Why Exult Ultima 7?

Halfway through June already, where does the time go?  Truth be told, I’ve been keeping my promise to spend less time blogging and more time trying to develop a game… this hasn’t resulted in much progress on the grounds that I’m a master procrastinator.

All things considered, I think being the frequent updater doesn’t suit me well.  I could mention what I’ve been playing lately but what is there to be said really?   I’ve already said my piece on Sims 3.  The two betas I’m involved in are under NDA.  That leaves Ultima 7 via the Exult emulator… which I’ll talk about today if only to fill the void.

First, somebody else’s video to show off a bit of the gameplay:

Alright, now that you know how the original looks and plays, it’s on to my take.

I think Exult has done a reasonably good job of emulating the original.  Back when computers could barely run it, I enjoyed Ultima 7.  However, from my current experiences in Exult, I have to say that it fairly sucks.   The troubles I’m seeing here in aren’t Exult problems, they’re Ultima 7 problems.  The game mechanics have aged terribly.  The details of my discontent follow the bump.

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Third Semester Simlish

I skipped playing The Sims 2 on the grounds that The Sims didn’t entertain me for very long.  There reached a certain point where my little computer people had exhausted all their tricks, that I had seen all the furniture of consequence, and the sim-ulated relationships they conveyed failed to evoke much in the way of sim-pathy from me.

Others’ Sim Appeal

People play games for different reasons, and the fascination with The Sims is reminiscent of when I used to work at the library and I notice several the library computers hijacked by girls who would spend hours looking at pages and pages of pictures of strangers in various social situations.

Now, as a fellow who tends to use his computers for playing computer games, staring at strangers’ home photos seems like one of the least entertaining things they could be doing to pass their time on the computer.  What edge are their cunning little ids pulling from that experience to so drive this madness?  It seems to be a sort of emotional eroticism of sort, albeit I’m quick to interject one not so severe as to qualify for societal scorn.

I’m not so emotionally dead as to not find the appeal of people engaged in happy acts, but at the same time I’m logically driven enough to see that there’s definitely an underlying characteristic of baseless addiction beneath it.  Over-fixation on life’s little pleasures remain just that: a strange flaw that has evolved in the human character.

My Sim Appeal

In any case, I’m fairly enjoying The Sims 3 for the reasons I can enjoy it: it’s very much a fascinating environment to consider from an artificial intelligence and even simulated social environment perspective.  The main thing Sims 3 removes is confinement – your Sims can now leave their homes and go to down to other Sim’s houses and walk the neighborhood.

This was something partially possible through expansions before, but not as one single simulation as Sims 3 offers it.  A complete seamless transition from location to location is a formidable technical feat, and it brings a great stride with it.  The Sims not a one-home simulation anymore, it’s now a whole community microcosm.  Fascinating.

Overall Score: Not Bad At All

Complain all you like about how Sims 3 didn’t innovate enough from The Sims 2 – I got around that by simply not playing it.  Further, I think the micro-transaction model was probably a good move.  Done right, it could be a bit like online music download services that allow you to circumvent having to buy the whole CD including tracks you don’t want and simply buy the ones you do.  Beats the snot out of buying box after box of expansions to get one piece of virtual furniture you wanted.

Now, if only game developers at large could bridge bringing Sims 3 artificial intelligence into your average MMORPG NPC mechanic, we’d be in business of seeing some truly compelling virtual worlds.  There was The Sims Online, but the developers pretty much removed the AI entirely so the players could take over and be the sims.  That, of course, was a mistake on the grounds that the AI was always the main selling point of The Sims, a selling point Sims 3 leverages well.

Humbled By Kid Games: Dragonica Online

To be fair, I drop less mental bombshells and more complaints about how my weeks were duds.  The latest distraction to defuse any potential of my week was Dragonica Online.

First impressions will be that Dragonica Online is a sickeningly sweet kids game slightly corrupted with a hint of the lolicon that’s so popular in its world region of origin as to be apparently inseparable from most products imported from there.

Yes, it’s yet another free-to-play Korean import.  However, unlike most such games, Dragonica Online is not several years old, it’s still in closed beta even there.  What’s even more surprising, it has gameplay that leaves me sorely wondering if we’re far behind them here in American MMORPG game design.

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