Computer games used to be just a waste of time for me. Sure, they were fun, but they did me more harm than good.

When I heard that Civilization V was coming out in September 2010, I knew I had to play it. But these days, the only computers I have are a Macbook and an Eee PC. Both of these computers are woefully underpowered for the task. Something surely had to be done…

I have loved the entire Civilization series. It is truly engrossing and it is really fun to build an empire from the ground up. Besides that, I feel like I am missing out on experiencing the art form of our times: video games.

So, I set out to get a gaming computer. For a while I thought I would get a gaming laptop. But, with my budget being limited (about $600), I knew that I could get so much more in a desktop. I had a few requirements: lots of RAM, small physical size, Windows 7 (I didn’t want to use a nine-year-old OS, and I wanted Direct X 10), decent video card, low power usage, and quiet.

Here’s what I ended up with:

  • Shuttle barebones: case, motherboard, 250W PSU
  • AMD Athlon 2 64-bit 2.9Ghz dual-core processor
  • 4GB PC8000 RAM
  • Radeon 5700 1GB video card
  • Wireless NIC
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

For my hard drive I used an old 120GB IDE drive that I had sitting around. I also used an old DVD-ROM that I had sitting around.

If I had another $250 to spend on it, I’d get an SSD as my hard drive and up the RAM to 8GB.

Since Civilization V won’t be out for another couple of months, and because it won’t be the only game I’ll ever want to play, I went onto the Interwebs to see what else I should get. I perused the past few years of top games on ign.com and decided to get Company of Heroes (an RTS from 2006), The Witcher (an RPG), and Empire: Total War (an RTS/TBS hybrid).

So far, Company of Heroes has arrived. I played it for about an hour or less last night. It seems like a pretty solid game. I like how the soldiers take cover.

I realized this morning that I actually really like the fact that it is a desktop computer and not a laptop. We don’t have a desk at home. Well, rather, we are using my desk as our dining table. My big 24″ monitor lives, covered, on a side table in the living room. We uncover it when we want to hook it up to a laptop for a movie or some such. Because we don’t have a desk, I need to borrow the dining table when I want to game. This means moving everything over there and plugging it all in, and unplugging it and putting it away when I am done. This will result in more “intentional” gaming sessions and less gaming because it is just so easy to start. This means less time wasting and procrastinating through gaming, which is a good thing!

Although, when Civilization V comes out, I am pretty sure I am going to have to set aside a weekend to play the hell out of it. Also, I think I should try to organize a small LAN party. I can throw an Ethernet cord down to the garage. With folding tables, I think I can get maybe an eight-person LAN party going. Ah, just like old times…

Alyssa and I go on dates in World of Warcraft now that she is in LA. Here’s a nice portrait that we had done in game:

World of Warcraft

I’m mildly addicted to Minesweeper. I found a good site with a brief tutorial: Minesweepers.org

I’ve just logged into World of Warcraft again for the first time in while. Check it out…

WoW1

WoW2

I have had a bunch of ideas floating around my head quite regularly for the past couple of years. These are ideas that have stuck with me, and not just floated off into nothing like some grand ideas often do.

The ideas are for a revolutionary massively multiplayer online game. The main concepts are:
– Everything in the world is player generated, except nature. There will be no NPCs (non-player characters). Any missions that exist will be player created. Any buildings and items will be player created.
– You won’t be able to “see” your stats. If you want to know how good you are at bow hunting, you should shoot an arrow and see how accurate it is. You won’t see everyone’s name floating above their heads. If you want to know their name, you ask them.
– The code will be released under the GPL (GNU Public License). I don’t like the concept of “owning” something that isn’t even tangible. The GPL allows anyone to see and use my source code. If they add on to the code, they also have to release their additions under the same license.

I have a ton more ideas, and I will be adding them to my website shortly. I have set up my servers for this game, and you can find the links to the websites below.

The name of the game is Project Stockton.

Game websites:
Main Project Stockton website. Here you will find official announcements, downloads, et cetera.
Project Stockton developer blog. Here you will be able to track the progress of the developers (currently only me 🙂 ).
Project Stockton wiki. This will be a place where anyone can contribute to any information about Project Stockton. This would be a good place for a game manual and in-game info.
Project Stockton forums. Mainly meant for technical support, but also a meeting place for anyone that wants to talk about Project Stockton.
Project Stockton bugtracking. Once there is actually some code, there will actually be some bugs. They will go here.

I will start posting my progress on the PS blog, but I will put any big updates on this site as well. Stay tuned!

Mark and I in Eve Online:

We’re both looking forward to getting better ships.

My brother and I love the classic game Genghis Khan for the NES. I just thought of a way to play on a REAL NES over the Internet. You could make a controller emulator that plugs into a computer’s serial port on one end, and into the Nintendo controller port on the other end. Make the video and audio output go into the computer. On the remote end, have the other user plug a modified controller into their serial port, and transmit it back to the NES video/controller server. There could even be a nice all-in-one window that would display video, sound, and maybe even a clickable controller on the client side. This sounds like a lot of work, but DAMN that would be awesome. I am assuming it wouldn’t be too good for action-packed games, but it would be great for a turn-based game like Genghis Khan.