Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sale season

Otherwise known as seeing what's got the big discounts on Steam and and trying to resist buying Stuff.

I've been ... neutral so far I think. I've not been a good boy cos I've actually bought some stuff but I've not gone into Crazy Bad Boy territory either. Well. There's still time.

I think I'm actually more curious about what goes on sale, rather than actually acquiring some of the things that hit the sale. The places I keep an eye on are :

Steam - this is the number 1 digital distribution network on PC. Most games are available on here, up to a point.

It pays to do a little research though before buying anything on Steam, as there's a lot of garbage on here. I like my space strategy games and there was one that came out recently called Stardrive. From what it promised, it looked like just what I was looking for - a modern and much better Moo2 with a very well sorted ship building system. Just the ticket. But ... it was a buggy, unfinished mess. And it's just one example of where stuff like that slips through the quality filter. I have a few Early Access (unfinished) games in my wish list but wouldn't consider buying them until a release quality version came out. I just have them in the wish list because of their promise. is my other place - they sell a few new games but mostly concentrate on the older ones. They go beyond what Steam do by offering freebie extras with their games. Things like manuals, reference cards, artwork, maps etc on pdf and soundtracks in MP3 and sometimes FLAC. They typically don't have copy protect either, which is a bonus because copy protection schemes can really spoil your gaming by getting in the way.

What have I acquired so far ?

Age of Wonders III from This is another fantasy strategy game. It's quite a heavily populated genre, with the Warlock and Fallen Enchantress games popping up as well. I went for Age of Wonders III because it looks finished, whereas Warlock and Fallen Enchantress have been steadily adding more to a starting game that ... wasn't. Oh and the version gives me the soundtrack which I've been enjoying.

That's one thing about that lets me be selective, if there's a soundtrack I'm more likely to get the game. No soundtrack means I'll ignore it. And there's some pretty good soundtracks on like all the Baldur's Gate soundtracks.

Il-2 46 is another from It's a combat flight sim from the World War 2 era, based on the Ilyushin-2 Sturmovik flying tank. I find flight sims a step up from the space combat sims I cut my teeth on. A plane flies through air. Yep. That seems obvious doesn't it ? But what makes that interesting is that there's an interaction between the wings and the fluid that makes up the air. It's not quite as simple as pointing and going. Go straight up, plane will stall. Lose too much speed, plane will stall. It's a challenge to keep some in the air and even more of a challenge to hit anything.

Looking forward to trying out a bit of flight again. The last time I spent serious time in a flight sim was Falcon 4.0 (horrendously bugged) which did a very accurate and deep model of the American F-16 Falcon jet fighter. Taught me a few things about how the weapons worked too.

Over to Steam ?

The resistance has broken with 3 games (so far) on Steam. I've reacquired Dragon Age, plus a couple of indie titles called Infested Planet and The Banner Saga have appeared.

Dragon Age Origins is a game I enjoyed a fair bit when it first came out - but never finished. So why reacquire it ? Seems a waste of money right ? Maybe. But the game plus all of its downloadable content (including the Awakening expansion which I never had) was only £5. And it's a pretty good one too. I'm looking forward to hearing Claudia Black as the acerbic mage Morrigan. It also looks better due to higher quality textures being provided by people who make mods for the game.

Infested Planet looked interesting. It's about a squad of marines who have to survive attack by waves and waves of alien bugs. Not quite Tower Defence but close. It's a genre I seem to be drawn to ...

And the Banner Saga was a role playing game that caught the attention of Youtubers for a little while. Story looks good, replayability doesn't seem so good. But if it's on sale for almost nothing ? Mine :-).

It won't quite stop there. I won't get much more but Assassins Creed IV might appear as an Assassin-y Pirate-y Stabbin' Cannonballin' adventure that will show off my system. My PC is a few years old now but with the graphics card replacement, it can still keep up with most modern stuff.

I may also get 2 games called Chronicles Of Riddick and Blackguards on Riddick is more likely. I don't think I'd play the game much but they're offering it for $3 (maybe $2 - it hasn't quite gone on sale again yet) including the soundtrack, I'd pay that for the soundtrack.

And I do believe I hear that fantasy world calling.

Cya !

Will try not to get eaten by the dragon.
Oh ! Before I really close, I've been playing with the Gimp again. Hey ! Not that type of Gimp ! This one is an image processing program. I've needed one of these since giving up on an ancient copy of Photoshop Elements that I used to use (had no Mac version). The Gimp is decent but I wouldn't recommend it. The selection method boggles my mind. But - here's one thing I made from it :
That's the one I can use - it's for my favourite Youtube person. I'm maybe 80% happy with this one. The first 4 characters are great but the rest go a little too wiggly. I'd prefer them to be in a straight line. That manufactured U could be better too. But ... I keep getting fed up with that selection method in Gimp and give up before I get a result I'm 90-100% happy with. Still - not bad and I think it would look pretty cool on a t-shirt.

Can you guess who's badge it started as ?

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