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10081  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 25, 2008, 03:42:54 PM
TenTonHammer had the interview where the Funcom rep mentioned all U.S. servers will be located on the East Coast (I was speculating maybe in Dulles, Va., which is awash in data centers, and is where some WoW servers are, I believe, located). But I get teh impression there will be servers labeled East and West U.S. more from a time-zone perspective.

This French forum mentioned you get 8 characters per server.
http://forums-fr.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=55157

This Massively.com item mentions the server farms are geared to handle 500,00-600,000 subscribers at launch. It'll be interesting to see whether it sells that many pre-orders or not:
http://www.massively.com/2008/04/22/age-of-conan-box-subscription-pricing-announced/

If you read the actual investor's update, it actually warns Funcom investors to expect technical problems during the launch, just based on what most large-scale MMOs go through at launch. Or maybe they're just referring to Anarchy Online's initial, disastrous launch (though they probably learned a lot from that experience).
Quote
Funcom has, in the opinion of Management, prepared
well for the launch. However, most MMO’s on the PC
platform have experienced technical issues of various
severities during launch. The investor community
should therefore be prepared that Age of Conan may
also experience technical issues during the launch.
That's smart to be realistic like that so the investors don't freak out if some things crop up at launch. It also indicates they're working with some heavy duty networking partners (including Cisco) and can add more server capacity fairly quickly if they have to.

But so far, my Internet search skills haven't turned up the actual number of servers at launch. retard
10082  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioshock pc review...pc better on: April 25, 2008, 01:04:28 PM
Actually, I haven't reached Fort Frolic yet. What does it look like? So I'll know when I get there.  icon_smile If I have similar troubles, I'll let ya know.
10083  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: STALKER Clear Skies DX10 tech demo video on: April 25, 2008, 12:44:35 PM
Me thinks it would've been more meaningful if they displayed the DX9 version side-by-side. Most of the DX10 supporting games I've seen (I've only played one, Bioshock, in DX10, on my new PC so far), it's barely perceptible "visual enhancements" at a performance knock that isn't worth the bother.
10084  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO 9.99 referral? on: April 25, 2008, 12:39:46 PM
In case anyone's interested, they're bringing back the $199 lifetime subscription for a limited time (meaning can sign up until June 1). And if you sign up for 3 months or more, technically you get the $9.99 a month rate again. It's part of its first anniversary celebration stuff.

Info here:
http://www.lotro.com/anniversarypromo
Quote
To celebrate the 1 year anniversary of The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM: Shadows of AngmarTM, Turbine is excited to bring you a very special subscription offer. Now through June 1, 2008, you can subscribe for only $9.99 a month!

The Lord of the Rings Online anniversary promotion lets new and existing subscribers play for only $9.99 a month when they sign up for three months or more of service!

    * 3 Month plans are $29.97 (Save 33%)
    * 6 Month plans are $57.99 (Save 35%)
    * 12 Month plans are $112.99 (Save 37%)

And for the first time since launch, we're re-opening access to our LOTRO Lifetime Membership for only $199!
10085  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: April 25, 2008, 03:32:00 AM
Eurogamer did a "re-review" of TR. They pretty much deem the game DOOOMMED.
http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=133897&page=3

Even if you don't agree with it, it has some nice quotes, such as:
Quote
But then, that's Tabula Rasa in a nutshell - full of good stuff, but always with enough caveats to seriously annoy an appreciable number of players. Everything seems to come with a "but". There is PVP, but... There is crafting, but... The biggest "but" of all is that this is a game clearly designed with the dream of luring action gamers to a persistent world - but instead it was marketed and sold to MMO gamers, and has ended up disappointing them severely.
You'd think Garriott of all people would know you can't jury-rig in proper crafting, PVP, end game content, variety in "mid game" content, the ballyhooed PAUs and all that rot long after launch. By then, the people that care about those features have already abandoned the game (like me and everybody here, afik).

I saw a lot of these same problems in Auto Assault and Vanguard. If you launch an MMO saying "We're going to add all sorts of great stuff and flesh out the content, but we just gotta get our game out to get revenue first" you might as well just not do the game and save yourself the financial losses, disappointment and misery down the road. You really get one big chance at launch to make a splash, get it right and then grow from there.

Of course, I've seen Eurogamer review games (apparently using Alphas, Betas, or alpha-betas) that were weeks, even months from actual release. They once reviewed an online-only game weeks before it came out. Huh?  saywhat So maybe these "re-reviews" are a way for them to actually review an actually finished product from time to time. disgust So even though I agree with some of their pessimistic take, I take whatever Eurogamer says with a giant grain of salt.

