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3361  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Gaming and HD: N00b Questions on: November 24, 2005, 02:06:30 AM
So lets say I buy an HD ready TV and plug my XBOX with an HD game in it. Does the X act as a 'converter' or would I still need an external box of some sort?

No. Cool

-Autistic Angel

Edit: ...providing you use the HD cables for the 360 which are provided with the Premium system.
3362  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / GamingTrend OFFICIAL XBOX360 Request Thread [COMPLETED] on: November 23, 2005, 10:26:03 PM

I am in line for an Xbox360. I am located in
West Hartford, CT, United States and am willing to pay shipping and cost for :

( ) Core System
(1) Premium System
( ) Bundled Core System
( ) Bundled Premium System
( ) Other Accessories ______________________________

[Edited 12/19/05] -- Still unfulfilled; camped out twice and came up empty.

[Edited 12/22/05] -- GT Transaction Pending....

[Edited 12/23/05] -- PayPal Payment Submitted...

[Edited 12/23/05] -- Unit Shipped Via UPS...

[Edited 12/24/05] -- UPS Delayed Estimated Arrival Date by Four Days...

[Edited 12/26/05] -- Phoning UPS For Explanation...

[Edited 12/27/05] -- Unit Delivered By UPS In Good Condition.  Transaction Complete.
3363  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Lines Already Forming for XB360 on: November 22, 2005, 07:29:08 PM
I waited outside in the rain from about 5:00am until the local BJs Wholesale Club opened at 8:00.  Fifteen minutes before opening, an employee came out, handed ten tickets to the first ten people in line, and told them they were guaranteed an X-Box 360 Premium.  I was second in line at that time.

When the store opened at 8:00, the employee opened the doors only after cautioning everyone not to run or act crazy because everyone with a ticket was guaranteed a system.  Believing him, I didn't bother trying to push to the front of the very short line.

The final X-Box 360 sold to the person in front of me.  The cashier, under the watchful eye of an extremely professional supervisor and an extremely unprofessional assistant manager, had sold ten 360 systems and only collected nine tickets.  The assistant manager, Paula, started by telling me I was wasting my time asking what had just happened, and proceeded to intimate that I had either swiped someone else's ticket or had produced my own from thin air.  This ended somewhat after the supervisor pointed out that the number on my ticket matched in perfect sequence with the others, but the assistant manager succeeded in vanishing without even the most insincere apology.

Actually, if I want to be completely accurate, the last 360 was in the process of being sold when I held up my ticket and asked for an explanation.  Since the cashier couldn't remember if the buyer had given her a ticket, the supervisor tried to stop the transaction from going through until the issue was solved, but the assistant manager wound up ramming it through a short time later.  I probably could have raised a stink about that point, but since I'm confident that the buyer really was entitled to a system, there was no way I was going to levy a bad-faith accusation against him just so I could take his system from him.

Anyways, it'll be a few weeks before I'll be getting my 360, I guess.  On the plus side, I've already spoken directly with BJs Wholesale Club's VP of Branch Management, and while I may have put the supervisor on the fast track to promotion, I think the assistant manager is going to be wallowing in place for a while.  I'll be sure to drop off a duplicate of the formal written complaint at the local store, and I'll get to look the assistant manager in the eye when I do

I don't really care much about waiting for the X-Box 360, but I react badly to being called a liar, especially when every shred of evidence is on my side.

-Autistic Angel
3364  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Lines Already Forming for XB360 on: November 21, 2005, 09:32:59 PM

That is going to be a pretty funny video to watch....

Sounds like a pale imitation of that old prank where they took bags full of new, donated toys and methodically destroyed them on the lawns of local orphanages to "teach the kids a lesson."

Now *that* was hilarious!

-Autistic Angel
3365  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: EMERGENCY! SEASON 2 on DVD! on: November 21, 2005, 05:33:45 PM
And, just for the sake of curiosity, what reigns supreme for you between these two?

Star Wars (and all things related)



c) Ellen Pompeo.

-Autistic Angel
3366  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / XBox 360 - - IN STOCK on: November 20, 2005, 06:10:00 PM
Oops!  Wow, contrary to the evidence, I actually have read this thread.  I don't know how I glossed over the other half-dozen posts that also mention the $400 shipping charge.  Sorry. :oops:

Did anyone whose card has been charged select the one-day shipping?  Did it really go through as $400?

