Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri (SMAC)

I’d like to take the time to post about another game I’ve been playing a lot lately… This one is a classic and this entry will most likely make you nostalgia hard and install it.

This is easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. I’d rank it at #2 out of my top 5 favourite games. With Starcraft: Broodwars being #1. Easily the best “Turn-Based Strategy” game I’ve ever played. The Civilization games have NOTHING on this.

I don’t even know where to begin with this game. It’s old but it still holds up better than virtually every game I’ve played today. Not only for replay-ability but for how deep this game is philosophically and intellectually. If you honestly haven’t played this game; I highly recommend you do.

Depending on if you have the expansion or not but for the sake of this entry we’ll just talk about the original for now. You can play as 1 of 7 factions. Each with their own very unique agenda and personalities…

Copied from Wikipedia:

SMAC takes place in the Civilization universe, beginning in the 22nd century, and follows the space-race victory in Civilization II.[1] The premise is that the United Nations has sent the "Unity" colonization mission to the Alpha Centauri planet Chiron ("Planet").[2] Advanced aliens had conducted an experiment in planetary-level sentience on Chiron, leaving behind monoliths and artifacts.[3] Unfortunately, the experiment was a disaster, creating a hundred-million-year evolutionary cycle ending in the death of all animal life.[4] After the disaster, the aliens split into the Manifold Caretakers, who opposed further experimentation, and the Manifold Usurpers, who favored further experimentation. Immediately prior to the start of the game, a reactor malfunction wakes the crew and colonists on the Unity early and irreparably severs communications with Earth.[5] After the captain is assassinated, the most powerful leaders on board build ideological factions with dedicated followers, conflicting agendas for the future of mankind, and "desperately serious" commitments.[5][6] As the ship breaks up, seven escape pods, each containing a faction, are scattered across Planet.[7]

Out of the 7 factions I personally like University of Planet the most.

Granted each faction has their benefits and downsides, I think if you can rush the secret project “Hunter-Seeker Algorithm” and finish it first, you’ll be extremely far ahead.

My 2nd most favourite faction to play is Morgan Industries.

The amount of wealth you can amass early in the game is pretty high compared to everyone else. You can set up a pretty good infrastructure but the limited base sizes and lack of support for military units is pretty crippling.

I also have a few early game strategies built up for every faction. The Spartan Federation being the strongest I think since you get rovers immediately. Just rush your tech and get particle impactors. It lays waste to the other factions early game. This also works with any faction as well though, but I find it less effective.

The story in this game is also really deep. No matter how many times I’ve played this game I still find it interesting and very immersive. (With the expansion pack you can play as Alien factions which I feel add a whole new level to this immersion since they bring their own story into the game.) Over the course of the game you find out that the planet is actually a semi-sentient being, which is learning and observing you. Unsure if you’re there to help it or destroy it. Here’s a memorable quote that planet gives.

“You are the children of a dead planet, earthdeirdre, and this death we do not comprehend. We shall take you in, but may we ask this question--will we too catch the planetdeath disease?”

Just by posting that quote I don’t feel it does much justice without playing the whole game. I find that alone really deep, since the planet understand that humanity has come from a dead planet (Earth). There are a lot more memorable quotes. Most of them I find are done by Chairman Sheng-ji Yan. His quotes are more focused on the fundamentals of what makes us human and what our objectives in life are. Also he talks a lot about what is really the purpose of life.

“If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only purpose is life itself.”

“What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output.”

Both of these are Yan’s quotes that I absolutely love.

I’ll continue with another entry later on talking more about my strategies and play-style. As well as my adventures on playing the 2nd hardest difficulty the game has to offer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mortal Kombat 9

So I haven't been playing much Starcraft II lately. I've been playing Mortal Kombat 9 on xbox for the past few days. I actually like this game quite a bit minus the fact that online play is still kind of laggy compared to offline.

I'm really good with Raiden I've figured out, and I'm okay with Scorpion and Sindel. I'm currently on a 29 ranked game win streak with my overall stats being something like 60-11. People online are really bad. I can do this massive 15 hit combo with Raiden in the corner and every single time I've pulled it off the other player left once I was finished. I lol everytime.

To add insult to injury I also do Babalities to 90% of the people I play. (You can't block the final round in order to perform one.)

If anyone feels like hitting me up for a game add my XBL account. enruler

Sunday, May 1, 2011

LOL POOR, Thoughts on specific units, & PTR Balance changes

So yeah lost my internet for a while there due to not paying the bill. Money's been fairly tight especially since I'm taking CompTIA A+/N+ courses. I feel like I'm trying to squeeze blood from a stone at this point. I'm even behind on rent money.

Anyway I seen an interesting thread on Teamliquid. A user had made a discussion thread talking about these following abilities:

Concussive Shell
Fungal Growth

Now the reason why they were mentioned was because they can potentially remove the "micro" aspect of battles, which was unanimously agreed upon; Is bad.

Concussive Shells devastate units like stalkers. Once a marauders out it shuts down early stalker pressure. Because if you get clipped by one that unit is pretty much dead. It's quite annoying. Zealots and roaches are also completely destroyed by this ability. Zerglings are only spared because of the high volume you can produce it overwhelms the marauder(s).

Forcefield allows a player to completely encircle, cut off, or cut in half a whole army. This is clearly overpowered since there's no real counter to it other than massive units. Once again this cuts down the micro aspects of early game and even middle game at times. A separate issue I have with this ability is the fact that Protoss NEEDS it to survive early game pressure from Z and T. I don't think a race should be completely dependable on an ability like this just to survive.

Fungal Growth isn't as bad as the other two I'd say since it's fairly high up the tech tree and harder to acquire and use. However it still has that problem of completely mobilizing an army removing micro. I just wish plague would have been in the game instead.

I'm not sure what Blizzard is so content with those abilities. Starcraft 2 is very heavily macro orientated. I miss the micro days of Broodwar.

PTR Balance Changelog...



o Archons are now a massive unit.

o Pylon power radius has been decreased from 7.5 to 6.5.

o Cybernetics Core
+ Research Warp Gate time increased from 140 to 180.

o Gateway
+ Sentry train time decreased from 42 to 37.
+ Stalker train time decreased from 42 to 37.
+ Zealot train time decreased from 38 to 33.
+ Warp Gate unit train times remain unchanged.


o Ghost
+ Cost changed from 150/150 to 200/100.

o Bunker
+ Salvage resource return reduced from 100% to 75%.


o Spore Crawler
+ Root time decreased from 12 to 6.

I actually like most of these changes. However everyone will have to be more weary of proxy gateways now. They really plagued the game during launch due to the fast production time of zealots. So we'll see how this goes. I think it's a step in the right direction though given how powerful 4 gating is.

Anyway I'm out of things to say at the moment.