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  #61  
Old 12-30-2009, 01:27 PM
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What a cheerful game.
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  #62  
Old 12-30-2009, 01:45 PM
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But what does it all mean?
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  #63  
Old 12-30-2009, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McClain142 View Post
But what does it all mean?
What's not to understand? Eh! Steve's mouth exploded the universe, and that blond guy did a tiny, tiny dance.

...Oh wait, that's Sweet Cuppin' Cakes. Hm, I think the main character just committed suicide by escape pod or something.
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  #64  
Old 01-01-2010, 02:04 PM
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Well, I've seen various theories. It seems one or more civilizations have hosed themselves in a variety of manners that may or may not be connected. We've got pollution, nukes, alien (or bio-weapon?), and general planetary disaster. You could string them all into a chronological narrative (screwing up the ecosystem leads to increasingly terrible conflict), or they could be different places. As for the player character, you could be a lone survivor driven to madness by the fact that everything else is gone. Or an outside observer depressed that your subjects have annihilated themselves.

Orrr, it could just be a pretty but melancholy little diversion. Take your pick!
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  #65  
Old 01-01-2010, 02:49 PM
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Melancholy Diversion will release their first single "There Is Too Much Noise" from their upcoming album "Silence" next week.
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  #66  
Old 01-07-2010, 02:35 AM
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Default Let's Play: Learn to Play Magic!

Hello folks! Today we're going to play Learn to Play Magic!
I'm only going to give a rudimentary explanation of how to play. For a full tutorial go to www.playmagic.com

Learn to Play Magic has two tutorials. A basic one named Tutorial 1 and a more advanced one named Tutorial 2. There is some code here but I'm missing it. Either way, Tutorial 1 is very simple and I'll show it to you today.

Basic rules: You start with 20 life, first to reduce the opponent to 0 wins. You draw 7 cards at the start and draw once per turn (bar the first turn of the first player). You may play one land per turn. Lands make mana of the type noted on them, which you extract by tapping them - turning them 90 degrees sideways. You untap all your permanents, cards that remain on the battlefield, each turn. To cast a card, you pay mana as noted on the upper-right corner. Coloured mana and colourless mana are noted seperately. But enough of theis, let's start!


At the beginning of the tutorial I was asked to choose two colours (there are five - White, Blue, Black, Red, Green). I asked the computer to choose randomly and it picked White and Black. The are the colours I have in my deck. My goblin opponent wins the die roll and elects to play first - bastard. Incidentally, he plays the three colours I don't.


My starting hand. Lands Are the cards with a big symbol in the textbox. Creatures are on the right - they have power and toughness, seperated by a slash. Power is on the left, and the numbers are on the bottom-right of the card (one such creature is enlarged on the left of the screen). There is a third type of cards in my hand, Sorceries - I'll explain them later. Note that my opponent played a land.


Turn two, my opponent plays a creature - Grizzly Bears, a 2/2. However, when you play a creature it has Summoning Sickness - it cannot attack or tap. I'm safe for now!


On my turn, I played a creature of my own - Glory Seeker, also a 2/2. My oponent then plays a Sorcery - Rampant Growth. When you cast a sorcery, you pay the cost, it has an effect and then it's placed in the Graveyard. In this case, my opponent gets a basic land from his library, puts it straight into the battlefield tapped and shuffles his library.


Then he attacks. I can block, but I want to attack him myself so I don't. I will explain creature combat in a moment. For now, know that 2 power means 2 damage to my face.


I play my Scathe Zombies, also a 2/2, and swing at my opponent for 2 damage. Because his creature tapped to attack, he cannot block with it!


My opponent swings back. I neglect to block.


On my turn, I drop one of my own sorceries - Mind Rot. My opponent has to choose and discard two cards. I'm hoping to hit some good cards!
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  #67  
Old 01-07-2010, 02:36 AM
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Default Let's Play: Learn to Play Magic!



First discarded card is Lava Axe, an expensive sorcery (4 colourless+1 red) that deals 5 to any player. I'm lucky I hit it - it could blow me out later on. Also discarded is Goblin Brigand - a 2/2 that has to attack every turn if it can. You'll note that my opponent also played one of these last turn.


I attack with my team. However, the AI's a pussy and blocks my Glory Seeker with his Goblin. Basically, what happens now is that they deal damage to each other equal to their power, and then if it's equal to or greater than their toughness, they die - and in this case, this is exactly what happens. A creature can only block one creature though, and my Scathe Zombies go through un...scathed, hitting my opponent for 2 more.


my opponent swings right back at me.


After he plays a Lumengrid Warden - a 1/3 creature - It's my turn, and I play another Scathe Zombies and another sorcery - Sacred Nectar, which makes me gain 4 life. In my hand, you'll notice, I have the sorcery Vengeance - it destroys a tapped creature of my choice.


I pass the turn without attacking, since my opponent will just block with the warden. He attacks with... both his guys, for some reason, so I block the Warden with my Zombies and neither dies. At the end of each turn, damage on creatures is erased. I take two from those damned Grizzly Bears. I'll get my revenge on you!


And I do. He casts another Warden, and I kill the Grizzly Bears with Vengeance. Damn them to hell.


After attacking with the team and getting 2 damage in, my turn is over.


Oh my. My opponent plays a Hill Giant - a 3/3. I don't have Vengeance anymore, but I do have a way out, because the computer is kinda stupid. I play a third Zombies and pass.




And indeed, my plan works. My opponent swings with his team, and after blocking one Warden with my Zombies, I block the Giant with both of my other zombies. My opponent can split the damage between them however he likes, but the end result is still one redead Zombie and one very dead Giant


On my turn, I play the Giant Cockroach (4/2) and swing with the undead army. My opponent just attacks. It's probably a mistake not to block a Warden with my Cockroach, but I don't think the computer has any way out of this.


I play Eager Cadet (a 1/1). After attacking, my opponent is left at two.


One turn and an extremely stupid attack from the computer later, we win the game!

