They’re both very different games on a gameplay and story level, but some features feel interchangeable, like herb gathering, syringe making, slipping down steep slopes, being chased by a giant black kitten and trying to figure out where the hell I am when I don’t have the appropriate map data.
If you were into MMOs back in 2007 you might remember the release of Hellgate London. One of the first pay-once MMOs that hit actually retail stores (I remember paying the standard $100 AUD for a new copy at my local games store). However in 2009 the servers went down because they weren’t making enough money, but you can still play the single player which is exactly the same as multiplayer, but you play by yourself.
In Hellgate you can play as one of 6 classes; Guardian (paladin), Blademaster (warrior), Summoner (pet-based magic), Evoker (mage), Marksman (guns) or Engineer (pet-based guns). You battle for humanity, fighting demons throughout London’s streets and underworld. The game engine uses an instance based level system to randomly generate the level you travel to, so the next time you go there it will be slightly different from the last (it’s very rogue-like, and generally feels like Diablo in many ways). Oh and did I mention the part where it’s an MMO that you can aim and shoot with guns? That’s right, no auto targeting/attacking, which makes for a more immersive MMO.
During the time the servers were available I played a Summoner to level 40 and had one of the best MMO experiences of my life. Though, after about level 30 or so the game becomes a bit boring unless you play it with a friend.
Several multiplayer revival projects later, Hellgate Global has emerged as the current and only way to play this game online. Fortunately, it’s almost the exact same game with some extra storyline missions thrown in and some micro-transactions in the higher level gameplay. However if you are looking to play this game again or try it out with a friend, definitely give Hellgate Global ago. Despite the currency and loot system being ruined from the original game and the terrible ‘engrish’ incorporated into the new missions, it’s still a very fun post-apocalyptic MMO to play with a friend or two.
Here’s a video I made a few years ago when Hellgate London was new.
Game: Mount & Blade: Warband
Publisher: Paradox Interactive, 2010
Version Reviewed: Patch 1.153
Mount & Blade: Warband is an unique medieval fighting game presented primarily in third person. Warband has impressively combined major RTS elements with immersive third person fighting gameplay, allowing the player to not only command their own army, but fight alongside it as well.
Single player features a real time ‘click-to-move’ overworld where you traverse the lands with your warband party, fighting enemy parties, visiting castles and villages for trading or recruitment and waging war on the enemy faction’s settlements. The actual fighting is done in a similar style to the Total War games, only in real time. Once you engaged in a fight, you play as your personal character in the field of battle alongside your entire warband to fight the enemy, at this point you can give specific commands to your soldiers as you charge in (usually on a somewhat-valiant steed) and roll some heads for yourself.
Single player Warband is basically a large sandbox RPG. You don’t have any real objective or direction when you start the game, but you will generally work your way into becoming a mercenary for one of the 5 factions and help them destroy the enemy and take their castles in the name of your King. Eventually you will work your way up the ranks, swearing an oath to the King and making friends and enemies with the other vassals in your kingdom.
This is when you can start to influence the actions of the kingdom. You can work together with other lords to accuse others of treason or marry into one of the many nobles of the realm which provides different benefits to male and female player characters.
Sick of capturing castles for your King only to have them bestowed upon another vassal? Well you can start your own faction! Provided you are strong enough and you can support a war effort on your own, you are free to capture castles in your own name and take over Calradia for yourself! With a little convincing, those Lords you spent all that time sucking up to might even decide to renounce their oath to their King and join you…
Multiplayer Warband has a rather competitive community, most servers run Battle mode which is round based combat, once you die you spectate until one team wins. Since there are 4 directions to block and attack when fighting with melee weapons, the game is quite hard to master, becoming a pro in multiplayer takes a lot of practice. You can’t just hack and slash and hope for the best, you need to pay attention to what your opponent/s are doing and act accordingly.
There is also huge potential for modding, there are already loads of popular total conversion mods for Warband including 13th Century Europe mods, Musket era mods, Cowboy era mods and some fantasy style mods.
Controls and player movement are very clunky, but they work exactly like they should. The game provides skill-based multiplayer and a fun single player that will give you hours upon hours of play before you get bored (I’ve played 700~ hours of Warband and have yet to ‘finish’ a single player game as my own faction). Moreover, there aren’t many games like this out there. Sure there are medieval RPGs and RTSs, but none that combine both into a fun little package that offers such freedom, not to mention the modding potential.