-Autistic Angel
3367  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / XBox 360 - - IN STOCK on: November 20, 2005, 05:52:32 PM
I'm looking at that Wal*Mart page right now.  It says they still have 360s in stock, it says that one-day shipping can have one at my house on either the 22nd or the 23rd of this week...

...and it calculates the shipping cost *alone* at $400.  That brings the grand total up to $799.92.  This has got to be a bug on the webpage, right?

-Autistic Angel
3368  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Least Objectionable Change to Next 'God Of War?' on: November 18, 2005, 08:41:01 PM
I'm curious who voted for "Prominent Pepsico Product Placement."

Aretmis: Congratulations Kratos: you have bested the two-eyed cyclops and earned your reward: and ice-cold Pepsi One (TM)!

Kratos: Gragh!  If feel so refreshed!  My thirst has been completely quenched!  How are such wonders possible?  Surely this is the nectar of the gods themselves!

Artemis: Alas, if only it were so.  Pepsi One (TM) is not only sweeter in taste and bouquet, but with only a single calorie, our divine figures would be even more divine.  But our respite has past!  Quickly: Chalchiutotolin, the Aztec God of Pestilence seeks to unleash the dark force Kohk'Ehkola against our innocent peoples!  Make your way to the PepsIgloo for a full (and bubbly!) briefing!

-Autistic Angel
3369  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Least Objectionable Change to Next 'God Of War?' on: November 17, 2005, 11:55:58 PM
You have just read a preview of the next entry in the popular God of War series which announced they're planning to "try something new" with the franchise.  Which of the following possible changes would you find the *least* objectionable, and why?

- while there's significantly less emphasis on combat, there's a great many more jumping puzzles

- average time to complete the game is around four hours

- replacing the backdrop of Greek mythology with one adhereing strictly to R. L. Stein's Fear Street series

- soundtrack performed entirely by 80's rock band Wham!

- PepsiCo product placement throught the game

- Wind Waker-esque cel-shading

- new main character: Ellen Pompeo

-Autistic Angel
3370  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 11/16/05 on: November 17, 2005, 11:09:33 PM
re running away: If you are too weak to fight her, then you are too weak to go trampling through a strange jungle(with no map or compass) in the only obvious direction(the beach everyone knows) and keep away from her. You have no way of knowing if that guy who let you out will ever spill his guts that "oh yeah, he said he was headed to the beach".

Sayid walked the beach for several days before stumbling on the cable that lead him to Danielle, and never discovered any evidence of any other survivors.  "The Beach" is not a small area to search.  Assuming Ana Lucia was actually willing to abandon this (apparently) safe jungle haven to go after you, her only reasonable chance at catching you is if you arrive on beach and promptly light a smoky signal fire to mark your location.

So yeah, she is a threat to you as long as she is alive, you HAVE to deal with her. Logically, the best time to do that is immediately before she can find out you have escaped, since her knowing that would put her on her guard. She has a small buck knife, so what? She's a woman for crying out loud! Sneak up on her with a rock and let her have it.

This sort of reasoning is exactly why people making out on the shores of Crystal Lake always go investigating strange noises in the nearby woods.

When someone nearby, female or not, is considering killing you with a knife, you and your lack-of-knife should move in a different direction as quickly as possible.  That's simply common sense.  If you're starving, dehydrated, and exhausted, that's more reason why picking this fight not a good idea.

Then you tell the other survivors she was insane and you are not an 'other', then tell them you will leave and go on your own if they don't feel comfortable having you around. People were sneaking you food, and someone else let you out, obviously they are not comfortable with her behavior at that point.

If the one person sneaking you food were willing to take your side in a fight against Ana Lucia, he would have let you out of the pit himself.  Assuming that the entire camp is willing to join your mutiny just because Person A snuck you a tiny amount of food and Person B was reluctantly willing to help you escape is a bad gamble.

You're on an island teeming with fruit trees, where oysters wash right up onto the shore.  On your own you can recoup your strength, find a weapon, and return to your group later on your own terms, maybe even speaking with people in privacy before Ana Lucia knows you've come back.  It just makes sense.

