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10561  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:48:31 PM
Sorry, I have no topless shots yet though the "starter outfit" seems more appealing than the various armor scraps you get early on:
10562  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 03, 2008, 01:38:12 PM
BB for me was for me in a different way satisfying because of what it was trying to undo (years of horrific Batman Movies). I do think Iron Man has a bit more potential to appeal to a wider spectrum just because it's a little funnier and snappier though still gritty at times.

For those who obsess about box office figures (they don't reflect whether a film's good or not, but I certainly want to see IM recoup its fairly high production costs (I've read estimates ranging from $150 million to $190 million, and the scary thing is that's not even considered all that huge in today's world), the Friday estimates were about $35 million and the Thursday advance screenings (what I attended) pulled in about $5.2  million.

And it's pulled in about $22.4 million internationally so far, with a lot more openings still left:

Here's hoping for a $100m opening weekend. In fact, I'll try to see it again this afternoon and do my part. This time for less than $11.50.  icon_razz

PVP's Kurtz loved it too, fwiw:
Quote from: PVP's Scott Kurtz
Find a way to go see Iron Man today. We saw it last night at Midnight. It is without a doubt the best Super-Hero movie I have seen to date. It’s better than Spidey 2. It’s just…the perfect comic book nerd movie.
Like I said though, I don't think you *need* to be a comic book nerd to enjoy it. It seems to have more widespread appeal beyond, but certainly including, that.  icon_cool
10563  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Is a bit of green mold bad for you? on: May 03, 2008, 01:02:33 PM
I ate some slimy packaged ham a few months ago (it was "preservative free", and I think I'll stick with preserved deli meats, thank you) and survived, so I think you'll be OK.

It won't hurt you, from what I've read (who knows? Maybe your peanut butter went bad). I don't think bread mold's going to give you salmonella (which is more from meats). But if you have any lingering problems then for crying out loud see a doctor about it.  icon_smile

Actually, of late I've started scribbling "sell by" or "eat this by" dates on certain things on my fridge with a Sharpie. Most packaged deli meats (the preserved kind) warn you to eat it within a week of opening no matter how air tight you store it, for example. I hurriedly made a sandwich for work yesterday so some opened meats would "beat the deadline."

I'd recommend The Sharpie Calendar Dating Method if like me you pay no attention to how old the stuff is you have in there (or a Post-It Note on your breadbox).  icon_razz

Lastly, my mom is a big fan of throwing bread - as soon as she bought it - in the freezer, where it'll last virtually forever. You can either pop slices in the microwave or in the fridge overnight to thaw, and generally it still tastes fine and chances are will be mold-free. icon_biggrin
10564  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:09:32 AM

NPCs you can communicate with will lip synch if they have actual speech (many do). Creepy.  paranoid

Finally got to the point where you run into other players. I'm not sure if the Green Giant is a pet of some sort, or what.

Note the little "padlock" on the panther they're fighting. This seems like an "anti kill steal" mechanism where once you "tag" an enemy, no one outside of your party can damage it. Not sure though, I'm just guessing.  icon_confused I saw it pop up a few times.

Just the requisite "gosh it looks so nice" screenshot everyone has been doing since the first Everquest. Well, so be it. It does look nice, even on modest settings.  icon_smile

10565  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 03, 2008, 04:03:32 AM
I tried a Ranger tonight. Some pics...

Although archery is fun enough, every enemy that's not an archer makes an immediate bee line to you and starts whacking. In the early going anyway, I'm not finding archery very practical, fwiw.

Scrolling the mouse wheel pulls up a crosshair and a near FPS style view. It works well enough.

For all the talk of gore, in two nights of slashing at everything in sight, I have one decap to speak of.  smirk

The skills, combo whatever tree is intimidating. Archery includes grenadier down the line (firing crude bombs), including this grapeshot.
10566  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: LOTRO 9.99 referral? on: May 03, 2008, 12:24:53 AM
Got my "re-invite" to come back and play free May 8-12. Natch, I'm out of town May 8-9 on business, and at a baseball game on the 10th, Mother's Day on the 11th. Cripes. So, I don't have much of a window to play then.  icon_cry
Quote from: Welcome Back to LOTORO e-mail
The Lord of the Rings Online™ launched a year ago and we want you to help us celebrate! That's why we're giving you free LOTRO access from May 8-12, 2008!

Play your old characters, check out the LOTRO Anniversary celebration events, explore new areas, and tackle new quests. Just log into your LOTRO account from May 8-12, 2008 and we'll take care of the fun and adventure.
10567  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 08:48:49 PM
Check out these custom figurines at Wired, especially the first one (an Iron Man/Iron Monger hybrid).

10568  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 02, 2008, 04:25:41 PM
It definitely is common, though not necessarily required. I think LOTORO and to some extent City of Heroes didn't quite have the same din of "DOMMM!!!!"' 3 weeks from launch. They might've had different expectations though.

Tabula Rasa, otoh, from what I read, did -- and they ended up releasing a massive patch right at launch to totally revamp some things.

