Espeorb’s Techie Hobbies

All your hobbies are belong to us

Hobby #12: Mark the Echindna/Damizean’s 3d Sonic Engine

Whoo, it’s been a while since my last blog post, eh? Well, I decided to write up a new one. This one is a 3D, fully open source, Sonic the Hedgehog game engine!

What is an engine? It’s the core of every game, the raw coding that just does enough to make it work; the authors and developers usually add characters and stages and a story and whatnot after they’ve made the core engine. This engine is based off of the old Sonic games (no, not the new 3D ones!), except it’s 3D. It essentially has everything the old games had – speed, jumping, spindashing – and little else character-wise. It kind of gives you a nostalgic feel. Oh, and did I mention it’s fully open source? Yes, my friend, you can make 3D characters and levels to use in it if you’re keen enough on the 3D modelling, blitz 3D code and the engine itself. In fact, I feel like showing you a rather small gallery of pictures that I have from a level I made in it, complete with recoloring sonic:

Racing through a giant log

Racing through a giant log

Overlooking the city

Overlooking the city

Livin' in the city, you know you've got to survive...

In the somewhat big city

In the castle's courtyard

In the castle courtyard

The funny thing about these pictures is that they’re all from the exact same level. Much variety, no? I’ve been doing 3D modelling for- well, actually, not very long now. But wouldn’t you say I’m okay at it since I built this level? I probably will make a 3D modelling hobby post at some point in the near future. That is, when I’m better at it. Also, if anyone is wondering why my sonic is brass-colored instead of blue, I recolored his textures.

I really wish I could make a link to the engine, but links seem to be going fast or something, as the place where I got it not too long ago is gone. Quite odd, I would say. And now for the ratings!

Pros:
Fully open source
Has a classic feel
Is all about speed, momentum and skill like Sonic games should be
Easy to edit

Cons:
A few glitches
No rings, moniters etc ūüė¶ or maybe I’m missing something
Is DX7 and uses Blitz3D (AKA uses really old software as the basis)

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November 2, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , | 4 Comments

Hobby #11: The Backloggery

The Backloggery is a very unique, fleshed out and functional idea. At its core, it’s a massive customizable log of all your video games. But saying that does it no justice, so I’ll go into better detail so that you may understand its full awesomeness!

Putting a game in

Putting a game in

The Backloggery, however it started out, has become a huge thing with video game collector and/or any kind of gamers. The basic description is that it’s a Web 2.0 website where, once you register and log in, you start “adding” logs of games from your real-life collection. You do this by putting in the name of the game, its console, your status on it (unfinished, beaten if you beat the game, complete if you’ve collected every item and completed every mission ect., or mastered if you’ve completed it and completed a user-defined challenge such as only using the weakest weapon and/or completed a “speed run” of the game. I have no mastered games, only completed, unfinished or beaten ones, but that may change soon ! :)), your rating on a scale of 1-4 (they really need to change that to 1-10), whether you currently own it or not, whether you’re now playing it or whether it’s on your wishlist or not, and lastly a note on the game that can be whatever you want (I usually like to keep my notes to witty comments about the part of the game I’m at).

Not only can you add games in, other people can subscribe to you and your Backloggery and comment upon it. I have added a link to my backloggery in addition to a widget featuring my newest backloggery games in the page called “Backloggery” on the pages on this blog. Please be sure to comment and/or maybe subscribe to my Backloggery!

Pros:
Easy to use interface
Addictive to add new games constantly
Many options for adding/editing games
Highly customizable

Cons:
They need a bigger rating scale :/
Sometimes it feels like there’s too many options for navigating through your games

Overall Rating: 8.5

The link is http://www.backloggery.com/. Be sure to sign up and give it a shot if you’re any kind of gamer at all, casual or not!

