This game is like Dark Souls, except it isn’t

May 16, 2017 no comments Posted in PC, Video Games

 

 

You would think that Dark Souls would be just like Dark Souls, however contrary to popular belief and common sense, it is not.

“It’s like Dark Souls” is commonly said of many games with even a minor resemblance to dark souls. This twitter profile has a good account of the wild comparisons. A game qualifies to be “Like Dark Souls” mainly when it shares the property Dark Souls is most infamous for; its unconventional, unforgiving difficulty.
According to darksoulsdeaths.com, on my first playthrough I died over 700 times. It’s hard to say what is normal for a game but I would expect that in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 I died  ~120 times during the campaign on Veteran in comparison.

When you die in Dark Souls, it normally takes a few minutes to get back to where you were before dying and not far from where you will die again. So time spent progressing through the levels in Dark Souls is a significantly lower percentage than in other games, which is alright because you are still progressing in knowledge and skill.

Dying is an important part of Dark Souls, it’s a game of learning from previous lives and using that knowledge to go a bit further from your bonfire or checkpoint than the last time. Dying is not a setback in your progression because most of the game’s progression takes place in your head as you learn to take on enemies effectively. This is proven by how speed runners can complete the game in over 50 minutes,

The game’s lore almost revolves around death and deaths aren’t “cut out” of the game’s timeline as you revert back to an earlier save like in many other games, it is nice to be spared from the common disbelief of your character encountering something “for the first time” while you’re sitting behind the screen expressionless, following the drill you formed a while ago.

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Netcode explained

November 21, 2016 no comments Posted in Uncategorized

Netcode is a blanket term for anything that somehow relates to networking in online games; netcode is a term most commonly used by gamers when discussing synchronization issues between clients and servers. The actual elements of a game engine that can cause so-called “netcode issues” include, among other things, latency, lag compensation or the lack thereof, simulation errors, and network issues between the client and server that are completely out of the game’s hands. Netcode as a term tends to be used only in the gaming community, as it is not recognized as an actual computer science term.

 

Netcode is not a term used by the people that make games, but rather the people that play them. It says a lot about public knowledge of networking in video games when the public invents its own term for it,
the technology and techniques that make multiplayer possible might as well be called “black magic”. So, hopefully, I can clear some things up too much without being too cursed by my limitless knowledge ūüėČ

 

Before I dive into how game engines make multiplayer work(and not work), I’ll introduce describe a small bit about what an engine actually has to do.

The job of a game  engine is to provide game developers with a framework to construct 2D or 3D worlds to their liking, Game engines render animated models and other geometric information into those worlds with realistic-looking physics quickly, filter out heaps of unnecessary work, distribute that work to processor cores, and keep all players in a multiplayer game on the same page, which can be difficult when you have to consider that player latencies can range and spike from 1-1000ms and that hackers are like hawks looking for ways to exploit and break your games.

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The wonders of Counter-Strike:Global Offensive

September 12, 2016 2 comments Posted in PC, Video Games

We found this new podcast called Organised Nonsense‚ÄĒ so I’ll link it down in the footer if you guys want to check it out. We were on the youtube channel today and my comment got like 69 upvotes or something like that, so it was a pretty small reception, but it was like the coolest feeling ever. I ended up following them on Twitter and stuff, and they all hit me up and they’re talking to me about potentially being friends.

 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO is a tactical multiplayer shooter created by Valve with the Source engine. It is the successor to Counter-Strike: Source. It is team work oriented, like TF2 or overwatch, but the similarities to those games end there.

CS:GO is a lot more precise, with higher stakes compared to other team based shooters. When you die, you’re dead for the entire round. 5-6 shots with any weapon will kill anyone. Headshots are a death sentence unless you’ve paid extra for a helmet, and then it’s not exactly a slap on the wrist either, it will permit you an extra shot before dying. Kinda like a first offender’s program or something. Running and Gunning is less viable because when you get hit, it slows down your movement speed very significantly.

