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Tycho / on Fri, May 27 2011 at 12:00 am

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Page 234, Table 29-A

Sometimes, I’m proud to say it: “This strip is a transcript of an actual conversation!” has a kind of eureka element, a found culture vibe that makes it easily to feel as though I am living my life submerged in undiscovered art.  This comic is also a transcript of a real conversation, however, which is substantially less ennobling.

I purchased a game fully one year ago that just came out yesterday.  I’m kind of a sucker for buy now/get the beta offers; in fact, I may just be a sucker in general.  But I’m a mark doubly so for tactical games, and Frozen Synapse is definitely that.  I’m obsessed with the idea of simultaneous actions, which you’d think would make me an RTS devotee, but I still want turns:  I want to deliberate.  I want to stroke my chin.  I want to hover my index finger tentatively over the left mouse button, remove it slowly, and then put it back.

The first (only?) simultaneous-turn combat system I can recall is from Mars Saga, whose manual describes it as “one of the most interactive ever established on a microcomputer.”  Today, we usually think of interactivity as being a function of inputs per second.  No matter their granularity or sophistication, I don’t know that we’d ever use the term “interactive” to describe a game where you aren’t in active, moment-to-moment control of anything.

I’ve invited one of the developers to talk about the game here in the post on Monday, and I think he’s going to do it.  It’s just very strange: an indie tactics manifesto, four years in development, sustained by a kind of ambient matchmaker thingy slash replay museum?  I want to know where something like this comes from, who would make it.  Hopefully I’m not alone in that.

There is new Penny Arcade Television available, a Fourth Panel episode which contains the writing process for the strip entitled “The Song Of Something Something.”

(CW)TB out.

you’re gonna wish you never had met me


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