146 Posts

To celebrate the third anniversary of Diablo III, an in-game event is going on now until the 21st! Cows can be found throughout Sanctuary. Upon their death, they will open a portal to a secret realm filled with cows, dead farmers, and plenty of treasure! Farmer corpses give lots of gold when activated.

Check out the news link below:

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From Blizzard:
"Diablo III's third anniversary is on May 15, and we're opening up the Blizzard Gear Store vault to celebrate. Join in on the fun and enter to win 1 of 10 Treasure Goblin Banks today!

Designed by the clever swagmasters over at ThinkGeek, the Treasure Goblin Bank is the perfect companion for any loot-hungry nephalem. This battery-powered trickster giggles gleefully with one of six different sounds when you give him your hard-earned gold. Need your loot back? No problem; unlike the garden-variety goblin, this one features a handy coin removal door for swift, slay-free withdrawals.

We'll be randomly selecting 10 lucky winners to take home their very own Treasure Goblin Bank. In addition, everyone who participates in the giveaway will receive a unique, one-time-use code for free global shipping* from the Blizzard Gear Store on their next order.

Entering is easy, so what are you waiting for? Just click the button below, fill out the form, and you're good to go!"

That's right! Blizzard is giving a few lucky winners an awesome Treasure Goblin Bank. I think this is pretty cool. I like Treasure Goblins, but hate it when they get away. I still haven't had one leave a portal open upon their death, except for Rainbow Goblins. Anyway, check the link below and enter to win this cool Diablo III loot!


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I'm curious if any of you have, in any way, optimized your PC for gaming. If so, let me know.

After buying my Alienware PC over a year ago, I was quite confident that it was a beast of a machine. I'm running a 3,7GHz Intel i7-4820, 16 GB RAM, 3TB HDD, and a GTX 690 (a 4GB dual-GPU card). I was able to play Skyrim on "ultra" settings and I never noticed any lag in the game whatsoever. Although, there seemed to be some physics issues, though I suspect that was an issue with the game, not my hardware. However, once I got GTAV for the PC and letting Geforce Experience optimize the game for me, I noticed some lag. I'm not sure if it's because my hardware can't handle some of the settings or if it's because of the game. I still suspect that both may be the case, after all GTAV just came out and although it's been optimized for multiple kinds of hardware, there is likely some bugs that haven't been worked out yet.

Because of this issue, I've done a lot of "research" ("Googling") on how to optimize my PC for the game. Ultimately, I think I found a good solution just by changing some simple settings. I've know for a while now that Geforce Experience can "optimize" games for you based on your hardware. Since I've had this PC, I've let it do that and it seems to often increase settings from their game defaults. I've also learned about settings in the Nvidia Control Panel.

I've been aware of PC and GPU over-clocking, but I haven't actually done that nor do I think I've used any kind of over-clocked hardware. I think it's a bit too risky and seems like a bit of a task with a lot of trial and error. I know there are multiple tools and guides out there to help you do this. So, I wonder if any of you have done any over-clocking? If so, please share your experience.

I'm also aware of different tools that can help you optimize game settings. Nvidia Inspector is one of these tools that I found. It's much like GPU-Z, which helps you monitor your hardware and has game profiles that can be set. Do you have any experience with these or similar tools? Let me know.

Feel free to also share your PC specs, if you wish.

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While I visit gamefaqs.com every night after midnight to vote in the daily poll, I also check out the latest news in gaming. I recently found something that I'd thought I'd share. I have some thoughts on this and want to know what you think about it as well. Below you will find the PC System Requirements for Batman Arkham Knight. While my PC certainly meets most of the listed requirements, my only issue is that the Ultra System Requirements list a video card that seems to be just a little better than my GTX 690.

So, I'm wondering if any of you are planning to get the game. If you are, I'd like to know what you plan to play it on. This is one game that I think might make getting a new current generation console for (for me that would be a PS4). I'm not sure which option I may end up choosing. So, let me know what you think. Details are listed below.

