Buy and Download Homm3: Complete Ed. from GOG!

GOG (Good Old Games) Holiday discount campaign - 452 game-downloads for -50% until Jan 3rd

Monday, 31 December 2012

That's a nice deal! But only until January 3rd of 2013.

If you wanna grab some classic DRM free game-downloads from GOG I suggest you do it quick. Their holiday campaign includes massive selection of 452 games for -50% price tag. I really do like GOG although I usually don't prefer game-downloads over physical copy, but easiness to use their website, Windows XP/7-ready old Dos platformed games, and manuals that are included usually in Pdf format is nice touch.

Some of the best games you can get from them are best strategy and cRPG offerings from the 90's. I just acquired Disciples and Age Of Wonders games from them myself.. :-)

Lots of classics up for grabs for cheap for example:

Might And Magic 6-pack (MM 1-6) - $4.99
Heroes of Might And Magic 3 Complete Edition - $4.99
Ultima VII - $2.99
Freespace 2 - $4.99
Master of Orion 1+2 - $2.99
Planescape Torment - $4.99
Arcanum: Of Steamworks And Magick Obscura - $2.99
Icewind Dale Complete - $4.99
Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition - $2.99
Outcast - $2.99
Fallout 1 - $4.99
Fallout 2 - $4.99
...and over 400 more.

plus ending tomorrow: -75% "Santa in Space"-campaign for games like Star Control 1-3, Master of Orion 1-2.

Elite: Dangerous - make or break time for kickstarter campaign

Friday, 28 December 2012

One week left for David Braben and Frontier Developments to reach the necessary £1,250,000 goal in kickstarter campaign for Elite sequel "Dangerous": open-world space simulation with freedom to play in a vast galaxy as trader, rogue, or headhunter. "Get small amount of credits, crappy ship, and go make a fortune" .

The remaining week is pretty much "make or break" period, because succeeding in the goal gets agonisingly close, and it can still go either way. Elite: Dangerous will most likely make it though, since it has around £200,000 to make in seven days, but last few days have seen increasing pledging rate. It's also often seen in past campaigns that on campaigns which get close to succeed in the end, the last days have provided large percentage of money of the overall goal.

Braben & Co. should get approximately £28,000 a day on average speed. Braben has kept the campaign page coming with loads of updates within the last couple of days. He has explained a lot about game world economy, and how it works, as well as about trading system.

Here are the videos from newest updates for Elite: Dangerous, as well as Teaser video for those who don't know about the game:

(Dec 28, 2012 Update - About trading)

(Dec 26, 2012 Update - Gary Whitts interviews Braben (Elite: Dangerous) and Robers (Star Citizen))

(Teaser trailer)

Diablo III won't be seeing Team Deathmatch PvP mode - "the game designed for PvE"

According to Diablo III (Buy it) official website, development team has ditched the idea for any future Team Deathmatch combat mode.  That means players won't be seeing any team based player versus player combat in the game, only duels, which are promised to be added.

Game director Jay Wilson explained that the game was firstly designed for PvE (Player versus environment) in mind, rather than PvP (player versus player). Thus Diablo III is really not balanced for PvP style combat, especially due character class designs. Wilson also goes on explaining how they don't feel that Team Deathmatch would be any interesting event, but rather too superficial and repetitive.

Read Wilson's explanations for ditching Team Deathmatch mode below:

"[...] For us it comes to a few issues, one of which is depth. Simply fighting each other with no other objectives or choices to make gets old relatively quickly. We've brought a lot of people in to try out Team Deathmatch and, while some found it entertaining, most of our testers didn't feel like it was something they'd want to do beyond a few hours. Without more varied objectives, or very lucrative rewards, few saw our current iteration as something they'd want spend a lot of time in. 

Another is class balance. Like Diablo II, Diablo III was designed to be a PvE-first kind of game, where we never compromised on player abilities in the name of future PvP balance. We want to be able to carry over as many of the crazy runes, items, and skills as possible, with their crazy effects, and alter them as little as possible. In a casual PvP mode, something equivalent to a WoW Battleground, this would be fine, but Team Deathmatch felt very hardcore, and it put a laser focus on class balance in a way that we didn’t think would be good for the game as a whole."

It sounds bit like the development team is making poor excuses here, probably for failing to make PvP system totally working in the first place, and now they want to ditch the future development of it. Perhaps the game was made PvE in mind in the first place, which is where they probably went wrong since the beginning, and now they feel it's too massive job to balance the system so that both PvP and PvE combat would be rock solid. Way to go Blizzard!

Duel mode is scheduled to be released in Patch 1.0.7, and new replacement for Team Deathmatch will be in the planning stage, to be released as a free addon in future. Ditching Team Deathmatch has raised controversy among Diablo III fan base.

Best selling games of Christmas 2012 - Call Of Duty: Black Ops II best-seller in UK

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

According to GfK aka, Call of Duty: Black Ops II is hands down-winner for best selling game of all popular gaming platforms in Christmas sales (the week prior to 24th of December). GfK has their own software that keeps track on various retail/web-stores within UK, Ireland, and Denmark. See Top 30-list at the end of the post.

The sales of Black Ops II is not a huge surprise, since this tactical multi-platform (PC, Xbox360, PS3) first-person shooter, which aims for some multiplayer fun, but also features single-player side, is a sequel for Call Of Duty franchise, which has been a constant big hit for something like a decade now. Activision sure knew to aim their release near Christmas holidays too.

Somehow it still bugs me a bit what's behind the big sales numbers of Call Of Duty games from year to another, since they haven't really invented anything much groundbreaking between sequels and predecessors in ages. The changes usually have just included slight modifications of general game, with new guns, and new maps, with full price. But what the hell, someone once said "why fix it if it isn't broken?". Fast and pacey multiplayer shooters seem to be very popular these days, and I admit, I've enjoyed some Call Of Duty games too in the past, such as CoD 3 and Modern Warfare I & II. The franchise's game-play has been very fluid and solid.

Other than that, looking at the first ten best selling games, the list doesn't really feature much surprises (and I apologize for not sounding more enthusiastic). Everything's quite "same old". Big trademarks, sequels, multi-platformers, and games you can play with your friends. Actually this list makes me yawn a bit, since best sellers lacks originality. I don't mean that each of them should be bad games, but pretty much something that we've already seen, based on their predecessors.

Just look at for example Far Cry 3 that just screams everything that's typical for modern day first-person shooter: open sandbox style world with slight adventure element, but being purely first person shooter at it's core, with a loose story - second best seller (after mmo shooter of course).

