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1994 Backwards Is 2006 in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #13
quote:
Originally written by Drakefyre:

I'm somewhat disappointed in the election of Bob Menendez. NJ politics is dirty, dirty, dirty.
It may be dirty, dirty, dirty, but there is a difference between a corrupt politician who supports the war in Iraq and a corrupt politician who doesn't. Given the choice, I'm happy with the decisions of NJ voters.

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Post election gloating in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #7
Man-on-dog enthusiast Rick Santorum during his concession speech last night. His son shares his feelings about the American people.

Hey, he's just lucky Rick hasn't sent him in a bow to Mark Foley!

IMAGE(http://cache.wonkette.com/assets/resources/2006/11/santorumconcedes.jpg)

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Post election gloating in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #3
Oh, I forgot to mention another of my favorite results of the night - Anne Northup losing her seat! She was the ONLY woman in the House who was not a member of the women's Caucus, because, to paraphrase one of her staffers, "She thinks they're just a bunch of libs". I hope she enjoys her new life as a stay-at-home mom cooking for men.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Post election gloating in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #0
It has to be done. Republicans try to consol themselves with pictures of Pandas while Democrats say "scoreboard"!

Ah, what a sweet night of political goodness. My favorite highlights of the night include:

(1) Man-on-dog enthusiast Rick Santorum crumbling like a cookie.

(2) Mahoney winning Foley's former seat (Foley from pagescrewergate fame)

(3) Chris "the Count" Chocola being sent back to his old job on the cereal box

(4) George "Macaca" Allen looking like he's heading toward defeat after a campaign that was supposed to be his warm-up act for a Presidential run

That said, it wasn't all good news last night. Heath Shuler won in North Carolina. I opposed his bid for election on purely football grounds. Anyone who lost his starting job as QB for the Redskins to Gus Ferrotte has no business winning anything.

Z

[ Wednesday, November 08, 2006 06:17: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Jeff Vogel's View From the Bottom #6 in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #23
Count me among the "MMORPG's are an evil plague unleashed upon the world". I, too, have seen first-hand how an otherwise intelligent and motivated person lost herself completely to these games. The worst part was, she didn't even seem to particularly enjoy playing the game, but couldn't stop. She dropped out of school and Allah knows what the heck she's doing these days.

Z

[ Tuesday, November 07, 2006 06:38: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Bush and Kerry to be wed on Brokeback in Blades of Exile
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #0
Has the world gone upside down? Do cats and dogs now live together?

No, something even more strange has happened. I tried out BoE for the 5th time, and I kinda liked it....

I have bashed this game for fun and no profit for years, and now I kind of like it!

So BoEers, I need recommendations on a couple of custom scenarios suitable for my beginner talent (read, no silly hard combat) that tells a fun story. Size matters, to an extent.

Z

[ Saturday, November 04, 2006 13:36: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Mindcontrol - sort of in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #2
quote:
Originally written by Anarchiztok:

If you had a power to delete/edit a (part of a) memory of a person, what would you do?
You realize, of course, that you've just described one of Richard White's powers? If you didn't, then he didn't want you to know about it until you read this post. If you did, he placed the memory there.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Fresh meat for the Cultists, or, goodbye sunshine in Richard White Games
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #0
Should Alorael be kicked out of the Cult of White for heresy?

Poll Information
This poll contains 1 question(s). 17 user(s) have voted.
Voting stopped at October 31, 2006 06:47 PM board time.

function launch_voter () { launch_window("http://www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=poll;d=vote;pollid=BsjVKkikuqTA"); return true; } // end launch_voter function launch_viewer () { launch_window("http://www.ironycentral.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=poll;d=view;pollid=BsjVKkikuqTA"); return true; } // end launch_viewer function launch_window (url) { preview = window.open( url, "preview", "width=550,height=300,toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status,menubar=no,scrollbars,resizable,copyhistory=no" ); window.preview.focus(); return preview; } // end launch_window IMAGE(votenow.gif)     IMAGE(voteresults.gif)

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Wouldnt an Exile/Avernum MMORPG be awesome? in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #10
I think I remember a group of dedicated Exile/Avernum fans planning a Neverwinter Nights mod that would be a persistent world server. My guess is that they gave up after realizing how much work it would take to make said mod.

