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3161  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Oblivion: My Punishment. on: March 30, 2006, 07:42:50 PM
I agree with -Lord Ebonstone-.  I've been buying computer games since they shipped on 5 1/4" floppy disks, and I can count the number of times I've had a legitimate media failure on one hand.  This sounds a lot more like a failing DVD drive...or perhaps even one of those StarForce-related drive problems...? :shock:

-Autistic Angel
3162  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Revolution Specs on IGN - Less Powerful than the Xbox 1 on: March 30, 2006, 07:31:15 PM
I'm interested in the *idea* of the Revolution, but I'm skeptical on how well developers will be able to implement its unique control scheme.  The gaming industry is currently thriving on sequels because creating new franchises is riskier and more expensive.  Now we're going to have a gaming system which expects developers to embrace a control scheme which is unlike anything else on the market?  The Revolution is much, much more ambitious than the Nintendo DS, and just think of how infrequent it is to find games that make good use of the two screens and the touch screen.

Then there's the issue of training the consumer how to set up and use the thing properly.  Consider hooking up a PC.  They've only got half-a-dozen cords and most of them are color coded...but do you know anyone who throws their hands up in a panic if they're asked to get one plugged in?  I'd wager that the vast majority of XBox 360 support calls relate to connection issues with the HDTV cables or the wireless controllers.  Now we're going to expect people to properly place sensors around their television to create an invisble sensor net for a completely unique controller?

I think the Revolution *could* be actually be a revolutionary system.  I love the idea of a sword fighter that allows the player to actually control the blade in real-time, or a first-person shooter that lets you actually aim and shoot in a completely natural way.  I just think there are a *lot* of hurdles to navigate before that incredibly promise can be realized....

-Autistic Angel
3163  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Black / White? on: March 30, 2006, 06:18:15 PM
This show has been very interesting to watch so far.  It's one of those series where I'm always interested to see what happens, but I'm not sure I'd say that I "enjoy."  I'm not sure how I feel about the freeform nature of the show.  There doesn't seem to be any rules to try and structure how things unfold -- the people are free to spend as much time in or out of makeup as they want, and their choice of activities seem to be completely up to them.

That can be very frustrating in some ways.  The white father in particular seems solely intent on proving that "racism" is nothing but a myth perpetrated by black people to justify their lack of ambition, capability, or culture.  He automatically tunes out any information to the contrary, and because there's nothing on the show that requires him to do anything outside this normal comfort zone, he just keeps choosing situations where he can try to reinforce his own preconceptions.  The way he talked to that black professor in last night's episode was just asinine.

(Fortunately it doesn't always work.  He seemed completely baffled by his trip to a black comedy club because the comedians didn't spend their entire time complaining about white people.)

Frankly, the black mother seems equally dogmatic, except she seems to believe *everything* is racially motivated.  Like the white father, she's only interested in proving her own point of view.  The series is almost over, and as far as I can tell, the only thing she's done is criticize the white family and go out to a bar to seek out the drunkest, stupidest guy she could find to confirm that white people are racists.

On the other hand, the freeform structure of the show does seem to work very well in other ways, especially when it comes to the white daughter.  Every episode seems to feature Rose throwing herself into a situation where she normally "wouldn't belong" in an attempt to experience things from a unique perspective.  I think she's lead a pretty sheltered life, and I think the combination of her naivete, her choice of activities, and her open-mindedness about what happens makes her stories the most interesting.

The white mother's naivete is much, much less charming.  Who the hell would go up to someone they just met and ask, in front of a group, if he was gay or straight?  I don't think Carmen is racist or even insensitive...just socially inept and clueless to a cringe-worthy degree.

On the whole, though, I really wish this show had more follow-through.  Or even *any* follow-through.   If Rose feels she's treated shabbily while shopping in an upscale white neighborhood, she should go back the next day as a white girl and show how things change.  I don't know if that's too much like "gotcha journalism," but it would sure help to put their perceptions into perspective.

