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10481  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 02, 2008, 03:23:17 AM
I'm home now from Iron Man, doing the final updates (I set up my account from work).

Great.  disgust Anyone else getting this error message at start-up? (it verifies all the files fine and is fully updated):
AgeOfConan.exe - Unable to Locate Component

This application has failed to start because d3dx9_36.dll was not found. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem.
I don't think I'm preordering something that won't even start up. Supposedly this usually means some DirectX files related problem so I'm trying to update that.
10482  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 03:16:26 AM
Too late, I didn't have the patience to sit through credits that go on that long.  icon_razz

I really liked and enjoyed the movie.  icon_cool Even the prolonged origin sequence, and the metal vs. metal finale. Bring your own! The suits are awesome, and the special effects pretty seamless. Aside from a couple moments towards the end, I never really got that sort of sloppy CGI feeling that sometimes takes you out of the fun (think about some of the clumsy CGI in the first Spider-Man movie for example).

Downey is really the best thing about the movie (as most say), and I found Paltrow quite charming in her role. Terence Howard is pretty much wasted, but hopefully a followup will give him a little more to do.

You could maybe knock Bridges for not being a villainous scenery chewer (we'll look to Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight for that  icon_cool), but I think he always disappears into his characters pretty well.

My only disappointment was how sparse my theater was. They really didn't do much of a job (AMC) promoting the earlier 8-9:30 showtimes I'm thinking. When I left, there was a huge que lining up for presumably the midnight show so I guess a lot of people "didn't get the memo" about the earlier shows tonight. But a modest audience was good for enjoying the movie undisturbed. I'll need to see it at least one more time with a jazzed weekend crowd.  icon_smile
10483  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 01, 2008, 09:29:49 PM
I'm narfing down a frozen dinner, debating where to sit tonight (it's a nice AMC stadium seating theater):
-Very front. Endless legroom, nobody in front of you, and it's not obnoxiously close to the screen. Still, Robert Downey's nostrils will look like these gigantic, gaping, endless black holes...

-Middle of the front section. If it gets crowded, and you have to use the restroom, it's tough (even with fairly roomy seating). Also, usually in something expected to sell out like this I get surrounded by obnoxious kids, some kicking my seat, and I have to resist the temptation to be an old grouch and holler "Hey you punks! Shut up! Try watching the movie and getting your *oddamn $10.50's worth!!!" Some day, I'll do it... icon_twisted

-Middle of the back row. That's about where I was for Batman Begins. Don't have to worry about people kicking the back of your seat. And in a pinch, you can climb over the back to get to the restroom. I'm favoring this, or the very front. Just depends on if I want closeups of Robert Downey's nose hair or not.  icon_razz

I'm heading out soon. If I was high-tech, I'd give you guys special blog-reports but you'll have to settle for a post-movie report.  icon_smile For those hitting the Age of Conan beta servers tonight - have fun!  icon_cool
10484  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 01, 2008, 07:31:32 PM
This official thread suggests the start time today has been pushed back to 2200 hours GMT (or about 6 p.m. Eastern US time, if I'm translating correctly, and that's accounting for daylight's savings):

New Start Time for Open Beta - UPDATED TO 22:00 GMT
To add an extra patch to improve the gaming experience and quality of gameplay, the official start time of the IGN Open Beta now is:

20:00 GMT (8 pm GMT) [as mentioned in the next post: time has changed to 22:00 GMT]
(to check the current GMT time please refer to

We wanted to add the extra update prior to launching the servers rather than to fix it shortly after the start of the Open Beta.