I agree with Alo that the early Avernum setting is actually much more reasonable for a MMORPG than almost every other product on the market. The portal provides a consistent explanation for why new adventurers arrive all the time. The open environment allows for a more believable setting in which monsters roam around freely. And even the lack of an overall villain is a strength in this context.

I actually believe it is somewhat likely that Jeff will eventually attempt such a project. He clearly enjoys MMORPGs. The tools for creating an online game are getting better and cheaper (like the Torque engine, which has at least one indie/commercial MMORPG to its credit), and the economic advantages of such a game are enormous. A monthly fee of $10 is much more profitable for SW then a one-time $30 fee. Plus, Jeff gets to remake Exile/Avernum for a new generation of gamers. He'd probably call it "Hades" and then we can really get the Exile/Avernum/Hades flame wars going!

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
The Bad Get Polling! in Blades of Avernum
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #75
quote:
Originally written by Nemesis:

That makes the bombers evil? They were just acting on orders. Ever seen "A Few Good Men"? Similar story. When someone in the armed forces gets ordered to do something, even if they think it's immoral, they still have to do it, or it raises all kinds of hell for them personally. In cases like that, it's lose-lose for them.


Okay, let me stop you right there.

When you take the oath to join the Marine Corp, you take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Not your CO, not the CiC, not the JCoS. Your oath is the the Supreme Law of the Land.

One of the first things you learn in the Corp is that you are EXPECTED to disregard any illegal order. This is serious stuff - following orders is no defense from prosecution. And military justice allows for a much wider array of punishments than civilian courts.

If we presume that the Hiroshima bomber pilot knew what he was doing, then he followed an illegal order (a war crime no less!) and deserves to be hanged. The legal standard is crystal clear on this point. Why it wasn't followed is a matter for political and legal theorists to debate. But the standard is clear.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
The Bad Get Polling! in Blades of Avernum
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #64
I'm going to call this one game, set and match for *I, Thuryl, et al.

Emp, you sure like to argue like a sophist - something I somewhat admire. However, I find myself inclined to agree that great villains (or antagonists, if you prefer) are fully fleshed out characters with understandable, if flawed, motivations.

Someone on these boards pointed out that a good RPG should be like a good novel with crossword puzzles (tactical combat). So I prefer my villains to be those whom would entertain me if I were reading about them.

Z

EDIT: Typos

[ Thursday, October 19, 2006 18:55: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Riddle in Blades of Avernum
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #1
I haven't played the scenario, but my guess would be "nothing"

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Artwork request - Encyclopedia Logo in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #3
I know we're all suppposed to turn up our collective noses toward graphical sophistication, given our (mostly) collective appreciation for Spiderweb games, but SERIOUSLY. Is this best we, as a community of DIYSers, can do?

Z

IMAGE(http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/munch/munch.scream2.jpg)

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
How would you do it? in Avernum 4
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #135
quote:
Originally written by Slarty (Italics are mine):

...The standard of living in Exile seems to have risen promiscuously after E3 (which makes sense).


To quote Inigo Montoya - "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Musing on Avernum in Avernum 4
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #4
quote:
Originally written by Emperor Tullegolar:

This makes me sad. How far did you get in Avernum 3, exactly?

<snip>

As for Avernum 4, I really don't see what made the plot so much worse than the other games. If your saying that the plot was reused and you were disapointed by that fact, then you would have more of a case.

In A3, I defeated the slime-producing monster, and shortly thereafter lost interest.

Also, my problem with A4 wasn't that it has a similar plot to A3 (as you correctly note, I hadn't played A3 for any meaningful length of time). The reason I lost interest was because the world didn't feel engaging. Things were mostly static. New areas were just basically rooms full of things to kill. Characters were not memorable. Also, I didn't like how un-human your player characters are - by this I mean that, unlike say BG2 or the Geneforge games, your characters never develop independent personalities. They're just basically a collection of stats (Warrior "A", Warrior "B", Cleric, Mage).

Geneforge appeals to me more on two levels -

(1) Your character has a tremendous impact on the world based on your (the player's) decisions. In Avernum, the only decision is whether or not to continue playing. The plot does not change based on your actions, it is only advanced.