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Graphical settings

August 10, 2016 no comments Posted in PC, Video Games

Graphical settings in games often come with an inadequate explanation, and it can be hard to know what’s best for your setup. Here I’ll attempt to explain various graphical settings, I’ll describe their effect, how they work and what sort of impact they’ll have on performance.

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Arma 3, tight.

July 6, 2016 no comments Posted in PC, Video Games

Lately — ‘lately’ being extra relevant having played till 4 AM last night — I’ve been enjoying Arma 3.
It’s a realistic, near-future millitary strategic FPS. And when I say FPS I mean “first person shooter”, if you actually expect to get¬†several frames per second you should re-adjust your standards.

arma3_screenshot_04Being the first game I’ve had to turn my settings down from max on(I tend to live 3 years behind in the gaming world, for those discounts), it feels weird to think this is a 2013 title. Performance isn’t that bad considering the beautiful graphics and massive scale it achieves, but they can’t be reduced very much — and they shouldn’t be anyway. Having an AyyyMD card coupled with¬†Nvhitleria GameWorks likely doesn’t help.

 

Arma 3 consists of several default maps, and hundreds of community made ones, which along with missions, vehicles and game modes can be browsed in the steam workshop.

Altis(Previously Lemnos), one of the default maps modeled after some meditarian island no one’s heard of(which in reality is 470 km¬≤), is massive¬†at 270 km¬≤. For perspective, Skyrim’s map is 39 km¬≤, Far Cry 4 46km¬≤, GTA V 81km¬≤, and The Witcher 3 136km¬≤. Thankfully there is a speed up time feature for when you’re walking large distances, but unfortunately and understandably it doesn’t work in multiplayer.

That’s just the largest default though, If you want crashing your pickup truck¬†into a camoflarged wall half way to your objective to be any more annoying, there is an fan-made map modeled after a a slightly bigger meditarian island no one’s heard of


Gameplay

Combat in Arma 3 is highly strategic. Depending on your rank, troops in your squad can be individually commanded or in group to do almost anything you could do yourself(Patch up x, shoot y, pilot z), and to work as a group member by flanking etc.

The AI have their occasional rough moments, but are still very impressive compared to everything else out there, it’s pretty hard to tell AI and player apart, save for the AI’s overly cautious driving and players walking around like idiots.

There is also a High Command, which allows you to order larger squads with less precision through the map. You get cool markers a variety of strategic waypoints, here is a nice imgur story to show what I mean by /u/chowdig

I’ve learned the aim sway and bullet droop intricacies well enough to be much more efficient shooter compared to when I started playing, but what makes a far bigger difference, and determines whether you do a mission with 0 casualities or complete failure is a good strategy — both in planning and in compromise. Arma 3’s realism throws in hundreds of strategic nuances, which sound trivial on paper but are incredibly helpful in good practice, here is a gyfcat of a good strategy making a big difference. eand can be game-changing¬† with some ambitious creativity and unconventional tactics. Of course there is your standard counter, counter-counter, and counter-counter-counter… flank, enemy funneling etc., but I’m talking about that Ghost Army shit.
For example you could booby trap a friendly parked vechle, detonate when an enemy squad checks it out, have a squad shoot up the reamining survivors and place friendlies in the right place to tear up the inevitable enemy backup.

Convoy coming through the area and you want to hit them with artillery, but it’s too dangerous for a spotter? Set up a claymore or two and fire everything from a safe distance when you hear the explosions.

And you could probably distract a whole army and sneak into the enemy HQ while they try to shoot one of them damn RC quadrocopters too.

