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  Red Dead Redemption is my new lifecrack
Posted by: etoven - 3rd December 2019, 11:39 AM - Forum: Tendo City - Replies (1)

Playing on PC.
                   

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Video Baby Yoda meme thread
Posted by: alien space marine - 24th November 2019, 9:41 AM - Forum: Ramble City - Replies (8)

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  3D Printer upgrades
Posted by: etoven - 16th November 2019, 7:23 PM - Forum: Ramble City - No Replies

Designed these triangle clips for the printer bed that don't take away print area.
Just need to hunt down some m3 screws.

Printed a filament holding system and made a few tweeks.


           

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  THIS WEBSITE USES COOKIES, PLEASE ACCEPT
Posted by: Sacred Jellybean - 2nd November 2019, 10:34 AM - Forum: Ramble City - Replies (4)

oh my god shut up. I get it, I'm using the internet and big tech giants are stealing my most perverted secrets, stop bugging me.

[Image: eFpYAlo.jpg]

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  Outlast II
Posted by: Sacred Jellybean - 2nd November 2019, 6:42 AM - Forum: Tendo City - No Replies

I'd have to say this game is as solid as its predecessor. It brings back the same terror, tension, and helplessness, dropping the player into a hostile environment in which the only way to survive is by running and hiding. I hadn't realized it until playing Resident Evil VII, but not having weapons makes the game 100x more terrifying in a way I don't think I appreciated before.

At first, the environment didn't seem as frightening as the asylum in the first game, but I'd say it finally hit me when I was crawling through a cornfield, avoiding the waving flashlight beams of two murderous hillbillies. The lights would shine right on the stalk next to me and making me freak out and run, even though they probably hadn't even seen me, and I just gave myself away.

The game adds a couple new mechanics as well. In the last game, there was no actual health meter, so to stay alive, all you had to do was flee an enemy, find a place to hide, and if you bode your time, your invisible health gauge would fill back up. Not so, this time around. You have to seek out bandages strewn about the environment, and they aren't always in great supply. This time around, you do still need to continue finding batteries to keep the night vision on your camcorder working, and luckily, the game is pretty generous with them. Let's be honest, if you were left without them, and had to wander around in the dark, the game would be nigh impossible. But, I'm sure on higher difficulty settings, the game has no problem with that whatsoever.

So that adds a new difficulty to the gameplay, but the game also equips you with a microphone on your camcorder, which allows you to track enemies that aren't in your sight. When you activate it, it amplifies the sounds of nearby enemies, chiefly their voices as they mumble creepy little prayers to themselves. You use it as kind of a radar to detect where they're coming from. This is both convenient and anxiety-inducing, because you can be in an environment with low visibility, but still know an enemy is getting closer. Not actually seeing them makes it scarier!

God DAMN, the game gave me a long, protracted chase scene that kept me squirming. Typically, stealth and chasing is small in scope (both in this game and the last), but every time I thought I found a hiding spot or the path to a safe space, they just. kept. coming. "He's in the house!" "He's underneath the floorboards!" "He's here, get him!" I thought it was a function of difficulty at first, but really, it's by design. There's a certain path/order you need to follow in order to get away. Much of both games are like this; you basically follow an invisible track to progress through the game, and if you can find that, you feel a little more at ease.

As to the negatives, the game's character design suffers, as the studio that made this (afaik) is lower budget than other productions. It shows, as the faces of characters aren't quite so realistic as other AAA games. A superficial complaint, to be sure, but still a bit of distraction. Luckily, the game is both darkly lit and frenetic, so you don't see the actual faces of enemies very often. The game is effective at making things scarier by hiding them, and relying on implication. Certainly you can hide from enemies in tall grass, inside barrels, underneath beds, etc, but this also obscures your view of the creepy things, leaving just enough in sight to let your imagination fill in the gaps.

The story is pretty decent: you play a cameraman, the other half of a duo with a news anchor/journalist that also happens to be your wife. Like the last game, the characters come into danger by their own ambition. It opens with the two characters in a helicopter, trying to get close footage of a remote town where a murder recently took place. The engine fails, leaving the helicopter to crash. As you awaken, you find that your wife is missing, and that not only did the pilot not survive, but has been skinned and crucified. Somehow, you escaped this fate? Maybe the baddies discovered his body, but not yours? Whatever, we need a game, and I'll suspend disbelief just long enough for that creepy bit of foreboding.

