Be patient

The last couple of days and my rare time on my evening got wasted by downloads and updates. It’s nice to have the opportunity to download games from platforms like Steam and everything gets automatically updated, but at one certain point it starts to simply suck.

Firstly, when you have TON of games that start updating at the same time with an amount of data far from good and evil.

Patience

Secondly, when those games that try to updates themselves don’t actually update, but prefer to rot in your data stream with 0.0001KBit/s  and the progress bar doesn’t even think about changing.

Last but not least, after everything got finally updated and patched and whatever else was happening, the game does not work as expected. I don’t want to give names, but I had application crashes, performance issues and stuff like that after my odyssey which already stole my last bit of patience.

There’s no final resume in this post. I just wanted to share my wonderful experiences I had the last couple of days.

The Good, The Bad, The Disappointed

Everything started very promising this year. It started with the frightening and totally awesome “Dead Space 2”, a game that absolutely gives you creeps shouldn’t be played alone in the dark. Well, actually, you MUST play this game alone in the dark, but beware. You may find some embarrassing surprises in your underpants.

After this fright odyssey the year continued with the manliest shooter I’ve played since a long time ago. BULLETSTORM. Yeah, this was just great. Stereotype conversations and one liners and just great action. Explosions. And guns. And explosions. And guns. And destruction. “Bulletstorm” wasn’t by far a brain cracker but it was some great entertainment, worth to be played a again.

“Portal 2” came out and it could exceed my high (extremely HIGH) expectations. It was a short game and till today I haven’t managed to play this awesome game in co-op mode but it was worth every minute. The whole level design, the story, the humor, everything fit. And I was totally surprised what Valve managed to make with the almost nine years old Source engine. “Portal 2” wasn’t looking like a game from the past, it can compete with every other title these days.

Speaking of graphics, “Crysis 2” came out right at the beginning of 2011 and what I did, I denied playing. I said, I only play “Crysis 2” when I have the ability to play it on DX11. Crytek put out a patch with DX11 support and hi-res textures in mid-summer 2011 and I found absolution. My game rig started to sweat by lifting the heavy weight graphics of “Crysis 2”, but hey, there’s a reason why I invest lots of bucks in a high end system and why I’m a passionate PC gamer. Despite all these graphics, “Crysis 2” is a good game, but for me personally, I still prefer its predecessor. Open world and free decisions, you know?

Some great indie games also hit the shelves. One that I totally adored and where I just couldn’t stop playing was “Limbo”. Took me like two or three sessions and I was at the end, or the beginning again. Whatever. “Beat Hazard” was another title that kept me playing for a long time. A download only title called “From Dust” was able to entertain me for several days and nights as well. But what happened next was a series of disappointments.

alice is a bad girl.

It started with the long awaited “Dead Island”, which had more bugs than features. Seriously, the game was almost not playable during the first days and needed lots and lots of patches. My 7.1 noise sound bug hasn’t been fixed till now. It continued with “Rage”, the first id title that, well, I don’t know how to say it. I miss something. It’s not the kind of id game that I actually expected.

My personal heart’s desire “Alice: Madness Returns” will be discussed later in another blog entry.

“Deus Ex: Human Revolution” was a game that is basically good, but it offers lots of moments of frustration as well. I guess, this is the kind of game that you love or hate. At the moment, I’m somewhere in between.

Biggest fail and disappointment of 2011 is definitely “Duke Nukem Forever”. They just should’ve canceled the game or buried it somewhere really, really deep. This shooter is not old school, it’s just ridiculously old-fashioned. I mean, what the f#+k? Seriously? Why? I got the “Balls of Steel Edition” and you totally need balls of steel and also nerves of steel to compete with this terrible game.

I was so happy, that “Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition” made everything right. There’s light, at the end of the tunnel.

But when I take a look on titles like “Battlefield 3” with its evil companion called Origin or the blurry texture fest called “Skyrim” I see black for the end of the game year 2011. My last hope lies on “Batman Arkham City”

Lack of panorama

Everything was better back in the days. I may sound like a creepy, old man but in some cases I find this quotation true. What I want to talk about is the missing panorama in today’s music. Especially rock music made a large amount of steps backwards when you compare the sound engineering of the music of the 70s and the sound engineering that appears today.

Talking about the old songs. Mainly those songs are mixed like you were actually listening to a band that sits around you. The instruments are well separated and you’re able to “locate” them in your room. When you listen to today’s music, all you get is a giant wall of noise that got mixed in high definition without any soul. I personally see the turning point in the late 80s and early 90s. A period where almost everything got sacrificed to giant marketing and commercialism.

Anyone can play guitar

I also think that this change in production came, when the whole recording equipment became better and more capable. Guitarist for instance were able to record multiple tracks to gain a fat sound. The guy on the synthesizer could act like a whole orchestra. And this is the point. Musicians forgot at one specific point how to actually be a musician. They misunderstood the qualities of their instruments.

I wouldn’t say that the music these days became completely bad, but you don’t have many genres where you can listen to music in a way it was originally meant to be. Jazz is one genre that resisted and survived this trend. Rock music in nearly all kinds of sub-genres became a mess. It’s all about building a giant wall of sounds that rolls over the listener.

Maybe this is also one of the reasons why so many bands fail when they have to play live in front of an audience. They cannot reproduce this artificial sound they created in the studio. Maybe, but just maybe, would it be better when some bands might go back a little and try to record their outputs like a band, live in the studio. Or they try to resists using multiple tracks for their instrument just to make it sound fat.

