Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Blizzard say Project Titan is changing...

In 2008 Blizzard confirmed it was working on a new 'Next-Gen MMO' codenamed Titan which was a completely new game.

Then in 2010 it was rumoured that they had the most experienced MMO developers working on the project and then in 2011 Paul Sams had an interview with Gamasutra saying that it was the most ambitious thing Blizzard has attempted and were putting their best developers in to the project and had a playable version already and were playing it in the office.

Fast forward to today and it has allegedly rebooted and delayed the whole project for release in 2016 and reassigned 70% of its staff leaving a small team to start again.  Currently Blizzard are still seeking staff to work on the 'Next-Gen MMO' and with BlizzCon set for November this year maybe we could see something getting mentioned then.

I do look forward to seeing what Blizzard bring with Titan as World of Warcraft has brought advancements in MMO's and has led the way for a number of years, I am interested in seeing what they do with all this experience and technology.    

Monday, 27 May 2013

WildStar a new MMO and soon the reason why I sleep at work

WildStar is currently in Beta and is being developed by Carbine Studios and is being published by NCsoft and will be using a custom in-house engine.

The game is an MMO which I have a love hate relationship with at the moment, since leaving World of Warcraft I have not been able to find an MMO that holds my attention as it once did and I just seem to drift from MMO to MMO.

I came across this a few weeks back but never paid it any real attention, until this weekend when I watched the paths youtube video and I decided to give it a real look.

The main thing that got my attention was that it seems to have a sense of humor which most MMO those days seem to be lacking everything is all dramatic and realistic which is great if you're playing a single player game but can drag a little on an MMO.

The Class system has an interesting twist as well where you get to choose your playing style and then with paths you get to choose what parts of an MMO you enjoy playing (e.g Killing, exploring or learning the lore) and you get given access to extras to complement this.

The more I read about it the more interested I become to the point where I think i may be able to love again and get in to another MMO.


Safe to say I have put myself down for Beta access and will be keeping an eye on this one.

And if you are looking for an MMO with a sense of humor and epic battles to be enjoyed then I would suggest you keep an eye on this too.



Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bad Dog is growing up

This is Bad Dog when she was still small, on her first trip to the vets when she was getting her shoots, as you can see she was very happy about it!









Rolling forward a year and she is just having her first Season which has lasted so far 5 weeks, so she has been locked in the confines of our home since then (We do not want puppies yet so do not want any male night callers).

We keep trying to come up with ways to keep her amused.  this week its chase the bubbles!

Hopefully it will be over soon so things can get back to normal!  until then Kill the bubbles!!!

Microsoft would appreciate it if you stopped all the rumours.....

And played nice until there are ready to tell us how the second gaming is going to work.

Marjor Nelson who is the director of programming for Xbox live is said to be displeased with all the reports and misinformation flying about how Xbox one will handle second hand gaming.

Well there is one way to fix this very easily, actually tell us and stop it all dead, but that is not going to happen so we are all left wondering and guessing what will happen until we get the official announcement.

Some of the rumours are as follows:


  • Each game could cost you £35 for an activation fee on top of what the store charges you to buy it
  • The store gets charged the activation fee which could be as high as 90% of the original fee.
  • Microsoft takes a cut from the reselling of games and you can only sell them to authorized resellers.
  •  As each game is tied in to your account you can take around to a friends house and play it as long as you sign in with your account.
And the best rumor I have heard so far is that when renting a movie on the Xbox the Kinect will count how many people are watching it to see if you are breaking the T&Cs.

From all the rumors apart from the Kinect one which is just off the wall, you can find some grain of truth.

By the sound of it, there is going to be a activation fee but as to how this will work is unknown.  it would make sense that the store pays this and passes the cost on to the customers so that all you have to do is take the game home and play but as to how this will affect prices is unknown at the moment.

Each game is locked to your account, so you can take it around to your mates house and play the game as long as you log in with your Xbox account,  no word on how borrowing a game will work or if it will at all.

But until Microsoft gets off the fence and actually tells us everything is up in the air.
 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Xbox one, the Xbox to rule them all

The Xbox has now been relieved and its been giving the name 'Xbox one' or the 'Xbox huh?'

