No, seriously, you guys.

by on

In the last three days I have gotten three "Tracking your contributions!" messages.

I am formally at GiantBomb.com from now until forever, probably. Go there. It's all the people that made Gamespot cool, plus tons and tons of awesome community features that far outweigh anything here.

Kaboom

by on

So I'm considering dumping this blog in exchange for posting all updates over at my GiantBomb profile
page. I have been stalwart in my stance that I only ever want to maintain two blogs at a time - for a long time now, that's been Gametrailers.com and Gamespot.com. That is why my Blogger.com account never gets updated, why my DeviantArt journal stopped seeing updates, why I don't post blogs at Moddb.com, etc. I hate having to write one blog and then copy and paste that to 40 different websites.

About the only thing GiantBomb lacks right now is the ability to upload videos to their website, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say they let you embed videos from Youtube and the like in blogs, so that probably doesn't matter (nor was it a feature I ever really used a lot here).

But yeah. I dunno. I just don't feel like part of the Gamespot community, I never have. My cousin, Ashuku, is down in there with what I consider the core of the GS community, the top players like Wesker and Slunks and whatever, and I never really got in to that group (or ever really tried to get in there - it's not like I'm begging for acceptance, if that's how this sounds).

In comparison, on Gametrailers, I actually seem to get quite a lot of comments and views on my blogs, often when I don't even advertise them. A blog over there will average about 100 views each, some entries pulling in thousands of views. Over here, I'm lucky if my profile gets a single comment. Though I do seem to get about 20-30 views a day, and despite Ashuku being here longer than I, I have more overall views than he does despite him being part of the "GS gang".

I dunno. This is mainly a blog advertising the fact that, yes, GiantBomb.com has launched, and if you were a fan of the wacky antics that took place on On The Spot or The Hotspot when Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinny were put in the same room, Giant Bomb features much more of that nonsense. When I really get down to it, it kind of reminds me of the old Gameplayers Magazines where they had all sorts of bizarre injokes and weird gags and awful photoshops. That was, of course, a completely different troupe of people, but the vibe is the same - though GiantBomb feels decidedly more professional than Gameplayers.

So yeah. We'll see where this goes from here.

As promised

by on

I said that, when I wrote a new review for TSSZ, I would keep you guys up to date, and here I am, fufilling my end of the bargain.


http://www.tssznews.com/2008/07/13/review-grand-theft-auto-4/


My GTA4 review. It's been difficult to put in to words how I feel about GTA4, and I'm not entirely happy with the review I have written here, but the text file has been on my HDD for over a month now in various stages of completion. I decided to wrap it up, polish it as much as possible, and get it out there so I can move on to the next review.

Sonic Unleashed: I think I'm going to be ill

by on

(Click here to watch the trailer)

Why are they even making a Sonic game with this in it? Out of everything they've done to this franchise that just does not fit, this in particular is like trying to jam a basketball through one of those little red stirring straws you get for coffee at McDonalds.

For those not in the know, despite Sega trying to play it up as a secret (something they continue to do in this teaser), it's been known pretty much since day 1 that something happens to Sonic in the opening cinematic, where he appears to be caught in some sort of machine Eggman built to rip the Chaos Emeralds out of him while he's transformed in to Super Sonic. Some of the first images released (aka: leaked) showed Sonic standing next to a hairy, hulking, shackled beast looking on from the dimly-lit shadows.

There's been a chart that's cropped up several times as a joke regarding people's feelings towards new Sonic games:



Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to stage 2 of the 3 stage cycle. You may remember our friend, stage 1. Please make sure your seat belts are connected and your tray tables are in their full and upright position, we will be entering Stage 3 in the coming months.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Happy Birthday to Me

by on
So! 25 years old. Hoo-rah. As previously stated, ended up getting a new Video card (a GeForce 6600 GT to replace my 5200 FX), and I also ended up getting 2gb of RAM from my cousin.