-Autistic Angel
3164  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Oblivion: Mods on: March 28, 2006, 02:33:42 PM
I agree with Turtle: while I would not use mods I believe unbalance the game or make it overly easy, I don't frown on the people who would.  The whole idea of the Elder Scrolls games is to let people set their own objectives and have their own fun, and they should be allowed to do that.

I tend to like mods which add something new to the game, or which fix something that seems like an oversight by the developers.  The Khajiit Night Eye toggle is one example; the face pack that replaced every head in Morrowind with one that looked a lot better *and* had fewer polygons is another.  Who knows what Oblivion could be like in a year's time?

-Autistic Angel
3165  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / The Return of Chef on: March 25, 2006, 01:42:40 AM
Yes, Suitably Ironic Moniker is correct.

The idea that Homer Simpson was originally voiced by a different actor seems to be an incredibly widespread and popular urban legend -- I've heard people credit everyone from Ed O'Neill to Matt Groening to Vin Diesel as being the "original" voice of Homer, but it's been Dan Castellaneta from the start.

-Autistic Angel
3166  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Impressions on: March 24, 2006, 07:12:43 PM
Quote from: "Destructor"
Also, the sound you make (heavy armor and jumping around like mad) as well as the light around you (are you near a burning fireplace or tucked into the dark corner?) do affect if mobs can see you or not. In addition, approaching somebody from the front instead of the back makes a large difference. Same if your target is an animal or a humanoid (or undead).


It would be nice if there were some way to indicate which mobs in the environment are or are not aware of your presence.  For example, if I get off my horse and move to sneak up on an enemy imp in the distance, my "Eye" display shows that I'm detectable because my horse can see me.

Instead, it would be cool if there were an "Eye" indicator over the mob's head, allowing me to see which enemies are or are not aware of my presence.  In other words, the bright Eye over my horse would indicate that he knows where I am, but the dim Eye over the enemy's head would suggest that he hasn't seen me yet.

Also, speaking of dead NPCs, I had a very ususual thing happen to me in my game.  I was stopping in a local inn for the night and heard some combat going on above me, so I rushed upstairs to see a guard named Agnes God-Hater laying the smackdown on some would-be thief she'd discovered.  She promptly dispatched him, and I turned in for the night well-assured that I'd be safe from any brigands so long as Agnes remained on duty.

The next morning, I woke up refreshed and had just completed leveling my character up when all of a sudden AGNES' DEAD BODY CAME TUMBLING OUT OF THE RAFTERS ABOVE MY ROOM!!!  :shock:  :shock:  :shock:

Needless to say, I was shocked and horrified to the point where I was barely able to loot everything from her corpse and leave her body posed in a humorous position before heading downstairs to order some food.  The innkeeper, for her part, seemed completely oblivious to the fact that her guard had been slain overnight, and my character didn't seem to think it was worth mentioning.

I'm assuming this was a bug, but it's an awfully weird one.  Has anyone else had something similar happen to them.  (For the record, I'm playing the PC version....)

-Autistic Angel
3167  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Oblivion: Mods on: March 24, 2006, 05:52:41 PM
Quote
Got a Khajiit and wish you didn't have to recast your Eye of Night spell every 30 seconds? This mod turns it into a toggle spell. Cast it once to turn it on, cast it again to turn it off.
http://www.tessource.net/files/file.php?id=1797


I'm going to be all over this once I get home this evening.  I'm very selective about what sorts of mods I install, but the Khajiit Night Eye ability logically seems like an inherent racial trait that should be toggled on or off at will.

I hope this thread stays around for a long time -- I'd love to read impressions about new mods as people try them out!

-Autistic Angel
3168  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Impressions on: March 23, 2006, 04:54:35 AM
I haven't used fast travel even once so far.  I'm sure I'll want to use it eventually, but for the moment, I enjoy exploring the countryside and poking through any curious ruins I encounter.

-Autistic Angel
3169  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Oblivion - GOLD - Ships 3/20!! on: March 22, 2006, 07:15:09 AM
My system specs:

    Pentium D 3.2 ghz
    2-gigs dual channel RAM
    Two 250-gig SATA hard drives w/16-megs cache -> RAID 0
    nVidia 7800GTX PCI-Express card
    5.1 sound


The game defaulted to "Ultra High" graphic settings at 1024x768.  I moved that up to 1280x960 which is my preferred resolution.  Also, I unchecked the VSync option since I can always turn that back on if the frame tearing is too noticeable -- so far, at 85hz, it hasn't bothered me at all, and the game has been running flawlessly.

