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Audyssey;
Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 42: third quarter, 2004
Edited by Ron Schamerhorn & Lynette Frison

Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity

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Welcome
Welcome to the forty-second issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated to
the discussion of games which, through accident or design, are accessible to
the blind either with or without sighted assistance.
  Happy 8th Anniversary Audyssey!  This issue is well packed with
information and reviews for just about any taste in gaming.  Some super news
in the letters section both thoughtful and informative, news from many of
the developers, and reviews of the latest releases/discoveries On the gaming
and mud fronts.
Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three plus-signs
are placed above any articles or sections. Within these sections, two
plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller divisions are
marked by a single plus-sign. This allows people to use their search
capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are interested in. For
instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three plus-signs. Each letter
within it has two plus-signs before it. Answers to letters have a single
plus-sign before them.

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Contents:
Welcome
From The Editor
Letters
Warring Factions online part II
Arctic Adventures: Sunday night Dungeons & Dragons
News From Game Developers
Fearless Flin Development Diary: Part II
Game Announcements and Reviews
Contacting Us
Distribution Information and Submission Policies

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From The Editor:

  Well here it is the 8th Anniversary issue of Audyssey magazine.  I've been
around since the earlier days, and what growth we have had.  From the older
days of only text adventures, to games which now totally immerse you in an
atmosphere, along with audio signals of everything happening in the
environment.  It's quite a change, though I still enjoy a good adventure
with text now and again.
  This proved to be a wonderful issue to put together.  The amount of
material is incredible!  I thank the community for the tremendous support of
contributions.  There was enough submitted that I havefew in back up for the
next issue. 
  Be sure  to check the letters section as some great topics have been
recently brought up and talked through to some point.  Also the voice chat
is undertaking a renewal of life and I hope it goes well and strongly. 
  I'd also like to thank Lynette for helping me in editing this issue.
Looks like we'll be working together on Audyssey. 
  Without further ramble from me, read on and enjoy the 8th Anniversary
issue! 

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Letters

  Allow me to mention that the last few days have provided some intriguing
posts to the discussion list.  I'm not attempting to post all that has been
said, rather selecting a few that raise a point or two worth pondering.  I
hope the discourse continue in the community.  As we grow I believe these
issues at some time will need to be addressed.

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Voice chat revitalized

I'm just writing you to say that a bunch of us on the g m a games talk list
have been talking about starting a game chat of for the people. I can host
it
on Thursday nights in the games people play room on
httP://www.for-the-people.com
We are also talking about having it on the weekends also. If you have never
been on ftp you will have to sign up to be a member don't worry it's free,
and
all you have to have is a mike ,a sound card, some speakers.  Or headphones.
We were thinking about Thursday night at 9 p.m est for the first chat. So
yall come
join us! ya hear?
+
I attended the first Thursday night session and must say the turn out was
great!  With a wide range of gaming related discussion.  Here's to hoping it
continues, a great forum for players and developers alike.

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Too Easy?

Perhaps there are two areas that need to be considered here.

1. How easy or difficult a game is to play.  Note I don't say how easy or
difficult to finish, but to play.  There are some games whose physical
action is relatively easy to accomplish for the average person, but the
nature of the game means that there is an exponentially increasing bar over
which the player must reach  to complete each level.  Particularly those
games which actually have no explicit end, but simply up the anti every time
you complete a level.  For me, I lose interest in a game once I have
basically mastered the skills necessary to complete the target.  I don't
obsessively pursue ever higher and higher scores, because I have become
bored with the repetitive action long before that.  This clearly hints at
replay value, but I feel that is a function of the complexity and skill
required for game play.  I got bored with Pipe during the demo, and never
bought it, because I felt no satisfaction in repeating the same actions over
and over, just to get a bigger number generated.

2. How hard is it to reach a goal in a game?  This, as indicated above, is
different to how hard it is to play a particular action in a game.  If a
game is designed such that there are a lot of highly complex and taxing
operations to go through, in order to play the game, yet once mastered, it
doesn't take much to reach the specified goals, then some would see that as
being unchallenging.  However, for those who physically struggle with the
actual game play, it can seem very difficult indeed.  Take Lone Wolf as an
example.  Once you have understood the mechanics of the game, and have
mastered the operation of the sub, then the challenge is not whether you can
drive the sub, but whether you can achieve the goals set out in the various
missions.  For several people, mission 1 is extremely easy, because they
hardly need to think about how to operate the sub.  But for new players, or
those with less developed multi-tasking skills, it seems quite a challenge,
as they are having to manage the fundamental controls before even
considering the goal of the mission.

There are certainly players on this list who clearly excel at each of these
two areas.  Some people are just naturally dextrous or co-ordinated, and
thus are able to pick up the techniques for play very quickly.  In those
cases, they can sooner concentrate on the actual goals, and reach the
milestones given the motivation.  Other people, regardless of how quickly
they may learn the actual controls, are extremely persistent, even obsessive
in some cases, and will continue playing a game over and over, simply
racking up higher scores as a competition with themselves as much as
anything.

We each want different things from games.  I, as indicated above, don't want
a game that rapidly becomes repetitive.  I tried things like Troopanum and
Aliens in the Outback.  I tired of the action long before I achieved any
high scores.  Monkey Business and GMA Tank Commander kept me interested for
longer, as the variety of activity required to get through the game was
sufficient for me to want to continue, and find out what new aspects appear
in later levels.  However, once I'd finished them, I basically put them
aside, as they had been done and dusted.  Sure, there are random elements
that could make each play slightly different.  But the second time through,
I know fundamentally what to expect, so don't feel so motivated any more.

A game which can raise the bar in either or both of the key areas will
satisfy different people's abilities and preferences.  If it increases the
difficulty of both aspects, some may feel the game is too hard to play, let
alone finish.  Others, evidently, would find it more of a challenge, and
thus more satisfying.

I suppose it comes down to whether what you enjoy is playing the game, or
finishing the game.  That's slightly over-simplifying it, but you get the
point.

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one notice and one point for discussion

*Note* This was taken sort of mid discussion about a game recently released
from Kitchens Inc.  Similar to bopit, the file is called Winspank,an adult
oriented game.  The title should give a reasonable idea about the content.

This kind of thing does demonstrate why there is benefit in a rating system.
Not in order to censor output, or in any way prevent people from being
subjected to what any one among us may find objectionable.  But purely as a
means of allowing people to make informed choices as to whether they wish to
try a particular product or not.  If there is a particular rating that
suggests the content is not to a person's liking, they can cheerfully avoid
it, and not have their sensibilities, or integrity offended.  It also,
naturally, will help those who are specifically looking for such material to
find it.  That may or may not be considered a good thing, depending on which
side of the moral fence being discussed one happens to be sitting. <smile>

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The gender thing

Admittedly, I'm a baby as far as gaming goes.
But I noticed something rather interesting.
When I first came upon accessible game sites, I thought I'd struck oil--and
I had. Thanks to talented and imaginative, not to mention dedicated people,
blind people can role play, shoot 'em up, fight monsters and explore the
galaxy or eat dots and flee from ghosts as Pacman.
Then when we've fought monsters, shot the bad guy and won at gaming tables,
we can tease our brains with word puzzles like Hangman, play a few rounds of
golf or tennis or baseball.
And now with realistic audio, we can feel that we're right there. I was
quite surprised at the rush of adrenaline when I first heard a monster
coming at
me in "Shades of Doom"--alot different from the days of the old text
adventure game, and a message from Jaws's flat voice saying, "The monster
ate you.
You are dead."
And oh, what a treasure trove of audio games for the blind. Hmm. Another
interesting thing. The western game I want for Christmas is written with a
male
character, and so is the very fascinating Chillingham story.
I was also delighted to join email lists for blind gamers. Being a "baby in
the business", I needed--and still need--all the help I can get.
One thing puzzled me, though. Most of the people on the lists were men. Hey,
I like men fine, but I couldn't help noticing the high proportion of men
over
women. There were a couple of women, but not many.
Then we had a chat on For-The-People. I enjoyed it. And I was the only girl.
It got me to wondering. Why? Could it be that the majority of game
activities are more appealing to the male?
I went in search of demographics on the web. How many women actually play
games.
I found the game girlz site, subtitled "Games from a girlz perspective."
Woo-hoo! Now I'd find some games with a warmer feel, no violence, maybe a
nice story to interact with.
What did I find? Lady gamers who play 1st person shooters, playing the
character of a man who kicks monster butt--and thoroughly enjoying
themselves. No
problem there. A little butt kicking never hurt anyone, especially on the
PC.
Women have testosterone in their systems too, don't you know. And that was
evident in some of the names on the sites: geekstresses, gamer bitches--you
get
the drift.  No warm fuzzies here.
My little girl has some very nice games--Beauty and the Beast, and Pet Shop
Secret, where the player gets to own their own petshop. In the game, the
player
selects the pets, feeds and cares for them, and you leave the game with a
warm feeling. At least, my little girl does. I would too, if the game were
accessible.  Too bad I'm not five years old, and sighted.
I realize social trends have changed. No longer do women have to wear frilly
skirts and be chief cook and bottle washer if they don't want to. We have
careers and if we have to, we can kick ass as well as the next one--in real
life and in a game.
Still, I think the whole game demographics is lopsided, and I doubt that's
an accident. I truly hope that game developers in general, and accessible
game
developers in particular, will produce a few games that appeal to a more
traditionally feminine nature.  Heck, right now, I'd even be happy with a
facility for telling the game whether you are male or female. In Bavisoft's
Western Extravaganza, for example, why couldn't I be a cowgirl, and still
help the marshal catch the bad guys? must all the characters be male?
I enjoy Pacman, but can hardly wait for Ms. Pacman to come out. An
accessible "Nancy Drew" might be nice, too.
Here's hoping for a few games for the girlish at heart.

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Warring Factions:an update part II

Welcome to Warring Factions. Another space sim game that has been found on
the Internet that is very accessible for blind people to play. Please note,
that it wasn't me who found this game, so I have no credit to finding this
game. Unfortunately I cannot remember who you are, but I will say that you
have found one of the best internet games I have ever played and I thank you
for sharing this game on the blindgamers list.

Warring Factions is a civilization or Alpha Centaury type game. You start
off with a small colony of 10000 people, very basic technology, basic ships
and 20000000 credits. 20000000! You say, but you end up spending quite a bit
of that at first. There is a lot to do in this game, especially when setting
up any new colony.

Choose your faction, whether you wish to be part of the Commonwealth, the
Alliance, Unitology, or The Association. Choose wisely, whilst it doesn't
give you any game points, it could prove interesting for you. As the game
title suggests, the 4 factions are at war! But recently agreements have been
reached and there is an uneasy piece at the moment. So find the faction that
suits you and go with them. Information on each of the factions is below.
Note, the below faction information has been taken directly from the game
with the permission of the game creator.

The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is a group of traders that seek only to increase their own
wealth. They are generally peaceful, however, if their systems are
threatened,
They have considerable resources to draw upon and should not be taken
lightly.

The Alliance

The Alliance is a loosely associated band of mercenaries that come together
only when their homes are threatened. Generally, they are bloodthirsty,
untrustworthy,
But their loyalty can be bought for a price. Internal power struggles are
common.

The Association

The Association is a peaceful group, dedicating their lives to furthering
research and their citizen's lives throughout their systems. They will fight
only
When threatened, and prefer avoidance to conflict. When they do fight,
however, they usually bring all of their considerable force to bear.

The Unitology

The Unitology is a rebellious religious sect who gained their foothold after
betraying the Associating and plundering the Shelter Defense Legion's
homeworld.
Believing that the endtimes are near, they declared their intent to purge
the universe of unbelievers and bring down the corrupt SDL. To attain their
goals
they will use whatever means necessary and are viewed by other factions as
terrorists without morals.

Unlike the other three factions, they do not have any form of government, as
they all work together towards their common goal and belief. Due to their
hatred
for the SDL, their home world is not under SDL protection. They are,
however, being assisted in guarding their home system by what it is believed
to be
the alien race inciting their hostile views. It is rumored that the
guardians will destroy everyone who strays from the path.

(!! THIS FACTION IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS !!)

The Outcast

 The Outcast describe rulers banned from their former factions for crimes or
similar reasons. They have little in common on an individual level and have
no common goals. However, fragile alliances exist among some of them for the
protection of the pack.

Note, you cannot become a member of the Outcast unless you have been booted
from your faction. The 3 main factions, all have a president and a group of
advisors. As a member of a faction, you are able to vote for anybody who is
running for faction leadership. The person with the most votes will be the
president. The 3 runners up will be advisers to the president. Soon, it will
be possible for the faction governments to bannish members from their
faction. This has to be a eunanimus vote. This is the only way you will ever
become part of the outcast.

It should be noted, that with in each of the factions, various empires
exist. I can certainly speak for the Commonwealth and say that the empires
in that faction work collectively to benefit the faction as a collective
whole.

Features of the game:

1. Gather resources to turn into technology, including food to sell to your
colonists.
It's advisable to sell food to your people that are made by your farms,
because that generates more income. In addition, you can sell any access
resources on the IGTA. The IGTA (Inter Galactic Trading Association,) runs
the Global Trading Markets.

2. Researching your own technology.
Use your own research formulas to see what results you can get and then
refine them
to gain better technology.
Therefore, the more you invest in your budget, the better quality of result
you are likely to achieve.
You can research any technology, including technology combinations; i.e.
various ship combinations, mines or any other device.

3. Set your science priorities.
It is possible to focus your scientific research in particular areas,
whether you wish to research more methods of production, processing or
weapons technology.
Otherwise, you may have it set equally, so that all your priorities are set
roughly the same, and then the increase is right across the board.

The various options you have here are as follows:
A. Ingenuity. This is for intelligence. You can't build with this, it's
simply so that your scientists can gain more intelligence and be more
skilled with their designs.
B. Agriculture. Research for better farms.
C. Mining. Better mines.
D. Processing. This deals with the processing of raw materials.
E. Production. You have to know how to build something before you can build
it.
F. Chemics. Good for ship armor and also complements weapons.
G. Physics. Helps with ship drives and shield generators and other matters
concerning space travel.
H. Medical. You'll need this for hospitals, or to make cabins on the Colony
Transports more bearable.
I. Weapons. Need more batteries on your destroyers? Or single barrel guns or
cannons to go on your other ships? Or do you need those ground defenses?
Here is where you find them!
J. Drives. Need small vessel drives for your fighters, Capital ship drives
for your transport and Military capital ships? Or big Antimatter drives for
massively armed Warp Spheres?  Focus your research on here!
K. Construction. This is for various buildings across the board, it also
deals with ship Hulls which include: Fighter, Transport, Colony, Bomber,
Battleship, Probe, Destroyer, Space Station, Corvette, Carrier and high
density spheres.

4. Design your own ships. Once you have a blueprint for a particular type of
ship hull, you then have to design the specifications that you want this
ship to have. Including various weapons, engines, shields and armor. Each
hull can take up to a certain weight. Any engine, shield, weapon or armor
type also will be a given weight as well, so when you design your ship, you
need to take this into consideration. For example, there's no point in you
designing a fighter craft, that has a very powerful but very heavy weapon
mounted on it, but hardly any shields, armor and a small engine. You have to
find a good combination. For example, if you find that a shield is to heavy
to mount on a fighter, then give it more armor because that means more
protection.

5. Trading. Either trade on the global trading markets, or trade your
resources at player owned trading outposts. I'll go a little more into
detail on this. You can build transport ships, load them with cargo and
transport your cargo either to another player to sell, or to one of the
planets where you can access the Global Trading Markets. The GTM' is very
much supply and demand driven. It is possible to control the markets and
even to crash the markets. If there is a market crash and there has been
recently, then the repercussions are felt throughout the game. All colonies
are affected, population growth is also affected. It adds quite a bit of
realism to the game in as much as, if there is a great deal of food for
example and that is all bought, then the price of food on your colonies will
also increase. But if there is all of a sudden a massive deposit of food on
to the market, then your income can and will crash and it can cause
populations to leave and go elsewhere witch also isn't good for any colony.
Unfortunately, the IGTA will not serve planets with a collective population
of less than 500000. If you have a colony on such a planet and that planet
is abundant with resources, then the best thing to do is to build transports
and transport your goods to a planet where the Global Trading Markets are
present. Alternatively, you can
strike up a deal with another player or large empire and gain regular
profits that way.

6. Buy and sell blueprints or ships. Buy and sell your blueprints and ships
on the blueprint or ship markets. The Ship Markets are planet specific. The
Blueprint markets are faction specific. So, for example, if you belong to
the Commonwealth, you won't see any blueprints that have been sold on the
Association markets. Although a point to note, there is a blueprints forum,
where you can advertise to other factions. Blueprints are organized as
follows:

A. Resources. Mines, farms, wells and drilling rigs.
B. Institutions. Entertainment Facilities, Schools, hospitals, Police
Stations and Research Labs and now teraformers. Yes, you can now teraform
planets. But these devices are ridiculously expensive and you really don't
want to spend money on one of these, unless you are absolutely serious about
colonizing somewhere. We also have Imperial Administration Offices to help
tackle the corruption problems you get in any colony.
C. Ship Hulls. Fighter, Bomber, Battleship, Carrier, Destroyer, Space
Station, Corvette, Transport, Colony, Probe and Spheres.
D. Weapons. Single Barrel guns, Cannons and Batteries.
E. Armor. Armored plating and Energy Shields.
F. Ship Drives. Small Vessel drives, for fighters, Probes and Bombers,
Capital ship drives for Transports and military ships and antimatter drives
for the larger spheres.
G. Defenses. Anti-Assault Batteries and Ground to air Missile
Launchers.

Note, from time to time, it's wise to clean your blueprints out. You can
delete the old blueprints in favor of newer prints. A point to note with
regards to selling prints on the markets, if you sell a print that isn't
yours, then you might make the original creator of that print angry and they
might come after you. In the outer reaches, there is nothing to protect you.

In addition, you can also name your prints and ships. This adds the personal
touch to anything you have researched or designed. Who says you can't have a
fleet of Imperial Superstar Destroyers! Or Borg Cubes!!! "Resistance is
Futile!!!"

7. Colony management. Name your Colony! Set the government, laws, wages and
taxes of each of your colonies. Some planets aren't as habitable as others,
as a result, your colonists may bee unhappy. They might also get ill,
because of the inhabitability of the planet. So you will need to do
something about that. Construct hospitals, amusement parks in order to bring
the happiness up. Global economy can also affect greatly the happiness of
the populous. If there is a market crash for example as talked about above,
that can greatly affect population happiness. Whilst we are hear, I'll talk
about some of the other building types you can construct. These include:

A. Mines, Including Iron, Copper, Silver and gold, Titanium, Uranium and
Platinum.
B. Drilling Rigs for oil.
C. Farms and Wells for food and water.
D. Schools. These make your population more intelligent and the greater
number of people you have that are over qualified, the better. It's good for
the economy, and it also allows for colony growth.
E. Hospitals. Self-explanatory.
F. Police Stations. Well someone has to keep you criminals in order!
G. Research Facilities. These are what you use to research various
technologies. The more you own, the larger the project you can undertake.
Also, if you have research facilities that run at a better rate of
efficiency, there's an increasingly good chance of you being able to
research with much better results.
H. Imperial administration offices. These again are ridiculously expensive.
These are here to help to combat the corruptive element that always exists,
especially in the larger colonies. When you have a percentage of corruption,
you lose a degree of your income. At first the losses are very small but
over time this can increase significantly. It's colony and population
driven. The Imperial Admin Offices are there to help decrees the corruption.
I. Terrorformers. These will change over time, the atmosphere and temprature
of a planet. But these devices are ridiculously expencive. It is advisable
to only undertake such a project only if you are either in a group of
people, so you make it an empire or faction wide project, or unless you are
so rediculously rich as to be able to afford one yourself. 
J. Ground defenses. Keep those pesky enemies away with a nasty array of
Anti-Assault Batteries or Ground to Air Missile Launchers.