The difference is pretty incredible. For the first time, I can actually run Source Engine games at medium/high detail.



TF2 actually looks pretty nice, for a change (compared to what it used to look like). Overall, the jump in performance is about what you would expect.

Unfortunately, none of this has fixed my PC problems. I'm still getting plenty of Blue Screens of Death and I'm honestly near the end of my rope. Somebody pointed it out to me, but I've replaced almost the entire system chasing down various problems and it just seems to be getting worse. I'm actually expecting to get a BSOD any second now.

The only options still left to me regarding what to replace is to buy a new motherboard, or buy a new HDD. It was bad enough when I'd have old hardware and this would happen, but now I have all this nice new stuff but it feels like I can't use it because these BSOD error codes point to what sound like very serious problems in which the solutions are very vague and extremely varied.

It's just... argh. Every little bit of extra money I've gotten in recent months has gone in to trying to figure out what is going on in this PC. Spending $30-$40 every 3 or 4 months is getting old.

Though I will say, these PC problems have given me a boot in the arse to buy new PC stuff. If it wasn't for those, half the upgrades I've bought already probably wouldn't have been a reality and I would've just bought DS games or something. So that's something to be happy about, right?

Oh yeah.

by on

I'm still here. And I've got good news, everyone!

I've ordered a new video card!

New being a relative term, anyway. A GeForce 6600 GT. Got it off Ebay for $22 ( $15 shipping). We're not exactly talking cutting edge here, but it should be a pretty major step up from both the GeForce 5200 FX and even my old GeForce 3 Ti200. I may actually be able to play Team Fortress 2 on medium settings for a change - shocking!

About an hour after I won the ebay auction, the 5200 must've known its days were numbered. The fan on it began making that high pitched whine/grinding sound again, except this time I couldn't get it to stop. Eventually I just pulled it out. I'm currently speaking to you from the wonderful world of onboard video (VIA/S3G Unichrome). For those of you who don't know what that means, essentially most computers can fake a video card if you do not have one plugged in, but it's the worst garbage imaginable - and apparently, the S3G Unichrome one of the worst of them all. I'd basically have problems even getting Quake 2 to run on this thing.

The rub is that without the 5200 plugged in, the nVidia control panel vanishes. This is something of a problem, because the 17 CRT I was using is very old. I was using the nVidia control panel to artificially turn the brightness on the monitor up, otherwise it's too dark to see anything. With the nVidia control panel gone, the monitor basically becomes worthless. Essentially, without the nVidia Control Panel, this is what my big 17 inch monitor looks like:



That's obviously pretty unacceptable. For now, I've switched to a back-up monitor; an old one we've had for a while. It's smaller, but it gets the job done.

It's weird, though. Having a smaller monitor with weird colors (they're all washed out and kind of blurry) makes it feel like I'm on somebody else's computer. Hopefully once the 6600 gets here, I'll be able to switch back to the bigger monitor again, but it'd be nice if I could get a brand-new monitor entirely. But those are like, $150, even on Ebay. Even considering my birthday is in a little over a week (July 6th), I don't think that's going to be a possibility.

In other news, my Xbox 360 is on its way out. This is the second 360 I've had, with the first one having a long, harrowing tale involving Microsoft losing my console for three months and eventually just sending me a refurbished console with a free game as an I'm sorry gift. This one doesn't seem to be red ringing yet, but games are freezing fairly frequently now. Knowing Microsoft, part of me almost wonders if they've tried to make it more resilient to displaying red rings in recent dashboard updates (eg. it doesn't display a red ring of death even when it should). People have already told me plenty of home-made remedies (the towel trick, calling Microsoft and just lying to them about it having red ringed). We'll see what happens. Personally, I blame GTA4 and the increasingly warm summer heat for this - even though it still freezes even when the console is nice and cold, the damage was probably most likely done when it was hot.

