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  #321  
Old 17 July 2017, 03:16 PM
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I have a new copy of FFXII Zodiac age that I'm working on, and it's been fun to revist an old favorite! Graphics are a definite improvement, too!
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  #322  
Old 17 July 2017, 07:18 PM
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I got Elite : Dangerous when I went out shopping earlier, since I'd been sort of considering it for a while.

Bit of a steep learning curve, even if you're used to the original... I actually got stuck on one of the tutorial missions, trying to dock.

I didn't bother watching the video because it seemed pointless watching a video of something rather than just doing it, so I went ahead with the tutorial and flew to the new system and station, requested docking permission as instructed, and then spent some time trying to line up my ship with the docking slit, since the method I used to use in the original Elite doesn't seem to work any more (or at least I couldn't tell if it was working, because I was still having trouble controlling the speed of the ship - it seems to work on a logarithmic scale and also have a bit of a lag between pushing the button and the effect; mass of the ship, I suppose).

I used to fly between the station and the planet, centre on the planet, check that the station was lined up in rear view, head towards the planet for a bit, stop and turn round, and because the docking slits were centred on the planet as well, that meant you were generally well lined up for your approach. I couldn't get that to work, partly because of speed difficulties, partly because I can't work out how to get a rear view (I found this thread about how to use the camera controls, and it's full of people mapping endless combinations to specialised view control gadgets; that's going to be hopeless on an XBox controller, and none of the presets seem to be a simple "rear view", which was one of the basics in the original game and on which I used to rely), and partly because the stations don't even seem to be lined up like that any longer, although I could be wrong.

So it took me quite a while to line up and get through the docking slit. Fortunately the game seems more forgiving than it used to be, so I didn't crash. Once in, I was surprised to be told I needed to find a landing pad and physically touch down, so I spent the next ten minutes trying to work out which bit looked like a landing pad - the obvious bits didn't seem to be working - and land on it. Again, this would be much easier if there was a "look down" view so that you could see where you were trying to land, but if there is, I can't find it. But I managed to land on various likely-looking bits (and again, the game's forgiving enough that I didn't crash) and nothing happened.

After ten minutes or more I gave up and decided I would watch the tutorial video after all, which you can't do from the tutorial itself so I had to look it up on my laptop. And discovered that apparently I'd spent long enough trying to dock that my landing request had expired, and the landing pad I'd been allocated no longer existed, which was why it wasn't easily identifiable and nothing was happening when I tried to land. (Although apparently I had been trying to land on an actual landing pad, at least until I gave up and tried other random bits of structure). Nothing in the tutorial itself indicated that this had happened, or even told me that it was possible for the landing permission to expire like that.

So I went back outside, requested permission to land again, flew back in and managed to land fairly easily - with the proviso that it would be much easier if there was a simple camera facing downward so you could see where you were landing!

I've not had to actually "read the instructions" for a game for a long time...!
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  #323  
Old 17 July 2017, 11:14 PM
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Well I'm not getting on well with this bloody game so far...

I gave up on the tutorials after watching a few more videos and completely failing to shoot down a ship using missiles, and thought I'd start on the game and avoid combat for a while (which seems sensible to start with anyway). So I started a game, found the planet I was supposed to be delivering plans to, spent about half an hour trying to compare the economy of where I was with the economy of that planet so I knew which cargo to take (even though I'd watched the tutorial on that part and so should have been able to do it), bought some cargo, checked out a few other screens, and then took off and flew to where I was going. That part went OK despite the map being a lot fiddlier than the tutorial video made it look.

So I remembered to request docking permission at the destination station, which was a different type from the standard Coriolis station, and so wasn't featured in the tutorial video.

At first, I thought it was telling me to land at a pad on the outside, which as I approached I realised had another ship already on it. I waited for the ship to leave and immediately got a fine for loitering near a landing pad, even though I supposedly had permission to land there. So I thought, that must have been the wrong place. (I'm sure it had an indicator on it - the indicators are hard to interpret). I spent another five minutes trying to dock in what looked like a docking slit, but turned out to be some sort of window I think - bashing my ship into the station all the time - then turned around and flew a bit further back to have another look and spotted an actual landing pad with a definite landing indicator on it. So I flew to that and tried to land, only to get a warning that I'd not extended my landing gear. After faffing about deploying weapons and so on, I managed to extend the landing gear, but it still didn't let me land. Then my landing permission time ran out and I got another 400 credit fine for loitering on the landing pad I'd been trying to land on.

