Oh, I forgot to write up on Friday, how I tried another game from my bundle. It was called Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered. This is another one where I failed the tutorial. It appears to be beautifully rendered. (The programming skill behind some of these games is really impressive. Well, except for Everything which was slightly more crude than Lego World.) You use the keyboard to control a human figure to walk, run, jump, through a dark world of troubles and evil. The classic WASD keys for motion, the arrow keys in the other hand to control the camera. But I couldn’t get through the tutorial, controlling a figure that looked like a crash test dummy (cute touch) to do simple things like jump up onto a ladder and climb it. Or jump aside fast enough to avoid being run over by a speeding police car.
Usually after I’ve had a naive try at one of these, I go and watch a run-through video, of which there are many for every game in existence. I will watch one for Fahrenheit and maybe reconsider. The story is supposed to be deep. (Later: nope. Too noir for moi.)
Today I took another peep at a game I played extensively a couple of years ago. Vendetta Online is an old-timer, a spaceflight simulation that has been available as a MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role playing game, meaning everybody is in the same universe and their avatars can interact within the game) since 2002. I played it for maybe 20 hours back in the late ‘oughts, using the keyboard. (Probably on my old blue and white Power Mac and 21″ display, hah!)
Then in 2016-17 I purchased a good quality USB gaming joystick and bought a month’s subscription, and put in maybe 100 or so hours over several weeks inhabiting the Vendetta universe. Initially it is a lot of fun learning to fly your spacecraft; they do a great job of creating a realistic, rather pretty, 3-D space with various asteroids and stations and of course, other people’s ships. It looked super on my 29″ iMac. (These days I believe they support VR headsets; that might be spectacular!)
What finally made it boring was there was only one way to interact with others: combat. You practice combat by flying around finding the robot drones that infest the asteroid belts, some of which are pretty good at fighting back. But that gets old. Then either you fight other people one-on-one and get killed (well, I usually did) or you could join a faction or a fleet and all fly your ships together to go have a battle with another fleet. That makes for awesome video, if you can avoid being shot while admiring it.
The game makes gestures at having a trading economy; you can fly around from system to system, buying and selling stuff, and in that way make credits you can trade for improvements to your ship and so forth. But that aspect is really shallow. It’s all interacting with, basically, price spreadsheets. Grinding for credits got boring pretty quickly, so finally I gave it up.
Today, thinking about it, I wondered, how’s ol’ V.O. getting on? And checked in at its website to find that they have made themselves free to play until June 1st. I signed in with my old ID but darn, they’ve forgotten even the puny achievements I once had earned, so I’m be back to zero experience points and the basic ship. And no joystick. You can do everything using the keyboard, but I remember the joystick made it more fun. I probably won’t play it again, but I would actually recommend it to anybody with a good monitor and time on their hands.
First thing in the morning I took a tech support call. Actually the client, Maggie, had put in the call yesterday. I’ve dealt with her before, she’s smart and patient, so I thought, this is the perfect time to try what the tech group has been talking about for weeks: using remote control of the client’s machine via TeamViewer. We could see the obvious advantage of being able to see and control the client’s screen and mouse remotely, especially today when we aren’t allowed to enter anybody else’s unit. The sticking point has been that the client has to install TeamViewer first. Given the problems we’ve had walking people through the ridiculously easy Zoom install, so they could join meetings or exercise classes, the idea of getting some of our, um… less computer-savvy shall we say? clients to install TeamViewer seemed a barrier. But I thought Maggie would be up to it, and she was.
And boy did it make a difference! It was even better than leaning over the client’s shoulder. You could see exactly what they were doing, and then you could just start clicking things yourself and show them how, etc. It took ten minutes to walk through the install process: besides downloading the app and running the installer, then you have to make two changes to settings in the Mac System Settings panel. And a couple minutes for her to get the client app running and tell me the generated password. Then I had her screen in a window on my screen, and in five minutes we had worked out what her problem was, boom, done.
Then I got all domestic and shit. I still don’t have my vacuum cleaner and it has been like 6 weeks since my carpets were vacuumed but I do own a broom, so today I started cleaning anyway. Swept my balcony, amazing how much dust it accumulates; then swept my hard floor around the kitchen. Cleaned the kitchenette, the microwave, my café table. Then went to lie on my fainting couch for a while, to gather strength for tomorrow’s attack on the bathroom.