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The CAT

Finally, Gamer's Own Right

at 10:17 AM By: Posted by cracksys - 0 comments

PAX or Penny Arcade eXpo is a convention-like event dedicated for gamers in US. It's similar to E3. Okay, maybe I've been speaking extra-terrestrial all the while. I am a PC gamer and might always be. This recent year, I'm building up hatred within myself towards console games. If you're 'with' me, you'll recall time not long ago, when there are clear dividing line between PC games and console child-play.

I missed that time. Nowadays, PC games are becoming more and more dumb and inaccessible in term of gameplay. All of this caused by the surging demand for console games since the introduction of X-Box in few years back. Publishers (capable one) seems to ignore PC gamers altogether. They come out with title made specifically for console and ported it to PC version just so that PC gamers can be disappointed. Buggy release, inaccessible UI, foolish game play and such has been plaguing PC gamers since then.

*Sigh* Console games were meant for mass market which made up mostly by idiot and now, we have to be dumb just because they demanded more.

But I was a little glad when I stumbled upon what is called (PC) Gamer's Bill of Right. Stardock and Gas Powered Games, combined to come out with some kind of standard for PC game maker to adhere. Both have produced one great game each, namely Galactic Civilization and Dungeon Siege II which very much stay true for PC gamers to enjoy.

The Gamer's Bill of Right - Copyright of EDGE Online

There are two Rights that attracted most of my attention which is:

Right 2 : Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
Right 5 : Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer.

Right 2 is the most important one. Has Q&A department vanished from most of the game companies? I remembered back then when game tester were given months for play testing before the actual game was released. It seems now, game company just let people test their game through limited demo and hope for it NOT to be buggy after being released.

There are many people actually trapped with minimum requirement officially announced by game makers. Just take that lowly Oblivion for example. Did they even tried playing it with Pentium 2.0 Ghz, NVidia GeForce 6200 and 512MB physical memory? Awful, it takes couple of seconds before a click of mouse produces action and they assumed people are okay with it. This is where Right 5 take effect, correcting mistakes (or obvious tactic for more sale) made by game companies these past 5 years.

Well, a Right signed by two game studios won't make any difference but I do wish for it to become a start of a better treatment for PC gamers. Maybe we will see once again, the golden age of PC games (I made this up).

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Journey To The Center of The House

at 9:44 PM By: Posted by cracksys - 1 comments

No, no, this is not a new title from the original creator of Journey to the Center of The Earth. This is Microsoft beta-project as part of plan to satisfy their craving for total world domination. Maybe I'm just exaggerating while using Word 2007 running on WindowsXP. But here is some snippet on what they had to say about the new release, Photosynth.

"Imagine being able to share the places and things you love using the cinematic quality of a movie, the control of a video game, and the mind-blowing detail of the real world..."


It’s like having the opportunity to eat McDonald's Quarter Pounder with KFC's Cheesy Wedges in Pizza Hut's restaurant. Hey, don't look at me, Microsoft start it first. Photosynth is trying to demonstrate that constructing your room virtually and letting people to explore it as if they are playing game, is easy.

The real reason why I was excited about this is because it does sounds like Sci-Fi kind of thing. I can see this to be a step forward to affordable Virtual Reality experience, even if it is only a half-baked experience. This could be the cost-saver for property developer and income-cutter for 3D artist. But the question rouse, did it really is what it is claimed to be?

Well, as it was free, I decided to give it a try. Downloading was a breeze as it was only an 8MB+ file and the installation process couldn't be easier. I restart my Firefox (note that I was using Portable Firefox 3) and head myself to Photosynth site.

I tried pcat's House Backyard and cdaworld's ARCH II briefly. While I was testing them out, disappointment started building up in me. I decided to give one last try with Rodrigosb's Apartment and to my relief, it does looks well. I have a quick tour in the apartment before I closed the windows as it was too resource hogging for me to continue.

Ah, just like visiting an old friend's house - Copyright of its respective owner

It is obvious that the succession of this release solely depends on the user's side, photographically wise. My last say, Photosynth is going to become a useful tool. But it will only be that after it has been fine-tuned and polished by the developer.

