Archive for the ‘Games’ category

Tweaking Bulletstorm for PC

29/12/2011

A couple of days ago I picked up Bulletstorm during the Steam Holiday Sale.

Bulletstorm is an excellent shooter, but it has been given a pretty bad PC port.

Luckily, since it’s based on the Unreal engine (UDK) you can tweak away any shortcomings using the configuration files.

First, you will need a tool to edit the obfuscated config files. Here are some mirrors for it:
Mirror 1 Removed due to DMCA request
Mirror 2

On Windows 7, the configuration files are located in:

C:\Users\<your account name>\Documents\My Games\BulletStorm

Important: If you use the tool above to open the configuration files directly from this folder, you need to run the tool with administrative privileges.

Now, start out with this excellent article by Ars Technica. It will help you fix things such as Mouse Smoothing, locked framerates and poor field-of-view in the game.

After this, there is one more important bug to fix – the scope view.

By default, the scope view (a.k.a. the aim down sight) has a fixed sensitivity that is unaffected by the in-game sensitivity setting. This means that if your in-game sensitivity is set very low, for example due to a high DPI mouse, the scope view will be too sensitive.

To fix this, we will need to adjust the internal Unreal engine mouse calibration.

In StormInput.ini, find the line MouseSensitivity and change it to a lower value, like this: (Default is 60)

MouseSensitivity=10

This setting affects both the scope view and the regular sensitivity, so you will also have to increase the sensitivity in-game after this tweak.

Here are the settings I run in-game. Of course, the graphical settings are subject to your card.

Speaking of Bulletstorm…
Some UI design choices in this game are really weird, here’s one that stumped me the first time, let’s see if you spot it:

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Review: Deus Ex: The Missing Link brings the atmosphere

30/10/2011

Just played through the first DLC to Deux Ex: Human Revolutions – here’s my thoughts on it. (Warning, contains light spoilers.)

Let’s get it out by saying that at it’s current price point of 11EUR/15USD, it’s not really worth it. I agree with Kirk Hamiltons Kotaku review and do feel that GameTrailers went very soft when giving it a 7.9/10.

The world you are presented with is claustrophobically small, the side missions almost nonexistent, the main plot irrelevant in the larger scope of things and the ending a huge anticlimax. (Guess they really took that forced boss fight criticism to heart.) The length isn’t great either – I breezed through it in three hours. Don’t even get me started on the security scans that serve as a substitute for loading screens – they take three times as long to get through and since the game forces you to run back and forth in the same three parts of the ship you’ll see plenty of them.

At least they’re pretty though!

What I did like were the vistas the game presented you with. Even though the world itself is small, each corridor is packed to the brim with atmosphere. Deus Ex: Human Revolutions was a beautiful game, and The Missing Link takes it up another notch. Below is an album of some more of the gritty scenery you’ll be presented with throughout the course of the game. While the looks don’t atone for the other flaws, it does make The Missing Link noteworthy if you are a series diehard or simply enjoy lots of pretty (if cramped) visuals.

Starcraft II Stockholm Invitational and the future of e-sports

14/04/2011

I ‘ve been lurking about the Starcraft II e-sports scene for a while now, and it’s been such a fun experience seeing it grow, from the early beta casters like Husky and HDStarcraft to the extravagant GSL championships. I feel the culmination of this for me has been the Dreamhack Stockholm Invitational a couple of days ago.

It was such an exhilarating feeling, seeing progamers like IdrA, MC and Jinro battle it out in front of a crowd of hundreds of people. Experiencing all of that in person really made me believe in e-sports as a mainstream concept – it really wouldn’t surprise me if people in ten or twenty years would consider e-sports to be no different from traditional sports.

The future of e-sports looks so bright, thanks to the event organizers and dedicated fans – let’s push forward to new horizons!

Grainy cell phone imagery and excellent highlights video (by Coddan) below!

How-to: Dell 2209WA running at 75hz (or 76hz) and information regarding refresh rates

09/02/2010

2012-12-18 update: This tweak still works with Windows 8.

To use this on Windows 8 you will need to disable driver signature enforcements. This video will show you how to do it.
After that, right-click the .inf file and select Install.

Now go to:
Device Manager -> Monitor -> Dell 2209wa (or similar name) -> Properties -> Driver -> Update Driver -> Let me pick… -> Dell DELF011 (EDID Override)

Reboot and you’re all set!

Quick download link: Download Dell2209wa76hz.zip

Original post follows below
image

I was surfing around the other day researching screen tearing and how it could be avoided, and stumbled upon a little driver hack that enables a faster refresh rate on this particular monitor. You can do it just as well with third-party applications like PowerStrip, but a native solution is great and enables you to use this higher mode only in games or certain applications, while maintaining the standard 60hz when you are using your computer for other things.

P1060238
Please divert your eyes to the lower left corner!