(Far Cry 3 presents familiar feel with it's open sandbox style first-person shooter in beautiful island setting)

Or Hitman: Absolution, offering pretty much the regular shooter, but with more edge on the sneaking and planning rather than all-guns-blazing approach. A game where Square Enix / IO Interactive tried to put some basis on the storyline, but it's still lacking quite a bit. I'm quite certain that big part of the game's development budget went into the cut-scenes of the story, which features huge length over eighty minutes of movie-like cut-scenes and voice-acting. Still this doesn't reach the awesomeness of Thief: The Dark Project's unique atmosphere or sneaking - yet having quite a bit to offer for fans of this type of games, nevertheless. Third best seller of the list.

(Sneaking and and shooting in same package with s*it loads of cut-scenes - that's Hitman Absolution)

More sequels. Long awaited Assassin's Creed III can be found on seventh position in best-seller list, being somewhat mixture of open world adventure and action with slight sneak elements added in. The visuals are more stunning than before, but otherwise offering the same old secure experience of it's predecessors with a new story.

(Fresh story with familiar roots - Assassin's Creed III)

The top ten sellers include also some sports like football-game Fifa 13 of the long running series, and WWE '13 for some wrestling, Just Dance 4 for some social partying, Xbox360 exclusive Halo 4 for a sci-fi counterpart for Call Of Duty / Battlefield series, Need For Speed Most Wanted for your semi-open world arcade racing, and Lego Lord Of The Rings, which may be a nice holiday present for children.

However, what surprises me the most is that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim still reached position eleven after over a year since the release. Although several old-school-cRPG fanatics often bash the franchise, especially latter releases, in my opinion Elder Scrolls games still have quite lengthy life span. And of course, ranking of Football Manager 2013 (13.) is also slight surprise.

(Gamers are still keen to hunt those dragons after a year of release - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

Another thing that's worth to be mentioned is that Forza Motorsport 4, on position sixteen, still sold more than franchises newcomer Forza Horizon, on position twenty one, which is considered the "arcade-counterpart" for original Forza.

And perhaps Arkane Studio's first game for a long time called Dishonored should had deserved bit better ranking. Lack for XCOM: Enemy Unknown in Top 30 best sellers is also saddening, since Firaxis Games really made pretty good job with it, honoring X-Com franchise's original roots. Sure it has got some things dumbed down, such as no multiple bases around the globe, but it also does many things right.

Top 30 Best Selling Games in UK, Denmark and Ireland in the week prior to Christmas  (according to GfK charts):

1. Call of Duty: Black Ops II
2. Far Cry 3
3. Hitman Absolution
4. Fifa 13
5. Just Dance 4
6. Need For Speed Most Wanted
7. Assassin's Creed III
8. Halo 4
9. Lego The Lord Of The Rings
10. WWE '13
11. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
12. Skylander Giants
13. Football Manager 2013
14. Medal Of Honor : Warfighter
15. Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed
16. Forza Motorsport 4
17. Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Theme Park
18. Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
19. New Super Mario Bros. 2
20. Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
21. Forza Horizon
22. Dishonored
23. Mario Kart 7
24. Mario & Sonic London 2012 Olympic Games
25. Angry Birds Trilogy
26. Dead Island Goty Edition
27. Book Of Spells
28. Borderlands 2
29. F1 2012
30. Resident Evil 6

New Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) screenshots for X-Mas holidays (PS3, Xbox360; Spring 2013)

As most of you console-game freaks know, Grand Theft Auto V will be out within couple of months in Spring 2013 officially announced by Rockstar Games. This will be candy for all those open-world action-adventure-game fanatics out there, who also enjoy pretty visuals.

The release date is yet not officially released, but speculation says it might be around March 2013. We'll see about that. The game will be released for both consoles Playstation3 and Xbox360, and you can already pre-order it from for example. Get ready for nagging girl-friends and get your popcorn ready... you know you're gonna need it at least when the cut-scenes hit in!

What we know about this game is, that it is developed by Rockstar North (UK), and released by their mother-company Rockstar Games. The game takes place in fictional city of Los Santos in state of San Andreas, influenced heavily by real-world Los Angeles and Southern California.

The game will feature three different main characters, of which you can freely select who to play as. Rockstar North claims GTA V to be the biggest sized open-world game yet -- although unlikely -- since perhaps they are forgetting the history. There has been absolutely huge games in the past calculating by just a land mass size, but then again they contained a lot of empty space and random-content. However, that's another story... but the game should certainly be quite massive as it's promised to exceed the size of quite big GTA IV.

Below are five new screenshots, that Rockstar Games have released for us for Christmas holday seasons to look at. The game's visuals seem quite impressing, perfected quite a bit since GTA IV, although one can definitely see slight lack of detail (in modern day), since it gets tough to crank more out from old Xbox360 and PS3 hardware than what has been achieved previously. Mostly effects, shaders, and special filters get more advanced every year presenting better look for games, but they cannot add too much more detail, because the old hardware cannot take it.

Nevertheless, how these screenshots look like, pleases me enough. I'm sure GTA V will be entertaining action-packed no-brainer ride once again. The new shots presents us sharks, mini-submarines, fighter class aeroplanes, and a dog as companion. One things certain... you'd better off from deep waters without a damn harpoon on your hands.. Enjoy!

("I'll hit the brakes, he'll fly right by.")

("'Ey Rex, you're the only thing man can trust in this crazy town")

("So, you got the money"?)

("I'll hit the brakes, he'll swim right by.")

(a Yellow Sub-marine)

Peter Molyneux and 22Cans succeed with kickstarter campaign of Godus - Spiritual successor for Populous

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Yesterday, 21th of December 2012, kickstarter campaign for upcoming "god game" Godus was successfully funded in The team behind the game concept is "22Cans". A game development company found just recently in March 2012, which was formed by god-game-veteran Peter Molyneux (read more about him in our other article) among some other people, who loosely said, have been working with titles such as Syndicate, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper and so on... 22Cans have personnel tied to previous companies like Bullfrog, Lionhead, Eletronic Arts, and many more. The team seems quite competent to create another "god game".

Godus campaign succeeded by raising £526,563out of £450,000 goal, and will soon be in the making.

So Godus will be a god game, but what does god game mean?
A god game is a type of game where player is set to control people or creatures sort of indirectly, with supernatural powers, such as modifying environments and landscapes, to allow his worshippers to live in better conditions and expand their cities. However player, a god, cannot directly give orders to his followers. He can influence their doings indirectly only. Player's own character is undefined, faceless form of life, a god. Examples of god games include classic titles of Populous, and Black And White, for example.

