Buy and Download Homm3: Complete Ed. from GOG!

Win Amazon gift card or game from GOG - What's your favorite game ever and why?

Friday, 30 March 2012

Note: This competition has been ended and the prizes have been e-mailed for winners!

  • Deathstrap won $14,77 worth gift card
  • GrumpyWookie2 won $11,60 worth Amazon gift card
  • Tatyanalgreen15 won $5,99 GOG game of his choice 
    • who wanted to forfeit and give it off to someone else more in the need - no 4th place partaker - so prize was granted to the winner Deathstrap - who chose Ultima VII Complete Edition.
Congrats for all the winners!


Thanks to our readers for your support, thegamersdungeon has generated little bit of ad revenue. We thought it would be fun to hold a little competition and give some of that revenue to our readers in form of prizes. The competition starts immediately and ends at 23.59pm EST this Sunday, 1st Apr next Sunday 8th Apr. Extended because no replies yet.

Here's what you have to do: post a reply to this article (at the bottom of the page) and tell us what do you think is the best game ever that you have played, and explain why it is the best game for you. Game from any gaming console, or computer from any era counts. Plain and simple. Remember to either include your e-mail address at the end of your reply to the thread.

Answer example: "I really think that The Legend Of Zelda from NES is best game ever because it's epic feel and large scale adventure." etc.

or reply without e-mail included to the article, but in addition also e-mail to ( the very same answer that you posted as a reply to this post (that way you'r e-mail is left hidden of others if you wish, but we know how to contact you with e-mail if you win - and give you the gift card claim code). If you choose this route, reply both this post and our e-mail within short period of time, so none can't steal your answer and claim the price by it.

Your favorite game does not need to be flawless on all it's areas, just tell us what's the game you had most fun with, what was memorable in it, and what made it fantastic gaming experience?

We'll will pick out three our favorite answers and give prizes to them. Winners will be announced to this post at the beginning of the week after 8th Apr. If only one replies, the rest of prizes (2nd, 3rd) will be saved for later competitions (only reply wins prize 1 obviously). We're giving away:

  • Prize 1: $14,77 gift card to
  • Prize 2: $11,60 gift card to
  • Prize 3: $5,99 priced game from of your choice

Please note that in order to claim a gift card you will have to have account (specifically .com, NOT .ca, or any other extension), or create one. You can also always re-gift the card claiming code to someone else who has account if you don't have it.

Same goes for in part of third prize. You'll have to have an account to claim the gift. If you win third prize, register GOG and browse their catalogue, and tell me which $5.99 costing game download you want, and I'll send you a gift card to claim that specific game!

Have fun, be creative, and enjoy reading others answers too. Be respectful towards others opinions.

Preview into Age Of Decadence - Open Beta (2012, PC)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

What Is Age Of Decadence?

Age Of Decadence you say, I never heard of it. What is Age of Decadence? Well you might as well have missed this one even if you were Pc gaming regular. Age of Decadence is an indie computer role-playing game developed by Iron Tower Studios, set in post apocalyptic fantasy world inspired by the fall of Rome. The game plays as isometric top-down 3D with controllable zooming and rotating the view and uses Torque Engine. Age of Decadence's world is low magic universe, and by playing open beta you probably wouldn't even recognize it's supposed to be post apocalyptic by it's art. There isn't much destruction in the world visible in beta, where you can do questlines for one town. But it's definite Roman setting. Almost feels like you were in historical setting, unless you read the dialogues carefully.

Open Beta let's you explore the first, relatively small town, and it's quests - containing hours of gameplay. After starting up the game, you're thrown into game's main menu screen with fantastically drawn concept art picture and surprisingly good atmospheric main-menu tune. The drawings really bring character to the game's art, too bad they are not used much other than at menus and character portraits, which are also great. This gives promising initial feel of the game.
(This article is copyrighted by, if you're reading the article elsewhere then you're reading stolen material. Support us by reading the article at it's original source!)
(Concept art is totally inspiring)

Character Creation

Next step is character creation. Another part that may please fans of the bit older computer role-playing games. It's presented with quite stat-heavy character creation screen, but the screen is split into areas very reasonably. It's also nice to see that while hovering over any stat-name or skill, practically anything in the screen, the game gives you better description what the particular stat means, and what it does in the game. You can also modify your character's looks. However as a minor complaint character portrait editing screen is way too small. It's impossible to see closer details of your character's face. The screen is also too dark. I'd had rather just picked out hand-drawn portrait or something. Other than that, no complaints.

The character creation is particularly interesting with several choices. Most of the skills are commonly known from AD&D style rpgs (although AoD uses it's own ruleset), and work quite similar. However there are some differences, but we'll return that later. You have six stats such as Strength and Charisma, which do play large role indeed. In AoD it's not adviced to try and play jack-of-all-trades hybrid class, and trying to be master in everything. You'll end up dead pretty soon. You'll have two choices either master on one thing only, or being at least emphasized for example on combat, while having some diplomatic skills as backup. Just don't spend everything evenly.

(Character creation is quite in-depth with nice touch)

Skills are split in two divisions: "combat skills" and "general skills". Once again if your character has high intelligence and charisma, you'd better off emphasizing on general, rather than on combat skills. While forcing players to focus on certain type of character and restricting players to try master everything may be more restrictive, it makes you to play certain "role" better way. Combat skills contain eight weapon types from melee weapons to bow and crossbow. In addition there's three general skills, of which "Block" and "Dodge" are defensive, and "Critical strike" is offensive.

Weapon Skills And Combat

Your weapon of choice does matter in combat. For example dagger is a good weapon against lesser armored opponents, with it's piercing damage, while hammer and axe might be better at heavily armored opponents and can also known enemies down. Bows are better against enemies without shield, which seems to parry arrows very effectively - being archer's nightmare. Block may offer better overall defense than Dodge, but Dodge skill provides chance for a counter-strike and is somewhat more effective against weapons which do high damage against armor and shield. Talking about shields they can get broken too, even more often when struck by heavy weapon. The thing noticeable is also, that combat skills are not only used in combat, but also in dialogue options, when conversation leads to a situation where it makes sense.

