Life is Feudal
Life is Feudal: Your Own is a survival sandbox game in the vein of…oh let’s see: ARK: Survival Evolved, Rust, Day-Z, and H1Z1, Subnautica, Savage Lands, Wurm (and Wurm Unlimited), and everything else that currently isn’t Fallout 4 (although that one is hovering just beyond the periphery). The premise is familiar for those who’ve played these kinds of games: you start with practically nothing on your person except enough sundries to keep you alive for a bit, and you have to forage for parts to build items of increasing complexity.
Overall, I don’t know that there’s anything super-different about this game that would make me recommend it to someone bored with the genre, although I’ve only put in a limited amount amount of time as of this writing. However, in that time I have managed to actually accomplish more than I have in almost any other sandbox survival game. I had to run across the map to find stone, because the starter 2/3 of the island were nothing but grasslands. I needed the stone to forage for flint to make some intro tools that would allow me to cut down trees. So I made an axe, a pick, and a shovel. That allowed me to fell trees, dig up some different kinds of rock, and re-plant trees. The biggest draw I can see for LiF is that it’s far more of a simulation of life than most other survivalbox titles, except maybe for Wurm Online/Unlimited. In that, I’d say that LiF is closer to Wurm than to others. Trees provide saplings you can replant, because as you take trees to build, you’ll need to grow new trees if you want to be able to continue to build. You can also uproot stumps to clear the land, and terraform the ground to make it more even, to build it up, or to make it better for crops. The promo material puts a lot of focus on the cooperative aspect of the game, and I was initially wary of the purchase (40% off until 11/20, so it’s a decent deal) because the reviewers were claiming that you needed a veritable army of players to accomplish anything, and that it wasn’t a game for the casual. I’m sure that if you want to recreate Westeros then you’ll need a kingdom, but to make a sustainable homestead, it might be doable solo, or you could make a small hamlet with a small group.
A lot of these kinds of games ship with really anemic server options, forcing you to hunt down esoteric wikis and guides to learn how to set up and run a server of your own. The solo set-up has a pretty nice UI that allows you to modify things like the skill cap (which limits how many “professions” you can learn) and the stats cap (so you don’t have gods among men), as well as XP earning multipliers and other enhancements to make the game as easy or as difficult as you like. Since LiF is a “skill through use” game, it can be designed so that multiple players will need to claim a profession, and work together for the materials needed to construct larger projects. Or you can just crank that shit up and let everyone do everything in order to make up for a lack of a large player base.
I’m considering setting up a dedicated server on my daughter’s unused desktop PC for anyone in the range of my voice that might have the game and be interested in a co-op town building experience. I’ll keep you posted.
I keep forgetting to use both Steam In Home Streaming and the Xbox One streaming to my Surface. I was sitting in the living room last night after watching Supergirl with the family, and resorted to reading on my phone. I contemplated heading to the basement, but it was getting late. It wasn’t until right before bed that I remembered that I could have use either streaming option to send visuals to the Surface, allowing me to play something from the living room without having to totally abandon my family.
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I had backed a project on Kickstarter a while back called “Tabletop Connect”. It was a virtual tabletop app, but unlike the dearth of existing apps, this one was in glorious three dee. GMs could build maps that had actual walls, and players and NPCs were represented by 3D models that could be controlled by players and the GM. Progress on the development was rather slow, and since apps like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds were mature and available I ended up using those, and not really paying much attention to Tabletop Connect.
I recently received an email stating that development on TC had actually been suspended because the lone developer had been bought out by Smiteworks, creators of Fantasy Grounds. This was curious for a few reasons. First, Smiteworks obviously liked what they saw in what was available in TC. Second, they hired the TC developer along with buying his project, and third, FG is currently undergoing a conversion to Unity, which is what TC was being built with. Considering that what was present in TC was mostly an anemic character sheet, but a decent map building and 3D game board, my assumption is that Smiteworks might be looking to bring a 3D view to Fantasy Grounds: Unity Edition in the future. I think that would be a cool option to have (although I’d really prefer to have integrated VoIP first).
The more immediate upside was that backers of TC were given stored credit for FG, so I was able to pick up the “Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide” module for free. I still haven’t looked through it, but I’m eager to see what kind of resources it contains.
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I’m considering re-buying Fallout 4 on the PC. I’m still really liking the game, but I can tell that it’s a game that’s going to wear me down to the point where I’ll find it easier to skirt it’s existence rather than invest the time and emotion into sitting down to continue from where I’m at now. Like Skyrim, it’s a game I want to see, but I’m still not in like with the combat; it’s stressful to me, and entering into a new area always stresses me out because of death and the revert to last save; if I didn’t remember to save (I know…) then I could end up anywhere in the past.
My solution? Cheat the hell out of the game through console commands. No, I don’t feel bad about this. If I’m there for the story, not having to worry about the bullshit of difficulty is something that’s right up my alley. I can play like I mean it, but once I get tired of ducking and covering, I can just wade in an punch a Deathclaw to death and be done with it. I don’t get personal satisfaction from besting a difficult game, especially one like Fallout 4 which has an innumerable number of opportunities to live in the world. I just want to experience the content, not use the game to feel better about my mad skillz.
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Tuesday night we managed to get into the Dreadnaught in Destiny. I was apparently the one in the group that was lagging behind in the mission progression, so I was made the leader and we moved through five different missions. After having played Halo 5 and more recently Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Fallout 4, my aiming in Destiny was abysmal. I couldn’t hit the broadside of a…dreadnaught…at first, but eventually got my Guardian-legs back under me and was able to mow down enemies like nobody’s business.
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And finally, our krew has opted not to attend PAX East in 2016. Two years ago we attended with a certain level of apprehension, and ended up spending more time hanging out in the hotel than we did in the convention center. Last year we only went down for a single day. This past fall, we discussed the upcoming potential and unanimously decided that the four days we spent there was just too much, with all the crowds and really nothing super-exciting to look forward to. One day wasn’t worth the hassle, since at that point there’s too much to see and do and not enough time. Standing in line for an hour (minimum) when you only have a one day pass is a colossal waste.
Good thing we came to this decision, then, because the badges went on sale yesterday, and the three day passes sold out in less than 15 minutes (Saturday day badges sold out in about 30 minutes). I can’t recall if any of the other PAX events ever sold out that quickly. It’s disheartening, because I didn’t find out about the sale until it was over (thanks, conference call!) Had I really wanted to go, I’d be pissed. In the past badges have shown up in bulk on eBay and StubHub, meaning people were buying them and re-selling them at a profit. On the other hand, it shows that there’s an insatiable demand here in the North East for geek-related events. We’re a region that’s usually snubbed when it comes to conventions and large geek-industry happenings, and I think this run on badges for PAX East shows that there’s a massive contingent of fans that would fall over themselves to throw money at any organization that’s willing to make the effort to acknowledge that the North East is also a place where fans and customers reside.