Gaming

Modding Thief Gold

  • Posted on: 14 April 2014
  • By: Keiya

I typed this out a while back but forgot to publish the post for whatever reason. This is the collection of mods that I am using the make Thief Gold tolerable on computer screens larger than a postage stamp.

My fellow denizens of the Internet seem to possess various opinions on whether or not the enhancement and HD mods remain true to the original spirit and look of the game, but I like them and I shall leave that judgment for your own personal preference. That said, I would highly recommend installing the TFix patch at minimum (enabled widescreen support, general fixes, patches, and the like). Also, as with any Steam game that you have to manually patch or mod outside of the Steam interface itself, I would highly recommend disabling automatic updates. You may do so by going to your Library, right clicking on the title -> Properties -> Updates -> Select ‘Do not automatically update this game’ from the dropdown menu. Mods used:

  • NewDark: An update to the Dark Engine to accommodate newer hardware. If you purchased Thief off of GOG, it already comes packaged with NewDark.
  • TFix: n all-in-one unofficial patch for Thief and Thief Gold. It improves compatibility with newer hardware, fixes miscellaneous issues, adds support for widescreen resolutions, and various other things. This update utilizes and comes packaged with the NewDark update.
  • Thief Enhancement Pack 2: Replaces some of the textures and models.
  • OpenAL: Enable EAX through the OpenAL library.
  • HD Texture Mod: Makes things HD.

1. Install TFix: Download and run the TFix installer (use 1.18a) or newer from here. By default, TFix will choose C:\Games\Thief as the destination folder. If you purchased Thief off of Steam or GOG you will need to change the folder path during the installation process to reflect your Thief install directory. For most people running Steam on a 64-bit installation of Windows it should be located at: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\thief_gold\

2. Install the Thief Enhancement Pack 2: This mod does not have an installer, Download the ep2.cr file from this forum post and drop it into the main directory. Ignore the installation instructions on ttlg.com by the way: You do not need to edit cam_mod.ini as that will be added later by the HD mod..

3. Install the HD Texture Mod: Download the HD Mod Installer and install it to your main thief directory.

4. Enable EAX through OpenAL: Extract the contents of the 7-zip files from this guide into your Thief Gold directory. Start Thief, options -> enable Hardware Acceleration until it shows OpenAL.


Diablo 3: Monk Tempest Rush Farming

  • Posted on: 11 April 2014
  • By: Keiya

As depicted in the video above (torment 1), I have been tinkering with a Tempest Rush farming build. Running around constantly is a much more gratifying experience than my previous style of play which was effectively, staying in one spot, occasionally moving out of poop, and tapping a few buttons. However also as depicted in the video above, I am not quite geared properly for this build so it's not really as efficient as it really could be to say the least. Bottom line: Yay, even more rerolling already rerolled stats. Yay more material farming.

Getting stunned into place is pretty much death. So, gingerly avoiding being on the business side of certain mobs is rather important but luckily not too difficult given that most hard hitters and stunners telegraph their abilities by a fair bit. I may replace one of my passives for Chant of Resonance so that I can keep Mantra of Conviction up. Once I get another piece of gear with spirit regen I can probably swap out exalted soul for something else.


Diablo 3 Post Level 70 Notes

  • Posted on: 9 April 2014
  • By: Keiya

My monk is currently at level 70 paragon 53. We have been clearing through Torment 1 Adventure Mode content without any real difficulty, My damage is still fairly low (pushing not quite 300k), but moderately useful items have at least been dropping for me lately. Recent spoils: Xephirian Amulet, Fists of Thunder, and Vigilance.

This build is what I have been running with lately. I swapped out Deadly Reach and Sweeping Wind for Way of the Hundred Fists: FoF and Mystic Ally. If I recall correctly, WoHF:FoF is the highest DPS spirit spender at the moment, but it does not generate as much spirit as DR and does not synergize with elemental bonuses. Once the RNGesus chooses to favor me in my endeavor to acquire +lightning damage items, I shall swap my build over yet again. Fire Ally seems to be okay? I am unsure how it compares damage wise with SW:CS with my current gear, but I kind of got tired of repeatedly having to recast Sweeping Wind every time I lost momentum or had to stop to look at gear drops, go AFK, and the like.

LTK:SS and DS are more or less staples for any of my builds.


Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

  • Posted on: 6 April 2014
  • By: Keiya

Yes I bought it and yes it is fun. I haven't though yet had a chance to try out adventure mode because we are still poking our way through the new act. From what I hear, it's the new cool thing to do and it appears to be really the only thing that anyone else on my friends list other than Dave and myself ever does in the game.

The new enchanting ability is probably one of my favorite additions to the game. I can't tell you how any drops I have received were literally off by one stat or buffed the wrong ability. Enchanting is kind of like WoW gear reforging with an RNG element. Don't like that one shit stat on that legendary drop? Well, you can now reroll any one property on any piece of gear for crating material costs. You have the ability to preview what the possible outcomes are before spending the materials. After you enchant, two random picks will be selected and you will have the option of either keeping the original stat or selecting one of the two.

We have been progressively lowering the difficulty down from torment III to master as we have progressed through Act V and have subsequently discovered that we are way undergeared for expansion pack torment difficulties. Well that and, we kind of what just casually make our way through the new content at least once without being too worried about getting reamed by an elite mob. We'll worry about the finer art of gear farming and what not at a later point in time.


Thief: Flirting With Average

  • Posted on: 18 March 2014
  • By: Keiya

I caved in and ended up purchasing the new Thief game at release. I am actually having quite a bit of fun with it (despite having put it down to fawn over Diablo 3 once again). So in other words, it’s not the gaming anti-christ as portrayed elsewhere. However, I can’t quite shake the feeling that Thief is merely a shittier version of Dishonored, which is kind of ironic given that Dishonored was influenced by the Thief series. I am pretty sure though that this feeling stems from the blink-like swoop mechanic (hit the space bar to move rapidly from shadow to shadow) and the fact the world that thief partakes in is quite different; It’s more Victorian than steampunk if that matters all that much to anyone. Graphically the game looks and performs nicely, but is aesthetically lacking and probably one of if not the most ‘brown’ game that I have played to date this year.

The levels are way less open to the point of being literally scripted in a few portions of the game. The parts of the game that are fairly open are based off of a path based design reminiscent of Deus Ex Human Revolution in that the multiple points of entry are presented in the form of conspicuous pathways (conveniently placed wooden overhangs shootable by rope arrows, vents that you can unscrew, ladders that can fall down, etc). The problem is that these points points of entry are WAY too conspicuous to the point of being blatantly highlighted and pointed out to you even when you are not using the focus skill. There’s not a whole lot of room for creative thinking there.

Between missions, different parts of the game are accessed through a hub world, which aside from a few guards who patrol the street level is more or less dead. I mean, I can see why there wouldn’t be many people out and about in the middle of the night in shit town amidst a plague ridden city, but the odd thing is that it is as if absolutely no one lives in the city. The hub world has lootable houses and areas strewn about the city but they are all for the most part, generically decorated rooms that are absolutely void of life and personality. I think the greatest challenge that I faced thus far in this area was one or two traps? There’s just not a whole lot of fun sneaking around if there’s no one to hear or no threat for that matter.

Thief however despite its flaws, is probably the crowning jewel of all PC ports in terms of what the game allows you to change. It’s seriously the one place in which this game shines above virtually all others is the sheer amount of customization that you can make to the game settings. If there is a UI element or a game mechanic that you dislike, odds are that you can just turn it off. This includes but is not limited to the focus system, navigation waypoints, the light meter, etcetera.

If you are expecting a modern rendition of Thief the Dark Project then you are most likely going to be sorely disappointed. Yes, it does fall way way short of its predecessors. So is it a bad Thief game? Undoubtedly so as it doesn't really add anything positive to the series and arguably detracts from it. Is it a bad game overall? Not really. Completely ignoring the Thief tag, I would probably rate it as a decent average game. Oh by the way: I would recommend playing on the highest difficulty with the waypoints and focus system turned off right off the bat. These are the settings that I feel are as close the spirit of the previous games as possible.


