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Happy 5th Birthday ETS2

Posted in Gaming

Almost a year ago I was blogging about SCS Software’s Euro Truck Simulator 2 and it’s French expansion, well it will come as little surprise to anyone that a year later and as the game reaches it’s 5th birthday, I’m still raving about the game.

Ever had a single player game that you willed the developers to continue to support and develop, beyond the first couple of DLCs, well SCS are still giving this game so much love it’s crazy. Now averaging a Map Expansion DLC per year (Scandinavia 2015/France 2016/Italy 2017) the game has also had some additional bonus DLC’s like the Heavy Cargo Pack which came out mid-year and the Special Transport in December too.

If the Map Expansions were just adding more roads into the game, it would tanked ages ago, what SCS Software strive for is to create an area that is visually different from others you have already played.

  • The Going East! Expansion unlocked eastern Europe giving players more challenges in terms of road and jobs to complete, it also gave players new landscapes and farmland to enjoy.
  • In the Scandinavia Map Expansion there are numerous mountain roads giving amazing views while crossing fjords, there are landmarks dotted around the place, you even have to negotiate roundabouts inside mountains.
  • Contrastly the Vive la France! Map Expansion see’s up delivering to Power Plants, navigating our way through small country lanes and villages, and if you have ever been to France SCS Software nailed the fact there are toll booths EVERYWHERE.
  • The last Expansion Italia has a rich tapestry of environments where we encounter dual lane carriageways winding their way through the Apennines descending into farmland. The climate as you descend into land surrounded by the Mediterranean changes and feels warm in it’s nature ( sounds crazy I know).

List the expansions is easy, however what is impressive with all these expansions is that SCS Software pay so much attention to small details, the look and feel of each area is different, the road layouts and intersections, the architecture of the buildings all lend themselves to creating a much more immersive game. The lighting in town and cities is much better now, there are adverts and billboards that give the word a much more lived in feeling.

As I mentioned the Heavy Cargo and Special transport give the game more elements that mean things have to approached differently, can your truck handle the heavier load? Will you successfully drive that Wide Load taking the correct prompts from the special leading and trailing cars. This gives more things to do it this already busy game.

Thank you SCS Software.

Jumping Ship

Posted in Gaming

Since NCSoft closed the City of franchise, a number of projects have risen from the ashes with the hope to allow those ex-players to find a new home

These are the projects that are in flight that are considered spiritual successors to City of Heroes\Villains:

  • City of Titans
  • Valiance Online
  • Heroes and Villains
  • Ship of Heroes

I have been keeping an eye on these titles, watching videos as the are released and screenshots when possible, I’ve been on the fence for the most part as these games look nice but nothing was grabbing me in the same way as City of did.

Last week I had the pleasure watching a stream from Massively OP that was talking with the folks from Ship Of Heroes, there was a lot of information and development ideas given. I have to say I was very impressed, there was a Q & A taking place in the chat and nearly all the answers were how I would want a Superhero game to work.

One of the ideas that I hadn’t really understood was the idea of the space-ark (ship) and that the game looks to move away completely from a planetary bound MMO. This leads to multiple levels of the ship to explore and each having unique elements to it.

I’d like to see how SoH progresses between now and when they launch a client for folks to test with, I have to admit that so far it’s piqued my interest more than any other spiritual successor has.

You can watch the video of the stream here

Tanking again

Posted in Gaming

In November I patched up the World of Tanks client as a was looking for a evening drop-in game, plus something that I could team up with some clan mates when needed.

I started playing World of Tanks not long after launch in 2011, I tend to return and pick the game up once a year, it’s the kind of approach that makes my statistics look dreadful.
It can take a little while to get back into the swing of things, remembering how best to use a tank and learning new map layouts.

One of the most difficult challenges to overcome when returning after an extended break is learning what tanks have been changed and most importantly what new tanks you are likely to face, plus their strengths and weaknesses.

So far I think I’m getting back on the right track, I have progressed some of my higher level tanks and have unlocked two tier 9 tanks and one tier 10 tank.

Frustratingly no matter how well you are doing in a fight, the match is also in the hands of the other 14 players on your team too, many matches since returning have seemed to result in more overall failures.

