PC

July 9, 2011

“Our Recon Drone Will Find Those Imperial Dwarfnuts”

Last Tuesday, a group called BlackMonkeys.de released a mod for Call of Duty 4 on PC entitled “Galactic Warfare”.  This mod turns the original Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer into a Star Wars shooter, pitting the Rebels against the Storm Troopers. There are several maps on Tatooine, one in the Cloud City of Bespin, and one map called “Not A Cave” (You can probably guess where it takes place.) Anyway, let’s take a spin through this German-made product. You know the Germans always make good stuff!

^This guy wouldn’t lie to you. I own multiple ShamWow!s.

First off, I will start by saying that this mod is not for the technologically impaired, nor is it for those of you who like to give up on things that frustrate you. It is most DEFINITELY not for those of you who get sick of clicking through Computer>C Drive>Program Files (x86)>Steam>SteamApps>Common>call of duty 4 a lot. Once you download and install or reinstall the game (I’m guessing many of you probably haven’t played this title in a while if you own it), you’ll need to manually update punkbuster. Allegedly there’s a .exe installer for this mod, but I couldn’t find it, so I just went with the .zip file. You put the contents of the “mods” folder into the Call of Duty 4 “mods” folder, and just drag the usermaps folder into the directory. It is important to note that you can NOT launch the game through Steam and play this mod. You must navigate the above-mentioned treacherous path and launch directly from the .exe, or else the mods will not work. You’ll be navigating some long distances. Shortcuts will not help you. Do not attempt to make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.

^What?

You’ll also need a manual update of PunkBuster from www.evenbalance.com before you can play. No biggie. Now, hear comes the thing that almost makes my head spin. Galactic Warfare servers don’t show up in the game list. You have to search for them (gamemonitor or elsewhere), then open the console and type /connect, followed by tediously copying the IP. (Side note- you should hit backspace a few times before you type /connect. Don’t ask why, just do it.) You could connect through Xfire or a similar program if you don’t have a Steam copy of the game, but many people do because it is frequently on sale.

So, you’ve done all this work to appease this mod. You’ve manually screwed with everything, resisted the urge to just give up and play a different shooter, and are finally (manually) connecting to a server. What do you get?

You get a face-full of AWESOME. This is one of the most brilliant mods I’ve ever played for any game. Granted, it’s a tad complex and buggy at the moment, but that doesn’t take away from the solid win that this game is. It solves one of the greatest imbalancers of Call of Duty 4- the leveling system. A Stormtrooper is a Stormtrooper, and may choose from the basic standard-issue blasters. There are only 4 Blue Perks and 4 Yellow Perks to choose from, which also solves another great imbalancing problem. The gameplay is nice and tactical, and there’s always an answer to what the enemy team is doing.

The standard fare of CoD gametypes is here, along with one new “Very Important Droid” gametype, in which one player on a team is an R2 droid, which must be escorted to an area on the map. You play him in third person, so you can peek around corners more easily. He has a few methods of defending himself, but for the most part needs an escort. Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and all the other favorites play just like they used to, only with blasters instead of guns, Stormtroopers instead of Spetsnaz, and entertaining gameplay instead of level grinding.

Apart from the aforementioned complications, I only see two problems with this game as it currently is, both of which are easily fixed. One, I’m having trouble loading maps on map change, and it locks up pretty hard. That might be just me, but it’s still an annoying/crippling bug which may be troubling many would-be players. Two, the mod just doesn’t have a big community yet, so it’s missing some of the things that will make it great. Playing this mod would be even more fun in a scrim-type setting, or at least with some hearty voice chat (nobody uses voice chat? What is this madness?).

So what’s my final judgement? This looks like a great mod to hop on. I can really see it taking off, and the potential for massive hipster cred once the mod gets big a community that will grow with the mod cannot be denied. So, if you’ve got a purchased copy of Modern Warfare lying around, go ahead and install it. This mod is a lot of fun.

July 9, 2011

Mass Effect 3 to be an Origin Exclusive

We now know that Mass Effect 3 will be an origin exclusive on the PC along with The Old Republicand will not be available on any of the other DD platforms such as Steam, Direct2Drive and Impulse.  This will most likely be one in several upcoming exclusives to the Origin platform.  Other title that are expected to be Origin exclusives are Battlefield 3, Crysis 3 and any future AAA title releases that will come from EA.  

Mass Effect 3 will of course be available on PS3 and Xbox 360 for those of you who do not wish to play on the PC.  What do you PC  guys think about Mass Effect 3 being Origin exclusive?  Will this be bad for business?  Good or bad?