I decided to stick with my original plan to play as a sneaky thief-like character with some Illusion powers.  In Morrowind and Daggerfall I typically specialized in short blades, but the bow combat in Oblivion seems like a lot of fun so far, so I took a major skill in Marksmanship, too.

Let me give a spoiler-free example of something that happened to me:

After leaving the tutorial dungeon, I decided to walk all the way to my first destination so I could check out the countryside.  Night had already fallen, so the campfire ahead caught my eye long before I was close enough for anyone near it to have seen me.  Time to sneak!

Khajiit have a special racial ability which allow them to see in the dark without a torch, casting the entire world in an ethereal blue glow.  It was because of this nightvision that, part way to the campfire, I noticed a large rock outcropping which extended partially over the camp.  What better vantage point to scope things out?

Creeping up onto the ridge, I could clearly see down into the camp.  A lone guard was walking the perimeter, peering out into the darkness beyond the flicker of the campfire.  Easy pickings.  I knocked an arrow into my bow, adjusted my aim a little bit for the trajectory, and planted a shot right between the lip of his helmet and the collar of his breast plate.  He went down, quick and silent.

Now, I'd like to say that I was "role-playing" an inexperienced, foolish new adventurer, but the truth is that I was just being "actually" inexperienced and foolish when I leapt down from my perch without scoping out the full situation first.  By the time I realized my victim had a friend, he was already howling vengeance and clubbing me with his massive warhammer.  :oops:

I very, very nearly died in that enounter, but his berzerker rage ultimately proved no match for the combination of my superior feline speed and readiness to run away like a mewling coward.  Hooray for me!  Cool

It's much too early to offer a real opinion, but I have to say that I've been having a great time with this game so far!

-Autistic Angel
3170  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / -Lord Ebonstone-'s Affect? on: March 21, 2006, 08:00:36 PM
-Lord Ebonstone- has been collecting some negative impressions of Oblivion and reposting them on this forum.  What does this behavior make you most want to do?

decide / reaffirm your decision not to buy the game at all



cancel your preorder (if any) and wait for more in-depth reviews to come along



readjust your expectations to a less idealistic level



stay the course, making absolutely no changes in your plans or expectations at all



anticipate the game even more and become determined to "prove him wrong"



ignore -Lord Ebonstone-'s posts



Ellen Pompeo

3171  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] Oblivion - Character Creation/Description Thread on: March 21, 2006, 03:21:12 AM
Quote
Dude, that was a copy/paste from the official Oblivion forums.


Right, but were you the one who originally posted it?  :wink:

-Autistic Angel
3172  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] Oblivion - Character Creation/Description Thread on: March 20, 2006, 04:23:17 PM
In Daggerfall and Morrowind, I played a custom version of the "Nightshade" class: a sneaky thief with access to some spellcasting for chameleon and invisibility-type spells.  I may or may not try something original this time around -- I'm tempted to go with a warrior-type Nord with some Restoration magic powers....

-Autistic Angel
3173  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Are you lonely?You're not alone. on: March 20, 2006, 04:04:36 PM
There's something odd about the angle of that photograph -- that woman looks like her head accounts for about 60% of her total body mass.

-Autistic Angel
3174  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] Oblivion - GOLD - Ships/In Stores 3/20!!! on: March 19, 2006, 06:30:59 PM
I can only play PC games with the mouse inverted, and I can only play console games with the "look" stick non-inverted.  Go figure. Cool

-Autistic Angel
3175  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 1990: Limbaugh Shouted Down On National Television on: March 18, 2006, 01:07:04 AM
Quote
On the "intelligent discussion" part, it's hard to claim he brings much to the table to begin with.


Maybe, but screaming incoherent accusations and profane insults at him says a lot more about the audience member than it does about Rush.

