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Reply 2660 of 2947, by appiah4

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Could you be referring to cooked static lightmaps when you say ambient lighting? Because Doom 3 does have ambient lighting but also dynamic and volumetric lights which are although rasterized practically result in a look similar to raytracing..

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Reply 2661 of 2947, by appiah4

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Shreddoc wrote on 2021-01-16, 05:09:
Such a huge time commitment. It's really impressive. Might I ask in which era you began playing computer RPGs? […]
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appiah4 wrote on 2021-01-15, 07:07:
xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-01-14, 14:31:

TFTD Plus fixes a lot : https://openxcom.mod.io/tftd-plus

Some of the changes and additions sound a bit disagreeable to me.. I would have made balance changes to the opponents rather than alter weapons or mechanics to be honest.

In other news, I finished Pillars of Eternity. It ended on a high note despite feeling a bit drawn out in Act 3, although part of that was due to me finishing the White March expansion before that. I hit the expansion level cap way before I started Act 3 and unwisely decided not to use the level scaling feature, which made most of the original story a walk in the park. Including the final battle, which took me all of 15 seconds to annihiate the ultimate villain and two demigods. Regardless, the game ended on a high note. The endgame was incredibly satisfying, and getting to finally understand how you tie in to the whole story was very fulfilling. The final revelations also opened the door for a sequel without ending on a cliffhanger. I found myself uncharacteristically attached to my companions, and I am really looking forward to playing Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire after getting it in the next Steam sale. All in all it took me exactly 150 hours to completely 100% the game and expansion while using some guide/walkthroughs in some parts. I feel it should have been 20-30% shorter, but then it would have been if I skipped non essential side quests.

Such a huge time commitment. It's really impressive. Might I ask in which era you began playing computer RPGs?

Secret of the Silver Blades was my first PC RPG. Or going back a touch further: the Phantasy Star games on the SMS.

I'm not sure it's in the scope of this thread, but it would be interesting to hear your brief thoughts on contrasts between the computer RPG experience of various decades.

My first CRPGs were Eye of the Beholder and Secret of the Silver Blades in 1991. Following that I quickly played and finished a lot of earlier CRPG games including the gold box back catalog, Bard’s Tale, Ultima V , Might & Magic 3 etc. I have played a lot of CRPGs since, countless even, but got burned out of the genre just around when Morrowind hit off with general gaming audience, only to return with the Pillars of Eternity, Tides of Numenera releases which coincided with Beamdog’s Enhanced Edition Bioware/Black Isle/Obsidian games.

I will answer the longer question later 😀

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Reply 2662 of 2947, by appiah4

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Shreddoc wrote on 2021-01-16, 05:09:

Such a huge time commitment. It's really impressive. Might I ask in which era you began playing computer RPGs?

Secret of the Silver Blades was my first PC RPG. Or going back a touch further: the Phantasy Star games on the SMS.

I'm not sure it's in the scope of this thread, but it would be interesting to hear your brief thoughts on contrasts between the computer RPG experience of various decades.

Ok so now, onto the deeper matter of my thoughts on RPGs and CRPGs over the decades. This will probably be two part, in this part I will talk about the 80s-90s.

Let me start out by pointing out the elephant in the room: I am not at all versed in, or even remotely interested in, a subset of RPGs that are more often simply called JRPGs. This subset of the genre rubs me the wrong way in every aspect imaginable, I can not stand any single one of them fore more than ten minutes and I have tried multiple times with multiple games and generations. It just doesn't work for me. This is not to say that JRPGs are garbage (but they are) but just that they are not my cup of tea and you should consider my views as coming from a gamer who is only interested in the western market.

