Bunker Project Log

21 Aug

Dystopia blues

Dystopia blues

One of my favorite games in the whole wide world is Unreal 2 eXpanded Multiplayer, or XMP for short. It’s a class-based game of capture the flag/football that totally encourages teamplay and strategy, and allows old fogeys like me to compete with overamped, reflex-having, newly graduated college-aged punks. When Mrs. G was pregnant with mouth to feed #1, I played this game a lot. When mouth to feed #1 was in her cute little car-seat contraption doo-dad, I played even more XMP, and paused to feed her every once in a while.

Just as an aside, one of the Bunker hardly-regulars, Dangerkitty, was told that he was pregnant whilst playing XMP. He disappeared for a while, then came back. I found out the news the next day. Believe it or not, he understood the gravity of the situation enough to not blast it over team chat.

Anyway, this isn’t about XMP, it’s about Dystopia, a source mod I have been hyping, and hoping that the Bunker knuckle-draggers would take part in.

The Setup

Dystopia is an objective-based first-person shooter. Two teams, the Punks and the Corps, alternately attack or defend objectives. These may include computers, power lines, access panels, and most importantly, cyberspace terminals.

Punks Hacking

And this is where the game gets really interesting. Those of us who have played objective based games are familiar with the “hack” objective, where you run up to the computer and hit the action button, and you’ve “OMG, h4x0r3d the 5y5t3m!” I’ve always been a bit disappointed by this, and even my beloved XMP seems overly simplistic.

But Dystopia really goes the extra mile, and gets positively Bill Gibson?with the whole hacking thing. First, you must have a cyberdeck in your posession, which is selected during your initial loadout. Then you must find a terminal, and hit the action button. But wait, there’s more!

Cyberspace

Cyberspace

The player is immediately transported into cyberspace, which is a trippy, Tron-like, wall and ceiling walking computer construct. In here are panels which allow you to open and close doors, take over turrets, or shut down certain defenses. The hacker’s job is to open the doors and shut down the defenses that allow the rest of the team to move forward in “real life”. Sometimes this is as easy as hitting a button, in other situations, different levels of digital countermeasures must be removed.

To the outside observer, the hacker becomes totally inert and defenseless. This forces his or her teammates defend them while they are trying to find the right panel, or even dodging the opposing team’s hacker. That’s right, the heacker is often not alone in there! Combat in cyberspace rarely ends up in “real death” but the player will get bounced out, and must wait for their energy to build back up before jumping back in, causing the team to lose valuable time and initiative.

How it played

The interface is clean and straight-forward. I was the only one who had played before, but everyone understood the loadout screen right away. The server was set to enforce balanced teams, so all 8 of us were allocated fairly. By the end of the first 15 minute round, we were grasping the basics.

Then, Seraphim and?Necrontyr sparked the evolutionary gap, and discovered the stealth suit, and the ninja sword, and all hell broke loose. Suddenly, there were these scary-ass predator-esque cloaking mofos slicing up my team left and right. It was damn cool.

About the same time, Jester was discovering the joys of hacking, and he spent pretty much full time opening things up for us to move on. I was suddenly out of a job, so I became the heavy, and tore the younguns to shreds with the mini-gun loadout. It felt real good.

With that said, we still had trouble finding the objectives. Over the course of the night, no team ever completed an entire mission. The game is very unforgiving on this front, not giving either side the win.

Also, the game induced vertigo in almost all of us. We had to take a break halfway through the party to keep everyone from puking. By the end of the night we couldn’t bear to be in front of a screen at all. (That’s why the lan is cleared out in the picture at the top.)

So, was it good? For me, definitely yes! I think four or five Bunkerites are true believers, the rest probably could do without. We will probably revisit the game after having passed out some Wiki links. Like this one. C’mon guys, study up!

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