Archive

Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Go KU!

April 7, 2008 1 comment

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! KU!

Jayhawk

Congrats to the Jayhawks and their unbelievable finish in the NCAA championship!  It’s been one heck of a year—screaming at the television! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Categories: Everything Else, Gaming

Casual Differences in Raiding

February 25, 2008 1 comment

Culture is really important to me in MMORPG gaming—I can sit and play a single player game alone, but it adds a twist to inject humans (and their quirks) into the mix.  I’ve found that its almost impossible to play single player games now—I’m too used to the interaction component of gaming.  Except solitaire, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

When I started playing FFXI back in 2003, the culture was unlike any other game I’d played before.  Accepting multi-cultural groups and becoming proficient with the built-in translator was a requirement—at that time, and to a degree now, English speaking Americans were the minority. 

In addition to that, raiding (large group efforts, etc) became a part of the culture.  If something was about to appear, you dropped what you were doing and headed that way to help.  Other forms of raiding, like Dynamis, were there for entertainment and, typically, large scale craziness.  64 players running around wildly trying to sleep, pick off, and beat a bazillion creatures rushing at you.  Generally, the attitude was casual, but professional.  Do your job, but have fun.  There’s competition on HNMs, but, after that’s done, most everyone goes off, groups up with each other, and merits, farms, does BCNMs.  Our shells define us, but typically (*cough* except for a few) don’t separate us.

I took a two year stint and played EQ2–-to get away from some of the level grind of FFXI and see what everyone was raving about (read: dragged kicking and screaming by coworkers).  EQ2 was fun, had beautiful graphics, but an entirely different culture.  “leetism” reigned supreme and raiding was only available to those who were in raiding guilds (this has changed a bit with the alliances and syndicate raiding groups).  Unlike FFXI, however, raiding was “serious business” in EQ2.  Over two years, I’ve seen friendships dissolve (or explode), entire server wars begin over “drama,” grown adults crying, and attitudes that certain groups shouldn’t even associate with others—the guilds create almost a heirarchy on each server.

So, now that I’m back to FFXI, I’m enjoying the ‘casual’ side to gaming again.  I don’t have a calendar.  I don’t manage pop timers, instance timers, or schedule where I should be every night.  I know that when I log in, something will be going on and if I’m not busy or they need me, I’ll go help my friends out—and they’d do the same for me.

FFXI: Assault Mission Guide ala PDF

February 19, 2008 1 comment

Treasure!If you’re an FFXI player and find yourself constantly trying to jump on Wikia to remember what a specific assault is called or where it’s at, this guide is for you.  The Wikia site is great, but requires another open window, navigating through the junk on the page, and LOTS of scrolling.  I took borrowed the tables from Wikia (all rights reserved to Wikia and the content creators, etc..etc.) and placed them into a PDF, links intact.

It’s great to print and see everything (I’ve been keeping track of my progress with hash marks next to the mission name) OR use the PDF and click to open up Wikia.

Feel free to download it here and if you’re on Valefor and need a RDM for assaults, send me a tell! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Categories: Final Fantasy XI, Gaming

Greg’sNotes – Greg Dean’s Real Life @ Lulu.com

January 30, 2008 Comments off

Greg's Notes Edition of Real Life Comics

I’ve been reading Real Life for… I’m not real sure, six years maybe?  It’s a semi-autobiographic comic about Greg’s… uhh, real life.  A few weeks ago, Greg put out the Greg’s Notes Edition of Real Life Comics

Mine arrived last night in the mail, packaged like it came from Ft. Knox with a HUGE box, cardboard padding, extra padding envelope, and shrinkwrap to hold it in place.

I must say, after reading it in mostly one sitting, it’s great.  It was cool to re-read comics from ages ago and see the progression (the big picture is sometimes lost reading it day-to-day).  The point in which Greg “stopped” at the end of the book was also perfect and made this book a real “chapter” in his and Liz’s lives (I expect more chapters in the future ;)).

So, even if you’ve never read Real Life and have any interest in gaming, computers, or life in general, give it a read and head over to the comic strip itself. 

 

Categories: Everything Else, Gaming

“New” Beta NVidia Forceware for Final Fantasy XI

January 29, 2008 68 comments

After reading a BG forum post and a bit of testing, the “new” beta drivers that NVidia has hidden away that directly target Final Fantasy XI (FFXI) players work GREAT!

You can download them (the 169.17 version, the .28 version doesn’t apply to FFXI) from ftp://download.nvidia.com/downloads/nZone/drivers/.

For direct download links:

12/05/2007 08:17PM 169.17 FFXI Beta Web Updates.doc
11/28/2007 12:34PM 169.17_forceware_winvista_32bit_international_beta.exe
11/28/2007 12:37PM 169.17_forceware_winvista_64bit_international_beta.exe
11/28/2007 12:32PM 169.17_forceware_winxp64_international_beta.exe
11/28/2007 12:30PM 169.17_forceware_winxp_32bit_international_beta.exe

I’ve tested in Campaign battles, Besieged, Whitegate with 390+ players, and camping Fafnir and Aspid and run steady 28–29.4 FPS at all times.  Other drivers could get me up to those max FPS raitings, but these can do something better—they can render 29.4 FPS even in busy zones and 50+ character models.

