tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

LOL of the Year

Poor console-to-PC ports are getting annoyingly common these days – Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed (and almost assuredly Prince of Persia since it runs off the same engine) is the most recent one I can think of, but now it looks like Rockstar’s port of Grand Theft Auto IV has joined the club. Apparently the game requires you to be signed in to not only Games for Windows Live, but also something called ‘Rockstar Social Club’ if you want to do any multiplayer matchmaking. On top of that, the performance is terrible, and the game is clearly in a pretty unfinished and buggy state. Here are a few choice quotes from the Steam forums:

“all drivers are upto date and all i get it around 20-25fps, ive spoken to R* about this and they said 20fps is what they class as ‘playable'”

“I am amazed that any company would release a game that requires you to have a computer that can max out Crysis to play it on MEDIUM detail…I would laugh right now if that wasn’t so pathetic.”

“Here’s the problem people have: It doesn’t stack up on the ‘performance to prettiness’ ratio. The visuals are incredibly subpar for the colossal system requirements, and when a rig finally comes along that will run it maxed out at a playable (solid 60) fps; the visuals will be even less impressive when compared to future titles which will not only look better, but run better.”

“I have a 8800GTS 512MB, run crysis on high with no problem, run crysis warhead on highest setting with a solid 30 FPS but in this game I can’t even pick HIGH under texture? The game looks so bad under a benchmark run, there are no detail on the cars, people, the street… I would love to run the game on high and see whats like, with my current setup (Highest setting that I can pick) I average about 38~47 FPS so I see no problem why the hell it won’t let me run the game on high.”

Rockstar’s official explanation is even more pathetic:

Most users using current PC hardware as of December 2008 are advised to use medium graphics settings. Higher settings are provided for future generations of PCs with higher specifications than are currently widely available.

So apparently their engine is so awesome that they included super high resolution textures with the game that can only be displayed on some hypothetical future computer! That must be why they shipped it without SLI support.

One word: BOLLOCKS.

One thing I’ve heard is that the engine is incredibly CPU-intensive (moreso than most Source engine games), and predictably, like so many console-to-PC ports this gen, is terrible at scaling down to single-core processors and, it seems, even dual core processors. But hey, according to Rockstar, it scales up just fine!

On an occasion like this, I would normally rant about how the big publishers treat PC gamers like dirt, but this is honestly way too funny right now. One of Rockstar’s biggest titles, the flagship title for the relaunched Games for Windows Live, has turned into a major embarrassment for Microsoft, Rockstar, Take 2 and SecuROM.

Hopefully the other big publishers are taking notes.

And to top it all off, here’s a hilarious article I found linked off Rock, Paper, Shotgun:


No more excuses

OK, Sonic fanboys. You know how everyone claims that Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 is a bad game? And how so many of you claim that it isn’t really as bad as everyone says it is?

Watch and learn.

I really wish this series of videos had been around last year when I decided to play through the game for myself. I can say with 100% certainty that I experienced just about all the issues they run into (and unleash a torrent of curses at) throughout the entire game.

I recommend the Radical Train videos in particular for their unwashed display of jaw-droppingly bad game design and mechanics.


Yahtzee, free publicist

Yesterday’s Zero Punctuation featured Painkiller, a first-person shooter from 2004 that somehow flew under my radar. He seemed highly appreciative of the fact that it was an FPS cut from the same mold as Doom, Doom II and Serious Sam, with the shooting action being its primary focus. It certainly sounded appealing to me, so I made a note to check it out at some point.

Today, I logged onto the Steam website and beheld the following:

Well, I guess that’s a far better endorsement than anything the major gaming websites could dream up :D



Just got back about an hour ago.

There was a reorganisation of my group at work about a couple of months ago, and our new boss held an “offsite” for us to get together and discuss possible long-term directions for where we wanted to take our group's products. It was a pretty interesting discussion, although I found that I wasn't quite able to contribute in the capacity that I might have wanted to. Afterwards we went out to dinner at some way-too-expensive restaurant while swapping anecdotes…a good time was had by all.

One of my recent obsessions has been BBC comedy panel shows, particulary Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Qi. The former is a music-themed panel quiz show with new guests every week, and the latter is a show devoted to dispelling “general ignorance,” and is hosted by one of my favourite British actors/comedians, Stephen Fry. Both are hilarious when at their best, and have introduced me to a few more interesting personalities like Bill Bailey and Noel Fielding. Unfortunately, since these shows aren't available through any legal avenues in the US (the BBC does do Region 1 DVD releases, but the most recent show they seem to have is the new series of Doctor Who and Torchwood) I have to watch them though…other means.

It's kind of odd that I find shows like that much more entertaining than most of what shows up on American TV…then again, I haven't owned a television subscription for about a year now, so I probably have no right to make the comparision. I never did watch anything more than Scrubs, Mythbusters and Stewart and Colbert when I did, though. I'm probably missing out, but I really can't give a crap. :P

On a somewhat related note, I looked at the Spring anime season lineup, and there is nothing that looks interesting to me. I might watch Code Geass 2 out of boredom (seeing how I wasn't that impressed with the first season), but that's all. Might be a good idea to go out and get some older series on DVD – I already bought a Vision of Escaflowne boxset, so I might look into other old shows like Cowboy Bebop that are available at a reasonable price.

Watching DVDs on my computer is rather a pain, though.

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Something you don't read about often

Police incompetence in Singapore!
Terrorist suspect escapes while in police custody in Singapore

It's always great for your peace of mind when your family lives in the same 700 square kilometre area as an escaped terrorist.

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This is undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of television ever to have been written. Or not written, if you know what I mean.

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