Oooh, boy, this is a long one. No, that’s not what I meant, you sick focker…

So, I accidentally happened across these two videos on YouTube, which showed modified sounds for the Tank and Hunter on Left 4 Dead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE6DDFLvRys
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgN09P3G0ig

After watching them, I immediately downloaded the mods and installed them. Open-mouthed I can’t think of anything better to replace the original sounds with, to be honest. Open-mouthed SEE RIGHT THROUGH MEEEE! Ba ba ba ba ba da ba bo, ba ba, ba BA ba ba!
And didn’t I tell you? Captain Falcon can and will be incorporated into everything. FALCON PAWWWNCH!! Open-mouthed

Anyway, what else…? Ah yes, firstly, I’ve not been updating ULSG for a LOOONG time. Not 100% sure WHY, maybe the game’s just getting retardedly big and that’s kinda putting me off a little. It’s either that, or university work getting in the way, DAZ Studio getting in the way, or just a temporary state of "can’t be arsed". Tongue out I’m gonna try picking it up tomorrow. Smile

Gaming hasn’t helped ULSG, either… I’ve been playing Call of Duty MW2 a fair bit recently, and I doubt Mass Effect 2 will help when it comes out… unless Bioware has officially lost their touch. Dragon Age SERIOUSLY lowered my opinion of them, I found it THAT bad. I’ve never known a BioWare game to be as bad as that, hell, even MDK 2 was pretty awesome way back when. Open-mouthed I like exciting RPG’s that require skill and reactions to get through them, with good, interesting characters, a good story, and lots of action.
Probably why I thought Dragon Age was utterly terrible, because that
contained nearly… no, sorry, ABSOLUTELY everything I don’t like. Tongue out
Mass Effect 1 was interesting, fun to play, and had a fairly decent (if
somewhat confusing) story, a few of the characters were fairly interesting (I especially liked Wrex, he was really cool, but my pursuasion skill wasn’t high enough. People who have played the game will probably know what I mean. Wink) and RPG’s are BioWare’s speciality… they can’t
make TWO bad games IN A ROW, right? Besides, it got 95/100 on Metacritic, so it’s gotta be good… then again. Dragon Age got 91. Don’t rate it "good" just because it’s one of Bioware’s games, geez, look at what you’re playing first… Tongue out

I don’t like the sound of the "all new and improved combat system", though… what the hell was wrong with the combat system in Mass Effect 1? It accomodated to the two main playing styles… the tactical, and the "run in and shoot the living crap out of everything" style, aka, ME. Open-mouthed I don’t see how they could improve it, but I’m not part of the development team, so I probably can’t think of anything they can. If they’ve thrown boring, slow "click-n-watch" shit into there, though, I am gonna be PISSED.

I can think of ONE major, MAJOR improvement for Mass Effect, though. GET RID OF THAT FUCKING GAY INTRO SEQUENCE. I didn’t know what the HELL was going on when I started a new game. Something about logging in, and then it "couldn’t find your data" so you had to watch a stupid animation and "rebuild" your data… and it wouldn’t let you change your last name. I know there’s a reason why you couldn’t change it, but… why did they put a greyed out text box there in the first place? Ever thought that’d confuse people? Try something like… I dunno, NOT PUTTING IT THERE? For GOD’S SAKE, what was wrong with a CHARACTER CREATION SCREEN?! That stupid intro alone really irritated me, and you know, introductions are the first thing the player goes through… they DO make a huge impression… Tongue out

Another improvement you might consider, sirs, is the ending. What’s wrong with you, BioWare? What’s wrong with nearly EVERYONE? Why are Infinity Ward the only people who can make decent endings? I mean, sure, your ending to Mass Effect 1 wasn’t… TERRIBLE, it was just… a bit naff. Forgettable. Disappointing! I can remember CoD MW and CoD MW2’s endings VERY well, but yours? All I remember is an explosion of some sort, and some people getting owned. We pay for your games, and we put hours of our OWN free time into playing it, and sure, it’s enjoyable… but how about rewarding us and thanking us for playing with an ending we can properly remember?! A bad ending is like saying "Yeah, you’ve done everything, thanks for the money, now fuck off!" Tongue out