-Autistic Angel
3371  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 11/16/05 on: November 17, 2005, 04:33:18 PM
Well, "good people" doesn't necessarily have any moral connotation to it.  Desmond and Rousseau ("the French woman") could not possibly have come into contact with each other, yet they each talked about people "getting sick" on the island.  Perhaps a "good person" is someone who is more susceptible to catching that sickness....

I'm also interested in how Claire's baby is developing.  The psychic last season was adamant that she had to raise him herself, yet so far, it seems like Charlie and Locke have been doing most of the actual work.  It seems to me like they're sewing the seeds for something coming down the line with this.

-Autistic Angel
3372  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 11/16/05 on: November 17, 2005, 03:39:29 PM
I thought last night was another solid episode.  I really liked the opportunity to *finally* hear directly from one of The Others, and the revelations put a whole new spin on a lot of the events we've seen so far.

It was...interesting to see a softer side of Ana Lucia, but frankly, unless she spent the entire episode resurrecting puppies and curing them of cancer, nothing was going to turn her into a likeable character.  I know they're going for "hardcore survivalist" with her character, but the continuing fact that she's willing to cut loose anyone who might slow her down makes it unclear why anyone else in her group would look to her as a leader.  Chalk it up to a vacuum of power in their camp -- it doesn't look like there was anyone else willing to make decisions for the group.  If Jack hadn't had Locke or Sayid to consult with or counterbalance his choices, and if his group had been actively hunted all along, maybe he would have turned out like Ana Lucia.  At least, that seems to be the idea the writers are shooting for.

Mr. Eko continues to rule all, and I don't just mean the character.  The actor (whose name I haven't discovered yet), already reminds me of Josh "Sawyer" Holloway best moments: they're such masters of body language, they can practically say more in silence than the others can say in a monologue.

Quote from: "gameoverman"

The guy gets let out of the hole, he gets told the WOMAN is going to 'hurt' him, and he asks "which way to the beach?"? Gimme a break! You know any guy would say "her hurt me? are you kidding me? I'm gonna get medieval on her ass for throwing me down there...right after I kick your ass for not letting me out immediately.".

Let me get this straight: after spending the better part of a week trapped at the bottom of a filthy pit with little water and even less food, you think wanting to escape and run away from the crazy woman with the long army knife is the *unrealistic* response?

I guess I only speak for myself, but I would have done exactly the same thing that Nathan did.

-Autistic Angel
3373  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Arrested Development pulled off FOX, effective immediately! on: November 11, 2005, 04:31:27 PM
I didn't discover Arrested Development until part-way through the second season, and I love it.  To say that Fox gave it a fair chance is like saying they gave Futurama a fair chance -- yes, the two series were both on for multiple seasons, but always in awkward timeslots where they were practically guaranteed to be frequently preempted for something else.

Fox is to be commended for giving quirky, off-beat shows a chance to be seen, but they're also the only telvision network whose programming decisions seem to be made out of pure spite.  I remember one Sunday when the football game miraculously ended at about 6:50, but instead of showing Futurama at 7:00, Fox elected to extend its insipid post-game show until 7:20.  

Also, even in a good timeslot, airing Firefly episodes out of order would have assured a poor response from audiences.  What possible reason could there have been for that except to generate bad ratings and justify cancellation of the show?

I'll miss Arrested Development, though.

-Autistic Angel
3374  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Movies - Release Day! Now with REAL Impressions! on: November 10, 2005, 10:30:17 PM
I'm loving it, too! Don't forget the importance of not diluting your screenwriting pool, too. It may take longer to write a movie, but the quality shoots up.

Wait...assigning one screenwriter yields a better script than having multiple people working on it?  I was assuming that collaboration among multiple screenwriters would make for a better movie, but the game never told me one way or the other.

Maybe this explains why I'm getting consistently stomped in the awards.  frown

-Autistic Angel
3375  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Video games and crying? on: November 10, 2005, 03:15:32 PM
I've never played Final Fantasy VII, but I thought it was "Aeris."

-Autistic Angel
3376  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Movies - Release Day! Now with REAL Impressions! on: November 10, 2005, 04:26:23 AM
Sandbox features are unlocked by performing the relevant research in the single player game.  You can certainly stitch together basic movies from a good selection of scenes right from the start, but none of the more advanced features will be available unless you spend some time going through the campaign.