8. Star log. Receive messages when your construction order is complete. Get
messages if someone has sent you money, or a message, or blueprints.

9. Star log Pager. This is excellent. If a message comes through and you
have the pager active, then it will let you know, no matter where you are.
Even if you have come out of the game and gone to another site. Keep the
pager open and always stay in touch with the game.

10. Sending in-game private messages. This proves very useful if you are
making secret deals or sharing blueprints. Or you can send empire wide
Private Messages so all in your empire can gain from your wisdom.
In addition to sending a message, you can also send people requests to ally
yourself with them, you can declare war, piece or set them to nutral status.

10 A. In addition to the above, you can also view the various diplomatic
relations you have with the various players you have come across. Any allies
that you have, you will also be able to see if they are online or not. This
can be useful for obvious reasons.

11. Sending money. This is good for trading purposes. If you've sent a
transport ship full of resources to another player to trade with them, they
will then send you the desired amount agreed upon.

12. Sending blueprints or complete inventory tech disclosures. Can bee
useful if you wish to help out another player or to ensure that the empire
that you belong to, is fully up-to-date when it comes to technology. Note,
make certain you have cleared all the useless prints out of your arsenal, or
you won't be the number 1 person on the recipients list. Nobody wants
useless prints!

13. Various forums. Including an announcements forum, general chat,
questions and answers and development. There are also faction and empire
specific forums as well.

14. The ability to start and or join an empire. Why not work together with a
group of people with in your faction for a common goal. Or, have a cross
faction empire. But other members of your faction might not look upon these
empires favorably. By that, trust is an absolute. It might be considered
that someone is working with in the faction to pass on sensitive information
to an enemy faction. These empires should be considered with a great deal of
care.

15. Starting new fleets. Select a flagship and start a new fleet. You want a
fighter wing, defensive groups or invasion forces, this is where you can do
it. Also make your fighters dock with large carrier ships and transport them
from 1 star system to another.

16. Navigating your fleet. Send your fleet to various star systems and
planets. Select your mission type including transport, colonize, assault,
conquer and more. Do scans of your local surroundings to see what's around
you. You might have an enemy fleet near you, or you might need to send your
current fleet on a supporting mission to give support to another fleet. Set
your fleet stance and orders. Whether you wish your fleet to act
defensively, whether you wish to attack your enemies on route, answer
distress calls from either faction members, neutrals or friends, or answer
support calls from faction members, neutrals or friends.

17. Friend/foe designation. Set players as friend, neutral or foe. This is
useful in various situations including your fleet settings and of course, in
case an enemy pays a visit to your colony. See 10 A for more information.

18. Exploration. You need to know what's around you. Explore different star
systems with probes. Send them out on exploration missions. Useful for
looking for new colonies or spying on your enemies. When scouting for new
colonies, it's important that you take note of the properties present on any
planet you visit. Some planets have poor habbitability  but good resources,
but others have poorer resources but very high degrees of habbitability.
There isn't a hard and fast rule here.

18 A. Known Universe. See all the planets and starsystems that you have
explored. This is useful if you want to send a fleet to a planet with out
having to look it up again on the starmap.

19. Command Overview. Here you can view your colonies, research projects,
ship construction, fleets and other information including if there's any
battles taking place. If there are battles taking place then view the battle
log to see who the participants were and who prevailed.

20. Star maps. There is a visual star map and now, thanks to making the
developer aware and various tests run, there is now a fully accessible text
version of the star map. Use the star map to see the distances between the
various star systems. This is important, as each ship or fleet has a range.
Use the star map to point a fleet towards a particular star system and send
it there. Note, the universe is to large to display on 1 map, so you have
the ability to focus the map in a particular area. The universe is
completely 3 dimentional.

21. Good game community. This includes people helping out newbies who are
completely lost, and the Warring Factions Radio. Listen to the radio whilst
playing the game, make requests for songs to be played on the Warring
Factions Radio forum. Advertise your trading outposts on the radio also.

22. Naming systems, planets and planet graphics. That's right folks, you can
name any star system that you have explored but haven't yet been named. This
is done with system, planet or upload credits. At present, you can get these
in 2 ways. Firstly, you accumulate either system or planet naming credits
from time to time. Or, you can purchase them. When it comes to graphic
uploading credits, you have to purchase those. All the uploading graphic
credits do, is when again, you've explored another planet, you can design
your own planet picture and upload it and others will see your graphic. Any
graphics that you have created and uploaded will have your in-game name next
to them.
 
Warring Factions is the ultimate in Micromanagement. There's always plenty
to be getting on with. It's a persistent game, meaning that it's never
ending. You can always do more exploration whilst you are weighting for your
research projects to finish, or construction orders to be completed. In all,
there are over 200000 star systems and over 1000000 planets to be explored.
So there's always information gathering to be done.

It does cost you to play this game however. A mere $10 gives you a full
account. Although it is wise to explore the game first with your trial
account to find out first if you like it. Your trial account lasts for 14
days, so it's ample time to discover whether you like the game or not. It
didn't even take me a week to decide. Although getting used to the game and
how it works might take extra time, in that there's a great deal to it. But
as with all things, that comes with time. $10 isn't much admittedly, but if
it turns out that you don't like the game, then that $10 isn't worth
spending. You will require a Paypal account in order to pay your $10. Go to
www.paypal.com to pay for the game. Unfortunately, if you'd don't have an
account and you are creating one, they do have these pathetic imbedded
images that look fancy but are of no help to screen readers at all. Whilst
there is an audio file that speaks the numbers you have to type in, I
personally didn't find the speech that clear so you might require sighted
assistants to set this up. Unfortunately, this is the only way to pay for
the game. It would be beneficial if there were another way for this to be
done. If you have a paypal account, then naturally there is no problem. Just
make the payment as per normal.

In order to play the game, you need to go to
http://www.war-facts.com/index.php?p=2272. It's definitely worth a look.
The game is brilliant fun and it's full of strategy. It's not like your
other types of games that are linear, you really do have quite a range of
things to do and the one thing that it has over other games, is that the
research tree isn't linear either. It depends on your formulas and to some
degree, probability as well. But the tec tree is completely open. So you can
research any technology and you can get better versions of the same
technology. For example, 1 farm might require 5 workers and work at 120%
efficiency where as you might get a farm with better research, that has 9
workers but be over 300% efficient. As I said before, it does depend on
probability to some degree, but it also depends very much on the formula
that you use.

This game is for anybody who likes total freedom of scope over that of other
games where you get a limited playing style

+++
Arctic Adventures, Sunday Night Dungeons and Dragons.
By Phil Vlasak

The Dungeons and Dragons adventure is still in the public Gamer's room on
Audio-Tips Sunday night at nine o'clock Eastern time.
Audio-Tips is at:
www.audio-tips.com

Audio-tips uses the iVocalize software for voice chats.
If you haven't been to Audio Tips in a while, you may need to register and
download this voice chat program.
Game play has been made easier by using David Greenwood's new GMA Dice
program that can be obtained in the Free section of his web site,
www.gmagames.com

This story contains graphic descriptions of violence. It therefore may not
be suitable for younger readers.

Our current quest is to travel forth from staven, a city in the far north,
to Odiferous, confront the evil mind controlling one-eyed Maluur and recover
the Most Sacred Crock of Cheese.

List of characters:
Shem al Adeen Holy Warrior of Varice, God of the Sun.
Alysten Elf Priestess of Laurent, Deity of Luck and Good Fortune Chalk
Casselwort gnome Priest of Sedric, God of the Heavens and Travelers
Gabriella and Nightshade Elf sisters, Magic User and Thief Mace Knighthammer
Magic User/ fighter Molbo Patriarch of Perasin, God of War Nevyn Elf Priest
of Helandra, goddess of knowledge and secrets.
Hitomi Reju Samurai Fighter, Priest of Helandra, the goddess of knowledge
and secrets.
SpringRight Elf fighter

Recap:

chalk goes to temple will pay 225 gold for rental of helm of mind block.
He returns to the merchant who will send the finished helm  to staven temple
of sedric The group shops for fur coats.
25 gp per lot
1 gold 8 silver each.
Chalk purchases a high quality basonette helmet for 20 gp and takes it to
the magic helm maker.
The group arrives back at the Red Dragon Inn and mind block helms arrive for
mace,  Reju and SpringRight

They pay20 gP each for the teleport to Staven, 15 for themselves and 5 for
each mount.

During the RDI teleport, they hear voices but don't understand them.
The group ignore the voices and continue through.
They tell the barkeep at Staven about the voices and he says he will look
into it.
He reminds them that the time difference will make the group tired the first
day, so they should stay and rest up.
It is 1 gp per day for room and board at the RDI.
Shem chalk Nevyn Reju and maybe SpringRight travel to temple of Sedric for
free room and board.
first day
The group purchase a 10 person tent that will allow fire at night.
3 gold 3 silver 3 copper each.

The next day, A messenger delivers the gnome helm.
The messenger did not hear the voices.

Walking through the RDI passage, hearing the indistinct voices, Chargechalk
thinks, Hmm, I wonder if my dad is trying out a new advertising gimmick for
his chalk company.
Nah, if he knew about these passages he would have told me.

The innkeeper: I've discovered what the voices were.
It hasn't happened often, but, it's known that when such a sound is heard in
the passage, it means that somehow the passage is being watched, so somebody
knows you've come to Staven.
I don't know who it is though.

Molbo: Spying is cowardly. Only enemies do such cowardly things. The only
enemies I know of are the skinny grey things, the evil priests that wear
black and red and the one-eyed things. If the enemy can spy on us, they must
have very powerful magic indeed.
The innkeep says not many know of the way we travelled. Only really smart
enemies must know about it.
I cannot pick which one it is,
but they all must be destroyed.
They are all evil and that is all that matters to me.

Chalk: I wonder if these new helmets give off some special magic that those
giant one eyed wonders can detect?
I was hoping we could sneak up on them!
Now, if that was those Maluur creatures, they will know we're coming.

Shem: If that was the case, the messenger would have heard the voices as
well.
Shem turning to the innkeep, The messenger that delivered the gnome's helm
did not mention the same strangeness, did he?

Inkeeper: No, he did not.

Mace: "I'm not very experienced with traveling in this manor."
 "what power would someone need to eavesdrop in between the Red
Dragon Inn's passages?"

Innkeeper: They would have to be able to travel ethereally, and would also
have to have knowledge of where the passage is and some kind of scrying
device.
We can move the passage to a different place, but that takes mighty magic.

Mace: sounds like it takes mighty magic to do what they have done

Reju:  I would agree that our enemies obviously have a lot more power
available to them then we thought.
It makes me think that perhaps there might be someone more powerful then the
Maluur.
Either that or the Maluur
have more abilities then just thought attacks.
It looks like we will need to be on our guard at all times as we travel.  I
would also suggest that we have a person with a helm on guard through out
the night.
Which means that
the three of us will have to take extra hours on our shifts?
Reju looks at Mace and SpringRight
"Are you guys up to the challenge?"

Mace says "ah that reminds me"
and he gestures to night shade Gabriella and Alysten to follow him to a
quiet part of the inn where he cannot be over heard or seen clearly "I have
something that you my friends"
and he looks at night shade and
Gabriella "and you also" and he looks at Alysten "may need in the coming
days."
Mace then digs in his pack and pulls out an expensive looking bag and pulls
out three silver circles each with a purple stone in the center
Mace: "these are circles that you will put on your heads like head bans."
"They have the same magical properties as with the helms.
They will have to be returned so try not to damage them."
Mace says with a rare smile
"now lets return to the rest of the group- before we draw anymore unwanted
attention to ourselves."
mace will then walk back to Reju and let him know that he has given the
elven ladies the head bands "we now have more than three to stand watches so
that we don't over burden ourselves."

Reju looks at Chock "Ah my friend even if we could have snug up on them, it
is better and more honorable to face our enemies directly.
Plus if we have a person on guard
at all times with a helm on.  We will not be completely at a disadvantage
when they attack.
We must be strong and brave
as we prepare to confront these evil beasts."

Mace: *explicative* I rather not risk my hide and do a stealthy kill! Honor
don't me *explicative* when you're dead.  The only good enemy is a dead one!

Reju: Ah but obviously we've lost the element of surprise.  So we might as
well confront them directly.

Molbo: We will not face them directly. They took the Most Sacred Crock of
Cheese and have gone into hiding. They are cowards! They will not show their
faces to fight. They will send flimsy minions to fight for them. That is the
way with cowards. But, no matter what enemy it is, we will beat it down and
return the Most Sacred Crock of Cheese to Prince Uncouthma so he can restore
peace to my people. In battles past, cowards have made the mistake of
thinking their enemies were not strong and that lets the good side win. Do
you think the one-eyed ones will do this? I will stay alert no matter what
time it is. I will stand guard and fight to protect my friends no matter who
the enemy is.

Reju looks at Molbo with a smile on his face "I agree whole heartily my
friend.  If these cowards and dishonorable filth decide to throw their
underlings at us.  I will take them on, and defeat every one of them.  All
the way until I get to drive my katana through their chests, and retrieve
your holy item.  The acts of these monsters with out honor disgusts me, and
they must be dealt with.  I appreciate your willingness to stay alert.  It
looks like we'll have plenty with protection to cover the watches." With
that last statement he looks at Mace and the other three women with the
circlets.  "
So as we travel we can have mace and Alysten first watch, SpringRight and
nightshade second watch, Reju and Gabriella on third watch and Molbo with
Shem on fourth watch."

Nevyn: Fools!  How dare we even think about killing them when we know
*nothing* about them!  We cannot expect to win a battle *especially* when it
is on their terms.
Reju, I'm half tempted to tell you that volcano to the (John fill in active
volcano in the area) is your enemy; I'm too afraid you'd believe me and jump
in!

Think ART of War.  Think about information, and the advantage of surprise.
Think about attacking the enemy's weakness (we still don't know that!).
I'll let Shem speak up to see if he agrees.  I know Mace does.  And I'm sure
Molbo will go along with the best laid plan.

I'm sure that Shem will agree with the fact that our mission is to retrieve
the cheese log thing.  So presumably, we all win if we don't meet a single
Maluur and get this cracker barrel thing home.

That is the path I am for.  Not meeting a single Maluur.  I have no idea if
the Maluur can travel the ethereal, or if they live there.  It seems like
they might employ *friends* to do the watching for them.  Friends who can't
keep their mouths shut.

If, as the very smart and handsome Chalk has suggested, the Maluur know that
we are here then we don't want to head in a straight line for our
destinations.
Including Odiferous.  We should travel some ways to the east or west before
turning south towards Odiferous.

Meanwhile, a mental exercise might come in handy for killing time on our
haul.  Our wise friend Molbo has brought up a puzzle, and it would not do if
we were to burden him with having to find the answer.  Who knew that we were
coming through the RDI?

Don't forget to consider that the listeners might have been listening for
someone else.  Or perhaps they were set to listen for *anyone* who were
wearing the helmets.  In this case perhaps the bright thing to do would be
to take them off while we are scouting and retrieving the cheese doodle.
Leave them in town.  The Maluur or their friends might be fooled by this
party of non helmeted fools.  Or we could go backwards through the RDI gate
with the helmets and simply leave them behind.  The spies might report that
the helmeted party has returned.

Lastly, Might I suggest going back through the RDI gate and seeing if the
creatures are there?  They might have seen what they were meant to see and
have split.
GN out of character, is it possible that someone could have done this back
in starving-ville?  kind of a hind site thing?).

Mace: Hmmm, you make some valid points.  I wonder if there are any
intelligence networks in place that I can take advantage of.  Our enemies
seem to have the upper hand in this regard.

Reju: So it would seem that it is not the magic of the helms that have
attracted the attention of the Maluur.  But more then likely they have heard
of us from another source.  Either that or it may be someone all together
that we don't know about.  At this point the only action I think we can take
is to travel forth to Odiferous, confront the Maluur to get the crock of
cheese and make sure that the guard is set properly.  I think worrying about
a magic or power that none of us can understand right now is not going to
help our mission at all.
Reju will turn to the inn keep and ask,
"From what we have seen this is a moderately small town.  would there be
anyone that would have more information on the Maluur or powers of the mind
in general?"

Innkeeper: I doubt anyone here would know much of these creatures. You could
try to ask Alexandra, but she's hard to find sometimes. She's a druid of the
tundra, and doesn't really have a set home.

Reju: Ah it is unfortunate that Woodlock is not around any more.  Is there
any way we might get a message to Alexandra so she can find us?

Innkeeper: I don't think so. She's very private -- when she shows up, that's
when she shows up.

Chalk looks at Nevyn, shakes his head then turns to Reju and says, My tall
friend, I too have a mind blocking helm but Nevyn asking about the
weaknesses of the Maluur, we do know one.  They are vulnerable to fire.
In helping the group with that, I purchased two fire arrows that were made,
I think, specifically for this type of enemy.
I know that you examined them too, but found them too expensive.
I used the 100 gold left from Feona that was delivered to my temple to buy
them.

Since they are one use weapons, it would be prudent to give them either to
the best bow handler or to the two best.
I have read Thesgna's diary of your exploits, Reju, Mace and SpringRight,
but I know little of the rest of you. We should take a little time here in
the RDI to talk about our group's strengths and weaknesses.
Being a priest, my bow handling skills are not up to you fighters, for
example.
But I have a quantity of a substance that would make fighting such Maluur
safer and easier.  It is called Dust of Disappearance, that can make beings
invisible for a short period of time.  Hopefully time enough for a battle.
Unlike a spell or ring the dust is of a limited supply so should be used
wisely.
 But the dust powers do not disappear when you are attacking an
enemy.

What this means, is that the one or two bow handlers that I give the arrows
of fire to, should also be willing to be invisible, so that they can get
close enough to these Maluur to guarantee a crucial hit.
I do not wish to confront these Maluur, but if we do, some of us without
protection, may be forced to attack the others of us that have the helms of
mind blocking.
But if the protected ones of our party are invisible, then how could they be
attacked?
Well, come to think of it, some of us could be detected by odor alone, or
others by the noise of their armor. But these two elements would not
pinpoint a person as visibility does.

As far as I understand, the only ones without protection from mind control
are Shem, Molbo and Nevyn, is that true?

mace looks thoughtful "that dust will come in handy" "but with arrows it is
still not a guarantee to hit."
"spring rite I've seen your skills and you aren't bad what do you think?"

SpringRight: In all modesty, yes, I am quite proficient at the bow.  Among
my Young Elven warriors in training, I was one of the best.  I was the only
one who had mastered the double arrow shot. Mind you, in my age group there
was no one as good in the long sword as I. I am pretty good in the short
sword as well.