One thing I DON'T like is that the game puts the main character through psychological flashes of dream-like states, where he's dropped into a school, presumably the one he attended as a kid, and implies that it's a memory associated with a great deal of guilt. Meh. I kind of like how the first game skipped over this kind of psychological thrill, this Silent Hill dynamic that honestly feels tired at this point. The first game is raw, putting you in danger that's entirely constructed from the evil of human beings, grounded into reality. It feels almost novel to give a straightforward narrative of that kind.

So yeah. If you enjoyed the first game, certainly pick this up, as it's more of the same, i.e. excellent and thrilling. I like to be scared, and years of a steady diet of horror movies has desensitized me. The last game, I felt like I could only play for so long before I felt like I'd have a heart attack. The best way to play them is with all the lights off, at night, alone. Red Barrels is very talented at creating creepy and hostile environments, where the player feels at danger at pretty much every turn.

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  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Posted by: Sacred Jellybean - 2nd November 2019, 5:54 AM - Forum: Ramble City - Replies (2)

Just finished this book, which is just as brilliant as the movie. As with the movie, the ending gave me goosebumps. It's a pretty faithful adaptation, the key difference that it's told from the point of view of Chief Bromden. It's also a bit more surreal and symbolic, which made it interesting to read and try to parse out what's real, what's a metaphor, etc. Challenging in that regard, but written in a very straightforward, accessible way, without flowery or pretentious language.

Now I have to watch the movie again, naturally. Louise Fletcher PERFECTLY captures Nurse Ratchet, with her condescension, passive-aggression, and fake-smiling. That oscar was well-deserved. And of course, if you've seen the movie, it's impossible to read the book without picturing Jack Nicholson in all his mischievous, wise-ass glory. So much perfect casting and performances.

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  Epic Games Store
Posted by: A Black Falcon - 27th October 2019, 10:30 PM - Forum: Tendo City - Replies (11)

The biggest controversy this year in PC gaming is undoubtedly the Epic Games Store, but we haven't mentioned it much here.  So, I decided to make a thread.

Epic MegaGames started out in the early '90s as one of the two major PC shareware game publishers, along with Apogee.  (I, of course, always preferred Apogee.) They changed their name to Epic Games in the early '00s, after hitting the big time with Unreal Tournament.  Gears of War in the '00s just increased their prominence.  After that they were in a bit of a downturn, and founder Tim Sweeney left.

But then, things changed for them -- Epic Games made big, BIG money when Fortnite Battle Royale became one of the most popular games in the world.  In response, they eventually decided to turn their previously small launcher, which had Fortnite, their now sadly abandoned (but great!) new Unreal Tournament game, and a few more things on it, into a major PC gaming platform rivaling Valve's Steam. 

Now, that on its own is potentially good.  Steam is a decent to good storefront and platform, but more competition's usually a good thing; things who have no competition usually stagnate, which ultimately isn't great.

No, the problem is how Epic has chosen to go about it.  They decided that just making a storefront won't be enough to get many people to actually use the thing.  After all, there are a bunch of sites and launchers out there competing with Steam -- GOG, EA and Ubisoft's launchers, sites like Gamersgate, and plenty more -- but none are serious competition, Valve still has the vast majority of the market. 

So, to get attention, Epic decided on a two-front approach.

First, they release free games.  Every week or so through much of the year, they have given out a new, often pretty recent, game for free.  They are usually indie games, but not always; some are older major-studio games. Some weeks even have two games or bundles of games.  You have to add the game during the free period to get them, of course, but beyond that I don't believe there are any catches -- they're yours, on the Epic Games Store, for as long as you have the account.  I ignored these at first, but started adding most of them eventually and so now I have a small game library on the Epic Games Store, completely free.  (No, I haven't mentioned any of them in my collection thread.)

