Archive for June, 2007

We all knew, that the first two games (Halo 2 and Shadowrun) which MS released for Vista only, didn’t use any DirectX 10 features and would work with DirectX 9 just as good.

No it wasn’t enough that those games were slow and didn’t show any fitting effects for their hardware requirements, talk about offering something “special”. The true “eye catching” aspect was the introduction of the Windows Live Service (promoted as “Games for Windows”), where players need to create an account (very similar to XBOX Live) to gain a silver account (which is free for game customers). This silver level offers some basic things like playing online against other PC-Players, on certain dedicated servers. For playing against all (XBOX too) game owners, an upgrade to a gold level is necessary, which costs 5 to 7 Euros. Players were used services like that for free – until now. Players who don’t upgrade, receive constant nagging to do so. The Live account stores information of all the player’s actions. The copy protection makes the player activate his game online with a serial number, where also an hardware ID is created, to identify his machine. Thus, installation on different PCs is prevented – the hardware ID would differ (even Steam doesn’t do that). It’s not necessary any more, to have the disc in the drive to play. “Games for Windows” searches for game updates (for compatible games only), as soon as the user is logged in to Live services (again, similar to Steam).

Today I’ve red, that a loader was released, by Razor1911, which circumvents the Vista check (!) and therefore enable players to run those initially mentioned two games on Windows XP just as good. Because the mentioned Live service is only available for Vista, those two games can only be played offline on Windows XP. Boy, if that heart-warming story doesn’t make me switch than I don’t know what will…

At least they’ve done a good job in letting everyone know which methods they use to force people to do what they want them to do. And isn’t that something.

Related Link:

Falling Leaf Systems (are working on DX 10 compatibility libraries)

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Offline Option

offline.jpgNecessary since the beginning and here it is: The offline button! Without doubt a step in the right direction. Even today it’s not normal to have always a stable Internet connection. And requiring one for offline games? Where is the logic in that? Faulty connections, technical difficulties… It’s a long list when you think about it. People who design software should always keep that in mind. Something like that shouldn’t stop anyone from playing/using his stuff…

O&O Defrag 10

There’s this shitty trend, where good software gets worse and worse with every version, because stuff gets added that no one wants and no one asked for, for reasons unknown. O&O 10 has now a tray program. It’s an extra program, running as an own process and adding itself to an autostart slot. What it does, no one knows. What’s it for? No one needs it. It also gives a bad impression with its constant network accesses, what does it do, or what does it try to do online? When the actual program isn’t even running? I’m sorry if you’re running out of ideas on how to actually improve your software, but don’t go this way, it’s no good substitute for a real positive change! If this continues, version 12 will use 3 services all the time, no matter how deactivated the program is. It’s still just a tool for defragmentation of hard drives (which users do once a month or even less often), nothing more and NO this is no call or hidden inspirational suggestion to build in more functions, especially no idea to start programming a “suite” where defragging is nothing more, than one of the different tools in it. Fix bugs, optimize the software wherever possible, but don’t ruin it with the worst ideas meaning completely useless additions. An optimized hard drive is nice, but it’s somewhat useless, if the program which did that is slowing the entire system down nonetheless, because of all its numerous program parts… And why is it necessary to state the obvious? WHY? Who did not get that in the first place?

Positive things can (and still do) happen. This disc proves it easily. Coming from an episodic release cycle, which had to be activated online for playing (after the purchase and download of course), the entire Sam & Max Season 1 is available on a DVD, from which it can be installed as any other true retail game (just the disc itself is needed/works on its own offline). Besides this important point, the disc contains several nice goodies, which weren’t included in the download-episodes. Oh, and the DVD is free, for all people who already bought the season. Shipping only. Unfortunately it won’t reach players before August. As some other things. Life is bad. :P

RFB Episode NINE

Finally a new one! It was about time. Although it seems to be an all music ep, I can’t wait. Radio Free Burrito was silent for too long!

And Squeez (5.60.4930) is also installed? Just replace the Cx7zip60u.dll in your Squeez folder with the one from the SC folder. That’s it, ain’t gonna happen again. Life is good.

TV Previews

Too many new shows. Get your first impression with these short trailers.

The following names stuck, for various reasons:

Reaper – A random guy does some leg work for the devil, who kindly supplies him with some abilities. The pilot episode is directed by Kevin Smith. Possibly no other. Most likely no other. So, just a single episode. No other involvement. IMDb users think it’s a Supernatural rip-off. Since I don’t know S. I can’t say (if it is).

The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Well it’s with Summer Glau, does the rest really matter? If it does (?!?), the show tells some stories taking place between Terminator movies 2 and 3. With Lena Headey as SC. And another random guy as JC.

