[SW] Monster Hunter Rise by ChevRage on 17 Sep 2020 17:20


Announcement Trailer

Gameplay Overview

A huge step back from World's visuals, but that's not surprising considering it's on the Switch. Most of the hills look like big rock outcroppings with the green painted on (maybe it's set in China), and there's little plant life compared to World's lush greenery. At least it doesn't look like a PS2 game I guess (I was still half expecting it to look like one lol).

Looks like they've doubled down on the verticality with the addition of a glorified double jump, wall-running and what looks like BotW-style climbing. There's also a new dog companion/mount that follows you into battle alongside those cats, and what they said about stamina suggests that maybe you can control them whilst mounted, which would be nice. The mounts added in World's Iceborne update were basically a taxi service.

Still not seeing blood though, which is a shame.

March 26, 2021.

D&D: Deals & Discounts (Games) by Beakman on 16 Sep 2020 20:26

X-Morph Defense Complete Edition [ > ] is 85% off on GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/xmorph_defense ... te_edition

[PC] [ONE] [PS4] [SW] X-Morph Defense by Beakman on 16 Sep 2020 20:20

https://www.gog.com/game/xmorph_defense ... te_edition
https://store.steampowered.com/app/4084 ... h_Defense/

Never heard of this before. From a Polish studio comes this 2017 tower defense game, but the first thing that came to mind when seeing the trailers was a modern take on Herzog Zwei. It's not quite that, but it has split-screen co-op.

Its procedural destruction looks pretty cool! Better than any RTS that I can think of. I'm looking forward to trying it on Parsec.



X-Morph: Defense Announcement Trailer

X-Morph: Defense Tailer

X-Morph: Defense - Co-op gameplay in South Africa

X-Morph: Defense - Boss fight in South Africa

Starting instructions by icycalm on 16 Sep 2020 03:08

A quick note on where we are.

The Dark Sun starting adventure choices have been prepared for a while now, but the Pathfinder ones have taken dan and me a lot longer to sort because there are tons of them. But now we're just about done. Only one detail remains to be sorted, and then I can create the "app" pages for all groups on the site, and they can take their pick, and we can move on. I plan to do this tomorrow, but it might take me an extra day, we'll see. After that things will start moving much faster, as we'll be rolling characters and getting acquainted with FGU. We're still very much on track to play the first sessions before the end of the month. I'll have more news soon.

D&D Motivational Posters by Archonus on 14 Sep 2020 19:30

A little something to keep us motivated!






Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by Some guy on 13 Sep 2020 14:18

Game 11
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: AGENTX v Robomoo

Video Capture (hardware and software) by ChevRage on 13 Sep 2020 08:48

A sweet feature ysignal recently pointed out to me is the ability to have multiple profiles saved to OBS, each of which can have different stream keys saved. It's very useful if you switch streaming between Twitch channels often like I do. Just make a couple of new ones, rename both and then make sure that each has a different Twitch key applied via the settings, then all you'll need to do is switch between them instead of constantly changing settings.


Planetary Annihilation: Titans recordings by Agentx on 13 Sep 2020 04:58

Figured this is a good way to share some of the recorded PA multiplayer sessions that weren't otherwise streamed, as well as any other games or clips in the future.

Planetary Annihilation TITANS with Agentx and Ciaróg VS Archonus, ChevRage and schadenfreude

Planetary Annihilation FFA with Agentx (POV), Ciaróg, schadenfreude and ysignal.

This team game ended when the game froze and we couldn't unpause. A real shame, we were having a great time on the old CULT planet.
recoil, Robomoo, Some guy, schadenfreude VS Archonus, Agentx, ChevRage, Ciaróg.

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by ChevRage on 12 Sep 2020 13:48

Game 10
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: ROBOMOO v Some guy

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by ysignal on 12 Sep 2020 12:34

Game 9
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: CHEVRAGE v recoil

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by ChevRage on 12 Sep 2020 11:53

Game 8
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: RECOIL v Some guy

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by recoil on 12 Sep 2020 11:05

Game 7
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: Agentx v CHEVRAGE

Changing settings by icycalm on 11 Sep 2020 03:21

So Spelljammer has been an obvious possibility of a link from D&D to science fiction, but up to now I hadn't been aware of any official attempt to make the link. When I mentioned above about adding Earth- and sci-fi-based settings to D&D, I was merely mentally exploring the possibility, but now I learn that it's already been done. There's an entire Pathfinder Adventure Path (that is, six linked adventures that take you from level 1 to near max level) that does just that, and it's even one of the most well-regarded ones, called Iron Gods.



So the link already exists. The Spelljammer map already has the Pathfinder planet in it, and since Pathfinder has an adventure path with spaceships, the link is done. So what we're gonna do is use the Iron Gods AP the same way we'll use the original Ravenloft adventure: once someone tackles it, it will unlock science-fiction in the Battlegrounds universe. However, I am in no hurry to do this before we've played for a long time and feel comfortable with D&D rules before adding sci-fi ones. So the Iron Gods AP will remain hidden until we're ready to add sci-fi. But it will happen eventually.

And I just realized why Pathfinder is the perfect setting to make the jump to sci-fi. It's in the setting's art style. Look at this dude for a sec:


Doesn't he already seem a step away from sci-fi? Like he wouldn't seem awkward wielding a laser-sword or something. The somewhat anime-leaning Pathfinder art style is just a step away from sci-fi.

D&D: Deals & Discounts (Games) by Beakman on 10 Sep 2020 02:02

Sid Meier's sale on GOG: https://www.gog.com/promo/20200908_sid_meier_sale

Everything is at least 70% off. Alpha Centauri is not on Steam.

Quests by icycalm on 09 Sep 2020 17:34

I've debated about this in my head for a long while, and I've finally come to a conclusion: each adventure will only be available ONCE in the D&D Battlegrounds universe. Once a group has tackled it, regardless of outcome, it's going away and never coming back.

This was a tough decision to make, because it'd be a shame, especially for the best adventures, to restrict them to a single group. Should only ONE group get a crack at Dragon's Crown? What if they die in the first few pages? So I was thinking of giving some adventures a second chance with alternate groups, especially if the adventures were failed early on by the first group, and the group got wiped so that they'll never meet the second group and have a chat with them and realize how weird it is that both of them went through extremely similar sets of circumstances.

In the end, I decided against it. Back in the early-'90s, I might have gone for duplication, but today it makes no sense. Yes, some adventures are incredible, and it'll be a shame to throw them carelessly away. However, there are simply SO MANY OF THEM by this point, that even with three groups playing, we would still take many years until we exhausted them. Moreover, by the time that happens I'll be ready to write my own, I am sure. I'll have studied these worlds inside and out, and I'll have thousands of pages of lore in my mind, written by experienced authors, waiting to be shaped into epic adventures by me (and by dan if he sticks around that long). So not only am I a good writer right now, but in five or whatever years' time I will also be a tremendously experienced DM, unlike the vast majority of DMs who write their own stuff who are both bad writers AND utterly inexperienced. And when I talk about "experience" I mean experience WITH PUBLISHED, PROFESSIONAL ADVENTURES, not experience in butchering the game by forcing your shitty improv plots on your poor players. The way almost all other DMs run the game, they NEVER gain experience no matter how many years they "play" (in quotation marks because they aren't really playing D&D, they are just collaboratively daydreaming).

