Jan 232014
 

It’s been just over a week (9 days to be exact) that I started playing Ingress, and I became level 5 yesterday. It’s not as fast as some people level up (level 6 can be done in a couple of days or so), but I mostly play alone and did the first days only on foot. Now I use the car more.

Ingress L5

Levelled up to L5

Dec 292013
 

Had a lovely -belated- Christmas dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. I fell ill at the end of the first Christmas day, so I had to postpone my dinner that was planned for the 26th. My sister fell ill as well. I was recovered enough today, and she decided she would not be a party-pooper and decided to come visit me. I stripped the starters from the menu at her request, and after all we had a lovely evening.

After cleaning up, I went upstairs to play some games. To my surprise, my PC had two black screens with only a cursor in the top left corner. Okay, let’s reboot. Same result. BIOS setup revealed that everything was seemingly in working order. But…..what’s that, only one harddisk. The normal HDD, not the SSD bootdisk. Unplugged the power, unplugged the normal HDD, boot and……

REBOOT AND SELECT PROPER BOOT DEVICE

Meaning the BIOS can’t find ANY boot device while only the SSD is connected. Let’s see what my server thinks of this disk. It’s linux, and it has hot-swap on the SATA ports enabled, so that should be a piece of cake.

And of course it was: to linux the disk was dead as well. On two different ports. After connecting via hot-swap, or after hard reboot.

Meaning: my desktop PC is out of order for now. The SSD has 36 months of warranty, and only 18 have passed. So yes, an OCZ Vertex4 128GB died after only 18 months of (not very intense) use. How fucked up is that?

Sep 102013
 

Since yesterday I started playing Please Stay Calm on my phone. It’s a zombie game, kind of turn based. You have a limited amount of energy (and health of course) that you can use to scavenge for stuff or to hunt/kill zombies. Other than most games, the scavenging and hunting is done GPS based, so the game will list locations (shops, streets, etc) you will know.

Of course you can connect with friends (via Facebook or the app). You need to level to progress. You need money (found by scavenging or by selling stuff you found) to buy weapons, build safehouses, etc.etc.

It’s a simple game to play, the interface is not difficult and you don’t need superfast reflexes to dodge the zombies like most other games. I like it. At the moment I’m only at level 4, but for less than a day playing that seems okay (maybe it’s not).

Have a look here: http://pleasestaycalm.com/ and find the app in the Playstore or on iTunes.

Jun 242013
 

I extended my PC with two old monitors I got from my sister/brother-in-law. An HP1955 and an HP2035, with resolutions up to 1280×1024 and 1600×1200 respectively. Since my main screen is FullHD (1920 x 1080), Eyefinity on the RadeOn 7970 will set the height of all to 1024 when you put them in a group. Giving me a total resolution of 3840×1024. Not the best the card can do, but the best in this setup.

To save me the trouble of constantly setting up the group and gaming, and then switching back to a normal extended desktop (with max resolutions on each monitor), I created two presets in the Catalyst Control center. Easy. Just do your setup, go to Presets (second item in the accordion) and click on Add Preset. Name the preset so you can recognize it. Do another setup and add it too. Now you can switch between the presets by right-clicking on the system tray icon of the Catalyst Control Center and selecting “Invoke preset”. Choose the appropriate preset, and you’re done.

May 302013
 

I bought a Sennheiser/Adidas PMX 680 today, so I could finally “test” Zombies 5K. First the unpacking and connecting the headphone of course, it’s a nice thing.

So I changed into my running gear, changed some settings in Zombies 5K, and started listening. Yes, listening. Zombies 5K (and also Zombies, Run!) is a novel, a game and a training assistant in one. A novel, because it tells a story about a zombie-infected world. A game, because you are a runner (Runner 5) in that infested world and you need to do tasks/complete missions to proceed. And of course, it’s a training assistant because you guessed it: you can only complete missions by physically running!

First mission I thought would be easy, but I never do interval trainings, so after the mission I was more exhausted than my regular training. But I felt good about it, and the story and game is such a great addition to running, it actually makes me WANT to run more. But….doctor Myers gave me a day of, so I will run on Friday!

Check their website for more info on Zombies, Run!

Apr 142013
 

In my last post I said Grid did not support FullHD mode, but with a little tweaking it does. Grid is an older game, and it probably can’t read all the hardware info from the newer graphics cards. Mine has 3GB of RAM, but the restrictions in Grid won’t allow you to go beyond a width of 1280 when your system has less then 270MB. So Grid must not understand 3000MB.

Here’s how to change the config files. Make a backup of each file first, in case you screw things up.

1) c:\steam\steamapps\common\Grid\system\hardware_settings_restrictions.xml
Find the line containing:

<res mem="270" maxWidth="1280" />

and change the value of maxWidth to 1920.

2) {userdocuments}\Codemasters\GRID\hardware_settings_info.xml
Add the 1920×1080 resolution by adding the following lines:

<resolution width="1920" height="1080" aspect="normal">
    <refreshRate rate="50" />
    <refreshRate rate="60" />
</resolution>

3) {userdocuments}\Codemasters\GRID\hardware_settings_config.xml
In the graphics_card section, change the resolution settings to something like this:

<resolution width="1920" height="1080" aspect="16:9" fullscreen="true" 
            vsync="1" oldWidth="1920" oldHeight="1080">
    <refreshRate rate="60" />
</resolution>

Start GRID. It should work. It will ask you if you want to keep the new resolution of 1920×1080 and after that you’re good to go. Have fun.

Apr 132013
 

With Grid2 around the corner (May, 28th) I decided to buy Grid (the first one). It’s cheap on GreenmanGaming.com at the moment, so I bought it and installed it by entering the key on Steam.

The controller defaults on Grid are of course the (cursor-)keys, so to use the Fanatec wheel, I had to make a custom setup. Not very difficult, but strange to see a game that is all about realism does not have a default “wheel” setup.

The game is difficult. I did my fair share of Forza3, Forza4, Shift, Shift2 and Forza Horizon, but this game is unforgiving. Like it is in real life of course. Bump into a wall, and basically your race is over, since your front wheels are damaged or maybe worse: you totalled your car. I cranked down the difficulty a bit, but even then the game is very hard.

Probably because it’s an older game, it does not support FullHD resolution. The closest is 1280×800 or 1280×900. Still the game looks great when you modify the graphics details to HIGH.

For the price on Greenman, don’t think twice and buy this game if you’re into racing games. But don’t say I didn’t warn you…