One thing that our company is unaware of is my skill with the dagger.  I am
proficient with the hand held and thrown dagger fighting styles.  Matter of
fact, I studied juggling so that i could handle daggers more proficiently.
I have been known to avoid daggers thrown at me, by catching them out of mid
air. I like to wear my gloves when I do this though. *smile*

Talking about my gloves, I inherited a pair of magical gauntlets from an
uncle who has hung up his sword. Not only can I hit harder, but they improve
my chance of hitting my target. They don't seem to help with the bow, but
they certainly do for the swords and daggers.

Spring Rite looks around to make sure that the Elven women overheard his
recited inventory of skills.

Reju smiles at Chalk "Ah yes my friend a discussion of our different
strengths is a great idea.  As Thesgna's journal stated I am an expert with
both the katana and the daikyu.  I'm also an expert in the art of warfare,
and have served under some of the greatest generals in my land.  My tattoo
also conveys to me the ability to detect lies, and the ability to detect
invisibility.  Finally I have a stone that gives me minor healing abilities,
and I'm an expert in fighting with minimal or no light."

Mace: Well I am skilled at the job at hand.

Shem: Perhaps introductions are finally in order.  As you know, I am Shem al
Adeen, Myrikhan of Varice, God of the Sun.  I bring a host of capabilities
to our endeavors, first among which is Varice's blessing.  But second is the
blade that I carry.  (Looking around at the inn) Perhaps now is not the time
for its unveiling.  We mustn't disturb good civilized people with the
dirtiness of war.  I think, though, that it will be a great help for what we
strive against.  Varice's cleansing heat will purify the world of this evil,
and return the balance.

Molbo: I like knowing what my friends can do in battle. Excellent idea,
short one! You know that I like to smash and bash with that big ax that
hangs on Edam's side. I also have the might of Perasin to guide me in
battle. I can pray for things to help in battle and after the battle is
over.

(looks at Nevyn) I have never heard you speak of thinking before a battle
before.  You always hide or fall down during battles.
You should be sneaky, Nevyn.
You should make sure we do not fall into the enemy's traps.
The one-eyed things do not know this area nearly as well as my people do.
We have the advantage here, not them.
If we want to discuss strategies and thinking, we should talk to General
Gouda.
He knows how to plan battles and I think you, Shem and you, Reju will have
much to talk about.

Alysten: Sorry, I have been trying to follow the conversation, but I need to
work all night grooming my feathers. I will try to respond late tonight or
tomorrow.

Chalk looks at SpringRight,
I think you are definitely qualified to receive one of these flaming arrows.
Chalk reviews the details the weapon maker told him:

These Magical sheaf arrows when fired, burst into flame, doing double damage
to the target, and even more damage to those vulnerable to fire like the
Maluur.

But be careful, as they set fire to all flammables within 3 feet of the
point of impact.

Chalk looks to Alysten, I know you detest fire, but would it be so bad to
attack the Maluur with fire before you use your spells?
I would imagine they could do some extensive damage. sort of softening them
up for the kill, so to speak.

And Reju, though your honor may not allow you to use my dust, I think your
skill with the bow would give us the best chance to hit the Maluur with the
other arrow.

I could also help the arrow shooters with two Moment spells.
If you can get near enough to the Maluur, and give me a round to pray for
each shot, I will concentrate then signal you when the "correct moment" has
come. You may then gain some additional success to where your arrows hit.

Mace turns to Alysten "do you have to see the fire to have the problem with
it?"
"I am not sure I understand how the fire effects you so that we can minimize
the damage to you."

Reju bows to Chalk "It would be an honor to use such precious items as the
arrow and the dust.
I'll keep that spell in mind before I use the arrow on the Maluur."

SpringRight: Ah, thank you Chalk. I pray that your confidence in my skills
will not be undeserved.
_
Chalk looks at the group and says,
I have prayed for two endure cold spells this morning to help get us through
this tundra area.

And I have an aid spell that can help one of you boost your health, which
might come in handy if we battle.
My fellow priest, Nevyn looks in most need of aid, but do you have your own
aid spell to help you?

Alysten after taking in all the various skills and items and such decides to
chime in.

My skills are as a bladesong fighter and wild mage.  I only fight with MY
broadsword, and have no interest in other weapons.  I fight for the glory of
Laurent, and live to serve him.

I am a skilled mage, however due to my unique properties, the magic it can
be a bit unpredictable.

I agree with Nevyn that we should have a plan. His other stuff is just
random ramblings. we should not just rush in and expect our new headgear to
protect us.  These guys are nasty, and we need to have all of our whits with
us.

WM: and maybe our dictionaries.  sorry) *

Alysten: Honor does nobody any good if they are too dead to do/have it.

Nevyn:

Nevyn:  Wow, I'm glad that I've had such a verbal effect on all of you.!

Nevyn: I am glad to see that people are actually discussing plans, and I'm
also glad to see that people have plans.  Perhaps I won't be dying so soon
after all.
(I chuckle sarcastically at that).

Reju, my friend, I may be a coward, but I bet you'd be one of the first to
admit that I have the greater incentive to stay alive, rather than those who
see nothing wrong with becoming wyrm food (pun intended) if it is done
bravely.  Or honorably.
(quickly and hopefully before Reju responds:) But I respect the planning
you've put into an attack of the Maluur.  I just wanted to make sure that we
use all the tactical advantages we can, at the expense perhaps of direct
confrontation.  And more importantly, avoid the Maluur if possible.

We don't know if the Maluur have the sacred crock of cheese; we just know
that they were seen in the area.
So perhaps it is possible not to have to confront them.  Or (looking at
Molbo), perhaps the smell of the toe cheese may cause them to neglect it and
place it somewhere we can get it without being seen.

"That would require us knowing the exact position of the sacred crock of
cheese.  Are you volunteering to scout out and see where the cheese might be
hidden?"

My point is that this is our mission as a group.  To find the poly-o string
cheese and return it.
However, if something requires a bit of stealth, I'm perfectly willing.

Would you be willing to leave them be if we can escape while doing so?

As for the east-west thing, you misrepresent my idea.  I'm not trying to
wander recklessly so that even we have a hard time finding us.  My intention
is that they would have to look for us, rather than just set up an ambush
along the well travelled corridor.  That way we have just as much of a
chance to surprise them, and if we get really fortunate (glances at
Alysten), we might only have to deal with a scout.

So I suggest that we approach Odiferous at a 30 degree angle.  That's from
the North by North-west or North by North-east direction
GN:  correct me if I am wrong about our orientation.

Reju: "Well that does make a bit more sense assuming that Molbo could find
us a path to approach Odiferous from the north by northwest instead of the
north by northeast."  With that Reju looks at Molbo "Is this possible to
your knowledge?"

Nevyn: As for the people who knew we were coming: is levi the only outsider
that we know about?  I trust the inkeepers to be discreet (after all, they
wouldn't need to spy from the ethereal).  Feona is one of us..   Basically
I'd like for everyone to make sure that
Levi was the only outsider that knew of our plans.  The other alternative is
that the council of churches in this alliance is compromised, and it might
be a good thing for them to know of the possibility.

Which brings up something else to look for:  We don't know if these helmets
work.  All we have is Levi's word.  So we should treat them as a *just in
case* item.  I only bring up the options with the helmets to remind everyone
that we simply don't know what these helmets bring to the table, good or
bad.

Chalk glancing at his map: We will  be heading south-by-southwest, hence
approaching Odiferous from the north-by-northeast.

Nevyn: Molbo, I pray to my god all the time that your god guides you in
battle..

(defensively), I hide strategically.  And I fall strategically, like when I
(and my dog) drew the attention and fire of several people on the walls of
the temple near agropthos.  Sigh, my brave little dog...

Chalk taps Nevyn on the shoulder,
Hem, hem, like I asked, what spells do you have to raise your health?
I would want to save my aid spell for a fighter because they may lose the
most health if we do battle.

Nevyn turns to answer Chalk,
No, I don't; Instead I have a hold person, and charm person, and a silence.
These are much more utilitarian until we know more specifically what we
need.
Having said that, your moment spell is an interesting one..  I might have to
look that up.
I have a couple of cures, and if we need it, a thought capture.  Every once
in a while that comes in very handy.

Mace: "Yes, I think that is possible falling  strategically.  I've done it
myself.
Mace looks at Reju and spring Rite
Reju chuckles "Ah yes my friend.  I definitely think it is possible."

Molbo: You must be sick, Nevyn. You do not think like this. You used to let
others do the thinking. Perhaps you are right and you god will let you live
longer. I want to get back the Most Sacred Crock of Cheese and I want to
find those who took it from us. If they are going to be cowards, then we may
not be able to fight them, but that is not our fault. We must find out who
did take it, though, as we will plan to make them pay for their crime even
if it takes a very long time. I with your help can make things right with
Odiferous and our fearless General Gouda can then make plans to destroy the
cheese-stealers. I will fight whatever gets in the way of finding the Crock,
though, no matter who it is.

Reju looks hard at Nevyn and chooses to ignore his previous comment "Well
friend while it may be possible to avoid the Maluur in this mission: If you
intend to be with us through out our journeys.  Then it is inevitable that
we are going to face the Maluur in the coming battle.  Since it is them who
are threatening the nexus."

Nevyn: I have no problem with confronting them at some point.  After all, I
too am an adventurer.  I know that we will develop the knowledge and skills
to defeat anyone eventually.  I just don't know if we can do that here, and
I'm happy with the experience that we'd get for simply
returning the chunk-o-cheddar.   An important goal in its own right.  I
think.

Nevyn: According  to an update by Chalk's GOD ;), we are heading south by
southwest.  So we could either
go west, and then go south, or go south until we can go west by south west,
or a little further so that we approach Odiferous from the east..  Molbo?

Chalk looks the group over, then examines Nevyn.
 From the looks of us, you probably need my health help more than anyone
else.
After all, I wouldn't want you to have to use all your healing spells on
yourself!  Which could be difficult if you were dead.
And I know this group has had a hard time keeping their healer alive in the
recent past.
Smiling at Alysten, I think the next time someone brews a sleeping potion,
they need to try it on themselves first!

I did ask you earlier, Alysten  if the rest of us confronted the Maluur,
could we attack them with fire weapons?
Would you be able to hold your spells until the fire burned out?

Mace: "Well  the helms I can vouch for.
Nixron has never crossed me so if he says they will work then they will work
so we can take that out of our equation now as for the Maluur I would like
to avoid as much contact with them as possible which would also limit our
dependence on the helms I just wish I had some one here that had battle
tested information on the Maluur

Nevyn: Same here.  Mace, I like your style.

To answer Chalk, I'll say that...  I don't do too much battle.  Any more.
I look for other ways to help, although I'll be jumping in every once in a
while when it can make sense.

The problem with the aid spell is bang for the buck.  Or lack there of.
It blesses you, and could either increase my health greatly, or just a
little.  In either case it might allow me to take one extra hit.  Since I
don't have the strength to stand toe to toe with people, it is *much* better
that I don't engage anyone period, and memorize spells that have more bang
for the buck.

That isn't to say that AID is a bad spell;  for a fighter it helps his
abilities to attack and increases his health enough so he can fight longer.

Better for me would be invisibility, or the ability to avoid being attacked,
or to get out of battle situations.

Here are the spells I would consider

1) Protection from evil, or protection from whatever these creatures detect
as.
Hmm, are psionics affected by this spell?
protecting us from mind control could be
     awesome.
2) Bless (I think Molbo would be all over that one).
3) Detect evil (or whatever these creatures alignments are)
4) Endure cold (although I'm hoping being bundled in furs is enough for me).
5) Sanctuary (allows someone to wander the battlefield without attacking).
6) Augury.  (If we know when to cast it, this can be great).
7) Chant
8) Dust devil
9) Produce flame.

So I will settle on

1) Protection from evil    (can be used on fighter in combat)
1) Sanctuary  (can be used on fighter just before combat)
1) Thought Capture
1) Cure light wounds (what a concept!)
2)  Charm person (there is one way to get people to like me; it might allow
a quick mission)
2)  Silence (usable for sneaking, or against spell casters)
2)  Dust devil.

Keep thinking of ideas; I'm sure I'll find some useful..

Chalks smiles and nods to Nevyn.
I had forgotten about that special power of the Protection From Evil spell!
It can create a magical barrier around you.
Any attempt to exercise mental control over you or to invade and take over
your mind would be  blocked.  That would mean those under this spell would
not need a mind blocking helm after all!

Hmm, I had dropped a bless spell for two endure cold spells this morning,
but your're right, the bless spell would be better if we are attacked.
I will get it back when we leave this cold tundra.
Plus the purchase of that heated tent means that only the perimeter guards
need some endurance to cold.

My Detect Evil spell works if I concentrate for a while but it reaches only
a short distance.
So it could be used if we see signs of the Maluur or other evil creatures,
but it would not be effective if we are traveling fast.

Didn't Feona or someone say that the Nexus increased the power of spells?

Shem: In the case that we decide to change our route, perhaps we will miss
the lake.  A change of a few degrees of travel would be sufficient to divert
us significantly over this many miles.

I agree, if we do not need to fight the one-eyed evil ones at this point it
would be beneficial.  Let us gain in strength and knowledge while we can.
As others have mentioned, it does not make sense to charge into battle
without intelligence.

Chalk thinks a moment then replies to Nevyn, You have a Silence spell
available?
That, in combination with my dust of disappearance, would make an armor
covered fighter both invisible and silent and their sword hits would also
make no noise, and so would the screams of the victims.

Very nasty!

Ah, the only way they could be detected is by smell.
So, maybe this would not be the best way to help the smellier ones of our
group.
Chalk glances in Molbo's direction to see if he was overheard.
Also to get the best results with the dust, and coat two or three people
with one packet, it would take a wile to apply so any surprise attacks on
our group would make the dust harder to use except for just one person.
So, if you see something large and angry heading towards our group, don't be
surprised if you see me disappear!

Alysten: So is the fire created by your arrows a natural fire? or is it
magic fire.  If it creates natural fire I have a spell which could increase
the fires area so to speak.  Although I usually use it to put fires out.

Alysten's best method for creating potions comes from recipes. While we are
in town, she can go shopping for some.

Think of her fire phobia like this.  You know how animals react to fire?
Well since her permanent wing addition, she reacts like any bird to fire.
It takes a lot to avoid being spooked.  She has been known to cower like a
little girl hugging and rocking herself in a corner.

Hey but we gotta do what we gotta do for killing the big bad guys.  Alysten
will help as she can, and try not to fail too badly.

As far as spells, Alysten has "armor" which she cast on Nevyn in Hanmer.
He is now better protected.  she usually keeps around magic missile,
reckless dreamer, catapult, chaos shield and adventurer's luck.

She has access to Affect Normal Fires, Armor, Catapult, Color Spray,
Identify Special, Magic Missile, Murdock's Feathery Flyer, Nahal's Reckless
Dreamer, Pattern weave, Shield, Sleep

Affect normal fires will allow me to take a small flame and make it look
like it has twice the volume and intensity.  It can spread over the entire
area. It will affect all fires within  the spell radius.  The nice thing
about this spell is that it also allows me to extinguish all flames with in
the same area.

Chalk replies,
No, I was told that the fire is magic in the flaming arrows.
But when they hit, they can ignite anything flammable, so maybe that fire is
natural.
As to the question of our enemies sniffing us out when under the dust and
silence spells, I thought one of you mages could use some of your lolly
Cantrip spells to help Molbo.
I was told that Cantrips are minor spells studied by wizards during their
apprenticeship, teaching them how to tap minute amounts of magical energy.

Common tricks with Cantrips include tinkling of ethereal music, brightening
faded flowers, glowing balls that float over the caster's hand, puffs of
wind to flicker candles, spicing up aromas and flavors of bland food, and
little whirlwinds to sweep dust under rugs.

So my idea is, if you combine a little bit of stinky cheese, with a
Cantrip  to   spice up its aroma, then another Cantrip to blow it around
with a little whirlwind,  You should be able to make the stink fill the
entire area instead of coming from one smelly cheese eater.

Chalk smiles and continues, And if you give Nevyn enough cheese, it will
hide his lingering dead animal smell.

Chalk, looks around to see the reaction of his idea on the group, takes
another swig  of his flagon of ale and burps.

The party finishes their drinks and heads off to sleep.

The group starts out early in the morning from Staven.
Heading towards the lake eastern side town Chalk calculates that it will
take about 4 days to reach the town.

Marching order:
Molbo up front
Second row, Left, then right:
Nevyn with Reju, Shem
Third row:
nightshade, Gabriella
Forth row:
Alysten, chalk
Fifth row:
mace, SpringRight

6 shaggy big humanoids spring out of the snow 50 feet away, and charge at
the group fast.
Their white fur camouflaged them until they were right on the group.
They are identified as 8 foot tall Yeti.
Two Yeti are ready to attack Shem,
two Yeti are attacking Nevyn,
One attacking Chalk and one Gabriella.

SpringRight in the rear, heads perpendicular to  the Yeti, pulling out his
bow.
He does not want to hit any of the group with his arrows staying about 25
feet away from them.

Shem pulls out his scimitar, and gives the command word, Whoosh!
The blade bursts into flame.
Shem jumps to the ground off his camel.
Molbo, hearing something moving behind him, glances back, sees the Yeti, and
pulls out his really, really big axe and dismounts the yak.

Reju Dismounts his horse, and pulls out both of his blades.

Alysten reacts first with a magic missile at the Yeti attacking Chalk, Zap!
Boom!
The Yeti growls a bit and continues charging Chalk.
Another Yeti takes a gash out of  Gabriella.
Roar, slash!
Yowl!

Nevyn with two Yeti on top of him, attempts to parry.

Chalk while dismounting his pony, is hit by a Yeti claw  causing a gash on
his arm.
Slash!
Ouch!
Nightshade backs up, heads towards Molbo's position,  and pulls out her bow
and arrow looking for a clear shot.
Shem's weapon flame causes the one Yeti to miss.
Woosh!
The one attacking Gabriella causes her spell to get futzed.
Zap!
Fizz.
She pulls out a dagger and takes a small chunk out of it.
Slash!
Growl!
Mace uses two magic missiles,
aiming for the one attacking Gabriella
Zap, zap!
Bam, Bam,
and causes it major damage.
That Yeti isn't too happy.
Rather than a grunt he lets out a good sized roar.
He's looking a little shaky, but not bad.
The second Yeti attacking Shem misses with both claws.
Woosh, Woosh.
SpringRight wounds one Yeti with an arrow, but his second shot goes  short.
Wiss, thunk, Roar!
Wiss, thud.
Two Yeti surround Nevyn and swing but their paws collide and only one claw
hits him for little effect.
Woosh, Woosh Woosh, Woosh!
Bam, Ouch!