I started playing RPGs on computers in 1991. I started playing tabletop RPGs in 1993. I still do both. I have also extensively dabbled into the back catalog of both hobbies going back to the early 80s. Over the four decades, both hobbies have evolved considerably. They have co-evolved up until late 90s, actually. Both hobbies started out as gamer ventures, straying slightly from their wargaming roots to offer a different experience while focusing almost solely on combat encounter resolution and character development mechanics. This is the era of games like Gold/Black Box SSI games, Dungeon Master, early Wizardry stuff, Bard's Tale, Hero Quest etc. Their tabletop counterparts were of course things like D&D, Runequest, GURPS etc.

But some games really broke that mold. On the tabletop side these were things like Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, Gamma World, and Ars Magica. Some computer RPGs also broke the mold despite formidable technical barriers. The most significant that did so to my knowledge were Ultima IV/V, Wasteland, Might & Magic II which dumped you in a world that felt genuinely alive and different. This approach quickly took off and world building became more of a concern in late 80s and early 90s and eventually both types of games started to become more self-aware. This is when developer realized that the alternate reality presented in this game, its setting, provided a significant amount of the actual escapism their game offered. In other words, the setting was a very effective tool in captivating the player's attention and increasing their immersion. As a result, roleplaying games of both tabletop and computer variety in the 90s into the early 2000s started to become more immersive through setting development.

It is interesting looking back at this era of CRPG gaming, as it is my favorite. Yet, many of these games when I try to get back into them are too grindy and too time-consuming to re-experience. Coincidentally, this is part of the reason why 2000s the tabletop games and computer games greatly diverged from each other with regards to their approach. I will talk about this and why I got burned out of CRPGs for a long while later. Let me know if you enjoyed this or not. I don't want to bore anyone to death.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-01-20, 01:25. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 2663 of 2947, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-01-19, 09:38:

Let me start out by pointing out the elephant in the room: I am not at all versed in, or even remotely interested in, a subset of RPGs that are more often simply called JRPGs. This subset of the genre rubs me the wrong way in every aspect imaginable, I can not stand any single one of them fore more than ten minutes and I have tried multiple times with multiple games and generations. It just doesn't work for me. This is not to say that JRPGs are garbage (but they are) but just that they are not my cup of tea and you should consider my views as coming from a gamer who is only interested in the western market.

I used to feel the same way as you, until I played Chrono Trigger.

It was the first jRPG that I seriously gave a chance, and to this day it's one of my favorite games of all time. If you ever decide to play it, go for the original SNES version. Later PlayStation and DS ports have some issues with sound effects.

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Reply 2664 of 2947, by BetaC

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-01-19, 09:51:

If you ever decide to play it, go for the original SNES version. Later PlayStation and DS ports have some issues with sound effects.

Be warned, though, if you want to play it on hardware, it's going to be quite expensive.

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Reply 2665 of 2947, by Shreddoc

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-01-19, 09:38:
Ok so now, onto the deeper matter of my thoughts on RPGs and CRPGs over the decades. This will probably be two part, in this pa […]
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Shreddoc wrote on 2021-01-16, 05:09:

Such a huge time commitment. It's really impressive. Might I ask in which era you began playing computer RPGs?

Secret of the Silver Blades was my first PC RPG. Or going back a touch further: the Phantasy Star games on the SMS.

I'm not sure it's in the scope of this thread, but it would be interesting to hear your brief thoughts on contrasts between the computer RPG experience of various decades.

Ok so now, onto the deeper matter of my thoughts on RPGs and CRPGs over the decades. This will probably be two part, in this part I will talk about the 80s-90s.

Let me start out by pointing out the elephant in the room: I am not at all versed in, or even remotely interested in, a subset of RPGs that are more often simply called JRPGs. This subset of the genre rubs me the wrong way in every aspect imaginable, I can not stand any single one of them fore more than ten minutes and I have tried multiple times with multiple games and generations. It just doesn't work for me. This is not to say that JRPGs are garbage (but they are) but just that they are not my cup of tea and you should consider my views as coming from a gamer who is only interested in the western market.

