Posts tagged pc
The net is awash with news of EA accidently (or was it?) leaking the demo for Spore creature creator tool onto their site before a webmaster noticed and yoinked it back off again. The place I first heard about this was over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun whose thread is full of gigantor-dongs and and frilly things!
Sadly, it didn’t do much to stop the file from being shared as it’s all over the torrents and many sites have it available for direct download now!
One such link is here at FragLand.
I tried installing it on my vista business machine, only for it to bork out and demand DX9. A quick install of that and it worked without a problem.
DX9 redist link.
After a few minutes of playing around, I can see this game is going to be masses of fun… Say hello to Dublavay *waves*
You can take pics of your creations and it has built in video recording – both of which work without so much as a dent on system performance!
There’s a few options for video and photo size, so don’t forget to have a play about with them. Using the default settings my 43 second clip running at 320×240 (very small, I know) came in at 11mb.
It has no problems with alt-tabbing out and appears to be running alright on my work machine using its integrated graphics – sure it’s not pretty but it works. I’ll take some screen caps at home on my gaming rig to see how much better the graphics are on that.
Even though the demo has only a fraction of the options available to you in the full blown title, there’s enough here to keep you amused for a while. If the rest of the game is this good, I’m going to be plumbed into spore for quite some time to come!
Please send me links to your own creations, the best of which I’ll feature on the site
For now, I’ll leave you with some video footage of my adorable frankenbeast…
If you fancy adding him to your world, download this file and save it to your creatures folder. Podcast subscribers will be getting him automatically through the feed
Then, of course a trip to youtube unearths the really disturbed…
Goatse sees all. And apparently it sees nothing but massive cock monsters, there goes any shred of maturity from the PC gaming community.
One complaint.. I don’t get to choose my name, it automatically pics your username that was used to log into windows with – bit of a potential security issue there!
And the final edit for the day… a couple more creations!
Here we have nafaal – download it
And meet Zatri – Download it
And of course, the final videos
After reading an article on RPS about Sid Meier’s Colonisation (Link) and seeing how Alec Meer recalled his formative PC gaming years as being shaped not by simply buying games but by the limited choice of pirated titles at his disposal, leading to the playing of games that would have otherwise slipped on by and it struck a chord with me.
While I didn’t really partake in the pirating scene (tho it was rampant on the acorn machines I used to play with at my first secondary school!), I was limited by my hardware instead – a rather sloth like 486SX2/50 (back when DX’s were all the rage) and its’ puny 4mb of ram.
No, that wasn’t a typo… I did mean MB!
I can sense you all recoiling with pained expressions and feelings of horror, all it’s missing is the dramatic prairie dog music blast
Hey, it was back in the misty days of 1994 – yeah, it was under powered even then, and was the last time I would let my parents buy a PC without my permission! Packard Bell my arse…
Anyway, due to my woefully under spec’d machine, I had to do plenty of autoexec.bat file gymnastics in order to get games like simcity 2000 to even run and found myself very limited in what I could play – many were pure dross (mega race) but many were simply hidden gems (Stars!, UFO Enemy Unknown, Civ..) and subsequent RAM upgrades opened up even more of these amazing titles.
One such title was Microprose’s time evaporator known as Transport Tycoon.
This game was released back in 1994 and immediately tapped into my unnatural addiction to sc2k by giving me a management game with a competitive twist… It had AI competitors for me to play
Sadly, the AI was massively inept at designing track layout and had too much of a fondness for using road vehicles for my liking. And when I say massive, I mean on a Donald the alliance PVP’er scale! (Link for the uninitiated)
To give them some credit, they did have a small amount of design advantage over your single station per track layouts that everyone always starts off with. An advantage that soon finds itself overturned when you initially learn to imitate and then vastly improve upon with your own spider like webs of track.
Yes, the AI was terminally stupid but they were great to toy with after you made your first million and you could employ numerous underhanded tricks to force them into bankruptcy.
Such shining examples of fair play as putting some of your rail track over their road and then nuking that one spot, severing their road vehicles from their money making destination. You could even build your own maze of a road on the end of the stump you created, taking the hapless vehicle on a scenic route that takes in the entire length of the map and back, causing his cargo to become worthless and ruins his reputation, or worse causing the industry to shut down. Or paying for 6 months of road chaos in one of the towns, creating a traffic jam that made the M25 look like speedy motoring!
If the AI had managed to make some cash, you could always be incredibly evil and put together a small section of railway that crossed a busy section of road. Slowing down your competitors’ trucks and occasionally blowing them up if you were lucky enough to have one break down or be just too slow to get across before your train comes ploughing through, resulting in a satisfying mini mushroom cloud.
The only problem, aside from my system grinding to a glacial pace after I reached a certain number of vehicles that were active in the game, was that the AI often left you thirsting for some real competition and the game only supported the connection between 2 PCs using a serial port and eventually the ancient IPX/SPX protocol (you young un’s have no idea how lucky you are now that it’s tcp/ip all the way ;P ), which pretty much meant few of us could have multiplayer games.
It was all a moot point anyway since no-one that I knew was interested in the game anyway, so the multiplayer side of it passed me by.
This left me stuck playing this game on my own and having to suffer the numerous limitations that can often get in the way of your fun (4 track station limits, poor pathing for road vehicles, simplistic signalling…) as well as getting bored with the easily subdued and frankly retarded computer opponents. Forever feeling that hunger for some real competition… you know, the fun you can only ever have against another human. While other games would take my attention (and occasionally my soul, Diablo 2 has a *lot* to answer for!) over time, I still had the emptiness of never having competed against a challenge worthy opponent.