Then I tried to request permission again but it wouldn't let me, so I flew a bit further away and got new permission, tried to land again without success even though I'm sure I was on the right pad, and then finally reached the damage limit on my ship (which is, at least, quite forgiving) and blew up, still pretty much sitting on the landing pad I was meant to be landing on, so far as I can tell.

Oh well, time for another go...
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  #324  
Old 17 July 2017, 11:38 PM
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What game did you say you were playing? Was it Anal-Retentive Micromanagement Simulator?
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  #325  
Old 18 July 2017, 12:41 AM
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I think that's the subtitle, yes...

I managed to land easily at this station on my next try, after I realised that what I'd thought was the landing indicator on the pad I was meant to use was actually just what all the landing pads did when a ship was using them, even if the ship wasn't me. No idea what went wrong the first time apart from initially trying to land in the wrong place.

So I sold my cargo and claimed the reward for my mission, started another one and flew to the next system where I was nicely lined up to dock in a Coriolis station, with all the correct permissions, my landing gear down and everything, when the station security suddenly decided I was a criminal and blew me up (and fined me 1400 credits, as I found out from the bill for my next ship). Again, no idea why. Perhaps another ship crashed into me from behind and they blamed me. Although why the flipping space traffic control can't co-ordinate ships so that they don't give everybody permission to arrive and leave through the same small opening at the same time is beyond me...
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  #326  
Old 21 July 2017, 03:25 PM
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I know I'm posting loads of times in a row, but nobody else is around, and it is several days later!

I'm getting the hang of Elite: Dangerous but it's still a very frustrating game in a lot of respects. If you look at the achievement statistics, it seems like at least half of all players gave up before even doing anything much at all. The highest percentage of players who got any of the achievements - destroying another ship, which you can do in the first combat tutorial - is 43.4%. And only about 20% carried on far enough to complete 5 missions, which is about where you'd have more or less got the hang of it. After that, there seems to be a hardcore of about 5% or so who carried on and played it obsessively, and everybody else gave up. I'm still not sure which category I'll be in, but after playing for three or four days my achievements put me in the most persistent 10 - 15% of players already...

Only 0.27% of players managed to complete the first five tutorial missions! (This doesn't include me, yet). That's the sort of percentage usually associated with only the most difficult feats, so if your tutorials are that hard, there's something wrong! The second combat tutorial almost put me off trying combat in the game at all, but in the game it's actually much easier. The tutorial dumps you in an underpowered ship against a skillful, well-armed opponent in a ship that can outmanoeuvre you, and tells you to use missiles to destroy it. But doesn't tell you how the missiles work or how to use them. As a tutorial, it's really poor. I'm not sure that even completing that one would get the achievement, though, because I've done 4 out of 5 of these yet the progress indicator says 72%, rather than 80%. So maybe there's some other bug or factor that makes the achievement impossible to get even if you are persistent enough to complete that tutorial.

I kept getting stuck in the first few days and having to google the answers to basic questions like "how do I get back into my ship from the surface of the planet?" and "how do I read these mission-critical messages that it keeps telling me I'm receiving?", even though I'd watched the relevant tutorial videos. Luckily there are threads out there from loads of other people who couldn't find the correct button combinations or obscure menus either. Sometimes it seems the game makes you push buttons just for the sake of it, for example when claiming the reward for a bounty mission - you have to end the mission and claim part of the reward in one place, then pointlessly go to another menu to cash in your actual bounty voucher.

I worked out why I hadn't been able to dock even while sitting on the correct landing pad - your ship has to be facing in the right direction, too. Luckily you can easily rotate it once you know that.

The controls (on the XBox controller) are annoying. For example, to put your landing gear down you have to press B plus Down on the d-pad, but pressing B alone gives a sudden speed boost, which when you're coming in to land is not helpful at all. You need to request docking permission by opening a menu with X plus Left on the d-pad (an in-game legal requirement for docking) but pressing X alone deploys your weapons, which is illegal when you're within docking range of a station. This has always been one of the disadvantages of consoles, to be fair - on a PC they could have separate buttons assigned for everything. Another console disadvantage is the screen resolution - although far better than it was a few years ago, you still get critical information shown in tiny letters in an easily missable corner of the screen.

It also has to be permanently connected to a remote server, even though I'm playing solo. I've already been kicked out of the game twice thanks to a temporary glitch in my broadband (although the second time it might just have crashed). This also means you can't pause the game properly, even though it has what appears to be a pause screen - so when my controller batteries ran out just at the end of a fight, I had to run to find new ones while the fight continued on screen and I was helpless. Luckily I'd just destroyed the only hostile ship, and the others were police who'd come to see what was going on.