If you want to take issue with something Rush says, do it in a sensible way.  Giving in to emotion is just going to prove him right that you're "too unstable" and "too immature" to bother trying to communicate with.

-Autistic Angel
3176  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 1990: Limbaugh Shouted Down On National Television on: March 18, 2006, 12:08:44 AM
http://www.panopticist.com/archives/187.html

Yikes!

Although I think the title "A Bully Gets Bullied" is incredibly appropriate, that doesn't mean I think the bullying was appropriate.  Freedom of speech doesn't belong to whoever has the loudest voice, the highest platform, or the most disruptive behavior, and the fact that I dislike Rush Limbaugh doesn't mean I don't think he should be heard.  It's an interesting feeling to sympathize with Rush, but some of the audience members in this clip are really wildly out of line.

Anyways, it's an interesting clip.

-Autistic Angel
3177  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / X3 Reunion - any AI allies? on: March 17, 2006, 04:14:46 AM
Once you own more than one ship, you can install them with AI combat modules which will allow their on-board computers to pilot them in battle.  They also make AI trading modules for allowing ships to conduct trading runs by themselves.

-Autistic Angel
3178  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] Oblivion - GOLD - Ships/In Stores 3/20!!! on: March 16, 2006, 06:53:08 PM
I've done a forum search for this, but I haven't seen it mentioned: can someone tell me if its still possible to become a werewolf or a vampire in Oblivion?

I still rank being infected with lycanthropy in Daggerfall -- something had no idea was even possible -- as one of my all-time favorite gaming moments.

-Autistic Angel
3179  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Movies Expansion on: March 15, 2006, 09:30:44 PM
I really enjoyed playing The Movies, though I'm disappointed that the in-game tools were insufficient to let me make my zombies-with-lightsabers epic Darth of the Dead.

Anyways, I'll definitely be picking up the expansion pack.  I already have a specific project in mind that the Stunts & Effects pack will *definitely* let me produce....

-Autistic Angel
3180  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / No more Chef in South Park on: March 14, 2006, 06:24:02 PM
I like that episode of South Park where a random town resident was shown drawings of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny, and she replied, "Well, that fat one looks like Dakota Fanning."

Is there anything funnier than a nationally aired television show making fun of a 12-year-old girl's weight?

-Autistic Angel
3181  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Guitar Hero question... on: March 13, 2006, 09:38:32 PM
You're in luck: we had a poll question about this very topic a while back where some real guitar experts weighed in.

-Autistic Angel
3182  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Black / White? on: March 10, 2006, 02:58:40 PM
Quote
The eggs? That isn't a white thing, thats a slob thing.


I'm trying to figure out why somebody would do that at all.  It seems like putting the empty shells back into the carton is actually more work than simply throwing them away.

Quote
I think that the white guy has a LOT to learn though...he is in fantasy land.


I'll be interested to see if he does learn anything from this.  He seems completely dedicated to the idea that racism is entirely in the eye of the beholder...so much that he may be completely closed off to any of the more subtle changes in how people treat him.

As the only cast member who's absolutely convinced that nothing is going to change for him, it'll be really interesting to see what, if anything, can change his mind.

Have they said how long it takes to get the people into their makeup?  It looks like it's got to be at least three hours.

-Autistic Angel
3183  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who Is Your Arch Nemesis? on: March 07, 2006, 10:10:05 PM
Quote from: "disarm"
definitely Purple Box with An 'X' Inside...little bastards swing around and nail me all the time


This was my vote, too.  The big ones are fast and have an unnerving habit of coming straight in on you from the direction you're moving, and shooting one spawns three littler ones that whirl around and can be tricky to hit even during a lull in the action.

The Orange Snakes tend to hem you in and those blue diamons have a nasty tendancy to whip around the red circles and slam into you, but Purple Box with an 'X' Inside cause most of my deaths.

Quote from: "warning"
We really need a picture of Ellen Pompeo to judge by.


Unfortunately, I couldn't find any specific pictures of the other poll options, so I figured it would be unfair to include a PomPicture.