So there you have it. In D&D Battlegrounds, whatever adventures you choose to play—or the dice may foist on you—will be uniquely yours. No one can control the dice, but you can control your choices, and your choices will matter. A lot.

Changing settings by icycalm on 09 Sep 2020 17:15

I don't have the full range of setting change mechanics yet. I have had just enough to get us started, and I'll keep adding to them from there. So far, I have had just the initial spawning table that runs on a 1d4:


2: Golarion (PATHFINDER)

3: Athas (DARK SUN)

4: Oerth (GREYHAWK)

As for the transitional settings, let me clarify something about Ravenloft: this setting won't be available until some group unlocks it by playing the original 1E Ravenloft adventure:


This is setting-agnostic and can be slotted into any setting (well, except weirdo settings like Dark Sun). As you can see, it requires fairly high-level characters, and lots of them: 6 at a minimum, and ideally up to 8. It is, in other words, a Co-op Quest, as defined in the Quests chapter, and requires that one of the parties has cleared an Epic Quest first, which requires that the party has cleared a Versus or Versus Adventure Quest, which means the party must have wiped another party AND cleared an Epic Quest. And how they are supposed to accomplish all that BEFORE hitting level 7 and thus becoming overleveled for the Ravenloft adventure, I don't know. Maybe I ought to make the requirements for the Co-op Quests less demanding. On the other hand, there are only a handful of such adventures, and they're damn awesome, so it makes sense to maintain high requirements for them. On the other OTHER hand, the Ravenloft setting proper has tons of fantastic adventures, so keeping all of them locked until some party somehow manages to beast its way to the Ravenloft adventure would be quite the bummer. I think I may have a solution for this though, and Ravenloft's infamous mists might be it. Basically, we just wait until a group rolls Ravenloft in the setting-switch table. However, the adventure isn't activated immediately. We simply wait until a second group rolls Ravenloft too. And then at the first available opportunity, both groups go to Ravenloft and tackle the adventure together. That would give us 10 players at current group sizes, which is considerably above the adventure's maximum of 8. However, since it's hard to get all 10 players on the same day anyway, all we need is two dropouts to play. And if there aren't any, we just roll to see which two people won't play for that particular day (and we invent an in-game reason for why the characters are unavailable).

The setting transition table will run on 1d20 and look something like this:

01-15: Planescape
16-19: Ravenloft
20: Spelljammer

I am putting Spelljammer at such a small percentage for a couple of reasons. First off, because I've never played or read anything of it, so just to be cautious at the start, I am trying to avoid it for the time being. But most importantly, I KNOW that it has very few adventures. So we can't use it for routine transitions, we need to reserve it for special occasions. Moreover, because we're talking about space, I am thinking of SOME DAY perhaps adding Earth in the form of the Vampire/Werewolf and Call of Cthulhu, and maybe even Cybperpunk RPGs, and other RPGs. Science fiction versus sorcery could be amazing if done right. Apparently, Witcher 3 includes a reference to the Cyberpunk universe, so it has already been done. Not sure it if's been done well or not though. In any case, there are possibilities, but very distant ones, and if we do them we will likely do them through the Spelljammer setting. So it makes sense to try to reserve that for a later time. Unless the dice demand that we play sooner, in which case we will comply.

The above is the roll that determines which TRANSITIONAL setting will be used to effect the setting change. After the Transition Quest (which is always chosen by the DM) has been completed, and assuming the players don't want to stay in the transition setting any longer, there will be another roll to determine the destination setting, and given the wealth of options, we'll go with 1d100. The choice of whether or not to activate setting change will be up to the players, but the actual setting they get will be random (unless they are in the middle of a Versus Quest, in which case it will be mandatory: their target group's setting). I've not finalized the table of setting change yet, but this is roughly what it will look like:

001-030: Abeir-Toril (FORGOTTEN REALMS, which includes several other lesser-known "settings" such as Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim et al. in the form of continents)
031-060: Golarion (PATHFINDER)
061-070: Oerth (GREYHAWK)
071-080: Athas (DARK SUN)
081-090: Eberron (EBERRON)
091-094: Alphatia (MYSTARA, which includes Hollow World)
095: Smaller misc. planets (GHOSTWALK, RAVNICA et al.; roll further to see which)
096-097: Aebrynis (BIRTHRIGHT)
098-099: Krynn (DRAGONLANCE)

The "Smaller misc. planets" category at 95 gets only 1% chance because there's almost no materials for these planets besides the campaign book. This book might include some small adventures, but it usually just has story hooks. So in these cases I will just have to create something with the available materials, but it will be a one-off pretty much. So we don't want these planets to be coming up often, which is why I gave them such a tiny probability.

Io (COUNCIL OF WYRMS) gets such a small chance because you can make dragons and half-dragons there. If a group gets there, I'll read the setting and figure out exactly how that will work. In all probability, only one player will get this option, and we'll figure out some way to determine who that will be. We might have to run a battle royale among the group lol. There can be only one! This will play into my bloodline/procreation mechanics. Getting a dragon in your bloodline will be the ultimate coup for any player. It would be worth butchering the rest of the party for it, unless you're Good, in which case we could have a Good vs. Evil/Neutral fight, and if the latter win, they can have their battle royale.

Krynn (DRAGONLANCE) gets such a small chance because it is a setting pretty much dominated by one saga of 12 epic 8-player adventures. This might well be the best adventure ever written, but it requires two groups to join up and stay together for months if not years. It might well be the ultimate D&D experience. Just like with the original Ravenloft adventure, it would be extremely unlikely that this saga would be activated by the normal Quest mechanics, so we're putting it on this table instead, and once two groups of appropriate levels have rolled the required numbers, they'll get the choice to tackle it.

Aebrynis (BIRTHRIGHT) gets a small chance too because it pretty much hands you a kingdom. So basically, if you roll above 95, you'll get something incredible, whether that be a crack at a kingdom—without having to build it brick by brick—or a crack at the ultimate adventure, or the ultimate challenge/reward of a crack at getting a dragon in your bloodline.

All the above is SUBJECT TO CHANGE, and especially the tables will most definitely be adjusted in the future, especially after playtesting. I already have a revised initial spawning table in mind, and I'll post it soon. We've already rolled on that table three times, and it's become clear to me that it needs a revision.

[PC] [XSX] [PS5] [ONE] [PS4] [SW] Black Legend by icycalm on 09 Sep 2020 15:54


This looks mighty fine.


Warcave wrote:
Dark Turn-Based Strategy combined with free level exploration set in a 17th century fantasy world.

Sounds like a WRPG to me, but perhaps the exploration is limited, otherwise their weird phrasing would make no sense. Why not just call it a WRPG if that's what it is?

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1094 ... ck_Legend/






Official Announcement Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cri4qViLjxk

Early 2021.

