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1  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Guild Wars 2 (official review on pp 21) on: August 31, 2015, 06:44:28 PM

Quote from: Gratch on August 30, 2015, 04:13:47 PM

I've tried to get back into GW2 a couple times, but something in the way they have designed it causes my PC to overheat and shut down after I play for anywhere from 60-90 minutes.  It's the only gam I've ever had this issue with, and apparently it's a known issue with certain components that they've simply ignored.

Bummed, as I'd really like to jump back in with the expansion.
Sorry, man.  icon_frown Wondering if maybe it's some sort of specific video setting option that overheats your GPU?

Part of the reason I finally got that Asus gaming PC I babbled about in the hardware forum is I just couldn't deal with my old HP PC constantly locking up or shutting down in intensive games anymore.

I put in about 4-5 hours on a Warrior in the game -- you know me, can't pass up a class that can do a shield-charge  icon_smile Had a lot of fun. I feel like the 10-hotkey system (with a lot of variance depending on weapon choices, including shield) is right for me as the whole spectacle of 40-60 hotkeys and 5-8 hotkey trays on screen with many mmorpgs I've played is something I found made it really difficult to get back into the game if I went away for a while.

It also so far seems like loot drops at a modest level - which I like - rather than at a pace where I feel like I need to rush back to my stash every 5 minutes (per say, Marvel Heroes, where my inventory seems to flood every 5 minutes). Perhaps it's different later.

The expansion sounds great if extremely endgame-focused, so I'm not sure yet whether I'll be playing enough to get to the endgame. Certainly enjoyed what I played so far. As a "care bear" type, a small thing I enjoy is getting a little XP for rezzing fallen players and NPCs. Got at least one thanks from a rezzed player.

fwiw, I'm playing on the server that has "Madness" in the title.  icon_smile I think Free player accounts (i.e., someone who hasn't purchased the core game) are whisper-limited in some way.
2  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Guild Wars 2 (official review on pp 21) on: August 30, 2015, 02:29:45 PM
Doubt anybody here still plays, but ArenaNet made the core game free to download and play (w/ limitations), in prep for its Heart of Thorns expansion. So I'm finally giving it a whirl.

https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/play-for-free-today/
Quote
Here are the changes we made for free accounts.

First, free accounts start with fewer character slots and bag slots than the paid version of the game. But they still get the full complement of slots as soon as they buy Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns.

Second, free accounts have some chat restrictions and economy restrictions so that they can’t be used to disrupt the game for other players. Free accounts can use local chat and whispers, but not map chat. With whispers, they can both start new conversations and reply to existing conversations but are limited to starting new conversations no more than once every 30 seconds. Free accounts can buy and sell common goods on the trading post. They can’t mail gold or items directly to other players, trade gold for gems, or access guild vaults.

Third, free accounts have some restrictions to prevent them from skipping ahead to places where they could be used to disrupt the game. They must play to level 10 before leaving the starter zones, to level 30 before using LFG, and to level 60 before using World vs. World. They can play PvP immediately but must get to rank 20 before using custom and unranked arenas.

We’ve found in testing that it’s hard to read a list like this and know how it’s going to feel in action. All these changes are live today, so we invite you to see for yourself. Test with a free account and see that it’s the same Guild Wars 2 you know and love; test with a veteran account and confirm that the community is protected.
3  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] Fear the Walking Dead on: August 26, 2015, 05:53:38 PM
I liked Cliff Curtis in the too-short lived (imho) NBC paramedics show Trauma in 2009-10.

I dutifully watched the premiere. I found the junkie son annoying and the daughter character obnoxious. I'm not really sure I want to spend a whole season with those two characters though maybe it's unfair to judge that based on one episode. Most TV critics have only gotten to see the first two episodes, I've read.

The cynic in me finds the show's premise something of an amalgamation of:
-The Brady Bunch and The Odd Couple ("Can these two divorced parents and their surly kids get along in the post-apocalypse without driving each other crazy???")
-Breaking Bad ("Ooooh, the seemingly upstanding citizen-best friend of the junkie is actually
Spoiler for Hiden:
a violent drug dealer. Not that you didn't see that coming from a mile away...
I'll dutifully watch the whole season, I certainly want to embrace it.

I just question whether I'll really want to spend time with these characters, and question just how many seasons they can squeeze out of the "the characters aren't quite sure what's happening yet" angle. I figure at some point a light bulb has to go on, "Oh, this is why people are eating each other!" and then at that point the show needs to stand on something else beyond that and the "let's run around in LA streets, alleys and slums instead of Atlanta woods, roads and train tacks" angle.
4  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Victor Vran - action RPG on: August 09, 2015, 05:16:13 PM
I played this very early on in Early Access. While I had some fun, I ultimately went back to more traditional ARPGs (Grim Dawn in early access, returning to Titan Quest, etc.). I think I just prefer to keep to "click and splurch" basics, and the various ARPGs trying hard to "break" that format and be in theory more innovative, I appreciate it but haven't in the long run enjoyed them as much as more traditional ones fwiw.

I have it installed of course, so certainly I'll re-visit this at some point and see if it's more in my wheelhouse now.  icon_smile
5  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie] Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation on: August 03, 2015, 10:11:20 PM
Saw it at AMC IMAX with a sold-out crowd Friday night. I really, really liked it, and Rebecca Ferguson's just tremendous in it. I think I'd only try to track down posters of her and Hayley Atwell. Fabulous

I love the interplay between all the characters -- the movie's a lot funner than I expected. I'm thinking even if Edge of Tomorrow underperformed at the box office, it taught Cruise that he's more appealing when his character's got opportunities for self-deprecating humor.

I know some complain about Jeremy Renner not being involved enough in the action but essentially he's fighting on Capitol Hill for the right for IMN to continue to exist. I think it's in keeping with the idea he's an analyst more than an agent. Besides, he was probably too busy with his Avengers' duties.  icon_smile

The movie's about 2 hrs 11 minutes but didn't feel that way to me, it's very much a breathless speeding bullet.

Caveats?
-While I think McQuarrie directs vehicular stunt scenes in a really fun way (as in Jack Reacher), I found some of the fisticuff scenes a little claustrophobic at times though I don't think he uses handheld cameras. I mean, I enjoy watching Cruise and Ferguson battling, but sometimes I just couldn't see what was happening. Reminded me a bit of Nolan's Batman film scenes.
-If you can't enjoy summer films enough to get past the perhaps increasing ludicrousness of the "IMF being disavowed" angle over and over, or bad guys not just shooting Ethan Hunt dead when they have the chance over and over, those things could bother you.  icon_smile

-I'm one of the maybe 3 people who consider JJ Abram's MI3 his favorite IM film. I liked it because I felt it finally gave Hunt a back story, a girlfriend/wife, and a life, and then made him fight for all that against a very personal, malicious villain. Audiences obviously disagreed with me (least box office of the 5 films), but I was just a hair disappointed (maybe cause I like Michelle Monaghan) she's not in this at all.\
-No Paula Patton (Ghost Protocol) or Maggie Q (MI3) -- supposedly they declined invitations to return due to scheduling conflicts.
================

While the movie's exceeding expectations at the box office, you can certainly find reviews or comments threads bashing it for this or that. I just very much enjoyed it, plan to take my mom to see it again next weekend. For me only this, Mad Max (haven't gotten to see it a 2nd time but I want to before it's totally out of theaters; a few locally still have it on smaller screens) and Avengers: Age of Ultron tickled my fun factor enough for me to re-enlist.  icon_smile
6  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [TV] AMC's Hell on Wheels on: July 24, 2015, 05:38:51 PM
This show Finally Clicked for Me over the weekend. I stumbled onto the emotional mid-season 3 classic, "Elam Ferguson," -- a gut punch like many a classic Walking Dead episode for me, even though I hardly knew the Hell on Wheels characters at all.