Peter Molyneux is one of the inventors behind god-game-genre with his Populous released in 1989 , of which spiritual successor Godus now aims to be. The game will feature Populous-like game play of leading your own tribe of worshippers to the victory in half of living sandbox game, and half of strategy game with indirect influence to your followers. 22Cans promise Dungeon Keeper-like battles against other gods and their tribes, combined with Black & White influenced changing world around you.

Godus will take roughly from seven to nine months to complete, which should mean that it's set to be out late autumn-winter of 2013 for PC, Mac (including Linux version), and Mobile devices.

Few questions with Guido Henkel (mini-interview) in 15-04-2012

This series of questions for Guido was originally intended to supplement an article about "Famous people in gaming industry", which included some information about mr. Henkel. You can read that article here. It also features Jon Van Caneghem (Might & Magic) and Peter Molyneux (Populous).

In addition I tried to ask Henkel more about his upcoming game Thorvalla with more planned out interview, once I knew it was in the making, but unfortunately kickstarter campaign didn't succeed, and thus the questions were left unanswered, too.

For those not familiar with Guido Henkel, he is German video game designer, programmer, and developer, as well as composer, musician, and writer. Henkel currently lives in America. He has worked with PC game titles such as Realms of Arkania trilogy, Fallout 2, Planescape Torment, and his own book series called Jason Dark franchise.

I'm going to publish these questions here now as such. I don't consider this as full interview or anything, as it isn't really planned series of questions, but rather, few separate questions I was interested to get answer myself.

The questions were asked in early 2012 based on information I found available of Henkel. More accurately I sent these in 15-04-2012. Whether you want to call this "mini-interview" or random questions for Guido Henkel, here we go:

Tane Norther: I recently read an article in your new blog where you said
that you are musician (which I knew), but also that you played
guitar (which I didn't) - the article also stated that you had
played in heavy metal bands in the 80's. Is this correct, and if
so, can you name any of the bands you played in? Did they ever
release any material, demo, EP? What type of heavy metal did you
play (thrash, heavy, speed, and so on)?

Guido Henkel: Ah yeah, those days. It is correct that I played in a handful
of metal bands during the 80s, but they were really just local
bands, nothing that ever broke out. We recorded a bunch of demo
tapes and had a song on one compilation album, but I don’t even
recall the name of the album. All I remember is that the song
was called “Duel of Wizards,” I believe. It’s all been so long
ago. It is funny, though, how hard it was to get stuff properly
recorded back then. It was an enormously costly process. Today,
anyone can really do it with a computer and $1000 worth of
equipment and software. Same goes for photos. I wish it would
have been easier then because a few pictures and a handful of
songs from one demo tape are all I have left of those days.

We gigged mostly, playing a lot of local venues and during the
time we had the chance to open for bands like Lee Aaron, Uriah
Heep, Talon, Tyran Pace, Grave Digger, Storm Witch and many,
many more.
It was a really fun time and although we were ambitious at the
time, it never really led to anything.

The music we played was very early Iron Maiden inspired at
first, a bit punky and fast with a lot of harmony guitar work.
Later on the bands I played in became more of the LA-style
hair metal bands, mostly riff-oriented with lots of groove. I
used to be a humongous George Lynch fan at the time and somehow
everything I played sounded like a Dokken song, hahaha!

TN: I know you're a writer, but did you write any of the Realms
of Arkania titles storyline or dialogue? I'm asking because I
could not find this in those games credits. If you did, how much
of it?

GH: These games were a large contributive effort and the team was so
varied that many people took on multiple roles. Pretty much all
of our programmers, for example, also designed parts of the game

and wrote tons of dialogue associated with those parts. The same
was true for me.

In the end, we needed to sort of press people into templates to
credit them, regardless of their actual functions or else we
would have wound up repeating everyone’s name about ten times in
the credits. That just seemed superficial to us and we talked to
the team members and decided how they were credited, based on
the field where they did the majority of their work in. You have
to remember that credits were not treated as delicately back
then as they are today, where they are even part of contract
negotiations. As long as your name was in a game you were happy.

TN:  I'm under impression that you composed most of the Realms of
Arkania franchises musical score, how much out of it did you
compose by yourself?

GH: The music for Blade of Destiny was actually composed by Rudi
Stember. Back then I simply had no time to do the music myself
because I was so heavily involved in the programming and design
of the game. After all, back then, Hans-Jürgen Brändle and I
were the only programmers on the project and we only added more
people to the team after the project was well underway.

When we made Star Trail I decided I’d like to give it a shot
and I wrote a few pieces, but it soon turned out that it was a
time-consuming process and that it detracted me from my other
responsibilities, especially because there was a steep learning
curve involved. I had never done these kinds of arrangement and
orchestration before, so I had to learn about the technique and
the technology. Therefore, Horst Weidle, another programmer on
the RoA team offered to contribute some music as well. In the
end it was a 50/50 split. He wrote one half of the music, I
wrote the other half.

I always felt there was a clash of style, though, and a lack of
consistency, so when we made Shadows over Riva, the decision was
made that I would write the entire score. By that time I had
more experience and was ready to go another step further, adding
live instruments to the mix, etc. I was also able to write the
entire score on the side while developing the game, so it took
not nearly as much time as Star Trail, though it still was a
very involving process that had me pull out my hair at times.
I still love the score for Riva, and listen to it occasionally.
Somehow I was able to capture much of the atmosphere I was
looking for, which is not an easy thing to do.

TN: What exactly was your role in Fallout 2?

GH: During the first months of development on Planescape: Torment,
Fallout 2 was in crunch mode. The team was just down the hall
from us, had a set deadline and they required additional
manpower to get done in time. A bunch of guys from the
Planescape team, myself included, jumped in to help with various
tasks. So, for a couple of weeks I was actually doing a lot of
story and NPC scripting on Fallout 2. Once that game was out the
door, we finally had time to go back and focus on Planescape:
Torment again. It was a fun little stint and I loved the game a

TN: You said that you're focusing now into music instead of
games (Note: this was prior to Thorvalla announcement), but how about composing, are you going to compose any
material for any official releases, or are you open for a
contract in case someone offers you a deal for example to
compose soundtrack for computer game?

GH: I think what you are referring to is that some time ago I
decided to go back and start making some music again—and I
posted that on my Facebook, I believe.

I had not touched anything music related in over 10 years, and
I really felt the urge to write some music. So I got back into
regularly practicing the guitar and piano, and I began upgrading
my equipment, which by that time had been horribly outdated.
That was more for my own enjoyment, however, and not something
I considered for professional purposes. I did a few bits and
pieces here and there, but nothing big, really.