Odds and Ends: March 8th 2014

  • Posted on: 8 March 2014
  • By: Keiya

I have a few things to say about the new Thief game, in which I am still working my way through on-and-off when I find the time. But for now, as you can all see per the screenshot posted above, we have hopped on the Diablo III train once again now that patch 2.0 is in the wild. I have been hearing a lot of buzz about it lately amongst various groups, so we caved, patched the game, and gave it another whirl on Friday. Loot that I could use (decent loot at that) actually dropped more than 0 times when we were playing last night. That in itself is pretty amazing. I am still pretty iffy on the expansion pack which is set to release during the later parts of this month, but mostly because I am not certain that I really need to buy yet another new game. Other things:

  • Picked up Animal Crossing New Leaf yet again, finally unlocked T&T Emporium, finally created a pattern mule, unlocked the QR code reader on said pattern mule and laid down patterns (new project is to make my town look less ass).
  • Threes is my new favorite iOS game.
  • Finally purchased a new camera: A Sony NEX-6 with a 16-50mm lens. Greatly looking forward to taking photographs of absolutely everything.
  • Also: Camera things are frickin' expensive and for some reason, all of my newer hobbies seem to involve A. Shooting things with various precision instruments and B. Spending money.

Squall Isn't THAT Bad of a Character

  • Posted on: 2 February 2014
  • By: Keiya

Finally approaching the end of my Final Fantasy VIII playthough; I have been picking it up on-and-off this past month (mostly off lately, but I hope to at least ummm finish the game at some point in the near future). There are several things that I really like about FFVIII: The pseudo-futuristic/modern setting, the characters (most of them at least), and the fact that it is ultimately a character driven story (versus being politically driven for example). That said, I had forgotten how odd and polarizing this game was. I am trying to think of another JRPG as or close to as polarizing as FFVIII and I really can't think of any. I suspect the main reasons being: Bizarre gameplay mechanics/character progression, ludicrous plot, and Squall. Squall of course having been crowned as the gaming champion of emo.

When I had originally played this game as a teen I disliked Squall as a protagonist, but as an adult, I don’t really understand why Squall garners so much hate. He is sort of tactless if not a bit rude and definitely socially distant, but he's not really all that emo or angsty in my opinion. He is a good student and works hard to complete the missions as professionally as possible. Amongst his peers, he’s probably one of the least emo given that the task of baby sitting a group of bipolar teenagers is suddenly thrust upon him. Let’s review:

  • Quistis, his instructor (he was not aware that she had been relieved of that position at the time), takes him aside out of class for the sake of hitting on him and using him as a receptacle for all of her personal issues. So awkward and inappropriate.
  • Zell “I need Ritalin” Dincht is unable to appropriately channel his bountiful energy and enthusiasm in an appropriate manner or direction that does not involve annoying people in the middle of a life-and-death mission.
  • Irvine, a horndog cowboy who clearly cannot keep it in his pants. Freezes up at the most critical point in the mission.

It is also worth noting that at least half of Squall’s dialog is in head. It’s unfair to judge him by his internal monolog as he does manage to keep most of his shitty thoughts to himself, unlike the rest of the cast. It’s not that he is cold hearted, it’s that he is an introverted character among a group of distinctly extroverted characters that in contrast make him appear more apathetic than he really is. That said, "whatever" is probably the most irritating quotation in the game...


FFVIII (Steam) FMV Audio Stutter Fix

  • Posted on: 11 January 2014
  • By: Keiya

The Steam release of Final Fantasy VIII is a pretty terrible and lazy port. FYI, If anyone else is using an ASUS Xonar sound card and has been experiencing a sound stutter approximately every minute into any FFVIII FMV sequence (for example: At the point where the feather leave’s Rinoa’s hand during the intro movie and literally every minute after that): I was able to instantly resolve this issue by disabling GX DPS Mode in the Xonar Audio Center; No other audio setting that I tested (Dolby headphones, audio channels, etc) had any effect on the stutter. If it matters, I am using the UNi-Xonar drivers.

If you are still having problems after disabling GX, then I have no idea what is causing it. Neither the Roses and Wine soundtrack mod nor the FMV replacement mod had any effect whatsoever.


A Year in Gaming: 2013

  • Posted on: 9 January 2014
  • By: Keiya

My very short term gaming resolution for 2014: I shall make no more purchases off of Steam until I finish some of the games that I already own; And by 'already own,' I am specifically referring to the 4 games that I had just purchased the other week. 

2013 was a fairly light gaming year for me. I am not sure if I could necessarily say that it was a bad year in gaming since there were a few decent titles (BioShock Infinite, Metro Last Light, etc), but I wouldn't say that it was the strongest given the sheer number of unimaginative sequels, games teetering on the edge of mediocrity, and outright stinkers (CoD, Sim City 5, and friends). 2013 in general seemed like it was an awkward in between phase given that both the PS3 and XBox 360 are at the end of their lifespans. In general 2013 had its ups and downs.

