Thanks to my friend Craze I’ve put some new parts in my server! It’s got a faster CPU, from 2.4 to 3.2 GHz, and I was able to double the RAM, and also upgrade to DDR2. I’m also working on turning his failed NAS project into a sweet server for LAN parties. You can check out the details on these by clicking on the ‘Computers’ link above.
I needed a news post and figured I’d do some more video game reviews.
The first game I finished was Alice: Madness Returns. I picked it up on the cheap during the Steam Summer sales and figured it was worth a shot. Overall it’s an alright platformer, but if you can’t just enjoy the nice visuals and environments you probably won’t enjoy it. If you can get it for cheap I’d do so. I do have a few gripes with it, however. First of all, it can really feel like a console port at times. I didn’t even have a controller plugged in when I took this. It’s also got a lock-on mechanism that really isn’t necessary when playing with a mouse and keyboard, but they kinda force you to use it because there’s game mechanics you can only use while locked on. The mouse smoothing or whatever they used can be annoying. It works fine for the platforming parts, but it’s really hard to use with the over-the-shoulder aiming, so that also pushes the lock-on. Secondly, the game can get a bit repetitive at times. There’s parts where they have you do this, and then that, and the other thing, without ever giving a story reason why you’re doing these. If they just added some sort of story or motivation to make me want to do these repetitive parts over and over again that’d be nice. Thirdly, there’s no boss fights. It never really came to my mind how important boss fights are, but there were parts where it would have been nice to break up the monotony. There’s mini-boss type fights where you fight a new enemy for the first time, but then when you have to kill them again and again it loses it’s luster. It also teases you with the prospect of boss fights. There’s a part where it’s like GIANT ROBOT BOSS FIGHT TIME, only to have a plot device kill it for you. The game had a really good end of game boss fight, I just wonder why they didn’t do a few more of those.
Ok now for what I liked about the game. First off, it has a really nice art direction and styling. Every chapter has a distinct style for the environments and they all look amazing. This can help make up for the lackluster game play, so if you can’t just sit back and enjoy the surroundings you probably won’t enjoy this. The hack-and-slash fighting was alright, but I have some gripes with it that I posted above. Some people complained that the quadruple jump mechanic led to rather sparse and open levels, but I think they did a good job with it in most places. The game makes rather extensive use of PhysX technology. Apart from killing the framerate on my 9800 GTX it really adds a lot to the game, and I wonder why more games don’t take advantage of it. The overarching storyline for the game was great, but I think they could have hemmed it up a bit. It has some more subtle dark moments, and I think they could have emphasized these without entering ‘omg so edgy grimdark’ territory. It leads to you feeling a bit of sympathy for Alice’s plight, and by the end you get to understand the return of the titular madness. This also led to the good overworld parts in Victorian London, I think they should have done some more of these. Lastly I feel I need to mention the hair. The PhysX combined with the jumping/wind mechanics gives Alice the best hair I’ve ever seen in any video game. Buy it just for the hair.
I also got Saint’s Row: The Third with all the DLC for super cheap during the Summer sale. I’ve played it a bit with my friend Craze and it’s pretty nice, I’ve got to get around to finishing it here someday. I definitely like it better than GTA IV, which I got during the previous Summer sale.
My brother introduced me to Blacklight: Retribution. For a free-to-play FPS its pretty good and it definitely has it’s moments, and the amount of customization you can do is insane and awesome. My big gripe with it is how pay to win it is. You earn ingame currency to spend on equipment and items, but you only buy them for a short period of time, 1 day or 1 week. To buy it permanently requires an insane amount of money, or a small sum of real cash. There’s also no real endgame, once you reach the higher levels after a few days it stagnates. It is in beta though, so I’ll have to see how it pans out. For free, I’d recommend trying it out. Oh also it has a built in wallhack-like mechanic, which means no gay camping snipers.
I also got DCS A-10C in the Steam Summer sales. The only problem my computer sucks, and it’s not really designed for Windows XP 32 bit. It takes quite a bit of jimmying to get it to work, to the point where I have to boot with the /3GB boot flag, which for some reason breaks most other games so I haven’t played it much. It seems like it should be cool but I can’t give it a proper review.
Lastly is Super Monday Night Combat. It’s pretty good for a game or two, and for the price I’d pick it up. It hits that nice medium of a DOTA-like game and an FPS that I really like. I don’t really have much to say for it, pick it up and give it a go, see if you like it.
