PhLUG BRICKXhibit

April 3, 2015 Leave a comment
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phlug-brickxhibit

Hello there!

The Philippine Lego User’s Group (PhLUG), the first officially recognized Lego User’s Group in the Philippines will be holding its first public display of its members works entitled BRICKXhibit 2015. This will be held starting on April 18, 2015 until May 1, 2015 at the Resorts World Manila red carpet area.

On April 25, 2015 will be the event called aBRICKadabra, the first Philippine Lego convention, will also be held at the Resorts World Manila’s main area. It will be a day long convention featuring activities for both AFOLS and kids alike. Expect project launches, demos and talks by member builders.

See you!

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Categories: Lego, Organizations

2015 Summer Games

April 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Summer in the Philippines have already started and here are some games that can be spent playing during the break.

Adventure:

For those looking to do some exploration, dragon hunting, and dating sim all in one, then Dragon Age: Inquisition is probably the game to play. Also just in time for the break is the release of its first DLC called the Jaws of Hakkon, extending the adventures more. An even better challenge is to well, play Dragon Age Origins up until Inquisition to create your own saga.

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Another popular title would be Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is a challenging Action Adventure RPG from last year (if you haven’t picked it up) with remastered graphics and experience.

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Shooters:

For those who’re into top down shooters, a new game released in Steam would be Running With Rifles. It plays much like Crimson Land, and instead of aliens or zombies, we got tiny soldiers running around the battlefield. Setting is

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Another alternative would be Halo Spartan Assault (available both in Steam and the Windows App Store for Windows 8.1 devices and Windows Phones). Similar to Running with Rifles, it is a top down shooter, and we play not as Halo’s Master Chief, but either of two Spartan IVs Commander Palmer and Spartan Davis on several missions between Halo 3 and 4 against remnants of the Covenant.

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And another shooter to add to this month’s summer would be none other than Battlefield Hardline. Running on the same engine (improved and fixed) as Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline takes the war on armies to the war on crime.

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Platformer:

I’m a sucker for anything Lego and right now in Steam there’s a sale on going for all things Lego.

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Simulation:

Flight Simulator X is now available on Steam. Almost a decade old, 8 years I think, the venerable flight sim from Microsoft has made its transition from the old Games for Windows Marketplace onto the biggest software market place. Should be easier to get it now, and have faster frame rate given the huge improvement of computer hardware. It’s quite affordable too, at around Php 314.97 down from Php 629.95

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For racing fans there’s Assetto Corsa, “The Racing Simulation Game” for PC. Lots of real racetracks, detailed cars and customizations featured.

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And to top off the simulations games selection, try out a non EA-Sim City. Cities: Skylines offer a lot of that classic Sim City gameplay, with none of the headaches from the 2013 game (always online DRM for example) and with a growing modding community it’s becoming a promising alternative, since Maxis has just shuttered up.

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Where’s Grand Theft Auto V?

Now, originally GTA V was supposed to come out around earlier, but since Rockstar’s been working to improve the game further (how nice of them!) here are some games to tide over, they all involve the word dogs, but don’t actually feature dogs in the game at all. Grand Theft Auto V for the PC should be out on April 14, 2015 (crossing fingers, and I do need an Ivy Bridge i5 and a GTX970 boost)

Sleeping Dogs is one of the titles under what used to be the True Crime series. The game focuses on an undercover agent in the City of Hong Kong. One of the game’s strong points is in its combat system. Unlike other games of its class, Sleeping Dogs focus more on hand to hand combat. I got the Definitive Edition, which utilize the latest developments in graphics hardware technologies.

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And the other dog would be Watch Dogs. While it was released last year, I find replaying it a different experience. Utilizing a different approach on some of the previous missions I played made a different experience altogether.  Also the Bad Blood DLC came out sometime last year, extending the game by playing as T-Bone, Aiden’s hacker partner. Also try downloading the graphics hack that sets the game’s graphics to match that of the E3 demo, though it will require a beefy system in order to play it.

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Categories: Games

Gigabyte Champion Series Boards

April 2, 2015 Leave a comment

I kind of missed this email from my inbox earlier last March regarding some new product releases from Gigabyte. Might as well post it now as summer has officially started in the Philippines. For those looking into making a new highend gaming machine / upgrading over this long break for some (whose schools will be transitioning to an August start date).

