Windows 7

So last weekend I decided to go ahead and upgrade my computer- new motherboard, processor, RAM and install windows7. I picked up a MSI 790GX-G65 motherboard on sale at frys with an AMD quad-core processor, a couple of sticks of DDR3 ram and an OEM copy of win 7 and I was ready to begin. The install was probably one of the simplest I’ve ever done. Pulled out the old hardware, connected the new, reinserted my geforce 9800 gt card and all I had to do was install windows. I selected boot from cd/dvd in the bios, inserted the windows disc, told it which partition to install on and in a matter of 20 minutes or so had a fully functioning windows seven desktop running. I enjoyed the new aero desktop software and it’s ability to be customized fairly easily. Next I began getting the rest of my software installed, AVG antivirus, comodo firewall, audio and video utilities etc. Lightroom and photoshop for photo editing installed easily and lightroom imported my old catalog file easily enough, though I did have to point the folders back to the original ones since the drive letters had changed.

So far everything had gone rather well and I was very pleased. Then I decided to install a game. I tried borderlands as this is one of the newer games I’ve played, just finished it a month or so ago in fact. The install seemed to go fine but when I tried to play the game the screens (I have a multi monitor setup) went blank. ctrl-alt-del, tab etc did not respond and finally I was forced to shutdown the computer and reboot. Next I tried mirrors edge, this installed and ran just fine. At this point i had no idea what was wrong but I began to suspect the video drivers might not be setup correctly so I started cleaning out old files and tried re-installing the drivers, directx etc. I then tried Unreal Tournament3 and found that it ran but would occasionally do the same thing as borderlands, black screen, no response to keyboard etc.  After a couple of days of trying different things I tried installing nvidia’s latest beta drivers (195.81) and then found Unreal tournament 3 working, I tried borderlands and it ran, I also tried Farcry2 and it ran,  so success! The next day   however I tried a game and once more was faced with a black screen. I did some research and found this page, could this be my problem? I disconnected my ethernet cable, turned off comodo and finally all the games ran just fine, I even installed crysis and quake4 without any major hitches (you have to right-click on the quake4 installer and run it as admin or it gives a bunch of errors). It appears that what’s happening is a lot of these games connect to the internet on start up, either to confirm you have a legitimate copy, to download updates or for online playing. However they first take control of the video giving you a blank screen. then when they try to connect, comodo blocks the connection and waits for you to approve it, since you can’t see the screen, that never happens and the system just sits there! Looks like I may be looking for a new firewall program, perhaps pctools firewall plus which claims to have a full screen game mode for just such instances.

Oh and since this motherboard had two pci-e slots I’ve installed my old geforce 8400 card in the second slot so now I can run a third monitor to display speedfan and other monitoring programs while I’m gaming or editing pictures.

Still playing, Quakelive

So even after a few months I’m still playing quakelive, It’s really amazing that a game released so long ago (quake3 is ten years old this year). The stats tracking ability is fun- Check out my quakelive profile Now I’m hoping to learn how to customize my setup a little more.
They keep releasing maps and it’s fun when one I played a lot in the past pops up- brings back memories. If you’ve got a sign on let me know and I’ll keep an eye out for you in-game. Keep Fraggin!

Captnemos quake live stats

Captnemos quake live stats

CaptNemos Stats

CaptNemo's Stats

Quakelive stats for Captnemo

Quakelive stats for Captnemo

Farcry 2, review by Captain Nemo

So I’ve been playing this game for almost a month now and I both love it and hate it.  I suspect most people are going to either really like it or hate it. It shows elements of game play that would do wonderfully in a role playing game,  large open environment, changing day/night cycles with realistic weather, interaction with characters,   etc. But since it’s primarily a first person shooter game the people who play rpg’s probably will get frustrated with the constant fps action that you have to take part in which interrupts the ability to just wander and explore the amazingly realistic environment that they’ve created. Players of fps though will be frustrated as they have to frequently repeat the same battles over and over again as the open world design makes it necessary for guard posts etc to repopulate or else there would be no challenges when trying to complete certain missions. I understand that but having the same fight at the same guard post a half dozen times gets old.

My first impression of FarCry2though was Wow, I love the graphics, attention to details like sounds, terrain, animals etc. The open world design is really fun to explore especially when you find things like the hang glider. The physics that even shows dry grass and trees catching on fire when something explodes and the way it’ll spread in the direction the wind is blowing was very impressive. I found myself spending a great deal of time just exploring the terrain to see what other details they had Incorporated. That brought my to the parts of the game I don’t like. For starters it’s fairly buggy and they haven’t released a fix for that yet. Unlike crysis and other games I’ve played which seem completely stable on my computer, I found FarCry 2crashing fairly often. I was also surprised to find out that the story mode for single player had nothing whatsoever to do with the original farcry, so why they had bothered to call it farcry2 is anybodies guess.  Once the splendor wears off the actual game play is rather repetitive and because you spend so much time wandering back and forth across the map you wind up seeing the same thing over and over again.

Overall this game shows a lot of potential, the engine is wonderful, it just seems like they rushed it out without really polishing the game play. Sadly I don’t see any signs that they’re working on really improving it as I think a revamped version of this game, perhaps with a co-op mode would be a blast to play.

UPDATE 3/30/09- Last night I completed the story/single player mode of the game and I really enjoyed the ending. I thought the way they incorporated it in the final map was good as well. Now I guess I can start trying to beat mirrors edge.

Quakelive Lives! (well sort of)

The new web based game Quakelive, playable in a web browser and based on the classic quake 3 arena game, has moved on from closed beta to open beta. This means that anyone can sign up and try out this new phenomena, almost. The effort has been greeted with such enthusiasm that for now there is a ‘queue’ that you must wait in before playing- several people have reported waiting hours. I waited about twenty minutes before being taken to the introductory match with crash. They’ve had to turn off stat recording for now due to the heavy demand, but once things calm down and they get a feel for the amount of players I imagine things will work better. I had a hard time finding a match to play in. Despite the browser supposedly filtering out full games the first few matches I tried to join were already full. When I finally joined a match it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the newly polished look of the quake 3 maps and weapons. Especially in full screen it really looked quite nice and was quite responsive. Next up I wan’t to try it on my eee pc (which plays the original quake3 very well).

Captain Nemo can’t get his quake on :(

So I went to  very excited about the prospect of playing something new in the quake universe.  I know it’s just quake3 with a new web interface but still it looks like fun. However it’s been awhile and no new news about the beta or release date yet. Guess we’ll keep waiting.