Users who have registered for the Open Beta will also receive an information e-mail about this in their inboxes shortly.
I'm missing out on the launch for Iron Man (8 p.m.), so all I have to say is, "Keep pushing it back, Funcom!" j/k  icon_lol

10485  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Transformers 2 News! on: May 01, 2008, 06:46:10 PM

Quote from: Destructor on May 01, 2008, 03:10:16 PM

Big giant metal things whipped back and forth and somehow beat themselves up in an orgy of CGI effects.
The consistent complaint about Iron Man so far is the ending (pretty much given away in the trailers) is like "Transformers-lite."  icon_razz But hey, it's Iron Man. Waddya going to do? Have the good guy and bad guy plant perennials at the park?  icon_confused

I finally saw Transformers on a tiny drop-down screen on a plane on my way back from a business trip to Alabama. I was able to get mono sound by jamming my headphones jack into the armrest connector. I found it OK as far as deafening Michael Bay spectacles go.  icon_smile
10486  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 01, 2008, 04:49:44 PM

Quote from: Kevin Grey on May 01, 2008, 01:26:48 PM

At the AMC theaters around here, if you buy your tickets online you just go up to an automated kiosk and insert your credit card and it automatically prints the tickets.  There's almost never a line for the kiosks like there is for the box office. 
Thanks, man. I will try to do that. The site didn't explain that possibility, and I forgot about those kiosks.  icon_smile

Sigh, I probably didn't need to advance buy at all. Oh well. At least I feel committed. Our visiting IT guy was apparently geek-impressed that I was seeing a show tonight.  icon_cool

I've done some weird things for opening nights some times. My brother and I back in 1984 (I was 19) were visiting our aunt in New York, so we got up at about 8 a.m. to see a 9:30 a.m. showing of Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom on opening day. And then we got down on the floor briefly (the ushers didn't really check the theater thoroughly  icon_razz), and stayed for another show.  icon_biggrin

In 2005, I got my newspaper work done a little early Tuesday to go see a midnight show of Batman Begins. I didn't know how to waste 4 hours though so I saw "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" first (enjoyed it), went out the exit, came back in the theater, and saw BB. I swear it had like 25 minutes of trailers. And BB was pretty long (almost 2 1/2 hours), so I came stumbling out of the theater at almost 3 a.m. I felt like it was worth it though.  icon_smile

I'm an old man now (43, same age as Robert Downey), and I have to pick my spots now when it comes to seeing opening day stuff at weird hours.
10487  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: May 01, 2008, 03:37:40 PM
Actually, NCSoft *should* care about my opinion cause I spent about $700 on CoX, and $120 on Tabula Rasa (in buying the games, and monthly fees). They've blown the chance to bleed me of monthly fees *twice* a month. icon_razz
10488  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Games Explorer weirdness on: May 01, 2008, 03:35:07 PM
I'm used to using it now (you just get snazzy, almost 3-D versions of the box art for the icons and it does shuffle all the games into its folder for easy access).

Although you can arrange games a zillion ways to Sunday, I haven't found an easy way to separate the card game junk from my retail games on it.

I also find it annoying that the game's actual folders no longer show up on the start menu itself (unless I go to Classic View).

To me MS spends far too much time trying to be the Wizard of Oz, and hide all its mechanics (and filename extensions) behind curtains. disgust
10489  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: May 01, 2008, 01:14:03 PM
Here's a simpler way of how I see it.... (not that anyone at NCSoft should care how I see it, I know  icon_razz)

TR is starving and desperately needs "food."

Instead, they are putting in new plaid-color vinyl seat covers and yelling "Come back and see us!" icon_razz

I think also, as much as they want to believe official forums "don't matter" or "aren't worth the money and staff energy," they don't have a good way to seek out specific player feedback. I mean, WoW and CoX seem to base much of their updates on what they get from player feedback on their forums. Funcom is actually deciding Age of Conan's server names based on players' responses to polls at their official forums.

afik, Destination Studios is fluttering around blindly and I don't venture they have much clue what players wanted/want. They've got the test server, but what they're throwing on test didn't seem much based on any specific player feedback. If they had, they would've known players wouldn't consider hybrids (humanoids with ugly face skins and meaningless stats differences) to qualify as a "new race."  disgust

Anyway, I haven't received any sort of re-invite (I canceled almost a month ago). I do want to try it again at some point, I'm sure on the new PC it'll look and animate a lot more smoothly, if nothing else.
10490  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 01, 2008, 01:06:21 PM
Though I'm passing on the pre-orders cause, well, I'm out of town, saw a pre-order listings page at the official forums:
Covers about every country they can think of to this point.

