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Comment Re:Not really new, folks... (Score 1) 87

Nice. I spent many hours messing around with POV-Ray on my old 400 Mhz Pentium II (and many more hours waiting for scenes to render...). Sadly I lost everything from that period when the drive crashed.

It's fun to look at mid-90's computer generated images and see how much has changed. I went through a folder of old Digital Blaspheme wallpapers (remember those?) a while back and they just look so quaint now.

Comment Re:You would think science could help (Score 1) 275

Yes, because everyone know, you have to mow down thousands of acres of trees to build a platform and processing area that is smaller than one acre in size...

Oh that's right, you basically don't destroy any trees to frack. Very empty headed logic, or you just don't understand the science behind drilling.

Comment Re:Might as well break the ice (Score 1) 342

For me, a lot of it comes down to time. If I decide I want to watch a movie, I don't really want to plan it out as an activity. I want to sit on my couch in something comfortable with a snack and take it in. What I don't want to do is: figure out when / where there is a showing that fits into my schedule; clothe myself appropriately for going out in public; transport myself to that location / find somewhere to park; stand in a line to be herded into a theatre; watch a half-hour worth of commercials (or try to show up after all the ads but risk not getting a good seat). As a side note, theatres should consider doing away with the front three or four rows: it's impossible to see the whole screen, it's uncomfortable to crane your neck in a manner that lets you even try to take in the whole thing, and forget about reading subtitles from that range. They'll happily take the same money from you as they would for any other ticked to sell you this horribly sub-standard "experience".

Comment Re:Google Page? (Score 3, Insightful) 197

Where's the Google page for this? I don't see it in the store or at /pixel.

It's at the adorable subdomain. Because of course that makes sense.

I'd also like to know why it's so difficult for Slashdot editors to include a link to the Google page. Shitty link farms like BGR obviously don't link back to Google but it would be nice if Slashdot would hold itself to a higher standard.

Comment Re:... pretty much got what I expected ... (Score 1) 261

Not kidding. It's hard to know what tech blueprints are left, though, because you don't have any in-game list of them to refer to. I know I have all the ones for suit and ship and tool, but materials and some of the other ship components are more mysterious. Example: I had Atlas Pass 1 and 3, but not 2. I got 2 last night. You're right, I do have a lot of grind tolerance, and I do like crafting games. In a way, this game is a great grinder because there's a lot to see along the way, but grinding without an outlet (like making and selling) reaches a point of stale-ness. It might be cool if one could re-hab derelict spacecraft and sell them on the galactic market, maybe, as an outlet for the grind.

Comment ... pretty much got what I expected ... (Score 4, Informative) 261

I've got about 140 hours in on PC, and I may be at the crest of what I can do. I've got my suit and tool and ship maxed out for inventory, with suit and ship maxed out with upgrades. Some 20,000,000 units in the bank. Learned 2 of the 3 alien languages (halfway through the last one, by now). I'm pretty much down to achievements at this point, and jumping from system to system. Visually, it's got a lot of appeal. It's pretty soothing to play -- a bit like "Endless Ocean". I didn't really expect to get great spaceflight mechanics or anything like that. I pretty much grind out on burglarizing Operations Centers and Manufacturing Facilities, looking for new tech blueprints to make a handful of technologies and materials I don't already have ... and learn that last language. It's beginning to get a little dull.

So what's it missing?