October 18, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , | 3 Comments

Hobby #10: Collectable Card Games

I have been a long-time fan of any sort of collectable card game (CCG), and have tried many. There’s just something about that smeel of a new booster pack waiting to be torn open, the fresh new cards waiting to be collected, stuffed into a card holder and put into your your/shown off to your friends/traded. Today I will explain some of these…

Yu-gi-oh incarnation

Yu-gi-oh incarnation

Yu-gi-oh. This was my first CCG obsession. It’s a bit like MTG (explained later), what with being all about the monsters and the magic. Yu-gi-oh is simple: it’s your monster vs their monsters in whatever way possible. Believe me, there are a lot of ways to obliterate the opposing monsters and whittle down the opponent’s “life points” (run out of them and you lose), whether it be by magic, traps, special monster abilities, altering the metaphorical monster battle field or a strategic yet personal combination of all three. Anyway, there’s much strategy involved.

Pokemon incarnation

Pokemon incarnation

Pokemon TCG. Pokemon is a bit of an interesting card game. I never really played that much, but it’s fun- even though it seems the booster pack designers hate you (one random energy card per booster pack!? That hardly seems fair! Heck, I could be paying 30+ bucks just to get one psychic energy for my deck that needs at least 15 energy cards to survive!). Though I guess the poor souls need the money (hehe, I can’t stop laughing after that one). Anyway, the game’s goal centers around either wiping out all your opponent’s active pokemon (very tough, since they can summon basic pokemon without almost any restriction), or defeating enough of them to where you can grab all of the opponent’s “prize cards”. This is all done by controlling your active Pokemon, of course (in lieu of the Pokemon games). Overall a fun game, but it never seemed to quite click with me completely.

MTG incarnation

MTG incarnation

Magic: the Gathering. This is one awesome game, and my current CCG obsession. I think it deserves the title of “collectable card game” more than any other because one of the main points is to collect the cards, what with many of them being promotional, tokens, extended art, and having a fleshed out rarity system, so that you can show them off to your friends (who might feel the need to kick your butt in a game of theirs due to your gloating- believe me, envy/jealousy is a very… driving force). Writing all that, I forgot to mention how in-depth and fun the game system is. Basically, you use some land cards (much like Pokemon’s energy cards), and once you’ve accumulated enough “Mana” from those, you may summon a creature (or in some cases use one’s Mana-costing abilities). This creature may then attack the opponent’s Life (like Life Points in Yu-gi-oh, see a trend here?). However, the opponent may choose to block with a creature they summoned the their “zone”. That creature is then destroyed, barely scratched or some other after effect. This is where the abilities come in. It’s very hard to find a creature without at least one I-am-only-blockable-by-X/Deal X damage to Y/target card gets X/X until Y/so many others (X and Y would be whatever the abilities state) The funny thing is that the abilities of the cards often overlap the actual MTG system’s rules. Now, after all that, do you see what I mean by in-depth? I thought so.

(Ratings for each game explained will likely be added later.)

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hobby #9: Super Mario War

No, it’s not related to the classic card game. Today’s hobby is an absolute gem by the name of Super Mario War. This game has more depth than you can dream of.

A sadistic level I made. Not actual size.

A sadistic level I made. Not actual/full size.

Super Mario War (Or SMW, sometimes confused with Super Mario World) is essentially a fighting game built right off of the Mario engine. You and a friend (or two, or three. If you don’t have friends, poor ol’ you, you can face off against the CPU) can fight against each other using many techniques with a variety of characters (sort of), stages and items. The most classic technique that is omnipresent is to jump on top of your enemy’s head, squishing them and making them lose a life/lap/frag/point/whatever else your game mode offers. In most cases, this is good for you and bad for them. Another technique is to use items to help you out, such as the Ice Rod, which, once you press the item button, shoots out a Kamek-esque polygonal mess of magic straight forward. If it hits someone except you, it turns them into an ice cube temporarily. If they are touched in this state, they shatter into an icy mess. There are plenty of items to use to your advantage, sort of like Super Smash Bros. These are only two of the ways to kill an opponent, though the one I dislike is that if someone stands still for about 10 seconds, they die instantly. Though by then you would know to move by the time counting down on you in the last 3. But the general rule (and you’ll see the CPU execute this at all times) is to keep moving and jumping, moving and jumping. That way, you’re harder to squish/hit/otherwise kill. These battles are a bit frantic, indeed, but are very fun.

Most important in my opinion, though, is the game modes, which are plentiful and very varied. Just a few of them follow:

Classic

The basic mode. Make your opponent lose all their lives however possible before they make you lose all of yours.

