Computer Gaming Updates

I have played through a half a game on Civ 6 and am thrilled.  Like original-cast Star Trek movies, every other episode is really good.  This one feels excellent.

I have a new geek obsession called Factorio.  Basically, you have to create an ever more complex production base with zillions of different intermediate products zipping this way and that on conveyors, all while fighting off aliens.

I played Stellaris for quite a while but got bogged down in the end game.  Tons of potential, maybe Stellaris 2 will crack the code.

Speaking of that, I did enjoy Endless Space, judging it good but not great (ie not totally addictive).  The pre-release version of Endless Space 2 has dropped and I am just starting to try it out.  Endless Legend was a really good alternate take on the Civ model and I am hoping that Endless Space 2 will do the same for space 4x.


  1. ErikTheRed:

    I used to love games like this, but having come to a better understanding of economics and human action in general, I find them to be annoyingly closer to the academic "understanding" of these issues than what we actually observe in the real world.

  2. Matthew Teague:

    My favorite part of Endless Space 1 was how the tax rate and economic output were modeled. Raising taxes lowered production and output.

  3. Broccoli:

    I just played Endless Legend until way too late last night. Beautiful game and I like the implementation of RPG into my 4X. I wouldn't wait until Stellaris 2. Just wait for 3 or so expansions to come out and improve the game. That is Paradox's style, they support their games for years and almost always address the type of complaints you have.

    Oh, and if you really want to jump into the deep end of strategy, may I recommend Europa Universalis 4.

  4. Eric Hammer:

    I agree there, even though I love empire building games. Issues like not being able to trade food between cities in Civ5 (because Nebraska has so much more food than New York, it has 10 times the population) and just picking which technology you get next is sort of silly. I don't mind the tech part so much, because designing an empire is sort of the point, but I would really like a game where the empire built itself spontaneously while you direct bigger things. Maybe spend R&D on different sorts of broad projects that may or may not even pan out, while others spawn sudden advances, and of course most technology comes from the private sector, which you can't control.

    I don't know this, but I suspect such a move would also make programming the AI easier in many respects. If leaders have fewer decisions to make in those sorts of realms, and more constraints about what they can choose, that should lead to a simpler set of decisions for the computer to make. I personally have really been disappointed with the AI advances of the last 10 years, as most games just seem to let the computer cheat more or less instead of actually making clever decisions.

  5. John O.:

    Ah the fun that is Europa Universalis IV. I spend more time modding the game now than playing it, though.

  6. Agammamon:

    Really? Because I am not impressed with it at all.

    Every single game except for one I've gone 4500 years without a single war. I constantly see other continents teeming with barbarian hordes - who have higher tech units than the civilizations that putatively 'control' those areas.

    Leaders will congratulate me for helping them with something - when I did no such thing.

    Leaders will *first* berate me for something I did 50 turns earlier.

    No matter what you do, everyone ends up hating you - even the civilizations that are doing the same things you are. They'll praise you for doing x one turn, then denounce you (with no reason for *why* they are denouncing you) the next.

    The animated leaders are crap. Crap animation (very little of it, long dead times at the end of the animation before the convo options are shown, 99% of the time the convo options are simply two things that do the same thing - nothing and if you hit escape too soon it just closes the whole thing without letting you pick an option at all), crap artwork (though I will admit that *this* is subjective), and crap controls. I had to turn it off when I started getting 6+ guys telling me they didn't like me every freaking turn.

    It is, IMO, a low-effort console version of Civilization. It bears all the hallmarks of a console game - unskippable splash screens, long waits while menu animations play, incredibly, mindboggling long load times. Slow turns right from the start. Oh, and you have to allow it an exception to Windows Defender or it takes 3 minutes to even start.

    IMO, the series peaked with 4.

  7. Agammamon:

    Then you might like to check out the *original* Master of Orion.

    You didn't select techs - you selected funding for research and split it between different tech sectors but what specific tech you got was random. And you couldn't get them all so that you had to trade/steal tech from other civs if you wanted something specific.

    And you didn't tell planets to build factories or laboratories - you set priorities. Industry, research, environment, etc. Then the places themselves took care of all that under the hood.

    Sadly, everyone likes the MoO2 paradigm of placing specific buildings on each world - which gets to be a drag in long games where turns are so long you might forget what the hell you were doing by the time its your turn again.

  8. Eric Hammer:

    Cool, I will have to check that out! Thanks for the tip.