Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Age of Mythology - Poseidon

We only have one civilisation left, so let's play as the Greeks. Greece is probably the 'basic' civilisation in the game, particularly because it's the first civ you play as in the campaign, and the model for the hero system of the rest of the campaign - individual, named heroes you can only have one of. Beyond that, Greeks earn favour by worshipping at temples, so their villagers are even more important than normal.

We're playing as Poseidon, basically for thematic reasons: each civ has three major gods, who can be classed as 'Ruler', 'Secondary', and 'Evil'. We've played three 'Secondary' gods so far - so let's tackle the fourth.

Our camp looks much like any other initial camp. Once again, I'm trying to get my economy up and running as fast as possible. There's no advantage to staying in lower ages - it's better to level up as fast as possible, to out-research the enemy.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Kerbal Space Program - To Duna In Style

It's been a long time since I talked about Kerbal Space Program, the massive spaceflight simulator. Since that time, I've bought the full version, with a gigantic solar system, and ridiculous numbers of parts. And at some point, I decided to take a trip to Duna.

Duna is the Mars-analogue of the Kerbol system: small(er than Kerbin), red, and next out in orbit. It doesn't really take that much effort to get there, depending on what you want to take with you.

But let's suppose what you want to bring along is 'lots'. Let's suppose you want a full-fledged scientific mission, with landers, probes, and whatnot. There are basically two ways to get all that to space:
  1. Break it up into small components, launch them separately, and dock them together in orbit.
  2. Launch one big, shaky ship, which is more difficult to get up, but doesn't need sticking together.
I went with the third option.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Pokemon Platinum - Archosaur Run - Part 5

Remember that team picture I posted back in Part 3? Well, forget it. There's been a change of plans. After clearing out the big cave (and using a lost little girl to get the whole team up to level 25), I pressed on into the hidden section. I figured out the bike jumps, tried to catch a Gible (since they're partially based on dragons), failed to catch a Gible (which is fine, I guess. :( ), and finally picked up the TM for Earthquake. Which has a 100% hit rate and 100 power.

So yeah, Torosaur's still a bit weak, and doesn't have access to the Wyrm Two-Step, but on the other hand, he can now do this:

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Age of Mythology - Gaia

Since our only credible opponent last time was the Atlanteans, we're playing as them next. Atlantis revolves around the theme of 'expensive but strong'. Virtually everything Atlantean costs gold, whether it's a building, a unit, or an improvement. Our villagers ('Citizens') are really expensive - but gather faster than anyone else's need zero infrastructure to start work. That means my starting camp looks like this:

My Atlanteans are worshippers of Gaia. One of her blessings is those green circles around my buildings; they're called lush, and enemies can't build on them. I'm not actually sure they ever die off, which means my land is useless to the enemy. Gaia, in fact, has a general focus on economics and buildings - she makes buildings regenerate, and economic research cheaper. In less-significant news, worshipping Gaia is the only way in the game to get an all-female pantheon. My minor gods in this came would be Leto, Rheia, and Hekate, all of who focus on myth units.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Age of Mythology - Thor

After my humiliating defeat at the hands of Thor-worshipping Norsemen in my previous game of Age of Mythology, I decided it was time to try a new strategy. I left my devoted followers of Isis behind (er, not that there were any left), and chose a new major god: this time, I would be the Thor-worshipping Norse.

The Norse civilisation is built around mobility. Its resource collection centres are wagons, and can move to new locations. Uniquely, its gatherers cannot build structures; that honour goes to the infantry. That means an invading army can quickly turn itself into a fortified base, or even a new city, drawing on the gatherers back home. It's nice stuff.

As for Thor, his focus is mostly dwarves. Dwarves are a Norse gatherer unit, but one which is only really good for gathering gold. They're also bought with gold, but they are definitely worth the cost. Under Thor, they're made cheaper, and can gather food and wood pretty well too. Thor's God Power is called Dwarven Mine, and creates a special gold mine which Dwarves mine faster.

Thor can also build a Dwarven Armory, which gives cheaper military improvements, and can research Pig Sticker, which speeds up hunting. That last... turned out to be the best thing about him.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Age of Mythology - Isis

Age of Mythology is a brilliant game. Not because of the gameplay - it's basically Age of Empires, your standard RTS - but because of the theme. You play as the Greeks, Egyptians, Norse, or Atlanteans, and you get to fight alongside mythical monsters, and even summon the power of the gods.

Along the way, you get to choose your pantheon, and explore the radically different play-styles of the four civilisations. In this game, I played as Egypt, which meant I could build priests (ranged anti-myth-unit troops), and, significantly, that several buildings were free. That's a massive advantage, right? Where everyone else has to pay to build houses or workshops, I got them free!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Pokemon Platinum - Archosaur Run - Part 4

So it turns out that 'clear that cave' is a bit more complex than it sounded. My poor Pokemon kept being knocked down to nearly dead, and ultimately, Wyrm and Quackpot were unconscious. So I trekked back to Oreburgh Pokemon Centre, and - I say, what's this?