When you pull an ambitious plan off it’s very rewarding(Humming along to the A Team’s theme tune after saying “I love it when a plan comes together” is obligatory, else you face harsh reprimandations)

 

The gameplay is very fun for me, but it won’t be for everyone.¬† The exciting buildup and prepration between battles could be interpreted as long waits. 1 bullet in the wrong place could end you 30 minutes into a mission, which some people may find very frustrating, and you need a pretty good PC to enjoy it to its full potential. I give this a 9/10 because what it tries to do, it does very well, even if what it tries to do is not everyone’s cup of tea. If this seems interesting, I encourage you to check out their pretty site, and if you’re not sure, to use the Universial Try Before You Buy Machine(TM) ūüėČ

 

Dying Light is good I guess(PC)

June 1, 2016 no comments Posted in PC, Playstation & Sony, Video Games, Xbox & Microsoft

Dying Light is an open world survival horror game where zombies happen¬†in¬†a quarantined section of a relatively run down city called Harram¬†and you’re sent there to retrieve an important ducument. DL incorporates a dynamic parkour system to a large degree, which you can often use to avoid slicing through hoards of walking meat(are humans Kosher, or are they Harram?).


Combat

Dying Light is¬†almost¬†a sequel to Dead Island, and by that I mean it pretty much is a sequel but it’s creators are not saying it is and it doesn’t appear to be set in the same universe, just one that’s very slightly different. They are both quite similar, but Dying Light is a major improvement over¬†Dead Island.
Like Dead Island, combat is melee focused and finicky until you learn it’s intricacies, where it would definitely become rather rinse-and-repeat had Techland not include the progressive addition of enemies and abilities, which do well to keep it exciting. The abilities in Dying Light are mostly well designed and balanced —¬†¬†their use depends on your scenery and what you’re fighting, a trait¬†which¬†successfully avoids over-reliance on a single combat routine over and over. A small nitpick is that there are a few things¬†which feel out of place in the usually realistic feeling Dying Light universe such as craftable remedies that are way too effective and some other slightly cartoonish effects(Electricity for example stays with an object for seconds while arcing across its surface)

All melee weapons have a finite durability, they can be repaired but only a few times. I think this is a rather cheap attempt to make weapon retrieval more rewarding and to get players using multiple weapons. It makes using good weapons feel bad, like I’m wasting it. Mediocre weapons are plentiful, but saying goodbye to my favourite, customised weapon when it breaks forever makes me feel sad :(.
I certainly understand why Techland made weapons have such a short lifespan, if a player found a good weapon that lasted forever, they would have no insentive to search for loot, collect money etc.
They already sort of fixed this by having zombies get stronger as the player levels up while also unlocking new weapons, which in effect slowly makes your weapons less effective against them so when you get a new one it¬†feels very powerful against them, but actually isn’t(weapons do improve slightly faster than zombies). Though I’m not a fan of this method and its affect isn’t strong enough keep¬†players interested in looting on its own.
Dying Light is certainly better with finite weapon repairs than without them, but its a flawed solution.


Story

I’ve only seen people complain about it, but DL’s story is pretty good. The plot provided a constant sense of urgency(Maybe too much urgency, I felt bad having a free-running race while my allies were slowly dying). Some moments were misses, DL has some issues showing emotions and I think maybe it needs to be told it’s okay to cry, though there were certainly¬†some good emotional scenes.

The worldbuilding however is amazing, Techland did a good job constructing an immersive universe with depth that still fits well in game format.
Night time is terrifiying in a way that gets my adrenaline going, and it does it without jump scares or making the player powerless – A lot of horror games lock the player in a flight position which isn’t particularly difficult and ‘flight’ often doesn’t require very much attention. In DL, we have¬†fight¬†and/or flight. There were several instances of these physiological affects¬†happening to me as I played the game.

 


Summary

The levels are massive, populated, diverse and the player and infected both interact with them nicely. The art and graphics are great(apart from the unwanted effects and Gameworks), combat is exiting, the campaign is good and the side quests are plentifuloverall, I’d give Dying Light 7.9/10

I’d recommend this game if you liked Dead Island or melee action games and you have a good PC(Gameworks doesn’t work so well with AMD because nvidia works better with profits than consumers). The horror is good, but not overwhelming and can be avoided by sleeping through the night.