(2) The game responds and rewards your play style - some people like to play Shapers that use creations to kill everything, others like to become skilled infiltrators avoiding combat. These styles are not only viable, but they are rewarded differently. So your character becomes better at using the skills and strategies that you, as a player, like. Avernum is better than some RPGs on this element, but much more limited because of reason 1 – your goal is to kill things. You can choose how to kill things, but not whether or not to kill things, or even what to kill.

In A2, you can't decide to join the Empire and assassinate King Micah. In Geneforge 3, you can decide to join the rebellion and kill Lord Rahul.

I guess, for me, an RPG holds my attention if I'm able to make an emotional connection to the game. That connection is what drives me to care about the story, even if the plot is somewhat hackneyed. This can be done my giving me a compelling character to play, compelling characters with which to interact, and/or a dynamic world in which my decisions mean something. BG2, for instance, is strong on compelling characters, and somewhat weak on dynamic world (since the end goal is pretty much the same, no matter how you choose to play). The Geneforge games have less well-developed characters (compared to BG2), and a very dynamic world were it seems like nearly any decision (major and minor) have some impact on the world's evolution. If the characters are strong, then the emotional connection is with them – I care what happens to them and I want to find out. If the game has a dynamic world, then I want to find out what the results of my actions were on the world.

A4 lacked (for me) compelling characters or a dynamic world. This resulted in me losing interest. The engine was great compared to A1-3 (in my opinion), but it wasn't enough, on its own, to do more than propel in to finish the first 1/4 of the game.

Z

[ Tuesday, September 12, 2006 13:41: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Musing on Avernum in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #4
quote:
Originally written by Emperor Tullegolar:

This makes me sad. How far did you get in Avernum 3, exactly?

<snip>

As for Avernum 4, I really don't see what made the plot so much worse than the other games. If your saying that the plot was reused and you were disapointed by that fact, then you would have more of a case.

In A3, I defeated the slime-producing monster, and shortly thereafter lost interest.

Also, my problem with A4 wasn't that it has a similar plot to A3 (as you correctly note, I hadn't played A3 for any meaningful length of time). The reason I lost interest was because the world didn't feel engaging. Things were mostly static. New areas were just basically rooms full of things to kill. Characters were not memorable. Also, I didn't like how un-human your player characters are - by this I mean that, unlike say BG2 or the Geneforge games, your characters never develop independent personalities. They're just basically a collection of stats (Warrior "A", Warrior "B", Cleric, Mage).

Geneforge appeals to me more on two levels -

(1) Your character has a tremendous impact on the world based on your (the player's) decisions. In Avernum, the only decision is whether or not to continue playing. The plot does not change based on your actions, it is only advanced.

(2) The game responds and rewards your play style - some people like to play Shapers that use creations to kill everything, others like to become skilled infiltrators avoiding combat. These styles are not only viable, but they are rewarded differently. So your character becomes better at using the skills and strategies that you, as a player, like. Avernum is better than some RPGs on this element, but much more limited because of reason 1 – your goal is to kill things. You can choose how to kill things, but not whether or not to kill things, or even what to kill.

In A2, you can't decide to join the Empire and assassinate King Micah. In Geneforge 3, you can decide to join the rebellion and kill Lord Rahul.

I guess, for me, an RPG holds my attention if I'm able to make an emotional connection to the game. That connection is what drives me to care about the story, even if the plot is somewhat hackneyed. This can be done my giving me a compelling character to play, compelling characters with which to interact, and/or a dynamic world in which my decisions mean something. BG2, for instance, is strong on compelling characters, and somewhat weak on dynamic world (since the end goal is pretty much the same, no matter how you choose to play). The Geneforge games have less well-developed characters (compared to BG2), and a very dynamic world were it seems like nearly any decision (major and minor) have some impact on the world's evolution. If the characters are strong, then the emotional connection is with them – I care what happens to them and I want to find out. If the game has a dynamic world, then I want to find out what the results of my actions were on the world.

A4 lacked (for me) compelling characters or a dynamic world. This resulted in me losing interest. The engine was great compared to A1-3 (in my opinion), but it wasn't enough, on its own, to do more than propel in to finish the first 1/4 of the game.

