This week’s update is the second of three paintings (confirmed now) going around this time around. Quite frankly, this one’s the worst of the three, and it doesn’t really compel me to talk about it. Two and three were originally separate, then I decided to combine them, and then they became separate again, because this component turned out poorly.

The lineart isn’t actually all that bad; I think between the three paintings going up this cycle, all of them are pretty good – and they’re consistently pretty good, which doesn’t happen too often. Between the last three paintings before this cycle, two are what I’d call “shoddier”… and even between the three before that, I’d say there are two that’re worse than the third.

Color wise, while I was actually doing the coloring, I was thinking that I’d finally gone overboard with all the extra red that I like to drop into these paintings, but the post processing really reduced the… uh… I dunno what the proper word is; the jarringness of the extra colors or something, though.

Anyway, this entry was originally going to be about resolution, but I don’t feel like writing said entry, so I’ll save it for next week.

I’ve been playing two kinda old games recently… one is RollerCoaster Tycoon, and the other one is Starcraft. I’d like to take an entry to reflect a little abit on these. RCT is a little more interesting to talk about because I like the game, and I actually have saved games from when I first beat the game and expansions back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I really wish I could find some old replays, but the SC era (7th and 8th grade) seems to pre-date my archives, and there’s just nothing left.

With RCT I actually think I’ve beaten the game and expansions three times by now (or rather, me and my brother are on the third time). This is a little bit amazing given that there are about 25 + 30 + 30 maps to play, and each map takes maybe 2-3 hours on average. If those figures are right, that’s about 600 hours just doing the scenarios – which doesn’t actually seem that long when framed this way…

Anyway, the first time I went through the maps, I adhered by the very arbitrary policy of building each ride I could get exactly one time, and charging exactly one dollar for each ride or something inane like that. Each like rollercoaster was built the exact same way with like a single lift hill and slope, and that was it. This was actually quite a handicap at the time cuz you really don’t make any money this way, and the ratings on such built roller coasters are really abysmal. In retrospect, I’m a little surprised that I was able to beat all the stages this way.

Oh, and they were all Pokemon themed. The first time I went through RCT, it was on the old Pentium II Dell towers we got in 98/99 way back when Pokemon was the thing.

Second time through musta been before 2004, as I’m pretty sure I was still using Windows 98 and the CpT C. I think the release of the second RCT expansion prompted my going through the game again – this time around the rides were fairly well built, but some maps were still pretty hard to beat, and I still followed a policy of building one of every ride and pricing everything fairly low. I also always built some sort of transport ride all around the park as the very first ride. I think that was an even bigger handicap simply because it sapped so much of my money when I needed it the most – at the start of the game.

This current time around – some maps in 2008, some maps right now in 2009 – the game has deteriorated to becoming less of meeting the map objective, but more of dicking around and meeting the objective along the way. I don’t think there was any map that was particularly difficult, which suggests just how easy this game is if you know how to manipulate it.

This sequence of pictures shows a map in the first expansion played three times – the first in 2000 or so, the second in the 2004 cycle, and the third, just a couple days ago. You can see what I’m talking about with all the rides being the same, better roller coasters… and then dicking around. In that last one I was actually trying to build one ride with the highest possible instantaneous ride income. The previous two records were like 44k and 20k; well this is now 60k, and there was a lot of silliness going about trying to get there.

Alright, what can I say about Starcraft. I dunno… it’s hard to draw comparisons when there’s nothing to compare with.

I used to have a fairly good Terran build order that’d get me 12 battlecruisers and wall off my base in like 10 minutes. If you put missile turrets in front of bunkers, the AI enemy tries to attack the bunkers, but the missle turrets block them, and they kinda don’t know what to do and fail. I think it worked something along those lines. After that, 12 battlecruisers can pretty much take out any AI base…

Probably even faster for 3v3s and shit, as I don’t need to build that silly defense.

I played Protoss for the first time… probably since 7th or 8th grade. I used to think all the races needed totally different mindsets to play, but at least against the AI, i feel like you pretty much just get by messing around however you want. I used to make these really rigidly planned out terran bases, but my protoss bases just kind of sprawl out all over the place.

ok, that’s probably enough for now. TIL NEXT WEEK!

dupdate 060302


Well, I could do old sketchbook pictures, but I’m really not in the mood to go to the scanner and run the scanner software. Specially as HP is making the crappiest scanner software on earth.

So we’ll try something different. Last Saturday I felt like playing Transport Tycoon, so I’ll post some pictures of my current game.

TT is the directly ancestor of the now famous Roller Coaster Tycoon series. The point of the latter game is more cash based than that of the former, which is “Guest” based. In TT you transport good from location X to location Z, make money, build bigger, further, more complicated, etc. There are trains, trucks, planes, and ships, though trains are by FAR the most used.

Over the years, (TT originated in the early 90’s, for DOS) there have been several third party modifications that have become reasonably standard (Like the Drexler patch for RCT, if anyone has played the standard mod versions of RCT), in fact, the most common mod patch for TT is made by the same guy who wrote the Drexler patch for RCT. All in all, the end result is that patched versions of TT can basically be considered a whole new version of the game.

I’m running TT on the 2.0 Alpha 73 patch with the US train set (And yes, we can download new vehicle sets now, too, not to mention make them) and some industrial station sets. The scenario I’m playing is a default scenario: it’s got a row of mountains with a crapload of coal mines, some ocean, a row of mountains with nothing, some ocean, and then a row of flat land with a ton of power stations and cities. I assume the idea is to use the cities to generate money with passenger transport until you can gather the funds to cross the middle mountains and oceans to get to the coal. This time through (Second time I’ve played this map), I was able to put my first line across the mountains in 1932, two years after game start (With the default trains, it probably would have taken until the late 30’s to get across, but even so, I think the two years is extremely fast).

So, first screenshot, the second row of mountains in 1935: Screen1

After putting the first few lines across the mountain, I figured that I wanted to get an entire, coherent network in place before the end of steam, something I’ve never actually seen done before, as it’s just not “conventional”. By coherent, I mean straight tracks, smooth junctions, efficient Ro-Ro stations, etc. Time for some speed building.

Second screen; the replacement of that spiffy mountain pass: Screen2

Third sceen; the junction just above the mentioned pass shortly before reconstruction: Screen3

So, now you can see what I mean by a cohrent junction. The above junction is an example of an incoherent junction: messy, lots of ups and downs, lots of curves, built in the spirit of building fast, not terribly efficiently. This next screen is the remodelled junction (And those two coal trains headed towards the right are 4-6-6-4 Challengers): Screen4

Lastly is a screen of the un-remodeled coal terminus, I really wish I had a closeup of this since there should be one or two 4-8-8-4 Big Boys down there: Screen5