 

 

 

 

The Non-Comissioned IT Specialist’s Guide to gaming hardware: Desktop vs Laptop

March 23, 2016 no comments Posted in Video Games

My target audience for this are the grandchildren, children, siblings and friends that are often abused as free tech support. A Non-Commisioned IT Specialist, or NonCommisioned Computer Officer(NCO) is a person who rises through the social ranks as “The computer guy/girl” through nothing but knowledge and exceptional google-fu; without any professional training. Despite this, they are under as much pressure to do their elected job right when their company needs them most, and as much flak when they do not, all without the respect or salary of your standard Computer Officer(CO), who can earn their position without even any experience on the metaphorical battlefield.

 

coming-out-1
Coming out to your parents as computer literate

After coming out as a person
Learning the Generals of Binary Technology(LGBT) you may be approached for buying advise. It is important you give sound advise here; you could be disowned and unfriended if your approachers regret their purchase, and if you don’t advise them at all, you could still be blamed.

The upshot of this is that we LGBT need to work together, as aposed to the vitrolic exchanges that frequently take place on Disqus and YouTube.
My contribution is to make a series of posts to target all those objectively wrong opinions that plague the world of “computer people”, you know, the ones which aren’t mine. Jokes aside, I will try to make these as unbiased as possible, I encourage anyone to speak up if they disagree with me.

The thing about opinions is that they are built on top of values, and values differ between people and their situations. So when you try to apply an opinion formed in someone with different values in a different situation, it could be like stuffing a square peg through a round hole(square pegs master race!); the round hole will yell at you.
Because of this, it is essential you base your advise around your enslaver’s situation and values.

 

Desktop gaming vs Laptop gaming

I see a lot of people upgrading to gaming laptops without considering a desktop simply because they already have a laptop and it’s familar territory. In terms of value for money, this is a very bad choice — the fact that Alienware exists at such a popularity proves this.
The only real benefit laptops have over Desktops is that they are portable, and I think people over value this benefit. I prefer my expensive, delicate computer hardware kept in an immobile, well ventilated case, behind a locked door.Can you easily imagine yourself spending a significant amount of time gaming outside the house where a portable console, or phone would not suffice? If you can, great. But I’d imagine there are a lot of gaming laptop owners who rarely use it where a Desktop would not work better.

Time to find a laptop to enter the ring. I generally don’t spend much time in the world of laptop hardware , and I find the majority of tech sites that show up on google to consist of speculation, weak opinion and weird values, so I will probably use Reddit. I find it neccessary to present the first paragraph after a laptop intro where there is a graph detailing a 15% difference in average keyboard temperature on the top google result for “budget gaming laptop” while being a pretty minor point, he makes out as if a warmer keyboard is a bad thing, which it isn’t really. As the source of all love and life always says: “Better out than in.”[video(reinactment)]

So to find a good, budget gaming laptop to compare with, I instead took to reddit.
Hmm
Hillarious mis-use of less-than and greater-than aside, my gaming laptop of choice is the
Sager NP8657s, from here and here(I gave up on the whole low budget thing)

Now for a desktop, I have picked this. I recently built a desktop using all of those parts(except for the case and monitor/keyboard), and I can assure you the parts aren’t just good on paper.

Fight!

