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Reply 3780 of 4053, by Shreddoc

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With yesterday's Lands of Lore session, I got into my groove. Previous complaints have ceased to matter, and I'm hooked. It's hard to write this post... because I would rather just go and play it. 😁

Funnily enough it was the simple (Opinwood) forest and (Gorkha) swamp areas which did it. The characters finally accrued some skills and items, and are able to handle themselves without the regularly-treading-water feeling of early game. Certainly with the starting low HP and easy vulnerability of the Ak'Shel character. I also realised I wasn't using magic enough, which was impacting both the combat and the character levelling.

First time through the swamp was annoying, because I accidentally hit the first guard with a spell before he even announced himself, and then without even realising it I was hacking my way through their entire species as I pointlessly made my way around various checkpoints that would no longer accept me because I'd "attacked their people". I finally realised oh shit, we've got friendlies here, and had to start the area again. So a chain of multiple saves is well advised in this game.

I heard about the Vaelan's Cube and Cloud Tower Level 3 thing in passing, and fully intend to take advantage of that grind-reducing approach. I have come to terms with the game's combat, but it's still not something I care to repeat multiple times, and as such I must admit there is a certain degree of so-called save scumming going on.

Reply 3781 of 4053, by clueless1

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Shreddoc wrote on 2022-01-19, 23:50:
With yesterday's Lands of Lore session, I got into my groove. Previous complaints have ceased to matter, and I'm hooked. It's ha […]
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With yesterday's Lands of Lore session, I got into my groove. Previous complaints have ceased to matter, and I'm hooked. It's hard to write this post... because I would rather just go and play it. 😁

Funnily enough it was the simple (Opinwood) forest and (Gorkha) swamp areas which did it. The characters finally accrued some skills and items, and are able to handle themselves without the regularly-treading-water feeling of early game. Certainly with the starting low HP and easy vulnerability of the Ak'Shel character. I also realised I wasn't using magic enough, which was impacting both the combat and the character levelling.

First time through the swamp was annoying, because I accidentally hit the first guard with a spell before he even announced himself, and then without even realising it I was hacking my way through their entire species as I pointlessly made my way around various checkpoints that would no longer accept me because I'd "attacked their people". I finally realised oh shit, we've got friendlies here, and had to start the area again. So a chain of multiple saves is well advised in this game.

I heard about the Vaelan's Cube and Cloud Tower Level 3 thing in passing, and fully intend to take advantage of that grind-reducing approach. I have come to terms with the game's combat, but it's still not something I care to repeat multiple times, and as such I must admit there is a certain degree of so-called save scumming going on.

I just loaded up my 🤣 save from 2016 and I also played as Ak'Shel. So now that I've got it loaded, I'm loading various save games to listen to the music again. 😀

Edit: Haha. I abbreviated Lands of Lore and the forum saw it as an emoticon.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 3782 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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Exile: Escape from the Pit
I've reached the point where my party has "stabilized" and can survive without too much trouble as I begin exploring the land in earnest. The game isn't class-based (you just spend points wherever you want on attributes and skills), but I'm running a party of two fighters, one thief, a priest, and two mages. I'm pretty happy with this party so far, but two dedicated mages seems a bit overkill at least early on. Creating a third fighter instead of a second mage (or perhaps a fighter with some magic ability) might have been a better idea, especially since buffing spells are so powerful.

The game definitely feels like Ultima exploration mixed with Gold Box combat. The writing and concept are both good, but I'd rank it below Ultima VI-VII in that regard. The game instead excels in exploration (right up there with Ultima series) and combat (much better than any game in the Ultima series).

It's very easy to play once you get the game set up properly, as it provides an automap and there's even an in-game option to save snippets of text to an external file, so you can keep a record of important dialog, etc.

I'm really getting into this now! There's nothing better in gaming than really getting into a game and knowing that it has multiple sequels all using a similar formula... and Exile has two direct sequels (using the same engine), three more sequels using the updated Avernum engine, and an unrelated game using the same Exile engine (Nethergate). I feel that same excitement playing this that I felt when I first got into Wizardry 1 or AD&D Pool of Radiance for the first time!