The game universe goes far deeper than the average player might consider. The Kings and Lords and Ladies of the realm all have a relationship with one another and an attitude towards war which determines who they will pledge their allegiance too, who they will quarrel with and how they will act. Even the minor act of raiding and burning a village can have huge impacts in the game in many ways, the village will hate you (obviously), the Lord reigning over it will dislike you, the city it belongs to will suffer in terms of economy and produce less income, this could cause even more backlash to the player who may one day own these fiefs their selves. With all these variables things can become a little buggy at times, but it mostly works.
There is a very intricate system at play here and the developers have really tried to capture the political and economical systems that went on in medieval Europe on a grand scale.
While the graphics are a small upgrade from the original Mount & Blade, they still aren’t exactly up to scratch with the high standards of 2010.
The sounds of battle (weapons, war cries and death) are moderately satisfying, but there are barely any voices in the game. However there is a nice soundtrack to both the battles and while traversing across the land.
Not exactly the most harmonious game, but it makes up for it with straight-forward ruggedness.
There are many people out there who would find a game like this totally boring, with no given objective to complete it can be easy to get bored.
Then there are people like me who come across a game like this and see the potential for adventure in a huge medieval sandbox where you can command an army, fight with your army and ultimately coordinate a war on a large scale. And for others it’s all about the multiplayer.
This is definitely one to try.
Okay, so no complete battle system yet… but I have some very nice screenshots to show!
Here is the complete class diagram thus far.
As you can see I have added in StatusEffects, before this all Characters had Boolean flags for things like Poisoned, Frozen, Stunned, etc. However now all Characters have 3 StatusEffects (which are all null by default) that can be assigned to specific buffs or debuffs when the time calls for it. StatusEffects also manage the duration (turns in battle mode) of the effect.
Both Spellbook and Inventory are implemented as Lists as well as just about all the methods they will need. Below is a test of the inventory, where the player is given 4 items and they are shown in the side inventory (as well as in more detail when the player inputs /inv in PlayMode), from there they can also select a specific item to view all it’s details and use/equip it if it has that option.
I got sick of creating get/set properties for my C# RPG classes, so I created a little program to do it for me, now I’ve decided to share it with everyone…
I’ve named it GetSetGo; you paste in your instance variables and it generates your get/sets for you.
Currently GetSetGo supports both Java (get/set methods) and C# (get/set properties), it can also generate read only methods and properties. Enjoy!
Lots of progress today, including items, some battle methods and spells!
Here is the Item class diagram.
‘Scrolls’ will likely be another addition to the Item hierarchy one spells have been perfected.
Below is some content I’ve added in for testing purposes.
I’m planning to create all items in the game here in the MainFrm constructor, that way I can easily refer to them and give them to NPCs, shops, etc.
Some human battle methods have been implemented as well.
And Crit/Miss algorithms.
I also did some testing… created an NPC, gave him weapons and armor and tested some of his methods, soon I’ll be able to have 2 NPCs fighting once the battle system is implemented!
The next step is to sort out the inventory system, C# has two special arrays, ‘ArrayList’ which I am used to from Java and ‘List’ which seems to be more powerful, so I’ll likely be using List. Spellbook will also be a separate List on its own.
I say Day 1, but I actually spent months planning this in my head and drafting class diagrams, but after all this time I finally felt ready to start!
I wanted to create a text-based RPG, (NOT an adventure game). I have chosen C# as the language and decided to go with windows forms rather than the DOS command line like traditional text-based games use.
Creating a text-based game allows me to be creative with game content without having to employ graphics skills that I really don’t have.
Why Windows forms?
There are 2 main reasons for this: One is that games that rely on the command line are getting more and more phased out with each new release of Windows (most require DOS Box these days). The second reason is to unlock the potential that forms have for text based games, namely, the ability to view more than one element at time (eg; to check inventory, the screen would have to switch to inventory screen, not letting you view details of the room or battle you are in).
I spent today creating the UI and some of the Character side of the RPG engine.
This is the working class diagram of the character system, right now I can create a Player, Animal or NPC at will. Once the battle system is implemented, all objects derived from the Human class will have methods for dealing and taking damage based on their weapon and armor. Animals will also have similar methods based on their min/max damage.
But before the battle system can be implemented, the items and inventory hierarchy needs to be implemented and that is my next step.
As for the UI, here is the work in progress.
Very doubtful that this is what the finished product will look like, but you can see where I’m going with it.
Now for a peek at some code… I have written most of the UI related operations, including my own print methods.
As this is a Windows Forms project and not console based, prompting for input works a lot differently as the flow of control doesn’t just stop to wait for the user to enter something, it just sits there listening for key press enter, therefor I have had to create a heap of flags so the program knows what to do with the current player input, then turn the flag off, for example, this is the switch for the intro, after a user inputs text, it checks what mode the the game is in, if it’s in intro mode, it will run this:
After /new or /load is input, the game will change to PlayMode, meaning that when text is entered, it will run the switch statement for the PlayMode. The same is for BattleMode and InventoryMode. This is the best possible solution I could come up with.
