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Kay and Spike play S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Gulp!
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Spike
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May 5, 2011 - 1:39 am
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Thanks Armand.  The various interfaces and controls will be confusing for a bit, but I'll get used to them.

 

Good grief!  We got to page 2 in this thread in less than 12 hours.  Are we good, or what?!

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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May 5, 2011 - 10:26 am
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The number in the lower right of the minimap indicates how many other Stalkers are in your immediate vicinity. There's actually fiction for this - all Stalkers use PDAs which are interconnected, and like a Nintendo DS they beep when they detect another nearby. The PDAs are used for communication and to warn Stalkers of impending Blowouts.

Tactically it's super duper useful because you know how many potential hostiles are lurking. It does not work on animals, mutants, or any other non-Stalker.

General tips:

  • Hang on to first aid kids and bandages. Never trade them away. You can't have too many.
  • Listen to your Geiger counter. At this point radiation will kill you very quickly.
  • Look carefully at any Artifact's properties before equipping it. Most are radioactive; you'll need some measure of protection or they'll kill you.
  • Keep a couple bottles of vodka on hand. It's cheaper than anti-rad and helps kill low doses of radiation.
  • Specialized ammunition is usually a waste because you won't have time to switch to it. I recommend selling.
  • Remember that ammunition has weight.
  • Hitting 6 will equip bolts. You have an endless supply of these - throw them ahead of you to discharge or check for anomalies.
  • Animals have the same incredible AI as humans. They tend to attack in packs and flee from humans when they're alone - many species can be scattered by a loud noise, such as a gunshot. This doesn't apply to wild boar. 
  • Early in the game you want a double-barrel or pump action shotgun on hand. It gets less useful later on, but at the outset it can save your bacon when the aforementioned wild boar attacks come.
  • Every now and then you'll hear a beep when you search a corpse. That means you've uploaded the Stalker's PDA and in it found the location of a stash - marked in purple on your map. Stashes often contain delightful goodies.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Helmut
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May 5, 2011 - 12:43 pm
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Maybe they fixed some of these things:

 

- Steerpike's last point. When you open someone's inventory and it beeps, if you exit quickly you can see a transient text message that tells you what you found/did/encountered. If you keep the inventory screen open, this message disappears. I found this disorienting early on.

- In Shadow you will pick up quests just by walking around. Sometimes these quests will time out and a message will pop-up telling you that a quest has failed. Sometimes this message can be confused with other more important quests. I didn't find it to be any problem at all to let these transient quests just expire as I got on with more important things. I found this disorienting.

- There will be important information that you need to know that appears in your PDA without warning. At least I think it's without warning. There is a system that colors all you 'read' information bits a different color but when I played these colors would sometimes get lost. Do peruse the notes every once in a while. I found this disorienting early on.

- Do complete the quests in the intended manner. Early on in my first playthrough, I entered a tunnel system through one entrance, solved the quest, but then backtracked rather than going through the much harder developed-for-cinematic-purposes only alternate exit thereby failing to get ultimate credit for completing the quest. This broke all sorts of subsequent quests resulting in a disoriented, irradiated, ammo starved stalker wandering the wastelands for days in a futile effort to pick up the narrative.

- In a way that's not entirely clear, I kept winding up with loads of weapons in my inventory after searching corpses. I think it has to do with the way that the weapons are laying on the ground and you pick them up with the same key as you open a body's inventory. If you find yourself bogged down suddenly, have a look in your kit.

- Prune your inventory ceaselessly and be ruthless. Shadow had a lot of long distances and running was very very nice. There are two weight thresholds. The larger one is where you can't even move, but there's a smaller limit where either (I can't remember) you can't run, or you can't run very long. As hard as it is to drop the shiny happy new things, I was very happy with being able to run everywhere. Don't hesitate to run away from enemy soldiers.

- In my second play, very early on, after I got through the soldiers under the bridge, I was able to hide behind a tree and kill them all with a pistol and well placed grenade. Even with the crappy aim. This gave me an AK and enabled a much easier time of it in the disorientingly difficult early game. You might try this (quicksave protected of course) particularly if they've eased the pistol accuracy.

My Dark Souls single player sensibilities are protected by a +10 GfWL Firewall of Ineptitude

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Spike
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May 5, 2011 - 3:05 pm
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Before heading off to bed last night I killed 2 boar and saw the cache that Wolf talked about.  I saw no other boar, but when I went back to Wolf, thinking I had completed the mini-quest, my PDA did not show it as completed.  Either a glitch, or I need to go back and look for a boar lair, or whatever passes for such.  I'll do that tonight.  Then on to my second Wolf quest.  Needless to say, I am SOOOOO early in the game that I don't have a good feel for it yet.  Controls are not yet intuitive, but they will be with time.