Reply 3784 of 4053, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2022-01-22, 09:16:
Exile: Escape from the Pit I've reached the point where my party has "stabilized" and can survive without too much trouble as I […]
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Exile: Escape from the Pit
I've reached the point where my party has "stabilized" and can survive without too much trouble as I begin exploring the land in earnest. The game isn't class-based (you just spend points wherever you want on attributes and skills), but I'm running a party of two fighters, one thief, a priest, and two mages. I'm pretty happy with this party so far, but two dedicated mages seems a bit overkill at least early on. Creating a third fighter instead of a second mage (or perhaps a fighter with some magic ability) might have been a better idea, especially since buffing spells are so powerful.

The game definitely feels like Ultima exploration mixed with Gold Box combat. The writing and concept are both good, but I'd rank it below Ultima VI-VII in that regard. The game instead excels in exploration (right up there with Ultima series) and combat (much better than any game in the Ultima series).

It's very easy to play once you get the game set up properly, as it provides an automap and there's even an in-game option to save snippets of text to an external file, so you can keep a record of important dialog, etc.

I'm really getting into this now! There's nothing better in gaming than really getting into a game and knowing that it has multiple sequels all using a similar formula... and Exile has two direct sequels (using the same engine), three more sequels using the updated Avernum engine, and an unrelated game using the same Exile engine (Nethergate). I feel that same excitement playing this that I felt when I first got into Wizardry 1 or AD&D Pool of Radiance for the first time!

I have several Spiderweb games in my collection. Avernum: Escape from the Pit and Avadon: The Black Fortress are both in my play queue but I've passed them over several times. No music is kind of a bummer, but I'm encouraged by your comments. They are definitely getting another looksie when I'm done with Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
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Reply 3785 of 4053, by newtmonkey

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clueless1 wrote on 2022-01-22, 12:15:

I have several Spiderweb games in my collection. Avernum: Escape from the Pit and Avadon: The Black Fortress are both in my play queue but I've passed them over several times. No music is kind of a bummer, but I'm encouraged by your comments. They are definitely getting another looksie when I'm done with Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl.

I think you'd enjoy Avernum: Escape from the Pit, based on the RPGs you've enjoyed so far. It's a remake (of a remake) of Exile: Escape from the Pit and it loses some stuff (less resource management, less spells, 4 party members instead of 6), but is otherwise a good remake with some additional content, a modernish interface, and (arguably) better graphics. Highly recommended (especially over Avadon)!

Reply 3786 of 4053, by liqmat

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Joakim wrote on 2022-01-22, 10:58:

Taking a break from pc gaming. Dusted of my Wii-U to play Metroid prime trilogy. I am absolutely hooked what an amazing game.

One of the most versatile Nintendo(nt) consoles ever made and also my favorite.

(っ•́。•́)♪♬

Reply 3787 of 4053, by clueless1

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Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
I'm now 24.5 hours in. I've reached The Red Forest area, just killed the dude with the Rocket Launcher and the sniper in the tower behind him. There's a long road going east-west with a bunch of antennas and a downed helicopter at the west end. This is where I have to go to disable The Scorcher. Radiation is bad here and I'm almost out of radiation medkits and syringes. Almost no one is carrying these things around here, so resources are tight. So far I haven't cheated, but I'm tempted to disable radiation via the WeMod trainer if it comes down to it. Speaking of WeMod, I was messing around with it a few days ago and didn't realize that unlimited money is bound to F6, which is the game's default quick save key. I inadvertently gave myself unlimited money this way and had to find a way to get rid of it all. Back at the Bar, I had to buy and sell the Exo-Skeleton armor over and over to accomplish that. It took forever!

This game is right at the limit of my meager FPS skillset on the easiest skill level (Novice). While it's very good, it's almost too challenging and stressful for me, so I end up playing it in small chunks of time with lots of breaks to decompress. 🤣. Hopefully the difficulty doesn't ramp up much more from here.

