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Archive for January, 2008

I’ve just realized…

January 26, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve just realized that this blog has turned 1 already!! I hope more (bigger) things to come this year! Big Grin

Categories: Uncategorized

Playing Final Fantasy VII on Windows Vista

January 26, 2008 10 comments

INTRODUCTION

31VKF58JSNL__AA214_ Since I’ve ran out of new games to cover (and I’m saving up my resources for a trip to the US this April), I’ll drop back to an old game that I was playing since the PSOne and Windows 95/98 era…. Final Fantasy VII. Of course I’ve played this first in my old PSOne, which is now property of my siblings and my PS2 cannot play the old game, even if Sony touted backwards compatibility {shame}.

Since the PSOne’s no longer with me, I purchased FFVII for the PC from Datablitz. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII for the PC had terribly written code, and because of it, it was a chore to play on Windows XP (especially in SP2), since we all have to set some things to make it work. This also pose a problem for Windows Vista. The symptoms range from not being able to see the screen, seeing choppy graphics, the game crashing on start, and more

  I used various search engines to look for answers. and one site was able to help me out. Here is the link: http://ntcompatible.com/Final_Fantasy_VII_c522.html

SETUP INSTRUCTIONS

Now out of all the replies there on how to make run FFVII on Vista, there’s one sure fire way. It came from this post and it reads (part):

    • Note : Not tested on isos, I used the original game. So use the original game like me! ;)
    • First : Install your FF7 Game (Uncheck the Yamaha, the directx and the directshow cases) and choose the Maximum install.
      Follow the steps until the end.
    • Second : When installed, apply :
          1.02 patch,
          the chocobo patch,
          truemotion codec
      in this order. *Available at : http://wiki.qhimm.com/FF7/Technical/Customising*
    • Third : Apply the goodies if you want.
          Avatar mod for Advent children avatar in the menu
          *Available at : http://wiki.qhimm.com/FF7/Technical/Customising*
          HD Patch to have better graphics for some characters (all mains and many others).
          *Available at : http://www.ffdream.com/out.php?table=file_2&id=833322&type=*
          (Accept the popup below the adress bar to download it)
    • Fourth : Run FF7.exe, and the config utility will pop-up,
    •     Graphics : I used 640 x 480 Full Screen and checked NVIDIA TNT
          with renderer Direct3D hardware acceleration.
          Sound : Don’t touch it.
          MIDI : MIDI Driver Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth and MIDI Data General MIDI
    • Fifth : My game started perfectly and it plays well!!!!!!

Now the instructions are simple, but let’s not end at that point, there are still some issues to take care of.

BUILD SAMPLE

In my build of Final Fantasy VII for the PC I have the following PC Specs:

Intel 805 Dual Core 2.66GHz OC’d to 3.1GHz
2x 1GB DDR2 800 RAM *upgrade
MSI 8600GTS OC 256MB RAM *upgrade
160GB Seagate SATA
Windows Vista Ultimate + Service Pack 1 RC1 *upgrade

ffvii_pc_1 ffvii_pc_2 ffvii_pc_3 ffvii_pc_4 ffvii_pc_5 ffvii_pc_6 ffvii_pc_7 ffvii_pc_9 ffvii_pc_10 ffvii_pc_11  ffvii_pc_13 ffvii_pc_14

*All of these images came from the PC running at 640×480 resolution.

ADDITIONAL SETTINGS

In order to play the game and prevent from "crashing" at start, change the compatibility settings of the game .exe file to run as Administrator. With that we can start the game normally.

However, in the process of making things smoother, I discovered that messing around with NVIDIA’s settings can cause the game’s graphics to shot black lines as well as the tiled effect. To remedy this, either switch to Software Render mode (and lose any Anti-Aliasing properties the game already has), or reinstall the video driver to make sure everything is set to default.

Categories: Games

Oh Where Oh Where is Guitar Hero III for the PC?

January 23, 2008 2 comments

I was looking around for any PC version of Rock Band in Gamespot and in Wikipedia since last month, however, I chanced upon that Guitar Hero III also had a PC Version. That I did not know. I’m wondering right now as to where to get one, since I don’t seem to find any PC Version in gaming shops here. I wonder. (Though I still wish there should be a PC Rockband version instead) Tongue

Categories: Uncategorized

The Crysis Review

January 22, 2008 Leave a comment

crysis_snowy

 

To start off the new year right, I’ll be covering this time around, a game called Crysis. Sorry for the long delay, I’ve been busy with office work, parties, photography, Need for Speed: ProStreet, the PSP, and the gym Tongue

Crysis is one of those hyped up games from the Games for Windows Live line-up for around I think 2 years since I first saw the rumors and preliminary art for the game. Well as the story (of the development) goes, after the success of the game Far Cry, the next path of evolving an open ended (sandbox) first person shooter was to improve on what Far Cry brought upon.