Game endings REALLY tick me off sometimes. I pay a fair amount for new games, to ENJOY them. Usually, all is well, and I really enjoy the game… RIGHT up until the ending. It’s a VERY rare sight to see a truly GOOD ending in a game. It doesn’t HAVE to be GOOD good, like… "and everyone lived happily ever after", if you know what I mean, but I at LEAST want to think "YES, now THAT was a REALLY cool ending to finish off an awesome experience. Won’t be forgetting that for a while!" Usually, though, I get an empty, disappointed feeling after finishing a good game, because of its less-than-spectacular ending. It’s happened with all sorts of games, which I will list off now, cuz I can. Tongue out

Mass Effect – BOOM! Enemy gone, colonel/captain/whatever guy is made something better than what he currently is, end.
Gears of War 1 – BOOM, Locust dead. Oh wait, no they’re not. Fairly boring game, anyway.
Gears of War 2 – BOOOOM, Locust ACTUALLY dead now, but humans screwed, too. It made the ENTIRE story completely pointless, and I hope they don’t try to continue it, because it is NOT POSSIBLE to continue that story. Also, too much gore makes a game seem like a joke to me, a pointless new alien race was introduced for no reason, and there was a retarded overuse of PA systems, too. It wasn’t even fun to play.
GTA IV – "WE’RE FREE!" Yeah, great, where’s the ending? Oh, that was it? GTA IV had the makings of a near-perfect game, but the ending destroyed it all.
Spore – "I’m STEVE!" Great, what’s at the centre of the universe? Something big gonna happen now, like the release of a super-alien race? No? Oh. An anti-climax after nearly 20 hours of playtime is NOT funny in ANY situation, even when Maxis are involved.
Halo 1 – I think they end up floating in space after escaping something. Huge lump of disappointment after the awesome final mission. This WAS the best game in the series, though, because it wasn’t nearly IMPOSSIBLE to understand.
Halo 2 – Cliffhanger of some sort, which was shit. Arbiter was involved in this one somehow, and you make a space station fall, that’s all I remember. All Halo 2 did was introduce another character who was cooler than Master Chief John in every possible way.
Halo 3 – After the brilliant final mission, the war’s finished, aliens go home, and John is supposedly dead but isn’t. They basically copied the cliffhanger from Halo 1, and just made it Halo 3’s ending. LAME.
Unreal Tournament 3 – Okay, the entire campaign was pretty weak. It was fun, but weak. At least TRY with the ending? No? Oh, great – a cliffhanger that’ll never be resolved.
Bioshock – Unraveling the mysterious game world was fairly cool, and the very clever plot twist near the end actually DID take me by surprise. Unfortunately, all of that was ruined by the absolutely ridiculously generic ending. You grow old and die happy in the good ending. USELESS WRITERS! I was planning to do two playthroughs to get both endings, but thanks to the ending I got the first time, I traded it in instead. Tongue out
Borderlands – Weak, unimaginative final boss, took me and Ped under two minutes to take down. Woman is satellite for some reason, Claptrap turns out to be some sort of assassin, but when we visited him after the final cutscene, he wasn’t. Final loot drops from the boss were pathetic. And to top it all off? You don’t even open the vault, or you DO, and the loot was so pathetic it wasn’t even worth the time. FAIL ON EVERY LEVEL.

And this list is not even HALF of the crap endings I’ve come across. Seriously, if I ever release Dragon Tail and you read it, or if I end up passing it ’round and you simply read Dragon Tail right up to the ending, if you’re honestly not satisfied with the ending, you CAN kick me in the wedding veggies when you next see me. Wink But remember:

Right, what next? Tongue out

Ah, yes, my new character portraits. I’ve been tweaking my dragons down to the very last details in DAZ Studio recently, especially working on their sizes. They all used to be based around Whirlwind’s size, who was the smallest in the group, because he’s the youngest. Smallest Western Dragon, anyway – Ifri is around half the size of him. Wink But, when I added Victoria 4 (DAZ Studio’s female model) into the scene with all my dragons, that’s about when everything went tits up. No, I didn’t poke her tits into the air. Well, okay, once, by accident. Tongue out

