On Friday I had my last day (yet again) with Rubberduck Media Lab and since it’s now Monday and I’m not at work somewhere else, I’m officially on summer vacation. To make sure I have enough to do during my three weeks of pure laziness, I decided to dust off some of the classic computer games I’ve been playing over the years. Of course I ran into the same problems as I had when I tried to install Civilization IV; I was not able to play any of the games using VirtualBox on my Mac and the graphics card of my 2005 work laptop has a lot to be desired - 3 frames per second is not enough for me. My only option was my even older Dell 4150 laptop, bought way back in 2002. Some of the games worked reasonably well, I’ve been able to play Homeworld on it, for instance. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 also worked, sort of, but both the fans are running at full RPM all the time.

In my hunt for no CD cracks for my old games (the DVD-ROM on the Dell is broken), I came across AI War: Fleet Command:

  • Cooperative RTS game (1-8 players) with numerous unique ship types.
  • Challenging AI in 26 styles, many with unique superweapons.
  • Insanely high unit counts: 30,000+ ships in most games.
  • Lengthy campaigns featuring 80+ simultaneous planetary battlefields.
  • Different Every Time: 16 billion procedural maps, each with specific units.
  • A focus on deep strategy that you don’t get in most RTS games.

With those features, it started to sound like my wet RTS dream and after I had a look at the graphics, I was sure I could play it on my old Dell. But when I checked the system requirements, I realized I was wrong. Of course it takes some CPU power to keep track of 30,000+ ships in real time. Bummer. Browsing through Wikipedia’s list of RTS games released since I last bought one also revealed that I’ve missed out on some really great titles since I don’t have a good PC to play on.

So I decided it was time to upgrade and, for the first time since I started studying in Grimstad in 1998, build myself a new desktop PC! I went crazy, ordered a quad core CPU from AMD instead of Intel, which I’ve always bought, a GeForce 9800GT graphics card from Gainward, a manufacturer I’ve never even heard of and the 64 bit Professional version of Windows XP to stay future proof. Hopefully I can upgrade to Windows 7 for a reasonable price when it’s released in October. And with a Belkin DVI KVM switch, I can use my current monitor, mouse and keyboard.

It’s a farewell-to-work present to me from me!