Z

[ Tuesday, September 12, 2006 13:41: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Musing on Avernum in Avernum 4
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #0
Reading these topics, including peoples' opinions of Avernum IV and requests for the future direction of the series has put me in a philosophical mood.

I, like several other board members, have been playing Jeff's games since Exile 1. Unlike others on these boards, I hated Exile 1 so much when I first played it that I didn't touch a thing Jeff made until I tried Nethergate and got hooked. I've now learned to appreciate the Exile series for what it is, and while I doubt I'll ever play it, I can see its charm.

The Avernum series was a different story, for me. Avernum 1 was much more polished and accessible than Exile 1 - and I was no doubt more favorably predisposed toward it due to the interface features it shares with Nethergate. So in a sense, Avernum 1 gave me the best of all worlds - the interesting Exile setting with the engine improvements from Nethergate.

Avernum 2 was also very enjoyable. It felt well constructed. The story elements fit together nicely and the improvements to the engine enhanced the overall experience.

But things started, in my opinion, to go wrong with Avernum 3. I never really "got" it. I purchased it, but every time I've tried to play it, I found I was bored before long.

Blades of Avernum had the same effect on me. I only finished VotDT, which was okay. I tried a couple of user-created scenarios (a couple of which were better than VotDT), but I still found the overall experience unsatisfying and boring.

Avernum 4, alas, is the least enjoyable of the Avernum series. There isn't anything in particular that I didn’t like about it. The engine is better, I think, than the previous Avernums. But the engine improvements couldn't make up for an overall dull game experience. I felt very little motivation to advance from one area to the next, since nothing much seemed to happen. It was just another dungeon full of things to kill. Take a game like Baldur’s Gate 2 – each new area revealed new and often surprising plot twists, and the characters felt very much alive. This emotional connection with my own character, her party, and the world made it difficult to stop playing. These emotional aspects are largely missing in A4. Someone mentioned that A4 feels like a MMORPG and I couldn't agree more.

I've bought all of Jeff's games (E1-3, BoE, A1-4, BoA, G1-3, NG, & GC), and I certainly would like to support his further efforts. Spiderweb games have always been hit-or-miss with me, but lately it feels they're much more miss than hit. I have hopes that G4 will reverse this trend of mediocre products, or at least, provide a game interesting enough I feel like finishing it.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Musing on Avernum in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #0
Reading these topics, including peoples' opinions of Avernum IV and requests for the future direction of the series has put me in a philosophical mood.

I, like several other board members, have been playing Jeff's games since Exile 1. Unlike others on these boards, I hated Exile 1 so much when I first played it that I didn't touch a thing Jeff made until I tried Nethergate and got hooked. I've now learned to appreciate the Exile series for what it is, and while I doubt I'll ever play it, I can see its charm.

The Avernum series was a different story, for me. Avernum 1 was much more polished and accessible than Exile 1 - and I was no doubt more favorably predisposed toward it due to the interface features it shares with Nethergate. So in a sense, Avernum 1 gave me the best of all worlds - the interesting Exile setting with the engine improvements from Nethergate.

Avernum 2 was also very enjoyable. It felt well constructed. The story elements fit together nicely and the improvements to the engine enhanced the overall experience.

But things started, in my opinion, to go wrong with Avernum 3. I never really "got" it. I purchased it, but every time I've tried to play it, I found I was bored before long.

Blades of Avernum had the same effect on me. I only finished VotDT, which was okay. I tried a couple of user-created scenarios (a couple of which were better than VotDT), but I still found the overall experience unsatisfying and boring.

Avernum 4, alas, is the least enjoyable of the Avernum series. There isn't anything in particular that I didn’t like about it. The engine is better, I think, than the previous Avernums. But the engine improvements couldn't make up for an overall dull game experience. I felt very little motivation to advance from one area to the next, since nothing much seemed to happen. It was just another dungeon full of things to kill. Take a game like Baldur’s Gate 2 – each new area revealed new and often surprising plot twists, and the characters felt very much alive. This emotional connection with my own character, her party, and the world made it difficult to stop playing. These emotional aspects are largely missing in A4. Someone mentioned that A4 feels like a MMORPG and I couldn't agree more.

