Ages Inspired By Myst – Russell Brower

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from the email

I got an email few days ago telling me that i have free sound tracks waiting for me in Bandcamp, and there is a familiar face in the email, so i made an account and claimed the soundtracks.

Here you can listen to the album by Russell Brower.

So what’s the story behind all of that? there was Myst Kickstarter project, i was one of many people who supported the project to bring all the 5 games to modern PCs, i didn’t expect anything else but they sent free soundtracks.

I’ll talk about Myst games when i finish each one of them.

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Warlords mythic raids

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Note: this is an old post i was planning to publish a month or two ago and i forgot! so here it is today.

With level 120 hunter and ilvl of 350, WoD raids are trivial and easy to do, so i did them all.

skip trash mobs, they rarely drop anything, not worth wasting time on clearing them, with few exceptions:

  • Clear mobs before Twin Ogron, without that you can’t fight the boss.
  • Mobs before Franzok and Hans’gar
  • Hellfire Citadel needs to clear trash mobs for the first “boss”, and this one needs 2 people at least, so look for a group for just the first boss.

Gold from raids, i count the gold dropped by the boss + item gold value

  • Highmaul bosses: from 160g to 376g, total one run: 1585g
  • Blackrock foundry: 173g to 358g, total: 2662g
  • Hellfire Citadel: 0!

Mythic Hellfire Citadel is impossible to solo, the first boss need a group, that’s why i didn’t count any gold, in fact i should put -50 gold for gear repair!

Maybe i’ll go back later with a group to clear the first boss at least and try again.

The wonderful machines of Mr. Skutnik

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Mateusz Skutnik, a polish artist and game developer, the maker of many games and comic books, and i’m a fan of his work since 2005 when he released first game in Submachine series.

But the machines i want to talk about are not in the Submachine games, but in Covert Front series, which is free and works on Linux, Mac and Windows.

The series follow Kara, a secret agent who investigate the disappearance of scientists, it’s early 1900s and the world is different than ours but not too different, and there is the threat of world war.

What makes Mr. Skutnik games different is the atmosphere, the music, the places he design, the details he put on things that have nothing to do with the puzzles but add flavor to the game, all of that is unique to him and i can’t put it in more words, you have to experience them yourself to understand.

Covert Front games are point & click adventure games, you only need to pay attention to the details and click every clickable thing, live the story and enjoy reaching the end of each episode.

What i like most about this series is the machines in the game or the gadgets, they make me wish they’re real and sometimes i wish to make them, many of them look realistic but not real, i almost feel i know this machine but there is nothing like it in reality.

What follows here is screenshots for some of the machines and my comments on them … you really don’t want to waste your time reading this, but thank you if you did 🙂

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A typewriter keyboard with one line screen at the top of it, there is no machine like that in early 1900s yet the design make is feel like it so belong to that era, two level in the sides have a function, one is to clear the screen the other is to execute what written in the screen.

In the 80s some companies made what we may call today smart typewriter, an electric device with a tiny screen which allow you to write and correct any mistake before print it on paper, sometimes they are called word processor.

And now there are few products offer a simple writing machine, for people who want a tool for writing not a distracting machine.

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I don’t know what to call this device, sender? teletexter? telemail? the games didn’t show this device except once and for few seconds and yet i can’t stop thinking about it.

Kara connect it to a computer, then write a message then press the button to send a message, the light turn green for a second to confirm sending the message and that’s it … look, i know i’m not rational here, this thing is way more interesting than any smartphone!

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The computer which Kara use to send a message, it looks like something from the 40s, when computers needed buildings and roofs!

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A punched card machine for a library … now punched cards is old technology so it’s not hard to believe such machine could exist in early 1900s, the screen of course is fiction at this point of the story, but all of that is not important i mean … Punched Cards! for years i’m dreaming of making a machine that use punched cards for something … anything.

Punched cards are still in use today, they are simple way to save data, and from time to time i find myself reading about them again, thinking of some way to use them.

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Drawer with yet-to-be-used punched cards.

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When Kara use the punched card on this huge machine, the arm rotate to a bookshelf and take a book to put it in the right section where the character stands, this machine is a librarian of sort! I prefer humans.

Now this out of my mind, i can have some rest, but honestly i’ll never stop thinking about punched cards! they are magical for me, maybe because i never saw them in real life.

Beneath a Steel Sky

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Just like Flight of the Amazon Queen, this is another free point & click adventure game, it plays in the same way, but the themes in Beneath a Steel sky are so different from the Amazon Queen, it’s a cyberpunk game set in dystopian future, the world is in ruin and people live in city states, you play Foster who get kidnapped to a city and you need to find your way out … or his way out.

Unlike the Amazon Queen you need to be careful with the game, save often before some choices because you could die and you will die … or rather you’ll kill Foster many times.

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It’s a grim game with serious themes but the dialogue is often comedic, you have to talk with all NPCs to unlock the story, and one great thing about the game is the NPCs walk around, they don’t stay at one place which makes finding them frustrating at times, this feature was new thing back then (published in 1994).

The puzzles are the same as most point and click games, NPCs work like gatekeepers and you have to find a way around them, but the game offer clever variation to this idea, more than that it offer a better interface compared to the Amazon queen, larger screen with no GUI taking space, anything clickable on the screen have 2 ways to interacte with it, left click to look at it or talk to the NPC, right click to use it, inventory is accessed by taking the mouse pointer to the top of the screen where a bar will show up.

