Author Topic: Sang Froid Halloween demonstration AAR  (Read 2149 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Sang Froid Halloween demonstration AAR
« on: October 28, 2014, 07:30:42 PM »
I promise. No singing.

With Halloween right around the corner, I decided to explain to people why I sing about this song when it goes on sale. (At the moment, not on sale, but I expect a Halloween sale for it soon.)

I would try to include some critical realism about the gameís shortcomings, which do exist, but Iíve already reminded readers that I literally write silly songs for this game when it goes on sale, so Iím just going to pretend this game is made entirely of awesome.

 

I donít have to pretend hard.

Incidentally, the devs seem to have given up the idea of ever making sequels to this game, which is okay everything ties up nicely by the end, but the game still has ďvolume oneĒ and ďtome oneĒ on some screens.

 



This screen, for example.

Yes, my profile name for this game is ďSabrejackĒ. Do not judge me.

Thatís Josephine in the bed, and her two estranged brothers Jack and Joseph (or the French equivalents thereof). While the music in this game is simply gorgeous (and gorgeously simple), the English acting is... passable at best. I donít know if there are French voice actors; Iíll try to find out, but theyíre probably better and everything is still subtitled anyway. (The sister in English has a native accent, which makes sense in story even though she and her brothers look totally Irish.)

Youíll choose to play as Jack. Joseph is also a technical possibility, but heís for people who donít want to fear challenges, and this is a game about a man who isnít very good with an axe in a time and place where it takes half a minute to reload a rifle unless you hurry very hard and then it takes only fifteen seconds. Jack is the skinny one next to her bed.

 


As you may be able to read, heís still no pushover. And though he sucks at fighting with an axe, after his sister arrives at his cabin outside of town (for plot related reasons I wonít spoil), he hears what he thinks is a wolverine attacking her horse outside and leaves the real melee fighter, Joseph (the lumberjack) who escorted her safely to the cabin, to guard her while he strides outside to check on things.

 


That map-radar is admittedly large and comforting for a suspense survival game, but this is also a tower defense game (in effect, sort of), and youíll need it. Right now only the OíCarroll farm is shown on the map, and some of the road network around it. (There's an in-game explanation for the radar later, too!)

That blood on the ground is whatís left of Josephineís horse, of course, of course. Sounds in the distance (and a tutorial navigation prompt) indicate thereís trouble over across a treeline at the hencoop.

Everyone here has played the original Space Hulk computer adaptation, right? Or similar games where the sound design is crucial to the tension? Same here.

Also, see that little torch on the porch (of courch, of courch, sorry I wonít do that anymore)? Those are scattered around the property and paths to burn at night in case, well, Jack has to go out to deal with the random predator. Wolves and other animals are mostly scared of fire, mostly. So those little lights can serve as an island for someone to take a breath, heal, or load a gun. For a while.

They arenít only atmosphere, they serve a strategic function in-game.

 



Iíve walked Jack out away from the cabin a little toward his main field. The main road lies beyond, way off in the dark; the coop field is off to the left where Iíve got him looking. Another torch burns nearby. Heís got his rifle but, being an Irishman in Canada maybe, he doesnít think heíll need to use it so no bullets are handy. (Actually the tutorial hasnít opened that ability yet.) Thereís another torch down at the end of the field, along the treeline to the left, where the road passes by, but itís too far away to see here. The full moon is coming up behind clouds over the trees in the distance. (Frankly this should be a serious sign something is wrong, because the game goes to the trouble to show by a calendar that this should be a new moon. I would have preferred, especially in these early missions, for the moon phases to match the days better.)

 


Same place, but Iíve moused the camera around behind Jack, looking off toward the path to the coop field. Thereís a torch down there, too, but it doesnít illumine the path very far (to the right of the torch).

Controls are standard 3rd or 1st person shooter wads with mouselook, by the way. No wussy game controller here!

I could stand here a while listening to the ambient winter night forest sounds; and in fact I did! Better to do it on pause, obviously.

 


Whoops, I was wrong, the problem isnít down at the coop, but up this other path nearby leading to where the nearby logging road runs around that side of our farm. You canít see it well in this screenie, but down that path a wolf is eating the horses of my brother and sister.

An Irish reel starts guitaring in the background. (You can turn the music on or off for atmosphere either way.) Time to go teach that wolf not to mess with an Irishman! -- in Canada!

Well, that wasnít toooo hard. Sure, Iím so weak (because Iím a hunter, not someone who chops trees all day) that I can only swing the axe a couple of times before I tire out (making my swings slow and weak), but that was only one wolf and Iíll earn a whole six cents when I come back to skin it tomorrow! (Sous? Bits?)

Oh. There are... um..... more. .... IRISH REEL!

(Yes, whiskey for fortitude is a combat modifier, though not in this early mission.)

