This is on top of my current gaming playlist:
First of all, to those of you I swindled into purchasing a copy of Beyond Good & Evil on Steam, GOG.com (Good Old Games) has recently started selling the same title, but with their patented un-suckify programming the game actually runs well with only a few of the incredible number of tweaks necessary for the Steam version. Check it out, here.
Ironically, GOG also offers the (partial) soundtrack as a bonus for buying BG&E. That soundtrack is actually the reason I started doing anything with StormEffect.com. I loved the music, but it was not available from anyone or anywhere, unless you could obtain a PC copy and unpack the sound files directly from the game. So, I did, and then I posted them on my main page for all fans of the game to enjoy. It took me several months to get everything together, and after exploring at least 100 dead links to find parts of it, I vowed to keep my BG&E soundtrack link up and running for as long as humanly possible. It’s been almost half a decade, and it’s still up at www.stormeffect.com/beyond.
Here’s a new one! Modern PC games overwhelm many computers today, though this is usually only due to the subpar Graphics Processing Unit in most systems. Yeah, you could go spend 100 bucks on a new state-of-the-art GPU (only if you have a desktop, laptops aren’t upgradable like this), but now there is an incredibly ambitious alternative called OnLive.
When you decide to play a game (examples: Crysis, World of Warcraft, Bioshock, or Company of Heroes) on your computer you install the game and run it. Your Central Processing Unit (CPU), Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), Random Access Memory (RAM), and Hard Drive (HDD) are stretched to their limits in order to drive a real-time gaming experience. While many games, usually those that are at least 3 years old, will run on most computers due to natural hardware improvements, most modern AAA titles are out of reach for the average laptop system.
When you decide to play a game OnLive, you simply open up your browser, log in to your OnLive account, pick (demo, rent, or buy) a game to play (Bioshock, for instance), and less than 5 seconds later you are in the game having a grand time with a very high framerate and maximum graphical settings. How is this possible? When you installed Bioshock yourself your system was reduced to a crawl, you could barely see what was going on at 3 frames per second and the graphics were set so low everything looked like rocks. Here is where the ambitious part comes in: Instead of running the game on your computer, OnLive is actually running the game on their big iron servers (big iron – defined: large, expensive, ultra-fast computers) and sending the resulting video frames over the internet to your computer. Your input, such as a mouse click (shooting a gun maybe), is then sent back over the internet to the server. This is all done with no discernable lag at all. No matter how sad and underpowered your PC might seem, if you can watch a television show on Hulu, you can play Crysis at maximum settings using OnLive. One of the coolest gimmicks of the service is the login screen/user page, which is propped up in front of a giant video wall of hundreds of other users playing games in-progress over OnLive. Once again, it’s all handled on their servers, so while you think something like this would kill your computer, it doesn’t.
I had an idea like this over a year ago, but OnLive has been in stealth development for 7 years now, so these guys definitely win the race. The implications are enourmous, this has the potential to turn every PC into a gaming console, instantly putting immense pressure on Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Microsoft is put into an interesting position because all of the available games will essentially Windows (PC) games, and OnLive’s servers will be running Windows. We’ll see what happens when the service opens up to the public in Winter 09. You can find more info here.
Also, check out their site frontpage, and enjoy their spiffy introduction trailer.
I’m not sure if anyone knows what the title for this article implies, so I’ll tell you that it is the nefarious corporation involved in F.E.A.R. and the upcoming F.E.A.R. 2.
Check out the site, make sure your sound is on, and let it “present” for a couple minutes. I promise this isn’t a screamer site, but make sure your volume isn’t maxxed out anyway. An example of great marketing.
The world’s game mega-publisher, and last major holdout to Valve’s Steam service, has finally debuted on the popular Digital Distribution platform. In the gaming world, this is analagous to Apple loading its computers with Microsoft Windows Vista. This is a BIG DEAL.
The debut list from EA is somewhat sparse, compared to their MASSIVE catalog, but it includes some popular titles such as SPORE, WARHAMMER ONLINE, MASS EFFECT, CRYSIS, and soon RED ALERT 3. We all look forward to the entire Red Alert catalog sometime in the future. *wink wink*
I just read a heart warming blog post on why it is ok to continue enjoying JumpStart 2nd Grade. Seen through the glass that is Pokemon, one man proves why-just because I can decapitate a monster using a chainsaw in Gears of War-I can still gracefully and proudly lose to the red shell in MarioKart64.