Pathfinder Second Edition by icycalm on 09 Sep 2020 07:48


http://rollforinitiative.blogspot.com/2 ... ition.html

Obiri wrote:
Pathfinder Second Edition

I was initially a bit disappointed to hear of the second edition. But after some thought I realized that Pathfinder 1 has some issues and maybe a new version could fix them up. After all in some ways Starfinder has made improvements over Pathfinder so it would just be a matter of finding the sweet spot between the two.

If you had asked me a month ago what I didn't like about Pathfinder my list would look something like this:

1. Christmas Tree Effect: Most classes need magic items to be effective. This is especially notable in that usually these items are usually the same for everybody. Cloak of resistance, Belt of physical stats, Headband of mental stats, ring of protection, amulet of natural armor and apparently a 6th item I'm forgetting.

2. After level 10 you are pretty much guaranteed success or failure. Pathfinder rewards specialization so you are either so good at a task you don't fail or the DC is so high you'd never bother to attempt it.

There are a few more but these are the big ones.

Starfinder does a pretty good job tackling my first issue. Stat booster items are rare and strictly limited. Most magic or tech items give you an ability you didn't have before and might let you do something cool like fly temporarily, or get a breath weapon. Power level of these items seems appropriate. Stat items are not needed because of the healthy increases every 5 levels.

Pathfinder 2E takes this limiting to a whole new level by introducing resonance. Each magical item usage costs resonance points on a per use or daily basis. I'm not really sure what problem this is trying to solve. CLW wands allow parties without a healer to function in 1E. Starfinder takes care of this issue with the Stamina/Rest system. 2E just nerfs healing altogether. Unless you have a cleric that wants to only use healing spells get used to having a short adventuring day. It seems like really poor game design to me and huge step backwards from everything they've done before. Not everyone should need a healbot in their party. It sucks when that healbot is you.

After seeing 2E's solution to point 2, I'm not so sure if it's a problem worth solving. In 2E optimizing really doesn't seem possible with the Beta rules. Your rates of success are always relatively fixed. There's really no sense of progression. You hit 50% of the time at level 1 and 50% of the time at level 20. The flip side of this is that even things you've never invested in at all you still have a 30% success rate.

For me part of the fun of 1E was coming up with a character concept and then digging through the myriad of splat books trying to find the right combination of options and bonuses to make it work. In 2E you can't do this. The classes are all very rigid and any sort of bonus is very rare and often limited to obscure situations.

A lot of the class options seem to fall into this area. You get a +1 bonus when performing this rarely used skill on the third full moon of the year. I think overall the power level of 2E is much lower than 1E. Most class options felt underpowered, rarely useful, or just bland and boring.

And why is everything a Feat?

Goblins as a player race? Really? Goblins, that eat dogs and children. Goblins that think written words are evil. How do they get a +2 to charisma? They are stupid little anarchist devils.

It's not all bad. I like the new action system. Bards, rogues and fighters all seem pretty good. The cleric seems like the strongest overall (probably to entice people to actually want to play a healer). The ranger options and weak and limited. Why anyone would play one is beyond me. So far they are this edition's Rogue. Paladin is pretty bad too. Alchemist is unplayable until they fix resonance. I haven't really looked at the druid. Barbarian seems ok but many of its options fall into the useless/corner case/boring categories. And Superstition, wtf were they thinking there? Being unable to use magic in exchange for a tiny bonus? The same applied in 1E but only when raging and the bonuses were good enough to make it worth the risk. This is just a terrible waste of page space.

Sadly that's what a lot of the options seem to be to me. A waste of page space. I seriously wonder if you took a level 10 character with no class feats (/ugh, shiver) and compared them to level 10 character with class feats and see the difference in performance. I think it would be very small.

Starfinder has straightjacket classes as well but at least the options are varied, useful and interesting. When you look at all of the available options and don't like any of them, the game has a serious problem.

For Paizo's sake I hope they turn things around. They've done good things in the past so I have some faith that they'll turn things around. But from looking at the the design choices so far it looks like they are trying to build a game I have no interest in playing. Which isn't so bad. I still have lots of unused character ideas for 1E and as more things get added to Starfinder hopefully I'll find that system as enjoyable as some people in my gaming group already do.

Note that we're not going to be playing the above system now. The PF group will be playing PF 1E. Also note that this guy's favorite system is 3.0/3.5/PF1 (they are almost the same thing). That he criticizes these systems doesn't mean that they are bad, it's just that they are super-complex, so of course there are areas where they could be improved.

It's a great blog, I've spent hours reading it and will be posting more from it soon. Too bad they haven't updated in two years (it's several authors).

Character Creation Theory by icycalm on 09 Sep 2020 07:19

http://rollforinitiative.blogspot.com/2 ... heory.html

Obiri wrote:
Character Creation Theory

We often argue around the table about how good certain classes are and why some suck. The hottest arguments always seem to develop around the bard. So today I'm going to explain what makes for a good* character (in my opinion).

*By good I don't mean fun, I mean effective

1. Spells. Most classes that can cast spells are better then those that cannot. With the right selection of spells you can accomplish just about any task. Wizards are the best example. By 5th level +, wizards are walking Swiss army knives that have the ability to solve just about any problem. Can they do it all? No, but if they can't fix a problem today they can usually come back tomorrow and fix it.

2. Specialization. A careful balance has to be achieved here. Over specialize and your character will have glaring weakness or won't be useful 80% of the time. The biggest divide is combat vs non-combat. Ideally your character won't be completely useless in either scenario (especially combat which chews up the majority of game time). The trick is to pick something and make your character really good at it. Spells need high DCs to be effective and melee characters need to be able to hit to do damage. Ideally an adventuring party are all really good at different things.

3. Synergy. I am a sorceror and my Cha is really high. Great! now look around for other things that play off your charisma. Pick up some talky skills, pick up feats that allow you to add your Cha bonus to saves. These things require some research but can have a huge payoff.

4. Flexibility. As I mentioned in Specialization, having one trick is good, having many is better. The game is designed to require a wide variety of solutions and if you can only do one thing you'll find yourself standing in the back twiddling your thumbs often.

Now I admit playing a wizard all of the times gets a little boring and sometimes its fun to slum it with "lesser classes" but some of the same rules still apply. If you are going to do something you might as well do it well. If you want to be an archer, don't pick a bard (ranger, fighter, and yes even cleric are all better choices). If you want to be a blaster don't pick a warmage. Sure they can blast alright but a sorceror can do it almost as well and still has a massive spell list letting them teleport around, scry, conjure monsters, etc. Warmages are over specialized with no flexibility. Bards are the opposite. They can do a little bit of everything but don't do anything particularly well. They are good buffers but if all you want to do is hide in the back and sing then why bother playing? Other classes can buff just as well and still be very good at other things.

I'm sure lots of people won't fully agree with this post and I welcome any comments.

The Empire phase by icycalm on 08 Sep 2020 23:58

Your esteemed benevolent DMs have been discussing the empire mechanics in private, and I'll just copy-paste here everything instead of trying to summarize where we are.

