[Kodiak] New Computer/Thanks Nate!

edited July 2001 in General Discussion

Comments

  • edited December 1969
    Ordered a computer from Virtual Micro, as per Nate's post a few months back. Upgraded the specs some, thanks to escalating tech/dollar. Despite some relatively minor shipping issues the computer is here and it is, in fact, fantastic. I still use the Mac for browsing the web/reading email, listening to MP3s, general computing stuff, with the PC being for gaming. I'm finding Windows to not be too much trouble if someone else loads it onto the machine, and I only use it to play games, so that I don't have to stare at its insanely ugly interface for too long.

    Right now I've been playing Black & White and the Quake 3 "solo" game. It's hard to call B&W "fun", but I'm certainly enjoying myself. It also reminds me more of a toy than a game. I feel like I'm playing with it, not trying to "win". Quake 3's main source of enjoyment right now is mainly how much better it runs on the new machine than on my old Mac. It looks much, much better, and it's a whole new game when you actually get enough FPS to be able to respond to your enemies. The engine is amazing, but there's a lot of things about the gameplay that I find unsatisfying.

    I'm going to try to get Deus Ex working on Windows using my Mac version and the various updaters as my tools. It would be fun to play again without the amazingly low performance I had last time. Maybe actual firefights will be possible when I'm getting more than 10 fps.

    I generally kept my eye on PC gaming even when I didn't have one, and I saw previous posts on this board to people answering similar questions to the one coming up, but I'll ask anyways. Basically, I wouldn't mind some advice on games to look at. I already have the demos for MW4 and Sacrifice, though I haven't tried the MW4 one yet. Sacrifice seems interesting, though I want to mess with the demo more before committing to it, and clear out some backlog first.

    To lay out what tends to work for me, I basically have two categories of games that I truly get into. They are as follows:

    Whatever you would call the Legend of Zelda/.../Zelda64/Zelda64: Majora's Mask type game. Fantastic games. I don't really look for these on the PC, though. It's just what keeps me buying Nintendo products. Speaking of which, Gamecube, woo!

    FPS. But specifically, ones with strong solo play plotlines and world interaction. Marathon (Macintosh), Unreal (Mac/PC), Deus Ex (Mac/PC), GoldenEye (N64). Except for the unifying force of all being first person shooters, their main common ground is that they all did a very good job of involving you in the game world. Not to rag on Id Software, but this was something I found lacking in Quake 1 and Quake 2. They didn't really try with Quake 3, and I think that actually ended up with them making a more satisfying solo experience.

    Anywho, thanks to Alienate for the advice. If anyone knows of a great FPS I haven't played, I'd love to hear about it.

    - Kodiak
  • edited December 1969
    um

    Anywho, thanks to Alienate for the advice. If anyone knows of a
    great FPS I haven't played, I'd love to hear about it.

    You've played half-life right? =) I think you'd like it...

    ~Blackbeard

    - Kodiak

  • edited December 1969
    [b]Re: New Computer/Thanks Nate![/b]

    In Quake 3, I highly recommend grabbing the Threewave map packs and trying CTF (if you don't already). There's also the popular mods like RA3, Urban Terror, and Q3F.

    I keep hearing rage reviews of System Shock 2, and personally I enjoyed the demo as well. It sounds like something that Deus Ex fans would like. I picked it up fairly recently in bargain-basement format ("Classics" or some such) and I've been meaning to get into it... if you don't want to leap onto that just yet I'll remember to tell you how it goes when/if I get around to it.

    If you enjoyed the sneaking around in Deus Ex, then the Thief games are a must-try. At least check the demos. And I'm sure you can get them in bargain and/or bundled form too.

    Like BB says, there's Half-Life, and then the OpFor/Blue Shift missionpack bundle. Half-Life has got some very popular mods too -- of course Counter-Strike and TFC, but several others too (which I don't have any experience with).

    MDK2 was a very fun and visually striking solo third-person game that reminded me a lot of console gaming.

  • edited December 1969
    Re: um

    You've played half-life right? =) I think you'd like it...

    Haven't played it. Definitely planning too. Excellent call mentioning it, though. Seems like exactly the sort of thing I want to play.

    - Kodiak
  • edited December 1969
    Re: New Computer/Thanks Nate!

    In Quake 3, I highly recommend grabbing the Threewave map
    packs and trying CTF (if you don't already). There's also the
    popular mods like RA3, Urban Terror, and Q3F.