(Sidenote: did anyone else just notice the Soviet undertones in MarioKart?)
Another long hiatus, another long post depression. It looks like the World Economies got wind of my decrease in posting and suddenly we are spiraling toward a worldwide depression!
Meanwhile, one of my favorite processor companies gets into hot water and splits into two!
And now I learn that even my laptop will inevitably fall victim to a faulty GPU, exploding into flames and taking out my desk along with it! Oh how will I play Crysis Warhead now!?! Good thing the repair should be free.
Now guess what, due to a recently discovered vulernability in adobe flash, all browsers are capable of being “clickjacked” by nefarious persons. What does this mean? Click on the wrong link, and your microphone and webcam were just secretly activated by some creepy dudes in Eastern Europe. A fix is in the works, but until then, get used to the idea of being watched.
Hey there yall. Been quite the vacation from posting on the good old blog here, so I thought I’d return to you in a very meta-fashion.
The ATI 4870X2 ($550) kicks the butt of every other “single” GPU available. Each card is outfitted with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM. It is actually possible to combine two of these cards in Crossfire X for a total of 4GPUs and 4GB of GDDR5 RAM. 64-bit Vista is an absolute requirement in this case, otherwise you’ll be running your monster gaming system with virtually no usable system ram. Woo for playing Crysis on a 30 inch computer monitor at 2560×1600 resolution! (link) Great, but I can’t wait until Fusion, a processor in which AMD will be slapping at least 2 CPU cores and a next-generation (5000 series) GPU core. Can anyone say, “the death of integrated graphics?”
Intel has finally released the USB3.0 specification. We are talking a 10x increase in transfer speed over USB2.0. Cool…I guess. But with eSATA already punching up transfer speeds as high as internal SATA, who needs the extra speed for anything besides a USB key? It’s not going to make my mouse any faster, that’s for sure. (link)
I just saw Tropic Thunder in theaters and was pleasantly surprised! Ben Stiller grabbed Jack Black and Robert Downy Jr. as well as the curiously unmentioned Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey and made an actually worthwhile comedy! Now I can forget about The Heartbreak Kid! *gag*
A new company has E. Coli crapping out Diesel. (link) It works like Cellulosic Ethanol (organic matter –> product). By producing Diesel instead of Ethanol, existing infrastructure is already capable of transporting and selling it. Ethanol requires a slightly modified engine and more expensive oil pipelines because it is more corrosive than normal gasoline. The start-up company responsible says with a few genetic modifications the E. Coli can also produce normal gasoline and even jet fuel! Very cool, but until this process is scaled up thousands and thousands of times, it isn’t much more than a proof of concept. The E. Coli used is allegedly harmless though, can anyone say home-made diesel?
I can’t remember if I already posted this, but check out my favorite site on CFLs and LEDs, seriously, click the link. When you get bored of the cave, pull on the lever. With recent LED breakthroughs, hopefully we can just forget about the CFLs and transition completely to LEDs. Of course, it’ll take at least 2 years (it always does).
Space Siege was just released, on Steam even! Too bad early reviews (including a review by my favorite video game editor, Jeff Green) call it absolutely average. I’ll still be picking up the game (probably on Steam), but I’ll wait for the 20 dollar price drop in a few months.
And finally, wonder where I was? (click for full resolution image)
For anyone who has been looking forward to another great Bioware RPG set in the StarWars Universe, here is your press release, and then some. Not only will the next KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic) game be developed by Bioware, but it will be in MMO form (Massive Multiplayer Online, think World of Warcraft).
The first KOTOR was hailed by most critics as 2003’s RPG of the Year. It had a very fulfilling storyline and interesting gameplay. The sequel, while also fairly good, was not developed by Bioware (rather, Obsidian), and lacked the same original oomph of the first game.
I’m excited, but also a little worried. Bioware is known for exemplary single player RPGs, not MMOs. Building a Massive Multiplayer Game is a serious undertaking, and often a futile one in a world dominated by the mighty WoW. I don’t know how this KOTOR3 will continue it’s graceful storytelling and epic feel when there are 5000 protagonists on a single server. Lucas Arts will be partering with Bioware to develop the game, so what is going to happen to the older and not-nearly-as-successful-as-WoW StarWars Galaxies? For now, I’m waiting with cautious optimisim. Blizzard managed to create a successful MMO with no prior experience, and I consider Bioware to be of equivalent talent.