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woah

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Everything posted by woah

  1. I haven't heard great things about vorpx but I will have to try this at some point. Just got to try my Vive this weekend and VR is absolutely incredible. A proper Thief game in VR is a must.
  2. woah

    2016+ CPU/GPU News

    For the time being I'm just watching ebay but let me know what you want to let it go for. Not sure where you'd be shipping out of but I'm in the US.
  3. woah

    2016+ CPU/GPU News

    Will be happy to see the GTX 970 fall in price. I just ordered a Vive but now I need a capable GPU. The 970 is basically the minimum for VR but for the time being it'll have to suffice. According to Valve there will also be a substantial performance increase for multi-GPU setups when games start taking advantage of the multi-GPU stereoscopic rendering extensions.
  4. woah

    Sven-Coop 5.0

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/225840/ Version 5.0 of Sven-Coop, a cooperative mod for the original Half-Life, came out last week and now it is a standalone game (Valve gave them the goldsrc source code). This makes the mod 17 years old. The full half-life single player campaign is included too. I've been playing it for the past week and to be honest it's the most fun I've had with a game in years. I played the very early releases of the game way back and this new update is making me feel like a kid again (in that it's been a while since I've had this much genuine fun with a game and also I keep losing track of time and finding myself up at 1am). And I'm happy to see that a lot of newbie players are looking past the dated graphics and giving the game a chance. Lots of people on the servers that have never heard of a "jump-duck" Anyways, I highly recommend it. There are apparently some serious bugs, but I've been running the game via WINE and opensource ATI drivers without any issues. Word of advice though: avoid servers with lots of players--there are only a few maps where a packed server works well. And if you're playing the single player campaign, I wouldn't play with more than 3 other people. If they're all friends, even better. The team plans to continue development of the game and it seems that they want to try implementing some interesting things in the goldsrc engine. They've already added a scripting language for map makers and server admins that allows one to change almost every aspect of the game.
  5. I ended up buying it while there was still a sale. However, like Goldwell, I will probably wait until they finish Xen before I play through the single player again
  6. I'm considering buying this. I played the very first release (don't recall how many years ago it was) and I found that while the initial levels were spectacular, the latter levels felt rushed and inconsistent in quality. If there's been significant refinement to those latter levels since that initial release, I'd be more inclined to buy it since I was kind of left with a bad aftertaste.
  7. This is spectacular! I really want to shoot one of those water arrows
  8. woah

    The Afterlife?