July 7, 2011

Thought of the Week: Despite reception we hold on…..

Time for this week’s thought that has been bouncing around my head for two weeks since the Mirror’s Edge and lack of creativity topic; are there games that were either met with mixed reviews or panned by critics that you still hold dear or diligently hope for a sequel? Advent Rising is mine. I love this game and will defend it till the day I die (not to be overly dramatic). It had a story that sucked you in, a unique visual style and one of my favorite soundtracks of all time; but it was plagued by bugs and a shoddy frame rate, and the “flick” system didn’t work as advertised but what game is perfect? This is another game that sits in the categories of “best game no one played” and “creative game that gets buried amongst the tide of sequels”. There was also the blunder of Majesco and its million dollar give away that went sour, but that is not the games fault. I had followed the game from production to release getting my hands on any article and watching everything I could on G4 (back when they actually ran shows 24/7 about video games instead of running 24 hours of pure crap). It also helped that one of the composers, Tommy Tallarico, was on Judgment Day at the time. The game received mixed reviews, but I still bought it day one, and loved every minute of it. I still regard it as one of the best games of the previous generations despite what other critics think. If they ever threw around the idea to make this game a movie I would lose weight, buff up, grow my hair, take acting lessons, and petition to have the role of Gideon Wyeth. So know that I have confessed my undying love for Advent Rising, are there any games that despite their critical reception, you still love and adore?

Editor’s note: The two master minds that created the game Donald and Geremy Mustard are still in the industry at their dev studio, Chair Entertainment. They are responsible for three hit downloadable games; Undertow, Shadow Complex, and Infinity Blade. There is still hope for a sequel to Advent Rising, I would even settle for a XBLA sequel. No I am not desperate, just passionate.  

Here is a two songs off it’s fantastic soundtrack, the game is not back compatible on the 360 (outrage!) but is available on Steam for a steal of $9.99.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ_hgmGEhsw

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSbTviFhHI4

July 6, 2011

Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Windows 7 64bit

This was the first time in a long time that I have had some time off to myself.  When deciding what to do with my spare time I decided to bring out my old catalog and play a game that I hadn’t played in years and the first game that popped up was Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. 

For those of you who don’t know Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is an old game, by gaming standards, released in 2000 and follows the exploits of the “hazard team” abord the starship Voyager.  The “hazard team” is essentially a team of special forces operatives who are sent out to deal with “dangerous” situations that standard Starfleet personell aren’t equiped to  handle, much like your modern day special forces. 

While playing this it got me to thinking how much simpler the FPS genre was 11 years ago.  The way games were made were far different then todays modern shooters.  The biggest difference was how there were no extra features such as unlocks, upgrades, perks or leveling up.  I also had to get used to the idea of using ammo stations and health stations.  It’s been a good long time since I have had to deal with managing my health with my saves.  There were a couple of times I actually had to move back to previous save because I had saved at a “inopertune” time.  

It was intersting how different FPS genre has become over the past 10 years and I think they’ve actually tried to over complicate what is actually, what I think to be, a rather simple genre and shouldn’t need to be overly complex.  Games like Call of Duty and the Battlefield series have taken the FPS genre to new, complex, heights with weapon and armor unlocks, upgrades and perks.  It was actually really refreshing not having to worry about any of those things while playing and the only thing I had to think about was just running, shooting and listening to the entertaining dialouge and story.  There was also no scripting outside of conversation pieces.  There were simple stealth missions where you had to mostly “stay out of sight” but could still be in clear view. 

Elite Force was a great way to go back to a time when things were simple, fun and exciting where enemies would come at you in hordes and level layouts were huge and all that was required to beat the final boss was to shoot it three hundred thousand times.  It was the most fun I’ve had in years and funny enough I didn’t put it down until I played it all the way through. 

Installing this “ancient” game was not as simple as installing it from the CD.  I had to go to some lengths to get it installed on a Windows 7 64bit system running on a AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8GB of ram, Radeon 5870 running on the latest drivers.  Having said all that I thought it would be nice to give you the steps I took to get this installed and running.

1. Grab your CD and copy all files to a folder somewhere on your computer

2. Go to the directory you copied all of the files and go to the setup folder

3. Right click on the setup.exe file inside the setup folder and click the compatability tab and set these settings .   

          a.  Check run compatibility mode and set it to Windows 2000

          b.  Check disable desktop composition

          c.  Check Disable display  scaling on high DPI settings

          d.  Check Run this program as an administrator

4.  Keep in mind this step can take as much as 20 minutes before you see any results.  Run the setup.exe file as administrator.  On my system it took 20 minutes before I saw ANY signs that it was working.  If you don’t see signs that something is working be patient it should start working. 