TN:  Feel free to share anything about your current state of
career, what are you working with right now (15-04-2012).

GH: During the past three years or so I’ve been writing a lot. I
created and wrote a series of dime novels called the Jason
Dark: Ghost Hunter series. It is a pulpy series of supernatural
mysteries taking place in Victorian England—kind of like
Sherlock Holmes meets Van Helsing. I created elven stories in
the series until I felt that I really wanted to make another
game. So, I sat down and began working on the design of a new
computer RPG, called Thorvalla (Note: which kickstarter campaign unfortunately didn't reach the goal). It is in its early stages still

and I’ve been pulling in some people I worked with on previous
games. We will start a Kickstarter campaign for the game shortly
to raise the funds necessary to actually develop and produce
the game, so the past weeks have seen me very busy with the
preparation for this campaign. I hope it goes well and I hope
everyone who reads this will check out the project, because I’m
really itching to make this game.

-- Thanks for the answers mr.Henkel! I hope that maybe we get to make more planned out interview sometime in the future, in case you return to the gaming business one more time.. all the best.

Thorvalla Kickstarter cancelled, burial of the land of dragons

Monday, 3 December 2012

Guido Henkel's, his team's G3studios', and Neal Hallford's campaign for traditional computer-role-playing-game "Thorvalla" has been cancelled in 3rd of December 2012. Sad day for fans of Guido and Neal, and for those hoping to see the two teaming up for a new game. Though the campaign had it's share problems from the start despite interesting game concept (that would unveil perhaps bit too late):

Pledging for Thorvalla started really slow. Even though one thing probably is, that there weren't enough support for game like this one, the lads behind game perhaps should had planned press-relations bit more effectively. There was nothing wrong with the scene and setting of the game, but it just didn't get (in my opinion) enough recognition by magazines and e-zines. I'm talking by my own personal observations about this matter, since when I was checking out news from Fargo's Wasteland 2 and Obsidian's Project Eternity, the news items were to be found on several major gaming websites, and from Google search as well.

Thorvalla, however, seemed to fade into obscurity a bit on that part, mostly being featured in RPGcodex and some smaller scale blogs like this one. The lads also had a bit slow start with the campaign as there wasn't perhaps enough information about the game on the day one of the campaign, which has been proven to be the most important day of kickstarter campaign, by far. Usually huge slice of the pledges are made in day one.

However, the future kickstarter updates about game revealed perhaps enough information about the game that could had turned several day-1 "no-pledgers" into "potential pledgers", if they had known this information when making decision in the first place. The word about the updates revealing new information about the game didn't seem to spread well enough.

Another speculation, is of course, that there had been already several cRPGs crowd-funded successfully in year 2012, and therefore people were unwilling to spend any more money in this year to more games of the genre. Some people had already emptied their wallets.

One more big thing hampering Thorvalla's kickstarter campaign was, that it's setting, although would produce most likely interesting game, didn't appeal to big mass. More accurately problem relied in game mechanics, considering the game's target audience. Thorvalla in my eyes was aimed for older computer-role-playing-games loving audience rather than for modern cRPG fanatics. We've seen few games like that recently, "the old school cRPGs", to raise enough money needed for development of that kind of a game (as much as there has also been failures in terms of funding). However, old school cRPG fans are very pedantic about the fact that the game should rely on the table-top-rpg-like presentation on it's game mechanics, character building, and combat etc. If the game mechanics feature some "oddities" not regularly used in the regular old school cRPG which emulates table-top-rpg, then it will be far less appealing for gamers like that.

Guido wanted Thorvalla to appeal into that more old-school type audience, yet to use combat mechanics that were unusual for the games like this. Instead of dice rolls and usual cRPG combat, Guido had a vision about combat being handled with sort of "action-cards" representing different attacks and moves. Something that to me sounded like mixture of Magic The Gathering card-game series and original Realms Of Arkania cRPG series. You can read his more accurate description of this in Thorvalla kickstarter website. Needless to say this didn't appeal to many pedantic old-school cRPG fans at all, and therefore Guido and the Team lost some potential pledgers there, where he also didn't gain much audience among those cRPG fans who like newer games like Mass Effect for example.

Guido had his own vision to create something different yet traditional for the genre, which sort of a cut out some potential buyers from the both ends: hard-core old-school cRPG audience and modern cRPG audience, and in the end audience the game was aimed for was perhaps, too thin. This of course is bit sad, since nobody can say that game mechanics and setting for Thorvalla couldn't had worked. Hell, it could had been fresh breath to the cRPG field, but we will never know now.

I would personally like to see Guido and Neal try out a re-launch Thorvalla with improved campaign, either that or try something else. I wonder how much another sequel for Realms Of Arkania, or even Might & Magic, could raise? Another question is though, who owns their rights at the moment, and how much they cost to acquire. Then again, spiritual successor is always possible, too.

What is meaning of a "Let's Play"-video?

Saturday, 24 November 2012

("Lets Play" Realms of Arkania II: Star Trail)

Let's Play or Lets Play Together-videos do not stand for adult-movies (bad joke). Instead the term is  commonly used about videos where people record their own video game playing clips preferably hosted with voiced commentary. They can be either play-throughs or shorter clips. Most common place to find Lets-Play-videos is Youtube search.

Some of the best hosts of the videos do their job really well, and it's interesting to see them play through different classic games, especially role-playing games such as Fallouts, Might & Magics and so on. Whole play-throughs with commentary are also good place to find tips and tricks, and new solutions to the quests that you didn't think of before.

("Lets Play" Might And Magic VI: Mandate of Heaven)

About a year ago I did quite bit of a work collecting video links of Lets-play videos and play-throughs to one big excel file. More accurately those are computer role-playing and adventure games as I find these videos most entertaining to watch. The excel I compiled was quite huge, and I then converted the whole file with it's links into HTML readable table format. You can browse it by release year, alpabetic, genre, rating. The list might have some links broken, but it still has a lot of "meat" in it. If you like videos like this, be sure to check it out!

Perhaps in future I'll update it a bit with new additions and correct some broken links if I find some. Perhaps there should be one for NES games too...


You can find that full list of links here: The Gamers' Dungeon - Let's Play Video archive

The Gamers Dungeon got new look and Friday Kickstarter games brain fart

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Past days I've been experimenting with lighter and whiter color concept for The Gamers Dungeon blog. Now the layout is ready. Hope you enjoy it more than the previous dark one. I feel it's more readable this time around.

