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Showing posts from March, 2007

Orbital Oblivion Odyssey Obsession

Okay, all this City of Heroes Alt-a-Holicism is obviously just me trying to resolve boredom. As long as I'm perfectly content to play, Psi-Caster works fine. Seriously, he's a fun versatile character with the greatest potential whose only problem is that he doesn't do damage real quickly. That's only a problem when I'm bored with the game. I may not be entirely bored of the game, but I'm tired enough of it that it's time to diversify. To these ends, I've discovered that the time is right to seriously consider Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as the designated time waster, yet again.

Not too long ago, I was playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion again in preparation for The Shivering Isles to be released. I happily, yet resentfully, played some of the best mods out at the time. Then all my various performance qualms with Oblivion and other games eventually lead to my accidentally deleting my saved games.

Today, a coincidental Google search revealed that Ab…

Heroic Strategy Simulations

The trouble with determining that any character is fine to play does is that it not resolve the fundamental problem that in order to get past the login screen, some choice must be made. Fronted with such a choice in City of Heroes today brought me to running some mental simulations. They were interesting enough (to me) that I thought I'd write them down. (Also interesting is apparently I'd rather talk about the game than play it right now.)

In any case, the following is an elaborate lie to try to convince myself there's a best choice. It just goes to show that the hierarchy of falsehood is still: Lies < Damn Lies < Statistics. I fear it's neurotic posts like this that drive away most of my readers, with bleeding eyes.

Test Setups

Psi-Caster, level 36 Illusion/Weather Controller.
Stamina-less, versatile configuration.

The Nanites, level 33 Spines/Dark Armor Scrapper.
Balanced configuration, not too much AOE, not too much single target, with prerequisite 6 po…

Same Old Heroics: Alt-A-Holicism Cracked

I don't have too much to say this entry, but hey, since when did that ever stop me? I just wanted to write a little something about City of Heroes.

After a protracted playing session from about 7pm - 12pm today, Max Power - my horribly named new Assault/Electricity Blaster - is now up to level 12. In the process, I gained the Spelunker Badge and both the flight pack (see screenshot) and the jump pack from the first two safeguard missions. I did about an even portion of soloing and teaming, enjoying both worlds. I even made a few new cohdemo files: two of me soloing a safeguard, and one of an eight player successful safeguard mission.

However, at the end of the day, I have to wonder if I could have better spent those 5 hours.

Reading the official boards earlier today, I realize that there's not all that much wrong with my Scrapper or Controller, really. Relatively speaking, all my established characters have versatility and a respectable rate of damage, as I wouldn't…

Upgrade Pains

Often after a new motherboard purchase, it falls to the do-it-yourself computer builder to "break in" his new motherboard. That's taken a bit longer than I anticipated it would, but it looks like I've finally figured out my new motherboard enough to know what I cannot do to keep a stable platform. Then, I was ready to play a little Supreme Commander and a lot of City of Heroes.

One thing I've determined can't do is run in DDR400 mode with this Corsair "Value Select" DDR400 ram. (At least, not with the memory on "auto" settings... perhaps if I were to manually specify the memory settings... I'll play with that later.) The problem with DDR400 timing was that it resulted in random complete system lockups, and that's unacceptable. It also lead to issues with certain apps such as the Supreme Commander or Windows Explorer malfunctioning in places, possibly due to dropped storage retrieval data. Since reverting back to DDR333 setting…

5250 3DMarks

I scored 5230 3DMarks in 3DMark05! Further BIOS tweaking raised that to 5392 3DMarks, but resulted in some instability. 5250, 5392, whatever. All I care about is, compared to the 3612 I was pulling before, there's a much bigger difference between this Pentium 4 3.4 Ghz and my Athlon XP 3000 than I thought.

Maybe my old motherboard really was broken in some fundamental ways. For example, I don't think it was running my RAM in dual channel mode, but this new board plainly indicates I am now. Also, I knew for certain my AGP acceleration was bugged, actually locking up the computer if I had AGP Read enabled. I'm now able to run with Fast Write and AGP Read without any problem. (Although for some reason PCI and AGP Write aren't supported, perhaps the cost of having this AGP/PCI-X dual configuration).

Unfortunately, my issue with Jade Empire remains. Guess I'll have to wait for Bioware/Grey Matter to patch it, assuming they ever do. Either that, or just get in t…

Calm Between Storms

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl turned out to be an excellent game. I completed it as an unfactioned loner on Stalker difficulty level. Though the game is touted to have about 6 endings, from what I've read there's only three major endings and I've done them all. I may yet play again, as there are quite a few side quests I could have done.

