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Vortexx Blog

Long Lost Video

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So I found this vid collecting (digital) dust on my hard drive... What's a person to do? Well, why not upload it?

This is a gameplay video of F.E.A.R. from a few months back. My internet connection wasn't behaving too well at that time, so I never uploaded it to GS. Here it is, at long last. Enjoy.

[video=IXFgxGaq5b8Lsjbc]

Stealth... It's Overrated

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Yawn. It's been a slow summer. Here's a video to lighten the mood. I hope you enjoy stupid antics in Lost Planet. :P

[video=dyYznmf45b8OuDTf]

Oh, one more thing... My PC upgrades arrive tomorrow. More updates (and another few vids) to come.

Race for the Numbers

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Technology is omnipresent in human civilization. It always has been. It always will be. Some forms of technology tend to advance more quickly than others. For instance, farming has not advanced nearly as much as microprocessors in the last half century or so.

We have reached a time of constant evolution and competition in the information age. What started as simple number calculating machines has lead to worldwide unification of intelligence and communication. Average consumers can easily take advantage of this. However, said consumers have since broken up into various categories ranging from simple users to enthusiasts who demand more than a communication medium from their personal computers.

That enthusiast crowd has seen interesting shifts in their target products lately. Direct 3D 10 (a component of Direct X 10) was hailed as a new leap in graphics processing capability. Major hardware companies took note of the new API and soon unveiled powerful GPUs capable of running it. The NVIDIA Corporation first began production and was soon followed by ATI (now a branch of AMD).

High-end PC users realized these cards are indeed powerful. Early adopters of the new technology had to pay a premium for such power, which is to be expected. NVIDIA's flagship 8800 series of cards were released before any Direct X 10 compatible games were available on the market. Alas, the same cards today are still deemed quite expensive by many.

Over half a year has passed since then, and only a small number of "next gen" PC games are up for purchase. I will not omit Direct X 10 titles still in development such as Bioshock, Crysis, and Unreal Tournament 3. Even with these titles, no games have yet to bring the top echelon of PC hardware to its knees. That being said, new technology (next-next generation) will be arriving within a matter of months.

What is the point? Companies have yet to fine-tune current generation hardware and get the best performance from it. Even high end users are silenced by the ability (and cost) of Intel's top CPU. In spite of having the strongest CPU offered to the consumer market, Intel is already pushing out stats for its next line of processors. The soon-to-be-last-gen QX6800 quad-core CPU goes skyward of one thousand U.S. dollars. Can any programs take full advantage of its power? No!

Smaller and faster is the name of the game these days. Less power consumption means less heat. Less heat means better stability. More stable processors allow for higher clock speeds. Higher clock speed means a faster piece of hardware. Although I admit this is impressive, what is the point? We all need to stop and ask why. Will it make your games any faster? Yes, but do you really need to play Counter-Strike at 300 frames per second?

It would be unfair to limit this battle to CPUs alone. ATI has recently announced a GPU with 1 gigabyte of onboard memory. Why do people see the need to spend thousands of dollars to run two of these in a machine with nothing short of super-computer capabilities? I have but one 8800 GTX in my machine, and it has no problem with even the toughest gaming applications.

Some people may suggest the point of buying the newest and best is for longevity. One problem remains. The current generation is still too expensive for some users' budgets. They speak of the 8 series being expensive, so they wait for the 9 series. If these consumers can not afford the current gen, why do companies think the same people can access next gen equipment?

This brings me to conclude that new products being released now are for bragging rights. "Duh, Vortexx!" Well, if people always complain about their current setup being unstable or products being too expensive, blame the companies for their greed! Want a better Futuremark score? Fine, but there is absolutely no need to make another gasp-eliciting advancement when the people don't need it. Perfect today's work before unravelling the future.

Level Up!

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Hola, profile stalkers!

It's 1 am, so this post is being made in a drowsy haze. I have reached level 19! w00t! New badges too: Hella Old-school (how?) and Outlier (yay for being opinionated!)

EDIT: Hella Old-school has been replaced by my formerly MIA PC Aficionado emblem. Strange. Also, Outlier is missing.:?