Now I've added it to my Netflix queue and hope to gradually catch up. I guess it's in its final season now (5).
7  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Waning forum usage? on: July 21, 2015, 05:20:19 PM
Yeah some of the forums I used to hang out essentially became barren due to diverging social media options. One old fave is essentially dead now, with no active discussions to speak of. Even the guy who still keeps that forum running no longer posts there, ironically.

I have much affection for GT forums, but gaming-wise it's largely console-focused now and I just don't have anything to share on that aside from the occasional Vita title. It's not much fun talking to oneself about PC games, or about Early Access titles that often nobody but me wants to try until they are "final release candidates."

I miss being into MMOs/mmorpgs as generally such threads were really active in a game's hey day (like with SWOTR around its 2011 release), and those were really the only games where I got to do some co-op play consistently with other GT forum folks - but don't know if I'll get back into those anymore.

I suspect you can expect some inane blabbing from me on the new Star Wars film around December, and Captain America: Civil War closer to next May.  icon_smile
8  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Movie]Ant-Man on: July 21, 2015, 05:10:54 PM
I begrudgingly saw Ant-Man Saturday at a smaller 3-D Regal showing, and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. While I wouldn't say it's as fun/funny as Guardians of the Galaxy, it does feel closer in general vibe to that than the other Marvel movies. I don't think it's on my list of stuff to see a crazy numbers, but I might try to catch it a 2nd time on IMAX.  Bring your own!

While critics are pointing to the "underwhelming" $58M opening weekend as proof Marvel's running out of Steam, that's not far off from the openings for the first Captain America and Thor movies ($65M in each). While I hesitate to call a $130M movie budget modest, Ant-Man's was chicken feed compared to Avengers: Age of Ultron ($250M budget), so I suspect Marvel's expectations for Ant-Man were more modest.

Ant-Man just isn't a comic property with a lot of awareness among non comic book aficionados. I suspect if they do a 2nd film like in 2019-2020 the character will have a lot more awareness -- esp. if he has a key role in the last couple Avengers films -- and probably do better box office, like the Cap and Thor 2nd films did.
9  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Ex-Titan Quest Developers working on a new game: Grim Dawn on: July 07, 2015, 01:27:47 PM

Quote from: Harkonis on July 06, 2015, 04:06:39 AM

TQ definitely had the ability to filter what you see on the ground, I think it was even in by default.  Ctrl was one rarity filter, alt was another and you could change it.  In fact it was the first game to allow this type of loot filter and it was sorely missed by me in other games.  Thankfully most of them have adopted it now.

the loot being shared from all people was a by-product of a feature I loved in TQ that isn't in GD which was that if a critter had special loot, they were usually using it and it showed.  I'd much rather have that than instanced loot.

Multiplayer still worked last I tried it, which was less than a year ago and well after the gamespy demise.  
Thanks for the item filtering tip. Sorry that I haven't played TQ in 8 years and didn't remember that.  icon_smile

GD still has keys for filtering common and "no filter," doesn't have the "filter broken items" key as TQ did.

I don't know what the TQ multiplayer situation was a year ago. If you try to pull up the game browser now, you get a blank list still saying "powered by Gamespy," and a "Network problems detected" message. While the game supports LAN, it didn't support, say, direct IP connection afik, so I don't know how you'd connect anyone without resorting to some sort of 3rd party online game networking software (a modern Kali if you will).
10  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Ex-Titan Quest Developers working on a new game: Grim Dawn on: July 07, 2015, 01:18:33 PM
Shaman (6th mastery) officially announced:
http://www.grimdawn.com/forums/showthread.php?p=247322#post247322

Focused on two-hand melee and lightning powers.
11  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Revisiting Titan Quest and Immortal Throne on: July 06, 2015, 10:24:42 PM
So after getting a couple characters to complete Act 3 of Grim Dawn, I finally decided to revisit this.

A few things I missed:
-Full professional voiceovers for virtually every NPC in the game. Not just quest-givers, but lots of plain old NPCs throughout the game. I have no idea how much that cost, I understand Grim Dawn skipping that (it was listed as a high-end Kickstarter goal by Crate, so its not like they didn't give it some thoughts), and I also understand most people playing ARPGs are going to skip voicovers, especially long ones. But I did miss that aspect of TQ.

-Colorful, real-world locations with widely varying environments and all sorts of distinctive architecture.

-Colorful, memorable bosses taken from Greek mythology.

-Having a ranged weapon mastery (bows).

A few things I didn't miss:
-Rebirth fountains, which function more like checkpoint saves than useful teleportation waypoints.

-Having to click on every single little thing in the game (no auto-collection).

-Environment design that often has you often moving LOOOOOOONG stretches encountering nothing, to get somewhere where you'll battle stuff. Some of the indoor dungeons feel like you're moving a half mile through a Pac-Man maze to find anything to fight.

-Basically, all the stuff Crate appended to the Titan Quest engine to make it more convenient (auto-collection of coins and potions) and more configurable (UI scale slider etc.).  icon_smile Not really a complaint though. Without Titan Quest, there IS no Grim Dawn.  icon_smile

I also remember that TQ didn't seek an M rating so it was very antiseptic and gore-free in its combat (chopping Automotons into metal parts seemed the closest). Which works fine for me. GD is geysers of gore and floods of blood (though you can turn that off in options).
12  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Star Citizen, space combat simulation game (Chris Roberts' latest) on: July 06, 2015, 07:11:36 PM
Some Star Citizen hulabaloo about a couple prominent executives (including a former Blizzard executive hired in 2013) leaving:
http://www.pcinvasion.com/star-citizen-executive-producer-alex-mayberry-departure-confirmed

Though I find the idea of referencing a Derek Smart (?!) blog post criticizing another developer's handling of a game and its release the most hysterical thing I've ever heard.  icon_lol Pot calling kettle...  smirk It would be like me criticizing someone else for eating too many cookies.  icon_razz
13  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Ex-Titan Quest Developers working on a new game: Grim Dawn on: July 05, 2015, 09:45:30 PM
I was chatting on Steam with Engine 9 about some of the technical/gameplay/convenience differences between Grim Dawn (which uses and then builds upon/tweaks the Titan Quest engine) and Titan Quest, which I finally got on Steam (TQ Gold) yesterday so I could try to get back into it. Though hopefully avoiding Titan Quest Tendinitis as in 2007  paranoid icon_razz

A few differences...

Rifts (Grim Dawn) vs. Rebirth Fountains and Portals (Titan Quest):
Grim Dawn:
-L key drops a two-way Rift (portal) anywhere in the game world.
-The portal remains open if you die.
-The portal remains open when you return from village/town etc. until the next time you cast a Rift. I like this feature because it's easy to forget to recast the portal.