Iron Tower Studios have included several nice little twists to the combat system making it more realistic and varying. It reminds me of Fallout franchise, being turn-based relying on "Action Points", which you can spend every turn certain amount depending of how high Dexterity skill you have. You can also choose different hitting/slashing styles with weapons, or aim to specific body part, which affects how many action points that action takes. I'd say that the system is more varying than Fallout's, and takes several additional things in account at combat. Battles are also square-grid based which makes it clearer to keep track of movement. Bright colors of the grid don't really fancy me, but luckily you can change grid opacity and tune it down in the menu, so it doesn't bother.

(Combat is one of the games best parts)

Combat sequences tied to quests seem to be interesting and very challenging. *Spoiler warning!* At one point me and two imperial guard initiates disguised as raiders were set to kill merchants. This was our initiate mission to join imperials. The battle against merchants and their guards was tough 3vs4 with us underhanded. While I finally managed to get alive through the combat, being not fighter, and only decent archer, we were set back to Barracks to report of our success. Good news is that our little qualifying test to join Imperial Soldiers was successful - bad news is that we the three initiates are standing on dark narrow alley with no way out, and our commander tells us that they don't need three new members but only one - kill the rest!. Holy crap.

No chance to save game in between. Lucky for me the other two were equally competent in melee with each other, and while the other tried to hack me with sword, I ran off from in between the two to a most far corner I could find, and luckily the other two started fight against each other leaving me in peace. I loaded my crossbow and shot at whoever was winning. At the end there was two "almost dead" contenders, and when other went down, I successfully shot an arrow to the remaining guys chest. Lucky me, because I'd never had won melee battle against either of them. Great moment in Beta and one additional way of playing that sequence smart.

(A moment of glory!)

General Skills And Dialogue

Age of Decadence has twelve skills from roguelike lockpick and sneak skills to persuasion and streetwise. Surprisingly Pickpocket is missing. Unlike in many other computer rpgs, Age of Decadence's skills are used heavily in character conversations and dialogues, but are rarely used in exploration mode. It's both good and bad. I was first annoyed that when I explored an Inn, and found some chests lying around in rooms, I wasn't able to even try to lockpick and open them. Later on I learned that they were just decoration, and that you cannot lockpick anything unless you're in story mode and within dialogue - in case the quests involves action such as that. That means no rewarding free exploration for loot, at least not so much. Bit disappointing on that part.

So skills are mostly used only in dialogue mode, but that's where the beauty of Age Of Decadence also lies. The dialogue itself is totally fine, and is presented with "storytelling"-like fashion. Dialogue is very descriptive and atmospheric, and usage of skills within conversation truly shines, perhaps better even than in Fallout. You get several choices in conversation depending of your skills, and your answers choices really seem like connected to certain skills. You're also sometimes brutally punished for being an idiot, or trying to achieve successfully a dialogue option requiring skill that you don't really have. Great thing is that if you decide to for example threaten some character to accomplish your goal, there are several possible effects: he may do as you will, or he may do it but remember your threats in your next quest sequence and refuse to help you in a future making you to achieve your goal harder way in future quest sequence, he may just plain refuse, or he may get offended enough to actually kill you where you stand.

Age of Decadence makes you think your answers to player characters wisely, and outcomes can be greatly different on each play through. Conversation system makes you feel like you're really "playing a role". It's remiscent to Fallout system, but at least in the first town dialogue branches were totally cool. Also special mention about totally great, dark humor flavored death screens with description related about how you died. Really exemplary work with this part Iron Tower!

(Conversation example and a "moment of shame")

For example if you need to get worst competitor out of the town, you may lure him to an empty house and try persuade him to leave, using persuasion skill - but you may also have an option tied to trading or streetwise. If you fail, you can try full out combat. This is far as regular game would go anyway. In one episode I tried just that, but after the game claimed that I had successfully persuaded the target to leave the town, my instincts looking the guy into eyes while he was about to leave told that he was lying about leaving (high perception skill revealed this). Now I have an option to let him go or try and backstab him while he turns away, relying on "critical strike" skill. While I was no combatant, and my crit strike was low, I failed miserably the assassination and was forced into a battle with dagger. I eventually won by re-loading the save several times. Perhaps there would had been even more optional choices, if I didn't want to fight it out - but that was left unfigured.

That's just a simple scenario even, which tells something about the game's dialogue complexity and it's ties to the skills of your character. There's one area of the character creation yet uncovered, which is your "background". You can be either: Assassin, Thief, Praetor, Loremaster, Grifter, Drifter, Mercenary or Merchant.

(Threatening assassin's guild is perhaps not wisest idea)

Choosing Your Background

All of the backgrounds have unique game beginning with unique relations to several of the game's factions. The "Background" sets general tone of your relationships at the beginning of game, and who you start as friends with. This influences your first quests, who you work for and so on. But all is bound to change due in time, if you wish to help another faction instead. There are eight factions in whole containing for example "Imperial Guards", "The Forty Thieves", "House Daratan" and "Commercium" - which is merchants faction. Enough factions to cover interesting story with such excessive dialogue as it stands in this game if you ask me.

Good Craphics For an Indie Game but?

Lets talk a bit about graphics. They are definitely fine for an indie game, but how about compared to other games in general? Well, graphics manage to hold their own. The game basically looks like of early 2000's regular release. The textures look quite nice, and lightning effects along shadows make the world bit more vibrant. The game isn't overly heavy either and should run on bit older computers, although do require relatively much power.

What sucks? Well character models look quite poor, especially females who look like men, but in general also. They are low detailed and lack personal looks. Same could be said about the house and object models around the first town. While textures are pretty good, there's no enough varying objects and other art to spice up the city fully, leaving it looking bit too plain. I'm comparing to all games now, not just indie part. Graphics lack a bit artistic style in general to bring life around the environment, but hold their ground nevertheless. Isometric 2D with artistic style probably would had been better choice though. It's sad that the great hand drawn art is used only in portraits and menu screen, because it really kicks ass.

(Graphics are actually quite nice at some parts)

3D view doesn't come without problems either, because while it's "ok" to use, view ends up being too narrow sometimes with objects blocking your vision. You can freely zoom and rotate camera to some extent, but it just doesn't seem to do such a great job. Zooming with middle mouse button is way too slow anyway, and after any conversation, which zooms in to character, the game leaves you with zoomed-in view and you have to zoom out seperately after each conversation, which is kind of irritating.