I still think TR has some of the most interesting missions/quests I've experienced in MMOs, but I as I've babbled elsewhere, they seem to be doing everything but building on that one fresh aspect in their updates. Instead they're tweaking all matter of minutae, wasting time on things (Hybrids for one) that really bring nothing truly interesting or fun to the game.

I was reminded of TR because I got an e-mail from a guy in one of the two guilds I join. One quote from him:
Quote
With the emotional drain and disappointment Tabula Rasa gave me I'm not exactly sure what to do.
Roll Eyes About says it all (the guild found the lack of endgame content among other things disappointing and basically stopped playing).

I still find the idea of approving a "MMO for people who don't like MMOs" a financially baffling decision. Why not do "a shooter for people who don't like shooters" and maybe "an RTS for people who don't like RTSs." I think unless they give their "MMO for people who don't like MMOs" some tremendous depth and long term value and variety, then chances are most "people who don't like MMOs" aren't going to keep paying $15 a month for the privilege.

Wow I'm a genius. Someone hire me as an MMO company CEO. Our catchphrase will be, "We make MMOs for people who actually like MMOs!"  icon_biggrin

I'll shut up now. Just thought I'd babble for a while in our dead thread.  icon_smile
10086  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioshock pc review...pc better on: April 24, 2008, 09:40:20 PM

Quote from: Tscott on April 24, 2008, 01:04:41 AM

Arrrgh!

Damn shame that a game this great is giving me so many damn problems.  Anyone else run into this problem?  Any advice on how to fix it so I can finish?
Hate to sound like a Troubleshooting Tech Geek (I'm underqualified  icon_lol), but can you give us some details as far as OS (i.e., if you use Vista, is it 32 or 64-bit, do you have SP1 update installed etc.), hardware, driver version, etc. etc. Maybe it'll jog someone's memory.

I assume you've installed the 1.1 patch? Some of the things it was supposed to fix included stuttering audio in Vista, and some other audio and DX10 problems. The only "Fort Frolic" related fix I saw was, "Fix for a potential situation in Fort Frolic where taking a picture of Cobb is impossible if his body gets stuck behind a fallen pillar." Which probably isn't your problem.

You've probably already checked the official site, here's the support page in case:
http://www.2kgames.com/bioshock/support/

While it's working fine for me on the new HP system in 64-bit Vista (8600GT card), that's not helpful I know.  icon_smile I always thought if someone who wasn't a programmer worked on the OS, maybe they'd learn to have error messages the average human could parse, and we could actually remedy problems without needing to play detective.  disgust

10087  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 24, 2008, 08:02:41 PM
They're already gone. I give up. I don't have time to hit F5 every 30 seconds like Pavlov's Dog.  mad icon_lol I'll live. I guess it's about time I install Pirates of the Burning Sea on the new PC anywho.

*sets sail* retard
10088  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 24, 2008, 07:31:25 PM
Spoiler for Hiden:
psssttt... One batch is marked "coming soon." Maybe I'll finally get a key... icon_biggrin

Though if my boss sees the Age of Conan splash page, I am so doomed... paranoid

btw, is there some way to automate a browser refresh button that doesn't involve hacking?  icon_confused
10089  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The new Gametap - free option and new games on: April 24, 2008, 05:56:43 PM
Don't know if it means anything Gametap wise, but their former VP of Marketing David Reid has joined NCSoft as vice president of marketing:
http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=comics&Number=10662342&bodyprev=#Post10662342
10090  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Big Mythos update on: April 24, 2008, 05:45:18 PM
Got a wee notice today:
Quote
Brave Player!
Our scribes tell us you possess a registered Mythos account [their scribes didn't notice I only played once or twice before uninstalling it icon_razz]. Wonderful! We do hope you are enjoying this early Beta Test of our free-to-play MMORPG. We'd like to reassure you that the closed Mythos Beta, which you are a most valued player of, continues apace.

In fact, things are going so well we'll soon release Mythos to a much larger audience -- we'll open our doors and our test. However, before we can truly call our Beta open for business, a few things absolutely must happen. The top of all our lists say the same thing: "Who gets to play?"

Please understand that the Mythos Closed Beta Test was designed for English speaking audiences (North Americans, really). When we do open our Beta, we simply cannot have certain countries playing a semi-functional Mythos designed for territories that are not their own. These people won't be getting the ideal localized experience we intend. Furthermore, we do still need to establish distribution deals with third-parties in foreign lands to ensure Mythos gets published and supported in the absolute best way possible.