    I would love to have the option of halting senescence and a secret hope of mine is that science will permit me to do so, but at the same time the idea that the universe is the product of a human-like being/intelligence and that there is "meaning" to it (a human construction) is something I find underwhelming and disturbing.
  9. Just want to say that I'm in the same boat as you Flanders but haven't really found anything I like after I giving up my CRT many years ago (too hard on the eyes). The next technology I plan to try is OLED and LG is coming out with some new panels this year. I will probably wait until next year since the price will likely be too high this year and since I want to see if the displays suffer from burn in. edit: Of course I've been saying this for many years now.
  10. It's a pretty good list, and nice to see Thief 2 up top (would be 1st for me). Of course my personal list would be much different, but I only have one real gripe: CS:GO should be substituted with CS 1.6 (or let's say "Goldsrc CS").
  11. Very cool! I look forward to your impressions. Affordable OLED monitors are taking their sweet time to come to market and perhaps this will be a better option. Also, how does the response time compare to CRT displays? Even nowadays every time I play an FPS on a good CRT monitor it makes me feel like I've been gaming on a flip-book for the past 10+ years or so.
  12. Check out the Alien: Isolation thread http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/16615-alien-isolation/
  13. Good news, looks like the black smear issue has been mostly fixed with the latest prototype.http://www.roadtovr.com/notes-on-crescent-bay-fresnel-lenses-fixed-black-smear-light-ray-artifact-and-more/ I can't tell if this is a general problem with OLEDs or just something with Oculus's hardware.
  14. I could be wrong, but I have not heard of any ghosting issues with the OLED screens used in VR headsets. As far as I know, OLED screens are significantly better than LCDs in almost every way (except when, e.g., they're in the presence of other bright lights, which is not an issue for VR). Personally, I cannot wait for the day when OLED desktop monitors are affordable--I miss seeing black in Thief games and smooth rotation in first person shooters. Yes, LCDs have improved, but it's always a breath of fresh air when I see a game running on a good CRT (before, of course, my eyes start hurting). As for VR in general, I'm quite excited after seeing Valve's new devices at GDC. Aside from one impression that associated headaches (but not motion sickness) with the device--an isolated experience apparently, their headset itself is on par with Sony's and Oculus's latest (they all have their strengths and weaknesses, of course). However, I'm particularly interested in their Lighthouse tracking system. From developer impressions, it blows away the competition in terms of latency, fidelity, and tracking range. And the good thing is that it is completely open and free--any developer or hardware manufacturer can incorporate it without paying Valve: In addition it is very extensible. Valve says there would be no problem with adding additional Lighthouse boxes for increased accuracy, reducing occlusion, and increasing the volume of space tracked by the system. Likewise, they say that in the future tracking soft-bodies should be possible and it can be used as an inexpensive but high quality motion capture system. It would be great to see VR headset and input developers relieved of the problem of tracking and instead be able to focus on their headsets. However, I'm not sure how well Lighthouse would work for something like finger tracking where occlusion could be a unavoidable issue. Also, on a related note, it seems that dual GPUs will finally pay off. Valve says that in VR games with DX11 stereoscopic extensions (which I assume Vulkan will have counterparts to), the framerate is nearly doubled.
  15. Speaking of UE4, is anyone playing UT4? You can download the game now (if you're on linux, as far as I can tell you've gotta get it off of github). It'll take me a while to get it due to my internet connection but I'm curious what people think. I spent countless hours on the old UTs, but I didn't really like the vehicles in the later versions (I did however like UT2k4's coop mode--"invasion" I think it was called). And what was the problem with UT3 again? I vaguelly recall it looking spectacular but the netcode being awful.
  16. I'll watch The Daily Show and occasional documentaries on PBS such as Nature, Frontline, Ken Burns stuff, recently Earth: A New Wild, etc etc. And very rarely I'll watch a series, the most recent one being True Detective (prior to that one I can't remember any others--it would've been many years ago). I did watch The X-Files when I was very young... As for movies, I'm always on the lookout for good ones but I only end up watching several per year. Every now and then I'll spend 15 minutes "researching" upcoming movies and gradually widdle-away at a list of them as trailers and reviews come out. However, I don't really like having a timeslot dedicated to television on a daily basis. For example, I'd prefer it if The Daily Show were a once a week program. For what programs I do watch I usually try to overlap them with another activity, such as eating or exercising (on e.g. a spin bike). Between television, books, comics/manga, anime (I separate it from "television" since--for me at least--it feels pretty distinct), and gaming, there is just so much media now that I find myself having to be extremely selective. "Keeping up" itself is a sort of stress for me. If I actually wanted to I could easily spend all of my free time just consuming consuming consuming media, but I know I'll quickly get depressed if I don't spend most of that free time engaging my mind in a mostly participatory/creative way. This may be too much of a diversion but it relates to why I try to minimize these sort activities: When I was young