July Gaming in Review

In summary, there was abso-fucking-lutely nothing interesting to play. Well, aside from Minecraft binging for half the month. I do still intend on finishing our castle, even though the Minecraft obsession has kind of dropped off a bit. Finding enough wool/dye and what not to complete my interior decorating plans for the rest of the keep as well as the throne room is kind of a pain. Oh and Dave built a fantastic mob grinder. In terms of indie games, both Terraria and Dungeons of Dredmore have been recommended to me ($10 and $4 respectively). I think I may give one or both of them a spin, though spending some time away from my computer to burn through my Netflix queue and catch up on some reading has been nice.

The summer slump happens every year; There will be nothing to play during the mid to late summer then, BAM. Fall hits and every single that that I have been looking forward to is released within a one to two week period come October and November. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is coming out at the end of August (cautiously interested/optimistic about it) and after that, Uncharted 3, Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations are all releasing within a week of each other. Bah. Which ones deserve a collector’s edition buy? Which ones will I buy immediately? Which ones will have to wait until December or later?

Deus Ex should be interesting in any case. It has a lot to live up to in regards of what is expected of it gameplay wise. The first game was mindblowing, one of the first of its kind to not only blend so many gameplay elements, but to present a multi-path narrative in first person form. The Witcher series, in my opinion at least, has upped the decision based storyline gameplay bar quite a bit. I am hoping that Deus Ex follows that route over the BioWare Mass Effect/Dragon Age choice system. I want my decisions to have far reaching effects on the outcome of the story and even the style of gameplay. I really like stealth games by the way.

Oh, I finally finished Final Fantasy XIII this weekend. I have been working on it on-and-off over the course of a month or two for “educational” purposes. It’s still a mediocre game in all respects; Characters, plot, gameplay, etc. I’m not really sure why I even bothered to finish it other than to scratch it off of my “list”. I pretty much went from The Witcher 2 straight to Final Fantasy XIII. The absolute best RPG that I have played in recent memory to the absolute worst. There’s such a huge gap in quality…

Post Response: On Forced Multiplayer

Found this quotation link via Destructoid and Edge earlier this week regarding forced multiplayer in single player games:

If you’re doing it just to check a box or because every other publisher says you’ve got to have multiplayer, then just drop it, don’t bother, it’s a waste of time, a giant distraction and it’ll make for a worse overall game.

We want the best game possible. If that’s a singleplayer game that’s 15 to 20 hours, then make that! Don’t waste your time on features that don’t make the game better.

YES. PLEASE. Dear lord, no more forced multiplayer. I mean, I “enjoy” good multiplayer games as much as most average gamers but, if it’s half-assed it’s just a waste of time and money that detracts from the game as a whole. So, instead of having a solid singleplayer game or a solid multiplayer game, you now have neither. That sucks.

Very few companies are able to balance a good single player game with a solid multiplayer experience without fucking one or both aspects up badly. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Uncharted 2 are the only games that I can think of in recent memory that do a decent job (as little of the multiplayer as I have played). The Call of Duty series has a pretty decent singe player experience but honestly, it’s $60 for a 4 hour campaign. You are, more or less, paying for the multi-player game.

Minecraft: In-Progress Castle


I had purchased Frozen Synapse off of Steam quite some time ago during the Summer Camp Sale. Sadly, I still haven’t “had a chance” to play it for more than 5 minutes because I have been very busy. Very busy playing Minecraft that is. Alas, we are back on the Minecraft server and working on our next project after a 2 to 3 month period of inactivity. The castle by the way, is being built at the expense of nearly every single game that I regularly play. Though, to be honest, there’s not a whole lot out now in terms of AAA titles that I am interested in playing anyway.

The castle is being built completely legit; No console spawning save for a couple of items that I felt were unjustly lost due to server glitches, lag and what not. Seeing as how no large flat areas exist within reasonable distance of the primary server spawn point, we have to demolish entire hillsides in order to make room for any large-scale building project (by we I mean my lovely play partner <3). A separate project, making use of the massive amount of dirt that was unearthed is in progress.

