim's story is just... boring. And the dungeon/burial mound levels get samey fast.

But it's still really pretty entertaining to play through.

 

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Awww, my prisoner suddenly got the plague and died just as he was on the cusp of joining my group. What a shame... and quite baffling, given how I have 2 doctors in my group. Which, come to think of it, might be the reason why I am always so slow to get things done, what with them sucking in pretty much every other area or are even incapable of doing it altogether, so my survivor guy has to do everything on his own, even though he would very much prefer to work with plants.

Speaking of plants... well, the summer is still ongoing and I somehow managed to get two more harvests of rice and one of potato in... so I guess my initial worries were unfounded and instead I actually got I surprisingly fully stocked freezer now. I'm now somewhat confident I can make it through the winter. Especially since I have now started with the production of warm clothes.

Though... I think I REALLY need to focus more on research. I did built a battery by now, but while it does decrease my powerless intervals, my windpower plant still sucks badly and there are still outages, meaning I have to back it up with solar cells and some geothermal energy before I can allow myself to really rely on electricity.

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9 hours ago, Toth said:

And I now read you can completely avoid my worries by setting up an inside farm with special lamps. 

Those lamps take a lot of power, you're probably going to want to wait on that for a while. 

57 minutes ago, Toth said:

Awww, my prisoner suddenly got the plague and died just as he was on the cusp of joining my group. What a shame... and quite baffling, given how I have 2 doctors in my group. Which, come to think of it, might be the reason why I am always so slow to get things done,

You might already know but if you click the "prisoner" button on a prisoner you can set the quality of medicine to use on them. Make sure "doctor" is the highest priority in the work tab. i.e. they should get out of bed if someone needs doctoring. 

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11 hours ago, Toth said:

Okay, so I had plenty of fun with GTA V and while RDR2 stays on my radar I still went ahead and got myself Rimworld instead.

What can I say? In a lot of ways it IS the kind of survival adventure I always wanted, especially in regards to the simple but crucial farming. I'm still using the tutorial game though and put the event difficulty to the second-lowest because I really wanted to get to grips to the game mechanics first. Just reached my first summer and got a message warning me that I should prepare for my first winter. Given how stupidly long it took my rice field from the tutorial to drop some food, I'm genuinely worried that I will die in winter and for that reason I set up a second potato field and while waiting for it to drop anything tasked my colonists to scour every berry bush in the direct vicinity.

I also constructed a wind powered fridge, but the wind keeps stopping and I haven't researched batteries yet (and looking up how they work people tell all kinds of horror stories about batteries constantly exploding, so I'm a bit worried about that as well). So my fridge does work, but sometimes shuts off and then my rice/meals and meats start degrading, with the meat obviously being the most problematic. At the same time I'm getting a bit stumped about expanding my colony. I need bigger living quarters since my people keep complaining about them looking like the cells from prison architect without floors, so I wonder whether I could just switch their purposes, build larger rooms to put the beds in while at the same time using the smaller ones for my workshops. I also generally want a larger colony building with corridors allowing traversal instead of the one blob with different rooms that I have right now. Unfortunately the first two rooms like this that I have constructed are 5x5, which my colonists still deem boring instead of awful, the wiki says 6x6 is optimal. Demanding little fuckers. They should be happy I gave each a shelf, a cupboard and some decorations I stole from the nearby haunted ruins! Also I still need to work on the flooring, it's not like I'm lacking any materials what with the copious amounts of sandstone boulders filling up my landfill... And then comes electricity. I guess for the winter I need some heating and I guess once I got a battery I can also replace my torches with electric lights.

Ah... and I want to try to tame a boar. Somehow a sow self-tamed herself and I built her a tiny little animal pen, but some more pigs would be neat to be able to store up meat for winter as long as they can graze on their own. And I now read you can completely avoid my worries by setting up an inside farm with special lamps. Still so much to figure out. Also I managed to catch a raider and try to convince him to join the colony. A short time later a drop pod with an old man crashed nearby, this one I rescued and let go to improve my relationship with a neighbor. I'm wondering why even neutral looking tribes are so hostile...

Man, I love Rimworld, played almost 600hrs of it and currently on my 5th start.

Some tips:
- Check the soil fertility when you plant as it impacts the time it takes. Rice won't grow in 3 days like it says on the tooltip (at least not in normal fertility soil), since it doesn't grow during the night when it 'rests'. As a rule of thumb, it will take almost twice as long to grow a plant than what it says on the tool tip. Usually if you plan rice in the high fertility soil, it actually does grow in 3 to 4 days rather than 5 to 6. Potato have low fertility sensitivity so they don't benefit as much from high fertility soils. I find Rice to be the best early game, get some good farming levels and quick harvest. I tend to go as far as to set my base near fertile soil (although it might be a bit late in your case). Feel free to plant heaps of rice at all the nearby high fertility soil.

