Monday, May 21, 2018
By Rita Mariner
(Continued from Part Two)
In the SUBNAUTICA storyline, you will get a series of radio messages from a starship Sunbeam. They will finally determine that they need to come to Planet 4546B to rescue you. They will send coordinates of where it is they want you to meet them. It's about 1.5 km from your Lifepod. Hopefully by now you will have secured yourself a Seamoth, it makes the trip much faster and safer. You will be a bit surprised when you reach the island and see what awaits you there. You will be even more shocked when you see that it blasts the Sunbeam from the sky, right in front of you. You will have to explore around the building, to locate, up to three new Purple Tablets. You can then enter and explore the alien facility and learn the awful truth. YOU'RE INFECTED! You can't leave the planet because of that. Seems the entire planet is quarantined, due to a deadly bacteria, called Kharaa. So NO ONE is allowed on or off the planet, as long as they are infected!
After you clear the two areas on the lower space. I return to the Seamoth, empty my inventory of collectibles and then swim over to the left a bit farther and walk up the wreck that leads to the upper entrance. You will find storage lockers along the way, as well as more nasties. Check them, many have batteries, you might need and med pacs, you will need. You will walk around a curved piece of metal and onto a deck that leads to the airlock opening. Pickup the fire extinguisher you find on the way.. Use them as you need them, but sparingly. Only where you need to get through to where you need to be. Hit Administration first, get the data there and what items you can collect or scan. Then move to Cargo Bay. Check the Cargo Bay for anything you can use, or scan. Next stop, Seamoth Bay, PDA there and a Depth Module, have your knife handy from here on out a very vicious nasty lurks the the wreck, called a Bleeder. Next stop the Locker Room, need Laser Cutter. Search the room for PDAs you will get the needed access codes for the rooms upstairs, plus more batteries and med pacs. The out the other door and up to Prawn Bay, here you need to put out the fire, so you can get close enough to repair the door control. and open it.
Once I have cleaned out all the cabins, I will head back down to hallway outside the Locker Room and head towards the Drive Room. Put out the fire blocking your way. Proceed to the station, grab the Cyclops Engine Efficiency Module. You will know see the problem, large holes in the reactor walls. You scan them and hit each one with your repair tool. Keep your knife handy as you try to repair the breaches, the Bleeders will be sucking you dry. So while you have you repair tool running, keep your finger ready to bring up your knife, to slice and dice, any Bleeder that attaches itself to you. I think there are like 13 breaches you need to repair, so it will take some time. Once you have sealed up the Drive Core breaches your done with the Aurora, grab your loot, head back to base and party. You can now dump you radiation Suit and wear the Rebreather. Plus the Reinforced Dive suit, when you get the plans.
To be continued
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
By Rita Mariner
(Continued from Part One)
So what is SUBNAUTICA story, besides being stranded on an alien, water plant and having to fight to survive. You will be collecting resources to make your first set of tools to survive. Once you get your Lifepod repaired. You will start to receive radio distress messages from other Lifepods. All of them have a PDA or two, look around outside for a second one. Some will have Data Box, with a blueprint for a piece of gear you may not have.
As the story progresses you will visit the first of three Degasi Bases. It is on a floating island. You will find you first clue that aliens are possibly involved, as you explore the base(s). There are three buildings on the island you need to explore. Watch out for some nasties, they BITE! Keep your knife handy! There will ba a lot of stuff to scan as well. Some additional habitat pieces. Several PDAs are there, you need to find them all, since they will lead you to the next base.
In between running off to the various Lifepods, you need to investigate your local area for any and all fragments you can to build your data base. You will need to get your Seaglide first. You will then need to find the Mobile Vehicle Bay, so you can build the Seamoth, once you find all the fragments. The Mobile Vehicle Bay will also build your Cyclops and Neptune Launch Platform. So best to find the fragments as soon as possible, so you can start to collect the needed resources.
While most resources come from limestone, sandstone and later shale rock outcroppings. Crystals are used to make glass and are found separate. Lithium can be separate or in Shale. More exotic resources are found much deeper and you will need a fully upgraded Seamoth to even hope to get to them. You want to start building your habitat as soon as possible, so you can house your resources as you collect them. You also need to find the fragments and build a Moonpool to house, recharge and later upgrade your Seamoth and Prawn suit.