Here are the PC System Requirements for Batman Arkham Knight:
Minimum System Requirements

OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
Graphics Memory: 2 GB
DirectX: 11
Network: Broadband Internet Connection Required
Hard Drive Space: 45 GB

Recommended System Requirements

OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
Graphics Memory: 3 GB
DirectX: 11
Network: Broadband Internet Connection Required
Hard Drive Space: 55 GB

ULTRA System Requirements

OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required)
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
Graphics Memory: 3 GB
DirectX: 11
Network: Broadband Internet Connection Required
Hard Drive Space: 55 GB

News Source: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/batman-arkham-knight-pc-system-requirements-reveal/1100-6426830/

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I'm not sure when exactly I found out about GTAV being released (for previous console generation), but I know I spent quite a while impatiently waiting for it. When it was finally released in September 2013, I got it for my PS3. I was one of the many who pre-ordered it at GameStop and was there for the midnight release. My immediate problem with it was that it requires 8 GB free on the hard drive. My PS3 is only an 80 GB model and I had already had enough trouble managing free space. Secondly, the game took a long time to install, but it was all worth it. I thought it was the very best of the series and one of the best looking games on the PS3. I played through it once and Franklin and Michael were my favorite characters. Although I joined the Cheerful Ghost crew, I hardly spent any time at all playing GTA Online.

A year later, it was released for the current console generation, I thought it made getting a PS4 a bit tempting, but I didn't given in to that. Although I'm sure GTAV is much better on the PS4 than the PS3, it wasn't enough to convince me to get one.

Now it's April 2015 and after a few delays, the game has been released for PCs. I pre-ordered it on Steam and got a free copy of San Andreas and some GTAV in-game bonus cash. They even gave us more bonus cash after the last delay was announced.

It has been stated that the PC release is pretty much the ultimate version of the game. It includes a video editor where you can record your game play and share it on YouTube. You can unlock different characters and animals for use Director Mode. The game also allows you to create your own customized radio station by placing MP3s in the “User Music” folder (under “Documents”>Rockstar Games>GTAV by default). Also, even though it doesn't contain any modding tools, there are already mods out for it. Perhaps one of the biggest features of the game is that it received a graphical update, 60fps at a higher resolution (4k). If you'd like to see a comparison check out this video, which is in three parts:

Before you get the PC edition, it's important note the system requirements, I'll explain why in more detail.

I didn't pay much attention to the hard drive space requirement (65 GB), which didn't dawn on my until the game became available to pre-load. This game is the very first game that I've experienced “pre-loading.” What this meant was that I could get it downloaded and installed (because I pre-ordered), but it would be encrypted, and thus unplayable, until its release date. What made me take notice of that hard drive space requirement was the 59 GB download on Steam. This made me think that this has to be the biggest game ever. Retail copies of the game come in a 7-disc box set.

I was pretty confident about my PC, until I ran into an issue where the graphics in this game kind of “stuttered”. This made me think that my PC wasn't up to par. Further research into the issue showed me that many people have reported issues with frame rate drops. Many of them have different hardware and their own theories as to why this occurs (see https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/communities/public/questions/203473047-GTA-V-PC-Stutter-Issue). So, I figured that it has to be an issue with the game, although I may need to try out different graphical settings.

The game includes a bench marking tool which can be accessed by pressing TAB on the “Advanced Graphics” menu option. While most of that test ran smoothly at 50-60fps, there was at least one spot where the frame rate started off very low, but increased before it was over. Since the test dropped me back in the game and didn't give me a result, I decided to benchmark my PC. Later, I found out that the bench mark results are included under Documents>Rockstar Games>GTA V>Benchmarks by default. So, I downloaded and ran a demo of 3DMark on Steam. The first I test I ran was Fire Strike “for high performance Windows gaming PCs.” The results were really awesome (check it out: http://www.3dmark.com/fs/4596441). Bench marking my PC lead me to think that I have two GTX 690s in my PC, but I only have one. It's a dual-GPU video card, which confused me at first.

Thanks to the news on Steam, I found out that Nvidia and AMD released new drivers for their GPUs with the game's release. So, before I played the game, I installed the latest driver from Nvidia. Rockstar has updated the game already to 1.01 because of the issue I had and a few others (see http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/04/17/gta-5-patch-101-to-address-issues-on-pc).

Initially, I only played the first mission in the game using the default settings. I thought it looked great and I noticed that I could change the view to first-person, which I don't recall being able to do on the PS3, granted that it's been a long time since I've played it. I also initially used they keyboard and mouse, hoping for better controls than San Andreas. I wasn't really disappointed with that configuration, but I thought using a controller would provide more fluid movement. I only played it briefly, at first, because I knew that in order to get Geforce Experience to optimize the game based on my hardware, I had to play it first. So, once I was able to save the game, I exited back to the desktop and let Geforce Experience configure my optimized settings. I know it increased many of them.