IT WAS ALL HOPELESSLY WRONG! Ifri was smaller than Vicky, Whirlwind was only just taller, but looked tiny when he was on all fours… the dragons’ sizes were generally WAY off. So, I decided to retweak them and take the sizes fairly seriously, instead of just throwing out random percentages. Tongue out I got myself a 3D CUBE, sized at 1ft x 1ft x 1ft, and scaled the cube until it was the same height as Vicky. I then found out that measurements in DAZ Studio ARE generally accurate – Vicky was ~5′ 10", which I’d call realistic. Open-mouthed So, I scaled my dragons to the size I wanted them to be, and just to check that I wasn’t going too over the top, I used the cube on my dragons (as well as Ssaramak, the Nightmare Wink) to figure out their heights. After I’d tweaked them, and started to pose them for cool new character preset icons, the idea for character portraits came back to me. Smile

Yes, a while back, when I was on my games design course, I was pretty interested in dragon art, and I REALLY wanted to be able to make my own. Hell, I still AM interested in dragon art, I love it – I’ve got a collection of the best I’ve ever been able to find on my PC – helps with inspiration sometimes. Open-mouthed Unfortunately, I’m not really much of an artist, so I can’t make my own through "manual" means. I can sort of "visualise" things, sure, but when I go to put them on paper, the vision’s already floated away. Tongue out And I can’t draw things that actually EXIST, even if it’s right in front of me, let alone mythological creatures. Tongue out The final drawing I ever did was really something to be proud of, though:

I’ve shown it off quite a few times now – I’m pretty proud of it. Smile Few problems here and there, when I look at it again, but hey, for an amateur, you’ve gotta agree, it’s not bad! Open-mouthed
After I drew Whirlwind, though, I wanted to make a portrait of ALL of my characters, because I’d never been perfectly clear on their appearances, and I thought that drawing them all would help. Besides, I could look at them if I ever needed any inspiration for Dragon Tail. Smile I think that image was my last hurrah, though, because after that drawing of Whirlwind, I just couldn’t seem to draw anything that was even CLOSE to being as good as that. Sad Now, thanks to the magic of DAZ Studio, and my pretty good Photoshop text modifying skillz, I reckon I can make my character portraits better than I ever could’ve hoped to make them back then. Open-mouthed

So, instead of looking up info about them in a lame, boring text file to refresh my memory (yeah, I can’t remember the 3-digit ages of all 11 of my main characters (and that’s excluding the bad guys) Tongue out), I’d be able to load up an image of them with their info on the image. It looks pretty, and I also figured it would help when I’m writing, because the character is there, looking at me, and their pose is supposed to reflect their personality. It’s supposed to help set off a small spark of inspiration. Smile Besides, I could use the images for the DAZ Studio character preset icons, it helps develop my characters further, and its fun to do, anyway. Tongue out

So, I’ve been focusing on one character at a time, looking at every single morph and texture setting, tweaking them as best I can. Smile I’ve rendered a few of the characters already, but I am truly, TRULY impressed by the work I’ve done on Whirlwind:


(These portraits SO won’t fit on your screen – click on them instead. Smile)

Seriously… whoa. When I managed this render, my face went Surprised. He looks like everything I ever believed Whirlwind to be – a young dragon (yeah, 126 IS pretty young for my dragons – they live for around 1300 years. Wink), who is peaceful and beautiful, calm and cool, kind and understanding… it’s just perfect! Sure, it’s probably not that much to YOU, but you’ve gotta understand that this is one of MY characters. I’ve been developing him for years through writing and stuff, and therefore I suppose I have some sort of connection to him. I DO write Dragon Tail in first person, with me having to sort of act and think like him, I suppose. Tongue out

… Shit, this is kinda starting to sound pretty otherkin-ish. Confused Just to clear the record for those who ARE thinking along those lines, yes, I know I’m a bit crazy sometimes, but I’m not THAT mentally retarded. Tongue out I just LIKE dragons, ‘kay? And I just happen to be writing a story from a dragon’s perspective. I don’t think I AM a dragon, and I don’t particularly want to BE one. Tongue out (Although, you’ve gotta admit, it would be pretty cool if you think about it. Open-mouthed)

Anyway, yeah, the render of Whirlwind gave me a bit of a shock. Open-mouthed I was also pretty impressed at my render of Ifri:

Need to fix up the lighting a little, and a bit more shine on the scales, horns and talons would be nice, too, but I’m REALLY proud of that render. Smile He looks just like I expect him to, fun-loving, casual, witty, entertaining. And he is probably the most entertaining character in Dragon Tail, too. His lines are so satisfying to write. Open-mouthed Here, have an extract – Chapter 8:

“You’re joking, Ifri.” I said, already managing
to figure out his plan.
“You have a better idea?” He
challenged.
I stayed silent.
“All we do is get into Satler and…”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” I
interrupted. “Satler? You mean the
biggest human city in the Ice Realm?!”
He nodded.

