Monthly Archives: August 2012

As I said I was hoping to try some games I’ve bought throughout various sales on steam and other places. This game is one of the games I haven’t really had time to play.

Wargame: European Escalation is set in the 1970s, based ina “what if” scenario where war breaks out in Europe. I’ve only played a few missions so far but I feels I know enough about the game to at least give a first impression.

I’ve been looking at this game for quite some time, since I’m a fan of “authentic” RTS games. I play “Men of war” from time to time, and love the total war series.

Game play

I’ve only played single player so far so I can’t talk about multi player at all, but I can imagine it can be quite a mess if you’re not used to it. The game is kind of slow paced, but it focuses a lot of on strategy with an emphasis on recon. Scouting an enemy is important in any RTS but in this game you’ll have to do it right from the start. Many of your units are pretty much helpless without a recon unit spotting for them. I realized this quickly on the second mission when my entire farce was wiped out by artillery. You’ll get hints as new concepts are introduced but I still think the game has a pretty steep learning curved compared to some other RTS games. At the start, you’ll just have a few unit types available to you but as you progress, more units are made available. The missions so far are pretty much capture and hold different sectors of the map, while keeping your units supplied and repaired. Some sectors are also reinforcement zones, giving you the ability to bring reinforcements to the map. Reinforcements costs money that you make by holding sectors.. Well, you get the idea. For each mission you get “command stars” that you can use to unlock new units and equipment. Depending on how well you do on a mission (how many objectives you complete) you’ll get extra command stars. Losses also carry over from one mission to another, experience and losses also carry over from one mission to the next, so you want to keep your experienced units alive.

Even though the game, overall moves on at a fairly relaxed pace, it can be pretty intense at times, and you can quickly loose a lot of units if you don’t pay attention.


Except for some glitches I think the graphics are really nice for a game like this. Iyou can zone in to get a close up of one of your units, or view the entire map from a satelite perspective.


The audio is the most disappointing part in this game. I think some of the weapons sounds are  terrible while most are decent. The music is ok, but nothing amasing.


The interface seem to be pretty good, you get things explained early on, as you need them. There’s a lot of information available . There are some things I’m missing, for example, I haven’t found a hotkey to jump to the last warning when a unit is under attack.


If you like games like Men of war, you may like this, even though the games are quite different. I haven’t played R.U.S.E but this is from the same developer and the games seem pretty similar. Overall it’s a good modern combat RTS.


Not much has hapened since the last post, I’m adding more ships, currently focusing on universal traders. I also lost to traders to priates before I found the global blocklist for UTs. Right now i’m prepairing some combat ships to be able to take on some tougher missions and maybe do osme missions in the war sectors. My most recent addition is a Zaphyrus. It has decent armoment and can carry 4 fighters. I still only have 2 M4s but planning to add something heavier, maybe a Nova. I also plan to work on Split faction, since I can’t buy anything from them at the moment.



Once I came “home” from the adventure in the war sectors, My traders had made enough money for me to consider a second factory complex. I think some more farms wouldn’t hurt, even though the market clos eto Home of light is probably saturated. After looking around for a bit, I decide to build it in Queen’s space. There are some stations in the surrounding secotrs demanding wheat and the supply of energy cells is also good. There is one problem though. The closest place to buy the farms is Argon prime, so I want to buy at least 3 of them. I only have 1.3 million at the moment and don’t wnat to spend it all, so what I decide to do, is buying the 3 farms now, and hope to have enough money to buy the construction kits to connect them when the supply mammoth arrives at Kingdom’s end., Said and done.

Now I run into the next problem. When the transport arrives at Kingdom’s end shipard, I realize I forgot to check my faction with the Borons. I’m not allowed to buy the complex construction kit there. What I decide to do is to put up one farm in queen’s space, then send the transport back to Argon prime and buy the construction kits. This project ends up taking me at least an hour.

While at argon Prime for the second time, I’ve gathered enough money to buy 2 extra Discoverers to start training CAG pilots. I also have more then enough time to complete some missions while waiting for the slow transport tro complete these runs. Now I make use of the life support I baught, making some money on transporting people.

Just as I got the new complex up and running with 1 freighter on CAG duty and another another filling it up with energy cells, something bad happens. My first complex in home of light, currnetly only has a Mercury working for it, since I brought the other one to the second complex. One high level cag pilot is enough to keep that station going for now. The Mercury, however decides that the recently discovered sector of Omicron Lyren, or one of the surrounding sectors, is paying very well for wheat. However, the trader doesn’t seem to realize there’s a war going on in that sector and as expected, it is attacked and destroyed before I can do anothing about it. Luckily I have just bought a new ship, intended for universe trading. That one will now have to work for the station instead.