Because of this, this week the Mythos Beta Test will no longer be made available to the following countries:

Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mongolia, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

We sincerely apologize to you if you currently reside in one of the above listed countries and can no longer play Mythos. Please understand that this is very much a test and has always been a test.
They should use the "this is very much a test and has always been a test" line as an excuse for Hellgate: London.  Tongue

I interrupt my griefing to say I'm glad they seem to be taking their time more with Mythos, and I don't think it'll suffer the same rushed-to-market fate as HGL.  icon_neutral
10091  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 24, 2008, 01:08:56 PM
Any clue what time of day they release keys? Today's were already gone when I checked.  icon_evil They supposedly release them according to  Pacific Standard Time. Are they issuing them at 4 a.m. PST or something? I'm baffled.  icon_confused
10092  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 24, 2008, 03:05:58 AM
If it makes non-members feel any better, I already missed out on today's keys. If they're even going to make Fileplanet subscribers scratch and claw for a lousy key, maybe I'll decide there's a better way to waste my time.  disgust Nah, just kidding. I couldn't get home until late, hopefully I can eek in tomorrow morning.  icon_neutral

I understand their desire to "control" the entry into the closed beta, but most "stress betas" make it more widely available because, afterall, isn't that what stress is all about? Assuming the hype doesn't die out before launch, their servers will be flooded opening day unless they've somehow succeeded in stopping their publisher from offering more pre-orders than their servers can reasonably support (afik just about every over-hyped MMO has failed on that to some degree). Even if it's just for a weekend, you might as well make it as widely available as possible and see what the servers can withstand.

Sure I'm glad to have a chance as a subscriber, I just find it a funny way to handle a 'stress beta' test. icon_confused
10093  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Impressions/Gaming Issues on: April 23, 2008, 04:18:54 PM
fwiw, my new HP came with the 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate, with SP1.

Gaming-wise, it's been a peach. I've installed Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Bioshock, Gears of War PC, Call of Duty 4, City of Heroes/City of Villains. Everything has run fine with no problems. None of these are 64-bit games, but at least none have had any problems related to that. I'm not really clear on if these are running on a 32-bit emulator behind the scenes (they are by default installed into a folder labeled 32xx or something).

Oh wait. I don't have a gaming issue. I'm off topic!  icon_redface

Non-gaming wise? There I have a beef but this isn't the thread for me to whine about it in.  crybaby To be honest, if I'd known how many non-gaming issues the 64-bit OS would cause me, I would've looked for a different HP model that didn't use it. But I think I'll just look for some workarounds, or consider some sort of dual boot format if I'm desperate.
10094  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 23, 2008, 04:33:47 AM
Something called Atomic Gamer has some impressions from a recent PVP Beta weekend event, which I guess is similar to the stress test:
http://www.atomicgamer.com/article.php?id=554
10095  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: My Dream Next Gen MMORPG on: April 23, 2008, 03:04:27 AM
The MMO AI problem I've generally read is that you simply can't have amazing AI in a game that has thousands of NPCs running around everywhere. There just aren't enough CPU cycles to slice up the AI like that. That's presumably why most MMOs simply turn nasty bosses into bigger and bigger foot stomps, or why all the Monster class enemies in City of Heroes basically don't do anything more interesting than foot stomp or maybe projectile vomit.  smirk Even if you hate shooters and RTSs, you're probably always going to find more interesting and challenging AI in those types of games (or even sports games).

That's presumably why a lot of Asian MMOs just do PVP entirely, rather than try to find creative ways to squeeze an interesting AI into their games.

Sorry to be a wet blanket. icon_smile What I do like to see in MMOs is at least more variety in AIs. If they can't make them better, they can at least make their attack patterns more interesting, give them some ability to retreat strategically etc. They don't have to be Half Life marines, they just need to be a little unpredictable so I don't get bored so easily, imho.
10096  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (It's Golden!) on: April 23, 2008, 02:58:32 AM
Unless the stress test is a disaster.  saywhat paranoid
10097  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 22, 2008, 03:19:08 PM
Someday I'll do that and replace the power supply (I replaced the power supply on my old system as one of my upgrades, so I'm at least comfortable doing that). But I'm really enjoying a system that tackles everything I throw at it out of the box at my LCD monitor's full rez (1280X1024). That includes "system killers" like Bioshock, Company of Heroes (the original and Opposing Fronts), Gears of War PC and Call of Duty 4, which is what I've reinstalled so far (along with COH/COV).

I purposely waited until BB had an HP that had at least an 8600 card cause I knew anything less wouldn't cut it. Although you can mail order a model that has an 8800 in it, buying it in store was more of an impulse buy (my birthday's coming up  icon_smile). I'm also obsessed about quietness, and generally the 8600 seems a lot quieter than some of the fancier cards (or so I read).

I'm pretty sure this will tackle Age of Conan OK. Beyond that, we'll see. smile If I had some gargantuan widescreen monitor, I might be more inclined to upgrade the card now, but this so far has tackled everything well.
10098  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 22, 2008, 12:43:45 PM
Oh here's some closeups of how ze game looks on the new system (NVIDIA 8600 card):

Doc was on a team with this high level (47 I think) dual blades scrapper.