Menus and inventories, along other screens are informative and good. Seemingly Fallout inspired inventory screen is pleasing, only that it's a bit improved version of Fallout's having old-school "paperdoll" included, with a grid covering all areas of your body you can place an item to (left hand-right hand for weapon shield, head for helmet etc.). Crafting menu is also here, although I didn't have time to create crafter character yet. Only complaints about them would be item descriptions for example that are overlapping from the boxed area where they are meant to fit, and dialogue text font being tad too small in conversations. I believe such errors would be fixed to the final release. Some desrciptive icons for actions would be nice, such as "go to stairs" or "talk", and the neon green movement cursors "blob" looks plain horrid. The game also contains area map, with important places pre-marked at it, so you can fast travel between them. It's completely fine, but it lacks one important thing, a marker that shows where you're currently at and what direction you're looking to. Small thing as that would make navigation much more easy.

(Fallout inspired character screen taken one level beyond)

Sounds are also bit lackluster in Beta. While music is pretty good, there's no much other sounds included (at least yet). Some menu clicks and hit sounds in battle are in. But anything else is out. Ambient sounds such as loud conversation at the market area, clashing of the swords in barracks training area, and so on would help creating atmosphere to even higher level.

The Gameworld

The gameworld at least in first town is same time great and mediocre. When you're on the quest, the roleplaying experience is top notch with great dialogue. When conversation ends with one guy and the quest sets you to visit another character, you're teleported directly at the new guy. It's good thing for cutting filler material, but tunes down feeling of free exploration a bit.

It may be good thing in Beta, because the less good thing about exploration seems to be "free roaming" that isn't much rewarding that least in starter town. While there's much of things going on within the quests, traveling across the town feels tad too empty and hollow experience. There's no much other things to do than talking to the quest characters. No really joy of discovery. Only way you bump into events is talking to someone, or walking 'till you "bump" into someone, which automatically leads you to conversation. Other than that there's no much interaction with environment. Hopefully Iron Tower comes up with something in final release that will also please those wanting to explore areas freely. Some sort of running events in the town would bring it to life. Rare descriptions "You see x" when adventuring are nice touch though.

(At some parts the town feels empty and hollow)

Lore and Streetwise skills play important role, because post-apocalyptic Rome is greedy place with scam-artists and such selling junk and cheating money from the stupid. It's very cool feature that Age of Decadence features people that will cheat you, unless you're smart and/or have skills to call out a cheat. Player characters can rob you, or sell you an item claiming it's ancient artifact with magical powers, while it's just junk. More the Streetwise skill, better you're at spotting scammer, while Lore should affect on giving better item descriptions on anything. Noteworthy thing is that no magic item ever presents it's stats. As I understood you may either get accurate or inaccurate descriptions for items depending of your skills, but you may never know their stats. I read that Iron Tower did this to prevent people just stat-grinding for magic items.

It actually made me laugh in awe, when within first hour of play I had been already lured to an empty house to buy items for "deal too good to be true", robbed for buying kebab, and given money reward for completing quest - then buying scam item from the very same person by all my quest reward money in belief of getting "ancient artifact", which turned out to be junk. Cool.


The game ran mostly very fine, although there were few of crashes and bugs I encountered. Hopping between Windows and the game made me lose all combat icons, and when I entered combat, I could not hit, only receive hits. The game makes me enter one quest specific combat empty handed every time although I have weapon pre-chosen, which is sort of bad since the game's combat is challenge anyway. It makes you miss one turn, that can be lethal in combat. The game crashed few times in few days, not that much, but still proves that code can be optimized.

Age of Decadence Beta isn't perfect package in all areas, but it definitely has it's fascination - despite inconsistency. Beta leaves things to be fleshed out for final release while leaves hopes up for a great game. The game stands out in story mode, quests, dialogue, and is very good in combat part too. It lacks a bit in graphics, especially environments design, for the town feels bit hollow at times. I'd assume more sounds to come in at final version but we'll see. Best thing about this indie rpg is that it really makes you "play the role" in quest and story mode, and does it great. Being one of the best games in that department released for quite some time. Don't ditch this just because it's "indie release"! Age of Decadence sends quite big promise, and deserves recognition from role-playing fans.

What is (Good Old Games) ?

Friday, 23 March 2012

GoG is also known as Good Old Games, and was formed 2008 by the guys from CD Projekt company - a polish game company known of "The Witcher" franchise. It's online pc game store selling mainly old classic games as copy-protection-free (DRM-free) downloads, but they have been recently expanding also to include newer releases into their selection, as well as some indie releases like "Legend Of Grimrock" for example. This means you don't need a cd at any point - plus they are legal company and have made deals with the companies that own the rights to the games they sell. Regular price for game download is from $5.99 dollars to $9.99 but they have regularly campaigns, -50% promotions etc, when you can get classic games like Jagged Alliance, Fallout and so on very cheap. Their catalogue is ever expanding and contains truly classic games along several rarities. GoG's biggest competitors are most likely Steam and Gamersgate.

( Website's main page with game adds and promotional campaigns)

Why do I promote GoG? Well simply because I think it's an awesome online game store which I like personally a lot. Unless I really want a physical copy of some great game, as a part of "collection", GoG is way to go. Good Old Games is probably the best online store for classic game downloads at fair price. Not only that, but GoG games are Windows 7 and XP ready for you when you buy them, being pre-customized to use Dosbox application. If you're not familiar with Dosbox, it's a free Dos-emulator for several windows versions including the newest ones, slowing your games down and be allowed to be played in Win 7 for example. It has it's own hassle though it's relatively easy to customize, but Good Old Games' idea to pre-customize games for you not having to mess around with DosBox - since games are DosBox ready the second you complete the installation - is very welcomed addition.

GoG includes additional extra goodies with their downloads for each game, when you buy one online. Such as game manuals in pdf format, possibly cluebooks, wallpapers, other game art and so on. GoG have regular discount campaigns and they tend to gift free games, for both regular customers and affiliates, who can then use those games freely for example as their own gaming community's competition prizes or such. They also have a large community forum at their website broken into game specific sub-forums.

(Part of my GoG collection and sample of extra goodies to download)

All you have to do is register GoG, buy some game downloads with all common methods of payment, and get instant fast download for the game after payment with easy to use "GoG downloader" app. I've had great download speeds this far, and when the download is complete, just install and play any of those Dos games without having to worry what Windows you are using. You can re-install or re-download the game any time again if you needed to do so. Sounds good?