Eventually, both my stations start making money and I can start to add more ships. A few missions adding a few 100K each as well as some trading on the Argon and Teladi stock exchange doesn’t hurt either. I build a silicon mine in Three worlds and with my Discoverer training CAG pilots I’m able to start making profit from that one pretty fast.

My ship roster now looks like this:

My current ship roster

Aute(ST) = Sector trader, Auto(UT) = Universe trader, ST# belongs to one of my stations, PR is used for ships while they gahter equipment.


Almost since I started playing video games and began reading reviews I’ve had a problem with the rating systems being used. The first magazine I read actually seemed to somewhat fair rating, giving scores in graphics, sound, documentation, interface and game play value. A really good game could still end up with a 3.7/5 average rating. Even though I’m against scoring systems when it comes to games overall, if you want to rate games, at least have a system that makes sense.

In the early 90s I started seeing the trend towards a really inflated rating system, where anything below 70/10 was worthless, 70-80 could be OK, if you had nothing else to play in that genre, 80-90 was average and all the good games got 95+. A lot of the games that have since, become real classics got 98%. One game even received a score of 99/100: Sid Meier’s Civilization. While this game was one of the best games ever made, a 99% score on any game is just ridiculous. Does this mean, no game can ever be better? Or does it mean that this is just the best game for it’s time? If so, what time span do you use? How much better is a 99/100 game one year later? I Even think some magazine gave a Zelda game 11/10. This goes to show the scoring system is flawed. When I read a review, I want to know the good and bad things about a game, not some simplified score that might vary from reviewer to reviewer. Also, I person might be biased towards or against something, and this will affect the final score. Of course bias will affect the entire review, even if there’s no score given, but at least you have to read the full review to form your own opinion, and you, in turn won’t be biased by the score, before reading a single word.

When I first got access to the Internet, I found a gaming site called I thought back then, and still think, that they had some of the best reviews I’ve ever seen. They ware very detailed with a conclusion, and a pros and cons section at the end, with no scores. Unfortunately, that site doesn’t exist anymore, and I’ve yet to find a site that writes reviews in a similar way.

Today, the most popular video game websites uses scores to rate games, and these scores can make or break any game. I use meta critics from time to time, but only to get a general idea about what users and critics think about a game, then I usually end up reading some forums and watching a video or two before I decide weather I want to spend money on a game or not. Meta critics uses some weighted average for critics reviews, no one really knows the algorithms, but I assume bigger websites are more important than small ones. The user average score, while it sounds like a great idea it really isn’t. I’m looking at three unnamed game right now that have sold millions of copies for the PC. These are all Tripple A titles. Let’s call them Game A, B and C.

Game A came out late last year, It has a Meta score of 88 (critics’ reviews) and a user score of 3.2. Game B came out early this year and has a meta score of 89, and a user score of 4.3. Game C also came out this year with a  Meta score of 88 and a user score of 3.8.

Now let’s look at three games that I wouldn’t consider triple A titles.

Game A came out in 2009 and has a Meta score of 73 and a user score of 8.0. Game B came out last year and has a Meta score of 85 and a user score of 7.8. Game C also came out last year, has a Meta score of 86, and a user score of 8.4

So, what does these numbers tell me, as a consumer? Well, not much apparently, except that I should be very sceptical about triple A titles with high Meta scores, or are the users all wrong about these games? Another thing to draw from this is that production costs doesn’t seem to matter that much, in fact, it seems like users like the cheaper games more, or do they just have higher expectations from the high budget titles?

Reading some of the user reviews I find some 0s and 10s in there, which is completely ridiculous. I’ve played video games for 25 years, and I honestly don’t think I would give a 0 to any game I’ve ever played, maybe one or two 10s but I’ve yet to play the perfect game, so I doubt it. Having said that, even if I take away the 0s a few of the games would still score low on the user score. The high Meta score together with the low user score, also raises some suspicions that the popular gaming sites are biased towards big publishers Like EA and Activision/Blizzard.

In conclusion, these scores don’t tell me much and should be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve played a few of the above games myself, and if I had to score them, they would all fall between 5 and 8, however, my score is pointless. Browsing thorough some of the user reviews of the games I’ve played I see people giving a game a 0 after having tried the game for 15 minutes, and without even understanding the game. How much weight should I put into such a review, and should it even be listed and included in the overall score?
All I want is an honest, thorough review without the big score at the top that gives me preconceptions about a game, before reading the first sentence, and this is something that is really difficult to find today.

Right now I have a station consisting of 2 farms running and a few traders. I just managed to find some impulse ray emitters on a Baron light weapons complex in Rolks fate. I bought their entire stock, to fit my discoverer and a few of my freighters. K know this is a weak weapon, but I was still happy to find it. Now I tried a few protect and Assassination missions. THe easy protection missions are no problem but the assassination missions I found was to tough. I ran out of time twice trying to shoot down the targets. I try to stay around sectors with shipyards to hopefully find some discount ships to buy, and this finally pays off.