-Autistic Angel
3377  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Man, I'm so turned off by Nintendo right now on: November 10, 2005, 03:03:20 AM
Nintendo consoles may not have hundreds of games on the shelves, but when they release a good one, it's *really* good.  The Metroid Prime series and Paper Mario alone would justify purchasing the GameCube.

-Autistic Angel
3378  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Video games and crying? on: November 10, 2005, 01:14:22 AM
The P'Kunk in Star Control 2 made me laugh so hard, I started crying.  Does that count?

-Autistic Angel
3379  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Movies - Release Day! Now with REAL Impressions! on: November 09, 2005, 08:34:27 PM
For instance, I think it was the Gamespot review that mentioned that there are 5 genres you can work in the game as it stands now- but they don't say what those genres are!

I haven't played enough to know the answers to most of your questions, but I *can* say that the five genres are Action, Romance, Comedy, Sci-Fi, and Horror.  I'm not sure how your choice of genre might affect your choice of scenes, but in the single player game, certain genres are "hot" or "cold" depending on current events in the world.

-Autistic Angel
3380  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Movies - Release Day! Now with REAL Impressions! on: November 09, 2005, 08:28:39 PM
I've gotten to spend a bit of time playing this afternoon and successfully unlocked the Custom Script Writing Building so I can start creating my own custom scripts.  I haven't played around with that yet, but I can comment some on some of the other gameplay elements I've seen.

Managing your stars and directors during their off-hours seems like a major part of this game.  Whenever they're not actively shooting your latest masterpiece, you can assign them to practice on one of the unused sets.  This increases their stress level somewhat, but I've been focussing on hiring "low-maintenance" stars so far, so I haven't seen anyone freak out.

(The sole exception is when I accidentally assigned my biggest-name star to picking up litter -- she immediately rebelled and changed her emoticon to "Throwning Temper Tantrum!"  Considering she'd only been in one movie at that point, the incident damn near got her canned.)

The interface in The Movies strives to be intuitive, and it largely succeeds.  If your writers are working on a Romance movie, the game will automatically assume that you're interested in the Romance skill level of any star or director you look at.  If you're interested in something else, right-clicking on an individual will tell you everything about them, or you can just hover your mouse cursor over them for a few seconds.

Almost immediately, I find myself wishing I could pull the game camera back further.  Even at the furthest zoom level, I feel like I have to scroll around a lot to determine a good location for the latest set or building.  The space you have available for development feels gigantic at this early stage of the game, and I can imagine that as your studio grows, it could become a pain trying to remember where "Starship Bridge #1" is in relation to the casting office.  On the other hand, I'd *much* rather have a lot of space to develop than to have ration every square-inch of space right from the start of the game, so it's a fair trade-off.

I've already gotten used to checking the Timeline at the top of the screen which tells you about upcoming events.  For example, in the mid-1920's, televisions start arriving in people's homes and the new technology makes them more interested in Sci-Fi, so I made sure to have a movie prepped for release right alongside the new innovation.  It's interesting to me that most movies in this era take 5 - 8 months to produce, and I'm curious if they'll take longer to create as time goes on.

New movie technologies appear on the Timeline as well, so you'll have some advance notice before new sets and costume choices become available.  You can research your own innovations too, and by completing some of the in-game objectives, you can unlock even more buildings and sets.  One example is the Custom Script Writing Building I mentioned before: it's unlocked after you've released a certain number of movies, made a certain amount of cash, and achieved a certain level of prestige.

There's definitely no shortage of things to do in this game: even once your stars are busy and you've constructed all the latest buildings, you'll find yourself double-checking on your prestige level, tweaking your stars' salaries, and placing down some more decorations to make the studio a nicer place to be.  I like the fact that you can easily check on your stars' moods just by right-clicking on their picture at any time, and the game has a simple overlay to let you know when a part of your lot could use some improvements.  The game doesn't seem to care much about which improvements you build near which buildings, but if you ever spent any time matching up the decor in your Sims households, you'll probably wind up putting in that effort yourself.

