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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request - Send Mail
ICQ None given.
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 2707 (Senior)
User ID 13410
User comment history
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News Comments > On PC Battlefield 1943
12. Re: On PC Battlefield 1943 Apr 26, 2009, 15:55 Scottish Martial Arts
apparently valve and stardock are the only publishers that take the pc market seriously anymore.

And Blizzard. But otherwise yeah, all we can hope for the PC these days is sloppy ports of console games that aren't that great to begin with.
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News Comments > BioWare on Storytelling
4. Re: BioWare on Storytelling Apr 22, 2009, 18:47 Scottish Martial Arts
Don't forget how Bioware just recycles their characters from game to game.  
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News Comments >'s Fallout Week
8. Re:'s Fallout Week Apr 22, 2009, 03:22 Scottish Martial Arts
I was going to play it for the story, but here it's non-cannon anyway.

The story was decent enough as I recall but on the other hand it has been at least 5 years since I played it last.
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News Comments >'s Fallout Week
7. Re:'s Fallout Week Apr 22, 2009, 03:20 Scottish Martial Arts
Is Fallout Tactics worth getting? I'd heard that Tactics wasn't that great, but the reviews on GoG make it sound like it might be worth getting.

It's worth a playthrough, especially at that price. Weaknesses: poor writing, infantile humor, and a generally "different" take on the fallout setting (kinda sounds like Fallout 3, huh?). Strength: great tactical combat as long as you ignore the Continuous-Turn-Based Mode, outstanding sound effects (you can almost feel the impact of the rounds as supermutant tears up one of your squadmembers with a .50 machine gun), excellent 2D graphics, art and animation, and a good variety of missions that make up a fairly lengthy game.

All in all, it's a pretty solid squad tactical game, but only tangentially related to Fallout 1 and 2.
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News Comments > Fallout: New Vegas Revealed
37. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Revealed Apr 20, 2009, 20:14 Scottish Martial Arts
Hmm, interesting, very interesting. Obsidian's only great game so far has been Mask of the Betrayer -- the others have been merely flawed but good. Nevertheless I vastly prefer their old-school style cRPGs to what Bethesda does. I guess there are 4 devs who worked on the originals working at Obsidian today, so that's a little bit of encouragement I guess. I just hope development has been going on for sometime now, and that Obsidian doesn't only have a year to get this done: they simply are not good at scheduling and working within short development cycles. Anyway, I really dislike Beth's approach to Fallout 3, but if Obsidian's take is more in line with the originals gameplay-wise then I'm willing to forgive a lot.

Chris Jones (1&2)
Feargus Urquhart (2, credited for first game as a division director)
Chris Avellone (2)
Scott Everts (1&2)
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News Comments > Barca B.C. Revealed
6. Re: Barca B.C. Revealed Mar 13, 2009, 16:30 Scottish Martial Arts
Wasn't he shopping around the script for a movie about Hannibal, Fabius Maximus, Spipio Africanus, and the whole Second Punic War a few years ago? I kinda remember him talking about it on Conan O'Brien. I think his plan was to film the thing entirely in Latin, ancient Greek, and Phoenician, like Passion of the Christ. He recited some Latin on the show, which sounded insanely cool. Latin is definitely a language that works best with a deep, baratone voice.  
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News Comments > F.E.A.R. 2 DLC Next Month
2. Re: F.E.A.R. 2 DLC Next Month Mar 10, 2009, 23:19 Scottish Martial Arts
It sure will be great to "experience multiplayer from a new perspective" in a game that doesn't even have dedicated servers. Wtf, Monolith. Even NOLF2 was released with dedicated servers, and that was a pure coop multiplayer game.  
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News Comments > Op Ed
20. Re: Op Ed Feb 26, 2009, 21:34 Scottish Martial Arts
You can turn on all manner of pauses and information to make KOTOR turn-based. You are arguing hairs of difference.

Except that I'm not.

Just because you can set a real-time game to pause every few seconds doesn't mean it's turn-based. When you unpause, everything still unfolds in real-time -- all characters act simultaneously. Imagine a game of chess where both players made their moves at the same time, but took a break every 15 seconds or so. Such a game would be very, very different from traditional turn-based chess.

It's the same deal with KotOR. The d20 system was designed for turn-based, table-top play, and the system translates very poorly to a real-time environment. For example, area effect spells are a bitch to time in KotOR and NWN2 because the enemies are always moving around. Compare this with ToEE, where when it's your mages turn, no one else can take any any actions, allowing you to determine what enemies (and friends!) will be in the range of your fireball, letting you plan accordingly. Read some NWN2 message boards sometime and you'll find that the consensus is that AOE spells are at a huge disadvantage from the PnP equivalent for this very reason.