“What, you think we’re gonna find some
answers to military operations on some farm?”
He asked, rhetorically. “C’mon, dragon, I thought you wanted to help this
world?”
“Yeah… but… I was thinking less
along the lines of suicide… a lot less, in fact.” I replied.

“Well, life’s not exciting without a
risk, eh?” Ifri returned, laughing.

I’ve annotated this section with "THIS IS WIN ON A WHOLE NEW LEVEL!!" I love writing Ifri’s lines. Open-mouthed

Anyhoo, I’m working on the other characters – I’ll probably end up posting them here when I’m done. Open-mouthed But tomorrow, when I have free time, it’s gonna be maximum focus on ULSG – I wanna at LEAST get most of the Intergalactic Mall finished by the end of tomorrow. Smile People on TDC must be thinking I’ve given up on it, it’s been a month since I last updated its project page. Confused

And finally… I have recieved another spam message. Tongue out Subject was "hello"… and the message was…

"find girls who want to have sex in your area right now! See them Here! Start hooking up!"

LOL, straight to the point this time. Open-mouthed But anyway, I wouldn’t touch an online dating site or something called "hotyblog.com" with a 100-foot pole, thanks. Tongue out

Anyhoo, I’m off for now. See ya later! Smile

Well, that helped!

Okay, so yesterday, I was playing Puyo Puyo Compendium, a pretty good Puyo Puyo fangame (look it up if you don’t know what I’m on about, but it’s not needed Tongue out), while watching my CPU temperatures. I was just playing 4 player standard Fever Rules mode. After losing to the three bots that entered Fever Mode before me, I decided to look at my CPU temperatures.

90 C!

WHAT THE CRAP?! This is a 2D GAME with hardly any complex effects! Sure, the Fever Time background is pretty insane, but… this processor has four cores and eight threads FFS! It shouldn’t be OVERHEATING!

So, today, I decided to reinstall my CPU fan, and re-apply the thermal paste. I removed all of the existing paste, and applied new paste EXACTLY as the manufacturer said – a thin strip horizontally across the cpu, and then mount the fan on top of it. I also mounted the fan in a different direction.

Took me an hour or so to install it again and test it all out, but it seemed fine. Temperatures were a little lower than normal, but still hitting 60 – 70 C in games. Still… it HAS improved, and 70 is a LOT better than 90. Tongue out Plus, it should go down over time, as the thermal paste needs about 200 hours to start working at maximum efficiency, apparently. Smile

So, the MongMaster tip of the day is… "read documentation carefully". Tongue out

PS: I’ve JUST noticed that Windows Photo Viewer apparently has a Frames Per Second count, according to FRAPS. Confused This fact is now filed under "stuff no-one gives a shit about". Tongue out

I has new PC parts!

Oh yes, new motherboard, new RAM, new processor, new fan. Open-mouthed There’s no noticable speed increase when I’m using the PC normally, but I saw that games are SO much faster after plugging in my GTX 295. Open-mouthed I reckon it was worth it.

But when I look at the temperatures my CPU’s getting to, I kinda start to get a little nervous. Right now, they’re alright, they’re at about 48 C. But when I go to do certain things that are CPU intensive, they shoot up to around 70-80 C. Confused I don’t even see how that’s possible.

And when I say "certain things", I really do mean it. I mean, I started up Divinity II, because I don’t own a game with graphics detail higher than that. The graphics were on Extreme, and the framerate was a constant 55-60 all over the place (after a few tweaks, but all graphics settings were on their maximum levels). Temps were at about 50-60 C, which is understandable. Game was still impossible, as usual. Tongue out

Then, afterwards, I loaded up Black & White 2, another game with nice graphics. On maximum settings, I had 60+ FPS all over the place. However, PC Probe, the thing I use to measure CPU temperatures, starting blaring its warning siren at me, as my temperatures had hit 80 C. After a few seconds minimised, the temperature reduced back to normal. WTF?! Confused

The new fan I have seems fine in every way – it’s quiet, and it spins fairly fast. Tongue out It wasn’t cheap compared to other fans, either, and there were a few reviews saying how great it was, too. I just can’t seem to understand how my temperatures nearly DOUBLE when I start playing certain games… it even reacts badly when I play Bejeweled Blitz, for God’s sake. Unless I applied my thermal paste wrong, which I didn’t. Tongue out