I've been trying to search their forums but the "image verification" anti-spam stuff is indecipherable no matter how many times I refresh it. icon_confused
10491  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 01, 2008, 12:32:23 PM
Hey, lots of theaters are showing advance screenings at reasonable hours tonight (8, 8:30, 9, etc.). I just reserved an advance ticket for an 8 p.m. show tonight, big digital theater.  icon_biggrin Just don't ask me if it'll be worth $5.75 an hour ($11.50 ticket with the online purchase fee  disgust icon_razz).

The sucky thing -- at least with AMC's online tickets -- is you used to be able to print your ticket and bring it in (they were supposed to use a scanning wind, but most just tore the page in half like a stub). I guess people were abusing it, cause now all it does is reserve you a regular ticket that you have to pick up at the box office and show your credit card as proof/ID. Kind of defeats the point (though it at least guards against a sellout of a given showtime).  icon_neutral

Entertainment Weekly posted its review today (B+):,,20196644,00.html
Quote from: Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly
The fun of Iron Man, a Marvel adaptation in which a routine arc has been burnished with great elegance and skill, is the way that it heals the split, soldering the two halves of its hero into a single organically driven figure.

Too often, superhero films feel like a different species of entertainment from the smudged comic books that spawned them. Iron Man takes you back to the days when you sprawled out in front of those books, flipping through the adventures of a dude who was too vital, and vulnerable, to ever be a mere F/X object.
fwiw, he wasn't much of a Spider-Man movie fan, so his fawning isn't coming from a direction of liking these kinds of things. Sort of a good sign perhaps.

I decided I really wanted to see it today before the deluge of reviews (good, bad, indifferent) hit tomorrow. And my Thursdays are quite boring.  icon_smile 

Actually, I kind of have fun leafing through reviews, because so often you see people lauding something in a movie that someone else saw as a weakness (or vice versa). I've seen that a lot with the early IM reviews so far.

I reviewed films for my college newspaper, but in the end (like game reviewing too), it's a thankless job, and now thanks to the Internet (it wasn't around in 1987, but sometimes fellow staffers would tell me they liked something I made fun of in my review) everyone can tell you what a chump you are for liking or not liking something. The Internet: bringing hatred and intolerance of reviewer criticism to the masses! icon_razz
10492  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Impressions/Gaming Issues on: May 01, 2008, 02:45:13 AM
In case anyone else runs into this maddening "Vista 64 thrashing the hard drive like the Atlanta Thrashers" problem, this guy's advice at a Vista forum worked for me (make sure your control panel is in "Vista view mode," not classic, otherwise his directions don't make sense). It's to disable the Windows Indexing, and make sure it's stopped.

I imagine there's some advantage to letting it work, but I've not the patience to wait hours for it to stop indexing.  disgust I don't even have much on my 1 terabyte of hard drive space. God knows how long it takes if you filled that up.  icon_razz
10493  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 01, 2008, 01:50:10 AM

Quote from: Hamlet3145 on April 30, 2008, 06:29:30 PM

Anyone hear any word on server names?  Most times they will release this info early so that guilds can get organized and agree on something.  Hmmm.
Saw a forum poll, and it looked like players were voting heavily in favor of "God names" for the server names. Apparently they plan a second poll with some suggested names in the winning category (God names).

