Prison Tycoon 3

Well folks, it looks like one of the least entertaining tycoon games of all time is now on its third release: Prison Tycoon 3: Lockdown is now available.
I can’t tell you anything about it aside from the information on the official website. Maybe it is playable, maybe the simulation is complete. At the very least, it couldn’t be worse than the first version, could it?


Casual Gameplay (formerly Jay Is Games) had a game design competition. The winner was Sprout, a cute little game with a simple play mechanic. (Make sure you ignore the insipid commentary by the CG staff.)

More Caesar IV observations

Finally, a review of Caesar IV that sounds like they have actually played the game: 6 out of 10 at Eurogamer. Most of the other reviews I’ve seen hardly look beyond the fancy 3D effects. (Of course this is an industry where over 50% of all titles rate 4 out of 5 stars.)
I’m almost done with the Republic campaign (cities 6-12) and things are still pretty easy. Rebuilding Carthage isn’t challenging yet, though it helps to understand some basic principles of the city system. Here’s how I play it:

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Caesar IV observations

Over the weekend I picked up a copy of Caesar IV for $30 at Fr-’s -l-ctr-n-cs. I played the demo a few weeks ago and was interested to see how some of the gameplay mechanisms were put together, since the new engine no longer uses “walkers” like in Caesar III.
Those walkers caused people a lot of problems in the previous game, myself included. Some walkers, like temple priests, would simply wander around at random, turning randomly at intersections. This meant that if you designed your streets where some houses had a small probability of getting a service over some interval, you would end up with these chaotic patterns where neighborhoods would devolve due to the lack of a service, and then the service would walk by and the houses would evolve upwards again. It was frustrating, but if you watched it long enough it would teach you something about randomness and probability.

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Ask Me About Semantic Trumps

Go ahead, ask me.

Chaos on Runescape

For the past few weeks I’ve been playing the free version of Runescape. I had played it previously a number of years ago, and though there have been significant updates most of the core game concepts remain in the game, particularly the geographical features which require players to spend a lot of time walking from place to place.
Last week the Runescape developers released a new feature for pay-to-play members: player owned houses. The feature has proven so popular that Jagex has had to add a number of game servers to keep up with player demand. Within the game itself, however, the new feature — linked to a new construction skill — is sending large waves across the normally bustling in-game market.

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Civilization IV: I can’t play

I picked up a copy of Civ IV for a good price last week. I can’t play it on my system until they release a patch. I’ve got the “bread only” problem, where the map only shows slices of bread (representing food) and no production or coins.
Moving around the map is also extremely laggy.

The Neverhood

I saw The Curse of the Were-Rabbit last night, and afterwards we were talking about claymation. I was reminded of The Neverhood, a little known PC adventure game that came out in 1996, just before the Nintendo 64 hit US shelves.

So I dug out my copy of the game and tried to install it.

The Neverhood requires:
Pentium 75 mhz
8 Mg RAM (16 recommended)
SVGA monitor
Quad speed CD ROM
8-bit sound card & speakers  (16-bit recommended)
10 Mg available hard disk space for Installation
Mxcrosoft Wxndows 95.

Unfortunately I’m running 2000, and the installer insists on 95 (though I bet 98 would also work).

More Prison Tycoon notes

Okay, I’ve figured out one or two more mechanisms for this game.

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Prison Tycoon sneak peak

I picked up a copy of Prison Tycoon on my last visit to —-’s, maybe two weeks ago, and have just gotten around to trying it out.
I don’t have any particularly high expectations — it is a tycoon game after all, and released by ValuSoft. Other company names on the box include “VIRTUAL playground” and “Gamebryo”. The box contains a CD and a folded cd insert sleeve with a few brief instructions. The manual, such as it is, is a 62k html file on the disc.

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