Star Trek Online

  • Posted on: March 22, 2010
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:

Oh hey it's been exactly one month since my last posting! Bah so much weekly postings. Oh well.

So a small part of me party always has an always will love Star Trek no matter how over-franchised and cheesy it may become. I have been cautiously intrigued in STO, but not intrigued/too cautious to actually buy the game or brave Del Taco to get a demo code (I'm sorry, I have standards for Mexican food).

Luckily, a friend sent me a 5-day demo code for Star Trek online the other week. Unfortunately, I didn't have too much time to trial it (a couple of hours total probably) as it was kind of a bad week to start a new game. I think I got just enough of a taste of it though to sample a few flavors. It's an interesting game that I probably should have given more time, but it just seems so half-assed in many ways.

Video: Boom De Yada WoW

  • Posted on: February 22, 2010
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Courtesy of you-know-who-you-are. Hah, I like this one; It's funny/cute, though the song was stuck in my head for a good day or so. I don't go out of my way to watch too many WoW music videos, but this one was pretty well done and well produced.

Tweaking Mass Effect 2 PC's Graphics

  • Posted on: February 22, 2010
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:

[img_assist|nid=944|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=210|height=118]Whoops, late post is late. Oh well, this is a fairly useless post given that everyone has long since beaten Mass Effect 2 by now. But if there is anyone else who is curious, here is how you force modify some of the PC graphical settings for ME2. BioWare's default PC configuration options are way too inflexible borderlining unacceptable. Which is a damn shame because I love the game. There really isn't any good way of enabling anti-aliasiang or taking screenshots without jumping through a few hoops. No worries, most of these are easy enough to hack into the game.

All of the settings are stored in the coalesced.ini file (BACK THIS UP BEFORE TAMPERING). If you are running Mass Effect 2 through Steam, Coalesced.ini isn't going to be in your My Documents folder. It will be in: Steam > steamapps > common > mass effect 2 > BioGame > Config > PC > Cooked.

The only hitch to editing this file is that, it needs to be edited in UNIX format and it needs to be rebuild after each modification otherwise your game will loadcrash. It's easy enough to make manual changes by loading coalesced.ini in notepadd++ in UNIX format, saving, then running one of the tools from the Steam/BioWare forums that will rebuild the file. Otherwise, just use this tool: Coalesced Editor. Very easy to use.

  • Add a screenshot button: Under [Engine.PlayerInput] add the following line to bind F11 to the screenshot key: (Name="F11",Command="shot")

Super Dark Shadows
The depth of field effect is supposed to give Mass Effect 2 a cinematic appearance (along with that stupid film grain effect, in which I also disabled), but for me it just made most of the shadows extremely dark and hard to see. Unfortunately though, there doesn't seem to be an in-game option to disable it. In order to do so, just do this:

  1. Go to: USER > My Documents > BioWare > Mass Effect 2 > BIOGame > Config
  2. Open GamerSettings in Notepad.
  3. Add the following line to the bottom of the file: DepthOfField=False

Forcing AA
Edit: By the way, nVidia added in forced AA suppport in driver version 197.13. 

Oh, AA was also kind of a pain in the ass to enable. There's no GUI option within the game, so you have to force it using the nVidia control panel. The problem is that, as of 196.21 drivers, the wrong executable is listed in the nvApps.xml file for ME2.

  1. Update your video card drivers. As far as I know, this fix doesn't work for the older drivers (tried).
  2. Find your nvApps.xml file. On my computer it was under C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA (ProgramData is a hidden folder so you will either need to type in the location manually or enable show hidden files/folders in your windows config).
  3. Edit the file in Notepad.
  4. Do a search for "Mass Effect II" and change the following:
    <APPLICATION Label=”biogame.exe”/>
    to
    <APPLICATION Label=”masseffect2.exe”/>
  5. Paste this into the Mass Effect II section:
    <PROPERTY Label=”aa_feature_bits” Value=”0×080100C5″ Default=”0×080100C5″ Itemtype=”predefined”/>

Doing all of this will allow you to set AA in your nVidia control panel normally. Mind you though, it's partial AA but a vast improvement over the default settings. I forgot to bookmark the forum thread that I plucked the instructions, so credit goes to whoever posted it :P

Bad screenshots below the cut. Yeah sorry, these aren't the best screenshots. For whatever reason, I wen through the bother of adding the functionality into the game but just did not use it all that often. Larger, clearer versions of each image are stored somewhere on the server.

I was trying to find a good screenshot comparing the depthoffield fix; preferably two similar screenshots in the same area but I couldn't find one/didn't feel like taking one. But this is good enough. The point was that, almost EVERYTHING was way too dark and now it is not. Stupid site module bug is preventing me from linking them in the manner that I prefer. Too busy to fix or care, good enough:

On Choice Based Gameplay and WoW Updates

  • Posted on: February 10, 2010
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Ah sorry, real life and uuuh not so real life cuts into my precious WoW time. Twitch. In between games at time moment. So I finished both Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, which is a great game by the way. Not perfect, but among games that offer decision tree based dialogue, BioWare does a pretty decent job especially compared to say, BioShock for example and how your decisions influenced the game (I'll be good and not spoil it despite the fact that it's pretty old by now...).

I mean, ultimately there are only a handful of ways that any decision based game can end no matter what you choose but everyone's Mass Effect play through is a different experience depending on what dialogue options they picked and who they partied with. It's fun seeing what path other people chose. This sort of gameplay is closer to what PC based role-playing should be, to me at least. I wonder if Blizzard would ever add anything similar to WoW at some point in the future. Actually, I am not really sure how that would even work in a massively multiplayer environment...

So long story short, I and am more-or-less putzing around until Final Fantasy XIII comes out in early March. I think I'll hold off on buying anything new and finish something from my stack of old unfinished games. Probably going to actually cyle back into a period of heavier WoW playing if the servers manage to let me in. Proudmoore has been awful since patch 3.3.2.

We have tanking alternatives now so I have been gleefully DPSing as of late. Consequently, my Protection set has atrophied a little bit to the point where it is marginally acceptable for the new content. But here's the problem: I don't really have time anymore to farm for multiple sets of gear and since I'm not tanking primary spec (and don't tank much anymore), I don't typically roll on tanking pieces unless they get greeded out.

Being hit by a mild case of altism again. I would love to work on my hunter again if I have time (barely have enough time to work on my paladin. Long commute FTL). Or, I could just leave him as a glorified transmute/smelt/mining bot and finish off the Loremaster achievement on my paladin before the expansion hits. So close but so little motivation to quest more!

Oh, I got a new gaming mouse a few weeks ago. I'll make a hardware post about it at some point. It has more buttons. More buttons mean that I can bind even more random macros. Oh, I am open to post suggestions by the way. I have been in the mood to update more but have hit a post idea dry spell.

Review: Dragon Age

  • Posted on: January 25, 2010
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:

Dragon Age is probably the most captivating game that I have played in recently memory. I logged well over 50 hours into the first campaign and have started up a second campaign as a different race and class, which I guess, is pretty rare for me since honestly, most RPGs hold very little replay value for me. TL;DR for the rest of this article: Dragon Age is a fantastic game if you are in any way into fantasy games buy now.

Depending on what race and class combination you choose at the beginning of the game, your character is given one of six origin stories to start with. Each origin story is more than just a background intro; It helps to weave a tale of political intrigue and integrates into the main plot line of the game, probably more-so than most other choice based RPGs. A human noble for example, would be addressed differently than an elf would. It adds an subtle flavor as well as perspective to the story line.