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Remember the Siren

at 5:33 AM By: Posted by cracksys - 1 comments

Remember Yuri? or even in more past, M.A.D tank? Do you hate Generals and Renegade more than anything ? If you are, then you would be very happy with this news released recently by EA Games. No, you should be jumping happily because its about Command & Conquer : Red Alert 3 ! *sigh* Finally ...

During my early years of having my own computer, C&C Red Alert is one the games that affected me the most. The quality of its sound and animation (or sprite, old days) was enough to keep me skirmishing Allied forces over and over. Long time after Red Alert and a real-time strategy game like it seems hard to come by. Somebody said that Starcraft was the best but somehow, I'm in the mood of denial.

Remember this ? - Copyright of its respective owner

After being able to get my hand on Red Alert 2, I was sceptical. Can people re-create a great game ? I silently watch the opening cinematic. Not before long indulged into the games, my skeptism was swept away by the game awsomeness. Huge unit variation, missions with tactical element and superb sound effect kept me on my seat for many days. Seriously..

And now, after a tedious wait stretching more than five years, EA released a Beta Red Alert 3. I headed to their official site right after I knew about it and I was smilling when I saw the screenshots. Yes, it is Red Alert 3. No doubt about it.

Never play near water with electric current - Copyright of its respective owner

Preparing for an assault - Copyright of its respective owner

Unlike other producers whom prefers spoilling great title for the sake of console gamers (graphic & gameplay), EA sucessfuly keep the Red Alert-ish look and feeling in Red Alert 3. Based on the screenshots, I must say EA is currently doing a good job in gathering new fans while retaining Red Alert veterans.

So, any Red Alert fan out there willing to share a view ? Shoot away before the great V4 arrives.

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Circling round the saver

at 10:45 PM By: Posted by cracksys - 1 comments

Ahhh, it’s August again. It’s the time of the year when dolphin sings song about elves and cops stop beating nigger. Seriously, who doesn’t love August? I can’t think of any except for some UMNO leaders whose afraid to face their own party divisional meeting.

Enough of that mythical and political thingy.

Last night I stumbled upon a not-so-new but free screensaver released by PixelBreaker. Well, I may not be a big fan of saver-mania but there’s something inside me that keep telling me to download.

It took about a minute to download it using Maxis damned connection and none to install it, what the efff!! I had to cursed because the only time I ran an EXE file with nothing comes out after it is when my computer was infected by some viruses.

I cursed up until I realized that I’m an idiot (it may not be true). It’s a screensaver for god sake and there are no other places to configure its kind except for Display Properties dialog box. I started punching myself mentally and then go on configuring that damn screensaver. There is a couple of important option I advice you to tinker with, which is:-

1. Keep this un-ticked so that texts stay as it was when it arrives at the bottom of the arch. It keeps the circle neat and preserve continuity
2. Keep this ticked so that the arch representing second move flawlessly. Un-tick it if the movement is not smooth @ slow computer
3. This is where you can change the position of the arch over others. It looks better with default setting but hey, you might be a freak XD

So, how does its look? Tada!!

Ha? Ha? You like it don’t you? No? Nevermind though, you have your own taste. For me, this is far better than many variants of Matrix and aquarium screensaver out there. I am glad to have this to awe my colleagues for this moment being :P If you do like it however, you can download PixelBreaker’s PolarClock 3 here.

Round-round we gooo!!

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Shooting desktop easily

at 7:57 AM By: Posted by cracksys - 0 comments

1 thing I learn while doing blogging for this while is screenshot is cumbersome even though the process is not that hard. Imagine pressing PrtScr key, opening MSPaint, pasting the shot, cutting parts that aren’t wanted and saving it. Easy right? Well, reiterate that process 10 times and normal people (exclude meditating mojo) will start to get intolerant.

As I realized nowadays that there’s an application for each possible task for computer, I started Googling and in no time, I fall in love at the first sight with ScreenPrint32 :-

ScreenPrint32 version 3.5
Download : http://www.provtech.co.uk/files/sprint32.exe
App Info : http://www.provtech.co.uk/software/screenprint32.asp

The installation process was a breeze and in only a minute I managed to calibrate it up according to my preferred setting. Now, lets the shooting session begin. There are 3 types of screen shot which is :-

Traditional screen shot
Active windows shot
Defined area shot

The result, as you can see, is neat if not impressive. ScreenPrint32 does its job more than enough to delight me. After testing this, I decided to find other application capable of doing the same thing and I stumbled upon a few of them. Here is what I found, along with general comment based on their screenshot.