Its due out this year, rumors are November for the UK and will include a Blu-ray Disc, 8GB of DDR3 with 5 GB available to games themselves and will be able to do 1080p and 4K display with 7.1 surround sound.

The local storage will be a 500GB hard drive and support external USB 3 drive.

This is a marked step up from the 360 but the actual nuts of bolts of the new Xbox live system start to wear some of the shine from all this gloss.

There is more flying around about the second hand game issue and leading a game to your mate actually costing them money but Microsoft support confirmed on twitter that this was not the case but this means nothing until the unit is released as Microsoft have changed their minds before.

The console will require an internet connection but will not need a permanent one as it will only need to call home every 24 hours,  the other things is that it will always be on, downloading, updating and waiting for your voice command to turn it on.

Nothing really grabbed me and made me say yes I will be buying one, going to wait and see what Sony brings with its Playstation 4 and make my mind up again on which one i will be gaming on.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Trion has around of layoffs and the word is massive layoffs

Its always hard to read about a company doing round of layoffs more so when its a company that does a game I am currently playing.

So when I read this morning about Trion doing a massive amount of layoffs and the Defiance team has been hit the hardest by it.

Then I came across this by IGN which shed some more light on it and Trion are down playing the rumors and are saying there are doing this to best position themselves in a rapidly changing industry.

Now most of this may just be PA smoke to try and keep consumer confidence high and only time will tell on this but the games Trion brought to market so far have been impressive and I hope whatever is happening they manage to ride it through.

Friday, 17 May 2013

SNES Gaming.... Setting up an Emulator to relive my childhood

I am a bit of packrat of sorts when it comes to my consoles though none of them still work, I do have a lot of games kicking around so need something to do with them.

This is when emulation sprang to mind and getting a Raspberry Pi and turning it into a SNES / Playstation console thanks to the Retropi project by Petrock blog.

Now all the equipment I need is in the mail so setting that up is for another post but I am itching to play Super Mario World now so started looking at emulators that would run off my PC and came across Retro Arch that has a stand alone Windows download that does the job nicely.

Once you've downloaded Retro Arch software and unzipped it to a relevant location you will need a ROM to load on it and this is where things are tricky as before you can't use a ROM unless you own the game the ROM is based on.

You are allowed to keep a backup copy of any game you own so as long as you have the media you download the ROM off a corresponding website, a good one is Cool Roms.

Again I must stress that you must own the game before you can download a backup rom off any website.

Once you have the rom you need to save it in an easy location to get to, I would suggest a folder within the Retroarch folder called 'Roms'


Click to Enlarge
Once you have the game you need to run 'retroarch-phoenix.exe' and you should see something like this.

As you can see mine is setup to run Super Mario World for the SNES already.

The first field we want to fill in is the one called 'RetroArch Config File' just press the browse button on the left and select the one called retroarch.cfg and press open.

From here we can start setting up the program for our computer, we need to fill in the field called 'RetroArch Path' with the location of the retroarch.exe, once this is done we can start looking at the Core which takes care of all the actual emulation.

Now I actually had issues with the default SNES core in RetroArch as it would not load so I had to switch it for the SNES9x one which seems to be working fine so I would suggest you guys do the same.


Click to Enlarge
To do this we need to press 'Retroarch' on top of the toolbar and select 'Update RetroArch' and we will see the following.

Select 'Check Version' and it should pop up and say 'RetroArch is up to date!', press ok and then we should get a list of cores to download.

Select the one called 'SNES9x' and press 'Download core'.  Now this is where it goes a little wrong.

It will download the core but it does not seem to unzip it and just hangs at 100%, once it does this just close it and go to the folder location for RetroArch and find the zip and unpack it yourself in to the RetroArch folder as such, you should end up with 'libretro-git-snes9x-x86.dll' in the RetroArch folder then run retroarch-phoenix.exe again and select 'Upgrade RetroArch' once more and then 'Check Version'.