Some final notes: for those of you who are interested in the games I make, I recently registered a spot on Moddb for my big Sonic game, Sonic: The Fated Hour. I post videos and stuff there pretty frequently, and I just made a fairly big news post about the upcoming beta test/demo I will be holding in the coming months for the game. I think you guys should check it out.

That's it. If you're looking for my next game review, I'm still cranking away at a GTA4 review. I took a TON of notes while playing the game and I'm having a hard time arranging them all without sounding too repetitious. I hate writing huge long reviews, but considering the scope of GTA4, that may be unavoidable... we'll see. Already I'm at five or six paragraphs and I've barely talked about half the stuff I wrote in my notes.

So, uh, if I vanish unexpectedly...

by on
Something inside my computer went wrong. I think it may be my video card, but I am not sure.

A few months ago I noticed one of the fans inside of my case was making a terrible grinding sound. It comes and goes, but I thought it might've been the Power Supply, so I scraped together $25 to buy a new (albeit cheap) PSU. Turns out it wasn't that fan (after installing the new PSU, the first thing I heard was the fan grinding). It's either the processor fan, or the graphics card fan, and my money is on the graphics card.

A couple days ago, my whole PC locked up while playing a video file. Eventually it went back to normal, saying the display driver had stopped responding and I was recommended to reboot my computer. It then froze again, but not before the screen went totally bananas. I had to force the PC to turn off.

Just now, I was playing Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast when it froze again. Couldn't get anything to respond to terminate the program so I just hit the reset button on my case. It started through the BIOS but froze on the BIOS logo. I guess it didn't make it past POST. A POST message is what your computer does when it first starts up - it checks all the available hardware and does a few basic checks to make sure it works properly. If hardware is failing a certain way, the BIOS will not let the system start.

I shut the PC off at this point and let it sit for a couple minutes. I turned it back on and all of my BIOS settings had been reset to their defaults - not something I did. I don't know what happened specifically, but something happened, and I'm willing to bet it has something to do with my graphics card, considering these two events were merely days apart, and both were involving things that typically require graphics card acceleration (yes, believe it or not, playing video files can and does use graphics card acceleration). If you're curious, the video card I currently am running on is a GeForce 5200 FX. It's not AGP or even PCI Express, it's just a normal PCI card. I understand how poor that is, but when it's all you've got...

So, if I stop posting? Computer died, somehow. How long I will be gone, I do not know. Money's tight, and all of that. How long it will remain tight, well, that's something we'll have to wait and see about. I have things I wanted to get done - but that's another subject.

It is now I cringe and remind you that, at the end of the machinima video I painstakingly made (that you so gleefully ignored - which is weird, considering it got 9,000 views on Youtube so far and was front page material on GarrysMod.com), I asked for donations for new PC hardware. Now, I absolutely loathe taking donations because handouts aren't my thing (I don't feel as though I deserve them), but sometimes you have to swallow your pride...

Anyway, yeah, just thought I'd give you guys a heads up. I don't even know if I'll get any work done on games or new videos or anything as I'm starting to get kind of paranoid about using the PC.

I've been quiet

by on
Sorry for being so quiet, folks. Just been... crankin' away at GTA4. On the final mission, now.

Besides that, I've been keeping busy working on a Sonic game of mine. Recently put it up on Moddb so there'd be an easier, more public place for everybody to keep updated on it (previously updates for it were just on a few forums and on IRC). If you'd like to check it out, it's here:

http://www.moddb.com/game...-hour

I've been in the habit of playing GTA4 for a day or two and then working on the game for a day or two, alternating like that. Usually I update the game's Moddb profile whenever I work on it, usually with a video or an image or something, so it's updated pretty frequently.

Dunno what else to say other than that. Been trying to think what I was going to play after I complete GTA4, really. I should keep the play a game one day, work on a game the next cycle because it seems to help keep me from burning out on one or the other. My backlog list is long, too. Twilight Princess, Jet Set Radio Future, Resident Evil 4, Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3...