Corpses:  I found one, but his PDA was totally empty.  I assume that this means that he either carried nothing, or had already been looted.  If there had been items in his PDA I'm guessin' that I could click on them to take them.

Thanks for the tips, H & S.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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May 5, 2011 - 3:10 pm
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Anything of relevance in a dead Stalker's PDA is automatically moved to yours, and 99% of the time it's the location of a stash. Purple dots on your big PDA map indicate them, and mousing over the dots - I think - reveals the text block Helmut mentioned (the one you can't see).

 

As far as the boars are concerned, either the third one wandered away or you needed to return something from that stash to Wolf. I only recall two, but I haven't started the game yet so I'll see what I see this evening!

 

In my experience it takes about 3-5 hours for the game to click. The rough interface, complete absence of clear goals, and bad translation make immersion hard at the outset, but it all dissolves in a while.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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May 5, 2011 - 4:11 pm
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Thanks for the tips Helmut / Steerpike.

What I know from early in my travels:

  • If you have the patience, backtrack often to sell off all extra guns and artifacts. This is hard to do, particularly if you suffer from Yap's RDS (as I do) but like Steerpike said, and I've found this to be true so far, most artifacts will just radiate you to death, so better to sell them and make some money. The only thing I feel comfortable stockpiling is bandages, vodka, bread and the odd can of meat because I'll eat those often, taking damage to my health quite regularly.
  • Don't forget about your bolts and binoculars. Both highly useful tools.

Maybe someone with a more full experience (Gregg, Steerpike?) could answer this question: do the timed quests interfere in any way with a) finishing the story b) having a decent outcome to your story? So far I think I've had 1 or 2 in my PDA and they are possibly the sole reason I've progressed so little. Timed quests-- vaguely timed quests at that-- are the bane of my existence in open RPG environments such as Stalker's. I never know if my latest save has just ruined me... I hate them. I had one to find some monster's tail or something? There was no indication of where I should be looking for this. And the game didn't tell me how important it was.

I just want to be able to take 10 steps every time I load up Stalker and say "ahhhh. another hard day's work," hit the F5 key and feel a little more spiritually sound.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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May 5, 2011 - 4:46 pm
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To my recollection, none of the main story quests are timed, and timed ones may impact the ending but don't really hurt you if you fail . Plus the sidequests in the first STALKER are so inane that it's best to just ignore them; make your own objectives and adventures, and go on story quests when you feel ready.

As far as endings are concerned, there are seven, broken into two groups. You may want to save near the end so you can experience one of each, just to get the whole picture. It gauges your decisions throughout the game, but you'll never get any indication of how your activities are affecting the finale.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Spike
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May 5, 2011 - 5:25 pm
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Steerpike said:

 

As far as the boars are concerned, either the third one wandered away or you needed to return something from that stash to Wolf. I only recall two, but I haven't started the game yet so I'll see what I see this evening!

 


I couldn't open the crates, and I tried.  I'll go looking for that third boar, and try to open the crates with something.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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May 5, 2011 - 7:12 pm
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Spike said....Good grief!  We got to page 2 in this thread in less than 12 hours.  Are we good, or what?!

Yep, you guys are good and I am not yet here.  I had hoped to start last evening and then my sister in Denver arose on my phone with all her many problems.   And so I spent much time on that and then I was too tired to try an FPS.  So I climbed into bed with my cat and read.

But today I awakened feeling life is good. So, I got started and have played for a bit.   I am now near the end of the first mission and I have died many times right near the end.  And this is on novice.   But that is ok.   I am learning how to do the keyboard and use what I have.   And I expect I will eventually get through this and back to where I am supposed to go.   Onward.

Spike, I don't know anything about the download expansion you are all talking about.  But I will talk to you more about this.

Kay 

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Spike
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May 5, 2011 - 9:34 pm
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Kay, just follow the link I posted to the Stalker Complete mod.  You can read the description of the changes and improvements it offers.  It isn't like mods for other games.  This one is easy, and installs automatically like the game itself, and quickly.  That said, you have to patch your game to 1.0005 first (I posted that link, too), and then open the game and play for a bit.  Save.  Then install the mod.  This wasn't at all like going through the stuff Yap does when she mods a game, or what I had to do to mod F3.  The mod for Stalker is simple, simple, simple.  Really.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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May 5, 2011 - 9:50 pm
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If you're having issues with the patches, I believe the US patch is 1.5.05 – that'll do the trick. I also note that there's a weapon accuracy and realism mod from the guy who did STALKER Complete, which makes guns a bit more realistic. Unmodded, early weapons are so inaccurate that you can aim for a dude's face from three feet away and miss by a mile. Always remember to use RMB to aim!