Talking of police, they turn up when there's a fight and - if you have no record and are going for a wanted criminal - they join in on your side. This would be fine except that they are able to steal your kills! I'd almost destroyed one wanted criminal, from a faction I had a contract to destroy, when the police arrived and got the last shot in just as I was lining up to finish him off, and it didn't count as my kill despite having spent five minutes or so fighting him and weakening him to that point.

The fact that you can't pause means that missions can expire even when you're not playing the game, so you basically have to ditch all active missions when you quit a session in case they've expired when you next play it. (You get penalised when they expire).

And the missions themselves often involve flying aimlessly around a system for hours looking for the targets, so they can be pretty tedious.

I'm sure that's not even everything that's annoyed me about it, but it's all I can remember for now. The original was still more playable than this - although it also gained a lot for being literally like almost nothing anybody had seen before, which is an advantage that no remake will ever have. (I can't even remember the last game with that sort of impact - GTA III perhaps. It's much harder to change things like that now).

Having said all that, now that I more-or-less know what I'm doing and have got a few goals to aim for, I will probably carry on playing it for a while at least. My trading rank has increased to "Peddler" (two up from the starting rank of "Penniless") but my combat rank is still "Harmless" - it takes ages to track down and destroy other ships, if you're trying to go only for wanted criminals to avoid a criminal record of your own, which I am at the moment as I'm not practised enough to stand up to the police en masse. I've upgraded my ship once to a Viper Mk III which is reasonably kitted-out for bounty hunting at a low level. I hope it will feel less like a slog as I get further along.
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  #327  
Old 21 July 2017, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I know I'm posting loads of times in a row, but nobody else is around, and it is several days later!
I'm back to playing Minecraft on a Realms server with a, uh, generationally-compatible group of players. Nothing new here... and if I weren't playing Minecraft, I'd be playing Baldur's Gate II - again, nothing new. At least I'm not still playing Skyrim So post away! At this point, for me, it's how I'm keeping up on what's new.
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  #328  
Old 21 July 2017, 07:45 PM
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I have to ask, Richard, as *ahem* comprehensive as the detail in that game seems to be, do you get stat penalties if you don't tell your character to use the bathroom on a regular basis?
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  #329  
Old 21 July 2017, 07:47 PM
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You do, but the button combination for "unzip fly" is quite similar to "draw pistol and fire" so many, many innocent urinals have suffered.
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  #330  
Old 21 July 2017, 10:43 PM
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Taking a break from VR, I picked up Injustice 2 when it was on sale for Prime Day. I enjoy it, but I have clearly lost the ability to pull of the combos. Going through the tutorial where it shows the combos, I just can't get them done. I can do every individual move, but when I try to make a combo out of it, the follow up moves don't do what I'm trying to make them do. The move either doesn't go off at all, or I end up doing some other move. It seems like this should be because I am trying to execute the later moves too quickly, but no matter how fast or slow I do the combination, it just never quite comes off.
Fun game, though, if you like fighting games. I love the Injustice comics, so this ends up being an extension of that story for me.
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  #331  
Old 21 July 2017, 11:20 PM
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I hear you, DC: doesn't seem to matter which fighting game I play, pulling off combos never seems to work correctly. Either it doesn't do the move, or the second move goes off but there's something wrong with the timing so it doesn't actually connect.
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  #332  
Old 23 July 2017, 03:05 AM
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Frustration at Injustice has sent me back into my safe VR world. Just played through Batman Arkham VR. First, it is absolutely expensive for the total length. You can get through the whole thing in an hour, and I think I got it for $15 on sale.
That said, it's an hour where you're the GD Batman. You get to put on the suit, analyze crime scenes, sneak through a sewer, and terrorize the Penguin. Voice acting from the same people in the other Arkham games, great little story, all around well done. If you can get over the price to length ratio, it's well worth it.
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  #333  
Old 26 July 2017, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
I hear you, DC: doesn't seem to matter which fighting game I play, pulling off combos never seems to work correctly. Either it doesn't do the move, or the second move goes off but there's something wrong with the timing so it doesn't actually connect.
I just read an article about how monitor refresh rates impact games, and that fighting game pros will be highly concerned about lag, saying that if the info isn't on the screen quick enough it screws up their ability to play. If it is to that point, then I'll just accept I can never do it. I do wish the games would have a mode for single player that would make the moves a bit easier to pull off.

