A p0x upon teh job search!

Well folks, as a friend recently pointed out, I need to post something all ready. So here's the skinny, as some of you may or may not know, I have most recently been employed by a  large auto-insurance company in North East Ohio. Well due to a relatively flat insurance market over the past few years, and some less then innovative IT leadership, a decently large re-organization has been undertaken by the company, and in doing so they have decided to eliminate around 250 positions from the Business side (Business Analysts, Product Managers) and a corresponding 250 poistions from the IT side as well. I'm sure it looked good on paper, and to be honest I do believe it was required to truly change direction which is what is needed. At any rate I among with a large number of my breatren had our jobs eliminated on Nov. 15th (Happy Holidays folks!)

So, to make a short story long, I am in search of a job and hence the less frequent updates. My apologies, if any of you wanted to put me on your pay-roll, I promise to get back to more frequent rants 😉

Crysis – Single Player Demo

There are only 2 words that apply to the Crysis Single-Player Demo: F$#k!ng Amazing!

Where to be begin, the graphics I guess. Stunning, just stunning! The lighting, the foliage. I honestly felt like I was there. Those guys programmed one helluva beautiful rendering engine. You better believe you need one heck of a rig to run this bad boy to any of it's credit.

For the sake of a frame of reference, below are the specs to my main machine, this is where all the magic happens, especially the gaming, and it by far is the *baddest* box I own currently. Not a God system by any stretch but it does ok for me:

RAIDMAX RX-630A ATX12V / EPS12V 630W Power Supply
2 x BFG Tech BFGR88320GTSOCE GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor
ASUS P5N32-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
2xCrucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
2xAcer AL2016WBbd Black 20″ 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 800:1
2xSeagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
GIGABYTE 3D Aurora 570 GZ-FA1CA-ASS Silver 1.0 mm Aluminum body ATX Full Tower Computer Case
ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink

For what it's worth, Vista's “Game Explorer” cites the recommended rating is 5.0, with a required of at least 3.0:

My system above gets me a 5.4 (in non-sli mode):

I should mention when I play it, I switch on SLI mode (what a waste of cash that is, do yourself a favor and just drop the cash on a sweet single card). Crysis auto-determines that I should use the “Medium” setting. And it's pretty playable, but oh lord beware of cranking up the options. They look awesome and cost a ton in terms of performance. Don't even think about Anti-Aliasing.

I kinda wonder what these fellas are developing these games on. But my guess is by summer of 2008, your average high end system ($3000+) should run it pretty well.

That said, the game is brilliant. And I've only run through the demo a few times. The UI enhancements are genious. And by believeably handling the not needing to pick up health pellets along the way, removed a HUGE stumbling block of scalable difficulty settings. How many times have have you found that making the game harder simply removes hald the armor and healthy pellets? Far far too many in my book my friends!

Like it older brother FarCry, there are sneaking elements of the game whereas one might need to eviscerate a small platoon of enemy soldiers and not get heard whilest one sneaks. Generally, I find these scenarious to be an annoyance in games, regardless of how realistic it actually is (i.e. I would expect to have no clue of the natives when thrown from an airplane, it still pisses me off to have to stumble on them.) but it felt liveable in Crysis, which I attribute primarily of not having to follow the path explicitly so that I may gain my health pellets… Brilliant I say.

I can't wait for the full blown version to come out, better yet when I can own a machine that lets it sing in 16x AA 😀

-Regards!

Quake Revolution Mod releases their source

Evolution and the Quake Revolution crew have *officially* released their source code for their Quake3 mod. Hop on over to http://www.quake-revolution.com/

In two convenient ways, download the source .rar archive, grab it with svn or simply just browse the code-base via web browser.

RAR archive
http://www.quake-revolution.com/downloads/source/Revolution-1.38-source.rar

Subversion
http://quake-revolution.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/quake3/

Ah nastalgia, if you look hard enough you can find some code I wrote up in there 😉 And I will cop to thefting the unlag railjump concept from t3h Evolution, just made good sense.

As always, mad props for your efforts and releasing the source instead of just letting it die on the vine (*cough* IU1.2B *cough*), plus who knows what Quake:Zero will cause?

Regards!

HalfLife2: Episode 2

Finally got around to playing Episode 2, and boy I'm glad I did! A return of one of my favorite mysterious characters of the game. I initially was a bit apprehensive of the episodic content delivery, but I think it will really allow Valve to stretch out the life-span of the HalfLife2 franchise, buying a lot of time for new engine development as well.