Also, this new processor seems to have screwed up a few select games. Black & White 2’s controls, for example, at CERTAIN POINTS, are now EXTREMELY sensitive. Like when I go to stroke my creature to reward him for doing something, or just to cheer him up, stroking him like you normally would on a non-I7 processor results in a slap! You have to move the mouse RIDICULOUSLY slowly to stroke him. I’ve tried changing the mouse sensitivity settings, but that didn’t do anything other than making everything else MUCH harder. Sarcastic

It’s screwed up Borderlands, as well. Framerate is PERFECT in Borderlands, constant 60 all the way… UNTIL you look at SPECIFIC enemies. If you look at a Skag, it’s fine. If you look at a Bandit Murderer, the framerate GOES THROUGH THE FLOOR. Seriously, it becomes unplayable. But strangely enough, once you kill them, the framerate goes up again! WHAT THE HELL?! Why?!

I just don’t get it. It’s a Cosmos S case which has all of its fan slots filled. The processor has a good cooler which is installed correctly, and I’m not overclocking. Yet in SOME games, it’s not enough. Confused Meh, whatever, I’m just gonna ignore it. When it breaks the 100 C barrier, that’s when I do something about it. Tongue out

I has cautiously entered teh world of ANIMATION.

Oh yeah. Open-mouthed It’s A FRICKIN’ NIGHTMARE with this program, I tells ya.

The default animation tool you get with DAZ Studio seems to have come from the Stone Age. It is basically a line with some buttons above it, with a triangle to show where you are. There’s NO way of moving keyframes around, no way of SEEING your frames, and if you’re working with animations more than say, 10 seconds long, it makes you want to kill yourself. Confused

In DAZ Studio 3, however, you get ANOTHER tool to help, called "AniMate Lite". And that’s great, but the problem is, it’s NOT great.

Every time you go to click on most of the buttons on the interface, you get a dialogue pop up saying something like "This feature is not available in AniMate Lite". FFS, if it’s not available, THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU PUT A BUTTON TO IT?! There’s no documentation for it, either, so you have to kind of GUESS. If you want the version that WORKS properly (AniMate+), you’re gonna have to shell out $100 (£61.10). To put that into perspective… the Advanced version of DAZ Studio 3 costs $150. DAZ Studio is a program that does many things. AniMate+ is a PLUGIN that does ONE thing. I would like to end this paragraph by screaming "RIPOFF!!!".

Of course, I’m not stupid, so I downloaded it from a certain site for free. After installing it, I would have been REALLY pissed off if I HAD spent £60 on it. Because… it’s crap, and worth about a TENTH of what they’re charging for it.

Took me a while to figure out most of the controls, and then I made my first "AniBlock", or what I like to call a "REALLY stupid idea". I made it one second long, because that was the default. After importing my music track (after downsampling it to a pathetic bit-rate, because the plugin can’t handle high quality sound), I found out that I wanted the first part of the animation to be TWO seconds long, instead. Problem is, YOU CAN’T DO THAT. Once you’ve made an AniBlock, you can’t modify its length unless you DELETE it and make it again. WHAT KIND OF DUMBASS MADE THIS PIECE OF CRAP?!?

Then there are the REALLY irritating problems. After starting a new scene, I imported the SubDragon as normal. I assigned my default standing pose to him, and used one of my own character presets to turn him into Whirlwind. So, now, Whirlwind is standing on his hind legs in a semi-zero pose, which is exactly what I want for now. Then, I make an AniBlock of 2 seconds long for Whirlwind. And then, for some REALLY screwed up reason, AniMate+ thinks that it’d be a GREAT idea to put the model THAT I’D JUST SET UP PROPERLY into its ZERO pose! WTF?! NO! I don’t WANT his arms, legs and wings outstretched, I want him to stand on his hind legs! So, I re-assigned the pose and character preset… and then I pressed the "new keyframe" button. And IT DID IT AGAIN, it reset my model FOR NO REASON!! When I press "new keyframe", I don’t want it to RESET MY MODEL, I want it to take the current pose of my model, and copy it into a NEW FRAME that I can edit, like, y’know, EVERY OTHER ANIMATING TOOL EVER?! Jesus Christ… no-one can friggin’ do ANYTHING right nowadays…