Just got myself all loaded up with the mods and what have you. Nimble is safe!

BTW – after you save Nimble, you can ask him for a job. He'll give you a tip about some better body armor he wants you to find and return. As always in STALKER, whether or not you return it or keep it is entirely up to you… I will say that armor is hard to come by early on, and good armor even more so.

EDIT: one more thing. It looks like the A-Life artificial intelligence system has been turned on in the Complete mod. While in this first game it will mostly affect animal behavior (like Spike's boar going on walkabout rather than staying near the stash), you may also observe humans behaving smartly. They do it in combat already - there's never been a combat AI like Shadow of Chernobyl's - but with A-Life fully activated it should also influence their normal behavior. Just a bit of trivia for you.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Spike
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May 6, 2011 - 12:54 am
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Off I go to play...finally.  That boar will be MINE!   I really like the binoculars.  How cool to be able to reconnoiter from a distance?

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Spike
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May 6, 2011 - 2:22 pm
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Kay and I got delayed by the same thing - a family phone call.  In my case, my kids are calling every day to see how our flooding is progressing.  Not good; we are now at 2nd worst flood in Memphis history.  At 6pm each day for the last week I've been walking along the river and taking photos from the same spots to show the daily rising of the water.  It's the photos that have the kids concerned.  They don't live with the river, so they don't know what I know.  It's bad, and getting worse, but as long as the main road on the island doesn't flood, food can get in, and we can get out.

But I did save Nimble last night, and got a few more quests.  The armor one, and 2 from Sidorovich.  I went looking for that 3rd boar twice and didn't find him.  I circled out from the stash and only found a tunnel with a broken-down truck and a couple of wild dogs.  I don't know where boars tend to live, but I've looked under bushes and fallen trees.  I'll keep trying.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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May 6, 2011 - 6:30 pm
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I had to stop last night to deal again with my sister in Denver.  Family is the gift that never quits giving.  But I am becoming more philosophical about it.  I just say to myself<  "Oh shit, here we go again."  and then try to deal with it and go back to my life.   I expect this is true of many peoples' lives. 

But today I am back.  I am still working on learning the controls and basic game play but I have made progress.   Have learned how to trade.  Have learned that I have to eat (such an annoyance in a game).  Have learned how to change weapons and reload.  etc, etc, etc.    I am making progress.   I am off to do the boars.  (Spike,  I did some boar stuff last night and found one not by the lair but north of the Stalker camp.)   Anyway,  I killed some nasty animal there and was told to collect my reward.   So maybe it was a boar. 

I have reread earlier posts and realize that Spike and I have our own virtual help board of experts.    

Spike and others,  I downloaded the patch and when I tried to apply it,  I got a message that it was for the US edition and I had the World edition.   I have no idea what this means.

I think I will try to download the Complete module and see if that works.   I am so close to just having started that I might as well try it all now so if I crap it up I can just start again.

Spike,  my thought are you and all that water.  I live in MN.  The headlands of the Mississippi are in northwestern MN.  And as the river winds down to the Twin Cities, other rivers pour into it.  And it gets bigger and bigger.   At the Twin Cities, it is a big river and after the Twin Cities a whole lot of other rivers pour into it.  The St Croix, the Minnesota, and even more at it goes south.    So Spike, from the hugh snowfall we had here this winter and the incrediably rainy spring,  you guys to the south are dealing with an unbelievable amount of water. 

I hope you are high and dry and, if not,  I hope you are safe and sound.

Kay

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Steerpike
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May 6, 2011 - 7:44 pm
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Kay, try this link for a US patch - STALKER Complete won't work without it.

 

Spike - only two boars. I killed them and got a quest complete notification. It's possible the game didn't notify you... have you spoken to Wolf since he gave you the quest? If not, go back and say you're there about the job. I'm guessing it's completed and you'll get your reward.

It's not necessary to be friendly with Wolf or do any of his quests, but they can be lucrative.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Spike
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May 6, 2011 - 8:08 pm
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Kay or Steerpike...tell me how to trade.  I got stuff I don't need when I did the Nimble quest.  I'd rather have Rubles.

