Tag Archives: Building

Haven Editorial: No Man’s sky Revisited

No Man’s Sky clearly had a good thing going for it and the winds at their back, when it came to their vision. But as we all know by now, they failed to deliver, which was quite unfortunate indeed. Despite a lot of major setbacks, they do seem to come around and actually have decided to add more content. The only problem is that the content in question provided by No Man’s Sky is quite crap and bare bones. The base building is boring and adds virtually notching, aside from a way to return to the place you built it. Not only can it only be built on a very small area, it also has very few things that can be built and a hard limit to the number of pieces. I made a very informative and insightful video about it. You can have the honor of watching me stack a ton of round modules on top of each other and spam banners. Which brings me to the not some impressive update they have decided to announce. An all terrain vehicle. Which sounds more impressive than it is. Especially when you consider the limitation on the space craft while in orbit.

However fans and the mod community is the most fantastic lot of them all. They spend countless hours tinkering and refining the game code. Adding things the developers wish they would think of. I’ve tested several mods and the work wonders.
The first one mutes the in-game voices and sounds. Which removes the need for that ear grater computer voice Hello Games out in there. The blissful silence reveals a sever lack of any ambiance. In other words it solves one problem by giving me a poor sound picture instead.

Another fantastic mod removes all limitations on flying while in No Man’s Sky orbit. Low flight always me to crash, burn and fly underwater while doing loops and barrel rolls. Hovering in place is also included. Finally I can squeeze my craft into any planetary orifice I can think of. There are also a bucket load of mods that add other interesting things, such as the chance of finding a particular type of planet. The number of animals. Slight visual overhauls and many, many fantastic shaders. Infinite resources. Not to mention more insane terrain or removal of all terrain. Keep in mind, none of these fantastic mods I’m pushing here solves the god awful loading screen and piss poor pc performance.


Njål Sand

Early Access: Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises

20160530112031_1 Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises is a multiplayer-only, real time strategy (RTS) game in Early Access. When I say multiplayer, only I mean that there is no single player story mode. There are only single player practice rounds. At the start of the game you choose one of five factions to join, each of which gives you a slight bonus to things like starting gold and reduced resource requirements for certain units. From here you can play three separate types of games:

1. Empire: This is the largest. It pits you against other players or AI for control of the world. You battle over different regions in the name of your faction. There are a lot of teams on the board and this game can take a while to play through.
2. Conquest: This is the standard match. You start with a castle and a few peasants who can build or harvest for you. You slowly build an army and take on other players or AI in practice.
3. Battle: You create an army list by choosing from several units, then you just send your army after your opponents.


Playing against the AI is a huge pain in the ass, especially for someone who has rarely played RTS games. The AI builds much faster and more efficiently than you do. It can create huge armies very quickly and wipe you out by the time you create your first few units. I’m sure someone with much more experience in this genre could deal with the enemy a lot easier. However, since there is no way to change the AI difficulty, new players are for the most part shut out pretty early on. Playing the practice modes was about as much as I was able to do. Every time I tried to get into a human match the game reminded me that there were only 4 people playing. I waited in a queue for a while but was eventually unable to find a game.

In terms of game play, there really isn’t anything new or interesting here. Everything Avalon Lords does has been done already (and much, much better). The tech progression is fairly bog standard. You build buildings to get different units. You upgrade those buildings to get better units. You can build places that will research buffs for your units, or what have you. You have a central focus on gaining resources like iron, gold or wood with peasants in order to build. There’s really nothing in this game that you wouldn’t find in any other RTS. On top of that, the generic medieval theme has been done to death.20160531112829_1

The controls are finicky and unpleasant when you try to drag over a bunch of units to select them, or try to move the map to get to where you want. You sometimes end up on the complete opposite side of the map from where you intended. The developers have recently announced that they are making the game free-to-play. So in the future be wary of this game not only being out-shined by other RTS games (including many free ones), but also being filled with micro-transactions. This is speculation, so we’ll just have to see.

The most fun I had with Avalon Lords are the short battle games. Here you just choose units for your roster and send them out against your opponent. I found it was best to send them all in one large clump, since that’s mostly what your opponent will being doing. Here you just watch them all fight and die. Then the game ends, nice and simple. No resource management or building nonsense; just a quick fight. You can choose the configuration of your list so that you can have all archers or crossbowmen, or all weak sword guys, or heavy shielded guys…or any combination thereof. It’s over in under five minutes, and then you can do something else with your time.


-Jordan Kamm-

Haven Editorial: Legend of Grimrock vs. Legend of Grimrock 2

Grimrock1and2When considering a genre-based purchase, gamers are often torn between two similar titles. Welcome to Professor’s Game Comparisons. In this installment, we examine two titles in the “Dungeon RPG” genre: Legend of Grimrock vs. Legend of Grimrock 2.

Player vs. Dungeon (PvD) is a term I coined to describe a certain brand of Dungeon RPG. In PvD games, players are pitted primarily against the “architecture” of a dungeon or wilderness; the denizens who live there are secondary.