Click to Enlarge
This time SNES9x should say yes in the Downloaded column, when it does select it and press 'Use Core' and it will fill in the field called 'libretro core path' for you and we are almost there.

We now need to go to the 'Settings' option at the top and select general and we need to point the 'System Directory' to the RetroArch folder then its ok to close this one down from there and the last thing we need to do is to select 'Settings' once more and select 'Input' and set up your keybindings for your controller or keyboard.

Now you can go to 'Settings' one last time and select 'Save RetroArch Config' and overwrite retroarch.cfg and then press 'Start RetroArch' and enjoy reliving your childhood!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Google I/O 2013: word from the chocolate factory.

Its only recently that I started taking notice of Google and its gadgets but since getting the Nexus 7 I have found that I have been missing out and started to take notice.

Google always worried me about all the data it was collecting about me and my internet habits and activities,  but the way it gives you access back to this information and shows you what it is collecting has eased my concerns enough to sit up and listen to what they actually have to saying and looking at their devices again.

Recently they had their Google I/O event and from reading over the event and what it brought some of the things stand out to me.

The first is that Google are going to be adding a Game Center to the android platform, allowing Achievements and Multiplayer. Developers already have access to it but there is no word on when we will see it being rolled out.

Google is also taking aim at Xbox Music pass and the spotify subscription service with its own music streaming service priced at $9.99 a month no word on the UK price but it will more than likely be around £10.

Google Now will also be getting voice reminders to allow it to give you reminders of upcoming appointments and the last thing is that soon Google play will be soon offering a stock version of the Galaxy S4 with no Samsung Bloatware.

I am interested to see what the game developers make of the gaming center with multiplayer experiences and synced saves across devices.  




Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Doom 4... Hell on earth or Hell on development.

Came across something online the other day about Doom 4 being in the works by id Software and should be published by Bethesda Softworks.

Doom, Quake and Blood were all the games I played while at college so I am always happy to hear one of them is making a return.

But the reports are that so far the development has been stuck in hell with mismanagement and the entire projected was scrapped and re-started back in 2011 as the work was average at best but the current stuff is not fairing as well if the article from Kotaku is correct.

Doom 4 runs the risk of become like Duke Nukem Forever, a game that took too long to make and looks dated by modern standards or it could come out rushed and fall short of below average game play.

I hope id Software manage to pull a rabbit out of the hat with Doom 4, at the moment there is still no expected release date but there may be something shown at E3 this year.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Fallout 3, reminiscing about the lost weekend

Fallout 3 was released back in 2008 and was developed by Bethesda Game Studios, it was published on the Xbox 360, PC and also the Playstation 3.

It's based on the Gamebryo engine which the newer Fallout: New Vegas game also uses.

I bought Fallout 3 in 2009 after all the DLC came out on the Xbox 360  and spent many hours walking the wasteland with my faithful pet 'Dogmeat', I even got all the DLC.

Now I went everywhere and explored everything I could find before even starting the DLC. Unfortunately before I could start it my save corrupted and all of those hours turned to dust.... Never played the game again as I was too gutted.

I have been licking my wounds since that day but still enjoy the game itself so when Steam had the 'Game of the year edition' on for a crazy discount I whipped it up and added it to my 'To be played list'

We started talking about Fallout 3 at work last week so it felt like a good time to get back into it and heal some old wounds and I am looking forward to getting 'Dogmeat' back as he is miles better behaved than my real life animal friend 'Bad Dog'.


When I first roll a character in an RPG I always start a internal debate over sex and look, if its purely 1st person then male but if its a 3rd person mix then its a tougher choice as if I am going to be spending the next 100+ hours looking at someone rear, I would prefer that it was female.

The next thing was the starting stats for my vault dweller, in the long run it makes little difference what you choice but it affects your starting experience massively and I had to make sure I had at least 30 points in explosives and 30 in repair so that I could finish two quests in Megaton and finish the 3rd quest to get my house.

After 6 rerolls that spanned the weekend I finally settled on the following:

Strength: 3
Perception: 4
Endurance: 6
Charisma: 6
Intelligence: 8
Agility: 7
Luck: 6

I finally finished the quests in Megaton and set out in to the wasteland.  The thing I like about this game is the same thing I like about Skyrim and that is its just huge, you can spend 3 hours in game and not even touch a main quest, just explore and see the sights and take in some of the random events that happen along the way.

