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Reply 4300 of 6086, by Joseph_Joestar

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Sombrero wrote on 2022-10-05, 13:35:

I'm very familiar with the base game and the second expansion, just never got around trying the first expansion for some reason. But very glad to hear it also has better story than the base game.

Been a while since I last played it, but I think the first expansion ended up being my favorite overall. It's very well made.

On topic, I once again got in the mood for some 90s FPS action, so I grabbed Ultimate Doom (GOG version) and copied it over to my Pentium MMX rig. I can finally play this on a retro system which closely resembles my very first PC, but with some extra bells and whistles added on top.

Gotta say, it feels pretty epic listening to Doom's music on an actual Roland Sound Canvas and a nice Cambridge SoundWorks speaker set. Back in the day, all I had was a SB16 Vibra pumping FM synth to some fairly low-end cans. Kid me would have been floored if he had the setup I'm using now. 😀

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 4301 of 6086, by Joseph_Joestar

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Finished Ultimate Doom. This was the first time that I actually played through the fourth episode. Not impressed at all.

The levels feels too gimmicky, and it's just not fun to navigate through these messy areas. Furthermore, I don't like how the developers casually throw Cyberdemons at you like it's just another random monster. They also love placing human opponents above the player's line of sight, allowing them to hitscan you without repercussion. Too cheesy for my tastes. Overall, this feels like some fan-made WAD compilation, with none of the clever level design from the original game.

I think I'll try John Romero's Sigil next. I got it to work on a real DOS machine using this guide. Hopefully, it will be a better experience.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 4302 of 6086, by Sombrero

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-10-06, 20:07:

Finished Ultimate Doom. This was the first time that I actually played through the fourth episode. Not impressed at all.

The levels feels too gimmicky, and it's just not fun to navigate through these messy areas. Furthermore, I don't like how the developers casually throw Cyberdemons at you like it's just another random monster. They also love placing human opponents above the player's line of sight, allowing them to hitscan you without repercussion. Too cheesy for my tastes. Overall, this feels like some fan-made WAD compilation, with none of the clever level design from the original game.

I think I'll try John Romero's Sigil next. I got it to work on a real DOS machine using this guide. Hopefully, it will be a better experience.

What I personally kinda liked was how tough the first two levels were, felt refreshing and different compared to the normal power fantasy Doom. But that was on a source port with full mouse control, on ultra violence though. Not a chance I'd play it with keyboard only on ultra violence, I noticed veeeery quickly my keyboard skills had hopelessly shriveled over the years when I got my DOS machine up and running. Just getting through E1M1 is like a blind guy driving a forklift.

But I fully agree that it feels like fan made, very uneven episode and one level is buggy. I took a look at Sigil around when it was released and noped out, the levels didn't look fun to me. Annoying design with narrow pathways and things like that. I got the impression Romero tried to do something different with the levels and failed miserably.

Reply 4303 of 6086, by appiah4

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Sombrero wrote on 2022-10-05, 13:06:

I've started a full run of classic Command & Conquer series, starting from the original C&C and ending with Red Alert 2. I can't say I dislike C&C: Generals but it never felt like a C&C game to me, it's all right but kinda B-class in my opinion. But the ones after Generals, yeah no thanks.

C&C3 is actually quite good..

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 4304 of 6086, by Sombrero

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appiah4 wrote on 2022-10-07, 05:46:

C&C3 is actually quite good..

Each for their own etc. C&C3 genuinely makes me angry while playing it, I especially hate the way the game gives you control at the start of a level only to take it away immediately to show something stupid on the map and it keeps happening time and time again.

But my biggest problem with post Generals C&C and modern RTS's in general is that they turned into reaction testy clicks per second fests that won't let you be, I just don't like it and find it annoying.

Reply 4305 of 6086, by dr_st

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-10-06, 20:07:

Finished Ultimate Doom. This was the first time that I actually played through the fourth episode. Not impressed at all.

