Warrior Kings your real-time strategic fist!

Lucky they’re not worrier Kings, or we’d never have any fun.
When we saw Warrior Kings at ECTS there was not much of a game to be seen.

Sure there were loads of pretty models and nice words coming out of the developer’s mouth, but it didn’t have a definite sense of purpose. No definite sense of actually being a game at all.

But given what we have seen then, and since, it looks like Warrior Kings could grow and fruit into something genuinely interesting. The idea is to produce a multi-faceted RTS game based in a medieval fantasy world. It’s a world plagued by demons and evil, as well as guarded by Knights Paladins and the forces of good. This whole world is framed by a huge and ludicrously convoluted world history explaining why you must get militant and attempt to unite the entire world under your .

No surprise there then, but if Black Cactus manage to make the game as tactically rich and competent as something like Shogun, then they’ve got a definite winner on their hands. They’ve certainly taken some influences form that great game too – battlefield success will depend on how you marshal your troops. Competent use of formations is crucial to your success.

The problem might well be however that Black Cactus now have a lot to live up to. Warrior Kings might have seemed fresh and new a few years ago, but now – with the market brimming over with RTS efforts from across the globe – The Black Cactus team will have to work hard to make their game stand out from an increasingly busy crowd.

Warrior Kings revolves mainly around the fortress cities that act as the base from which the protagonists play out their 3D dance of polygonal death. As you can see from these screen there are some visually impressive ideas, good looking – if not particularly unique. And if a game grabs you by the eyeballs, that’s half the battle won. Sadly that’s also the easier half.

There’s nothing particularly unique here, but there’s plenty of stuff here to interest the RTS punter – a wide range of exotic units, from classic medieval siege mechanicals such as the ballista and catapult, through to huge chaos demon-beasts who rampage across the wreaking untold hideousness amongst the forces of good. Not only that but you can use these beasts and contraptions to lay siege to large enemy castles – an event that we’re all very interested to see running in a real game. The possibilities for siege scenarios are huge.

There’s a big management element to the game – health, strength and morale of your troops is going to depend on how well you manage the resources of your budding country. This is bound into how you run your campaign and also which of the three routes you go down. You can follow the holy forces of good, the demonic forces of evil, or become more technologically competent. Each scenario has its advantages and, of course, disadvantages.

All this is set in a whopping great dynamic campaign, which could have any of five possible outcomes, depending on how you play out the game.

It’s tough to see whether Warrior Kings is a going to be a hit or not. The trajectory is there, the ordnance is primed; but now we wait for the bombardier to do his thing – and he could stumble at any time. We’ll see more of Black Cactus’ mammoth project later in the year.

It’s got a funky 3D engine for those huge chaotic battles
There’s loads to think about including a economic engine
There’s going to be extensive multi-player support
A huge dynamic campaign gives it a long life-span
There’s hope for stagnant RTS market after all

Sonic Shuffle finally Materialized

Sega does its own take on Mario Party, with a card-dealing board game. Will the excitement never end?
It doesn’t take ’em long, does it?

Spot a good idea and you can bet your bottom dollar that most developers will find a way to incorporate the winning formula into their latest opus. You can’t really blame them, as the games industry seems founded on the plagiarism – sorry, borrowing – of other people’s ideas. No Missile Command means no Fantavision, no Virtua Fighter means no Dead or Alive 2 – that’s just the way it works. Watch how many cel-shaded games start popping up now that Jet Set Radio has finally materialised.

It doesn’t matter, though, as long as the end result has some credibility, some semblance of originality, rather than being just a jumbled mess resulting from the ‘square-peg-round-hole’ scenario. Sega seems to know this and have injected a little character into their version of the so-called ‘Party Game’. In fact they’ve injected five, with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy all making appearances, Dr. Robotnik showing up from time to time, to unleash his usual brand of havoc.

Once you’ve picked your alter ego, you get to choose what mix of human or CPU opponents you’ll play against. At this point, it’s worth mentioning that the single-player experience leaves a lot to be desired. Even with the ‘High Speed Move’ option selected, you’ll spend at least half your time sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, while the blasted computer acts out its turn. Do yourself a favour and play Sonic Shuffle with a few mates, or not at all. It’s incredibly tedious, otherwise.