This is Doc's (45 defender) alt costume (not the one I use for my avatar here). He uses the Jet Boots option that you can get from a recipe (commonly available at the auction house, though I think he actually got his as a mission reward drop).


Crusasder's my 47 rifle/devices blaster. Recently revamped the costume to use some stealth style armor.

I can finally play with AA on (about 4x here). Yeesh, I wish I'd known what I was missing. smile
10099  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 22, 2008, 12:38:04 PM
Warcry had an interview with senior lead designer Matt Miller (Positron) and powers designer Floyd Grubb (Castle) about Issue 12:
http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/interviews/4816-City-of-Heroes-Exclusive-Interview-With-Matt-Miller-Floyd-Grubb
The one new thing I don't recall reading elsewhere is...
Quote
He's also excited about the addition of traditional RPG branching tree dialogue, something they didn't have in City of Heroes until this Issue and will now begin to use quite a bit.

"In this issue it's just the test bed for it, we got the tech late into the development process so we were not able to use it everywhere we wanted to," said Miller.

This allows them to put options into conversations or theoretically do things like present players with situations like which wire to cut when diffusing a bomb. It sounds simple, but it makes their options as mission designers much greater.
Of course it's always the red wire. Or is it the green wire?  icon_confused icon_lol
10100  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Fallout 3 Collectors Edition...metal lunchbox!!!!! on: April 22, 2008, 03:14:17 AM
I ... must... have the Fallout bobblehead...  drool
10101  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: April 22, 2008, 02:17:52 AM
fwiw, 6 month veterans rewards announced:

http://www.massively.com/2008/04/21/6-month-veteran-rewards-unveiled-for-tabula-rasa/
Quote
Dedicated players will be getting access to three dance emotes (YMCA, breakdancing, and ballet), as well as a handful of costume props. These props include a green beret, a pair of brass Knuckles and (no, we're not kidding) a General British mask.
The least they could do is replace the ridiculous "robot ostrich" bot that came with the collector's edition.  disgust icon_lol

I don't feel any burning desire to return to the game, except that now that I got a decent PC setup, I probably wouldn't have to run the game at such icky graphics settings and resolution. icon_smile
10102  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Target clearance watch - 3/21 on: April 22, 2008, 01:00:21 AM
Don't know if it's "clearance" per se but noticed (PC) Pirates of the Burning Sea's price was cut in half to $24.98 (with a red price tag sticker on them).
10103  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 21, 2008, 09:23:04 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on April 21, 2008, 03:41:14 PM

System Requirements have been announced!

Quote
Minimum configuration (1024x768, detail reduced)

        • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista
        • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3Ghz or equivalent
        • RAM: 1GB
          Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or better
        • Video memory: 128MB
        • DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
        • HARD DRIVE SPACE: 30GB

Recommended configuration (Up to 1280X960, most features on)

        • OS: Windows XP SP 2 or Windows Vista
        • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz or equivalent
        • RAM: 2048MB Dual Channel DDR2
        • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX or equivalent
        • Video memory: 512MB
        • DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
        • HARD DRIVE SPACE: 30GB

Online Gaming;

        • Broadband connection required.


30 gig of HD space!  I guess they couldn't cut it down alot from the beta  disgust
I am majorly happy I broke down and got the new PC the other day. I've already babbled about it too much, but it has 1 terabyte of hard drive space (two 500-GB drives) and I know that even though that seemed an obscene amount of space a year ago, game install sizes are only going to get worse and worse (and presumably eventually switch from DVD to Blue-Ray at some point). So I'll enjoy being ahead of the curve for hard drive space for once in my life... while it lasts.  paranoid

I'm slightly bummed that the "news" about a separate, optimized 64-bit executable turned out to be a misunderstanding  crybaby (http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/26022).
10104  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anti-virus program needed on: April 21, 2008, 08:56:10 PM
I'm NOD 32 (they also have a separate version compatible with Windows Vista 64 -- still called NOD 32  icon_confused -- though I found it a bit tough to track down on the site) as well. But I've recommended AVG to underpaid friends, and they've been happy with it. I guess back when I used it, I just found the update process a bit intrusive for my tastes (though that was years ago).