Monday, 8 December 2014

Pokemon Platinum - Archosaur Run - Part 3

After beating Eterna City's Gym, I tried to jump ahead by ignoring the Team Galactic building, but guess what? Going south requires a bicycle, and going east requires Strength. The only thing I could do was head back to the end of Eterna Forest and poke around the Old Chateau. It was fun to beat up ghosts, but since I didn't need to pick up Rotom, it was a bit of a waste of time.

Around this time I realised just how crippled my crippled variant was. Two Gyms down, and I still didn't have access to Fire - or Electric. Bug and Ghost were missing, too, and I hadn't yet found anything Dark. Heck, my only Psychic and Water attacks were one each on Quackpot the Psyduck; apart from A'tuin's Grass, Starsky's Flying, and Wyrm's low-attack Fight and Rock, I was still doing most of my damage with Normal type - Torosaur's Take Down, A'tuin's Return, and Noctis' Uproar. It was pretty weird.

On the plus side, I did have an owl who glared at me every time I sent her into battle:

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Divine Divinity - Sticklady

Divine Divinity is an oldish (2002) fantasy RPG made by Larian Studios. Apparently it's fairly generic in its field, except for one thing: the dialogue is extraordinarily well-written, and often hilarious to boot. For some reason, I just love this game, and since I completed it once a few years back, I decided to take it on in a crippled variant.

The basic plot of Divine Divinity is that you are an amnesiac (of course) Marked One, who will ultimately be turned into the Divine One and sent to fight the Demon of Lies, to stop him summoning the Lord of Chaos. Of course, as with most RPGs, the plot is actually about you solving random side-quests. Your character can be a Warrior, Wizard, or Survivor (= Thief), and either male or female. The sex has no impact outside starting skills and the sex of one minor character (an elf who you can persuade to propose to you) - interestingly, while you're able to sleep with both the male and female prostitutes regardless of your sex, the dominatrix is female either way. She'll still take you to her spiky bed, though.

No, actually, it isn't that sort of game; as far as I recall, there aren't even any experience points to earn in the brothel. It's just a random aside.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Pokemon Platinum - Archosaur Run - Part 2

I left Oreburgh victorious and headed back to Jubilife. Wyrm made short work of the rocks on the Ravaged Path, and we continued on through Floaroma to the Valley Windworks for our first confrontation with the apparently-villainous Team Galactic! Commander Mars was... actually tougher than I expected:

Wym was extremely put out at meeting something that could actually hurt her - particularly since that something was a hideously overweight cat. Still, we were victorious, and Team Galactic... uh... apparently got what they were after anyway. Go Team Too Late?

Before heading for Eterna Forest, I had to drop off one of my team, so I could catch a Hoothoot in the forest. I made the decision to let Starbuck retire; I'd discovered that what I wanted from a Starly (or rather, since Starsky had evolved by this point, a Staravia) was speed, and Starsky was just that little bit faster than his sister. You can see he's holding an item - that's the Quick Claw, to give him even more chance of getting the first hit in. Since he also knows Quick Attack, he's basically going first no matter what.

A little while later (if I may jump ahead in the narrative), Starsky learned the perfect move for his setup: Endeavour, which cuts the enemy down to match your HP. It'll never win a battle - but on a Pokemon who can always get the first hit in, it may make a key difference someday. Specialised, yes, but I'm keeping it anyway.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Pokemon Platium - Archosaur Run - Part 1

An Archosaur Run is a game of Pokemon in which the player voluntarily abides by a couple of restrictions. Specifically:
  • Only Pokemon which are based on reptiles or birds may be caught or used during the course of the game. The exceptions are: if an archosaur can be traded for in-game, and cannot be acquired elsewhere in the game, the Pokemon required to trade for it may be caught (but not used in battle). Also, if a required HM cannot be taught to any available archosaur, a HM mule may be used until such time as an archosaur is available. Again, though, it can't be used in battle.
  • All Pokemon should be caught or acquired during the game, rather than being traded in (though it is acceptable to trade out-then-in, or like-for-like, for the purposes of evolution).
It's a new variant designed by myself (as may be obvious), and does exactly what it says on the tin: only Pokemon drawn from a very limited set are available. Originally, that set was literally 'archosaurs' - birds, dinosaurs, and crocodiles - but fortunately I came to my senses before starting and expanded it to include the rest of Reptilia - snakes, turtles, and lizards.

That's still a very limited set. On a quick count, I saw 48 evolutionary lines in Gen I - IV which would be usable under these restrictions, and at least 9 of them were Legendaries. Furthermore, nearly half (22/48) were birds, though not all are necessarily Flying-type. So it seemed like this idea would be more challenging than it was worth.

... on with the show, then!