E3 Highlights

For anyone who hasn't been watching the E3 live conferences, here's the general highlights so far, though a lot more "fluff" has been announced which I haven't included:

  • New Tomb Raider game, explained as open world and with a young Lara Croft
  • Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 1 remake
  • Minecraft on the Xbox with Kinect
  • Halo 4, first of a new Halo trilogy

  • Silent Hill HD collection
  • Metal Gear Solid 2/3/Peace walker remakes
  • New Silent Hill
  • Zone of the Enders HD collection

  • Mass Effect 3 live demo and gameplay trailer
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Battlefield 3 on the Frostbite 2 engine

  • Rayman: Origins
  • Driver: San Francisco
  • Far Cry 3
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
  • New Trackmania
  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations

  • Uncharted 3
  • Resistance 3 bundled with Move
  • Ico and Shadow of the Colossus 3D
  • Infamous 2
  • Starhawk
  • Sly 4
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Bioshock on PSVita
  • Modnation racers on Vita
  • SF vs Tekken on Vita
  • $250 and $300 models of Vita

Portal 2 Soundtrack: Free!

I don't know about you, but I thought the Portal 2 soundtrack was awesome! I'm just making a quick post today because I have been struck down with man flu so I haven't been on the computer too much.

Songs to Test by is the free soundtrack to Valve's Portal 2 (It's been a while since I made a Portal 2 post, okay?) and you can get it here.

There are 22 tracks of amazement on there, enjoy! If you haven't played the game, it might be worth a listen to the music to sway your opinion!

Dead Island Gameplay Trailer

The trailer that zombie enthusiasts have been waiting for since they saw the original cinematic trailer for Dead Island is finally here, and it's looking pretty cool.

The game gives me a Dead Rising 2/Left 4 Dead kind of feel, which should make it pretty fun! The environment looks a little like the environments from Crysis too, always good.

I can't really explain it better than the video itself though, so here it is:

Fable 3: Co op Error

Fable 3 has finally hit our PCs! Months after the Xbox 360 release and apparently rebuilt just for us. I've been ill these past few days, but I'm back, and just in time to play it.

The game itself so far is pretty fun, not the best RPG I've ever played but enjoyable. Then came the attempt at playing co-op.

My router is horrible at connecting to other people, especially if they're behind a router too, so I had tons of trouble as I expected.

The two main problems were not being on a static IP and having a weapons DLC that my co-op partner didn't have.

Your DLC is different: If you have the free weapons DLC, or your friend gets an error saying they can't join because of a DLC, you need to get rid of it. You can do that pretty simply by opening Games for Windows Live outside of Fable 3 and just deleting the content in the downloads section, it'll also disable any other DLC connected to it. You won't be able to load any of your single player games that you played using the DLCs until you reinstall it though, pretty annoying.

Network connection failure: If you're having network issues and either are you behind a router, it's a little more complicated. First off you want to get the obvious things out of the way, firewalls on your computer and router. If that doesn't work, you can do two things.

First: Make sure you're running a static IP off your router connection, you can find guides for that purpose here. This actually worked for us, and we could play without even playing with port forwarding.

Secondly: You can try opening the Xbox 360 ports, though you need to setup the static IP before that, you can find how to do that on most routers here.

Good luck setting up, guys.

Gog.com: Good Old Games

If you're a gamer into classics like Baldur's Gate and the Fallout series', Gog.com is for you. The site doesn't just deliver affordable nostalgia, it also uses a digitally distrubuted platform.

I only recently found about about Gog while trying to relive my childhood playing through some of the classics of my time. I'm surprised that it isn't a little more well known, but perhaps I'm just ignorant.

I actually still have my old boxed copies of the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games, but I was searching for the easiest way to play it co-op with a friend when I found the site. Tada, instant classics! I can't recommend the site enough because I'm so impressed that it offers some of the best RPGs ever made, and digitally - something that other legal outlets have been lacking. I don't think I could ever pirate anything in the Baldur's Gate series, that would feel way too wrong.