Hm, yeah. With MGS4 coming up I'll probably be in a Metal Gear-y mood. Even if I don't own the console it's on, usually when a game in a series like that comes out I end up going back to whatever I own from the series. Like when Halo 3 came out I ended up installing Halo 1. With PGR4 out, I put in PGR3. Before I got GTA4, I re-installed San Andreas and got through about half the game. That sort of thing.

Also been keeping track of the Let's Play: Sonic 2k6 video series. A group of Something Awful forum Goons suffered through the entire game in one massive marathon session, and have been editing the 10 hours or so of video in to smaller chunks. A new video seems to go up daily, and it truly brings back a lot of memories of the suffering I endured when I bought that turd. Which, oddly, is very hilarious to me - it's sort of like laying a trap and waiting for somebody to trip it; when they get a Game Over on the first level because of Wave Ocean's Mach Speed section I laugh and laugh because I know their pain and hearing it from as an impartial third party is delicious. Honestly, I think somebody should compile a Greatest Moments of these videos (and by greatest I mean parts where they have the most trouble with the game), burn them to a DVD, and mail it to Sega of America and Sega of Japan with the label "BEST GAME EVER".

There's also another very good Let's Play drawing to a close soon for Jurassic Park: Trespasser. If you ever saw the video I did on the subject you know that Trespasser was a very technologically advanced game for its time that ran out of money and ran out of time to be completed properly, leaving a curious, barely playable mess. Rather than make fun of Trespasser, though, this LP appreciates it for what it is - a game that was a little too far ahead of its time. Extremely professional and remarkably entertaining.

So yeah. That's your update on what I've been doing these last two or three weeks.

I have entered the world of machinima.

by on

[video=cSE3xGf_5b0PvTff]

I am so glad I am finally done with this. I am totally way past the "Inspiration is gone, I'm sick of this video, just get it over with." Editing the same 7 minutes of video footage for over a week will do that to you. That's why you may notice I got a little bit lazy with the credits text. I didn't want to sit there and wait for the video to take another hour to re-render just because the text appears a quarter of a second too early.

I am so super sleepy. Totally going to bed now. Later.

GRID Demo

by on
The Race Driver: GRID demo just went up for us Silver users.

It's pretty incredible, all-told. I don't think I've been this excited for a racing game since PGR3. There's just something about GRID that lends itself to a very white-knuckle, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience. Driving your car feels like a very physical experience; fantastic sound design and great camera work make you feel every little bump in the road, and if you hit a wall, it's a very crisp, satisfying, and hard-hitting SMASH! Even watching replays is exciting, with camera work that almost feels like it's out of a street racing movie like The Fast in the Furious, with lots of quick cuts and shaking cameras. But the game doesn't really feel arcade-like; I suppose it kind of is a little bit, but it also doesn't feel like a simulation. The game has style but without being stylish. It's hard to describe, but it's right up my alley as far as racing games go. I am not a gear head and I seem to be doing pretty good in the GRID demo on all the default settings.

Been working for four or five days on a Machinima I made in Garry's Mod. Honestly, I did not intend for it to be anything super-involved (I figured one day, tops, to record and splice it all togther), but the more I worked on it the less patient I became with poor footage. I'm still not 100% satisfied with the footage I captured, but due to the nature of Gmod and my experience with it, it's about as good as I can do right now. I don't know if machinima from me will become a regular thing from me (probably not), so we'll see what happens when I'm done. With any luck it should be done by... tomorrow?

Then I can get back to GTA4. Unlocked the Third Island before I got inspired on the machinima. It's a good game. What else can you say? A lot of people are sick of hearing about GTA by now, I'm sure.

That's about it. There's a DBZ: Burst Limit demo on XBL right now, but since I am a lowly Silver, it will be next week before I can play it. Most pointless restriction ever.