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Topics - Petrarch

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Unwashed Village / My new PC upgrades (glad I delayed it last year)
« on: January 30, 2009, 04:48:51 PM »
Been ordering my parts and while the graphics card and PSU won’t be ordered until next week, this is what we’re going to look like.

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 8MB Cache
Asus PT6 Deluxe Intel X58 Motherboard
6GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC10666 CAS 9-9-9-24
BFG nVidia GTX 295 1752MB GPU
Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatality Edition
500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA-II 7200rpm
LG GGH-H20L Blu-Ray/HD DVD/DVD/CD Super multi drive
Corsair HX 1000w PSU
Windows Vista 64 Ultimate

Treated myself to a MS Sidewinder X6 Keyboard to match my mouse and probably going to replace my monitor in a couple of months as my current one won’t go higher than 1280.

There we have it – away from the old X2 4800 dual core and onto quad core. It also marks my return to Intel and leaving ATi behind.

There are 940 and 965 i7 chips as well, but the performance difference between the 920 and 940 is so small it simply isn’t enough to justify the extra £200. For the price and performance it throws out, the 920 is stunning. The GTX 295 didn’t come cheap however and I was originally going for the 4870X2, but while either card can run at high frame rates with AA/AF enabled at resolutions most people’s monitors can’t even display, the ATi cards seem to be more dependant on their driver updates this time and while there’s not much in it, the 295 is regarded as having won the performance crown.  Due to the amount of RAM in the system (i7 chips require the RAM fitted in sets of 3 rather than pairs – and they run at lower voltages into the bargain) a 64 bit OS was necessary this time.

Looking forward to seeing how it flexes that horsepower with Fallout 3 and in general – if all goes to plan and the parts arrive on time, I should be good to go next week.

Unwashed Village / And the Doctor regenerates into...
« on: January 03, 2009, 07:06:05 PM »
The 11th Doctor

He also becomes the youngest actor to play the Doctor. He's appeared in a few things but hasn't really had his big break, until now that is.

From what I've seen of him in the reveal show, it looks fairly promising as the next step from Tennant.

Unwashed Village / Graphics Cards
« on: December 31, 2008, 08:10:35 PM »
The time has come again to upgrade the PC - I didn't do the upgrade last year like I planned on but this time it's out of necessity. In what I assume is a botched driver update, both my sound card and DVD drive are dead. Obliterating all traces of the driver hasn't helped nor has a system restore. Might be nothing to do with that and it's just decided to die on me all at once (the soundcard is about 6 years old now but the bundled software never quite worked right for it) but with the system itself approaching 3 years, I may as well do it all at once.

Going to strip it out and use the same case (CoolerMaster 830 Stacker) but everything else is going. What I need is a bit of a heads up on graphics cards. Any perticular recommendations for what to look at? I'm toying with going back to nVidia but I don't know what ATI are like these days either.

Assume for the moment budget is of no concern and I'll work backwards from there if the prices are a bit too steep.

Unwashed Village / Gaming: Best of 2008
« on: December 28, 2008, 08:09:32 PM »
Once again it's time for the semi-traditional annual yearly round up. It's been a tough one to narrow down this year. Same old rules as the previous years.

Saints Row 2(360/PS3)
A GTA clone, SR 2 isn’t the most sophisticated game in the world and lacks a bit of polish, but with tongue firmly in cheek and skewing the serious tone of GTA for out and out silliness, it dishes out the entertainment with a particularly large spade. As Yahtzee said, the game is in it for the same reason we are, to have some fun. Turned out to be a pleasant surprise as it wasn’t on my radar until a couple of weeks before release.

Dead Space (Multi)
It’s as close to a System Shock 3 as any game can be without there actually being a System Shock 3. It doesn’t quite install the same atmosphere as SS2 did, going more for shocks rather than terror, but has plenty of things that make it stand out, such as the lack of a conventional HUD, instead using a holographic HUD that floats in front of your character and is only visible at certain times. The Zero-G mechanics are great fun to play with and add flavour to the game.

Fable 2(360)
A step up from the original which was one of my favourites on the Xbox, it’s improved in almost every way. Stuffed with the humour you’d expect to find in Fable, the presence of the Dog in the game gets you very drawn in. There was quite a few times I found myself wishing the dog was a real one as it acts like it is – and it’s your best friend throughout the entire game.

Gears of War 2(360)
More Gears, more Locusts, more blood, more gore. Like Fable 2, it’s another big step up from the original and it’s a finely crafted piece of work. The new Horde mode is great fun and there’s lots of nice little touches such as the chainsaw duels and the meat shield option with downed opponents. They’ve also done a far better job integrating the achievement system this time around.

Fallout 3(Multi)
In what I suspect is no shock to anyone, Fallout 3 wins. I know I said once I thought Fable 2 would get my game of the year, but Fallout 3 is a very different beast and easily soared ahead within the first hour. I did have several misgivings about it ahead of release, such as the degrading weapons, but that turned out to add a new level of tactics to the proceedings as scavenging is a lot more important this time around. And most importantly, the whole feeling of “Oblivion with guns” disappeared with the first view of the blasted landscape.

Plus the character creation tutorial will surely go down in history.

A few ropey animations aside, Bethesda have carried on the Fallout legacy. And now the wait for the DLC begins, unless you’re using the PS3 version that is. Looking forward the most to Broken Steel myself.

Honourable Mentions
Left 4 Dead
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

Turkey of the Year
Age of Conan

Yet another game that talked it big and was touted as a WoW beater (then again, what isn’t these days) that fell well short of the mark. Bugged to bits, unfinished, poorly optimised, it claimed about 800,000 active accounts at launch but it lost close to 50% of those at the end of the 30 days free. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turned out to be the next MMO that goes under.

