Posted 21 May 2007 - 09:51 PM
I, too, was one of those who refused to buy UFO Aftershock unless I could get it without the StarForce.
Gamer's Gate was the answer. It all goes on the hard disk and is played from the hard disk. I also had the usual grief getting it downloaded and installed, having to redownload the thing multiple times until I got one that stuck.
I must say that UFO Aftershock is my favorite one of the bunch. That thing was addictive as heck! Nice graphics, nice music, nice looking tactical missions, nice detailed base management, a huge research tree, and a nice package all around. Of course, to get any real work done, I have to force myself to limit myself to a mission or two a day.
I must also say that UFO Aftershock crashes to desktop more than any other XP game I have ever played. It crashes every 20 minutes of gameplay on average. And, UFO Aftershock crashes anywhere in the game, on the manufacture screen and the Squad Screen and the Geoscape and in the Tactical Missions. It is as if Altar knew that it was going to crash a lot on different machines, and for a game that crashes so much, it's been very playable, as the game autosaves before every tactical mission so that you always have a safe stable place to go back to, and it seems to have been designed to be very good at recovering from a save. A saved game is your anchor or safety line in this game. There's also a nice selection of bugs like rescuee's trapped in mountains or floating in the air where you can't get at them, and the periodic 'uncompress' error where their huge zip file has a file that can't be uncompressed and leads to an error message and a crash to desktop. Rebooting and reloading and refusing a mission and going a different route seems to get you past most of these, again, the saved game saves your butt and keeps the UFO Aftershock game going so that the addiction really takes hold.
And, thank goodness, it doesn't seem to mess up too much or too often on the Geoscape Strategic Screen while you are fast forwarding to the next mission. It messes up more while tabbing to other screens.
Before UFO Aftershock, the only game on my machine that was in a 'permanent' state of being BETA material and occasionally crashing on Windows XP was UFO Aftermath. UFO Aftermath 1.4 would crash once a month on my XP machine. UFO Aftershock crashes a hundred times more, about three crashes an hour, although occasionally, I would get lucky and have it go for an hour without crashing, if I got stuck in a particularly long tactical mission for example. UFO Aftershock has been really nice about NOT crashing during tactical missions, with it only crashing a couple of times during tactical missions so far. Most of the UFO Aftermath crashes comes while loading files or uncompressing files or loading up missions. Just save a lot and reboot and reload -- that's the way I seem to play these games anyway. There are only a few bugs that the saved games seem to bring back, like files that can't be uncompressed or a Laputa that disappears and suddenly shows up on the other side of the Earth.
Only Altar was in the habit of releasing buggy software for Windows XP and never really ever getting around to actually fixing all the bugs and CTD's in the subsequent patches. And, UFO Aftershock is actually a hundred times worse for CTD's than UFO Aftermath was. Altar did break the promise there, when they said that Aftershock was going to crash less than Aftermath did, and to wait and see how much better and how much crash-less UFO Aftershock was going to be. We waited, and their promises to us were not fulfilled in that regard, as UFO Aftershock crashes infinitely more than Aftermath ever did.
BUT, UFO Aftershock is very addictive, and I really liked it despite the continuous crashing. I figure that I must be about midway through the game. Gonna be taking it slow. My biggest hope with UFO Aftershock is that I will be able to play it all the way through before running into a bug or a crash or a file it can't uncompress that I can't get past with a saved game. I hope there isn't a permanent obstacle there to finishing the game to the end, as I have actually learned to live with the UFO Aftershock crashes.
I know, that's probably hard for some of you who know me to believe, that I have actually learned to live with the UFO Aftershock crashes. But, UFO Aftershock is indeed my favorite of the bunch so far. It's as if the game were made just for me. I was one of those who always played X-Com Apocalypse in Real-Time mode all the time. And, I tended to like UFO Apocalypse gameplay the best of the bunch, and UFO Aftershock is the most like UFO Apocalypse, in my opinion, so I also really like UFO Aftershock. It's just too bad that Altar never finished UFO Aftershock and that Aftershock remains in a permanent BETA state in need of further bug fixes, as I think Aftershock is the one that comes closest to what I personally have been looking for and waiting for since UFO Apocalypse. I just liked and like UFO Aftershock a lot, despite all the constant crashing.
If Altar stays true to form, I suppose Afterlight will crash more often than UFO Aftermath did, too -- true to Altar's legacy. But, I have recently been curious as to whether Afterlight will be anything that I like, for obvious reasons, because I liked UFO Aftershock so much. But, after the bankruptcy, maybe we got a new Altar? I would be nice to have an Altar that actually patches away the CTD's and gets them all killed before it stops patching the game.
It really does seem to me that UFO Aftershock was made especially for UFOMan. Out of all the UFO Clones out there UFO Aftershock so far has come the closest to being what I was looking for and waiting for, ten years after UFO Apocalypse. Late, I know, but I had to wait for a version of UFO Aftershock without the StarForce, as I'm one of those boycotting StarForce games, and I also had to wait until I got a price for Aftershock that I was willing to pay, as they never really finished the game with the proper post-release support, another area where Alter broke it's promise to us, when they told us that they would be doing much better post-release support for Aftershock than what they did with Aftermath.
Despite Altar's failings in regards to properly finishing and supporting Aftershock, I still really really like and liked Aftershock a lot!