When I play, I spend a lot of time looking thru the Mushroom Tree Forest, since it has a bunch of fragments waiting to be scanned. I can find Cyclops, Moonpool and Modification Station fragments. There are also lots of lithium and shale rock, so you can score some diamonds. It will take time to find them and you need to watch your depth, plus there is a nasty there, called a Rock Shark that will beat the heck out of your Seamoth, so keep your repair tool handy and charged up. Enough for now.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
By Rita Mariner
I have never been one who was much into video games, but I started to watch the You Tube channel of The Mighty Jingles, ex-British Navy guy. I started playing World of Tanks, then World of Warships, but they they had issues, plus being multi-player games, you were at the tender mercies of your team mates, good or bad. I then tried X-COM, but even though it was single player, I was having a hard time with it. I guess my PC wasn't up to the task, or I wasn't. I was getting frustrated. Then I finally found a game I loved: SUBNAUTICA, a single -player, survival game.
What is SUBNAUTICA? It is a single player, game of survival. Your spaceship, the Aurora, has crash landed on an alien water world, Planet 4546B. Your Lifepod is damaged and you have no tools and limited supplies. The PDA you have gives you information on how to build the first set of basic tools you will need to survive, but you need to get out and find the resources, on the ocean floor.
You can play the game in one of 4 different modes. One: Survival: Here you have to watch your air, food and water, as well all the things around you trying to kill you. Freedom: like survival only without having to worry about food, or water. Hardcore: like Survival, but only one life, you die, you start over from scratch. Creative: No limits, all blueprints at the start, can't die, just explore, build away.. I tried this one, got bored with it, no challenge.
So what you have to do to survive is find resources to start building to stuff you need to advance the storyline. Limestone you will find, Titanium and Copper. Sandstone contains Lead, Silver or Gold. Later when you locate Shale they will contain Lithium and Diamonds. Many other needed resources will just be out in the open waiting to be picked up. Once you get your Scanner built, scan everything, it is your best friend. Next tool is Repair Tool, that one is tricky, since is requires Cave Sulphur. This resource comes from the nest of a very cranky fish. You get close to them, they charge you and BLOWUP in a cloud of acid, which hurts! If enough of them hit you at once, you can die! so pack lots of med packs and use them.
There are vehicles in Subnautica, but you need to find the fragments of them, in order to build them, Seaglide, Seamoth, Mobile Vehicle Bay, and Cyclops. There are many other items you will need badly in the game, Laser Cutter, Battery Charger, and you will have to explore wrecks to find them as well as Data Boxes that have complete blueprints to other equipment. There are also lots of PDA's laying around with data on them, try not to miss any. They will in or around wrecked Lifepods, or wrecked pieces of the ship, abandoned bases. Enough for now. Check out Mighty Jingles Subnautica to see more about the game. Be warned though, Very addicting. Game is available on Steam for $25.
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Continued in Part Two
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
By Bixyl Shuftan
My friends play some games for a short while, and it isn't long before they lose interest and move on to something else. Ark Survival Evolved isn't one of them. After over two and a half years and a number of changes, they still like returning to an island filled with prehistoric creatures, braving the dangers, and making things with the resources there.
July, August, and September 2016 and February 2017. The basic premise of the game remains the same: that of a human waking up on the beach of an island populated by dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, with nothing but his wits and two bare hands. You won't be able to do much at first, and it's best to avoid even the smallest carnivores for the first few levels. So many creatures see you as a snack to chase down and bite and claw to death. But you'll soon get stronger, faster, and with learning new skills comes clothes, equipment, and the ability to make a home base. Complicating things is the kind of server you're on. Public PvE or Player versus Environment servers often have huge tracts of land claimed by others simply so no one else can use it, which can make finding a place to settle hard. Player versus Player servers, the people you'll run into can vary greatly. Some will help you. Others will wreck your place, steal your stuff, and skewer you just for giggles. Having no patience for the "PvP kiddies," many of my friends tend to stay in private servers, such as the one Nydia shares with her friends.