Also, when you move a morph dial that you haven’t touched yet in the current animation, AniMate+, for some strange reason, thinks that you want that morph dial changed in ALL your keyframes. Uh, no, I pursed his lips to say "O" ONCE, I don’t want his lips to be pursed throughout THE ENTIRE ANIMATION! GOD-DAMNIT! AniMATE? More like AniENEMY! Angry

EVENTUALLY, AniMate started to behave itself and stopped resetting my pose, so I could practice manual lip-synching. I’d use the lip sync tool, but for some reason, DAZ Studio’s OWN SubDragon isn’t even set up properly for DAZ Studio’s OWN lip-sync tool. Sarcastic Seriously, are all professional artists and animators… this stupid?

Alright, well, I’m gonna try and finish this little animation off… if I can. Tongue out Pray for me, ‘kay? Wink

UPDATE!!

Just managed to get Whirlwind to roughly say "Lost in a thousand days". You may be able to tell where this is going. Wink
Still… although it’s a bit rough, it’s not bad for a first attempt! Open-mouthed

UPDATE 2!!

Got him to say "Through the fire and the flames we carry on!". Open-mouthed Sort of. Tongue out
Now… I have a guitar model. I think it’s time for Shadow to shred. Open-mouthed
I might try doing that tomorrow, cuz I think it’s time for me to go to bed now. Smile New PC parts arrive tomorrow, woot! Open-mouthed I SO should have spent a little more on delivery and not used cheapass slow Super Saver delivery… Tongue out

TV Licensing people? PISS THE FECK OFF!

Another letter! They’re getting EVEN MORE threatening now:

"You have not bought…"

Actually, in a formal letter, that should be "purchased", dickwads. Tongue out

"…a TV licence or told us that you do not watch live television. This means that if you’re watching or recording television on any device as it’s being shown on TV, you’re breaking the law."

Well, that’s OK, because I’M NOT FUCKING WATCHING LIVE TV! I have BETTER things to do than watch the shitty programs that are broadcast on the main channels nowadays… Sarcastic

"This includes TV’s, laptops, computers…"

Just gonna stop you there. What did you say earlier? "On any device". I THINK I KNOW WHAT ANY DEVICE IS, you don’t need to fuckin’ LIST them, I’m not STUPID! Angry

"This case has now been passed on for further investigation. An Enquiry Officer has been scheduled…"

Blah blah blah, blah blah. STFU. Tongue out By the way… YOU DON’T KNOW JACK ALL about who has a TV license! Because… EVERYONE got one of these, EVEN PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT ONE WHEN THEY MOVED IN! "We know this, we know that"… it’s bullcrap!

Go ahead, send your friggin’ "Enquiry Officers". They won’t even get onto the premises, because THEY’RE NOT ALLOWED! The only people allowed into Storthes are residents, visitors and staff. Do your enquiry officers fall nto any of those categories? NO! Because THEY are "PRICKS", not residents, visitors or staff. And even if they WERE allowed onto the premises… they wouldn’t get past our door… because WE say who comes in and stays out. Friggin’ twatbags… I can’t STAND them! Angry

Grr… okay, rant over! Sorry, but I don’t particularly LIKE letters or people that try to threaten and scare me into doing something. Especially old people in suits. Tongue out

It’s a shame how Indie games used to be GOOD…

Ever since PopCap’s completely ridiculously awesome Bejeweled Twist and the fairly awesome (yet SLIGHTLY over-rated) Plants vs Zombies came out, it seems like every other indie developer kinda gave up. Sad PopCap haven’t done many interesting things for a while, and everyone else seems to suck at it now.

And it’s showing. I just played a game called Zero Gear on Steam, which is EXTREMELY similar to um… Mario Kart. That’s a David and Goliath style thing going on there. But THIS time, David got his ass handed to him OVER 9000 TIMES.

I loaded it up, looked okay. Selected my options, it was okay. Clicked "Quick Play"… and… connection timed out. Eye-rolling So, after a few more attempts, I tried to manually join a server (since this is ONLY a multiplayer game). Joined one with the most players, and… it was THE laggiest game I have EVER seen in my life. Seriously… there was about… 5 seconds of lag? So, I quit that game, and tried joining another. I then found myself in a game… but I didn’t know what the HELL I was doing. It wasn’t racing or anything… it was something else. No idea what. No dialogues explaining the game mode or what to do… nothing. Drove around aimlessly for about 30 seconds, and gave up. I can’t play something, especially ONLINE, when I don’t know WTF I’m doing.

