Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mount and Blade: Warband – Five Mods You Should Try

There are countless great Mount and Blade: Warband Mods. Some of the best ones are total conversion Mods but some only add specific items or functions to the core game, allowing for a deeper experience, and countless hour of fun, depending on the type of Mode you chose. While this list is based around Mods that I personally tried and enjoyed there are many more out there that can be found on the TaleWorlds forums. Trust me, each of them is worthwhile to try, at least once. Some of the Mods will be associated with different Franchises, others will be focused on a specific time period, and some introduce their own world (or a version of the original). If you are after a list of Mods for the first Mount and Blade we have one now!

One last disclaimer. Most of these Mods are focused on a Single-player experience. I simply prefer Empire building to intense short field battles!

Mount and Blade: Warband

The Red Keep from A Clash of Kings Mod. A stunning creation, and not something you would find in the core Mount and Blade game at all.

Logistics: A Strategist’s Crux

I got lazy. This observation came from how I played my Strategy games. I got used to quick and easy victories, where a single decisive attack turns the tide of a war and finishes the campaign before Christmas. For a very long time the concept of Logistics evaded me, not because I was not familiar with it, but because it is not that visible, obvious or perhaps not even used in many games. In my case it appeared again during my Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai campaign game. I was playing as the Tosa, and after many preparations, mainly focused around turning my small economy into a powerhouse, I formed the best army I could and I deployed it on the Japanese mainland, ready to defeat the Shogunate loyalists. Everything was going well. Cities fell with ease, the enemy armies were crushed before me. After some time I reinforced my first army with two more, and my land-based domination was undisputed. Then I got a mildly rough awakening. When my Clan acted as the Emperor’s Vanguard, and the Shogun formed their own, my Armies were engaged into much tougher full-scale warfare. During one such battle one of my more recent armies fought desperately against three other armies. The battle was won, with much stress and worry and then I realized a problem this army faced, it lost one of its Cannon battalions. Normally that would not be a problem. You can recruit cannons anywhere you like, as long as there is an artillery range. That was the problem. My home-area of Tosa was beyond the sea. On the Japanese mainland the provinces that were under my control were behind a thick line of Allied provinces. In some of these areas there wasn’t an operational Railway line or structures allowing me to recruit artillery. In other words, gaining back that one unit would take me an extremely long time.

Men of War

Trucks might lack weapons and protection, but they can transport men and equipment around a map quickly.

Players Drive the Game

I took a moment today to ask myself a simple question, “What defines a “Survivor”?”. When does a game remain in the spotlight while others disappear into nothingness? One of the most obvious answers we could provide is the quality of the game and I agree. A game that is done poorly, has poor gameplay, story, etc. will not survive. People will play it that once or twice and after some time nobody will want to talk about it or play it. During some game Sales it will be found on a shelf for a very low price, or it will cease to exist entirely, and be considered a “failure”. Quality of the game is important. A good game is memorable, people want to return for it for different reasons. If the game does not have a good story then you might enjoy it for the gameplay (that’s what GTA feels like to me). On the other hand you might like the Story/Plot but the gameplay is lacking (for me that was Impire). There is another things that makes a game great, the players themselves. A lot of games survive for much longer than anybody could ever imagine because of the players who stand behind them.

Steam Workshop

Steam Workshop is one example where multiple developers let people go wild and share their creation, for many different video games.

Tropico 4: Modern Economy Guide

Just like in real-life your Island can adapt to a number of possible “Economic Systems”. We have the “3rd World” Agricultural/Mining/Base Resource Economies, Developing Industrial, and more Modern “Service Based” Economies. Tropico 4 follows a similar idea. You can have an Economy based around Agriculture, Heavy Industry and/or Tourism. Some of these are more profitable than others, depending on your circumstances. However, with the Modern Times DLC you have access to a more “Service” based Economy (not forgetting Tourism, but that’s a different type of Service Provider). This short guide aims at showing how you can boost your existing Economy, slowly switching from Industry and Agriculture into what we would call a “Modern” Economy. There are still many benefits to holding on to your previous income sources, but these “Modern” options allow you to exploit your island further than before.