I've been following kickstarter game-projects lately and it seems that "money doesn't grow on trees" after all for those attempting crowd-funding option. After success stories shared by InXile Etertainment (Wasteland 2), Harebrained Schemes (Shadowrun Returns), and Obsidian Entertainment (Project Eternity) -- the pace seems to be slowing down! At least for RPG's.

Those projects were first cRPG attempts to kick in and succeeded with decently fine concept, presentation, and big names behind them. Actually succeeding is bit lame term in comparison. The "big first three" mentioned above were major successes raising several times amount of their initial goal. Now the bucket seems to be full for year 2012 and getting another cRPG funded gets harder than before. Only hugely successful crowd-funded game since then seems to be Star Citizen, the ambitious flight-sim by Chris Roberts, with ever-growing fan base. Also Shadowgate's re-make is close making it with three days to go and $109,000 out of $120,000 collected -- I'm sure it'll pull that money out somehow. However the rest of the, what we could call "major game attempts", aren't doing so well...

However I don't think that it's the kickstarter itself that's losing the appeal, but rather next projects after initial first ones requiring more carefully planned marketing strategy in kickstarter / with more descriptive presentation and more things to show about upcoming game than what first attempts. Half-hearted attempts seem to fail, which is good, but also some attempts that are bound to be good, but funding-process has been started too early without much to show until it's already too late.

Kickstarter at least on computer-role-playing side of things has been the perfect opportunity to kick big budget game-making companies more accurately their mass-appeal-game requiring publishers to the nuts, and show that there is still audience who requires in-depth stories, deep character customisation, and varying game play instead of millions spent on animated cut-scenes and voice acting. This in my opinion hasn't changed. But requirements to get millions by crowd-funding have crawled up by big margin, at least so it seems. Just look at the following games, which some had/have potential while others were quite lack luster and failed to match their goal -- still raising quite a bit money with totally lack luster campaign (like Shaker by Tom Hall):

-Antharion ($13,810/$15,000, re-launch on Nov 30th)
-Ars Magicka ($92,848/$290,000)
-Shaker by Tom Hall and Brenda Brathwaite ($249,015/$1,000,000)

On-going but struggling: 
-Elite: Dangerous (£548,610/£1,250,000)
-Grimoire by Cleve M. Blakemore ($6,800/$250,000, will come out despite end-result)
-Sui Generis (£77,000/£150,000)
-Thorvalla by Guido Henkel (Realms of Arkania) and Neil Hallford (Might & Magic), ($34,000/$1,000,000)

Made it but just barely: 
-Hero-U by Corey Cole ($409,150/$400,000)

Also I'd like to remind all game freaks out there that you have still opportunity to Guest Write for The Gamers Dungeon if you've something interesting to share, or a game review of your own! Just remember to review the rules of guest-posting at this article.

Chris Roberts' space sim Star Citizen ends up breaking over $6,200,000 in donations

Monday, 19 November 2012

Crowdfunding stage for Chris Robers and his team developing upcoming hugely ambitious space sim Star Citizen has ended with huge success. The project has raised over $6,2million dollars of crowdfunding money with all donation channels combined that they used - and their own RSI website donations.

This means that Star Citizen steals the crown from Project Eternity being most funded computer game ever through crowdfunding method. Project Eternity still holds the crown for being most funded computer game ever this far on holding the first place with $3,986,292 dollars in comparison with Star Citizen's kickstarter part of the funding $2,134,374 dollars.

Raising over $6,2 million for Star Citizen funding budget means, along great success, that Chris Roberts' ambitious Wing Commander/Privateer-style hybrid space sim achieves few more big "stretch goals" set in the funding making it even bigger than before. In the end few more things added to the final product will be:

$6,000,000 million dollars stretch goals:
-Star Citizen will improve on Privateer (originally 70 unique star systems), with 100 star systems to explore on launch day
-Bengal carrier-type space ship is unlocked for persistent universe play (free exploration)
-Full orchestrated music for Star Citizen/Squadron 42 soundtrack
-First Squadron 42 mission disk, Behind Enemy Lines, available for free to all backers upon release. A 16-mission campaign in style of The Secret Missions (Wing Commander expansion)

Read more about future plans in official Website

Chris Roberts' ambitious upcoming space sim - what is Star Citizen (2014-2015, PC)?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Chris Roberts' upcoming very ambitious space sim Star Citizen has made space sim fanatics drool impatiently after the project still in early stages of development. While David Braben's open sandbox style space sim "Elite" is doing pretty well in kickstarter, being very ambitious project on it's own right, Roberts throws in some heat promising to do much more things within the same game than Elite - and they've just crushed $5million barrier in crowdfunding donations (with kickstarter and RSI website donations combined). This will steal the crown from Project Eternity being highest crowdfunded game this far (although Project Eternity will still hold the crown on highest funded game).

Problems with Star Citizen may raise however, because the game promises to do and be such a vast amount of things at the same time, that quality might suffer while Elite might do the old-school Privateer-like free exploration better without trying to be something for everyone.. but lets not judge the game too early. On the paper Star Citizen sounds phenomenal space sim, perhaps most ambitious project yet in PC gaming space sim history..

Chris Roberts is video game designer, programmer, film director and producer. He has previously worked with company called Origin as a producer for space sim classics Wing Commander I, II, III, and IV as well as being involved with spin-off Wing Commander: Privateer with more open-ended game world rather than mission-by-mission campaigns. Other than that he was also heavily involved with another Privateer-like open-ended space sim "Freelancer" (2003). After this Roberts took a break of making games, but now he's back..

What is Star Citizen?

Star Citizen aims to be hybrid sort of a space sim for PC (exclusive) combining gameplay of Wing Commander mission-by-mission campaigns, and Elite/Privateer-like freedom with persistent space including numerous star systems to explore as you will. Star Citizen will feature whopping 70 star systems on  lauch (increasing with later updates perhaps) matching Wing Commander: Privateer's equal amount. Not only that, but it attempts to create it as MMO-style multiplayer experience, but also to keep single-playing possible (through offline-campaigns). However emphasis is definitely on MMO side of things.

While the game seems to focus bit more into massive multiplayer side of things and highest-end graphics possible, than it's competitor Elite - the two games share pretty much similar concept in terms of what you can do in the space. Both games offer similar jobs to play as smuggler, pirate, merchant, bounty-hunter, build wealth, and go where you want. It's the presentation of different things that divides the two games.