( Downloader looks like this, small and quick app)

Another very cool thing is that GOG listens their customers wishes. As they are expanding their back catalogue, they do it so that they will include some games that customers wish the most. To assure this, GOG holds a voting system for games which aren't in their selection yet. Any registered member can basically go over the "voting page", and give a vote to any of the games in the "wishlist", or add his/hers own suggestion of a game to be included there in case it's not in the list yet. You can see whole voting system and the current wishlish here.

At this very moment I'm writing, GOG has 317 games in their catalogue, and it's ever expanding. Their selection have games from companies such as (including their own Witcher games):

  • Activision
  • Atari
  • Apogee
  • Codemasters
  • EA
  • Empire Interactive
  • Epic Games
  • FunCom
  • Interplay
  • Kalypso
  • Rebellion
  • Square Enix
  • Team 13
  • Topware Interactive
  • Ubisoft

Regular price picks from game catalogy
Some good deals for regular price at GoG for example includes:

( "Complimentary Cake" commercial)

10 Interesting Mods To Bring Your Old Computer Games Alive

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Game Mods or so called "modifications", are independent projects created by fans for the original games. They may vary largely from changing minor things in game mechanics to complete game overhauls. I feel that most of the mods are not very professional, but it's cool that people make them for fun. Then of course we have those more ambitious mod projects for real, that aim high. Majority of them fall in their progress state for reasons like "no time", or development team just loses the interest at some point. Minority of ambitious game mods turn out to be legends though.

When I've been browsing "My top 10 mods" style of lists, I usually encounter the most obvious mods such as Counter-Strike (used to me a Half Life Mod at first), Team Fortress and countless Quake mods. Along those are of course (and justly) several Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Skyrim, and Morrowind mods, such as Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul / Nehrim mods. Bethesda surely knows their fan modding community. Instead of the most obvious ones, let's take a look into ten slightly less obvious mods that are very good, and may bring your old favorite games to life again!

  • Take a note that while installing mod, it may screw up your old savegames, or at least make them useless before new clean install of the game! These games require you to buy the original game to work.

1) "Jagged Alliance 2 v1.13" - Jagged Alliance 2

Jagged Alliance 2 ($9.99 Download in and is one of the best top-down party based strategy games ever released, with fantastic turn-based combat and great characters. This mod is probably one of the best mods ever released for free. Jagged Alliance 2 is so great game on it's own right, that you may worry a mod to mess things just up. Well I encourage you to try this one out! 1.13 mod was meant to fix bugs only at first, but the project took a turn to do much more later on - doing very large overhaul for the game - especially to it's "game engine". 1.13 does leave old quests and maps intact.

It features major additions, or should I say enhancements to the original game while keeping the basis and originality to the roots. The mod not only fixes loads of bugs and balances gameplay, but it adds new character creation with some new portraits, adds new "skill traits" to existing mercs and tweaks them around a bit, and brings several new mercs into the game. Higher resolutions are supported. Expect tons of new weapons (like several sniper rifles and heavy machine guns), armors, items, larger battles, improved backpack system, and even better combat with some great tweaks added. AI is also largely improved. This mod is major overall enchantment and battles feel better than ever. For all of you who ever thought that "man I wish I could play Jagged Alliance with friends", 1.13 also features multiplayer mode!

  • Go to the mod Website and read more 

(Just a small portion of the new guns that JA 1.13 offers)

(This article is copyrighted by, if you're reading the article elsewhere then you're reading stolen material. Support us by reading the article at it's original source!)

2) "Circle Of Eight" - Temple of Elemental Evil

Temple of Elemental Evil ($14,95 Boxed or $5,99 Download was one of the most bugged cRPGs released up to date. It's party based top-down classic cRPG with D&D 3.5 ruleset. Even when fully patched with official updates, the game has still lost of troubles. Also the story and content did feel bit bland at the places. Well unofficial Circle Of Eight mod is about to fix major of the issues and add quite a bit of new content as well!

Basically the mod is mixture of major bug fixes and large additions of new content in terms of items, spells, monsters and full quest-lines, and areas. City of Verbobonc acts as a "hub" for new quests, such as gladiator-like arena battles, or investigating mysterious cults. The mod is ever in progress and current version includes 6 different "New content" additions to explore and experience: Welkwood Bog, Hickory Branch, Arena of Heroes, Moathouse Respawn, Verbobonch, and War Of The Golden Skull.

This mod is remarkable, because the original game had huge potential, but was released as unfinished. Circle of Eight doesn't only fix the bugs, it adds much more stuff far beyond making Temple Of Elemental Evil totally worth playing again, and the lands of it more interesting place to explore. Comes with "Standard" and "New Content" versions, so you can choose whether to stick with original content, with bug fixes, or to have new areas and quests included also.

(Verbobonc, one of the new content additions)

3) "The Nameless Mod" - Deus Ex

Deus Ex (Boxed $5,49 or Download GOTY $9,99 was sort of an (seemingly) open world first-person action-adventure game in sci-fi setting, that would bring movies like Matrix to your mind. The game included some rather clever mini-games such as hacking computers, and usage of skills which you could eventually raise for your liking by spending skill points.

Released finally after 7 years in making, this Deus Ex mod boats as huge total single-player conversion mod for Deus Ex. It has nearly 200 000 lines of fully voice acted dialogue, and two different approx. fifteen hour campaigns, including multiple branching storylines. The mod's story has a lot of humor in it, but it's made with style.

"In Forum City, the Internet is serious business. As its name implies, the city is the physical embodiment of Internet forums and bulletin boards. It's more like The Matrix or Tron than Second Life, however, as the troubles of the city are no laughing matter. Embracing the style of Deus Ex, Forum City has as much crime and conspiracy as the world of JC Denton — but most citizens would have it no other way.

The balance of power has been upset. Unthinkably, a Moderator has disappeared, and panic is gripping the city. With the remaining Moderators spread far too thin, the lawless have found themselves with the freedom to prey upon others, and formerly suppressed rivalries threaten to explode into open conflict. You are called upon to silence the discord."