I tend to finish a lot more first person shooter atmospheric games than I do others, leading me to believe that perhaps that's my poison of choice. However, once they're completed there's rarely any reason to play through again. Here's looking forward to Hellgate: London, which may well prove to have the necessary components for unlimited replayability.

The next storm

This should be the last Blog entry I make on my K8VGA-M, Athlon 3000+ XP configuration. With any luck, I'll have a functioning Pentium 4 within the next few days. I hope this configuration change resolves the (apparently uncommon) issues I'…

How Taiwan Sold Geldon His Groove Back

Obligatory short version paragraph. First, I found a novel solution for my hardware problems that should pay off for a long time. Second, I am now enjoying S.T.A.L.K.E.R., which is a nifty if buggy little game. Click the link below if you've time on your hands.

Being a red-blooded American, I can always count on capitalism to pull my mind out of its desolate dwelling on my own mortality. So my computer is acting slow and that's getting me down? Time to buy a new computer! Thank you, frivolous spending, for giving me a reason to live again... temporarily... so long as I've money left to spend.

Unfortunately, as I'm a most-time Student with a barely part-time job at this stage of my life, my disposable income kinda sucks right now. Upgrades are complicated because of a substantial technology hurdle. How's a guy with minimal cash flow supposed to make the necessary $600 jump to end up with a PCI-Express capable motherboard with compatible video card, ram, and C…

Where's My Groove?

Being the computer geek I am, when my computer's sick, so am I. (Although, given my hey fever, the high tree pollen count may also be a contributor). My AMD-64 3000 CPU, which I had once pried loose from a heat sink with industrial wire, may finally be showing signs of age. It seems slow, a 3612 3DMark 2005 rating being considerably lower than many systems with the same configuration. Something is dragging my computer down, and me with it.

Time has determined that, aside from substantially reducing my boot up time, the Windows XP reinstall did nothing for my performance. Thus, I botched all my precious data for nothing. (But then, none of the data I lost was particularly precious, I lost nothing more valuable than a saved game file.)

Losing my save game files impacted Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Jade Empire the most. I lost about 12 hours of progress in Jade Empire and I can't see myself slogging through the same story to get back to where I was. In Elder Scrolls IV…


With the two waking hours at my disposal this morning, I decided I'd go ahead with my Windows reinstallation. Of course, in order for it to really do any good, I'd have to kill the entire Windows directory to prevent any leftover files from the previous installation from jumping back on board on my fresh install.

However, Windows XP proved extremely unfriendly towards my attempts to murder it. Unlike the previous versions of Windows, there didn't seem to be any option to boot up with a dos prompt that included hard drive access. Eventually, I resorted to the Western Digital Data Lifeguard software bundled with my last harddrive purchase to "zero out" the drive. Then I booted up with the Windows XP disc, confirming the necessary reformatting during the installation process.

It wasn't long until I realized that I made a tiny mistake and formatted both of my 250 GB drives. The Lifeguard software had portrayed the Western Digital drive incorrectly as the f…

Planned Obsolescence

A trend with my vacations that I've noticed is that I will spend the last day doing system optimization. Logically, you'd think that system optimization would go before spending several days playing the computer rather than after. Instead, I'm driven to evaluate my system at the end, perhaps the nervous searching reaction of a cornered rat.

I don't get this: City of Heroes is once again lingering at 10 FPS while traveling the city. I had encountered that with my Radeon 9800 PRO 256MB, then noticed a sharp improvement when I upgraded to a Radeon X1600XT. How can I be back at the same FPS of a card 2 years older than it?

This discovery prompted an about 4-6 hours investigation of the Catalyst driver set. Using data from Tweaktown and entering it into a spreadsheet, I found an interesting trend: Performance in 3Dmark goes up, while performance in the actual games decreased.

This data would indicate that 3DMark is still being doctored by the major graphics card compa…

Lost Time: Spring Break 2007

Though I've still a Saturday and Sunday ahead of me (this is a 2am post) Spring Break is pretty much over. Where did all the time go since the last Blog entry? Lets see if I can figure it out.

Wednesday was a hectic day. A family emergency woke me up early and had me out of the house until about 4pm. During the time I was out, I purchased Jade Empire: Special Edition for the PC. No sign of Warioware Twisted or Parappa the Rapper 2. There was Gitaroo Man, but they wanted $40 for it, used and in poor condition. Sick.