The next time I played, I decided to try it with a controller. Some time ago, by recommendation, I decided to buy a USB Xbox 360 controller for my new PC. I haven't really used it until now. I plugged it in before loading the game and it installed quickly and didn't seem to need any configuration. Once I got in to the game, I decided to start again from the beginning and I was glad that I didn't need to configure the controller or tell the game I was using it. Instead of telling me the keyboard and mouse controls, it showed the buttons on the controller. I now play the game using the controller, which I think is simpler.

While I know some people have hesitations about getting the game now, I think they are justified. Many people have already paid $60 for it and want to wait until it's cheaper. The issues that people have had with the game are also a good reason to wait. Right now, it seems to be difficult to tell how the game will perform on any given PC. It would be nice if there was a demo for it or if the benchmark test was more easily accessible and gave a test result. Still, I think the game is great and it's popularity and sales (across all platforms) definitely seem to prove that. The game has already overtaken Skyrim as the most played 3rd party game on Steam. If you think your hardware can handle it and don't mind paying full price for it, I recommend getting it. However, it may be wise to wait until the game gets further updates resolving issues or until it's on sale. Feel free to stay tuned here as I may provide additional updates as I progress through the game.

In the meantime, you can enter a sweepstakes to win a PC designed for the game by visiting http://socialclub.rockstargames.com/events

Check out this interview from PC Gamer with Rockstar: http://www.pcgamer.com/rockstar-talk-4k-pc-performance-and-more/

If you've already played the game on one platform, visit this link to learn how to transfer your GTA Online characters and progression between systems: https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/en-us/articles/202892778-Transferring-Your-Previous-Grand-Theft-Auto-Online-Characters-and-Progression-to-PlayStation-4-Xbox-One-or-PC

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Recently, I decided to jump back into Diablo III: Reaper of Souls because of an in-game event celebrating the birthday of RoS. Since the bonus was extra EXP and gold, I decided to create a new character, starting with a Demon Hunter. I managed to complete Campaign mode and, since the event was still going on, created another new character, a Monk. I then created yet another new character, a Witch Doctor which seems to have turned out to definitely be one of my favorite classes.

Before that event, I was waiting for patch 2.2.0 to be released, but that event made me decide to jump back in the game early. Now, the wait is over. This comes just in time, since I just finished Half-Life 2, and I'm still not done talking about the game or playing it. My next character is going to be a Wizard, which I will create shortly.

There have been quite a few notable changes, so please see the link below for details. Among the changes that I noticed were the addition of three new Treasure Goblins and the removal of health potions. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Treasure Goblins and hoping that they don't escape me since that has happened more frequently lately, perhaps due to playing at a higher level of difficulty. I'm not sure how the removal of health potions is going to work out, so I'm just going to have to play to figure that out.

I noticed my Crusader is only about level 47, so I'm not sure if I finished Campaign mode with him, so I may do that after I finish with my Wizard. It's tempting to run through Campaign mode again with all of my characters, but I should probably explore Adventure mode more, as I haven't really explored it and there are some changes to it as well.

I have been enjoying this game, perhaps far greater than I had anticipated.


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I just found out that The Legend of Zelda Wii U game is getting delayed. It looks as though it will not be released this year. While I am eagerly awaiting the release of the new Zelda game and I was excited to see some of it displayed at last year's E3, I feel that the reason behind the delay is justified (see quote below). It also appears that the game will not be shown at this year's E3, which I find disappointing.

Here is what Eiji Aonuma has said about the delay:

"Since I declared at the Game Awards in December that the game would launch in 2015, the directors and the many members of the development team have been working hard developing the game," Aonuma said. "In these last three months, as the team has experienced first-hand the freedom of exploration that hasn't existed in any Zelda game to date, we have discovered several new possibilities for this game."

"As we have worked to turn these possibilities into reality, new ideas have continued to spring forth, and it now feels like we have the potential to create something that exceeds my own expectations," he added. "As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a specific schedule as our main objective, and releasing a game that reflects only what we can create within that scheduled time, I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be."

"So I must apologize to all of you who were expecting the game by year's end, but we are no longer making a 2015 release our number one priority. Instead, our priority is to make it the ultimate and most complete Zelda game. I hope to use the added time to make a Zelda on Wii U that will reward you for your patience. So thank you for your continued support."