Dude have you seen the Pathfinder kingdom mechanics?
They are incredible
It's a whole strategy videogame basically
They even give you the building maps to place on a grid

Oh? I haven't yet but it sounds great

https://thetrove.net//Books/Pathfinder/ ... mpaign.pdf
pg 196
Even some of the illustrations are cool
50k gp to start a kingdom
The kingdom has alignment and levels up
It even has a "character sheet"

Ahhh no wonder I couldn't find it, it's in the campaign book
I've reread all of the 3.5 PHB and most of the DMG. I was going to take a look at Pathfinder specific material next

This is the "Ultimate Campaign" book
It seems to do much the same things I want to do with UE
Only the sexual stuff it doesn't have
But it does seem to have some rudimentary inheritance system

Looks like they have a basic relationship system too
These kingdom rules really are excellent so far

I was floored
Never in a million years would I have come up with this stuff
Well, if it was my job maybe
I am looking at Birthright now

They even have taxation and division of powers covered

The division of powers was where I was going, but yeah they have done it already
Looking at Birthright now it seems the PF people definitely at least read that, and probably built off of it
The hard part now is deciding which system is better

I remember Birthright having some pretty good war mechanics

After the kingdom mechanics, the PF campaign book has mass war mechanics
So I guess these are two different subjects

But this Ultimate Campaign book also has mass warfare

We could mix and match

Yeah, just saw it

From Birthright
That's what I had in mind basically
I can't find how PF handles it
What I don't see in Birthright is rules for building

In UC, a kingdom turn is 1 month's worth of time

Yeah that's good

So I'm guessing if people are gone for a month and they didn't leave anyone in charge there would be trouble

I have some ideas on how to deal with this, but first I want to see what the books say
So far, it seems to me that PF has the more complex system
So perhaps we start with that, and add whatever good Birthright elements we find

The section on losing hexes in UC has some concrete rules on what it might look like if they start losing control: pg 209

If you look at the Battlegrounds site, the only map with hexes is Pathfinder's
Everything is ready for us there

Very nice!

One of the problems that is troubling me is how to motivate the players to attack each other's kingdoms
One way would be to allow only ONE area in the entire universe to be settled: some area in PF, so they would all be neigbhors
That's not an ideal solution, but it's an idea

If we stat out some enemy kingdoms we can have them receive envoys from them demanding things or trying to set up alliances and deals which could put the player kingdoms in confict

But what if they are in different planets?

I remember some of the older 3e books had stats on kingdoms
Yeah that would be complicated lol

In that case, not only would it be awkward to set up, but the attackers would definitely not be bringing their armies
Btw, have you seen the little building tiles and grids in the PF book?
These could be easily adapted to work on Dark Sun or any world
We just need someone with photochop skills to isolate elements from DS maps
That makes me think we could make all planets and planes settleable
But not in TaleSpire
However, Pathfinder itself would be perfect for TaleSpire
Another option is to not try to motivate the players to PVP at the strategy level
We have PVP at the tactical level, and leave it at that
And for the strategy level, we have PVE

We could allow PVP if they're on the same world and restrict multi-world to PVE for now

A super-epic option would be a kingdom that includes ALL the groups lol
So that one group goes adventuring where another plays the kingdom
And in-fighting for the hierarchy lol

That would be really fun to watch lol

So many options
Once a group has established a kingdom, it would be up to them to recruit other groups if they want
That would also allow a group to grow beyond the D&D max of 6
If you have 7 or 8 players, you can only take 6 adventuring at a time, like a videogame

Oooooh that would work well. First group to establish a kingdom would have the upper hand

That gives yet another reason to want a kingdom: to expand the group

They could offer quests to the others in exchange for support or proceeds

That sounds great
The more the players and groups, the better it would work
It could go any number of ways
They could all coalesce into a mega-group fighting for dominance of an entire planet, or they could make separate kingdoms on separate planets and never meet
I am sure if one of them is on the brink of losing their kingdom, they would ask for help
We just have to set up a system that allows everything, and then just let them play and see what happens
Birthright is definitely inferior, it leaves too much to chance
Unless I am reading this table wrong, and it's not about chance but initiative or cost of action or something
Still, the whole rulebook seems sparse
PF tells you how much each bridge costs and BR doesn't have buildings at all

Yeah PF is looking more detailed
And expanded

It makes sense since it's like a decade or more later
I don't know where the players will find 50,000 gp
One of the Dark Sun adventures gives them 10 at the end lol
Though that's worth 100x more on Dark Sun or something
It's still peanuts, but it's an introductory adventure
On the other hand, there are adventures in Pathfinder that give players a kingdom
Even a Forgotten Realms one, the epic Bloodstone pass series, gives them a kingdom
So there ARE a few adventures that bypass the 50,000
The Pathfinder kingdom rules even say that the DM might give the players a headstart, but I would rather an official adventure did it
Maybe we could mark these adventures on the map, so the players know to go for them

Yeah that’s a good idea. If multiple groups are interested it also gives them a chance to run for it and fight over it

Moreover, if a group spends a lot of time playing out their kingdom phases, another group could keep adventuring and grow in power
What if the adventuring group ends up in Council of Wyrms?
Then they could roll a dragon character
Then they come back lol
I will put the chance of going to Council of Wyrms at 1% or something
So the more you adventure and plane-hop, the greater the chances you end up there

That would be a great turn of events lol

https://www.gog.com/game/dd_stronghold_ ... _simulator
Something to look into
As an unlockable
More resources

The Empire phase by icycalm on 08 Sep 2020 19:38

Those are some really cool mechanics. It's reassuring to see them because I don't know much about the new Pathfinder rules and if these are so well thought out it means the rest of them can't be bad, and probably the same should apply to the adventures.

Having said that, someone needs to study them carefully, then also study the Birthright rules AND the old Battlesystem, and figure out how to integrate everything with TaleSpire and the inheritance mechanics.

I got a lot of reading to do. Feel free to chime in if anyone tries to read this stuff and help me out. But first take care of your own reading.

dndbattlegrounds.net by icycalm on 08 Sep 2020 19:26

Big updates to the site today. The entire upper part of the site has been redesigned, with a lot of new content and info and helpful links added. Check it out.


I have appropriated the covers of the 5E Special Edition covers for my Ultimate Edition. Aside from being the coolest-looking rule book covers ever, the great thing about them is that they don't include an edition logo. So they can be used for any edition. On top of that, they were sold in limited quantities, so many people are not even aware of them. Any way you see it, these are the ultimate covers for the ultimate edition. Maybe sometime in the future if I have a few grand to spare I will commission new covers, but for now these should do splendidly.

The next update will focus on the settings, adding all the missing ones, and categorizing them into Spawnable, Transitional, and Extended ones.

After that I'll have to REALLY buckle down and populate the Dark Sun and Pathfinder settings, the latter of which is hilariously prolific. I don't think I'll be able to finish that any time soon, but I should be able to get a decent bulk of material up for it to get us going.

The Empire phase by ChevRage on 08 Sep 2020 17:48

Pathfinder has some interesting empire-building mechanics that you might be able to appropriate.