My Baracuda raider

A nice little Baracuda raider. As you can probably tell, it isn’t in great shape, but I got it for allmost nothing and it’s quite fast to repair.

I equip a few Impulse ray emitters and a few particle accelerator cannons. I’ll use the IREs to try to capture ships without doing to much damage to the hull.

Now when I have a combat ship, I decide to travel to some more dangerous, unexplored sectors.

Somewhere during the early game, I received a mission to go to Argon sector 148 to talk to somebody. I decided now was a good time to do this, and maybe find some useful sectors along the way.

I did eventually get there and received a new mission to help in the war effort. Well, that’s easier said then done. I went off to Omicron Lyren and ended up in the middle of a fleet battle. THe AIF ships didn’t fire at me, but most of the ships in the sector ware really big ships that I didn’t want to touch. I decided to retreat and come back later.

My first terran encounter

Not sure I want to get close to these guys with my M4 fighter.

On the way back I stopped at a pirate base where I found cargo bay life support. This will enable to to transport a small number of passengers. I can now do passenger transport missions unless they require comfort. Military personal, for example, will be quite happy travelling in the cargo bay. I guess I could also trade slaves, something I’ve never tried.


After some trading and a few fraighter missions I finally got to 1.3 milion credits.

I know from my last game that building a factory will cost more then you think, so I want at least this much before I consider it. Adding more trade ships is another option, but I decide to go with the station. I will use my original mercury to supply the station while I use my Discoverer to do some other things.

For me first station I want a completely safe sector, with well-scouted surrounding sectors. I decide to go for a complex consisting of 2 wheat farms in Home of light. I frequently visit that sector and that’s where I buy most of the equipment for my trade ships. There’s also some demand for wheat in the sector.

When you build your first station, you need to either buy a transport for it for 28M credits or hire one. The Argon supply Mammoth is in Argon prime, but I seem to have trouble tracking it down sometimes. This time however, I find it fairly quickly.

I have screenshots for the entire setup of a station, but I think I would rather write a guide on that subject, or even make a video.

I order the transport to go to the Argon federal shipyard and buy 2 farms (M) and a complex construction kit. I also order my Discoverer to pick up an advanced satelite to make placement easier. When this is done I order the transport and Discoverer to head to Home of light, I also head there myself.

I put the satelite a bi out of the way to avoid accidents with the heavy trafic in the sector. This enables me to get a more 3D-like view of the sector for station placement. Once the complex is setup I switch to my Discoverer and put my Mercury on CAG duty on the station. To be able to use CAG you’ll need the Bonus pack for both X3TC and AP. I also have a full load of energy cells to get things going.

I won’t be making money on this for a while, but in the long run, I think it will be profitable.




Since I’ve spent most of my time in Argon space, I decided to put up 2 medium wheat farms in a complex there. I currently only have one ship serving the station but hoping to get another ASAP. This seem to be enough to keep energy for the factory, but it doesn’t have time to sell yet (should be getting high enough level to use jump drive shortly).



I recently looked at my list of games on Steam and figured I’ve got a lot of games that I’ve bought on sales that I haven’t played enough. I’ll try to get to some of those games in the upcoming weeks and maybe even review them, even if they are old.

Some of the games I own, but haven’t played enough are THe Witcher 1 and 2, L.A. Noire and Assassin’s creed 2. There’s also a bunch of strategy games that I need to get to.




Up until now, running any half-decent game on the Linux platform has been a real pain. Usually it involves running Wine to emulate windows and a lot of tweaking to make things word, and most games still have glitches that doesn’t exist under windows. Another problem has been all sorts of driver issues; I remember trying to get my sound card to work properly under Ubuntu a few years ago, as well as having some trouble with my AMD/ATI video card quite recently. You can usually find guides on how to make games work under Wine, but it has never been a viable option for the regular user.
I’ve been a proponent of Linux for home users since I first tried it about 7 years ago, and things have only improved. In my opinion, people who only uses their computer to browse the web, send email, watch videos and write documents could switch to Linux today and they would probably have less problems than they currently do. The security is much better in general and they would have less trouble with viruses and such. There may still be some problems with Internet banking authentication, but I think many banks have a solution for this today.

However, for gamers, Linux has never been a viable option, unless you have a lot of patience and at least some Linux knowledge. This might change however.