Anyway, back to VR. I have found a game that has, at least temporarily, displaced Space Pirate Trainer as my favorite VR game. It's called Audio Shield, and it is awesome.

It's a rhythm game, where you block attacks to the beat of the music. Each controller is a shield in a different color. As the music plays, balls of light will come at you, and your job is to block the balls with the matching colored shield, or both together if the ball is purple. You get both technical points and style points - technical just off percentage blacked, and style for how much you move around and how hard you block. Best part? You can use any song you own, and at least some stuff you can stream from YouTube. I don't know if it's any video, but I played one with a YouTube song and had the video down at the bottom of my vision for an added bonus.

I played with a few songs (some Bastille and Avicii), then finished it off with Daft Punk's Get Lucky. I enjoyed it before, but that was the one that really sold me. I had finally found the shield type that worked best for me, so that helped, and then the way it ran was awesome. When you come to the lyrics "We'veeeeee, come too far, to give up, who we are" it gives a string of balls crossing your body for the held notes. So you end up kind of sweeping them aside with one arm, then punching down a few short ones with the other arm. Next line, inverse. I was laughing and having a great time, to the point that DW came in to see what the heck was going on.
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  #334  
Old 28 July 2017, 04:20 PM
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I played Elite: Dangerous a bit more and have a definite list of things I want to do in the game, so I have managed to get into it, but can't play it continually. (Especially as it has randomly booted me out of the game several times because of an unreliable server - not my own broadband connection, unlike the first time it happened when my internet had briefly gone down).

I can't get enthusiastic about any current games - there are a few indie ones I might download but none that are really grabbing me - so I looked back at older games I've not finished and have picked up Dark Souls II again. Because it was so long since I've played it, I've started a new game to see whether I get any further this time.

I started as a sorcerer, which I'm not sure about as I can't use many weapons yet, but it seems to be going OK. It took me a while to spot the woman to talk to in Majula who lets you level up and use flasks, and since I'd forgotten how that worked from the first time I was wondering what had gone wrong, as I'd expected to be able to do it when I found a bonfire. And I had forgotten how far I'd got before (Level 70, apparently, although that was with a lot of grinding and didn't reflect actual progress) so it will take me a while to get back there. But I'm doing OK so far.

I've only permanently lost (by dying twice in a row) 850 souls so far, which is one death's worth - all the other times I've died, I've managed to retrieve my souls afterwards. So that's already better than before. I should be able to add a few levels more to my character this way.

I've just unlocked the blacksmith's shop, and have found five bonfires so far - the last just past the Forest of Fallen Giants. Despite my issues with the difficulty of the boss fights, I do think this game (even on the last generation consoles) has some of the nicest graphics and best atmosphere I've seen in anything like this. The premise makes the slightly soulless, dead feel of it into an atmospheric advantage rather than a fault. And the mossy ruins in the forest are rendered fantastically, like all the environments.

I'm a long way from getting anywhere new or getting any new achievements, though. (Even though I only got 5 achievements out of 38 on my first attempt at the game!)

I would get Dark Souls 3 but I didn't think there was any point when I'd never made any real progress on the second one.
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  #335  
Old 02 August 2017, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
I hear you, DC: doesn't seem to matter which fighting game I play, pulling off combos never seems to work correctly. Either it doesn't do the move, or the second move goes off but there's something wrong with the timing so it doesn't actually connect.
I always have that issue with fighting games too. I'm glad it's not just me...

I'm getting on much better with Dark Souls II this time through. I actually restarted again just after winning the first boss fight, partly out of frustration when I carelessly lost a large number of souls, and partly because I had an idea of the alternative use for a unique single-use object that I'd just used (the boss's soul) and wanted to try it. Although I'd been convinced I was doing something clever, it didn't work and so I didn't really need to restart, but on that third play through of the initial stages, I went much more quickly and efficiently than the time before, so it was worth doing.

I'm now at the point I was at when I gave up the first time, but my character is already higher level and better-equipped than my first attempt, and this is without even grinding through all the levels to suck up every last soul, as I'd done that time. And I've played for eleven hours less. I've only beaten three bosses so far (the Last Giant, the Pursuer and the Dragonrider) and I've kept their souls rather than spending them. These are the same three bosses I had beaten before, so no new progress yet, but I'm in a far better position to continue, and I've worked out how to approach the boss battles so that I don't lose anything from repeated attempts. I've also found a few secrets and hidden areas that I'm sure I missed the first time.