“Taipei, Taiwan, March 6th, 2015 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce today the addition of 4 new high performance motherboards to their comprehensive Intel® X99 chipsets offering with the X99 Champion series. The new motherboards consist of the X99-Gaming 5P, X99-UD4P, X99-UD3P and the already famous X99-SOC Champion.

The boards now boast of having support for higher memory frequencies, enabling enthusiasts/professional overclockers  to push new machines to an even faster setting than before.

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Gigabyte has partnered up with Corsair to produce RAM sticks that are compatible to both memory speed as well as board aesthetics.

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“DDR4 memory modules are available at a stock frequency of 2133MHz, but memory vendors encode XMP profiles which can automatically modify the frequency and timings of the supported memory modules to work in par with your CPU. With the X99 Champion Series, GIGABYTE is offering a tested and proven platform that ensures proper compatibility with profiles up to 3200MHz, and exclusively 3400Mhz for the X99-SOC Champion”

 

“Paired with DDR4 memory such as the Corsair® Limited Edition Orange Dominator® Platinum kit, which was custom designed for the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion motherboard, users can take advantage of better responsiveness during gaming and faster operation execution in memory demanding works applications.”

Corsair® Dominator® Platinum Series 16GB DDR4 DRAM 3400MHz C16 Memory Kit

“GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards also provide support for RDIMM memory which allows users to use greater density memory sticks up to 16GB per stick. This paired with a range of exciting features such as the GIGABYTE’s Amp-Up Audio, Killer™ E2200 or Intel® gigabit Ethernet controller and unique GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ features means that users can truly build a PC that brings them exceptional performance and durability.”

GIGABYTE X99 Series Motherboard Models*

GA-X99-Gaming 5P

GA-X99-UD4P

GA-X99-UD3P

GA-X99-SOC Champion

For more details regarding GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards, please go to:

http://www.gigabyte.com/MicroSite/376/index.html

Categories: Motherboards Tags:

Gaming Mice and Keyboard Long Haul Review

February 15, 2015 Leave a comment

I started this review roughly 2 1/2 years ago with the aim of getting the best bang for the buck gaming peripheral in the market. I chose Razer then, having the most rounded features at their disposal (mouse sensitivity, ergonomics, design, software), with a bit of a hit in the budget, being slightly more expensive than the competition (Logitech), but still boasting enough new features to beat them.

(This kind of explains why for a longer span, I couldn’t play/review games.)

2015 and now I’m using an all Logitech setup. Why is that? First of all, both my Razer Blackwidow and Imperator conked out. The Blackwidow, for all it’s mechanical glory, had its Left Shift key die on my while playing Battlefield 4 when it came out – it’s now a glorified extension keyboard for my laptop at work. I don’t need to continually press the right shift key when using it to program (except for emails). As for the Imperator, it ended in the trash bin. The left mouse stuck and I tended to double tap the key unnecessarily. I did the usual steps in cleaning the contacts, but it didn’t work, and seems the paint began wiping off too. The worst part is, these products died off just a tad few days AFTER each of their warranties ended.

This lead me to go back to Logitech, as history has proven to me that the product’s reliability/durability as the best. I’ve replaced similar mice bundled with my old PCs from years ago with Logitech mice and usually outlived the computer. Fortunately Logitech did up its game by repackaging their gaming products with the G brand more prominently displayed (blue G logo) and actually updated the designs, software and performance of their keyboards and mice.

For the keyboard, I ended up buying the G105 (which I tested before), I didn’t mind that it’s a membrane keyboard as long as it performed its job well, though I’m a bit bothered that the design remained the same 2-3 years ago still. I’d go for the G910 Orion Spark, but a.) it wasn’t available locally last year… and b.) when it finally arrived, the price was incredibly steep, more expensive than the Blackwidow 2014 Ultimate Stealth edition with their new Green mechanical Keys. Well, I just hope it does last longer than the original Blackwidow I bought, if I do get to buy one.

As for the mouse, I was aiming for the G502 Proteus Core (see picture), but I ended up with

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the G402 Hyperion Fury, which is the middle model of the new series of gaming mice by Logitech. Actually the G402 is the successor of the MX518 gaming mice release almost a decade ago. The ergonomics has been improved as well as its look (simple black color with some areas having a coarse grippy material and lined with slick plastic), with a matching G logo with a pulsating blue LED. So far playing FPS has been a great experience with its improved performance in being able to pinpoint mouse movement better than what I’ve had before (less lag, better accuracy when aiming).