 

 

To simulate a cultist

Posted in Gaming

I like many have been on the KickStarter bandwagon since the dizzying days of 2011, in years passed there has been a random parcel has been delivered each month and I’ve not had the foggiest what was inside until opening, kinda like having 12 birthdays. Over the years I have mostly backed board games, but there have been a few albums, a handful of computer games and not forgetting helping out the fine folks at Massively Overpowered when they needed rehoming.

Last October I backed the game Cultist Simulator by the studio weatherfactory.biz, I had played the prototype of the game earlier in the year so I kind of knew what I was getting into.

 

I’ll be honest, I generally enjoy all the things that lurch forth from the mind of Alexis Kennedy so I jumped at the chance to see where this new adventure was likely to take us. You may know Alexis from Failbetter Games working on the Fallen London & Sunless Sea, with guest appearances as a writer on Dragon Age: The Last Court and Stellaris : Horizon Signal.
Mr Kennedy is one of the co-founders of WeatherFactor along with the awesome Lottie Beavan, also from Failbetter Games where she was the Producer of Fallen London (web/iOS) and Sunless Skies and it’s expansion.

Given this duos past form, I am very excited to see how the game develops and takes its hideous final form over time. Also the in-game icons are being supplied by Clockwork Cuckoo who did the icons for another favourite game of mine Big Pharma.

In this screenshot, I am about to expire

Cultist Simulator is a narrative focused game that sees you trying to live a “normal” life, dreaming of strange places and having disturbing visions, getting that work/life balance right is important so that you don’t starve to death, weigh up the odds of doing manual labour as an injury could turn out to be fatal.

At first the game seems straight forward but as you get further into the story you discover it’s a complex juggling act, as all your actions take time to complete (less than a minute usually) and sometimes you find yourself egging the timer on so you can try and play a card that is time-sensitive before it evaporates.
Things get more frantic as you unlock more actions that can be performed and each has elements to be discovered, like the correct combination of cards it needs to trigger an event, or a new unlock.

Since backing the game there has been an Alpha release that naturally has more polish than the prototype did, more to interact with, more ways to fail, more things to juggle while consuming the wonderfully dark narrative.

So If you are in the market for a narrative game that’s a break for the norm then give Cultist Simulator a whirl : https://alexiskennedy.itch.io/cultist-simulator

Memorable gaming moments Part 2

Posted in Gaming

So my plan to blog each day in January may have been a little ambitious, given that this Month is one of the busiest in the industry in which I work. I had started typing up a post when the Out of Hours phone goes off an my time is sucked up with looking at stats for a few hours. By the time I was finished I decided that I was just going to get some sleep.

4 ) During my college years I would spend most weekends at a friend house smoking, drinking and playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It may have been a little old at the time but there was plenty to keep a bunch of drunks happy. There was races and battle mode, then there was shaving seconds off a time trial.

Things got serious when we would attempt to race on Ghost Valley 1 only using the mini-map or only using the rearview mirror, that only appears while reversing.

It wasn’t unusual to have button impressions on my fingers for days after playing.

 

5 ) The first memorable Playstation game I played was Resident Evil, rented from Blockbusters and played on Dok’s shiny new Playstation.

Excluding the acting, which is amazing by the way, the games fixed angles and music was enough to keep you on the edge of your seat nearly all the time. The first dog encounter everyone jumped out of their skin, it was amazing, the game didn’t need the all out horror just the tense moments and unfolding story.

To cap it all off we didn’t have a memory card to save the games, so we play it pretty much non-stop for days on end. We had to return the game and then re-rented it but having completed a large chunk already could effectively speed run through most of the mansion to progress further.
We got a memory care nearly at the end.

 

6 ) Once I had passed probation at my first job I decided to buy a PC, it was bought so I could get on the world wide web, in Fact it was on that PC I started writing the first versions of this very site. I couldn’t even tell you what the specs were but I remember the first game that was bought for it was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.

As you maybe aware the game was about an Anti-terrorist unit named Rainbow, originating from a book of the same name.

The game needed strategy, patience and timing in order to execute the tactical insertion plan, the game was unique in that you had the option of playing through the scenario controlling members of the team, or you could watch it all unfold through cameras and give orders from the safety of your living room.

As the game has evolved there is usually a strong focus on story, but the planning and strategy components are long gone. I recently backed a game that was in development that had very similar qualities to the original Rainbow Six, it is called DoorKickers by Killhouse games.

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