I felt that it was a strong year for indie games: I find myself gravitating more towards indie releases and releases from smaller studios; Way more than any previous year. I like indie games because they are A. Cheaper than AAA titles by a considerable amount and B. They take risks and push bars that major studios are unwilling to touch and/or can't afford. Nintendo also seemed to have a decent year in that they actually released multiple decent titles (more than 0!) and I either purchased or am planning on purchasing in the nearish future.

Keiya’s game of the year: Animal Crossing New Leaf
No game has occupied more small segments of my time or stuck more of a resonance with me this year than this odd game. It is cute, relaxing, and something that I can easily pick up and play in short 10 to 15 segments. The seasonal events are also fairly well paced. Renovating/expanding my house and building up my village to my liking has the  feeling of a long term project within a simulated persistent world, which is a quality that I enjoy (it is not truly persistent since the game does not continue to run when you quit out of it. ACNL does however take time passed into account when you load your town).

Dave's game of the year: Hearthstone
This game was Dave's pick for game of the year if closed betas even count. Well polished, easy to understand, and actually reasonably fun to watch for a card game in an eSports environment. It just feels nice to play and doesn't turn into an incomprehensible pile of card abilities and combinations (I'm looking at you and that damn artifact deck).

Consolation Prizes:

  • Runner up: BioShock Infinite
  • Favorite 2012 games played in 2013 because they were on sale: FTL and Saints Row 3 (Dave's pick)
  • Biggest disappointment: Sim City 5
  • Favorite multiplayer gun porn game: Battlefield 4, not that there were a whole lot of options in this category.

Papers, Please Cheat Sheet

  • Posted on: 30 December 2013
  • By: Keiya

I photoshopped all of the regional information and important pages from the rule book for the sake of having a quick reference guide to keep open on the other screen while I am playing Papers, Please. I guess doing so is more or less cheaing in the true meaning of the term, but whatever. Too lazy to memorize the seals and cities and pulling up the rule book every single time is tedious even though 'tedious' is kind of a core theme of the game...

Oh and: Glory to Arstotzka.


The 2013 Steam Winter Sale

  • Posted on: 27 December 2013
  • By: Keiya

One of my personal mantras has always been, “just because you can does not mean that you should.” Just because you can you can light your groin on fire and dance in the streets, does not mean that you should: Within the scope of personal finance, specially say, Steam: Just because a game is on sale for dirt cheap on Steam, does not mean that you should buy it, as painful as it is for me to say. So this fall and Winter season so far has been fairly light in terms of gaming purchases. 

It is always a bit of a gamble anyway when it comes to the holiday and summer sales in the sense that, unless a game is on sale for 75%+, there’s always a chance that it could go on sale for way more. So do you buy it now and risk it becoming the next Daily or Flash Sale or do you wait and risk it going up to full price? Such trying times. The haul this far:

  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons: TotalBiscuit and numerous other internet personalities raved about how exceptional this game was. 
  • Super Hexagon: I don't know anything about this game other than A. I heard that it was good, B. I know that's it is a minimalistic action game or something, and C. It was under a buck.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Teenage me absolutely loved this game to pieces back in the day, despite its gaping flaws. Adult me has a huge itch to play it again, even though I know it probably does not hold up to the test of time. It has been what, almost a decade and a half?
  • Papers, Please: A, "Dystopian Document Thriller". I played this for about an hour last night and it is undoubtedly one of the most unique and thought provoking games that I have played in recent memory. 
  • Left 4 Dead 2: Because it was free.

Not on steam but: Deus Ex The Fall (iOS) was 99 cents. Also picked up Battlefield 4 for $20 on Black Friday.


Animal Crossing: Guilt

  • Posted on: 11 November 2013
  • By: Keiya

I loaded Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the for the sake of claiming my birthday gifts today. A brief pang of guilt was felt for having effectively abandoned my cute little town for the past two or so odd months to play GTA, Pokemon, Hearthstone, among other things.

 

Pleased to find that not only had my favorite three villagers (Ava, Prince, and Cherry) not moved out, but were in attendance at my surprise birthday party. Similarly, shitty the hippo (Rocco) had finally moved on to better places.