So much has changed since I last wrote about the game over a year ago in February 2017. For one, there's a new map: Ragnarok. This place is about two and a half times the size of the original map, also known as "The Island." Like The Island, there is a mix of terrains. But unlike the original area, there's a large desert area in the south, dominated by the "Deathsands" that can cause heatstroke and eventually death if you stay too long there. In the interior are some high mountain and plateau areas, with ice and snow, parts of it having super cold temperatures that can rapidly sink your health without cold climate clothes. Appropriately enough, the Ark Wiki calls the areas "Murdersnow." On the northern part of the map is a barren, scorched area. One has to be careful in parts of this area as it's home to Fire Wyverns (first seen in the Scorched Earth map) that can set you, and any mount you may be riding, ablaze.
pegomastaxs and ichthyornis. Pegomastaxs are annoying, but as they're ground animals can be pursued and knocked out, though if they get away, the player will have lost an item, possibly a valuable on. I found ichthyornis to be more trouble as they swoop down on players from above, robbing them of food. While they don't steal items, they do knock tools and weapons onto the ground, and will attack players again and again, which is both irritating, and for a low level player dangerous as they have less HP to spare as it's attacks damage some.
eurypterid that while usually on the sea floor occasionally comes onto the beach. Nicknamed "Larry the lobster" by my fellow players, this ancient aquatic arthropod can sting with a strong poison that will quickly knock out players, leaving them helpless as it eats them alive. Ranged weapons are recommended in taking these out, as it may get a lucky couple of hits on a player using a pike, which will be enough to knock out a medium to low-level player. Solo players with only melee weapons should avoid pairs. As dangerous as "Larry" is, one can find pearls on them, including black pearls. So some will brave the dangers, or use a lot of bullets. And then, there's the Giganotosaurus. These are rare, which is good as these monsters are several times larger than rexes and eats wyvrens for breakfast. Their size combined with their rage makes them a predator best avoided.
castle visible from Viking Bay that's located on a high plateau east of it. But as the place is filled with bats and spiders, it's highly recommended one bring armor, a gun with a lot of ammo, and plenty of friends. Safer but further inland is an abandoned bridge that's starting to crumble. Exactly who was using these structures is not yet known.
Ark has encouraged the building of a number of mods. These can be mildly useful tweaks, to new maps, to new ways to build things, and more. The Ragnarok map got it's start as a mod. Structures-Plus, also called (S+) gives you more structure parts to build, as well as new versions of the old which you don't have to destroy to remove, but simply take down and either store it or place it elsewhere. S+ foundations are stackable, so one can make a really strong stone or metal fence. It can also allow you to build an underwater base, which is not exactly the easiest thing to raid in a PvP server.
Eco Decorative and RP allows you to create plants, bushes, glowing crystals, and huge trees. The Castles, Keeps, and Forts Mod allows you to build medieval era-structures. As dinos are sort of like dragons, this allows you to make places out of fantasy novels, complete with jousting matches, on dinosaurs. The Steampunk mod allows you to use steam technology, which can allow you to build things out of a Jules Verne novel. Among which are huge skyships. Pimp My Home allows you to decorate your home base in new ways to make it feel more like a home. It can be a little surreal to have a dino in a kitchen with modern appliances, but here it is. Conquer the Seas allows you to build a number of boats, as well as a small airship. The dredger can get you resources from the ocean bottom, and fishing boats allow you to get both certain resources, and of course fish. The Crystal Isles Mod gives you a new map in an area filled with crystals. The area is beautiful, but Ark being Ark can still be quite deadly.
here). Twinfinite also gave a list of thirty mods, ranging from very useful to mildly interesting.
Scorched Earth has also been joined by a second alternative version of Ark: Aberration. Players find themselves in an "Ark gone wrong." Somehow the Ark has been damaged, and the surface is bombarded with harsh radiation during the day, driving all but the most resilient life forms underground, which live in lush biomes. There are a number of kinds of mushrooms, the larger which chopping can give you fungal wood, which can be used like regular wood. There are smaller kinds of mushrooms, some providing small benefits when eaten, but others can cause hallucinations and temporary inability to breathe. There are gas vents one can harvest congealed gas balls from, but be careful as you could suffocate by inhaling the gas. There are gems you can harvest. Earthquakes can rain down resources from above such as stone, regular wood, obsidian, and crystal, but can also damage your base or knock you down when climbing a wall.
bulbdog is a friendly creature that can be a source of light as well as a pet. The goblin-like nameless are a constant threat in many areas, but can be held at bay by light sources. Ravagers are a kind of canine that can really hurt you as they're usually in packs, but a valuable ally if tamed. Rock drakes are large creatures that can climb walls, glide distances, and have a stealth ability that can allow them to sneak up on you, and possibly make short work of it's target. But like wyverns, they can be tamed if raised from an egg, making them a powerful mounts. Reapers are dangerous alpha predators that low and medium level players don't have a chance against, and queens can "impregnate" a player with their young, which if left untreated will eventually burst from the player like the creature in "Alien." It's *possible* to tame the young, but very difficult.