PvDs debuted in the 1980s and peaked in the ’90s. Titles such as Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Ultima Underworld brought thousands of new fans into the genre. Some Open World RPGs also took a page from the PvD, most notably the Might and Magic series and the Wizardry series. This article however, is devoted to a recent tribute to the old dungeon crawls: Legend of Grimrock (LoG) (2012) and it’s younger sibling, LoG 2 (2014).

The first point to note is that LoG 2 is not necessarily a sequel to LoG. In fact, the Steam forums are in quite a debate about how exactly the installments relate to each other. We do know that they are both set in a common universe, and follow the same general lore. Let’s examine each, in turn.


In LoG, you begin by creating a party of characters. You choose from four races and three classes. The races are as follows:

Human: Overall balanced attributes, with no particular strengths or weaknesses.
Minotaur: Enhanced Strength and Vitality (natural health level), but reduced Dexterity (associated with lock-picking and ranged weapon accuracy) and Willpower (associated with magical arts).
Lizard Man: Enhanced Dexterity, but reduced Willpower.
Insectoid: Enhanced Dexterity and Willpower, but reduced Strength and Vitality.CharacterCreationBaThe classes represent occupations, and some are better suited to certain races than others:

Fighter: Values Strength and Vitality above other attributes. Excellent for Humans and Minotaurs.
Mage: Emphasizes Willpower and Dexterity. Well suited for Insectoids.
Rogue: Extreme focus on Dexterity. Optimized for Lizard Men.

Currently, only the early alpha stage of LiF:YO is available. The projected release is TBA, but early 2016 is likely. LiF:MMO is somewhat trickier to predict, as closed testing isn’t scheduled to begin until the “first half” of 2016, according to the developer.

calendar-man-4-9-legend-of-grimrockThere are two major differences between LiF:YO and LiF:MMO:
1. Map size (3 square kilometers vs. 21 square kilometers, respectively)
2. Maximum number of players (64 people vs. 10,000+ people, respectively)2012-04-13_00005Don’t let the seemingly smaller scope fool you…3×3 km is huge! The game started me off at the extreme southern shore of the map, and I decided to hoof it to more interesting landmarks on the northern side. It took over 30 minutes to trek the following path:
LiF focuses on three major activities:

Exploring: Walk, sprint and mouse-look your way to victory. Basic movement is fairly straightforward, but here in the alpha the interface occasionally trips over itself. When you close a dialog box for instance, the Windows cursor sometimes fails to disappear. This means that mouse-look is frozen until you press a certain key to release the cursor. One of the first things you’ll want to seek out are apple trees, as they will be your primary source of food for a while:LegendOfGrimrockLegend_of_Grimrock_screenshot_09Acquiring: I’m using this term loosely to refer to the collection of resources, whether it be foraging, fishing, mining or any other such general gathering. It all begins by opening the “Context Menu”, which I have bound to my left mouse button. Simply point to any object in your environment (yes, even the ground) and click. This brings up a list of actions that directly relate to various skills your character has thus far mastered:

CharacterCreationABuilding: I use this term to reflect improvement; not only to your eventual homestead, but also to your character’s physical prowess. Press the “Skills” key to see a complete list of abilities. On the left-facing page in the diagram below, each horizontal row represents a unique skill, while vertical columns denote increasing levels of mastery. The right-facing page describes abilities earned after reaching important milestones of learning:grim_pyramidLegend_of_Grimrock_2_-_12maxresdefault2Although there are several goal-oriented play modes available in LiF:YO, the easiest way to learn the game is in “basic sandbox” mode. Here there is no hurry; I simply enjoy taking in the sights. I also turn my air conditioning up nice and breezy for full effect! As you explore, day turns to night…and back to day…perhaps a little too quickly. It would be nice to directly control the length of each; maybe even sync it to your local time zone. Other than that, the environment is quite realistic; especially with the Ultra graphics settings enabled. For my video series I use Medium, but periodically switch to both High and Ultra when key vistas present themselves. Below are a couple of screenshots for reference. The forest scene is in High-res; the mountain shot is in Medium-res:By now you may be wondering about the huts, farms, houses and eventual mega-keeps and castles supposedly featured in LiF. You should understand that this is a slow, deliberate process (Rome wasn’t built in a day, etc.). You will, and should spend hours in discovery before constructing things. Additionally, take time to understand your status bars. Pop quiz: What’s the difference between “hard” and “soft” stamina…or between hard and soft hit points? Which character stat allows you to carry inventory in slight excess of your weight allowance?

3My YouTube series progresses just like this; as anyone would, tossed almost naked (and somewhat afraid) into the wilderness! Indeed, we will eventually build a homestead replete with chickens, steam baths and fire pits. Until then, we wander.

I will write a complete Haven Review upon LiF:YO‘s release, including breakdowns and scoring…and then again next year when the MMO debuts! I eagerly await both.

-Chris Roberts-