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:


I don’t feel like writing anything today

So here’s a random screencap from Gintama:



Somehow in the space of two hours I have managed to not only leave my cell phone at work, but fill my apartment with smoke. How did I manage the latter, do you ask?

Why, I cooked some instant noodles!

In the microwave.

Without adding water first.

Do you know what you get when you cook flavour powder, dried mushroom, dried rice noodles and oil in a microwave without water? You get a giant block of simmering carbon. And a crapload of smoke.

And my apartment STILL smells like smoke, 3 hours later.

Fun fact: this apartment I’m living is was refurbished after a fire accident prior to my renting it.

I really wish I could say that there was something important on my mind while I was engaging in this minor act of arson, but there really wasn’t…


Electronic Entertainment something or the other

There were only a few things I was looking for out of the gaggle of E3 propaga- er news:

  1. Mirror’s Edge news (this game still looks bloody awesome)
  2. Sonic Unleashed news (hopefully my dreams don’t come crashing down around me)
  3. Any news out of Valve (this had better come to Steam, damn it… and Episode Three details kthxbai)

Blizzard is a no-show because they just held their Worldwide Invitational where this little game called Diablo III was revealed, and where Starcraft II was shown off in a competitive match for the first time.

Anyway, on to the few other tidbits that caught my eye.

Apparently Nintendo has announced some thingamajig that will improve the motion sensing of the Wii remote. How it does this, I have no idea. I’m more concerned about the fact that plugging that thing into the remote seems to preclude the attachment of a nunchuk for smoother aiming in Resident Evil 4.

Microsoft’s presser was largely uninteresting to me since I don’t own an Xbox 360 and they hardly mentioned PC releases. The reaction on the Internet to the news that Final Fantasy XIII would be coming to Xbox 360 has been hilarious, though. It’s a repeat of the NERD RAGE that erupted when Devil May Cry 4 became a multi-platform title instead of a PlayStation 3 exclusive – somehow they feel betrayed because Square Enix decided to widen the game’s potential market. Whatever. I’ve given up on trying to analyse the psychology of lunatic fanboys.

Oh yeah, that two-player co-op in Resident Evil 5 is pretty cool. I doubt I’ll buy it unless that rumoured PC version materialises though. For the life of me, I just can’t aim with a thumbstick at all. Don’t ask why.

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*crosses one more off the backlog*

Finally beat Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition today. Great game overall, with a few things that could be improved (like the repeated boss fight issue I mentioned a while back). It’s off the backlog for now, but I’m definitely going to re-play it with Vergil and on harder difficulties when I get the chance. I stuck mainly to Swordmaster and Gunslinger, too, so I’d like to try out some of the other styles (and weapons) as well.

And at some point I’ll get off my ass and beat the original game as well. For some reason that final Nightmare fight kept kicking my ass.

And of course, I beat the game just in time for my copy of the PC version of Devil May Cry 4 to arrive tomorrow. Woo.

On an unrelated note, I was having some connectivity issues with my desktop last night when I got home from work. I could ping websites just fine, but all other outgoing requests were being blocked. I knew it wasn’t my modem or my router because my laptop (which runs Kubuntu) was able to connect without any problems.

I eventually found out that ZoneAlarm Firewall was blocking all outgoing packets. I shrugged, chalked it up to lousy developers and uninstalled it, restoring connectivity. Nod32 comes with a firewall too, after all.

And then today I read about this, and the fact that I had installed some Microsoft security updates right before leaving for work came to mind.

This line in particular made me laugh:

Mr Rogers said installing it and re-booting his machines fixed all the problems.

He said he could understand Microsoft being reticent with details about the patch given its sensitivity.

“But,” he added “it would seem reasonable for [Microsoft] to test their patch against what is probably the most popular software firewall.”

Of course it’s reasonable. Which is why they probably didn’t do it. :P


A year of lessons

A year and twelve hours ago today, I stepped into the lobby of Pacific Medical Center in Beacon Hill, ready to begin my first real job at Amazon.com. I’ve really come a long way since my first time on call when I accidentally did software deployments in the middle of the day, I think…in particular there’s a lot of stuff that I’ve learned.

  1. Your pager is most definitely not your friend.
  2. Perl is actually quite readable if you squint at it really hard.
  3. Eating lunch at your desk while a dog is in the vicinity is asking for trouble.
  4. Do not bite the hand that provides the free beer and snacks every Friday.
  5. Resist going out for Brazilian food as much as possible.

Obviously, I’m kidding. But I have really learned a lot in the last year…I can’t wait to see what the next will bring.

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[14:57] <@SonicTempest> lol the fan I bought is a lot smaller than I thought it would be
[14:57] <@SonicTempest> it’s like a loli fan
[14:58] <@SonicTempest> it’s powerful enough though
[14:59] <@SonicTempest> so I guess it’s Shana-tan
[15:02] <@SonicTempest> kind of loud though
[15:06] <Hayate> <SonicTempest> kind of loud though  URUCHAI URUCHAI URUCHAI
[15:10] <@SonicTempest> lol

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Best. Achievement. Ever.



Well, crap.

Scientists claim that red has a statistical advantage over blue in online games.

Apparently red causes people to get distracted while they’re playing, reducing their chances of winning. I would say the wins my team has scraped on Goldrush in Team Fortress 2 say otherwise (I usually pick Blue on that map), but Valve’s own statistics disagree: on every map but Gravel Pit, the red team has a higher statistical chance of coming out on top.

Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my loyalties…

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For all the noise nVidia makes about being a champion of PC Gaming, they sure are great at undermining their own cause.

For one, implying that console gamers get incomplete versions of games is bound to piss off more than one Xbox 360 or PS3 owner. Can you really describe the 360 or PS3 versions of a game like Devil May Cry 4 or GRID as inferior to the PC version in terms of quality? On top of that, games ported from consoles to PCs often fail the scalability requirement as I mentioned in an earlier post, simply because developers aren’t willing to put in the effort to make their previously non-scalable engine scale to a sensible variety of hardware.

Not to mention that the claim that PC versions of console games are always better is complete nonsense, mostly due to the second reason I just mentioned.


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