I’m not sure when NVidia plans to wrap these updates into the main driver branch, so use them at your own risk if you play other games.  I use them to play EQ2 and haven’t encountered any issues.  For reference, I’m using the 64–bit Vista drivers.  Good luck!

 

USB Headsets and Vista SP1–setting the default sound device.

January 18, 2008 11 comments

Since installing Vista SP1, the default sound device no longer “swaps” to my USB headset when I plug it in.  This is really annoying for when I’m jumping into Ventrilo to chat or something like that and have to manually configure it in Ventrilo.

There is, however, a fix.

When you plug in your USB Headset, right-click on the Volume Mixer icon in the taskbar.  That opens a window that looks similar to the image below.  The green “checkmark” should be on your Speakers device (which is attached to your sound card).  Instead, select the Headset and click the “Set Default” button.  That will redirect sound output to the USB headset device.

What’s nice (whether by design or a bug) is that when you unplug your USB headset, it will revert back to the last “default” device, which is our speakers.  When you plug the headset back in, it will take over as the default device.  Good deal—that’s how it SHOULD work.

 

FFXI – Settings and Configuration in Vista

December 13, 2007 6 comments

A few people have posted in response to other performance posts or emailed privately regarding my settings for FFXI and framerates.

Last night, I participated in my first Dynamis since rejoining FFXI.  Hella fun time and was nice to see over half the participants get some loot (and nice to get a clear since we couldn’t beat it back 3 years ago when I was playing).

Even in Dynamis-Jeuno, my FPS held around 24–25 (according to FRAPS)and I didn’t have any trouble seeing, targeting, etc.  I get the same FPS ratings in Jugner Forest [S] during campaign battles (I are addict to {Campaign battle}).

Here’s the relevant system specifications that I run under.  It’s a Dell 720H2C, so the details can be fetched from here.

  • Windows Vista x64 Ultimate
  • Intel Core 2 X6800 Extreme overclocked from 2.93GHz to 3.73GHz
  • 4GB RAM, 4GB ReadyBoost USB Drive
  • NVidia 680i SLI motherboard (15.08 drivers)
  • NVidia GeForce 8800 GTX (Dual, but the SLI is removed, I run one card per monitor for performance; 169.25 beta drivers)
  • 4x15k SATA RAID 0 (Performance stripe)

Here’s what my settings are, both in-game and registry:

In-Game

These settings are found under Menu | Config.

Misc.

  • On-screen damage display : Log
  • Shadows : Normal (meaning it shows mine)
  • Weather Effects : Off (I turn this off because it annoys me more than anything).
  • Character Models Displayed : Max (turning this down can make targeting mobs difficult in heavy traffic zones, I don’t see a FPS difference on it).

Misc. 2

  • Clipping Plane : Max (again, didn’t see a huge performance difference here).
  • Footstep Effects : Off (this is the little footprints you get when walking).
  • Animation Frame Rate : Max (turning it down seemed to reduce my FPS, not increase it).

Effects

  • I’ve turned off all Non-Party PC => effects; everything else is on so I can see effects to counter/stun them.

Registry / FFXI Config

General

  • Enable MIP Mapping is UNCHECKED.  Performance decreased down to about 15 FPS in my Mog House with it checked.

Screen Size

  • Overlay Graphics Resolution : 1920×1200
  • Background Resolution : 2048×2048 (applied through registry).

Textures

  • Texture Compression : Uncompressed
  • On-screen Maps : Uncompressed

Effects

  • Enable bump mapping is UNCHECKED.
  • Environmental Animation : Normal

Sound

  • Enable sound is CHECKED.
  • SoundEffectNum is max at 20.  Even at 20, I find times that sound fades in and out in Campaign battles because huge AEs occur and there are too many sounds.

Misc.

  • Enable hardware mouse cursor is CHECKED.  Huge look and feel benefit, no real performance difference.

So, with all that in mind, it’s important to remember that FFXI is an older game.  We know the frame rate is capped at 30 to keep in lengths with the PS2 version (I hope we bypass that soon) and SE, unfortunately, didn’t come through on pushing the platform up to DirectX 9 (We’re at 10 now in “the real world”) when they rolled out their horrid Windower rip-off.

If anyone has any other tips or tricks, please post them up.  All computers are pretty different, even the same models, due to software loaded, etc—(I found out a bit back that Microsoft Virtual PC was trashing my FFXI FPS for who knows why…).

 

Ventrilo 3.0.1 Client and 3.0.2 Server

November 19, 2007 37 comments

Well, that didn’t take long… 3.0.0 has come and gone with Ventrilo as the team released updates to both the server and client software early this week.

The client changes, as you can read below, seem mostly aestetic; however, I’m sure hosting companies are pleased to see some of the fault issues fixed in 3.0.2.

Here’s the changes:

Version 3.0.2 Server only:

Fixed exception fault when loading a damaged channel file.

Fixed private chat replicating problem. Pro server only.

Modified Account management so that it is harder to lock your self out of the server.