My new PC came with Norton Internet Security and 2-3 months mini-subscription but I decided to just remove it and stick with NOD 32 and Counterspy (antispyware).
10105  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Delayed (one more time y'all!) on: April 21, 2008, 03:00:46 AM
I forgot where I read it, but the U.S. servers will apparently be based in the East Coast. Presumably in the Dulles, Va. area in my neck of the woods. Back in 2005, I actually took a photo of a server "farm" building whose roof was turn off by a rare tornado here -- it wiped out some of the then fledgling WoW host servers, and reading a news item about it at a gaming news site made me realize "Holy crap, that's near our newspaper."  icon_smile

So, new PC? Check!
Servers near where I live? Check! [albeit, "probably"]
I'm ready to go.  icon_cool
10106  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 21, 2008, 02:57:36 AM
Well, I look at it from the standpoint that my old PC was so sluggish that I never "got ahead" of the lag curve, so this buttons-not-activating problem is something I never had the displeasure of experiencing before. I guess that's a good thing, right?  saywhat
10107  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 20, 2008, 06:23:34 PM
Team luck just varies wildly, imho, depending on time of day, day of the week, and what's going on on the test server (if there's something "hot" previewing on the test server, lots of players desert live servers to try it). Freedom is generally acclaimed as the businest server, but I still think that's just a guess based on it having another "busy blip" in the servers listings.

I'm wildy pleased with the new PC's performance in CoX. The game looks so much better and runs so much faster (even in the midst of the Rikti invasion event the other night, it never slowed down a bit -- I think it almost ran too fast, cause sometimes buttons didn't respond), it feels like a new game to me.

Here's a blurry (due to Photobucket's Flash conversion process  disgust) video of it:

All you need to know is normally on my old PC it turned into a slideshow, and attempting to do a FRAPS movie like this was unthinkable (it would just bog things below playable in the process).  thumbsup
10108  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Anyone use Rhapsody music system? on: April 20, 2008, 04:10:11 PM
I'm going ahead and canceling, but much to my horror, Rhapsody has an AOL/credit card-style "You must call us and listen to annoying reps try to convince you not to cancel" policy in order to cancel. So far every MMO I've played lets you quickly and painlessly cancel (even WoW) online, with some optional "feedback" stuff, so here's hoping the music services follow the game publishers' lead some day.

I anticipate when I explain the software doesn't work with Windows Vista 64-bit, they'll start reading from a "script" about how wonderful Rhapsody is. disgust

I found this interesting Wired blog post about a guy's experience canceling three music services (all ones that use DRM):
http://blog.wired.com/music/2007/12/why-and-how-i-c.html
Quote from: Wired blog post about canceling Rhapsody
The FAQ implies that you can cancel online, but when I followed those directions, I reached a page that told me to call 866.597.5465 if I wanted to cancel (here we go again).

After 2 minutes on hold, a Russian sounding man asked for my email address and account number.  When I said I wanted to cancel because of DRM, he read what I know was a script, because he read one paragraph twice.  The spiel involved telling me that Rhapsody has 4.5 million songs, recently added new features, and offers MP3 downloads for some songs.  Good points -- especially the last one -- but I wanted to cancel anyway.  He said an email would arrive extolling more of Rhapsody's virtues; by responding to that in the negative, I could cancel.
Oh boy, "Russian sounding man." A hockey player?  icon_confused
10109  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Anyone use Rhapsody music system? on: April 20, 2008, 08:07:57 AM
*wipes cobwebs off the topic*

As a new Vista 64-bit user, have a big warning to anyone in my boat considering Rhapsody -- they don't currently support *any* 64-bit systems with their Rhapsody software. This has left me in the lurch with my Rhapsody-branded Sansa e260R (I love it and like Rhapsody's monthly "all you can eat" music subscription, though the Software was incredibly finicky about updating properly or behaving unless you turned all of IE's security features to the minimum).
http://www.rhapsody.com/-software

And this isn't one of those "doesn't have a native 64-bit version"; the software just doesn't work on 64-bit OSs at all (afik). From what I've read, they haven't been able to find a way to get Rhapsody to take advantage of the 32-bit emulator stuff that (so far) has let me run most games and programs without problems.

After weeding through the manual, I can switch the Sansa to Plays for Sure (MTP- Media Transfer Protocol) mode, which will at least let me still burn my CDs (I still buy those neanderthal things on occasion) and presumably let me use another service if I can find one whose software will work with 64-bit Vista. But I've got probably a thousand or more songs on it via Rhapsody, and I don't really want to have to keep my old PC hooked up just to keep that alive. I guess if I'm brave I could set up 32-bit Vista, or XP, on this system's second hard drive and dual-boot. But the Rhapsody software is a pain anyway.

I really do prefer the subscription type music service, but it sounds like iTunes 7.6 and later works fine in 64-bit Vista out of the box, so I might look in that as an option.

I guess this shouldn't surprise me. As much as I like Windows XP, I remember grousing quite a bit about favorite older Win95/98 games I couldn't run on XP, even in compatibility modes. It just wasn't something I was thinking of when I picked out my new PC. Heck, I didn't even realize my new HP had the 64-bit Vista version.  saywhat
10110  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: New PC Specs on: April 20, 2008, 01:32:36 AM
I thought I'd also add that Best Buy still gives you 14-days to return opened desktop PCs with *no* restocking fees (they do charge for laptop/notebook returns).

