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Tycho / on Fri, Feb 8 2008 at 9:58 am

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He came into work yesterday with a prescription for something that will alter his brain chemistry, which I thought was a big step for the man who refuses to take aspirin.  We’ve long canonized our respective lunacies, believing it is like some artistic sacrament that makes our bizarre endeavor possible.  We have relied upon them.  Or, at any rate, we did. 

I thought being crazy was something we did together.

I now own both versions of Devil May Cry 4, and I can tell you that the benefits of the twenty-one minute install are completely irrelevant.  I spent over a hundred and twenty dollars to learn this bit of trivia.  I love to hear talk online about load times which are "twice as fast" on the Playstation 3.  It’s very easy to double a small number.  If you have two cents, and then you find two more, that doesn’t make you a rich man.  The reality is that the loads are pretty slick on both platforms, and even spooled from the hard disc the loads are by no means instantaneous.  The whole experience has been quite odd.  The advantage of the local cache in this case is entirely dismissible, which makes me wonder why they subjected users to it.  There’s no option to play the game without an install, which I think is telling.   

Does this strike anyone else as hilarious?  Probably not if you work for Games Workshop, I’d imagine.   

Sins of a Solar Empire really needs a demo, but as an indie shop I imagine that shipping product was paramount.  There will be a demo in about a month I understand, so it’s been taken into consideration.  Sins is what we typically think of as a 4x game, but it has its own ideas about what that should mean in a modern context.  Sword of the Stars has a firm delineation between its "empire" and its "combat" facets, resolving each in a sequential manner.  Sins attempts to suspend all of these elements in linear time, but it’s a slow, sweet kind of time, like molasses.  I’m a person who prefers turn-based deliberation over der klickenfest, but at the default gamespeed I’ve never felt overwhelmed by what was asked of me.  Using the (by now) ultrarefined conventions of the RTS genre, they make serious civic engineering as mechanically simple as Bloodlusting your ogres.  The game’s crowning achievement is, at least to me, what they call "The Empire Tree."  In screenshots it always looked like a mess, but it’s what makes the game possible, and it works extremely well.  It’s a kind of shorthand for your entire empire, a dynamic representation that tells you where everything is, how many of it there are, who is under attack, at all times.  It’s a savvy answer to a pernicious question, and it’s tactfully delivered.

(CW)TB out.

  white tongues hang out

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