Here's the thread at official forums (started by community manager):

Official Poll: Name the Server (Phase 1)

Phase 2 poll isn't up yet, so I imagine they're still finalizing server names.
10494  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 01, 2008, 01:22:03 AM

Quote from: Razgon on April 30, 2008, 04:19:22 PM

Btw, the updater is working now, in case you want to download the patch before tomorrow and playtime
Thanks for the tip, am patching up now.  icon_smile

I'll spend the rest of the evening exercising my nipples, so I'm ready tomorrow...  saywhat
10495  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: good freeware pc game site? on: April 30, 2008, 09:36:43 PM
This isn't a site per se, but Games for Windows mag (and CGW before it) did a nice annual "101 Free Games" article. Here's the 2007 version online:

101 Free Games 2007: The Best Free Games on the Web (they don't mean "Web browser" games btw)

Most of these have download links courtesy Filefront.  icon_smile
10496  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 30, 2008, 08:55:44 PM
Official site mentions interview with the lead writer, with some tidbits on the new "contextual" NPC conversations system:
Contacts can now know specific things about your character or the state of the mission you’re on and give you appropriate dialog to match it. I think almost every new story arc uses it in one way or another.

For example, in the Origin of Power arcs you talk to a representative of each of the five origins. When you get to the contact who is the same origin as you, he or she will have more in depth information for you regarding your specific origin.

This new tech also allows for us to make NPCs in instanced maps feel more like actual contacts in the zone. We’re now able to change their dialog depending on events going on in the mission. A great example of this is the Sybil you speak with at the beginning of Imperious’ first mission in Cimerora. She has three different dialog states depending on where you are in the mission.

This tech actually has the potential to replace our current system for handling missions.
10497  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Is 'The Movies' worth 13 bucks? on: April 30, 2008, 07:19:16 PM
>>>Although, I got a kick on 'The Rescue' at seeing Saturn in the background as the helicopters zipped.

No, that's on me.  icon_razz The problem was, even if you built every set available (and the blue screen and green screen sets that Stunts and Effects added), you couldn't necessarily find just the right background. I had to use that "planet scape" background for my helicopter miniatures scenes because I couldn't find a "plain jane mountains" type background. I was hoping the viewers would just think the sun was looking kind of ring-y.  icon_cool

It still galls me Lionhead never made any effort to make user-created mods easy to install. There are entire Web sites devoted to them, but you need to be Stephen Hawking to understand how to install them, and most ones for the original game weren't updated to Stunts and Effects expansion compatibility.

If you really get into making the movies, and the frustrations don't send you over the edge of madness (I highly recommend digging up Stunts & Effects somewhere because it fixes so many frustrations in the original game, movie-making wise; and adds a "manual camera direction" feature that I never got comfortable with) you really can have an endless amount of fun with it. But it's true -- after five hours, you may want to turn the game disc into a FrisbeeTMdisgust icon_lol

A couple of times I have actually clipped out newspaper obituary stories that sounded like good fodder for a "The Movies" project. A couple I would really like to tackle some day was a Native American who served with special forces in Vietnam; and a Belgian women who worked in the French Resistance underground during WWII helping downed Allied service men get back to Allied lines safely. You can find probably 25,000 war-time flicks at the site, but the number that try to do anything more than have everyone shooting aimlessly and stuff blowing up -- something with at least a little heart, or some sort of real story to tell -- is pretty meager.

It's just, when I was really into making movies and editing them in it, I could start at 10 a.m. Saturday, and find myself still editing my work at midnight. I'm not sure I can commit myself like that anymore.  drool It just veered into obsession for me, and some of the fun factor would get lost in exhaustion.

I do miss the kick I got sharing my work with non-gamer friends. It was sort of a rare opportunity in that regard.  icon_smile

I do wanna get back into it someday, and I'm sure the program would run a lot faster on my new PC. If I get anywhere, maybe I'll even recruit some voice actors here. Stay tuned.  icon_smile
10498  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: April 30, 2008, 06:10:18 PM
I scoped out a Best Buy pre-order box today. The mount sounds almost strictly PVP-oriented, so I'd probably take a pass. Plus I'm on a business trip the 3 days before it launches. Naturally.  disgust

At least when I return, I can check here and see whether the pre-release hype delivered or if just deteriorates into a bunch of bored players with "nipple envy."  icon_razz
10499  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Crysis and UT3 (PC version) bombing? on: April 30, 2008, 06:02:13 PM
Blue's pointed out an interview with Crytek's prez that touches on piracy, and the "is it moving to consoles?" question (his opinion is they can't do Crysis on any current console but they don't plan to do any more PC-exclusive titles):
Quote from: Crytek's Cevat Yerli
We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin, a chart leading that is not desirable. I believe that’s the core problem of PC Gaming, piracy.  To the degree PC Gamers that pirate games inherently destroy the platform.

Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we wont have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore.
It's interesting to juxtapose this sort of knee-jerk, "hair on fire"  reaction [piracy was a problem 15 years ago, and Crytek just realized it now?  icon_confused] to Ironclad Games, whose copy protection-less Sins of a Solar Empire is selling briskly, and their publisher Stardock who plans to release Gas Powered Games' Demigod with no copy protection either (in both cases with the idea that even if you are a scalawag initially, you'll still buy to get updates and enhancements to the original game and perhaps just to support the idea of non-copy-protected games).

I don't know that that publishing model could've worked for Crysis, unless they found some way to make pirated versions unplayable online or perhaps incapable of playing mods or something.

Supposedly Crysis has sold a million copies, but that's presumably "worldwide." If he asked me, I'd tell him not to do any more shooters that the vast majority of the PC gaming populace can't get a decent frame rate on. Video card companies may love the idea of a system-crushing game, but gamers aren't going to wet their pants and buy a new system to play one game, when the world's economy is in the doldrums and gas prices are insane.

Sorry -- it's me being creepy and digging up musty old threads again.  icon_razz
10500  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: April 30, 2008, 01:32:23 PM
IGN's US interview is a bit more enthusiastic, fwiw:

Downey Jr. makes a suitable Stark in this solid comic book adaptation

I was scoping out action figures (movie tie-ins) at Marvel:

Most seem pretty small, but I like "big" action figures, so, I think *this* one is truly geek-fulfilling  icon_biggrin:
10501  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [news video] 1,089 pound frozen squid found on: April 30, 2008, 01:22:58 PM
495-kilogram giant squid defrosted

Good lord. Think of how much calamari you can get out of that!  icon_eek

I'm kidding, but the scientist does say late in the interview it's the type of squid that does "taste good."  icon_lol

Technically, a fishing boat caught it off Antarctica last year, and I guess a New Zealand museum is now thawing it.
10502  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: April 30, 2008, 02:59:08 AM
I don't recall seeing this exclusive (supposedly) Nickelodeon clip. Thought I'd share it in case others missed it (I saw it linked on a fan-mini-review at Aint It Cool News):

Nickelodeon clip from Iron Man ("learning to fly" I reckon it's called)

I like to temper my fanboyism with negative reviews now and then, so here's a disappointed IGN UK review:

Full of great moments, but dramatically unsatisfying
I really don't go to comic book movies to be "dramatically satisfied," but to each his own.  icon_neutral I do find it interesting that among the couple more negative published reviews one complained the movie was too long and didn't have enough action; and the other that it's too fast paced, crams in too much action, and doesn't develop the drama enough. Did they see the same movie? Maybe one reviewed a "beta version."  icon_confused icon_razz

I do think "origin stories" tend to get hamstrung by needing to cram in "the origin" story and "the first story after the origin" story into the same movie. So I hope the movie succeeds enough to get a 2nd try, and then have the freedom to do a "non origin" story.
10503  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PC Voice Chat? on: April 30, 2008, 02:37:54 AM
I used Ventrilo for one of the Tabula Rasa guilds I was in for a while. Once I figured out that I had a connector disconnected behind my computer  icon_redface, it worked very nicely.

I guess my problem is that my warped sense of would-be humor works better in writing, or perhaps in person where you can see the smirk on my face. Over a headset? It just gets lost in translation. So I'm not a big headset fan, even if technically, they generally work pretty great these days.

My other extensive experience with headsets was in Planetside around early 2003, I wanna say. I was in an outfit (guild), called Rebel Nation Soldiers. And we used Ventrilo rather than the build-in headsets. The bummer of that was the built-in headset function blinked an icon next to your name on a squad list when you spoke - very useful. The other bummer was about a 13 year old kid in our group who kept screaming in a high pitched voice, and a couple other outfit members who cussed like sailors for no particular reason. After a while, silence seemed pretty appealing.  disgust icon_lol

You can also end up with the haves and have nots not communicating (headset users ignoring voice chat, text chatters ignoring voices), which sort of defeats the purpose.