Third time lucky, I joined ANOTHER server. Racing! WOOT! And… it was the dullest race in history. Sad Everything was just… UNFINISHED. It’s an entirely physics-based game, because for some reason, most indie developers orgasm over physics-based games. Problem is, it doesn’t work. When I get hit by a mine, I expect a BOOM, and for me to go flying forward into a wall. NO. There’s a small *poot* of smoke, no sound, and the game forcefully turns me left for a second or two. When I’m going too fast (Sarcastic) my vehicle becomes uncontrollable, and I spin out. When I drive over a power-up box (Just like Mario Kart – they even SPIN in the same freaking way) I immediately wonder, "Wait, did I get that?" cuz there’s NO feedback. The power-up box doesn’t shatter or anything, there’s no sound… in fact, the only sounds I remember are engine sounds, small crash sounds, skid sounds, and fairly average Commodore music in the background. And for God’s sake, come on… a Commodore sound chip to make music? The only people who can do that and make it sound AWESOME are Machinae Supremacy…

Then there’s the issues with multiplayer gameplay, the main one being that hosts can IMMEDIATELY change the level. I started to play a target shoot game, which was fairly straightforward, and it looked like it could be fun. Just as I was going for a jump, the host must have decided to skip the map (even though most people probably didn’t want to), so the game ended and it immediately went to some other game mode, without even giving me a chance to adjust to the new rules. It was EXTREMELY disorienting, and I didn’t have a freakin’ clue what was going on about 90% of the time. It also doesn’t help that THEY DIDN’T INCLUDE INSTRUCTIONS OF ANY KIND. I mean… even a novice like ME can code a FRIGGIN’ INSTRUCTIONS SCREEN. And I’m not searching the Internets for instructions and tips for basically an unfinished game…

TrackMania kicks this game’s ass SO MUCH. Trust me, if you want a fun racing game on PC… screw this awful indie game… get TrackMania. It’s MORE than worth paying three times extra for. Plus, TrackMania is FULLY BUILT, lets you make your own tracks, lets you play single player or multiplayer, has good car control, and allows more than 8 players to play together. Oh, and the community is fairly nice, too. Tongue out

Anyway, new topic, the DSi XL, that I’ve JUST noticed. Let me just say now – I am not anti-Nintendo DS. However, I AM anti-bastard-companies-who-rip-their-customers-off, and anti-lying-companies.

The DSi was full of crap. If you wanted to upgrade from your perfectly good DS or DS Lite, it was gonna cost you over £100 (140-ish, if I remember rightly) for the DSi… and you got SHIT ALL. £100 for a 0.3 megapixel camera, an SD card slot and about an EIGHTH of an inch extra on each side of the screen… seriously, you can buy an Xbox Arcade model for around the price of a DSi, and get more for your money. Or, if you still wanted a handheld, you could, y’know, spend about half that and get a normal DS… or like… maybe a PSP? You’ll lose the touch screen, but get more features, especially if you softmod it…

So, what’s new about the DSi XL? The MAIN feature is that it has 93% EXTRA SCREEN SIZE. THAT sounded impressive. Plus, you also get it pre-loaded with several games, although they’re not full games… and the dictionary doesn’t sound like a game to me. And to a extremely minor extent, you get "refined colours" and a bigger stylus. This is all found on GAME’s site after I recieved an e-mail from them.

Let me start by screaming "BULL-FUCKING-SHIT!!!" Why? Well, the screen size of the DSi was 3.25". The DSi XL’s screen size is 4.2". Now THE LAST TIME I FUCKING CHECKED (which, FYI, was 10 seconds ago), adding 93% onto 3.25 does NOT equal 4.2. If this were advertised CORRECTLY, they would say that the screen size is actually 29% bigger. And if this is a typo, I SURE AS HELL won’t buy from a company that can’t even be bothered to freakin’ check what they’ve written before they publish it…
Oh, yeah, and by the way, increasing the screen size is probably going to DECREASE the graphics quality of earlier games, because their images will be STRETCHED from their original sizes. Just a thought. Tongue out
ALSO, as a direct attack on Sony, they say "…making this [the DSi XL] the handheld console with the widest viewing area of them all – even bigger than Sony’s PSP!" ACTUALLY, YOU’RE WRONG! The screen size on the PSP is ACTUALLY 4.3", which is 0.1" MORE than the DSi XL! How about DOING SOME RESEARCH before basically saying everything else is inferior to what you’ve done…
And the price of this disgrace-to-gaming, lie-ridden piece of pointless crap? £149.99. If you have ANY version of the DS, and if you have ANY common sense… you will NOT upgrade to this new DS. SERIOUSLY. And if you don’t own a DS, and want to buy one, get an original or a lite. They’re cheaper, and you’re not missing out on much by not getting a DSi XL. Or, alternatively, get a PSP, which is a device that is focused on being a handheld console, not an "everything machine".