It's much too early to say if The Movies has a lot of longevity, but at this point, I could definitely see myself replaying to work on designing myself a more efficient studio and working to achieve some of the special rewards a little less haphazardly.  So far my impressions are pretty positive!  Cool

-Autistic Angel
3381  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / X-3 Gold on: October 28, 2005, 04:17:17 PM
Just got back from the shops and am about to install X3, feedback to follow.

I will be *extremely* interested in hearing your impressions.  Speaking as someone who thoroughly enjoyed X2: The Threat despite it's intially mind-bendingly difficult interface, I'm anxious to hear how the sequel feels.

Also, I played Freelancer from beginning to end, and I had a great time doing so.  I've never felt particularly inclined to reinstall it, but I still got my money's worth.

-Autistic Angel

Edited to add: It looks like there will soon be a patch available for X3 which will take it up to version 1.2.  Here are the listed fixes:

There are several fixes and enchancements that are included in this update (some of which you will not even have tried yet), the main ones of which are:

- added support for more joystick models
- fixed random CTD on entering a sector
- voice and audio syncronisation fixed
- performance optimisations including reduced memory consumption and shader enhancements
- gamestart position modified to improve trading options at the start
- complex construction of factory positioning improved
- Tool tips added to assist in learning the menu Icon System
- added ability to scroll menu bars with mouse
- docking made easier, plus additional docking guide added
- plot gameplay improved in key game parts
- cut scenes re-produced, re-directed and optimised
- added content for infostation help dialogues
3382  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / EVERYONE READ!!!! IMPORTANT!!!! PASS THE WORD!!!!!!!!!!! on: October 28, 2005, 01:46:58 AM
The webpage at has been updated:

If you're looking for a great gaming community please visit any one of the following sites:

-Autistic Angel
3383  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Grey's Anatomy <-- I wasn't expecting to like it. on: October 25, 2005, 04:34:58 PM
Ironically someone I was over today and she was telling me she is now hooked on this show.

I'm a huge, huge fan of Grey's Anatomy, but I can honestly say that it wouldn't have occured to me to discuss its merits while I was "over someone."

-Autistic Angel
3384  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Civillization IV Impressions on: October 25, 2005, 01:46:06 PM
It looks like GameStop and Electronics Boutique have both updated their webpages to say that today, 10/25, is the ship date, suggesting that their copies won't be on the shelves until tomorrow.  I hope someone will post if they find out this isn't the case.

-Autistic Angel
3385  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Civillization IV Impressions on: October 25, 2005, 02:32:26 AM
This is the first order I've put in with  It's currently listed as 'Processing' which, considering the fact that I was hoping to receive it tomorrow, seems like a bad sign.  Is this normal, or have other pre-orderers gotten their shipping confirmation?

-Autistic Angel
3386  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Xbox-Farcry Instincts $28.88 at Target on: October 24, 2005, 01:18:57 PM
Jack gets "Feral Abilities" in the X-Box version, allowing him to leap great distances, use his claws for a melee attack, and track enemies by their scent.  Also, even before that point, he can set traps in the jungle to take out mercenaries.

-Autistic Angel
3387  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Toys 'R' Us: Buy 2, Get 1 Free Sale on: October 23, 2005, 03:15:28 PM
Andrew Mallon mentioned in this thread that Toys 'R' Us is having their annual "Buy Two Console Games, Get A Third Free" sale this week.  I don't get the Sunday circulars here, but it certainly seems to be true on the Toys 'R' Us website.

Here's my short list:

Batallion Wars (GC)
FarCry: Instincts (XB)
Fire Emblem (GC)
Indigo Prophecy (XB)
Ninja Gaiden: Black (XB)
Resident Evil 4 (GC)
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
Sly 3 (PS2)
X-Men Legends II (XB)

What will *you* be getting?

-Autistic Angel
3388  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Why is there no Lost thread? on: October 20, 2005, 06:02:50 PM
I'm a huge fan of Sun and Jin stories, so I enjoyed this episode a lot.

Has anyone else noticed that one of that characters in F.E.A.R.' for the PC is named "Jin Sun-Kwon?"

-Autistic Angel
3389  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / I want to watch a ZOMBIE movie tonight - recommendations? on: October 16, 2005, 03:00:13 PM
Day of the Dead is the weaker story of the 3 Romeros, but how can you say no to Bob the Zombie??

