Tilted Mill pwns my Saturday

After running around in the rain doing errands all day I sat down for some sweet MMO gaming. But I decided, maybe I’d play a bit of Hinterland first, since I haven’t been back to that game lately. Next thing I knew, 4+ hours had gone by!

I won my game, which sprang me from the grasp of its spell, and then…logged in to Nile Online to check the status of my cities. I was almost ready to upgrade my palace to level 5, but I need to ship some goods from my new city to my old. But the new city wouldn’t have a ship ready for about half an hour. So I puttered around, twiddling my thumbs until that was done, then shipped the goods, which would take 18 minutes to arrive. So more thumb twiddling even though it was after midnight and I was beat. Finally got everything where it needed to be and started the 5 hour build.

So I didn’t log in to War, or Wizard 101, or activate my EQ2 account. Because Tilted Mill apparently owns my soul. Dunno what will become of my when Mosby’s Confederacy comes out!!

Totally unrelated and random side note. One of my chores was taking a bunch of change to a Coinstar in the local supermarket. I assume this is a national thing: it’s a machine that you dump all your change into and then get some kind of money out of. I took mine out as an Amazon gift certificate (no charge that way…they take some percentage if you get cash for your coins), but anyway… Much to my surprise, I got a bonus coupon for $10. From now until Dec 7th, if you turn in at least $40 worth of coins, you’ll get $10 extra (after you fill out a coupon and send it in). I had no idea this promotion was going on, and from sheer luck turned in $41 worth of change. Yay me!

Details here. Maybe be worth emptying that change jar of yours.

Random sidebar to random side note. I turned in 147 dimes, 42 nickels, and 2,447 pennies.

Hinterland Update x2

Update #1: Tilted Mill released a patch for Hinterland tonight. Steam should auto-update your copy. Changes follow:

* Pet dragons now move at the proper speed
* Score modifiers for the difficulty setting have been rebalanced
* When playing on easy, the maximum difficulty level of an encounter has been lowered
* When playing on difficult or hardcore, enemies will work together more frequently when they fight you
* Fixed several issues relating to random chests, the way they were distributed in the world, and King’s requests for items in chests
* Audio loading moved from pre-game to scenario creation (may fix some audio driver conflicts, improves game start time)
* Fixed an issue with some versions of direct 9.0c in particular installations of Vista and DirectX 10 that would cause crashes on start-up or when loading
* Switched to starting in windowed mode by default (may fix some crashes on start-up)
* Fixed minimap corruption at higher resolutions
* Fixed a rare infinite loop in scenario creation that caused a lock-up on starting a new character
* Fixed an issue with the game resizing fonts more than necessary (may fix some crashes, particularly upon changing to full-screen mode)

Update #2: I finished my first game tonight. So that’s what? Three evenings of playing probably 60-90 minutes to finish a game on Easy (I think I chose Easy…maybe it was Normal).

Overall I’d give the game an 8 out of 10. A replay might change that score: it’d be interesting to see how the experience differs with bigger or hard games. Most of my gripes ended up being user error, and I thank the folks who commented here and set me straight on those.

My remaining gripes have to do with the end game. There were times when I just had to let the game run to generate gold. There were almost no enemies left on the map (so no raiders) but the ones that were left were too tough for me to kill, so I need to do some upgrading, which meant I needed gold, which meant just twiddling my thumbs waiting for my coffers to fill. By the end of the game I had two rows of Craftsman at various levels of upgrade just generating gold.

It’d be nice if I could sell excess food, or just turn a farm or herder over to generating coin; that’d just make for some variety. You can order Craftsmen to do Research, but I never found a way to see what they’d discovered, other than switching them back to creating items and seeing what popped out. And if there’s a way to “level up” your townspeople, I didn’t find it. Maybe they level up by adventuring with you, but I left that until late in the game, so I was level 6 or so, the things I was fighting were 6 or 7, and my townsfolk were 3. In those circumstances, 3 is very squishy!

My town had a dragonmaster by the endgame, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to take the dragon out adventuring without also taking the dragon herder, who was a very low level person, so I just left ’em both back in town. So that’s another puzzle.

But these are all pretty minor concerns/questions and overall, I’m quite pleased. It’s worth keeping in mind the game was $20, and I already feel like I got my money’s worth. It’s one of these games that gives you a score when you’re done, and I’m looking forward to going back and trying to beat that score next time.

It’s an interesting combination. I’ll be crossing my fingers for expansions or a Hinterland 2, because they could really expand the game in many interesting ways.

A Brief Sidetrip to the Hinterlands

No, I’m not talking WoW here… 🙂

I’m talking about the new strategy/rpg game from Tilted Mill Entertainment, Hinterland. It came out today, on Steam, for $20. I decided to check it out, partly because I enjoy both strategy and RPGs, but mostly because Tilted Mill’s offices are local, and I gotta support the local game devs, right? Plus, these guys are descended from Impressions, a company whose games I enjoyed for many a year. Anyway…

This is in no way a “review” of the game! I’ve played it for a couple of hours; not even remotely enough time to base a review on. This is just a brief description and some early thoughts.

Worst news first: the game freezes on me, and fairly often. If I’m patient enough, it’ll recover, but it can sit frozen for literally two minutes. Like, check the clock when it freezes, check it again when it starts moving again, and ~120 seconds have passed. Let’s hope for a patch for this soon.

The game is a hybrid, one part hack & slash RPG, one part “city building” sim. You start with a patch of land that is your “town” and a single house. Folks of various professions come to visit: farmers, merchants, craftsmen, etc. You can offer to build them a home, and if you do, they’ll stick around and start doing whatever they do (produce food, goods, money, or whatever). As is typical in this kind of game, you need to make sure everyone is fed, and you can spend gold to upgrade shops. Eventually you can set folks to doing research rather than manufacturing. Some folks won’t be willing to stay unless your town meets certain prerequisites.
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