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RSS Reviews
9

Hazard

Game review

Hazard: a maze exploring FPS with striking visuals.

If you want to experience a new take on maze FPS, do give this a try.

What it does right:

The music is exciting and keeps the flow in the action.
You want to keep running and shooting.

Graphics are striking and the background structures are a fresh take on the tron / tech theme. While still remaining original. I especially like the part that looks like a movie theater.

Weapon icons and models are bold and fit the net-tech theme very well.

Enemy / ammo balance - do not waste shots as you have just enough to get through - most enemies shoot and are not easy to take down with the laser sword.

Was not stoked about:

Not much indication what parts of a path are teleports. Maybe there was a texture I didnt notice?

There are blocked paths that will teleport you until you use the disk at the terminal. But then there are other little path chunks that do the same thing - this can be a game saver or just irritating.

There is one on data sorting before the enemy that fires the tracking missile.
That is a great place to have one if you dont know how to avoid those missiles. But I had to discover it by accident.

I'm not sure what would improve this.

What was cool:

When I realized the intermission screen WAS an overview of the actual map.
I didnt see it until I got to data sorting.

The city reminded me of a monochrome mainframe (from Reboot.)

The health bars above your enemies heads.

Reminds me of berzerk.

What would I like to see:

More puzzles than just find disk and open ports.
The data sorting train puzzle was a great way to add something new.
I hope this continues with other more complex elements.

The next two are really about design choice. They may not fit the style of the game.

Perhaps interact with the background structure a bit more.
Like you see a structure in the distance on one map, then later you get there and proceed into the structure. Basically I wanted to go in the part that looked like a movie theater.

Elements besides guns, ammo, enemies, disks, terminals, etc.
Yes, I'm talking about visual fluff that doesnt enhance essential game play.
This isnt part of the game critique, its just one of my preferences.

Maybe a digital version of a fern, mushroom or some growing plant - with a growth cycle. Or stainless steel rats! There are 2 games that have really impressed me in this respect - Half Life 2 and Unreal.

And there are two views on this: "Anything not essential takes away from game play" and "that extra little detail makes the game more exciting."

***

Note: this review was revised after some issues running under linux were fixed.
For linux do this:

drop the latest linux darkplaces into the Hazard folder (where you see the Clu sub-folder) and run with:

darkplaces-glx -game Clu

10

Minecraft

Game review

Minecraft - part world builder, part survival FPS...

There was a long and comprehensive review here!
Where in Notches name did it go?!

Really. Really! If you click outside this review frame by accident - the whole thing just disappears.
I give the review dialog system a zero... 0 / 10 - this just sucks.

You could read all about my impressions, advice and hints, but the stupid moddb review system trashed it. So, what follows is all you get.

Now, Minecraft - well thats just awesome fun.

My rating - I spent an entire month of free time playing it when I first got the beta. It is that addicting.

And some people think the graphics are not that great - you need SEUS - go here: Minecraftforum.net
Go here for crafting hints: Minecraft.gamepedia.com
See what other people do with it: Planetminecraft.com

This game is worth a few hours of your time - try it and you will like it.

8

Hoard

Game review

Hoard reminds me of an 80's arcade game: Dragon Spirit.

Arcade-museum.com
Where you play a dragon flying around to save a princess from some dude.

Hoard is a lot of fun.

Burning crops, villages, carts, wagons, knights, castles.
Most any game where you can burn everything to the ground is fun.

Where Hoard shines is the strategy. Collecting gold, using powerups, increasing stats, and using various game elements to win.

Graphics and audio are both excellent.

So, why did I take away 2 from a perfect 10?

1 - tweaks & configs

Damn load screen does not remember jack! If you are playing treasure mode on a selected map as a red dragon - when you exit back to the load menu...it freaking forgets that. You have to set all 3 options every time.

And there are no tweaks. You cant modify timings, percentages, change the music (guess I'll have to go old school, turn off the music and find my own soundtrack...but that wont sync with the game) - at least the game tune is pleasant. You cant modify controls either besides selecting which to use...Hello big sandwich, keyboard and mouse users like to reconfigure things.

Which leads to:

2 - no SDK or mod kit

I suppose being mostly an FPS guy with respect to modern games, I expect map making tools, and easy graphics and sound changes. Perhaps this was designed as a console game - but when you release on PC, I have some expectations.

Where could the game be improved? (Say in Hoard 2.0...)

Music and background themes relating to: the game type and weather theme.
And selectable run tracks - including import your own.

Configurable controls, and tweaks for single player.
Tweaked games of course would only be on a local leaderboard and not the online one.

Map maker and graphics packs.

But for me the big one would be - more heads on the dragon!
Check out the pics for dragon spirit - powerups give you 2 or 3 heads.

Hoard is well worth the full price, but if its on sale or in a bundle, just grab it.

9

Irrlicht 3d Engine

Engine review

Just beautiful. Love the fires.

10

DarkPlaces engine

Engine review - 2 agree

Engine of choice if you still dabble in quake one.

What can it do?

Ton of visual effects & rendering magic.
It CAN load Quake 3 maps! Yes, quake 3. All shaders arent supported, but this is one heck of an achievement. Also loads half-life maps.
Super customize quake-c code - create console vars on the fly, detect map information like texture names - there is a massive extension list in dpextensions.qc.
Colored lighting for your maps.
Dynamic lighting.
This list goes on.

Open source, so you could potentially customize it further. Though so far in using it for my mods for the last 10 years or so, I havent found that to be necessary. It loads my biggest maps, and heaviest models, which just kill other engines. Before darkplaces I was customizing glquake and tenebrae. I can tell you its hard enough developing a big mod without having to customize the engine driving it on the side.

One time I needed something done and my modified dp engine code wasnt working right, so I contacted the developer, LordHavoc - he responded pretty quickly and told me how the engine already did what I wanted and how to access it. Awesome!

This engine single handedly saved me a ton of work porting my quake mods to something like the source engine or unreal sdk.

If you still quake one, to play mods, deathmatch online or watch demos, I recommend darkplaces.

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