When his name is "Bub."

I also liked the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. I like it more than the 1968 version, simply because I thought they improved the story a bit, and the acting and zombies are better.

The problem with the remake is that it demonstrates why shambling zombies are completely unthreatening in the open countryside.  Throughout the movie, the woman tells everyone that they could literally just walk out of there at any moment and the zombies would be too slow to catch them...and by the end, that's exactly what she does.  When a zombie is unable to manipulate its arms well enough to catch someone who strolls by within arm's reach, it's sort of hard to feel the tension of the movie.

-Autistic Angel
3390  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Alias 10/13 on: October 15, 2005, 01:48:53 PM
I'm not really getting the whole "Prophet 5" story line so far, but I'm enjoying the season, too.  You wouldn't have thought that bringing a new, younger Sydney Bristo-esque character onto the show would have been a good idea, but I love the fact that she's a terrible field agent.

"Who are you?"

"I'll never tell you!"

"All right, we're going to take away your watch.  Ah ha!  Now you can't call for help!"

"Okay, I'll talk!  I'm CIA!  Our secret office is right around the corner!  Here are all the details of our current assignment...."

Let's hope now that she's *really* CIA, nobody straps her down and, say, starts yanking out her back teeth one at a time.  I'm not being ironic -- I really do like the idea of a character on the show who actually reacts to things the way a real person would.  Alias has been lacking in humanity since Will and Frannie left the show.

-Autistic Angel
3391  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / When will the agony stop? How much longer? Jade Empire... on: October 07, 2005, 09:52:47 PM
Is there a specific order to which I put the three colored idols (red, blue, yellow) on the statue? I do so following the colors that it shows, but then I receive one silver and a message saying with real wisdom comes real cash. What's the solution I'm missing?

Spoiler for Hiden:
Every time you follow the steps and put the idols on in the correct order, you'll earn 1 silver piece.

If you smash the altar, you'll earn 20 or 25 silver pieces all at once, but the challenge is then permanently over.

A short ways outside town, there's a grave with a lion's head on it.  If you place a silver piece in the slot on the grave, it will give you something new.  I don't remember what that thing is, but if you then return to the Lion Altar and place the new thing on the altar, you will receive a special prize.  I believe it's a new technique (read: permanent boost to your stats)but it's been so many months that I don't remember.

I enjoyed Jade Empire from beginning to end.  The combat may not have been as visceral or engaging as real fighting game, but it was certainly more engaging than Knights of the Old Republic and I really liked the characters to boot.  Cool

-Autistic Angel
3392  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Old gaming binge on: October 07, 2005, 07:33:14 PM
I've been hooked on Alpha Centauri and Civilization III lately.

-Autistic Angel
3393  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / X3 Reunion: WHATS UP DUDE! on: October 07, 2005, 07:12:58 PM
I really enjoyed X2, but given that previews of X3 written as recently as September 26th were still reporting major game-stopping bugs, I have some serious concerns about the new one.

From PC.IGN.COM's 9/26/05 preview:

More important than the ability to quickly move from barter to navigation menus is the ability to delegate disparate orders to members of a fleet spread across the breadth of the universe... But we didn't actually get to do any of that.

X3, you see, still needs a fair bit of work before it releases later this year on PC. Right now our current build didn't allow us to dig too deeply into any single component of the game. The interface freaked out constantly, functions seemed to spontaneously switch themselves up, and we even experienced very serious performance hiccups on the most ridiculously powerful machines.

Obviously these issues will have to be resolved before launch, but they were big enough to forbid us from really experiencing X3 in any significant detail, and since X3 is a game that must be experienced in depth to appreciate, we're kind of boned until a new build comes around. So please look for more info when we get the latest burn.

Eleven days is an awfully short time to go from demonstrating a completely broken version of a game to sending that same game into production.  I'll have to wait for reviews on this's a shame because I had a ton of fun with the last one.  frown

-Autistic Angel
3394  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Black & White 2 .... on: October 07, 2005, 07:01:29 PM
Oh, I also forgot to mention: although you train your Creature's behavior using the leash and your hand, you no longer have to patiently teach him each individual miracle by casting it in front of him over and over.  Instead, Creature Miracles are purchased using Tribute, just the same as you would buy a new building blueprint or a new miracle for yourself.