(a whole new lengthy story awaits along The Nameless mod)

    4) "In The Wake of Gods" - Heroes of Might & Magic III: Shadow Of Death

    HOMM III (/w HOMM IV $9,49 or Download $9,99 was a great fantasy based strategy game, in addition with some rpg elements (like hero stats and leveling), and had it's pace going one single mission at the time. Basically you'd start with a one town, which to build to acquire buildings that produce better troops for you to use in battles.

    Wake Of Gods represents many different things for different players, and works as addon to the original game content - but is first and foremost "highly customizable toolbox for map makers and players". It features new monsters, new artifacts, and new objects - which are very well balanced in my opinion. It adds for example monsters of level 8 compared to maximum level 7 of the original version, to boost up end game on maps. The mod is mainly used to play existing maps, or generate random maps. Player gets then an option to "WoG:ify" existing map, which changes the map by changing/adding new WoG monsters, items etc. to the old map and spicing it up. It's a nice way to boost maps if you like playing single scenarios.

    WoG also expands game customizability by adding additional game settings menu you can modify pre-entering the new scenario. You can modify game rules, for example disabling all teleport and fly spells, in case you felt they made HOMM III unbalanced. I like this mod, since it's mainly done very well and the new additions don't feel like seperate from the original game concept.

    Attention: requires Shadow Of Death Expansion!

    (One of the few creature updates presented by WoG)

    5) "Complex Mod" - Homeworld 2

    Homeworld 2 and especially it's predecessor HW 1 are one of the most respected rts-based space strategy games of all time released on pc. Complex Mod is totally free and advanced game mod based on Homeworld 2's game engine. It's aimed for more experienced and hardcore RTS (Real-Time Strategy) gamers, who love the genre.

    It adds around 30 new units for Hiigarans, 10 for Vaygr, and boasts several new maps. The "research tree" has been expanded, physics modified and AI enchanced. Graphics and user interface have been overhauled more up to date. New parameters such as crew, rank, experience system, or game year are also now included within the game.

    • Go to Complex Mod Website and read more 

    (Complex mod makes, well, Homeworld 2 much more complex)

    6) "Crossfire" - Freelancer

    Freelancer is open world space simulator in veins of something like Privateer franchise. While it has it's main questline and several missions, in addition it has many smaller missions offered at the planets around the galaxy. Buy a ship of your liking and equip it as you will, and start making money by hunting outlaws or by transporting raw materials. Explore the huge galaxy freely, or stop for a beer at a space station bar.

    Crossfire is probably the most graphically advanced mod out there for Freelancer boosting visuals of the game, and sound as well. However it also features over 60 additional systems to explore with more than 100 of dockable stations and planets. In addition phenomenal 190 new ship models, 20 new clansystems and more. The mod works both in singleplayer and multiplayer mode. Multiplayer servers also use Anti-cheat software to prevent cheating.

    • Go to Crossfire Mod Website and read more 

    (Crossfire 1.9 boost game graphics and galaxy size, 2.0 coming out in half year)

    7) Median XL - Diablo II: Lords of Destruction

    Diablo franchise if forefather to the hack'n'slash style cRPGs by Blizzard. Median XL is most likely the most popular, and biggest mod made for Diablo II. It gives a big overhaul for original Diablo II while keeping basis of gameplay mechanics the same. The mod replaces some character skills, improves items, monsters, and quests.

    It features whole new skill trees with brand total of 30 brand new skills per character class. It improves monster AI, and also presents new "elite" and "heroic" monsters. 30 new "uberquests" are presented for the very high level characters to give some end-game challenge. New items, rares, runes and gems are to be found over the land. Items now have six tiers.  And much more.

    (If it's been a while since you last time played Diablo II, maybe it's time for re-run?)

    8) "Tropical Mod" - Master Of Orion 3

    Master Of Orion franchise is similar to Galactic Civilizations. It's basically Sid Meyer's Civilization in space. A turn based strategy game where you control certain race, explore the space and conquer planets. Also diplomacy with other races is important factor along the space combat itself. Master Of Orion 1 was a classic, and Master of Orion 2 took the game even beyond that. Master of Orion 3 (Boxed $9,99 or Download $5,99 was a major disappointment.

    The game came out quite unfihisned, unpolished and while some of the graphics were allright, stat heavy menu interface never looked too appealing or practical either (at least in my opinion), AI was inconsistent and battles looked terrible. But I know some people learned to like that game after learning it's tricks after some time. Moo 3 is sort of a game that at least I, want to love, but it just keeps pushing me back for it's big faults.

    "Tropical Mod" for Moo3 is sequel for "Strawberry Mod". Basically it's combination of essential mods and fan made bug fixes, with some additions on it's own. It's large overhaul and fixes several issues with Master Of Orion 3. It also changes the core gameplay a bit, to make the game less broken. The game should be more balanced and few additional weapons are added also. The major factor is in rebalancing and fixing the broken game.

    If you ever thought that Master of Orion 3 had any potential at all, but ditched it for it's huge problems, maybe it's time to take another glance with this mod installed.

    • Go to Atari Forums and read more about how to install the mod, and it's full features. 

    (Master of Orion isn't the prettiest chi.. game around, but with balance fixed it may be worth a try)

    9) "Fall From Heaven II" - Civilization IV

    Civilization, well you all know it, it's turn based strategy game about managing your tribe, nation, or kingdom and it's relations, as well as conquering other worlds. The story take place on Earth, starting from times long before Christ after Ice Age, and ending in near future. How you run your kingdom and how you play your game, is heavily tied to your research choices, do you research war technology or perhaps laws and production?

    Fall From Heaven II mod takes Civilization IV to another level. It's a dark fantasy mod (total conversion) that sets totally different tone from original Civilization, when you start the game after the Ice Age. The world is not empty, it has inhabitants that are like ripped from a fantasy novel - vampires, undead and demonic creatures - even dragons. It presents over 20 new civs, 30 new leaders, hundreds of new units with over 40 more powerful "hero units".

    Some other major changes include Magic and Spellcasting, units that can gather experience and become stronger, and be upgraded. Heroes, which are world units and can be only build once. And new technology trees. Fall From Heaven II has quite classical good / evil fantasy theme in it.

    Attention: requires Civ IV: Beyond the Sword patched up to 3.17

    (Fall From Heaven changes Civilization 4 tone quite totally)

    10) "Aliens TC" - Doom

    Doom, the forefather of first person shooters, well perhaps after Wolfenstein 3D. One of the first and most memorable at least to say.