Journeyman – Yet another random guy travels through time and alters people’s lives. Dude, don’t tamper with the time line! That could create a time paradox, which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe! But, more important, Quantum Leap anyone?!?

Chuck – A geek guy becomes a spy, because secret knowledge ended up in his brain! Also his name is Chuck.

The Bionic Woman – The next show revival after Battlestar Galactica. From the people who did the Battlestar Galactica revival! With Katee Sackhoff from the Battlestar Galactica revival! The trailers… uhm… Well they don’t look like I would want to watch it. But I recently saw Jekyll, which showed that at least Michelle Ryan can be good in other roles. It activated hope.

Life – A cop guy gets a second chance after spending 12 years in federal prison. He continues his work as a cop (yeah right) and apparently doesn’t know anything about cameras in cell phones. And email. Other than that it appears to be a cop show.

That’s it, the rest didn’t even trigger the slightest interest. Which is good, the calendar’s filled.

This movie is in the category, no matter if it’s good or bad, I will watch it! Also, only one month left, until the release. :)

Das Web 2.0 ist in aller Munde: All die Myspaces, StudiVZs, Youtubes und Flickrs dieser Erde werden unentwegt in höchsten Tönen gelobt. Vielleicht liegt es daran, dass Valve für seinen Downloadservice Steam jetzt neue Nutzerfunktionen integriert.

gameswelt.de

Guys… StudiVZ praised? By whom? People who never read the news?

My thanks goes to stumble, as so very often.

But hey, it’s only around 4 month out, so still kinda “fresh”…

…was demonstrated today by Gameswelt. Sam & Max cheaper on Steam? 2 x 19,95 makes $39,90 IMHO. *sigh* While Telltale Games themselves sells all 6 episodes for $34,95… And that’s not even considering, that all customers over at Telltale get a DVD with lots of extras for free (shipping only), after all eps are released… Which can even be played without online activation. Yes, you heard correct! Just like in the old days without Internet! Sorry, but the Steam version has disadvantages only: face it. Get your facts straight Gameswelt…

I read a rumor (?) today, saying that HL² EP 2 Retail will be released just as one package (containing Half-Life², EP One and EP Two), and not as two different packages (in a second, for people who already own HL² and EP One bundled with Portal and Team Fortress 2 instead), as announced initially. The price is expected to be around $49,99 (with a similar amount in Euro-Land)… This is a big punch, since “no one” will buy this package. For one the high price, and second: why buy HL² and EP One again/twice? This disappoints, because it looks like a scheme to kill the retail market off entirely – when a cheaper package with just EP Two is available in Steam only (if there wouldn’t be, then this would be just plain crazy). “Take it there or forget it.” Fifty bucks for an episode with 4 hours playtime total is just way too much moolah. As well as the HL series is selling, decisions like this one wouldn’t be necessary.

v3.7 12.06.2007
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Added Blood Heal discipline and slowed automatic heal rate by half.
Changed Cadaverous Flesh history and occult heal rate accordingly.
Restored Leopold Society clans and clan equipments for multiplayer.
Lowered Blood Buff effect by two points and corrected info symbol.
Lessened criminal levels of both crossbows and raised their damage.
Modified Eliza to raise brawl and lowered firearms book condition.
Made indirect disciplines not traceable and decreased maximal ammo.
Removed humanity gains from Milligan and fixed Wong Ho background.
Swapped lower dodge book with dodge powerup so reading makes sense.

Fixed several crosshair issues and wrong icons near the Dane crane.
Corrected several tutorial popups and mentioned camera adjustment.
Repaired critical basic patch bugs and restored overlooked changes.
Fixed clinic guard humanity loss and some other minor text issues.
Removed masquerade redemption and double xp for sending Patty away.
Made Potence fit description and finally fixed npctemplate* files.
Corrected Arthur’s $201 reward, Vandal, Ji and Slater lines issues.
Removed player knowing the names of Ox’s patron and asian vampire.
Prevented picking of two Temple doors and repaired Hollywood music.

Download.

It’s no use

Last Friday, my AV8 3rd Eye started beeping right away (again), as I turned the PC on. This time was one time to often. So I went and flashed the BIOS version from 2.4 to 2.7 (newest, and frankly FINAL version), until then I neglected to do so, because the last version was rumored to have new problems too, beside the fixes. But I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore/nothing to loose. The flash was successful (yeah he’s a real hero) and no new problems arose, as always, I shut all the devilish beeping options down (in the BIOS settings). I also went all the way (did a CMOS reset and so on…), just to make sure (none of the old settings would survive and I had my real fresh start). That would have made a nice ending, but this mercy was obviously too much to ask. Today the same FUCK happened again. The board is “so old” now, that there will be no newer BIOS version anymore, meaning it’s safe to say by now that this problem will exist FOREVER. Besides that, Abit made a good mainboard. Thanks.