There's something to be said for the dedication of Black & White players who taught their Creatures every last miracle in the game, but I think the new system eliminates a lot of the tedium and works a lot better as a gameplay element.

-Autistic Angel
3395  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Black & White 2 .... on: October 07, 2005, 06:45:12 PM
I really wanted to like B&W 1 but the micro management killed it for me. Once while I was off doing something I come back and my city is deserted. iIt seemed that everyone died off from starvation, cause I wasn't there to constantly feed them. Is this sort of micro management still present in b&w2?

One of the things complained about in the Eurogamer review was that the villagers wouldn't do anything (eat, sleep, mine, breed) unless you force them to.  Add this to the increasingly long list of things mentioned in that review that don't appear to be true.

Villagers rely on you to put down roads, fields, and building blueprints for them.  They also operate according to the time of day, so they will typically only sleep at night, work during the morning, and relax in the evening.  Aside from that, they seem remarkably self-sufficient: when left to their own devices, individual villagers will take on jobs according to the needs of the city and their own desires.  If you take the time to track an individual, you'll notice that he may start working in the mineshaft when the village needs ore, but he'll often continue to do that job after the need has passed unless a new, more pressing need comes up.  In other words, the villagers are busy little bees.

Fields in Black & White didn't yield much food, requiring you to constantly use your divine powers to supplement their output.  On top of that, even if you had enough food stored to feed the population for two generations, the villagers in that game *always* demanded more.  

This has been completely fixed in the sequel.  The size of grain fields is now adjustable and will inform you in advance how many people they'll be able to feed without your intervention.  You can create Disciple Farmers to till the fields, assign your Creature to gather food, or use Miracle Water to grow food yourself, but it's very easy to create a food economy that requires no attention from you at all.  Fields will even use established roads as their borders, so you can specify the size and shape you want them to be.

The exception to that rule is when you want to build and army.  Soldiers consume twice as much food as normal villagers, so you'll need to bear that in mind if you want to march some of your population off to war.  I don't have any real experience playing the aggressive side of Black & White II, but I believe soldiers receive their rations ahead of the general population and will begin losing health if you can't feed them all.

Your Creature also requires a lot less micromanagement than before.  I've been playing with the Ape Creature so far and other species may play differently, but when I teach my Creature a behavior it really seems to stick.  Pet him a bunch for gathering grain and putting it in the village store, and he'll devote some time to doing that from that point forward.  Your Creature will still want some attention from you once in a while, but he'll be pretty independent so long as you teach him well early on and reinforce him from time to time.

Don't mistake the lack of micromanagement for a lack of things to do.  Again, I haven't played much with the waging war aspect of Black & White 2, but as a city builder, I've been kept busy alternating between planning the next district of my city and completing Objectives to earn more tribute to purchase new buildings.  Just this morning I was able to unlock the University, the Nursury, the Rest Home, and the Fertility Statue, and each one of them will has a specific influence on the behavior of my citizens.

Unfortunately, I have to say I'm beginning to sense the outerward limits of the gameplay.  Yes, there's incentive to replay the levels to complete Objectives or Quest Scrolls I missed the first time through, but with no harder difficulty levels or Skirmish / Multiplayer modes to play with, it seems like the game's lifespan will be cut much shorter than it might have been.  It's amazing to me that Lionhead would have devoted so much time, energy, and money to completely overhauling all of the strategy mechanics that didn't work in Black & White, and then gone and omitted the chance to play anything beyond the single-player campaign.

I'm still having a real blast with Black & White 2, but I thought I'd share one of my concerns now that I'm approaching the halfway point of the campaign (I think).

-Autistic Angel
3396  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Black & White 2 .... on: October 06, 2005, 01:27:33 PM
I have a GeForce 6800 Ultra, the driver version in Device Manager reads "77.72," and the game has been displaying fine for me so far.  Hopefully the patch will fix your problem, but I don't think I'm using the most up-to-date drivers, so you might want to try downgrading to an earlier version if the patch isn't released promptly.