Circuit City now charges 15% restocking fees on desktops (we'd be talking more than $160 on my HP if I'd gotten it there). I had to eat a monster return fee at Micro Center back in 2004 (the system I got was louder than a jet engine on takeoff, an exchange proved no better). So I learned the hard, expensive way to stick with no-restocking-fee stores if you're determined to buy a system that way. You really can't know from a spec sheet online if something's too noisy, too kludgy or is going to crash constantly (happily my HP has had none of those things, but I wanted to allow for the possibility).
10111  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC]Gears of War on: April 20, 2008, 01:16:51 AM
I'm enjoying the game now, but it is regularly kicking my a**, even on the easiest skill level. I guess I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. I like a challenge though.  icon_twisted
10112  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (videogamer.com Mounts article) on: April 19, 2008, 08:30:57 PM
Videogamer.com had a neat hands-on focused on mounted combat:
http://www.videogamer.com/pc/age_of_conan/preview-869.html
Quote
The Buckskin charges straight into one Nadir, knocking it flying. It then kicks forward, and backwards, causing chaos in the enemy group. Thrud himself is reigning death from above, striking with his swords from both sides. The Nadir were dead before they knew what was killing them.

This is what you can expect from Age of Conan's mounted combat, what we think is the fantasy MMO's most compelling feature. For all the blood, sex, gore and Oblivion-quality graphics in the game, it is, for us, the prospect of charging into a group of enemy players on a horse, kicking them about with mount specific attacks and slicing them up with your own weapons that has got us most excited.
And lots of useful details on how mounted combat works, abilities, limitations etc. Apparently there are enemy NPCs specifically designed to knock you off your mounts so you won't be willy-nillying running roughshod over everyone (both you and the mount take damage it sez).

Quote
Player characters can wield weapons while on horses (but not other mounts, more on that later), using the direction-based combat system players will have mastered during their on-foot adventures.

The keys 1, 2 and 3 are your overhead forward attacks, Q and E your left and right uppercuts.

Things can get pretty complex, and fast, especially when faced with multiple enemies and other human players who are also mounted up. Clicking hot-keyed mount attacks with the mouse cursor with one hand while keeping the other hammering away with player attacks is no small feat, but it can be extremely rewarding. After about 10 minutes of play we were able to use the horse's charge attack, which causes the mount to speed towards a single enemy and knock it down, trigger front and rear kicks on surrounding enemies then deal some serious damage with Thrud's twin blades. Sweet.
Lotta detail on the pre-order mounts (they're specific that you *can't* use any of your avatar's attacks while riding the pre-order mounts, but they do have their own cool unique attacks) too:
Quote
War Rhino
The War Rhino, a large, grey, intimidating beast, has a charge attack and the useful Rhino Sweep, which can knock down multiple enemies and is perfect for disrupting organised groups.

It's slower and less manoeuvrable than the horse, as you'd expect, so it won't get you from A to B much quicker than walking would. But this is more than made up for by its cool factor - it has four deadly tusks and imposing battle armour.

Press the space bar and it will dig its heels into the ground, as if charging up a particularly devastating attack.

War Mammoth
The War Mammoth feels like snaking a Boeing 747 through a back alley. It's absolutely massive, so big that it needs to kneel down to allow you to clamber up its side. Its special attacks, the Mammoth Charge and the Mammoth Sweep, send multiple enemies flying about 10 feet in the air, making it perhaps the most devastating crowd dispersal weapon in the game.
So there ya go. Still a much better pre-order perk than my stupid red eyes-covering cap for City of Villains.   disgust icon_lol

They're both apparently quite slow, so you may be cursing your choice if you're taking a long trip. And you can't use any of your character's attacks/abilities while riding (only what the pre-order mount's own abilities).

I'm more curious whether you can have multiple mounts (or if you switch them at a stable according to what sort of mount ya need).
10113  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioshock pc review...pc better on: April 19, 2008, 05:18:36 PM
Yeah I tried with the DX10 stuff on, and it worked fine on me HP system; but it seemed to knock the frame rate slightly without really making any visual difference I could see so I turned it off. I definitely want to get Portal, but wasn't interested in the rest of the Orange Box (only because I suck at team shooters, and HL2's engine makes me motion sick - hoping Portal's different style won't cause that).