-Autistic Angel
3184  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who Is Your Arch Nemesis? on: March 07, 2006, 05:18:43 PM
See above.
3185  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [360] Oblivion - GOLD - Ships/In Stores 3/20!!! on: March 05, 2006, 04:32:19 PM
Quote from: "Scoop20906"
Dammit, I can't make up my mind if I should get the 360 version or PC version. PC version is superior but my 360 has a nice big 33 inch Hi-Def LCD and I can play it while lying in bed.


IGN recently posted a discussion about this very topic.

-Autistic Angel
3186  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: March 05, 2006, 02:14:28 AM
Quote
What's better, GalCiv2 or Space Rangers 2?

Or is that an apples and oranges thing?


It's a little like asking, "What's better, Master of Orion II or Privateer?"  They're both excellent games, but your genre preferences will determine which one you enjoy more.

-Autistic Angel
3187  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Spore! on: March 04, 2006, 03:45:56 PM
I wonder if you *have* to eventually walk on land, or if you could create a purely aquatic species that could create domed water-filled cities on land.

-Autistic Angel
3188  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: March 04, 2006, 04:50:29 AM
Daehawk, speaking as someone who loves Master of Orion II and who felt deeply betrayed by Master of Orion III, I have to say that I'm having a blast with Galactic Civilizations II.  I think I'll be coming back to this game for many, many years to come, and I think you'll enjoy it too.

-Autistic Angel
3189  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Katrina: Bush and the administration were explicitly warned on: March 03, 2006, 02:43:24 AM
Quote
Towards the end of the video, the meteorologist Max Mayfield says that he has no idea "if the levees will be topped or not." That's a huge difference between the levees being breached. Mayfield seems to indicate he's not sure if water will go over the levees. He says nothing about the levees being breached.


Hey, that looks like fun!  Let me try:

During one of the briefings, Michael Brown talks in-depth about how the New Orleans' primary shelter is going to be the Superdome.  However, at no point does he say that it's going to be used to shelter *people.*  Therefore, when he said three days after Katrina that he was just learning about the humanitarian crisis there for the first time, we can't technically prove that he was lying.

Whee!

-Autistic Angel
3190  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: March 03, 2006, 01:24:48 AM
I have a question about one of the graphic options to "Disable Engine Trails" -- whether this option is checked or not, I never see any engine exhaust or anything, even during full Fleet Combat.

Does this go for everyone, or can someone post a screenshot of what "Engine Trails" are supposed to look like?

-Autistic Angel
3191  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Spore! on: March 03, 2006, 12:58:47 AM
This is probably my most anticipated upcoming game.  Unfortunately, even though it's listed for a "Q3 2006" release date, I'll be shocked if it isn't delayed at least 12-months beyond that. frown

-Autistic Angel
3192  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST 03/01 [Episode Spoilers] on: March 03, 2006, 12:54:53 AM
Quote
The make up and costumes were left behind intentionally. I'm thinking this means that whatever purpose the others had in pretending they were pirates is finished. Probably because they got Walt. Now the others will just appear as themselves is my guess.


The Others already had Walt when Big Beardo squared off with Jack in the jungle, yet he was still wearing his ragged clothing and had his beard.  It's really only been a few weeks since Claire had been kidnapped, so it's unlikely he could have grown a real beard that size -- I think they're still wearing their "disguises."

-Autistic Angel
3193  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Katrina: Bush and the administration were explicitly warned on: March 02, 2006, 03:23:29 PM
Quote
I watched the video this morning and am angry beyond measure. I thought the Katrina problem was just an example of incompetency on all sides. Turns out Bush was blatantly and brazenly lying when he said that no one could have imagined the scope of this.


You took the words right out of my mouth.  That's probably for the best -- I don't think I can discuss this topic in a calm or reasonable way at the moment.

I know this will probably get me shouted down as a "Bush hater," but I really, honestly, urgently *HATE* the fact that an American president can go on national television to cover his own ass by telling bald-faced lies to the American people, and *nothing* is going to happen about it.