Chalk finishes dismounting, spins and raises his horn head staff, It hits
the Yeti right in the head knocking it silly.
Woosh, slam!
Roar!
That Yeti is starting to feel the pain a bit as well.
Shem swings his flaming scimitar at one of the Yeti attacking him.
He fumbles, the blade slips out of his hand and falls to the snow.
Oof!
thud.
sizzle.
He sees steam rise from the ground where the scimitar fell.
Reju charges at the two attacking Shem wielding his two blades, Hits with
his katana, causing a significant injury.
Woosh, slash, thunk.
Roar! Roar!
But Reju wiffs on his wakazashi.
Woosh.
Reju gets his second shot in and slices deep into it.
Whoosh, thwack!
That Yeti looks pissed!

SpringRight pulls out his long sword and charges behind the Yeti attacking
Gabriella.
Shem does a tumble to grab his fallen scimitar while avoiding the two Yeti.
Nevyn sees Shem's move and tries it
himself thus the one Yeti misses him.
Woosh.

Chalk casts a light spell  to blind the Yeti attacking him.
Zap, blink, blink!
The Yeti not seeing his attacker breaks his morale.
Roar roar, roar!
The blind Yeti stops attacking the small creature and starts to run.
Alysten aims for the Yeti attacking Chalk with a catapult spell, But her
spell  surges, Zap, zam!
In the process of shooting a short sword, it turns into a lightning  bolt.
Crash! boom!
But because of the wild surge it becomes a wide bolt that lessens its
damage.
It hits the Yeti burning off some of its fur.

The lightning bolt also hits Nevyn and one of the Yeti attacking him.
They ar both burned slightly.
Boom! boom!
Ouch! Oof!

Gabriella  casts another magic missile which flairs directly on the Yeti's
chest.

Zap, Bam!
It attacks her missing with one paw but slashing her with the other.
Woof, rip, ouch!
The other Yeti attacking Shem,  swings his two paws, wiffs, wiffs, missing
with both.

Chalk swings his staff at the back of the Yeti running from him, Whoosh.
missing the Yeti's back by two feet.
The blind Yeti continues to run towards SpringRight.
thud, thud, thud
Nevyn finally dismounts after taking the lightning bolt to the head.
He stumbles on dismount and is now at the feet of the two Yeti.
Oof!
thunk.
One of the Yeti bens down and slices his claw through Nevyn's arm.
Woosh, slam!
The other Yeti follows with another claw slice.
slam!
Reju is attacked by a Yeti that hits with both of his claws at the same
time, Woosh, Woosh Blam, blam!
And it then hugs Reju crushing him and freezing him at the same time.
Squeeze, crunch!
Reju: Aoh.
Molbo spins and hits with a really really big axe slicing into the arm of
the one hugging Reju.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh,
Wham!
Blood spurts from that Yeti and it is looking really, really bad.

Reju swings his sword slicing it's head off.
Wack, thunk!

SpringRight avoids the blind Yeti running away and attacks the one on
Gabriella.
He swings his sword at it's back but wiffs.
Whoosh.

Mace swings his bastard sword, at the one on him and slices straight through
it.
Whoosh, slash!
Nightshade shoots an arrow,  it goes flying behind the Yeti.
Wizz, thud.
Her other arrow bounces off Molbo's armor.
Wizz, clang!

SpringRight swings his mighty long sword at the back of the Yeti attacking
Gabriella and makes a critical hit.
The Yeti is neatly sliced in two and its parts tumble to the ground.
Whoosh, Thwack.
SpringRight shouts, "That's for you Gabriella!"
She smiles at SpringRight and starts to backpedal out of the way, saying
"Thank you very, much!"

DM: Let me give you a quick run down of how things look.
There are three Yeti standing near the group with two others dead and the
sixth one running away.
The battle,  From south to north,
Nightshade is hanging out on a horse where Molbo started out.
Molbo, Reju and Shem are clustered around one poor Yeti.
Gabriella is scrambling behind the three of them.
Chalk is looking around for a Yeti to attack.
Alysten is on her horse east of Chalk.
Nevyn is picking himself off the ground attempting to get out of everythings
way.
Mace is standing toe to toe with the other two Yeti by himself.

SpringRight moves towards the Yeti attacking Mace, so that he will not be
hit by a stray arrow.

The Yeti facing the three fighters has not been hit yet.

The Yeti attacking Shem swipes him with one big claw.
thwack!
A Yeti takes a swing at the retreating Nevyn, getting him with a claw that
sinks in and pulls him off his feet.

Nevyn was in mid tumble as the Yeti now pounds him into the ground.
Bam, thud.
He is critically wounded, stunned, and does not attempt to rise.
Reju swings his katana but doesn't cut the Yeti.
wizz.
Chalk sees Nevyn drop so runs to his aid but circles around to the back of
the Yeti to stay away from it's claws.
thud thud thud.
Shem swings his flaming scimitar and strikes the Yeti slicing its arm off
and burning the stump..
Whoosh, Wack!
sizzle.
Shem yells, "Get him Molbo!"
Reju is faster with his wakazashi and hits it in the remaining arm.
Whoosh, Wack!
Mace gets both paws of the other Yeti in him, one big old thwack, and a
second big old thwack and a nice little heat absorbing hug freezing him
solid.
Mace growns, "Oh!"
And slumps to the ground.
Crash!

Mace's last thought was he watched a little guy get attacked by two Yeti and
get away.

Gabriella  is moving towards a Yeti, pulls out her dagger while running and
throws it but misses.
woosh, thud.
She reaches in her hilt for the other tosses it in the same direction but
also misses.
woosh, thud.
Molbo takes a mighty swing with his really, really big axe but swings over
the Yeti's head.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh.
Alysten is casting reckless lemur at the Yeti that got Mace to be able to
cast catapult again.
There is an auto surge going on.
Zap, Wazap!
The spell turns into a blinding light spell hitting the Yeti.
Flash, blink, blink.
DM: Here is the fun part, Mace has a chance of being trampled by the blinded
Yeti.
SpringRight swings his sword at the other Yeti near Mace and hits it causing
major damage.
Whoosh, thwack!
Big Roar!
But SpringRight gets run into by the blinded Yeti.
thud, thud, thud, Crunch, Oof!
which knocks him off balance slightly.
The blinded Yeti, blasts through both SpringRight and the Yeti he just hit
on its way from the group running away in a north western direction.
thud, thud, thud.
The Yeti that was attacked by SpringRight also stumbles but does not lose
his footing.
Chalk running towards SpringRight swings his mighty staff and hits the off
balance Yeti directly on the top of its head.
wack!
But this is little Chalk with his little staff that just stuns the creature
instead of killing it.
That Yeti is darn close to dead, though.
The remaining two Yeti look around and see two of the creatures they are
attacking already down, so they continue to fight.

Reju swings his Wakazashi plunging the blade straight through a Yeti heart.
Whoosh Thunk!

Seeing only one Yeti standing Nightshade shoots an arrow at it and hits the
back of its head.
wizz, thunk.
Alysten quickly uses a healing potion on Mace, un freezing him.
zap!
Chalk spins around swings his staff at the last Yeti,
   but misses.
Whoosh.
SpringRight swings his sword at the same Yeti and cuts through air missing
it too.
Whiz.
Molbo with a mighty, mighty, swing of the really, really big axe makes good
contact and falls the final Yeti.
Whoosh, whoosh whoosh, thop!
Crash!
SpringRight smiles, saying "Good going, Molbo!"
Molbo replies, "Yes, a most valiant, effort!"
Shem looks around and says, "By Varis, those creatures were very dire!"
Mace sits up, "Oh."
I thank you Alysten."
Nightshade rides back to the party and says, Hmm, Yon Nevyn does not seem to
be moving."
Chalks bends down and casts cure light wounds on Nevyn giving him enough
health to wake up.
zap!
Nevyn opens his eyes, shakes his head, looks around, and says, "Oh, my
Aching bones!"
Chalk asks, "Does anyone want to ride after the two blinded Yeti?"

SpringRight looks off, and answers, "I don't think I will go after those
Yeti.
I don't think they will give us any problems in the near future."
Mace comments, "They will both need canes for a while."

Chalk, "They could come back and seek revenge, and bring other Yeti from
their tribe with them."
Mace, "I wouldn't be worried about them."
Shem, "They catch me as being very beast like. It is remarkable how your
cold creatures resemble those of the desert. Only, these sustain cold
better."
Molbo, "They take cold, they take heat, they are cowardly, it does not
matter."

Gabriella, "It indeed, was quite a difficult battle, but I think most of us
did well for ourselves."
She then looks over to SpringRight.
Nightshade says, "I think we best be more on our guard, if creatures such as
this take us unawares."  Are there other such creatures in this region,
Molbo?"
Molbo replies, "There are a lot of creatures.
Some are furry, and some are bigger, and some are white and some are brown.
We need to be aware of lots of things.
Be very careful!"
Nightshade rolls her eyes, "I see, lots of creatures. Right."
   I think we will need a close watch and not stray off too far.
We don't want anyone cut off and be taken by surprise by creatures such as
this."
SpringRight looks over at Gabriella, Are you all right?"
Gabriella says, I've been better.
   I think we need to rest a bit and regain our strength."
Shem nods to Nightshade, A very good point.
I was not aware that these waists offered such camouflage to beasts.
White is not something I am used to.
Chalk looks around, "I am worried that we used two of our healing treatments
and though I know Nevyn has two, I now have none until tomorrow.
I would be very careful that nothing attacks us by surprise tonight.
By the way, I did read that Yeti pelts are fairly valuable.
These four would make us a good profit if we could skin them and sell them
somewhere.

Shem kicks one of the dead ones, "Then, you sir gnome, shall carry one."
I for myself, and Shem holds up a Yeti claw, have a trophy."
Molbo, "Hmm, taking things from cowards, I do not see the need."
We mus get to my home though, so all of you rest and we will leave when you
feel better."
Shem, "As for healing, perhaps we can use Reju's healing stone?"
Molbo, Hmm, I do have a powerful healing spell and I will give it to someone
if they need it.  Then we can see about moving forward."
But for the meantime let us set up camp some of you were made cold by the
Yeti hugs. With fire, you can be made to warm up again."

Shem looks up into the sky, "I suggest that we keep moving.
If anyone is cold perhaps we can give them extra gear to carry. If Chalk is
correct and these creatures come back with reinforcement, we do not want to
be near this bloody battleground.
Nevyn, "I'm definitely cold, I'm definitely hurting, and I definitely need
to rest for about twelve hours or so.
Shem shakes his head, "No, perhaps Nevyn needs to use a healing spell, and
if Reju can use the healing stone on himself, first so it will eventually
bring us back to full strength.
Nevyn Well if we got to move we got to move. and casts a healing spell on
himself.
Zap!

The rest in short, Chalk asks about skinning proficiency and none have it,
He thinks the smell of a Yeti hide will draw dangerous creatures to them so
he gives up the idea of skinning them and taking the pelts.

The group continues on to Odiferous, to recover the sacred crock of cheese.
The end.

+++
News From Adora Entertainment:

Greetings gamers,

We've been working doubletime to meet the needs and desires of our
customers, and to bring them the best accessible games we can.  There are
some very exciting things coming soon from Adora Entertainment, including
some surprises.

First, James North, former ESP Softworks president, has turned over ESP
Pinball Xtreme to us and we're working to finish it up.  We expect it to go
to beta in September.  We know you've been waiting a long time for this
one, and you will not be disappointed.  You'll be able to play pinball like
you never have before!  Just as a reminder, here are some of the released
notes on PBX:

Welcome to the awesome sequel to ESP Softworks' premiere release--ESP
Pinball Extreme! This title promises to deliver adrenaline pumping,
hyper-cool pinball like you've never experienced before! Built on the ESP
Pinball second generation audio engine, the sequel to one of accessible
gamers' favorites promises to deliver endless fun for all ages young and
old alike!

While pinball tables themselves have wildly varied themes, the object
remains the same--score mega points by propelling a steel ball around an
electronic and mechanical obstacle course, bouncing it off bumpers,
flippers, targets, switches, and gizmos at blazing speeds! Each theme has
it's own obstacles and objectives, sound effects and ambience, and scoring
system. ESP Pinball Extreme comes with six all-new completely different
themed tables including Home Run, Sudwerks, Top Gun, and three more
yet-to-be-announced out-of-this-world tables!

ESP Pinball Extreme starts with the best features of the original game and
sports a cool brand-new interface, a whole slew of new high quality sound
effects, innovative table designs, and much more!

Other Features
. Six Very Cool, Brand-New Interactively Themed Tables
. Great Ambient Sound Effects!
. Two Modes of Play: Classic and Accessible
. Two difficulty levels: Normal and Insane
. Fast-Action Game Play
. ESP Score Server enabled
. Accessible Editor To Create & Share Your Own Custom Tables!
. Several New Table Gadgets & Gizmos
. Cool Music For Each Table!
. Capability to accept Expansion Packs from ESP Softworks and Adora
Entertainment in the future!
. And much more!


Next, to keep up with game releases and all the news at Adora
Entertainment, we've set up a e-mail news letter.  You can join by filling
out the simple form at the top of most pages at our web site.
http://www.adoraentertainment.com

It's important to note that this is not a discussion group e-mail.  The
only messages you will receive if you subscribe are news notices directly
from Adora Entertainment.

Effective Monday, 30/August/2004, Adora Entertainment is no longer offering
toll-free technical support and sales.  The abuse of this system has been
staggering and we can no longer afford to continue this service.  We
apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  For the time being, we can
be reached for sales or technical support queries via e-mail or at our
online community message forums.

Speaking of the forums, we are pleased that more and more of you are
discovering the benefits of web-based message boards and have begun
registering and using our forums.  If you haven't already, please consider
registering to discuss our games, get technical support, and just hang out
with other Adora Entertainment customers and fans.

As of 24/August/2004, the price of Change Reaction has changed to $24.95.

Many of our customers commented that our online store was lacking some
features that they would like to see.  In addition, some screen readers had
difficulty navigating it, and a few expressed confusion on how to use it
effectively.

We have therefore revamped our online store.  When you purchase any of our
products, a customer account will be created for you.  In future, when you
return to purchase new products, you can log into your account and will
only need to enter your credit card information or pay via PayPal.  it's
that easy!

The new shop is far easier to navigate for both visually impaired and
sighted users, as well as much more intuitive.  If you have suggestions or
comments for our new online shop or any other part of our web site, please
post them at the Adora Entertainment Online Comunity Forums.

A while back, we mentioned that, in addition to the standard rune stones
that are offered on our site, we would be producing accessible Braille rune
stones for our blind and visually impaired customers.  We are happy to
announce that this product is nearly ready.  We've worked hard to offer a
simple, affordable, and enjoyable experience with one of mankind's oldest
tools for meditation and divination.  Watch our site for the release of
this exciting new item! (Disclaimer: Items such as rune stones are meant
for entertainment purposes only, and do not include any sort of warranty as
to the accuracy of the predictions one tries to make with them, nor any
guarantees that they are magical in any way.)

Again, all of us here at Adora Entertainment would like to thank you for
your continued support.  There are many more things on the horizon and we
look forward to a long, prosperous relationship with all of you.  We will
strive to bring you the best entertainment we can in accessible computer
games, music, and more.

 Adora Entertainment
 "Even in the name you can hear the magic..."
 http://www.AdoraEntertainment.com 

+++
News From BPCPrograms SD:

Treasure Hunt (Cloning Malice) II: The Reconstruction

Written By: Munawar Bijani ([email protected])
(http://www.bpcprograms.com)

Well, I think it's time now to tell the public what BPC's up to. Over the
past month or so, we've been asked a lot about the vague message on the
"Coming Soon" section of the BPC website: "What's this new project you're
working on?" Our anser (in accordance with the member agreement) always was
"You'll see." Now you will see. smile.

Treasure Hunt was a great success and still is, and will forever be. We
received many very positive comments about it, like this one: "Treasure
Hunt, in my humble oppinion, is one of the greatest audiogames of
all time!" (Wolfman.) This gentleman has also written a small but very
positive review of Treasure Hunt. I would have submitted it for Audyssey but
found that another had already done a review, so to be fair I'll use some of
your quotes here Wolfman, smile. At any rate, TH was a great success and it
is upon this fact that we were inspired to start a similar project.

This project will be altering the name of TH to CM (Cloning Malice.) TH will
be called Cloning Malice I: The Experiment, and the new game which is
currently in development will be called Cloning Malice II: The
Reconstruction. That's right, it is a direct sequel to TH we are working on!

The CM II Story
Below is the storyline for CM II. Note: since this game is still in
development, the storyline might be altered by the time it is released:
Cloning Malice II: The Reconstruction

After the death of former FBI agent Munawar in his effort to save the world
of malicious cloning practices, the world believed itself at safe. Is it
fit, however, to ever believe that one can thus continue a placid lifestyle
with nothing of which to worry themselves? In some parts, this is true, but
where we take our player hereafter, it is definitely not.

After the conduction of the first experiment, James's brother Julius is hit
by a sudden interest in his brother's work. "For what was his laboratory
infiltrated? Why am I still a construction worker whilst my brother's name
appears in newspapers everyday now, and why did Munawar die over him?"

Julius had been there to watch the destruction of his brother's laboratory,
and then he had this sudden desire to start an experiment of his own.

It was not until after James's laboratory had gone up in flame, however,
that Julius remembered something which his brother handed him shortly before
the FBI's infiltration. "Do not open this envelope unless something
unexpected happens which costs me my life. And further, show this to no one,
not even your wife or kids, if you happen to have any."

"Aye, my brother. What is it anyway?"

James put his finger to his lips. "Hush! You never know of this FBI crap.
I've met Munawar before; that guy really means business. The ass took out
about fifty of my guards during his first infiltration, and I have a gut
feeling he's coming back for more."

"So you're telling me that he was not killed?"

"Fool! Of course not! I wouldn't have been able to kill him; he really
caught me by surprise, I must admit."

"I see. Anyway, where is the envelope?"

James then handed Julius an envelope with "SECRET FILES" written on the
outside. The envelope is made of thick cardboard and pressing it, Julius
realizes that there is a cushioned padding inside. "Delicate, eh?"

"Ahh, yes yes. Take care of it, for this is the data that has put me in the
position in which I reside." James grins at his brother. Both slap each
other a high five and walk away.

It was the last time Julius spoke to and saw his brother. Afterwards, it was
only his crumbling laboratory and the sound of an evacuation alarm he knew.

Standing near the wreckage of his brother's laboratory thus, Julius felt a
small fire starting to grow in him. "A failure he is, my wretched brother.
Taken by the FBI in such a brutal manner as this. Nay, he was but a coward.
Shall we really find one day what cloning malice really means? Aye, I shall
be this one, the one to complete my brother's experiment. I shall start the
army for which he longed so much. Aye, it will be me, Julius, whose name
will be engraved in history itself. I shall be prepared for any
infiltrations the FBI plans, though they will not find me because I am not a
wretch as my brother. He knew not the meaning of hidden. I do."

It was upon this anger that Julius did what he did. This very anger against
life which had influenced James to do what he did, and this very anger which
will forever leave the world in fear. For although it takes place in an
isolated part of the world, if Julius completes his experiment he so desires
to carry on in his brother's name, the world will never consider any place
safe.
...
...
"Six-hundred feet! Level elevators! Head due North, the lab is five-hundred
miles away."

The sickening feeling of quick descent ceases as the sub levels out.

It is then that Jax receives a TSS transmission: "Jax, I think now I can
tell you about your devices as you are idle and waiting to dock. I assume
you know a bit about the devices since all agents who might have gone on the
last mission had gone through training. To refresh your memory, however,
I'll go over everything again."