Recent announcements

In July 2012 Valve started a Linux blog. According to the blog, they have plans to port the steam client to Ubuntu 12.04. This is one of the more popular Linux platforms today. They also recently announced that they have been working on getting their Source engine to work well on Ubuntu as well as publishing some benchmark results from Left4dead 2 showing a performance increase on Linux compared to Windows 7 using the same hardware. Even if you don’t like Valve games, the fact that they want to make Steam available on Linux is a great thing. This may encourage other developers to start looking at Linux as a target platform for future games. There are already some indie developers providing native Linux versions of their game, but for the most part, the platform has been completely ignored by larger development studios and publishers.


Other news

There seems to be more publishers than Valve showing interest in the Ubuntu platform lately. EA recently made a brief presentation at the Ubuntu Summit in Oakland  and also release two games for Ubuntu. Even though the games are browser based it’s still a step in the right direction. They have always been available obviously but now you can find them in the Ubuntu Software center.

The future

While it will take a long time for Linux to achieve the status of a viable gaming platform the recent news is definitely good, for this to happen though, Microsoft has to make a lot of mistakes with future Windows versions. I’ve heard some rumors though, that Microsoft will begin to take the same approach with the next Windows version as Apple does i.e. providing a platform similar to I tunes where they can get a share of every application sold. I highly doubt they’ll take it that far, but if they do, I think me, as well as lots of other consumers will start looking into Open source alternative. Microsoft has done many bad things in the past, but at least the windows platform has been open for developers to use as they please, and the ability to use what hardware and software you like, has always been great.

With the best buys and best selling software I can trade a little faster but it’s still fairly slow with only one ship and not a lot of sectors to pick from. I decided to continue upgrading my ship with a Jump drive. I’m not sure this is a great idea but this is what I did. I think it might be better to do this a little later and save the money for a second ship. Since this is the second time I start out as a trader, I decided to do things a bit differently.

I decided to buy a new Discoverer at this point, to scout out some more sectors and maybe do some missions while my mercury is making money for me.

I quickly ran into a problem though…

The only Discoverer I could find was completely unequipped. The shield and other upgrades wasn’t a problem, but I seem to be unable to find IREs: the only weapon this ship can use. I do a few return ship mission to try to inprove my faction but I fail one of them, as well as a mission to follow someone. I continue to map out sectors, including Three worlds, Kingdoms end and a bunch of paranid sectors. I eventually make it into Taladi space and register at their stock exchange. I only have about 400K at thhis point but manages to make a 100K buying and selling some stocks (this might be a really good way to start making money if you know what you’re doing). Another great thing with this Taladi sector though, is that they sell the Explorer software. Since I can’t find any weapons for my Discoverer I realize I might as well let it map some sectors for me while I do some trading. There’s also a lot of freighter missions that pays well.

So, I head back to Argon prime, and jump into my Mercury again. While there I manage to add a third ship to my growing fleet. A mercury tanker.

The thing I do now is probably not very smart. I’ve done a lot of manual trading and want to focus on other things (finding weapons and doing missions). I also want to start leveling a trader early. So with about 600K I order my Mercury tanker to Home of light and spend 500K on turning him into a sector trader. For some reason, I can’t trade with the Paranids (maybe a failed mision?) , so I let him start in home of light and then move him once he is idle. He still manages to gain some levels and some money for me.

For some time I keep doing return ship and deliver goods missions to get money and faction. On a visit to Argon prime I run across this.

CHeap Mercury super freighter

I don’t know why my fonts looks weird in this game sometimes, but if it’s unreadable, this is a Mercury Super Freighter 28.000 cr. I think the base price for these is 1.2M. This ship is in terrible shape, but half an hour of repairs will get it as good as new.

I repair and equip the new ship, this costs some time and money but it’s a really nice trading ship. I stick to 1 25MJ shield for it for now though, since they cost about 90K each.

I do this for some time, and soon reach a million credits. Now it’s time to decide what to do next…






After selling my discovery I’m left with about 45K and the Mercury. At this point I do some upgrading to my ship; Duplex scanner, some engine tuning, trading system extension. I leave myself  with about 36K, you could probably buy more upgrades right away and trade other stuff, but I want to be able to buy a full load of energy cells. Note: In TC you have to go to the equipment docks for these upgrades.

Since I now have the Trading system extension I can quickly check prices without docking at a station. This will help a lot.

I see nothing is produced in argon Prime, so I decide to head towards Power Circle.

In Herron’s Nebula I find Ore for 50 and decide to go with that instead: I can sell it in the same sector for more than double the price. I keep distributing ore and energy to this and the surrrounding sectors for quite some time, and quickly get up to 100K.

Now it’s time for some more upgrades, I get the rest of the engine tuning and rudder optimization and head off to Home of light for the Best buys and best selling locators. These will speed up trading even more.

While in Home of light I buy some Cohonas, but not sure this was worth it. I made a good profit buy had to travel around to get rid of them. So, more or trading.

My goal now is to get to about half a milion before I decide what to do next.