ScreenGrab Pro 1.5 [+] Vista support, one click shot, timer [-] Messy UI, looks outdated
ScreenCaptor 2.37 [+] Lots of tweak option, multi-monitor support [-] I don’t need this yet :p

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Blazing Hellboy 2

at 4:12 AM By: Posted by cracksys - 0 comments

Intro
Hellboy 2 : The Golden Army tell a story about good versus evil in a way that pushed my imagination further away from reality. Seriously, I have no doubt that this movie will become a hit (costume wise) at the first time I saw Angel of Death standing up in the trailer.


Cast
Rob Perlman unsurprisingly returned as Hellboy in this sequel. I can’t help to notice that his face looks gloomy in this movie. Nevertheless, his act is equally good compared to the original Hellboy. Sarcasm remarks expressed by him never failed to bring funny element into somewhat more serious scene.

Selma Blair takes the role of Liz once again and she does not impress me this time. Not even her sexy short hair. Well, at least Abe Sapien cast Doug Jones able to play his role notably good. His portrayal of naivety is plausible and funny in the same time.

The new villain, an elf prince named Prince Nuada’s role is played by Luke Goss. I rated his performance 5/10 (it might not be his entire fault; character designer should take the blame too). In a more ideal world comparison, this character lack traits that would otherwise make him feared. Anyway, praise is due for the kung-fu styled fighting shown by him in many of the fight scenes in here.

Story
It is a long told tale about the war between mythical and human world and many had forgotten the existence of it. It is said that King Balor asked a Goblin to build a clockwork army of 70 times 70 soldiers for war against the human world. Regretted with his decision, King Balor made a truce with the humans which then separated both worlds until recent now. Prince Nuada, a long gone King Balor’s son, disagreed with this truce and decided to return, to break the truce down for dignity and survival sake. His only way is war and for war, he’ll need an army.

Now Hellboy must act before it’s too late. Hellboy will be combating his way to Prince Nuada and in the mean time settle things with his new team-leader, Johann Krauss. Liz had an internal issue because she’s pregnant while Abe Sapien falls in love with Prince Nuala, Nuada’s twin.

Movie
The movie took place in modern city setting with alternate sub-ground places such as the golden army resting place and the troll market. There are a lot of fist-fighting and melee-fighting scenes to keep you on your seat.

Costume design was out of this world. You will awe at the first time you saw Wink and it will continue with other odd characters like The Chamberlain, Gatekeeper and not to forget, my personal favorite, the Angel of Death.

"I can see you!"
Image courtesy of its respective owner.

Conclusion
Pro : + Out of the world costumes, scenes + Nice storyline with less stereotype + Its Hellboy
Con : - Low impact villain – Lack of cons :)

Who would have thought that my awe toward Pan’s Labyrinth has something to do with its director? No, I didn’t know that El Toro directed the original Hellboy, a movie which forced me to repeat-watch it over and over again because of its awesome-ness. Even though I do not have any idea about whose El Toro was but my whole experience with Hellboy, Hellboy 2 and Pan’s Labyrinth begs the differ. So, I will put my faith into him for bringing The Hobbit to life.

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Unplanned Mega Firecracker Called Off

at 12:25 AM By: Posted by cracksys - 0 comments

A big OOOHHH as NASA's lab released a statement lessening the probable chance of a big rock hitting Mars from 1/25 to 1/10000 yesterday. According to an earlier statement released last month by the same NASA's lab, if the 1/25 impact odd really hit Mars, it will create a crater sizing more than a mile in diameter. With that kind of impact, it will be a huge embarrassment for hydrogen based bomb.

It was a big letdown for those who have been waiting to see some mega-firework through their $1000 telescope and also those who wanted to see a glimpse of how will near-future apocalypse looks like. This should be a great news for martian alike, if they really exist, of course.

Original statement about 2007 WD5 (even rock had name nowadays) can be found here.

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