There are more survivor notes to discover, the latest from a woman from Medieval Japan and a man from Ancient Greece. It seems the activity in the PvP servers was a factor in their stories as the woman describes most of her encounters with others as hostile, some trying to kill her on sight. The Greek man in one entry describes himself as waking up away from his house on the beach, without items, and finding his home broken into and robbed - he'd been raided and killed, and somehow came back to life.
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And finally, there's been a few songs done about the game. Among them, "Survivor Evolved."
That's all for now from Ark. Stay safe, watch your back, always know a line of retreat in case trouble shows up, and it never hurts to have friends.
Source: Ark Wiki , Twinfinite, Steam
Image credit: Nydia Tungsten
Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Bixyl Shuftan
Some readers may remember when the Newser wrote about the Disney multiplayer online game "Toontown" in September 2013. The overall plot was the cartoon town's inhabitants fighting using jokes and gags against corporate robots trying to take over their home. The article was done as something of a farewell salute as the comany had decided to shut down the game that month. But as cartoon fans would tell you, the cancellation of a show isn't necessarily the end. Fans of the MMO have created private servers of the game. The most popular of which is "Toontown Rewritten."
The FAQ page of the game's website states that the development of the game was announced the day the original Toontown was closed, "for the past month, a band of players known as the 'Toontown Rewritten Team' had been working on the possibility to keep Toontown alive." By the end of October, the game was ready for a small number of alpha testers. At first, the game was just a shadow of the original. But over time, the development team worked on it. In a few ways, it's gone beyond the original, notably the addition of two more species of cartoon animals, deer and gators.
So how can a game exist when someone else owns the copyright? The game is completely free to play, all expenses paid for by the development team, as well as their time contributed done so for free. This way they avoid cease-and-desist orders. The team says they won't even accept donations. They did say there are several ways to help them out, such as joining online Toontown communities, attending their real-life ToonFest convention, or just playing the game.
So what would happen to them if Disney changed it's mind and brought back the original Toontown? The Toontown Rewritten team states that's their ultimate goal, "Toontown deserves a team of full-time employees who can give the game the love it deserves, and we absolutely want that to happen!"
I've had no experience with the original game, but playing the fan made version, it ran smoothly. A few of the other players had rather generic names such as "Green Dog," but it was still fun clobbering the bots, and doing little games to earn jellybeans, the game currency, to buy more squirt flowers and pies as ammo, and within an hour had gotten a player-owned house and a crack at the fishing game.
Currently, the game boasts over 1,400,000 registered players. For those wanting to play, head to https://www.toontownrewritten.com , register an account, agree to the terms of service, download the launcher, create a character, then step into Toontown and join their deziens as they fight the cogs with a pie in the face and try to have a little fun.
Sources: Wikipedia, toontownrewritten.com
Monday, February 5, 2018
By Bixyl Shuftan
it needed plenty of improvement and left it behind. There are other virtual worlds out there, such as InWorldz and High Fidelity. But these two have been around for some years and have yet to attract anywhere near the attention the largest virtual world has received. But are there any other new ones out there besides Linden Lab's new creation? The answer to that is yes. One other recent one is VR Chat.
VR Chat was created by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey, and was released via the Steam distribution service on Feb 1, 2017. But it's been in recent weeks the virtual world has taken off, an article in PC Games News in mid-January saying the client software had been downloaded over a million times in two weeks to 1.7 million. The reason for the attention the game has received is due to players broadcasting experiences over Youtube and Twitch. This includes recordings of the "Ugandan Knuckles" meme (some profanity in videos in link) that caught on to the point players found themselves followed by bands of badly-made avatars of the red "Sonic" character asking in African accents if they know "de wey." While the meme is considered lame by many (including yours truly), the publicity has gotten VR Chat the kind of publicity that has escaped most other virtual worlds other than Second Life.
To download VR Chat, head to it's page on Steam. The software is free. Clicking it on, you'll need to register an account. After your email address is added, and you agree to the terms of service, you should be ready to go in. Your first place will be a tutorial area to help you learn how to get about. For me, the most challenging part was just getting started, not being able to move from where I appeared. Then I realized that unlike Second Life, the movement keys are not the arrow buttons on the keyboard, but the WASD ones. You move your mouse to look around.
