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Reply 3180 of 3385, by Namrok

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Ok. So after much effort with Populous, well, no. I didn't beat the level.

I hacked the game.

Brushing up on x86 assembly and DOSBOX's debug tools, I figured out the bytes that set if you are in Conquest mode or Custom mode. I then found the checks that prevent you from altering the enemies abilities if you are in Conquest mode. They are at hex address 102a1 in POPULOUS.EXE. Changing the value from 74 (jump if equal) to EB (just jump) allows you to press B during play, and edit the enemies abilities, aggression and response times even in Conquest mode.

I may not have the reaction times, or the steady mouse hand, at my age to compete with the AI at the highest reaction time. But I'll consider this a hard won victory over it all the same.

Reply 3181 of 3385, by Shreddoc

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Prince of Persia 2.

I am taking a few hours to revisit this nostalgic gem from my past. It's a cool game. I remember being hugely impressed by it at the time of release. The combination of platform puzzling, technical merits (e.g. very few floppy games could afford space for a full-speech narrator throughout), and exotic setting occupied a special niche.

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Some of the graphics are extremely impressive in the 256-colour imagery, and a strong general sense of atmosphere is imparted by these in conjunction with the dynamic Persian music.

The game is certainly not without flaws. The time countdown, where the player is allowed a hard 75-minute limit to complete the entire game. The combat, the proportion of which is increased from the original game and can sometimes be a drag, given the limited options. Control can be frustrating occasionally, though this is a bugbear worn by a lot of retro platforming - some may even call it a deliberate hallmark of the style.

The puzzling and maze exploration aspects (while basking in the aforementioned atmosphere) are the most enjoyable part of the game, with the level design being generally well done. Despite the few flaws the game still stands as a very satisfying sequel to the original and revered title, particularly in light of what it achieved with little fanfare and in the context of it's 1993 release date.

Reply 3184 of 3385, by thepirategamerboy12

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I'm playing through Half-Life on my Pentium 233 MMX machine with a Voodoo 1 at 512x384. Framerate varies a lot depending on the area, amount of enemies, explosions, etc. Most of the time it's decent enough imo considering the hardware, though occasionally it dips down to the single digits to the point where the sound effects chop up. So far I've been able to get to On A Rail, so I'd say it's playable.

Reply 3185 of 3385, by kolderman

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thepirategamerboy12 wrote on 2021-07-24, 04:27:

I'm playing through Half-Life on my Pentium 233 MMX machine with a Voodoo 1 at 512x384. Framerate varies a lot depending on the area, amount of enemies, explosions, etc. Most of the time it's decent enough imo considering the hardware, though occasionally it dips down to the single digits to the point where the sound effects chop up. So far I've been able to get to On A Rail, so I'd say it's playable.

The MMX233 was released in mid-97 (i.e. was the top of line CPU at the time). HL1 came out in late 98. I LOT of people would still have been rocking that cpu or slower, although by late-98 maybe most of them would have upgraded GPUs.

Reply 3186 of 3385, by thepirategamerboy12

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kolderman wrote on 2021-07-24, 05:02:

The MMX233 was released in mid-97 (i.e. was the top of line CPU at the time). HL1 came out in late 98. I LOT of people would still have been rocking that cpu or slower, although by late-98 maybe most of them would have upgraded GPUs.

Perhaps. Tbh, I'd still much rather play it like this over the unreleased Dreamcast port. The loading times are actually pretty short, the DC loading times are horrendous. Here's an image of it running, btw. I've just made it to Residue Processing.

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Reply 3188 of 3385, by leileilol

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I didn't think HL look that good around release, in fact I was quite disappointed they junked the whole progs interpreter (as Quake2 was similarly disappointing for doing that).

There will be some severe dips later on Xen, though HL is deifnitely completeable on those specs. Some artists at Valve in old interviews noted the importance of designing texture sizes for 4MB video hardware, so the OG VG were definitely in mind during the entire development. There is a lot of texture switching going on with lots of small textures however

If things get real thrashy, you can always throw +set gl_picmip 1 into the shortcut.

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Reply 3189 of 3385, by thepirategamerboy12

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Okay, I'm at Xen/Interloper and it chugs very badly at a part where you go up a tall rising piller and have to do platforming while also taking care of the enemies. The sound is chopping up constantly. It's insanely difficult because it's so hard to hit anything and I'm almost tempted to copy my saves to another computer, but I'll keep trying before then. I tried +set gl_picmip 1 and it didn't seem to make much (if any) difference that I could notice. It's a bit of a shame because for the most part, imo, the game is fairly playable with some exceptions like this where it really tanks.