Just
came back from my daily photo shoot.  Damn!  5PM yesterday to 5PM today
was the first time that the actual increase in river level was greater
than estimated.  Huge difference in 24 hours. Yesterday we were #3 on
the all-time river level list.  Today we are #2.  The record was in
1937, and they say that with the levee and flood gate work that has been
done since then we don't need to worry about becoming #1.    We'll see.

This
afternoon the city/county/Army Corps of Engineers (don't know who)
moved in heavy equipment and started building a temporary levee right in
one lane of our only north/south street here.  They also brought out
sandbags for our neighborhood.  As long as one lane of that road is open
most of us will be just fine.  A few houses in a particularly low-lying
area have water rising up their foundations, but we are assured (love
official folk) that the water will never reach their living areas.Image EnlargerImage Enlarger

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Scout
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May 6, 2011 - 8:58 pm
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I was back in Illinois over Easter weekend and watched the Illinois river rapidly rising. I grew up on a farm on that river and I've never seen the water level go up so fast. The unleveed fields down next to the river had 8 feet of river on them when I left on the 27th of April.  Like the Ohio, the Illinois empties into the Mississippi. Does not bode well for those down river in Spike's area. 

In Stalker I'm still exploring back and forth between Rostok and the Army Warehouses. Starting to remember how things work. I killed off some bloodsuckers in a village outside the Warehouses and got two quest completions for it, one from Hunter in the 100 Rad bar in Rostok and one from Skinflint in the Warehouses. Got a Battery which gives me +30 electrical shock resisitance and a couple of artifacts that up my Endurance +75 at the cost of some electrical shock damage so between them they even out and I have a ton of more endurance. Wondering if the artifacts stack.

This part of the game plays more like an action RPG than the beginning which seemed more FPS. Having lots of traders and quests and a small "city" to replenish supplies helps. I now have Stalker armor which also helps. I'm  close to good traders so I'm carrying loot back and selling it instead of just dumping it like before. Also helps to be able to repair armor and weapons. After I get up to speed I'm off to follow the main quest which will take me to the Dark Valley.

I have been fighitng in the Arena, which is next to the 100 Rad bar in Rostok. The first 4 or 5 fights were pretty easy but the difficulty suddenly ramps up as I try to take on a couple of guys with seemingly invincible armor and very, very deadly weapons. Finally gave up for now.

Also I read that I should try and remain neutral and not side with either Freedom or Duty for the time being.

I also wandered into the Wilds in Rostok and quickly turned and ran.

Also ran into my first pack of bloodsuckers while shuttling between Rostok and the warehouses!! [Image Can Not Be Found]

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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May 6, 2011 - 9:19 pm
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Spike said..........Kay or Steerpike…tell me how to trade.  I got stuff I don't need when I did the Nimble quest.  I'd rather have Rubles.

I can be helpful here.   Go to someone who trades -- like the trader who saved our lives.  Start talking and then click on trade below.   Your stuff will be on the left and his stuff on the right. In between is the temporary trading boards.  Right click on any stuff to see what it is and how much it is worthy.  If you want to trade it,  double click on it and it goes to the middle.   If it is something you want to buy from him,  double click and it ends up in the middle also  -- everything shows up in terms of prices etc etc.   From there on it should be apparent.   Give it a try.

Kay

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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May 6, 2011 - 9:33 pm
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When I have tried that patch (any of them) I get the same message -- they are US patches and I am playing a World version of the game.   When I download Complete over any of that and restart etc etc,   I cannot even get to the game.   So I took everything I had downloaded off and now can get to the game.   So I think I will just play the plain vanilla version.  Kay

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Spike
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May 6, 2011 - 10:47 pm
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Kay:

Do you have the US or World version of Stalker?  There is a different patch for each.  Only after you've installed the correct patch, AND started the game, saved, and exited, can you install the Mod.  The mod covers both US and World versions.

Thanks for the trading help.  I just finished dinner, and was about to think about playing, when I realized that I could still hear the earth moving equipment working on our temporary levee eventhough it is a 1/2 mile away.  I'm going down to take some night photos.  Already had my daily phone update with my daughter  [Image Can Not Be Found], and since son didn't call I'm guessing that I convinced him last night that I am in no immediate danger.

Tonight's goal:  start playing Stalker before 11PM.  I'm starting to feel as if I'm living in my own dangerous Zone.  At least there are no anomalies...that I am aware of.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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