The main concern with getting these G products from Logitech is that it’s usually Gray Import stuff, and what makes me wonder why Logitech’s local PH office is still pulling its punches on gaming peripherals especially if their new ones are so damn good?

Categories: Keyboards, Mouse Tags:

Western Digital Valentine’s Gift Guide

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

WD’s Gifts for Him and Her

Valentine’s Day is upon us once again! Are you looking for a present that you and your date will remember for years to come – let WD help you.

The perfect his and hers drive

My Passport® Ultra™ – Metal Edition™

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Coming in three colors, My Passport Ultra is the perfect his-and-hers portable hard drive. The striking colors add style, while an innovative and radical design protects against everyday knocks.

Password protection and 256-bit hardware encryption also ensures the security of every photo, video, music and important file you save.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of My Passport, My Passport Ultra Anniversary Edition is only available for a limited time.

MSRP:

1 TB – Php 4,590

2 TB – Php 7,490

 

For romantic road trips

My Passport® Wireless

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If you’re both selfie addict and love taking pictures of food on your travels, then the My Passport Wireless could be a great gift for either one of you. My Passport Wireless allows you to wirelessly back up all your smartphone photos onto the portable hard disk drive.

In addition, a built-in SD card slot allows you to transfer photos directly from SD cards in your camera, right into the My Passport Wireless. You won’t need a laptop to store your photos, and free up space on your camera in no time!

Frame, shoot, backup and repeat!

MSRP:

1 TB – Php 9,590

2 TB – Php 11,990

For all his movies and videos

My Book® Duo 12 TB

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If your man has a large music and video library and worries about the lack of digital storage space in his computer, or about waiting too long for files to be transferred, then the My Book Duo would be an excellent choice!

With transfer speeds up to 290 MB/s, My Book Duo boasts the ability to transfer a full-HD movie in just under 20 seconds.[1] My Book Duo also features two additional USB expansion ports for easy additional storage.

The sheer volume of storage potential, as well as fast transfer speeds offered by the My Book Duo means that he now has room to store even more movies and music, and your entire digital collection! Looks like movie night is taken care of for the next few decades.

MSRP:

4 TB – Php 13,990

6 TB – Php 16,990

8 TB – Php 22,990

12 TB – Php 31,990

 


[1] Read speeds (MB/s) for HD video. Performance based on 4 GB DVD movie files. Performance may vary based on operating system and hardware configuration.

Categories: Hard Drives

Dragon Age: Inquisition

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Dragon Age: Inquisition is Bioware’s latest release that manages to bring the excitement back in its RPG franchise. Find out more in this article.

While I heard good things about the first title, I only had the opportunity to start playing the game with the release of Dragon Age II. Unfortunately, I did not find it as engaging as, well, another Bioware RPG series: Mass Effect. Why? The world then was small, limiting options for exploration, and combat was strictly action oriented. The latest title manages to improve some more.

The game starts  some time right after the end of Dragon Age II, with the Chantry calling for a meeting with the Mages and Templar factions in order to end the war that was brought about by the events in the previous game. The player picks out his chosen race of: humans, elf, dwarf and qunari (each with backgrounds that tie into the story), and class. Something happens which leave the player character, the Inquisitor, as the sole survivor and having the ability to close Rifts that have opened after the event. The player is now tasked to stop the spread of the rift at the meeting place, determine who plotted the event and build alliances and army to thwart the oncoming threat.

Graphics: Fof DA:I, the dev team now use Dice’s Frostbite 3 game engine (similar to Battlefield 4) to give better environment and graphical quality. Water, Shadows and lighting improved greatly. Depending on the computer’s graphics card, expect lush vegetation and wide expanses teeming with scattered bits an pieces throughout the game world. While graphics has improved a lot more than the last, there’s some graphical glitch here and there at some point.