Oh I also want to retract my previous statements on Killing Floor. I don’t know what happened, it’s grown on me. Turns out it’s a decent game and can be fun. Still feels like Left 4 Dead made by British hobos though.
Last month I went to a yearly LAN put on by a friend of mine. Apart from the long-ass drive and shady forest dirt road it was amazing. I think at the peak we had 25-ish computers there, all crammed into his awesome basement. We ordered 10 pizzas. There was tons of vidya. There was also lots of notvidya. Can’t really remember all the games we played but here’s a picture.
I’ve been wanting to upgrade my computer but I’m in a jam. I have the money to upgrade, probably my video card, but doing so would mean more video card memory. This would push down the amount of system memory available because I’m on a 32-bit OS. I have 2 basis options: upgrade to Windows 7, or install Windows XP 64-bit. Both don’t seem that attractive. Maybe I’ll go for a Windows Server OS, who knows. But for now I’m sticking with glorious 9800 GTX master race.
Recently I got a Bushmaster XM15 E2S in 7.62x39mm as a gift. I’ve taken it out shooting a few times and I’m in love with it.
And just moments ago I finished watching 5 Centimeters Per Second, once again at the suggeston of /r9k/. I normally don’t watch anime but this was OK. I really didn’t get all the feels they were talking about in the thread though, maybe I just can’t relate.
Oh also I’ve been playing EVE Online as usual, some fun stuff going on there, my friend Fredstonemason resubscribed, that’s cool.
OK no more wall of text, I’m done.
I upgraded the server to the latest and greatest Apache 2.4.2 and PHP 5.4.3. There will be no noticible difference. It was also my birthday earlier this month, whatever. That is all.
As you may be able to tell the servers are not back up, SRCDS is still broken. I’ve been trying to get it working but no luck so far. Craze, the creator of Gbots, has some sort of server up for that. I also have uploaded some videos to YouTube, check them out here! Apart from that I don’t have a lot going on, I should make an update worth reading at some point. Like five months without an update man.
We’ve had like way too many lans this past month or two, I think I’ve been to one the past three weekends, so that’s been fun. I’ve also played some video games during this massive updateless time span. I’m still playing though Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It’s a very enjoyable game. Sneaking, good cover mechanics, engaging storyline, I would highly recommend it. Just to note, I have not played the first Deus Ex.
We also played Killing Floor at one of the lans. It’s a zombie surrvival type game set in the UK. Other people seemed to like it but it fell flat to me. No real intresting game mechanics, just shoot zombies, buy guns. It felt like Left 4 Dead but with a lower production budget, definitely below average. I would not recommend it.
At the behest of /r9k/ I ran though a few routes of Katawa Shoujo after it came out. People on places like /v/ will circlejerk over the ‘feels’ from the game I however have to admit that I didn’t break down crying like a man baby from it. It did have a nice emotional storyline and I enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it if you’re into that type of game. Only in hindsight do I realize how wierd the premise of the game seems. Oh I also found this picture that sums it up.
Me and my bros have also been playing Realm of the Mad God. It’s a free browser game, or it has a standalone client on Steam where we played it. It’s described as an MMO bullet hell game. It’s certainly an MMO but not very bullet hell-y. The game mechanics are simple and easy to pick up, but the combination of multiple classes, fast leveling up, and frequent dying (which resets you to level 1 and lets you pick a new class) keeps the content from feeling repetitive. As I said the game is free but there are some ingame items that you can buy with real money. It’s OK, and for it’s price it’s worth checking out.
Next is Kerbal Space Program. It was a free spaceflight simulator where you get to design your own rocket and go flying with real orbital mechanics. I say ‘was’ because it appears that as of the most recent version you now have to purchase it. It’s fun to mess with designs, especially if you’re like me and enjoy realistic spaceflight. If you don’t want to pay money for it I’d recommend Orbiter 2010, a much more realistic free space sim, however it’s not as fun as ‘Frog Simulator’ and it’s more difficult to design your own craft. If you want, the last version I’ve played is still available free at their site as a demo.
I think that’s it for new games I’ve played in the past few months. Of course there’s always been EVE Online, Trouble in Terrorist Town (a Garry’s Mod gamemode), and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. All these games are great and I would recommend them.
In political news Washington State had our Republican presidential caucus yesterday. I’m supporting Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.
I’ve also been spending time working on my next programming project: DLANShare, a file-sharing program designed for lans. It’s far from done and will be released at some undetermined point in the future. Oh lastly I moved older news posts onto other pages, use the links at the bottom to navigate. There, I managed to make a wall of text news post worth reading.