Resurrected Entertainment

Archive for August, 2007

Settlers of Catan on the Xbox 360

August 21, 2007

Settlers of Catan Board GameI’ve been playing this little gem for a couple of days now and it is simply fantastic. For those of you who don’t know, the game began life as a board game many years ago. I own the board game too, and it is a great way to spend time with family and friends. It’s rules are pretty straight forward even though the game has strategic elements to it. In the end, though, it is ultimatley ruled by the roll of the die, and the more lucky you get the better off you’ll be. However, the best luck won’t save you if you can’t strategize your way out of a paper bag.

The software version does an excellent job of handling complex interactions like bargaining and trading with other players. Subtly is obviously lost since it doesn’t take into account facial expressions, body movement, or gestures… yet. You may laugh, but this sort of thing is happening now. It’s called real-time facial expression recognition. The Nintendo DS, for example, is putting out a camera and is encouraging developers to release software which does exactly this. Facial recognition aside, the AI in Settlers does a great job and seems to use evaluation mechanisms which can change the outcome of a trade even while the players themselves are bargaining. If you see an offer you like, I would take it as soon as you can before the computer decides to change its’ mind or accepts an offer from another player.

If playing against a machine isn’t appealing to you, there is a good on-line alternative as long as your friends own a 360, but even this isn’t sacred since cross-platform multi-player console games are already on the horizon.