If you are looking for something different, why not check our short 10 Tip List, or our Guide to Industry?

Tropico 4

Berets never go out of fashion.

I Am Alive: The Good and the Bad

During the most recent Ubisoft Sale on Steam I got around to buying I Am Alive. Before it came out I was intrigued by one of its Trailers, which was fancy and it gave me the idea that we would be playing a highly demanding Survival Game. The Trailer started off by showing your average Office Worker walking down the street, drinking what I assume was a Starbucks Coffee. Suddenly the world around him crumbles in an instant. Buildings topple over and the streets are engulfed in an ash cloud. Fast Forward some time into the future and we see the same Office Worker, now chased by his co-workers, cornered in some spacious hall. They demand his water and he throws them what might had been a water bottle, only for the glass to crack under the assailants and they plummet to their deaths (as it turns out, I remembered the Trailer in reverse order). That trailer made me think, “This game will be awesome.”. After the game’s release I heard the opinions and read the reviews, it wasn’t that good. Since I could buy the game for petty money due to the Sale I went ahead and decided to see what this specific Survival Game had to offer for itself. I was both pleasantly surprised and very much disgruntled.

Slender: The Arrival – Beta

Those of you loyal to AlterGamer will recall the mash-up we did between free indie games Slender: The Eight Pages and Haunt, both of which feature the manmade monster Slender Man as their antagonist. In each game you employ a first-person shooter perspective and have nothing but a flashlight with which to defend yourself as you navigate an abandoned camp site with a dark history. On the way, you collect a number of pages, all the while attempting to avoid the faceless horror stalking you, coming closer and closer with each page you find.

Now, Parsec Productions, who made Slender: The Eight Pages, in conjunction with Blue Isle Studios, is going to be releasing Slender: The Arrival, projected to retail for $10. The final version of the game won’t be out until March 26th, but in the meantime we’ve had the chance to look over the beta version of the game.

Taken from Slender: The Eight Pages

Taken from Slender: The Eight Pages

It’s basically a paid version of Slender: The Eight Pages. The environment layout is similar, with twisted pine trees separating clearings that possess stereotypical camp site detritus (and one of the elusive eight pages you’re after). Graphically, we’re looking at a facelift on par with Haunt. Your environment looks prettier, but still manages to maintain the sense of foreboding that Slender: The Arrival’s predecessor is known for.

Your controls are smoothed over as well. Slender: The Eight Pages was slow and plodding in your movements. Haunt was quicker, but suffered from getting stuck on your environment when running. Here, you can be quick indeed, but you still get caught at crucial moments. Your flashlight is more useful. You can focus the beam, allowing you to pin Slender Man in place for a short while, which prevents some of the cheaper moves he attempts.

A new addition to the gaming experience is Slender Man’s ability to interact with his environment. When exploring the office building that we all know and dread getting stuck in, Slender Man will sometimes lock you in with him. I’m honestly on the fence as to whether that could be regarded as cheap or galvanizing. It’s probably a bit closer to the cheap side when all you need to do to beat the game is explore the map first so Slender Man won’t jump you, then collect all the pages at a dead sprint.

Taken from Haunt

Taken from Haunt

The big question is, of course, is it scary? Not really.

True, there is a tightening in your chest as you collect one page after the next and Slender Man begins to close on you. But the high quality of the game works against itself. There’s a well-composed soundtrack which is always barely perceptible. The presence of music in itself is more comforting than the stark, unsettling silence that was utilized in Slender: The Eight Pages.

And, like Haunt, when Slender Man is bearing down on you your screen fuzzes over and warps out of true, as if the presence of Slender Man is somehow eating away at the player’s sanity. This has the unfortunate consequences of making it unnecessarily difficult to get away because you can’t see where you’re going. It also lets you know when you’re safe, effectively killing the suspense inherent in never knowing where and when Slender Man will appear.