If you have been trapped in a vault for the last 5 years and not played this I would give it a go as the whole game including all the DLC is £14.99 for the Game of the year edition on steam.


Monday, 13 May 2013

FPS Limiters Or Vsync and the stuttering Skyrim fix


When I first got Skyrim, I was hit by an arrow to the knee in the form of the stuttering bug when playing the game in first person after researching it for a while it was suggested that it is an issue with Vsync and an FPS that fluctuate a lot above and below the refresh rate of the monitor.

Hardforum.com has a good write up on the pros and cons of Vsync and from reading people with Nvidia cards turning this on resolved the issue but not so with the ATI cards,  the best fix for ATI cards is a FPS limit put on the game using 3rd party software like rivatuner.

Now I already use MSI Afterburner which has rivatuner built in for the overlay in games so enabling the On Screen display and giving it a limit fixed my Skyrim stutter issue.

Since using it in Skyrim I have also started to use it in all my games as it allows me keep control of the temperature in my laptop and does help with physics and fog effect ingame as you get a constant FPS that can be maintained.

The FPS you set it to depends on what your computer can maintain in each game and will need some experimentation until you get a good number but to set the limit in MSI Afterburner is as follows.


Click to Enlarge
The first thing we need to do is to set MSI Afterburner to start with windows and to also start minimized.

The Next thing we need is to enable the (OSD) On Screen Display and we do this by telling MSI to display one of the meters in OSD.





Click to Enlarge
I normally monitor FPS and frame time as both are good to see how the computer is performing at a given moment while in game.

To enable OSD we need to monitor something with it so we need to go in to the MSI settings and select the monitoring tab and from here you will see a few ticks in the 'Active Hardware Monitoring Graphs' area, select a monitor say like 'Framerate' and then from there you will be able to tick 'Show in On-Screen Display'

This will add a new icon to your system tray that looks like this.







Click to Enlarge
Right Click on it and select 'show' and you will now see this screen, from here we can use the + icon in the lower left of the window to drill down to the exe of the actual game which will add it to the list that is currently there.



Once its in the list, select it so that its highlighted in blue and then change the 'Application Detection Level' to 'Low' and then press the spanner icon on the top right and it will allow you to set the Framerate Limit from there.

This limit is set per game so if you highlight another entry you can set another FPS for that game.

There is an art to this as if you set it too low you will see micro stutter but if you set it too high then you will not get the benefit.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Xbox 720 / Infinity Rumours

The Next Gen Xbox which will hopefully be demoed at E3 this year will be having an Announcement Event on the 21st of May 2013 10am PDT.

The rumors are its going to be called infinity but the logo you see on the right is more than likely a fake made by a Reddit user, but is damn good and I hope it resembles something of the real thing.  The other names that have been branded around are Xbox, Xbox 720 and Xbox 8 due to it using the Windows 8 OS.



Microsoft also has showed off a cool idea called 'Illumiroom' which uses the kinect and a projector to make the image on the screen flow over the edges and on to the room itself, so we can expect hopefully some more equipment to plug in the new unit to go with our Kinect 2 which so far there has really not been much news on but I am hoping they put the HD camera back in to it.

The unit is said to also have true Multi-Tasking which means that it will allow you to pause the current game and open an app, say like facebook and check your status then pick up right where you left off in the game.  The games themselves will require installing on to the unit but will install while playing so you will not have to wait, if this is true I will be interested to see how they handle the loading times.

Sony is said to be in talks with Microsoft and aiming heavily on free to play on the next gen, this could mean a Planetside 2 link for Xbox, they did miss the ship with Dust 514 and this may be them trying to make good if there do.

Until the 21st everything we hear is open to interpretations but Playstation 4 will have to do something big to take my eye off Microsofts next console. 











Wolfenstein: The New Order... The Nazis are back and this time they won!