The levels feels too gimmicky, and it's just not fun to navigate through these messy areas. Furthermore, I don't like how the developers casually throw Cyberdemons at you like it's just another random monster. They also love placing human opponents above the player's line of sight, allowing them to hitscan you without repercussion. Too cheesy for my tastes. Overall, this feels like some fan-made WAD compilation, with none of the clever level design from the original game.

The levels were designed by id, but indeed, mostly by different people versus the original game. Romero's E4M2 and E4M6 are generally regarded as the best levels. You are supposed to find the secret to telefrag the Cyberdemon in E4M2, en route to the secret exit. That's the kind of clever design you might be thinking about. 😀

E4M8 is also nice and somewhat memorable, and not too hard. Ironically the hardest level by far is E4M1 - you just don't have enough ammo and the health is low.

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-10-06, 20:07:

I think I'll try John Romero's Sigil next. I got it to work on a real DOS machine using this guide. Hopefully, it will be a better experience.

I enjoyed Sigil, although I did it on Hurt Me Plenty. Didn't feel like bothering myself with the extra grind to beat it on Ultra-Violence. I used MBF, for the high resolution. I only play DOOM under DOS (DOSBox) with MBF nowadays - too spoiled and 320x200 looks way too bad on modern large LCDs.

Beware, though, that there are, again, Cyberdemons aplenty. More on UV, if I recall correctly.

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 4306 of 6086, by BitWrangler

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I thought I recalled hearing that ID games hired a fan who was a prolific wad designer, and had many free wads out. To provide extra "official" levels in wads. So in that case some still popular classic unofficial ones might be very similar in style to non-Romero "official" ones.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 4307 of 6086, by DracoNihil

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I've been re-streaming Urban Assault on my Twitch channel currently going through the Taerkasten campaign of Metropolis Dawn after finishing every mission in base game Urban Assault.

I don't have a easily definable "schedule" if I stream or not, you can't really define a schedule whatsoever when you suffer from severe depression anyways...

“I am the dragon without a name…”
― Κυνικός Δράκων

Reply 4308 of 6086, by Joseph_Joestar

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Finished playing through Sigil. I ended up enjoying it more than the official episode 4. There were some irritating level design elements like too many narrow ledges placed above hazardous floors (lava, acid etc.) but it was still fun to play overall.

Some of the areas were a bit too dark, and I had to increase the gamma to compensate. Also, the new levels seem to be designed with free look (up/down) in mind. For that reason, I would recommend using a modern source port for Sigil, instead of playing it on an actual DOS rig like I did.

Lastly, huge props to James Paddock for the MIDI soundtrack. The music sounds excellent on my SC-155 and fits very well with Bobby Prince's songs from the previous episodes. The atmosphere of the levels is greatly enhanced by these tracks.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 4309 of 6086, by newtmonkey

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Icewind Dale
30 hours in, and I am loving everything about this game. I initially thought I would be annoyed at how linear the game is, but on the contrary, it's the linearity that makes the encounter design so good here (so far). There are many interesting encounters throughout the game, and you are generally more resilient at any given point than in Baldur's Gate, so you can afford to make some mistakes and react as things happen. It just feels like what the realtime with pause combat of the Infinity Engine was meant to be.

One of my favorite parts of Baldur's Gate was Durlag's Tower, which is a "megadungeon" included in the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion. Icewind Dale is basically itself a massive megadungeon composed of several smaller megadungeons, some of which are as large and enjoyable as Durlag's Tower.

I can't say enough good about this one. Whenever I have a few minutes to spare, I load up my game and tell myself I'll just explore one level of whatever dungeon I'm working on. Hours later, it's 2AM and I'm still playing. Unless the game gets really bad after the 30 hour point, this is gonna end up being a top five RPG for me.

Reply 4310 of 6086, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2022-10-13, 17:36:
Icewind Dale 30 hours in, and I am loving everything about this game. I initially thought I would be annoyed at how linear the […]
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Icewind Dale
30 hours in, and I am loving everything about this game. I initially thought I would be annoyed at how linear the game is, but on the contrary, it's the linearity that makes the encounter design so good here (so far). There are many interesting encounters throughout the game, and you are generally more resilient at any given point than in Baldur's Gate, so you can afford to make some mistakes and react as things happen. It just feels like what the realtime with pause combat of the Infinity Engine was meant to be.

