Category Archives: Gaming

Review: Gran Turismo 5

(Editor’s Note: I originally started this draft about a year after Gran Turismo 5 came out.  Most of it still applies; some of the gripes were corrected in Gran Turismo’s most excellent next release, Gran Turismo 6.)

What can I say about Gran Turismo 5, a game that was in development for five years; a game that charged $39.99 for its demo download three years ago?

Seriously.

GT5 EU Box ArtIs it cool?  Yes, it’s cool.  But then again, I grew up playing Gran Turismo — I probably racked up 100’s and 100’s of hours on Gran Turismo and Gran Turismo II alone (Gran Turismo III and IV, I never played much, and I regret that — III was apparently one of the best games ever released on the PS2 during the 2000’s).  GT5 could be nothing more than a port of Gran Turismo IV for the PS3, and I’d still love it.  I’m probably not the best person to judge whether or not GT5 is cool.

Does it look good?  Yes, it looks great.

Does it have lots of badass cars?  Check.

By this point, with all the hype that’s been built-up about this game over the years; all the stories of just how maniacal the creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, was in making sure that GT5 was going to absolutely perfect; all the stories of how imaging each car for GT5 was taking 10 times as long as it took to image a car for GT4 (which itself took 10 times as long to image for as it did GT2)…

With all this hype, how could GT5 possibly make anyone happy?

The Bad

The loading times are horrendous. (Try about a minute of waiting, every time you start a race.)

The selection of cars is limited, and the “full resolution” cars, new for GT5, is maybe 10-15% of the total cars.  The rest are all ports of the GT4 cars, and the much poorer graphic quality of the cars can show.

The Good

All right, but it’s not all bad.  Most of the graphics look amazing on the PS3.  And finally, finally, FINALLY, there’s a multiplayer network option!

Yes, the dreams you had when you were younger of playing Gran Turismo verses races from all around the world is true, and it’s great.

Not only that, but you can play with your close friends and family on the Playstation Network, and can gift cars to them (great for giving your fiends a leg-up when they first start playing).

Final Word

Is it worth it?

If you want to play Gran Turismo on the PS3, it’s the only way to do it (unless you’re going to pop in an old copy of Gran Turismo 1 from the PS days).

Was it worth the wait, though?

No — no game should take five years to come out, past the point of the first demo.  No game should ever charge for a demo (and nearly a full price charge, too).

Ugh.  Just ugh.

Steam for Linux, with Repository, but no GPG Key?

Steam For Linux Now Available To All Users ~ Web Upd8: Ubuntu / Linux blogGreat job on making Steam for Ubuntu there, Valve, but (boo! hiss!) on not including the damn key with the installation so people can actually update it when they install it.

This blog mentions how to fix it, with the command below:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys F24AEA9FB05498B7

 

Retired WoW Addons: November 2010

Just a few more that have been abandoned since the 4.0.1 patch:

Mapnotes

Apparently, MapNotes is no more.  Trying to find an addon that will import my many years of notes that I’ve made with this addon.  (It’s seriously been one of the most helpful for questing with alts.)

I have a long history with this addon — for the longest time, I used it WAY back in the day, and then with the release of TBC, it stopped working.  Thankfully, there was “Metamap,” which imported MapNotes map points just fine. (Metamap doesn’t even have a Curse page — I used to have to download it directly from the author’s website.)

However, it in turn stopped working with version 3.0 of WoW, but MapNotes came back with a fan update!  (A fan update is where a fan of a defunct addon is able to get in contact with the original addon maintainer, and gets them to give them control over it.)  But, now MapNotes no longer works anymore, either, and I’m stuck trying to find a replacement.  Looking at HandyNotes for now — apparently there’s some way to get it to import MapNotes points.

SellValue and SellFish

Long live SellValue!  I used this addon for the LONGEST time, and it was an absolute lifesaver.

Out questing and need to know if that stack of gray shit you’ve been collecting is worth it to keep?  SellValue would tell you how much it was worth (dependent upon prices you had seen before).  This addon worked for the longest time, even though it hadn’t been updated since forever.

