Thursday, October 1 2009

The biggest problem with Champions Online…

…is that I only have eight character slots. I could spend weeks just creating cool-looking characters, posing them in various in-game locations, and taking screenshots. I’ve only owned it for three days, and I’ve already used up six slots. And that’s after throwing away several things that didn’t work out.

The game is fun, too. There are some rough edges, but it’s quite playable.

The character generator is insanely complex, but there are some reasonable canned options, overridable theme colors, lockable randomizers, a big undo stack, and the ability to not only save your designs, but send them to a friend. I can see a small cottage industry of designers springing up to help people create cool superheroes.

[Update: I wanted to really turn up the graphics settings, so I rebooted my newer MacBook Pro into Windows and tried it. And I can crank up almost all of the options and still get a smooth framerate. BUT it looks like crap because of a lighting issue in the latest patch that blows out all light colors when you’re near a non-diffuse light source (like, say, “sunshine”). I thought it was my drivers at first, but it’s busted on the other machine as well; I didn’t notice right away, because there’s not a lot of bad lighting in the tutorial missions or in Canada.

Second problem: I’d forgotten that Windows doesn’t work with Japanese keyboards, unless you select the right keyboard type during the initial Windows install. Seriously, even with Vista, you can’t say “the keyboard I just plugged in has a Japanese layout, you know, the kind with an Eisuu key and nothing to the left of the ‘1’”; all keyboards that don’t come with their own special driver are assumed to be the same as the one you installed the OS with, and none of the suggested hacks I’ve found works. For more fun, unless you buy Vista Ultimate, you can’t even select the Japanese keyboards while installing an OS purchased in the US. Ultimate is cheap for me, but come on, that’s stupid.

I’ve learned to cope with it in VMware sessions, but playing a game where some keys are in the wrong place and others don’t exist just doesn’t work out. I’ll have to use an external keyboard to play on this machine.]