Taken from Slender: The Arrival. Seeing similarities now?

Taken from Slender: The Arrival. Seeing similarities now?

So, while there is a low-level worry involved with the  fear of the unknown, what with not knowing Slender Man’s motives or origins, the main draw of the game (which is to say shock value from Slender Man popping up and hunting you down) is not nearly as strong as in Slender: The Eight Pages.

We’ll keep you posted if the final game is any better than the beta, but right now it would probably behoove you to download the free Slender: The Eight Pages for a scarier experience.

Tropico 4: The Industrialist Guide

In Tropico 4, as mentioned in our short “10 Point Guide”, you have a number of different methods to make money. They all boil down to two options however, the “Industry” and Tourism. I have been personally a fan of Industry over Tourism due to having a more steady hand on supply, production and sales. In Tourism while a high Tourism Rating will provide you with the maximum possible number of tourists the revenue can fluctuate quickly, and during periods of certain forms of crisis you may lose a substantial amount of tourists. That is not to say that having a strong Industrial Empire means you are unstoppable. There are Random Event that can, and will, sabotage your production or cut your profits substantially. However, unlike the Tourist industry, the production of goods and raw materials can be easily increased. It is very hard to increase your Tourism income during, let us say, the Llama Flu. This Guide is dedicated to Industry, and its many different aspects.

You might also be interested in our “Modern Economy” Guide, although most of the tips and observations present there come from the Modern Times DLC.

Tropico 4

Just as important as your “Strategy” you also have your President. With the right Feats you can give your Economy a much needed boost.

Tomb Raider: Whipping out the Big Guns

Lara Croft rises from the grave more often than the undead creatures whose tombs the little British minx just can’t seem to stop raiding. And, like all reclusive near-alcoholic failing authors with paradoxical inferiority and god complexes, I took my first step to manhood with a gander at Lara’s two rather boxy protuberances at chesticular height. It’s been close to fifteen years since Sir Mixalot sang about PILFs and liking big polygons, but it’s comforting to know some things never change in Tomb Raider: you’ll die at the drop of a hat.

Cross-Medium Copyright Infringement and Intellectual Property Concerns

There are currently three kinds of property. The first can be referred to as real-estate or lands owned. The second a delightfully antiquated word such as chattel, or moveable property, encompasses. It is the third which is rapidly becoming more complex and variegated in our society: Intellectual property. Intellectual property is intangible, and therefore difficult to establish a concrete definition for. Intellectual property and its protection made up 34.8% of the American gross domestic product for 2012 alone. And that percentage is projected to keep increasing.

There are a number of subdivided laws designed to regulate intellectual property: Copyright, Patent, Trademark, and Trade Secret to start with. The problem we are experiencing is that creativity does not begin in a vacuum. For one invention to be made, it must incorporate other patented inventions. For one book to be written, it must incorporate character archetypes and story concepts that have been presented countless times before in other copyrighted books. Where then does one draw the line?

Dust 514: What Players Hoped Planetside 2 Would Be?

I normally do not like MMORPGs with a monthly fee, but I decided to finally give Eve Online a go and I signed up for the two week trial. Thus far this is the only game that I will buy a monthly subscription for, because it is just that good. I will provide an article on my experiences in Eve Online once the Trial is over, but my attention was caught on something different, Dust 514. Dust 514 is a Playstation 3 FPS that aims to give just as big an experience as Eve Online, while also “cooperate” with Eve Online gamers. I did not follow Dust 514 at all, as I was not a Playstation 3 gamer, and since it was not coming out for the PC I was not interested in it. However I then decided to watch the Trailers and Gameplay Videos and with a huge exclamation mark I noted, “This is what Planetside 2 was meant to be!”. Now, there will always be certain differences between the style of gameplay in Dust 514 and Planetside 2, but let me give you a few reasons why Dust 514 might end up being more popular than Planetside 2.

Dust 514

Become a Merc they said… see interesting places they said…