"The device you wear on your belt buckle is your Audient. With it, you will
obtain vital information such as your barings and objects around you. This
device is waterproof so don't worry about damaging it when you swim to the
weaponry. The Audient also has a TSS system (telecommunication sound system)
which is the way in which I speak to you now. The earpiece in your ear
should be tightly secured so it does not become detached. We thought of
making it wireless but scratched that idea for fear of some one intercepting
the transmission or interference by a nearby camera or highly radioactive
object. Thus, we've built it on an invisible wired system. No one will be
able to see either the earpiece or the wire, but they will see the Audient."

"Next, your weapons. We've given you a gun and some poison needles. It's
strongly advised however that you find the weaponry as soon as possible as I
told you when you were still on land."

"Also, Jax, don't do anything stupid and use your common sense. If something
doesn't look right, contact me immediately. Watch for the army of cloned
mice; those things can bite extremely hard, got it?"

"Aye. How long is the battery life on this thing?"

"It's a pretty powerful battery but we've given you extras just in case. You
never know."

"Excelent."

"Well, be on the lookout now, I'll leave you and let you daydream."

After some time, a large, black, gloomy building comes into view. To Jax, it
seems as if this is a prison into which he is being led. "I have to
infiltrate this thing? This has to be a dream."

The sub bobs slightly as the water churns around it. Strangely, there is no
activity in the waters surrounding the lab. A door to the lab then opens
slowly and the sub slows its speed. After a while, a thud is felt and the
door, which is now behind the sub, slowly shuts and the sub is docked.

...

The hatch to the sub shuts, and a second door opens slowly as the water
finishes draining. A gust of cool damp air greets him as he walks in, and
the door shuts behind him.

A little about this game
We plan to make CM II the best of its kind yet. I won't go into detail here
since the story is quite long itself and I'm taking up space but be prepared
for another high-quality, fast action game! There will be cameras,
stationary machine guns, fish in the water (yes) and more! The game will be
retailing for $30.00 US but customers who buy, or have bought, CM I (TH)
will receive a $5.00-$10.00 discount (it's not completely decided yet.) We
also plan to release a CD/download containing both CM I and II, both in one
package as "The Sequel Pack" or something similar. Well, that's about it for
now. Stay tuned to the BPC Discussion Email list (to subscribe, send a
message to:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=subscribe), and the
website for further news (http://www.bpcprograms.com.)

+++
News From BSC Games:

Greetings gamers.

For those new to BSC Games, we create computer games for the blind or
visually impaired. For a list of our games, and what all we do, you can
visit us on the web at www.BscGames.com or phone our sales office in the
United States at 559-224-2436 Mon-Fri 9 Am to 5 PM PST. Here is an update as
to what is going on new at BSC Games.

1. New Game in the Works - The Void

The Void...is Coming!

Several months ago, BSC Games had announced that it would be discontinuing
development of "The Void."  With a whole new development team, a new set of
powerful
tools, and a lot of inspiration, we've decided to pick it up again. In the
past, we took a lot of suggestions from the gamer forums and many of those
suggestions will be worked into the game.  Please feel free to join our game
Talk discussion list, and post your suggestions, or email in your
suggestions to
[email protected]

The Void are a highly intelligent and resourceful space-faring race, and a
new threat to the Terrian Colonies.  Central Command has recently lost touch
with the old McKenzie IV Station, and the Void are suspected.

Flying home from a marine training course, you have been contacted by your
superiors. You are to dock at the McKenzie IV Station, investigate, gather
intelligence, and deliver it to Central Command -standard operating
procedure.  What little they knew of the true threat that lay in wait...

Check in regularly at the BSC Games Website for updates on the next level of
pulse pounding, close-quarters, first person gaming experience.

2. CastleQuest

CastleQuest is still under development and we are gaining ground slowly. We
have a great team of volunteer voice actors that are now being filtered for
acting abilities and going through screening and will eventually be issued
scripts to act out for the various characters in the cq world. We are
constantly defining and redefining the lands, regions, characters, scripts,
and so on for the cq world. Based on the enormous amount of work that has to
go into this aspect of the project, the release date for cq has been bumped
up to mid to late 2005. To put it into perspective for you, think of having
to define and write out your city and surrounding areas, towns, various
types of people, cultures, and everything else that goes along with that
task. That is where we are at and this will take quite a while to do.

For those who do not know what genre cq is, this is taken from the cq
website found at www.castle-quest.com (note the dash between castle and
quest)... Castle Quest unveils a complete 3D adventure to VI gamers through
the Kingdom of Nivora, home of King Tiras. Plenty of items, quests, and
encounters will keep even the most avid players challenged and enthralled.
In Castle Quest, a portal has been unveiled that leads to a 3D world unlike
anything anyone has ever heard. Players can quest in this extraordinary 3D
discovery as they fight to bring justice back to Nivora and help King Tiras
regain his rightful reign. Veteran players will face fresh challenges as
they voyage through the various regions of Nivora, while novice players will
enjoy scores of new and challenging quests along the way.

3. Blast Chamber and stereo audio review

Our latest release is called Blast Chamber. Blast Chamber is an arcade
action game with several non-traditional elements that gives it a fresh
twist from the normal arcade game. Packed full of fresh content, in Blast
Chamber, your an undercover agent whose mission is to save San Diego
California from being blasted to pieces by the mafia kingpin Moochiani an
his underhanded team of thugs. Two weeks ago, the mafia kingpin Moochiani
hit up mayor Jackson of San Diego for one million dollars. He told the Mayor
if he didn't get the money in 1 week, he would destroy the city's water
system and blow up the main water plant. As you probably guessed, Jackson
declined
the one million but offered Moochiani a nice prison threat.

Your ultimate goal is to make it through the underground pipe system,
repairing it as you progress, and disable Moochiani's bomb under the red
dragon carryout which will explode in 60-minutes.

Along the way you will have to find, hammer, and twist pipes into place,
shoot Moochiani's thugs with your gun, toss wrenches at rats trying to chew
wholes in pipes you have already fixed, smash poisonous spiders with your
foot, avoid steam, electricity, jump over barrels coming at you, jump over
sewer lids, search trash cans for special items such as welding kits to weld
pipes into place, construction hats that let you walk through steam and
electricity, crack locked toolboxes to obtain special items such as ammo for
your gun, flashlights to scare off rats, bug spray to nuke all spiders,
engage in a few shoot off rounds with Moochiani's thugs, and if your a
skilled enough agent to make it to level 15, disable Moochiani's bomb.

We have a stereo mp3 audio review of Blast Chamber ready to download for
anyone interested in listening to it. The review of the game was conducted
by Raul A. Gallegos and illustrates hands on how to play the game via tips,
how tos, strategies, and much more. The stereo mp3 download is 29 MB, the
download link is:

http://www.BscGames.com/pipe2_review.mp3

5. BSC Games and Computer Gaming PC Share Links

Recently, BSC Games was contacted by a company named Computer Gaming PC to
do a link exchange. The company creates gaming computers. I.E builds
computers only designed for gamers. BSC Games is hoping to offer suggestions
to the company to help it design a gaming pc for blind gamers -- focusing
more on audio card technology rather than video card technology. The company
published an article on BSC Games on their web site which will be read by
many sighted gamers
and some media. You can read it at this link:

http://www.computergamingpc.com/computergamingpc-computer_games_for_the_blin
d.html

6. Subscribing to our newsletter or Game Talk mailing list

To keep up to date with BSC Games, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter
by visiting this page:

http://www.BscGames.com/newsletter.asp

If you would like to chat with other gamers and learn some tips and
strategies on how to play our games, feel free to join our Game Talk mailing
list by sending a blank message to [email protected] with the
word join in the subject.

Best wishes,
Justin Daubenmire - President BSC Games

+++
News From DanZ games

DanZ Games Newsletter - August 13, 2004

What's up gamers,

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any person or list who you
think would enjoy reading this information.

I am excited to announce the release of Super Deekout! It all starts when
you decide to show off at your high school science exhibit and create an
intelligent, independently-moving robot. However, things go, well, not
precisely as planned, and now you've got to save yourself from adversaries
that you created! This arcade game goes full out with an all-new advanced
and integrated scoreboard that no one can match, surround sound and joystick
support, music produced especially for the game, and enough action and
challenge to keep all types of gamers up at night! Check it out, along with
our current contest and discussion mailing list, at the DanZ Games website:

DanZ Games Newsletter - August 28, 2004

What's up gamers,

Ready to win big with DanZ Games? Again?

I decided to roll out another contest to try to give some stuff away! From
now until 11:59 PM eastern time on September 2, any purchase from DanZ Games
will be entered into a draw, to take place during the first week of
September. One lucky participant will win a prize from DanZ Games! If you
win, you
can opt to receive one free product from DanZ Games, which may include our
products currently available, or anything released in the future (including
our big announcement below). Or, if this does not interest you, you can
receive the alternate prize: a Logitech gamepad to fire up in Super Deekout!
Good
luck to all!

Licensing the DanZ Games Score Server

To all the game developers out there. You've no doubt taken a look at the
DanZ Games score server and been impressed by its features: up to 500 scores
are
kept, with optional statistics, and the ability to sort along various
dimensions. You can now harness the power of our score server in your own
games,
for a fraction of what you might expect. With the DanZ Games Score Server,
you get a single-game license of the powerful system which can be easily
added
to your games. Send scores and statistics, obtain the remote data from right
inside your game, tell the user the position he got immediately after
submission, and more--check it out!

Cannon Crossfire

DanZ Games' next release will be a stunning multiplayer turn-based strategy
game--Cannon Crossfire. Its an all-out battle between two sides, as you
attempt
to defeat your enemy before he defeats you! You'll have to deal with various
weapon attacks, infiltration attempts, keeping your army healthy and
trained,
barricading your castle, and more. Taunt your opponent with text messages,
show off on the scoreboards, and even practice locally against a computer
opponent
to hone your skills. The game will have no monthly fees, and a release date
will be stated when available.

That about wraps it up for now. If anyone would like to create other DanZ
Games promotions, for instance on radio shows, feel free to contact me. Stay
in
touch--
www.danZGames.com

Happy gaming!
Dan
+++
News from L-Works

L-Works has produced three game titles recently.  They are Super Liam,
Lockpick, and Pigeon Panic.  There is a review later of Super Liam, as well
as a downloadable demo from his site so check it out!

Super Liam is the first ever Accessible side scroller. Guide the main
character through levels of danger, adventure, and excitement. Jump over
pits, sewers,
and lava. Avoid everything from robotic dogs, to snakes, to land mines.

The Story in Brief

It had been 20 years since Dr. Quark had vanquished the Evil robot X1.
Unfortunately, things would not be well for long. X1 had returned to earth:
This
time with a vengence. Dr. Quark was too old to go chasing down this menace,
so he needed help. He called Liam (your average ordinary teenager) to do it
for him. X1 found out about Dr. Quark's plan and set a trap for liam. It's
your job to guide Liam through X1's world, and destroy X1 to save the earth.

Playable Demo

Before you purchase, you might want to try out The super Liam game demo. The
demo includes the first level plus the first part of level 2. You won't be
able to save scores, post scores, or listen to cut scenes, as they are not
included in this demo. The full version contains over 7 levels of action,
plus
all the features not in the demo.
* Lockpick
Grab your tools, and get ready for this fast-paced game.
crack as many of the locks as you can before the cops get you.  Need we say
more?
www.l-works.net
is where to grab this game.  And to make it even better you can post your
scores to our scoreboards for all to view.

While your there, check out our other new free game, Pigeon Panic. 
The streets are overrun with pigeons. Pigeons everywhere! What to do?
Well... Get your shotgun, and help clean up the city. Rack up as many points
as you
can.

List of 4 items
www.l-works.net

Liam erven
e-mail: [email protected]

+++
News From PCS Games

Hi Folks,
Due to delays caused by my being in the hospital, this is only a sneak
preview of my next game release, which I had hoped to be out by now.
Ms. Pacman and the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
Here is a list of features that I hope will knock your socks off.
The original Pacman game for the video arcade spawned several versions with
one of the most popular being Ms. Pacman.
In this sequel to my Pacman Talks game, You are Ms. Pacman zooming through
the halls of a magical castle, encountering ghosts with the names of Nick,
Myrtle, Peeves and Binns.
I am including sounds and music that are appropriate for the new magical
location.
In this game you can apparate, and use patronus charms Instead of bonus
fruit at the center of the ghost home, you will find magical items that will
help you finish the game.
You will also encounter other creatures slithering through the halls, and
gliding smoothly, hovering over the floor.
Throughout the castle, you will hear the sound of thirty musical saws, which
gets louder as you get nearer the ghost home.
The features I am working on include,
1, bonus levels where Ms. Pacman chases beasties through an underground
chamber.
2, You can post your score to a top ten score board on the Internet, which
will be instantly readable.
3, audio maps.
You will be able to have the castle level described with sounds indicating
where the remaining dots are, and the location of you, and other objects and
creatures.
4, Multiple speeds, so you can pick between three forward speeds, stop or
one reverse speed.
5, You can apparate to the broom closet on the outer ring that the ghosts
don't know about.
6, You may run across Headless hats that temporarily scare all the ghosts.

Right now I'm adding other creatures to the game that will make the game
more challenging, and some of them can give you the kiss of death!

I plan to charge a reduced price for the registered owners of Pacman Talks.
I will be releasing a demo after the game has gone through beta testing.
If you have any comments or additional wishes, write [email protected] and I
will try to add them to the new game.

You can find out what is in store at PCS Games by joining the PCS games
list.
To subscribe to this discussion list, send a blank message to,
[email protected]

My mailing address is,
PCS Games
666 Orchard Street
Temperance, Michigan 48182
phone (734) 850-9502
Call me between the hours of 9:00 A M to 9:00 P M Eastern time, Monday to
Saturday.
E-mail Phil Vlasak,
[email protected]
We make games that tickle your ears.

+
Phil also keeps a very up to date list of other game developers on his site.
It's the top link "on his page, "Fantastic games and where to find them"
check it out!

++++
News from MJ-soft

Subject: New company.

Hi Everybody,
i've just started a new company, it's located at:
http://mj-soft.malthe-jepsen.com
Currently i'm working on a guess the number game, (Yes, i know it's dun
before, but i'll have to start some place :) )
It's currently in beta testing stage.
Go and check it out!
If you've any questions or comments or somthing like that, you can e-mail me
at:
[email protected]
or
[email protected]
Well, that's all for now.
Malthe.
++
News From Trumpet Blast

Greetings gamers,
    Wish I may, wish I might be able to tell you some good news tonight, or
day or what ever portion of the terrrrestrial cycle you're on in your part
of the world.. .
    Unfortunately, due to unmitigating circumstances, Trumpet Blast
Productions is ceasing development on all titles and projects. This does not
mean that Trumpet Blast will not provide you with exciting titles in the
future, but it does mean that it will be a bit longer before you see
anything of note from this small company once poised for greatness. Valley
of Akin will find it's way to the accessible gaming scene, but probably in a
different form than had originally been planned. (It'll actually probably be
a lot better than anticipated) The lesson here folks is to realize that no
matter how many plans you make... no matter how much you prepare...
something can always go wrong or interrupt what you had originally set out
to accomplish.
    I'll still be on the list, and you can ask me anything you like, but it
might not be right away that I respond to a thread as I am quite busy in
trying as best to overcome the constant crop of obstacles that appear to be
bent on making sure that Trumpet Blast Productions never releases a single
game.

Peace and love,
Joshua
founder and president, Trumpet Blast Productions
+++
 
Fearless Flin Development Diary: Part II

Haste makes waste as they say. Summer is by far the most socially hectic
time of the year. Rebecca and I have been quite active visiting with friends
and
getting out of our apartment whenever the opportunity came up. We've also
had to deal with some extremely hot days. Add a couple tussles with insomnia
and other developments and you've got a hard time trying to make any sort of
rapid sustained progress. Three excellent new accessible games have emerged
over the past while whose developers valued my gaming experience enough to
want me to write reviews. Many hours have been very enjoyably spent with
Super
Liam, Blast Chamber and Super Deekout. I've also been continuing work on my
book having had a few more inspirations regarding it. Having said that, I've
still managed to make some substantial progress on Fearless Flin's design
document. Originally supposed to take a couple of weeks, polishing off this
document
is going to end up taking months. I hope to have all the details and perhaps
even the first draft of all the spoken lines for the game done by the next
quarter. I figured I had the game design pretty much ironed out when a bunch
of thoughts struck me. Ultimately, this is going to be my flagship game.
Therefore,
I shouldn't cut corners when it comes to my design goals. Fearless Flin will
be as packed with truly endless fun and variations as I can get it.

Making a game which can go on infinitely is only worth doing if you can make
the endless journey itself worth continuing on. How you do that in a game is
to put in a lot of variability and make certain that the decisions made by
the player have meaningful consequences. I used some examples from other
games
to illustrate my thinking. This time around, I've got enough in place to
reveal some of the various aspects of my own game.

In my last entry, I covered the whole aspect of good games having
opportunities for greed. All the best classic arcade games had this feature,
and Fearless
Flin won't disappoint in this regard. Flin scores points by grabbing up as
much treasure as he can. More treasure will appear from time to time. If
Flin
can completely clear the arena of treasure before more treasure appears, he
scores bonus points. However, he must prevent goblins from steeling any
treasure.
While this is going on, he can't lose track of what the trolls are doing
since they can attack special places or the elemental portal. If Flin
concentrates
too much on obtaining treasure, he may not get the portal built in time or
may face other dangers if the special places are destroyed and turned into
evil
places. Temptations are the order of the day. Also, there will be special
little quests which players can complete such as eating all the floating
fruits
for a special reward. However, if they let too many treasures be stolen or
fail to complete the portal in time, they will lose the game.

While Flin has his own adjendas to perform, his companions will sometimes
have special quests to complete or items they are searching for. If Fearless
Flin
can guide them through performing these tasks or recovering the special
items, Flin's reputation will increase dramatically and he will also
sometimes
be rewarded by grateful companions if he also manages to make certain they
survive to escape through the portal. If Fearless Flin doesn't take proper
care
of his companions and allows them to be killed, he will lose reputation and
his future companions will be less helpful and more dependant on Flin to see
that they escape the arenas. Once Flin has rescued enough of these dependant
companions, he will have enough reputation so that more able companions will
elect to help him.

How hard things get in an arena depends a great deal on the choices Fearless
Flin makes. If he allows too many treasures to be stolen, unfortunate events
such as extra monsters being spawned may occur. If he lets trolls attack and
destroy special places, evil places will supplant them and Flin will have
to complete one of four quests to restore the good special place which was
destroyed. One example of this is the garden. Once it is destroyed, a
graveyard
supplants it. Thirteen extra ghosts will instantly appear in the arena. More
ghosts will be generated every minute from the graveyard. To restore the
garden,
thirteen ghosts must be lured back into the graveyard while they are
pursuing Fearless Flin or one of his companions. During this time, no ghosts
may be
destroyed or all of the ghosts put to rest will become angered and leave
their graves again. Also, while the graveyard is present, there is the
possibility
that Death himself can be summoned to the arena. One of several special
foes, Death will run after Fearless Flin swinging his lethal scythe. Special
foes
may only be vanquished in certain very difficult ways.