Jail

Jail is a very backwards mode in which the first person that loses a life “goes to jail”. Their jump height and speed are drastically reduced at this point, thus making you easier to kill and getting an even longer sentence. While staying alive for a good while gets you out (like serving your sentence for the crime you never did), you may also find jail keys in item blocks, which you can use if jailed, or save for later if not. And if I recall correctly, you may be tagged by a teammate (if any) to break out. Essentially, though, it’s just classic with a huge yet fun gimmick of sorts.
Capture the Flag (CTF)

CTF is one of the most fun modes, in my opinion. For the poor souls who don’t know what CTF is, and how to play: Each team hides their flag somewhere around the area they’re playing in, and all within a certain radius of the flag is now their base. The other team does the same. The goal of each team is to capture the enemy team’s flag and bring it back to your flag without being tagged (IIRC, you may only tag an opposing player while they are within your area, unless the player you are trying to tag has the flag). If you are tagged, you are out of the game. The game continues until one team wins either by tagging every team member on the other team (very hard) or by capturing their flag successfully (varied difficulty).
Super Mario War has a few twists on this: one, your bases are set randomly each team someone captures an opposing team’s flag. Also, when you die in any way, you just start back from your base, but drop the flag at the spot you died on. The flag may or may not then reset back at the enemy’s base after a set period of time, or go automatically back after being touched by the “tagger”, both depending on the settings.

This is just a taster of the incredible amounts of game modes. And I know I mentioned it before, but don’t get me started on the amount of levels and “characters” (there’s really no characters, just different sprite sets for the same system- don’t worry, it’s still great to have a variety of them. The reason I’ve only shown 2 in these pictures is I didn’t bother to swap them and/or their colors in the time of taking these pics). Both are also somewhat easy to edit/create.

Pros:

  • The amount of variety and depth is incredible
  • Basically endless replay value
  • Fan of Smash Bros (TM), the Mario games or both? You’ll love this.
  • If you’re not, it’s still great fun.
  • Terrific fun at that with two or more players.

Cons:

  • A little too fast paced overall, but that might just be me
  • They might want to remove the “GO” button on the main menu so that you don’t end up in a random level and a random mode and say “Huh? What happened?”, or at least place it where it’s not right next to the “Start” button, thus leading to confusion between which one to press in the back of your mind
  • Big con: no network play (yet)! It seems like the perfect game for it.
  • The bots have great AI, but tend to get stuck in various places sometimes, and don’t work terribly well with moving platforms (and definitely not my run-away-from-spikes-on-moving-ground levels [see first picture])

Overall score: 8.5/10 – A true gem that makes me wonder why it’s not even shareware, being so in depth and all.

The link to the stable version 1.7 AFE is currently here, but you may want the slightly buggier version that has more features, 1.8 beta 1: Link

September 17, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , | Leave a comment

Hobby #8: Youtube

I don’t know a soul that doesn’t know what youtube is. Many are obsessed with it, and since I’ve been doing hobbies about things that many people don’t know about, I decided to do a more common one. Also, apologies for the lack of updates.

Youtube is essentially the ultimate video sharing website, for those who live under a rock (how are you accessing my website?). The Youtube idea is this: you upload videos you’ve recorded, someone watches your video, some more people watch it, and since by this time it has 5-6 views, people might say “hey, I’ll fit in with the crowd” or “Oooh, the subject of this video interests me” and watch it some more. Thus your status on youtube is partially¬†accumulated by how many views your videos have, which is essentially how popular they are, because people can share your video with their friends- bam, more views. Also, two other popular features include other people being able to rate and/or comment on and discuss the videos. You can also at special effects to the video, descriptions for an explaination of it, tags to help people find it with keywords and even notes and speech bubbles burnt into the video itself.

A more complex and fun part, however, comes if you register an account on youtube (don’t worry, it’s free). You don’t have to register to watch videos, but you do have to if you want to comment and rate on them, or upload your own. However, when you register,¬†you get your own customizable profile page complete with subscribers, subscriptions, an avatar the varies with the videos you’ve uploaded, quicklists, favorites, playlists, and on and on. All these things really enhance your youtube experience.

