A Tale of Two RPGs

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Two cool Fantasy Role Play­ing Games have caught my atten­tion lately on my iPad; The Battle for Wesnoth and Battle­heart.

Yes, they’re both RPGs, but are so dis­sim­il­ar in their approach and exe­cu­tion that they’re not really tread­ing in each other’s space, so to speak. Here’s why…

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It’s Big
The Battle for Wesnoth (which I’ll call Wesnoth from now on) is a large, turn-based strategy-style RPG. Think back to the old-school ver­sions of War­Craft and you’ve got it, without the hew­ing of trees or min­ing of gold.

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Now if this sounds a bit famil­i­ar, well it is. The iPad ver­sion of Wesnoth is a port (the offi­cial port) of the free Linux, MacOSX, and Win­dows ver­sion of the game.

Accord­ing to the developer:

Battle for Wesnoth is the offi­cial port of a gigant­ic, com­plex and detailed full-scale strategy-RPG. We made sure that noth­ing was cut from the game, everything from flags flap­ping to skel­et­ons jug­gling their heads, it’s all here!

Wesnoth is a unique com­bin­a­tion of tac­tic­al strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Pan­zer Gen­er­al, and Final Fantasy Tac­tics. Using your hero, you need to cap­ture vil­lages to gain income, and recruit new units to do battle. These units gain exper­i­ence through com­bat and can level up into power­ful new classes. But make sure to pro­tect your vet­er­an troops, as they can be recalled through­out a cam­paign!

Yes, it’s big. And fun! And long!

  • Almost 200 cam­paign scen­ari­os across 15 major cam­paigns — lit­er­ally hun­dreds of hours of game­play!!
  • Over 200 fully anim­ated unit types in six major fac­tions, all with dis­tinct­ive abil­it­ies, weapons and spells
  • Exper­i­enced units gain power­ful new abil­it­ies as they advance
  • Bring your battle-hardened troops with you as you fight through cam­paigns
  • Highly detailed and var­ied ter­rain graph­ics
  • Three levels of dif­fi­culty for cas­u­al to expert play­ers
  • Cross-plat­form mul­ti­play­er matches against iPhone, PC, mac and linux play­ers!
  • Pro­fes­sion­al music score with 90 minutes of ori­gin­al music
  • Open­Feint integ­ra­tion with achieve­ments

Being turn-based, you have the lux­ury of time to care­fully plot out your moves — not so in this next RPG!

Battle­heart
Fun. Cute. Enga­ging. All words that eas­ily describe my cur­rent quick-RPG-fix.
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Battle­heart doesn’t really have a fleshed out story, rather it’s more of a RPG forest & dun­geon crawl with a set of scen­ari­os encountered by your hearty band of adven­tur­ers, here’s my crew.

You pro­gress through the scenerairos, lev­el­ing up, col­lect­ing loot, find­ing and spend­ing gold.

As with any good RPG, as you level up you get access to new powers and abil­it­ies. And as you get more gold, you can buy bet­ter weapons, armor, and magic­al objects to make your char­ac­ters more power­ful.

Cre­ate a unique party of her­oes, and lead them in frantic real-time battles against mon­sters of ever increas­ing power. Lay waste to your foes with dozens of unique spe­cial powers as you gain exper­i­ence, upgrade your party’s equip­ment, and craft them into the ulti­mate battle force!

  • Eas­ily com­mand your army via simple touch com­mands.
  • Cre­ate a unique party from numer­ous char­ac­ter classes, includ­ing stealthy rogues, power­ful wiz­ards and sto­ic knights!
  • Cus­tom­ize your her­oes via dozens of unique skills — lit­er­ally hun­dreds of class and skill com­bin­a­tions!
  • Make the most of your party’s skills to con­trol the bat­tle­field — turn your oppon­ents into frogs, stun them with pois­ons, or simply des­troy them with met­eor strikes and whirl­winds of steel!
  • Over 100 unique items to col­lect and equip across a 30+ level cam­paign, com­plete with epic boss battles!
  • Put your cus­tom party to the ulti­mate test in sur­viv­al aren­as, where rare and unique rewards can be found!
  • Incred­ibly sharp anim­a­tion and art designed spe­cific­ally for the Ret­ina Dis­play and iPad!

My crew hav­ing a BBQ…

A simple and quick game to get into, but one that becomes chal­len­ging after a few hours of game play, which it should as it con­tin­ues to chal­lenge you!

Two Games, for two game exper­i­ences
As I men­tioned at the out­set, these two RPGs are only sim­il­ar in that they *are* RPGs. Which is great for me because when I tire of push­ing my party-of-4 through the next scene in Battle­heart, I can switch over to Wesnoth and slow things down a bit, while crank­ing up the strategy factor. More pure RPG fun!

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World’s workforce suffers huge productivity loss due to Google

Earli­er today Google decided to see how much it could influ­ence the eco­nomy and pro­ductiv­ity of first and second world nations by unleash­ing a vir­al online attack against Inter­net-con­nec­ted office work­ers world wide. Ostens­ibly pro­moted as a 30 year anniversary of a clas­sic video game, Google is, in real­ity, bring­ing work­place activ­ity to a crawl.

In Canada, on the Fri­day before a nation­al hol­i­day long week­end, the impact was real­ized when inno­cent office min­ions using Google’s web­site to search for inform­a­tion from the pre­vi­ously-trust-worthy search engine, were instead clev­erly diver­ted  by an insi­di­ous inter­act­ive anim­a­tion based on the ‘80s arcade-game clas­sic Pac Man.

Accord­ing to a report by the Toronto Star:

Cre­ated to cel­eb­rate the 30th anniversary of the cre­ation of the video game icon, the inter­act­ive doodle actu­ally fea­tures all 256 levels from the ori­gin­al mon­ster game hit.

Just how much pro­ductiv­ity will be lost by employ­ers whose work­ers will get way­laid by the new dis­trac­tion on its homepage while doing a search? Wendy Roze­luk, a Google Canada spokes­per­son laughed and respon­ded: “I have no idea.”

At work­places, uni­ver­sit­ies, cube-farms, and com­puter sci­ence labs around the world, the Pac Man theme could be heard any­time someone tried to look some­thing up using the pop­u­lar search engine.

This is get­ting annoy­ing…” said one user, declin­ing to give her name for fear of retri­bu­tion.

But it looks like a reprieve from the Pac Man theme is close at hand. Google will remove the Pac Man Doodle mid-day on Sunday. Until then, per­haps keep the sound turned down on your sys­tem when ‘search­ing’.

Exactly 1 week ago today [slideshow]

Exactly one week ago today we were enjoy­ing our last day on Maui, by snorkel­ing.

By our rough count, we man­aged to get in and under the water about every oth­er day — which is pretty good for a prair­ie boy.

So, to revis­it the exper­i­ence today seemed a bit appropo, with a slideshow of all the good/interesting shots we’d man­aged to get into flickr so far.

All these pho­tos were taken with a very cool Panason­ic DMC-TS2, which I dis­cuss in fur­ther detail in a few Future Shop blog posts.