One of my favorite parts of Baldur's Gate was Durlag's Tower, which is a "megadungeon" included in the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion. Icewind Dale is basically itself a massive megadungeon composed of several smaller megadungeons, some of which are as large and enjoyable as Durlag's Tower.

I can't say enough good about this one. Whenever I have a few minutes to spare, I load up my game and tell myself I'll just explore one level of whatever dungeon I'm working on. Hours later, it's 2AM and I'm still playing. Unless the game gets really bad after the 30 hour point, this is gonna end up being a top five RPG for me.

I've owned Icewind Dale for a long time but haven't jumped in yet due to my mixed feelings after finishing BG1. Now I'm interested. 😀

I just completed Sniper: Elite 4. It took me 35 hours over the course of 71 days. GREAT game! I'm a sucker for WW2 Nazi shooters and stealth/sniper combat (where twitch reflexes aren't emphasized), and this delivered on all fronts for me. The format of this was different than I'm used to in FPS games. There are only 8 missions in the game, but each one takes 4-5 hours to complete. Very large, satisfying maps with lots of places to explore, sneak and hide, several main and optional objectives, and a good storyline to tie it all together. I loved the use of sound masking in the game, where you could fire shots during noisy moments (such as around a generator, a bell tower, or when planes are flying overhead) and the enemy could not pinpoint your location. You could pick up and hide bodies to prevent them from being found and an alarm raised. There were a couple of minor quibbles: enemies that were far away, but not so far that they shouldn't be able to hear gunfire, are completely clueless to the battle you are having just a few hundred yards away; and silenced bullets as opposed to a silenced weapon. I think they did this to limit the amount of times you could use silenced attacks. I just thought it funny that I'd switch to silenced ammo and my rifle suddenly had a silencer on the barrel. Another cool feature I liked is the abiity to identify and mark enemies and items through your binoculars. Once done, they always show on your map and even give you some insight on your enemies (their names and personality traits). I found myself spending the first half of each mission sneaking around and marking every enemy I could find before making a decision on how to attack the objectives. It was really cool. I'm definitely putting Sniper Elite 5 on my wishlist now.

I'm still plugging away at Ultima VI: The False Prophet. I've gotten 19 hours in and am enjoying it on a surface level, but I'm not hooked to the point that I've gotta get another dose soon. In fact, I may end up abandoning this game shortly. Not due to any obvious shortcomings, just due to the indifference I feel to it. I'd rather spend my time on an RPG that will engross me more. We'll see.

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OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
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Reply 4311 of 6086, by Joseph_Joestar

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Still on my '90s FPS nostalgia trip, so I played through Doom 2 as well. I'm using the GOG version but I was able to transfer the files over to my Pentium MMX rig, which runs actual DOS 6.22. Basically, all I had to do was erase any extra GOG files which didn't conform to the 8+3 naming convention, and then copy it over.

As expected, the music sounds exceptional on a Roland Sound Canvas. Interestingly, the city levels which I usually dislike didn't bother me all that much during this run. Maybe I'm just used to the layout by now, and can pretty much cruise through them with ease.

The super shotgun is definitively my personal highlight of Doom 2. I'm reasonably sure it was my default weapon for like 90% of the game. It's highly satisfying to use, despite eating through ammo fairly quickly. I think I only switched to something else to deal with Archviles and bosses like the Cyberdemon.

I didn't bother with the Master Levels and Final Doom expansions for now. I'll leave those for another time. Instead, I'm moving on to another favorite from my youth: Duke Nukem 3D.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi

Reply 4312 of 6086, by gca

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Just started on Age of Empires, well I say just started I've actually finished the Egypt campaign so in reality I'm more like a quarter of the way through but that's just nit picking.

