March 23, 2010

Uru Complete Chronicles -- godforsaken desert

After years of play I'm finally getting sick of Spider Solitaire, and a few nights ago I decided to take the plunge and try buying a game from Good Old Games.

I rather hoped they'd have one of the "Civilization" games; that was what I really felt like playing. But the only turn-based strategy game in their list was "Heroes of Might and Magic". I remember playing that one and found it dull.

So I ended up getting something called "Uru Complete Chronicles". As described it's an incomplete game and the main attraction is to wander around and look at all the graphically amazing vistas. Sounded about right to me, so $10 goes ka-ching, and I downloaded it.

And began running it, and you know what I saw?


Godforsaken Desert, that's what I saw.

The whole area is surrounded by a barbed wire fence that I can't climb. I'm trapped inside it. The cinder cone is also surrounded by a barbed wire fence, which I can't climb or jump over. In the area between there's a lot of sand, a lot of sage brush, a guy sitting beside an Airstream trailer, the skeleton of some giant creature, and a hole in the ground that I can climb down into. It ain't a very big hole. There ain't a whole lot down in the hole. There sure as hell ain't any enchanting vistas.

In various places (e.g. inside the skull of that skeleton) there are pieces of cloth hanging which have what look like handprints on them. If you touch those, they glow and make a sound, all except one of them which didn't do a thing. I spent a couple of hours wandering around trying to figure out how to get transported somewhere else that would be more interesting, and then rediscovered something: these kinds of first-person games give me motion sickness.

Oh, yeah, one other thing. I never figured out how to save my game. When I fired it up again today, I started over.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 03:59 PM | Comments (16) | Add Comment
Post contains 342 words, total size 2 kb.

1 They do have Call to Power 2, which is a Civ game (the first one was called Civilization: Call to Power, but then Activision lost the naming rights somehow).

Uru is one of the sequels to Myst; they all appear to involve the kind of pointless puzzles that I hate, so I've never played any of them.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 23, 2010 04:28 PM (PiXy!)


Uru was going to have a bunch of online content and stuff, and then that got cancelled.

As for the Civilization games, if you can get to wal-mart, target, etc., you can usually find Civ 3 for $10 and Civ 4 for $20...altho Civ 4, which I just picked up last night, is a bit quirky as far as the installer goes under Windows 7.

Posted by: RickC at March 23, 2010 05:39 PM (aXVvl)


Oddly enough, I just ordered both of those games from Fry's for exactly those prices. Should have them by the end of the week.

I don't think I've ever even seen a Walmart. There certainly isn't one within walking distance, and I don't have a car.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 23, 2010 05:54 PM (+rSRq)

4 Rick, the installer for Civ4 was quirky under XP!  The announcement for Civ5 got me wanting to play again, so I tried to install 4 on my system.  I wound up having to copy the contents of both CDs to my main hard drive and install from that, while having the physical disc in my DVD drive... which is the workaround recommended by Firaxis.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 23, 2010 06:08 PM (mfPs/)


The big thing I'm worried about now when it comes to games is if they "know" that the screen is 4:3. Some of the games I've got around here are unplayable because of that. "Pandora's Box" is an example; it goes into full-screen 1024*768 mode. My display will support 1024*768, but my display is 16:9, not 4:3, so the aspect ratio is off. Given that a lot of "Pandora's Box" is about reconstructing scrambled pictures, it's a lot tougher since the pictures don't look right even after they've been reconstructed.

One thing that was nice about the GOG version of uru was that it could be played full screen, but you could also window it. It "knows" that the screen is 4:3, but that just means the window is 4:3. (I was using 1280*960.)

On the other hand, it's strange. The window is locked into the upper left corner of the screen -- which is a problem, because I have the task bar on the left side. To play it I had to move the task bar. It also does strange things to the mouse pointer.

Anyway, Civ 3 is the one I really want to play, but that's old enough so it may force full-screen and "know" that it is 4:3. If so, I'll be peeved.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 23, 2010 06:33 PM (+rSRq)

6 I don't expect to play another PC-based game until the convergence is complete. PSP all the way. Also, check out the NDS3D, the news exploded on the Internet today.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at March 23, 2010 06:52 PM (/ppBw)

7 Civ4 starts in 4:3, but you can adjust it to whatever your monitor's resolution is. 

Civ3 only runs in 1024x768.  However, from's Civ3 FAQ page:

By default, the game runs in a 1024x768 resolution. To get it to run in a higher resolution, navigate to your Civilization 3 folder (default: C:/Program Files/Infogrames Interactive/Civilization 3/ -- if you have PTW or C3C, go to that folder inside your Civ3 one), and open your .ini file (named Civilization3.ini for Vanilla, ptw.ini for Play the World, and conquests.ini for Conquests). Add a line at the bottom that says: KeepRes=1 . Now, when you load your game, it'll use your computer's default resolution.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 23, 2010 06:56 PM (mfPs/)

8 Hooboy. I wonder how it would look at 1920*1080?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 23, 2010 06:58 PM (+rSRq)

9 No clue... I wonder if it stretches the screen to 16:9, or if it just renders more of the world?  Can't wait to hear the results... 

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 23, 2010 08:59 PM (mfPs/)


If it stretches it, then that KeepRes feature is useless. I might as well let the display chip run 1024*768.

What I really wish is that when the display chip is in a mode which has a different aspect ratio than the physical display, that it would letterbox to make the aspect ratio correct.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 23, 2010 09:09 PM (+rSRq)


Also, check out the NDS3D, the news exploded on the Internet today.

I'm not going to be interested until I can get a 3D version of this game. (Ahem)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 23, 2010 09:42 PM (+rSRq)

12 Surprised to see you playing this.

Uru was originally designed to be Myst Online, so it's a terrible introduction to the Myst universe. The fiction is impenetratable to people who haven't followed the universe closely, or don't visit its fansites to seek help from the fan community.

You are better off playing the other games in the Myst series, they work much better as self-contained games.

Oh by the way, Uru, as Myst Online, has been released for free (in the sense of "soon to become open source", not in the sense of "free-to-play, pay-to-have-goodies"), so you don't even need to pay anything for it.

>how to save my game
The progress is automatically saved. All the cloths you've touched are recorded. You just need to find all of them; some are hidden behind puzzles.

Posted by: cuc at March 24, 2010 03:05 AM (z4O3Z)


Steven, if your laptop doesn't have the ability to maintain aspect ratio, I'd be shocked.  Mine does:  Civ3 plays 1024x768, and i get vertical bars with the extra resolution.  Civ4 handles widescreen.  Also target and best buy and places like that usually have a decent stock of older games for $10-20.

wonderduck, that's horrifying.  At least the installers for both games ran OK on my Win7-64bit laptop.

Pete, what's NDS3D?  A new version of the Nintendo DS?  that's obnoxious, with the DSi XL dropping this week.

Posted by: RickC at March 24, 2010 08:48 AM (If1ri)

14 I found a control one time that said it would maintain aspect ratio, but when I tried it it didn't work.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 24, 2010 09:26 AM (+rSRq)

15 Hm.  Sometimes there's a BIOS setting, and sometimes there's one on the video card control panel, and of course that's going to vary across hardware.  All I can tell you is I did something and Civ3 plays without stretching, so it is technically possible.

Posted by: RickC at March 24, 2010 11:10 AM (d5FDH)

16 GOG have just announced they'll be releasing both Master of Orion and Master of Magic in April.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 25, 2010 06:18 AM (PiXy!)

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