Feel free to drop me a comment here for any questions or suggestions, I’d be happy to answer them, I have most of program structure either mapped out in my head or on paper. I also have a bundle of content of my own fantasy universe written in word that I’ve built up over the years which I’m going to unleash on this game once the RPG engine is complete.
I do have somewhat of a creative mind, but the only tools I’m able to convey it with are code and English!
Game: Super Monday Night Combat
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Publisher: Uber Entertainment, 2012
Version Reviewed: Rule Change 11
It’s the year 2036 and watching clones and robots beat each other to death over a giant ball of money has become the new televised entertainment sport for families on Monday night.
Finally! A MOBA where I can do more than just observe and click manically. Unlike DoTA based games, Super Monday Night Combat drops you right into the action with a trailing third person camera view and WASD/shooter controls.
Super Monday Night Combat is a free-to-play game on Steam which uses location based match-making to find you a match with other people of your skill level and lets you pick a ‘Pro’ to play as from a selection of characters. Classes include Commandos (harass and ambush), Strikers (soldiers), Enforcers (tanks), Defenders (heal and buff) and Sharpshooters (sniper).
Once match-made, you’re thrown into a team of five where you pick your Pro and the game begins in one of the four arenas. In the standard ‘Supercross’ mode, the two teams must escort bots down their predefined paths, destroying turrets and enemy players on the lead up to taking down the enemy team’s moneyball.
Simple right? Fortunately not! The game is packed full of extra features and random events such as the Annihilator, a game changing weapon that teams must fight over to purchase. When purchased, the Annihilator destroys all bots on the enemy team and damages all enemy Pros.
Then there’s Chickey Cantor, a giant mechanical chicken that has a chance to spawn in the arena’s ‘jungle’ (areas outside the official arena confines) which teams fight over the privilege to ride for cash and bonuses for their team. And then there’s Bullseye, a masochistic mascot players can attack to obtain ‘juice’ and other goodies.
Juice is SMNC’s power-up resource, it can be collected from certain bots or bought and when you have enough, you can buff yourself for a short time. Players can also use their cash (obtained from killing players and bots) to purchase extra bots for their team, health or special weapons specific to the arena.
A smooth, well flowing third person shooter with a decent array of Pros to choose from that all have their own gameplay style. The action never stops.
The developers have created a unique universe for SMNC which seemingly leaves no gaps. The commentators, the characters and the bots are all clever and unique creations that deserve to be praised. It’s one thing to create a fun, enjoyable game, but another to have originality. On that note though, there are currently only four maps to play, and as a game that is designed to be played over and over, it really needs more.
Nothing too amazing here, Super Monday Night Combat has a distinct cartoony art style, similar to that of Team Fortress 2, which suits the game very well and overall is visually appealing.
The game features typical American sports commentators commenting on the match as you play, though very funny at times, they can get a little annoying, but turning off their voices means you won’t hear about random events or when the Annihilator is ready for purchase. There is also quite a nice soundtrack while waiting in the lobby to be match made.
Everything works exactly as it should and feels right.
The developers really hit the nail on the head here, the first game of its kind and everything just feels so right. On top of that, they have kept their promise in making it free-to-play; all micro-transactions that have any impact on gameplay can be bought with in game currency, earned from playing matches.
My only complaints are the weekly 1.3GB patches (no I’m not joking) and the slow match making times for countries other than the United States.
Overall, I am very impressed with this game, it’s about time someone did this to DoTA for us FPS addicts!
What is a survival game?
Wikipedia defines survival games has a game that involves resource conservation and a hostile game environment, it then goes on to list almost every 1st/3rd person game that requires you to eat and drink.
There are only a few true hardcore survival games out there in which the player’s focus is human survival against the elements, not to shoot mutants or to creatively express yourself with blocks. Having said that, games such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Fallout New Vegas’ hardcore mode are great games, they just aren’t entirely based around player survival.
So what are these hardcore survival games you speak of? Well here are the only three I actually know of…
What a gem! Stranded II is a free, first person survival game where you are stranded on an island with almost nothing and you have to try to survive (and complete objectives if playing the Story). You need to eat, drink and sleep, which means fishing, hunting, building a shelter, finding a water source, planting seeds you find, mining, etc. It’s also heavily moddable, which is always a plus!
The download size is about 13mb, why not try it out?
