Archive for the “Starfleet Command II” Category

I reinstalled SFC2 last night in a fit of utter boredom and insanity caused by about 30 straight hours of writing and manual probability math. (Don’t ask.) I had forgotten how fun it was to play even in single skirmish, how clean it looks, and how difficult it can be. Then I remembered how boring it is to wait for minutes to get to the objective, how bizarrely unbalanced the story missions in the campaign game are, and how much of a memory leaker it is.

Then I read the Taldren forums, and I remembered how dull people can be. Here are two responses to what’s happening now in that Mecca of mindlessness.

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"Yes sir… Captain."

Mu sighed. Wasn’t it bad enough that he was being shot at every day? His yeoman’s barely-detectable sneer at the mention of his rank was an all-too common phenomenon on his bridge. Not that he could really do anything about it, out of a general concern for crew unity and functionality, not to mention that it was never quite derisive enough to earn a reprimand. Not that he really needed reason; a Captain could theoretically throw anyone he wanted to in the brig for any reason at all. The reality of the situation was that a Captain who was overly zealous in his prosecution of discipline would most likely be reassigned to the rear, where his rank and standing wouldn’t mean as much as he issued orders to his secretaries and manned the helm of a computer terminal. Worst of all, reassignment to a desk position would most likely land him in San Francisco, Fleet HQ complex, and most likely under the direct supervision of Vice Admiral Shi Whendi, his wife.

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Ever have one of those days? BBJones’ vision for Canada West was a good one, a worthy successor to ArticFires. It should be noted that ArticFires self-destructed because the galactic war server software was far too sucky to handle anything on the scale of, you know, galactic war. Canada West adds variable victory conditions and the like to the mix. Now not only is the server software too horrible to support what’s needed, but you are relying on players to be smart enough to (a) understand the nuances and the bugs in the game and act accordingly, and (b) play for the victory conditions. In short, you need players who can read and understand rules, browse forums, and do the right thing. Stop laughing. Did I mention Canada West is an open, everyone welcome server? I said stop laughing.

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You know, there are just too many things in my life that demand attention right now… new puppy, planning a trip, trying to find out how much my badly written traffic ticket is going to cost without strangling a court clerk… to spend any significant time at all on running for office. When the office being contested is a nonelected position in charge of a bunch of people who are only peripherally aware of the concept of "message boards," daytime soap opera viewing rises above these lofty political ambitions.

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More hours of my life have been spent playing on Canada West, hours of my life I will never ever get back.

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I like to fly the Feds. Actually, most people like to fly the Feds. Most people also suck. Therefore, most Feds suck. I cannot dispute this. Looking at a larger-scale server like Artic’s old server or Canada West and seeing a HUGE number of Feds on who are steadily losing ground while the ISC takes root in their living room makes the case clear.

I’ve already elaborated on why sucky players like to fly the Feds. I wish they could stop sucking. I wish maybe they could get a clue. More than anything else, I wish they would play some other race so people could stop whining about the blue plague, while at the same time suffering with the mass incompetence of the average player that plagues the Feds. This is too much to hope for.

Since nobody reads this page anyway, I have therefore decided to start laying down some interesting ideas about using the Federation ships to advantage. Hopefully a few Feds will read this and either learn how to not suck quite so damn much, or be so overwhelmed with the micromanagement required to fly the Feds correctly that they go jump into some less generalized race.

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The more of it I play, the more SFC2 entrenches itself in my mind as "the game that almost was." This label applies to lots of games, far more than the "games that are actually good," yet still sadly far less than "games that just suck." The reason for this is the horribly unfinished state of the Dynaverse 2 server kit. That, of course, and players, but since players ruin almost all games on the face of the planet, this goes without saying.

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Back in the saddle, after 7 OS reinstalls (thank you Micro$oft) and a state-of-the-art WYSIWIG HTML editor that’s a thousand times worse than Netscape Composer. What have I been doing for the last couple weeks besides ignoring the fact that my forum is down? Playing Starfleet Command 2, the only game in recent memory to actually be interesting enough to play a lot. Unfortunately, it is riddled with the two biggest problems that can afflict any multiplayer net game: bugs, and players. Of these two, players is worse. You can always patch a bug.

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