Pros:
Very accessible
Great interface
Easiest file sharing the planet
Plenty of features

Cons:
The comment rating system is kinda dumb

Overall rating: 9/10

September 6, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , | Leave a comment

Hobby #7: GURPS

Generic Universal Role Playing System, or GURPS for short, is the “role-playing game” that I prefer to play¬†over such things as Dungeons and Dragons or Alternity. Put simply, it’s the most flexible roleplaying system out there. There are no “classes”, no¬†certain list of¬†monster races, no set in stone spells or weapons or races or anything. Everything (or most everything, they still have books upon books of rules for the game, but most rules are optional) is limited to your imagination, sort of.

For those poor souls who have never heard of Role-playing, here’s a sample scenario involving one person as the game master (explained in a bit, his words are in italics) and two “player characters”, or PCs, named Jad and Kyle (when the PCs are doing something it will prefaced by the PC 1 or 2, just for example). The parts that are done by the game’s rules and system, like the rolling, are in grey.

You all enter into the forest, where the fabled Amulet of Yonder has been told of, hoping to find it or some other treasure.
PC 1: “So, Kyle, what was it you were about to say before we had that run-in with a group of monsters?” Jad inquires as they walk slowly at a northernish direction. “It seems that you almost cut off purposefully.”
PC 2: Kyle seems to flinch as he walks. “N-none of your business,¬† Jad…”
PC 1: Jad finds this strange, and prods more with his average laid-back demeanor. “Woah, what’s with the hostility? I was just askinga question. Ease up, you can tell me anything, buddy!”
PC 2: “I said I don’t want to talk about it. I mean, I didn’t say that… you know what I mean…” Kyles greenish hair seems to deflate and cover his eyes as he speaks.
Here, the GM makes a secret roll with 3 dice (the normal) against both the characters’ “Sense” skills. Since Jad does not have the “sense” skill, he counts that roll as a failure. Kyle’s Sense skill is DX+1, and since his DX is 12, the the GM rolls 3 dice against Kyle’s Sense skill. 4, 5 and 1 are the outcomes of each die for the roll. Since the total of those is 10, which is lower than his Sense skill of 13, Kyle succeeds to sense something – but the GM doesn’t tell the PCs any of this. Now, we get to find out what Kyle sensed but Jad didn’t…
Suddenly, Jad feels a sharp pain in his back, and falls to the ground face-first. Kyle, turning quickly enough to see a robed figure lunging at him with a weapon of some kind (he didn’t manage to make that out in the rush), dodges to the side.
PC 2: Kyle pulls out and readies his blade, ready to dodge the blow he knows is coming. “Who are you!?” he manages.
The hooded, robed figure makes a roll against his weapon’s¬†skill of 10 (with three dice as usual, this is done by the GM in secret) – a 3,¬†6 and 2, which is 11, higher than the weapon’s skill – he misses.
The hooded figure lunges once more at Kyle, too quickly for Kyle to dodge, however he misses him by a hair anyway.
The hooded figure is exactly one hex away from Kyle after his lunge.

PC 2: “You’re going to pay for this!”¬†Kyle says, putting on an unusually angry face.
Kyle¬†rolls three dice against his weapon’s skill of 12 – 5, 5, 1. Total is 11, which is less than 12, thus a hit.
Kyle then rolls 1d6-1 (which means 1 6 six sided die with 1 subtracted from the outcome). 5, which totals to 4.
PC 2: Kyle swings his blade at¬†the figure’s right leg.
4 damage, enough to cause minor leg injury Рthe figure starts to favor his left leg and limp with the other.
The figure has 8 out of a maximum 12 Hit points left (once he runs out, he dies).

I think that should suffice for an example, eh? If you don’t know, by the way, a PC is a person that participates¬†in the story as a¬†made-up character.¬†They usually have a “character sheet” which is basically everything that defines the character they play as a being. A “game master” is basically the narrator, and explains what the characters see, hear, taste, etc. Also, he makes most of the rolls, and like in the example sometimes

It’s a very in-depth system, soooo much more than walking, talking and stabbing and lunging wildly at your foes. A system full of magic, strategy, narraration¬†and much much more. I’m not exagerrating when I say it’s limitless.

Also, general rule: if you’re having fun, you’re winning. And there hasn’t been a GURPS moment where I haven’t had fun.

