So I don’t think I really got into the China Rising pack but here I have some observations on Second Strike
Second Strike was released on Tuesday for Premium members on PC – this was the “XBOX Exclusive” level that was released first instead of China Rising. It contains 4 levels from previous versions and they’re ridiculously detailed.
Gulf of Oman
There is something to be said for adding a few bushes and rocks to otherwise familiar levels. In Operation Firestorm it turns the sandy expanse of open killing ground into a much more playable section. There is more ground cover, higher walls – vehicle placement changes, extra alcoves (G has a stairway underneath the building) and the addition of the new gunships. Operation Metro has some tweaks to the subway cars, and most importantly an elevator at C throwing a third method of attack into the otherwise stalemate-heavy level. I don’t believe I got to see Gulf of Oman the other night, but I’ll update once I do. Caspian Border has to be my favorite version. I was a big fan of the original because it was often played as part of the “air maps” selection. There was a big air dependency, especially with the attack choppers, with the planes keeping the choppers in check. It is much easier to destroy as a jet because the area is much smaller, noticeably smaller but at the cost of maneuverability – so on one side you have more direct dog fighting, you also have less room to properly approach. The walls are no longer chain link – they’re stone and tough. There is a massive checkpoint gate – no foolin around, this time it’s a major bottleneck and it prevents unlimited shelling from the hill. There’s stairs up the tower now, though it falls like a stick in a toilet – the animation is rather simple and doesn’t even do the previous version justice. However all the areas inbetween are thick with bush and cover. This is a much more lush environment, much more difficult to see through, preventing inevitable sniping from the highest points – the towers. There’s also a bunker under the tower on the hill, similar to the one in Operation Firestorm.
All in all I enjoy playing on the maps I know, with their obvious weaknesses addressed.
PS2: Sled Storm – Emulator with DX11 HW Accelleration 2X quality plus smoothing (no FXAA, no AA yet)
I spent much of today scouring the internet (it wasn’t that hard) for ROMs. I have NES and SNES on lockdown, I believe I have 99% of the NES and maybe 85% of the SNES. Choice Genesys, 32X and during my last ROM run a few months prior I even found Dreamcast and PSX. I have all these systems, but they’re in storage, all nicely tucked away not taking up any actual room. I’ve been wanting to play some older stuff but they’re so low bit being blown up to modern TV size doesn’t really make it any more visible. We had to use our imaginations a lot back then, and low / fuzzy res kept that in check. Having it all clear as day is pretty glaring.
So I love old games, I do — and there is no question they all play wonderful but a lot of them I have played, the newer ones I usually had one system out of the generation. For instance, I recently picked up an N64 last year at a tag sale. It had all the best games — plus the expansion pack that was needed for a better looking Rebel Assault. It plays not too shabby and I had never played many of the games. It was impressive for what they could do. I figured I’d explore a little more so grabbed some of those this time too to see if the emulator would do any better than the analog RCA video plug. Those don’t translate too bad to the screen, they’re at least visible polygons but you can really see what a difference the textures make when you get a look at a sub 100mb N64 game.
What really blew me away were the options available for the PSX emulator. It completely transformed the graphics, rendering them with actual hardware 3D. You can take rather low textures and play them out at modern resolutions, all smoothed and playing fast as can be, with smart aspect ratio scaling to 16:9 stretch or no. Not only that but you don’t have to use a ROM/ISO it will play it direct from the original disc!
PSX got me curious so I had to try PS2 — even more impressive. I’ll just start right from there with one of my forgotten favorites: Sled Storm. I love racing, and EA Big was a golden time for them — SSX Tricky started it off and they followed up with Sled Storm.
So here is the emulator, the video settings I was using (I took everything off for performance, I couldn’t figure what was wrong but it was using a single thread for rendering. I set the rendering to only 4 additional threads and it ran like buttah — no problem, graphical glitches were gone and everything looked superb.
Before I made the thread tweak, notice the chunks at the bottom. It was running almost full speed, not overly smooth
After the thread change, runs full speed
The emulator and it’s log window
My own settings with an NVidia GeForce 650 1.5G on the HTPC
Detail, polygons, shaders… all very important. What I find most important are textures. Artistic and accurate textures can bring life to anything, even simplistic character models and environments. Water looking good — that’s a decent feat, trees with individual leaves, fire, rain, all these things are important little details — like the flipflops flipping in GTA V. They add to the immersion and life of a game.
I can not fathom how these next gen consoles are coming out and not supporting 1080p across the board. It seems ludicrous that it wouldn’t be the driving force. My 4 year old motherboard, chip, and memory and year old lower-midrange video card have been running my games at 1920×1080 60hz since early this year.