So what’s the deal with faster refresh rates?
Faster refresh rates means you will get less screen tearing. It also heightens the response time of the monitor, allowing it to display information faster both normally and if vsync is enabled (going from 16.67 ms to 13.16 in response time.) It is also stated in the official specifications that the 75hz mode is supported.

Does it help?
I was a bit hesitant at first, but it really does! After toying around with it for a bit, the biggest difference turned out to be the timing I got when I  played DJ Max Trilogy; the result was very palpable, but i noticed that almost all games suffer much less from screen tearing while using 76hz.

Wolfenstein (2009) proved to be one of the best examples as it had some horrible tearing issues at 60hz which were all but gone at 76hz.

What if the game/application doesn’t let me select which mode to use or reverts to 60hz?
Many games have flags that you can send when starting it. If they don’t, a third party app might be able to force the refresh rate.

Download!
Finished reading? Go ahead and download the fix here:
Download Dell2209wa76hz.zip

After unpacking, right-click the file you get and select “Install”. Please note that this fix is only for the Dell 2209WA monitor. Similar fixes may be available for your monitor, Google knows!

This does not alter any drivers you have installed for your graphics card, such as ATI Catalyst or nVidia GeForce.

A footnote regarding 75/76hz difference
I put both 75 and 76hz in the topic because there seems to be little difference between these two values and people use them interchangeably. After applying the driver mod my OSD shows 76hz which seems to work fine. I have not read any reports that this 1hz difference would be a problem.

In other news

image

Go Saints!

How to properly price casual games

31/01/2010

Guess which one I bought?

(Please note: I’m all for supporting casual and indie game developers, but I’d rather support three of them at Magnetis price than one by buying Eufloria.)

Dreamcast battery replacement mod (2xAAA)

28/01/2010

image

I recently got a Dreamcast to play some of the unique games on the console (mainly Seaman and Samba De Amigo) and quickly noticed that the internal battery was drained which would cause the internal clock to reset every time I powered the console off. To play certain games (including Seaman) your clock needs to be fully working, so I set out to find a replacement.

Google that!
Finding information about how to replace it seemed to be simple enough, but many people seem to disagree on what kind of battery is actually in there, some claimed it to be a normal CR2032, the ones in the VMU; others claimed it was a rechargeable version, the ML2032. When I opened mine up it turned out to be a ML2430 (datasheet) which seems roughly equivalent to the ML2032. A problem is that these batteries are insanely expensive, and I’m not even sure they’re being manufactured anymore. However, we can use two cheap rechargeable AAA batteries for the same effect.

The mod

Disassembling the Dreamcast
Snesorama.us member shredhead posted a simple tutorial, all credits to him, I’m just adding my additional pictures and experience. If you’re looking for the long version, go ahead and read the linked post.

You start out by disassembling your Dreamcast. There are four screws on the back and when they’re out the top slips right off. You’ll have something looking like this (click image for larger version):

P1060132

First, you need to unscrew the power supply unit (the left circuit in the picture) and lift it out. It usually sits pretty tight, so be firm but careful. It’s attached with six pins (‘A1’ in the image) which you need to be careful not to break when you pull it. It will still be attached to the power button, so you can just leave it hanging on the side.

Then unscrew the controller ports module, detach the ribbon cable carefully (‘B’ and ‘B1’, respectively) and lift out the module. Also note the battery at ‘C’.

Now things should be looking like the image below.

P1060134

Now that we have the controller module, let’s get started on assembling  the battery pack. Wire the two rechargeable AAA batteries according to the guide below.

“Crap wiring guide”, kindly borrowed from the original post below:

image

Here’s how my pack turned out. first soldered and then bundled together with electrical tape:

image

Soldering on batteries isn’t the easiest of things, so I’d recommend buying special batteries suitable for soldering.  (usually available in well-stocked hardware stores) but they might end up costing you as much as a replacement battery, so if you’re handy and quick with the soldering iron you’ll probably manage it just fine. Remember not to expose the batteries to the heat of the soldering iron for a prolonged time, as this can decrease the voltage you get out of them. Mine went down from about 2.5v to just below 2v (tested with multimeter.) but everything still works just fine.

Assembling the battery pack and controller.
Note the picture of the controller board upside down, it shows the polarities that you will need to connect. You will only need to solder one of the positive connectors. You will need to remove the old battery first by applying your soldering iron to the three points while wiggling the battery until it comes loose.

P1060140

Finished result after soldering and assembling everything again:

P1060158

(Yes, I screwed up the cable colors, the black one is positive and the yellow one is negative!)

The pack fits snuggly between the GDROM drive and the ribbon cable, I used another piece of electrical tape to make sure it sticks.

Final word
Best of luck with this mod, may it give you a reason to dust off your Dreamcast!

GD-ROM (Comic)

27/12/2009

whatareyou_dense

Poor GD-ROM!

In other news…
You are reading my shortest blog post ever!

Even further…
I admire how Paypal is unable to show you a list of your current active payment subscriptions, and how to even see your subscription history, you have to navigate through layers and layers of submenus. The designer has clearly been on vacation for a while.