-Autistic Angel
3194  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: March 02, 2006, 06:33:47 AM
Quote from: "TheMissingLink"
4-6) Starbases. I am having problem with starbases. I know it takes a constructor ship to go to a resource and create a base there, and they takign more constructor ships will upgrade it, but I kept only getting one basic upgrade every time! I'm guessing I missed a tech somewhere...Plus, I am able to build a starship anywhere, right? The option never came up for me - so yeah, I KNOW I missed a tech!


If you send a Constructor to a galactic resource, it will automatically build a Mining platform and prepare to harvest the resource.  You can also build a "regular" starbase by moving your Constructor to an empty square and clicking on "Construct."  Mining bases add bonuses which benefit your entire civilization, while normal bases only affect units or planets within their vicinity.  You can see the area of effect by clicking once on an existing starbase, but I don't know of any way to preview the AoE for a base you're about to build.

Every Constructor you send to an existing base will let you add one additional module, but your choices will depend on which modules you've researched and what type of base you're upgrading.  For example, researching the orange "Xeno Production" line will allow you to upgrade Mining bases to produce bigger and bigger bonuses for your civilization, while researching red "Starbase Fortification" and "Starbase Projection" technologies will allow you to add powerful defensive and offensive modules to Military starbases.

Military bases can provide a major combat advantage for your ships within range by enhancing their attack and defense rating in different categories.  The Energy Grid module, for example, will give nearby ships an additional point to their armor defense, while the Inverse Tractor Beam module will give passing ships an additional movement point.  Most of these upgrades are found along the red research paths.

Economic bases can be upgraded with production modules which will increase the military, domestic, and research production of every colony within range.  This *only* affects colonies which are within the starbase's area of effect, so these are best suited for areas where you have multiple colonies in close proximity.  Economic bases can also be upgraded with trading modules which will boost the income generated by any mini-freighter which ends its turn within the base's range.  If you've got several trade routes passing through a certain area, put an Economic base there to maximize your profits!  Most of the upgrades for Economic bases are found along the yellow research paths.

Influence bases can be used to increase your cultural output and expand your societal borders.  There are lots of advantages to pushing your influence out as far as possible, including increased tourism revenue and the fact that flooding an alien colony with your culture may eventually cause it to defect and join your civilization peacefully.  Also, certain measures passed by Galactic Senate will earn you tax money for any foreign colonies or starbases which are within your cultural borders.  Most upgrades for Influence starbases can be found along the yellow research path.

Mining bases harvest galactic resources to benefit your entire civilization.  Their mining rate can be increased by adding modules researched along the orange research path.

All starbase module upgrades are cumulative.  If you upgrade a mining base with a +2% module and a +3% module, your total bonus will be 5%.  Place two economic starbases within range of the same colony, and the colony will reap the benefits provided by both.  However, your maximum number of starbases depends on your research along the Logistics line.  I believe you can build more, but each starbase beyond the limit becomes increasingly expensive.

I think that's as much as I know...let me know if there's anything I need to clarify or correct.

Quote from: "TheMissingLink"
I have some questions:

Since I'm submitting games to the metaverse, I am trying to get the highest points possible - are some victories worth more than others? For instance, my last game, I was able to pretty much force two other races into a war and turtle up and get a tech win, but I'm guessing something like an influence win would give more points. Anyone know for sure?


I haven't done anything with the metaverse yet, so I don't know about this one.

Quote
Has anyone ever been able to form a damn allience? I made sure to have the tech researched and even traded it a race that I had "warm" relations with; shouldn't the option come up?


I've formed alliances, but I know what you mean about certain options not coming up in diplomatic negotiations.  In one recent game, I desperately wanted to recruit the Iconian Refugees to help me fight the Arceans, but that option never appeared in the "Attack...." request.  I assume the game is automatically removing options which the AI will never, ever agree to, but I don't actually know.

-Autistic Angel
3195  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: March 02, 2006, 04:22:02 AM
I figured out the population cap thing: a planet's maximum population is always equal to the amount of food it's producing.  If your planet produces 23 megatons of food per week, it can support a maximum of 23 billion people.  If it produces 11 megatons of food, it can support 11 billion people.