In the game we play as Jake Dunn, a member of the US Special Forces Delta, not sure if they’re the actual future representation of the Delta force, but their unit designation is as such. Their mission in the Lingshan Islands, several hundred kilometers east of Taiwan, and several hundred kilometers north of the Philippines is to rescue a team of archeologists who were conducting a dig of artifacts from an unknown origin. The hostage takers were a group of North Korean soldiers who have an interest in the dig. And to complicate matters, some weird phenomena have started in and around the island.

Crysis-2008-01-20-15-44-07-52Thankfully enough, in this game, Jake and the rest of the team is aided with a high tech suit called the "Nano Suit" which provide them with armor, speed boost, strength augmentation, cloaking, and as well as its own breathing apparatus. Aside from the suit, there’s a wide array of weaponry to choose from, two types of assault rifles, a shotgun, sub-machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles, mini-guns, rail guns and rocket launchers and more. Another nice aspect is the ability to combine weapon add on to any weapon. Need precision shooting for long range targets without alerting anyone? attach the sniper scope (not the assault scope), as well as the suppressor to either the SCAR rifle or the FY-71 rifle and select semi-auto and take out sentries with headshots… or attach the tranquilizer launcher and put the enemies to sleep. There are also branching paths to take in order to reach the objective, covert or overt, it’s all up to us.

Graphics – Crysis has set the bar on what video game graphics should be. From the detailed features of each character’s face, clothes; to the island itself. Not only are the characters fully detailed, but the island, with its thick jungle and lush vegetation complete with birds, fish, crabs in and around the island. Water is seemingly real and rivals that of Bioshock’s. There’s even an "almost" real-time day-night cycle in the game. And the alien design is superb and well thought off.

However,  all of these graphics goodness isn’t without a trade-off. First of all, we’d need a hefty gaming rig in order to run the game on Very High Settings in Vista (and High in XP / Very High in XP using the modification trick). A gaming rig composed of a very fast quad or dual core processor is needed, since there would be a lot of objects in the game that needs loading/processing. Add in a large amount of memory. Two Gigabytes alone will not give a very smooth frame-rate, it needs additional memory to spare in situations where there are usually lots of enemies, objects being created (taking up memory), and game physics is being shared with the Graphics card. Going on to the Graphics card, either a very fast Video card or Video Cards (Crossfire or SLI) is needed in order to render the graphics and take control of the various effects in the game. Crysis-2008-01-20-15-41-07-77

Graphics Score: 5/5

Sound: Inon Zur provided the soundtrack for the game, giving eerie music throughout the game, giving us the atmosphere of uncertainty, and fear; especially after seeing the aliens for the first time. Also the nice thing with the game is that sound plays a factor in evading the enemy. If we hit a branch of a tree or knock over some objects, enemies are alerted of our presence. The same with gunfire. If we fire at an enemy w/o any suppressor, chances are everyone gets alerted and move to our position.

Sound Score: 5/5

Control – The controls feel kind of clunky, due to the activation controls for the player’s nano-suit. On a standard 3 button mouse (where  the third button is a wheel) this becomes a problem. In a tight situation where we require quick selection of nano-suit options, we may accidentally switch out our current weapon…. say into fists. That would suck…. really suck. Good thing, they included the option to re-map the nano-suit’s activation. Also the game will kind of get hairy once you get into the cockpit of the VTOL… it’s more like driving a paper tank. It’s hell to maneuver and taking down flying aliens is hard.

Control Score: 4/5

Gameplay – With an epic… but not so long single player story mode, Crysis does give us the feel of adapting to various conditions      in order to survive. In the onset of the game, we’re allowed to take varying paths in order to reach our objective. Take for example the secondary objective of getting the intel from a small outpost on one side of the island. We can either walk along the road, and get spotted along the way by patrols… or swim to the destination and evade patrol boats…. or a combination of both. We can also consider taking out all enemies we encounter or, go stealth and use our cloaking device to the advantage. Now we include the factor of the nano-suit. In the example before, we use the nano-suit to avoid being spotted in open areas. We use strength mode in taking out targets with just a single punch or throw objects with enough power to take them out. We use Armor for defending against bullets, however the amount of damage received is equal to that of the amount of energy the suit has. And there is also the Speed mode where the player can move quickly.