I've bought all of Jeff's games (E1-3, BoE, A1-4, BoA, G1-3, NG, & GC), and I certainly would like to support his further efforts. Spiderweb games have always been hit-or-miss with me, but lately it feels they're much more miss than hit. I have hopes that G4 will reverse this trend of mediocre products, or at least, provide a game interesting enough I feel like finishing it.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Native Americans in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #25
Well, as someone who HAS spent significant time in Oklahoma and whose wife is an American Indian, I can tell you that the idea that they're somehow at least as well off as the general population is absurd. According to the latest census, American Indians are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-Indian people (about 25% versus 12% of the overall US population).

Yeah, there are a couple of tribes that are doing okay, but that represents the top of their wealth. The average American Indian is much poorer than the average American, and the average American Indian from one of the 39 Federally-recognized Tribal nations in Oklahoma is worse off than the average Oklahoman.

And before you retort, consider that the United States of America as a legal obligation to provide Indians with social, medical and educational services to tribal members.

Then again, perhaps you're arguing that the US should just ignore its legal obligations to the American Indians - which would hardly be an unprecedented position.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Native Americans in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #22
quote:
Originally written by Zeviz:

Chinese had gunpowder and steel before Europeans.
Yes - that's the point - inventions from China could make their way via trade relationships from east to west relatively easily. And they could go back again. This allowed Spaniards to benefit from Chinese inventions.

quote:
It's very convenient to talk about "Eurasians", but the argument collapses once you remember that neither Chinese nor the Persians colonized America.
This here is the danger of trying to offer a summary of Diamond's argument. In fact, the success that the Persian empire and the Chinese empires had was due to similar situations - they possessed superior technology than those people whom they conquered. The Persian conquest of modern-day Turkey and Afghanistan where similarly brutal to the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and also built on a solid foundation of superior technology.

And the reasons why the Spaniards were able to enjoy such technological superiority to those around them was they enjoyed the fruits of other civilizations' technological advancements. Consider how difficult it is to development ocean-going technology - you need the ability to build the ships, and some theory of the world being round, not to mention mathematics sufficient to turn this theory into navigation, etc. many (most?) of which were not of Spanish origin.

And then, once the Spaniards arrived to the Americas, a relative handful of them where able to literally bring down empires. Whatever we may think about the Conquistadores, it is DAMN impressive that Pizarro went into an Empire numbering the in millions and conquered it in a few years with 150 men! The Inca’s where near the height of their power, and 150 men with guns, steel weapons and horses took them over. When he captured the Inca emperor Atahuallpa, his group of 150 killed more than 5,000 of the Inca’s warriors – in ONE battle, and only one of their number was killed.

quote:
As for the "weather patterns didn't vary substantially across Eurasian continent", I am not sure which planet the author is living on. The weather in Siberia is the opposite of the weather in Central Asian deserts.
Well, this is actually something can can (and is) provably true. Crops that grow well in France usually grow well in Germany, and usually grow well in Eastern Russia, - that is a HUGE advantage compared to the American continent in which crops that grow well in the dry climates of Western Mexico don't grow at all on the rain forests of the Yucatan peninsula and vice versa. This meant that for all practical purposes, the Maya's agricultural technology was useless to the Aztecs and the Aztec's technology was useless to the Maya, despite being so close together. Whereas wheat farmers in France could learn about techniques developed in Ukraine, despite being so far away from each other.

One of the strongest parts of Guns, Germs and Steel is the detailed analysis of domesticable crops and animals and their ability to be introduced to other regions.

I would recommend you try to understand the argument before dismissing it. Diamond may well be wrong, but his argument is incredibly well researched and supported and worth understanding. If you want to learn more, I’d recommend looking at this link from a television show based on his book.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Native Americans in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #13
For those of you interested in this topic, I found Jared Diamond’s "Guns, Germs and Steel" to be a particularly good book. Diamond seeks the answer to the question of why Europe did the invading and not the other way around. The proximate causes are simple to identify - Europeans had guns, steel weapons and armor, and diseases to which they'd developed relative immunities but wiped out native populations with whom they made contact.