I started playing RPGs on computers in 1991. I started playing tabletop RPGs in 1993. I still do both. I have also extensively dabbled into the back catalog of both hobbies going back to the early 80s. Over the four decades, both hobbies have evolved considerably. They have co-evolved up until late 90s, actually. Both hobbies started out as gamer ventures, straying slightly from their wargaming roots to offer a different experience while focusing almost solely on combat encounter resolution and character development mechanics. This is the era of games like Gold/Black Box SSI games, Dungeon Master, early Wizardry stuff, Bard's Tale, Hero Quest etc. Their tabletop counterparts were of course things like D&D, Runequest, GURPS etc.

But some games really broke that mold. On the tabletop side these were things like Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, Gamma World, and Ars Magica. Some computer RPGs also broke the mold despite formidable technical barriers. The most significant that did so to my knowledge were Ultima IV/V, Wasteland, Might & Magic II which dumped you in a world that felt genuinely alive and different. This approach quickly took off and world building became more of a concern in late 80s and early 90s and eventually both types of games started to become more self-aware. This is when developer realized that the alternate reality presented in this game, its setting, provided a significant amount of the actual escapism their game offered. In other words, the setting was a very effective tool in captivating the player's attention and increasing their immersion. As a result, roleplaying games of both tabletop and computer variety in the 90s into the early 2000s started to become more immersive through setting development.

It is interesting looking back at this era of CRPG gaming, as it is my favorite. Yet, many of these games when I try to get back into them are too grindy and too time-consuming to re-experience. Coincidentally, this is part of the reason why 2000s the tabletop games and computer games greatly diverged from each other with regards to their approach. I will talk about this and why I got burned out of CRPGs for a long while later. Let me know if you enjoyed this or not. I don't want to bore anyone to death.

Cheers, it's good to hear a candid overview of the situation from someone who was there, and still is.

Myself, I played a lot up until about 1995, then (for various reasons, none good) simply stopped using computers until the new millennium. After which, I've dabbled with CRPG's but never fully regained that degree of obsession with gaming which saw me easily devour all the Gold Box's etc, back in the day. However I have been a lifelong reader of Epic Fantasy, which no doubt fuels my continuing interest here.

Lands of Lore was perhaps the last 90's CRPG I played to the full, in it's year of release. Which, at the time, I remember being fairly mind-blowing - at the cusp of the so-called 'Multi-Media' PC revolution, when the sensory experience provided by computers was undergoing a sudden growth spurt.

Ironically, those games are the only important ones I've not yet been tempted to revisit in a Retro context. I don't even know why. Maybe it's the grind. Maybe it's the undefined feeling that some things are better left in the untarnished past, where they belonged best.

I've tried a few CRPG's over the past two decades, but nothing* really stuck with me the way such games did when I was young. And perhaps that's something we all struggle with, to some extent. *Diablo II doesn't count!

Despite having missed a lot over the years, the CRPG evolution remains of great interest to me. Almost like an old friend.

Reply 2667 of 2947, by Joseph_Joestar

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Finally done with Tomb Raider 2. It was ok, but not as good as the first game. Too much combat and too little exploration of ancient ruins. It didn't help that the same, blocky bad guys kept popping up all the time. Near the end, things got so repetitive that I barely forced myself to complete the game.

On the other hand, Quake 2 was a solid improvement over the original, at least in my eyes. I greatly prefer its bright, sprawling hi-tech areas to the dimly lit, cramped, medieval-style corridors of the first game. The enemies in Quake 2 had a lot more variety, the weapons felt more responsive, and I thought the level design was much better overall. Most importantly, it was fun to play all the way through.

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Reply 2668 of 2947, by newtmonkey

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Shreddoc wrote on 2021-01-21, 03:19:
Cheers, it's good to hear a candid overview of the situation from someone who was there, and still is. […]
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Cheers, it's good to hear a candid overview of the situation from someone who was there, and still is.

Myself, I played a lot up until about 1995, then (for various reasons, none good) simply stopped using computers until the new millennium. After which, I've dabbled with CRPG's but never fully regained that degree of obsession with gaming which saw me easily devour all the Gold Box's etc, back in the day. However I have been a lifelong reader of Epic Fantasy, which no doubt fuels my continuing interest here.