This is the first in a series of Let's Play Magic. Stay tuned!

Last edited by Alpha Werewolf; 01-07-2010 at 07:25 AM.
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  #68  
Old 01-07-2010, 06:34 AM
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Ew, white/black. But I guess anything can work out fine when the opponent in a tutorial AI not using any strategy!

So, I guess this is a free app designed to rope new players in to Magic? Seems pretty decent for that purpose, I suppose.
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  #69  
Old 01-07-2010, 07:22 AM
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Tutorial 2 actually gives you Instants, Artifacts and Enchantments as well as creatures with real abilities.

I'll later play a freeware third-party program with significantly better AI. Or Duels if I can get it for the PC.
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  #70  
Old 02-14-2010, 06:29 PM
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Hello!

In preparation for my upcoming NetHack LP, I decided to make use of this thread as a sort of rehearsal, getting used to taking screenshots and feeling out what making an update is like, and all that. I feel it would be in poor taste to use NetHack for that purpose, though, so I'll be doing something slightly different, but just as crazy:



As all of you fine fellows will remember, Stiv ended up defeating Morgoth with a Gnome Mage that had no spells and no artifacts. If you do not recall this because you never read the LP, well, I'd suggest that this makes you less complete as a person. Perhaps you should consider fixing that...

Anyway, I decided to see what it would be like to play that build completely straight, with no editing of files or anything like that. So I rolled a new character in 3.0.9b, a Gnome Mage named Rincewind. I called him Rincewind because he is a wizard who cannot use magic and also because he'll be running away from pretty much everything, at least at first.

(I actually forgot to turn off artifact generation at birth, but I won't be keeping or selling any artifacts I find.)

(Please don't take this as a criticism of the existing LP or anything; I just thought it'd be a nice way to practice LPing, so I can start NetHack with something resembling style.)

Let's take a look at what Rincewind starts with.



About the only things I can make use of here are the food and torches. If I get into melee with that dagger, I will probably die, and I can't use the spellbook. As for the Word of Recall scroll, I accidentally sold it later on when I pressed the wrong key while sell-IDing some other scrolls. So I sell the spellbook. I would sell the dagger, but it'd be worth something like 5 AU (Atomic Units), so I just equip it for the heck of it.

I use my starting money to buy a Robe, a Hard Leather Cap, and a Pair of Hard Leather Boots, boosting my AC from a pitiful 1 to a pitiful 8. Rincewind quickly sets about writing the word 'Wizzard' on the hat, just so that everyone will know what an important person he is.

I also buy some Flasks of oil.

Also, I apologize for how funny the walls look. I'm playing the game on Vista, which, by default, doesn't display the walls at all for technical reasons. Editing one of the initialization files lets me fix this, and indeed, set the wall glyph to be whatever I want; I'd intended to change it to # before I started this, but I forgot.

Now to start diving!





Or not. See, my initial strategy is to enter Dlvl 1, scoop up as much treasure as I can before I have to flee, and then run for the surface and repeat. In this way, I can earn some money and get some sell-ID information without taking the risks that serious combat would entail. Of course, this is not sustainable in the long term at all, and that's what the Flasks of oil were for:



Since I can't get into melee range without dying, and I can't use Magic Missile either, I resort to throwing flasks of oil. These do a somewhat respectable amount of damage at level 1, I believe 2d6. For reference, I think Magic Missile does 3d4 (slightly better than 2d6 and also always hits, unlike my inaccurate flasks), so I'm still working at an expensive disadvantage here.

After some of this, my inventory fills up, and I quit dancing on the stairs and sell some unidentified stuff.



...but it is not without some unavoidable losses.



Now here was something pretty stupid. There was a white worm mass next to the stairs when I went down once, and I decided to see just how ugly a melee fight would be. After all, I probably wouldn't die in one hit, and I could always just walk back up the stairs! Well, except for one thing: their attacks are poison branded, which I'd forgotten. I forgot to take a screenshot of the worms (this is kind of why I'm doing this as a practice LP run, so I don't forget such things while playing NetHack). Rincewind doesn't have enough HP to survive a bout with poison, so I do the only thing I can: drink the one unidentified potion in my inventory. Miraculously, it seems to turn out to be Neutralize Poison.

That's Rincewind all over, really. Just enough luck to not die in lethal situations.



Stupid mistakes aside, my tactic of smashing oil all over my enemies is profitable to reach level 2! Level 2 increases my HP by a whopping 50%!

Except that 50% here means 4, so it is not actually whopping.



This is the point where I remember that I still haven't bought a shovel. Oh well. That's the first thing I do upon returning to the town.



Now, here's the thing. I need to be able to restock my supply of Flasks of oil, but the general store will only carry so many. In order to get them to resupply, I go down to the dungeon, rest for ~1000 turns, and then come back up. This is about how long you need to stay in the dungeon before the store changes its stock. Later in the game, you can use this tactic if you want the alchemist's store to stock a restoration potion you really need, or, even later, get the black market to shuffle out its wares if you've got a lot of money to spend and want something great.

Some people frown on such tactics, but I think Rincewind needs everything he can get.



Oh, 31 pebbles on the ground? That'll be just as good as 31 American Unobtainables. Feh. This sort of thing is kind of unavoidable with this build, though. Mages get the Identify spell at a stupidly early stage, so the developers compensated by not giving them any pseudo-ID at all. For those of you who don't know what pseudo-ID is, go read Let's Play Angband. (By carrying around unidentified equipment, most classes can get a feeling about how worthwile it is. Mages are the only class that cannot.)

At least my shovel's letting me earn more money.



Now that I have some more money, it's just about time to upgrade my armor. I can't use Flasks of oil (soon supplanted by archery) forever; I'll need to be able to melee to keep going. The Leather Scale Mail is out of my reach, though.



I took this screenshot just to be thankful, at the moment, that this game doesn't have the mechanics of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. If it did, attempting to go downstairs to escape from this Battle-scarred veteran would let him get a free hit in and let him follow me down into the dungeon. That would probably be a game over.



