I was going to try to write some sort of witty post about this blog not accepting any “material connections” but would be completely willing to. (i.e. Send me free stuff!) Then I thought about it for a bit and remembered I actually did receive free product from something I’ve talked about on this blog. I have received a free copy of Sword of the Stars and two of the three expansion packs from my good friends at Kerberos Productions. I’ve not received any payment from them.
The funny thing is in the age of digital distribution (especially with niche PC games) it’s much quicker to get the online version than hunt down a physical box. I’ve purchased SotS+BoB from GamersGate, and SotS Ultimate Collection and Argos Naval Yard from Steam in order to play the release versions on day 1. I keep those gifts (which show up weeks later) as collectors items on my shelf.
So there you have it, full disclosure as required by U.S. federal guidelines.
(Still totally willing to accept more free product like the kinds of cars they test drive on Top Gear.)
Apologies in advance for the blatant advertising.
As readers know my friends at Kerberos Productions developed a space “4X” strategy game for the PC called Sword of the Stars back in 2006. Well amost three years later, after two expansions, numerous updates, and countless patches the swan song for SotS (the first) will be released next week. It’s a mini-expansion called SotS: Argos Naval Yard and it’s budget priced for $8.99.
You can’t really find SotS in stores anymore, but with their new publisher it’s out on all the major PC distribution sites like Steam, Direct 2 Drive, GamersGate and Impulse. In celebration of the final release of SotS (the original) multiple sites are offering some sales. As of this post you can get SotS:Ultimate Collection, which contains everything except for Argos Naval Yard, for $7.99 at GamersGate between now and the end of the weekend. Direct 2 Drive is offering a pre-order of SotS:UC and SotS:ANY for a sale price of $16.95. One can assume that Steam and Impulse will follow suit if you prefer those distributors.
SotS is a complex strategy game that I can’t recommend for everyone, but for less than a night out at the movies you can see for yourself what I’ve been doing as a hobby for the last few years. Let me know if you pick it up. I’d love to hear what you think and help out if you get stuck.
The floodgates are opening and I only have time for the highlights:
- Castle Crashers is a fun game for $15 and a download. Too bad they desperately need a patch to fix the online multiplayer.
- Mercenaries 2 is an easy game to pick apart, especially the interface. It’s also a great example of your ability to go nuts in a sandbox world. If you liked Crackdown, if you think GTAIV was too story driven, this is a game for you.
- Spore is out this weekend. Reviews are mixed, but just from a pure technology standpoint I’ll be picking it up.
- For $5 you can rip almost all (5 songs missing) of your Rock Band tracks to your hard drive. Yes it takes up 1.52GB of your precious hard drive space but it will allow all of those tracks to be used in the upcoming Rock Band 2 out on the 14th.
- I’ve been spending most of my game time playtesting the next Sword of the Stars expansion called A Murder of Crows. It’ll be out through GamersGate before the end of the month and adds some real game changers, more (IMO) than the first expansion did.
If you keep up with this blog you’ll see that I’ve been working with (volunteering is probably more apt) a game developer studio in Vancouver for over three years on their game called Sword of the Stars. The game came out towards the end of 2006 but unlike most games that was not the end of it.
Over the past 20 months SotS has been upgraded seven times (including a paid expansion) and is quite different from what it was back in September of 2006. So the team has wrapped up all that work into a new Collector’s Edition and is selling it for $30. There’s a new demo out including six walk-through movies explaining the basics of the game done by yours truly.
SotS puts you in the dual roles of the leader of an interstellar empire and admiral of a battle fleet. You pick a race to command and each of the five races are unique not only in abilities but the way they move from system to system. In the strategic portion of the game you take turns to explore a section of the galaxy, expand your empire, exploit the other empires you find and then exterminate them. Thus the name of the 4X genre. Once your battle fleets meet an enemy you enter the tactical portion of the game with each ship fighting each other in real time.
If this sounds like the game for you please give the free demo a try and let me know what you think!
I’ve been playing around on a personal project capturing game footage and commentary for video tutorials in games. Now I’m testing how to get them distributed without having the videos compressed all to hell in Youtube or Gametrailers.
Sorry for the lack of updates. Been a bit busy and staying away from blogs in general. Here’s my update executive summary style (but I have no graphs).
- Moved rorschach.net to a new, much more stable, service provider
- Work has been very busy since June
- Work prevented me from going to AK a few weeks ago
- Work is letting up just in time for Comic-Con next week
- My friends at Sword of the Stars released an expansion pack
- Forza 2 with a wheel is the most fun I’ve had in a driving game
- Shadowrun is surprisingly good if you like multplayer FPSs
- I’m slowly designing an RPG (pen and paper) in my spare time
- xkcd is a very funny comic
- Google reader makes browsing 50 websites very easy
I’ll post more next week when Comic-Con gets started. I’m most looking forward to seeing some Iron Man preview stuff.
The third patch/update for SotS is now available at all the usual patch download places and the publisher’s site. All Game Night SotS players should install this one before our next game. Lots of good updates, here’s a summary:
- Improved AI diplomatic reasoning
- Expanded AI tech research strategies.
- Various tweaks and changes to AI rebellion behaviour.
- Improved combat ship manoeuvring.
- Adjustments to the Liir’s movement
- All currently known bugs fixed.
- Chat between players in the game lobby and those playing is now possible.
- Numerous GUI additions
- New splash screens
- Weapon tooltip displays weapon arcs in combat view.
- Added news events.
Sooner than you may think (about 6 weeks) we’ll see an expansion for the game I’ve been helping out with for more than a year now. Full details are at the publisher’s site, but here’s the highlights.
• 1 new race – the Zuul – with 80+ ship sections and Tunnel Drive FTL technology.
• Massive Zuul slaver disks allow them to take slaves and use them to boost production on Zuul fortress worlds.
• Over 15 new weapons to battle with including Boarding Pods!
• Over 25 new technologies to research and deploy.
• New diplomatic Data and Comm systems. Make demands! Ask for help in attacking specific targets. Warn players off from the worlds you have yet to claim!
• More Intelligence technologies allow you to keep track of enemy ships, tech and battles.
• A new trade route system making economic control and output even more vital for military success. Star freighters ply the trade routes making money for the player but are also vulnerable to raiders. Active piracy and escort battles enter the SotS universe with a bang.
• Details combat results and status graphs allow you to track the rise or fall of your empire over time.
• A variety of new ship sections for the original races to help meet this new threat.
• More tactical combat options.
• New combat arena as ships are called upon to battle in the dangerous depths of Node-space.
• New random menaces / exploration threats.
• 2 new Scenarios (for both single- and multiplayer).
• 5 new galaxy types.
• Various GUI and multiplayer enhancements.
Hello all my SotS friends! While I’m here waiting for the flight out of this frozen midwest, I found out that the update for SotS has finally been released. If you’re playing this game (and if you aren’t why not??!?) you really need to get this update. It changes a lot of things for the better.
If you live in America SotS is available in stores. Best Buy has a nifty online inventory system that you can check stock. Just use this link and type in your ZIP code to see which stores have a copy. Should be in Wal-Mart, Target, and CompUSA as well. Tell your friends, tell your enemies! There’s also a patch available that is a must download. It adds some great features especially making the tactical combat easier to control.
If anyone want’s to try out a multiplayer game sometime over the 3-day weekend let me know and I’d be happy to host it.
The reviews for the game are okay, but they seem to be missing a lot of the features of the game. Half of them don’t even mention multiplayer. That’s to be expected for a first game from a new team that’s trying something different. I’ll probably post my own detailed review soon.
Patch mirror locations after the break if the link above doesn’t work for you.