- Wind power is pretty random and not at all reliable. You definitely need battery if you go that route. Most reliable method is a combination of Wind and Solar + batteries. Wood fired generator is a good stop gap, but if you don't want to use it, a simple method to avoid needing a fridge is to simply cook vegetarian or simple meals and only cook enough food for 3 days (2 meal per day per colonist). Note that Rice/Potato/Corn last a fairly long time even without a fridge as long as they are roofed and indoors (60 days for rice iirc, berries degrade quicker though). Simple Meals can be made with just potato/rice/berries etc. I tend to have a large warehouse for my farm harvest and only store meat and meals in the fridge. This allows the fridge to be smaller initially and only use one cooler, later on as the colony grows, it needs to be larger, be double walled and need more coolers.

- Batteries won't typically explode as long as its indoors and roofed. Usually the batteries will discharge and randomly fry the cables somewhere along the electrical network and potentially start a fire, which can be annoying but well worth the hassle. Batteries are a MUST! You can mitigate the issues by making sure you don't have wooden walls or wooden floors where your electrical cables run. I tend to have two battery rooms (with atleast 5-6 batteries) with a switch to turn one room off. This means when the batteries randomly discharge all their power, i have a backup battery array to take the load. But this is advance pre-planning for toxic fallout/eclipse/volcanic ash events etc, so maybe don't worry about that at this stage.

- Your room sizes are fine really, you just need to improve its beauty/impressiveness. Flooring is critical to that as the exposed dirt floor has -3 beauty, so larger rooms result in BIGGER debuffs unless you floor it to negate/improve the beauty. Art/sculptures will also help with this.

- You can utilise Campfire to provide heat during winter. Torches also give off some minor heat, so it can be useful for heating the bedrooms. Note that double walls help with insulation if you get extreme events.

- The sun lamp takes a TON of power but is totally worth it for food security. But i won't say it is a must. It's more for mid/late game or for the harder difficulty/harder maps. Definitely worth playing around with though as it provides a lot of security. Solar panel+sunlamp greenhouses can be a very powerful combo specially if you combine it with high fertility soil tiles (or hydroponics). Note that solar panel power production and sunlamp power usage lines up very well.

3 hours ago, Toth said:

Awww, my prisoner suddenly got the plague and died just as he was on the cusp of joining my group. What a shame... and quite baffling, given how I have 2 doctors in my group. Which, come to think of it, might be the reason why I am always so slow to get things done, what with them sucking in pretty much every other area or are even incapable of doing it altogether, so my survivor guy has to do everything on his own, even though he would very much prefer to work with plants.

Speaking of plants... well, the summer is still ongoing and I somehow managed to get two more harvests of rice and one of potato in... so I guess my initial worries were unfounded and instead I actually got I surprisingly fully stocked freezer now. I'm now somewhat confident I can make it through the winter. Especially since I have now started with the production of warm clothes.

Though... I think I REALLY need to focus more on research. I did built a battery by now, but while it does decrease my powerless intervals, my windpower plant still sucks badly and there are still outages, meaning I have to back it up with solar cells and some geothermal energy before I can allow myself to really rely on electricity.

- You can change your work priority manually rather than the default/automatic. This gives you control over which colonist prioritize which task, so doctors will do doctoring first, planters will harvest/plant/cut trees first then haul etc. Its a bit of work to set up properly but is extremely useful. A rule of thumb is to put high priority to the passion/burning passion skills and always have at least one colonist who has high priority on Research (note that you can have multiple research bench if you want to rush some research). If your doctors are useless in other things, prioritise them for hauling and cleaning. Rule of thumb is to have at least one colonist cover one aspect of the colony, i.e. atleast one colonist whose highest prioirty is doctoring, one constructor, one planter, one cook etc. They can all do hauling/cleaning as secondary. You can then expand that with animal focus, mining focus, crafting focus colonist as your colony gets bigger.

Edited by The Winged Shadow
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15 hours ago, Ser Drewy said:

I've been playing the Anniversary Edition of Skyrim. The game is still compelling and it's great fun to just wander about in, especially with the travelling music. Plus, being a werewolf is fun. I also don't think I ever played the expansions, so that's something new.