Titan Quest:
-L key drops a two-way Rift (portal) anywhere in the game world.
-The portal CLOSES if you die. You can restore from the most recent Rebirth Fountain you touched, but this can be WAAAAAAAy far away from your "death point."
-The portal CLOSES when you return from village/town etc. You can still drop a portal here or there as a safe point to run to. But since when you die, your portal closes and you're zipped to a Rebirth Fountain, getting back to the location you were at can be a hassle (if yer dead  icon_razz).

======================================
Camera View Rotation:
Grim Dawn:
-Hotkey lets you rotate the camera view as you see fit (or, you can ignore the feature). However, it's very easy to completely lost your orientation with the map. Currently there's no "default rotation" hotkey, so I tend to favor just making moderate camera rotation adjustments.

Titan Quest:
-No camera rotation.

======================================

Scaling UI (button sizes, text sizes of the quest tracker etc.)
Grim Dawn:
-A UI scaling slider in options lets you simply adjust the size of the interface and the quest text as you see fit. I keep mine pretty large due to terrible vision.  icon_smile I love this, and it means even at the highest resolutions you can adjust the UI to what's comfortable for your eyes.

Titan Quest:
-No UI scaling option. I couldn't play TQ at my desktop rez (1920X1080); the buttons and text are too tiny, even if the game's graphics look swell at that rez. Many people have much higher resolutions today, and I just can't imagine playing it at super high rez resolutions unless players made some sort of UI scaling mod to allow for that.

===================================
Auto-Loot Pickup:
Grim Dawn:
-Per Diablo 3, GD has some auto-loot pickup. Currently, health potions, energy potions (mana) and iron coins (gold) are automatically picked up if you move into the near vicinity of them. I like how it works, and of course you still have mounds of items to click on so it's not like you're lazy.  icon_smile

Titan Quest:
-As with say, original Diablo, you have to laboriously click on everything -- gold, potions, items. It's really old-school.  icon_razz

==================================
Loot Visibility Settings
Grim Dawn:
-A simple drop-down menu lets you choose whether to "see" items on the ground of X quality and better. I set mine to just show Magic+, but others prefer to only see the really Good Stuff. I think you still need to sell a fair amount of trash to cover expenses.  icon_smile

Titan Quest:
-Loot not visible on the ground -- you had to use ALT key, which then displayed EVERYTHING on the ground.

===================================
Instanced Loot
Grim Dawn:
-Default setting for multiplayer is "instanced loot" so there's no battling for items or click-contests for items. If you're a masochist and prefer that, you can enable the option as host.  icon_smile A simple icon on the game browser shows you at a glance whether it's "instanced loot" or "free for all loot."

Titan Quest:
-No instanced loot, at least as far as I can remember. It's a moot point since "Powered by Gamespy's" demise essentially meant the end of multiplayer for Titan Quest though I've read about some hardcore fans at least trying to find ways to still play it in multiplayer.

=========================
Components (gem-like things for upgrading)
Grim Dawn:
-Added some builds ago, a simple inventory button auto-combines any components in inventory for you.

Titan Quest:
-No auto-combining. Not really a hassle in the early going, but as you pile up the upgrade components, it can be laborious to keep combining them manually.
14  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Ex-Titan Quest Developers working on a new game: Grim Dawn on: July 03, 2015, 10:13:33 PM
Stay classy, Crate!  smirk


I got re-addicted (had put maybe 93 hours into GD but hadn't played in many months) to GD, wanting to try Act 3 and see all the improvements and additions I've missed. Gotten my Soldier/Demolitionist (primarily Soldier) character and my Demolitionist each to L35. Cap's now 50. I've yet to play on Veteran mode, but certainly at times Act 3 certainly keeps me on my toes.  paranoid I've had people join my game and apparently decide after our various butt kickings that they aren't up to a challenge. Or I'm just laggy.  icon_smile

My Demolitionist found a Marauder Set Belt which enables dual-pistol usage, and that's been fun. I still find Soldier's Blitz (charge, with or without a shield smash at the end) so much fun. The game doesn't have a full Shield line of abilities as in Titan Quest and maybe with my infamous Titan Quest Tendinitis (which I tended to blame on using shield attacks that didn't do enough damage and thus required a lot of hotkey spamming), that's not a bad thing.

I'll share some screenshots/videos later, I'm trying to avoid bosses, key storyline details (it's not Shakespeare but surprises are surprises right?), stuff but I think it's fair to showcase the general Act 3 environs and some basic enemies.

Factions now come into play. You work your way to Respectability with one and then you can buy pricey items from the Faction vendors.

Maybe just be because I can finally run the game with all details cranked up, but it looks much snazzier than I remember, at least in terms of animations, auras and certain character models. I'm sure they can only improve a 10-year old engine so much, but I enjoy how it looks today vs. maybe a year or two back.
15  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 26, 2015, 03:50:53 AM
Don't faint, but... an interview by someone other than IGN  smirk

E3 2015: XCOM 2 interview
http://www.gamingnexus.com/Article/4845/E3-2015-XCOM-2-interview/
16  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 22, 2015, 12:41:08 PM
Game Trailers' E3 impressions:
http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/i3zxo0/xcom-2-xcom-2---e3-2015-impressions
-Mostly just talking heads.
17  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Office/Task Chairs on: June 21, 2015, 01:02:55 PM

Quote from: Lee on June 20, 2015, 04:45:31 PM

I have that chair, except green cloth. I despise it. I still use my old, falling apart chair that it was was supposed to replace because I find it so uncomfortable. I have tried to get used to, but after an hour I just can't handle it anymore. The main reasons: the seat part is way too short, so it doesn't give full support to your thighs; the chair is too narrow (I am 175lbs, 6'); the armrests are padded with hard rubber which is very uncomfortable. I do really like the full size, mesh back. I am considering just giving mine to Good Will.

Congrats on the new chair though! icon_wink They seem to be quite popular, so it's probably just me.
Are you sure you have the same model chair? IKEA's two MARKUS cloth models are only available in grey and dark grey -- no green model's offered (though I see a blue one in a catalog picture):
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90289172/

Maybe you have the FLINTAN/NOMINELL? That has a ventilated back, comes in a turquoise (green color) and has hard rubber armrests:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S19122450/#/S69122481

On the Markus (leather version), I'm 6'4", about 220 and if anything the seat is too wide for me. Seat bottom I guess is a personal preference.  icon_smile

On the leather model, the armrests are thickly padded and covered with soft leather, not rubber. They're extremely comfortable. I think the cloth MARKUS models have "hard" armrests, so I wouldn't recommend those models in part because of that.

IKEA has a 90-day return policy:
http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/customer_service/return_policy/index.html

So even if disassembling could be a pain, I'd encourage you to return it for a refund if it hasn't been 90 days since purchase. If you bought it online and can't get to an IKEA store to return it, they offer a pickup service for returns (a delivery fee might be involved but it beats getting stuck with an uncomfortable chair or dumping it at Goodwill for nothing  icon_smile).
18  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Office/Task Chairs on: June 20, 2015, 03:19:09 PM
My 1996 Staples desk chair, fine in its day, was literally disintegrating and getting uncomfortable and even downright gross (which I didn't notice until dismantling it to place in dumpsters yesterday), so my mom treated me to a new IKEA desk chair I picked out during a visit yesterday:

MARKUS desk chair ($199)
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90289172/#/00103102

Package Observations


*While the box is about 50 lbs and somewhat long, I had no trouble fitting it in the back seat of my old Toyota Corolla (also 1996, also in need of replacement soon  icon_smile)
*The box is just barely an L-shape. We thought this was strange when picking it up in the warehouse, but ultimately it makes it much easier for one person to carry the box as you have a "midpoint" to hang onto.

