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Minecraft Modeling in SketchUp: A Tutorial – Part 1

Features, Games and Gaming

So, Minecraft. You may have heard of it. You may have even played it. And you may have then said, “Man, I love building stuff, but sometimes I wish I could plan out a structure before building it.” Or maybe you haven’t said that. But wouldn’t it be cool if you could?

As it turns out, Google SketchUp, a free modeling program, makes building Minecraft models pretty easy. In this article, I’ll walk you through the basics of building your first model.

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4 Reasons Why Team Fortress Classic is Better Than Team Fortress 2

Games and Gaming, Retrospectives

Team Fortress 2 (TF2) was released in October 2007 as part of the Orange Box, which will be known to our children and our children’s children as the best Value in History, even better than the famous Christmas season when United Automatons forgets to charge extra for the vibrator attachment. Team Fortress 2 exemplified team-based gaming, providing the player with nine different classes, all with unique abilities. For example, the demoman could launch grenades to create chokepoints or to destroy weapons emplacements, while the spy could cause a spontaneous ballooning in the posterior cerebral artery of the player whose character he backstabbed.

TF2 certainly has some merits, but if that noble game is a polished-up Ferrari, then Team Fortress Classic (TFC) is the junker with NOS, an old piece of shit that doesn’t look so hot but which is loaded up with mods, memories and not just a few bits of illegal swag. Below I present four reasons why TFC is better than TF2. Continue reading

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May the Mods be with You, a List of Star Wars Mods (Part 2)

Features, Retrospectives

Once again I’m back to walk through one of the most common PC game modification settings ever: Star Wars. The first installment covered FPS mods, this time, RTS games are getting the treatment. Despite the Star Wars series having many official RTS licenses over the years: Rebellion, Force Commander, Galactic Battlegrounds, and Empire at War, there have been limitations with each (Scope, game engine, the game being any good).

EDIT: Part 3 is out now. Check it out! Continue reading

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How To Play Quake 1 Like It’s 2011 (not 1999)

Features, Games and Gaming, Retrospectives

Seeing this recent post on RPS got me in the mood to do some singleplayer QuakeOneing. Just thinking about it gave me a shiver of anticipation, and I could hear the shotgun pow-tch-chk, the hiss and growl and roar and the clank-wobbleboom of grenades. That was it: the itch needed scratching. As soon as I got home from work, I got to re-installing.

But if you’re anything like me, you like a little modern gloss on the old warwagon. Leave the gameplay mechanics alone, but the shiny? I like the shiny!
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Rimworld Title Screen
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RimWorld – Alpha Review

Reviews
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I’m not new to roguelikes and I love a lot of the genre. I’m not a Dwarf Fortress player but I could be. My roguelikes? Rogue, played on a PDP-11 – no colors or easy to recognize characters, thank you. Also hack and NetHack and larn. (Even used to play a custom branch of hack that included lemmings.) Fast forward to FTL or pretty much any contemporary roguelike that I can lose badly. I have a special affection for Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space.

Having enjoyed Prison Architect, but not as fully as I wanted to (mechanics/philosophy stuff I won’t go into here), I was thrilled to hear about RimWorld’s more Firefly-esque approach to building and cultivating the colony and kickstarter-pledged immediately at a level that’d get me access to the Alpha.
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Mojang’s EULA Problem

Gaming Culture, News

Last week, Marc Watson, Mojang’s Customer Support Manager, dropped a bit of a bomb on Twitter:

Mojang seems to think that their EULA gives them the authority to regulate anything related to Minecraft. It’s true that a well-worded EULA can confer tremendous power (in the U.S., at least), but that power is not unlimited.

Regardless of the legality of it, Watson’s interpretation is hostile to Mojang’s customers. It’s time for Mojang to do some soul-searching. What kind of company do they want to be?

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All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun: The Cat Lady & Depression in Games

Features, Games and Gaming

Depression seems to be a common theme in indie games. From more overt depictions in Depression Quest and Actual Sunlight to the more opaque in games like Anodyne, it’s a subject many indie titles want to tackle. Continue reading

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The Dorflike Round-up

Games and Gaming

Playing Dwarf Fortress is an amazingly deep and interesting experience, but it is not without a learning curve. The pairing of the enchanting, emergent stories the game produces with a nearly impenetrable interface has created a market for games that provide a similar experience with a prettier and more approachable interface.

This is no easy task. Gaming history is littered with barely-started projects that have been abandoned by their creators. Lately, however, it seems that an increasing number of these games are getting to playable states and showing varying degrees of progress and promise. Many of them have playable releases and I’ve tried as many of them that I can get my hands on; this is a report of my findings.

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Softcore Gamer

Features, Games and Gaming

Do you think of yourself as a game enthusiast, or even, heavens forbid, a ‘hardcore gamer’? If you’re reading this, you must be some species of gamer, someone who likes to talk about games and read about games and even, once in a while, play them. Well, I’ve got a question for you: how many of the truly great games have you played?

A recent post on Gamefilter got me thinking about my own video gaming history, which stretches back at this point into the deep mists of halcyon time, the mid 1970s. I’ve been playing games on screens for nearly 40 years, a statement that makes my eyes go a bit wobbly as I type it. I admit that from the early 80s to early 90s, I pretty much only played arcade games, mostly in bars, because bars were a lot higher up my priority list in those days, and I didn’t play much of anything from the early 90s up into the late 90s, because I was wandering around the planet (and also spending entirely too much time in bars, if I’m honest). But still: four freaking decades.

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Underappreciated LGBT Characters in Gaming

Features, Games and Gaming

Sure, everyone knows about the LGBT characters who get all of the attention, like Tony Prince from The Ballad of Gay Tony, Zevran from Dragon Age, and a large percentage of the female Commanders Shepard from Mass Effect. But what about the lesser known gay characters in gaming?  These characters’ moment in the spotlight is long overdue, and it’s time for them to get a moment of recognition.

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PUBG and the Trusty Pan

Games and Gaming

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds aka PUBG aka Plunkbat has been cropping up on a lot of people’s Steam friends lists lately. I’m here to extol the virtues of one of its most humble weapons: Pan. On its face, it’s just another melee weapon like Crowbar, Sickle, and Machete. Sure, it’s better camouflaged than the red Crowbar that tends to stick out while prone. The shiny steel of the Machete or Sickle can catch the eye compared to the seasoned patina of Pan. But that’s not what makes it special:

Unlike its brethren, it can block bullets while strapped to your back or held in the hand. As opposed to the game’s purpose-made body armor and helmet, its sturdy cast-iron construction never degrades. Pan is eternal.

In preparation for the next “Battle Royale”, the backstage elves of Erangel (PUBG’s first map) presumably run around quickly restocking ammo from a massive stockpile hidden under Stalber mountain. Mechanics quickly gas up cars and patch up bullet holes in boat hulls. Scores of parachute riggers repack infallible primary chutes that ensure their occupants die after they hit the ground. But all the Pan gofers have to do is round up the Pans from the previous round, occasionally scrape off some flattened 9mm rounds, and return them to the nearest apartment kitchen or warehouse.

Only one squad wins, but Pan lives on.