The catch is a Ventrilo server costs some serious bucks so people tend to kiss up to anyone they know who actually owns the server. For our TR guild, the guy hosting the server was letting lots of people use it, and just set up separate channels for the game or purpose.
10504  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Tabula Rasa beta on: April 30, 2008, 01:31:37 AM
I certainly haven't received one, but supposedly NCSoft is sending out TR "reactivation e-mails" to lapsed accounts...
Their "Reactivation Week" begins at 11am EDT on May 2nd, and runs through Friday, May 9th at 5pm EDT. During that time anyone who has had an account in the past can log back in to check out the many changes the game has undergone since launch.

The email also references another upcoming promo for Tabula Rasa: Double XP in Squads. Starting on Wednesday, May 5 at 11am EDT and running through Monday, May 12, 2008 at 5pm EDT (nicely overlapping with part of the reactivation week), players who adventure in a squad will get twice the normal XP.
To me this is all much too little, too late. You could already level faster in the game than any other mmorpg I could think of. That wasn't the problem. Lack of endgame content (heck, lack of enough 35+ content), lack of more variety in mission lines, a useless crafting system, the ballyhooed PAUs never arriving, etc., etc. Oh well, I'm just beating a... deadhorse
10505  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Dead PC - Need some help on: April 30, 2008, 01:20:22 AM
If he wasn't familiar with precautions to prevent static (ask the brother if it's a good idea to pry a Pop Tart out of a turned-on toaster with a metal fork, and you'll know  icon_wink), perhaps he fried the momma board that way. I think I managed to fry an old memory chip that way once.
10506  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Impressions/Gaming Issues on: April 29, 2008, 09:50:00 PM
I am creepy, so that's true.  icon_biggrin I've only been here a few months now, so I am prone to occasionally digging up old threads where I wasn't around, or didn't have the game/OS/system at the time of the thread's "prime time." I just got a Vista Ultimate PC recently so that's why I am running around being creepy. Certainly I hope people don't mind.   paranoid
10507  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Impressions/Gaming Issues on: April 29, 2008, 06:53:37 PM
So now I've got an E-Peen to go with my Age of Conan "Mangina."

Clearly my cup runneth over...  saywhat icon_smile

10508  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: April 29, 2008, 01:08:37 PM
Superherohype had a pretty extensive interview with director Favreau (there's some spoiler-stuff, clearly marked/warned, near the end, fwiw; when you see the little Iron man photo on the left there, you may want to stop reading paranoid):
SHH!: Do you expect to get a call on Saturday, May 3rd saying, "Okay, get ready…"?
Favreau: I hope so. I would love to, because I feel like I finally know what I'm doing.

SHH!: And you already have all of the R&D (research and development) done and out of the way.
Favreau: And the cast, the hard part, you know, so we know how to do it now. Now it's just a matter of what story we want to tell.

SHH!: The movie's pretty awesome and I think that you've set a new bar for which everyone else will be aiming for now.
Favreau: Oh, awesome.
If I see it and hate it, I don't know what I'll do.  paranoid icon_lol Anyway, it's fun. He had to fight tooth and nail to get Downey approved for the role, but Marvel was won over after his first screen test footage. Now they can't really envision anybody else in the role. And he's apparently sort of putting future directing plans on hold, to see how the movie does and if they greenlight sequel(s).  icon_smile

He sounds excited about The Dark Knight, and grateful they aren't directly competing on the release date sked, or even close for that matter (TDK opens July 18).
10509  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: April 29, 2008, 12:52:28 PM
AP weighs in:

Review: `Iron Man' a blockbuster with a brain
"Iron Man" is a blast, too — the perfect start to the summer with its shiny mix of visual effects, elaborate set pieces and plenty of humor within its intelligent script.

