Here’s something I already knew

MyGameMug is a modified personality test specifically targetted at gaming achetypes, which kind of gamer are you?

Here are the results of my test.

The Class Clown

Reckless Sociable Fun Veteran (RSFV)

Why is everyone taking games so seriously? They should lighten up — it’s your job to entertain and mix it up. Your philosophies: rules are made to be broken and games are your playground. The more the better – you’re a crowd pleaser and enjoy all the attention to your antics!

You’re an old hand at games – you know exactly what games are the best to showcase your talents. You love being creative, so games that let you cut loose and express yourself are winners. Tight games that restrict your movement, are too competitive, and have too many rules make you suffocated and grasping for air.

Your job in most games is clear: show everyone how to have fun and not take life too seriously. After all, it IS just a game right? Most people love you for your antics, some despise it, but screw them – they just don’t know how to have fun. Class Clowns are highly sought after in guilds or clans, but watch out, add too many and your community will be a joke.

 

Take the test here.

Operating System Trials Part Duh

To attempt to get some extra life out of my aging PC, I recently reinstalled Linux in the hope that getting rid of some of the bloat would speed things up. Sadly it was not to be.

Previous recommendations and a few recent reviews pushed me towards trying Windows again, specifically Windows XP.

My Experience
The installation process was a breeze, if you can install Linux, you can install this. I only use my PC for Web, Email, occasional Office, Photos, Games, Video encoding so as long as Windows could pull those off, without requiring me to learn an entirely different application, I should be sorted.

Equivalent Apps
Linux / Windows

Firefox / Firefox
Thunderbird or Evolution / Outlook
Picasa / Picasa
Rhythmbox / Foobar
GIMP / Photoshop
OpenOffice /MSOffice
Azureus / uTorrent

So far these apps pretty much live up to the promise. I can still plug in my digital camera and download the photos easily, MS Office will read and write Open Office formats, Photoshop is a bit complex but then, so is GIMP and there’s a whole world full of game which I couldn’t prreviously run, which aren’t just rip off clones of Windows games.

Overall Windows seems a little more stable and certainly there’s a lot less fucking around when it comes to installing and configuring the OS and running simple applications.

Pros:

  • Firefox is the default browser by answering one simple question on startup, once.
  • It will read Windows disks
  • Email (Outlook) is very similar to Thunderbird or Evolution
  • Hundreds of free applications and games which are easy to install by double clicking setup.exe
  • Desktop GUI is excellent
  • It’s practically virus and spyware free after installing two FREE totally automated applications (AvG/Adaware)
  • It’s secure (mostly) if you’re not a retard.
  • All media files were supported – mp3, mov, avi, wmv, mp4, aac either out of the box or with a simple codec pack install
  • Help is either built-in and well written or online and plentiful
  • Runs iTunes but who’d bother? Foobar or  media monkey do a better job. 
  • File Sharing just works
  • Printers install themselves
  • USB Joypad works along with thousands of other USB devices
  • My Book USB Hard Drive powers off with PC

Cons:

  • It costs $100 if you don’t already own it (but, who doesn’t?) or is practically free with a new PC/hardware.
  • You need 1Gb of RAM or it will run like a pig, 1Gb of RAM costs under $30.

Sorry Jeremy.

(Jeremy will likely think this an unwarranted attack but honestly I’m sick of people claiming that Linux is the magic silver bullet which can solve all your computing whoes. I know Jeremy’s post was far from doing this (in fact, it seems to have a remarkably anti-linux feel), but I just couldn’t resist.

Most windows performance problems could have been solved with $30 worth of RAM, consider how much TIME you spent installing and configuring Linux when you claim you didn’t want to pay for a performance upgrade)

New XBOX dashboard on the way

Recently a rumour was being passed around the interwebs that a new dashboard was coming out for the XBOX 360, the (leaked) feature list ((http://kotaku.com/5008939/rumored-xbox-360-spring-update-touts-motion-sensor-features-game-installs)) was amazing and addressed almost everything anyone could want in an online gaming dashboard. It turns out that the feature list was indeed too good to be true and Microsoft denied any knowledge of the list to the point of saying that there would be no spring update this year, ouch.

Luckily, that denial was probably just for misdirection purposes, yesterday Microsoft trumped the fake list with their own genuine list for the “fall” update (I’m putting “fall” on quotes because that’s not actually a real season, but if it helps the average American remember which season Autumn is, that’s ok, I suppose).