-Autistic Angel
3397  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/05/05 - HOLY CRAP! on: October 06, 2005, 01:22:36 PM
I guess I'm the only one that didn't really like this episode. To be honest, the whole idea that Jack and Locke are going to be doing the "108 minutes" shift on faith just didn't click for me.

A friend of mine had the same reaction as you and Jack: why not just let the timer run down and see what happens?  I attempted to convince him that erring on the side of caution and maintaining the system while searching for more information made more sense than the idea that someone had somehow engineered this entire situation as the most elaborate hoax in history, but he still disagreed.

On that note, doesn't Jack think it's an astonishing coincidence that Desmond and The French Woman both talked about people on the surface of the island getting sick?  I'd like to know how the engineers of this incredible hoax would have convinced Danielle's crew to fake an illness to the point where she massacred them.

Anybody see in the preview where Jin makes a comment in perfect American english? That I am interested in seeing.

No, actually I've been going to extraordinary lengths to avoid spoiler information about upcoming episodes, including previews and commercials.  Sometimes, like right this moment, advance information is tough to stay away from, but I think the series works better when you don't have any idea what's coming up.

-Autistic Angel
3398  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/05/05 - HOLY CRAP! on: October 06, 2005, 02:46:47 AM
Speaking as someone who has enjoyed all three of this season's episodes of Lost, I'm not sure I understand what people disliked about the previous two that was suddenly corrected in this one.

-Autistic Angel
3399  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Black & White 2 .... on: October 05, 2005, 10:49:51 PM
I played Black & White 2 today for about two hours, and I was having a great time.  I have no interest at all in forcing my Creature to fulfull "roles" at the moment, so I've left him in Free Will Mode and shown him how to collect resources, eat food from the fields, construct buildings, and use trees to work out.  I've also given him a teddy bear toy, and he seems to enjoy playing with it when he's not finding things to help the villagers with.

I'm still on the first post-tutorial world, and I haven't learned any miracles yet.  The game's controls definitely seem a bit touchier than the first Black & White, but unlike that game, you seem to be able to interact with *everything*: rocks, fences, barrels, potted plants -- with more things for your hand to interact with, it's only natural that you'd have to be more selective about what you grabbed.  Also, using the mouse-wheel to zoom in or out is much more sensitive than I would have liked, but there may be a way to tweak that which I just haven't found yet.

For Black & White fans: the mouse buttons for Action or Movement are reversed by default in the new game.  One of the first things I did was return them to the old style, and the game's tutorial images immediately updated to reflect the new controls.  Nice.

Unlike Black & White, it's also very, very tempting to be evil and warlike in this game.  Maybe that's just because I want to see how battles work and let my Creature go to town on some of the pagans beyond the city limits, but I've been resisting that temptation so far.  City building is a lot of fun in its own way: there seem to be a couple dozen different types of buildings, including granaries, taverns, shops, wells, and so forth, and those are just the things that are unlockable now.

At this point, the Eurogamer review seems out of line on a number of points.  The waterfall challenge, as someone already pointed out, is one of the first things in the game and is *clearly* intended as a tutorial on how to throw things.  Also, while the reviewer seemed mystified (and angry) about whether he should ever want to build a Rest Home for senior villagers, the player is informed in-game and in the manual about the value of placing a good variety of buildings in your city.  Finally, where the reviewer talks about buying new abilities for your Creature in lieu of training it, all of the purchaseable upgrades I've seen so far come in the form of new buildings or abilities for myself (the logic being that the more the villagers believe in you, the more versatile you become.)

I'm really looking forward to spending more time with the game this evening.  I'll post more impressions as I have them.

-Autistic Angel
3400  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Intelligent Design = Creationism on: October 05, 2005, 04:20:07 PM
From my understanding this is the extent of what is "taught" about intelligent design. They are merely telling students that there are other points of view out there that they are free to pursue if so inclined.

Belief in magic is not a legitimate point of view, much less a viable alternative to science.  By and large, I'm content to let the devout believe in anything they like to bring themselves comfort and spiritual strength, but religion is, by definition, irrational.  Trying to teach irrational thought as some form of logical reasoning is madness.

Unless organized religion is prepared to devote equal time during sermons to advancing secular points of view, it has no place in our public schools.

-Autistic Angel
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