News source: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/legend-of-zelda-wii-u-delayed-skipping-e3/1100-6426227/?utm_source=gamefaqs&utm_medium=partner&utm_content=news_module&utm_campaign=homepage

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Recently, I played a couple of Blizzard games such as Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. HotS is in beta and I noticed some minor bugs. I played through the tutorial phase with each character. It's much like Dota 2, which I've only played briefly (it came with my new Alienware PC I got over a year ago). I didn't play the game very much, but I thought it was interesting. The game seems primarily about playing with and against other players (co-op and PVP), although I found out that you can create your own game and include all computer opponents if you wish.

I also found out about Hearthstone, which is much like Magic: The Gathering. I enjoyed it as I've enjoyed Magic, but I came upon an issue that made stop playing it, which brings me to the discussion (purpose) of this post. Hearthstone disappointed me because, even though it's a great game, the purpose of the game is to play against other players. You can play against the computer such as during the tutorial phase and other unlockable areas, but those phases are brief. The purpose of them is pretty much to earn some gold and get some cards to help you play against other players. In Magic: The Gathering games, it seems that PVP is optional, but the game seems more focused on playing against the computer.

So, I've noticed that I don't like PVP (Player Vs. Player) games very much. I most definitely prefer to play against the computer. I attribute this to my lack of competitiveness. If I'm playing a game with other players, I much more prefer to play co-op (co-operative). Although I almost always play single player games, I have enjoyed playing some games with other people, such as when I played Terraria with other Cheerful Ghosts and Minecraft with my son.

It seems to me, though, that PVP games are very popular. I've been following the development of a few games and it seems that many people keep requesting multiplayer and/or PVP modes.

So, I want to ask you what your thoughts are on co-op vs. PVP. Which do you prefer? Are you more like me and less competitive or do you prefer the competitiveness of PVP? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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I was excited many months ago when WhiteBoySlim told me about Skywind. "It is a non-commercial, fan made modification for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that seeks to merge the amazing world of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind with the enhanced graphics and capabilities of Skyrim's engine." (Source: SkyWind FAQ)

While I have played Morrowind and own two copies of the game, I have not yet completed it. It wasn't until I played Skyrim that I got into The Elder Scrolls series. I am excited about this project and am eagerly awaiting its release. While this mod was publicly available, it currently is not.

For more information, please visit the links below.

News source: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/ambitious-the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-and-morrowind/1100-6426132/
SkyWind FAQ: https://tesrenewal.com/skywind-faq
SkyWind YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwMeA6uYyXr7N11tgBXnn8Q

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Hello, my fellow Cheerful Ghosts. I just thought of a new discussion topic, that I think could generate some dialogue. I want to know what your thoughts are on Early Access games. I'm curious as to what your opinion and experience with them has been. Have you been disappointed or delighted with any? Are there any Early Access stories you'd like to share?

I continue to watch my interest in them increase. For instance, Starbound, Salt, and Stranded Deep. I think they are good games and I'm looking forward to watching their development. I think that's the good part of it, knowing (or hoping) that there's new content coming and bug fixes to be applied. The bad part is getting tired of a game a bit too early due to lack of content and issues. There is also the bit of time waiting for a game to be completed or at least coming out of the alpha and beta development cycles.

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A while ago, I saw a video about Don't Starve. It looked interesting and seemed to have a Tim Burton kind of artistic look about it. This game fits many genres including survival, sandbox, adventure, and more. As your character, you find yourself waking up in the world with another character telling you, "Say pal, you don't look so well. You better find something to eat." From there, you're on your own to figure out how to survive. The game doesn't hold your hand at all and doesn't even give you a tutorial, but that's okay because it's easy to learn what to do. You'll see some things around you like trees, flowers, grass, flint, rocks, and creatures. You can pick up many things and there are also plenty of things to eat.

Your primary concern may be not starving to death, but you also have to keep an eye on temperature, sanity, and overall health. Many items in the game will help you keep these levels optimal. Once you gather enough materials, the game will give you a sound and visual notification to the left of the screen where your crafting is done. Many things are locked and the first thing to do with them is "prototype," which is essentially craft. In order to craft more advanced things in the game, you're going to need to build a Science Machine, but that's only where it begins.

