PC Games Chronicle
I have been gaming for as long as there have been PCs. From 1981's Wizardry on 5¼" floppy disks (on the shelf behind me now) to online CompuServe games in the late 80s ($6/hour for 300 baud) to my current homemade machine (overclocked from 3.4 to 4.4 Ghz, dual 4K monitors), I have played a ton. I was lead author on the official game guide for the first Command And Conquer, wrote articles for game magazines, and have contributed to lots of game wikis (see below). Over the years I have played hundreds of games.
I prefer solo strategy and FP RPGs, but also play FPS, sci fi, adventure, puzzle, horror survival, whatever stands out. What I long for is great space 4X or a galactic trading game. Sigh.
What drives me is to maximize whatever game I am playing. If it's the kind of game I can dive deeply into - and the info isn't already out there - I resurface with all I (and you) need to maximize its variables.
Here is notable work I've done.
- mf.i and this page started 9/28/16; this page largely initially completed 3/20/17
A comfort-food FPS I played March 2021. I couldn't find certain lists of info, so I made them myself.
February 2021: Got this cheap on ITAD. It's a fun if repetitive FPS. Here's an issue I worked through, and a little review.
June 2020: I'm currently playing this. Don't see much deep info on the web. So I analyzed the game myself.
April 2019: Together with Evil (Vasile) of Steam, we've made a highly-detailed listing of all the items that can be picked up and/or recycled in the game Prey. Evil also published his custom data extractor tools on Github.
Love this game! September 2017.
June 2017. Not that inventory matters in this straight shooter, but your loyal scribe still made sure it doesn't matter.
September 2016. There are tons of articles about making credits in No Man's Sky. We don't need yet more lists of all the ways to make money. We want to know the one best way to make money. Finding this requires a quantitative compare of all competing methods.
MLL came out in 2014. It's fun but short; accurately described as a cousin of the Stalker series. I played it in January 2017 and posted some arms-vendor info here.
An mf.i exclusive. I have not been able to find such specifics anywhere on the web. Sort of surprising...
Are all but primo A-list games so throw-away these days?
August 2016. I came, I played, I wikied.
Before my arrival, there was only the vaguest of information on economics, trading, and profitability in This War Of Mine.
Then I wrote this.
February 2015. FTL's a cute Roguelike space battle game. I compared the game data files to screen captures of rewards for winning, losing, or fleeing battles versus sector (level). A ton of work on a fun little game. You're welcome!
Because why not?
Fall 2014: I posted details on how some things work. Paradox keeps tweaking their game. Oh well, hehe.
2010. I completely detailed all item values I could determine from the game, with a focus on weapons. Showing when to repair or sell, the best deals, on and on.
Never released before now. Only available here. In all its gory detail.
Such a hauntingly beautiful game.
Spring of 2008 - sunk time into a fun space 4X game called Sins Of A Solar Empire. Put quite a bit of info on a wiki for it. Then the damnedest thing happened: The wiki disappeared, and a mangled graft showed up on Wikia. Read the heartbreaking saga here.
I enjoyed Sid Meier's Railroads! (SMR) in 2007, and contributed heavily to HookedGamer's SMR wiki and forum. Around 2009 they dropped SMR. The forum was copied elsewhere but the wiki was lost.
Here, I restore my loving exposition of how Railroads! works under the hood. I used high-level Excel functionality to iterate complex curves on all 80 train engines, got optimal specs from each one, then presented it all on one summary optimization graph. Just one of several immense areas covered.
What great stuff!
2005-2009. Plumbing the farthest extremities of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (the 1994 original), I and others spent months exploring vast subterranean vistas until almost every aspect of the game was documented. This is by far the largest body of game work I have done. Working with others, it was exciting and revealing. And all that, on a hit golden oldie, too. Read all about it here.
A fun solo space exploration and trading game from Microsoft in 2003. I collated tons of info to determine the 44,293 possible freight-delivery transactions, and thereby computed the single most profitable route. Which
* BAM *
Spoiled it for everybody. oops. laugh
1996-97. I loved this game! It may have been one of the first I seriously dissected.
Check out my page for a cool player aid, a unique new map, and a review article I wrote for Computer Gaming World.
1994's System Shock (1) was one of the first games I really loved. And the first I can recall writing a game aid for. I was 34 then.
It feels unimaginably long ago.
Other Games; Requests Welcome
Here's an incomplete list of other games I did original research on. I'd love to post it, but had to draw the line somewhere. If you'd like mt to post it, ask on the forum (registration required) or drop a card (no signup).
High, Medium, and Low are general summaries of how worthwhile the research is, plus how publishable it is.
- Dawn of Discovery / Anno 1404 voluminous quantitative wiki contributions (236 edits)
- Fallout 3 Schematics Analysis (overview) (schematics analysis) (294 edits)
- Lots of Fragile Allegiance stuff but would anybody care? ... Does anybody even remember it? (wikipedia)
- Bioshock 1 complete vending machine data
- Deus Ex Human Revolution very extensive but messy spreadsheets of weapon and explosive damage, similar to Stalker and XCOM
- Europa Universalis 2 miscellaneous data
- Galactic Civilization 1 various small Excel tables
- Medieval Total War 1 lots of dbs and excels but it’s a bit messy
- Oblivion merchant info with nice graph
- Rome Total War 1 City coords and Spy Matrix sheets. Maybe others.
- Stalker 1 Price Vs Weight table
- System Shock 2 info including hacking probabilities
- Civilization 4 building, missionary and other stuff
- Daggerfall traveller's aid
- Empire Total War spreadsheet of profitability numbers
- Europa Universalis 3 lots of data on age of leaders and other specifics pulled directly from savegames
- Mankind some fascinating automated planetary ore surveying
- Supreme Commander 1 mass versus power, and other data
- Total War: Shogun 2 building profitability analysis; hard to finish due to unquantifiables
Pre-packaged analyses, reposted:
- Ascendancy: A number of analyses on this beautiful but flawed 1995 game.
- Island Of Kesmai: I plumbed the reroller on this old CompuServe text game in 1991. Does anyone remember it?
All comments welcomed, on these and other games. Please jump here; I consider forums a better place to discuss than the usual WordPress comments section.