 Component

 Custom Desktop

Sager NP8647s

 CPU  FX 6300(6 core, 3.6GHz, 3x 2mb l2, 8mb l3)  i7 Skylake 6700HQ(4 core, 2.6GHz, 4x 256kb l2, 6mb l3)
 GPU  Radeon R9 390(8GB VRAM, 1GHz clock rate)  GeForce GTX 970M(3GB VRAM, 1~GHz clock rate)
 RAM  16GB DDR3  16GB DDR4*
¬†Battery ¬†ūüôĀ ¬†60WH
OS Windows 10  If you pay more :L

It appears the desktop beat the Sager by a good bit. Let’s see the full story though. Here are some things to take into consideration(Uncategorized to avoid bias)

  • *For the desktop to upgrade to DDR4 RAM as fast as the laptop’s, I’d use this, which is currently $8 cheaper, and slower. It’s worth noting that the mother board I picked can’t support DDR4 though.
  • Looking at Benchmarks(FX 6300, i7 6700HQ) the laptop’s processor is a bit better, Megahertz Myth
    • Both CPUs should work fine with virtually all the AAA games out there, GPUs are way more important nowadays.
    • I will be testing this for myself later, I don’t trust these benchmarks fully utilized the 6300’s 6 cores
  • The desktop is currently $219 cheaper(Please correct me if you find anything for less)
    • This is not including the price of a sound system
  • Desktops are highly modularized, so parts can be upgraded, replaced and borrowed.
    • Someone who won’t be named for his own safety in public argued that “You have to replace desktop hardware”. Desktop hardware doesn’t age differently than any other hardware, you CAN replace Desktop hardware — but you don’t have to.
  • Building a desktop is like following lego intrusctions, but you have to be competent enough to appreciate that things can be delicate.
  • While you may rarely need to use your laptop on the move, the only alternative when you are on the move is one of those fandangled smart phones.
  • Desktops are more ergonomic; the optimal monitor/keyboard relationship is impossible
    • Desktops CAN be more egonomic, but that doesn’t mean they are.
  • 80% better and¬† cheaper(minus the price of a sound system/pair of headphones)
  • I spent weeks compiling that list of parts because I actually bought the parts. I spent very little time in comparison finding a good laptop, there could be better value ones out there.
  • Because they are being moved around all the time, laptops can suffer a lot more wear-and-tear depending on how careful you are.

 

Conclusion

Laptops if you need something portable, Desktops otherwise.
This is pretty obvious, but Desktops are perhaps up to twice the value for money, so it is very important those apes hounding you for advise leave their likely comfort zone in portable technology and get a REAL computer. It is also important it is home built, which is something that could take some persuading(you’ll probably also end up doing this yourself)

Dungeons and Dragons review by person who has never played it or knows anything about it

March 4, 2016 no comments Posted in Video Games

Dungeons and Dragons is a popular board game lovingly developed in 1986 by Hasbro and has since adopted new versions with tailored game-play, more characters and better weapons through DLC. The aim of the game is to be the one who defeats the “Dungeon Master” — a sort of last boss, if you will¬† — without dying. A quest often angrily complained about by DnD players (D@Ds, pronounced ‘datdders’) as impossible, before frustratingly announcing that I’m talking crap.

D’D is very unforgiving, Players will have a hard time winning on their own without partnering up with another player or NPC companion, and they must remain vigilant as both have the opportunity to stab you in the back for a lovely profit(And in a large majority of rounds, they take that opportunity). Because of this, it is recommended newbies play with the ‘easier’ settings¬† on their first run, and make a gentleman’s agreement not to attack each other.

As the name suggests, a major element of DandD are dragons. Dragons in D,D are similar to those in pokémon, you collect them, fight them, and level them up to unlock new features and aesthetics. Players can introduce these dragons into combat scenarios to fight for them(And of course, risk losing them to Death, or more charismatic players).

Combat in DnD is refreshingly simple compared to most board games — whoever rolls the highest number in an encounter wins — with a few basic modifiers thrown in such as your weapon of choice. Combat occurs when a player arrives on the same tile as an opponent, be it another player or one of the many malicious monsters contained in D.D. Combat is encouraged, but not ultimately necessary if you team with another player.

In summary, DD provides skillful, amusing and tactical gameplay while being attractive to a wide audience, easy to pickup and helpfully short-lived, making it well worth your time.