The genuine list isn’t anywhere near as comprehensive as the fake one but it does have some very nice additions, the most exciting is the ability to install games to the xbox hard drive (which was also on the fake list) and support for 16:10 resolutions (so everyone using a PC monitor as their display can now stop whining). There will also be a major revamp of the dashboard interface, as seen above, it looks like some of the interface desgners from the Vista team have come over the XBOX.

  • Play from hard drive. Copy your games from the game disc and play directly from the hard drive. Not only will the drive not spin, but load times are quicker, as well. Of course, you will still need the disc in the tray to prove you own the game.
  • Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web. Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console. Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.
  • Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide. For everyone who loves the blades interface, it’s not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide. You can even access your full games library at all times. No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.
  • LIVE Party system. Create a party of up to eight friends, and stay with them from one game to another, or watch a Netflix movie together, or share a slideshow of your personal photos. It works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games. LIVE Party allows up to eight people to chat in the dashboard, so you can meet up before playing.
  • Xbox LIVE Primetime. This whole new category of games is going to give you more reasons to get online with your friends. Games will support everything you’d expect, like Achievements and leader boards, but many of these games will include real prizes. You can invite your friends, and even set a reminder for an upcoming show. Each game is broadcast simultaneously, so everyone is answering the same questions. Many events will have a live host, calling the shots as they happen.
  • Avatars. Your online identity started as a Gamertag – it then grew into a personalized Gamercard. Now, it has evolved even further into avatars. You can express your style, check out new outfits and share this with the community. Avatars will also be integrated into Xbox LIVE Arcade games, LIVE Party, as well as retail games.
  • New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440×900 or 1680×1050.

It’s still a couple of months off but and the full article ((http://gamerscoreblog.com/team/archive/2008/07/14/mrcwhtnltrxle.aspx)) states that they will be releasing more details as time progresses, who knows, maybe the fake list was real after all.

Fake edit: I was listening to the 1Up podcast and one of the guys mentioned that someone (not Microsoft) had mocked up a new dashboard concept along with an analysis on the percentage of screen real estate taken up by things like advertising and unused space in the current and concept, check it out here.

And here’s a picture, I actually like this one better than the real one, above:

Some new pictures in the Gallery

I was digging through my old backup discs and stumbled upon a large collection of screenshots from games I have played over the years so what else would you do but put them on the internet for everyone to see?

Of interest could be the sceenshots from my time as a Guide in Everquest and maybe Lara Croft in Second Life. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a complete set, surely I took more than 250 screenshots of hovering giants and cheating macroers in EQ over five years?

Click on the image to see the gallery if you’re in to that sort of thing:

1954 

Coming soon, very few Hellgate:London screenshots.

Hellgate: London is dead, Jim

It must be my month for getting in to dead games.

As I mentioned on my Hellgate is not an MMO post I have been playing Hellgate: London for a while now and it is a good game. As I said previously, the game has been on the skids since the piss-poor launch last year, but a new game-changing patch was on the way which could have brought about a revival.

Unfortunately, news today tells of Flagship studios ((http://hellgateguru.com/2008/07/flagship-studios-is-dead/)) has fired just about everybody and closed their doors. The upshot of this is that the game is as dead as Asheron’s Call 2.

While there has been no official word from Flagship the writing is all over the internet and signs point towards the US and EURO servers being shut down pretty soon.

The good news for Asian (mostly Korean) players is that development of their local version is likely to continue, so if I wanted to continue playing I better signup for some Korean language lessons.

I think I’ll just wait for Diablo 3.

Dreamblade followup

Since my last post about Dreamblade I dug out my old Mage Knight miniatures game and this further reinforced my assessment that the Dreamblade miniatures are great quality.

The Mage Knight miniatures which I have were originally released in 2000 so there is a good six or seven years between the products and I suppose plastic moulding and mass painting technology has come a long way in those years but I was litterally astounded at the difference between the quality of both sets, it’s like night and day.

Just for interests sake, here is an online database of Mage Knight figures including pictures, the images shown make the miniatures look better than they are in real life.

What’s the point of all this navel gazing? I’m not sure but I think it’s ironic that Mage Knight lasted five years (production was ceased in 2005) but looked like garbage, Dreamblade didn’t even last two years but looks comparitively great. I guess it all comes down to timing, marketing and the motivation of the producers to support their game even when it’s not generating a zillion dollars of profit.

I also read recently that WoTC were working on two new expansions for Dreamblade when they pulled the plug. They released the stats for the first, Serated Dawn (thread), the actual stickers are available here, so you can make your own set! The full list of figures and stats are viewable on the Dreamcatcher database (no pictures of the new set unfortunately).