    Aliens TC was almost fully made by a man named Justin Fisher, who had an idea to make a total conversion mod for Doom, turning the game into Aliens setting (known from the movies also). This mod became very well known and highly rated due it's great (technical and looks) level design and suspenseful atmosphere. One guy did hell of a job! Many sounds were extracted from the film and used in the game.

    Want to kill aliens with pulse gun Doom style? Here's a game for you, with about ten levels to wet your pants.

    • Go and get the Aliens TC v2.0 here  

    (Dare to look behind?)

    Other interesting mods in development that you may not have heard of:

    DaggerXL - The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall

    In progress currently. Graphics conversion to make Daggerfall environments look way better. Hopefully the guy making this gets the job done at some point, since the mod  looks quite appealing. Check mod website here and forums that are better up to date here.

    (Spiced up Daggerfall - I'd love to give final version a run)

    Horn of The Abyss (HoTA) - Heroes of Might & Magic III

    A mod that will change several things to HOMM III adding several new towns and re-aligning existing units a bit to fit along with new towns. New units, artifacts, items, graphics and art etc. So far this mod looks very professionally made to my eyes, great graphics, exiting choices with new Towns. Looks like a mod of very dedicated fan community! Looking forward to this. Read more about the mod at Heroes community forums here.

    (One of the new towns in Horn Of The Abyss Mod)

    Mass Effect 3 - BioWare To Release Completely New Ending As DLC After Fan Outrage?

    Wednesday, 21 March 2012

    Mass Effect 3 current different endings have not pleased big part of the fans. In fact, huge amount of players who bought the game were somewhat outraged by the current endings (which I'm not going to discuss here too much, so I won't spoil it for those who didn't finish the game yet). Obviously the ending didn't satisfy the fans, being final ending for Mass Effect franchise and completing the trilogy. The fans also didn't like much day-one DLC-Pack "From Ashes".

    Earlier this morning Bioware co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka released a statement addressing that development team of Mass Effect 3 is working on "game content initiatives", which should answer several questions of the story for fans better way. It's not yet known how much those "initiatives" will change the actual game's story and content. But it looks like BioWare is focusing on releasing whole new ending at least as an DLC pack. Further details are unclear yet, and BioWare should come out with better detailed statement next month.

    Muzyka tells: "We're working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we've received --- This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue."

    "Retake Mass Effect" movement has started collecting donations with "Retake Mass Effect ChipIn Fund", trying to influence BioWare to make new endings after the disappointment. At the end of this day they had already raised funds of $75 000, and the donations will run until April 11.

    Whether it's reasonable or not to change the ending is a good question. Some fans demand it, while the others see changing the original ending as an insecure move by BioWare, breaking the original work totally. People who liked the original ending may hate BioWare for changing it, since it makes the original to lose it's meaning as "the ending for trilogy" - suddenly the end they believed to close the story was pointless?

    Also if BioWare decides to change the ending only with no other major additions or changes to the game, and cash out with it as downloadable DLC pack, I personally smell greed and hope all it was not planned move. I think that if they decide to change the ending, they may as well do free DLC-pack which does only that without other additions to the game, and so doesn't force fans already finished the game to buy whole lot of extra content to see just the new ending. It would be kinda immoral to come out with unsatisfying ending scenes first, and then sell the new ending with high price later on. What do you think?

    PREVIEW: Dishonored (Dec 2012, Pc, Xbox360, Ps3)

    Pre Order from | Pc | Xbox360 | Ps3 |

    When I first time read about Dishonored with news titles like ”What are publishers Bethesda coming up with next?”, I wasn’t too interested into the game. It immediately reminded me of Bethesda published and funded games, which another studio developed, like WET and Rogue Warrior – the ones not too highly rated. Besides, the more interesting thing to me than who is the publisher (Bethesda), is who are the actual developers and creators of the game. So I decided to dig bit deeper just to see what game company is actually making this newest title that Bethesda is about to publish.

    What is Dishonored you ask? It's shortly first person sci-fi / steampunk shooter combining stealth elements - being released for PC, Xbox360 and Playstation 3 by Bethesda, developed by Arkane Studios. The game's release date is still TBA (To Be Announced), but should come out this year. According to it's to be out December 31th, 2012.
    (This article is copyrighted by, if you're reading the article elsewhere then you're reading stolen material. Support us by reading the article at it's original source!)
    Arkane Studios - A short biography

    I ended up finding out that the game is being made by French developer Arkane Studios. Moderately interesting thing actually, because here are bunch of guys who started their company at 1999, and seem to have had terrible luck with games ever after. Arkane Studios created quite well known title Arx Fatalis, which honed the old school cRPG’s, especially dungeon crawlers. The game was decently well received. Next off they were involved in single player development of Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic, another decently received game. Then the bad streak begun. They were up to make first-person shooter The Crossing, and working in conjuration with Valve Software to developd a game for Half-Life franchise called “Return To Ravenholm” – both projects were cancelled. After this Arkane Studios was acquired by Zenimax in 2010, one of the companies working as part of Bethesda Softworks. The same year Arkane also participated in Bioshock 2 development in “design, animation, and art” departments. So now these guys finally have a chance to prove themselves under major publisher. Question is, are they up for it?

    (Welcome to Dunnwall)

    The story of Dishonored

    In Dishonored you play sort of a supernatural assassin, a man named Corvo (did I get it right?), a royal protector of the Empress. The game world setting takes place in fictional city called Dunnwall, inspired by 1600s London and turned into a “steampunk” version of the city, brough into life by original Half Life 2 artist Viktor Antonov. At the beginning of the story you are falsely accused of her murder. The rest of the game you will spend clearing your name, making things right and taking a revenge for those who set you up. You’ll be eliminating certain high profile targets throughout the city of Dunnwall by several possible ways. Dishonored’s gameplay system combines combat, stealth, and usage of your special powers – but you can put emphasis on either of those to complete missions by mainly stealthing only for example.