There are many tools in the game that will help you survive and are pretty intuitive such as torches, camp fires, axes, shovels, pickaxes, and more. However, your character has a limited number of inventory slots, so you will have to manage what you carry around. You can expand on this by crafting a backpack, but you cannot wear armor and the backpack at the same time. You can also only hold one thing at a time, for instance you cannot hold a torch and a pickaxe at the same time.

There are many creatures in the game. Some are docile, some are hostile. Beefalos are one of the game's most popular creatures. It is often wise to begin to build a base near them for a good supply of manure, which is needed for farming. They can also be used as defense against hostile creatures. For instance, after about a couple of weeks of survival, you will be attacked by hounds. If you get them to chase you near Beefalo, they can "aggro" the Beefalo and you'll be defended. Other creatures include tentacles, spiders, bats, birds, bees, moles, and many more.

You gain experience points by surviving. However, these points are not used to level up your character's stats, instead they are used to unlock other playable characters. There are a nice variety of these, each with their own "quirks." For instance, the beginning character can grow a beard, which will help him keep warm. Another character is immune to fire and will light things on fire if her sanity drops. Another character can summon her dead sister, who really helps out with combat. Almost all of the available characters can be unlocked this way, except for a few. One of which requires the player to complete Adventure Mode.

I personally haven't experienced Adventure Mode very much, but I know that it is a place you can go that contains much of the game's challenges. These can be difficult and it is important to be prepared for them.

Don't Starve is a single-player game, however there is a multiplayer version called Don't Starve Together. I bought a pack, when I bought the game months ago, that included both games, the Reign of Giants DLC, and an extra code for Don't Starve Together. If you want the code, feel free to send me a private message and I'll see if I can figure out how to give it to you.

The game can be challenging, but fun as well. I recommend it. Below, I will include some videos that I've been watching. After playing for a few hours, I thought it would be good to watch how someone else played the game so that I might be able to survive longer. I found this task difficult as there weren't many up-to-date videos on YouTube and some people didn't know what they were doing either. I did, however, stumble upon a great playlist which I'll share below.

I should also mention that some people who have bought the game have received an extra game code to give to a friend. So, if you know someone who owns the game and you're interested, ask them if they have an extra code, maybe they'll share.

So far, I've survived a maximum of probably 16 days on one play through. That's not even a whole season. Yes, the DLC includes seasons and other additions, which can be toggled on or off when you create a new game.

Paul Soares, Jr.'s Don't Starve Indie Game Test Drive video: http://youtu.be/pUJSGoVzq34
A good Don't Starve guide playlist: http://youtu.be/uc_y4VdldLs?list=PLAk5nLibEkcfqnuKzQfPlPf9BcpFCffGO
Don't Starve on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/219740/

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If you've ever seen the movie Cast Away, then you'll be familiar with the story of Stranded Deep. At the beginning, the game gives you a very brief crafting tutorial by telling you how to make a flaming martini. Once you go back to your seat, the plane you are on suddenly begins to crash into the ocean. You must swim you way out and onto the ocean's surface and hop in a life boat, which has a paddle. You will then find yourself facing a small island, which you can paddle to (hold the left-mouse button to constantly paddle instead of continuously having to click it).

When you open your inventory with the Tab key you'll see you have some basic survival tools, a paddle, pocket knife, lighter, and a bottle of water. You can drop items by selecting them and then pressing "Q." On the island you'll notice some sticks and rocks lying around along with palm trees that contain coconuts, potato plants, yucca plants, and crabs. You may even notice a ship wreck nearby. You're going to need to eat and drink eventually. If you want something quick, you can climb a tree and grab some coconuts, but you're going to need to hit them a few times with your pocket knife. This will turn them into a "drinkable coconut," which is good for one use. After that, drop it, and hit it some more and it will turn into coconut halves that you can eat.

Pressing the "F" key will show you your watch, which includes the time, date, temperature, and how many days you've survived. A left-click will give you your vitals including health, hunger, and thirst. If you hit a yucca plant with something (like your pocket knife), you'll notice it turns into lashings, an important crafting ingredient. After you've gather some sticks, rocks, and lashings, you can begin to make tools such as a crude axe, hammer, or a camp fire. The camp fire can be upgraded into a fire pit, which can then be upgraded to a fire spit. The latter is the best for cooking food.