Diamond then begins to question why Europeans where the ones who developed guns, germs and steel before other cultures around the world. At the risk is simplifying this book WAY more than it deserves, it was because Eurasians developed on a stretch of land that was particularly conducive to human development. They had access to a greater number of domesticable animals and edible plants, and because the weather patterns don't vary as substantially across the Eurasian continent (as opposed to the American continents), crop discoveries and inventions from neighboring societies tended to work elsewhere. In the Americas, for instance, the Aztec agricultural developments could not be imported to other neighboring civilizations because the climatic changes made them generally useless.

The point is that the high levels of domesticated animals and food production allowed for increased population density (which led to greater resistance to diseases). And the favorable conditions for technological exchange allowed inventions from China to migrate over to Spain, and vice versa. This led to the guns and steel.

Now, my description above is a definite bastardization of Diamond’s excellent work. I’m just trying to give the “10,000 foot view” of the book.

And also, in regard to whether the ethnic genocide of American Indians was the worst crime of its kind is a weird discussion. It strikes me as a particularly grotesque version of arguing about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin. Human history if full of incredible cruelty. If you read about the Polynesian history, it becomes pretty obvious that competition leading to genocide is a sadly routine feature among human tribes. In other words, you don't need to be a white man to behave like a stereotypical white devil - that evil is inherent in all of us.

Z

[ Monday, May 08, 2006 05:45: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Games in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #20
I've always felt vaguely uncomfortable about abandonware sites and have only downloaded games that I own. This makes more sense than you might think since some of the really ancient games I own I wouldn't even know how to put on a modern computer. Like the Ancient Art of War, which requires a Mac Plus emulator to play. Ah - THAT was a fun game!

Yep, we used to have real time strategy games back when our computers came with 128k of RAM, no hard disk, a 2 megahertz CPU, a 9 inch black and white monitor, and a (literally) 2-bit display. And for the record, I'm 29, but I was a supermegalucky kid whose parents bought a Mac when they first came out.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
a4 is the best game yet in Avernum 4
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #54
I, too, absolutely hate the D&D spell system. I prefer games like Geneforge or Avernum where the number of spells is more limited but they're all useful, and the spell's power depends on the skill of the caster.

That said, I found Baldur's Gate II and the expansion pack to be excellent CRPGs. I found the first Baldur's Gate to be pretty good. I found Icewind Dale to be pretty dull. I never tried Planescape because it never made it to the Mac side of things.

And now, to bring this back to the topic at hand, I think Avernum IV is the most technically sophisticated game Jeff has ever produced, and the combat system is much more fun than any previous Avernum. I prefer A4's combat system to BG's combat system.

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
a hello and some questions in General
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #18
I'd have to second several of the Board suggestions. Avernum 2 has the best plot of the Avernum series. Geneforge 1 has the best plot of the Geneforge series. Nethergate probably has the best plot of all the Spiderweb games.

And, as Alo pointed out, you should download the demos and take them for a metaphorical test drive. Opinions vary of the relative worth of the games. It seems that the average SW forum member is more fond of plot and story than hack and slash, so take that into consideration when reviewing our advice.

Since you enjoyed the Exile series, and own Blades of Exile, I would encourage you to try to some of the scenarios. I have heard that many are incredible. (I personally never got into the BoE engine, so I cannot recommend any specific scenarios but TM and Ash certainly can)

Blades of Avernum has far fewer scenarios, and I understand that, in general, they fare poorly in terms of quality compared to Blades of Exile. However, take my words with a salt shaker close at hand since I never got into Blades of Avernum either.

If you're looking to join a cult, I'd recommend the Cult of Richard White. Take a look at the Cult history posted in the RWG forums if you're curious. (And yes, Diki, everyone has implants, but they're only activitated when the ever-living-ever-dead-one needs you)

Z

[ Monday, May 01, 2006 08:40: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
A Few More Advance Words On Geneforge 4 in Geneforge Series
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #35
I, too, am looking forward to the "patrol group" style combat. As someone mentioned before, the patrol areas in Geneforge are especially fun because they really force the player to consider how he or she will approach the zone. Does the pay load up on spell buffs and creations to tackle the enemies head on? Does the player look for the opportunity to pick off members of the patrol who get too far behind? Does the player attempt to avoid combat all together and sneak around them?

So far, I think we all agree that this group-based combat will create a more memorable and fun experience.

Hurray!

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00

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