But there's some seriously noticeable flaws. The amount of glitches is pretty ridiculous. Half the time I've set off with a companion they've inevitably gotten caught on a wall or something and remained there running whilst I clear out everybody. I've seen flying mammoths, a guy trying to walk his horse into a house, using a light attack and having the enemies zoom away spinning and flying upwards,  and a plot conversation where the NPC got stuck repeating the same phrase over and over and over. Way too many times, during a conversation, the music is far too loud; or, even worse, several people will start speaking at once. The dragon fights get a bit boring and repetitive after awhile, even if the Dragonborn powers are cool. The main quest plot and the characters are pretty much nothings. Compared to stuff like Horizon: Zero Dawn or Witcher III, Skyrim's story is just... boring. And the dungeon/burial mound levels get samey fast.

But it's still really pretty entertaining to play through.

Yeah, I did a replay with the Anniversary Edition (also known as "barely noticeably improving anything,") and I got another 50 hours out of it, but had to drop off. I think as an open-world, do what you want to change the world game it's been seriously outdated even by Fallout 4 (effectively the same game with guns, but also much better graphics, a far better UI and the settlement building stuff really adds a different dimension to the game), and as a story/character-focused open-world game, well it's never been that, but The Witcher 3 and Horizon: Zero Dawn leave it in a cocked hat.

The atmosphere and worldbuilding (albeit much of it inherited from Morrowind and Oblivion) are still top notch, and mods can fulfil a lot more of the potential of the game.

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I've also been intrigued by Wartales, but I've been burned by early access way too many times to touch it for now. Also, I'm simply overwhelmed by the games currently on my plate that I've mentioned before. And at some point this month after it releases on PC I'm going to get God of War (2018)

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Completed FF7 Remake and found the old itch was back, I fired up FF7 OG. I found that the Remako mod I used last time has been abandoned (I mean, you can still use it but it's no longer being updated) but a newer mod called Tsunamods has taken on the task. Will fire it up and get to grips with it.

Spent the morning replaying King of Dragon Pass, which is always good to while away a few hours whilst you work out if you want to ally with the Duck People or fight off the Horse Nomads.

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Finished up my XCOM: Long War campaign without getting any of the soldiers named after friends killed so that was nice.

Overall I had a lot of fun with the campaign but it did help me realise what I do and do not like in these kind of games, and reminded me of the persistent issues I feel that almost all similar games (and those in the broader strategy sphere) face with regards to their late games. I know that many of the strategy games crowd like these things but I actually really kinda hate much of the way that the global strategy board game plays out - whether it's XCOM or Civilisation or whatever it seems that with all of these strategy games you have a situation where your early decisions have such a disproportionate impact on how the rest of your game plays out, despite the early game being the most constrained with the least options and generally least fun gameplay, and where an ongoing series of small advantages accruing through good play / knowledge of optimal strategies and decision making leads inevitably to a snowball that renders much of the midgame and all of the lategame unbalanced and mostly irrelevant as one side or the other spirals out of control towards an inevitable victory or loss. I wish that when these games were against computer opponents they didn't need to be effectively zero-sum where my gain is the AI's loss and vice versa - maybe I'm weird but I've never been interested in actually winning the overall campaign/game: I want to have good interesting battles.

In XCOM in particular the issue is multiplied because the advantages (or disadvantages) accrued on the strategy layer leak in to the tactical layer resulting in increasing numbers of missions that are either so difficult as to be unplayable or laughably easy and boring which leads to further snowballing. This is especially frustrating because a lot of the most fun/powerful/interesting soldier abilities and items are only available deep into the game, but by the time you get access to them the game is over - if not in actuality then effectively - which makes playing with them a lot less fun.

Edited by Poobah
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Hmm. I think Remako was probably the better of the two HD FF7 mods. It does a single upscaling pass which has the most immediately spectacular results and leaves it at that, leaving something that looks like the original game just improved. Tsunamods tries to do a ton of other things including multiple AI upscaling passes which has made some areas look a lot better but a lot of other things look a little muddy and washed-out. It's still vastly better than trying to play the original, but I think Remako is a better bet for playing something truer to the original feel of the game.

However, getting Remako to work is so much of a pain in the arse. You ideally need a copy of the original CD-ROM version of the game (I have it but 99% of people do not), it's awkward AF to work with the Steam version and even the GoG version is awkward to get working. You also need to use the 7th Heaven external mod-manager, and there's a lot of trial and error fiddling before it finally works. It also crashed a few times and sometimes would just stop working and not work again unless you did a full reinstall.