Oh? A prayer book? Well, I guess I can sell it, at leas

Last edited by dtsund; 02-14-2010 at 09:55 PM. Reason: Need to explain the funny walls
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  #71  
Old 02-14-2010, 06:30 PM
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What.

Okay, as you may recall, spell and prayer books both come in two flavors. First, there are the initial four books in each school, which can be bought in stores and are also subject to being burned. Then there are the five other, 'themed' books in each school, which can only be found in the dungeon (or, very occasionally, the black market). These are more valuable, and contain spells and prayers centered around a theme. This is one of the themed prayer books, containing prayers centered around teleportation (Blink, Teleport Self, Teleport Other, Teleport Level, Word of Recall, and Alter Reality). It is, simply put, very much out of depth.

It's useless to me, so I sell it:



for more Androgynous Unmentionables than Rincewind can even count! Now what should I get with my money?



First, I buy a Wand of Stinking Cloud, in case I need to do some emergency crowd control.



But before I buy anything else, I meet Farmer Maggot! Rincewind had heard that he carries something useful, so he pleads to him to give it to a poor, reluctant adventurer.

Unfortunately, the farmer is quite clearly insane, doing nothing but mumble about mushrooms and dogs. Rincewind, desperate, starts threatening him with the dagger, but even hitting him has no effect on his ramblings.



Eventually, his random meandering happens to take him on a path away from Rincewind. He gives chase.



Only to see the mad farmer die of a heart attack shortly after. Well, Rincewind did hit him right before, but it's probably safe to say he could not have actually caused it given his attacking capabilities.

One quick Scroll of Identify later, and...



...eh. Oh well, it's better than nothing. I swap out my dagger for this.



And here's the other thing I was going to buy! This, plus an upgrade to Leather Scale Mail, brings my equipment up to a more respectable level:



With 29 AC and a better weapon, I just might be able to melee enemies now. And indeed I can; one of the first things I do, upon entering the dungeon, is slaughter a pack of Jackals with my Tulwar.



Emboldened by my success, I go running right at something else that looks just like a Jackal, until I notice the collar around its neck. And the almost rabid ferocity. Apparently, this dog is just as deranged as its master, and I'm forced to drink my only Potion of Speed in order to beat it. And this is with me staying out of melee, too; run away when it gets close, and hit it with ranged attacks.



At least I get some good experience out of it, and a level! Five more HP come with the level, bring me to an almost respectable total (not really).



And now that I don't have to play as cautiously, level 4 and an additional 7 HP come soon after. By now, I'm actually strong enough to fully explore the first level of the dungeon, so that's nice.



With the proceeds obtained from further exploration, I buy some Scrolls of Enchant Weapon To-Dam so I'll have to spend less time hitting enemies, so they'll have less time to hit me. I also make sure to have some Potions of Cure Light Wounds on hand, as well as some Scrolls of Phase Door. At some point, I also stopped using Flasks of oil in favor of a bow, but I don't remember when I made the switch.



I don't feel like I'm ready yet for level 2, so I decide to stay on level 1 for now until I get maybe another level or at least some more enchantments on my equipment. I find this Potion of Speed to replace the one I used fighting Fang, so that's nice. Unfortunately, the Random Number God had other plans for my exploration, and I fell through a trap door almost immediately after grabbing that potion.



And the first thing I see is this Novice rogue. I shoot some arrows at him, read one of my Phase Door scrolls, and shoot more arrows, enabling my victory. I was honestly kind of nervous about him, since I really didn't know how strong these things are in comparison to my puny mage.

After this encounter, I start trying to make my way to the surface, since I didn't bring any Word of Recall scrolls with me (not having anticipated going all the way to level 2) and I didn't want to linger here just yet.
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Old 02-14-2010, 06:32 PM
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I reach level 5 by obtaining the single EXP from picking a lock. 7 more HP are had.



After fully exploring level 1, I make for the only set of up stairs generated on the level, and find this nasty sight. Those (r)ats are in explode mode, and I can't fight them without wasting my wand; I just run right for the stairs.



Next time I go into the dungeon, I decided to go all the way down to level 2, where I encountered the twin brother of Fang. I drink my Potion of Speed and take him down, but after doing so I realized that it was kind of a waste to use it there. Those levels certainly made a difference!



No, it actually would have been better served against this Novice warrior. This guy proves that Rincewind still isn't really capable of just killing things with his Tulwar, forcing him to drink a healing potion and also use a Scroll of Blessing for an extra edge. I didn't even get anything especially good for beating him either, so I was kind of operating on a monetary loss there.

Killing a Crow gives me level 6, but I accidentally cleared the screen before I took a screenshot. It was underwhelming, though, with only 2 HP. Seriously, what the heck.



Well... this isn't good. A Novice mage and (I think) a Novice priest walked into the room right after I killed the Crow, and the mage cast Blind on me.

Firing arrows blindly in the direction from which they came takes care of one of them, which, when my vision returns, turns out to have been the priest. Before the mage can get the jump on me again, I zap him with my Wand of Stinking Cloud a couple of times, and



Crisis averted. The rest of the floor passes without notable incident.



Huh, a good level feeling. This is an unusually good feeling to get on level 1; I'll want to explore this floor fully, even if I'd previously intended to just run straight to the surface (I hadn't intended this, but still). I hope it's not an artifact I can't claim making this feeling...



If this had happened to me at character level 1, I'd have died instantly.



Good grief, another themed book on the first floor. Well, I guess I know what caused this feeling now! In case you're curious, the spells in it are Resist Cold, Resist Fire, Resist Poison, Resistance (grants resistance to fire, cold, electricity, acid, and poison), and Shield (+50 AC!). Too bad I can't actually get any use out of this, but it'll sell well. And sell well it does, earning me 6600 gold! Armed with this loot, I decide to check out the black market...



Most of the stuff there either doesn't terribly interest me or is out of my price range, but that Ring of Damage (+13) gets snapped up as soon as I make sure there isn't anything critical in any of the other stores.

