Friday, June 30, 2017

Playing Massive Chalice on Ubuntu

Screenshot from 2017-06-29 23-00-25.png
Defeat all cadence

This one’s been sitting in my library for some time now. So since I was in the mood for turn-based strategy I may as well right?

Installing Massive Chalice is easy enough.

~$ sh

No problems there. 

The problem comes when you try to run the game. Clicking the launcher does nothing. Running the game from terminal gives you this:

~$ ./GOG\ Games/Massive\ Chalice/
Running Massive Chalice
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: driver pointer missing
libGL error: failed to load driver: radeonsi
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: driver pointer missing
libGL error: failed to load driver: radeonsi
libGL error: unable to load driver:
libGL error: failed to load driver: swrast
X Error of failed request:  BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation)
 Major opcode of failed request:  156 (GLX)
 Minor opcode of failed request:  3 (X_GLXCreateContext)
 Value in failed request:  0x0
 Serial number of failed request:  86
 Current serial number in output stream:  87

Not nice. Luckily, I recently came across a similar problem with running the Steam client. I know it worked with a previous version of Ubuntu but is now broken. But I also know Transistor works so it can’t be the driver doesn’t support OpenGL, right?

So I tried the solution that I used to get Steam running on Massive Chalice:

~$ export LD_PRELOAD='/usr/$LIB/'; ./GOG\ Games/Massive\ Chalice/

And the game finally runs!

Unfortunately, it’s not all rosy from here. The sound is missing and I haven’t figured it out. But other than that the game runs fine so far so I’m not complaining.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Excel 2010 says "This file is corrupt and can't be opened"

excel 2010 error.png
Excel 2010 says...

Really? Even though this same file opens fine on another computer? Let’s see about that…

Google says...

excel file corruption.png
Aha! So let’s follow the instructions.

  1. Go to File > Options
  2. Head over to Trust Center > Trust Center settings
  3. Under Protected View, we turn off all the Protected View options
  4. OK and restart Excel.

excel trust center settings.png

And now we know for sure if the spreadsheet is “corrupted”. It’s not.

Life would probably be simpler with LibreOffice...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Game development with Godot

So I made my first game (2nd if you count that DOS-based tic-tac-toe I made way back when in uni). Here's a screen capture of it. 

Screenshot from 2016-12-20 09-13-16.png
My game... hmm...
If you're thinking that looks an awful lot like Breakout that's because it is. It's a Breakout clone.

Right now it's feature complete in the sense that you can play it. It's buggy though. Fugly too if you asked me but then I'm very much still just dipping my toes in here and I've always claimed to be lousy at art…

Anyway, these are just my thoughts after the 4 hours I spent making this game.

Games are hard to make (even with a ready game engine)

With a game editor and some game assets, you could visually design some parts while the logic will need to come together using the engine’s scripting language (GDScript in Godot). Even then it’s not a walk in the park. You can still break things, and you’ll also need to figure out where various bits of game logic are supposed to go.

Imagine if you had to do everything yourself!

Godot has an interesting architecture

Godot is a scene-based engine instead of the polygon soup used by other engines but what do I know? It's not like I've used other engines before. But once you manage to wrap your head around the idea of breaking things down into smaller scenes and putting those together in a composite scene then you can make things more modular. That’s useful.

Godot docs sucks but thankfully the demos are okay

A lot of times referencing the Godot documentation is fruitless. They need to give short examples of the API in use. Lots of functions don’t even have a short description of what they do. As if just the function name and parameters list is enough. It isn’t.

Thankfully they have demos. So referencing the demos helped me figure out what I needed to finish my game. Of course, hunting around for something similar to what you want to do isn’t easy either.

Making your own game is kinda fun (even if the end results kinda suck)

Making something interactive on your own even if it’s not really “original” is awesome. But the journey isn't always fun and games. Sometimes you just think “This thing is stupid! Why won’t it work?”. But in the end you made something that works. Buggy and fugly yeah, but it works.

Godot’s binaries are freaking huge

A simple breakout clone is already around 15MB. I hope the overhead is more or less fixed or more complex games are gonna suffer.

So that’s it. I’ve uploaded binaries for Linux and Windows. They’re 32-bit binaries (I think) so should work on both 32-bit and 64-bit OSes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Playing with Transistor

Screenshot from 2016-06-23 21-16-50.png
A scene from the game


Transistor is a game with interesting game play and attention worthy story, but lacks that “secret sauce” to make you obsess over completing it.


I actually started Transistor a little before I started with This War of Mine. Yet somehow, I’ve not been able to find an excuse to get myself to complete this game.

Whereas This War of Mine has successfully made me obsess over completing it at least once, Transistor hasn’t given me that same obsession. Having a nice story to drive the game has also made this game not worthy of casual play unlike many social games. So, I can’t just abandon the game halfway, then return at a later date to resume unless I can remember the details of what’s happened up to the point I stopped.

Having relatively poor memory retention for details hasn’t helped me any.

But that’s not to say the game sucks. It simply requires the player to mindfully enjoy the narrative and game play, and not attempt to multi-game. It just wouldn’t work.

The game play is actually interesting. Your character’s skills come in the form of Functions which you get to mix and match in various ways. As the story progresses you not only gain more Functions to play with, but you may also unlock additional skill slots to allow for more varieties of combinations.

To encourage the player to explore, the Functions will unlock additional narrative on the various characters involved in the game as you try Functions in different ways. Put together, you basically get to tweak the skills available in the game to better suit your play style. Whether you prefer to fight up front, from a distance, or to use area of effect attacks, there’s combinations available to you. Some skills don’t directly cause damage but rather add other effects, some by boosting your abilities, others by negating enemies’ powers.

Story-wise, I haven’t finished the game so I’ll refrain from forming an opinion. It’s good enough to not suck, at least.

Maybe someday I’ll retry from the beginning. Right now, I’ve got other fish to fry.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Surviving This War of Mine


War is hell. -- William Tecumseh Sherman

Lots of games glorify war. You play the super soldier fighting intense battles to safe country/world/whatever.

This War of Mine is also about war. But that’s where the similarity ends.

You get to control a small group of war victims living in the war zone. Your objective? To survive.

You have to choose between high morals, or survival at any cost. Do you steal from the elderly couple who happen to be living comfortably thanks to their store of food, or do you leave them be even if it means starving yourself to death? Do you share your limited resources with your neighbors, or do you save everything you have for your own in these hard times? Will you kill to get what you need to survive, or choose nonviolence even in the worst of times?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I restarted this game with different groups of people before I managed to survive till the end of the war. It’s tough. You have to make tough choices.

But in the end, the game was enjoyable. It just might show some war crazy folks out there the ugly side of war often ignored in games. Maybe the world will be a little better for it...

Unfortunately, the Linux version failed to run on my Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS setup. Some have run it successfully though. I had to play this on Windows.