Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ex 3 Part 2: Grasp still to follow.

Continued from Part 1

0715 05-02-2012

It's morning and it's storming once more, not that it seems to slow anyone down. Most of the stalkers seem fine with sitting by the camp fire over, say, somewhere with a roof. It says a lot about the stalker spirit, I think.

The task for the day is to finally make the crossing to the Garbage. I've had my armour patched up (not that it offers all that much protection to begin with) and I've got an MP5 and a couple of clips worth of bullets, some health supplies and food. I could always use more though. Other things weigh on my mind as well; There's a blowout due in about 4 hours if the forecast is to be believed and I already know there's no good shelter in the early part of the Garbage.

I figure I can make it most of the way to the crossing post, or to the crossing post itself, before it hits and wait it out there. Then I can carry on. Of course, these things always go exactly to plan...

I set out on the road north again.

Ex 3: The reach grows

0547 05-01-2012

Talking about those first few moments of the game every time would get a little tedious. So I'll only do it every so often or if something interesting happens. If you need some more detail have a look at the entries for earlier expeditions. This time just take it that I leave Sid's place, talk to Wolf and tool around camp gathering my usual stuff before heading on up to the hill with Petruha and co. The Nimble rescue is on.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ex 2, Part 2 : Too Familar Ground

Continued from Part 1

The prospect of heading north with only a pistol doesn't thrill me to bits. I am forced to admit I really kinda hid for much of the last fight and luckily the others did alright regardless. Now there's a Controller wandering around and heaven knows what else.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ex 2: Let's try that again.

You can say to yourself that 'death is death' and you must play differently. Be extra careful, think a little harder or else it's all over. It doesn't mean that you actually will though. You might just be thinking harder about how you ought to be thinking harder. Or something. At any rate, I didn't really plunder the camp before setting out last time. Why would you? So much is chance and you can just save and reload before the fight... Oh. Don't be too hard on yourself, I think (thinking harder). As in life, death takes a while to sink in.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oh yeah...

Back at the beginning I mentioned one of the play blogs I got my inspiriation from was a Far Cry 2 blog that I couldn't find or remember the name of.
Well the good folks at RPS (where I first heard about it) point out that it's finished and you can get the whole thing as a sort of coffee table ebook.

Permanent Death by Ben Abraham

Cheers to a fellow of the Autraline persuasion. I'd better a get a wriggle on then.
(on the self absorbtion front: I'm fairly sure I came up with this concept independently, but there's Kieron Gillen recommending Stalker for this sort of thing right there on their first mention of Ben's experiment. Also Ben's blog has a similar template and similar scenic banner theme completely by accident. I like to think of myself as a rigorous independent thinker, but my subconscious is a complete hack.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Expedition 1

A little background for the unfamiliar: The opening cinematic depicts a truck speeding through the Zone in a storm. The truck is apparently filled with corpses, even before it is struck by lightning and flips off the road. You can see where it gets the name 'Death Truck'.

The next day some lone stalker finds the truck and investigates. He gets no money or loot for his trouble. Only you, the last survivor of this mess (from a group that was mostly dead to begin with). You're taken to a crotchety old guy with poor table manners who checks your pockets for loose change (as though the other stalker wouldn't have done it already) and finds only your PDA, which you're reluctant to part with. It carries the instruction "Kill The Strelok". Presumably that's "Kill Strelok" in babelfishese. And there you/I am deposited in the game. Watch it here on youtube if you like.

Meet Sidorovich. He's the local trader and, in fact, the only trader for miles and miles. Sid here, as he explains, is the guy who saved you. So now he wants a favour: a guy by the name of Nimble is carrying some important information meant for Sid. But he's gone missing. I'm to go find him, first by talking to Wolf at the camp up top.

Sid gives me some starting gear and so, into the Zone we go.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The single step

Alone and ill equipped in a land of mutants and 'meat grinders'. What could possibly go wrong?

Welcome to this unfolding tragedy. Inspired by other play-blogs like Nondrick's non-Adventure and one analysing Far Cry 2 decision making that I can't find right now, I decided it might be a lark to do something similar with Stalker (or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) : Shadow of Chernobyl. At least until the new game in the series, Call of Pripyat, comes out in English.

For the unfamiliar, it's a notoriously expansive and difficult first person shooter set in the Ukraine's deserted Zone of Exclusion that surrounds Chernobyl power station.

It's a science fiction story, however, with a premise inspired by Russian novel Roadside Picnic and the Tarkovsky film loosely adapted from the novel. Strange events have left the area populated with horrifying mutants and covered in gravitational anomalies that will crush anyone who wanders into them. But these conditions also leave behind precious artifacts made from new substances with remarkable properties. The people who illegally wander this new frontier looking for wealth and salvation are called stalkers for the way they must tread very carefully to get anywhere in one piece.

I propose to play the game at the hardest difficulty, without saving, and just see what happens. Not only that, I will be using the AMK mod, which activates sleep, hunger and blowouts (massive radioactive weather events) among other things, as well as a realistic weapons mod for that authentic survival experience.

There are no further gimmicks than that really. There's no particular moral directive; I don't have to be the nice guy or the bad guy. I just play as I "normally" do (more on that in a moment). I can save the game to avoid crashes and unemployment, but if I die in the game I have to start again from scratch.

I have no concrete hypothesis for what will happen. I've played the game enough to see that it's one of the few where survival planning can often be essential to moving around in the game, balancing the amount of bullets you might need on a journey with your possible need to run from something unpleasant for instance. Without saves it's obvious that the way I play will change. Exactly how I really can't say. That's something to document along the way, as well as all the bizarre events of life in the zone. Hopefully it will be entertaining though. Really, that's the idea. Join me if you will.