    Yeah, I will probably check some of the mods out.

    I keep hearing rage reviews of System Shock 2, and personally
    I enjoyed the demo as well.

    It's Warren Specter, just like Deus Ex, so I should probably check it out.

    It sounds like something that Deus Ex
    fans would like. I picked it up fairly recently in
    bargain-basement format ("Classics" or some such) and
    I've been meaning to get into it... if you don't want to leap
    onto that just yet I'll remember to tell you how it goes when/if
    I get around to it.

    If you enjoyed the sneaking around in Deus Ex, then the Thief
    games are a must-try. At least check the demos. And I'm sure you
    can get them in bargain and/or bundled form too.

    That's a good idea. All three of those, System Shock 2, and the two Thief games are old enough I should be able to get them cheap. If I can, I will.

    Like BB says, there's Half-Life, and then the OpFor/Blue Shift
    missionpack bundle. Half-Life has got some very popular mods too
    -- of course Counter-Strike and TFC, but several others too
    (which I don't have any experience with).

    Yeah, once I get Half-Life I should check ou tthe mod community.

    MDK2 was a very fun and visually striking solo third-person game
    that reminded me a lot of console gaming.

    I played it on the Dreamcast. It was fun, and certainly visually striking, as you said. I found the sniper levels (I forget the guy's name) a little tedious at times, though. Having to hit all those floating orbs fast enough just got tiresome when combined with the save system.

    - Kodiak
  • edited December 1969
    [b]also![/b]

    [quote]
    Haven't played it. Definitely planning too. Excellent call
    mentioning it, though. Seems like exactly the sort of thing I
    want to play.

    - Kodiak

    [/quote]
    Another great single player fps is Monolith
    s "No One Lives Forever". It's like $20 or even cheaper now... and the game is a ton of fun. I liked it a lot more than halflife... even moreso than Marathon. It's just extremely well done. Great music, good voice acting, fun 60s spy story / characters, good level design, nice variety, neat little "Q like" gadgets you get every level or so, traveling all around the world, driving cool vehicles, tons of comedy thrown in there.... just a great time. Ask Mori about it too, i know he's been playing it. great game. i think it won firingsquad's editor's choice award, which is pretty good. they're fairly stingy with that award =)
  • edited December 1969
    Re: also!

    I have a list laying around of "games I really should get around to checking out"... NOLF is on the list, as is Undying, Aliens vs. Predator, Elite Force, and Blade of Darkness.

    Anyone else tried the full versions of these games that could comment on them for, ahem, Kodiak? (Yeah... for Kodiak, that's the ticket.)

  • edited December 1969
    Actually

    I have a list laying around of "games I really should get
    around to checking out"... NOLF is on the list, as is
    Undying, Aliens vs. Predator, Elite Force, and Blade of
    Darkness.

    I have a copy of NOLF that I'm probably going to try today. I'll let you know what I think :)

    - Kodiak

  • edited December 1969
    [b]keep us updated ;)[/b]

    [quote]
    I have a copy of NOLF that I'm probably going to try today. I'll
    let you know what I think :)

    - Kodiak

    [/quote]
    if you ever get bored and want to try some older pc games that you may have missed out on, be sure to check out www.theunderdogs.org. they have tons of great abandonware titles there... great site. bookmark it =)

    let us know what you think of NOLF =)

    ~Blackbeard
  • edited December 1969
    Re: also!

    NOLF is great fun, at least I enjoyed it for the most part. I got around 20 hours or so out of it before I stopped playing. Maybe twice the playing time I got out of Serious Sam, for example, and I damn near finished SS. (I have a problem finishing most FPS games...)


  • edited December 1969
    System Shock 2 so far...

    I started playing it over the weekend. Not sure when I'm going to be able to get back to it so here are my impressions so far.

    First, it is of course a WHOLE LOT LIKE Deus Ex, since it's a sequel to the game that Warren Spector did before Deus Ex (I think). The interface is very similar, and the gameplay mechanics match up in a lot of spots... I'll get back to that.

    And since at least one of the leads on SS2 was a primary designer on Thief, there are some similarities there as well. The AI of the monsters, how they patrol and react to sounds, is dead-on straight out of Thief. Unfortunately the mocap-based animations and the model quality are straight out of Thief too. :-) Not that bad, but probably the low point of the game visually. The game is pretty damn creepy -- great sound work and some atmospheric design -- but it would be even scarier if the creatures were put together better. The creature design is neat, the implementation just lacks a bit.