Star Citizen's made for high-end PC's intending to crank out everything from modern computer's power - to take the graphics and whole immersion of space sims to next level. It's probably first indie-game aiming to create full "AAA"-game immersion (biggest budget games). The game will use CryEngine3 to ensure awesomely beautiful and detailed graphics not seen on current gen consoles, using about ten times more polygons per model than what the consoles now do -- perhaps even leaving next gen consoles slightly behind. Not only the game tries to combine great missions with open-ended gameplay, but also to make the space look prettier than ever before (and at least this can be confirmed by viewing early pictures and videos of the game whereas combat sequences reminds grand battles of Freespace 2).

Roberts aims to get rid of players separated between different "shards" usual in MMO's:

"-- One thing I don’t like about most MMO structures is the fragmentation of the player base between these “shards”. [...] In Star Citizen there is going to be one persistent universe server that everyone exists on. So you will never be separated from your friends, and if you want you’ll be able to join up and adventure together, you can."

One of Roberts key elements in the game is to mix persistent space and free exploration with temporary "battle instances" created when two players face each other in their route. Multiplayer in Star Citizen is like "smart matchmaking system" that keeps track of players locations, and when they hit close enough each others for example flying on the route between planet A and planet B, the server will create a new instance where the two players can actually face each others and fight or do whatever game allows them to. When they are far away from each others, they're not actually fully simulated but rather tracked by location.

In multiplayer mode there's also certain number of "slots" reserved for your friends to join in with you for a battle or protection. Roberts explains that if your friends are close enough, they can reserve a slot and warp in to join your events. However if they're further away warping most likely isn't possible.

Server does keep track what players do in the Universe, and actions may affect to economy of the Universe which is fully simulated (on how detailed way is yet unclear). For example a player discovering a jump gate first may get it named after him.

Star Citizen will aim to feature "micro updates" for the game content weekly, rather than big updates yearly or monthly. They may for example open up new star systems or add new ships. Keeping updates more frequently will keep the world more interesting and evolving.

Doing missions in the Universe may earn your citizenship status, which provides different bonuses and benefits within the world. For example certain areas have more military force where they won't allow much pirates to hang around attacking traders. Earning citizenship status may ensure you to be higher priority for military to be protected against pirates attacks in such areas. However several further star-systems from known civilizations may be less protected and more hostile environments. Not every race in the space of Star Citizen are human -- but the races are to be revealed later on.

On the single-player of Star Citizen you could play campaigns for example take a seat in military career for "Squadron 42" and complete it's 50 missions for some reputation and rewards. You could do this alone, or join up with few friends if you wanted. You could afterwards return for example to your trader career and freely explore the space with almost no limits, hunting the glory and new planets to sell on.

How free exactly the space exploration is though, is bit unclear to me at the moment. How much you can actually fly between points of interests, and how much of the "areas" are connected with "jump-gates" that warp you around?

(Docking bay - you can freely walk and explore interiors of largest ships and stations)

Flight model in the game is described as realistic yet fun to fly, with real physics working as they should in space. Every each of your ships thrusters are dynamically simulated and affect your ships movements. Ship customization will allow tactical elements depending of your style of play, is lighter more quick moving ship your thing, or do you rely on heavy shields and fire power? You can also distribute balance between power of your ships'  shields and thrusters, by sacrificing one in cost of another real-time, to attempt tactical move in combat.

Developers promise large selection of ships on and attachments with huge amount of detail, such as fully modeled 3D cockpits. Player will be able to buy from small scout-like ships to large freighters, of which an example is described as Star Wars freighter "Millenium Falcon". If you own a large freighter, you can have friends with smaller ships hang along you as your personal wing-men.

The game will feature even big space Carriers, where you can actually land into, step out of your ship and freely walk and explore the hallways of the Carrier with it's actual staff included within. For top traders making a lot of money there's possibility to buy even bigger things than ships:

“-- We’re going to let you have the ability to buy some real estate, whether it’s your own little penthouse on one of the planets, or your private club in the back of the bars to invite your friends to, or an asteroid base somewhere. All these things obviously cost a lot of money. (Chris Roberts, Rock Paper Shotgun interview)”

All this information about Star Citizen and what it aims to be sounds hugely glamorous and insanely ambitious. One may wonder though can they implement both segments, campaigns & missions, and freely explorable working living and breathing space, without suffering in quality of the content as this will be a major task. If they have to cut off from either area, where will the emphasis lie between those two? Can ambitious game such as this succeed in it's all aspects with given budget (around $5mil + private investions)?

The game is made with modding community in mind states Roberts, so modding will be made easy for fans to create their own mods which are possible to be ran on private servers. Multiplayer alpha build of some sort with limited gameplay could come out early as after 1 year of development, while persistent open world alpha/beta is set for 18 months after development, and full game around 2 years after development -- perhaps more (late 2014-2015).

Read more from Star Citizen website.

Guido Henkel's cRPG Thorvalla kickstarter going live monday - ready in 18 months if funded

(Thorvalla cancelled, read more)

Guido Henkel (Realms of Arkania, Planescape Torment) and his team G3studios with help of Neill Halford (Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra) are setting their "Thorvalla" kickstarter live and ready to go tomorrow, monday (can't pledge before it's 'live')!

Since Thorvalla kickstarter website is already up, there's few bits of new information available that we can analyze. The game is promised to be out in 18 months after production has started. That's the exact same time for development cycle than what InXile Entertainment is going for with Wasteland 2.

Quote: "Enter the world steeped in norse mythology, tribal mysticism, and sword-and-sorcery- fantasy"

Shortly, Thorvalla will be traditional (not fully old-school) computer role-playing game, influenced by the classics but re-inventing new fresh game mechanics and combat rules (no "roll dices") - from Henkel who doesn't fear breaking traditional cRPG rules boundaries yet keeping true role-playing game spirit up with interesting stories and tactical turn-based combat. The game will feature resembling civilizations of real world mythologies such as nordic origins, and tribal people of native americans. Those mythologies are then combined with classic fantasy elements and creatures. Henkel wants to present diverse world drawing influences from several mythologies to keep the game feeling fresh when exploring the world into new territories. Henkel also stated he wants to invent something new instead of using the "same old", is why he isn't using D&D or Realms of Arkania ruleset for the game system in the first place.

Thorvalla is set to use top-down perspective, although it's yet undecided how exactly are they going to execute this. Fully top-down perspective, or perhaps isometric perspective with 2D rendered backgrounds but 3D rendered characters combination. Even full 3D with fixed third person camera isn't yet locked out of the options. This will be decided on pre-production phase after G3studios has experimented a bit with the options which feels the best.