The World Ends With You

  • Posted on: 31 October 2013
  • By: Keiya

This post is in regards to the Nintendo DS version by the way; Couldn’t quite bring myself to spend $20 on an iPhone app. I find it difficult to sustain long term gameplay on my phone for multiple reasons, not limited to it being not the most comfortable gaming medium and somewhat distracting, given that a text, Facebook, email, or other miscellaneous notification will appear kind of often. I think ideally, games that consist of 5 to 10 minute sessions are ideal. Anyway, this tangent is better suited in another post.

I have been playing this game on-and-off as time permits and have come to enjoy it immensely. The World Ends with You is an action role-playing Nintendo DS (and iOS) game developed by Square Enix and Jupiter. It’s fairly non-traditional in that it is very stylized and takes place in modern day Shibuya. It’s a game that is saturated and obviously influence by Japanese youth culture, but not to an overwhelming extent. It’s an awesome and unique combination of style, music, and gameplay.

The combat occurs across both screens: Your partner on top and Neku on the bottom. In essence, you control both characters simultaneously. Neku is controlled by activating pins that you collect and level throughout the game. These pins are activated by tapping, slashing, drawing a circle, and so forth. Your partner is controlled by the d-pad as well as the face buttons. The combat kind of takes a while to get used to and is much easier as more pins are unlocks about an hour or so into the game. It’s a system that’s fairly easy to get into on a basic level but difficult to master. I am not sure I get the dual screen combat to be honest.

For the most part, you can leave your partner alone and let the AI control her while you focus on Neku, but her health (shared health bar) will drop rapidly if you do so. What usually works for me is to spam left or right (depending on which way she needs to face) on the d-pad while focusing on Neku, occasionally executing a combo on the top screen when Neku doesn’t need to dodge or avoid anything. It probably doesn’t help that some of the pin mechanics also seem finicky, especially if you pair pins with similar actions (it is difficult to determine what the game considers an upwards flick versus and upwards slash for example). Overall, it is an odd mish mash of novelty mechanics but it is unique feeling, fun, and to be honest, probably one of the only games that actually makes good use of the touch screen.


Hearthstone: Stuck at "Click to Start" Fix

  • Posted on: 30 October 2013
  • By: Keiya

The image above summarizes my first evening with the Hearthstone beta. If anyone else just got in the beta and is stuck at that screen because they cannot get back to the tutorial after soft locking or crashing out midway through, this solution was literally the only one that has worked for me:

  1. In the Battle.net client: Go to Hearthstone -> Options -> Game Settings and click 'Reset User Options' (for good measure, unsure if this step is necessary).
  2. Exit out of Hearthstone and the Battle.net client
  3. Enable hidden files and folders (Control Panel -> Folder options -> View)
  4. Navigate to C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local
  5. Delete both the 'Blizzard' and 'Battle.net' folders (both folders just seem to contain caching data and non critical information and are recreated when you launch the game).
  6. Start Hearthstone

This was written with Windows 7 in mind; On other Operating System I am sure both folders are located elsewhere. I've tried just about every other solution on the Hearthstone support forums including but not limited to: Setting the client to run in Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode, running the client with admin rights, deleting a different cache folder, logging into Hearthstone on a different machine.


Odds and Ends: October 3rd

  • Posted on: 3 October 2013
  • By: Keiya

Not so much gaming this week other than GTA on and off.

  • So apparently Valve filed a trademark for Half-Life 3? Popular speculation is that HL3 could be one of the native AAA titles for SteamOS but that, and really anything else, is just speculation at this point. Hell it could and likely to be honest, means absolutely nothing at all. I've been hurt before Valve. It's most likely fake.
  • Without saying anything specific to spoil the episode: The Breaking Bad finale was quite satisfying. I am pleased with how the show concluded.
  • Cautiously excited about Mighty No. 9.
  • Cautiously disappointed with Thief 4 based on the bits and pieces that I have seen and heard. It kind of seems like it is turning into a generic third person action game with a stealth element which is exactly what I did not want from a thief game. I mean, I am sure it will be a decent game overall but as a pure stealth Thief game? Maybe not so much but we'll see.
  • I have a strong feeling that GTA online is going to kind of suck for a bit until the servers stabilize. Prediction confirmed...
  • I had the most excellent day of airsoft Sunday despite my GoPro deciding to take a massive shit on me by only recording the first 16 minutes of footage (pretty sure I accidentally put a mostly discharged battery in, whoops). So no break dance fight footage for me. Sad panda.

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