Check out the "Kingdom Building" subsection on page 198 of this official supplement to the rules: https://thetrove.net//Books/Pathfinder/ ... mpaign.pdf

[PC] [MAC] Fantasy Grounds Unity by icycalm on 08 Sep 2020 17:36


https://www.fantasygrounds.com/home/Fan ... sUnity.php

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1196 ... nds_Unity/

Nothing to say here yet, just that this is a requirement to play. We'll be posting tips and discussion on its use once we start using it.

[PC] TaleSpire by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 21:53

I posted "Water next, please!" in the comments of this post, and upvoted it on my Activity feed (you can only see it in your Activity feed if you're "following" the game): https://steamcommunity.com/app/720620/e ... 9086486772

If you want to see water asap in TaleSpire, I advise you to do the same. Don't just upvote, comment and ask for water too.

The Empire phase by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 21:16

So here are some preliminary thoughts on the Empire phase. In this post, I will only discuss building up your domains. The ownership mechanics is another subject, that maybe even requires another thread. For now, post everything here, and I may split posts off into separate threads if I deem it necessary.

So there'll be three ways of building up your domains.

1. Discover a ruin, clear it out of denizens if any exist, and take it over and repair it, then expand it. It could also not be a ruin, but simply an occupied building, which you could conquer or simply purchase. Then that becomes the center of your TaleSpire holdings, indicated on the Battlegrounds app as your "Settlement", and you take it from there.


2. You order buildings from a TaleSpire "catalogue", which are placed in your Settlement wherever you want. In in-game terms, you contract an architect to design and oversee the construction of the building. All you have to do is pay him, and he takes care of the rest. And of course, the larger and more complex the building, the more expensive it will be and the longer it will take to build. A house might be built in a month but a keep or castle might take years, during which you could be off adventuring. The architect might even take payment in installments for such large projects, meaning you might go into debt in a sense, and have to go adventuring to raise the funds to finish the thing, or risk losing all of it. As for the costs, we'll have to draw up tables of costs and building durations just like the Player's Handbooks of various editions have tables of item costs. Ultimate Edition will have tables of BUILDING costs on top of that. I will make a page on the Battlegrounds site where all the various TaleSpire "slabs" that the TaleSpire community will be making will be catalogued and priced, with pictures.

So if you just want to place a tent down, it will be quick and cheap af (you'll even have a choice of tent qualities):


If you want a little cabin in the woods, it'll be more expensive, but still very manageable even for low-level characters:


Or perhaps you'd like a more elaborate and expensive country home?


Or a stately manor, if you're rich, complete with groundskeepers?


Or you're a wizard looking to build that massive library with assistants?


Or you're a priest wanting to erect a cathedral, full of underling priests at your command, for your god's greater glory?


Or you're a mighty lord looking to fortify your position against your neighbors and bring the area under your complete control via a multitude of forts and castles at key points?



Each of the GOOD TaleSpire slabs available online will be listed in the Ultimate Edition Player's Handbook with its price, building duration, precisely how many NPCs and of what kind they bring with them, and even their stats. All these NPCs will be generic and identical. All stables will have the same stablehands with the same stats, etc., so you'll know exactly what you're getting and the game will be balanced for all groups.

3. And finally, players will have the option of DESIGNING their own buildings, but in order to do so their characters will have to have the appropriate non-weapon proficiencies from the Player's Handbook. Architecture or whatever, we'll figure them out. If there aren't enough of those in 2E, we'll expand on them for UE. These proficiencies will allow you to go into TaleSpire on your own, design whatever the fuck you want (though the more complex designs will require more proficiency slots spent), and then you'll send them to me, and I'll price them etc. for you according to yet more rules that determine pricing etc. Those slabs will NOT go in the Ultimate Edition Player's Handbook. Those only YOU will be able to build and they'll only be listed in your personal page in the Battlegrounds app. We won't put them online either. Those slabs will be buildable only by the PLAYER who designed them (even across characters, as long as all the characters have the required proficiencies).

And a quick note on the settlement mechanics: If you build close to civilized lands you'll have to deal with the existing lords and neighbors according to yet more mechanics we will devise, which will incentivize going off in the wildlands and building in the middle of nowhere where no one will bother you, like with Rust and FP4X games. Of course, being far from civilization will have its drawbacks, so part of the settlement phase will be figuring out a good place to settle.

Dungeons & Dragons: Ultimate Edition (UE) by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 18:32

Let me be clear of what my ultimate goal is with this project.

My goal is for Ultimate Edition to be a videogame some day, just like there are many videogames for 1st Edition, and 2nd Edition, and 3rd Edition, etc. I think Baldur's Gate 3 will be 5E, if I am not mistaken.

So really, what we are doing here is designing the rules for a future videogame. It probably hadn't crossed the minds of Gygax and Arneson in the '70s that their rules would one day be digitally adapted, but it happened, and now we know it happens if the design is good enough. And this design will be the best ever. So when I talk about a They Are Billions phase in the Empire phase, I can very easily see it playing out in TaleSpire if they added fighting animations and AI for the "zombies". Then the game would not have to be turn-based since the DM would no longer need to move every single individual enemy by hand, and the players could be left to fend for themselves and their domains in real-time, issuing generic orders to their NPCs as in the Kingdom Under Fire games. Then the DM would be freed from the micromanagement of every single enemy so that, while the players are fighting their epic fight, he could modulate the numbers of the attackers and the direction of their attacks etc., sort of like playing an RTT against the players. And THAT'S how we would finally get the "AI director" of Left 4 Dead, but with a super-intelligent human in control instead of a dumb AI. Real-time improvisational theatre direction... That's the future of multiplayer role-playing, from where I am standing, and my D&D Ultimate and Battlegrounds projects will be at the center of that.

Dungeons & Dragons: Ultimate Edition (UE) by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 18:09

Thanks to shubn, we have a logo! (I have also updated the introductory Patreon article with it.)


Read the intro to the project here:

Introducing Alex Kierkegaard's Dungeons & Dragons: Ultimate Edition (UE)

The rules will be devised, discussed and explained in various threads in this forum, and I will be adding a section to the Battlegrounds site where you'll be able to click on chapter headings as if reading the Player's Handbook, and get sent to the respective threads here. Battlegrounds is my personally curated universe, and Ultimate Edition is the ruleset powering it. People are free to clone either for their own campaigns, or they can join mine by signing up by posting in the comments of this post: https://www.patreon.com/posts/41042906

[PC] TaleSpire by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 17:38

https://steamcommunity.com/games/720620 ... 1526141453

Bouncyrock wrote:
Beta Update 24: Flying Creatures
BUILD-ID: 5511945 - Download Size: 6.4 MB

Introducing flying creatures!

Now you can enable flying on a Creature as a GM by togging flying in the Creature Radial Menu. Then, controlling players can set a Creature's flight height by holding the left-CTRL while carrying the mini.

You can control the mini both from the top of the indicator tower and at the base. Flying creatures will try to maintain world height when moving around. This resets when it is dropped, or verticality dragged.

This is the initial flying release, we'll be tweaking and changing things as we go.

That's the short of it. Enjoy!