The actual mechanics of the game are basic enough. You’re all dealt a hand of numbered cards, from which you pick one and advance through the spaces in either direction. The object is to reach the Precioustone (read ‘Chaos Emerald’) that is invariably located at the other end of the board. The spaces fall roughly into three categories: Ring spaces add or subtract the famous gold bands and can accumulate exponentially, depending on how many successive spaces you land on. Battle spaces are exactly that – you face off against any one of a number of odd creatures and are each dealt a random card, the holder of the higher-value winning the battle. Finally, the Mini Game spaces provide the real fun aspect of Sonic Shuffle, as they engage all four characters in all sorts of amusing and not-so-amusing activities.

And it’s these events that give the game its sense of fun. Sometimes you’ll be floating in zero gravity, trying to get in shot of a timed camera, other times belting round a sun-drenched beach, attempting to be the last man holding a solitary parasol. You’ll probably get to outrun Dr. Robotnik’s Magnetic Ray or perhaps just be breaking through as many combination-locked doors as possible inside of a time limit. There’s a good spread of mini games, but unfortunately, there isn’t nearly enough spaces on the board, meaning that you might find yourself aiming for the event spaces, instead of trying to aim for the Precioustone.

Graphically, the cartoony artwork is wonderful and with all the characters from the Mobius in place, Sonic Shuffle could well prove itself a firm family favourite – at least until Sonic Adventure 2 hits, that is.

By Passing Far Cry 4’s Unskippable Start Animation

This appears like the type of thing we have to be writing for each game of late. In which the vanity of marketers sees them neglect to permit the gamer to simply skip previous their starting vanity displays, and you anxiously click on and cut at each key, positive that they certainly can’t be this vain? Thankfully, the wonderful enjoyment of Far Cry 4 may be easily more rapidly attained, without needing to seek out the individual obscurely-named video files from the absolute depths of your hard disk.

I believe it’s reasonable for this kind of clips to experience out the first time a video game is released. Tedious, however good. However after that, obviously you have to be in a position to click past them. Far Cry 4’s introduction stings aren’t the most severe I’ve noticed this year, however when individuals are experiencing bugs and also have to reboot, they can turn out to be specifically egregious. And it doesn’t help that after becoming glacially advised of the writer, the engine, and an images card producer, you’re then shown a completely unnecessary animation saying the name of the sport. Um, yes, I’m the person who launched it. After which, it delays issues even more to let you know – each time – not to explode the local power grid whenever a circulating animation is playing. It’s as if video game marketers checked out the horror of obligatory DVD intro displays and thought, “We will go larger.”

If you purchased the video game via Steam, it’s as simple as a pre-bought pie. Discover the video game in your library, right check out it, and hit Properties. In the box that appears is a choice for “SET LAUNCH OPTIONS”. Click that, and the field that seems, place in “-skipintro” (without quotes, with no space). Right now, when you start the video game either from Steam, or from the not-actually-a-proper-shortcut it place on your desktop, the video game will jump right to its alternatives screen.

If you set up the video game from a disc (caveman), then you’ll use a more appropriate desktop or Start menu shortcut. Right go through the icon or Start entry, and pick “Properties”. Here you need to view a box referred to as “Target:”, and in there a spiel that informs it where to locate the video game. On the end of it all, paste in ” -skipintro” (once again, without those estimates, and the space is essential), and click “OK”. It should appear like this, but naturally the opening place stuff depends in which you installed it.

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Ubisoft\Ubisoft Game Launcher\games\Far Cry 4\bin\FarCry4.exe” –skipintro. If it doesn’t work still, try “-skip intro 1?. Now 2x click the icon/hit the Start entry, and you need to be swooshy-animation free. And when you launch via Uplay, first have a very good long look in the mirror, and then discover where the video game is a component of your machine, view in the /bin folder for the .exe that roll-outs the video game, and right check out it and tell it to create a desktop shortcut. FC4 is problematic, however, if you want something to play without having problems, you can always try to visit simcitybuildithack.net. Then refer to the instructions over and start it via that in the future.

Regrettably we’ve yet to discover a way to by pass the in-game cutscenes, which FC4 so amazingly doesn’t let you leap. This is particularly entertaining when a random quest fail reboots you back in entrance of a meandering discussion by which you need to twiddle your digits again and again. Ubisoft, make sure you, patch this in, you monsters.