Pros of the system:
It’s very fun and limited pretty much to your imagination
Even my Role-playing game DESPISING brother loves it (also, I just recently found him playing an RPG video game on the internet o_O)
No preset dungeons, monsters, races, classes and more! Yay not-D&D!
Like I said, flexible
It’s a roleplaying game, so it’s more fun the more friends you have playing with you
The books give you plenty of ideas for spells and such
You can be creative too, like in a building trapping your enemy against the wall with a spell, then throwing aa dagger at a loose brick on the ceiling so the building collapses – but you’ve got to escape from the building, too!

Cons:
If your GM is mean or extremely bossy (they have to be somewhat bossy, though), it won’t be especially fun

Overall score – 10/10 – better than any roleplay system I’ve tried, and believe me I’ve tried a lot

You buy the books at http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/, or maybe your library, but remember to get the Basic Set book if you’re a beginner!

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , | Leave a comment

Hobby #6: Sonic Robo Blast 2

This game is awesome. And it’s freeware. And open-source. Now, no matter how bad the graphics of the game are I want you to know this: it is still, deep down, just another Sonic fangame. But to me, it exceeds all the rest.

Sonic blasts ahead with his "Thok" ability

Sonic blasts ahead with his "Thok" ability

¬†Sonic Robo Blast 2 (or SRB2, which it is most commonly called) is a Sonic the Hedgehog fangame presumably with the goal to return somewhat to the series roots, which it does in glorious 2.5D. It certainly acheives it’s goal – though not exactly what I’d call side-scrolling, the premise is that you basically go through two of the same-ish sort of levels, both very long and fun and sometimes even tough, destroying robotic enemies and collecting rings, touching checkpoints, solving minor puzzles, gathering hidden gems called “chaos emeralds” and finally reaching the goal. Oh, and let’s not forget racing around at a generally high speed. And then after blasting through 2 levels of doing things of that sort, you come to face sonic’s arch-nemisis, “Doctor Robotnik”, who uses various sorts of vehicles and traps and attacks to try to hurt you, all the while you’re jumping at him like crazy, trying to avoid his attacks and hurt him. Once you beat him, you go into the next “zone” and do the same thing all over again. Repetitive it may sound, but believe me it’s not. In fact, it’s a wonderful and timeless genre, but this time without the holding right on the D-pad to win the level, what with it being almost 3D.¬†I have grown to like this. And one more thing: like I said earlier, it’s completely open-source.
 
You may change your character's color in mulitplayer mode

Yellow-knuckles in Zone 2-2

What this means is that it’s completely editable. If you get really really tired of the same old Sonic-Tails-Knuckles trio, you can add new characters you get off of websites and the SRB2 forum and such. And not to forget new stages. Also, some people¬†make “mods” for the game which, instead of changing the characters or stages, change the game directly. SRB2JTE is a good example because of the bots, SA city, etc. And in addition to downloading things, you can make your own characters and stages too with the help of the right tools. Also, I almost forgot to mention, there’s a really really fleshed out multiplayer mode that includes both splitscreen and wireless play.
  • Pros:
    A purely fun system
  • Open-source
  • User-friendly
  • There’s just something about speeding through the game as sonic that most other games can’t match
  • Lovely Multiplayer
  • Cons:
  • Kinda hard to control the character’s usually
  • A bit tedious to go through the game and collect all the chaos emeralds and such at the same time, though that’s still optional
  • Overall score: 9.5/10 – Has one or two minor flaws, but is true the the classic Sonic games and retains their fun

You may download Sonic Robo Blast 2 here: http://ssntails.sepwich.com/srb2/

August 19, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hobby #5: Neverball

Sorry about the lack of updates recently. Today my hobby to show you is a little gem called Neverball. To describe this game, think Super Monkey Ball, but without the monkeys, and the bananas¬†are coins. Something like that. It’s been forever since I’ve played one of those games.