The interface question I have now is whether it's possible to upgrade or scrap a ship while it's in a planetary orbit.  The only time I can seem to access those commands is when a ship is in a square all by itself -- it can't even be stacked with other identical ships.  Like the food thing, I bet it's just a detail I'm overlooking.

This game is really amazing -- I would have posted more impressions, except I've been too busy playing.  That's almost a cliche, but in this case it's literally true: Galactic Civilizations II has been robbing me of meals, television, and sleep since its release.

A few tips I've learned from experience:

1) Get comfortable adjusting your taxation and spending sliders, including the balance between military, domestic, and research funding.  These are invaluable when you need to acquire a critical technology or finance major planetary renovations in a timely manner.

2) Learn to specialize some of your planets.  Dedicate at least one of your early colonies to manufacturing early in the game to help you crank out colony ships and constructors.  Also, don't forget that you can specify funding priorities on specific planets as well -- a planet loaded with Enhanced Factory complexes needs very little funding on the imperial level to build new spacecraft so long as you prioritize its Military spending.

3) Check the 'Foreign Relations' tab early and often.  The overview screen gives you a great rundown on how your neighbors feel about you, and the report screen will detail why.  It's a lot easier to know which sectors you need to fortify if you know which races are pissed off about your lack of diplomacy skills!

4) Place Economy starbases in parsecs where they're within range of two or more planets and then upgrade them with as many factory modules as you can.  This will give every planet in range a boost to all of its military, domestic, and research endeavors, allowing you to significantly increase the productivity of several colonies at once.

5) Economy starbases can also greatly increase your trade revenue, especially along heavily trafficked trade routes.  Try to place the starbase as far from your freighters' homeworld as possible to maximize the trade bonus you'll receive each turn.

6) Similar to Economy bases, use Military starbases to enhance the defenses of several nearby worlds at once.  Upgrading a Military base with fighter drones, sniper turrets, and missile bays to assist your orbital garrisons makes a huge difference in combat.

7) Researching a faster engine type will automatically upgrade all future Colony Ships and Constructors, but if you have the credits, you can upgrade all existing models just the same as any other ship.  In an emergency, you can also create your own design using multiple engines for a big speed boost.  Don't let that Class 22 planet get stolen away at the last minute!

Cool Don't waste precious space putting sensor arrays on your warships.  Instead, coordinate your fleet movements with your very own S.W.A.C.S. frigates -- add a couple engines to a hull bristling with detection equipment, and you've got a speedy little reconaissance ship to help detect and respond to enemy threats.

9) Remember that your ethical alignment can have a major strategic impact: Good races are less likely to lose planets through revolt, while Evil races automatically extort "protection fees" from alien frighters moving through their territory.  Think about the big picture when making your moral choices.

That's it for now.  I'll post some more if anyone's interested...and if I can break away from the game....

-Autistic Angel
3196  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: February 24, 2006, 01:01:32 AM
I played for a significant amount of time again today, and I haven't suffered any further crashes.  Perhaps reinstalling my video card drivers has fixed the problem.

My early impressions so far are extremely positive.  Much has been made about the game's ability to let you design your own ships, but even so, I was unprepared for just how much customization it allows you.  Every component you add to chassis is physically represented on the ship and can be mounted to any hardpoint you like, and there are even dozens of parts like wings, lights, and antennas which can be added purely for aesthetic purposes.  The entire customization feature is optional, but it's extremely satisfying to piece together your very own design and then see it cruising around the map or engaging in combat.

Combat itself plays out in two different ways.  "Normal" battles are very much like Civilization where ships on the main game map trade attack animations until one or the other is destroyed entirely.  "Full" battles, on the other hand, zoom into show the entire engagment as ships maneuver around each other as they trade weapons fire and launch their defensive measures.  Graphically, these engagments have more in common with X-Wing: Alliance than with Homeworld 2, but the ability to see your ships in action is a welcome addition regardless.

The majority of your time will be spent looking at the main map and the various interface screens anyway, and here the graphics are crisp, clean, and smooth.  Zoom in, and you can see every component placed on every ship in sharp detail.  Zoom far enough out, and every object on the map is replaced with a simple, distinct 2D icon to help you assess the entire strategic situation.  Either way, it's a functional, intuitive, informative and attractive interface.

