Monday, January 18, 2010

GameLog 129 & 130

Football Manager 2010 (25h) - T.Bowes - FM 2010 into April now and we're hovering between 4th / 5th and still in the hunt for the trophy. Playing a pretty good streak at the moment with both strikers on song.

Trine (11h) - Another Steam sale. Great little game that impressed me with the quality and polish for an indie.

Civ IV: Colonization (10h) - Own nearly all of the Americas, but the british invasion aren't attacking the forts, just bombarding them ATM.

Civ IV: BtS (7h) - Not to be outdone by Football Manager's claim to the most time of 2009 , Civ gets another round of play to see if there's any steam achievement unlocks. In a bit of a bad situation theweakest on an island with 2 others, but allying with Egypt through religion has made it possible to be on the attack to wipe out spain.

UnAngband (4h) - Playing through competition 81 in the new patch as a VERY weak mage. Killed myself a couple of times trying to throw arrows, but even shooting arrows caused enough backfires to kill off a couple more 4hp retries. Given up on arrows and sticking to sneaking and chill from afar. Works great on molds, and basically run screaming from everything else until at least level 3.

Team Fortress 2 (1h) - Time for the Rocketboy to get some lovin'

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bejewelled beta - Investing?

I always used to like playing betas. I like seeing through the trappings of the game for the potential and perhaps even make suggestions of where to go next. Bejewelled Blitz has been one one of my go-to games over the past year for unwinding after a busy day, and had enjoyed watching the game evolve through the beta stages. Now it's at it again with another change for the minute mayhem.

In the next evolution they are bringing in coins. They make for a longer term buildup to power a choice of 5 boosts. The boosts give things like an immediats doubler, or a gem that shuffles the board.

From whaat I can gather, coins pop out after a set number of matches (or at least semi-regularly), so you get more coins the faster you match. You also get coins for each multiplier you have acumulated at the end of the game. It seems a little odd that it makes no difference whether you match them or not, so their appearance as part of a yellow gem doesn't really change the gameplay much at all. That's a little dissappointing as it initially seemed like having the coins appear only on yellow meant that the yellow gems were more valuable in matching to coins rather than immediately matching to other yellows. I liked this idea of attributing different values for gems as it made for a more interesting playfield mechanic akin to building toward a T or L shaped star gem.

Thinking about the idea of changing the percieved value of one colour over another, I came up with another idea: What if you get DOUBLE the value of any coins you leave to the end? With this in place you would have an interesting dichotomy of frenzied matching, but avoiding some other matches. Yellow gems would change too into more desirable matches without coins to reduce the possibility of random matches. You could even 'bury' your coins by manipulating gems around them to get them deep into the board, reducing even further their exposure to a random match.

Along the same lines, but a little more dynamic, what if instead of getting 100 gold per coin, you got 50*N where N is the number of coins on the board. You would then still get the most advantage by leaving all coins on the board until the end, but still be rewarded if they all explode to a yellow-matched sphere or a random drop.

As it stands the coin appearance reinforces the same playstyle of Blitz; match fast and multiply faster. I would expect the 'Investment' change would bring it more toward a normal untimed Bejewelled or Bookworm type board manipulation, giving almost an alternate goal to play toward for those intent on only playing for real when they have maximum boosts.

Boosts, that's another topic. Jury is still out on them at the moment. It would seem that there is no point going for a top score while not at maximum boost, so it turns each minute-long frenzy into a 15 minute prelude for 2-3 intense games. It's great if you have the time, but I kinda liked the "just one more go" impact that the minute timer used to instill in me. The next minute could be your lucky one! I used to hate that it was so random what scores you got (and still do), but can appreciate the addictive behaviour that the randomness brings.

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 Game Time

Continuing on from the 2008 Game Time summary, here is the 2009 summary of games from the GameLogs organised by time played.

2009 has been a bumper year in the amount of games played with 62 games played for and hour or more, greater than one new game a week. Overall the amount of time feels lower mainly due to the pressure of finishing off the teaching degree. 1,462 hours were logged at an average of ~28 hours a week.

Game Time 2009
Football Manager 10156
Civilization 495
Space Rangers 292
Civilization 4: FFH77
Skate 265
Mount & Blade65
Dominions 365
Knights of Honor55
TrackMania Nations Forever54
Puzzle Quest: Galactrix48
Hearts of Iron II48
Football Maanger 0940
Elven Legacy38
Dwarf Fortress35
Bejewelled Blitz30
King's Bounty27
Civilization Revolution26
Zynga Poker26
Titan Quest25
Tiger Woods 1019
Dragon Age18
Majesty 217
Baldur's Gate16
Team Fortress 215
Pokemon Platinum15
Kongregate *13
Depths of Peril10
Quake Live8
Little Big Planet7
Dawn of War II7
Free Realms6
World Series of Poker5
World of Goo5
Vector TDx4
Paper Toss4
GeoDefense Swarm4
World of Warcraft3
Club Penguin3
PS3 Demos *3
iPhone demos *3
Rollercoaster Tycoon 23
Tower Bloxx3
Wii Fit3
Guitar Hero III2
Street Fighter IV2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Flight Control2
Mafia Wars2
Company of Heroes2
Guitar Hero: World Tour1

And the winner is Football Manager (again) as the biggest timesponge on my computer. I'd also probably lump Civ4, Civ4:FFH, Colonization and CivRev into one category and contend the title, but FM09 would keep Football Manager in the hunt too.

One thing to note is that the games I made AARs for were all up in the top bracket. Possibly a bit of natural selection; a good game prompted me to write up an AAR, and doing the AARs kept the interest longer.

Honorable mentions to TrackMania as it was played across the most week / fortnightly reports, and Bejewelled Blitz for getting there too for such a simple game. Both offered simple relaxation after work.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

GameLog 127 & 128

Civ IV: Colonization (44h) - I'd been eyeing off the Civ IV complete pack for a while, and a 50% discount on Steam was all the help I needed to pick it up. Big big game of Colonization to get some points on the board for tthe steam stats. I have the majority of the map and have just declared independance.

Football Manager 2010 (29h) - T.Bowes - FM 2010 Made it to new year's 2012 and still up in contention. We're out of the FA Cup after a lacklustre home game against a Div 1 side. Hopefully we can get the FA Trophy before going up.

Torchlight (9h) - Another steal at $10 on steam. I'm really liking their agressive discounting strategy, and it's helped me pick up really cheap indie prezzies for my brothers too (World of Goo, Audiosurf, Gratuitous Space Battles). Level 14 or so on hardest.

Titan Quest: Immortal throne (9h) - Made it through to Legendary, so now's the time to start hunting for uniques.

Dominions 3 (5h) - Couple of restarts on smaller maps.

Company of Heroes (2h) - Finally downloaded CoH and its expansions, but it's a little jerky. Not sure why? It killed myy download limit though as Steam continually kept restarting the download and wouldn't stop. I wish steam would play nice and have some sort of throttling available to allow others the use of the net.