I probably spent 90% of my free time just "consuming" in the aforementioned sort of way. At that time (and I can't tell you how insane this sounds to the "me of now"), it really didn't occur to me that engaging one's mind could be so much more rewarding and fulfilling, especially when "instant gratification" was always within reach. The people in my life never encouraged me to behave any differently, and in fact a great many of them discouraged me (sometimes implicitly with e.g. their visible discomfort and distance, and sometimes explicitly by criticizing me). To say the least, this may seem odd, but it can be common in more rural, less culturally diverse areas beset by deep-set insecurities, ignorance, and conservative culture. In combination with the anti-intellectualism and (in at least some senses) "hedonism" omnipresent in American culture, the result is you have these backwater places that are unknowingly stuck in their own "mini dark ages."
  17. vandroid: half man, half van https://www.darkhorse.com/Search/Tommy%20Lee%20Edwards,%20Noah%20Smith
  18. I can see several things that affect me. The first is that which is enabled by the technology. More convincing graphics, sound, and AI improve the experience (or at least give developers more room to work with). I see a lot of developments here. First, we have the possibility of VR becoming mainstream, a technology which offers a degree of "presence" that we've never experienced before (anyone who's played Alien: Isolation with the DK2 will tell you that it's much more frightening--almost torturously so). In addition, VR is motivating the implementation of "3D sound" again (I say "again" because ... well, see the maddening history of creative audio patents). Oculus is, for example, incorporating support directly into their SDK and designing their headset specifically for it (see here http://www.roadtovr.com/ces-2015-oculus-rift-crescent-bay-designed-audiophiles-heres-matters/). I've chatted with other VR developers and they say that the effect of 3D sound can be so convincing that it's almost (but not quite) a substitute for haptic feedback. And if Alien: Isolation is any indication, I'm hoping developers will start taking AI more seriously. It feels like we've been in a stasis for the past decade where there has been little motivation to improve AI. And not just with making the AI "smart" (e.g. capable of recognizing and reacting to patterns), but making it convincing and unpredictable--something I think the new Alien game did very well. However, independent of the technology, there are several things off of the top of my head that I feel bolster a scary experience. This is in addition to the "obvious" things, like the gamut of sights and sounds which seem to naturally trigger fear in humans: (1) The fear of the unknown and the unexpected: The more unfamiliar I am with what is, for example, stalking me or lurking about, the more it frightens me. I don't mean just in terms of appearance but--and perhaps moreso--in terms of behavior. Improvements in AI play a big role here. When the object of terror is completely revealed and predictable, the sense of terror is greatly diminished. I want to be taken by surprise and, within the scope of believability (e.g. not spawning the enemy directly behind you when other evidence indicated it was on the other side of the map, as that reduces immersion), I want there to be a real chance of death (and the implications of this are unfortunately often considered "unfair" by today's gamers). (2) Immersiveness: Basically that which tricks your mind into thinking what you're experiencing is not fake. Of course, one can always stop and think "this is not real" but when your senses and thoughts are occupied by other things, that sense of the underlying reality can subside. Technology plays a big role here, but even more important (IMO) is engaging the player's imagination through, e.g., a good storyline or a captivating atmosphere. Make the player desire to transplant themselves into this other world. (3) Sense of loss. It may seem "cheap" to, for example, limit the player's saves to checkpoints, but I think it's a good idea. Whenever a player presses the "save" button they are reminded that they are just playing a game--that everything is safe--and it removes one from the experience. In addition, when the sense of "the fear of the loss of progress" is abstracted away to just "fear of loss in general" (of a certain degree) as the mind is occupied by other stimuli, it can act as a rudimentary substitute for the fear of death. (4) Effort: Really, until (and if) we can somehow directly stimulate the brain to produce a certain experience (perhaps it would be necessary to induce pain or, at least to a certain extent, somehow convince someone that death is a possibility), it will require effort on the behalf of the player for something to be scary. I can take any game that I find terrifying and intentionally destroy the experience by simply retaining a mindset of "this is just a game, there are no consequences." Of course this becomes more difficult as the technology and the sense of presence improves, but for the foreseeable future I think all such games will necessitate on the behalf of the user some extent of imagination, playfulness, and intention. This is not to say that a game can't tempt the player into "wanting to believe" or "play along."
  19. After dispatching a Dragon space craft to resupply the ISS, SpaceX made its first attempt at an upright landing of the first stage on an ocean barge. It didn't end well but who knows what would've happened if the grid fins hadn't run out of hydraulic fluid (it's an open system, reduces mass and complexity) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwe10pbVPDQ Still, what an amazing sight. The next attempt will be in 2 to 3 weeks and they're adding 50% more hydraulic fluid (they were off by about 10%)
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oecZoJkWu8M
  21. woah