Based off Stranded II, a mod for Garry’s Mod has been developed which allows players to play a survival game online and on the source engine. It is essentially the same as Stranded II and has all the same features, only collecting wood, rocks and other resources will allow you to spawn and build props, for example building a Barrel might cost 10 metal. As you play the game more, you will be able to build guns as well, these cost a lot of resources of course. The mod also features a Tribe system where you can invite other players to your tribe to work together, or to take down other tribes.
There are still loads of servers for this mod, so if you have Garry’s Mod it’s worth taking a look.
A hardcore survival MMO originally developed by Notch, however quite different from Minecraft. Players start with a small assortment of basic tools and will have to build their way out of starvation in this fantasy world. Food and drink (and of cause health) are the crucial resource in this survival game but unlike Stranded II, there is more a sense of ‘real-time’ in doing actions and getting hungry it isn’t as fast paced, Wurm time is 8x real time. Wurm is free to play until skill level 20.
You can read my in depth article on Wurm Online here.
Perhaps a little more well known than the others, Wurm Online is a harsh survival MMORPG written in java, originally developed by Notch before he started working on Minecraft. Wurm is free to play, however skills cannot be trained past level 20 (out of 100) unless you pay for a premium account, though getting a single skill to level 20 would likely take a week or more and that would be with hard training.
Wurm could be described as a much more realistic and survival-based Minecraft, rather than an expressive Legoland of joy and zombies. A new player begins the game with a few tools to let them get started, food and water are a big priority, but so is being able to shelter or defend yourself from enemies, so building your own house should also be on the agenda… however that could take quite a while to do.
For example, the typical steps in building your first house would likely consist of the following tasks:
- Cut down trees.
- Create a mallet and other wooden tools you may need for building.
- Mine iron ore in a public mine.
- Find a public blacksmith to smelt the iron and create nails at an anvil.
- (Optional) Build a cart first, this will make carrying your materials much easier and train your carpentry skills to make building a house easier.
- Find a piece of suitable, flat, unclaimed land to build your house on, remembering you need to be near water or a public well (you may need to travel quite far away from the starting area).
- (Optional) Flatten the area more with a shovel, one of the main features of Wurm is the ability to terraform the terrain, however for a new player on their own this can take a long time, you are better off searching for a flat area to build on.
- (Optional) Build a fence around the area, this will keep out other players if you smith a lock for the gate, it will also keep animals you may own in the future from escaping.
- Lay down foundations of the house, remember that the bigger you make it, the more materials it is going to require (each wall takes 20 planks of wood and a handful of large nails).
- Attach the materials to the house.
- Build your own facilities, forge, anvil, archery targets, oven, etc.
All the while, you will be slowly getting hungry and thirsty, luckily new players are given free food and water for the first 24 hours of gameplay. You will also be failing a lot of these tasks as your skills in them will be very low, for example, it make take 3 attempts to successfully create nails and they will be very low quality.
The quality of the materials you create/gather affect the quality of what you are building, low quality items will decay faster and need repairs more often, otherwise they will disappear completely. Wurm is heavily based on decaying objects, the land you choose to build on may of been built on several times in the past few years, but the players have either moved on to another location or stopped playing.
You are likely to have neighbors nearby who you can talk to in the Local channel, most people are willing to help new players with materials/construction if you ask nicely and show that they can trust you. Just don’t ask questions that you can easily find in the wiki!
As you can see, Wurm is a very in depth survival game. I still play it to this day, but the most fun I had was when I first started. I was with a group of 5 other friends, we agreed to build together and allocate jobs to specific people, that way we could all master one or two skills and get things done quicker. I was in charge of Farming, Fishing and Cooking… cooking for 6 people was no easy task! I had to constantly be tending to the farm or fishing to be able to supply everyone with food so they could get their tasks done. At this time we had no well at our building site, so every time I went fishing I would have to carry back a 40 litre barrel of water with me.
Some of them were purely gatherers, they cut down wood, mined ore and stones and sometimes brought back herbs and fruits for cooking as well. Other people were in charge of creation; carpentry, blacksmithing and masonry. Once we had a decent farm up and running, making meals for everyone got a lot easier, by then we also had hunting parties where we would usually bring back spider meat to cook as well (there was a nearby spider den).
Eventually we finished our house and built a small sailboat which we used to explore the world. Now days, I am co-owner of a deed on the Freedom server called ‘Tranquility Glade’. We are known for selling animals and enchanted grass.
I have barely touched the surface here. There are skills as intricate as ‘Animal Husbandry’ which affects how much success you have at getting two animals to breed, or checking which traits a certain animal has (some may moved faster, or have more health, etc). There are faction based PvP servers, magic and archery, jewelrysmithing and meditation, forestry and taming and much, much more!
To minimize stress and maximize fun; play with a friend or two!