    So anyway, here's how I would compare it to DE so far. I think I'm about 10 hours into it (not counting time wasted on reloads) and I think I'm probably around halfway through, though that's just a wild guess.

    - SS2 has more opportunity for customizing your character. There's like 10 skills, 5 stats, a couple dozen psionic abilities, special "OS Upgrades" for your cyberware, various software modules, and implants. One effect of this embarrassment of choices is that not every customization decision seems earthshakingly important... it's more like flavoring your character. On the other hand that makes for more abilities that you will definitely miss out on, at least the first time through. E.g. my guy is totally psionically incapable, and it's kind of a shame I can't play with any of those effects.

    - The routine for choosing your initial skillset is much cooler than in Deus Ex. You choose a "branch of the service" to enlist in, which then influences which "tours of duty" are available to you. You get to pick from between three different job assignments which will give you different skills, and you do that three times. The whole thing is presented nicely with you walking to the shuttle for your job assignment, and a summary of what happened over the course of that job. Then your fourth tour of duty is where the game begins.

    - Pretty much you're going to have to fight. I've got a significant amount of investment in customizing my character as a hax0r but I have seen very very few instances where that would actually help avoid confrontation altogether. The only real alternative to fighting would I guess be "cowardizing" your character... invest in agility and use speed mods. :-) Run away! I suppose you could try to just sneak past everyone, but since the environs are pretty cramped compared to the maps in Thief, I didn't want to try. IMO the customization aspect is really mostly about how you're going to kill the baddies, not if. This is a 180 from how I played Deus Ex (Mr. Non Lethal). On the upside, all the bad guys definitely need killing in this game.

    - So far all previously visited areas are still available for re-visiting. Kinda nice if I'm starting out a new level and I decide I want to go back to a previous level where I know how to find a recharge station or a surgical table. However it does seem impossible to complete clean out a level... there must be some occasional "random monster" spawning.

    - You're on a spaceship where Something Terrible Has Happened... so everything (so far) is spaceship interior. While there's some variety in this, it's not nearly as much variety as in the Deus Ex locales. I'm guessing that I'm about to enter a significantly different area in the next level or two, but SS2 won't be able to catch DE in this respect. Oh BTW there are lots and lots of crates. :-) In fact rather early on there's an extensive warehouse ("cargo bay"), doh! Other than that though I personally don't mind digging through crates to get goodies. It's like Christmas!

    - There's no NPC interaction. Because they're all dead! Instead you come across lots and lots of audio memos and voice mails that gradually spell out the story as well as telegraph things to watch out for in the immediate vicinity. These are almost all done quite well... it's just very different from the mostly lived-in world of DE. Actually there is one NPC who is communicating with you remotely from elsewhere on the ship, from the start of the game, as a guide of sorts.

    - You get a nice automapper and even the option to have the local area map displayed on an inset while you are walking around. A lifesaver, especially since you can mark and label spots on the big map. (Since everything is persistent, you know stuff will be there if/when you want to come back for it.) Also you've got a PDA that keeps track of your goals and all the messages you received, like in DE.

    - There are fewer weapons than in DE. Many different items besides weapons too... not sure how the item quantity compares overall. Some weapons or items require you to be pretty maxed out in a skill to use them, so it doesn't pay to diversify too much. Oh, one kind of annoying thing about weapons is that you have to maintain them or they break. And you need a special one-shot item to do the maintenance. I'm playing on "Hard" and I haven't broken a weapon yet, so I guess this is balanced well, and it does keep you from relying on one weapon too much (but then ammo availability can do that as well). I dunno, just seems odd. Finding a "perfect condition" pistol is like a cause for major celebration. :-) Make sure you put a few points into your maintenance skill.

    --

    So anyway, good so far, and similar to DE. I suppose it's possible the game could just tank dramatically in the last half, but even if it does it was worth the price. Anyone who wants more gameplay like DE would be crazy not to pick this up if you come across the bargain-basement-priced Classics version.

  • edited December 1969
    Win2k

    Aby ideas how System Shock and NOLF run on Win2k? Is there anywhere I can find out?

    I haven't installed Win98 on my new gaming PC yet (mainly cos it doesn't support the Dual Procs as well) and I'd rather not have to if I can avoid it.