And Ain't it Cool News' aussie contact's review (though the review is so vague, it could just as well have been a trailer review):
I have a problem with giving films star ratings, or, really, any sort of numerical rank, but I do appreciate that some people may want a quick summation without reading too much, so here it is: yes, IRON MAN is everything you were hoping for.

To qualify that statement, I should point out that it will only be what you were hoping for if, in fact, you were hoping for one of the most enjoyable superhero movies ever made, with no weak spots and brilliant characterisation. Fanboys with impossibly high standards who are only happy when they're poking holes in things are going to have their work cut out for them.
There are some consistent mild complaints that the finale is something of a special effects-heavy letdown, and that maybe it's a bit long (it's about 2 hours, 6 min. run time).

Still, I knew Spider-Man 2 was something special because I had no problems finding reviews and little fun snippets to share at a board or two. Spider-Man 3? Not so easy to find good things in the reviews.  icon_neutral So, I figure it's a good sign I really have to work to find bad reviews of Iron Man so far.
10510  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains Issue 12: Midnight Hour on: April 29, 2008, 03:52:31 AM
Open beta testing for Issue 12 starts May 6!  drool
The calendar also includes an Anniversary message from Matt “Positron” Miller, along with important dates for the next year, including:

    * May 6th, 2008: Issue 12: Midnight Hour enters Open Beta Testing
    * July 18, 2008: Double XP Weekend Begins
    * October 20, 2008: Halloween Event Begins
    * December 15, 2008: Winter Event Begins
    * January 23, 2009: Double XP Weekend Begins
I know, it won't be enough to drag us (including me?) away from the "nips," boobies, see-through-loincloths, hairy pecs and other quote-unquote "mature" (i.e., junior high school locker room) stuff in Age of Conan, but it's something.  icon_razz  icon_lol
10511  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Vista Impressions/Gaming Issues on: April 29, 2008, 03:46:43 AM
Well, I started having problems tonight (sluggish Web browsing, lots of hard drive thrashing, and some occasional hiccups in games). I knew it was too good to last.  crybaby I'll have to keep an eye on things. I'm trying the "Oh it's that stupid Aero theme that's causing it" suggestion for now.

So I dunno if I buy this "Windows Experience Index" that's supposed to help you figure out if your PC can handle a game or not. But, for the hell of it, here are some of the ones in my "Games" section on the Vista 64-bit...

(Higher number means higher system requirements)
My HP PC's rating: 5.4

My Installed Games:
  • 5.0: Gears of War PC
  • 4.8: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta
  • 4.0: Company of Heroes/Opposing Fronts
  • 2.0: Bioshock
[this seems off, as Company of Heroes ran OK on my old PC but Bioshock was practically a slideshow)
[/list]Infinity Ward I guess decided not to play (COD4 doesn't have an Experience Index rating), and COH/COV was before its time I reckon.
10512  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: April 29, 2008, 01:48:53 AM
That's also the Fileplanet beta signup page artwork, so don't get too excited. They're using it for everything.  icon_razz

Although I still go back to logic. If you know bad guys are coming after you with pointy things, why are you wearing thong underwear and loincloths without at least a brass baseball player's cup, eh?  paranoid
10513  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Dual boot XP/Vista on: April 28, 2008, 10:07:35 PM
If you can stomach $50, you might look at something like Acronis Disk Director Suite (multiple OS manager):
(they have a free trial, and you can download the users manual and other background to see if it would help your situation).

It claims (I can't vouch):
It allows you to install 100 or more multiple operating systems (OSes) on one computer. You can boot an OS from any partition on any hard disk or have several multiboot systems on the same partition.
I haven't used it, but it interests me since I have a couple of major 64-bit Vista compatibility problems.

I did use to use Acronis disk transfer software when upgrading hard drives and can vouch for that, but was some years ago.

I might read the manual on this myself to see if it works with 64-bit Vista.
10514  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: City of Heroes/Villains: Player-Created Missions/Arcs on: April 28, 2008, 09:19:26 PM
Take a couple of teaspoons of baking soda with water (Preferably not from the toilet), and the feeling will go away.