    True Detective

    Has anyone else watched this? I typically dislike television series very much (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad etc etc don't really do much for me) but a friend convinced me to watch this and it's pretty damn good in my opinion. There are "only" 8 episodes (this is probably a good thing though) but it honestly feels more like a movie than a television series. I just finished up episode 4--really digging it. It can be a bit "edgy" and thus a little corny, but if you can get over that you'll probably enjoy it. I was going to post the trailer here but it doesn't really do the show justice. There is a second season in the works but it's a completely removed storyline with different actors, a different setting, and different directors (and I'm pretty sure HBO just nudged them into doing it. I recall the director saying it was his intention from the start to only do one season specifically to avoid "milking the series"--as is so common with television networks these days)
  22. Also agree about the android stuff. The was kind of a waste of time and very anticlimactic. And the ending of the game felt like one big rollercoaster ride: pretty but almost entirely uninteractive--may as well have been one big CG sequence. As for the flame thrower, the few times that I used it the Alien seemed unaffected by it and got me anyway, but maybe if I had played around with it more it would have worked (it made for a good light source in the vents though).
  23. I finished earlier today. Overall it's a good game. Definitely the best single player game in the Alien universe and among the best in the survival horror genre. However, assuming we're talking about the experience of the games in their entirety, I found AvP2's multiplayer and Amnesia more enjoyable in their respective genres overall. In other words, everything is not as rosy as my initial impressions of AI. But first the good: the Alien itself is stunning. It is really amazing how well the developers captured the ferocity of the Alien and--for me at least--they without a doubt created the scariest gaming experience I've ever put myself through. Of course the initial moments of dealing with it were the most frightening, naturally, but even at the end of the game that fear never subsided to a level where I wouldn't feel my heart beating. Even now I still don't like to watch it lunge toward me or kill me, preferring to press ESC and load the most recent save when I know my fate is sealed. And not only is it frightening but it is cinematic and immersive: there are so many moments in my encounters with the Alien where it may as well have played out in a movie. I couldn't ask for anything better in terms of this aspect of the game. Second, and as many others have stated, the artificial intelligence is very good. I don't mean good in the sense that it is very smart (not to imply that it is poor), but rather that it is very unpredictable--at least within the confines of what was clearly the developers' intentions (more on this later). I was never confident that the Alien wasn't going to drop down behind me, abruptly turn around and enter a different area or room (perhaps the room I was hiding in), peek under the table I was crouched under, etc etc. And then other times it would feel like it was so close that it must be just waiting for me to make a move and yet nothing would happen when I did, or it might stand motionless in the vents for a while (not setting off the motion tracker) to perhaps trick me into thinking that it had gone somewhere else (I used to think it was teleporting in many of these cases, but whenever I paid close attention I realized that everything was always consistent with its actual location and the last recorded position of the motion tracker). The above two things are really the crown jewels of AI. It leaves you on edge the entire game and never lets you get too confident with your playing habits--there was never really a moment in this game where I felt like I had "figured the Alien out" and reduced the encounters with it to a set of actions that would unfailingly work to my favor. Most games of this type are all about isolating those context-sensitive set of actions through trial and error and I think this is why many reviewers were put off with AI's difficulty. There is always a real chance you are going to die and there is nothing you can do about that other than reduce the probability of it happening. The key to AI's greatness in this respect seems to be that it makes this both readily apparent and "believeable" ("believeable" in the sense that, e.g., I never just died because the game decided to "spawn" the Alien above me) There are of course other things that are great about AI. Many of the environments are quite stunning and certain parts of the game are just a joy to explore (but not all parts, not by a long shot) . The graphics can be quite good (and quite bad, you can see which mappers took attention to detail seriously and which didn't) and the lighting can be particularly amazing. Some parts truly captured the look and feel of the Alien movies (and, again, other parts didn't). But now we get to the bad. First off, a lot of reviewers have said that the game is "too long." I don't believe that's ever actually a problem. Rather, I think the problem is that if you're going to make a game that re-uses the same general mechanic for as long as AI does, you need to add in *a lot* more variety over time and create a storyline that people actually care about. At about the 50% mark, I was already quite sick of the repetitive objectives and the repetitive overly simplistic gameplay. Go here, turn on/off the power for X, meet up with Y, suffer through some quicktime events, scan each room for green lights and the flashing yellow item glint along the way, then repeat. This became so monotonous that just thinking about it right now makes me sick to my stomach. Eventually I, for example, stopped going out of my way to search for items altogether and just focused on reading the green terminals (I felt like I needed to extract something from laboring around like this, doing essentially the same thing over and over again in what, looking back, now seems like one