Real-time with pause usually works well enough for cRPGs, but it most definitely is not a turn-based combat system.
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News Comments > Op Ed
16. Re: On the 360 Feb 26, 2009, 16:13 Scottish Martial Arts
It doesn't mean PC gaming is dying and has nothing to do with Microsoft targeting PC gaming or something. PC gaming is quite healthy and alive anyways, stop being such a reactionary and dramatic little girl Rolleyes

Except that, you know, hardly anything PC-exclusive comes out anymore. Take first-person shooters for example, the last PC-exclusive was Crysis, from over a year ago, everything else is multiplatform. Some companies, like Valve, are able to do multiplatform well without shortchanging the PC experience one bit. Most, like Monolith or Epic, are clearly just porting dumbed-down 360 titles to the PC.
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News Comments > Op Ed
14. Re: Op Ed Feb 26, 2009, 16:02 Scottish Martial Arts
Huh? not remotely -- not sure how to begin replying to that.

They were both real-time with pause combat systems based upon d20 rules.

You can hit the space bar in KOTOR and direct ALL of the party characters (as with Baldur's Gate) and you can also choose to have the action stop at the end of every turn, and with messages telling you all of this info. It is genuinely turn-based at that point.

Uh, no it's not. Real-time with pause does not equal turn-based. Play some Jagged Alliance 2, and then come back and say that KotOR is turned base.

The only difference between KotOR and NWN combat is party member control. In NWN you didn't really have party members, just a single AI henchmen. By NWN2 however, you did have full party member control, and therefore had an identical combat system to KotOR.

Honestly, I cannot understand how anyone would praise the KotOR, or NWN for that matter, combat system. It was dead easy and required absolutely no tactical thinking. Party members were awkward to control and often would ignore your orders to follow their AI. KotOR was a fun enough game, but it was hardly the pinnacle of cRPG design.

This comment was edited on Feb 26, 2009, 16:03.
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News Comments > Game Reviews
7. Re: Game Reviews Feb 17, 2009, 14:03 Scottish Martial Arts
The biggest problem with FEAR 2 is the lack of dedicated server files for multiplayer. Right now, you're entirely dependent upon crappy listen servers, which is too bad because multiplayer is actually pretty fun. Overall, I really like the game even if it isn't really an improvement on the first, but unfortunately it's wrapped up in one of the worst port jobs I've ever purchased. The interface is an absolute mess -- you have to wade through 6 sub menus to get from the main menu to where you can actually join a (listen) server. Meh, hopefully they'll fix it, because I think there is actually a pretty good game buried under all the console rubble.  
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News Comments > On Fallout 3
34. Re: On Fallout 3 Jan 27, 2009, 11:16 Scottish Martial Arts
Stories are about people...

You lost me at that statement.

Care to mention a story that doesn't have characters?
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News Comments > On Fallout 3
25. Re: On Fallout 3 Jan 27, 2009, 01:57 Scottish Martial Arts
Writing doesn't need to 'resonate with one at an emotional level', in order to be good.

Perhaps not, but it certainly needs to engage you with the story. Stories are about people, and in order for those people to be interesting, there needs to be conflict. There is nothing interesting about a story of a man sleeping peacefully. That story only becomes interesting when that man is disrupted from his sleep by a strange sound coming from the basement, or when he begins to dream. Sometimes it is enough to pique our curiosity (what could that sound in the basement be?) in order for a story to have drama. Often times though, stories depend upon our caring about a character. If we don't care about Frodo and Sam, why would be interested in their journey to Mt. Doom? I actually didn't like the LotR movies for this very reason: Frodo and Sam as portrayed in the movies were whiny martyrs with a bizarre homoerotic undercurrent to their interactions. As a result, whenever the scene shifted away from Aragorn and Gandalf, I lost interest.

If we can't connect with characters and their struggles, then we cannot connect with the story. Such a story become mere data to be absorbed, sterile plot points that exist only to setup the next special effects sequence or action set piece. Good writing tells a story that we want to hear. Great writing tells a story that we want to hear, and presents us with characters and situations that make us think about bigger issues, i.e. themes. The best writing treats themes that touch the core of what it means to be human, transcending time and place and becoming something that speaks to all people everywhere at least on some level.

I don't expect the best writing from video games. Honestly, I don't think video games and video game makers are capable of such writing. I don't even expect great writing from video games. I do however expect good writing, at least from story driven games. Daddy, Project Purity, and the Enclave didn't engage me on any level, more often inspiring audible groans than anything else (Mom's dialogue at birth, I'm looking at you!).
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News Comments > On Fallout 3
17. Re: On Fallout 3 Jan 27, 2009, 00:10 Scottish Martial Arts
Writing? You mean like spell mistakes? I didn't notice any.