That is, until I stumbled across an open source rewrite of Transport Tycoon called Open TTD!
Open TTD is a great example of how a community can take a classic game and fix the limitations it once had and breathe a fresh life into it. While its’ origins is certainly less than legal (it was created by picking apart the old code rather than completely writing it from scratch, and even requires the original games graphics files in order to run) you can’t deny that the people who worked on it have done it out of their love for the game and has since been ported to many other platforms including the PSP!
It, apparently, takes in numerous community made patches that addresses the failings of the original game and adds in even more features such as upgrading of rail tracks rather than having to rip everything up and re-lay them (never a fun task when you have a massive network running), support for truly massive maps (2048×2048!), marginally improved AI, new graphics loading tools and most crucial of all… multiplayer across the internet! And with a very clean interface for finding and hosting games.. Oh yes, the world was gonna experience alphaxion’s “shitshifter transit corp” in all of it’s’ attention starved glory.
The problem here is that, having honed my skills in seclusion, my building techniques were prehistoric in comparison to the leviathans crafted by the still vibrant and numerous player base.
Rail networks that simply embarrass my puny efforts in comparison, and the humiliation of having some of them turn charitable, and give me chunks of their cash out of pity so that I might be of some amusement to them.
After a few disastrously poor games and some examining of the truly gifted players network structure, I manage to pick up the changes in the ways of using signals and I’m off creating great networks of my own that put Network Rail to shame (not really difficult, the average 3 year olds Thomas the Tank Engine set can put them to shame!).
The first game where I comfortably sail above my competition fills me with a belated joy… 13 years after I first picked up the game do I get to experience the satisfaction of playing against a wily and very much human opponent and somehow triumph against them.
Like Alec before me, I attained a little bit of closure on a long distant part of my own life… now, where did I put that demo of descent?!
The scene is played out across the globe every day, someone will be idly browsing the pc section of a games store and they’ll pick up a title that interests them, flip the box over and check out the graphics on the back and groan at the often shameful marketing spiel that accompanies the pictures.
Once they’ve finished gawping at the teasers on the back, the eyes glance towards the bottom of the box and you can split the response into two categories.
The first response, upon looking at this area, will see the browser become amused to the point of almost snorting in disbelief.
The second is a sudden drop into depression and a resigned look at the now welcoming bargain bin.
What could be printed on the back that brings about such polar opposite reactions?
None other than the humble “minimum/recommended specs” box of course.
It’s widely known in the PC gaming community that anything suggested in the “minimum” column doesn’t stand a hope in hell of running the game in anything other than slideshow mode; barely playable and with zero quality graphics wise – hardly an enjoyable gaming experience!
A look at the (not always there) “recommended” box and you get a better idea of what you need to have sitting in your wonderbox to at least enjoy playing the game with any level of detail, yet they don’t know what level of detail that translates into.
This leaves the poor gamer wondering if they should take the chance and see just how accurate the promise made by the minimum spec box really is or should they just save their money and spend it on either an upgrade to their PC or on the console version.
I think the time has come for the “minimum spec” box to be sent on to one of those make over show trolls – pimp my packaging if you will – to bring them into the real world and to give you a better idea as to what is required to play the game and actually enjoy what it has to offer rather than suffer gameplay that looks like it’s using powerpoint as its graphics engine!
Implementing this will undoubtedly have some form of impact on the number of game sales, which is always bad news especially in such a tough environment that the PC is facing right now, but surely it would be good in the long run to give a more realistic idea of what kinda grunt you need in order to play the game at a minimum of medium graphics quality.
This is without even getting into the horrific mess we call the hardware industry. Component model numbers are all over the place, many low end graphics cards are boasting ridiculous memory capacities which make it just as hard for games publishers to recommend as it is for a gamer to figure out what the game will run on.
Maybe it’s time to move away from the mess of listing the actual components in the requirements box and turn to the world of benchmarking scores as a means of informing the gamer as to the capability of their rig. The idea set by vista (dirty word, I’m sorry… the swear can is a coin heavier now) about assigning a numerical value to your “windows experience” (ok, swear can a bit heavier again) to give you an idea about what you can expect was a good step in the right direction – tho it would have to be of considerably greater elegance than the system employed by Microsoft (ok, I’m broke now… happy?), especially after having to explain to someone that their memory score is rating the performance of the ram and not the amount you have in there.
Maybe the games industry should get together with the likes of SiSoft and 3DMark and create a meaningful scoring system and an idiot proof freebie application for the gamer to run and find out how the different components in their rig score.
Surely it would be easier to see a simple numeric value per major component in order to see how your cpu, graphics and memory rate than trying to compare a geforce 8600 to a radeon 9700 and figure out which one has more grunt.
Hardware manufacturers could then use the same sub-scores as their marketing instead of trying to con the customer with misleading product codes and specifications.
The biggest issue with this, however, is with hardware manufacturers “tweaking” their kit in order to perform better at the benchmark tests rather than real world performance – because it certainly has happened in the past, and would need something to ensure that it doesn’t happen to any proposed benchmarking standard.
Then, maybe the PC gaming market can approach the ease and simplicity enjoyed by our console cousins and try to turn around the poor fortunes of the greatest gaming platform around.
have you ever wondered how those guys managed to get the footage of them kicking someones arse in your fav game?
here’s a video that shows you what you need in order to capture those in game moments forever