After the tutorial area, your next location, and the one you'll appear when logging on the game is "The Hub." The place is divided into several areas. At "Featured Worlds," there are portals to several places. "New Worlds" has a few more of recently made locations. The "Help Area" has a number of signs with hints on getting about. The "Social Sculpture" is basically a blue square with several blocks which anyone can try to make something. There's also an avatar area with hints on how to change yours and a mirror to show you what you look like.
Both worlds and avatars take programs outside VR Chat to make. Unity SDK can be used to create avatars and worlds. Avatars can also be created with Maya and Blender. Created worlds are private, limited to the creator and any friends he wishes to bring in, until the creator contacts VR Chat's team and requests that it be made open to all.
Although VR Chat got plenty of attention due to a silly meme, it also made news when something serious happened. In one crowded room in which someone was recording, one player was witnessed having a seizure. Most stood around, not sure what to do, with one person telling others to back away to give the person room to recover and asking no flashing lights be used, and with one or two people clowning around like they didn't notice what was going on. Eventually the person recovered and logged off.
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(Click here if the video fails to play)
Wikipedia, PC Game News, Polygon, Motherboard, Rogue Shadow
Image Credit (bottom): Rakucia
Hat Tip: Skylark Lefavre, Rakucia
Friday, December 8, 2017
By Bixyl Shuftan
One would think most anything with the name "Star Wars" connected to it would be a moneymaker. But with EA's recent release of "Star Wars Battlefront II," the result has been controversy and trouble, with the company loosing billions in stock value, and talk of the government getting more involved in the computer game industry.
The controversy revolves around the issue of microtransactions. Microtransactions in games are nothing new. Those familiar with free games online, such as "Forge of Empires," "World of Tanks," and others offer players the chance to buy in-game credits of some kind which can be used to purchase ways to advance the player. Gamers can be accepting of this in free games, such as the "wallet warrior" jokes in "World of Tanks." But with games the player had to buy up front to play, not so much. In 2011, the makers of "Eve Online" were faced with a revolt of angry veteran players when reports came that they would soon offer microtransactions that could affect gameplay. More recently, Blizzard introduced the ability to buy "loot crates" for it's recent hit "Overwatch." This raised some eyebrows, but as the items were just cosmetic and didn't affect gameplay, there was some controversy, but less than what would come later.
it was revealed that the loot boxes in the game were a key part of the Star Card system. Since they could be purchased, this quickly led to criticism of the game being "pay to win." As the contents of the boxes were random, and they could contain either common items or rare ones, there were charges that they were a form of legal gambling, one accessible to teenagers. Gamespot game the game a 6/10 review, saying "the biggest hurdle that Battlefront II will need to overcome--for its simultaneous attempts to balance microtransactions with genuine feeling of accomplishments--is deciding on what type of game it wants to be." Shacknews also gave it 6/10, "The loot crates diminish its value greatly, and it's a shame EA forces them down your throat as part of the core gameplay."
there were comparisons to online gambling, a form that could exploit young teenagers. Then government officials began making their moves. Belgium's Gaming Commission began an official investigation of both Battlefront II and Overwatch to see if the loot boxes were a form of gambling, which could mean the removal of the games from play from the country and the makers given huge fines. One politician from Hawaii openly criticized Battleftont II, "This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It's a trap." It's unclear if the second sentence was a deliberate quoting of a "Return of the Jedi" line.
Financially, the controversy has not been good for EA's bottom line. The price of the company's stocks has dropped, causing their total to drop by 4 billion dollars, with some estimates going higher. Although the price was already dropping before the loot crate fiasco, this latest mess shook the confidence of investors further. It is ironic that a company's attempt to get even more money out of a game players already put a good amount of money down for, the deluxe edition costing 79.99, and the regular version 59.99, at one store, ended up causing it to lose money.
In response to the criticism, EA removed microtransactions from the game, saying they would be gone until further notice. "We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right. We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases." A new system for the Star Cards is being developed, though whether or not microtransactions will appear in any way is unclear. In response to the threats of government intervention, some from various gaming companies formed an organization with the purpose of the industry self-regulating itself on issues such as loot boxes. Whether or not these moves to steer governments away from starting to regulate the microtransactions of online games remains to be seen.
Sources: Polygon, Venturebeat, Gamespot, Gamesindustry, CNBC, The Verge, Forbes