I still have quite a bit of work to do before I actually start programming.
I have more fleshing out and theorising about game balance to do. The other
special foes as well as the circumstances under which they can appear are
still to be decided upon. I'd also like to come up with a bunch more special
items for Fearless Flin to acquire. The full capabilities of companions is
yet another aspect of things. A whole lot's still up in the air, but
assuming
things settle down over the next while, I think I can get to where I want to
be by the next quarter. Happy gaming, everyone.

+++
Game Announcements and Reviews:

Below are some of the new games available.  Though an old treasure or two
may be discussed too.  It's noteworthy that in some cases it's only an
announcement of a game, taken from the email list, and may not be a full
review,  
or an official notice from the developer.  Reviews of games will not appear
in any particular order. The only exception to this will be when we have
more than one review for a game. In this case, reviews will be placed
consecutively so that it is easier to compare them.

+
Clandestin [Mud]
Telnet address clandestinemud.com port 9476

First, the posting from Mudconnector, then my review of this mud:

***"Clandestine is a friendly MUD where fun is the highest priority. A
healthy mix of role-play and hack'n'slash, Clandestine is still growing,
and player ideas are always considered and frequently implemented. Its
success has led to its selection as Mud Connector's Mud of the Month for
December, 1998.

Clandestine offers 50 races and 30 classes to suit just about everyone's
role-playing needs. Twelve religions, from good to evil, lawful to
chaotic, each have their own religion spells. Player-killing (PK) is
allowed, and even encouraged, with level and religious rank based limits.

Clandestine has many features not found on most ROM muds, including
multiclassing, an online casino with working card games, relic weapons
that increase power as you use them, and much more! Our website includes an
up-to-date map of the world and you can browse races, classes, and spell
group information to make your character creation easier."

Clandestine Mud is a very nice ROM-based mud when compared to the other
myriad of Diku/Merc/Envy/ROM/Rot based muds out there, not to mention
Godwars. It's for the most part very newbie friendly: players deal out
answers pretty nicely, help files are rather abundant (albeit sometimes
vague and out of date), and the mud itself is fairly easy to learn.
The breadth of race, class and skill/spell selection on this mud is
quite magnificent, even if a lot of it doesn't offer very much playing
style differences. Each race does have its own positives and negatives,
but there do seem to be some definite choices when it comes to racial
powers. The classes also offer their own separate abilities, but many of
these are not available to the player until he has either reincarnated
or are at a very high level.
There are usually about 20 to 40 players on the mud. Sadly enough, a lot
of these seem to be idlers who log onto the mud just to leave their
characters inactive. Many, however, are actively played.
The language on some of the channels may be a bit objective, but these
channels are easily turned off. You can also join any one of 9,999
channels which you can self-moderate.

The new player starts with a newbie guide which is quite valuable to
look at when compared to the guides of other muds I've toyed around on.
The guide gives lots of helpful directions, tips and such to the
beginning adventurer.  One also starts with a map of the starting city, but
this is I believe in ASCII drawing and therefore quite useless to us blind
players. The guide, however, gives nice speedwalk directions that are for
the most
part accurate.  Speaking of speedwalks, the mud itself supports built-in
speedwalks, aliases, and command stacking. This means that even if you are
connecting via a mundane telnet client without these features, you are
not without these resources.

The mud is focused heavily around hack&slash, as the website states. If
there is any role-playing, I have not seen it in the time I've been
there.  It is also a player-versus-player type mud, so you can be attacked
by
other players. One way to negate this, is to buy the peace tattoo from
the quest master who is either southeast or southwest of the Edge City
Center. Note, however, that should you want to participate in PVP
fights, it will cost 5000 quest points (five times the cost of the
tattoo itself) to have these removed.
I never had any problems with players attacking me, however. This may be
because I was new and therefore had nothing to offer. You will most
likely not have to worry about this either, unless you get some new
player who has come over from a Godwars mud and therefore is a general
abusive punk.  But even so, the immortals can intervene should such a
case happen.

Below are some configuration options that I highly recommend you set
when you begin playon. Note that you should not type the quotes around
the commands suggested, they are simply there to denote them from the
surrounding text.
* Type "prompt" to disable the prompt. After you finish configuring
everything else and are ready, then you can read "help prompt" and
customize your prompt as you like.
* Type "autoall on", which will turn on many automatic actions such as
automatically sacrificing slain corpses to the gods, automatically
stripping corpses of their contents, autoexit which will show you the
exits from a room, and so on. For more information, read "help auto."
* Type "color" to turn off color in the mud, since screen readers (at
least JFW) seem to slow down when playing muds with color active.
* Type "color fights" to turn off color in combat for the same reason as
above.
* Type "battle", "battle affect", "battle advance", and "battle warning"
to shorten the combat clutter (if you wish). I highly advise against
turning off "battle warning". As this gives you warning
messages about the state of your health during combat. Read "help
battlespam" for more information.
* Disable any channels you do not wish to hear messages from. I myself
disable many of these, as it gets quite noisy when you're learning the
mud. Later, when you've grown more accustomed with the mud, you  may
re-enable them at your leisure.
* Type "wimpy" to set your character to automatically attempt to flee at
20% of your health. Type "wimpy <number>" (where <number> is the number
of health points below which you wish to flee) to have your character
flee automatically below this point. Read "help wimpy".
* While you're learning the mud and are still in the beginning academy,
you may want the full descriptions of rooms. However, as you progress
into the world, these room descriptions will do nothing but slow you
down. Type "brief" to disable room descriptions. You can always type
"look" to see the full description at any time.

Below are hints that I am going to give to make your beginning life
easier. If I deem the hint as a spoiler, I will precede it with a
*spoiler* tag:
* Train your constitution and wisdom (in that order) to their maximum
before you train anything else. You will probably want to train your
intelligence next.
* Go through the entire new beginner school, and "say yes" in the room
with the armorer. He will give you some very nice pieces of starting
gear that will last until level 15. After you go down into the Edge City
Center, go back up then north. Here will be a trainer, a master who will
let you practice your various skills, and many creatures with more
equipment of which you will need.
*spoiler* When creating your new character, choose a race with low
creation points. The lower the creation points, the less experience you
will need per level. Humans are the ultimate race to start with, as they
need only 1000 experience to level.
* When asked if you wish to customize, choose "yes", then type "done".
This leaves you lacking in skills, but ensures that you have the lowest
experience per level cost. You can always gain those skills later on.
Note however, that you should just gain the default group for your class
(say, mage), since you won't be keeping this form for long. In this
case, you'd type something to the effect of "gain mage default".
* Don't do anything to your character that's important until you
reincarnate, as it will all be lost when you do reincarnate. If you do
reincarnate, put all your gold in the bank, as gold on your character is
wiped during the process (perhaps the gods are looking for wealth, too?)
* Read all the help files for "reinc-class" and "reinc-race" before you
do reincarnate (you can do this at level 100). Knowing this material
beforehand will save you a lot of reading during recreation and saves
you the danger of losing your connection then having to reincarnate,
again.
*spoiler* Your reincarnate requires lots and lots of trains and quest
points. Quest at low levels, say, level ten. Around these levels, the
quests are fairly easy and the few tough ones aren't a big hitch on your
questing venture.
*spoiler* After you've reincarnated, level your way to level 15, but do
not spend your trains or practices. Convert any practices to trains and
gain a multiclass. Make sure you gain one which is not a reinc-class
(they cost 70 trains). Now, level your second class to level 15, then
add a third class. Now delete your second class, then use any remaining
trains or practices to train your statistics and skills. Repeat this
process, remembering that the third class you chose has now become your
second class, until your statistics are at their maximum and all your
skills are practiced. Feel free to gain one level in your primary class,
but immediately afterward, train the statistics again.
*spoiler* Quest equipment is expensive. You don't want to spend your
precious points on useless items, so here are some items I deem the most
worthwhile:
Robe Of sanctuary: Gives you permanent sanctuary so long as you wear the
robes. (sanctuary halves the damage your character takes)
Bracer of the ancients: You can activate this item for a one-way gate
back to Edge City Center, quite useful if you find yourself stuck in a
cursed land that doesn't allow you to recall.
Helm of perception: Lets you see hidden, invisible, shadowed and
otherwise undetectable characters and non PC's.

The hints go on and on.  My character on there is named Xoren. Feel free to
send me a tell ("tell Xoren <message>") with any questions you may have. You
may also use the newbie channel by typing "newbie <message>". Type help to
see a list of
help files, type command for a list of command categories, then type
something like "command combat" to see combat-related skills and
commands.
I have found myself rather fond of this mud. True the hours upon hours
spent at questing can become quite tedious and boring after so many
repetitions, but the rewards are there to be had. Enjoy!

+
Pipe 2: Blast Chamber
Available commercially from
www.bscgames.com
Fully playable without sighted assistance.
Reviewed by Michael Feir

*introduction:
Far superior to the original Pipe game, Blast Chamber takes a simple central
task and adds other distractive elements and layers to form a wholly
engaging experience. Everything is quite well executed. I barely had time to
become proficient and slightly bored with the game's main task of fitting
pipes before other things showed me not to take that task or anything else
for granted. I've beaten the game three times on the easy level but have yet
to do so on higher difficulties.

*The Interface:

While nowhere as complex as something like GMA Tank Commander, Blast
Chamber's interface is no walk in the park either. The arrow keys are used
to fit pipes while the control key is used to hammer them in. The numbers
one through four select special items while the space bar cancels the use of
a selected item. There are also a number of other useful keys including the
<p> key to pause. Everything is well thought out and makes sense.

*Sound and Music:

The attention to detail in Blast Chamber's audio environment and sound
effects is very impressive. Sounds don't tend to mask each other out and
there are no situations I came across where I felt things were rendered
unfair by poor sound choices. A truly natural arcade feel is established
with nothing there to jarringly remind you that this is a game for the
blind. Nice small touches such as soft dripping in the background add to the
sense of emersion. As in the first game, the sound of rushing water gets
louder as time to fit the pipe, hammer it in, and turn the valve runs out.
This can add wonderfully to the tension as you're dealing with an enemy or
trying to judge when it's safe to move and avoid electricity. I was
initially thrown off by the spider sound effect as it didn't seem to fit
with the rest of the game. However, once you play far enough to hear rats
and other sounds, the game's overall slightly cartoonish atmosphere will
come through and all will make sonic sense.

The music is also well suited to the game. Each kind of level has a
different background tune. The only possible improvement here is to have a
different tune for the bonus stages although having the electric level music
play certainly gets you ready for trouble. Because of the short time spent
in each level, it doesn't matter that the music is repetitive. You change to
another level before it becomes an issue. Not having music playing while the
bomb is being disarmed was an interesting design choice which I think works
quite well. All you hear is the timer ticking in the background giving an
intense feeling like exams I remember in school.

*Game Play:

Although a very fun experience overall, people should be prepared for a high
level of that nail-biting frustration which comes from having to start
things all over again due to a single mistake made under time pressure. The
game is essentially an exercise in timing and keeping track of how far along
you are in various tasks. Due to the atmosphere created, it doesn't feel
like that. Once you're familiar with the keys and situations, you'll get
caught up in it. The spiders are my personal bugbear as you must remember
which of six function keys to use to kill them. If you ever forget where you
are in the sequence and hit the wrong key, you're toast. The electricity
levels can also prove frustrating as you can be put in situations where
there's no way to avoid dying. You then have to start the level all over
again.

Fans of the original Pipe game are in for quite a different experience
beyond a basic similarity. Rats, thugs, and the spiders I talked about
earlier must be contended with. Thugs may be dealt with either by using your
fists or by shooting them with your gun if you have ammunition for it. Rats
are normally shown who's boss by wrenches that you can obtain to throw at
them. You have to listen to where their noise comes from and center your
cursor over the rat. The control key will then launch the wrench. Bug spray
and flashlights are special items which provide a way of getting rid of all
spiders or rats on a level respectively. This can be extremely helpful since
timing can be so critical particularly on the electricity levels.

Special items can either be found in tool chests or in trash cans on
sidescroller levels. Tool chests containing special items provide a welcome
if brief change of pace as you have a limited time to swap numbers around
and find the combination which opens them. Wrenches, ammunition, flashlights
and bug spray can be found in tool chests. On sidescroller levels,
construction hats can be found which let you pass through hazards unharmed.
You still must jump over sewers and barrels though. Trashcans take time to
search but can yield welding kits, construction hats, extra time, and items
giving bonus points. Sometimes, staircases appear which will either take you
up to the next level or back to the last one. You must decide immediately
whether to use them or not. This level of resource management adds a lot of
depth to the game making for a far more stimulating experience.   

There are different strategies, likely more than I've discovered, which can
help save time and deal with events more effectively. You can use your fists
to kill thugs by hitting the left and right control keys quickly. This can
be especially effective if you first match up the correct pipe and then go
wild on those two keys. The thug is beaten to a pulp and you then hammer in
the pipe with the same rapidity. Save the bullets for tight situations like
electricity levels where timing is more critical. Also breaking up the
repetition of fitting pipes are sidescroller levels. These are certainly not
as complex as you'd find in a full-fledged sidescroller. No enemies are
present and you only need worry about obstacles. This is not to say that
completing sidescroller levels is a walk in the park. Barrels, electricity,
sewer lids and blasts of steam make getting to the far side quite a
challenge. The time limit placed on these levels is also a good idea.

My only gripe is with the final level after you defuse the bomb. When you
lose a life on that level, you're given a hint but I don't feel the whole
situation is fair. I had to play through the whole game in order to finally
figure out what to do on the final level. I pity the novice gamer faced with
that level of effort required just to get back to a point at the very end
where disaster strikes regardless of how quickly one acts. In fairness to
those who might be robbed of this and disagree with my judgment here, I
won't spoil any surprises. It was tremendously satisfying to finally beet
the game.

*Conclusions:

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing through Blast Chamber. It's an
excellent way of training memory and fast keyboard reflexes. Sound effects,
voiceovers and music were fantastic. The only drawback is that there are
points where death seams too inevitable and unfair and doing levels over and
over again can be monotonous. However, since levels are short, this
frustration doesn't overwhelm the game's positive points. It's easy to get
caught up in an adrenaline rush when you're cruising through levels on the
brink of disaster knowing all the while that time is ticking down. I would
give the game an overall rating of eight out of ten.
+

Super Deekout
Available commercially from:
www.danzgames.com
Fully playable without sighted assistance.
Game by Dan Zingaro
Reviewed by Michael Feir

Super Deekout is a splendid addition to the growing collection of classic
arcade-style games accessible to blind people. Dan Zingaro's first
commercial product under his own company shows clear evidence of his prior
experience with BSC Games and on his own. It also shows he has an excellent
handle on what makes a classic arcade game great. The action starts off
relatively easy but the tention increases as more elements are added and the
robot pursues you relentlessly.

*The Interface:

Mainly, players will be using the four arrow keys plus the space bar once
the game is started. Menus are in the traditional style with up and down
arrows moving through the options and the return key selecting one. The p
key pauses the action. When you have a speed item in effect, you can hold
down the control key while moving with the arrow keys to move at normal
speed. Once the game starts, the arrow keys move you in the four cardinal
directions while the enter key gives a brief report on your health and the
number of coins left on the current level. The only other keys used are the
n, c, and w keys to make use of various items you can gather. That n key is
the only big beef I have with the game's interface. The item nutraliser
should be far better positioned for quick access near the w and c keys. It's
awkward locating the n key with one hand while trying to grab coins and
avoid the robot with the other. Bad ergonomics there with no way to remap
the game's keys to better suit a user's preferences. If you have the
equipment, you can alternatively use a joystick as your input device. There
is a utility which lets you customise that to your heart's content.

*Sound and Music:

The sound in the game suits its retro feel to perfection. All sounds are
destinctive and easy to learn. The robot makes a constant whirring sound as
it pursues you. Coins make jingling sounds which get more distinctive as you
get closer to a coin. They can be confusing with each other so that picking
out a single coin is tricky at times. The options menu gives you some
control over this should you need it. Good and nasty items make different
alert sounds. There are also sounds for when the robot steels your items and
when you swipe his. A different beeping sound warns you when you get close
to a wall. Once you get a good item with a temporary effect such as
invisibility, a low humming starts which begins to rise as the item begins
to ware out. It all makes sense very quickly.

Where the game suffers, in my opinion, is the background music. I'm very
thankful that Dan put in an option to turn it off as it gets too repetative
and annoying too quickly. It's well crafted as far as a more non-musical
fellow like me can judge these things, but just doesn't suit the game
properly. It's too hard-core. I liked the music for the bonus level and the
main menu before the game starts. Perhaps a cycle made up of around six to
ten different ambient tunes with a kind of electronic up-beet feel would
have worked better here. As the game is infinite, it would be impossible to
have different tunes for each level.

*Game Play:

Be prepared for an absolutely smooth experience. You'll quickly get the hang
of moving around the board grabbing coins and items. As you become more
proficient, you'll be brave enough to zip right past the robot or even do
circles around it trying to snatch that one last coin without getting
caught. It would have been nice to have more different bonus levels to
experience. The coin shower and bomb levels are fun, but more variety would
have been welcome. Also, after a while, you'll really want to smash that
robot and any other enemies. Some way to get rid of the robot and other
enemies it eventually can call. If not a weapon that the player could obtain
and have limited uses of, then some sort of trap to lure the robot or other
enemy over. The latter solution might suit the game better and keep it a
purely defensive one. Turrets which fired inward from points along the side
of the board whose shots could injour both the robot/other enemy  and the
player would also work well. Once destroyed, an enemy would only be able to
appear again after a time period had passed or when the next level was
reached. These are the only things I could possibly think of which might
improve the game. Everything else seems absolutely perfectly in tune and
without flaw.

Difficulty increases at a very nice pace which shouldn't prove too
discouraging for beginners but won't bore more advanced players. Having the
three difficulty settings is another big plus. Coins appear randomly making
for excellent replay value. You'll never have the same game twice. A key
element in the game is that it presents players with constant opportunities
for greed. This is particularly the case after you generate one or more user
coin spawns. Once you collect the prerequisit number of coins, you can
either go onto the next level or continue collecting extra coins and items.
If you wait too long before proceeding, you lose out on bonus points and
rewards. Also, there's always the temptation to try and grab coins instead
of maintaining a safer distance from the robot or grabbing nasty items which
the robot can then acquire.

*Conclusions:

If you're after a smooth-flowing good time which stimulates you and hones
your reflexes, this game is definitely worth your money. It gets top marks
for sound, concept, and most importantly replay value. The interface isn't
as free from awkwardness as I've outlined above, but you won't be using your
special expariment items all too frequently since they're more rarely
obtained. The documentation is also quite well written. Overall, I give
Super Deekout a nine out of ten. I very much look forward to future titles
from Dan Zingaro.

+

Super Liam
Game created by and available commercially from:
www.l-works.net
Fully playable without sighted assistance
Reviewed by Michael Feir

I've long felt that the sidescroller type of arcade game would be uniquely
suited to easy adaptation for blind players. Super Liam is a definite
vindication of that thinking. When compared to sidescrollers for sighted
gamers, it doesn't push the envelope of the possibilities inherrent in the
jenre. However, it offers a very smooth and polished entry-level game which
is still challenging despite its simple mechanics. The challenge increases
slowly enough to allow beginners to get used to things but not too slowly
for more hard-core gamers.