Lands of Lore was perhaps the last 90's CRPG I played to the full, in it's year of release. Which, at the time, I remember being fairly mind-blowing - at the cusp of the so-called 'Multi-Media' PC revolution, when the sensory experience provided by computers was undergoing a sudden growth spurt.

Ironically, those games are the only important ones I've not yet been tempted to revisit in a Retro context. I don't even know why. Maybe it's the grind. Maybe it's the undefined feeling that some things are better left in the untarnished past, where they belonged best.

I've tried a few CRPG's over the past two decades, but nothing* really stuck with me the way such games did when I was young. And perhaps that's something we all struggle with, to some extent. *Diablo II doesn't count!

Despite having missed a lot over the years, the CRPG evolution remains of great interest to me. Almost like an old friend.

I'd like to provide a slightly different perspective on CRPGs (not to discount appiah4's thoughtful posts, but perhaps to complement them). RPG is and always has been my favorite genre, and I have many fond memories of playing the classics on my C64 then DOS PC—and even on my NES and SNES somewhere in there. I mainly stopped playing RPGs in the 90s, which was when the genre was revived with the isometric games (most notably, Baldur's Gate and Fallout). I felt disappointed at the time that these games seemed to focus more on story and dialog trees instead of combat and exploration, when I wasn't interested at all in the stories they were telling or the characters that were telling the stories. I clearly remember being annoyed at Baldur's Gate for its giant but empty wilderness maps and the lack of environment interaction or detailed NPC schedules—it seemed like a step down from Ultima VII to me, and it didn't help that the combat also seemed a lot like the real-time mess that was the combat in Ultima VII (in hindsight, of course, BG is a great RPG).

I didn't start getting back into the genre until just a few years ago, when I decided to go back and play through the RPG classics I had missed. This started with going through all the Final Fantasy games, and I had a lot of fun playing though and completing Final Fantasy I-III (NES/FC) for the first time.

I then turned my attention to the PC with Ultima 1, and I had so much fun with it that I then went on to play and complete Wizardry I-III&V, Might & Magic Book One, The Bard's Tale I-III, Wasteland, AD&D Pool of Radiance, and (finally) Fallout 1.

This also got me interested in newer RPGs, and I had a ton of fun completing Sword & Sorcery Underworld, Legends of Amberland, The Bard's Tale IV, and Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones.

I was overall very impressed with how a lot of the older PC RPGs had aged. The Wizardry games (specifically I and V) are very tightly designed, and Might & Magic Book One is really a stunning achievement for basically a single guy in a garage, that still plays great to this day with an excellent interface and a massive, massive world to explore. AD&D PoR is of course a classic, and rightly so.

I was less impressed with JRPGs. There are some great RPGs on the 8-bit systems, such as Final Fantasy trilogy (FC), Dragon WarriorII&III (NES), Mother (FC), and Phantasy Star (SMS). JRPGs definitely lost something for me in the transition to the 16-bit consoles, as they (mostly) became extremely linear with fixed parties and a boring "town 1->dungeon 1->boss 1-> town 2... repeat" structure aped primarily from Final Fantasy IV. I recently played through FFIV/VI/VII, Estopolis Denki, and Breath of Fire, and only really enjoyed FF VI (for the nonlinear "World of Ruin" section at the end).

Reply 2669 of 2947, by Shagittarius

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I was less impressed with JRPGs. There are some great RPGs on the 8-bit systems, such as Final Fantasy trilogy (FC), Dragon WarriorII&III (NES), Mother (FC), and Phantasy Star (SMS). JRPGs definitely lost something for me in the transition to the 16-bit consoles, as they (mostly) became extremely linear with fixed parties and a boring "town 1->dungeon 1->boss 1-> town 2... repeat" structure aped primarily from Final Fantasy IV. I recently played through FFIV/VI/VII, Estopolis Denki, and Breath of Fire, and only really enjoyed FF VI (for the nonlinear "World of Ruin" section at the end).