 

There are two wolves prowling out there, getting up the nerve to attack me. If I was nearer the bridge to Wolversdale, which has somehow caught on fire, I might be able to keep them off a little longer. Down in the HUD to the left you can see a little wolf tab reading 19 and the number 20 below it. 20 represents the threshold at which an animal feels brave enough to attack me; the wolf at 19 is almost ready to charge. (The game autotargets me on the bravest animal in the group, but I doubt the other wolf is far behind and I can cycle around if I want.)

Attacks are a growly rush, and now Iíll have to measure my axe chops more tactically so I wonít tire out. As they take damage, animals will pull back with lowered morale for a little while, giving me a chance to move to better surroundings, reload, rest, drink whiskey (if I had any), etc.

 


Chopping with the axe tends to move me around quite a bit, as does being bumrushed by wolves, knocking me over. I didnít take much damage (my health is indicated by the little heart carved into my lower left HUD), but I got in a few axechops, basically stringing a combo together. Now Iím resting, rather farther away from the light than I want to be (with wolves between me and it) -- that new green bar at the bottom of the screen is my stamina, which needs a little more filling. The morale of the wolves decreased and theyíre back to stalking while I took a screenie, but one of them has gotten brave again (his 20 matching my 20) and heís about to charge.

This time, though, I have a surprise waiting. When I string three or four hits together, my spirit is up and my axe will glow an eldritch green. That means I can attack once with all my rage (right-clicking the mouse) for maximum damage if I hit; or I can keep swinging to do random damage. Itís a tactical subtlety, made more subtle by the fact that a wolf leap and an axe chop wonít necessarily land where Iím standing at the moment! -- the wolf could overleap as I lunge forward, and both of us could miss. Meaning I waste my rage.

In this case though I hit, and my max damage is enough to kill the wolf. The other one slinks back with a bit of reduced morale at that, and I have a few seconds to run closer to the burning bridge.

 


Well, near the torch near the burning bridge (which is behind me a little to the left off camera). The torch was closer: the fire happens to be burning on the other side of the bridge, and this side is casting a bit of a fireshadow, so I couldnít get an effect from it anyway. Still, the torch gives me a more of a chance to rest up and recover stamina. Notice that the wolfís morale is 20, but he isnít ready to attack yet. Thatís because my intimidation has risen to 22, for being near the torchlight. If you look closely between the heart and my little personal icon (across from the wolf icon), you can see a little torch light! -- showing Iím benefitting from the torch. Being near the burning bridge might help better, but thisíll be fine, Iím ready to receive dinner guests. ;)

(If you scroll back uppost a bit, to the previous screenie, you may notice a different torch effect above my heart. Thatís my raging Irish spirit. I keep that even when Iím using a rifle, and this gives me a quick reminder I have it. Though honestly Iíve never seen it until now. Itís pretty easy to ignore the HUD in this game.)

Unfortunately, Iíve reached a point where I canít effectively take screenshots showing important game elements: specifically the rifle. Holding the left-cntrl key (the keys can be rebound) unslings and aims the rifle, but if a ball isnít loaded Jack must take time to load it. If he has to stop short of finishing (to axe a wolf in the face for example) heíll have to start again! Right-mouse-clicking will speed the reload at no penalty, and adds a nice touch of desperate action when things get ornery.

 



Like here for example. The game can auto-aim on a nearby wolf, but you wonít get max damage unless you manually aim better for a headshot which the game will signal by a little green point on the head of your target. I missed my targetís head from wavering a bit at the last moment, but did wound him, so another wolf is taking the lead while I hunker up next to a handy torch under this tree down the road.

This is only the most basic introduction to the game, but it gives an idea of how things go. The art is admittedly a bit cartoonish, but your taste on that may vary.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Sang Froid Halloween demonstration AAR
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 07:53:41 PM »
You may be thinking by the way: pish, 2 wolves at a time? No problem.

That's largely true. Shortly after that final screenshot I even fought off 3 wolves by standing near a torch and shooting as fast as I could reload and get a good aim; they stayed scared enough by the noise and damage being done I could pick them off at my frantic leisure -- knowing if I made a misstep I might not have time to get another shot off.

2 wolves and a larger wolf nearly killed me shortly after that. I got a couple of shots off, but not all at once, because between one thing and another they were able to keep rushing me, though fortunately not all together.

Twelve wolves...? Not going to end well for me.

Though if I've allowed 12 wolves to get that close, I've made a huge mistake in my strategy preparations during the daytime.

One possible mistake is to make too much noise shooting, which draws nearby wolves in, increasing my local threat. On the other hand, that can be important for distracting them from going off to attack my house (with my sister in it) or the hencoop or whatever. They can smell me on the wind, too, and later in the game I get a doodad to gauge wind-direction so I'll be better able to avoid long-distance problems or lure them in for destruction or distraction.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.