Master of Orion II under Virtual PC

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Master of Orion II has clearly fallen into the trap that so many strategy sequels struggle with.  This is that they have a successful original game, and then release a sequel which essentially the same game but with nicer graphics and more complexity - and somewhere in the process they forget about playability.

Master of Orion II adds a bunch of new features.  Some of which are nice (like being able to colonize multiple planets in a system), some of which are relatively pointless (the new concept of 'leaders' that you can hire), and some of which are just down right annoying.

My biggest complaint with Master of Orion II is racial imbalance.  Master of Orion gave you 10 races to pick from - each of which gave you one clear strength to work with.  Master of Orion II provides a similar number of prebuilt races, and also allows you to build your own race - but in MOOII it is far too easy to build a 'super-race'.  For example - for the purpose of taking screen shots I created a modified version of the Meklar race - and gave them the following traits:

  • Creative.  This results in an unbelievable boost to my research abilities.  The advantage here is so significant that any non-creative races should just forget about science.
  • Omniscient.  Yup, these guys can see everything in the universe.  No need to explore and no need to worry about enemy stealthing technology as this trait nullifies all that.
  • Telepathic.  They can also read minds.  This allows them to know when other races are lying to them, detect spies instantaneously and mentally control entire planets.

Do you think that I might have a slight advantage here?

Anyway - the game runs perfectly under Virtual PC - and if you can tolerate the imbalance in the game play it is quite a nice way to pass the time:



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  • Every time I see one of your VPC gaming posts, I can't help but imagine how cool it would be if Longhorn, err Vista game with a builtin/stripped down VPC DOS 6.22 Emulator specifically for gaming.

    Kind of a niche market - other than rich techies most people just can't afford the cost of VPC solely for playing DOS games. MSDN I guess? :-)

    Doubt it will be nothing more than a simplified for the environment VPC tho.

    DosBox is the superior solution as far as gaming is concerned, by the time LongHorn comes out it will be THE solution for the later resource demanding games too. Absolutely no way MS can beat it...of course they don't have to beat it...just come up with something the public will put up with by from what I've seen from MS they really have absolutely no interest in supporting DOS gaming. Ben is probably the only one at MS that really cares about it. ;)
  • If the "God" (player) is smart enough to choose such traits - I think it's perfectly fair. A stupid player would choose traits to allow for much muscle and quick victory or rush tactic. There's no such thing as imbalanced game. There are only creative and non-creative players. Creative players of course are a major annoyance to other players as they break the game designer imposed limitations and rules. For example in some games the way to advance is to repeat certain movements of the mouse. Any sane, healthy minded person would have a computer to do this. However the game companies punish these creative people. If companies make such games in which wanking the mouse is the best way forward, they just asked for it!

    When designing games you should look at Star Trek for inspiration on ways to solve things. Waving a gun is often not the answer. However often these games do not offer other option, so there will be bots and cheats etc.

  • Why is Windows Vista so slow under VPC 2004 (SP1)? Is there anything that can be done? Are there plans to emulate a better video card for VPC? Thanks
  • "Do you think that I might have a slight advantage here?"

    No, it is just one of trillion different custom races which can kill the dumb ai.

    The ai is too dumb, thats the problem.

    In fact your race is not strong. You would lose any Online-MP-game with it.

    BTW, we used the vpc solution a lot at kali. But now we have the nice 1.4 patch and MP is possible without vpc:
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Master of Orion II under Virtual PC