And second, they decided to buy exclusivity.  Do you have an indie, or maybe even major-studio, game that Epic likes?  And are you willing to take a bunch of money to release the PC version of the game exclusively on the Epic Games Store for a year, before it will finally be allowed to launch on Steam and other PC gaming platforms?  If so, congratulations, you're in!  If not, the EGS probably doesn't want your game; they have turned away some developers who said that they were interested in being on the storefront, but not in exclusivity.  This, naturally, has caused a great deal of controversy among gamers to say the least, as games people are interested in go EGS-exclusive and they get angry about it.  A lot of PC gamers are very adamant about only playing games on team, and while some of that is foolish Steam partisanship, some of it makes sense -- if you want to play games with people on your Steam friends list, getting a game on Epic's store isn't great, you probably won't be able to play with them, for example.  Each store has its own separate friends list after all.  (Steam is the only PC storefront I have any friends list in at all, really...)

As an aside, like a lot of Steam's competitors, the Epic store focuses on selective game availability, as opposed to Steam's open floodgates of anything.  This means that finding games on the Epic store is easy, which may be good for the developers that get on -- finding anything on the massive flood of terrible stuff that is Steam is quite difficult, and I think I've heard that a lot of games don't exactly sell well on Steam.  But on the other hand, being selective means that fewer games get on your store, which excludes many games which ARE worth a look, so ultimately I think I prefer Steam, even if I admit that it does mean that finding things you are interested in may be impossible at times, good games WILL be buried under all the detritus.

Anyway, meanwhile, Epic's roadmap of features has fallen far behind.  It may be extremely popular and a major branch of this very profitable company, but the Epic Games Store is still very barebones.  For one example of this I ran in to recently, last week when looking around on my hard drives, I realized that some games I'd downloaded though the EGS weren't on the hard drive partition I wanted them on; it'd installed them on my external hard drive, but I'd meant to put them on an internal one.  So you can just move it, right?  After all, Steam added that feature years ago.  I used to complain about how Steam didn't let you set game install paths and I had to fix that problem with Junctions, but Steam eventually fixed that problem and now let you have as many Steam library drives as you want, and you can move games' installs between drives as well.  Well, the EGS does let you set an install path when you are first installing a game... and that's it.  Once installed you cannot move it without some seriously tricky Windows maneuvers, and the Epic launcher won't even show you where they're installed to!  Seriously, nothing in the Epic launcher hints at where games are installed to in any way.  You can't view the folder on your hard drive, view the path, move the install, or anything.  Once you set that path when you installed it that's it, beyond that it's all hidden from the user.  That's a just insane and unacceptable limitation, to say the least!

This is one of just many examples of how feature-light the Epic launcher is.  It, quite intentionally, also has no analog for Steam's forums for every game, for example.  Don't expect a community or community help section on Epic's launcher, because it isn't there.  Etc, etc.  And they are not at all quick in adding any of the many features a major Steam competitor needs.


So, when you combine all of this -- the feature-light storefront; paying for exclusivity, often for games that had been announced on Steam; the connection to Fortnite, a super popular game but more so with casual gamers than core; and such, what you get is a huge, and ongoing, controversy.

Myself... well, I don't hate the Epic Games Store as much as some do for sure, but I have my issues with them for sure, both in their business practices and in their seriously lacking store features.  So far I haven't spent anything on the Epic Games Store but have some games on it thanks to the free ones, and I'll take them, but it's definitely nowhere near Steam in features or content.  If this is their plan to match Steam, so far it's not working I don't think, at least not for me.  I'm sure it is probably growing their store faster than it would otherwise, but is this actually the plan that will create a real competitor to Steam?  I guess in the coming years we'll see, but it's hard to imagine that angering a significant number of core gamers as much as Epic has working out for them... it's really questionable business, I'd think.  And paying for PC store exclusivity is kind of annoying, too.  I get why they're doing it and it might at least in part work, but still, it can cause problems and is artificially limiting on what should be the most open platform.

So yeah, it's an interesting issue, and Epic is one that is definitely an ongoing controversy.

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  PCB back from the printer for my new arcade portable.
Posted by: etoven - 24th October 2019, 1:33 AM - Forum: Ramble City - No Replies


       

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  Thanks for all the suck UPS
Posted by: etoven - 23rd October 2019, 11:03 AM - Forum: Ramble City - No Replies

Just found out that the UPS people is richmond lost my power supply for a bit and then today the UPS people in roanoke slammed it on the porch and broke it.
The thought that my supplies would arrive on time and intact must have been to much to bear.

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  Wow
Posted by: etoven - 23rd October 2019, 8:40 AM - Forum: Ramble City - Replies (1)

So this guy stepped on to the house floor today and started calling people crazy. WOW
       

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