*The Interface:

You can't get much more simple than Super Liam's control setup. The up and
down arrows move you through menus and the enter key selects the desired
option. While playing, the left and right arrows move you in their
respective directions. The space bar held down in conjunction with the left
or right arrows causes Super Liam to run. The up arrow is used for jumping.
Once you use the up arrow, you'll remain in the air for a little over a
second and should keep pressing the left or right arrow to move through the
air until you land again. Jumping doesn't propell you automatically in a
direction. To make a longer jump takes extra finger effort. The down arrow
causes Super Liam to crouch and is useful when avoiding flying objects or
enemies. The control key is used to fire your laser gun in the direction
Super Liam is facing. The escape key quits the game while the p key pauses
the action. Absolutely top marks for simplicity and intuitiveness here.

*Sound and Music:

During game play, the sound effects and music exude an up-beet vintage
arcade feeling. The music is absolutely perfect for the game and never feels
too repetative or annoying. Everything scrolls smoothly from right to left
at the appropriate speed and nothing unfairly masks anything else. Sounds
were very well chosen and suit the game's overall cartoonish atmosphere and
premise. The cinimatic scenes which move the story along are well executed,
but don't expect movy-quality acting and sound effects. No game developer
really has the budget for that. It's more like what you'd hear in an
animated series. The voice acting was very good and added to the
over-the-top feeling of the game. X1 is easily the best parody of a
supervillain I've ever come across. He does everything such an evil being
isn't supposed to do with the exception of anything self-defeating or nice.
He admits to his failings such as an ineffective evil laugh at a point in
the game. There are points when I wished I could have skipped over things.
In particular, each time you lose your last life, you have to listen to the
ending music and your score when you just want to get on with reloading from
where the game saved your position and try again.

*Game Play:

And now, we come to the heart of the matter. I thoroughly enjoyed playing
Super Liam. Levels are very well designed and can get quite tricky at times.
There were a couple of innovative nasty tricks. Hazzards tipically have
warning sounds so that as you walk up to them, you hear a couple of
differently sounding steps appropriate to the hazzard. In later levels, some
hazzards don't have this surrounding barrier. I particularly admire one
instance in the lava level. You're approaching a health boost item which
emits a special beeping signal that gets louder as you get closer. The item
is positioned exactly at the very edge of a fire pit and if you're not very
attentive, you can fail to hear the first squishy step which lets you know
you're right at that edge. If you don't jump at the right time, you get the
health boost only to plunge straight into the fire pit and lose a life.
Nasty, but par for the course in these kinds of games. The hazzards found in
later levels without any warning step sounds when you get close to them can
be tricky to master. This is particularly the case when enemies are near
them as well. On that note, I think Liam went too easy on players there.
Things almost always seemed separated out so you never had to deal with too
many enemies near hazzards. Also, there's a high degree of predictability to
things. Hazzards often seem to be sequenced so that you'd come up to three
pits in a row followed by a couple of fire balls to duck followed by more
pits. Don't think it's predictable all the way through. It isn't. However,
more variety would have been nice.

On that subject, there's a distinct lack of any sort of randomness in the
game. It's exactly the same each time you play through. I would have very
much appreciated some randomly appearing hazzards and enemies in unexpected
places. This would have added considerably to the game's replay value.
There's more replay value than I would have expected despite the lack of
randomness since you tend to react slightly differently each time through.
However, having the computer inject actual freshness into at least some of
the levels would have been a good thing. Also, more kinds of items to
collect which gave you longer firing range or other such advantages would
have added a lot.

There are extras hidden in the game. I've come across two bonus levels, but
am convinced that I haven't found all of the game's secrets despite winning
five or more times now. Mainly, what convinces me that I haven't found it
all yet are the much higher scores on the online world-wide scoreboard than
anything I've managed. The various enemies, particularly the bosses, are
nicely differentiated from each other and require different tactics to
defeat. I particularly enjoy the laserbot battle which involves running
after a robot in an attempt to stop him reaching a reactor and blowing up
the spaceship you're on. He fires a laser at you which you can duck if
you're quick enough. However, it's hard to duck and run at the same time and
you have to keep up with him while inflicting enough damage and avoiding
being killed. The final battle with X1 is quite impressive although he could
have used a bit more conversational skill. It involves jumping over gaps
between three platforms while avoiding a lethal laser which is constantly
tracking in on you. The ending was very satisfying indeed.

*Conclusions:

Overall, I've had quite a positive experience with this long-anticipated
title from L-Works. I encountered no bugs or any glaring errors in the
cinimatic scenes. Super Liam is a very easy game to get into and pass time
with. I'd recommend it to anybody from about age ten upward. I have high
hopes that people will take Super Liam for the stunningly good proof that it
is of just how viable sidescrollers are for blind people. There's so much
room for Liam and others to explore. At $25 Us, it is well worth the price
and should provide the average gamer with hours of fun.


+
Shattered Dimensions

Hi all,
I do run Shattered Dimensions, and I have made many mistakes along the way
to making it the mud that it is today.
We have 10 players on at a time from time to time, though lately not as much
has been going on so we are hosting more in game events.
In close to 6 weeks from now, we hope to host the largest event ever in the
history of star wars muds.
I will put over $100 into advertising the mud a month from now once I have
made a number of changes and have all the areas looking the way I need them
to.
We are about to start building Wayland then we will build the planet Kessel
shortly after Wayland is finished.
We take the smaug approach to roleplay, clans such as The New Republic and
The Empire are strictly rp enforced.
Lesser known clans such as the hunters guild, and The Triad Syndicate may
pkill each other until the cows come home.
Basically, if you want to roleplay then high quality rp is what you will
get, where as if you want to pkill pkill and pkill you will not find a bunch
of hardasses demanding you play a certain way.
Until we get a large enough player base we are advancing players so that we
can get the clans going along with the player run economy.
Anyway, the websitte is at
http://www.shattereddimensions.com
and the telnet addy is:
shattereddimensions.com port 7777
Please check it out if you get a chance.
Take care everyone and I will talk to ya all later.

+
Treasure Hunt
Commercially avaible from
http://
Fully platable
Reviewed by Lukas Hosnedl

General info:

Developer and publisher: BPC Programs SD. (the actual game is written by
Munawar Bijani from BPC, sounds were produced by Philip Bennefall of
PB-Games
(http://www.pb-games.com)
and music was composed by Kelly John Sapergia from KJS Productions
(http://www.kjsproductions.com)).
First released in late February 2004 for PC - any Windows OS except 3.x.

Price: $25 US

Home at web: http://www.bpcprograms.com

Download size: approximately 94 megabites

Latest public released version: 4.23

Availability: A concept demo is available to everyone (if you're not a
registered user and download the full game, you'll be allowed to play only
the first part of the mission with some little restrictions), as well as two
very cool audio trailers and a storyline sequence, all in MP3 format. BPC
accepts credit card orders online via Paypall, cheques and money orders.

Accessibility: The whole game is completely self-voicing using Eloquence for
Jaws as its default synthetic speech output (in fact, it's been used only by
the audient (more on this will follow later on)) and it can be played very
comfortably via keyboard. It doesn't contain any graphics and all sounds and
background music are of high value (better said, it all simply rocks! :-).
There are even a few little sound effects that are needed to make it
possible also to totally blind users to play this game with no trouble and
difficulties. The game is fast, responsive and stable (at least on my own
system) and the system requirements it has are not so high after all, even
the registration process is narrated. Pretty intuitive, easy to use and
user-friendly interface with simple to remember keystroke commands and nice
environment is a portion of the game too. No special hardware or software
(including screen readers and multi channel sound cards) is needed for
successful gameplay. In fact, it's recommended that you unload any
screenreaders before you start playing, as they may slow the speed and
performance of the game down and interfere with the keyboard processing, as
is already usual with most of the available audiogames.


Introduction


Storyline


As he descends the steps to the underground base, James is concerned with
the project's completion. He knows what he is going to do, but how he will
do it is a different story. Going over all the chemicals in his backpack,
James stops dead in his descent. As he stands there pondering over this
experiment, he remembers his professor once saying to him, "James, you will
become an excellent cloner. I'll give you some resources here."

Ahh, if only he knew where the books were! "Aha! there!" exclaims James
aloud, "right under my nose and I didn't notice them?"

A broad grin spreads over his face as he kneels down and opens a door built
into the staircase and grabs his books. He then realizes all this time he
had the items to clone with him, he was just being a dumb jerk and had not
noticed it.

After reaching solid ground, james begins to walk north: on his right he
passes a door. The second one he opens to an eastwest corridor.
He then walks toward the Northeast corner of his base where the pannel is
located; after entering the code, he walks over to the vault in which he
keeps the card which starts the cloning machine. Taking it, he goes back to
the pannel and inserts it. The machine begins to hum and Brutus smiles to
himself as he watches it do its job.

AT THE FBI:
"Sir, we have learned of an individual by the name of James Brutus who
apparently has been accused of performing some ill experiment in his
laboratory: when his guests try to converse with him, he is short tempered
and some say he spends days at a time in his lab. We are, unfortunately,
forced to break into his house and if circumstances lead to it, gain access
to his personal data."

"Fine, when am I to start this mission?"

"Be patient, sir, let me tell you your mission first. You will be required
to search his house, that is first on my list; from there, I shall give you
exact directions."

AT BRUTUS'S HOUSE
Entering Brutus's house you notice the ordinary---papers, coffee table, Etc.
A kitchen is to your left and the hallway leading to the bedrooms is to your
right. You can hear the air conditioner humming softly in the background. As
you scrutinize the area, however, you notice a rectangular opening in the
floor. kneeling down and placing your gun in a position which will allow you
to grab it instantly should you need it to defend yourself, you beam your
flashlight through the hole. Almost at once, you find yourself under 3
guards, who are slugging you horribly. As you struggle to get up you notice
a team of fighters come to your aid; battling off the guards, they hoist you
up and take you back to the FBI.

THE MISSION STATEMENT
"Very well sir, the flashlight images you took of Brutus's base is exactly
what we need. Unfortunately though you alerted Brutus to the fact that the
FBI is after him. We have monitored him closely the last three days and have
noticed that he has put his guards on high alert. Here is a card which holds
a document which I have written. It explains in detail your mission."

You slip the card into a slot on the back of the Audient. It begins to read
the data on the card.
"Munawar, as thus your mission is to stop the machine at all costs. If it
does do what Brutus has set it to do, serious consequences may result. You
must validate your insertion of the key into the vault---Brutus requires
valid authorization for this thence none but himself may unlock the vault.
Secondly, you must find the key. It's located in a chest which requires
validation to open; thence you must validate it first via the control
pannel, then open the chest and get the key. Once you have the key, Munawar,
the next part of your mission is dangerous. You must get to the vault at all
costs, unlock it, and get the card. This card will then need to be slipped
into the pannel to shut off the machine. This will also lower the shield.
After this, blow up the machine so that none may use it again. Be careful
though: when off, the machine alternately activates an extremely powerful
camera which in turn is attached to several explosives. If you do get
spotted, you're history. Therefore, do whatever you can to blow it up, but
don't get too close. Stay away from it!

The machine will take a while to shut off because of all the electric it
uses: every circuit is shut off after a sufficient gap in between, so be
patient and it will turn off after about one minute.

Also there is a weaponry available. There are some useful weapons there from
what we can see, one of which you will definitely need in your mission. The
door though is locked. You'll have to find the key to it. Once you get it
open, take advantage of that room. We believe that the door to the pannel is
also locked for security purposes, though we are not sure. It may be
unlocked: from what we can see, both locks use the same key. Brutus also
uses a private transport system to occasionally restock his supply room.
From the stairs, there will be a door all the way to your right. This door
leads to a North South corridor. At the end of this corridor is the supply
room. We shall be notifying you when it restocks.

Another thing, it appears that the vault is surrounded by mine fields..
Brutus uses a hidden passageway to get under the mines. We can't detect it.
However, the mine control center is monitoring the mines. If you blow it up,
you should be able to get past. We don't know what's under the mines, but
whatever it is you should be able to get past it, just get rid of those
mines.

The Audient, the tool from which you are reading the data on this card, is
your GPS. From this, an ear piece is attached to your ear thence none but
you may hear what it dictates. It fits easily into your uniform's pocket.
From the pannel on the Audient, you will be able to get your bearings, the
bearings of the vault, control pannel, and chest. The scope range on the
Audient is 20 feet. When you are in danger of being spotted by a guard, the
Audient will sound a red alert signal. A more alarming red alert signal will
sound when you are spotted. When danger lurks behind, the Audient will sound
a high-pitched beep. Likewise, if danger lurks in front, in case you are
blinded for any reason, the Audient will sound a low-pitched beep.

Another feature of the Audient is it's Telecommunications Sound System, or
TSS. With the TSS, we shall have audio communication with you. We shall be
guiding you through your mission via this device.

The validation code you must enter into the pannel is kill all! die!"...

"Good. Any assistance?"

"Nay, only your Audient and the TSS. And a gun, of course, and a sword.
Could come in handy."

"hmmm. How well-trained are the guards?"

"Know this: All guards have gone through training which has dramatically
increased their reflects, skills in shooting, Etc. Be warned, also, that
they are equipped with bombs which they will kill you with if you aren't
careful ---therefore it is recommended you stay low."

"Do you have any idea as to where the chest and pannel are located?"

"We know of the pannel; it's located in the Northeast corner of Brutus's
base. As for the vault and chest, we were not able to get their exact
bearings. Well, time is running out. You better get going. We all depend on
you, sir. good luck!"

AT BRUTUS'S HOUSE
Again you find yourself at the house of the massive insane cloner Brutus.
You enter and start to descend the steps to the underground base. You stop
when you hear a blood-curddling scream from an---animal? Who knows? You take
a deep breath: "OK, I will defeat it! He is not to be cloning like this!"

You check your gun, Audient, and sword; everything seems to be working very
well. Taking one last deep breath you climb down the rest of the steps.

When you reach the bottom and are on solid ground, you find yourself in a
long eastwest corridor, with a door in front of you. You get a feeling of
being trapped: "What if Brutus decides to blow up this place?"

You arm yourself with your gun, and scan the area. It's surprisingly quiet
now considering what's going on.


Basic describtion

So, there we go, this is what TH is all about. To play it, you must have the
following. Please note that the components and requirements listed below are
absolutely necessary and the lowest possible configuration to play TH with.
It's always recommended to have even better equipment if possible. It
ensures smoother and more stable performance and eliminates the risk of
experiencing runtime errors or hang-ups, too.

- Intel Pentium III compatible processor with 400 MHZ CPU speed (this is
recommended, but I'm able to play it fine with only 351 MHZ)
- 128 MB RAM (256 or more would be better since you might occasionally
experience an "out of memory" error with 128 megs)
- a 32 bit stereo sound card with speakers or headphones plugged in, of
course (smile)
- any Windows OS except 3.x (smile)
- Microsoft DirectX 8.1 or higher installed on your computer
- and good nerves, quick hands and good reflects and skills, of course, to
get at least past the first corridor!
Please note that since version 4.20 Treasure Hunt requires Microsoft .net
Framework package version 1.1 and no other to be installed on your machine
as well. No worries though, everything that the game needs to run all right
can be easily obtained from bpcprograms.com along with the game itself.
The actual game starts at the moment when the storyline sequence (which I've
slightly modified and then pasted directly from the game documentation)
ends. The main character Munawar (some kind of similarity there?) enters
Brutus's base and is gonna start his dangerous mission. You must guide him
throughout the long unending corridors, passages, hallways and rooms to get
to the various game objectives in order to break Brutus's evil plans. But
watch out for those loads of brutal patrol guards who have been present
everywhere and search for any possible infiltrators! Once they spot an
enemy, they will most probably call others to their help, and then you have
practically no chance to escape still alive. It's always a great idea to
take advantage of the secret supply room after you get a notification that
it was restocked. I know, you'll be doing it all at the pure risk of your
own life, but remember that if you can succeed in what seems to be rather
impossible, you'll surely become a popular hero all over the world.  Soon
during your difficult way, you will encounter many unexpected things,
problems, events and other additional tasks that appear from the depth of
the situation that will bring much more trouble to manage to get through.
Sooner or later, you will find yourself trapped amongst many other strange
goals that you were never told about but still must accomplish them besides
your main mission while fighting like hell for your life. For example, you
will have to fight Brutus off twice, and you'll even meet up with his bizard
mysterious terrible experiment. Let's see whose gun is better. But keep in
mind that you must stay hidden away from those damned guards reliably!
Providing four different difficulty levels, ranging from simply easy to
impossible (which is already really hard even for a very skilled gamer like
me, this game promises to immerse you in its quite amazing story for a long
time. So that I'd strongly recommend you to better start looking for the
available weaponry as soon as you start to investigate. Your Treasure Hunt
begins, so get ready!

Game play

Getting started

Once you start the game, the registration dialogue box will appear first if
you haven't registered your own copy of TH yet, then after you go through
this simple registration thing, you'll hear the BPC Programs Software
Division sound logo (I like it!  Then you'll be informed that the whole
program is now fully loaded onto your computer. The storyline sequence will
then begin playing and you'll hear a hard clicking sound being repeated in
fast loop in the background. You must wait till this sound stops and you'll
hear "press space or enter to continue". But you may still wish to listen to
the storyline, so don't hesitate to do so. If this is the first time you
play, I'd recommend this choice, since the storyline is really well done and
it rocks!!! :-)
 Once you press space bar or enter key to go on, the main menu music
will start playing and the main menu "screen" will appear. You'll hear the
main menu prompt where you are asked to select your choice using the up and
down arrow keys and then press enter to confirm it. There are the following
options in the main menu: Start new game, load saved game, learn game
sounds, registration, and exit game. If you want to start a new game, select
start game ---then you will be asked to select your difficulty level which
may be either easy, moderate, moderately impossible or impossible (you
cannot play impossible in demo mode). Then, you will get the short
introduction dialog telling you who has made this game, and after clicking
the ok button (enter key), the game will start from the beginning. However,
if you have saved a game before, select load saved game and you'll then be
asked to press a number from 1 to 3, depending on which of the three
available slots you've saved your game previously to. So, press the
appropriate number and there you go! The learn game sounds sub-menu allows
you to list through the most common and most important sounds you'll
encounter in the game. If you want to listen to any of them, simply press
enter on it and it will be played to you, along with its describtion being
spoken again. The registration menu allows you to either get your product
ID, register the game now, or remove your registration information from the
current computer completely. This is only useful if you want to re-enter a
new registration code, or if there have been any changes made to the
registration algorithm in the new version due to any reason. If this is the
case, then you will be issued a new reg key code by the author after such
upgrade is out. There is also a possibility to obtain registration help from
this menu. In any sub-menu, there is a "return to previous menu" item which
will automatically return you back to the main menu, in case you've done a
mistake and want to take your last choice back. Inside the game you can
press f to pause it. Press f to unpause again, and if you press escape while
in pause mode, you'll be taken back to the main menu and will be able to
choose two additional options: Resume game which will return you back to the
game, or save game which will ask you for a slot number between 1 and 3 that
you want to use and your game will be saved after that. In addition, there
are keystrokes available for saving and loading, as well as anything
regarding the registration, so that you don't always have to pause your game
and then go to the main menu if you want to do it very quickly. Therefore,
it's only your personal preference as to which method of performing these
operations you will use more often.