I really would like to see bands to play and record like this. Or maybe I’m just an old, creepy man.

Pedotrophy

“Next station – Child. This life terminates here. Please leave all your personal belongings and don’t look back.

If there’s one discussion that I absolutely hate, it’s the discussion about kids and how they enrich your life. I can’t see how a crying, little midget should enrich my life and bring me pleasure. I also can’t see what’s so cute about a wizened baby with all this slobber around the mouth and the tongue hanging out.

They next period when a child grows up is this walking period and the time where it starts to grab everything, even it was forbidden. You have all these proud adult and mainly parents sitting around, laughing on every “cute mistake” little kiddo makes and you always here excuses like, “Hey, just leave him be. He’s just a kid.

The thing that disgusts me the most these days are mainly the parents breeding nowadays kids. They simply let them do whatever they with the sodding excuse that they are just kids. They don’t have to take care about rules and bans. Whenever I have kids around me my personal stress level instantly hits its peak and brings me to a point of agony. I could punch everyone involved with these kids in their faces. The very rare moments where I actually tried to spent some time with kids ended in a child crying endlessly without any clear reason. Children are so incomplete and stupid.

Another thing is, when you take a look at all these parents, the most of them abandoned their lives for the little kiddos. Some move to bigger apartments, some build houses, some don’t travel anymore, some give up their hobbies. And you always here, “You know, since the kid’s arrived, we don’t have money for this and that.

I give a rat’s ass about children when I have to twist every cent twice and I’m personally nothing else than an empty shell without hobbies or interests. I’ve to admit, I’m a person with hobbies that waste a looot of time, but on the other hand I can’t see why I should give them up for a tiny incomplete.

A lot of people take my opinion as a offense and get terribly annoyed, but we live in a free world and that is my opinion. I hate having children around me and I don’t want to have any of them on my own. Saves time and money and does not stress my nerves so badly.

Whatever the case, maybe I’ll look back one day when I’m old and doting and say, “Maybe I should have known better and should have gotten some kids to give me some company in my pale and dirty chamber.

But that’s another story.

DiRT 3 graphic issues

Some you may remember the post according the graphic issues I had running DiRT 3 in split-screen mode. The solution posted in this post was wrong. The cause for the weird shadow and also the over exposure weren’t Fraps. The issue appears while having “Ambient occlusion” on switch “High”

When you switch to “low” or “ultra” the errors in split-screen mode disappear. Of course will the ultra setting cause a performance decrease, especially on entry and midrange systems. Consider lowering the shadow details if you want to keep ambient occlusion on ultra settings. It could make a difference of almost 15 – 20 per cent if you’re running the game in 1920×1080.

Boredom leading to chicken

Out of boredom I rented a small virtual server to satisfy my technical affinities and needs. Right now it just holds a TeamSpeak 3 server and a very puristic web server. The main goal is some gaming stuff and some technical experiments. It runs on the domain negative-gaming.net

The domain negative-gaming.com is currently under maintenance and will probably host some of the content that you can find here. I’m thinking about outsourcing all the game related content to this website and leave this site here for other tech stuff and trivial, daily life thingys. Actually, I’m not sure what to do. Maybe I’ll do something completely different.

Another site that is currently under maintenance is ChickenDay.net

It launches on November 9 at 01:00am CET and the content of this site is classified for public. Friends of mine already know what this site is about, but like I said – it’s CLASSIFIED!!!

Androidify me

Reading, researching, experimenting, reading, researching and sometimes you fail and sometimes you gain success. Due to the fact that the evenings are getting colder and darker I turned to some more home oriented hobbies. Actually, ninety per cent of my hobbies happen at home, but that’s another story.

Back in the days I hated working on phones and tweak them or whatever. You system memory was ridiculously tiny and the processor was some kind of a joke. Nowadays mobile phones and especially smart phones come up with one or two cores and a clock rate beyond 1,000MHz. And additionally, we were gifted with a RAM that can take more than just 64KB.

My passion are Android phones and the Android operating system. I’ve started with a entry model, a Motorola Backflip MB300. I did a lot of counterproductive to this phone, but it survived without waving the white flag and surrendering. Right now it runs CyanogenMOD 7.1 which is based on Android 2.3.7. This makes this phone pretty bleeding edge and totally bad ass. Anyhow, this phone is slow. Patience is what you need to tweak and hack this ugly thing.

I switched to an HTC Desire S as my new main phone. It also runs CyanogenMOD 7.1. I’m not planning to run a lot of ROMs on this phone. After having struggled so much with the Backflip I want at least one phone that is highly available. My next “big thing” is a Motorola Defy. This will be the phone for my next evil experiments. I’ve found a used one really cheap on Amazon and it’ll hopefully be delivered.

If you want to ask what makes Android so interesting to me, it’s basically the way endless possibilities to customize your phone. On iOS for instance you have one store to get your software. You have only one interface that you can use. If you want to have something special or something the Appstore does not offer, you have to jailbreak your device. The iPad I once had was a jailbreaked one and it was terribly monotone anyway. Appstore alternatives were terrible and most of the apps that should modify the GUI made minor changed not worth to mention.

Windows mobile is not an option. The overall design of and the usability of the phone is decades behind the today’s state of art. As far as I’ve seen the GUI, it’s a giant step backward and far from transparent. I don’t like such things. But discussing this could lead to a discussion like “Windows vs. Linux”

Would lead to nothing and is in the end a matter of taste and user skill. Whatever the case, I’ll hopefully get the Defy pretty soon and experiment with it. I’ll keep you informed about my evil plans.