  • Well, the NPC aliens are pretty much finger-puppets that iterate through a set of 4-5 interaction templates and then repeat them. They don't walk around anywhere or appear outside of the stock set of buildings.
  • The economy is pretty simple and even though it is nominally "galactic", you can't find or buy everything at trade terminals. There is seemingly no influence of supply or demand in it.
  • The animal life is kinda cool to watch and interact with. There ware some truly bizarre creatures out there. But, your only interaction paths seem to be feed and or shoot 'em. It gets tiresome just running around scanning them to 'collect them all'. I've only seen worlds with about a dozen or so animals, so it's not terribly rich.
  • The flora is pretty much static, but there are some grassy worlds where there's a lot of movement in the terrain, but it's simplified down to just the grass that moves, and everything moves together at the same time in a somewhat unsettling rocking oscillation that I can't handle for more than 5 minutes at a time. There are other games like Crysis where the wind will move leaves in the trees, or your shots will blow away branches on the trees, but we have no detail like that.
  • There's a flimsy-yet-huge quest string (Atlas) that is casually interesting, but it seems to crop up randomly to remind you that it's there. There's no notion of one thing or achievement or activity that leads you to seek out the next. There are no real side paths and the NPCs don't seem to be involved in any quest activity. It'd do well to have a bunch of quest strings, like a hundred per planet and a hundred per system (maybe rated by difficulty?) that you could sink into.
  • Each planet is a starter-world. That is, if you started the game afresh, everything you need to max everything out is pretty much right there on that first planet. Yeah, there are variations that force you to leave for other worlds (like toxic atmospheres and/or aggressive sentinels) to advance completely or get new materials, but once you have everything maxed out, 80 percent of all buildings and their loot or capabilities become so useless that they can be ignored. I don't even pick up random loot anymore to sell, because I don't have any way to spend the money and no use for the random crap, regardless. When you have all the upgrades, there's nothing left to build.
  • It just seems to lack a lot of rich creative content. I'd like to see more ship types, to have the ability to customize the appearance of the ships, too. I'd like to see and maybe build unique buildings. It would be great if I could build my own settlement or compound and be able to advertise it for visitors. Crafting for different types of suit skins and color schemes or ship types would be welcome .. anything you could sell as a finished thing. There just need to be more aliens, everywhere... outside walking around, harvesting resources, sleeping under trees, hunting creatures, visiting monoliths and ruins, shopping at trading posts, drinking in pubs, playing holographic monopoly or something. I've never run into a settlement that has more than three aliens and each one is confined to a different building. I get attacked all the time as I'm moving between planets in a system, but not once have I been attacked by aliens when roaming on foot (or flying over the surface of) a planet.

In sum, I think the framework is there onto which a lot of stuff can be built. The basics have been hung on that framework. More stuff needs to be hung on it, and quests that describe the lore and stories behind and with that stuff needs to be included. It's a big sprawling universe and it's too empty and quiet and dull once you've advanced through the basics. Level one has been great, but I'm done with the tutorial and I'm not seeing the next level. If the makers wanted the open universe to be a blank slate onto which I can make or live my own in-game story, the universe needs to have the tools for me to make that story and decorate the setting to suit... the models are out there... second life, the sims, StarWars Galaxies, EVE. They're such a small shop (less than 20 people or something?), and creative talent for story and artwork and the tools development to gird those efforts is probably not an easy reach. This is the cost of fast and light, I guess. I'm optimistic that it will fill in over time, or that a sequel will handle the next generation of the game, but I sense that I'm almost done with it.

Comment Re:No return trips? (Score 1) 497

Ever heard of Apollo 11? Yeah, that was pretty much a suicide mission. Nixon had several speeches prepared to deliver to the nation covering the myriad of possibilities for failure.

Apollo 11 was not a suicide mission. It was dangerous as all space missions are, and the astronauts were heroic, but Nixon's speeches were simply a matter of planning for contingencies so that in the event that something went wrong they wouldn't be caught unprepared.

A mission where success is physically possible, and especially when estimates for a safe return exceed 50%, is not a suicide mission. Sending people to Mars without sufficient resources for them to return or subsist on the planet indefinitely -- that's a suicide mission. Give them enough fuel and the mechanisms required to return to orbit and make the trip back to Earth? That's a dangerous, but still ultimately survivable mission.

Comment Re:With his own money? (Score 1) 497

sending people to a dead rock to try to see if they can survive is fine for a Bear Gryllis episode

Yeah, as much as I'd like to see Bear figure out how to drink his pee in a space suit, before filming could commence they'd have to send a crew over to build a Marriott on Mars. Probably isn't worth the hassle.

Comment Re:Other People's Playlists (Score 1) 64

I'm surprised so many people want to listen to playlists that somebody else made.

It's the new radio. Even when I used to make mixtapes and mix CDs in school, I'd eventually get tired of listening to the same things and turn to the radio to get some variety.

I love the idea of a radio station -- a curated playlist that fits within a general theme and evolves over time. That's what I'm very often looking for in music, and it's why I still listen to the radio in my car. I get tired of single albums or trying to manually create large and diverse playlists. It's also why I use still Pandora. I have a few stations which seem to work fairly well, although it does seem to get pretty repetitive, and I'm wary of adding new seed artists due to fears of ruining what I've got currently.

That said, I abhor advertising and don't tolerate it in any quantity. I can subscribe to Pandora but when a radio station starts playing ads I change stations. If all of my usual stations are on commercials, I mute the volume and enjoy the silence for a while. At least mixtapes never had that problem (well, unless you forgot to hit the Stop button while recording! :)

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Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"