Even though it was still working wit version 3.0, I started using an updated addon called “SellFish” — however, as you can see, WoW integrated this functionality into the core game with version 3.2, so there’s no need for either addon anymore!

AnnoyRP

AnnoyRP was a neat little plugin everyone started using back in my heavy guild-RP days (god, that sounds so dorky). It had amazing functionality — based upon certain events in the game that you set it to notice, i.e. mounting up, casting a certain spell, it would /s certain things.

For instance, you could set it to say “Hi Ho, Silver, Away!” every time you mounted up (or a certain random amount of times, or even a certain random choice out of a group of phrases).  As you can imagine, it was LOADS of fun.

It stopped working some time ago, but the author made Chatterbox to make up for it.  Did the same thing, worked great.  However, now the author has left WoW (back in July over the whole RealID thing, which sadly enough didn’t even happen!), so who knows?  It seems to work fine for now, but that could stop at any minute with version 4.0.2 of WoW.

Retired World of Warcraft Addons: October 2010

QuestHelper

Used it for years — loved the waypoint lines that it would make on your map (tracking routes from one quest to another), and the waypoint arrow at the top of the screen.  Now built-in to WoW, and there’s no need for it anymore.  Even the dev is leaving it.

CloseUp

Also built-in to WoW now, although the implementation isn’t as good as the addon’s — you can’t look at someone else and zoom into them, for instance.  This was one of those addons that, while being a mild modification to the game UI, you still found yourself using it nearly every single time you logged on.

Hopefully, there won’t be more to come! :P

Update!

One more: PerformanceFu. Hasn’t updated in about 2 years.  Liked it because it would let you see some cool stats right from your FuBar —  I’ve noticed that his seems to be built-in to the standard WoW button menu now.  So long!

THE BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME

Well, I don’t know about that, but they’re definitely good ones from my youth.

I guess I’ll mention my favories from the days of the Sony Playstation (the “One,” or original), since those days are freshest in my mind.

The Sony Playstation Years


Developer's kit PlayStation

Image via Wikipedia

First would have to be the Gran Turismo series.  There’s so much to say about it.  My brother and sister and I played this game almost religiously.  My current lifelong infatuation with cars is largely because of it.

And to think, we only grew fond of the game because of that little sample disc of mini-games that you got for free from Sony when you bought your Playstation — you know the one I’m talking about;  it had mini-levels of:

  • Wipeout (a game I loved but have never, ever, played again for inexplicable reasons)
  • Spider (a game that was crazily fun and that we finally bought nearly 10 years later off of Ebay)
  • And Gran Turismo, of course.

Continue reading THE BEST VIDEO GAMES OF ALL TIME

New Shit.

If you’ve got a sec, check out my little accordian-type interface for the shit to the right — took me a freakin’ day to code that crap, so you better have fun with it!

Once you load the Moblog object, it gets kind of screwy, but I’m working on it.

In other news, I’m installing WoW on my gaming PC as I speak! I finally got it up and running, thanks to the honest-to-goodness 256 MB Low-Density SDRAM chip that I got from StarMicro.net — in case your wondering what the hell that is (and you probably are), it’s a special type of RAM that’s not even made any more that’s required if you want to use larger chips (such as 256 MB ones) in a select few older motherboards (like the one I’m currently building with). They’re hard as hell to track down, and when you do, they’re usually found with sky-high prices, so I really, really lucked out when I found this one for only $22.

Although, I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting the system running stable at anything above a 100 Mhz FSB (the “FSB” is the “highway” that all your little computer bips and bops on the motherboard communicate to each other with). My brother, Thomas the Mighty, had success running this motherboard as high as 124 Mhz, so I’m still at a loss as to what I’m doing wrong… but, there’s lots of variables that are different in my case: different RAM, different CPU, different GPU, you name it.

Well, even with its Tualatin CPU running at 1300 Mhz, it’s still a bit faster than my laptop, so off I go to play!

Life, Sunday Update

Just a little something I found whilst perusing some parts sites…

Asus A8S-X Socket 939 Barebone Kit / AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 OEM / CPU Fan / ATX Mid-Tower Case / 500 Watt Power Supply

All that for $399! I haven’t taken the prices apart and seen just how good a deal it is, but at first glance it seems amazing. That chip alone is worth almost $400. All you’d need is your own memory and hard drive (and video card), and you’d be set — but then you’ve probably already got those things lying around in other computers, like me, right?!

