Arena, Part 3.5

After my adventures described in Part 3, and after writing the blog post, I decided that it was worth figuring out how to resolve the laggy, jaggy nature of the game. It did not take long, just a quick Google search and a few minutes of reading. Goes to show that I hadn’t really even viewed the slow frame rate as a problem until my encounter with that mugger.

As D&D 3.5 reflected simple revisions rather than an entire overhaul or entirely separate installment, so is this Part 3.5 mostly just chronicling my brief exposure to the improvement in frame rate.

Curing the problem was simple. Hit CTRL+F12 in DOSBox to increase rate of cycles; hit CTRL+F11 to slow the rate down. I had a little fun experimenting with increasing the rate. If you go too high, and it really doesn’t take much, it begins to feel like you’re ice skating, gliding rapidly about, with some imprecision in movement, a sense of coasting on momentum. Really, I didn’t find a perfect balance, but I preferred a slightly slippery feel to the painfully incremental movements at the slower speeds.

It’s funny because the animations don’t quite look natural now. NPC walking looks fine, but an apparent prostitute swaying seductively against a pillar suddenly looked like someone shifting uncomfortably. A beggar turning side to side for alms became a sedentary dance star. Silly things, not game-breaking, and not immersion-breaking either, but they certainly made the game feel more whimsical.

Now, all inputs are way more responsive, too. It’s just absolutely delightful. Between the faster movement and the quicker responsiveness, I might actually see my rate of progress through the game increase somewhat. There’s less resistance, less friction to engage with the gameplay.

I’ve also found the sweet spot on doors. Aiming for the latch if there is one or roughly the middle of the door if there isn’t almost always yields results in one click. That midnight chase was certainly dramatically thrilling, and it produced a fun story to tell, but I’ll be glad to never have to deal with that sort of stress in the game again.

It was easier to talk to people, as well, since getting into conversations was less of a clicky battle, and so I had some fun wandering about and talking to strangers.

This was the most interesting conversation:

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Pretty judgmental of her! I’ve had enough conversations that at this point I’m realizing that the city of Corkarth Run has an unemployment problem. It also has an undead problem.

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I do believe that the guy in the night really was just a human mugger, though. He didn’t look undead. The undead monsters in the manual looked decidedly more decayed, after all.

 

Also, just to avoid any future problems, I went ahead and returned to the Adventurer’s Equipment Store early to buy a shortsword and shortbow. Since daggers are only worth, like, a single gold piece, and since my dagger was broken anyway, my good friend Giant Shurseth wouldn’t buy it off me. Repairing it to sell it would be pointless, given its small value. So I just got rid of it, dumping it in the street.

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Good riddance!

I’ll be back to see Shurseth in a few days to get my completely repaired saber, but in the meantime, I’m decked out to hopefully deal with any night-wanderer jerks.

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Try me now, asshole.

I’m looking forward to this weekend’s adventures.

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