5. Now that the program is installed there are still a few other things that I had to do to get things functioning correctly.  One thing to note about older games that were designed before the advent of 64 bit systems and 1GB video cards.  Is that most of them can’t handle multi core processors and system memory over 4Gb including your video card.  What we have to do is make the game think it’s running on an older system.  I should mention I would try getting the game to work without changing these settings as it’s just easier.  If the game functions at the settings you desire then you have no need to follow the following steps.

6.  Launch msconfig by clicking on the Windows button and typing msconfig

        a.  Click the boot tab

        b.  Click advanced options

        c.  Set the maximum memory to what brings your total system memory under 4Gb including your video cards memory.  For example if you have a 1Gb video card memory you would set the maximum system memory to 3000

       d.  This step can be done in two ways and it depends on what you prefer.  You need to set your system to use only 1 processing core instead of 2 or 4 or 6 or whatever your system currently has.  Most older games can’t utilize multiple cores and in cases where they can it often ruins performance having multiple cores instead of one.  Choose one of the two options that bests suits you:

                    1.  Go back to the boot options where you set your maximum memory and check the number of processors box and set it to 1.  This will set your system to use only 1 processor and until you set it back it will only use one processor.

                    2.  Launch the game and press control + alt + delete and click on task manager.  In task manager click processes and look for the stvoy.exe.  Right click on stvoy.exe and click select affinity and uncheck every box execpt  CPU 0.  This will set only stvoy.exe to use one core instead of all of them.  For some people this would be a better option.

These were the steps I took to get the game working on Windows 7 64bit.   The steps may vary a little depending on your circumstance and if you have problems please feel free to post here and if you have another solution that works as well please post it as well.  I hope this has helped someone out there looking to take a stroll down nostalgia lane. 

I should also mention that you follow these steps at your own risk and that I am NOT responsible for any damage caused to your system. 

 Do not right click on the setup.exe file in the main directory as this one will not work.

July 5, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

I along with the staff at TGB would like to take this time to say Happy Independence Day to all of our readers and viewers.  Without you we would not be where we are today and for that we thank you.  We would also like to take this time to thank all the service men and women, past and present  for all that you have done for this country.  Without your service, your sacrifice, your courage we very well may not have the freedoms we have today and we may have lived in a much darker place.  We thank you and will always be grateful for the service you do for this country.  Happy Independence Day!

June 28, 2011

Crysis 2 DX11 Patch Released and Comparison

Today Crytec released it’s long awaited DX11 patch for Crysis II.  The DX11 content, high res textures, and updated visuals have been a source of much debate within the PC and even console communities.  PC gamers argue that the content should of been released with the game instead of waiting several months after it’s release to be put out.  Many PC gamers claim that the DX11 patch is to little to late and that by “alienating” their core audience, the PC community, that they have lost the following that they might of otherwise had. 

Regardless of where you stand on the matter the DX11 patch is available for you to download here and it is a free download to those who have purchased the game.  There are several different content packs that you can download depending on what you want.  Each one has different system requirements so be sure to check them before you download them. 

What do you guys think to little to late?  Or just a great addition to a good game?  Let us know! We want to know!

The patch features are listed below:

Crysis 2 Patch 1.9

• Added Contact Shadows
• Added DX11 support for Crysis 2 (the following features only work when downloading the optional DX11 package here):
• – Tessellation + Displacement Mapping
• – High Quality HDR Motion Blur
• – Realistic Shadows with Variable Penumbra
• – Sprite Based Bokeh Depth of Field
• – Parallax Occlusion Mapping
• – Particles Motion Blur, Shadows and Art Updates
• – Water Rendering improvements and using Tessellation + Displacement Mapping
• Added Realtime Local Reflections
• Added support for Higher Res Textures Package
• Added various new console variables to whitelist
• Fixed bullet penetration, which had been broken by a bug introduced with the DLC 2 patch
• Fixed issue in MP where player stats weren’t always saved at the end of a game
• Fixed issue in MP where player stats would sometimes randomly reset
• Fixed issue with MP time played statistic, which would sometimes be too low on leaderboards and in stats
• Fixed issue with JAW rocket not firing through window’s containing broken glass
• Fixed rare issue where a user could not access MP with a valid CD key if they had previously used an invalid CD key
• Improved advanced graphics options menu
• Improved anti-cheat measurements: fixed exploit which could prevent vote kicking working against a user
• Improved multi-GPU support
• Improved Tone Mapping
• Re-added possibility to enable r_StereoSupportAMD via config file (unsupported)

I’ve also snagged some side by side comparisons of DX9 vs DX11:

June 27, 2011

Sound The Alarm

Hey guys I have a friend who also has a nerd site. His name is Adam and he does up the geekness over at http://stashow.net/. Sound The Alarm brings you news in gaming and other fun things as well. They also do weekly podcasts chatting about anything going on in gaming, sports, or random stuff around the house. They just hit the 25th episode mark so gratz to them. So give them a checking out and tell them AceOfNades sent ya. Oh and be nice.