This definitely isn’t for someone who’s making their first computer — it doesn’t have half the shit you need to start out with, so unless you like to tinker with computers like me, don’t bother buying it.


So, what’s been going on in my life, eh?

Well, I’ve been working on this site a little, and programming at work a lot.

I’ve gotten all my tax information, and am currently trying to find every single deduction I can so that I don’t owe Uncle Sam a damn cent.

I’m still trying to put myself together a gaming PC so that I can wipe my hard drive on my laptop and start running Ubuntu on it (since I only have windows on it anymore because of gaming).

I’m shooting for a system running a Tualatin Celeron running at about 1600mhz (overclocked quite a bit) and _at least_ 512 MB of RAM. That’s bare minimum RAM to run WoW, thought I’m hoping because it’s a desktop system it’ll be passable — PC133 and PC100 RAM is getting kinda pricey these days, because it’s almost descended into that dreaded computer world of _obsoleteness_…

This, combined with my trusty old ATI 9200 SE (X!) that I’ve custom tuned to run some 60% overclocked above normal, should be enough. WoW is made so that it doesn’t require the latest graphics hardware to run (a genius marketing move on the side of the company), and it’ll be a damn
sight faster than the GeForce 2 Go chip that’s in my laptop (which just so happens to be the _very_ lowest chip that’s compatible with the game!).

I should have it running by next weekend, at least. Wish me luck!

Perpendicular Recording of Your Mind

Well, I’m helping out a friend of mine by setting up a new hard drive in his computer (a Seagate Barracuda 250-GB), and I just got it in today. I do jobs like this for friends and family, free of charge — it’s kind of a hobby. I also help fix cars and provide free legal advice. :P

Well, my friend’s motherboard is an oldie but a goodie — the venerable ASUS A7V8X-X for the AMD Socket A chipset. The chip I helped him pick out (nearly five years ago now!) was an Athlon XP 2600 — it’s still fast as hell today, and plays just about any game you can think of.

That knowledge in hand, I know it’s a good motherboard. So, I hook up the new drive (and a new power supply — his old ones keep burning out), and the board recognizes it immediately. Even sees that it’s a 250GB drive; that’s pretty neat, because I’m pretty sure even _the technology_ involved for this didn’t exist five years ago.

However, when I put in his Windows XP install CD (and old one without SP2), the damn thing only recognizes it as being about 137GB or so.

Well, at first I’m like, “Oh Shit — the hardware’s not compatible.” (I usually think of the worst things first — a small character flaw.) I go to the Seagate site on this drive, thinking that this must be a pretty common problem (incorrect initial hard drive sizes usually are). Of course, it is, and I find a handy dandy little help topic page about it.

It says that your motherboard needs to support “48 bit LBA addressing,” and of course I’m thinking, _OH NOES, we’re not even going to be able to use this new drive to its full potentional_.

But then I remember that the motherboard’s BIOS was able to see the 250GB limit, and the answer was clear — it wasn’t the board, it was just a limitation in this version of Windows XP (the first of many, as you know). I downloaded Seagate’s DiskWizard’s starter ISO, burned a CD of it, and formatted the drive.

The good point of using the special burning software from the company like this — it actually lets you format your partitions in FAT32, instead of just NTSF!

(By the way, as I’m writing this, it’s just completed a full installation of Windows XP in only 7 minutes — damn, this drive is _fast_ as well as big!)

Unfortunately, the added case fans I got for my friend can’t go in his case (he’s been having a bit of heat problem in his case) — there’s only one extra fan connector on the ASUS A7V8X-X, and I’ve already got an additional exhaust fan at the back of the case taking it up. Luckily, the CPU fan upgrade I got _did_ fit, however the old screws aren’t big enough and it didn’t come with any new ones! Arghh!

Either way, it’s now got a super big drive, _and_ it’s running cooler. Plus, the new parts are able to be carried over to his new system whenever he upgrades. I say it’s been a success.