The game world's look and feel will lean bit more dark themes "like Planescape: Torment", but not quite as dark. However, it will feature adult themes and issues in the world. The game's story begins with you and your combat dragon sailing through the icy seas of the north seeking for adventure, when you collide with vicious storm that sinks the ship. Luckily were caught in the storm near shores of the northern lands, and find yourself alive floating to a shore after the events. By the markings in the sands you can assume that your combat dragon, friend for several years of shared journeys, is also alive and has stumbled to the shore, but something has attacked it and perhaps captured.. no further signs of your combat dragon.. you're set to find the old fella!

It's said that dragons will play quite big role in the story, and there will be plenty of them: "They're like the airforce of the game. People of Thorvalla harness dragons and ride them for battle or excursion. Making one of the ultimate bad-ass monsters of classic role-playing games a common enslaved creature is risky move - but hopefully story will set things right.

How will exploration and traveling-system work in Thorvalla? Kickstarter project page states that Thorvalla will focus on specific world areas connected by map, the game map (see picture below), that  contains several different “countries” within it's vast world. It seems quite possible that the world map and traveling would function like in first two Realms of Arkania games: Star Trail and Blades of Destiny. Probably with fast-travel movement in map-screen, where you could move between the main areas. This means that free wilderness exploration within main areas would be left out, and main areas would be connected with "fast-travel" option, but they could profit on making more detailed main areas instead with less "empty space".

Hopefully they kick in elements from the classic above mentioned games, where while fast-traveling from main area A to B in world map, you could encounter different events on your way, such as hidden areas and combat events. I’m also hoping they will add in needs for food and water like in first Arkania games, so that you’d need to stop and set a camp once in a while while fast-traveling – this could prove very interesting element if planned correctly. The main key is to prevent it feeling totally repetitive.

Thorvalla’s character system will be inspired by trading card games, in some way, but this is yet unexplained how exactly. It’s some sort of a combination of traditional RPG with turn-based combat, but “cards” do represent, supplement, and enchance players abilities. It’s slightly unclear how this works actually. Do the cards represent character abilities fully, or do they enchance and add for the characters actual numeric attributes and stats? Few things we know about character creation for sure are the mentioned amount of 8 different classes with their pros and cons, and that skills of sneaking and tracking will be in the game.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out, and I’m sure we’ll be getting better explained information soon from the developers as the campaign goes live tomorrow! We've sent little interview to Guido Henkel and hopefully he can get back to us with some answers, although he's probably so busy at the moment with the game that it mightn't be certain. But we'll see.

See kickstarter page here!

Grimoire (2013, PC) - will it be most overlooked cRPG ever?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Update: 20.2.2013: Free-to-play demo is out now. Read more info about it (as well as link) in the article.

Those things can be defined by several different ways. Depends of the viewer.

Grimoire is game by Cleve M. Blakemore, running.. not so well in terms of reaching funding goal in it's website. At this rate online sales are going to "flop". But the game will come out despite the end-result of funding at May 2013.

Originally hugely ambitious one-man-project which has been in development for seventeen years. More recently accompanied with Michael Shamgar. They both were set to make Wizardry 7 seques "Stones of Arnhem" back then before it got cancelled.

Grimoire has seen several betas over the year, if I recall correctly, there was one released even back to 1998. This game has everything for old-school rpg fanatic looking for massive cRPG: 3D step-engine, turn-based combat, full expansive party-creation, tons of maps and dungeons (~250 combined). It even has numerous puzzles.

Grimoire is developed in veins of classic era cRPGs like Might & Magic, Wizardry, Dungeon Master. Compares to and golden era cRPG in size of any aspect: skills, world, gameplay hours (which Grimoire promises around 600 hours possible). See presentation video below:

But how will "the ultimate classic retro old school fantasy role-playing game" be remembered as. Failure? Success?

The game already is so close to the finish that I'm certain we can expect it to come out, and several people have already played beta to know pretty much what to expect for real. I think that when Grimoire is finished and ready to be delivered it will prove two things:

1) Blakemore will prove that one man can success in making massive cRPG alone (well almost!) if he's totally insane -- and will write computer gaming history with one of the longest development cycles of computer games, when his massive almost totally one-man-made role-playing game is released as final product (yet probably only few will ever remember this).

2) Mainstream and most of the gaming world won't care. Mainstream media wouldn't care about old school cRPG anyway, but how about computer role-playing community generally? At the moment campaign for Grimoire has ran for 33 days achieving only $6,528 out of $250,000 goal.

That's pretty badly in terms of sales, well, at least comparing to other "old school" category cRPGs that were running crowdfunding campaigns lately. Or should we say "flop" -- unless something happens to the pace and gamers start pledging with much more rapid pace than so far. Right now it seems unlikely. The pace of funding has slowed down recently, and it wasn't very good to begin with.

Recent crowdfunded games aimed for computer role-playing audience such as: Wasteland 2, Project Eternity, and Shadowrun Returns each raised millions. It may make some difference that they used instead of, which may be bit more popular service. Of course they had popular faces working behind projects, certainly more known to the public than Blakemore, who yet has his own merits. But the Grimoire's indiegogo campaign has showed a lot potential, and it has everything on the table - almost ready product certain to please the audience, yet it's not getting much pledges (read: Pre-orders)?

(Chart by Blakemore showing Grimoire's merits in comparison to few other classic cRPGs)

Tom Hall and Brenda Brathwaite's "old school rpg" project with terrible presentation FAILED and was cancelled with $244,932 budged reached out of $1,000,000.

That's almost Grimoire's whole budget, with poor campaign. It sort of pains to see that almost ready game with great concept and seventeen years of one man's work is running bad with funding, while campaign that only repeats the word "old school" without much information about the actual upcoming game and it's mechanics acquires almost $250,000 ("down the toilet").

Grimoire's current funding have been $6,528 in 33 days. But has slowed down recently with only $928 funded within past 16 days! At this rate it will most likely reach only about 5-8% of it's goal of $250,000. I would call it a flop in sales.

Nevertheless the game WILL come out in May 2013, so cRPG veterans who actually bothered to try the game will most likely appreciate Blakemore's efforts. Will Grimoire be "Grim Fandango" of the indie-cRPGs? Loved by the audience who played it, praised as classic amongst computer role-playing games by hard-core role-players, but be overlooked by mainstream and less hardcore cRPG audience?

Will golden baby's flight be overlooked by everyone except few chosen ones?