On a red ring in outer space

On a red ring in outer space

Anyway, Neverball is a wonderful game, built off of an incredibly basic system (tilt the gameworld with a mouse, joypad, etc. to make the ball roll where you want, collect coins to unlock the goal, then make a mad dash for it before your time runs out). However simple it may sound, though, put it into practice and it can be unfathomably challenging with the right level design, and sometimes even brutal (like when you use many techniques you’ve learned on your own just to collect that last coin, but wait- the timer’s on 10 seconds and the goal’s all the way over there! You tilt the world like crazy, but you’ve tilted too much, and you miss the goal and fall off the edge! That was your last life, because you didn’t collect enough coins to get a 1-up, and now you must re-do the whole course again… Rather long example, eh? Well, it happens a lot). But this challenge and wonderful system combined with the 75 included levels makes for a seriously fun game, believe me.

You thought that would be the end of the post? No, not quite. Or should I say, Never! Neverputt, that is.

A comparatively simple Neverputt course

A comparatively simple Neverputt course

Neverputt is a game that comes along with the Neverball package, and uses the same engine, though instead of Super Monkey Ball-esque gameplay, it resembles the classic game of minigolf. The courses can be just as crazy though, but crazy at a slower pace. You use the mouse to aim a ball through the course and try to get it into the hole usually situated at the far side of the course. The game includes But you have go through many obstacles, usually, to get there, such as teleporters, walls, giant moving blocks, escelators of sorts and much more. These can sometimes get frustrating. At least it gives you time to think before you act, unlike its partner.

Pros for Neverball:
Very fun and addictive gameplay, as usual
Easy to learn, near-dang-impossible to master
Fast paced and action-y in a different way than most action games
Plenty of challenge
For both non-gamers and hardcore gamers

Cons for Neverball:
If you have trouble with motion sickness in general, you can’t play it. Period.
If you don’t think you have motion sickness, this game will make you re-think that ūüėČ
Can be extremely frustrating

Pros for Neverputt:
Easy to learn, somewhat tough to master, all it takes is getting your putt strength, distance and direction down, and even though that sounds easy, it’s not
Much variety in terms of obstacles and gameplay
Fun for anyone who likes golf (and it’s putt-putt version) even the slightest
If you can’t handle the usually rather fast, race-agaisnt-time gameplay, but want something similar, try this

Cons for Neverputt:
Definitely not for the impatient type, though I suppose the same could be said about Neverball because of the difficulty

Pros for both:
They’re open-source! Whee!

Overall rating for Neverball: 9/10 – Though it can be tough, it’s hooks you the moment you start with it’s immense fun
Overall rating for Neverputt: 7/10 – While it is a wonderful engine and game, it just lacks some of that necessary fun, but that’s probably just me
Overall rating for both: 9/10 (not an average) – They both run on a rich and addictive system

Download them both at http://icculus.org/neverball/#download¬†– don’t worry, it says Neverball¬†but it comes with Neverputt too

August 18, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hobby #4: Roguelikes

There’s a lot to say about this one. Roguelikes are, possibly, the best genre of games out there. They also have the worst graphics other than, say, Interactive Fiction (which I will be writing about soon). What are Roguelikes, exactly? Let me explain…

An example of a roguelike

An example of a roguelike

In the late-ish 70’s, the game “Rogue” graced¬†personal computers, which were still pretty much just coming into being. It was a simplistic game, consisting of a main character (the @ symbol) trying to plunder the depths of an infinite dungeon that was randomly generated. This dungeon consisted of nothing more than walls (- and |), floors (.), monsters (various letters such as D for a dragon), items (more or less just symbols like { or /) and you. At that time, your goal was to loot the randomly generated dungeons while managing your health and hunger. Yep, you heard me. I said randomly generated. That essentially means you’ll never explore the same dungeon twice, ever. Thus the element of exploration is added in addition to survival and strategic thinking. “Strategic thinking?” you may ask. Well, to defeat monsters, you must consider many things, including but not limited to:

  • What items are you wearing and which ones are in your inventory?
  • What is your position in the corridor/dungeon compared to the monsters’?
  • If you throw, say a harmful potion at the monsters, will it hit them from where you are?
  • What about nearby traps? Any you could lure monsters into?
  • What¬†are the monsters’ resistances? What is there speed compared to yours? Their defense? Strength?

