Close Combat + Men of War = <3

Last night as I was falling asleep, it occurred to me why I've been enjoying the Men of War beta so much recently. Back in the 90s I played a lot of the Close Combat franchise. This was back when it was a WWII RTS. My brother and I played the first four or five iterations which were all roughly the same game. Eventually we got bored with the series as they didn't do anything to improve it. Even the most recent version released this year has the same flat graphics.  


 Close Combat in 2010. Looks the same as 1996. That's all flat btw.
 Close Combat action. Bullets are represented by red and green lines. Like Star Wars.

What I'd love to see is a merge of the strategic campaign map of the Close Combat games, with the gameplay of Men of War: Assault Squad. The campaigns in the Men of War series are rubbish and we won't even talk about the voice acting, but all they need to do is make a campaign map of Europe that you can fight your way across like in the Close Combat series. Keep persistent damage to the environments you fight in. Manage your units from a higher strategic level. It could be great! 

I want Close Combat strategy, but Men of War action like this.

Men of War: Assault Squad Open Beta

The past weekend's RTS of choice was the Men of War: Assault Squad multiplayer open beta. Back in January I played Men of War and gave some quick impressions. At the time I didn't try out the multiplayer as I tend to suck at multiplayer RTS. However, who can argue with free open betas? I gave Assault Squad a go over the weekend and quite enjoyed myself.  
I found this video commentary of someone playing the beta. He has some anger issues but seems to know his stuff.  

If you're a Company of Heroes fan, but want something deeper, I recommend you check this out. 

Angle of Incidence Equals Angle of Reflection

This weekend I played a lot of Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 due in no small part to it being on sale last week for $5 on Steam and me having a wife that watches my spending habits like a hawk. It took me a while to warm up to. The first few plays were bogged down by the game being a terrible system hog and me, despite going through the tutorials, having no idea how to play. Originally I was using the "autodetect" settings but after a while I had to turn it down to their "medium" tier. Even then I had to go back and manually adjust some things lower so the framerate didn't become unbearable in larger battles. With that under control I put a few campaign missions under my belt while struggling with the seemingly random difficulty. One game Rommel's tanks will roll right over me without even looking back to see what they hit. On my next try I will destroy the entire enemy force without them reaching the town I'm defending. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground and it all seems to revolve around the tanks. One tank can roll through a town of infantry without a problem. It's really more of a tank RTS. The infantry just get in the way. Last night I started to feel like I was missing something so I looked around for a game manual. 
I eventually found the 78 page beast on their website and came across this diagram showing how angle of incidence affects shell penetration. I think it sums up the attitude of the game pretty well.

You'll often see tank rounds and small arms fire ricochetting off of armored vehicles. It's a nice effect that we've seen before and it's done well here. It adds to the tension and sometimes frustration of battling it out across the dunes. 
I'll probably be playing more this week but I'd really like to try Codename: Panzers - Cold War, as I'm a fan of that series. Unfortunately, it costs $40 and would take some haggling.

PC Stable Again, Yay

Back in July my PC died. I'm happy to report that it's finally up and running again. I didn't get all of the replacement parts I was looking at. Instead, a friend gave me his working PC and I swapped out some parts. The only thing I ended up buying was the Radeon HD 4870 which seems to be a significant improvement over the Nvidia 8800GTX I was using before. After all was said and done I'm left with a good deal of extra parts. 

 No idea why the orientation of this image is like that...
  • motherboard (CPU, 4GB RAM)
  • sound card (no space on new motherboard for this)
  • wireless card (new one works better)
  • Nvidia 8800GTX (my old card)
  • Nvidia 9800GT (friend's card)
  • three HDDs of various sizes
  • crappy HP case (friend's)
Not sure what I'm going to do with all of that. I'm pretty sure either the motherboard or CPU is dead but everything else is in working order. In any case, back to purchasing random stuff on Steam!

Mobile Update 9/24

More updates for the mobile sites.

  • You can now choose your video quality from the videos hub. It's stored in a cookie so if you have an iPad and a smart phone, you can have a different quality set for each.
  • quests
    • module on the profile page
    • browse quests
  • blog
    • last blog on profile page
    • browse blogs
    • write blog
  • achievements
    • module on profile page
    • module on game page
    • browse game achievements
    • browse achievements by user
    • new top list of followed users on achievement page
I'm always adding new features and fixing bugs so if you have any problems, let me know here or in the bug reporting forums.

Mobile Update 9/15

Here are the changes since monday! 
Bug Fixes:

  • podcast xml
  • can now complete video quests on the mobile site
  • embedded videos in articles now work
  • html5 video for iDevice users. link to file for everyone else
New Features: 
  • followed user status updates added to front door
  • followed user blogs added to front door
  • podcast mp3 link
  • home screen icons
  • reply/quote in forums and comments
More stuff coming soon!

Mobile Update 9/13

Deployed an update to the mobile site. Here are some changes since Friday.
Bug Fixes: 

  • more comments button
  • spoiler tags
  • line breaks in posts
  • notification links (at least for the pages that are supported)
  • fixed some of the activity entries. cache was getting mixed up between full site and mobile site.
Video Support Update: 
I took out the video tags and replaced them with links straight to the files. This should help with all of those phones that can play the files, but are having trouble with the tag itself. I'm looking at you palm pre. I also changed the file to be the mobile version (smaller bitrate) for those 3g connections.  
I might have missed some other random fixes I threw in there. If you find a bug be sure to post it in the bug forum

Finally, I've added a mobile test page. Hit that up on your phone or mobile device and push the submit button. I'm going to start compiling a list of devices that are supported.

Ooooo... color

As you probably know, I've been working on the upcoming mobile versions of the whiskey sites. Today I'm touching up the Comic Vine skin and it's looking pretty good, so I thought I'd share it with you guys. 

 Comic Vine

Giant Bomb 
Hope the rest of the skins look as nice. :)