I also buy a Recall scroll, some Identify scrolls, and other odds and ends (arrows, food, etc.).

Finally, and most embarassingly, I sell one of the potions I thought was Neutralize Poison from earlier, just to get it properly identified. It turns out to be Sleep, and I just didn't know it because Gnomes have inherent Free Action. The poisoning must have worn off the same turn I drank it; I had wondered why the thing wasn't identified when I used it to cure poison.



As an afterthought, I also use one of my new Identify scrolls to ID a pair of gloves I'd found in the dungeon, and hey! They're enchanted. Those go on immediately. Usually Mages won't want to wear gloves, since they interfere with spellcasting, but Rincewind isn't any good with magic anyway.



I also gain a second level from lock picking. I wasn't even actively trying to level up this way, seriously. Rincewind's max HP increases by 6, so that's better than last time.



I also decided to venture all the way down to level 3, feeling that I might just be ready for it. That ring quickly proved to be a good investment, letting me cruise through all the enemies I meet.



Noticing a preponderance of non-granite walls, I read a Scroll of Treasure Detection, and discover that there is indeed a lot of money to be had. This is kind of the best time to read these scrolls; treasure tends to be buried behind walls you can easily dig through. I can get most of it, even if it's a somewhat boring (haha!) process.

Now, what could make the dungeon level more interesting?



Ah. That would do it. I open by shooting some arrows at this poor, elf-touched wretch, but he mostly shrugs them off despite my ring. Once he gets close, I phase into the room with a scroll, but he catches up to me again.
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Old 02-14-2010, 06:34 PM
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I take out the Kobold shaman (k) with a single arrow, then start firing my wand in the vicinity where I think Smeagol is.



But he catches up to me again, and I phase into the hallway. Hopefully this'll keep him bottled up for more arrows if he chases me. I drop a Scroll of Detect Invisible by the entrance to the tunnel, so that when he goes in and picks it up I'll know he's there. Despite my efforts, he once again catches up to me and this time he teleports away. I saved my money, though.



I soon catch up with him again, though, and this time, I just start hitting him with my Tulwar. My luck proves pretty good (perhaps because of my AC?), and Smeagol has a lot of trouble hitting me. I use some Scrolls of Blessing to further beef myself up a bit. As long as he doesn't hit me, he can't try to steal money and teleport...



Just a bit more damage...



Oh no you don't. You're not going anywhere. I shoot the last of my arrows at him, use the last of my Stinking Cloud charges, and Smeagol turns to fight. One more melee hit later, and



Victory! Let's see what he dropped.

...some money (41 AU), a bunch of the arrows I shot at him, and a Scroll of Detect Invisible. Wonderful. I remember when I used to get good drops from Smeagol. Those were good times.

Well, I'll be honest. When I started this, I thought it'd be just a quick life, haha, look at how easily he died. But no, he had to go and live long enough to kill Smeagol. I... really wasn't expecting this. If nothing else, this shows that Rincewind might well be in it for a relatively long haul, though I'd be surprised if he even lived to see a hound. At any rate, this seems like as good a time as any to retire the fellow.



Farewell, Rincewind. You did good. Better than I thought you would. May my next NetHack character do as well as you.




Anyway, what I'd like right now is some criticism. Was there anything I glossed over too much, or spent too much time on? Too many screenshots, or not enough? These are things I'd like to get straight before I start my real LP, so please let me know if there's something I could improve about my style.

Last edited by dtsund; 02-14-2010 at 06:47 PM.
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  #74  
Old 02-14-2010, 06:41 PM
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ASCII games are a hard sell. Hell, even I cringe a bit at seeing them, and I'm a Dwarf Fortress aficionado. If there's any sort of graphical overlay for the game's visuals available, I suggest you use it. Otherwise, lots of people will have their eyes glaze over and they won't read the text you've written at all since the screenshots are so distracting.

Other than that, it seems competent enough.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:14 PM
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Let's Micro-LP Sid Meier's Covert Action

Civilization 5 was recently announced. On the official website, they tout being one of the best selling franchises of all time, with some 9 million copies sold. What they don't tell you is how it all started. Early in Sid Meier's career, he created this quirky little game where you play as a CIA agent, traveling the world, foiling terrorist plots. From this game, Meier coined the "Covert Action Rule"



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid Meier
The mistake I think I made in Covert Action is actually having two games in there kind of competing with each other. There was kind of an action game where you break into a building and do all sorts of picking up clues and things like that, and then there was the story which involved a plot where you had to figure out who the mastermind was and the different roles and what cities they were in, and it was a kind of an involved mystery-type plot.

I think, individually, those each could have been good games. Together, they fought with each other. You would have this mystery that you were trying to solve, then you would be facing this action sequence, and you'd do this cool action thing, and you'd get on the building, and you'd say, "What was the mystery I was trying to solve?" Covert Action integrated a story and action poorly, because the action was actually too intense. In Pirates!, you would do a sword fight or a ship battle, and a minute or two later, you were kind of back on your way. In Covert Action, you'd spend ten minutes or so of real time in a mission, and by the time you got out of [the mission], you had no idea of what was going on in the world.

So I call it the "Covert Action Rule". Don't try to do too many games in one package. And that's actually done me a lot of good. You can look at the games I've done since Civilization, and there's always opportunities to throw in more stuff. When two units get together in Civilization and have a battle, why don't we drop out to a war game and spend ten minutes or so in duking out this battle? Well, the Covert Action Rule. Focus on what the game is.
I personally LOVE me some Sid Meier games and I really respect him as a game designer, however I don't completely agree with him on his analysis of Covert Action. I do think his rule has served him well over the years (obviously). My goal is to show off the basic elements of what is a very open ended game and hopefully you all can make your own judgements on the Covert Action Rule.



The game lets you practice each of the four basic mini-games that make up the bulk of the game play. We'll be going in order of last to first so that when I do a normal game, you'll know what we're looking at.