Not only does this quickly discovered strategic layer apply to monsters, but to the corridors and secret passages and etc. And one more thing: things in the dungeon, like monsters, only move when you move. Thus you may or may not consider it something of a “turn-based game”. Which reminds me: there is treasure galore in the dungeon, including but again not limited to: staves, weapons, armor, food, false items, potions, and most importantly: money. Money is your score in Rogue. If your second character got 75 levels deeper than your first characters, but picked up less money, they would be in second place on the high score list. Thus adding even more thought to this massive thought process, in addition to the many, many keyboard commands necessary¬†to do specific things.

After Rogue came a game called Moria, which was basically its duplicate child, from what I’ve heard. I don’t know, I’ve never played Moria. But obviously it was popular enough to spawn…

Angband. Boy, this was a popular game in its time, which wasn’t exactly that long ago. Angband introduced, with the addition of things like new commands, items, monsters, “unique” monsters, and a “final boss” of sorts, a town level. This town included some random villagers that were moderately fun to practice-kill to get used to the very slightly revamped¬†battle system that now included races and classes (like a mage with spellbooks and such!), and various all-purpose shops that would supply you with what you needed. IIRC, this was the starter of the “word of recall” scroll, one of the most useful items in all roguelikes.

A screenshot of Zangband
A screenshot of Zangband

Angband was popular enough to spawn many, many successors including what may be the most popular of the bunch, ZAngband (Capital A is no mistake). Oh, boy, to this day it is still one of my all-time favorite roguelikes. In addition to having a huge overworld in comparison to Angband’s rather-pitiful-in-comparison town level, it feature over 15-20(!) new races, and some great classes like Warrior-mage and Paladin, it also introduced many other things like the ability to make monsters into your loyal companions (Yay! I can have a Knight Archer be my friend!), and different “realms” of magic that most mage classes choose from inlcuding Nature, Chaos, Life and Arcane. Also, the newer versions of ZAngband have things like a randomly generated overworld (very fun) with random quests (can be tough but fun) and 100’s of different kinds of shops with a random inventory. Kind of in-depth, eh? Anyway ZAngband was popular enough to spawn things like…

ToME. A very popular variant of ZAngband which is a variant of Angband which is a clone of Moria which is a clone of the game that started it all. ToME rules, to say the least. It and it’s currently rather few variants such as Furyband (which I am playing right now as a race I programmed) are just too in-depth and fun to explain in a couple of paragraphs.
Pros of the genre:
Very fun
In-depth
Loads of character customization, especially in games like ToME
Very fun
On top of everything else, massively addictive
Cons of the genre:
None that I can think of :/
Overall score: 10/10 – These games reign supreme in dungeon exploration and IMO in RPGs in general.
Links:
Play Rogue online (must have Java): http://www.hexatron.com/rogue/ Warning: start with this game, but I am not responsible if the addictiveness causes you to ignore the other parts of your life. This applies to all Roguelikes.
Angband variants including ZAngband: http://www.thangorodrim.net/variants.html
Furyband (my fave ToME variant): http://www.furytech.net/furyband/furyband.php

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hobby #3: Poke

This isn’t quite a hobby per se, but more or less a fun little device that works universally. What does it do? It allows you to cheat on any game in existance. And it uses the peek and poke system. Fun. Now, take a look:

After choosing your application, and pressing "add", enter the number of, say, the gold in your game here.
After choosing your application, and pressing “add”, enter the number of, say, the gold in your game here.
That may take a couple of tries, but after it's done enter the name of the location here
That may take a couple of tries, but after it’s done enter the name of the location here
Change this number to whatever you want. It says 9999999 cause I wanted maximum money.
Change this number to whatever you want. It says 9999999 cause I wanted maximum money.
And here's the results in ND 2! (see below post)
And here’s the results in ND 2! (see below post)

That’s basically all there is to it. Well, so it doesn’t work on *every* game out there (eg. it won’t work on multiplayer games, sorry), and FYI I’m not a “cheater cheater pumpkin eater” (cheating usually takes the fun away), but it is a handy and fun device. I can’t exactly review because it’s not a game or anything, but I give it a score of 8/10 for good integration of peek and poke and a handy interface. Some newer games, however, just won’t take it, and it was meant to have more features but was never finished. Oh well, it’s still awesome. It’s free, and the link to download is here: http://codefromthe70s.org/poke.asp

August 12, 2008 Posted by | Hobbies | , , , | Leave a comment