Crysis-2008-01-20-16-01-03-51 Crysis-2008-01-20-16-00-55-29 Crysis-2008-01-20-16-01-02-13 

Handling enemies in Crysis is special, just like in Far Cry, the AI will try to flank the player in order to catch us… that is if they’re many. When they’re alone, they tend to run off, only to return with reinforcements. They also, when flanking, try to be as silent as possible by going through the bushes and ambushing us from there. They also throw grenades when the player tries to hide in order to flush him/her out of hiding. They also spray fire (similar to Predator 1) in the general direction from where the player is spotted and cloaked. Everything changes once we encounter the aliens. They have different tactics than those of the North Koreans. Also a nice mix in the game comes with the weapons. Earlier, I discussed about the flexibility when it comes to upgrading it with accessories. Now, each weapon has specific strengths weaknesses and availability. As an example, the Gauss Rifle received during the map onslaught seems to be ineffective against regular Korean troops, they move fast and the Gauss Rifle tend to miss…. the shot may be fast but aiming at a small target slowly makes it unwieldy. But use it against nano-suited opponents or Aliens, it’s really effective, one or two shots in the head and one or two shots on aliens put them down easily. To add to the challenge is that we’re limited to only carrying two primary and a pistol and a heavy weapon…. another hint, the Rocket Launcher, though powerful, is slow to track Alien "octupi".

In the field of multiplayer battle, Crysis takes cue from another EA game called Battlefield. However, the difference is that the opposing forces: US and North Korea, will field nano-suited troops (not the regular grunts). The game Power Struggle plays mostly like the Titan match in Battlefield 2142 where opposing teams try to take out their enemy’s base, but instead of the massive flying Titan, they have to destroy their enemy’s fortress. In order to accomplish this the fastest, teams can capture specific structures like War Factories, Science Stations and others to be able to have powerful weaponry at their disposal.

Also packaged in the game DVD is a level editor, however, this editor will only run on 64bit editions of Windows (XP or Vista) only, since it requires large number crunching power in order to create levels and scenarios.

Multiplayer only provides so much and not much in the way of player customization. Don’t expect the level of either Counter-Strike or Call of Duty 4 on this game though.

Gameplay Score: 4.5/5

Crysis is definitely a rock solid Games for Windows title, which may leave us hanging/wanting for another sequel, which may hopefully fix some requirement and multiplayer issues.

Crysis_Boxart_Final Technical Specs:

Minimum:
Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 2.8 GHz or AMD(R) Athlon(TM) 64 3200+ processor or Dual Core Processor or Quad Core Processor (better) supported
1GB RAM XP (2GB for Vista)
NVIDIA(R) Geforce(TM) 6800 GT or better or ATI(R) Radeon(R) 9800 Pro or better

Recommended:
Intel(R) Core 2 Duo(R) @ 2.2GHz or AMD(R) Athlon(TM) 64 X2 4400+
2GBB RAM XP (4GB/8GB for Vista 32bit/64bit)
NVIDIA(R) 8800 GT 512MB or ATI(R) 2800XT / 3870 Pro or similar

Play-Asia.com – Crysis

Categories: Uncategorized

CES 2008

January 9, 2008 Leave a comment

The Consumer Electronics Show is one of those shows to look out for, may you be a regular consumer, a business owner/entrepreneur, IT Professional, Car Afficionado, Techy, or even a gamer.

CNet.com has a comprehensive coverage of the CES, from Bill Gate’s farewell speech, to Panasonic’s 150" LCD TV, to hot gaming desktops and notebooks.

This link gives a few items in CES for games: http://ces.cnet.com/8300-13855_1-67-0.html?categoryId=9830924&tag=ces2008_rnav

Gamespot is also on hand to cover on CES 2008 at this site: http://www.gamespot.com/events/ces2008/index.html. Also here’s the link as to what games were being demoed http://www.gamespot.com/events/ces2008/games.html?tag=event_nav;games

Now if only I live in Las Vegas and work in an Electronics firm (companies related to gadgets and hottest techy stuff) I’d be in that show.Tongue

Categories: Uncategorized
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