The Empire phase by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 17:34

People have started discussing procreation mechanics in the other thread [ > ], but those are intertwined with the empire mechanics, and we can't really discuss one without discussing the other at the same time, hence this thread.

Let me try to explain to you the challenges we face with these systems. The main problem is that the TaleSpire holdings cannot belong to the entire party. If that were so, you'd never lose them. Someone or other would always have a kid somewhere, so even if the party got wiped, the kid would inherit the holdings and the campaign would go on. Obviously this is unacceptable.

So we need a system whereby the holdings belong to just one person, the lord of the area. That, however, would understandably bum the other players out. So we'll make it more complex and more realistic than that, with different players owning different parts of the estate. You'd always need a lord for the entirety of the holdings, but the players can certainly own houses or estates in the area, and maybe even keeps etc. if you end up building multiple of them. I am not very familiar with feudal culture—they didn't teach much of it to us in Greece while I was growing up, they mostly focused on classical times for obvious reasons—so I look forward to studying it and finding ways to adapt it to Ultimate Edition in ways that promote a cool, deep game. If anyone knows stuff and has ideas, let's hear them.

So if one of the players dies with no heirs, his part of the territory passes on to his NPC relatives, and then you have one more NPC in your midst. You'll have many NPCs anyway, because someone will have to tend the fields, man the stables, guard the area, etc., so one more will not be a big deal.

As for how to deal with NPCs, I have ideas. I want the NPCs to come with the buildings, like in Age of Empires. If you build a house in AoE, you automatically get villagers to live in it, and then you can put them in jobs, which could be military, but it could be anything. That's how we'll handle it here too. That's the reward for building whole towns. Otherwise they'd just be ghost buildings. And of course the bigger the building the more NPCs you get, and the castle buildings will give you the most. All of those can be placed with TaleSpire via a choice of countless miniatures, so your holdings will come alive with hundreds of NPCs, unlike Life is Feudal where you can only have a few.

And that's where the They Are Billions phase will begin. I don't know how this will go, but we'll have to figure out a way to challenge you in the Empire phase. What if you leave for a year to go adventuring? Will your holdings and people still be there when you get back? We need to devise a system whereby you are motivated to build up and fortify and man your domains with tons of people, but we mustn't make the requirements so onerous that you're incentivized to never leave to go adventuring and stay in your home forever. And then on top of that we need to devise motivations for attacking other players' domains. This is especially difficult since those could be on other planets. Why the fuck would a lord go to another friggin' planet to attack someone when he has his neighbors to worry about and expand into? This needs to be figured out.

As a starting point, I am thinking of inventing a new line of non-weapon proficiencies dedicated to nobility and managing domains, so that players who want to control domains will have to spec into it. However, these proficiencies will be deducted from other stuff like climbing, singing, swimming, blacksmithing or whatever, so I am not sure it makes sense for a noble lord to be essentially uneducated just because he is a noble. I would think quite the opposite would be the case. So maybe we need a new system separate from proficiencies. But it has to be a system that cannot be realistically specced into by EVERY player. Thus, the lives of one or two of your party will be more important than those of everyone else, because they'll be the lords.

In short, we need to devise a RULE-BASED nobility system. In regular D&D, this is handled entirely via role-playing, and that's fine for a system that has so little strategy in it. Once we expand the strategy dimension to equal the adventuring one, however, we need proper rules for nobility and followers and so on, and these will have to incorporate the existing follower rules somehow.

It's complicated stuff, but if we want to exploit the full capabilities of TaleSpire, we have to do it, and do it well.

Store Wars by schadenfreude on 07 Sep 2020 13:12

I recently experienced some Epic Games Store / Uplay account annoyances I thought I'd share.

I own quite a few Ubisoft games in my Epic Games account that I either got for free in Epic Sweeney promotions or bought with deep discounts using Sweeney coupons. One of these games is Wildlands, which I tried playing yesterday with CULT friends but couldn't get the Epic Games Launcher and Uplay to link successfully, which is required to launch the game. I did some googling of the error code and determined it had to do with the stores not having matching regions, though both are currently set to the US. I'm currently in Japan, however, so I figured that had something to do with it.

After many fruitless messages with Epic and Ubisoft customer support, Ubisoft sent me a useful reply, which said that not only must my accounts have matching regions, but I must also be physically present in that region at the time I link the games between the launchers. I took this to mean I had to either 1) Connect to a VPN and set my location to the US; or 2) Change the region of both accounts to Japan temporarily, link the games, then change the regions back. I proposed these options to customer support, who claimed that I might get the error again after hopping off the VPN or changing my region back. But I was pretty confident it should be permanent because I noticed that Watch Dogs had successfully populated in Uplay from Epic, and I recalled that when I got that game earlier this year, my Uplay region was mistakenly set to Japan.

Anyway, I got on a VPN, set my location to the US, went to launch Wildlands and link to Uplay, and bam, Wildlands and all my other missing EGS-bought Ubisoft titles suddenly appeared in Uplay. But then I encountered my second annoyance: launching the installed game from Epic Games Launcher immediately launches Uplay, which then wants to download and install the game a second time in the Ubisoft launcher directory! I googled it and this seems to be expected behavior. Perhaps you could provide it the same directory as where you installed the game with Epic, but I didn't bother trying. Instead, I removed the EGL installation, installed it through Uplay, and that's where I plan to play it. This has the added benefit of not double-counting hours in Epic and Uplay when you play the game, which is an annoyance when you buy Ubisoft games through Steam and launch them there. At least with Steam I can tolerate it because then you get the hours to show up on your cool Steam profile, whereas with these accumulated Epic hours we're what, a decade or more away from Epic having user profiles to display them?

Speaking of playtime, Exophase should take these overlapping launcher hours into consideration regarding overall playtime. For example, my current Far Cry 5 time in Steam is 10.1 hours, whereas in Uplay it's about 7 hours. Perhaps Uplay doesn't count time spent in the menus, but I doubt that alone could count for the 3-hour discrepancy. Regardless, I don't have 17 total hours in the game.

Anyway, the tl;dr of my experience is to make sure you have consistent regions and "location" (perhaps through VPN) when you go to link your EGS-bought Ubisoft games with Uplay. And don't bother downloading or installing the game through the Epic Launcher; just think of the Epic Store as another means of acquiring Ubisoft games that you'll ultimately end up playing through Uplay. But I agree with icycalm's comment in his article that, for a Ubisoft game exclusive to these two stores, you should still pick the Epic version because it will give you access to the game in both launchers. Always pick the cheaper option of course, but if the price is the same, join Team Sweeney.

lol by Some guy on 07 Sep 2020 12:23

this is cracking me up so bad

Procreation by dinopoke on 07 Sep 2020 10:31

Some guy wrote:
Something else that popped into my head was the possibility of kidnap and rape for evil and neutral characters. Once a group has a stronghold I see no reason why one or more of us couldn't just impregnate and marry a woman by force then keep her in the fort raising kids. We could even have multiple wives and many kids and pick from the best of them whenever our character dies. Of course there would be consequences e.g. the families of the women taking revenge, the locals refusing to associate with us, the women escaping if they have the right spells or skills and so on.