If you're a player of Mass Effect or Dragon Age and you're yearning for some great RPG gameplay and a rich storyline, I would urge you to play any of the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale series'. You won't regret it.

I was actually reminded of some of the music in these games when I was looking at who was going to be composing the music for Guild Wars 2 (which looks pretty good, I'll have to post about it when I get time today or tomorrow). It's the same guy who composed the music for Icewind Dale and Oblivion. Awesome music:

Also I'm still really sad that I lost my post about Borderlands in the Blogger outage the other day, are they restoring all the posts? :(

A Look At L.A. Noire

If you're a fan of any of the Grand Theft Auto games, or in fact any of Rockstar's popular games, there's no doubt you've heard about L.A. Noire. In the past couple days I've seen some sneak peeks popping up all over, so I thought I would throw one here.

First thing I should say is, the video I'm going to post will have spoilers in it, so don't click it if you don't want that.

Sadly, L.A Noire is still console only, so if you're a PC Gamer like me, bad luck! However, with the development of this new engine, perhaps we'll see something coming to the PC, maybe even some of the older GTA games ported to the new engine... But that's just a thought. I'd love to see Vice City in this engine.

Overall, I just hope it comes to the PC at some point. It looks like it was a little stripped down for consoles looking at this Reddit post:
gripes23q: I know a guy who has worked on the game. He said they had to strip a lot of the facial animation data out to get it to fit on a disc for consoles and to avoid memory limits. In much the same way you have texture memory you also have animation memory, too much animation data constantly would slow the game down.
From what I recall he said the unstripped versions looked a lot better as you'd expect.
The game is coming this month (May), so look out for it if you're a console gamer.
I've replaced the video about 3 times now, since it keeps being taken off of Youtube. But this could be a more permanent link if the video below has been taken down again.

Portal 2 Authoring Tools

Another Portal 2 related post so soon, sorry! But this is an interesting development. If you've ever played with the hammer editor for Team Fortress 2, you might recognise this screenshot. 

These are the tools that Valve used to create Portal 2 and they're now available to everyone who has Portal 2 on Steam. The one thing I was slightly worried about in Portal 2 was the re-playability, especially in co-op. I have a few friends I wanted to play the game with, but after playing through co-op once or twice the puzzles are engraved into my mind, and there's no fun or challenge in waiting for someone else to figure them out while you sit around with your thumb up your ass.

So, we can make our own Portal 2 levels? So what? While Hammer is unfortunately hard to learn, we'll see community content now - some that will hopefully dwarf the campaign content in quality. In other words, replay value, especially if we can co-op user created maps.

Valve official post: here.

New Vegas: Malcolm the Molerat

Yes, that is a Molerat with a lawn chair attached to it's back, and yes, you can ride it. His name is Malcolm.

I wasn't really planning to post a lot about mods on this blog, with just the Fallout games and Oblivion alone, there is a metric ton of them. Plenty I've used myself too. But this one looked extra special!

Getting around the Mojave Desert can be a pain in the ass, that's where Malcolm comes in to help. He can be ordered around, carry your stuff and mostly importantly, used as a mount at 150% of your normal speed. Wow the ladies today!

You can find more screenshots here.

Also, bonus funny Fallout: New Vegas video:

Portal 2 Soundboard

It's pretty early in the year but so far I can easily say that Portal 2 is probably near the top of my list of  'Awesome games', it's hard to deny how fun the game-play and characters are. However, if you haven't played it... Stop looking at this and go play it. This contains spoilers.

More importantly though, if you've been longing for the ramblings of Wheatly, Cave Johnson or any of the characters, look no further.

This Portal 2 soundboard is a collection of lines from the game files - even some you didn't hear in the game! Again, if you haven't played the game, don't click the link. Go play it first!