Wolfenstein is back with Cult worshiping Nazis in gay abandon.  Its being developed by MachineGames on the id Tech 5 engine which Rage runes, released back in 2011 and is rumored to be what Doom 4 will be using as well when that game comes out.

The game is set in the 1960s with an alternate history where the Nazis won World War 2 and you pick up the role of 'William B.J. Blazkowicz" from the original and remake of the original and you are given the mission to lead the counter-offensive against them.

Set in Europe the player will have to gain access to strongholds and battle endless amounts of enemies while taking the Nazis super weapons and turning them against them.

It should be released around the end of this year and MachineGames confirm that there will be no multiplayer experience so that means more time to get the story and feel right for the single player element.

I am always happy to see another Wolfenstein game as there is never a morale issue with shooting Nazis and they do make for good cannon fodder but it always feels like they're resurrecting a classic FPS that everyone loves until they find an original idea, now i could be wrong with this as from the sound of it, its sounds more of a sequel and an evolution to the story and not just a rehash of the original which the last ones where.  Only time will tell and I will be keeping an eye on this.  



Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A Review of Metro 2033: A weekend in

Metro 2033 was developed by 4A Games using a custom in-house engine called 4A Engine and was released in 2010 by the now defunct THQ and is based off the book with the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky,

The game plays out from the perspective of Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow set in 2033 in the underground Metro system which when constructed was to serve as shelters in case of nuclear attack.

Since a nuclear attack in 2013 each station has become like its own country in its own right when a mutant problems threatens them all and to destroy the last remaining outposts of humanity.

Quote from in game also helps explain some of the unusually activities that you see along the way.

"It appears that the devastation we brought upon ourselves was complete; Heaven, Hell and Purgatory were atomized as well. So when a soul leaves the body it has nowhere to go, and must remain here, in the Metro. A harsh, but not undeserved atonement for our sins, wouldn't you agree?"

The game is a first person survival shooter with a health regeneration system which is the main stream of most fps games these days but it also includes breakable gas masks which you need to wear in hazardous areas with filters that you have to find replacements for, while wearing the mask you have to be careful when taking damage as if you take too much the screen will crack until it is unusable and you have to find a replacement mask, while wearing the mask as well you can hear your breathing and as the filter runs out your breathing gets heavier and the screen fogs up.  

I never got the game when it first came out as I never saw it advertised and a game based in a metro system did not sound that engaging but Steam has it for £9.99 so its worth getting to catch up with with the story before Metro: Last Light comes out and I was not disappointed at all.

The game has its issues, the engine overreaches its abilities in places and I have to play the game in 1080p resolution for all the volume effects to work correctly the fog effects do not mix well with the lighting sometimes and the AI is not the greatest but through all the down sides the game manages to build a great atmosphere with the sounds and the lighting.

The sparse amount of ammunition makes you feel vulnerable and you have to chose your battles and count your ammo. For me this is one of those games that got it right and if you have not played it, I would recommend you take a look at it.






Star Wars Games now under EA "loving" arm

It was announced this week that EA and Disney have come to a deal allowing EA to exclusively make Star wars games for a number of years to come.

And the word is that the makers of Mass Effect, Bioware and the Dead Space series, Visceral are both developing games as we speak.

The future looks bright but I can also see some darks spots to worry about.

The dark side is strong with EA and even though they make some good games, sometimes they come with a catch.

Sim CIty with its no offline option which was by "Design" to make the game more social, Dead Space which started as a Survival horror and is now a action horror with co-op. 

IGN has more of an in-depth overview of the deal.

Monday, 6 May 2013

OMFG WTF....BBQ? The suns out quick get the BBQ

Maybe its my age but today I had a need to command Fire,  the computer has been out of action most of the day due to the sun as LCD at the moment still can not win that battle but as soon as it does I will no longer have a reason to leave the house!

So after speaking to Monsoon and her agreeing to allow me play with fire we nipped to Asda to pick up a BBQ, now BBQ's have to be charcoal, anything else is not a BBQ its just cooking outside.

We got one for £45 with equipment and I began my journey to control fire while reading Metro 2033 and waiting for the sun to move its rear out of the way so I can had back in to continue finishing Metro 2033.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Saints Row IV.... I can kill people while naked again!