    (Every single mission is intended to be it's own freely explorable "sandbox")

    Single missions in "sandbox" way of playing

    The gameplay and story takes it’s pace with mission by mission style, whereas you have to complete main goal of one mission to be able to move on to the next one. Between the missions you’ll return to the “homebase”, where you can restock and refill. It’s not quite certain, but this might mean that you can buy equipment and items, perhaps new powers too? Though the game moves on by completing single missions, every each mission is said to be it’s own “sandbox”, that has quite large gameplay area to explore, and you can figure out several path to move to get to your target, and several ways to take him/her out.

    The developers say that their emphasis is to make every mission area freely explorable and geometrically varying, making player to think possibilities of completing the mission. The levels have lots of vertical difference within themselves, and contain anything from swimming in waterways to climbing to high Clock Tower. Arkane Studios say that they want to make discovering places you never though of reaching at first rewarding experience.

    (Pleasures of the Ballroom)

    As an example for one of the missions, Corvo is set to take out two brothers inside a ballroom located in Golden Cat Ballroom. It’s a burlesque large house inhabited by the rich people Dunnwall. The place is heavily guarded and has a lot of prostitutes there working for the rich, who may easily get alarmed. You might try all-out combat, but then again perhaps possessing a rat and taking control of the creature might give you a better way to enter the house through a rathole. Or perhaps you’d prefer using teleportation powers (“Blink”) and teleport yourself to a high tower for sniping position with a crossbow, with a challenge to get back down alive. Then again, perhaps you just want to stealth in old fashioned way in the shadows.

    The powers that be

    One of the main aspects of Dishonored are your special powers. This game breaks realism by playing supernatural assassin, who can for example stop time (Bloggers note: this has been used too much imo), teleport yourself physically around short ranges with power named “Blink”, teleport yourself into another character or animal and possess him/her, you can even possess creatures and summon them. How about doing a little trick for guards and summoning dozen of man eating rats to finish the guards off, or freezing up time and blowing them into dust with a “Shockwave” power?

    One of the powers could let you see through walls or see in the dark ("Dark Vision"), while with another you could also jump down from a tower to a certain death, but user your supernatural powers in middle of air to physically move into guards body and take possession of him, then walk away unnoticed within his body. Sounds a bit strange? Well if not counting the ever-used stop-time power, these already revealed powers sound at least moderately interesting, and might cause hilarious moments within the game. If Arkane Studios implement these powers well into the game keeping level design in mind, gameplay can be quite tactical even.

    (Dark Vision may come handy)

    In the shadows

    Another major factor is stealth, where sneaking in shadows plays big part. Moving undiscovered may be very rewarding experience, if you succeed to assassinate your target without anyone noticing. Sneaking also relies a lot to the quality of Arkane Studios level design. So we’ll see about that. In addition your character is able to lean around corners to peek and see what relies ahead. If you face a closed door, you may try to peek through “keyhole”, or try to listen what the possible people there are talking. Arkane Studios said that they have put quite much emphasis on “eavesdropping”, whereas listening the player characters is important part of the game, and hearing certain conversation may open up or change your mission goals. Basically you could just go out and murder everyone on the mission map, or you could go out for a full time stealth - up to you, says the developer.


    Closing words

    Combat was not much explained yet. But what we know is that the game is based on steampunk 1600s city that does include guns (at least for player characters), bows, and bladed weapons. More stealthy options to knock someone out should be also in, or throwing someone off the balcony. You can also use your powers as a weapon, although not even close to all of them are revealed. Such as the summon rats incident or setting player characters on fire, or perhaps placing traps around while you have used “stop time” power. The game has no good/evil morality system, but has “a Chaos” system instead, which keeps track who you kill and how many you kill. Depending of those elements, you may face varying enemies and characters later on in the game as you make progression with the story.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing will be how well sandbox styled large mission levels are designed, and how well different ways of playing such as stealth, combat and using powers are implemented, and are they in right balance? For example, is the teleportation power “Blink” overpowered in comparison if you reached the destination with physically stealthing through a certain area. Since this game overall seems modern game with few interesting ideas, I'm interested how is the general "pace" in this game? I hope they don't make it too hasty all the time, because in my opinion sneaking and careful tactical planning of your route requires bit slower pace for time to think and move carefully - and it also increases tension.

    ("Up for some fun honey?")

    Modern Gaming Business - Big Budgets, Commercial Releases Only

    Monday, 19 March 2012

    Anyone who started playing for example PC games before New Millenium, or even since 80's, has most likely noticed that variety of the games in terms of gametypes and personal ideas have gone way downhill even the whole past decade. Game mechanics has been simplified, while graphics and cinematic cut-scenes have been cranked to the maximum. Sounds familiar? I know that partly, just partly, we can blame it on multi-platform releases that concerns these days perhaps even majority of average to bigger game releases. But multi-platform issue is just one piece of the big picture. Let's look bit deeper.I did read some articles about game budgets getting out of hand, and realized just another problem, which keeps publishers ditching games that aren't commercial enough. If you're interested about what are some of the most expensive game development budgets ever, skip to the end of the post.
    (This article is copyrighted by, if you're reading the article elsewhere then you're reading stolen material. Support us by reading the article at it's original source!)

    It's well known that while PC games have more open choices to develop more complex interface for game, because keyboard has so many buttons for hotkeys and shortcut combinations, that Xbox or Ps3 controller doesn't come even close. Even more when we add mouse to on top of that - thus allowing more complex games in general. If we have to develop the game game for consoles also, it's natural that either the original interface suffers in console version, if the game's ported from PC, or we cannot make so complex interface to begin with if we create it for consoles, and then port it to PC.

    That's part of the reason, especially for the fact that there's not many strategy games for consoles. But hey, why won't anyone even try? I'm sure it's not totally impossible for example to create some sort of a strategy for consoles, either that or at least stat heavy and authentic, challenging RPG that doesn't guide you by hand through the whole game? I just don't get it. Let's be just a little bit sarcastic - any game that is funded by medium to big publisher has to be either:
    • 1) Racing
    • 2) Sports
    • 3) First Person Game of some sort, or at least Third Person 3D
    • 4) And it has to be multi-platform release
    • 5) Or MMORPG
    • 6) Dialogue choices don't have to affect the gameplay, as long as the game has cinematic cut-scenery to cover up story
    • 7) Top-down view or 2D is out of the question - unless the game franchise is hugely known such as Diablo or Civilization sequels.
    • 8) Talking about sequels - the majority of games have to be sequels or they are not funded! Part II, III, IV, V...
    • 9) And it also has to have space for expensive, but small DLC's. So developer, please leave something out of the full release that people want, so we can sell that content extra price for 1st day DLC pack!