First is electronics. This is mainly used to tap phones and trace cars. The goal is to cut the flow of electricity off from the phone icons without rerouting it into any alarms. The chip at the bottom of the screen is in your hand and you can swap chips with any of the highlighted chips on the board that don't have a grey outline (which includes every chip on the last column always).



The electricity flow pretty much follows the lines on the chips. The one in my hand now is slightly different. The broken line means that electricity will flow out of the right if none is coming in from the left. When you supply power to the broken line, it cuts the flow of electricity coming out of the right. In the image above, I'm going to place the chip in my hand into the highlighted position. this will cause the top right switch chip to go from the "on" position to the "off" position and turn on one of my phone icons.



The highlighted and in hand chips are great for when you have power coming in from only one of the two lines. If you have the correct chip avaliable on the board, you can cut the flow of power completely, which will free up more chips you can move without consequences, and hopefully will free up some more phone icons. Just make sure not to cut the power to a switch chip that is keeping an alarm from ringing.



I've swapped a low splitter chip for a high splitter chip from the last image and I'm going to put it into the highlighted location to cut power to both the 2nd and 3rd phone lines, which will solve 4 of the 6 phone lines with still 7 minutes to spare.



The last two are tricky b/c power is coming in from both the top and bottom. I've fliped around a straight chip for a high splitter. I want to cut the power to that chip, but I can't cut the power to the lower side because that power is keeping the bottom right switch chip from triggering an alarm. So, I want to leave that low route alone and focus on cutting the upper route.



The problem with that thinking was that I needed a high merger chip (two lines merge into one on the higher path) and there wasn't one avaliable, so I flipped a low splitter (the one now in my hand) with a straight chip to cut the power to that circuit without triggering the alarm.

And that's basically the jist of electronics. You basically unravel an electronic knot. I played on a difficulty of 2/4. Higher difficulties have more tangled webs of circuits and more chips that are soldered down so you can't move them, and the time limit is reduced. I actually had a bit of a tough time with this one for a moment and only had a minute to spare.
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  #76  
Old 04-08-2010, 08:17 PM
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Next is Cryptology. Bad guys know the CIA listens to their comuniques, so they use a simple letter substitution cypher. Any letter can stand for any other letter without a pattern and a single letter may have more than one substitution, since every letter of the alphabet is used in the cypher, and your typical coded message does not use every letter of the alphabet.



On the 2nd difficulty, punctuation is omitted, but spaces are left intact, which means a single Q by itself is an easy place to start. Knowing that the coded messages in this game are typically from a representative of an organization to his minions, the pronoun, I, is less common. So, I deduce Q=A.





Next, I notice several instances of either VA or VG. I decide V could be either an I or and O, so I guessed V=I. There is no penalty for guessing and sometimes a quick trial will result in new easy words to figure that confirm your guess.



Next I notice QYC=A_ _. Also on the left side of the screen, I see C is the most common letter in the cypher, which means it is quite likely a common letter like E. So Y=R and C=E.



The next two substitutions comes from playing the actual game. Common phrases are repeated in the game. _ERE _ERE is a dead give away for the line, "WISH YOU WERE HERE" So X=W and L=H.



Completing the WISH YOU WERE HERE line, and this cypher is all but solved. I can see several other catch phrases like "Having a wonderful time in (city name)" and "How is (city name) this time of year"



The whole "wish you were in tel aviv, how is tel aviv this time of year" is a result of how the game works to build a case and these messages. Like most of Sid Meier's games they feature incredible replayability because the game is not always the same. Covert Action builds random crimes based on a library of variables. So, the game pulls those variables to build a coded message. If the sender and reciever are in the same city, the catch phrases don't always make a lot of sense, but its better than loading up the game and knowing exactly what the crime and who the participants are because you've played it before.

On higher difficulties, spaces are omitted. At that point the single letter word is either A or I trick doesn't work. My best strategy is to find a repitition of three letters where the last letter of the three is the most common letter in the cypher, which gives you THE most likely. Higher difficulty Crypto is a bit easier in the actual game because you typically know some of the who and where information (like TEL AVIV in this one was tough b/c I wasn't thinking of a city name at first).
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:22 PM
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This third mini game is driving. I hate it personally. In an actual game, you don't always know the location of a hideout, so you might have to tail someone back to their hideout. The problem I have is that you can get that same information with, in my opinion, less hastle with combat or electronics (same mini game, but you are placing a tracer on the car instead). Even if you succeed in tailing someone, they might not go to the hideout you are looking for and it wastes time. Also when you pull up at an unknown building, you don't know who's hideout it is until you break in or phonetap, which costs more time. I almost always avoid driving in favor of more reliable ways of finding locations, which I'll show you in the combat overview.



You get to pick 2 out of 4 cars. I don't know the controls for how to speed up, so I ignore the speed value. I have no idea what handling does. Conspicuousity (say that 3 times fast) and the TRACKING indicator, which is on all of these cars but is not usually are all that matter to me, and they usually have little to do with the picture of the car. I want my car to be as unconspicuous as possible while still having at least one car with (tracking).



These two look good.



Now we're on the main driving screen. the left panel is the city map. the bottom right is a zoomed in view and the top right is your instrument panel. the pink dot is the guy you are trying to keep an eye on. The two green cars are your cars, which you can switch control of at any time.



I had to make my 2nd car turn onto a side street. When you blatanty follow the target for a couple blocks, he gets suspicious and your car turns red. If you don't break line of sight with the target, you'll spook him and he will not go to the hideout. My 2nd car is more conspicuous, so I'll be using it one street over to try and catch a glimps of the target if he turns onto a side street.



As you can see my 1st car is now red. I quickly throw on my left turn signal and the car veers onto the side street. This breaks all visual contact with the target. If we can't get a visual on him soon, we'll loose him and have to start over.



