Month: December 2006


I’ve been thinking about Planitia lately. And every time I do, the theme music to Sacrifice starts playing in my head.

Sacrifice was a game released by Shiny back in 2000. It was notable for several things.

First off, it was gorgeous. See?


When I first saw screenshots of World of Warcraft my first thought was, “Wow, that almost looks as good as Sacrifice.”

Second, it had fantastic voice acting. Shiny was a company that understood that good voice acting is cheap compared to how much better it makes your game.

And finally, it was notable for being completely unplayable, which is why it failed in the marketplace.

Okay, I’m being slightly unfair with that last one. But Sacrifice had a thoroughly odd design; it was effectively a real-time strategy game and a third-person shooter game at the same time, with an interface that wasn’t suited for either genre. Imagine playing Warcraft III while having to look over the shoulder of your hero at all times and you’ll get a feeling for what playing Sacrifice was like. The clumsy interface combined with a rather steep difficulty curve (the last level is famously difficult) and you get a game that entices players in, but can’t keep them. I came damn close to buying Sacrifice based on the demo but was saved when a friend of mine picked it up, got frustrated with it and then let me borrow it. Which prevented me from buying it.

But the ideas behind Sacrifice were fascinating, and I certainly have never forgotten the game. Those ideas include:

* A world made of islands floating in an etherial void

* A bickering, petty pantheon of gods

* Very obvious display of the power of the gods – there are no atheists in the world of Sacrifice

* A set of standard unit types – scout, brawler, archer, flyer, etc – of which each god has their own unique type

If I were going to try to “fix” Sacrifice, I’d probably pull it back into a more normal real-time strategy mode. I might still have hero characters, but I certainly would not force players to control the game through that one character. Not sure yet if I’d require buildings and resource management, or if I’d keep the game simpler and more free-form.

This will require more thought, but at least I’m back to thinking about it.

Name That Game 11!

Okay! We’re off the RPGs and onto action/adventure game hybrids!

This game is a personal favorite of mine; I played it all the way through from beginning to end. It was a very well-designed game with a huge world and a fascinating storyline. It helped that it was based on a series of books by a real author and that the author was intimately involved with the creation of the game. She even went so far as to say that the game is the true end to the story, rather than the one presented in her books.

Oh, that's definitely Quake.  You can tell by the shape of the gibs.

Name and developer, please.

EDIT: Wow, I seem to have finally stumped you guys!

EDIT: Okay, I’m giving you guys until 12 PM Eastern and then I’m going to reveal. Warren, you are now allowed to guess, if you so desire.

EDIT: Okay. Wow. No one got it. The game is Below the Root, by Windham Classics. It’s based on the Green Sky books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. In the last book of the series she had one of the main characters die, which she realized after the book was published was a mistake. So the plot of the game is to actually find out if this character is really dead, and rescue him if possible.

Hee hee…

My older daughter occasionally reads this blog, which is why I try to keep the cursing to a minimum.

She recently read the post I wrote up about her first roleplaying experience. When she got to the part about “voluntarily reading and doing math” she said, “Hey! You tricked me!”

Hee hee…yep.


I was out sick yet again yesterday.

This is getting ridiculous. I do not understand it. I’ve been to the doctor, gotten a prescription, and taken it religiously for over a week. I’ve got so much penicillin in my bloodstream that nothing else should be able to survive, yet every day I wake up wondering if I’m going to feel better or worse today.

And I’ve done very little work on my projects and this site is getting very rote.

I need to get better so I can do something interesting again before everybody stops reading.