big haze ... but this segues well into the next point). Now, some games can get away with this repetitive, overly simplistic gameplay if the storyline is interesting enough, but in AI's case it's not. The initial setup had my attention, but after that I really didn't care what happened to Ripley or the other characters, and after a while I even stopped caring about the backstory. With the exception of Samuels, all of the characters seemed to have the same childishly sardonic "tough guy" personalities with the corniest lines and intonations. I could not empathize with any of them, and in the Alien setting (where it is about fear, hopelessness, and survival) this was a major let down. And the degree to which the "everyone for themselves" trope was employed was quite silly too. I mean, there were a few interesting moments, such as the but these do not substitute for an actual good storyline. Lastly (and I suppose this wouldn't be a problem if the two issues above were handled better) even with all of my praise for the Alien, I still believe there should have been more variety with respect to the hide and seek mechanic. For example: - As someone else in this thread said, you can be certain that the Alien is alwayswithin or just outside of your motion detector, and while I can see why they did this, it makes this aspect of the Alien very predictable and thus somewhat immersion breaking. Not saying that the Alien should have an equal chance of being anywhere on the entire ship, but there must be a better solution - The hiding spots are mostly preset and allow little creativity or variety - Certain hiding spots (e.g. lockers, vents) trigger the Alien to come straight for you, which also feels immersion breaking. Thus I decided to stop using them almost altogether, reducing the variety even more - The environments are very uninteractive (one can not even pick up objects and throw them as distractions? Why even bother with the physics then?) and thus feel pretty dead despite being pretty - The Alien does not climb on walls or "stalk" the player (the player almost always knows where it is, while the opposite is true in the movies. This would've added a whole new dimension to the gameplay). It's always thumping about upright on the ground or in the vents - Knocking over physics-affected objects never alerted the enemies for me - You cannot mantle or jump. - The game is rife with quick-time events rather than more dynamic interactions Now, many of these examples can be attributed to the fact that the gameplay was constrained by consoles, but IMO survival horror games, due to their nature, necessitate much more variety with the environment and the way you interact with it. Sometimes AI feels like you were just tossed in any old FPS level and told "okay, now just stay out of the enemy's line of sight." A nice challenge, but way too simplistic. So in conclusion there are things I love and really dislike about AI. I doubt there has ever been a game that has so palpably brought a SciFi creature to life, and as a fan of Alien 1 and 3 and AvP2 this was an absolute joy. But the game has serious flaws, and perhaps one of the "issues" with this game is that it does certain things so well that its problems (or maybe these "problems" would be considered normal in other games) by comparison are painfully apparent, more so as the game progresses. Maybe that is "unfair," but in a way it reminds me of the uncanny valley. If you're going to go the extra mile in bringing the Alien to life in your game, you had better have the rest of the game up to snuff too or else it's going to stick out. If I had to rate the game on a scale of 0-100 it would be in the mid to low 80s, but the initial encounters with the Alien (before the monotony set in) certainly felt like upper 90s. A few other nitpicks/comments: - The Alien seems to get more and more aggressive the less you move. It would seem more appropriate to me if the opposite were true (while still maintaining a certain level of unpredictability), but maybe the devs felt that it was better to create more tension. I just felt that after a while of playing, the game unfortunately rewarded a certain level of recklessness and thus seemed less tense. I could sometimes walk through a good portion of the level without the Alien ever approaching me, but if I stayed in one spot it would practically be on top of me. - When the Alien kills other human AI it feels kind of bland. The general behavior seemed to be to run up to them, grab them, and then headbite them one at a time, but their bodies--at least when I looked at them--remained undamaged. I think it would've been better if they at least showed some damage or if the Alien would drag them up into the vents after roughing them up a bit. - Did anyone else notice that there seems to be a 5ft radius around Ripley that will disrupt all nearby physics-affected objects? This is especially true when laying down--e.g. I might turn Ripley 90 degrees and the garbage can on the other side of the room would get knocked over. As I said before, the enemies never noticed the objects falling over, but regardless it was a confusing oversight.
  24. So I'm trying to locate medical supplies for Taylor and I'm finding that with the exception of under tables, it's almost always finding me. If I hide in a vent, 90% of the time it enters the vent and then I'm finished. And ever since I've entered this hospital area it seems that a new game mode has been activated where if I hide in a locker, it will always come up to the locker and activate the "hold your breath" quicktime event. The thing is, even if I have enough health and get the quicktime event commands right (hold back and RMB), there still seems to be a 50-50 chance that it rips open the locker and kills me. Is this normal? While I can understand vents leaving you vulnerable, is there really no guarantee that you're safe in a locker even if you get the quicktime events right? EDIT: I've ended up just avoiding lockers wherever possible. It without a doubt triggers the Alien to enter the room and check out the locker you're in, so instead I just hide behind/under something and then the Alien doesn't seem to bug me.
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