When you loose the visual, your target icon turns from pink to grey, indicating the last known location. This is where that (tracking) comes in handy. You may have noticed above the F on the dashboard are 4 arrows that blink. They are the magic (tracking) that indicate the general direction of your target. Given the Last known location and the tracker, I make a right with my green car, but not with my red. If the target is down the street to the right, my red car will not have "cooled down" to green again and I'll risk spooking the target.



Of course I failed to realize the next block up is not a through street and I'm forced to go around the block, effectively negating the usefulness of car 2. Its all up to car 1 now and there's no sign of the target...



Thanks to (tracking), I know I'm going the right direction generally. Since I can't see the target on this street, i decide he might be a block up so I'm going to make a left and then an immediate right with car 1 and get car 2 on the street that car 1 is on currently. (this would be a lot easier with street names or landmarks or something...)



The screenshot caught the (tracking) blink when it was off, but in this case the northern car's southeast arrow is blinking and the southern car's north east arrow is blinking. This means my target is currently traveling on one of the north-south streets east of my current position.



Sure enough, car 1 spots the target and Car 2 prepares to make the left to keep an eye on him, but it wasn't needed as the target had just pulled up at his secret hideout. If I had been just a couple seconds slower, I would have lost this mini-game...

I have no idea what happens at harder difficulties. As you can probably tell I don't like driving, so I just avoid it, and most of the time, I don't need it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:27 PM
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Finally, we have the main course, Combat. If you hate all the other mini-games, you could pretty much ignore them and just use the combat game to get all your clues. It is the only one of the four that is mandatory in the regular game, so if you suck at the rest, just make sure you're good at this one.

The goal is to break into the hideout, incapacitate any guards (with rubber bullets or grenades(red)/gas nades(green)/stun nades(white)), gather evidence, and arrest a suspect if you have sufficient evidence.



Shown above is my standard loadout. You can pick up grenades off guards, bugs do the same thing as wiretaps, which i tend to do seperately, and the Uzi, although useful, isn't neccesary when you have a gas mask and gas grenades. The camera is needed to gather evidence as is the safe cracking kit. The vest lets you take 3 shots before you are incapacitated and captured. The motion detector will highlight guard movements on the mini map a la metal gear solid and lets you more easily set up traps and ambushes.



The first two rooms, a bathroom and lounge, had nothing of intrest unless you've got bugs. The Office I'm in now has several desks and file cabinets you can search for bits of evidence. As a general rule there will be more things to photograph than you have film, so save your sleuthing until you've explored everything.



Exploring a bit further and guard is between me and any further exploration. A couple quick rubber bullets and he's down. The longer you "aim" at a guard, which just means facing him without shooting, the more accurate your shot is, but if you wait too long, he'll shoot at you. My strategy was don't aim and spray bullets at him. Generally, you'll get a lucky shot before he fires. The down side is the racket will alert other guards (not actually a downside) and you'll burn through your 3 clips well before you've eliminated all the guards.



I mentioned Metal Gear earlier, but this particular CIA agent is a lot more James Bond than Snake. The strategy is to take out a guard and loot his nades until you have gas grenades. then you find a choke point that will funnel all the guards to you. Do something to alert them and drop a gas nade (the red square in the room on the map). Since I have the gas mask, I'm safe from the gas, but the guards stupidly walk in and faint after a few seconds. You can duck behind a desk and just come out and collect more grenades to keep the gas up. You can also throw a gas grenade through an open door to gas up the next room and knock out any guards waiting for you to walk into their crosshairs, pick up more grenades and all of a sudden your gun is pretty useless.



I've moved into the next room with my "gas and go" strategy, but I wanted to show you my avatar in the top left corner is wearing blue. He picked up a disguise off an incapacitated guard. This is just to show you stealth is an option, but most of the time, guards will see through it if you hang around them for long and a suspect will always see through a disguise immediately. But why bother when you can gather up enough grenades to smoke out the whole building...



I'm currently standing in front of a computer terminal in this shot. Each terminal yeilds one letter of a one time use password. Guess wrong, and the password resets. Even worse, any terminal you already checked will not give you another letter. These terminals are super useful if you know what to look for. If you type the correct password, you can type in something to look up a specific clue. This is what makes the Driving useless.

Here's the situation: you are in Washington D.C., at the Mafia hideout. you learn your suspect is in London at the Mafia hideout, but you don't know where that is. If you went to London, you could try to randomly tail people, then wiretap the building to find out who's it is and then rinse and repeat. Too random and time consuming. Just type in LONDON in a mafia hideout, and you'll get the location of the mafia hideout in london. Type an organization name to get their hideout in the same city. Type a person's name to get a clue about them specifically. I'm telling you, the terminal is key to getting high scores on each case. So, as soon as you are sure what the password is, you want to guess it, so if there are enough terminals, you might be able to get two searches in one building.



These red guys, called a floor safe is what you brough the safe cracking kit and saved your camera film for. If you have enough evidence to arrest a suspect, there is a chance a red safe may contain incriminating documents that will let you turn the suspect into a double agent. Double agents are worth double points compared to an arrest. In addition, if you arrest one suspect, the rest of the gang will know you're onto them and will go into hiding. A double agent lets you carry on your investigation without that risk. Even if you can't get the papers, floor safes typically yeild better clues than the random desks and file drawers.

Well, that's it for the practice runs. It was my plan to maybe do a quick run through a case or two to show you how these little mini games fit into the bigger crime solving game and where the Covert Action Rule comes into effect.

As this is my first LP, and kind of a practice run for me, feel free to coment on how I could improve, more or less detail. Also I'd love to hear if others have played Covert Action and agree or disagree with Sid Meier's assesment of one of his least sucessful games and his "Covert Action Rule" and how it has affected his game designs in future titles. Do you feel in general that the Covert Action Rule has helped Meier or has it limited him from exploring some posibilities in his other titles?
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:47 PM
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Red Hedgehog Red Hedgehog is offline
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Oh man. We played so much Covert Action in the middle school computer lab. Well, not really we since I never really learned the game so I mostly watched others played. But it was played a lot!
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:33 AM
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I tried to play Covert Action but never had a manual and or the patience as a younger man to figure it out. Looks fun though
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:07 PM
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Yeah, I don't have a manual either. Most of my knowledge of the game is through trial and error. As far as controls that I know:

Electronics: arrow keys to move the highlighted chip. Enter to switch chips

Crypto: type the letter you want to substitute for, then the letter you want to sub in its place or space to clear a wrong guess.