=============================
Assembly Observations


*While I've had some IKEA bookshelf assembly nightmares -- usually due to me doing something backwards and/or not quite comprehending the icon/drawing-based assembly instructions -- I found assembling MARKUS relatively smooth and easy, and no tools needed beyond the relatively large hex wrench included in the box. While they recommend not assembling it solo, I did it OK by myself.
*The wheels just pop in. As does the main "pole" into the 5-spoke wheels platform.
*Only key is to read the instruction drawings closely to make sure you know when to use the shorter or longer bolts.

==============================
MARKUS OBSERVATIONS

*

*I went with the slightly more expensive leather model (grey and dark grey cloth models are $20 cheaper at $179.99) as it simply felt sturdier to me in the store then the grey and dark grey cloth models. I think this will also be easier to clean than the cloth model -- unless I pour milk on it or something.  icon_razz My old Staples chair built up a lot of cat hair and food crumb gunk on the fabric and it was difficult to clean. Seems like with the faux leather you can just wipe with a damp cloth from time to time -- IKEA does sell a leather care kit too.

*Seat adjustment is limited to:
-adjustable "recline" position (flip left lever down; recline to desired position; flip left lever back up to "lock" position).
-adjustable height (flip right lever up; adjust height; drop right lever back down to "lock" height -- the default lowest position works best for me)
-adjustable (I think?) "weight adjustment." The, um, graphically-shaped  smirk dial-knob below the seat, front, seems to adjust seat reclining "tension" to suit different weights. I say "seems," as I can't totally understand the owner's manual on that one point. Since it shows a small lead weight and a big lead weight in the seat, I'm guessing that's what it means.  confused

*Ventilated back to keep you from getting sweaty shirt syndrome during marathon gaming sessions.  icon_smile I would point out that the leather seat may cause "sweaty fanny" syndrome -- you might still put a thin cushion or, well, something that ventilates or absorbs moisture there.  icon_razz

*Lumbar support built-in. While I love it, a pal on Steam said he removed the back-support because he found it uncomfortable. It's not mentioned in the manual afik, but I guess that's an option, I'm just not clear how one does that.

*If you're tall like me (6'4"), you'll dig the tall seatback and padded headrest. If you're shorter, I'm not sure you would benefit from it, though I wouldn't think it would be a bad thing per se.

Also, the first time I spun this chair, it knocked down the lamp behind me and jerked it out of a nearby outlet.  icon_redface So if you get a chair with a big honking, curved seatback like this, you need to examine the area behind your chair to make sure you won't knock things down when you recline or spin.  icon_smile

*The armrests are metal frames, fastened by two bolts each, and the armrests themselves are thickly padded and comfortable. This was crucial to me because the armrests on my 1996 Staples chair were rubber and literally were crumbling (!) the last several years. They also were fastened from under the chair by four screws each and I kept needing to tighten them over the years. Hopefully not the case with MARKUS.  icon_cool

*Wheels are billed as working well on all surfaces, and I can vouch they roll surprisingly well on a medium-pile carpeted surface.
19  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Jurassic World on: June 18, 2015, 08:53:51 PM
Finally caught this on AMC IMAX today on my day off.

imho, Trevvorow totally brings it with all the action stuff (impressive for someone with one little indy film to his credit). I had a great time.

However, I found almost all the characters annoying, obnoxious, unappealing, unmemorable or some combination thereof. Because of that, I don't think I'd sit through this again. I'll often see summer movies 3-5 times if I love the characters and spending time with them. I really don't want to spend more time with most of the JW characters.

I say "almost" because Chris Pratt just seems to have enough charisma/appeal to remain appealing regardless of the screenplay.

I loved Vincent D'Onofrio in the Netflix Daredevil series in part because he got so many dimensions to play. In JW he's basically a one-note yammering, less entertaining take off on Paul Reiser's character in Aliens. Even the doomed lawyer in Jurassic Park was more 3-dimensional.

Actually, huge setpiece swatches of the movie riff on Aliens and Predator. I didn't mind. I think lots of my favorite films are like a "mash up" of other film ideas I've enjoyed.

Yeah yeah it's summer but going right back to Jaws in 1975, if you get to know and love the characters, then when they're in peril, it's just that more gut wrenching. When it's characters that are mostly just annoying, one-dimensional or underwritten, it's just not the same.

Also seems ludicrous for the lead female character to run around in spiked heels (in a park full of dirt and gravel???) for the DURATION of the movie.  Roll Eyes I mean, I know Kate Capshaw is Spielberg's wife, but did they really need to dig up a Willy Scott character again?  icon_razz

All that said, I had a great time, and ate a couple hot dogs, and enjoyed my day off with a fun film.  icon_smile
20  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 18, 2015, 05:27:52 AM
First XCOM 2 Gameplay Footage from E3:
http://www.ign.com/videos/2015/06/16/first-xcom-2-gameplay-footage-ign-live-e3-2015
21  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Computer for a 76-year old PC-phobic grandma? :) on: June 17, 2015, 01:59:44 PM
Some pix:

Da box


Da box within da box  icon_smile


Unboxing. While the aluminum is cool-looking, it picks up fingerprints like a... well, magnet.  icon_razz

*NOTE: Because it doesn't have an ethernet port, the box includes a USB ethernet port adapter in case you need to connect directly rather than WiFi.

While it's certainly MacBook Air inspired/clone-ish, it's very generous with ports -- three USB 3.0 ports (one right side; two on left), a micro HDMI and an SD card reader. And a USB ethernet adapter in the box (per above).


Excellent chicket-style full-size keyboard (my mom was comfortable typing on it right away; as was I  icon_smile). She had used my wireless Apple keyboard a bit other day when I brought my iPad over -- this convinced me she'd like the Asus's similar keyboard design.

*Some keyboard points may turn some folks off -- the power button is tucked in the right corner rather than separate. fwiw, she and I in heavy use yesterday, and she's using it today, have never accidentally hit the power button.

And the cursor keys and delete key are much tinier than on the Logitech illuminated I use at home. I don't use DEL that much or cursor keys for that matter but could be an issue if you use those often.

As far as heat issues in a fanless laptop design -- I had it on and charging at home for maybe 5 hours or so yesterday afternoon. It did for a time get a little bit heavy-warm on the bottom backside, but the lid, keyboard and front touchpad side kept cool. I doubt it'll be any sort of issue for my mom for the modest things she'll use it for.

If I've created a monster and she starts using it for heavy-gaming, then we might need to invite in a pad with fans in it but would defeat the purpose of a fanless, quite design imho.  icon_razz
22  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Computer for a 76-year old PC-phobic grandma? :) on: June 17, 2015, 01:45:29 PM
Say hello to my now 79-year-old mom's new computer, which I got from Micro Center yesterday:

Asus Zenbook UX305 (the cheaper $699 1920X1080 rez version):
https://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabooks/ASUS_ZENBOOK_UX305/

My Asus gaming PC has really sold me on solid state drives so I wanted to get her one that had that. This model is fanless, so it generates no noise whatsoever (she's got enough things buzzing in her house already). The matte black screen makes it essentially immune to glare from sun and obnoxious lights, and our old house is full of the latter.