Reply 3190 of 3385, by thepirategamerboy12

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I was able to beat the game! The final boss was such a pain in the ass to defeat, but I eventually did it. This is my first time ever playing through the game to completion, btw, and I've gotta say that the ending was really cool. So yeah, the game is completeable on these specs, but performance especially during Surface Tension and Xen can dip uncomfortably low. Most of the game runs around 20 something fps, fyi. It actually can reach 60 at times, though pretty rarely.

Reply 3191 of 3385, by Horun

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Damn looks good ! Still playing Age of Empires II HD plus Campaigns, finished all the built-ins and played a few random games. Will need a replacement soon 😀

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor.

Reply 3192 of 3385, by DracoNihil

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Still trying to get the rest of the fish caught in Cruelty Squad...

And also trying to get some of the organs I haven't found yet either apparently.

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Reply 3193 of 3385, by clueless1

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thepirategamerboy12 wrote on 2021-07-29, 09:25:

I was able to beat the game! The final boss was such a pain in the ass to defeat, but I eventually did it. This is my first time ever playing through the game to completion, btw, and I've gotta say that the ending was really cool. So yeah, the game is completeable on these specs, but performance especially during Surface Tension and Xen can dip uncomfortably low. Most of the game runs around 20 something fps, fyi. It actually can reach 60 at times, though pretty rarely.

Nice! Congrats, that's such a fun game and you scored major street cred for beating it on a P233MMX with Voodoo1 😎

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Reply 3194 of 3385, by Shreddoc

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Been continuing Prince of Persia 2.

Completed the fun "floating Head" levels, including some creative kills I hadn't done before (i.e. complicated sequences to make bricks fall on them - and not just the easy first Head).

Now up to the red/temple levels with the birdmen, which has ratcheted up the difficulty and devious traps to a yet higher degree. I know I completed the game in the 90's, but now I'm sensing that I may struggle with these levels - the "Rick Dangerous" style frustration: where one tiny mistake at any point, Groundhog_Days() you back to the start of the level... for the 50th time.

And I'm running out of (in-game countdown) time, making it a bit of a farce - in that, eventually, I'm going to need to either cheat and add more time to the clock, or start the game all over again and waste less time in the early levels.

Reply 3195 of 3385, by thepirategamerboy12

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clueless1 wrote on 2021-08-01, 13:53:

Nice! Congrats, that's such a fun game and you scored major street cred for beating it on a P233MMX with Voodoo1 😎

Thank you very much. Yeah, I had a very enjoyable time playing it for the most part. Honestly, some of the things I've seen a number of people online complain about like the platforming and whole chapters like On a Rail, I didn't have any issues with. Surface Tension and Xen were by far the hardest chapters for me, but I wouldn't necessarily say I disliked them.

Shreddoc wrote on 2021-08-01, 23:32:
Been continuing Prince of Persia 2. […]
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Been continuing Prince of Persia 2.

Completed the fun "floating Head" levels, including some creative kills I hadn't done before (i.e. complicated sequences to make bricks fall on them - and not just the easy first Head).

Now up to the red/temple levels with the birdmen, which has ratcheted up the difficulty and devious traps to a yet higher degree. I know I completed the game in the 90's, but now I'm sensing that I may struggle with these levels - the "Rick Dangerous" style frustration: where one tiny mistake at any point, Groundhog_Days() you back to the start of the level... for the 50th time.

And I'm running out of (in-game countdown) time, making it a bit of a farce - in that, eventually, I'm going to need to either cheat and add more time to the clock, or start the game all over again and waste less time in the early levels.

I've completed the Mac port of Prince 2 once, and I quite liked the game but prefer the original. I found it a lot harder and more frustrating. The final level made me want to pull my hair out, mainly because of the insufficient number of health potions I had upon reaching it. Perhaps you'll see what I mean when you get there.

Reply 3196 of 3385, by Namrok

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Well, I am approaching world 300 in Populous. I've been enjoying it a lot more lately since I gave myself an out with the hack I performed on it. Probably about 1/3 or 1/4 levels I find myself needing to take the AI's reaction time down just one notch. But I've kind of made it a rule that I'll only do it after 4 attempts where it just seems nonsensically bullshit hard. Usually go in with a strategy, get walloped. Try to do the strategy harder or faster, get walloped. Try a different strategy, do even worse. Etc.

if after 4 of those attempts it doesn't seem like I'm making any headway at all because the AI is just too damned fast, it's cheat time. I'm just not that masochistic. I just want to have a good time. Having the AI operate just a tiny bit slower seems a good way to maintain the spirit of the game without turning it into a cakewalk. Although I often find after beating my head against it, and optimizing my strategy, the moment I take it down even one notch I absolutely steamroll it. When I was going through the assembly code, it looked a lot like at the highest setting, the AI has a think every game cycle. Then every 2 game cycles, 3, 4, etc all the way down to 10 on the lowest speed. So I guess the 2nd fastest setting could be fully half the speed of the very fastest.