Mage Knight circa 2000

Dreamlade circa 2007

Dreamblade

From the wiki:

Dreamblade is a collectible miniatures game created by Wizards of the Coast that debuted on August 9, 2006, the day before Gen Con Indy. The game is a strategy contest that includes an element of chance which comes into play through various die rolls.

Similar to Magic: The Gathering, each game represents a battle between very powerful individuals, in this case psychics called “Dream Lords.” These Dream Lords battle one another across the landscape of humanity’s shared unconsciousness by spawning dream creatures out of human emotions, in particular Valor, Fear, Madness, and Passion. Although there are many collectible miniatures games available today, Dreamblade’s restricted landscape and spawning rules (among other things) result in many aspects which are more similar to a collectible card game than a traditional miniature game.

Here’s the story, Wizards of the Coast seem to have intended this game to be primarily a tournament thing, they hosted and funded a lot of $1000 and $10000 tournaments in the U.S. but despite that it doesn’t seem to have taken off as they had intended (their intention of course, was to make bucket loads of money from selling miniatures).

The good news is that due to this failure and discontinuation of the brand according to a newsletter send out by Milsims Wizards sent word that they intended to destroy all current unsold stock at the end of July this year. The result of this was that Milsims bought up a bunch of their excess stock really cheap (as in, less than 10% of retail price) and sold them to suckers like me. I use the term “sucker” in the most endering way because I can’t resists a bargain and when it’s something cool like a miniatures game I’m even easier to pursuade. So I ended up buying a few cases of the game starter and booster boxes at a little over 10% of their retail price, I even convinced a few friends to do the same (or to buy a small “starter set” which consisted of a starter and one of each booster from the expansion sets) to get them playing.

I even did the uber-nerdy thing and had the paper playmat which comes with the starter set laminated at Officeworks, the lady there didn’t even look at me funny (much).

I am happy to report that I had my first couple of games on the weekend and it turns out to be a fun and complex game which is easy to learn but involves a lot of strategy and a little luck to play well, a bit like chess in more ways than one (except that luck thing). There may be no more expansions or new figures to be released and no tournaments in the future but the game is still prefectly playable and fun and the miniatures can be used for Rolemaster or D&D and for something I wouldn’t have looked at twice had it been sold for full retail it’s a bit of a treat to discover Dreamblade after it’s life was effectively over, and to be able to buy a bucketload of miniatures for just over 25c each.

See below for some pictures of some of the mini’s I have and the links above to the official website for a full gallery.

Assorted figures

Yeah, that’s a gorilla with tenticles, and a pair of boots (not a gorilla with tenticle AND a pair of boots, that would be too wierd). Some of the figures are pretty wacky.

TW-2000

While I think movies still look fantastic on our old 800×600 BenQ PB-6100 projector it really ishowed it’s age and lack of hi-def’ness after watching the Diablo 3 gameplay trailer which was released recently.

Playing back such a high-res source highlighted just what we’re missing watching hi-def content downscaled through the old projector. When I played back the video on my PC monitor the detail was astounding but on the projector it was muddy and blurry (in comparison), I couldn’t make out any of the text or detail on the icons or environment.

I’ve been looking around at possible upgrade options and so far the Epson TW-2000 has come out on top based on the specs, price and reviews.

Unfortunately, by the time we can afford to buy a 1080p projector, 1440p will most likely be the standard.

TVersity 1.0 released!

A must-have piece of software if you’re relying on your XBOX 360 or PS3 to view content which is stored on your PC, The TVersity Media Server is essentially a transcoder which does real-time conversion of video/audio files from whatever format they are in to a format playable by your device.

I’m lucky enough (lucky!) to be stuck in standard-def land so my old original XBOX with XBOX Media Center on it does the job better than TVsersity + 360 could (for standard def content) but I have had TVersity set up with my 360 so that when/if I make the move to hi-def TV I’ll be ready.

Set up can be a bit fiddly but if you’re lucky and it “just works” you’re on easy street. Unfortunately I’ve heard of as many people giving up and finding alternatives as have got it working without a hitch, I lie somewhere in the middle and some persistance and research got my install working eventually.

Anyway, new version out this week, check it out: http://tversity.com/

EDIT: I’ve been testing the new version and there’s some good news. The previous versions tended to have some problems with certain codecs and most of my self-captured music videos would not play back at all or would play back with audio only (with a blank screen). The good news is that all (I’ve tested about 20 of 2000, including the ones I knew didn’t work previously) of my videos now play back through TVersity, I don’t know if it was a codec or config thing but they’re all working now and that’s reason enough to upgrade.