Author Archives: Brassneck

7 Days to Die – A History of Base-Building

Home comforts

Desirable location, surprisingly spacious, lake view, modern amenities, fully furnished, good decorative order. Early viewing recommended

7 Days to Die is a first-person survival crafting game set in a post-zombie apocalypse gameworld. It’s also an example of Steam Early Access done right, with a solid & functional initial release, followed by frequent updates, tweaks, fixes & additional content. After 2 years, it’s still in Alpha, yet plays like a full game, albeit with a few rough edges.

We’ve logged some serious hours in this game, and there’s plenty to like about it. Despite the glut of zombie games these days, 7D2D distinguishes itself with a vast, procedurally-generated gameworld, strong variety of buildings, settlement types and biomes, flexible game configuration options, and an exciting zombie dynamic: shamble by day, sprint by night, and an aggressive horde attack every seven days. This mechanic propels the explore/scavenge/hunt/craft/build aspect of the game, which is supported by a sophisticated crafting system which includes blueprints, item quality tiers, and degradation of tools, weapons and blocks. A base provides a central location for the team to live, work and explore from, and a safe(-ish) refuge from the horde.

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Posted by on August 15, 2015 in Gamers Gazette


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DCS A10-C: Instructor-led virtual training session

Now pay attention, class.

Ready for formation take-off, and experiencing a bit of tightness in the nethers

Serious sims have always seemed to be a bit of a niche market in PC gaming, the emphasis being more on a cerebral challenge without the visuals to back up the mechanics. It’s only recently that graphics hardware has reached the stage where gameworlds can be realistically rendered at decent framerates with beautiful lighting, detailed 3D objects, volumetric particles, HDR effects, and realtime physics calculations. Then there’s the new peripherals: hi-res flatscreens, touchscreens, multi-monitor support, head tracking devices, and premium-quality programmable joysticks. Perhaps that’s why DCS world, the most hardcore of hardcore sims, is enjoying a surge of success despite (or perhaps because of) its intimidating detail and painstaking authenticity – the sim gameworld actually looks good, works well (e.g. weather, aerodynamic, airframe and gravity physics) so you don’t have to imagine a beautiful gameworld behind the instruments any more – it’s right there, all around you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Gamers Gazette, The Library


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Passionate about potatoes: A review of Euro Truck Simulator 2

En-route to a powdered milk payday

En-route to a powdered milk payday

A strange thing happened to simulators recently. The very term ‘simulator’ as applied to gaming always used to represent a hardcore gaming experience: flight sims required you to master an intimidating array of avionics, navigation techniques, weapons systems and aeronautical theory; sub sims were the only time I ever needed to actually use my schoolboy trigonometry,  and economic sims taught me sympathy for politicians and civil servants as I flailed in the heavy seas of conflicting demands, inadequate resources, and spiralling costs. The payback of course, was the opportunity to experience, albeit in a superficial way, a variety of aspirational jobs & lifestyles beyond the reach of ordinary Joes like me, with the associated reward of deep satisfaction that rising to a difficult challenge provides. Plus there was the variety – I’m pretty sure no fighter pilot ever went on to command a nuclear attack submarine, before retiring from the services to maintain the plumbing infrastructure of a major city. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Gamers Gazette, The Library


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ARMA 3 photo diary: The Marina Incident

We were in trouble. We’d been ambushed, and our team was down, deep in the rugged interior of Stratis. Red was playing a medic, and called out over comms that he was on his way from base in a Hunter Jeep. He was also reporting some fairly serious, but sporadic lag.

Red has a solid rep as a medic. He’s pulled many a fireteam’s chestnuts out of the fire when things have gone South in a heartbeat, as they often do in ARMA. We knew he was on his way, and we waited patiently. Then a yelp and an expletive came over the comms. Red, are you OK? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Gamers Gazette, The Library


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Bank Holiday ARMAfest 2013

The Medic Cairn phenomenon sometimes appears where people help each other in a hot zone…or a helo loses a rotor.

The grand & glorious conceit of the ARMA concept has always been about potential: a huge, seamless gameworld which reduces players to the scale of ants on a football pitch, albeit soldier ants with APCs, tanks, attack helicopters and a seemingly endless arsenal of mystifyingly-named infantry weapons & ordnance, all wrapped & presented in one of the most obtuse yet functionally rich interfaces in gaming. Get past this, and you then have to contend with punishingly competent AI who can shred a gaggle of CoD-raised run & gunners in a New York minute. This game needs skill, patience, teamwork, communication, stamina, and a bit of luck. Oh dear. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in Gamers Gazette, The Library


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Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

Picnic location choice fail

Picnic location choice fail

Torchlight II has provided a lot of fun, both as an involving singleplayer adventure and as a mental multiplayer ecstasy of chaos. It’s a slick, polished game, and one of the things which I especially appreciated about it was the way that the simplistic, cartoony graphics nonetheless employed all the fantasy RPG artistic tropes to create a vibrant, interesting gameworld. TIAOVH opts for a more realistic graphical style, albeit set in a gothic steampunk alternate reality, but in gameplay terms feels a lot like Torchlight: There’s a helpful companion (a ghost in this case), exploration of an atmospheric, coherent gameworld, and an endless deluge of enemies & loot drops. If anything, the scale of the waves of enemies bent on your destruction are even more intimidating in their sheer volume, and decision paralysis soon sets in with the variety of loot with its multiple attributes to be considered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Gamers Gazette


SupCom 2 – getting experimental

Quantum Distortion Cannon - the shottie of artillery

Quantum Distortion Cannon – like a shottie made of artillery

Seeing as most of our SupCom games are a frantic, sweaty frenzy of scrabbling to survive, the cognitive demands of the endgame have generally resulted in rather messy conclusions so far. Red & I decided to set up some test games, using easier opponents than our usual fine-tuned AIs, and give ourselves the breathing space to explore the advanced experimental units, and strategies for deploying them. We set up on a 4×4 map with the two of us against 2 easy and 1 normal AI, and whilst things didn’t go quite according to plan, it was nevertheless, epic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Gamers Gazette, The Library


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