To me JRPGs were born from console limitations. They were shallow versions of CRPGs since the consoles didn't have the capabilities of a true computer. Then as some grew up entirely on consoles the JRPG became a genre of its own rather than just the backdoor offspring of CRPGs. I however think JRPGs are still mostly shallow and awful, even though consoles have the PC capabilities they spend that power still a slave to the 'JRPG' design history, which they need to admit was simply a necessity of the hardware.

Reply 2670 of 2947, by Namrok

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Shagittarius wrote on 2021-01-21, 08:28:

I was less impressed with JRPGs. There are some great RPGs on the 8-bit systems, such as Final Fantasy trilogy (FC), Dragon WarriorII&III (NES), Mother (FC), and Phantasy Star (SMS). JRPGs definitely lost something for me in the transition to the 16-bit consoles, as they (mostly) became extremely linear with fixed parties and a boring "town 1->dungeon 1->boss 1-> town 2... repeat" structure aped primarily from Final Fantasy IV. I recently played through FFIV/VI/VII, Estopolis Denki, and Breath of Fire, and only really enjoyed FF VI (for the nonlinear "World of Ruin" section at the end).

To me JRPGs were born from console limitations. They were shallow versions of CRPGs since the consoles didn't have the capabilities of a true computer. Then as some grew up entirely on consoles the JRPG became a genre of its own rather than just the backdoor offspring of CRPGs. I however think JRPGs are still mostly shallow and awful, even though consoles have the PC capabilities they spend that power still a slave to the 'JRPG' design history, which they need to admit was simply a necessity of the hardware.

It's funny you bring this up. When I was in highschool, I hated JRPGs, and vastly preferred western style CRPGs. I loathed the linearity of JRPGs, the lack of character build options, and frequently the ponderous pace of it's turn based combat. It just felt like JRPGs had no respect for my time. It wasn't necessarily the XP grinding. It was how indulgent and time consuming all the character animations and transition screens were, when all I needed to do was hit A (or X on the Playstation) and fast as I possibly could to get through it. Although the XP grinding felt less rewarding in JRPGs as a new level never presented any character growth options. You just got what you got for it in most games.

Of course eventually I discovered tactical JRPGs and those changed my opinion significantly.

My favorite story about the imaginative magic and the majesty of a western style RPG was my playthrough of Fallout 2. My character became the veritable king of New Reno. I'd made a fortune gambling, became a famous porn star, had a pimp ass car, and I vaguely recall taking out the local crime families as well? And I decided that I had beaten the game. My character had been seduced by New Reno, and no longer cared about saving his idiotic tribal village. Fuck em. I've got hot porn stars to bang in the back of my fusion powered car. And IMHO, that's as valid an ending as any other that game provided.

And I always felt that story really encapsulated the difference between a JRPG and a western CRPG. You must play a JRPG the way it's intended to be played. You will be this character, you will go from point A to point B to point C, and you will use this one specific strategy to defeat the boss. It bored me as much as modern linear cinematic FPS bore me compared to the more non-linear, open ended, looping through and over itself level design of Quake or Doom.

Reply 2671 of 2947, by Iris030380

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kolderman wrote on 2021-01-21, 03:38:

Almost gave up on Homeworld cuz it's so hard. Then figured out if I lure enemy ships to my mothership rather than raiding them it's easier to take them out. So continuing on for now.

Homeworld was beautiful but the gameplay was particularly flawed, as you've discovered. Especially in Skirmish mode. There are certain formations and ship combinations that basically win the single player game (once you have progressed enough in the tech tree to build them). Ion's were so OP it made the game too easy. Not sure if they patched that in the end?

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Reply 2672 of 2947, by Iris030380

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Heroes VII the campaigns, as there are so few mutliplayer / skirmish maps. Such a shame. I've been looking into Heroes VI which I have yet to even begin to play, but heard there are huge bugs in the game - especially on Windows 10.