I bet, before the end of this year, Nintendo’ll make a NEW DS. The DSi XLS! With another 1% screen size!!!1!1!!eleven!! Seriously, Nintendo, stop being gay, grow some balls and add some good stuff to the DS… add another 5 megapixels to the camera, because my OLD CAMERA PHONE can beat you, stop bothering about the screen size, because it’s a HANDHELD, and stop adding useless crap like voice morphers and vocal removers that don’t work, and add some GAMING RELATED STUFF, cuz… you know, it’s A GAMES CONSOLE?! Oh yeah, and sell it for LESS than the price of a highly advanced home next-gen console, too. Tongue out

Now, I’ll just sit back, and watch the fanboys roll in. Tongue out

You sent a payment of £593.12 GBP to Ebuyer (UK) Limited.

Oooh, it’s so painful reading it back. Sad

"OMG WTF WHAT’D YOU SPEND THAT ON YOU COMPLETE IDIOT?! YOU’RE A STUDENT!!" I hear you say. Well, I felt that my GTX295 has enough dust on it, now, so I decided to upgrade. Tongue out Yes, in case you didn’t know, I already bought a £330 GTX295, tried it out, and found out that there was NO performance increase from my 8800GT. A little research into ‘why’ later, I found out that my processor wasn’t fast enough, and the card was therefore ‘bottlenecking’. I assume that’s probably something along the lines of "processing data too fast for the CPU to keep up". Tongue out

So, to counter this… I got a new i7 processor. Pricey – ~£200, and that’s just for the basic 2.66GHz model, but I can change that. Wink To be able to USE the processor, I needed a new motherboard for another £200 (an ASUS P6T Deluxe V2, oh yes. Open-mouthed) and some different RAM . DDR2 apparently won’t work, so I needed at least 6GB of DDR3, which cost £135 for some 1600MHz stuff – pretty nippy. Smile To be able to COOL my CPU so it didn’t fry itself within 30 seconds of me turning the PC on, I needed another fan, because my current one is TOO SMALL. Confused I hate my current one, anyway, it’s pretty lame, so I got a Scythe ZIPANG 2. I’m NO good with fans, but that one cost £45 and had quite a few good reviews, and it has tool-less installation, too. Open-mouthed Plus, it’s fairly quiet… not like it matters in my machine, though. Tongue out I also had to get some thermal paste, so I got a tiny capsule of Arctic Silver 5, which cost £5 and contains no more than 3 or 4 grams of the stuff. Confused Still, it’s probably the best stuff you can get. Smile

SO, assuming it all goes well (WHICH IT’D FRIGGIN’ BETTER DO!), I’ll have some spare components laying around that I’m gonna sell at some point. Wink Let’s see what I’ll have spare…

I’ve got a Core 2 Duo E6750 – a pretty awesome processor, very fast for what it is… an nVidia GeForce 8800GT graphics card, a common mid-range card that’s probably one of the greatest cards ever made (just because it’s so well-rounded)… an ASUS Striker II Formula motherboard, which is one hell of a board, awesome overclocking features… 4GB of OCZ DDR2 RAM (I’m no good with understanding RAM, but this stuff is fairly fast) and a Zalman CPU fan of some sort, which you don’t want. Tongue out

When I’m finished with them, I’ll sell them relatively cheap, cuz they’re used. No, they’re not busted, I’m using those components right now. Tongue out CPU and RAM life might be a bit down, because of overclocking and stuff, but they’re not gonna A-splode within, say, 90 seconds of you recieving them. Tongue out

Right, I’m off for now – just got a little bit of programming left to do. See yas later! Smile