Server Admin->Login will now give complete rights like 2.3 did. With the exception of Edit Voice/Cmd targets which are user account specific anyway and Pro server only.

Upgrading a 2.3 to 3.0 server will automatically assign full admin rights to an old account that already had the server admin right.

Modified USR and TRG files to be automatically updated in 1 minute instead of 1 hour.

Fixed server name length to be a minimum of 2 characters instead of 4.

When upgrading a 2.3 server to 3.0, or creating a new 3.0 server from scratch, the server will assume Duplicate IP’s settings of “No Limit”.

Version 3.0.1 Client only:

User Editor: Made current user list window wider and added support for horizontal scroll bar when needed.

User Editor: Pressing new button will now default Duplicate IP’s to No Limit.

User Editor: Generic User and Generic admin profiles now default Duplicate IP’s to No Limit.

User Editor: Removed feature where clicking on an existing account name in the main window would cause a selection change in the UE Window. While useful in some cases it creates more problems that it solved. Might make this an option in a future version.

Main Window: Display of the (GUEST) tag is now off by default. Can be turned on via new menu option View -> Guest tags.

Guest MOTD: Now provides option to display only if it changes.

Chat: Time stamp option will now display correct month number.

Menu: When paired with 3.0.2 server, using the Server Admin -> Login will now allow certain menu items to be usable instead of grayed out.

You can download (and install over your existing installation) here.  Looks like hosting companies, like NationVoice, are still at 3.0.0.  Hopefully this will change in the next few days.

From my server logs:

20050325 01:43:50 Version           = 3.0.0

Then again… why does it think it’s 2005.  *boggle*

Tags: ,

EQ2 Rise of Kunark — first impressions

November 17, 2007 2 comments

 The latest EverQuest II expansion, Rise of Kunark, has been out for a few days now and seems, if nothing else, pretty.  While I’m playing FFXI again, I had to load it up and see what the new zones, mobs, and such looked like.

After finding my way there (Thanks, Geoff…), I found the new zone I entered, Kylong Plains, is freaking huge.  The new gnoll creatures, wyverns, and Iksar cousins litter the huge expanse of the plains.

 I also wandered into Karnor’s Castle, home of the gnoll creatures (probably other things too, the level 74^^^ mobs wandering past as I entered motivated me for  a quick escape).  The castle is beautifully designed and the rain surrounding the castle is sweet.

Here’s a few more shots.

 Fighting a spider-like creature for a few quests.

 A few of the new gnolls; beautifully designed and detail.

 Up close of one of the fighter type gnolls.  They don’t like being Thunderbolt’ed.

 

Will I be going back?  Ehh, probably not.  I’m very happy with Final Fantasy XI right now; it’s nice to be back among friends, to have the ability to raid when I want to and not when I’m absolutely exhausted and not have to worry about points and such (at least at the moment, I may join one of the schedules eventually).  Most of all, 

I like how FFXI is character-based, not job-based.  In FFXI, I look forward to trying out the two new jobs (well, Scholar at least) without worrying about starting over from scratch–that drove me insane in EQ2, especially with three level 70 characters.

As far as performance, no real big changes–still works like a champ on Vista and ran pretty nice–even those large zones on Extreme Quality.  I’m not sure if SOE has changed their engines at all, but it actually seemed a bit faster than I remember.

Categories: EverQuest 2, Gaming

Ventrilo 3.0 Released (finally…)

November 16, 2007 2 comments

In spite of what the front page says, Ventrilo (excellent VoIP solution, I host through NationVoice, but you can host your own for free as well… very clear, good software, and runs flawlessly with DirectSound over every game I’ve ever played).

Here’s a few of the changes that stand out:

  • Modified sound system to remove 99% of clicks at the start and stop of a voice stream. Carry over from 2.3.2.Beta.3
  • Changes made in Setup or any of the SFX windows are applied immediately after pressing the OK button to any current voice streams. No longer need to Check/Uncheck “Mute Sound”.
  • New and (and some existing) default sound event wave files have been updated and are more pleasing to the ear. Thanks to TJ Powell Publishing (www.tjpowell.com)
  • No more freight train sound whenever someone connects! ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Modified control panel buttons to work properly on Vista. Note: These buttons still do not work properly on 64Bit XP, 64Bit Win2003 and 64Bit Vista. In these cases you will need to open the control panels manually.
    • Ehh, I need to test this more; I didn’t have any troubles with Vista Ultimate x64.
  • Version 3.0 introduces per channel codecs. When the server has been configured to enable this feature a channel admin can select a specific codec for any given channel or they can use the server defined default.
  • Hardware Overlay is new with version 3.0. It is a mechanism that allows status information about the Ventrilo client to be displayed over the top of the standard screen. For example, if you are playing a game then an ordinary desktop program like Ventrilo can not display information on top of the game if it’s running in full-screen mode without disrupting the keyboard and mouse focus.
  • Click here for the full 3.0 change log.  If you use a hosted solution, like NationVoice, be sure that your host has upgraded to 3.0 before upgrading your client.  You should have received an email from the provider informing you of the change.

    Note: It still requires “Run as Administrator” in Vista for the PTT key to work inside games.