Also I've been playing Survarium again (free to play FPS). The servers are sketchy and as 90% of the playerbase are Russian / Ukranian, most matches end up on those servers which makes for a full 1 second advantage for local players in terms of reaction times. New 400MB fibre installation coming next week - that should help some.

As far as older titles go I've just installed Fallout II GOG version again and will be playing that through over the next few months.

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Reply 2673 of 2947, by kolderman

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Iris030380 wrote on 2021-01-21, 18:10:
kolderman wrote on 2021-01-21, 03:38:

Almost gave up on Homeworld cuz it's so hard. Then figured out if I lure enemy ships to my mothership rather than raiding them it's easier to take them out. So continuing on for now.

Homeworld was beautiful but the gameplay was particularly flawed, as you've discovered. Especially in Skirmish mode. There are certain formations and ship combinations that basically win the single player game (once you have progressed enough in the tech tree to build them). Ion's were so OP it made the game too easy. Not sure if they patched that in the end?

Don't know, but if you are talking about Ion Frigates they still take their sweet time taking out other capital ships, but they usually get there in the end.

Reply 2674 of 2947, by Shreddoc

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Combining role-playing elements with arcade-style action mechanics, which is basically the over-riding game hallmark of the whole JRPG style, is only as good or bad as an individual game makes it.

There is nothing objectively wrong with those basic formulas of gaming, which in slightly different forms make up pretty much all computer games in the world.

In that sense, I would struggle to justify ANY prejudice which tried to say "All of Genre x is objectively poor", when in reality it's all more-or-less the same bleepy-bloopy button-pushy make-the-thing-onscreen-move and-earn-points mechanism across the board.

Reply 2675 of 2947, by Jed118

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I was playing NOMAD before I moved (6 months ago?) but I do play Stunts every few days - My 2 year old LOVES it so he always "asks" for it. He's disappointed when whatever computer is on the bench doesn't happen to have it.

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Reply 2676 of 2947, by xcomcmdr

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Namrok wrote on 2021-01-21, 16:26:

It's funny you bring this up. When I was in highschool, I hated JRPGs, and vastly preferred western style CRPGs. I loathed the linearity of JRPGs, the lack of character build options, and frequently the ponderous pace of it's turn based combat. It just felt like JRPGs had no respect for my time. It wasn't necessarily the XP grinding. It was how indulgent and time consuming all the character animations and transition screens were, when all I needed to do was hit A (or X on the Playstation) and fast as I possibly could to get through it. Although the XP grinding felt less rewarding in JRPGs as a new level never presented any character growth options. You just got what you got for it in most games.
[...]

One more reason to love Chrono Trigger, is that battles don't happen unless you make them happen.
Either by walking into an enemy, or via dialogue.

There's no "Oh, you are wandering around trying to explore ? Well FUCK YOU, have a battle from an invisible enemy !"

(I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy)

There is also not much grinding required. Instead of that, there are interesting side quests which happen to have battles.

Reply 2677 of 2947, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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That was me, using the easiest flight model against novice enemy, and still couldn't bring him down. Perhaps it's time to say "TO HELL WITH THAT" and start using cheats to make the game more enjoyable.

Baron-2021-01-22-15-19-33-96.jpg
Aaaargh!

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 2678 of 2947, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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So I eventually resorted to cheat. I edited the file rb2sim.ini, and then changed bulletMassFactor = 180 to bulletMassFactor = 1800. This has similar effect with Easy Aiming in Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, but it has additional side effect of instantly killing your opponent, because it increase your bullet "size" (invisible size for collision detection, I guess) tenfold, thus, instantly destroying your opponent's aircraft. With such cheat, the game feels more like Microprose Knights of the Sky.

Baron-2021-01-22-22-19-05-98.jpg
My first victim.

Baron-2021-01-22-22-33-53-92.jpg
My second victim. Three more and I'll be an ace.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.