Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Time off for FUN!!!!!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 29, 2016

The holiday weekend and the days leading up to it weren’t really stressful, but they were busy. Preparations, family obligations, and of course the activities of the holiday itself. Good stuff, and I found time in the margins to get other things done, but still… somewhat busy. It didn’t help I was sick one of the days. But I got to spend time with my daughters and my son-in-law as we navigated my married daughter’s new Christmas obligations with two families. I got to spend time with my dad, who moved to Utah earlier this year. Great stuff.

After things were cleaned up and people had to go back to daily lives, I found myself with a day with little going on. We had a couple of errands, but that was it. I was able to *gasp* spend the better part of the day gaming. I tried to feel as non-guilty about it as possible. This is a challenge of having home businesses… if you aren’t careful, you end up feeling like you can’t take time off to do anything. Maybe for 2017 I should be more clear about designating work hours and non-work hours. They can be flexible, but without clearly designating the time, it’s easy to to mix work and slack activities together and not get the most out of either.

I can’t remember the last time I spent so many hours in one block of time just gaming. I think the last time I did, I was playing Skyrim. It’s been a while. This week, I spent most of it playing the new Master of Orion. Probably because I couldn’t help it. Strategy games are my bane. Turn-based strategy games are the worst. See, in an RPG, I can always get to the end of a storyline or side-quest and say, “Okay, I’m done for now!” Or, you know, when I die and I have to go back to a saved game anyway. May as well do that tomorrow.

But turn-based strategy games… there’s never a good stopping point. There’s always so much that’s going to be happening in the next couple of turns! If I can just get through those… but then there’s so much more happening in the turns after that. It’s vicious.

I played Master of Orion in Early Access and posted my thoughts about it then. The core gameplay is the same, although it seems like there are more events. And the Antarans. Ew, the Antarans. Man those guys are jerks. Although it was great to be able to repulse a raid for the first time. Anyway, the game feels like much of it was inspired by Civilization V… which kinda makes sense. I got the feeling the original game from the 1990s was inspired by Civilization, too. It’s not Civ V in space by any stretch, but it feels like some of the interface and stylistic choices were inspired by Civ V.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m more familiar and comfortable, but I’m having a tough time not just going back to Galactic Civilizations II. And yes, that’s even after playing Galactic Civilizations III. Maybe it’s because I already have a feel for the optimum path in the older game and don’t make as many stupid mistakes. I dunno. I’ve got a hard drive full and Steam account full of space conquest (aka “4x”) strategy games, and many of them show promise. But Gal Civ II still seems to be the one to beat. Fortunately, all these newer and indie titles all throw something unique into the mix, so even if they can’t dethrone the champ in my head, they’ve got a fun flavor all their own to make them worth playing.

Off-and-on I’ve been playing Titan Quest Anniversary Edition. I skipped the game on its initial release because *TOO MANY GAMES*, and so I thought I’d play this one through at least once before freeing up the hard drive space. It’s a solid Diablo-like, borrowing heavily from Greek mythology. It’s easy to play, which makes it a good choice for a game to play just a few minutes of, but I can’t say I’ve seen much to really recommend it. Ancient Greece is nice, and every Diablo-like has their own twist on the skill tree and powers and enemies, but otherwise, it’s a pretty straight-up, generic-feeling action-RPG. But it’s good enough that I am excited to give Grim Dawn a try, based on the same engine and by many of the same developers.

Not the same day, but I also found time to play the newly-released F-5E Tiger II simulator for DCS World. I’ve always loved the F-5E. Just the shape of the aircraft, if nothing else – it’s a beautiful jet. I always thought it was cute how they painted it black and called it a MiG in Top Gun. I have a step-brother who flew the trainer aircraft in the same family, the T-38. But for me, DCS is about the closest thing I’ll ever come to flying one.

And… whew, yeah, it’s a chore, like every other plane in DCS.  The system caters to hardcore enthusiasts. Definitely not the plane I’d want to fly into a modern air battle – it was designed to compete against things like the MiG-21 (also available on DCS, and a very cool, if hard-to-fly, aircraft). But that being said – it’s a fun aircraft. It’s very agile and reasonably forgiving. It’s not exactly overpowered in the engine department, and of course it’s largely late 1960s / early 1970s era avionics and radar. Interestingly, the guns “pop up” from their recessed positions, so there’s kind of a two-step process to firing the guns. It only takes a half-second to have then pop up, but that may be all you have time to shoot. I guess on the real trigger there are two detents – one to pop them out, and the second to fire. On my joystick, I have to simulate that with two buttons if I want to make sure I’m ready to fire in an instant.

Definitely check out the video. I think they were deliberately trying to channel Top Gun with this, with the treetop-level flying and combat stunts, but it’s fun if you are in any way a flight sim fan.

Anyway, it’s been fun finding some serious time to game again. I’ve missed that in the last few months.

Filed Under: Geek Life, Impressions - Comments: 3 Comments to Read

  • Tesh said,

    I never cared for the theme or world of Diablo, though the gameplay is good. Titan Quest was my fill-in, then, and I had a lot of fun with it instead of Diablo 1 and 2. Of course, then Torchlight 1 and 2 came out, and those were superior substitutes. TQ is still notable for its skill system, setting and occasionally funny ragdoll physics, but these days I recommend Torchlight.

    I may be weird, but I still prefer the original MOO over MOO2. I might have to try this new one someday, but I still have a few Civ games in my backlog to try out first.

    Steam sales have given me a huge collection of games that I simply haven’t ever made time to play. Those “non-work” hours of my home business are taken up with “Honey do” lists, homeschool, chores and the like. Maybe when the kids grow up and we’re on MOO6 I’ll have time.

  • GBGames said,

    I’m also struggling to find time to play the games I now have in my collection. I feel like I need to spend my non-day job, non-“honey do”, non-family time on my business. If I have time to play games, I have time to make them.

    I tried to get a game of Neptune’s Pride going since I figured I could jump in and out of a game, but I forgot how much I would login to check on things even if they haven’t moved much. After my games ended, I didn’t start a new session.

    I think you’re right about scheduling non-work time. I’m not sure if I should try one evening a week or maybe do a three weeks on, one week off kind of thing. I suppose I could experiment next year with a few schedules and see what feels right.

    I have the remastered Homeworld collection that I would love to check out. And I never did finish my game of X-Com. Or Wizardry 8. Or Wizardry 1 for that matter.

  • Tesh said,

    For me, the hard part is enjoying “time off”. Even if I do schedule time to just play games, I always have that itch to go work on a new project to make money, or do some dishes or work on that *(&% fence that won’t stay up. It’s almost impossible to relax.

    I’m glad that games exist and that the industry keeps evolving, even if the HR side is still pathetic. It’s just… I’m out of the loop, and I can’t even justify *gaming* unless it’s research of some kind.