I'm blabbing also so people see you don't need a $2g, $3g, $4g system to get good, playable frame rates on these things. Crysis might be another matter.  Tongue Not that $1,159 is pocket change, mind you, but I paid $1,999 for a Pentium 100 in 1995, and I think it was obsolete in a year. This I can better stomach, and I'm hoping it's at least marginally more future proof.  icon_lol
10114  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioshock pc review...pc better on: April 19, 2008, 03:50:38 PM
I'm blabbering in various old threads, now that I got a new PC (a modest $1,159 HP model) and can finally play some of the better PC stuff the way it *should* look.  icon_smile

Bioshock was the 2nd thing I installed after Gears of War PC. Finally I can appreciate it. My old system rendered so badly I couldn't even hardly tell what I was looking at during the intro. Some pics of it in better form for me now:




Water finally looks like... water!  saywhat


This screams out for a "caption contest."  icon_lol

"I thought you said to use a revolver?"
"I said use a BAZOOKA!"
"oh."

"Hey, what does 3 bright red lights mean?"
"It means you're gonna die!"
"Oh. *bleep*..."
10115  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PC]Gears of War on: April 19, 2008, 03:40:42 PM
Finally! I bought a new PC last night (just a solid HP quad-core system with a reasonably strong 8600GT card). I felt like the first test *had* to be my PC Gears of War since I spent so much time griping about it on my old system.

Aside from one initial crash the first time I started it, it's run without a hitch. And it looks great, plays well, I can finally feel what the fuss was about.  icon_cool

Couple screenies (at 1280X1024, which is quite playable on the new system out of the box):




I really dig it now, albeit 5 months late.  nod
10116  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: New PC Specs on: April 19, 2008, 05:15:33 AM
Fwiw, I got a nice HP Elite for $1,159+tax today (Best Buy). I can maybe see myself upgrading the power supply and video card (512MB 8600GT), but I've spent the evening gliding smoothly through Gears of War PC and Bioshock (both system killers on my old system). Since my AMD64 was a Model T horse and buggy, maybe my perception is warped.  icon_lol

HP link:
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/store_access.do?template_type=product_detail&product_code=KJ382AA%23ABA&jumpid=oc_R1002_USENC-001_HP%20Pavilion%20Elite%20m9250f%20Desktop%20PC&lang=en&cc=us

Specs, fwiw:
Quote
Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition with Service Pack 1 [Yeah, I know, DOOOMMM! But I'm glad they now ship with the SP1 variant pre-installed, and so far it really hasn't caused me any problems, aside from some slightly different e-mail account settings in the Live Mail). I still think the Vista Team spent way too much time on animated menus, and zooming in and out various windows to no particular purpose. disgust ]
     
Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Processor Q6700
Memory: 4096MB
Memory speed: PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM
Total memory slots: 4 DIMM
Maximum memory expansion: Expandable to 8GB
Graphics: [a "real," not integraded video card fwiw] NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT graphics card with 512MB dedicated video memory [8800GTs are all over the place at stores now but so far I'm pretty impressed with this older card, and it's presumably quieter/cooler than the hotter new stuff]
TV and entertainment experience: [I didn't get it for this, but if you're into using a PC for that stuff, it's nice] NTSC Analog TV tuner, over-the-air ATSC high-definition Digital TV tuner, and FM tuner HP Media Center remote control with IR (infrared) receiver
     
PCI expansion: 1 PCI (occupied) ¿2 PCI Express x1 (two available) (24) ¿1 PCI Express x16 (occupied) (24)
Hard disk drive(s): 1000GB (2x500GB) 7200RPM SATA
Primary CD/DVD drive: SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe Technology
Communications: Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps network interface
Sound card: High Definition Audio [Realtek integrated stuff, it's fine]   
Speakers: 8 speaker configurable
Front-side bus (processor dependent): 1066MHz Front Side Bus
I/O ports
        Front panel 15-in-1 memory card reader 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 Front, 4 Back) 2 FireWire (IEEE 1394) port(s) (1 Front, 1 Back) Headphone; Microphone; Line-in (Front) 2 PS/2; Digital Audio In/out DVI, TV-out, and HDMI capabilities available on the video card

The case is nice enough but somewhat cramped inside. It's not something I'd probably mess around inside of aside from the aforementioned possible power supply/video card upgrade.

My thought is really what do you want to play. If you can't live without full screen antialiasing, or you need to play Crysis or the other latest "Bring every system to its knee" game du jour, then $2,300 might be worth it. It's just, even when I've spent $1,799 or $1,999 on new PCs, it's still been falling behind a year later.

I had various do-it-yourself buds pushing me to build my own, but I'm an impulse buyer and I just got tired of every PC game running like molasses on my old system. I needed a quick fix, and so far this system has been fast and quiet and a real pleasure. Finally getting to *see* what was great in Bioshock and experience it properly, well I don't know if it's worth $1,200, but it feels like it tonight.  icon_cool Numbers wise, I'd probably still need a better card, but I think it's more important the frame rate is consistent on this (even if the numbers wouldn't impress a hardware guru).
10117  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: A whole bunch of reasons it's still worth it to be a PC gamer on: April 19, 2008, 12:57:28 AM
PC gaming is DOOOMMMED.

