Sunday, September 23, 2007

LB:EF - Revisiting my earlier concerns (by request)

[Greetings, visitors from SuperCandid Podcast and other blogs. Please check out my more recent post about LB:EF that addresses and disproves the claims that the game promotes killing non-Christians.]

Kevin Hoekman contacted me and asked me to address the concerns I expressed earlier about LB:EF:

A couple of things I've encountered despite the updates is a bit of game hesitation when a character in the game finishes training and exits the training building, and a couple of isolated game crashes after certain events (but not always after the same events). However, as noted above, I believe these two issues are related to my system and not the game itself.

I've definitely noticed a reduction in these two things happening, but they still do happen for me from time to time. I'm honestly still convinced that this has to do with my system (either due to less than ideal hardware or due to some of the software I've installed) instead of with the game itself. I deal with crashes and hesitation in other programs as well. (I run Windows, so if the legends are true, then that's probably a good portion of my problem right there. *wink*)

At certain angles, the ads suddenly vanish only to reappear again when the viewing angle changes.

This still happens from time to time and while it appears odd when it happens, it doesn't detract from the gameplay.

As for allegations of spyware, all I can say is that my protection software - the software included in Windows and Norton - is up-to-date and I have not gotten a single spyware warning regarding the game.

Still no spyware warnings from my protection software. I've also seen a large reduction in the critics' claims about this issue. In fact, the issue is virtually dead now.

The vehicles have poor A.I. - they just go and go until they encounter an obstacle, usually a character in the game, and then they stop on a dime and just sit there if the character is doing something and can't move (which they can and will do if not doing something).

Vehicle A.I. is better now. Of course, there's no real need for any kind of top-notch A.I. for vehicles since this is not a vehicle-based game. Racing games or other games centered around vehicles definitely require far more advanced A.I. For the type of game LB:EF is, though, the vehicle A.I. that it has works just fine.

One thing that I did encounter after that earlier post (and I can't remember when the last time I encountered it was) is vehicles and neutral units (characters; people) trapping each other. Somehow, a neutral unit gets stuck between two vehicles and neither the unit nor the vehicles can move. Additionally, the neutral unit cannot be reached by other units (e.g. recruiters) even though there often appears to be enough space to get to the neutral unit. As I said, though, I can't remember when I last encountered this or exactly what mission it involved. I see that the Enhancement Pack 8 mentions "Collision improvements between neutral units and vehicles," so the bug was most likely fixed.

The limited character design, animation and voicing is kind of a downer, too. For example, Musician characters all look and sound alike, and when they sing, they do this weird sort of dance that reminds me of the dancing Santa toys. I realize that there's a point at which having a variety of designs, animations and voices can actually be detrimental, but they game makers didn't even try to reach that point. Another thing is when some special characters who have distinctive voices in voice-overs suddenly have their voices change to the standard generic voices when selected and moved.

Though they are very minor and do not detract from the gameplay, these issues still exist. I realize that the character designs and animations would require quite a bit more than a small update to change, but I still think the special characters (e.g. Rayford Steele) should've retained their voices for mundane actions like selection and movement.

Oh, and speaking of being selected and moved, every character always, ALWAYS says something when selected and moved. This gets a bit annoying

As I've continued to play the game, I've learned to make my units move longer distances before having to select them and/or direct them to move to a new point, thus lessening the selection and movement sounds. Also, being exposed to it more seems to have made it less bothersome. I do see a good reason for this, though, as it tells you that the unit has been selected and/or directed to move. Still, I think of games like "Baldur's Gate" where the character selection and movements sounds can be made to happen always, seldom or never. Not having those sounds didn't detract from the gameplay or cause any problems with keeping track of the game's characters. (Of course, that game involved controlling a maximum of six characters whereas LB:EF lets you control dozens.)

Kevin also wrote:

Hey, you did some more great reviews and even dug into the lies about the game told by Max. The reason why people keep telling lies is because they can. No one holds them accountable. Even when you called and spoke to that guy, he probably didn’t retract it. When will people as a whole finally rise up and say enough of these lies told by the press and organizations who have agendas?

Completely true. They aren't held accountable and until more people become outraged at this sort of thing, they never will be. It's happening more often, though. People got behind the outrage over those faked documents CBS tried to use to smear President Bush right before the 2004 election and that led to Rather, Mapes and others being held accountable. As far as LB:EF goes, I think people either are just not familiar with the issue, are disinterested in the issue because it involves a game, or are far too willing to unquestioningly swallow the lies being spread about the game. Perhaps as the more prevalent issues these days start happening less, these other issues will get more attention.


Previous posts:

LB:EF - Mission 19
LB:EF - Mission 18
LB:EF - More falsehoods spread in the media
LB:EF - More response to criticisms
LB:EF - Mission 17
LB:EF - Mission 16
LB:EF - Missions 13, 14, and 15
LB:EF - Mission 12
LB:EF - Missions 9, 10 and 11
LB:EF - Addressing an opening animation criticism
LB:EF - Easter egg?
LB:EF - Email from the game's senior producer!
LB:EF - Missions 6, 7 and 8
LB:EF - The first few missions
LB:EF - Tutorial
LB:EF - the manual
New S&B series: "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" in detail
The left's lies about "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"


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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

