Another weekend of Wesnoth

This weekend the kids went to visit their Aunt, so Ama and I had some peace for a change. There were so many things I had wanted to take the opportunity to do while they were away, but instead I played some more Wesnoth.

What I did this time around was try to use as few units as possible on each level. That way the units a I did have were given enough combat opportunities. I even got Konrad involved in battles already on the first mission, something I’ve never done before.

Another thing is that I didn’t use the Merman’s simply as cannon fodder for a change. I worked out a strategy at the Bay of Pearls which worked very well, and I only lost a single Merman. The mermans later became very useful at Muff Malal’s Peninsula. Since I only used very few units on land, I used the merman to keep the zombies occupied while I planned my attack from land. It worked perfectly.

But now I’m stuck at Isle of the Damned. I’m so close to defeating the last lich (the Northern one), but I run out of time. And those wraiths are just so damned annoying. I wonder if it’s possible to beat all three liches with two of each (warriors, archers, horsemen, magi, scouts, shamans) plus Konrad and Ye Olde Greybeard. All the characters are level 3, but still..

I had a really great weekend. I think the main reason is that I stopped thinking about all the things Wesnoth would do differently and just played it for what it is. Of course, I’m not sure the master plan was to send the kids away for the weekend just so that I could play computer games. Oops..

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Published in: on 2006.10.30 at 14:06  Leave a Comment  

Double shot of Wesnoth

Since we had a “long” weekend, I had some free time for a change. It’s been ages since I last played Battle for Wesnoth, so I decided to give it a go. I was a bit curious to see what had changed since 1.0 (yes, it’s actually been that long).

Battle for Wesnoth is almost there. It’s very playable and you can have hours of fun with it. There are still some minor points that annoy me. Most of it is probably just me nitpicking.

Most of my issues have to do with the battle system. I know the Wesnoth developers want to keep it simple. But I still feel that fighters equipped with projectile weapons (and that includes spellcasters as well) should have some advantage of distance. That is, after all, the biggest advantage of an archer, that they can shoot from a distance. In close combat, they don’t carry the same heavy armor, so they are at a disadvantage.

I also feel that increases in level should be more significant. I spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to upgrade as many characters as possible in early levels. By the time I got to the Siege of Elsenfar, I had several level 2 characters, and two level 3 ones. But it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.

As a matter of fact, in the Bay of Pearls I tried something. I created 12 horsemen, new characters without any experience. They were followed by 10 archers, also new. It was far easier to win with them than it was with my normal, experienced characters. They completely stampeded everthing in their way, and although a lost quite a few of them, I never felt in any danger. Come to think of it, maybe that is the intended strategy.

Finally, I’m not sure that I like that fact that you have a limited amount of turns. On some levels, where haste is crucial, it may make sense, but even then there are better ways. I hate losing just because “I ran out of turns”. Instead, give me a penalty, or make the enemy grow in strength if I go beyond the limit, or something. Don’t just end it.

One thing that makes Wesnoth a fun play is the fact that you don’t have to concentrate too hard to play it. I’m guessing that if the battle system were modified, and upgrading characters played a larger role, the game would become significantly more complex. Not to mention that it would become a very different game, focusing more on role-playing aspects as well as on how you position your warriors for battle.

So far, I’ve mostly been playing “Heir to the Throne”, which is the campaign I like the best. It just feels like the story behind it has really been worked on. I wish there were more campaigns like that.  I tried “The two Brothers”, or whatever it’s called, but it didn’t feel “right”.

So, all in all, Wesnoth is still a cool game. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do. While you’re at it, try UFO:AI as well, a game that is slowly starting to feel So Right.

Published in: on 2006.10.24 at 07:48  Leave a Comment  

The aliens are attacking!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had been programming Ruby all weekend. That was almost true. I did actually have a little bit of time left over, so I decided to compile UFO: Alien Invasion. It took quite a while to compile (which is probably why I actually managed to be productive).

Finally it was done. I started it up, but didn’t hear any music, although I had downloaded the music files and copied them into the base/music directory. I noticed some messages that indicated that it couldn’t find a file called ‘theme.ogg’, which wasn’t surprising since the file I had was called ‘UFO AI Music – Theme.ogg’ (or something like that). So I started searching through the sources in search of the expected file names. Eventually I had renamed all the files.

I tried again, and this time I could hear music. Now I could finally focus on the game itself.

UFO:AI is a game inspired by the classical X-COM: UFO Defense a game I was addicted many years ago. So I was really happy when I stumbled over UFO:AI a while ago. But then I didn’t have a machine capable of running it. Now I do.

UFO:AI looks really nice. It uses a modified version of the Quake 2 engine. I didn’t play the game enough to really get a feel for how playable it is, but at least I went through the first two missions, and it at least seems nice. There were a few aspects of the game that didn’t quite feel right, at least not yet, but they were mostly minor details. I think that this could become a game a spend a lot of time playing.

I hope I’ll get time to really dig into the game next weekend. Then I should have a better idea of how playable the game actually is.

Published in: on 2006.09.11 at 16:02  Leave a Comment