Bomb mode — demolition? destruction? annaliation? I think that’s right, has some serious balance issues. 2.5 hours for that round because no one could get the bomb to the target without getting dead. Plus the bomb would jump like 2000 feet in the air and no one could get it so it would reset to the next position.
I hit up the servers for a little test run before work today. I was able to hop right in thanks to the beta. It was mostly the full game this time instead of the mess that was Battlefield 3. … Full story →
With this extension you can do everything from disable ads to change the buffering settings. Remember the old days when you could let the movie load? Unfortunately to get that back you’d need this extension on every device.
Click the mirror download for the Opera/Chrome hybrid (.crx)
Check the box for “developer mode” in the top right of your extensions page. Download the .crx file and drag it to your open extensions page. Once you say OK to permissions it’ll load.
If you saw the two Battlefield 4 conference demos, you may have noticed the telling little backspace key prompt in the top right corner. They were running on PC. Of course they were.
You don’t have to imagine what the next generation will look like. You can see it right now. You can playit right now. Find a gaming PC made in the last couple of years, get Crysis 2, then install the MaLDoHD Texture Pack.
Actually, no. The next-gen consoles almost certainly won’t look that good.
The next generation isn’t about forging ahead. It’s about catching up. At times, literally. PlanetSide 2 is making it’s way to the PlayStation 4. For that system, the mix of sci-fi visual flair and epic scale is the next generation. For PC owners, it’s just a game that they can play. Right now.
There’s a reason the Xbox and PS4 are shifting to a more PC-based architecture. It’s because PC-based architecture is really good. A PC doesn’t just guarantee you graphics that will match what the next-gen can handle – it’s already delivering them. And where those consoles are stuck with the same level of technical performance for the rest of their lifespan, the PC has room to grow.
The world forms around you. You enter a familiar place but it is still very new, dropped into a preloaded consciousness. You had a job, you knew why you were here, simply follow the instruction and the goal will be complete. You’re lifted into this futuristic utopia high in the clouds, where so many are so happy to go about their day but there is a dark brooding, uneasiness to it all. It can’t be that perfect, a distrust. There are sins too foul to wash away.
You explore, hearing much about the status quo and the rebellion trying to gain traction. Rights, choices, and the desire to live without restrictions. The story is uncovered over many areas, a hint here, discussion there, code books, flashbacks all come together in one giant dataset that just needs to be analyzed. The one side saying all should be be free, the ones in charge are for the preservation of only those who are pure of spirit and white of skin. The factories disagree, you should be working! They may say you’re not worth anything, but down here you can provide for your families. Two different strategies, both to the end result.
You learn about the Prophet, you learn about the Resistance but that just doesn’t seem right either. Daisy leads the resistance in a very totalitarian way. You rescue the girl, but that only complicates things. Universes start opening to parallel dimensions of here, times, constants and variables — all different, with all the things that have happened, are happening, and that will happened. You tear between them to get what you need, but to truly find your way home it’s all about finding the right sequence of events, you have to get to the beginning, where it all started and change things once and for all.
Ending (no spoilers)
It’s cute they use the console graphics for the trailer, just makes me whet even more for it on PC. I relish a good story, good graphics, mechanics, and voice acting and await this game with baited breath.
Chris Kline technical director at Irrational Games:
“Playing the PC version on Medium settings is fairly close to the console version, though higher quality in a few areas. As you go up from there to the High, Very High, and Ultra settings the difference is enormous.
The PC version ships on three discs, as opposed to one for consoles, to accommodate the higher-resolution content we provide for the PC. This really stands out when you play on the higher detail settings and higher resolutions that the PC allows. Irrational Games is known for all the detail we put into our worlds and the higher detail settings available on PC give us even more to work with.
Higher-end PC settings also activate on higher-quality versions of many of our core rendering features. For example, we show more objects and particles at longer distances and greater detail. We use a higher-precision color buffer for improved scene quality. Textures stream in more quickly, and we use higher quality texture filtering. More objects cast shadows, shadows are higher-resolution and blend more smoothly into the scene.
Though you only need DX10 hardware to play, if you have DX11 hardware you’ll be able to turn on high-end PC-only features like Contact Hardening Shadows, High Definition Ambient Occlusion, and Diffusion Depth of Field. In particular, the HDAO and DDoF will take full advantage of the DX11 Compute Shader capability in high-end hardware, and our FXAA implementation is optimized for Shader Model 5.”
…and I’ll leave you with this interview with Bill Gardner for some graphics previews and tech info:
Motorbikes are fun, shift to pull a wheelie – fly over most things. They’re like the ATVs except you can lean, and jump… so they’re fun. I was about to outmaneuver a heli for 4 missle loads, doing jumps and circles around the flag – so if you’re aware and deft with the fingers you can be quite wily.