Moving on... My PC may be seeing a major overhaul soon. The plan consists of replacing the CPU, motherboard, RAM, and adding in another hard drive. One notable difference from my current build is the switch from AMD to Intel. This is being done for a few reasons. For one, AMD is slightly more expensive. Also, the Intel chip functions more efficiently with 45nm architecture.

I will be making a video compilation of the upgrade when the time comes. Here are the technical specs: Core 2 Duo E6600 processor, EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI motherboard, Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2 GB (2x 1GB DDR-2 modules @ 1000mhz), and a Western Digital Caviar SE 16 series HDD with 500 GB storage capacity.

~

See ya around the boards!

~

Hello, World!

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     Ahh... Holy sh-!

    This is what I deserve for ignoring GS for so long. Again.

      Alright then here's what's up, school is coming to a close with about 20 days left of class. Party time!

    I've had a massive load of work to do, though, so it's not over yet. 

    Don't dismay! I'm working on more frequent video blogs now and more reviews. Expect a good number of posts in the upcoming month.

    Without further ado, I present teh blog, EP 3. THE LOST EPISODE! (Dun-dun-duuh!) It's been about a month since filming, but Movie Maker was not liking me. It pushed out a massive 160-some MB vid, so I put this one on hold for a bit.  BUT I finally found the time to redo the editing. 

Enjoy! :P

 

[video=cnNgk2Gs5b4PvzLY] 

New Video Blog has Arrived!

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At last! I finally made another video blog! Here ya go... It's in two parts because GS will not accept videos longer than 10 minutes.

[video=cnw1ljao5bkMuzPZ]



and


[video=d3c1xGT85bkMuzDf]

Returning from the Dead

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Oh my god... It's been like... uhh... many months since my last visit to GS..

Okay then, time to get back to work. I think an apology is in order for all my union mates for my excessively long vacation time. I'll keep this post short, just saying "I'm back!"

Now, just to update my profile and get things back in order...

Putting it Into Perspective

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Alright, many of you guys know that I have a fair amount of responsibility between three officer positions. Those alone are enough to suck up a lot of time. However, my duties expand beyond Gamespot.

Seven... I have seven administrative positions across this wonderful thing called the Internet. Three are here on Gamespot: UTF, RC, and TSU. Outside of Gamespot, I am the leader of my own clan, [PhRs]. In Second Life, I created my own group, which has become relatively popular, am the co-founder of a security task-force, and have a seat in a private land club.

Moving into real life(™), I will be starting a gaming club this year at my school, which I'm hoping will be the driving force behind my own business, a Cyber Cafe/LAN Party. If that is successful, I will have enough money to keep on top of technology. Direct X 10 by winter!

So what was the point of this post? I just wanted to show most of you that I have responsibilities outside of GS, and the reason why I can not always stay up to date with the unions and such!

Oh, Snap!

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Okay, I know, it has been a long time since I last updated my blog... So here it is! Prepare for an insanely long blog spanning a month and-a-half.

~Modding Woes~
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First off, many of you remember my initial absence from GS. Well, you may remember me talking about cooling issues. After plenty of planning and preparation, I bought new case fans from Arctic Cooling, new cooling units for each of my GPUs (also from AC), and for the grand finish, the Big Typhoon CPU cooler from Thermaltake, complimented by Arctic Silver 5 paste. This unit is massive, and most pictures of the cooler do it no justice.

So, being an avid GS blogger, I could not go without taking a few pictures of my project. This is before the modding. This is after I was finished. This gives a better perspective on how large the CPU cooler really is...

Now, if you pay attention to detail, you will notice a new PSU also. Yes, this is the fun part.

So in mid July, I took a few days to enjoy a stay in a log cabin. After much exhaustion, I returned to happily start my computer and catch up on everything I had missed... But wait.. oh, snap! It will not turn on! "WTF?"

After an angry bout of yelling at the machine, I go out and purchase a PSU tester. Hm, the little device happily told me that my voltage rails were blown, it had a fault, and the output current was failing. JOY!