I'm actually enjoying it now, which I didn't last time! I feel like a real gamer!

Last edited by Richard W; 02 August 2017 at 12:47 PM.
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  #336  
Old 05 August 2017, 11:48 PM
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Just Cause 3 is available for free on the Playstation Network for members with a Playstation Plus account, so I downloaded it.

After half an hour of playing it, I deleted it from my system: for a sandbox shooter title it's got a horrible control scheme. The third time I got a stupid game over because I tapped a button instead of holding it or held it instead of tapping I decided that I wasn't going to bother trying any harder to like it when I've already got a backlog of unplayed games.
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  #337  
Old 18 August 2017, 04:29 PM
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I got a lot further in Dark Souls 2 but haven't finished it yet - it's bigger and has a lot more areas than I'd realised.

I wanted something more relaxing as well, so I put it aside and got Stardew Valley quite cheaply. It's the sort of deliberately-retro "farming / mining / life simulator" which you can play without any pressure at all and just wander about doing your own thing at your own pace. I've been quite enjoying it, although I'm not sure how lasting its appeal will be as I seem to have got a long way through some parts already. (But I suppose those are the areas I've been concentrating on, and there are other aspects of the game that I've hardly bothered with).

I do have some niggles with it though. Again, some of the controls are very counter-intuitive - especially in the menus - and on the XBox One version, some of them just don't seem to work at all. Not in a way that stops you playing, but it seems they've converted it from PC, with what would have been the mouse pointer now controlled by the XBox One right stick, but very inconsistently so that sometimes you have to use the right stick to control it, sometimes the left stick, and sometimes the pointer doesn't work at all and you have to press a button. (For example, some screens have a "?" help icon that you don't seem to be able to move the cursor to, or indeed get to at all, so I can't read whatever in-game help they're offering).

Although for the most part it doesn't matter - unlike in Elite: Dangerous, there's nothing vital to the game - I still just had to look up how to perform a fairly basic action because after several days of trying on and off, I still couldn't see how to do it.

Having to look up the answer to a puzzle is one thing - for example, I had to look up how to drain an acid pool from a boss fight in Dark Souls 2 because I knew you must be able to do it, but hadn't been able to work it out. Although I could see a couple of environmental hints they could have added to make the answer more obvious, it was a legitimate puzzle and I'd missed it so had to "cheat".

But when you're looking up things like "How do I get back into my spaceship when I'm standing right next to it, in the area that's supposed to be underneath the airlock?", or "How do I attach this bait to my fishing rod, when both of them are in my inventory and the fishing rod has an obvious slot on it for bait?", I can't help but think that the control scheme could have done with more work, or at the very least, more cues.

(eta) Or "How do you walk through a gate?"... that's one I haven't looked up yet, but when I tried building a fence and putting gates in it, the gates appeared to be solid and immovable. I just removed them and left a gap, so I've not bothered checking yet - perhaps it was because I'd built them between a building and a fence, rather than two bits of fence, or something. But there don't seem to be any gates to open anywhere else in the game, and it would be easy to get the impression they just don't work.

Last edited by Richard W; 18 August 2017 at 04:38 PM.
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  #338  
Old 18 August 2017, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
But when you're looking up things like "How do I get back into my spaceship when I'm standing right next to it, in the area that's supposed to be underneath the airlock?", or "How do I attach this bait to my fishing rod, when both of them are in my inventory and the fishing rod has an obvious slot on it for bait?", I can't help but think that the control scheme could have done with more work, or at the very least, more cues.
How awesome would it be if those were from the same game?
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  #339  
Old 19 August 2017, 09:37 AM
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One day...
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  #340  
Old 25 August 2017, 05:00 PM
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Downloaded a demo of Ghost Protocol Wildlands* the other day and started playing it. I've only played a few missions, but it's fun. Basically you are the head of a small special forces team sent to defeat a drug lord who has effectively taken over Bolivia. Through a series of missions, you assist the local rebels and demolish his empire.

The quick and dirty summation of game play: Far Cry without the repetition and with wicked smaht AI. Especially compared to the Bethesda games like Skyrim and the Fallout series. If you shoot an enemy, he or his buddies don't just search for you a bit and then go back to their ordinary business. No, they mount up a patrol and start a search pattern. If they lose you, they'll call in reinforcements from nearby. I assaulted a base and their response was to call in a mortar barrage, then send out multiple parties to pincer us. Or when I assaulted a convoy, they diverted to another road (in case of ambush I suppose).

* Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, but really.
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