  • edited December 1969
    [b]Re: Win2k[/b]

    [quote]
    Aby ideas how System Shock and NOLF run on Win2k? Is there
    anywhere I can find out?

    [/quote]
    Dunno... I think SS2 is _supposed_ to run on Win2k, cf. this: http://www.irrationalgames.com/shock2/faq.cfm#2.2

    I did a quick Google and found a PCReview article from March of last year that says "Games that refuse to run include System Shock 2 and Alpha Centauri." But maybe they didn't read the FAQ. :-)

    --

    Actually, I just did another search on Google, this time in the newsgroups. There seem to be a lot of people asking that question about SS2. And a lot of people telling them to read the FAQ, or upgrade their Win2k install, or get the latest drivers, or make sure that their SS2 is patched. (If you get the Classics version of SS2 it is "pre-patched" for you.)

    Soooo... I dunno. There are success stories about running the game anyway, so it's not impossible.

    Also ran across a mention of ntcompatible.com. For System Shock 2 and Win2k it says:

    Received the follow messages:
    1)To install System Shock 2 on your Windows 2000 system, you will need to run the following command (from a DOS window or using the Run Program command): Setup -lgntforce also you need the patch from http://www.lglass.com/cs/shkpatch.exe to fix the incompatibility with the SafeDisk copy protection and the OS.
    2) Fails to work under Matrox G200 cards due to driver bug. (Even after patch.) Game installs fine, but exits out with a black screen and then an error message from SS2 -- "YOUR VIDEO HARDWARE IS NOT SUPPORTED BY SYSTEM SHOCK 2" Thief 1 & 2, also by Looking Glass, have problems with the driver. Matrox is aware of the bug it will hopefully be fixed in the next driver revision. http://forum.matrox.com/mgaforum/Forum10/HTML/000644.html
    3) I tried the sugguestions noted but the game hangs once I get into a mission. No clue if its 2000 related, or hardware related. Have dual 800 PIII's, 128 rdram, geforce2 gts, sb x-gamer, both with latest drivers.
    4) If you have dual CPUs, you need to start the game, then set the affinity to only one CPU in task manager. With affinity set to both CPUs, SS2 will crash.
    5) If installed using "setup.exe -lgntforce" (no quote marks) and the patch is installed then it should work fine.
    And for NOLF:

    Received the follow messages:
    1) Works fine
    2) bad: lots of video banding on almost all high resolutions under win2k pro sp1 geforce 2 gts..guess we wait for a patch from Monolith to fix
    3) won't run at all under win2k pro sp1 gf2gts, even with the new patch..tried 2 clean installs of win2k sp1 but game still will not run...just hangs the sytem, needing a hard reboot
    4) Installs, loads and plays fine! Probably the best single-player game since Half-Life!! Game is patched. Athlon, Voodoo3, Win2K SP1
    5) previous problems with nolf (problems 1 and 2) fixed by installing sp2...runs great now
  • edited December 1969
    No One Lives Forever, my thoughts

    This isn't about compatability with Win2K, as I run 98, just a comment about the game.

    Basically, it's a blast. The combat is a lot like in Deus Ex, in that it's not Quake/Quake2/Unreal/... you don't just run around shooting things where the test is who (in this case, you or the AI) has better reflexes. Now, I'm not knocking reflex based games, particularly as I tend to do well at them, but I like more strategic first person shooters as well.

    The levels are very well designed, both in terms of flow and in terms of visual impact. The weapon models and effects are very nice, though not best in class. The character models are decent, though somewhat blocky; they try to make it up in texture detail but I could stand for the models to look better, but they're good enough to not detract from the gameplay (I'm looking in your direction, Thief).

    Particularly good is the sounds. Combined with tracers on some of the weapons, the effect of hearing bullets fly past you, with impact sounds matching the material they hit, is truly great. I've run along a concrete path and then through a metal door, and you can easily hear the change when the enemy sweeps their fire along the path and then up onto the door. Add in the sparks when bullets impact metal and the experience is very solid.

    The game it reminds me of the most is probably GoldenEye on the N64, except I get to use the superior keyboard and mouse controls.

    Speaking of computer games, does anyone have any first hand experience with Max Payne? It sounds compelling, and if it lives up to the hype I could imagine picking it up once I finish off NOLF.

    - Kodiak
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