Trailer for fun:

An Interview with Gabe Newell

Came across this today, thought it would be an interesting share for anyone that likes the behind the scenes type stuff. This is an interview with Gabe Newell of Valve Software (Half Life, Portal and the Left 4 Dead series' if you didn't know.)

The questions asked:

1. What is Valve up to these days?

2. With the addition of STEAM to the PSN is Valve planning on shifting development focus to consoles or are you going to remain developing games primarily for the PC?

3. How does Valve plan on differentiating the game from the very popular "League of Legends"?

4. How does micro transactions affect the future of Valve's business model?

5. Do you still plan on making single player games? (dispelling a rumour)

6. Do you ever get a chance to play games for fun anymore? If so, what games are you playing?

7. Do you plan on deviating from SOURCE or do you plan on indefinitely updating the current engine?

8. What games in the last decade do you believe have improved the gaming industry?

9. Will Chell from Portal and Gordon Freeman from HL be meeting?

10. Why are some of your most famous protagonists silent? How do you feel this affects the games as a whole?

11. What advice would you give to somebody aspiring to get into the gaming industry?

12. I read that you collect knives. How many knives do you own? What do you like about them?

13. What was your favorite game to work on?

How Gamers Helped Aid Japan

On Friday the 11th of March this year, Japan was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake and the after effects, needless to say, were extremely destructive. This date marked one of the greatest natural disasters in history. In an effort to support those affected by the devastation, a few game developers set up a way for you to donate through your favourite games.

Having a look back, I wondered how much those games raised to aid Japan because of gamers who wanted to help, and if there were any other games I missed out on - the results were impressive!

Team Fortress 2 players managed to raise $430,543.65 in the space of two weeks through buying unique hats that Valve put on sale for that time. There were three hats in total, all limited edition!

Extralives.org hosted a 37 hour Minecraft marathon that they put together very quickly in an effort to raise money as soon as possible. They managed to raise $9,099.33 through their stream and offering people slots on the server they were playing on.

Over 50,000 summoners participated in Riot games efforts, raising over $160,000 through the purchase of  the champion Akali and her nurse skin in League of Legends.

Play for Japan have raised money in a slightly different way, but are still very worth a mention.  As of the 28/4/2011 they've raised $116,941 by auctioning rare and unique gaming items, usually signed by game devs too. My favourite item sold has to be the Guitar played by Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka.

There have probably been even more cases of gamers or game developers raising money for the cause, if you find any, feel free to add them in comments. Remember, never let anyone tell you games never helped anyone!

Mass Effect 3 Delayed

We knew undoubtedly that with so many releases this year, some of our most awaited were bound to take a hit, and it looks like we have our first: Mass Effect 3.

Casey Hudson, Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series posted this on Bioware's Facebook page a few hours ago:
Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.
It looks like DICE has also been drafted in to help develop the game, although reportedly only to help with some of the in-game sounds.

So, do you think the delay is good or bad? Perhaps Bioware want to avoid another Dragon Age 2 type reception.

An amazing look into the Half Life 2 Universe

With the recent release of Portal 2, it's easy to forget the past accomplishments of Valve. So why not celebrate it with this piece of superb cinematography:

Tweak Crysis 2 Options Without .ini Files

If you're a buyer of Crytek's newest release, Crysis 2, you might have felt a little let down by the lack of options when it came to optimising your graphics.

For a lot of people, this one size fits all graphics interface meant fiddling about with the .ini files to get their preferred set up, but no more!

A guy over at the incrysis.com forums called wasdie has created a helpful little tool which makes the process a lot easier, though still a far cry(sis) from what should already be in-game (sorry). The tool, and further instructions can be found here.

Remember to spread the word if the tool is of any help to you!

Sunday edit: According to some sources, the game will get DirectX 11 support and advanced graphics options in-game in a patch tomorrow. There has been no official press release yet, but you can read more here.

The DirectX 11 patch has now been debunked.