Jade Empire: Special Edition turned out to be a sweet and sour purchase. It has high production values, a well-told story, and a relatively unique Eastern setting I enjoy (being a bit of a Zen admirer... if a poor adherent). However, there seems to be a mysterious issue with a small subsection of ATI users where the combat will slow down to a crawl after a battle or two.

Clearly, there's some kind of process not being closed properly, as I can clear it u…

Oblivious Heroics

Well, at least my prediction about what I'd be doing with my Spring Break seems to have come true. It's about a third over now and I've mostly been playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and City of Heroes.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
My Infiltrator in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is now up to about level 12 and about 20 game days in. He's now over half way through the main plot. Of course, if I focused completely on the main plot, I could probably finish it in a single day. I've also been doing various quests including the included plugins that came with Knights of the Nine. As for Knights of the Nine itself, I plan to hold off on that until after I complete the main plot.

I've leveled my Infiltrator up slowly. In Oblivion you only gain a single level when you rest (in a bed) after having gained 10 points total across your 7 major skills. Any more major skill points earnings beyond the 10 needed to level are carried into the next level, requiring additional re…

Geldonyetich Doomcasts YouTube

I'm not exactly batting 1000 when it comes to predictions in the technology world. It's not that the future of tech is an easy one to guess at. If you didn't believe that, you wouldn't have believed that guy that told you Bill Gates claimed 640k was enough for anyone. Yeah, I fell for that one too.

The last time I made a major technology prediction, it was a claim that World of Warcraft would likely not retain most of its subscribers because it was a shallow game. That did not turn out to be a very good prediction. I'd actually written up a retraction for my World of Warcraft doomcast for GamerGod, but they're gone forever now. If you really want to see me apologize for that, I happened to have had a copy of the original work document that I'll post for you here:

Geldonyetich UnDoomCasts World of Warcraft (Again):
Some of you may have read this article, boldly forecasting "doom" for World of Warcraft. The premise was simple: There's massiv…

Fatigue and Fans Surpassing the Original

[In this almost tolerable entry, I discuss encountering a broken quest line in Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, whine about how tired and depressed I am, and then reveal an excellent discovery of a popular kids cartoon parody on Youtube.]

Bittersweet news for Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Baurus is getting locked up, killing the main (freaking) quest line. It breaks at the point where I follow this plucky Redguard into a basement for a little ambush. The result is a persistent "Baurus is unconscious" message even if he's upright, and a perpetually sleeping Baurus if I punch him for 1 point of damage. Even my persistant filling him with arrows failed to rouse him. Even awake, he's an immobile in the face of action and infused with remarkable ventriloquism skills. Vexing.

However, with liberal application of Google-fu, I have found some potential solutions to this and will give them a spin later. I thought I was already running 1.3…

Enraptured with Oblivion

Between Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, performance tweaks, and the discovery of a particularly suitable custom character, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion once again has its hooks in me. Details follow.

Reading the changes list in Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, I was a bit worried that the mobs were no longer fully scaled to the player character's level. However, having had a chance to play with it a bit, I have to say that I enjoy the adjustment. Being discovered by an unbeatable foe means an exciting run to the nearest city. However, few foes are truly unbeatable, and I've derived gratification from overcoming challenges higher leveled than I. With that worry resolved, I've discovered that most of what Oscuro and company has done has been excellent. Not perfect, as there are things I could have improved here and there, but quite good.

Oblivion is only half RPG, the other half is an action game, and I've found that a high framerate substantially improves my enjoymen…

Imitation Envy

Briefly hanging out on the official Elder Scrolls boards, I discovered that there seemed to be a popular Elder Scrolls oblivion mod known as OOO. A little poking around revealed Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul. Thus, I was confronted with the alternate dimension me, somebody who actually had the willpower to make this thing happen.

Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul v1.3 Trailer.

Oscuro, like myself, realized that Elder Scrolls Oblivion was fair game on its own but sorely lacking in polish in several places. So he's been doing just that. There's certain parts where I'd disagree with, but those are outnumbered by the sheer improvements he's made.

Good for Oscuro. Yet, I find myself a tad resentful because of three things:

1) This mod is is quite incompatible with mine because it changes many of the same objects.

2) It started out a mod that he was developing, but he's actually integrated the features of about 75 mods made by other players. (It's hardly fair ther…