Reply 4313 of 6086, by chrismeyer6

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gca wrote on 2022-10-14, 11:09:

Just started on Age of Empires, well I say just started I've actually finished the Egypt campaign so in reality I'm more like a quarter of the way through but that's just nit picking.

I spent many hours playing through AOE and it's expansion as well as AOE2 and it's expansion as well as on line play. Such good times I've been introducing the games to my 7 year old son and he's just loving them.

Reply 4314 of 6086, by NovaCN

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Finally finished the last of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and got started on Endwalker.
All I can say is, what a truly spectacular expansion this was. A Realm Reborn was good by MMORPG story standards but extremely weak for a Final Fantasy narrative, Heavensward was great but had a really weak B-plot, and Stormblood had a solid skeleton for a plot let down by some genuinely horrendous pacing. But Shadowbringers? It's just firing on all cylinders from beginning to end and 5.3 in particular is roller coaster in and of itself.
It's a real shame that it took this long to get this good—fact remains I've been playing this one game to the exclusion of basically everything else for months now—but I'm glad to be here now.
And from what I've heard, Endwalker is even better, so I can't wait to jump right into that.

Meanwhile, I haven't messed with the Steam Deck all that much, mostly just picking out games I'd want to play on it, checking if they're verified or at least playable, and getting them installed. At some point soon I'll have to get FFXIV itself on there and familiarize myself with the gamepad controls (I've heard they're quite good but I've been exclusively using keyboard and mouse so far). Want to have it fully prepared for my trip next month.

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Reply 4315 of 6086, by gaffa2002

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gca wrote on 2022-10-14, 11:09:

Just started on Age of Empires, well I say just started I've actually finished the Egypt campaign so in reality I'm more like a quarter of the way through but that's just nit picking.

That's the demo campaign I believe, at least the first maps of it.
One of my favorite games of all time, but never came back to the original after playing the Definitive Edition... Not having to rebuild farms manually is something I cannot live without anymore.
Oddly enough I never really cared for AOE2, even it being superior in every way... guess I got traumatized because my PC at the time could only (barely) run the first AOE. Then when I got a newer PC I kinda was giving a break from RTSs.

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Reply 4316 of 6086, by retrogamerguy1997

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I spent much more time playing AOE2 than AOE1. I had the collector's edition that came out in, but I think I lost one of the discs at some point. More recently, I did get the definitive versions of both (and even some of the dlcs), but I actually have barely touched them. I used to be really bad with optical media and broke my midtown madness 2 cd many years ago. It actually was a soul-crushing moment at the time. some of the ps2 games I own are in really smashed up cases and some of the game discs don't read right anymore. I probably would play my ps2 more if it didn't look so bad on my modern TV (I could live with black bars if I have to, just the image quality is aweful).

EDIT: Just so I don't double post, I decided to try out Nascar Racing 2003 Season on Linux. I found a guide to get it setup using Lutris. I did a quick testing session on Daytona and it seems that I have to turn my wheel very hard to actually turn where as in Heat 4I didn't have to turn my wheel super hard. Which speaking of the heat games, my main motivation for getting NR2003 running is to basically mod it with the newer cars and tracks because NR21 ignition is a horrible game even a year after launch and which I enjoyed Heat4 it was missing some tracks I wanted to run and it's not really modable. I'm not actually a huge NASCAR fan, but I like oval racing and think the cars are kinda neat.

Reply 4317 of 6086, by Sombrero

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retrogamerguy1997 wrote on 2022-10-14, 14:17:

I probably would play my ps2 more if it didn't look so bad on my modern TV (I could live with black bars if I have to, just the image quality is aweful).

I wonder would even a very expensive scaler like Retrotink 5x or the eventially upcoming expectedly even more expensive OSSC Pro help all that much with that, I'm sure they would do much better job at scaling the picture and deinterlacing than the TV, but it's still moderately complex graphics on 480i resolution resulting in soup that probably doesn't look amazing on a large modern TV. PS2 might half require a CRT to get nice picture.