Going off this idea, if your character is sterile and finds a suitable wife who is already in a family, maybe you could kill the husband and take ownership of the family by force. You could choose one of the children to be your heir, like some sort of bastard son, but he will always have some sort of resentment against you and may take revenge when the time is right.

Procreation by ChevRage on 07 Sep 2020 08:38

This is in a universe where magic has crazy and, well, magically complex effects, so I doubt it's outside of the realm of possibility for a mul to have children eventually. Especially at the higher levels.

Of course the DM has final say in all that happens, I am just saying that infertility might not be as much of a deal-breaker as it initially might seem when selecting a race.

Procreation by Some guy on 07 Sep 2020 08:14

Well in reality it is rare but possible for hybrids to be fertile, a mule can occasionally have offspring with a horse for example. So what we could do is roll to see if a mul is a rare exception and then they could mate with other humans, dwarves etc. or maybe other muls that are themselves rare exceptions. Then we'd have to decide if the kids would be half mul, half whatever or just fully mul or fully human. Using mules, donkeys and horses as an example again mules seem to only be able to give birth to horses and donkeys, not more mules.

Something else that popped into my head was the possibility of kidnap and rape for evil and neutral characters. Once a group has a stronghold I see no reason why one or more of us couldn't just impregnate and marry a woman by force then keep her in the fort raising kids. We could even have multiple wives and many kids and pick from the best of them whenever our character dies. Of course there would be consequences e.g. the families of the women taking revenge, the locals refusing to associate with us, the women escaping if they have the right spells or skills and so on.

Procreation by Ciaróg on 07 Sep 2020 02:55

As mentioned in the last Patreon article about the Ultimate Edition [ > ], there will be a succession mechanic in Battlegrounds. There will be some fine tuning to how this is handled in game. Dark Sun muls for example are infertile due to not being a true species but rather the infertile offspring of a human and dwarf pairing. icy suggested an adoption mechanic for infertile characters but this has not been set in stone as of yet and he is open to suggestions while he is still tinkering with this stuff so if anyone has any ideas now is the time to chime in. From the D&D1 Discord channel:

icycalm wrote:
You see how these new mechanics will make previously meaningless choices very meaningful
No one cared about sterility before
In medieval times, for powerful people especially, it was a big thing

I can't wait to see what the added complexity here ends up bringing about. There may be advantages to different players on the same team playing different races so they are competing for different resources, there is only one most desirable female human per planet but that is of little concern to a gnome or a dog after all. There may also be something to be said for wearing some extra padding down there for male characters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rAFMC2O9dQ

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 02:53

The streams are improving tremendously with the PIPs, great work guys.

On the tactics front, one advice I have to offer is that when you land near an enemy and there's land between you, you should be pushing in with vehicles. I see people going full bots or other weird stuff like that, I would annihilate you if you did that to me. Vehicles are how you destroy bases, and only when there's water in between or the distance is too great you find other means (and even then, you should be dropping teleporters behind their bases and pouring vehicles through, if you can). Bots are for raids, but if the enemy base is right next to you, there's no time for raids and you have to push hard. Vehicles will do that for you.

Lay off the air fabbers too except for special long-range missions, or to grab metal over water etc. On top of being inefficient, they are very easy to kill by even a single passing fighter. That's why people who use them keep going "Where's my air fabbers at?!" every five minutes. Your air fabbers are gone dude, and they aint coming back, so use some real fabbers instead next time.

I will be writing strategy/tactics articles and posting them on cosmicwar.net. I've already got a killer one half-finished. I just need to find my admin password for the site because I can't log in lol. Been years since I updated that site.

P.S. The latest pro building strategy is, instead of making tons of factories, to make a few and support them with many fabbers. That's why recoil says he sees people making three pgens per factory nowadays. I saw this in a Marshall video and he explained it. I don't like it one bit because finding the real estate to lay down rows of factories was a huge part of this game, to the point where in smaller planets and moons in the late-game there's no more space to build and you need to expand in space. If this strategy is insurmountable, I plan to nerf it in our mod. One disadvantage I can see to it right away is that if you have few factories, and they are bunched together too to make fabber-support easier, they can be taken out with a nuke, and then you have no factories. The fabbers too can be killed far easier than a factory, via a raid for example. So for longer, bigger games, more factories might still be the best strategy, but for smaller wars, and especially right at the start, fewer factories with lots of fabber support might be the way to go, unless I decide to nerf it. But I won't do it until I am good at it and feel that I understand it fully.

P.P.S. Leaderboard updated. Keep an eye on my math and let me know if you spot any errors.

[PC] [MAC] Dungeondraft by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 01:35


You GOTTA watch this trailer.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYTHVRpihKg


There are other map-making programs for RPGs, but this makes the most beautiful maps I have ever seen, the detail is incredible. They are even better than those that come with official adventures (in aesthetics I mean, not in design). It seems super-easy to use too. I would like to see an effort to go through the materials of worlds like Dark Sun, Planescape et al. and lift all the aesthetic elements from their maps, isolate them and turn them into tiles etc., and add them to this program.

Unfortunately this isn't on Steam, though other inferior-seeming programs are. You can only get it for $20 from their site, apparently. The payment form is powered by Humble, but the Humble site doesn't seem to have the program.

They offer integrations for several VTTs, but not Fantasy Grounds. However: https://www.reddit.com/r/dungeondraft/c ... atibility/

MrPhergus wrote:
Dungeondraft produces standard bit-mapped images and saves them in JPEG or PNG format. The resolution (Pixels per Grid) can be set on export.

As long as Fantasy Ground can load a normal PNG or JPEG file you'll be golden.

Plot1234 wrote:
Thanks guys, it works fantastic.

[WEB] Hero Forge by icycalm on 07 Sep 2020 00:51

3D-printed color miniatures. You design them on their site, and I think you then order them for delivery.




You GOTTA watch the KS trailer. I haven't found it on YT, so go over to KS and watch it, then come back.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/he ... o-forge-20



Now 3D-printed miniatures are useless to us for anything other than desk decoration, and even then I'd just buy a professionally-made statue, but if the designs could be exported to TaleSpire it would be awesome. However: https://talespire.backerkit.com/faq

Bouncyrock wrote:
Can we import models from Hero Forge?

That would be awesome, Hero Forge rocks. However is is against the TOS.

Also check out our Creature-Crafter stretch goal for an in-game alternative.

Not sure whose TOS he means, TaleSpire's or Hero Forge's. And if it's TaleSpire's, why? Even if it's Hero Forge's it makes no sense. Why would they let you 3D print the miniatures you make, but not export them anywhere? But maybe you can only order 3D prints from THEM. In that case it would make sense if they wanted to limit your options. Nevertheless, it sounds like something TaleSpire can't officially endorse but which people will be able to do anyway.