The structure itself is just about done, we just need to work on applying some decorative flair and finish the interior design. As far as functional things, we have two farming modules: 1 with an automated wheat farm system and another with an in-progress farm for sugar cane, flowers and whatever else. We really need a cobblestone generator as well as a tree farm for the sake of not having to strip down even more of the trees from the surrounding area. Also, a minecart station is probably needed at some point.

After months of not being able to find one, there just happens to be three mob spawners within a very close distance of the castle (kind of cheated and loaded the server map into MCEdit): A spider spawner, a skeleton spawner and a zombie spawner (which was accidentally destroyed by a rogue creeper). The skeleton and spider spawners have both been setup with item grinders. It’s nice having a near infinite arrow supply. Oh and, spider farming isn’t the most efficient way of obtaining wool by the way. Though I suppose it is if you just go AFK and leave Minecraft running in the background.

A visual tour of what we have so far is included in the full article. I’ll upload a FRAPS video later.{C}{C} View from the front. I want to add a piston powered portcullis at some point, but I need to see if there’s even room for the redstone. We have rooms that are pretty close to the surface. Also want to add a stone walkway, a moat and maybe a small town/farms at some point.


Garden. The hole in the ground leads down to a fairly extensive mining operation. 2011-07-17_09.32.09

Courtyard. The building on the right is not complete.2011-07-17_09.32.15

Dining hall (in-progress). The table is too tall…2011-07-17_09.31.49


Back entrance. The structures on the right are farming units. The block between the back door and the farm marks a ladder down to a spider spawner.

Main keep (in-progress).

Farming units. Right unit is an automated piston powered wheat farm. Pull a lever, water flows carrying seeds and wheat down to a collection area. Saves quite a bit of time. We eat a lot of bread…

The vault. Located two floors below the kitchen.


Crysis 2 DX11 Patch (and FRAPS Audio Sync Issues)

To be honest, I am not sure that I notice that much of a difference between DirectX 9 and DirectX 11. TotalHalibut though, posted a pretty good comparison video on his YouTube channel. Nonetheless, it is still a fantastic looking game. I am playing at 1080p with everything set to Extreme except for shadows and water, which are set to Ultra. My machine doesn’t quite have the stones to run Crysis 2 at Ultra at 1080p with FRAPS recording full-screen without serious performance issues. That’s just the way the world should be I suppose. Oh, sorry about the crapass frantic running about in the video.

For whatever reason, FRAPS has an audio sync issue on some machines, mine included unfortunately; I’m not sure if it is the FRAPS software itself or some compatibility/driver issue. According to the FRAPS support forums, folks with ASUS motherboards have resolved this issue by uninstalling the EPU-Engine and Turbo-V (mostly EPU-Engine). I have also heard that setting both your recording and playback audio sample rates to 44.1 kHz helps as well. Neither solutions nor anything that was suggested seemed to work for me including, changing the HDDs to which I record the videos and changing the video/recording resolutions/FPS.

So, I don’t know how to prevent the delay from occurring in the first place, but it’s pretty easy to fix. I think the audio track may be recording at a slightly slower rate than the video. As the video progresses, the audio becomes increasingly out of sync. In fact, the audio tracks on some FRAPS source files are longer than the video. All you need to do is compress it down (not clip, compress). There is a YouTube video that shows how to do the corrections in Sony Vegas, it’s pretty easy to do the same thing in Adobe Premiere:

  1. Right click on audio track on your Timeline sequence and select “Unlink”
  2. Select the Rate Stretch Tool (hotkey: X)
  3. Drag the audio track to compress it down.

It’s a little tedious to align the audio with the video if the lengths are the same, but it works reasonably well. I tried setting a manual delay within each of the FRAPS video chunks in both YAAI and VirtualDub, but that didn’t seem to work. I’m pretty sure that was my fault though.