Duke Nukem 3D
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Welcome to dgc, evilteuton 🙂
For those who don’t know : evilteuton did a complete playthrough of transarctica on youtube last year. I invited him to DGC as he’s clearly an expert at the game, and who no doubt has many interesting tips and tales to share with us.
We all have happy memories of games we played in the 1990s. So evilteuton: feel free to share your memories of transarctica with us. such as your first impressions of it, and how hard you found it at first. Any funny stories of things which happened during play? How long it took you to complete the game, etc.
Descent was one of the first PC games I saw, as someone had installed it on our school computers, alongside Doom II, and Rise of the Triad.
There was something seductive about it, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what.
– As a shooting game I don’t feel it was anything special.
– The six-degree-of-freedom control system was complicated and confusing to use. Though I often see it being referenced and celebrated on forums, where flight control schemes are being discussed. Perhaps one can master it with experience, and come to appreciate it. idk.
– 3D games were still in their infancy at the time. Even the legendary Doom didn’t have truely 3D environments. Descent was a truely 3D game, with it’s weird twisty labyrinths really reinforcing that fact, messing with our sense of orientation. Perhaps that is what made the game so memorable.
This game is a happy memory for me.
I first heard about it through a school friend, who would regularly talk about how fun it was. We (family) didn’t have a PC until a few months later, but we did have a PC magazine with the WC2 demo bundled with it.
Once we got our PC, I eventually got around to trying the WC2 demo, and I did find it enjoyable. Every few months I’d look at the demo again, trying different ideas and strategies to see what happens. It grew on me over time.
I sometimes wondered what the full game would be like, and what these extra units were which were ghosted out and unavailable in the demo.
While I did play games occasionally, I didn’t consider myself a gamer. Gaming culture as a whole felt quite alien to me, and most of my exposure to games was through my brother, who loved gaming.
It was about 3-4 years after first trying the demo, that I eventually bought the full game. It was in fact the first PC game I bought. And for the next 3-4 years I became very interested in it : playing through the campaigns and melee maps, designing maps of my own, and setting myself other challenges.
It’s fair to say it was my favourite game throughout my teenage years. And comparing it with other games I had seen/played, I firmly believed this to be the best game ever made. The depth and beauty of it was something to behold.
Eventually I grew bored of it, and I moved onto Starcraft. I struggled to decide which was the better game. The SC engine was undeniably better, and despite greater depth and balance in it’s design, my experience overall with SC was considerably less enjoyable.
Around 2005, I learned that WC3 was actually a thing, and I bought it without hesitation. To this day I consider WC3:ROC the best game ever made. I should also point out that it’s expansion pack WC3:TFT changes the dynamics of the game entirely, and imho, strips out the joy, turning it into another starcraft.
The objective for this term is to further city expansion, and implement a sustainable economic model.
– Adjusted taxes to reflect high demands for Commercial and Industrial.
– Reduced Residental taxes to encourage new residents into the area.
– Began levelling the terrain above Grand Valley in preparation for city expansion.
– Layed roads in the new Grand Plateau area
– Expanded the hydro plants behind the nearby fire station.
– A new police station and hospital are constructed in the Grand Plateau area.
– As revenue is already high, we remove the 1% Income Tax, and introduce several new socially progressive ordinances to encourage people to move into our growing area.
– A suspension bridge is constructed over the river near the Marina, providing another access point into Grand Plateau.
– Construction continues along the plateau, to Schwarzenegger Hill.
– Rebalanced taxes to maintain a sustainable demand for all areas, while maintaining a good income.
– Response to a water shortage with construction of several new pumps.
– Some small parks are placed in new residential areas.
– More roads are added to Schwarzenegger Hill, to try and ease congestion.
– Terrain is levelled near to the Ocean Seaport, for placement of a small industrial area.
– Work near the ocean continues, with construction of the Seaside Holiday Park
– An ocean link road is completed, for connecting with our pirate friends.
Discussed with kdrnic – we only have 1 week to go, to try and advance the sim to 2017. I suggested we increase to 10 year slots, as this will only require 6 more turns.
We were voted in for 10 more glorious years!
1950 – 1954
Now that the power issue is over, the cuts to public services have been reversed, with police, health and education budget being raised to 70% and fire dept budget being raised to 50%
Education and health ordinances are also restored to pre 1945 levels.
We begin construction of a new district in Grand Valley.
1955 – 1959
Nuclear power invented. Dossington declared a nuclear free zone.
A new settlement is established in Redneck County, and a seaport is constructed on the coast near micropolis.
Due to high demand for residental areas, residental tax is raised to 10%
Having $11,467 in the treasury at the end of 1959, the bond is repayed, leaving $1467 for the next governor to play with.
Yearly Income: $2182
Approval Rating: 64%
Our power station is nearing the end of it’s life. Previous goverments have made insufficient provision to address this issue, as the hydroelectric plants which have recently been constructed will not be enough to meet our energy needs.
Allowing the power station to fail would be a life threatening disaster, causing chaos and misery for families and businesses across the city. Perhaps the previous goverment would have been happy to have let this happen, leaving us sat in the dark, and our businesses going to ruin?
To help raise funds for the new power station, we’re taking the following actions:
– Cutting funding for schools to 60%
– Cutting funding for police to 60%
– Cutting ordinances for free clinics
– Cutting education ordinances
Our educational institutions have suffered from years of neglect by previous governments, and our children are now paying the price. After schools throughout this city were graded F in most recent inspections, it is clear the whole educational system is in dire need of top-down reform.
The 1947 Schools Act will overturn the ban on grammar schools, and construction of a new Grammar school in Windy Tops will begin in the spring, giving young people from ordinary working families the opportunities denied to them by previous governments.