Against that, Tsunamods is two zip files which auto-extract into Steam and start working perfectly, immediately. Also Tsunamods does have much better 3D character models (in both battles and the main adventuring section) and much better spell effects.

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Been playing through Hades over the long weekend and pulled off two wins.  First was a shield throwing build with Ares and multiple hits.  In Styx I got the duo boon that drops doom on reflect with the reflect god call, which made hades an absolute breeze.  Picked him off little by little while mostly hiding and letting doom work its magic, then when my god was full I just face tanked him with regular attack that was basically just doom over and over.

Second build was a run I did this morning with the spear and Poseidon and Zeus.  Got Poseidon on my special and dash, filled in Zeus on my call, got the duo boon that hits with lightning on knockback, jolt, double lightning hit, extra lighting on hit, and spear skewer that would seek out up to 7 targets on a single throw.  Just destroyed rooms by the end and only died once to Hades.

Really, the change for me between getting to Hades and beating him were a few really useful mirror mods.  Deep pockets to start out w/ 100 gold, dark foresight to have a better chance at some useful rooms, family favorite to get an extra 20% damage for all types of damage once you have 4 god boons (which, IMO, should be the most you should go for), fated persuasion to re-roll what the boons are so you can actually "go" for a build, and all the basic ones (more deaths, casts, dashes, life, etc...).  Another good tip I got was to never take a god keepsake with you into Elysium.  I've been alternating between extra death, extra life, and 100 gold.  With this I pretty much never die before the dynamic duo in Elysium (unless I get a particularly bad run), and at least 50% of the time get to Hades (who still kicks my ass 90% of the time).

Overall, super fun game that's got me hooked.  Still trying to get a decent run out of the sword since I've only gotten double edge or flurry once each, have only scratched the surface of the fists, shelved the bow since I unlocked its prophecy, and haven't even touched the rail.

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For me, the sword in Hades didn't really get rolling until I unlocked the 4th aspect of it. That version is crazy OP for my playstyle. I think the initial aspect is particularly weak though on purpose, as another way to gate new players from advancing too far too quickly.

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I just saw that the Steam Awards for 2021 named a VR Cooking Simulator as the best VR game of the year…

Okay, so I’m pretty glad I haven’t shelled out for a VR device if that’s the best there is to offer. :lol: 

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The aspect of Chiron is great. Adamant Rail/Eris is also really, really strong. Arthur is great by itself. Shield is okay though gets beat out later in terms of damage output. The spear is just...meh, though Aspect of Hades is mildly okay. 

I've never been super happy with Fists, but it's fine. 

A combo that makes things easy mode is Ares Cast with the Ares/Artemis boon. Making ares casts homing turns them from a mild annoyance to a ridiculous ez mode where you can cast them, run away, and have things die. If you can also combine this with the Zeus duo boon lightning rod (where your cast crystals do damage when they're sitting around) you can kill basically everything without even touching things.

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I'm still playing Hades as well, albeit on a much lower level than you guys. I've unlocked all six weapons and, I think, gotten to the Elysium duo with each. I'm still a very weak player mechanically, especially with all the melee weapons. They're delightful to use, all of them, but I am completely unable to recognize incoming damage on even the easiest fights as soon as there are multiple enemies. 

For now the colosseum twins are a huge issue, as no matter how strong my build is, having two bosses with different cues to monitor for incoming damage is the end of the line for me. I had an absolute monster of a run going last night (high damage single target from range with the Rail with movement and reflect keeping me almost full health all the way to that point) and tried to live as long as I could against them just to sort out their incoming damage cues and movement patterns. I think I made some progress, but frankly I'd say I have less than a 1/3rd chance to even reach them unless I luck into strong skills to get me through the shredder that is Elysium for me.

It's definitely a superb game. I'm finding myself logging back onto my grindy looter games, though, as I'm very much a two monitor gamer with a stream or game or youtube video on, a spotify playlist, etc. Hades I'm like sitting up straight focused like I'm going taking the bar exam, and although the entire game is focused around dying and trying new builds, I'm the type of gamer to uninstall a game forever after an upsetting death, not try the boss again.

On that note, I've really been kicking the crap out of Grim Dawn, which is superb just on the merits of its campaign and lore. I have a couple really strong endgame builds now. I have a single player mod for infinite stashing, and if there's anything that scratches my gamer itch, it's an unnecessarily large digital pile of collected loot. Although the combat is far less satisfying than other ARPGs, there are a couple skills I still want to level and dive into some endgame with. It'll likely get me through til February, which is a massive month for games I am interested in. I can play my summoner build with only the mouse, get my loots, and still have about 80% of my focus on other things.

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