Driving: Spacebar switches cars. Hit the arrow key in the direction you want to go (Up=North, etc). Otherwise, there has to be a speed up button, but I don't know it.

Combat: Num keys walk around. Arrow keys make you leap over furniture and land in a crouch, then you'll crawl using the arrow keys. 5 on the num pad will make you crouch. Space is shoot your gun. Enter is interact. F1 does the same thing. F2 is take a picture. I think grenades are F6-F8... somewhere in there.

Even after knowing that, like many of Sid Meier's games knowing what to do from there is really a matter of trial and error.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:21 AM
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Alright, this is it. First day on the job as a CIA special agent. No big deal. Just like any other place. Just remember, "Name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake."

Ok, this is the place... hm, doors locked. Looks like a security program. I hope the IT guys have my login already...



Well, I guess that's a no... I'll just enter the info myself... My name is not maximillian or maxine... what, do they think everyone at the CIA is a James Bond character... Ok, well, I'm a guy so.. Maximillian is as close as we're gonna get...

Oh, I get to pick a codename! Maverick! Dang, its taken... Iceman! Taken! ok, so they've seen Top Gun, theres lots of other cool codenames... 007. Oh, come on! Agnet 86 maybe... nope. How bout Inspector Gadget... too many letters. Well, since all the good ones are taken, I'll just use an old handle I had back in my college video game days...



There, that's done.



What is this? I sent in my resume. I'm a crack shot with a pistol and there's no computer or security system that I can't hack into. Did they even read my resume? Man, with this kind of employment verification, couldn't a terrorist just walk up and sign in... I'm sure there's some more security protocols... well at least this door is unlocked...

HOLY CRAP, A GIANT LOBSTER!



Ok, first, do you have some kind of terrible skin disease? Second, my name is not Remington. Why did I have to pick a codename if you just refer to me by this name that is not mine. (Serriously, the codename never comes up again.) Third, what the hell are you talking about.



Ah, got it. This is my mission, should I choose to accept it, which I apparently don't have a choice. You never introduced yourself by the way. Given that it appears you run this place and the appropriately vauge nameplate, I'll just call you Chief.

CHIEF: Got it? Good.

Man, no orientation meeting or anything? Do you have any more details to give me? I mean, I've got basically no experience...

CHIEF: We have indication that an operation is in preparation in Europe. The Libyan Emb. is known to be involved. Your mission is to prevent this operation from suceeding and capture as many of the participants as possible. Caution, one or more Double Agents are believed to be active within the CIA.

Well, I'm not suprised. I mean, I walked in here without as much as a background check and the Chief's office is right inside the door. With that kind of security, what do you expect? Ok, well, since you seem to be totally inept, I'll keep an eye out for any double agents.

CHIEF: Here is some info we've picked up over the last few days. We think its linked to this operation.

CLUES:





CHIEF: The rest is up to you. The President's counting on you, Max. Don't let us down.

Ok, I guess I'll find my own desk then... Better familiarize myself with the building. Maybe someone else here can be more helpful than our fearless leader with a bad sunburn.





First floor: Data Department. Looks like these paper pushers keep track of all the stuff we dig up. I can review the clues I have, suspects on the case, any inside information I dig up, get a summary of international news, and read reports on the various organizations, cities, and crime activity. Not much to do here until we have more clues...



Second floor: Intelligence Department. I can scan the local police reports for suspicious activity. I can also check with Interpol. If I had any active wiretaps, we could listen in on phone conversations. I could try to report on a double agent. Now, who is this Sam person?



OH MY EYES!! The skin tone, the sweater color... the hair... My God, woman, get a makeover! Right, you must be my personal assistant... I'll keep your suggestions in mind. I sure hope there are some better lookin dames here...



Top floor is Crypto... I have no coded messages or chronology, so I'll just leave this place. I guess its time to hit the streets, rough some people up and get some clues, so that some evil plot to rig an election in a foriegn country doesn't go down... probably because we're rigging it ourselves...
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  #83  
Old 04-11-2010, 07:25 AM
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I'm in our nation's capital. One of the clues mentioned someone with the Mossad and they have an active cel right here in Washington. I'll see if I can't squeeze some information out of them.



I'm an expert hacker, so lets do a wiretap and see what these terrorists are talking about...



This one isn't too tough. Most rows only have 1 of the 2 wires sending electricity through at some point. No switch chips. I should be able to use splitter chips to cut off power to each phone without any risk of setting off alarms.

Most of the chatter is useless. There is some talk of WASHINGTON, HASAN MERRICK, MOSCOW, KATARINA FILATOV, and I guess someone sent a picture message from their phone...



A couple of names to check up on, but not much there. We know Hasan is a member of the mossad, so maybe we can find some files on him inside...

The first room I come into after picking the lock has 2 floor safes. Good thing I brought my safe cracking kit... and look what was inside...



I now know the location of Hasan, but I need some evidence to arrest him. And I don't know the location of the mossad hideout in London.



The southeast corner of the building is a lounge wing. I was able to incapacitate a guard without setting of any alarms. I took his shirt to try an disgues myself... (though the gas mask, motion detector, safe cracking kit, and camera will be tough to explain...



They will suspect nothing! HAHA! I'M INVISIBLE!



These guys really need a better password than SECURITY... I remember Sam said Madrid was important. I'll type that in. Oh, man. Goggle Maps has the mossad terrorist hideout? Well, that's convenient.

Further investigation yeilds the names BOB BAADER, and PAT CAHILL.