As for the themes of the game, now these could take a whole long article to talk about them, dystopian sci-fi games are perfect to comment on the current affairs, and the game seems relevant today as it was in 1994.

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There is the idea of progress and its cost, is it worth it to pay that price to live in a city made from high tech? convenient but imprison you in the system and you can’t get out, and the system decide your fate.

There is an out of control AI, which is a subject of many novels and movies but i’m not convinced that we should fear AI, i’m sure we should be wary of people who design and write the AI and not because the AI will “wake up” one day and be smarter than every one, but because AI is used today to take decisions that have effect on people, also AI and robots used today to replace people and save costs.

The game cover many themes but it does not dive deep into them, also i like that the game is not preachy, it does not tell you anything about any of these issues, i played it many years ago and i never noticed any of these ideas, now i play it again to find a new depth in the game.

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The game is well made and it shows, everything from the animation to the graphic gives me the feeling that people worked hard to make them, the music is … not so much, it can drive me crazy after few minutes so i have to turn it off.

Play it, it’s free.

And now you heal

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In WoW and in many other MMOs, healing and tanking done only in group content which mostly dungeons then raids, outside this content there is no way to practice healing and tanking, there is no content guiding you to practice these roles and learn, the only way to do that is just going into a group and hoping for the best, which is scary.

In the other hand you can’t play support class in WoW and in many other games, older games used to make classes that do every role but don’t excel at any, it’s nice to have a support class in the group, healing a little, tanking a little, doing some crowd control, buffing friends, and debuffing mobs.

So i thought i’ll do some of that in WoW, i made a Discipline priest and joined dungeons as a DPS, most of the time i’m just doing damage, not good at it but that was expected, in some situations when the healer could not heal the tank because they pulled so many mobs, i was there for extra healing and saving the tank from death, also giving other members shields which help the healer a little.

I’m having fun trying to do both damage and healing, i think druids can do the same by choosing Restoration Affinity which is a level 45 talent.

What i want to say is:

  • There is no content for healers and tanks outside dungeons and raids, there should be a way to do some training before joining groups.
  • Support role is so underrepresented in MMOs, i think every MMO should have at least one type of support class or spec.

To miss virtual worlds is human

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Everyday i’ll think of how i miss this game, i want to go back, i want to see the world again, to hear the same music, it’s the music that makes me feel nostalgic to older games, to a time when i have a controller in my hands, looking at the TV and being lost in the moving pictures, when i turn off the game i feel like going out of the virtual world and into the real world.

No games manage to make me feel this way like Legend of Zelda games, i search for a music list for any of Zelda games and listen to them while reading and writing or while browsing the web, and the music always make me wish i have this console or that one to play that game again.

I was there, in the sky island, where people have birds to fly from island to another, the game like many other before it managed to pull me to that world and make me happy, it’s a music for a colorful place with interesting people.

The Peaceful village, the utopia of my dreams, if this was a real place my life goal is to reach it and make a house there, live the simple life, but the game throw you into trouble, local at first, you have to save one of the kids, after that you have a quest, a mission from the village, when you go out into the world the trouble starts and with it the epic journey that i wish it never end.

This game managed to scare me, i mean really scare me, i could not play it at night for few days, and for that it is my favorite Zelda game.

Oh Grandma, you made me cry so many times! The Wind’s Waker is my second best Zelda game, it is the grand adventure of Zelda games, mostly because of the open sea, the many islands to explore, the music as usual is great, but i choose Grandma theme because … i still feel sorry for her!

Spoiler if you didn’t play the game: she is alright!

Do you miss virtual worlds?

Deleting alts

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It’s like the sea tides, sometimes i’m in “create all the alts ” mode and recently i’m in “delete some alts” mode, and i deleted 5 of them, because i’m thinking about the next few months and what i want to do with the WoW.

Classic is coming in summer, when that happens i’ll stop playing the current WoW and focus only on Classic, which means sometimes i don’t think it’s worth it to do anything in current WoW, but foolishly i bought 6 months time recently and i don’t know if i can pause it or stop it for a while then come back in few months.

The alts i deleted

  • Dwarf warrior i made because i thought i love to get Dwarf heritage armor.
  • Highborne mage, a Highmountain shaman, both made for the armor too.
  • Night elf demon hunter because i honestly don’ enjoy the class. (thinking of deleting my blood elf DH for the same reason).
  • Pandarin Shaman, i tried to enjoy playing the class, but i couldn’t.

Two major reasons for deleting alts, one is leveling which i don’t enjoy, two is the combat in some classes, i also have to say not having time to level all alts.

Things i want to do in next few months:

  • Getting “The Insane” title, still need some leveling.
  • Leveling Durrzam the orc.
  • Trying to get Kul’tiran allied race, i just hope LFR raid in 8.1 will be easy, otherwise i’ll give up on Kul’tiran druid alt. Edit: Wowhead guide does not mention raids as a requirement to unlock Kul’tirans … good news!
  • Maybe leveling some of my 110 alts to 120.
  • Stop thinking i need to get every thing Blizzard announce, it’s ok to let it gooo 🎵