My friend James Frost is here, in Edinburgh.
I met him at Haymarket station yesterday evening. I saw him descending the steps to the car park and stepped out of my car, dressed in a pair of dark trainers, green shorts, and my navy Firefox t-shirt. Only to realise that James was also wearing dark trainers, green trousers and a navy Firefox t-shirt. We looked like the saddest geek convention in the world!
Anyway, last night we booted up my PC and Jane’s laptop to try out a networked game of Star Wars Battlefront; James had never played SWBF before. Disappointingly, I couldn’t get it to work on either LAN or Direct Connection settings. It would connect and then immediately crash.
So I did the thing that any self-respecting geek would do (after numerous reboots, forays into the Registry, and some careful file deletions, obviously). I uninstalled and started again. I had an inkling that my various mods and hacks might be the cause of the trouble.
I was right. The reinstallation did the job, and once I’d trained ZoneAlarm to recognise the inherent goodness of Battlefront and (later) GameSpy we were up and running, and I connected with no bother to the laptop.
This afternoon I played Battlefront online, via GameSpy, with about 17 other humans / geeks. That’s the first time I’ve played a computer game online. It was interesting. The first game I joined there were four of us, two on the side of the clone army, two droids. The guy on my side just kept killing me. “I’M ON YOUR SIDE!!” I typed. “Hehe,” he replied. I logged out.
In the second game I joined there were 16 of us to start with, a couple more joined and left as the game went on. That was a better experience. There wasn’t much team work, everyone preferring to be their own little hero on the battlefield. Everyone had geeky [email protected] style names, apart from me; I was “garethjmsaunders” — how original! Sure, I kept getting ‘fragged’, but it was great fun.
Curiously, it appears that human players prefer to shoot the characters of other human players, even to the extent of hunting them down. It’s one thing to beat the computer’s AI players, but game characters controlled by real, live humans at the various ends of the network (and globe) is another thing.
Star Wars Battlefront II is coming in November.