However, I went ahead and bought a new PC today. Am trying to backup and clean up stuff on the old PC before moving over. I'll let you know if the new one is up to snuff, or if I'm still driving a horse and buggy.  icon_twisted
10118  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Anybody got an HP 2133 Mini Note laptop? :) on: April 18, 2008, 01:18:50 PM
I dug around, there's a mini-site within HP's biz site that lists the various "pre-configured" models:

HP 2133 Mini-Note PC- models
http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF25a/321957-321957-64295-321838-306995-3687084.html

I think there's an option to have them "downgrade" (haha) the OS from Vista to Windows XP Pro, in the configurations, which would seem like the prudent thing to do if they don't use it as a cheesy way to charge more.

Although it's just what I'm looking for in a lot of ways, I am rather hyper-sensitive to noise (the Eee PC is apparently quite as a mouse, but the tiny keyboard is a barrier for me). The reflection problem is probably something the aftermarket will have to accessorize-fix (overlays of some sort).

If the hard drive is the noise/heat culprit, I wish they'd consider an 8GB or 12GB flash drive. I assume the solid state hard drive options are still pretty obscenely expensive these days.
10119  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan open beta details on: April 18, 2008, 12:55:36 PM
Here's the details (Gryn already mentioned), for those wanting the nitsy-gritsy:
Quote
Durham, USA – April 17th, 2008 – Funcom, Eidos and IGN are proud to announce that Open Beta for Age of Conan will start on May 1. The Open Beta will be hosted exclusively by IGN’s popular game download site, FilePlanet.com, as well as being offered through partner IGN sites such as Gamespy.com, Tentonhammer.com and Warcry.com.

The application pages at FilePlanet.com are now open for registrations [I've checked, and right now it's still saying "will open next week"-bj], and gamers from across the world can sign up. As 50.000 gamers prepare their Hyborian assault, rivers of blood are about to flow, and it’s exclusively available through FilePlanet and IGN partner sites.

“When we started development of Age of Conan four and a half years ago we truly wanted to move away from the standards of the MMO genre. We wanted to bring something new, exciting and fresh to the gamers,” said Gaute Godager, Game Director on Age of Conan. “As we get ready to show everyone what Conan’s savage world is all about, we need final stress testing. Teaming up with the Beta Masters at IGN was a perfect opportunity for us! We simply couldn’t ask for a better partner for this crucial stage of our Beta.” “The IGN and FilePlanet audience has consistently told us that Age of Conan is one of their most anticipated games of the year, and we are very pleased to partner with Funcom and Eidos on the Open Beta,” says Senior Vice President of Consumer Products at IGN, Jamie Berger. “The Funcom team has developed a truly unique, visceral gaming experience that players will have to see to believe.”

Funcom would like to point out that the primary function of the Open Beta is to stress test Age of Conan prior to launch. This means that Funcom will not make the entire game available to the Open Beta testers, and a level 13 cap will be applied. The Beta experience will still give hours and hours of entertainment, and complete class and culture variety, while at the same time giving Funcom the needed focus for an Open Beta.

You are required to be a FilePlanet member in order to sign up for the Open Beta. Preloading of the client will start prior to the launch of the Open Beta, and applicants will receive more information should they receive a beta key. The Open Beta will start on the 1st of May at 1500 GMT / 0900 EST.
So no, I wouldn't think they're lifting the NDA, since this open beta is so limited (see the underlined). This is a "stress test," as they say.

Here's the Fileplanet signup link:
http://www.fileplanet.com/promotions/ageofconan/reg_form.aspx
It's a little confusingly worded. You don't need to be a Fileplanet subscriber to receive notification when stress test beta signups begin - but you do need to be a Fileplanet or Founders subscriber to participate this way. I'll try this way (I'm an FP subscriber).

I'd just like to see whether it's scalable to my crummy old PC. And to see whether our general pants-wetting excitement for something most of us have never played is well-placed or misguided.  smirk
10120  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 18, 2008, 12:50:17 PM
Massively.com released a video about the new Villain epic archetypes:
http://www.massively.com/2008/04/17/massively-video-exclusive-villain-epic-archetypes/
(If you use the Mozilla "noscript" extentsion, you'll want to enable "blip.tv" in order to see and view the streaming video window).

They also do an "analysis" of the trailer if you're impatient:
http://www.massively.com/2008/04/17/veat-video-analysis-a-villains-perspective/

I don't think I'll ever get a villain to 30 (have a military themed mastermind at about 24) much less 50, but if you're into COV you can at least aspire to using that cool blast mace, or wielding those Crab spider arms yourself.  icon_twisted
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