I'm actually thinking about what I want to play next. Most likely an RPG. Maybe Eye of the Beholder 2 or Avernum: Escape from the Pit. If I go the FPS route, it'll be Terminator: Resistance. It looks much less difficult, so I can concentrate more on enjoying the story and less on rage quitting.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3788 of 4053, by TrashPanda

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clueless1 wrote on 2022-01-23, 14:23:
Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl I'm now 24.5 hours in. I've reached The Red Forest area, just killed the dude with the Rocket Laun […]
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Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
I'm now 24.5 hours in. I've reached The Red Forest area, just killed the dude with the Rocket Launcher and the sniper in the tower behind him. There's a long road going east-west with a bunch of antennas and a downed helicopter at the west end. This is where I have to go to disable The Scorcher. Radiation is bad here and I'm almost out of radiation medkits and syringes. Almost no one is carrying these things around here, so resources are tight. So far I haven't cheated, but I'm tempted to disable radiation via the WeMod trainer if it comes down to it. Speaking of WeMod, I was messing around with it a few days ago and didn't realize that unlimited money is bound to F6, which is the game's default quick save key. I inadvertently gave myself unlimited money this way and had to find a way to get rid of it all. Back at the Bar, I had to buy and sell the Exo-Skeleton armor over and over to accomplish that. It took forever!

This game is right at the limit of my meager FPS skillset on the easiest skill level (Novice). While it's very good, it's almost too challenging and stressful for me, so I end up playing it in small chunks of time with lots of breaks to decompress. 🤣. Hopefully the difficulty doesn't ramp up much more from here.

I'm actually thinking about what I want to play next. Most likely an RPG. Maybe Eye of the Beholder 2 or Avernum: Escape from the Pit. If I go the FPS route, it'll be Terminator: Resistance. It looks much less difficult, so I can concentrate more on enjoying the story and less on rage quitting.

I'm thinking of throwing my GoldBox copy of Dungeon Hack and Unlimited Adventures on to my DOS lappy and loosing the next few days to it. ..Might even throw the GoldBox companion app on there too and try my hand at making an adventure.

Actually I might just throw all the GoldBox games on there !

Actually thinking about it they are all Gog versions .. so perhaps the Dell D830 Win7 lappy would be better.

Im crazy not stupid, well not stupid enough to make claims that are total nonsense.

Reply 3789 of 4053, by clueless1

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TrashPanda wrote on 2022-01-23, 15:02:

I'm thinking of throwing my GoldBox copy of Dungeon Hack and Unlimited Adventures on to my DOS lappy and loosing the next few days to it. ..Might even throw the GoldBox companion app on there too and try my hand at making an adventure.

Actually I might just throw all the GoldBox games on there !

Actually thinking about it they are all Gog versions .. so perhaps the Dell D830 Win7 lappy would be better.

Funny, I've never played any of the classic Gold Box games, but I've always wanted to. The graphics have been a major hurdle for me. Even when they came out, the graphics were bad. But when I do eventually play Pool of Radiance, etc, it will be via the Gold Box Companion.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3790 of 4053, by TrashPanda

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clueless1 wrote on 2022-01-23, 15:22:
TrashPanda wrote on 2022-01-23, 15:02:

I'm thinking of throwing my GoldBox copy of Dungeon Hack and Unlimited Adventures on to my DOS lappy and loosing the next few days to it. ..Might even throw the GoldBox companion app on there too and try my hand at making an adventure.

Actually I might just throw all the GoldBox games on there !

Actually thinking about it they are all Gog versions .. so perhaps the Dell D830 Win7 lappy would be better.

Funny, I've never played any of the classic Gold Box games, but I've always wanted to. The graphics have been a major hurdle for me. Even when they came out, the graphics were bad. But when I do eventually play Pool of Radiance, etc, it will be via the Gold Box Companion.

Yea the graphics are an ummm acquired taste 🤣, but once you get past the bad graphics the games are a lot of fun, UA is more fun making adventures than actually playing them.

The other game I have in mind is Neverwinter nights 2 and mask of the betrayer, the MOB expansion story is amazing even if the main game is a bit boring, the biggest hurdle is getting the game to run stable. (I haven't played Storm of Zehir or Westgate yet so it might be worth a play through)

Im crazy not stupid, well not stupid enough to make claims that are total nonsense.

Reply 3791 of 4053, by Shreddoc

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Finished Lands of Lore with character Ak'Shel. Very good game, overall really enjoyed it. A top example of Westwood Studio's great team and style of the time.

I looked at a guide whenever I wasn't sure where to go. I can see how some of the quest pathways could be confusing or frustrating without.

