Re: Utopia URL (was Re: Games reflecting life)

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Sun Jul 16 2000 - 21:21:40 MDT

I have been playing some of this Shogun:Total War,, it is a decent
tactics game. Basically, there is a strategy-style campaign with individual
real-time tactics battles. I call them real-time tactics instead of real-time
strategy because the battles are true to scale.

The units can be assembled in various formations, and they appear to use
flocking behavior to implement the troop movements. There is a semi-realisitc
combat model with various troop types including morale, and some hundreds of Sun
Tzu's "Art of War" syllogisms are implemented into the game rules.

There is online play capability where up to eight players battle with up to
thousands of units on the field at a time.

I have passed that campaign, other games recently completed, more or less, (in
the last year) are Dungeon Keeper 2, Mechwarrior 3, Half-Life, Rogue Spear,
Homeworld, Starcraft and Brood Wars, each sans override codes. Each of those is
in either the "real-time strategy" or "first-person action shooter" genre. I'm
halfway-decently skilled at each of them. I've never played Empire or Utopia,
yet I have played various video games from the Commodore 64 (the first great
video game personal computer) onward..

These games don't particularly reflect life for anyone, although many have
semblances to reality and physically realistic game rules.

In terms of habits or addictions, except for cigarette smoking, I probably play
too many video games when I should be coding for money, otherwise everything
available in moderation.

In my opinion, addiction as inability to stop deleterious habit is almost
completely psychosomatic, although some drugs' disuse elicits physical
withdrawal symptoms.

About psycho- or neuro-pharmaceuticals: Ritalin is an amphetamine-like
stimulant, alcohol is quite poisonous, many of these prescribed drugs are
largely placebos, and otherwise hammers. Nicotine is supposedly a nootropic,
and THC is really great, and has never killed anyone.

Video game success probably releases some endorphins or something. I go brew
some coffee.


Emlyn (onetel) wrote:

> I shouldn't do this to you people, but I will.
> A warning: I'm someone with an addictive personallity, quite obsessive.
> Various members of my extended family have ridiculous addiction problems; I
> confine my drug intake strictly to caffeine, to which I am a hopelessly
> addicted. Luckily, that is regarded almost as highly as professional
> association membership for coders.
> My other major problem addiction, especially a problem in Uni, is arcade
> games. Before you scoff, I must admit I was spending $50 plus a week on
> them, when I was on an income of around $100 a week (ack, student life).
> There are worse addictions in the world (I've worked in a bar and watched
> Poker machine addicts go for it; misery), but I think it is real. I don't
> walk past computer game arcades now if I can help it (because I don't walk
> past them, if you catch my drift).
> Anyway, I own two computer game CDs now, and hardly ever put them near my
> PC; somehow I can't get them out of the CD drive once they go in.
> I thought Utopia would be safe; it's a strategy game, all text based, how
> bad could it be? Hmm. I estimate that it soaks a minimum of an hour a day.
> At heavy times, it can push to four hours. That's truly detrimental. It's
> really, really addictive.
> Luckily, massively multiplayer online games are also entirely new (I mean
> games with, say, 10,000 players plus), and so the experience of such a new
> gaming environment is entirely worth (or at least partially compensates) the
> investment. It really is qualitatively different from any small scale
> game.I've played play-by-mails with over 200 players in the past, but it is
> just not the same as this. You've never felt so insignificant as when you
> are competing with tens of thousands of other players! I think people should
> take the time to try things like this; it helps bring home very personally a
> modern truth, which is that the number of other people in the world is more
> than you can comprehend in any significant sense. Even 40,000 people is a
> lot of people. Too many to get a mental picture of.
> You've been warned.
> (if anyone is actually going to start playing, have a look soon. The new
> round is starting in the next week or two, it's the ideal time to get a
> feeling for the game. When the new round starts, you need to know what is
> going on from day 1. I can send people a list of the most important
> player-maintained strategy and support software sites out there; you cannot
> be competitive without checking these sites out)
> Emlyn
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Robert J. Bradbury <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sunday, July 16, 2000 11:05 PM
> Subject: Games reflecting life [was Re: No AI for Nano/No Nano for
> copyloads]
> >
> > Emlyn wrote:
> >
> > > In this game, you play a fantasy province; Orcs, elves dwarves,
> halflings
> > > (yawn, yep same old stuff). It has a interestingly simplistic geographic
> > > model - there's no map, you just exist in this abstract world, with a
> > > certain amount of acres of land, all kinds of production statistics and
> > > settings which lead ultimately to an expansion rate of population
> > > (particularly limited by land) and income level (production rate of
> gold).
> > > You use those things to make an army, and you use your army to get more
> > > land.
> >
> > Gadzooks, this sounds like a cross between Middle Earth and Empire.
> > Your summary would agree with conclusions that were reached by many
> > of the first Empire addicts (including myself) back in the mid
> > 1970's when Peter Langston first made the game available.
> >
> > Did anyone else on the list ever play Empire?
> > Also, is there a URL for Utopia?
> >
> > Robert
> >
> >

Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:

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