This episode felt more like HalfLife2 then 1 did. Now, I'm not saying anything against 1, and excellent game in and of its own right, but somehow, 2 fells more like “home” and I do like the tie in to Portal's Aperture Science.

I think the folks over at Valve really have a vision, and I hope they make it!

Regards!

Quake Revolution 1.38, Final Version :-(

It is with a heavy heart that I report what seems to be the final version of the Revolution Quake3 mod.

http://forums.dbzclan.com/viewtopic.php?t=575

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, hop on over to: http://www.quake-revolution.com

Mad props to Evolution and Lucron! Writing and maintaining a new mod for such an OLD game really is difficult, at best. It's a relatively thankless job and the community so small these days, it's hard to ever gain (or god forbid, regain) momentum. It's a time consuming process and of course, we've all got day jobs… Anyway, I can't speak for them, but I understand.

I regret that things didn't happen differently, some of you know what I mean.

Anyway, I can't wait to see what they rip they're hands into next! Thanks for the effort! And I must say,releasing the source is a classy touch.

Easy Access to Reactance Q3 Dev Server

Well, as promised, I added the DNS entry for the dev server. The IP address and ports are still the (72.5.249.52:27960) but you can now get at it at the easier to remember:

q3.reactanceunlagged.com:27960

Orange Box

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a big fan of Half-Life2 Single Player and Episode 1, and have been eagerly waiting for the release of Episode 2. I decided to grab Orange Box because of the extras, the price was too good to pass up. Orange Box (at least when purchased via Steam) comes with: HalfLife 2, HL2:Episode 1, HL2: Episode 2, TeamFortress 2, Portal, and Peggle Extreme (A Orange Box themed demo version of Peggle Deluxe by PopCap Games)

First, let me say Peggle is an unbelievably fun game, unicorns, rainbows and all! A ball to play while you wait for the rest of your games to be finish downloading.

I used to hate the Steam delivery engine. A complete 180 for me over the past couple of years. Effortless game buying and loading. Ok, the download on a fresh computer if required takes a while but EASY!!! And much much much to my delight, I can now “gift” my version of HalfLife2 andHL2:Episode 1 to someone as Orange Box comes with them. Sheer genius I say!

The star of the litter, in my opionion is “Portal” ! Every review you've read that calls it brilliant and amazing is absolutely true. This is the only title I have ever seen that I would consider a First Person Puzzler. 19 Test Chambers of movement puzzlers plus a gripping antagonist! I was 110% invested in this game within the first 3 chambers. If you are unfamiliar with the game, you have 1 “gun” and it can shoot two portals. An Orange portal and a Blue portal ( i am unaware of any specific technical name for the color differentiation of the portals). Basically you shoot a portal at a surface that allows that and you can walk through one portal and come out the other, regardless of their placement or orientation. I.e. one may place a portal on the wall and the other on the floor and you will go through the floor and come out the wall or go in the wall and pop out the floor. And you use this technique to maneuver around the test chambers and complete the goal. Hop on YouTube.com and look for some videos, I can't do it justice. Worth every penny of the $20.00 USD, I promise!

TeamFortress 2
I gotta say, I love the looks of this game. The character models with a more, cartoony feel, really make it feel more like a game then war simulation. Which, is why I play games, if I wanted war simulations, I could join the armed forces. The class based concepts are very nice. I personally can't stand them. I hope someone mods TF2 to remove the classes and let all weapons be avaaliable all characters. Also, the players should be move the same speed. I realize that is not how class based games are supposed to work, and I will again mention that I do not like class based games. If TF2 and Quake3 could have a twisted love child, I am all about that!! Great work on this game, wish I would be getting more use out of it.

HalfLife2, HL2: Episode 1, HL2: Episode 2
I'm not going to recap HL2, it's a stunning great game! So nice to being able to see the maps then the near pitch black of some other FPS games (which I love!!) A great continuation from HL2. I really enjoy the storylines. I don't have much to say here, if you liked HL2, you will like E1, and most likely E2. Though I have not had a chance to crack it open yet. I am not allowing myself to until I finish Episode 1. (Yeah. sorry, tough year, was sorta busy 🙂 )

All in all, the guys at Valve are doing an amazing job and some amazing work across the board from game development, content delivery, and game playability. Hats off to you fellas, if you're ever in Cleveland, Ohio, stop by, dinner is on me!

Regards!


Monkk

monkk@monkk.com