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by schadenfreude on 06 Sep 2020 14:43

Game 6
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: Archonus v SCHADENFREUDE

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by Some guy on 06 Sep 2020 14:39

Game 5
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: Agentx v SOME GUY

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by ysignal on 06 Sep 2020 08:17

Game 4
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: Ciaróg v YSIGNAL

Insomnia King of the Planet Season 1 by recoil on 06 Sep 2020 03:22

Game 3
Insomnia King of the Planet 1: ExiledOne v YSIGNAL

[PC] [ONE] [PS4] Project CARS 3 by Beakman on 05 Sep 2020 16:23

I had a ~4 hour session in VR, with a steering wheel with an 'H' shifter and a set of pedals with clutch. My stream can be seen here:


Please note that I didn't play at max settings since I did not realize at first that the graphics settings screen was only available outside of races. I did test max settings in following sessions. I also tested it in non-VR and a gamepad.

The stream is split in two videos because I had a crash that interrupted the stream. And that leads me to the first thing to say about this game: It's glitchy. I had a crash about every hour, white-colored graphical glitches were very common in the background scenery while racing (in VR or outside of it), and head tracking was jittery while in the menus, which made me feel a bit queasy (works fine while in race). Even after a couple of patches I still get the graphical glitches and jitter. Not a deal breaker but I hope they fix these things up. The game hasn't crashed for me anymore.

It's a good game, with intense racing —there's an AI aggressiveness setting, turn that all the way up— and a focus on fun over simulation, while keeping the realistic handling from previous games. Slightly Mad Studios announced it as a successor of the Shift games that they developed for EA, and indeed it has elements from them (e.g. the corner mastering minigame) but it reminded me more of Driveclub, which is exactly what I wanted.

The game made an excellent first impression for me since most of the races I played in the career mode were not in purpose-built tracks, but in public roads with beautiful scenery and even some drama in them (e.g. acrobatic airplanes showed up in one race in the Bannochbrae course, located in the UK countryside). Indeed this focus on open-road racing is suggested in the trailers, which goes in hand with having Driveclub's director at the helm... or so I thought. The open-road and city tracks are really nice but most of the track list comprises ugly-looking, grass-and-sand, purpose-built circuits. This is reflected in more advanced tiers in the career mode, where purpose-built circuit racing being all of what you get from what I can see in the menus. Now this is something reminiscent of the first Project CARS that I wish they took away. It's the reason why PC2 never interested me, although I've learned since that it has rallycross races... that are not present in PC3 either.

Car models are pretty good (on par with contemporary games) but I felt the cockpits in the VR mode of Gran Turismo Sport looked better. Additionally, I don't remember in which one, but either in Driveclub VR or in GT Sport the mirrors have actual 3D, stereoscopic reflections (you can perceive depth in them with your natural binocular vision, as in a real mirror), this is something that I haven't seen in any other driving game. In PC3 and every other VR racer, the mirrors look like 2D screens instead of actual mirrors. Another mark against PC3's VR is that the driver's body has no inverse kinematics animation, so if you move your head, you won't see the driver's upper body following your motion. Being fair, GT Sport is the only racing game that I've seen where IK is implemented.

There's an aesthetic-only damage model for the cars. In the cockpit view it looks glitched and awful compared to the previous games, which also featured mechanical damage. Then you have to deal with damage not going away if you restart the race, which is a nuisance if a bent hood is blocking your view. Other features lost from previous entries are pit stops, tire wear, and fuel consumption mechanics. Going by Youtube comments and Steam reviews, racing sim fanatics are pissed about the removal of those. I don't think it's a big deal since such mechanics are only relevant in long races that get very boring, while this game is focused on 2 lap races.

There's dynamic time of day and weather. You can begin a race in the afternoon with clear weather and end it at night in a thunderstorm. Weather effects are good but not on par with non-VR Driveclub. Even taking into account the aforementioned dynamic systems, lighting in general looks a bit flat, which is on par with PC1.

I think the Madness Engine is getting outdated. Hopefully they will move to the Ego engine for future games, now that Slightly Mad Studios has been bought by Codemasters.

Handling-wise, I saw no difference between PC3 and PC1 if you're using a steering wheel with force feedback. I went back to play the first game with the car I mostly used during my PC3 stream (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI T.M.E.) and I felt no difference, it's equally good with the same assists that I play with (ABS brakes and one level of TCS). PC1 was completely unplayable with a gamepad unless you fiddled with a bunch of settings —deadzones, damping and whatnot— and I've heard the same about the second game. I'm happy to say that this is not the case with PC3. Handling is excellent and very reminiscent of Driveclub if you're on a gamepad, so if you were interested in the series but you're lacking a steering wheel, get this one.

Disappointingly, there's no opera. Not that I expect much from a racing game (the last one I played with good opera being R4: Ridge Racer Type 4), but at the very least keep the team manager from the Shift games! GRID lost the same aspect in its last release and now the purported "Shift successor" doesn't have anyone guiding you through your career, just some cutscenes before you begin each career tier.

Hence we only have the menus and music to mention as additional aesthetic enticers. The menus are nothing special compared with most games but are WAY better than the dry-as-fuck, almost MS Office-like menus from PC1 and Assetto Corsa. The racing music features some drum & bass tracks that fit a racing game. Notably, the music gets muffled in certain conditions, like in a crash. This is the first realistic car racing game I've seen that applies effects to its music depending on your actions, I can only think of futuristic racing games that do this (i.e. in Wipeout HD when you jump off a ramp). Menu music also has a degree of interactivity, with intensity "layers" that fade in or out depending on which portion of the menus you're browsing —becoming more intense the closer you are to racing.

Up to this point in my impressions it may look like PC3 doesn't fare too well against GT Sport and Driveclub, but please bear in mind that, those being PS4 exclusives, they are completely butchered while playing them in VR. GT Sport only supports racing against a single car in singleplayer quick races. Driveclub VR has disembodied driver hands, it loses all weather effects and its dynamic time of day, while having a reduced grid count as well. Both take a massive graphical quality hit across the board to make the puny PS4 to support the stringent framerate requirements of VR. On the other hand if your PC can handle it, there are no compromises in PC3: Up to staggering 32 car grids with dynamic time of day and weather, with all graphical effects available in a flat screen. How does it compare then with its PC competitors? Well, unlike its predecessors, the Assetto Corsas, and the DiRT Rally games, PC3 is not a dry, completely inartistic simulation that only caters to motorsports nerds. I gave the first Assetto Corsa and DiRT Rally 2.0 a try in VR, and as with PC1, I quickly lost interest due to their dryness. PC3 is probably the best VR car racing game so far. I still prefer the superb Wipeout: Omega Collection for my VR racing fix (incredibly, they made ZERO compromises in that one even with it being a PS4 exclusive and VR being added as a free patch!), but it wouldn't make sense to use a steering wheel there!

8 hours in, Project CARS 3 is a 3/5 for me. Consider it 4/5 if you don't mind the ugliness of purpose-built circuits as much as I do, or if you just got a VR headset and you're looking for your first VR racing game. Hit me up if you want to race.

Cyberpunk by icycalm on 05 Sep 2020 02:58

I've started looking into Cyberpunk.







The thing has been out since the '80s, it's almost as old as D&D, and there's only 26 products on the official site, most of which don't even seem to be adventures...

I'll take a closer look and report back.