I managed to distract myself with Nevervinter Nights enough to not binge C&C though that might be only temporary, I remembered the writing in NWN OC was bad but sheesh I didn't remember it was THAT bad. Add in very sucky voice overs that are thankfully rare enough and badly constucted dialog trees that sometimes force you to go through the same piece of dialog for a second time or even back out the conversation completely and talk to them again to get access to some dialog options. Some characters also forget you the second you exit out the the conversation and start over from the beginning if you talk to them again. Persuasion is great, often if you fail the skill check you can just navigate through the dialog tree again and try again until you succeed!

Then there's the good ol' DnD rules, I've now numerous times facepalmed while fighting a harder opponent. One attack every 4 or so seconds that has a good chance to miss while you just sit and watch this least epic fight you've ever seen. You only need to use a healing potion as needed, riveting stuff. And the henchmen are complete morons who blindly run over found traps. I remember liking the game more once you get out of the city in chapter 2 and get to higher level making the combat more tolerable, so I'm going to push through to there and see will I start actually enjoying the game or should I just nope out.

Reply 4318 of 6086, by Shreddoc

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Sombrero wrote on 2022-10-15, 07:46:
retrogamerguy1997 wrote on 2022-10-14, 14:17:

I probably would play my ps2 more if it didn't look so bad on my modern TV (I could live with black bars if I have to, just the image quality is aweful).

I wonder would even a very expensive scaler like Retrotink 5x or the eventially upcoming expectedly even more expensive OSSC Pro help all that much with that, I'm sure they would do much better job at scaling the picture and deinterlacing than the TV, but it's still moderately complex graphics on 480i resolution

A "gbs-control" unit can be had for between around $50 and $100, depending if you're a soldering iron person or not (if you are, it's not a hard job to DIY). They do a pretty awesome job of upscaling PS2 content, by all accounts.

YT, PS2 example 1
YT, PS2 example 2
YT, General look at gbs-control

(I've made a gbs-control, but I don't have a PS2, so I can't personally vouch on that exact front!)

Reply 4319 of 6086, by Joseph_Joestar

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Finished my Duke Nukem 3D playthrough. The game ran well enough on my Pentium MMX at 640x480, averaging around 30 FPS. This was with an S3 Trio64V+ graphics card and the S3 VBE utility loaded. While I do have faster rigs that could run it at 60+ FPS in higher resolutions, I deliberately chose a Socket 7 system. That's how I first experienced Duke3D back in the day, and it still feels right to me.

If I had to rank Duke's episodes, it would be ep1 > ep3 > ep4 > ep2. Definitively not a fan of the maps in Lunar Apocalypse. They mostly consist of dark, convoluted corridors which are simply not fun to navigate. On top of that, there's an absurd number of those annoying drone enemies, which conveniently pop up in narrow places where you can't evade them efficiently.

In contrast, most of the Earth-based levels allow you to move around freely, especially if you have a jetpack. I love that you can pretty much fly anywhere and still not break the game. These maps are interesting to explore and usually include large outdoor sections. They have some fun secrets too, featuring references to Indiana Jones, Doom and even Quake. The only few levels that I disliked from this batch were the ones where you spend a lot of time diving underwater.

In terms of weapons, I mostly stuck with the Shotgun, Ripper, RPG and Devastator, all of which felt very satisfying to use. The rest, I barely touched. I could never find a decent use case for the Freezethrower, Expander or those laser tripwire things. The Shrinker was kinda ok since it allowed me to oneshot some of the stronger enemies, but I still rarely used it.

Lastly, I have to praise Lee Jackson and Bobby Prince for their excellent work on the soundtrack. The music was even better than I remember. It really felt like my SC-155 was being utilized to its full potential. The sound effects were also superb, and hearing Duke shout his trademark one-liners was a blast. Good times!

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / YMF719 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 2100+ / ECS K7VTA3 / Voodoo3 / Audigy2 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy2
PC#4: i5-3570K / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 970 / X-Fi