Of course, all power supply units will fail, and that is just a simple fact. Wasting no time, I order a new PSU from Newegg, the same company through which I ordered my cooling supplies.

A few days pass, and my new unit arrives, an Enermax 600w SLi ready power supply. Ah, yes, something must go wrong, though! After a close examination of the unit, I find only 1 PCIe 16x cable, no SLi for this unit! I promptly send it back for the correct unit.

Again, a few days go by, and then I just felt insulted when they sent me the same unit again... After a flurry of heated words to 'Jose' at Newegg, I send that one back and go to Best Buy.

Now I have an Antec Neo HE 550w PSU, modular, and damn well supports SLi. All in all, things worked out after much delay.
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~Current Events~
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Ah, UTF and affiliates! What a great set of unions! Oh wait, I'm an officer in all of 'em... Whoops, sorry for the time away, guys! As I have read on some of the boards, my fellow higher-ups were wondering why I had mysteriously fallen off the face of the Earth..

Reason number one has already been explained, but there is a bit more to it than that. I have become a serious Second Life addict. I have been at it for only a month, and have already put on ~175 hours. In fact, I have my own groups in there to manage! Just like here on GS, yikes!

Even more recently, my clan on FEAR has come out from being dormant. Yes, I have my own clan, too, that makes a total of SIX admin duties for me! Anyway, I've been practicing on FEAR for a very long time, and I am confidant that I am one of the top players.

I am not pro yet, as I myself can tell, but on most matches against long time players, I come out in the top 5. Not too bad, and I hope to become even better with time.

In a more general tone, my personality has slightly changed. I find myself to be more considerate of the new guys, and often attempt to help others, rather than flame away. I find it to be much more rewarding.

And last topic! Yesterday, I attended a very large outdoors show, with events spanning from fishing to archery, and firearms. The highlight of the event was the shooting range. About twenty gun companies had their latest and greatest up for trial, for a small fee. I myself shot a Benelli pump action shotgun, and a Special Forces .308 semi-auto rifle. (The .308, or a similar counterpart, is featured in BF2!) It was very fun, and the .308 had a very sharp kickback (resulting in a bruise to my shoulder.) Heh, I had a great time!
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END OF BLOG!

Packaging

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Back in the day, whenever you bought a new PC game, you would get a rather large box with your jewel-cased CD and manual. Well, times have really changed, and so has the packaging.

I try to get every game I buy in a DVD Rom version, or Collector's edition. So far, I have FEAR, Oblivion, Quake 4, Call of Duty 2, and Prey in DVD Collector's editions. Why? I don't have to put up with 3 or more CDs being swapped over about 5 minutes or so. The worst case of the CD hassle was with UT 2004. 6 CDs = installation hell.

Another great thing about DVD Rom is that the install times are remarkably short. I purchased the Prey Collector's edition yesterday, and installed it this morning in under a minute.

So this leads me to my point. Is it always worth forking over an extra $10 for it?

Answer: Yes and no.... You can never really tell what you are going to get in the end. A prime example of this is FEAR. That special edition came with a pathetic paper sleeve case, and a short comic. Very underwhelming. FEAR scores an F.

Some games with mid-level packaging were the Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2 special editions. Each came in a full plastic container about the volume of a book. Inside was the manual on one cover, and the one play disk and another for extra features, stacked in a vertical clip holder. They score a B.

Now come our shining examples, Prey and Oblivion. Each had very different packaging. Oblivion came as one unit, no box, and the actual container slides out of the Oblivion sleeve. That opens four ways revealing the play disk on one flap, the specials on another disk, a map of Cyrodiil, the manual, a Septim, and a pocket guide to the Empire. A very good deal.

Prey comes out of the store in a thick package, which to my surprise, had a wire wrapped around it and an alarm system. I take off the paper advertisement sleeve and reveal a full metal tin. Opening the tin, you see the DVD on the top side which unfolded. On the other side, in a fabric bound chest of sorts, are the pewter figures, the Art of Prey booklet, your manual, a free soundtrack download code from Direct Song, and some hardware discounts.

These two games have some of the best packaging I have ever seen. A for both.


Two pictures of the Prey limited edition set....
Box/Tin
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