Not 'Monkey Island Logic' exactly. But sometimes an element of barely guided pixel-hunting. For example, when progressing hinges upon finding one precise hidden wall button among a maze, or upon a minimally-signposted encounter.

The everyday travel-based quality of life we expect in modern games is also largely absent of course. There's no standard Teleport or click-to-go-there mechanic. So, while most of the levels are well-designed and not terribly problematic, there are a few occasions ingame where being faced with one's 5th laborious trek through The Swamp or The Forest can lead to periods of mental autopilot.

Minor quibbles and standard tropes of the time - nothing truly detracting. On the other hand, the gameplay turned out to be much more compelling and more-ish than I had expected it would be in a modern context. And the overall package is somehow assembled and presented with a coherent completeness that any major studio today would admire.

The graphics - as a clear evolution of the Eye of the Beholder games - are very well done, in this context. Likewise the audio. Good MIDI music, some really catchy pieces, and often hints of EOB2's choirs-and-bells style. And good Sir Stewart, whose inclusion and noble voice cannot help but put a sparkle in one's eye! I enjoyed the dry wit with a sarcastic edge style of Ak'Shel too. Quite the cool character.

It was a fun revisit to a game I last played in 1994, when I was at the peak of my youthful gaming phase, having then received Lands of Lore with great fanfare as a then-veteran player of Gold Box. A surprisingly long time has passed since (right??), and it was nice to get a detailed reminder of this high quality little slice of my gaming past.

Reply 3792 of 4053, by clueless1

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Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl

I'm now almost 30 hours in. I've completed the Warehouse and Red Forest areas, but was too beat up to head straight for Pripyat. My SSP-99M armor was just about down to 0% and I had no other armor options, so I headed back to The Bar. On the way, I picked up a Berill-5M suit, did some trading when I got there and collected on a couple of "clear out the wild dogs" missions. But none of their armors there were affordable, so I went back to Yantar and bought a SSP-99M Ecologist suit since they're so cheap there and I knew I'd need good chemical and radiation protection. Then on the way back to The Bar, I found a Wind of Freedom suit. I barely had enough carrying capacity to carry all three back to The Bar. I know things will get tough at Pripyat, and I'll probably have some decent armor options to be found there, but I'm concerned I'm setting myself up for failure. Considering using the WeMod trainer to give myself money so I can sell off my three armors and buy a Military Armored Suit (which seems to be the best option at The Bar). BTW, I've stayed neutral to both Duty and Freedom.

Last time I was talking about possibly playing EOB2 next. I loaded it up on my DOS PC just to poke around, then started looking at the All-Seeing Eye mod (which would mean playing it on my modern PC). Anyone ever play this through ASE? Any opinions?

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3793 of 4053, by creepingnet

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Playing Wolfenstein 3D on the Compaq Deskpro 386s/20, with the PcProPad 4 and the 486 BLX3 in clock triple mode. Nice and smooth. Probably the worst level time on board 3 though (kinda stuck looking for the key)...hehe.

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Reply 3794 of 4053, by Shreddoc

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clueless1 wrote on 2022-01-29, 12:37:

Last time I was talking about possibly playing EOB2 next. I loaded it up on my DOS PC just to poke around, then started looking at the All-Seeing Eye mod (which would mean playing it on my modern PC). Anyone ever play this through ASE? Any opinions?

As you may know, I played Lands of Lore recently. During the lead-up, I was Googling for modern info or improvements done to this style of game, and also noticed ASE for the EOB games. This won't help your own indecision!, but I found myself rather undecided about it.

The quality-of-life improvements would be welcome, but the kicker is I really like playing DOS games on my real DOS PCs. For me, it's part of the whole deal.

It's a pointless hope, but I wish such QoL mods were designed to run in native environments. It must be a LOT more difficult and constrained to do so, compared with the modern niceties of coding for Windows and current hardware, but still, 90's sceners were making all kinds of TSR trainers and things back in those years.

Reply 3795 of 4053, by BitWrangler

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Shreddoc wrote on 2022-01-29, 20:22:

It's a pointless hope, but I wish such QoL mods were designed to run in native environments. It must be a LOT more difficult and constrained to do so, compared with the modern niceties of coding for Windows and current hardware,

Some particularly egregious examples where the original fit on a 360k floppy, and the improved version won't even fit on a CDR.