Major spoilers for Fallout 3 and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 ahead.

I wasn't referring specifically to usage, mechanics, and spelling, although there were errors along those lines, but to dialogue, character motivation, pacing, narrative tension, etc.

Consider your relationship with your father: it is integral to the plot, yet has absolutely no emotional resonance. Did anyone actually care when "Dad" died? Writing a character so that you actually care about him or her is incredibly difficult, and I won't claim to know how to do it. That said, I can tell when a story is asking something of me emotionally that the actual content of the story doesn't support. We are asked to care when Dad dies, but the story never gave us reason to invest ourselves emotionally in his character.

Contrast this with the end of Half Life 2 Episode 2 when Eli gets killed. Eli's death resonates emotionally because, over the course of 3 games, Valve has given us reason to care about Eli, Alyx, and their relationship. It is abundantly clear that Eli and Alyx loved each other very much; when they expressed affection for each other, it wasn't something you merely heard and understood on an intellectual level -- you felt their love on an emotional level. When Eli dies, it's not emotionally traumatic because you're losing a likable character, although that certainly is a consideration, but because you're watching Alyx lose her father. Eli tells Alyx to close her eyes and not to watch what is about to happen because, even seconds before his gruesome demise, he wants to protect her from something horrific; he cares so much about her that he doesn't care that he's about to die, only that his death not be quite so painful for her. This is very good writing; in one short line we get all of that insight into two characters and their relationship. Consequently, as the screen fades to black and Alyx weeps over her father's body, we are left with a powerful reminder of what sort of a father Alyx has just lost, and how heart broken Alyx, a character we've come to care for, must be.

This is the difference between good and bad writing: one resonates with you at an emotional level, the other just sits there, inert, and undramatic.

Crappy NPCs? Fawkes... Dogmeat... Diego... Allistair Tenpenny... all memorable.

And all one dimensional outlines that come nowhere close to resembling a real human being. You'll have to remind me who Diego was though as I seem to have forgotten him.
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News Comments > On Fallout 3
2. Re: On Fallout 3 Jan 26, 2009, 19:29 Scottish Martial Arts
And what about crappy writing, storyline, quest design, and NPCS? What about the same cookie-cutter, bland content that has been a problem since Daggerfall?  
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News Comments > New NWN2 Expansion Possible
21. Re: New NWN2 Expansion Possible Jan 12, 2009, 20:44 Scottish Martial Arts
Interesting interview with the SoZ devs:

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News Comments > Out of the Blue
15. Re: Fall Out 3 Jan 12, 2009, 02:18 Scottish Martial Arts
"Which one should I get: Fallout3, Left4Dead, or Dead Space"?

Fallout 3 is Oblivion with Guns. If you liked Oblivion, and the idea of playing Oblivion again but this time with guns, then you'd enjoy it.

Left4Dead is just plain fun. Some have complained about the relative shallowness of the gameplay, which I definitely noticed the first time I booted up the demo. On the other hand, I'm still playing it on a regular basis and am having a blast, so that shallowness hasn't yet impacted the game's longevity, to me at least.

Dead Space I haven't played, but my understanding is that it was ported particularly well (big surprise).

My advice? If you really enjoyed Oblivion, get Fallout 3. Otherwise get Left4Dead: you won't regret it.
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News Comments > New NWN2 Expansion Possible
4. Re: New NWN2 Expansion Possible Jan 11, 2009, 13:04 Scottish Martial Arts
SoZ was good (I can understand the complaints against it, but the game clicked for me).

Same here. The game had very clear and noticeable flaws, but despite them I still had a whole lot of fun with the game. Exploration plus building a merchant empire was pure win for me.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
9. Re: Out of the Blue Dec 31, 2008, 15:14 Scottish Martial Arts
15 Reasons PC Gaming Beats All. Thanks Digg.

Ugh, Matt Peckham. He's the asshole who wrote the infamous pulled review of NWN2 for 1UP, in which he argued that DnD-based games are antiquated because they arn't like Oblivion. That's the kind of shit that has ruined PC gaming, so I think I'll pass on his PC-evangelism.
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News Comments > Fallout 3 DLC Interview
26. Re: High level content Dec 17, 2008, 17:25 Scottish Martial Arts
You show someone a screenshot of Fallout 2 and they'd probably say "Beirut?"

That doesn't look like the post-apocalypse to you? You'll get no argument from me that New Reno is out of place, although it is an excellent location filled with great quests and characters. That said, the game looks about as post apocalyptic as you're going to get with 2D tile-based graphics.
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2707 Comments. 136 pages. Viewing page 25.
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