June 27, 2011

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Video Game Industry

In a milestone event today, the Supreme Court ruled today against the Violent Video Game law presented by California law makers.

“Like protected books, plays, and movies, communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And ‘the basic principles of freedom of speech . . . do not vary’ with a new and different communication medium,” said the court.

“This country has no tradition of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence. And California’s claim that ‘interactive’ video games present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its out- come, is unpersuasive.”

This is landmark event in that it sets a precedent for any future entertainment industry laws.  This ruling protects video games under first amendment rights thus extending them the protecting that the Literature, Music and Video industry already have.

“Esthetic and moral judgments about art  and literature… are for the individual to make, not for the government to decree even with mandate or approval of majority”

While it may be true that children should not be playing Violent or sexually explicit games it is most definately not the responsibility of the courts to decide this.  The responsibility of protecting children falls on the hands of their parents.  Parents and lawmakers that are angry with what children are viewing should not be targeting the industry but perhaps targeting themselves or parents of these children who are failing to protect the children from such content?

What does TGB think?  Do think the court made the correct decision?  Does anyone here think it should of gone the other way?  Should the government regulate the video game industry?

June 26, 2011

Subscriptions VS Microtransactions

 

With advancements in gaming come new ways for the industry to get our money. However with EA giving way to the “online pass” codes trend we see gaming heading in a new direction. Now we see free to play, pay to play, and all thats in between popping up all over.

Subscriptions – Ahh the familiar feelings. Pay for a month? Three months? A year? Two years? Hopefully this game lasts that long. Subscription based games rode the MMO wagon to become a standard for a lot of games and gaming services. I am sure the first guy to see a pay to play game said, “Ha! That will never work.” Now that same guy does his best to scrape together enough money to get another month of WoW access like a crackhead getting his fix. Success in the MMO world led Micrsoft to charge a subscription for its Xbox Live content. Even Playstation Network finally  jumped on the bus when they saw how successful it was. More and more we are starting to see new games released with pass codes or codes for add-ons. Now whispers are being heard of possibly charging a flat subscription fee and getting access to all the new content as it comes. Will you want to pay for Xbox Live, a new game, and a subscription for playing that game? Seems a bit much to me.

Microtransactions – The other side of the coin. Microtransactions are the newest fad in the gaming world but they actually aren’t as new as you think. Xbox Live charges microtransactions everytime a user buys Microsoft points. What is newer is the way these transactions are presented. They are wrapped secretly in a “free to play” game. A perfect example is League of Legends, a top down action real time strategy tower defense game. It is absolutely free to download and play. Everything can be unlocked in game by simply putting in time to the game. However for a few dollars here and there you can speed up the process to get ahead. The success this in PC games like League of Legends has gotten Steams attention. Steam announced a new direction of free to play games using the microtransaction method. Even Xbox is rumored to be getting new games as well.

As with everything it all has to do with money. How much can they get from us and how much are we willing to pay? Some like the idea some don’t. Prices will be the biggest issue. If I have to pay for a game, pay for a service to play it, or pay for in game content to be able to contend in game, what will that cost me?

June 24, 2011

Star Wars Galaxies Is Coming Down…

It’s been a long time coming but it was just announced that Star Wars Galaxies will finally be coming down.  This isn’t terribly suprising news considering the game has been loosing popularity over the last few years in addition to the upcoming release of  “The Old Republic”.  The date for the shut down is December 15th.  Star Wars: Galaxies was one of the most anticipated MMO’s of all time back when it was released and it saw several expasnsions and updates over the course of it’s life.  Updates, however,  are probably the reason why “the magic is gone” in Star Wars Galaxies.  Star Wars galaxies maintained a fairly high player base until it’s content update that drastically changed the way character classes were handled, in particular the Jedi class.  When I played Star Wars Galaxies becoming a Jedi was hard/rare the content update changed it to where almost everyone could become a Jedi very easily just by choosing the class.  It’s sad to see something such as Star Wars fail but none the less Star Wars Galaxies will be imploding December 15.

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