Through our strong and stable leadership, we have raised the necessary funds to seamlessly replace the aging power station before disaster strikes.
We were committed to keeping the lights on for the next 50 years, and we’ve delivered on our promise.
Yearly Income: $1446
Approval Rating: 64%
What I’ve learned so far this month…
0. Choose one quadrant of the map, relatively flat with lake/river. Start near the centre of that quadrant.
1. R/C/I all need to be close to one another to function well. (eg, within a 10 tile radius or so.) But you have to be careful with arrangements because too much scattering will affect pollution, and whether 3×3 buildings will fit. Which is ultimately going to dent land value and revenue. About 50% of your zones need to be residential, 30% industrial, and 20% commercial. There also needs to be roads touching these three zones so people can travel between them.
2. I feel it’s important to build at a steady rate, and not go under/overboard with any one type of zone, just because it’s currently in decline/demand. The R/C/I bar graphs don’t change instantly. Effects can be delayed, and to some extent will drift over time of their own accord. Also your construction workers need steady jobs, not stops and spurts. Without paying attention to this I feel there is more likely to be recessions, unemployment, and rises in crime.
3. Educational and recreational areas (and trees) should be near residential zones to increase land value. Police stations (and lakes) in commercial zones (to protect commercial demand), and fire stations in industrial zones (as fires usually break out there). Don’t skimp on any of these, but they don’t have to be 100% funded. 75% seems to work just as well.
With these guidelines you can grow cities to 25k without seeing any recessions. And while there is strong demand for all zones, you can keep taxes relatively high at 10% or so, which means you can grow relatively quickly and at a consistent rate. Interruptions to revenue flow can have a feedback effect on (2), triggering a recession, and further loss of revenue.
4. Once your power station is 40 years old, slow spending and start saving for a replacement. You should be getting >$1000/year, which gives you plenty of time to save for a new coal plant. I find that coal remains the best option for a long time. (Supplement with wind and hydro later when possible. You do need a lot of windmills to match one coal plant, but they don’t wear out, so they can be worth it long term.)
5. Commercial seems to play a greater role as the game progresses, and it can be hard to maintain demand for it. This is where you need to start buying road/rail connections to your neighbours, seaport, (and later airports). When building road connections, you need property along the road, up to the edge of the map, otherwise there is no incentive for travel. Starting near a corner means you have two neighbours nearby.
6. If revenue allows it, start a second city in another quadrant of the map with another power plant there. You can grow both cities separately and merge them later. Same with waterfalls – you can start isolated communities around a hydro plant. To grow your city up to 60k you’ll probably need 2 power plants anyway. Once you get up near that population, your revenue will be high enough that you can afford to replace power plants with just 1 year’s revenue.
– The power supply in the city is at 88% of capacity, meaning we can’t connect much more real estate to the current network. With the new Riverside industrial park being developed, I’m concerned we might soon be overloaded, which would be an economic disaster.
– Created ‘Micropolis’ self-sustaining area with hydro power. Hope we can grow this area later, without adding strain on the main power plant.
– Slightly modified the road layout in the main industrial area to improve land usage.
– Added a small residential zone near to the main industrial area, because that corner didn’t have any residential area nearby.
– Raised residential raxes by 1% (from 8% to 9%) to take advantage of the current high demand for residential.
– Micropolis was an instant success, with full land usage within the year. Have doubled the land capacity and added another hydroelectic power station.
– The Riverside industrial park is slow to develop because of no nearby residential areas, so added a small residential area in the foothills of the “Windy Tops” overlooking the park, powered by the Micropolis HEP plants. Both it and Riverside are seen to develop.
– Residents are demanding recreations facilities: zoo, marina, park, stadium, though we can’t afford to provide any of these currently.
– Authorised construction of Windy Tops luxury homes. Care taken to avoid felling trees.
– Developed Micropolis a little more in light commercial, to serve it’s residents.
-Added a small number of commerical properties along the road near the bridge, because there were no commercial areas nearby.
– Created ‘Watergate Business Park’, alongside the Riverside Industrial estate. These are exciting new high-end commercial lettings, ideal for startups and entrepreneurs located in a young and uncoming part of the city.
End of 1919 Status
Projected income for 1920: $1,028
Mayor’s approval rating: 60%
Demand remains high for all three zones.
Power station is now at 93% capacity.
After praising the map design in my earlier post, it’s only fair that I give some criticism of it too for balance, so expect this post to be more negative.
So far I’ve played through e1 and e2. I have to say I preferred e1. e2 levels feel a bit different to e1 levels. I don’t mean the texture differences are bad (they are just as great!), but the map layouts themselves feel poorer somehow.
It is clear that focus has been shifted away from the hub-like areas used in e1. But with fewer such landmarks to guide us, it is harder to build mental maps of these levels, which in turn makes them harder to navigate comfortably.
The designs of e2 feel more like a chaotic clustering of many small areas, which make it hard to identify where you are at a glance. Abundant use of alcoves and corridors don’t help, as turning in areas with low visible range will disorient us, so we can easily lose our sense of direction.
In a more realistic game, this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, as even small areas are regularly given unique and interesting detail with scenery and use of the third dimension. But Doom cannot escape it’s own limitations, and to me this is an example of where it’s abstract geometry becomes a handicap.
3D spaces need landmarks, but Doom is limited in how it can achieve this.
So what are the consequences of this? If the player loses their sense of direction, they have no guide as to where they should go next. They’ll run around aimlessly hoping to stumble upon something new. If that means backtracking, then it quickly becomes boring. But even if we manage to progress, encounters will feel less engaging – it’s just one room after another of monsters – as each encounter becomes less meaningful in the bigger picture.