You'll want to visit any nearby ship wrecks you see and check them because they contain hard cases, lockers, and cabinets which contain any of one the game's many useful items such as medical supplies, tools, flares, and more. If you've found that you see a ship wreck above the surface of the water, but can't find a way in, chop down a tree and drag it (hold right-click) into a position so that you can climb up it and get onto the ship. If you go into the water you will see many sea creatures such as fish (some of which are poisonous like the lion fish), sea turtles, sting rays, and sharks. Most sharks in the game (there are 3 kinds of them) are aggressive. You can kill them and cook them, which will fill up your hunger bar.

If you get hurt in the game, you'll need to find some medical supplies. Antibiotics currently heal poison, but the item's name will soon change to anti-venom or similar. Even though your character's arms may look more like a male, you'll find that you can get sick and have a female-sounding cough, which will heal over time or with vitamins. If you fall off a tree and break your arm, you'll need morphine to repair it. If you get bitten by a shark, you'll need to either craft bandages from cloth and duct tape or find them in ship wrecks.

There are many items in the game, some are useful, while others are not. Flares say they could save your life, but they currently won't. However, they do apparently scare away sharks. Whistles can be blown, but have no current use. There are also a couple of items that "nod" to Cast Away such as the character "Wilson" (a volleyball) and a "Dedex" package.

Stranded Deep is Early Access and $15 on Steam. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year, but the developer's are trying to give new content monthly.

I found out about the game by watching Paul Soares, Jr.'s YouTube Channel (link below). He also mentioned another YouTuber, GenerikB (link below), so I've been watching both of these guys play the game. The graphics are really great and realistic looking. One of my favorite moments was when I saw Paul meet up with a humpback whale, which made me want to play the game. The bottom of the ocean is very detailed as well.

There are still some bugs, issues, and missing content, but that's Early Access for you (still in development). Still, it's fun and I recommend it. Sadly, there is no demo for the game yet.

Paul Soares, Jr.'s Stranded Deep playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeiN4HjtIYg&list=PLEbtIY4p_ltqkvzrNqXhl36fSsVT7fUCN
GenerikB's Stranded Deep playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wim_qi6Nbzw&list=PL7j0JO-w0xWklVNUePRYu51r0769jBz74
Standed Deep on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/313120/
Stranded Deep official website: http://beamteamgames.com/stranded-deep/

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As I mentioned in a post on the forum, I've been regularly watching a favorite YouTube channel by Paul Soares, Jr. Months ago, I noticed an interesting new game on his Indie Game Test Drive playlist called "Salt." I didn't really get into it at first, but recently, I though I'd check it out a bit more and watched the rest of his videos on this game. While I installed the demo months ago, I didn't start playing it until recently and after catching up on his Salt videos. (See links at the end of this post.)

That's right, here is an Early Access game that has a free demo! The demo doesn't seem to be very limited, but by purchasing the full version of the game, you will have access to a much larger world and more content. One interesting aspect of that is that if you play the demo and then buy the full game, you can continue with your saved game. While Early Access gaming can be risky, I truly believe Salt is worth it.

Salt is an open world sandbox game with "procedural generation." This means that the world is randomly generated. It seems this is done with seeds as the default settings seem to give the player the default (same) seed, so it's the same world unless you change the seed. Changing the seed in the settings can get you different randomly generated worlds, which I decided to try out after restarting with a new world a few times. This is because I died and wanted to start out again with a fresh new world. That can also be done by selecting the "Hardcore" option when selecting to create a new game.

The world of Salt is composed of very many islands. Many of them have similarities, but there are also many that are very different. Travelling around the world pretty much requires crafting some kind of boat. At the beginning, you'll start with a small raft that has a sail and rudder. You could probably swim across islands, but that will drain your stamina and you might drown (I haven't tested that).

When you create a new game, you will spawn on an island that contains trees, grass, a chest, a pickaxe, and boulders. The game will tell you to press "H" (for Help menu) which will show you the game's controls and give you a little bit of information. From there, you're free to do whatever you want. However, you're going to need some supplies. A chest can be found on the island, which contains some materials such as wood, cloth, and a couple of books. One of the books shows you some of the basic crafting recipes. Another book contains the first bit of the game's lore. Much of what you'll need to craft your first transportation will be located in the chest, but you're going to want to explore the island for more.