Game session

Once you hear that introductory screen being read and the background music
begins to play after that, you can already adjust its volume by using page
up or page down to decrease or increase its volume, and shift-pgdn to set it
to full volume, or shift-PGUP to mute the background music completely. After
you press any other key the game will then start and you are able to begin
your movement immediately.
 To move around, simply use the four arrow keys. Pressing the up
arrow will move Munawar north, down arrow will move him south, and after
pressing left or right arrow key, he will go west or east. Therefore, there
is no need to turn around in the game and complicatedly line yourself
straight up on an object, a door, etc. You will be able to hear your
footsteps and if you bump against a wall, you'll hear a cool sound of such
kind and it will block your path in that direction, so you'll have to go
elsewhere. If there is an intersection, you'll start to hear wind howling
through the new passage that has appeared. If you are approaching a closed
door, the audient will start to produce a continuous warning which sounds
like an alarm telling you about this until you move out of its detection
range field or open the door. To open or close doors, press enter. You can
close doors after you pass, although the only use of doing this would be to
simplify orientation in the unknown areas of the large base (be careful
though not to shut doors on yourself accidentally, i.e. don't stay in an
open door but instead always make sure that you stay one foot away from it
if you wanna close it, because that would take a hundred health points). But
you may also lock and unlock doors with your master key once you get it. To
do this, you press shift-enter to lock or unlock doors. Because the guards
can freely move everywhere and even open doors while going after you, of
course, locking an important door can prevent them from going through it, so
it can be a really huge help sometimes. If you are in a tough situation it
is also possible to shut doors on guards which gets rit of them reliably.
To prevent you from getting lost, you can press l at any time to get your
current coordinates, and v to hear if you've already visited this location
before or not. In this new version it's now possible to press r and you will
be returned to your starting point immediately but you won't loose anything
that you're currently carrying, so that can be a really handy feature at
times when you are at one end of the base and need to get to the other, and
you know you'd go through your starting point again, anyway.
Often times, you will find yourself looking around. This is performed by
pressing shift along with any of the arrow keys to "look" in its direction.
The audient scope range is twenty feet. If it can't "see" anything in that
direction, you will hear "nothing", otherwise it will tell you what the beam
has landed on, and how far away from you it is. If you wish to hear the
current bearings of the control pannel, chest, vault and the door to the
supply room, you can press t at any time. You will hear their relative
directions to your current position, for example "the vault is to the
northeast, the chest is to the south, the control pannel is to the
northeast, the door to the supply room is to the northwest". The actual game
is paused when a longer information is being told to you, so that you don't
have to be afraid that anything can happen to you while you concentrate on
it. Seems pretty easy, right? Well, it might be easy to control the game,
but not to play it at all! *smile*

The TSS is another cool thing. It makes the game atmosphere feel much more
realistic and like you are really inside that base doing it all not only in
the game... Your FBI commander has always contact with you through the TSS
and he can talk to you anytime when he feels it's important, independently
of your actions. Sometimes, the game is even paused until TSS has ended its
transmission. You cannot, however, call him, this is how the purpose of TSS
was designed, but you should always pay attention to what the commander
says, when he does. You should be grateful for such advice through your
mission.
 To be on target with a guard, you must be exactly on his sector
unless you're using a bomb, the remote controlled missile launcher, poisoned
needles, or the mental capacity breacher (from now on only MCB), all of
which I will describe later in this review.
To let you know about this, you will hear a continuous high beep sound being
repeated always when you are on target with a guard. It lets you know that
you can press space bar to shoot him with your active weapon. If you are
spotted, you will hear a very alarming red alert signal, the battle music
will start to play and the guard will start attacking you, most often he
will even shout something at you. Also, your FBI commander will scream
something like "Munawar, run" in fear. However, it takes quite a couple of
shots to kill a guard, so it is best to shoot them only in battle. You can
always find how many guards are after you (by pressing c, by the way), as
well as how much ammunition you have left for the current weapon. To switch
between your weapons, you press numbers 1 through 7 on the number row. After
everything is okay, the battle music will stop playing and the normal
background music will resume playing. You can also always get your full
status, including how many points you have, how many health points are
remaining (you start your game with 500 HP), how many guards you've already
killed, how much ammo you have left for the active weapon, etc. There are
also one key commands to quickly obtain each of these pieces of information
separately.

Weaponry

You start your mission with the gun and a sword. The gun has 100 bullets
only. You can use the sword as many times as you like, but it's a very bad
weapon to be used in battle, since it has the chance of slightly missing its
target and it might take very long to kill a guard with a sword. So this is
why I always locate and pick up the weaponry before doing anything else. As
you can see, using only the gun and the sword would not be enough even for
ten minutes.
The gun is also a pretty weak weapon it takes the average of 4 or 5 shots to
kill a guard with it.  In addition, during your way, you can find bullet
reflector shield generators, a laser gun, and a remote controlled missile
launcher. And, the most interesting weapon in the game I think, the MCB that
I've already mentioned above. This is the weaponry in the locked room that's
mentioned in the storyline. The bullet reflectors always come with 5
shields. One of them lasts for about thirty seconds and you are virtually
immortal during this period of time against anything except mine fields. The
energy of a mine explosion is too great for the bullet reflector to protect
you from it, The laser gun comes with 200 shots when you first find it, and
it's much more powerful than your standard gun. In fact, most of the time
only one laser shot is enough to kill a guard, compared to 3 or 4 from your
normal gun. Sometimes 2 or even 3 shots may be needed, but on the other side
when more guards are after you, you can kill them all with one shot if
you're lucky! The laser gun is one of your most powerful weapons and you
will definitely want to face Brutus with it. An absolutely cool feature is
the remote controlled missile launcher. When you select it and press space
bar, a missile is launched out of it going north. You can turn it to the
left or right with your left and right arrow keys and speed it up or slow it
down with the up and down arrows. When it moves at the speed of zero,
nothing can stop it.   To detonate it at any time, you can press the space
bar, but it will detonate automatically when it contacts another object. To
be able to determine where the missile is, you can use the "look feature"
(shift and an arrow key) along with the t key from the perspective of the
missile. Although it may seem very hard, it's pretty easy to control the
missile. When you are trying to blow up the mine control center or the
machine, the game will know this and you'll get the bearings of the object
that you are after by pressing t. However, certain objects won't appear if
you are not using a missile and if it's not the right time to destroy them.
Due to all these advantages of the remote controlled missiles, you get only
3 of them with the launcher, but you can find more ammunition on your way.
One of the coolest concepts and ideas I've seen in the whole game ever is
the ability to buy additional ammunition for any weapon. If you want to buy
more ammo for a particular weapon, simply select it and then press b. You
will then be asked to enter the amount of ammunition you wish to buy. All
ammunition is priced at five points per unit, so that if you want to buy for
example 100 more missiles, you must have scored 500 points, which is already
a deal. :-)
Sometimes, this ability can help you out a lot. The mental capacity breacher
comes with 100 shots when you locate it. You got only 100 shots in the
entire game and no more, yes, that's right, you cannot buy more ammo for the
MCB. Also, you cannot use it in the demo. To be able to hit a guard with it,
he must be from two to twenty feet ahead (north) of you. That's right, that
simple. No targeting is performed here, you only stand a few steps away from
a guard, ensure that he's near enough by looking north, and then blast away!
If you hit him, you can take control over his mind completely for about one
minute. During that time, you do the same things as if you wanted to move
your own character but instead you are controlling the guard. Yes, now you
can use him as your assistant, that is really cool, isn't it? I like this
weapon because it can really come in handy. If you press r while controlling
a guard with the MCB, he will move over to your current sector immediately
so he can help you defend yourself. The guards will be confused but they
won't attack their friend, of course, so that can be a really good advantage
for you. If you toggle to another weapon, the guard will stand there, left
dumpstriken, and you can control yourself again. Once you toggle back to the
MCB, you control him again. After your time expires, the guard is killed.
The last weapon you can take advantage of in this game are the poisoned
needles. You start the game with 3 of them but you can buy more on your way.
A poisoned needle is also kinda curious and special. You fire them the same
way as the MCB, the only difference is that to be able to use a poisoned
needle, you must be two to ten feet behind the guard. But the closer you are
to him the faster he is killed by the poison, naturally. You can fire
multiple needles at him at once to speed it up, too. You can hit him and
then run away and wait till you hear a distant scream, telling you that he's
finally died. )

Swimming

Yes, you read right. You are able to swim in the game, and you will even be
required to do so during your little trip.
To jump into the water, you must press the arrow key in the direction of the
water, and must be one foot away from it.
To swim left and right (west and east respectively), you press the left and
right arrow just as if you were normally walking on the ground. However, to
swim north and south, you press space bar and shift-space bar, because the
up and down arrow keys are used to ascend or dive deeper into the water.
When you swim, your health is being decreased constantly because of holding
your breath. Below 10 feet, the guards can't spot you, however, your health
starts to decrease at a faster rate when below ten feet. You can check your
depth with the d key. If you have not swam for a while, your depth will
begin to increase, which really isn't good. If your health reaches a
dangerously low level, you can swim to the surface and you will be in the
rest mode. In rest mode, you cannot swim but your health is being slowly
regained. You can use your active weapon in rest mode, but to turn around
and approach any possible enemy in order to target it properly, you will
have to jump into the water again and swim to it, so that it's really hard
to fight in the water. To dive back in the water while in rest mode, you
press the down arrow. When you get out of the water, your health will
immediately be at the level it was when you began to swim because you've
fully regained your breathing capability already. Wwhen you either step out
of the water or are in rest mode, you will hear Munawar's breathing for a
while, until he is able to breathe normally again.

The supply room

The door to the supply room, weaponry and control pannel are locked and to
get the master key to unlock them all, you must kill one of the guards that
are in the corridor leading to the supply room (another cool idea I think.
Now, when you got the key, you can enter the supply room. However, if it
wasn't restocked yet, it will look like a normal empty room, with randomly
generated guards. However, after you get a TSS notification that it has been
restocked, you can go there and you will find some health packs that will
give you some more HP (health points), however, from what I've tried, I
believe that the supply room will never be restocked when you are in there.
That would be quite natural.

Fighting Brutus himself

Two times in the game, you'll fight Brutus himself one by one. He is much
smarter than a guard and has an extremely powerful weapon with which he can
blast you into pieces within seconds, so that it's recommended to fight him
with at least three bullet reflector shields remaining. In addition to this,
he is easily able to dodge your attacks, too, and chase you down the
corridors. You know, the boss.

The cheat codes

There are also three useful cheat codes in the game. If you want to get
them, you will have to murder 200 guards first, and then you'll be able to
find a file containing all of them in the game folder. To enter a cheat, you
have to be at the control pannel and press p. You can't use them in demo
mode, however.

Some interesting info at the end

At first I wrote this article for the previous issue of Audyssey magazine so
it was talking about V4.02 of Treasure Hunt. However, as it couldn't be
posted in that issue, I decided to update it slightly so it's up to date
with the newest release of the game and still include it in this issue. So,
the last two chapters (the "biggest advantages and disadvantages" and "some
funny bugs and tricks") were kept from the last revision of the review. You
can read them so you can get a better feel of what changes were made in
versions 4.20 and later, and also which of the most known and serious bugs
were fixed. All the disadvantages, bad sides and bugs I am talking about in
these last chapters were already fixed and removed so you don't need to
worry, that info is already way outdated. But, as I already said, I just
kept it here so you can know what improvements and enhancements were done in
the latest versions of TH. Thanks.

Biggest advantages and disadvantages


Although I love this game like a crazy, there are a few things or perhaps
bugs that I'd really like to be fixed or improved. The thing that I'm sorry
about the most is that the guards are really pretty dumb on the easier
difficulties. This doesn't mind however, as you have many other tasks to
worry about, you will also be fighting Brutus and his experiment, and after
all, there is the story which is awesome!Anyway, if you are a beginner, you
won't think they are so much dumb at first, but after you'll have mastered
the base layout and some other things, you'll notice this. :-)
Fortunately though, they are currently developing version 4.20 which
promises to have much more inteligent guards system. They will search for
you better and will remember you, etc, according to what BPC has already
revealed. The new version also promises to have the features like: You'll be
able to lock doors with your master key, the guards will be able to open
doors, and you will get a notification through TSS when you enter the
supply, weaponry or control pannel room, which will be a really great
improvement and advantage for everyone.
 One thing that I am really amazed about and didn't pay much
attention to it yet here in this review is the background music made by
Kelly Sapergia (for more info see above)! Also, all the character voices and
sounds are really cool. The sound is amazing at all, and I really love the
way how the game is designed as such. :-)
This game seems to be inspired by a mainstream game called Metal Gear Solid
and this is the very first world's accessible game of this unusual
interesting genre that is really well done.

Some funny bugs and tricks


Well, that's it. And to finish my very first review on a bit lighter note,
I'm adding a few funny bugs and strategy tips, just for pure fun.

 1. Sometimes I experience a behaviour which is a bug for sure, and
it's when I swim to the chest. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but quite often
it does when you are in the water for the first time. Your health is not
decreasing at all, till you step out of the water and swim again, then it
already works fine.
This is quite comfortable at times.
Seriously though, I've already pointed the developer to this and they said
they are gonna fix it in the next update or the one after, just as soon as
they track where the problem lies.

 2. Try to kill a patrol guard with the missile. If you are unlucky
(or lucky in the view of fun), a ghost of the guard will remain in there and
you cannot kill him with any weapon but the bombs. :-) Note: The bombs are
no longer in this game since version 4.20. Only the guards still have'm.

 3. I just love messing and playing around with those baby guards on
all difficulties but impossible. Just try anything like activating a bullet
reflector shield and standing in place, it's unbelievably funny to watch how
there are more and more guards on alert, and all of them shoot at you like
destruction robots, but nothing happens. *grin*
There are lots of other things like this you can do.

Final note

If some of you knew TH V3.0, you can feel what kind of difference has been
made in version 4. For everyone, this game is really worth a try. However,
as it's about 85 megs in size (note: since V4.20 it's even a bit larger), it
would probably be better to have someone who can burn the setup file on a CD
for you if you are on dialup like me. You may also find yourself being
definitely interested in any of BPC's other products. You can find much more
at their website. Also, you may subscribe to their mailing list called BPC
discussion by sending a blank e-mail message to
[email protected] with the word "subscribe in the subject
line.
To this list, the BPC admin posts news reports and updates about what
they're currently working on. Anyone who is subscribed there can also post
to the list and therefore interesting discussions on various BPC related
topics may result. If you have any questions, comments or just anything
you'd like to tell me about this review or anything else, feel free to
contact me at [email protected]. I'd be more than glad to answer all
of your possible and impossible questions and talk to you in any manner. But
from now on, please enjoy TH!!!


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This magazine is published on a quarterly basis, each issue appearing no
earlier than the fifteenth of the publication month for its quarter. All
submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a minimum
of two days before the issue is published. I use MS-Word to produce
Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty much any format.
They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via e-mail to:
[email protected]
  Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your fellow
readers. This magazine should and can be a
highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure that
high quality is maintained, I'll need your
written contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes to
submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them grammatically or enhance
their understand ability. I will never make changes which will alter the
spirit of a submission.
All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great
writers to have their work appear in Audyssey.
Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite young.
Where possible, I try to preserve their
different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the Audyssey
experience far outweighs any benefits
gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of life.
Audyssey is a community and magazine built
on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal structural
requirements for submissions. Within reason,
they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state who
created the game being examined, where it
can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance, and
any system requirements or other critical
information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be used
gratuitously. Submissions not published
in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues if
appropriate.
* Those who are on the Audyssey  discussion list should be aware that I
often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel that
they warrant it.   Anything posted to this discussion list that in some way
stands out from the common and often lively ongoing  discourse will be
considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the author's wish
that it not be published. From now on, it is now officially a policy of the
Audyssey
community.
This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain so. I'm
writing this magazine as much
for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your articles, reviews, and
letters, as well as any games you might care to  send me, are what I'm
after. Send any games, articles, letters, or reviews via E-mail, or on a cd
or 3.5-inch disk in a self- addressed mailer if you want your media returned
to you. Please only send shareware or freeware games. It is illegal to send
commercial games unless you are their creator or have obtained permission to
do so. By sending me games, you will do several things: first, and most
obviously, you will earn my gratitude. You will also insure that the games
you send me are made available to my readership as a whole. If you can, I
recommend that you send e-mail. I can send and receive attachments with
ease. This way, no money will be  wasted sending me a game I already have,
and you'll get my reply more quickly. You are responsible for shipping
costs. That means, either use a disk mailer which has your address on it,
and is either free matter for the blind, or is properly stamped. I can and
will gladly spare time to share  games and my knowledge of them, but cannot
currently spare money above what I spend hunting for new games. I  encourage
all my readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will appreciate it.
Up-load it onto web pages and  bulletin board systems. Copy it on disk for
people, or print it out for sighted people who may find it of value. The
larger our community gets, the more self-sustaining it will become.

There are now several ways of obtaining Audyssey. Thanks to the generous
support of Monarch, Your PC1Source LLC., Audyssey Magazine now has an
official home on the Web. All previous issues of Audyssey can be obtained
from there in several different formats. LVG makes Audyssey available in
MS-Word and PDF formats. There efforts on our behalf are very much
appreciated. Visitors may take advantage of a growing amount of content as
well as submit material. Check it out at:
www.audysseymagazine.org

Those who want to receive issues of Audyssey as they are published should
send a blank E-mail to:
[email protected]
   
The Audyssey discussion list facilitates discussion about games
accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey. All
are welcome as long as they respect their fellow community members and keep
in mind that the topic of the list is supposed to be games. Other topics are
allowed within reason as long as they don't begin to monopolize the list
traffic for too long. Newcomers should be advised that  traffic is
frequently fairly heavy.  Anyone participating in the discussion list will
have issues of Audyssey automatically sent to them via E-mail.
Representatives from all major developers of games for the blind are
actively participating on the list.  There are two moderators keeping things
civil and orderly. Be certain to read the Audyssey Community Charter as all
list members are expected to follow its rules. If you want an active role in
shaping the future of accessible games, this is where you can dive right in.
To subscribe to this discussion list, send a blank message to:
[email protected]

Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for easy
on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to visit our
home-page. People can easily and quickly navigate through the various
articles and reviews, and directly download or visit the sites of the games
that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for sighted people who
wish to make use of Audyssey and/or join the growing community surrounding
it. The Audyssey community thanks Mr. Bobbitt for his continued efforts on
its behalf in this matter.

  Darren Duff also provides a home for Audyssey.
http://www.angelfire.com/music4/duffstuff/audyssey.html
.Where the issues can be read, downloaded individually or one zip file of
all the issues.  Thanks Darren!

Another site has recently added Audyssey issues to its resources. We
welcome:
Note the dash in the below address.
http://www.blind-help.com
to the Audyssey community and hope that visitors to this site find our
resource to be of value to them.


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