Anyway, when it does stay connected AoC looked great, performed well (on my new but not high end quad core with modest 8600GT card) and the combat basics (the three directional attack keys, and the visual "shield" system of the enemies) felt good to me. Here's hoping they deliver a home run and not a double. icon_smile

Couple questions for you more knowledgeable:
-I'm used to being able to drag and drop skills from a panel into the hotkey tray but it didn't seem to do anything. If I left clicked in the skills panel it activated it. What am I missing?  icon_confused
-In most mmorpgs I like to switch the "run/walk toggle" from the typical "Num Lock" to my wheel mouse button. When I go into key config, it won't let me assign to that. Urk?  icon_confused
-The various UI panels seem to be fixed in place. I would think there'd be some option to "un bind" them but I haven't found one so far in the options. Can you clue me in if you find a way?
10569  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 03:38:02 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention:
-I arrived early for my 8 p.m. show last night (maybe 6:40). There was nobody there, and one ticket cashier. I sheepishly asked to pickup an online order, she swiped my card, got my ticket. Definitely online ordering was a little pointless last night.  icon_redface

-I sat in the fourth row from the screen (at this AMC stadium theater they set the first rows reasonably far back). It was about perfect -- filled up my eyeglasses, but I never had to turn my head to enjoy the view. Nobody sat in front of me. Other than a couple who cackled like hyenas at every moment of humor (it has some funny moments, but sheesh), nobody was annoying. It was like having my own huge private screening room.  icon_cool

But, as I mentioned, I might want to catch it at least once with a big, noisy summer movie crowd this weekend.
10570  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 01:09:23 PM
I had one gripe with Batman Begins.  That was Katie Holmes.
Most people (including me) felt that way too. I think we'll like Maggie Glyenhall, who has a lot more fire and just seems a lot more believable as a tough DA (judging from the Dark Knight Trailers).  icon_smile

I belatedly found out what I missed after the credits. Cool.  icon_cool
10571  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 02, 2008, 12:44:37 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on May 02, 2008, 04:56:44 AM

How many character slots?
Appears to be eight.

If they eventually get all those servers at right running (or even most of them), hopefully it'll improve connection reliability. I know it's "just open beta" and all, but this close to release, people start passing judgement on the product whether the developer likes that or not. The official forums are kind of ugly about it, sometimes alleging Funcom learned nothing from AO's launch debacle.

This close (3 weeks) was about when I decided while in the LOTORO open beta that the game was coming together, was really special and generally reliable, and I went ahead and pre-ordered. Funcom certainly still has time, and I doubt the "gold master" means much -- no doubt this'll be another MMO with a huge update opening day update/patch. But really, you'd like it to be really coming together at this point (just basing that on my 2-3 other experiences with MMOs in this window before launch).
10572  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Early word on "Iron Man" on: May 02, 2008, 05:06:59 AM
Hey, even Box Office Mojo (they basically hate every movie ever made, is how I consider their reviews section) liked Iron Man, so it must have some redeeming features.  icon_razz

Robert Downey, Jr. Rocks as Witty Superhero

Another reason to see it is that (I assume in most places) you get to see newly updated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Hulk and The Dark Knight trailers. You may also hoot at the trailer for the latest M. Night Shyamalan trailer. I like the guy, loved The Sixth Sense, but for the Love Of God, come up with a new schtick for your movies! (he doesn't  icon_razz) When the trailer ended, I heard people in the audience cackling at the title. Doesn't bode well for his continued career...
10573  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Oh, my aching back(log)! on: May 02, 2008, 05:00:58 AM
TQ: Immortal Throne is an awesome expansion (and I guess a good-but-sad epitaph to its defunct developer); however, I played it so much last spring that I got wrist tendinitis. Was wearing braces, gulping Alleve like Pez. A bit too much sacrifice to make for a game.  icon_razz
10574  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Age of Conan Fileplanet beta screenshots (NDA dropped for it) on: May 02, 2008, 04:37:02 AM
As pointed out here and elsewhere (, for example), Funcom dropped the NDA for the Fileplanet open beta, but not for the continuing closed and "general open betas" (just to confuse people I guess icon_razz ). So tis ok to share videos/screenies from the FP open beta *only*.

So here be a couple screenshots of mine after a bit of playing tonight (meant to take more, guess I was hitting the wrong hotkey):

Character creation. Right panel has all the various class choices.

A day at the beach. This doesn't have all the eye candy turned on, but it is pretty swell still.  icon_smile I mentioned in the main thread that I really enjoyed the combat system. It won't blow you away, but it felt intuitive right away and different enough to feel fresh. You eventually get a recall power of sorts that you can bind to one location. I haven't quite figured out how to assign hotkeys just yet, I'm missing something.  icon_confused
10575  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Age of Conan (It's Golden!) on: May 02, 2008, 04:23:13 AM
Updating DirectX fixed it, that's all it was.

I like the combat more than I expected, though since you're stuck with 1-3 as melee directions I don't quite know how I'll handle all the hotkeys later on. It ran OK for me (1280X1024), but it basically got stuck somewhere in the jungle and I had to alt/tab to the desktop to exit (it won't let you exit while in combat). I was playing on server #4. It seemed like the only first one was really busy right now.

The options menus give you zillions of options; I think they're going to have to put some sub categories within them - it's just awfully intimiding to try to find a setting in there.

*So far I can play maybe 10-15 minutes and then *DOINK*, the server freezes up; or in the last case I clicked on dialogue with an NPC enemy and *doink* it froze up. When it's not doing that, it's pretty fun, fwiw.
10576  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.
10577  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
10578  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
10579  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

10580  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
10581  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.
10582  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
10583  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
10584  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.
10585  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
10586  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
10587  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
10588  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.
10589  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
10590  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
10591  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.
10592  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
10593  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
10594  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
10595  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:
10596  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.
10597  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.
10598  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.
10599  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
10600  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.
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