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 3796 of 4053, by clueless1

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Shreddoc wrote on 2022-01-29, 20:22:

The quality-of-life improvements would be welcome, but the kicker is I really like playing DOS games on my real DOS PCs. For me, it's part of the whole deal.

That's exactly how I feel, and my biggest quandry. 😀

With the Gold Box series, I'm more apt to use the Gold Box Companion, but EOB2 is right on the border of what I would consider perfectly playable on my DOS PC. The auto-mapping would be really nice, but I believe the GOG version comes with the cluebooks (if not, I've probably already downloaded them from somewhere else), so it's not horrible to have maps up on my modern PC next to my DOS PC. Hmmm. Maybe I'll just play Avadon and deal with this dilemma later. 😉

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3797 of 4053, by Shreddoc

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BitWrangler wrote on 2022-01-29, 21:25:
Shreddoc wrote on 2022-01-29, 20:22:

It's a pointless hope, but I wish such QoL mods were designed to run in native environments. It must be a LOT more difficult and constrained to do so, compared with the modern niceties of coding for Windows and current hardware,

Some particularly egregious examples where the original fit on a 360k floppy, and the improved version won't even fit on a CDR.

Quite right. Nobody expects to play the remade Tie Fighter on their DOS machine for example. Anything involving significantly updated resources is out. My thoughts were merely a daydream that 25 years of modern coding technique might've seen people able to go back and enhance the original titles in their native environment. But the technical challenges in doing so are obvious even to an enthusiastic layperson.

The modern approach enabled by DOSbox-y environments: making overlay windows, in a modern multi tasking OS, while monitoring game data and throwing it up in fancy displays, is conceptually dead simple compared with the notion of reverse engineering 90's executables and retrofitting new functionality within the limitations of DOS.

But one can dream...

clueless1 wrote on 2022-01-29, 21:29:
Shreddoc wrote on 2022-01-29, 20:22:

The quality-of-life improvements would be welcome, but the kicker is I really like playing DOS games on my real DOS PCs. For me, it's part of the whole deal.

That's exactly how I feel, and my biggest quandry. 😀

With the Gold Box series, I'm more apt to use the Gold Box Companion, but EOB2 is right on the border of what I would consider perfectly playable on my DOS PC. The auto-mapping would be really nice, but I believe the GOG version comes with the cluebooks (if not, I've probably already downloaded them from somewhere else), so it's not horrible to have maps up on my modern PC next to my DOS PC. Hmmm. Maybe I'll just play Avadon and deal with this dilemma later. 😉

Funny, GBC is another one I was recently reading about, and considering trying out. The likes of Pools of Radiance might be a little bit rusty to play on the original version, after all, so I can consider a modernised version.

Having just done LoL, I am keeping EOB2 in my back pocket for now, but will probably also be doing a run through at some stage. EOB2 has a particular ambience to it which I am keen to revisit.

Reply 3798 of 4053, by Joseph_Joestar

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Currently replaying Freelancer. I spent countless hours on this game back in the day, but I don't think I've played it for more than a decade.

Gameplay is pretty good, even to this day. The graphics do show their age though, and I was surprised to not find any anti-aliasing settings in the Options menu. Fortunately, forcing 8xAA in the Nvidia driver did the trick. It's funny how the jaggies bother me nowadays, but I don't think I even noticed them back then.

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Reply 3799 of 4053, by Shagittarius

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2022-02-01, 15:48:

Currently replaying Freelancer. I spent countless hours on this game back in the day, but I don't think I've played it for more than a decade.

Gameplay is pretty good, even to this day. The graphics do show their age though, and I was surprised to not find any anti-aliasing settings in the Options menu. Fortunately, forcing 8xAA in the Nvidia driver did the trick. It's funny how the jaggies bother me nowadays, but I don't think I even noticed them back then.

The blur anti-aliasing causes bothers me way more than the jaggies. Back in the day though the blur wasn't as obvious because we all had CRTs. Now though, no matter how high or what form of anti-aliasing you use, it looks like someone has smeared vasaline on your LCD.