April 20, 2010

Good old MOO

Pixy sez that MOO is finally available from GOG. So I just bought it. Not surprisingly, it runs in DOSBOX.

Rather surprisingly, it doesn't run very fast. During the opening movie, it skips a few times. It's possible that DOSBOX is currently configured to throttle things a bit too much; I'll have to check into that. It only represents about 13% CPU load when busy, so it isn't even saturating a single processor on this guy.

What I don't know is how to regain control of the mouse once DOSBOX is going. When I'm playing the game, I cannot point to anything outside the DOSBOX.

Which is a problem when MOO wants me to look up a spaceship in the manual, which is a PDF file stored elsewhere on my computer. Is there some magic ALT-command which does it?

Documentation says you can lock the mouse with CTL-F10. I wonder if that also toggles it off? (Have to try that.) It better not be necessary for me to put the manual on the other computer.

UPDATE: "If you want more speed, try ctrl-F8 and ctrl-F12". OK, I'm game.

ctrl-F8 makes it do frame skipping. No-sirree! ctrl-F12 seems to make the emulated CPU faster. (Izzatright?)

Actually, in the configuration file you can set the "cycles" config item to "max" and then it'll saturate a core. Let's give that a try.

UPDATE: Yes, CTL-F10 toggles mouse lock.

I'm not sure it's a good idea to set the CPU loading to "max".

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UPDATE: Heh! The "look up the ship" copy protection is a problem, because the manual PDF doesn't have the ships in it!

UPDATE: Well, the first game I played didn't go very well. Didn't help that I had a reekingly bad starting position, in one corner, while my opponent was right smacko in the center of the screen.

And also, the game is beginning to come back to me.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 08:21 PM | Comments (22) | Add Comment
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March 26, 2010

Civ Delivered

Today, everyone (mainly me) got it right and my package was just delivered.

I spent last evening and most of today  working on... a surprise. You'll see it in a few days.

UPDATE: Good grief! The Civ IV package includes four optical disks. I think one of those is a DVD, but the others are all game data! (Man, the original Civilization installed off of floppy disks. If this much data was on floppy disks, it would weigh about 200 pounds.)

UPDATE: The tutorial is excellent. And things are coming back to me.

When the game first runs it goes full screen in 1024*768 mode. However, you can control the resolution, and you can tell it to run in a window. The entire time it is running, the cooling fan in my computer is going hard. I haven't seen the actual CPU loading, but it's obvious a lot is going on. Most of that is animation of things like animals and smoke, and I saw in the config menu that those things can be turned off. Later I might do that, but the graphics are really rather charming now.

Running windowed, the aspect ratio is fine. I think that they scale the graphics to fit the display so that you see the same amount of the world no matter the window size. Using a bigger display gets you better imagery, not more tiles.

A lot of things they didn't tell me but I figured out on my own. The mouse wheel zooms in and out. Clicking with the mouse moves around on the map.

Clicking the "prt src" button brings up an error message saying that the frame grab failed, but (heh heh heh) I had Thumbs Plus running, in its mode where it grabs and stores a copy of anything put into the scratch pad. And that works just fine. So I've got some frame grabs and I'll put some stuff below the fold a little later.

more...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 01:19 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
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March 24, 2010

Civ 3/IV -- shipped

Fry's shipped my copies of Civilization 3 and Civilization IV yesterday. Fedex will deliver them tomorrow.

It's been a long time since I tried to play a game requiring that much mental concentration. I wonder if  I can do it any more? (It's hard these days. That's one of the reasons I stopped doing serious blogging.)

I've never played either of these versions of the series. The last one I played was Civ II. So I know that as of Civ 3 they added a lot of new unit types. I assume there are more Wonders of the World. I'm sure the graphics will be much better. I bet the government types are more intricate now, too. I remember that for a lot of that stuff, the only real way to learn how to use them was to louse it up a few times. (Sid Meier doesn't design games for dabblers.)

UPDATE: That was pretty fast work by Fry's. I put in my order about 2:30 PM, and they shipped it same day.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 10:27 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
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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?

/images/03843.jpg

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
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