SPECIAL is what this password system is. I know at this point that Hasan is in London, works for the Mossad and purchased an airline ticket and is somehow involved in this plot. I need to pay him a visit. Google Maps yet again provides the answer. Even the terrorists are networked these days... too bad there aren't any more terminals to hack another passoword from... Oh well. This location isn't directly related to this plot, so they don't seem to many clues related to it. I better pay Hasan a visit before the trail goes cold.

Oh God! I'm bleeding! I don't want to die!



AHH! DR. ZOIDBURG IS GOING TO EAT ME!! I'm feeling much better. I think I'll go for a walk now!...




London is our next destination. I'm getting as far away from that doctor as possible.



Well, I stopped bleeding and the airplane liquer has taken the edge off the pain. Better go check into the hotel, then over to our local terrorist hideout.



A quick wiretap is much more fruitful this time. Hasan is definitely here and we are quickly racking up evidence enough to put him behind bars.



Ah ha! I've intercepted a coded text message. I'll have to get the eggheads working on that ASAP.

(just an asside here. A coded message, once decoded will implicate the sender and reciever in the plot. No more evidence is needed to sucessfully arrest a suspect. Once a suspect is eligable for a suscessful arrest, red floor safes in the suspect's hideout have a chance of containing documents that can turn the suspect into a double agent, which is a good thing. I almost always wiretap because I get any previously sent or recieved coded messages and any that are sent in the future will be automatically intercepted).



Looks like their encryption is just about as good as their password system...
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  #84  
Old 04-11-2010, 07:27 AM
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A single D in the cypher on the 2nd to last row is an obvious A. That means DEE=ALL. DK is either AN or AS, but there are lots of double Ks in the cypher and S seems to fit that better. That means MK=IS. That means ZXMK=THIS and ZXP=THE.





I see in the middle we have the catch phrase "HOW IS LONDON THIS TIME OF YEAR" From here, the cypher is pretty much solved.




With this evidence, we have enough to put Hasan behind bars. I'll be looking for any floor safes to try and find something that might convince him to turn to a double agent...



Hasan, you vile character! I've got you in my sights. Don't do anything funny!

HASAN: My minions will make short work of you. I won't tell you anything!

You won't get away with this Hasan!
The bad news is he was right. Hasan had cleverly destroyed or moved out all floor safes in the building.
We take Hasan in for questioning. He claims to know nothing. When we show him the decoded message, he admits to participating in the plot.



HASAN: you may have captured me, however you'll never discover the identity of my superior.
We know that Hasan was a cog in the plan, but he was not the originator of said plan. Somewhere out there, there is a MASTERMIND. (aside: your actual goal in each mission is not just to foil the terrorist plot, but also to capture the mastermind)



Only one problem, Chief. Now the other participants will know the CIA is on to them if Hasan had not fulfilled his role in the plot. We now may be on a very strict timeline.



The obvious next step is to follow the evidence trail back to Katerina Filatov of the KGB in Belgrade.



I already know the KGB location in Belgrade, so we'll head there immediately.



Well, its been an action packed case so far. I'm going to check into my hotel.



Visiting the lounge might get me a random clue. As tempting as it is to sleep through the case, I figure I better do better than that on my first case if I want to keep my job. I am going to rest up for a bit and I'll continue my report soon.
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  #85  
Old 06-23-2010, 04:26 AM
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Alpha Werewolf Alpha Werewolf is offline
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So, It's been three months since the last post. I guess I can post here now, right?

Let's play Aero Flux!

Part 1
Part 2
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  #86  
Old 06-30-2010, 10:43 PM
MythrilMoth MythrilMoth is offline
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Hmm. This would SEEM to be the appropriate thread to post this in, but given the "maximum of twelve updates" rule, I'm not entirely sure...

But I'll post the first complete installment anyway, and then leave it to you all to judge where I should probably post this (or if I should bother at all).

I've decided to make a Let's Play type thingie for Pangya. I'm going to do one complete run for each course, and each run will be broken into two segments (possibly three on some of the harder courses). There are, at present, sixteen courses in the game, meaning sixteen episodes at least of this.

Here's the first installment:
Blue Lagoon, part 1
Blue Lagoon, part 2

EDIT And here's the next installment:
Pink Wind, part 1
Pink Wind, part 2

EDIT AGAIN Episode 3!
West Wiz, part 1
West Wiz, part 2

THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER EDIT: Episode 4, and now the real fun begins...
Lost Seaway, part 1
Lost Seaway, part 2

SON OF RETURN OF THE EDIT: THE REVENGE: Episode 5!
Ice Spa, part 1
Ice Spa, part 2

AND THEN IT ALL WENT TO HELL: Episode 6. Pardon the godawful mess that is the video quality on part two of this. >.<;;
Eastern Valley, part 1
Eastern Valley, part 2

Last edited by MythrilMoth; 07-11-2010 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Fifth installment posted, linking
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  #87  
Old 07-14-2010, 09:37 AM
MythrilMoth MythrilMoth is offline
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By the way, I realize my Pangya videos are a bit lackluster and don't really convey the "Let's Play" spirit. I plan to add annotations to the videos at some point, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

EDIT 7/16: I have now added annotations for all posted installments of "Let's Play Pangya". I think you'll find them to be an overall improvement to the series. Please take a look.

Last edited by MythrilMoth; 07-16-2010 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Update
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  #88  
Old 07-26-2010, 05:50 PM
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Loki Loki is offline
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Default Let's Play Daymare Town

Let's Play Daymare Town
Daymare Town is a game by Mateusz Skutnik.

You've discovered a journal (your score has increased by 1).



>read jounral
I'm sorry, I only understood you as far as wanting to read.

>oops journal

























You read to the end of the first entry. You learn of the existence of a strange city and the man who was trapped there.

>
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  #89  
Old 07-26-2010, 07:29 PM
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>read more





















You read the next entry and learn something of the nature of the town.

>

Last edited by Loki; 07-26-2010 at 07:47 PM.
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  #90  
Old 07-27-2010, 06:51 PM
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Shadax Shadax is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
>
This is incredible
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