Carmageddon: Reincarnation (2013, PC) will bring Max Damage back and make streets bloody again

Well it's not completely new announcement, but since I've not written about this yet - and some people might've totally missed the fact that "Carmageddon: Reincarnation" was successfully funded in June at under shadow of bigger budget "Wasteland 2" and "Shadowrun Returns" in April - lets present the game! Carmageddon: Reincarnation raised $625,143 budget out of $400 000 goal and has been in the development ever since for PC systems. Full version should come out in February 2013.

The team behind game is "Stainless Games", who still have 5 members out of 8 in their ranks who worked with the original release, with overall team size of approximately 50 people. The original creators once lost rights to the franchise, but bought it back with over third million, successfully funded the game, and are now SET TO GO (and I'm so damned late to say that).

So what is Carmageddon?

(Do you remember this? One of my favorite game intros of all times (1997))

Original Carmageddon (1997) featured crazy opponents, spiked front-bumpers, heavy metal, hugely varying real world environments turned into killing fields, free roaming, nasty power-ups, insane arcade-like physics, and being awarded of running over people and cows with bloody death scenes.

That pretty much sums it up. The game raised quite bit a controversy in 1997 about it's encouraging way of awarding player for ruthlessly driving over (and thru) pedestrians. The game was banned in several countries like UK and Brazil, with Germany having pedestrians replaced by robots. The game got two sequels with Carmageddon 2 being respectable effort while Carmageddon TDR less respected one.

But under the surface of dark humor boasting bloody graphics original Carmageddon was also great game to play. The game was really action packed with it's hectic atmosphere, while you had time limit to complete map any way you'd like either eliminating all the opponents by crushing them with your vehicle, or racing through all the checkpoints. The 3D physics were fun, despite not being realistic at all - and were supported with most insane and fun power-ups either helping to eliminate pedestrians (electric shock, frozen pedestrians etc.), eliminating opponents, or worst of it working against your advantage. Getting "pinball mode" power-up and falling down from a cliff few seconds later wouldn't do no good for your car.

Also who wouldn't remember the main character "Max Damage", psychopathic twisted-minded driver, starring in great cut-scenes as well as in-game being "animated talking head" reacting to the events and happenings of the race.

(concept art of Reincarnation)

Carmageddon: Reincarnation promises to bring back all that. With updated graphics of course as well remakes of old cars, maps, and drivers -- as well as something new. The ratio between old and freshly new stuff is bit unknown at this point although seemingly leaning much more towards including as much classic Carmageddon stuff as possible. And I know they're focusing on crazy power-ups again since they're already discussing about them with fans.

Included is also multiplayer mode updated from old LAN parties to modern day level with easier multiplayer connection between friends. Focus in single player should still be one of the major factions though. Now also possible will be sharing your action replays in Youtube. One thing I'm not so sure about is linking in-game to Facebooks and Twitters somehow (it's function not exactly explained yet).

The team got some work to do though as with nowadays standards at least physics of the original game could use some update (but please them insane and unrealistic!) -- and hopefully they won't dumb down original gruesome dark humor at all.


Expect Max Damage roam the streets once again...! (February 2013)

Go to Carmageddon: Reincarnation website

More concept art pictures and few "very early prototype in-game pictures" of Max's car Eagle.

Elite: Dangerous (2014, PC) - upcoming sequel for classic space sim trilogy now on kickstarter

Thursday, 15 November 2012

One more big name sequel in This time not an rpg though -- David Braben and his team "Frontier Developments" aim to get their upcoming sequel for Elite trilogy funded with goal of £1,250,000, and they might just make it with £475,620 achieved this far and 49 days to go.

Original Elite was revolutionary game at it's time in the 80's featuring very early 3D graphics, phenomenal (though random) game world scope, and free exploration -- written by Braben and Ian Bell -- both studying in Cambridge University at the time. It's sequel "Frontier" made in 1993 featured whole milky way galaxy with approximately 100,000,000,000 star systems (still with mostly randomized content).

Braben & co. wants to make new "Elite: Dangerous" for PC systems in honor to the old Elite games (actually project has already been started previously with small team "Skunk-Works" now being expanded in scope if kickstarter runs successful), with same spectacular scope, and with modern day graphics updating the game's looks with two decades. In addition with possible multi-player mode. You could allow and restrict who appears to your "network" and can play within your game world in your game. It's an interesting idea to allow multiplayer mode in the game with such a huge scope of the world and free exploration. It's function is described as "seamless, lobby-less way, with rendezvous with your friends as you choose". How large amount of players multiplayer mode can hold is not yet announced though.

Other than that the game's "story" will be the same as in the classic games with starting out with small amount of money, space ship,and freedom to do as you will. Will you be a bounty-hunter, salvager, rogue, trader, or explorer? The game's probably more about the scope of it than story -- but it's fascinating idea to build your wealth way as you like in almost endless space, now with also possibility to encounter your friends and fight with or against them.

Randomization allows large scope indeed, and it has it's good and bad sides. But if you liked games like original Elite, or Privateer perhaps -- or Freelancer. You'll most likely will love random generated content with large scope and (hopefully) still a lot to do and discover -- as well as the possibility to face unexpected. The random generation process used in Elite: Dangerous is called "Procedural Content":

"Procedural generation of content is a technique where content is generated from rules. It abstracts repetitive or arbitrary elements of content creation in a very efficient way. Imagine a medieval landscape. Laying out towns, roads, castles, farm land, forests and so on can be done by a system of rules – putting castles widely spaced out on vantage points, towns near rivers but under the protection of such a castle, roads between them, then with farm land to support them all. An artist can still design the castle, the houses in the towns, but this approach greatly magnifies the content that can be created. “Frontier” did this for the star systems, and planets, and with Elite: Dangerous, we will go further."

These rules are there to give random generation more sense of executing the process -- and better end result of it. "Frontier" did use this way of processing to the star systems and planets, but "Dangerous" is promised to take it further.

And of course for those ship customization freaks there will be plenty of ships and plenty of customization: engines, weapons, equipment, paint-jobs, body kits.. etc. Just get the money first the way you like.

We've seen that hugely random generated games with great scope have had their fascination and admiring fan base so far, although none of them has been perfect -- along old Elite games, you may remember also cRPGs Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and it's predecessor Arena -- both respected by some and mocked by some at least in game content aspect. Random generation has always had it's problems with repetitiveness, more lackluster events, and less interesting surroundings -- although it brings it's attraction different way: Endless exploration gives game very long life-span, in case game has ways to keep exploration interesting after fifty - even hundred hours of gameplay. Now let's see how well Elite: Dangerous succeeds in generating it's hugely vast space and countless planets without being bland and uninteresting.

See their kickstarter campaign at here!