The same goes for the interface.  From colonial building queues to ship design to imperial policy management, all of the important information is laid out in a logical and accessible fashion that fans of previous "4X" games should be able to pick up almost immediately.  For example, glancing at the planet screen shows you a grid depicting all of the improvements you've built so far, which projects can be upgraded, which area are available for future projects, and so forth.  Simply clicking on any project will give you a detailed description of what it does and how much it costs to maintain.  Alternatively, clicking on the "Summary" button will give you a full rundown on the benefits and costs of every project on the planet.  Considering the sheer amount of information this game is prepared to offer you, it's a real accomplishment that they found such an intuitive way to put it at your fingertips.

The lone exception so far is that I can't seem to find out what a planet's population cap is.  I know where to find the planet's current population, and I know that building agricultural projects will raise the cap, but I can't seem to find out what the cap itself is.

In addition to colonizing planets, GalCiv 2 allows you to build a variety of star bases to help extend your range, project your military power and cultural influence, and generate special bonuses.  Regular bases come in Military, Economy, and Influence flavors and, with the appropriate upgrades, can have a significant strategic impact on the area around them.  While those bases can be placed almost anywhere, mining bases must be constructed over special rare interstellar resources where they'll generate enhancements for your entire empire.

The breadth of options in this game is staggering.  Viable ship designs can range from slow, heavily armored behemoths to nimble hit-and-fade corvettes and anything else you can imagine.  Landing troops on an enemy planet will present you with options for conventional warfare, chemical gas attacks, propoganda bombardments, tidal disruptions, and more.  Space stations and colonies can be customized from cultural centers of interspecies diplomacy to economic powerhouses to military garrisons bristling with weaponry, and they're *all* paths to victory.

Like I said, my first impressions are extremely positive.  smile

-Autistic Angel
3197  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / GameSpot Reviews 'Black' -- 7.4 on: February 23, 2006, 03:24:20 PM
Gameplay: 7
Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Value: 6
Tilt: 7

Overall: 7.4

The Good: Really sharp audiovisual presentation; makes a great first impression; lots of glass to break.

The Bad: Not much reason to play through it more than once; gameplay feels stuck in a rut; disappointing story; often-idiotic artificial intelligence.

Read the full review here.

-Autistic Angel
3198  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: February 23, 2006, 06:21:49 AM
Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
You wouldn't happen to be running on a dual-core processor, would you?

EDIT: If so, be sure you go to your CPU's website and download/install the latest drivers.


I am running a dual-core processor, and following your advice, I checked ASUS' website to see if they had any updated INF drivers for my motherboard chipset.  It looks like I'm already up-to-date on those.  I also checked Intel's website carefully, but if they have any seperate drivers for their processors, I couldn't find them.

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone- also"
Also, you *must* have DirectX 9.0c installed. GalCiv2 does not come with DX9.0c, you'll need to get it from Microsoft.

Finally if none of that works, make a post on GalCiv2.com's forums. Stardock is very good about responding and investigating issues, if it does turn out to be a problem on their end.


DXDIAG confirms that I'm up to DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904).  I know there are different versions of "9.0c", but as far as I can tell, this is the most current one.

Just to be on the safe side, I removed my video card drivers and installed the latest ones right from the nVidia website.  I was then able to play for a good long while without any additional crashes, but I'll report back if the problem persists.

Thanks for the advice so far!

-Autistic Angel
3199  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galactic Civilizations II - Reviews/Impressions on: February 22, 2006, 07:14:28 PM
Has anybody else been suffering crashes?  I've been getting a random "This program has suffered a fatal error and needs to close" which closes the game and leaves me at the Windows desktop with an option to report the error to Microsoft.  Star Wars: Empire At War, by comparison, has been running flawlessly for the last week or so.

Any ideas?

-Autistic Angel
3200  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Galciv II is gold! on: February 20, 2006, 06:28:10 PM
I pre-ordered this game from the website over the weekend and got all the preload stuff installed.  I'm looking forward to playing it tomorrow evening!

-Autistic Angel
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