Gameplay: This is where most of the improvements were made. Crafting was updated in DA:I. Players can now collect other materials such as metal, leather and cloth to create custom weapons and armor. These weapons and armor can be equipped by anyone in the Inquisitor’s companions. A war table has been added, and from here the Inquisitor can respond to requests/missions, as well as open up new areas to explore, or move the story along. There are advisors (non companion characters), most would be familiar to the player that handles specific (military/espionage/diplomacy) response to any board mission. Players would now have a Castle/town called Skyhold, which will serve as their main base of operations. It will have shops, offices, and blacksmith that will aide in his/her quests. Skyhold will also let us interact with other characters and progress romance with some.DragonAgeInquisition 2015-01-05 23-21-01-79 DragonAgeInquisition 2015-01-05 23-21-57-01

Fighting monsters / enemies / Dragons have been improved with the introduction of the Tactical Map. Here, players can command individual units to perform specific tasks, unlike the usual AI driven actions made by the companions during a fight. This adds a little bit more tactical feel to the game. Aside from being able to craft custom equipment, players now have a better managed Skill Tree than before, letting us customize our play style.

Quests are plentiful. Some involves basic hacking and slashing while others may require thinking or utilizing the Inquisition manpower to solve. It lessens the repetition somewhat and keeps players attention. As a staple of the series, there are quests to develop your companion’s role in the story and some would lead to their redemption or death. While others would aid the Inquisitor in courting his/her romance partner.

An addition to the gameplay is the inclusion of a multiplayer coop. This plays similar to Mass Effect 3’s Cooperative mode, however it does not affect the single player game’s final performance, unlike ME3’s (higher readiness % nets a better ending). Unlike ME3’s wide array of characters to build, DA:I’s multiplayer roster for now is limited.

Dragons in DA:I are plenty, 10 of them to be exact. Hunting them is exciting, not knowing how long can the party will last as some dragons use different elements/tactics in fighting. The rewards of slaying a dragon is also worth it, being able to stock up on Dragon bones for crafting the best weapons and armor in the game.

Hands down, Dragon Age: Inquisition was RPG to beat in 2014.

 

Rating: 9/10

Categories: Uncategorized

Civilization: Beyond Earth Review

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

After experiencing the advanced weaponry (GDM and XCOM troops) in Civ V, and constantly winning the science race… one will wonder what’d be the next Civilization? Instead of rehashing the same game again (like the change from 3 to 4, then 4 to 5), Firaxis released the follow up to Civ V, Civ: Beyond Earth. But before we go further, let’s remember that Alpha Centauri was the true sequel to Civ 2, in the sense released to an older generation of gamers, while Beyond Earth would be the sequel of the modern era.

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With the premise of Earth has become overpopulated, and Civilizations have begun a race to the stars (Based on a Science Victory game, and having major Civilizations from each continent forming factions: North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia/Pacific forming alliances), Civilization tries anew with its formula of building a new Civilization on a new planet that will a.) aid the people of Earth to migrate to the new world, b.) Find and contact with other sentient life in the galaxy, c.) Reclaim and conquer the old world. These new victories add/improve on the existing victory conditions: domination, science, time. While some disappeared entirely, being replaced by one of the new conditions, like culture, as the new civilizations will have essentially a mix of multiple civilizations in them.

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There’s a change in developing Civilizations now in Beyond Earth. Instead of a linear tech tree to pick and choose a select technology to develop, it has now changed into a tech web where more technologies are interlinked to each other, giving a bigger depth (and more complicated structure) when strategizing which technology upgrade to take. Even more so are the three different technology affinity each civilization can take: Purity, Supremacy, Harmony. These lead to accessing units unique to one of the three.

Another introduction to the game is the quest system. In order to win the game, players would need to take on some quests that will progress their civilization’s effort to win. These revolve around finding pods, performing espionage or simply being able to complete building structures in cities or research.

The new world in CBE is drastically different from CivV. Primitive alien life is abound from small predators, to Krakens at sea and giant worms (Remember Dune?). Depending on our play style (and chosen affinity) we can either coexist / decimate these. Aside from the aliens, other things to consider in the new planet is the existence of tiles that have Miasma, a substance akin to gas that poisons human vehicles/personnel. this holds true until the development of technologies that can either remove these or have humans adapt (harmony affinity). Another change from the earlier civ series is the application of satellites that can buff/repair/remove miasma on selected tiles. Satellites can only be launched with in your civilization’s area. These hold strategic importance in blocking /protecting a civilization’s borders or improving resource collection.

Rating: 10/10

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