Dragon Age chat hosted by PRC

For those of you interested, here are the logs of the Dragon Age chat we at the PRC hosted on our IRC servers yesterday. There are three… the main chat, the log of the questions answered by the Bioware folks in the background while the chat was going on, and the log of discussion after the channel was opened back up, which has a ton of info in the form of questions posed to Craig from Bioware and the PRC team.

English Katamari Forever Trailer

Finally have an official trailer for the English version of Katamari Forever, and it’s a bit kooky!

I have to agree, that turkey does look delicious. The game looks like a delight as well. No official release date, but it’s guaranteed that when this comes out, I will pay money to acquire it.

Great Battles in Our Solar Empire

Played a great and challenging game of Sins of a Solar Empire last night with Mike and Greg. We haven’t done a whole lot of multiplayer, but it’s a lot of fun. We all each prefer one of the races, so we have a lot of variety when we play.

Greg had an interesting strategy. Expand quickly, but once he encountered enemy opposition he turtled up, going to starbases and economic improvements rather than building a fleet. By not researching his fleet requisitioning, he focused on his economy and was earning far more credits than the rest of us due to his low overhead. As a result, he shunted those credits to me and Mike, allowing us to buy ships with abandon. At one point later in the game I queued four capital ships at once, while their crew research was being done.

In the end, the enemy was no match for the Vasari and Advent fleets backed by TEC capital. But we had some great fights with enemy fleets and starbases before they went down. Some pics below:

Above: The Vasari fleet under Admiral Mike with their front-line Enforcers take the brunt of the attack from the Orkulus Starbase as the legion Advent Fleet commanded by Lord Nick brings their beam weaponry to bear. Below: Advent Transcencia Star Base and TEC Argonev Star Base support one another to defend a system from the remnants of the escaping enemy Vasari fleet.

inFamous Complete

Finished up the last couple story missions of inFamous last night. It was a pretty satisfying conclusion, with a twist I actually didn’t see coming — even though I’m notoriously bad at predicting plot.

The last boss fight was a thrill, with the perfect transition from “Wow this is tricky, not sure if I’m going to get through this” to “Ah alright, I can actually do this!”. Although you can go on in the city, collecting and freeing up additional areas, the conclusion leaves open your continued progress and seems to obviously set the franchise up for a sequel, which most people will probably hope for.

Having gone most of the good route, I’d like to replay from the “dark side” to experience the other types of missions that I didn’t play. There’s a potential for some different story conclusions, and I’d like to see how those could fit in. So a real opportunity for a decent replay. But in all a great first run-through.

Spore Galactic Adventures

I recently picked up the Spore Galactic Adventures expansion, which I’ve been playing with my son, and it’s just a whole lot of fun.

First of all, the new content has a ton of charm. The first few missions that I did — one of which was a Shakespearian Romeo and Juliette adventure — had great writing and the wholesome, bubblegum appeal that I’ve come to enjoy with Spore. And the new stuff works seamlessly within the existing game, and allows you to have greater enjoyment with those creations that you’ve labored over throughout all the other games you’ve run. You can take adventures just like missions in Space mode that actually put you down on a planet, and you get to walk around and look at stuff, going “Hey, I made that” or “Wow I totally fought those guys before” and “Stupid piplup creatures are here and throughout the entire galaxy!” And if you get tired of the dynamic adventures in Space mode, you can always create your own using the amazing tools that come with the game.

I can’t say enough about the new tool sets. Using the tools, you can create your own adventures and terraform the planets where your adventure is set. But they are the most full-featured and easy-to-use tools I’ve ever encountered. I’ve played with Maxis tools for a long time, ever since the SimCity 3000 days, and these in Galactic Adventures are just unmatched. When I was terraforming, I was just awed by the options and the ease of use, I literally uttered out loud “I can’t believe how good this is.”

For example, as sort of a test, I created an adventure with some direction for Alex. You start with your captain, placing that placeholder creature anywhere on the planet. I spawned a tank vehicle, something I’d created before in a previous game, and set a goal on that vehicle that directed the player to destroy it. I experimented with various ways of destruction, but ended up placing a number of bombs (which I put on a respawn timer just in case) that the player could lob at the tank. Because the tank had a high HP value that one bomb wouldn’t knock to 0 in one shot, I just edited its health, and voila, one shot one kill.

I then created a small enemy base, again using buildings that I’d created in previous games, and required the player to seek out a key (hidden under the tank they should have destroyed) to open the gate that allowed access to the base. I terraformed a ramp into a formerly impassable hill that allowed a path into the base. Hidden past patrolling guards (that I’d created in past games, that I set in “aggressive” behavior and enemy detection ranges for and determined their patrol path) was another key, that opened a gate to where captive and adorable Pikachu creatures were held. Once you opened the gate, the Pikachus were freed, and your mission was over.

Throughout the process, I was able to customize character movement, behavior, and speech, object properties, music, environments, terrain, vehicles, buildings, ambient objects, and mission goals. With Spore Galactic Adventures, Spore finally has that possibility of being the “everything game” where you can use your own creations to recreate any other game experience, from GTA to Legend of Zelda to Pong or whatever, and other original things completely up to your imagination.

It’s my hope that the online community will continue to develop good adventures, similar to what the LittleBigPlanet online has become, a constant source of innovative and charming game experiences. Galactic Adventures has definitely given the game that potential.

More on Command and Conquer 4

New information has surfaced from an interview C&C4 designer and story writer Samuel Bass gave. Read it here.

A couple things I find interesting. The first big change is this idea of persistent profiles that exist throughout the game modes. From offline campaign to online multiplay, you gain experience as a commander, allowing you to unlock different units and abilities. Additionally, you have a class, either offensive, defensive, or support, giving you unique abilities in the field.

While I normally like to play the entire game I’ve paid for, this idea could be interesting. Sounds like they’re taking a page out of the CoD 4 book. Bass does say that the game has more units that any C&C game ever, so it might not be so bad.

Second, the mobile base is a new gameplay twist, and should prove interesting in multiplayer matches. Because the resources you want often aren’t mobile, but you can exhaust them, it’s nice to be able to move around to more relevant areas.

But the best thing I read was this quote from Bass: “As a nice side effect, since C&C4 requires players to be online all the time in order to prevent cheating, we’ll be shipping without any form of DRM.” Cool! It only took them three years to catch up to Company of Heroes. But that’s a good thing, if a little late.

Probably another year before we see C&C 4, no release date set yet, but it will be exclusive to the PC at least for a time.

New Mechwarrior Game Confirmed

ohboy ohboy ohboy ohboy ohboy ohboy ohboy ohboy

*ahem*

I’m extremely excited for the newly announced Mechwarrior video game which is supposed to reinvent and reboot the series. This continues the trend of reimagining existing franchies, from the Batman movies to the Prince of Persia video game series.

I’ve always loved this series, and have played every game in the FASA universe since Mechwarrior 2. Hopefully this update is going to be everything fans have been wanting.

The trailer over at IGN (all supposed to be in-game footage) looks amazing. The mechs are instantly recognizable, their weapons detailed and deadly, and the city-scape ravaged and gritty. It’s a visual feast. I can only hope the gameplay is as good as the graphics, with excellent mech controls and a good single-player campaign. Undoubtedly there will be some multiplay component as well.

No date yet that I’ve seen, but you can bet I’ll be following this game’s development until its launch.

Now, who’s taking pre-orders?