This isn't a touchscreen model. I looked at a $899 model that adds a touchscreen, Gorilla glass screen and backlighting but was surprised to generally read more complaints about that model. My mom has gnarly fingernails and just seems to lack "finger precision" when it comes to touchscreens. Got her a wireless mouse instead.

For all the grief Windows 8 (8.1 on this) gets, I like the Tile system for her. I spent hours yesterday (I'm on vacation this week, but yesterday felt like work) just configuring and resizing tiles she can click to the handful of programs she uses, including ancient Yeah Write by the original makers of WordPerfect. I was able to move over her old emails and address book from Outlook Express though she's carping about Windows Live Mail looking different.

I got her indocrinated on using it last night. While her rusty mouse skills need some work, and I need to tweak mouse sensitivity/speed settings more (she maneuvers her mouse like a drunken sailor  icon_razz), I think she liked using the laptop right away. I also spent a lot of time upsizing fonts and adjusting the default IE zoom setting to accommodate her poor vision. While Windows 8 has a cool magnifying glass feature, I don't find it intuitive how to toggle OFF the magnifier so I don't know that she'd be at ease using it.

While I think it's a wonderful laptop, steal for the price, I wouldn't recommend it for gaming since it uses a low-energy Intel Core M processor. This gives it terrific battery life (rated up to 10 hours, I suspect real-world use maybe closer to like 8 or so) but not going to tackle higher end games and stuff. Other pricier Zenbooks use Core i7 and the like but the battery life seems quite a bit shorter. I think this would be ideal for students and biz folks who travel a lot, just so easy to carry.


For all this I have to thank the latest disastrous owner of her dialup service she'd used since 2000. The once fine local service was acquired by Purespeed Internet about 10 years ago, and her dial-up speed gradually declined from acceptable (about 43-48K via her 56K-rated modem) to sluggish (like 14,400 speeds) to unaccepable (7,200 at last measure). Latest owner DelMarva Online of Maryland stopped providing live tech support for dial-up accounts recently, and her email stopped working. I tried all sorts of experiments on the hand-me down PC she was using (my old 2004 Compaq on Windows XP) and failed. Nobody answers their phones, and she's sending snail mail to see if she can officially cancel her account.

So I finally said the heck with it, and we went to a Cox Cable store to add the lowest cost cable internet option to her bundle. Technically she'll get a $19.99/mo price for a year, which is pretty outstanding, even for the low-end tier.

Had a bit of a Marty Mcfly listening to Doc Brown encounter with the Cox rep, who was trying to explain to me how to connect a router to her existing cable phone modem (which is also an Internet modem - he just needed to send it an 'enable' commend from the office) to add Wi-Fi. They had a Netgear brand there on sale (which is my favorite router brand now due to ease of installation) so I got that set up and for now at least she'll just connect wirelessly via the laptop.

She had the old PC set up in an upstairs bedroom that was just always too hot in summer and too cold in winter. So I think she's happy this laptop is so light she can just move it wherever she wants. I'm desperately trying to convince her to let us get her a very modest desk that maybe has an adjustable height (her scoliosis is making her shorter than she already is). We just literally don't have a desk or table that's the right height for her to comfortably use a computer of any kind.

And when she argued in favor of me getting a used PC or giving her another hand-me-down or apparently some garbage out of the dumpster  icon_razz, I said "NO! Let me pick out something I think you'll enjoy using!" icon_smile Now I looked at many different models and brands, and originally I wanted to get her a 15-17" screen, thinking it'd be easier on her eyes. But this 13.3", with the font and zoom settings adjusted, works well for her. I only wish MS let us upsize the text on the tiles is all. She seems fine with it, and I think she's getting used to the idea of focusing on the icon visuals on the tiles, rather than the images.  icon_smile
23  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battlefront 3 finally announced! on: June 16, 2015, 11:02:36 AM

Quote from: forgeforsaken on June 15, 2015, 10:38:35 PM

One question I had, all the rebel allies have blue names except one, who's name is in yellow/gold. Any idea what that signifies?  icon_smile The "fish-face" guy (I forget the race -- it's the one who's Lando's co-pilot late in Return of the Jedi  icon_smile) at the 20 second mark has the yellow/gold name, while every other rebel's name is in blue.

They also released co-op footage at E3 (Survival Mode on Tatooine):
https://youtu.be/lg_ht2GfQJU
*Seems like a fun mix of defending incoming objectives from X numbers of incoming Imperial attack waves. So it's not staying in one place period, it seems more like encouraging you to move through the environment for the next objective and then defending (there might be more to it than that, just that's what we seem to see in the vid). Site explains it as:
Quote
Survival

Hold off waves of Imperial forces including AT-STs, TIE Fighters, elite stormtroopers and more. Experience a different Survival mission on every planet.
I just hope the PC version includes online co-op too -- the vid shows a splitscreen view near the end (i.e., local on console).
24  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] Steam revises refund policy! (in a good way) on: June 14, 2015, 02:26:38 AM
In case folks are wondering how this Steam refund policy works with gifts:

*Engy 9 kindly gifted me Wolfenstein: The New Order. Too motion sicky for me even on 100 FOV setting.

*I went to Steam Support, searched for the game name.
*Chose "The game is not what I expected" (something like that)
*Prompted me to click a checkbox that "gives the original purchaser of the gift the option to request a refund"
*Then you're prompted to then notify that gift-purchaser he may request a refund. Steam won't automatically notify that person afik.

Here's the text:
Quote
Request a refund for a gift
Gift purchases may be refunded by the purchaser if you agree to the refund. If granted, this product will be removed from your account.

Check the box below if you agree the purchaser can request a refund. Read more about our Refund Policy.
*Allow the original purchaser of this gift to request a refund

Now you can let the original gift purchaser know they can request a refund through the Support site.

So I think that's pretty cool, but I confess the process wasn't exactly intuitive to me. I was worried it was a Catch-22 scenario where "the gift purchaser no longer owns the game," and "the gift recipient didn't spend money on the game and so has no refund to ask for," and the game once installed "is no longer a gift."  icon_razz Thankfully, they resolved the Catch-22...

Update: Later last night Steam popped up a pop-up window informing me I'd given permission to the person gifting the Wolfenstein game to get a refund for it. You click a button to confirm you read the notification before Steam closes the pop-up window.

I still think what's not-intuitive is the process/wording. It's not simply looking for a button labeled, "I want to return this game for a refund," it's digging through the Support section and choosing "this game isn't what I expected." I'm not sure most folks would even know the actual refund request option is sort of hidden beyond that choice. I'd either word it differently or put "What we mean is 'REQUEST REFUND'" in big neon letters in parentheses.  icon_razz
25  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Post Your Steam Summer Sale Loot Here! on: June 14, 2015, 02:23:14 AM
OK on Wolfenstein, I didn't understand how gifting works with the new Refund Policy. If you go into Steam support and click the "it's not what I expected" option, you're prompted to click a checkbox that allows the original gift-buyer to request a refund. The original gift-buyer spent the money, so that's the person that can get a refund if you don't want/can't play (my motion sickness case) the game.