The last few levels have had the AI with only bottomless swamps and knights, but cranked all the way up on reaction time. It's been interesting trying to rehabilitate my domain, as well as expand as quick as possible, while the knights rampage through my land. At a certain point I can turn the tables and just volcano them relentlessly. But it felt like a real tightrope to get to that point. Attempting to knight them back just resulted in swamps being spammed on my papal magnet. So the slow road it was.

Although in retrospect, if I'd just made the terrain totally pitted, it couldn't have been swamped. But who knows, maybe it just would have provoked the AI into swamping a larger area. Or it would have turned into a mana pit for it, endless swamping unswampable terrain. Oh well, maybe next time.

When I wasn't playing that, I was dabbling in Duke Nukem 3D. Never really played it at the time, I was an id software diehard. Gotta admit, not a fan of the level design. I get stuck a lot and the flow feels very awkward. But maybe that's just because I haven't memorized them all like the back of my hand the way I have with Doom's levels.

I think once I get either Populous or Duke Nukem 3D off my plate, I need to play Monkey Island. Never have before, although I did acquire a copy of Monkey Island Madness.

Reply 3197 of 3385, by NovaCN

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Namrok wrote on 2021-08-03, 02:51:

I think once I get either Populous or Duke Nukem 3D off my plate, I need to play Monkey Island. Never have before, although I did acquire a copy of Monkey Island Madness.

I'm still working my way back through the series, finished 2 and will start Curse soon.
Secret is really fantastic, if a bit short. Some of the most elegant design I've seen in the genre, particularly the way it subtly guides you through via its screen layouts so you rarely end up futzing around randomly and stumbling upon puzzle solutions before you even know why you need to do them, as happens in so many other adventure games.
2 is... I sort of have mixed feelings on this one. It's definitely a bigger game with some extremely clever puzzles, but I'm not a fan of how Guybrush is characterized and the tone of the game overall is far too mean-spirited. Nailing Stan inside an empty coffin so you can steal his key is a fun puzzle to figure out, but you're still forced to nail a guy inside a coffin, rob him, and just leave him there in order to beat the game, and that doesn't feel good.
I am very much looking forward to Curse though, since it was a childhood favorite of mine. If anyone has recommendations for visual settings or anything in ScummVM to make it look nicer or more authentic, now would be the time to share.

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Reply 3198 of 3385, by newtmonkey

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Lurking: Immortui (PC)
I have really been getting into this one recently. It's an indie RPG you can find on itch.io for the price of "pay what you want."
https://oklabsoft.itch.io/lurking

Like Ultima, the game is all about exploring and gathering information. It uses a similar keyword-based conversation system, and figuring out what you need to do feels very Ultima-like, though much less frustrating imo—you have less stuff to find in general, and hints are typically repeated by several NPCs so that you won't have to worry too much if you miss some NPC in a secluded location who gives crucial information.

Combat is much less frequent than in Ultima III or IV, and staying on roads will avoid most if not all combat. EXP is awarded only to the character that lands the killing blow, so it's worthwhile to give your spellcasters a few points in the "ranged" skill so they can keep up with your fighters.

Based on what I know the overall quest to be, I'd reckon that I'm roughly 1/3rd of the way through the game at maybe 10 hours spent on it so far. Much of that was spent exploring and gathering information however, so I don't expect the game will take more than another 10 hours or so to finish.

Great game so far! I'd definitely recommend it to fans of Ultima III-V or classic RPGs in general.

Reply 3199 of 3385, by SherbertWest

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NovaCN wrote on 2021-08-03, 14:53:

I am very much looking forward to Curse though, since it was a childhood favorite of mine. If anyone has recommendations for visual settings or anything in ScummVM to make it look nicer or more authentic, now would be the time to share.

With the caveat that I haven't tested it yet, this looks promising:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/xbrz/files/ScummVM/

Before and After

The downside is that it involves reverting your ScummVM installation to an earlier version, if that's an issue. There's also been some concern about the stability, so YMMV.

This thread over at the ScummVM forums also has an alternative solution (check the last two posts).