Monday, September 27, 2010

Dwarf Fortress 101 Tips

So I decided to give the freeware god game Dwarf Fortress a try. While there are a number of handy Dwarf Fortress tutorials out there for this freeware Sims-like game (like CaptnDuck's Dwarf Fortress Video Tutorial series and TinyPirate's The Complete and Utter Newby Tutorial for Dwarf Fortress), I decided to make a list of questions I've puzzled over as a DFort newbie. Hopefully, someone will find this guide made for Dwarf Fortress beginners useful.

CapnDuck's Part 2 of his Dwarf Fortress Video Tutorial series

The list after the jump.

Dwarf Fortress is like a free-to-play Dungeon Keeper. While I've never played that other sim god game, both games involve you constructing underground strongholds, providing the inhabitants with decent accommodations, and laying down traps for invading hordes. This observation barely scratches Dwarf Fortress but I'll soon make a review of this freeware strategy sims-like game if it proves addicting.

Q: The tilesets are great! They greatly imoprove the UI. However, while I can make out the dwarves and bodies of water, I can't make heads and tails out of some of the in-game objects and symbols. Is there a helpful list showing the tilesets' symbols and what they mean?

A: On the game's main menu, press "k." You will see an X appear. Move this over the object you want to identify and the info screen will show you what it is.

>>>More free-to-play PC strategy games HERE

Q: How do I quickly designate rectangular areas to be dug out?

A: Press "d" for designations (the game pauses at this point) then press "d" again for the "mine" task. An X will appear. Move the X to one of the corners of the area you want to mine. Press enter. Move the X away from the square you just designated as the "start point." You should see a flashing icon appear. Move X to the opposite (farthest) corner of the area you want your dwarves to dig out. Press Enter again. Press Escape to go back to the main menu. Press Space to unpause the game and you should see a dwarf go to the designated section.

KaleGotRice's video about Stonesense, a Dwarf Fortress utility that enables players to see an isometric view of their dwarven strongholds

Q: I want to make an underground farm but I can't seem to find mud. How do I make an underground farm without mud?

A: Dig around. You're sure to find underground rivers or pools of water. (Unconfirmed but it's what DFort forum veterans say. Kudos to Laurin!)

Q: How do I construct a wall? According to the wiki, I have to press "b" then "c" to go to the construction menu but the button presses lead me to a different menu.

A: The menu is case-sensitive. It says "b" then "C", not "b" then "c."

Q: I can't seem to rename my fortress and/or my group of dwarves. How do I do this?

See above. Press "F" and/or "G." (For the Fortress and the Group respectively.)

This is all for now. Will add more as I play.

>>>Click here to

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Possible or Impossible? GamePro Scrutinzes Aspects of Halo: Reach

Jetpacks, plasma weapons, and one potential spoiler --- GamePro scrutinizes several aspects of the Halo universe and consults real-life engineers and physicists on whether or not these can be replicated with our current technology.

The link after the jump.

>>>GamePro's article

>>>Freeware first-person shooters HERE

>>>Click here to

Monday, September 20, 2010

FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay Videos

Uploaded two videos to YouTube last night; "FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay - Fun w the Laser" and "FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay Team Deathmatch."

The laser owns. Here I made a 4-kill streak with it:

The "FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay Team Deathmatch" video after the jump.Playing at 250-300+ms ping:

>>>Click here to

Half-Life 2 Video by Marco Spitoni (Beowulf CGI Artist)

Here's another fan-made video of the video game series Half-Life. This time, it's the father of all fanvids; this one's done Marco Spitoni, a CGI artist who worked on the film Beowulf. You gotta watch this. It's awesome.

Teaser trailer from a new animated short fan movie project by Marco Spitoni, based on the game Half-Life by Valve.

This is a non commercial project and contains concepts and designs which are intellectual properties of Valve Corporation. The Lambda logo is a registered trademark of Valve Corporation.

Nothing after the jump; Civil Protection took them all away.

>>>Click here to

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Freeware Flash-Based Tower Defense Review - Cursed Treasure

So I got hooked to this tower defense demo that I downloaded from Steam.

Defense Grid: The Awakening is a sci-fi TD game that pits you (and a talkative AI) against hordes of aliens bent on stealing "cores." Fail to stave off the invaders and the defense grid shuts down. I got so addicted to the concept that I searched the Net for the best Flash-based tower defense game.

>>>Strategy games not your thing? Click here for freeware PC FPS games

Almost all sites agree that one of the best is Cursed Treasure: Don't Touch my Gems, a free-to-play strategy game developed by Iriysoft. And while its Flash-based nature renders it unable to compete with Defense Grid: The Awakening, the game does pack enough features to hook anyone into beating all its levels.

I did. After two gaming sessions.

The review of the freeware strategy game---and a gameplay video---after the jump.

The tower defense niche is a saturated one. No Flash developer would expect his game to attract a significant following if it doesn't have features that elevate it from the competition. In addition to sporting graphics that make it tower (no pun intended) above its peers, Cursed Treasure does have innovative features:

- Three types of towers - while this is nothing new, the skill point system (see "Skill Point system",
below) brings a twist to the usual tower defense. Orc towers ("Dens") throw projectiles. An orc tower can be upgraded either to increase its critical chance or become a ballista (slow; splash damage). Undead towers ("Crypts") unleash spirits to harry invaders. They can be upgraded to cause fear or to generate mana (see "Mana-based skills", below). Demon towers ("Temples") incinerate foes by emitting a continuous beam of eldritch energies. They can be upgraded to become spires that reduce the armor of creeps or towers that abandon the focused beam for a more devastating (but slower) explosive attack, which damage all within its blast radius.