Day of Farmers Mod now on Hay Day

Hay Day Update

More than two years after the release of Hay Day its Mod community is still red hot, and still cranking out great mods. The latest to completely dominate the hearts and minds of players is Day of Farmers. The hook is simple — farming style competition. Who doesn’t want to play?

Sure, a few people may point to Pol Pot, but if you want titanic gaming experience, nothing is better than this. And yes, we realize a few of you out there with twisted minds and a penchant for doing things online that you can’t do in real life will line right up to play. Regardless of the morality, Day of Farmers convincingly brings to life a farmer none of us remember except through TV, movies or possibly books. Of course this isn’t anything close to what real world went through, but for us latter-day gamer geeks, this is about as close as we can get without going postal someplace.

Day of Farmers for Hay Day is something like an onion with layers of complexity. The first layer when you’re a newbie will consist of figuring out the maps and classes. As time progresses the next layer will peel itself back — gaining diamonds for the team, gaining real points and matching classes to the farms.

There is definitely a learning curve, but we can help. Besides detailing Hay Day our likes and dislikes, we’ve put together a little Day of Farmer primer: a guide to the popular farms. If you’re ready to give Day of farmers a try, you’ll need to go no further.

What exactly will you be getting into with Day of Farmers for Hay Day playres? It’s the  various maps that try to recreate many famous farming simulation scenarios.

The most excellent aspect of Day of Farmers update for Hay Day is undoubtedly the mapping. Complex and simple at the same time, some of the maps represent the same skill in mapping we saw in other popular titles. The entire map can be covered through back alleys just wide enough for one man. And rooftop perches are strewn throughout in strategic positions.

That’s not to say the update doesn’t have problems. It does. It’s a beta, what do you expect? The scoring system immediately pops to mind as a problem that most gamers are going to hate. Besides those problems and a few glitchy beta problems we’ve seen, we’re in love. If you play multiplayer Hay Day at all, give this mod a chance.

Top Technology of 2001, Now a Big Edge

Contrary to its horribly misleading name, “Bluetooth” isn’t a discoloring dental disease, it’s actually an industry buzz word for a communication technology promising to make our high-tech lives less, um, well, “wired.” Bluetooth is poised to replace common cables currently used between computers and computer peripherals, PDAs, phones, pagers, modems and digital cameras — with a reliable, affordable and relatively high-speed wireless solution between devices.

This Ericsson T28 has a Bluetooth wireless headset for cord-free yapping.
This short-range radio, chip-based technology is tiny and cheap, and was initially designed by cell phone giant Ericsson, but was then quickly adopted by dozens of other high-tech companies — including such heavyweights as Intel and IBM — and now there’s a universal standard that manufacturers are adhering to in order to ensure capability between devices. Over 40 upcoming Bluetooth-enabled products were shown at Comdex 2000 in Las Vegas, and you can expect an even greater number on display at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, 2001. In retrospect those bluetooth products are now used for some games like Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, Pokemon etc.

No more trailing ethernet cords when you’ve got a wireless LAN hub.
So the computers of the future will likely still have keyboards, mice, scanners and printers, but long gone will be those dangling cords linking up each device to the PC. And do you remember how you had to connect your Palm or PocketPC to your computer to sync up software or install new programs? Or first connect your digital camera to your PC in order to print out an 8×10? Not anymore. We’re talking about a completely wireless, convergent future.

And with the sheer number of companies jumping on the Bluetooth bandwagon, ideas on how to use the technology are proliferating. A few novel (and practical) applications include employees who can roam around the office and print off a document right from their PDAs; refrigerators that can communicate to a PC to say the food supply is down or the temperature is too high; digital video recorders that can be set to record The X-Files with a few taps on a cell phone from your car; or inexpensive Bluetooth chips placed in freight containers to identify their contents as a truck pulls into a warehouse.

Write directly to your PDA, PC or fax.
An early and promising use for Bluetooth was recently displayed by newcomer Anoto, which has developed a Bluetooth-equipped pen that allows users to send data from paper directly to devices such as PCs and fax machines. Already the company has “inked” deals with international stationary outfits 3M, Filofax, Mead and Franklin Covey. Expect many more inexpensive Bluetooth devices to surface in the spring and summer of 2001.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the term “Bluetooth” came from, it’s named after a 10th century Danish Viking, Harald Blatand (“Bluetooth” in English), who had a yen for blueberries so strong his teeth were permanently stained. Harald’s name was chosen because, allegedly, he helped unite Denmark with Norway.