I'll mention this in the Steam refund policy thread. It wasn't what I'd call an intuitive understanding on my part.  icon_smile
26  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Post Your Steam Summer Sale Loot Here! on: June 13, 2015, 03:12:30 PM
-Infested Planet (overhead squad of space marines vs. thousands of aliens, by one-man dev team)
-Wild Frontera (strangely languid wild west twin-stick shooter)
-Anamoly ("reverse" squad/tower defense game from a few years ago)

Pondered Pillars of Eternity, but in retrospect I never enjoyed Baldur's Gate and its ilk (even though I did get that and Icewind Dale in the day) as much as my pals did. I support everything isometric though, so...

Turn-based Valkyria Chronicles is on sale but I find the videos puzzling, and not sure it's something I'd like or not.

And a certain Engine kindly gifted me Wolfenstein: The New Order so I could test whether playing it made me motion sick even at the full (100) FOV. And I confirmed this morning that it made me debilitatingly (is that a word?) ill after 5 minutes of play this morning.  puke

It's the thought that counts though!  icon_biggrin And at least I know that Killing Floor 2 remains the only FPS I can play for long periods with no motion sickness whatsoever. I'm not sure why. It's frustrating to be able to play that for hours on end, no motion sickness (and I'm constantly running, spinning, moving backwards, going in circles in it); and everything else FPS makes me sick in 5 minutes or less. Sorry, I digress...  icon_smile
27  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: E3 Games you care about on: June 11, 2015, 04:32:06 PM

Quote from: forgeforsaken on June 11, 2015, 03:23:46 PM

Basically the stuff we don't know about yet is what I'm interested in finding out about.
This reminds me that what I'd be most excited about is something original, no Roman numeral or number in the title, that creates its own successful genre. Whereupon said game will get lots of sequels with Roman numerals and numbers until the originality is metaphorically beaten to death, while other devs/publishers frantically attempt to copy it until the newly created genre becomes tiresome and oversaturated.

But that first game that starts that inevitable process -- I hope there's at least one game like that at E3.  icon_smile
28  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: E3 Games you care about on: June 11, 2015, 01:19:22 AM
Maybe XCOM2 and Star Wars: Battlefront.

E3 has a site that lists all the games/products that will be at the show:
https://www.e3insider.com/products-games-list/

If the FOV slider moves up high enough (per Killing Floor 2's 125%), Space Hulk: Deathwing (Warhammer FPS) might appeal to motion sick-prone me:
https://www.e3insider.com/game/space-hulk-deathwing
29  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Marvel + Netflix = Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessic Jones, Defenders on: June 10, 2015, 03:03:05 AM
Hmmm, THAT guy seems familiar...  icon_cool

DAREDEVIL Season 2: Jon Bernthal Set as The Punisher
http://collider.com/daredevil-season-2-jon-bernthal-is-the-punisher/

*By the way, Transformers and "writers room" is an oxymoron -- they can make $1B on every horrific sequel because international audiences devour everything CGI, no writing is necessary -- and I'm utterly mortified/mystified Daredevil losts its showrunner to such a Thing.  Roll Eyes
30  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 09, 2015, 01:11:39 AM
XCOM 2's Exciting Modding Potential
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/08/xcom-2s-exciting-modding-potential-ign-first
Quote
Either day-and-date with XCOM 2’s November launch or soon thereafter, Firaxis intends to release a full suite of modding tools – an Unreal Development Kit (UDK) and the editor the developers use to create content – that will enable modders to run wild with XCOM 2. “It's yours now; do with it what you want.”
...
“People will see the gameplay source, all the scripting,” he promised. “This is the code that makes the game what the game is. Here's the editor and all the assets that went into this game.”

That’s all music to the ears of modders and fans of modding alike – especially since XCOM 2 will have Steam Workshop integration to make browsing, downloading, and installing the mods talented people create a one-click process.
...
When asked what kind of XCOM 2 mods they expect to see, the team had a few ideas:

“We don’t have free-aiming. That will be one of the first mods, and that certainly will be fine,” said Solomon. “Maybe somebody will bring back time units,” he mused. “I'd be fine with that.”

Art Director Greg Foertsch had some words of encouragement for map makers: “If you want to make a completely static level, you can. If you want to make a basically completely procedural level - which is basically what our levels are in the game right now, that's 100% doable. It could be narrow; it could be square. It could be super big. And, again, it's super flexible. There's really no limit – you can do whatever you want. You could literally make an Enemy Unknown map.”
31  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: ARK: Survival Evolved on: June 07, 2015, 01:05:26 PM
Destructor asked me about it. While Killing Floor 2 (due mainly to its FOV slider going to 125%, and a couple helpful tips from GT folks here) doesn't give me motion sickness at all, most FPSs do, so I've steered clear of this. I guess I'd need to know if it has a wide FOV slider setting. Or, I dunno, if this is strictly PC maybe FOV is less of an issue for the motion sicky like myself?

While I've played lots of Early Access titles, I wish Steam would like categorize such titles into stuff like:
-"Polished and Seemingly Bug-Free, but Far To Go on more Content Volume/Variety" (I would put KF2 into that category -- imho it needs at least one more boss in the mix and still maybe another level set or two before I can fully recommend it, just from a variety in the repetition standpoint)

-"Dev Not Sure What it Wants Game to Be so It Keep Tearing the Game Up from the Skids and Remaking it Into Something Else (DieselStormers comes to mind)

-"Essentially Abandoned/Dead in the Water (titles where, say, a key programmer quits and development has stopped but Steam insists on continuing to sell the game anyway -- see Recruits).

Some games are in Early Access so long that by the time they "launch" per se it seems like most of the player-base has moved on. And after getting burned on Recruits, I'm not sure I want to support tiny 2-3 person dev teams where in most cases one person's departure essentially dooms the game.

While I've bought my share of Survival games, I don't generally understand the appeal of dying of thirst, starvation, freezing, overheating, bankruptcy in a game. I worry enough about money, food, survival in real life - I don't want that in a game. I want to have no worries of that nature in a game at all.  icon_smile
32  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 06, 2015, 01:52:42 PM
IGN set up a wrap-up page of all its XCOM2 details this week:

XCOM 2: Everything You Need to Know
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/01/xcom-2-everything-you-need-to-know-ign-first

I do question how useful this "IGN exclusive everything" is to Firaxis marketing-wise. Wouldn't you want to reach out to a bunch of gaming news sites, including some of the few remaining PC games-focused sites (Rock, Paper, Shotgun; or PC Gamer, for example)? Oh, what do I know.  retard I know they tossed out a press release for the masses.
33  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 05, 2015, 05:24:57 PM
IGN's last couple updates this week:

XCOM 2’S Procedurally Generated Maps
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/04/xcom-2s-procedurally-generated-maps-ign-first
Quote
‘So,’ we said, ‘How do we resolve this problem?’” [hand-crafted maps in XCOM EU eventually becoming predictable] The answer is what the team literally calls “the plot and parcel system,” and what DeAngelis refers to as “a big quilt.”
...
Here’s how the metaphor works: imagine a map in XCOM 2 as a quilt, with holes where a pre-constructed modular building will be placed – those are the parcels. The holes are big, small, and medium-sized, with a range of unique buildings that could fit into each size. These buildings, and the holes in which they’re socketed, are the parcels of the system.
...
The plot portion of that system comes into play in the space between our buildings. At the risk of mixing our metaphors, think of the plots as the connective tissue that links one parcel to the next. The plots could be a street, or a park area, or train tracks, or a river bed, or an empty tract of land, et cetera. When you begin a mission, the map reaches into a bank of options and fills it up.
...
Each chunk of each plot will be procedurally generated from an appropriately themed bank of around 20-ish possible dioramas, and so on so forth. This is how XCOM 2 will generate a near-endless supply of maps, and how you’ll likely never play the same one twice.
...
For the first time, your squad will not only be tasked with exterminating the aliens in the area, but secondary mission objectives which will cater to the procedurally generated settings. “It might be blowing up one of these buildings to spark the resistance,” Foertsch said. “It might be hacking a workstation, or protecting a device. All these different things you can do that can show up and in dozens of different buildings and areas. And you don't know what you're going to get.
I read it as they still wanted their artists to handcraft things like buildings and structures, but give the map tech enough sense to choose from a pool of those when generating a level, and then stitch them together with pathing, roads etc. in a way that's "randomized but makes sense."