Biggest Disappointment
Too Human

All that time in development and it was a bit of a flop. Not a bad game, but not a brilliant one either. Mediocre, average, run of the mill, it was entertaining enough but unlike Diablo 2, I didn’t have any urge to level up a different class of character after I finished my first choice. Also whoever designed the second level and thought that death sequence which can’t be skipped was a good idea should be put up against a wall and shot.

Picks for 2009
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Halo Wars
Ghostbusters  ;D
Alan Wake (assuming they finally get it finished)

Unwashed Village / Behold the new starship Enterprise`
« on: November 13, 2008, 08:05:29 PM »
Really not sure about this one. Looks too much like they've tried to jam the Enterprise E into it and made it look too stiff as a result.

Some of the new cast photos did look good, but this is a bit harder to accept after 42 years.

Unwashed Village / Gears of War 2
« on: November 13, 2008, 01:01:00 AM »
With all the Fallout 3 talk, it's easy to forget this was a busy time for games. We've touched on Fable 2, Left 4 Dead is around the corner, but last Friday saw the launch of Gears of War 2.

Gears 2 Launch Trailer

Been messing around with it and so far it's vastly superior to the original game, despite feeling like familiar terrority. Sharper graphics, new characters, and the achievements are better integrated this time around. All in all, a very polished experience and I'd recommend it to everyone that's got a 360.

Unwashed Village / Time to regenerate
« on: October 29, 2008, 10:37:59 PM »
Tennant quits as The Doctor

Not entirely unexpected, but still a shame. DT was the best Doctor since Tom Baker. Guess we can get ready for the months of speculation for who'll become the 11th Doctor.

Unwashed Village / Star Wars: The Old Republic
« on: October 21, 2008, 11:56:40 PM »
The worst kept secret in gaming has been announced today - Lucasarts & Bioware are working on a new Star Wars MMO. It's penciled to be set 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic 2.

Announcement news

First screenshots

Ever since Sony hosed Galaxies with that NGE thing, the only part I missed was my characters lightsaber, used to love watching the animations. Looks like the good old days will roll around again.  ;D

Unwashed Village / MMO questing the Star Trek way
« on: September 26, 2008, 02:11:36 AM »

Unwashed Village / Fallout 3 officially dated
« on: August 21, 2008, 12:07:34 AM »
As it seems to be the norm that games are released stateside at the start of the week whereas it's the end of the week over here, Fallout 3 will be out in the US on October 28th with the EU release following on October 31st.

Hot on the heels of Fable 2 (Oct 21st/24th) and only a week ahead of Gears of War 2 (Nov 7th) so we're in for a real treat during that period.

Unwashed Village / Looking for an opinion on a new TV
« on: August 17, 2008, 11:45:44 PM »
I've got my eye on the Toshiba 37XV505D to replace my current Samsung non-HD, non-digital set, but I'm not 100% clued up in this area. Normally I'd look at Samsung and while they are generally cheaper than this model, the opinion seems to be the panels used on their models aren't up to scratch compared to others.

It seems to check all the right boxes as it can output up to 1080p and has HDMI ports, which I want to connect my 360 to which is an elite model and can output up to the same res as far as I understand it but I'd like a 2nd opinion from someone more up to date with HD stuff.

It was released last week at a Las Vegas webcast, and so here it is.

Looks pretty good and sounds the part, but I think they missed a trick by not having one of the cast members do the voice over. According to the website the game is set in 2409, 30 years after the events of Nemesis. Remains to be seen if any of it will be considered canon mind since Paramount are quite adament only what's seen on screen is canon.

And on notes for others:

Too Human is released this month. Bit of an akward control scheme until you get used to it and the camera is a mite iffy, but well worth a look. For those not familiar with it, it's sci-fi themed and makes heavy use of Norse mythology. In may ways it reminds me a bit of Diablo 2 due to the style of play.

Anyone waiting for Fable 2, the Fable 2 Pub games were released on Live today. If you're so inclined these allow you to earn gold and a few bonus items ahead of time.

Unwashed Village / Some game artwork I had done
« on: July 30, 2008, 08:04:57 PM »
Turjan and I still spend our days in City of Heroes, and a while ago I decided to get one of my characters done for posterity. I elected to have my scrapper, Avo Prime, drawn and the artist completed the piece today. It's from MMO Art and the guy's name is Jomaro Kindred.

Now hopefully this isn't too large...

And this is a link to the full sized version.

Avo Prime

Unwashed Village / Star Trek Online-A
« on: July 28, 2008, 08:05:20 PM »
Beam us up Scotty, it's back.

Star Trek Online

And this time it's Cryptic Studios in the Captain's chair.

Screenshots are looking quite well and I'm glad to see the project survived to get a second pass. There's not enough good sci-fi themed MMO's out there.

Unwashed Village / Microsoft @ E3 - includes new Fallout 3 trailer
« on: July 15, 2008, 12:02:16 AM »
Microsoft had their E3 speech today, and before we get to the other info, lets start with the tasty Fallout 3 trailer done in a mock 50's info-advert, which leads into a teaser and finally - wait for it - actual gameplay footage!  ;D

Fallout 3 E3 08 Trailer

All I can say is sweet mercy, my fever pitch for Fallout 3 just went off the scales. Also of note is that the downloaded content they've planned for the future is exclusive to the PC and 360.

In other events:

Fable 2 is confirmed finished and is slated for an October release and here's a new screenshot along with a Hands-On article.

The 360 is getting a new dashboard interface and avatars and also they're going to allow games to be installed to the hard drive at the users choice.

Gears of War 2 is confirmed for a November 7th release.

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