Once you craft your first weapon, a club, you can start smacking trees. This is how you obtain some food as they can drop fruit. In order to collect wood, you don't chop down trees, instead you will find some lying on the ground. Also lying on the ground some where on your spawn island is a pickaxe. Spend some time to find it, so you won't waste materials trying to craft one. Even if you don't have a pickaxe, you can still mine most boulders with your weapon by hitting them. These little mounds of rock are distinct and you will notice them. They can contain many things such as stone, flint, coal, gems, and more.

Another way to get food and materials is to hunt deer. While you might not find any on your spawn island, you're very likely to encounter some on another. One of the best ways to hunt deer is to craft a bow and some arrows. You can also crouch and sneak up on them and smack them with your club. This can be funny and time consuming, but seeing as how you're on an island, they won't be able to run away too far. This may be how you hunt at first, but it's worth it since you can loot them for meat, antlers, and hide. Collecting deer hide will give you a good source for your first set of armor.

Before you encounter pirates, you're probably going to want some armor and maybe a better weapon. Although, you can survive against them, especially if you understand how to block (right-click usually) and dodge (jump and directional key). I haven't dodged, yet, but I found that blocking right as they swing their weapon is very effective. You'll find basic pirates in white shirts, but there are others such as Pirate Battlemasters (in dark red shirts) and Pirate Captains. Captains usually wear black shirts and are the toughest of the pirates. They also have names and things that can be looted only from them. There are four of them, each that contains one of four books necessary to craft a larger ship.

The graphical style of the game is very artistic and reminds me a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. They look similar, but definitely different. You'll also notice that most of the game lacks music. This was done on purpose, it seems from reading the developer's blog. While exploring, you'll hear ambient sounds like birds, but there are times when you will encounter music, such as when travelling through deep sea.

There are different kinds of boats that can be crafted. You can also find an old pirate ship and repair it with certain materials. These abandoned ships also contain a chest, which is locked. You can unlock these chests by finding keys, usually looted from pirates. After repairing the ship, it will be in your boat menu. The boat menu, "B," contains all of your boats. You press "B" near water, right-click on the boat you want to use and then left-click when you get it aligned on the water. Once you leave your boat, you can access it again the same way. In one of the videos of Paul's, he jumped out of a large boat, but forgot to take down the sails and it sailed away from him into the horizon. However, he didn't lose it as it was still accessible via the boat menu.

There are many more aspects of the game including spiders, quests, fishing, and more. I think the game is very good and I highly recommend that you at least try out the demo. The full game is only $15 and can be purchased at the game's website or on Steam.

This may be a two-part post as I have another "Early Access Archipelago Sandbox Adventure" to write about when I play it.

Paul Soares, Jr.'s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP6f9x4iXk3LH8Q1sqJmYPQ
Paul Soares, Jr.'s Indie Game Test Drive playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYYRxOqgU2g&list=PLE359C2CC11F91811
Paul Soares, Jr.'s Salt playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh_rwn8rs-Y&list=PLEbtIY4p_ltoCe4VXSMipJtb78gtYuW84

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I'd like to see what you think about game difficulty. How hard or easy to you like your games? Do you like being able to adjust the difficulty level? Do you like a challenge?

I've been thinking about this in recent months because of I've been playing Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros. (Wii U). Honestly, when I'm playing a game, I want to have fun, that is my priority. I want to enjoy my gaming experience. However, there are many games that offer challenges, some of which can be down right frustrating. Sometimes, I get really frustrated and therefore have to take a break from the game to calm down and relax a bit. Sometimes, I just have to search the Web for strategies and guides. That can be greatly beneficial because it often helps me learn how to play a game better, such has been my experience with Hyrule Warriors.

So, I don't personally like too much challenge when playing a game. However, if I can complete a challenge, I do feel glad that I completed it and am also grateful that it's over. There are many times when I wish I could just cheat. I know that sounds lame, but at least it's honest. The problem with that is that playing games on a Nintendo console doesn't usually allow you to do that.

I find www.gamefaqs.com to be very useful, but YouTube also has some great videos, which I've also found very helpful. Otherwise, I just "Google it." What do you think? Are there any particular websites that you find to be very helpful when it comes to a challenging game? Do you buy strategy guides? I have a good number of them, but I have pretty much stopped buying them because GameFAQs and YouTube pretty much have what I need.

I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts.

GregoPeck, filling up the Cheerful Ghost Forum! =)

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