Why XCOM 2 had to be PC Exclusive
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/05/why-xcom-2-had-to-be-pc-exclusive?utm_source=IGN%20hub%20page&utm_medium=IGN%20(front%20page)&utm_content=1&utm_campaign=Coverstory
*Don't expect this to pacify console-only players any more than PC-only players when devs explain why title X "has to be console only."  icon_smile
Quote
A focus on PC was the only way to make the XCOM 2 that Creative Director Jake Solomon and his team envisioned when they sat down to talk after completing Enemy Unknown. “When we looked at what we wanted to do with the sequel, we had all these very, very ambitious goals,” said Solomon. On his must-have list were high-fidelity characters and environments, better-looking destruction, physically based rendering, and the crown jewel he’d wanted to get into Enemy Unknown but couldn’t: procedurally generated maps. “To do that, we had to use all of our studio expertise … and our expertise here is PC. That's our home, and that's where we're really comfortable.”

Focusing all of Firaxis’ efforts on the PC made logistical sense to DeAngelis, too. “Internally, with a relatively small team for the size of the game that we are, to be able to say we can focus on our platform that the studio has a pedigree for, and that X-COM: UFO Defense has a pedigree for, as PC-only... it just made a lot of sense, and that's how we wanted to dedicate our time.” XCOM 2 runs on a heavily modified version of Unreal Engine 3.5 (Firaxis’ customizations are too extensive to easily move to Unreal 4), which in some ways has been rewritten to the point of being “unrecognizable,” and it’s much simpler to make that work on one platform than three or more at once.
...
As for the chances of XCOM 2 making its way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at some point in the future, Solomon wouldn’t rule it out, but it won’t happen any time soon.

“We're certainly not opposed to that, but I can assure that's something we're not even discussing yet,” he said. He added that the PS4 and Xbox One would likely be technically capable of running XCOM 2, but developing all of these features for multiple platforms simultaneously would be impossible for Firaxis to do.
They aren't disclosing sales. IGN's piece alludes to some Steam sales estimates being very strong etc., but it reads kind of as conjecture to me.
34  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 03, 2015, 06:50:08 PM
They posted a "Rewind Theater" point-by-point commentary on the trailer w/ Solomon and producer DeAngelis:

XCOM 2 Reveal Trailer - Rewind Theater
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/03/xcom-2-reveal-trailer-rewind-theater?utm_source=IGN%20hub%20page&utm_medium=PC&utm_content=8&utm_campaign=Blogroll

Couple notable points made there and elsewhere:
-You can now call in the Skyranger aircraft in anywhere on a map (anywhere it has room to hover) for evacuation to complete the mission, rather than have to reach a fixed set of "exit points" on the map by foot. I guess if I read it right, the Skyranger then still has to reach a perhaps randomly placed evacuation point to complete the mission.

-A badly injured troop must be carried out by another troop (carried to the Skyranger), and the other idea is you want to carry out dead troops (if you're playing Iron Man mode or aren't willing to reload a savegame) to at least retain their equipment/weapons.
35  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 03, 2015, 03:26:38 AM
IGN's promised next part, though the "Why X-COM 2 Had to be a PC-Only Game" answer isn't promised until Friday.

XCOM 2: Welcoming Our New Alien Overlords
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/06/02/xcom-2-welcoming-our-new-alien-overlords?read
Quote
Firaxis isn’t going into detail about its new version of XCOM’s strategy layer just yet, other than to say that territory control will be important. From what we see in the trailer, in which the Avenger flies out of the canyon where it was concealed and off to parts unknown, we can surmise that it will move from region to region as XCOM attacks vulnerable alien targets in hit-and-run strikes. “The idea is that you’re inspiring people by actually taking the fight to the aliens and their New World Order,” Solomon hinted.
...
First of all, we have a new team of battle-hardened XCOM soldier classes that are similar to Enemy Unknown’s, but distinct. The Sharpshooter shares a lot of DNA with EU’s Sniper, but can also specialize in using a pistol as a primary weapon instead of a last resort. The Ranger is the evolution of the Assault class, still specializing in close combat with shotguns and the like, but now comes equipped with XCOM’s first lethal melee weapon: a machete-like blade. The Grenadier? He (or she) blows things up, much like the Heavy.

The Specialist replaces Support, and uses a hovering drone called a Gremlin both in combat to stun enemies and buff allies, and out of combat to pull off tricks like long-range hacking. There’s also a fifth mystery class that Firaxis is saving for reveal closer to launch.
...
With Firaxis’ new system, we’ll see maps drastically change each time we encounter them, drawing from a large pool of components like buildings, roads, and different types of terrain to create battlefields that look good, are more destructible than ever (including by fire that spreads, acid that melts through floors, and exploding barrels), and offer well-placed cover. And, because the maps are procedurally generated, the AI has been made more procedural to allow aliens to navigate and fight on them. All of this together has the potential to extend XCOM 2’s replayability dramatically, and to make each of our experiences unique. “That’s the thing that I’m personally very excited about,” Solomon said. “When you have those moments, and you’re like, ‘This would have never, ever happened in Enemy Unknown.’ That’s what we’re going for.”
Well I could paste in the whole thing, you should read it instead.  icon_smile

Squads are still limited to 4-6, so old school fans griping about that being too small will continue to gripe.  *Fist Shaking*
36  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / [PC] Steam revises refund policy! (in a good way) on: June 03, 2015, 03:13:49 AM
Hell froze over, or it's April Fool's Day?

Steam Refunds
http://store.steampowered.com/steam_refunds?snr=1_41_4__42
Quote
You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam—for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it.

It doesn't matter. Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we’ve described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we’ll take a look.

You will be issued a full refund of your purchase within a week of approval. You will receive the refund in Steam Wallet funds or through the same payment method you used to make the purchase. If, for any reason, Steam is unable to issue a refund via your initial payment method, your Steam Wallet will be credited the full amount. (Some payment methods available through Steam in your country may not support refunding a purchase back to the original payment method. Click here for a full list.)

Where Refunds Apply
The Steam refund offer, within two weeks of purchase and with less than two hours of playtime, applies to games and software applications on the Steam store. Here is an overview of how refunds work with other types of purchases.

Refunds on Downloadable Content
(Steam store content usable within another game or software application, "DLC")
DLC purchased from the Steam store is refundable within fourteen days of purchase, and if the underlying title has been played for less than two hours since the DLC was purchased, so long as the DLC has not been consumed, modified or transferred. Please note that in some cases, Steam will be unable to give refunds for some third party DLC (for example, if the DLC irreversibly levels up a game character). These exceptions will be clearly marked as nonrefundable on the Store page prior to purchase.