Minecraft Marathon for Japan Aid

If the notion of donating through Team Fortress 2 isn't for you, then perhaps this might pique your interest!

Right now over at Extralives.org, a Minecraft marathon is in progress with the goal of raising donations for Internation Medical Corps, an organisation dedicated to saving lives and responding to tsunami affected countries.

There is apparently no set end time for the marathon, but the stream is said to be lasting around 36 hours.

If you want to play on the server where the marathon is taking place, which as I write, has nearly 400 viewers, all you have to do is donate $20 (£12) and you can play for three hours. You can donate more to play longer!

If you can't tune into the marathon but are still thinking of donating, the marathon is being recorded, so you won't miss out!

A repeated argument I see about this type of fund raising is that they should be helping physically instead of playing games - having started today and already made nearly $3,000.00 for the relief fund, I'd say they are proving it's well worth it.

Click here to watch the stream!

Donate to Japan through Team Fortress 2

The guys over at Valve are using their hat selling skills to donate to the Japan relief fund at the moment, so if you're a Team Fortress 2 player who is itching for a new hat, taking a look couldn't hurt.

The three new hats available in the Mann Co. Store are the "Humanitarian's Hachimaki" ($7.99), the "Benefactor's Kanmuri" ($19.99) and the most prestigious "Magnanimous Monarch" ($99.99). All proceeds going directly to the fund! The hats can be equipped on any class but aren't usable in crafting and cannot be traded. The hats won't be available after April 6, so if you're a collector, now is your chance!

While purchases from Valve's in-game store aren't tax deductible, donations here are. You can find the official post from Valve here.

Duke Nukem Forever Delayed

In line with tradition and legend, Duke is still preparing for his long awaited come back. 
Due to be finally released internationally on May 6th, it seems that a little more work is still in order before the gum chewing hero hits our screens again. 

There's no information at the moment as to what they're still working on, but we can only hope that the game will be more than a lot of the generic shooters already available to us. Replacing nostalgia with something better isn't an easy thing.

Dukes new release date is June 10th internationally, this year... we hope, as shown in this very special message from Gearbox Software:

In case you didn't know, Duke Nukem Forever has been in development since 1997, 14 years.
Duke Nukem Forever has been through many changes in that time, so the outcome of the game is still unknown until we get some real reviews or our own hands on the game.

For a good look at the stages of development Duke Nukem Forever has gone through over time, the best place to look is: The List.

Left 4 Dead 2 Voice Commands

Spamming of voice commands has always been one of my favourite pass times in the Left 4 Dead games. If you can't annoy the fuck out of someone in a game, then something is very, very wrong. Remember though, practice discipline when annoying your friends in a game, or they will hate you forever.

This brings me to Left 4 Dead 2 voice commands. If you played the first game and were like me (read: annoying), you probably spammed Zoey's death scream over and over because she sounded so... special. Not to mention being able to spam the elevator conversation on any map and force your friend's characters into talking because of the flag it set off.

I couldn't go by without having the same pleasure on Left 4 Dead 2, so I looked up the new commands. There is an awesome list right here.

With classics such as:
Ellis: I love you. (Sadly I didn't get to play Eliss, this would have been awesome to spam)
Ellis: They figured out how to stop going to the bathroom? That's AMAZING. Ohhhh. No, wait, I just got it. Shit, that's gross as hell.
Coach: MOTHERF- *snort* (this was awesome to spam)

If you need to know how to use the commands, enable console in options and bind it to a key. Once in game, open up the console with that binding and type 'vocalize *command*', for example:
vocalize C5M3Jets2

Make sure you're on a character that uses the command you're inputting too, otherwise you won't hear anything
If you want to bind the command to a key, type 'bind *key* *"command"* in console, for example:
bind v "vocalize C5M3Jets2"
Don't put any of the *s into the commands.