Saints Row the 4th was officially announced on March this year and is being released by Deep Sliver who are aiming for an August release, so I know what Monsoon is getting for me on my birthday.

The game follows on from Saints row the third and is a direct sequel to it, seeing you take up as the leader of the Saints once more who is now the president of the United States in an open world third person shooter.

The Saints Row series grew in favour with me around the same time GTA 4 came out as I was disappointed with the main character of GTA 4 as he came across as very moral even though I had just ran over a very large group of people I felt like 'Niko Bellic' was trying to give me a guilt trip which is very disconcerting when you're trying to enjoy mass murder.

This is when Saints Row 2 came into my life and mass murder was fun once more and I have not looked back since.  The Saints Row series has always been a fun & silly series so i am looking forward to the the 4th has in store.


Friday, 3 May 2013

Metro: Last Light and Steam's 10% off for Metro 2033 owners

I missed the boat with with 'Metro 2033' but from all accounts it did very well and looked very well done at the time, I have it in my to play pile on Steam so will get round to it one weekend, actually may give it a run this weekend. Monsoon has designs on me cleaning the shed but I may have to change them!!

Metro: LL is being developed by 4A Games and is going to run on the 4A engine. but is being published by Deep Silver instead of THQ as the previous game had as there are now disbanded due to them going bankrupt and losing the farm.  The last Metro single player element got very good reviews on story alone but the engine did not fare as well with issues with the animation, AI and general FPS of the game marking it down in most reviews but most of the reviews did draw attention to the fact that despite those issues 4A Games were able to make a very deep and rich atmosphere with great attention to detail.

Having not playing the game myself I can not say what the last game was like but with the new one I am hoping that they were able to resolve the issues that the critics commented about.

The game is set in 2034 and follows Artyom from the original trying to make sense of the chaos around him as the survivors from the nuclear war in 2013 are on the verge of a civil war, which could spell the end of humanity.

The trailers and news cast about Metro: LL has intrigued me enough to actually part with my money and give it a go and Steam has 10% off if you own the first game on Steam and if you preorder you get the limited edition free as well, so I am getting while the gettin's good.

Game will be released on the 17th of May 2013.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Its Official: Call Of Duty: Ghosts has been announced by Activision

And will be released in November.  Its not going to be Modern Warfare 4 though but instead a new page in the Call of Duty line with a new engine with new features and experience.

What this will actually mean is anyone's guess but judging by the live action trailer that they have made seems to indicate that masks are involved and maybe some spec ops if the title is anything to go by as well.

Infinity Ward has never made a CoD game I have not liked or played and there do appear to be trying to evolve the brand and keep the game play interesting, which can be a hard thing for a first person shooter.


There are not many details released to date but IGN have an article on their website with more information. 



Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Tips of dealing with Password overload!

These days you need a password for everything, I am half expecting to get home one day and my front door will ask me for one.

And the passwords have to be complex and contain a number and a capital, ideally no less than 8 characters long and not used on any other website or online games.

Now this is ok for say 5 to 10 sites but what happens when you start using more websites that need logins and playing online games which also require logins you can run in to 20+ passwords easy, this can lead to people getting fed up and just setting one password for everything or writing the passwords down in an excel sheet or on paper which can backfire and lead to you losing your internet identity very quickly and access to your bank accounts if you use online banking.


Sophos has a good article about how to choose a strong password and I have included the video here as well for ease of viewing.

They give some good tips on making stronger passwords by using passphrases instead and taking the first letter of each word in the phrase and adding numbers to it until we get something that looks like you have rolled your face on the keyboard.

So now that you are using your new face rolled passwords it still doesn't resolve the issue of trying to remember them all which is where this application comes in.

Keepass is password storage database that allows you to store and manage your mountain of passwords in to a secure database and its completely free though if you do find it useful a donation would not be unwelcomed to help support them.

Now its never recommended to store your passwords anywhere but if you have to store them somewhere then an encrypted database program is better than anywhere else and allows you to use a different password on each site or game.