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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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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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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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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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mass effect 3 pistol
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Chasing the dream of “The Perfect Loadout”

Games and Gaming, Gaming Culture

I wish there was a magic formula for setting up the perfect loadout in any game, but there are far too many variables. Including what you like to do, and – in some sense – who you are as a person.

Do you enjoy the satisfaction of rushing right up to an enemy and pummeling them to the ground? Then you’re not going to be happy with a sniper rifle, no matter how good it is. Conversely, if you enjoy peering off the edge of a high ledge and picking enemies off one by one in a courtyard far below, you’re going to hate a shotgun, even if it is the best shotgun. Continue reading

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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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character creation Guild Wars 2
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The RPG Player’s Lament

Games and Gaming

“I envy people who never play RPGs,” I thought, as I adjusted the nose height of my new character a fraction of an inch, for the eighth time in a row.

I started playing Dragon Age Origins this week. I bought the game on Thursday, but I couldn’t start playing it until Saturday, because I knew I would need to invest a big chunk of time in the first session. Not to get through the tutorials or learn the controls; to get the face right. Continue reading