Refunds on In-game Purchases
Steam will offer refund for in-game purchases within any Valve-developed games within forty-eight hours of purchase, so long as the in-game item has not been consumed, modified or transferred. Third-party developers will have the option to enable refunds for in-game items on these terms. Steam will tell you at the time of purchase if the game developer has opted to offer refunds on the in-game item you are buying. Otherwise, in-game purchases in non-Valve games are not refundable through Steam.

Refunds on Pre-Purchased Titles
When you pre-purchase a title on Steam (and have paid for the title in advance), you can request a refund at any time prior to release of that title. The standard 14-day/two-hour refund period also applies, starting on the game’s release date.

Steam Wallet Refunds
You may request a refund for Steam Wallet funds within fourteen days of purchase if they were purchased on Steam and if you have not used any of those funds.

Refunds on Bundles
You can receive a full refund for any bundle purchased on the Steam Store, so long as none of the items in the bundle have been transferred, and if the combined usage time for all items in the bundle is less than two hours. If a bundle includes an in-game item or DLC that is not refundable, Steam will tell you if the whole bundle is refundable during check-out.

Purchases Made Outside of Steam
Valve cannot provide refunds for purchases made outside of Steam (for example, CD keys or Steam wallet cards purchased from third parties).

VAC Bans
If you have been banned by VAC (the Valve Anti-Cheat system) on a game, you lose the right to refund that game.

Movies
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Good to know, though in a recent modest Steam buying spree I've been pretty happy with almost everything.  icon_smile

And maybe it'll reduce some of that "I buy it, it's 30-40% off a week later" pain.

Though I can't help thinking a million malicious types are already devising ways to "game" the system, so to speak.  Roll Eyes
37  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 02, 2015, 01:27:18 PM
IGN guy's been tweeting about his interview. fwiw, he said Firaxis made it clear it has no plans for a console version of this:
https://mobile.twitter.com/DanStapleton/status/605405145183191040
Quote
Not according to what Firaxis told me. It wasn't "nothing to announce yet." It's a flat-out, emphatic "no plans."
38  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 02, 2015, 01:58:39 AM
Steam posted the official press release, mostly the same info, just maybe a bit more color here and there:

Quote
2K Announces XCOM® 2 in Development at Firaxis Games

New York, NY – June 1, 2015 – 2K and Firaxis Games today announced that XCOM® 2, the sequel to the Game of the Year* award-winning strategy title XCOM®: Enemy Unknown, is currently in development for Windows-based PC. Developed by Firaxis Games, XCOM 2 transports players 20 years into the future, where humanity lost the war against the alien threat that has established a new world order. The secret paramilitary organization known as XCOM is largely forgotten, and must strike back to reclaim control of Earth and free mankind from the aliens’ rule. XCOM 2 is currently scheduled for release in November 2015. The game will also be coming to Mac and Linux via Feral Interactive.

In XCOM 2, the roles have been reversed, and XCOM is now the invading force. They are hampered by limited resources and must constantly evade the alien threat in their new mobile headquarters. Players must use a combination of firepower and stealth-like tactics to help XCOM recruit soldiers and build a resistance network, while attempting to expose the evil alien agenda and save humanity.

XCOM 2 will introduce gameplay features such as procedurally-generated levels, which will make each experience unique to the player, as well as offer a much deeper level of modding support. Additionally, XCOM 2 will offer a variety of new content including five updated soldier classes, increased soldier customization, more alien and enemy types, evolved tactical combat and more.

“Firaxis proved they could reimagine a beloved franchise with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a Game of the Year award-winning title,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “With XCOM 2, the team is breathing new life into the series by adding an epic narrative and challenging players to overcome near impossible odds.”

“The feedback from the passionate XCOM community played an important role in the development of XCOM 2, driving us to push the visual, gameplay and replayability boundaries of what a strategy game can be,” said Jake Solomon, creative director of XCOM 2 at Firaxis Games. “We’re thrilled to implement long-time fan requested features such as procedural levels and modding support, as well as adding more of what makes XCOM great like new aliens, enemies and soldier classes.”

For more information about XCOM 2, visit IGN.com, where the game is featured as the IGN First title for the month of June. In the coming weeks, IGN will reveal exclusive details about XCOM 2, including gameplay impressions, in-depth analysis of alien and enemy types, new soldier classes and combat tactics, story-focused insights and more.

XCOM 2 will be available for PC and is currently scheduled for release in November 2015. XCOM 2 is not yet rated by the ESRB. For more information on XCOM 2, please visit www.XCOM.com, become a fan on Facebook, follow the game on Twitter using the hashtag #XCOM2 or subscribe to XCOM on YouTube.
I'm sure Solomon will have funny stories of how many times interviews with him about XCOM EU began with "Why doesn't this have randomly generated levels?"  icon_smile The boilerplate answer was usually "it looked terrible when we tried it early on," though I always wondered if, "then our artists essentially have nothing to do" was a hidden concern.  icon_smile Very eager to learn more in tomorrow's interview about the procedurally generated stuff.

From the non-gameplay launch trailer, looks like perhaps one class will be melee-focused (swords of some sort etc.) and maybe one will be a specialist in deploying mini-drones?
39  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC] XCOM 2 on: June 02, 2015, 01:33:46 AM

Quote from: Turtle on June 01, 2015, 03:50:38 PM

Also, it's crazy that they're going PC only in this day and age. But, I wonder if the sales on PC was so strong that they justified it. The studio is also saying they'll have strong mod support this time.
While I'm sure Firaxis will never cough up numbers, perhaps it was the opposite -- maybe mediocre console sales didn't justify the multi-platform development costs.

The other PC-only appeal was probably SteamWorx modding integration, and it sounds like they want to more specifically support and encourage mod-creation this time around.

I thought the multiplayer in XCOM EU was pointless, and essentially nobody seemed interested in playing it regardless of platform. I hope a PC-only version means perhaps co-op would be the table (if it has MP at all), now that worrying about cross-platform MP compatibility isn't a concern.

I'm mainly excited because I'd assume the game wasn't enough of a sales blockbuster for 2K to want to pursue it any further publishing-wise. Never had any doubt Firaxis would want to do more, but it's like your favorite film director wanting to do a sequel but waiting nervously to see if any studio will bankroll it.  icon_smile
40  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Mad Max Returns in Fury Road on: June 01, 2015, 05:05:13 PM

Quote from: USMC Kato on May 28, 2015, 08:00:15 PM

I hope the studios move fast on the sequel(s), with George Miller at the helm.  Miller is 70 years old right? Hope he keeps working on movies he loves like Mad Max for as long as he can.
In interviews, George M. seemed to indicate he had at least some basic ideas for a couple follow up films, but acknowledged how well Fury Road does at the box office will determine whether he can do that or not.

Clint Eastwood just directed his most financially successful film ever (controversial or not) in American Sniper ($350M domestic, $543M globally), at age 84. Robert Altman did memorable movies into his 80s.

George Miller is a relative spring chicken.  icon_smile

As for Fury Road's box office, it's done reasonably well but not maybe "great" for a $150M budget movie. Though fine for a film 30 years since its predecessor with no easy property (book bestseller, comic book property etc.) with a built-in audience.

It's made just shy of $281M globally at this point. Considering some of the junk that gets OK'd for sequels, that should be plenty more than enough and certainly its final take will be much more than that.
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