I do think including 2 of the levels from Aftermath was a bit of a cop-out – but they’re good levels. So far I’ve seen the railyard, snowy pipeline area, and maybe one other capture the flag map. Not bad, though the 1 I got to play was tiny. I’ll see how things go once the servers populate a bit.
It describes the protagonist, the antagonist, the obstacle and the resolution. Ok – so maybe not the resolution.
I was not a fan of the secular point of view, primarily because I could identify with it. I’m familiar with the perspective. The perspective of someone receiving religious comments, even advice. I felt those words as if they were directly to me. They collided inside my head from both sides with a metallic clang, and then to the floor with another.
Catharsis is thick, and since that’s one of the only English words I remember… it must be it. “A feeling of change – for bad or good” which isn’t true. It’s got to be good. I can’t see experiences waking a person up, only to come to the realization they haven’t done enough wrong.
I’m excited for Tomb Raider – but it’s unfortunate that I’m almost done playing through Far Cry 3 – it sounds very very similar. Complete with the very real, visceral agony and endurance needed to be an action hero:
Instead, Crysis 3 is a finely tuned luxury automobile that’s not, as it turns out, all that finely tuned. You sit, revving the engine, hoping that weird sound will go away, but it doesn’t. It gets louder. You lower the driver’s-side window; it gets stuck halfway. You pull down the sun-visor; it comes off in your hand.
Perplexed, you turn the visor over and examine the underside, wondering if it’s supposed to come off. Maybe this is a feature? You look up, pause, sniff. Sniff again to confirm. Yep. Beneath the rich smell of the upholstery is the smell of something else. Something less pleasant.
And you stare at the wheel for a couple of moments, and you make peace with the fact that despite its lustrous exterior, this really just isn’t a nice car after all.
Of course he does also mention he couldn’t turn it up, and maybe that is it. I was so busy just taking in ALL the insane detail I didn’t notice the gameplay mechanics much, oh but there’s the way the guns fire, the bow pulls back, the refinements to changing suit modes… so much is as good as it’s ever been and more.
I agree with several of the points he makes in this video. Jungle setting, destructible buildings… those points are primarily level based. The games take place in different environments entirely. You may not be able to take down a whole block in BF3, and there’s not so much fighting going on in jungles right now, and BF3 is all about what’s happening “now”. I would like to see more stationary machine guns, there really is something great about taking down a heli with machine gun fire and it would be strategic since they’re not often worried about the ground fire, it’s the projectiles they look out for. I also prefer the recon airstrike method of BC2 over the mortar element of BF3.
There are no video games for a 3 year old. They have their shapes in the holes and the identifying patters and exploring storybook games, but there are no real 3 year old games. Fun games that send you somewhere else, driving a big truck, piloting a giant mech, or simply driving around a basic city in a car. They make them to entertain adults and they go above and beyond what a 3 year old needs to see, and should see. Outside of the fact that 3 year olds should have plenty of time to play and minimal screen time, I wanted to find him a good game.
My mind did not develop staring at a screen, it developed jumping and smashing sticks in the woods. So I’m finding a compromise here, he keeps being able to be a kid, with some games here and there, maybe even showing him potentially awe inspiring possibilities. I’d start him slow. I’d feed him the basic, the 4 bit, the 8 bit so he can take that with him as he gradually learns the newer technologies that made it possible to deliver the true artistry we can see today. I was looking for something older and less violent so the first place I looked was my own boxes since I still have many of my old games. The only requirement would be a machine to run them. I was going to build a Win98 machine, but if I went too far back I’d lose support for newer hardware, the whole point of being able to play these games at their best. So I dug up the XP I had lying in my office that hadn’t been used in some time, it was burred under boxes of cords whose usefulness have long since expired, but I recognize them, so I keep them. Digression! Back to XP machine, GO!
I set up an old XP machine I had laying around. 2.8ghz SINGLE CORE. I forgot how excruciating doing anything on a single core is. It takes for flippin ever! The good news is that many Win98 apps WILL run on XP. Continue reading →
The closest mechs came to making a comeback was Steel Battalion. That didn’t seem to help. The controller was huge, and many thought it a titch unnecessary. however, if you’re driving a mech — you’ve got a cockpit ready to go. It was exactly what enthusiasts wanted. It’s been a long time since Mech Warrior was purchased by Microsoft, and even longer since it was popular. The laser designation and light-saber lines merging on your target from either side of the cockpit just never felt that visceral.
I guess I should add something here about close quarters as well I’ll have some screenshots and videos with descriptions and general information about the new packs
Had to at least get a place holder up…
Ok so it’s been a good week or so of good tank combat and I must say it is a good addition to the game. I play on a particular server with B2K and ARK, it is all flight maps and it is so great to have both packs maps in rotation. I have gotten