LB:EF - Mission 19

This mission again centers around the same four chapels you built in Mission 17. This time, you need to train four groups of five elite soldiers protect the chapels from GCP attackers for 10 minutes. You also need to keep your units from turning neutral from the influences of musicians and influencers (which you encounter more frequently than GCP soldiers and whom your soldiers rightly won't attack, so you'll also need to train your own musicians to counter). As usual, your soldiers only fight in defense when directly attacked by GCP soldiers. If the GCP soldiers attack the chapels or your non-soldier units, your soldiers won't respond. I found that the easiest way to complete this mission is to stock up on musicians and have several of them accompany each group of soldiers. That way, the musicians can stop GCP soldiers, musicians and influencers by turning then neutral. This helps not only to keep your soldiers from killing enemy units, but also to keep your units from turning neutral, too. At no point in this mission is there any sort of call to proactively kill enemy units, not even the GCP soldiers. (One group of my soldiers did end up killing a couple GCP soldiers, however, since I got distracted from the game for a moment and I didn't switch to the group of musicians with them fast enough when I returned to the game.)

Mission 19

Build, recruit, train, defend chapels, and survive.

VE: 0
CK: 0
PS: 32 (we'll call this one a wash since the solution is left up to the player and neither option is encouraged outright)


Previous posts:

LB:EF - Mission 18
LB:EF - More falsehoods spread in the media
LB:EF - More response to criticisms
LB:EF - Mission 17
LB:EF - Mission 16
LB:EF - Missions 13, 14, and 15
LB:EF - Mission 12
LB:EF - Missions 9, 10 and 11
LB:EF - Addressing an opening animation criticism
LB:EF - Easter egg?
LB:EF - Email from the game's senior producer!
LB:EF - Missions 6, 7 and 8
LB:EF - The first few missions
LB:EF - Tutorial
LB:EF - the manual
New S&B series: "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" in detail
The left's lies about "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"


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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Again remembering Mark Bavis on 9/11/07

My original tribute to a wonderful, inspiring life that was taken from us all too soon 6 years ago.

Also, here are my thoughts from last year on the unsung heroes of that fateful day.


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Sunday, September 09, 2007

New post on my other blog

My son's first Bible


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LB:EF - Mission 18

Sorry about the wait for this mission. I got out of the gaming groove for a while.

Mission 18 starts out with defending the chapels you built in the previous mission (see link for Mission 17 in "Previous Posts" below) from a small number of attackers, but you have to do so without killing as this is a mission objective. (More proof that the "convert or kill" critics are a bunch of liars.) Then the mission moves onto finding a new friend with a new special skill that lets you complete the mission.

Mission 18

Build, recruit, train, find a new friend and use his abilities, and survive.


VE: 0
CK: 0
PS: 32 (previous score of 31 + 1)


Previous posts:

LB:EF - More falsehoods spread in the media
LB:EF - More response to criticisms
LB:EF - Mission 17
LB:EF - Mission 16
LB:EF - Missions 13, 14, and 15
LB:EF - Mission 12
LB:EF - Missions 9, 10 and 11
LB:EF - Addressing an opening animation criticism
LB:EF - Easter egg?
LB:EF - Email from the game's senior producer!
LB:EF - Missions 6, 7 and 8
LB:EF - The first few missions
LB:EF - Tutorial
LB:EF - the manual
New S&B series: "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" in detail
The left's lies about "Left Behind: Eternal Forces"


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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Lots of updates. Please scroll down.

BREAKING NEWS: Dr. D. James Kennedy dead at age 76

The voice of the man known as "most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world" is now silent. Officials with Coral Ridge Ministries confirmed to OneNewsNow.com Wednesday morning that Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away at around 3 a.m.


Powerful pastor D. James Kennedy dead at 76

Conservative leader the Rev. D. James Kennedy died Wednesday morning, sources at his Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church reported today.

The pastor died "peacefully, in his sleep, at home" around 3 a.m., according to the Rev. Ronald Siegenthaler, executive minister at the 10,000-member church. By his side was Anne, his wife of five decades.


It's a strange mix of emotions to be both sad that he has left us, but also happy that he is now in the loving embrace of the Lord.

UPDATE: Reactions of others:

Please Pray for the Kennedy Family

D. James Kennedy (1930-2007)

The Passing of D. James Kennedy

Pastor D. James Kennedy has passed away

D. James Kennedy Goes Home

This one is my favorite, though:

God Bless The Kennedy Family

Last evening, the Master sent an invite to His servant, Dr. D. James Kennedy, to sup with Him.

It made me cry. Just short, sweet, and a wonderful image of Dr. Kennedy's reward for a lifetime of serving his Lord.

UPDATE 2: Memorial information (yet to be announced) can be found here: Dr. James Kennedy Memorial

Thanks to Because I Said So for that information, and also for sharing this awesome quote from Dr. Kennedy:

“Now, I know that someday I am going to come to what some people will say is the end of this life. They will probably put me in a box and roll me right down here in front of the church, and some people will gather around, and a few people will cry. But I have told them not to do that because I don’t want them to cry. I want them to begin the service with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead. I will be more alive than I have ever been in my life, and I will be looking down upon you poor people who are still in the land of dying and have not yet joined me in the land of the living. And I will be alive forevermore, in greater health and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.”


UPDATE 3: The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has a guest book set up for people to leave messages about Dr. Kennedy. There are many wonderful messages from people everywhere.

UPDATE 4: Sun-Sentinel also has a very moving video about the effects of Dr. Kennedy's death upon the students who attend the Christian school he founded. How wonderful it is that he touched the lives of so many young people!


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