    What I've read is that developing costs of games have raised hugely since 90's. Well it's no big surprise if any game has to have technically top notch 3D technology, movie like cut-scenery (waste of time if the emphasis of the game is at this), and have voice acting team etc. with huge salary, and be multi-platform release also! More technical graphics engines and such needs bigger teams to work around it. According to studies the average cost of modern console multi-platform games would be around $18 to $24 million dollars in development department! Not to mention marketing costs that can be double or triple of that about development. Sure you don't want to make a game for small PC hardcore audience of specific genre only for that price. That raises another question, are the insane game budgets one reason killing innovation?

    How about cutting the costs a bit? What about giving non-commercial releases for specific audience a chance with smaller budget, since classic style games don't need so much money for development anyway. Making a PC strategy game would surely cost much less and be fresh breath to gaming community these days. How about just recently 100% fan funded Wasteland 2 by InXile Entertainment? They said that this party based cRPG will be done when the budget reaches over $900 000, which proves that classic style game doesn't need even close to multi-platform first person shooter's budget of $20 million dollars.

    Several indie developers go even way below that of Wasteland 2 budget (which is sort of a crossing between high priced multi-platform release with modern niceties - and low-budget indie release), though technically their quality might not be up the par, or at least forces them to focus on cheap or freely usable development tools, and cutting off some other stuff from for example on sound department. Just look at the Skyrim, rumored to be around $100 million dollars (estimated). Of course we'vent seen Wasteland 2 yet, but the team making it contains quite big names like Brian Fargo, Michael A. Stackpole etc.

    At some point big game companies, or publishers more so, just decided that first person or third person 3D is the only way to go. No more top down 2D. Why? Advantages of 2D would probably be much less developing costs, more artistic style of graphics, and more tactical view to the game at least to say. I think that 2D top down has it's advantages over first person 3D, depending of the case. Publishers just decided at some point that - "we're not funding 2D anymore, no matter how totally awesome the game looks on the paper". That's kinda sad.

    I am personally totally bored for every game franchise coming out as first person shooter or something alike. Just look how new X-Com and Syndicate, well known classic strategy game franchises, are turned into first person shooters. What was the last time we saw top-down party based cRPG made that wasn't indie release? Perhaps Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil, which was released what, around 2003? While Dragon Age Origins was decently fun game nodding towards old-school at least with it's ruleset, it's different dialogue choices leading into same conclusion most often disappointed me, and I'd take Baldur's Gate's beautiful and artistic 2D graphics over lifeless and hollow 3D art of Dragon Age Origins any day now.

    Not every modern game release is bad though. Once in a while we still get games that stand out of the repetitive masses. Deus Ex Human Revolution was decently fine action-adventure, Elder Scrolls Skyrim was entertaining "modern RPG", Dragon Age Origins while having it setbacks was one of the better RPG's coming out last decade, and then we have exceptions such as Crusader Kings II from Paradox Interactive with it's quite complex menu systems and strategy system - whereas you control a dynasty at times of the crusades. That game was an exception using a top-down map view only at presenting the game world. And then we have failures whereas company probably had good intentions, like with Jagged Alliance: Back In Action, but failed despite trying to stick into the roots more than above mentioned X-Com and Syndicate (2012).

    I loved the era where we had both 2D and 3D games, both focusing on their strengths. Looking Glass made Thief games with an exceptional atmosphere when sneaking around, New World Computing made first person party based Might & Magic games and top-down strategy games of Heroes of Might & Magic franchise, Black Isle Studios made Fallouts, even Bioware succeeded with Baldur's Gate franchise. Not to mention tons of more varying types of games. One might also remember game houses such as Bullfrog and Troika. Publishers, please bring less commercial game genres back! We want games that require some thinking, and games which we play ourselves, instead of watching cut-scenes like in movies! Or do we?

    One thing I'm hopeful about is the new way of crowdfunding games of that sort, which publishers didn't want to fund - seeing that they wouldn't be commercial enough to fill their gigantic $20 million development budget with sales. As said, not every type of game needs budget even close that big. Maybe Wasteland 2 will bring classic party based cRPG back, and show the way for companies with authentic ideas for games, to get development on and rolling. Right about now I'm looking forward for Diablo 3, Age of Decadence, Elemental Fallen Enchantress which seems to be combining Heroes Of Might And Magic with Civilization and Warlords, and of course, Wasteland 2 - and that's pretty much it. Perhaps the new GTA and Assassin's Creed will also be entertaining for a while.

    (Elemental Fallen Enchantress (out soon), Crusader Kings II (just released))

    Speaking of which, here are development budgets (estimates) of some games that did cost a lot. They most likely exclude "marketing costs" which may be much more than development itself. For example Halo 3 marketing costs is believed to be around $200 million dollars, while the development cost is around €55 million. Judge yourself which ones were quality enough to be justified to have budget this huge:

    • ~$200 million - Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG
    • $100 m - Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    • $100 m - Grand Theft Auto IV
    • $100+ m - StarCraft II
    • $80 m - Gran Turismo 5
    • $70 m - Shenmue
    • $60-80 m - Too Human
    • $60 m - Metal Gear Solid 4
    • $55 m - Halo 3
    • $50 m - APB MMO(still in development)
    • $50 m - LA Noire
    • $48 m - Final Fantasy XII
    • $40-60 m - Killzone 2
    • $52 m - Call of Duty: Black Ops
    • $50 m - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    • $40 m - Final Fantasy IX
    • $35 m - Spider Man 3
    • $30 m - Stranglehold
    • $24 m - Assassin's Creed 2
    • $24 m - Brutal Legend
    • $22 m - Crysis
    • $20 m - Assassin's Creed
    • $20 m - Lost Planet
    • $20 m - Crackdown
    • $15-20 m - Ghostbusters
    • $12 m - Psychonauts

    In Comparison with:
    • $12 million - Wing Commander IV
    • $4 m - Wing Commander III
    • $3 m - Fallout 1
    • $3 m - Grim Fandango
    • $1,5-2 m (looks like it will be around that amount at the end) - Wasteland 2 - Crowdfunded with minimum of $0,9 million to be reached for the game to start development