Dr. Barium
I think my first mission will be called "Confusion in the Gaming Trend Directory," and you'll have to find all these boxes representing threads lost on page 37 because they have a weird subject head no Search will ever find.

Or would that be of isolated interest?  icon_razz
10515  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan sex on: April 28, 2008, 09:17:07 PM
Mangina baby! Sounds pretty scary.  paranoid icon_razz
10516  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / City of Heroes/Villains: Player-Created Missions/Arcs on: April 28, 2008, 06:38:56 PM
Talk about stealth bombshells.  eek Positron/Matt Miller threw this in towards the end of his 4th Anniversary letter to players:
Quote from: Positron/Matt Miller
I can’t tell you how excited I am for our game’s future, and although we have some major announcements yet to be made, one of the things I can talk about is a feature that we are planning.

Similar in concept to our character creator, it allows you, the players, to create missions and story arcs for your characters and others to participate in.

You’ll be able to pick the map, villain group, and objectives, as well as write the dialog and any clues needed for the missions. When you are satisfied with it, you can upload it and have other players across all servers play it and rate it.

Fame will come to the players whose stories rate the best overall. It is features like these that we never dreamed of including when we first shipped, but are excited to be able to offer players very soon.
This opens up a bazillion questions (not to mention exploits opportunities in the ratings), and fan-created content didn't save Saga of Ryzom from obscurity and cancellation. But, oh, I would've had so many ideas for this a couple years back...

After all these years of griping the missions weren't interesting enough, maybe I can finally "walk the walk" and "put my money where my mouth is."  icon_cool Unless they're limiting the player tools to clicking glowies and escort missions.  disgust icon_lol
10517  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: April 28, 2008, 06:06:59 PM
Actually, according to a mature friend of mine in City of Heroes/Villains, the most important thing about Age of Conan is that "It has boobies!"  eek icon_razz

fwiw, I finally got to a speedier Fileplanet server last night, got the beta event stuff downloaded, and installed. Now, barring some massive May 1 patch (naturally!  icon_razz) I'll be all set on Thursday.
10518  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: April 28, 2008, 05:07:00 PM
London Free Press doesn't quite have a review, but their entertainment guy purports to have seen a sneak preview and come away pleased (fwiw).  icon_smile

Iron Man to the rescue
We managed to snag a sneak peek a week ago, and while the official reviews don't start coming out until tomorrow, we can tell you that Iron Man is firing on all cylinders, especially where the special effects and Robert Downey Jr's vigorously inspired performance are concerned.
I think it had a premiere in London, so reviews might start appearing in the UK earlier. While part of me prefers to just stick my head in the sand and see things without the baggage of having read reviews, I did have reservations about IM (even if I loved the trailers), but the few early reviews are generally pretty positive.

But lots of people don't like summer movies period, and you'll see some like this...
Overly sarcastic new packaging with rusty ideas.
That's to temper my tendency towards fanboy-ism. He probably hated Raiders of the Lost Ark and Spider-Man 2 as well.  icon_razz

10519  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: April 28, 2008, 12:51:11 PM
Fox has an early, pretty rave review as well:

'Iron Man' Rocks: First Review,2933,352793,00.html
"Iron Man" plays like an old fashioned hit, full of character development, witty dialogue, and a plot that plausibly makes sense.

The fact is, Favreau’s "Iron Man" is damn good, and should kick the summer box office with a bang.
10520  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Class Poll on: April 28, 2008, 12:14:22 AM
I'm usually into archer types (my highest, 45, in LOTORO is an archer), but the footage I've seen suggests you have to be in first person view to fire. Anyone know if that's the case? (I'm mostly a third person guy due to motion sickness issues).  icon_confused

Addendum: Thanks for that first post link. I looked up the Ranger interview, and it mentioned the first-person firing mode is available but optional:

It also mentions that mounted archery is limited to basic directional attacks.
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