Fair warning, when I was playing with friends the other day and spamming 'mother-', I "miraculously" died on the spot. I wasn't black and white or near death in anyway, and I was surrounded by other survivors. Death by admin I think. I wouldn't be surprised if my friends shot me dead though, but apparently they didn't.

Spamming "TIME TO DIE" on Diablo 2 is also awesome.

Prototype Lag Fix

I wrote this guide on how to fix lag in Prototype a few years ago, back when I was suffering the wonderful OS that is Windows Vista... If you're still using that OS, this could still be of help. Luckily I'm suffering Windows 7 at the moment and I haven't had any lag running Prototype on that so far, but I'm sure there is enough lag to go around.

I wanted to put this here because I had trouble with Prototype, and finding a solution for the lag took me a good few hours of searching.

Hopefully you'll find this post before you have to do the amount of searching I did.
Prototype is a pretty awesome game, but I've noticed a lot of people on forums complaining that it lags on their machine, usually machines that can run other high spec games with no problem at all.

The high end specs for Prototype aren't extremely demanding, and on my average machine (laptop) I can run it pretty well. I only get hiccups of lag when I have 4 or 5 tanks and the whole army up my ass (god bless being able to punch a helicopter out of the sky).
However, when I first got the game I had a number of problems; the cut scenes were skipping, I had to run the game on the lowest settings and also had to run it on it's lowest resolution. It was still very laggy even when I did that.

This fix obviously won't work for everybody, it's a good idea to take obvious steps first, scan for viruses, make sure you have the correct specs and clean up your computer (I would suggest ccleaner for cleaning up all the random stuff on your computer and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Malware check-up, I've used them both often).

Something else I would suggest to do on Ccleaner (or Run -> Msconfig -> Startup) is to change which applications run on windows startup. I had a huge amount of things clogging up my memory in the background. You can see what is running by going to the task manager (CTRL + ALT + DEL) and then going to the processes tab. You can also close them here, but be aware they will all reappear if you restart windows. To edit which applications are enabled on startup, just go to tools in Ccleaner. Be careful with what you disable, make sure to only disable the things which you know you don't need on start up. For example: things like Winamp, Windows Media Player, MSN Messenger and any other application like that.

Another thing which I did was to turn off Vista's desktop window manager, this takes up quite a significant amount of memory in the background. DWM is what gives Vista windows 3D affects and transparency etc - it's basically just for show and you don't really need it all, especially when playing a game. If you like some of the shiny effects on vista I would suggest not disabling this, here's how you can disable it:
  • In the start menu, type "Services.msc" into the search box, without quotes.
  • In the list that comes up, scroll down until you find "Desktop Window Manager Session Manager"
  • Right click, and then select stop.
  • If you'd like to disable it permanently, right click again and go to properties.
  • Click on the general tab and change the start up type to disabled.
 If that doesn't work, here's another thing that you can try (this worked really well for me):

Go into Control Panel -> System -> Device Manager (this is on the hardware tab in XP).

Obviously, this is all the hardware installed to your computer. Click on Human Interface Devices. This is stuff like your mouse and keyboard... and anything else you might have plugged into your computer.

The goal here is to get rid of all the stuff you never use... Personally I deleted them all and if I accidentally deleted the mouse/keyboard driver, I just unplugged and then plugged them back in. Vista automatically reinstalls the driver and lets you use the device again - I assume the same happens with XP, but be careful.

I had a good 5 or 6 HIDs installed that I didn't use, and upon playing prototype again I was able to set at maximum graphics, the cut scenes didn't skip any more and there was no menu lag at all. A huge difference. No more lag.
This is might not work for all your prototype problems, but it's worth a go if you're careful, and if you've tried everything else. If it did work, enjoy the game!
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Old posts

Transferring over some posts from my old blog as I am moving from Wordpress to Blogger, so incoming information dump! I'll probably close the old Wordpress blog so I don't have to deal with any duplicate page problems - please take note eye in the sky :)
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