- Skill point system - you can assign three skill points after each level. These grant you incremental improvements like gold generation, lower mana consumption, and critical chance and damage improvements.

- Mana-based skills - you have three of these. The first one clears trees, allowing you to build towers on otherwise unavailable terrain. The second one greatly increases your tower's rate of fire for a brief amount of time. The last one calls down a volley of meteors, killing all but the most hardy of minions within an area.

- Minions with skills - Cursed Treasure features minions with skills. Bards have haste spells, priests heal themselves, warriors have damage reduction attributes, and rogues have a 5-second invisibility skill.

This freeware strategy game wraps all these with an impressive user interface. The art style is distinct and the music and the sound effects are powerful --- my wife got creeped out by the demonic laughter every time I upgraded the temples. The minions---warriors and bards alike---bawl out like newborns every time the undead towers strike fear into them, drawing out sadistic chuckles from me.

The amount of time I poured in the two gaming sessions it took to finish the game however, was nothing to be amused about.

Play this addictive game. On a weekend. Yes, a weekend.

>>>More freeware strategy games HERE
>>>Play Cursed Treasure: Don't Touch my Gems here

>>>Click here to

Monday, September 13, 2010

FireFall, a Freeware PC Multiplayer FPS, to be Released by 2011

This is news to Tribes fans. Scott Youngblood, one of the designers of the multiplayer shooters Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2, has teamed up with former WoW lead Mark Kern to launch a free-to-play squad-based MMOFPS.

>>>Free PC FPShooter games HERE

Preliminary screenshots show an art theme that's not unlike Borderland's (and do I see a tinge of Fallen Empires: Legions in there?). The freeware PC shooter also has vistas of landscape common in games with jetpacks and vehicles. I'm not sure about the latter but the jetpacks well, with Scott Youngblood in the Red 5 bandwagon (and the giveaway title), FireFall will be more or less a jetpack-centric game. And what's there to complain about? In the multiplayer PC shooter niche, almost all games involve people running about on foot. FireFall's forebears might have been heavily skill-based but any deviation from the on-foot combat norm is always a welcome breath of fresh air.

Links and resources after the jump.

>>>FireFall's official site

>>>GameSpy's FireFall article

>>>IncGamer's FireFall article

>>>Click here to

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Half-Life 2 Mods you Should Look out for

Back in 1998, when first person shooters all revolved around dreary hunts for key cards to unlock levels, a start-up company called Valve Corporation released its first product and so forever changed the FPS industry. Half-Life and its expansions---Blue Shift and Opposing Force---did away with the key cards-centric gameplay and introduced players to an unprecedented plot-centric approach. No longer just mindlessly blasting through levels, Half-Life players were immersed in a catastrophic event involving trans-dimensional beings, zombies, and black ops marines*.

(*It makes you wonder what game developers were doing with the first-person shooter genre before Half-Life arrived. The Wing Commander series had sci-fi simulation fighter games that really had meat to them. The key cards might have been too shiny to resist.)

>>>Free first-person shooter games HERE

The mods and links (Atomic PC's exclusive review of Black Mesa Source, links to both mods' official sites, and Operation: Black Mesa's official trailer) after the jump.

Blast From the Past Using Today's Technology

Fast forward to the present and nearly all video games have taken whole chapters from the way Half-Life was structured. Games now have more eye candy settings than you can whale at. However, only a few surpass Valve's epic story about trans-dimensional invaders and a science facility's struggle to contain the catastrophe.

It's not surprising then that several individuals have started projects aimed at resurrecting the Half-Life experience using today's technology.

The Mods and why you Should be on the Lookout for Their Release

One of the Half-Life 2 modifications is Black Mesa Source, a FREE mod that rebuilds the very first Half-life from the ground up using Valve's Source engine. Thought it still is in the bug-testing phase, all you need to play it (when it comes out) is own a Source-powered game like Half-Life 2 or Counter-Strike: Source.

>>>Tactics and strategy games more your thing? Click HERE.

Cra_py Half-Life: Source it's not

Most people found Half-Life: Source to be a disappointment. Once this mod launches however, you won't need to shell out 10 dollars for a bland overhaul; what media the mod developers have churned out are awesome as evidenced by this trailer:

Another Source-based free first-person shooter project is Operation: Black Mesa, a freeware project (again, provided that you own a Source game) that is recreating Half-Life: Opposing Force. The developers have recently made a media release, assuring fans that the project is still ongoing.

A video showcasing Operation: Black Mesa's effects and creatures:

>>>Atomic PC's exclusive review of Black Mesa Source

It's pretty understandable that after the above August 31 review (and the fact that one of the project's devs mentioned a 2010 release), the Black Mesa Source forums are once again abuzz with activity.

Operation: Black Mesa videos:


Concept art

>>>Black Mesa Source official site

>>>Operation: Black Mesa official site

>>>Click here to