Absolver

I recently ran into the Absolver game trailer and I was immediately attracted to it.  Being a martial arts and PC gaming enthusiast, it was simply natural to like the game.

I’ve never played it, but have seen videos of it.  It is due to be released at the end of August 2017.  You can pre-order it on STEAM at a 10% discount.  I’ve never pre-ordered any PC game before.  This was the first for me.  In two weeks, I shall have access to it.

Here’s the funny thing.  Just a few days ago, I binged watch on Netflix the series “The Legend of Bruce Lee.”  After watching that I thought, why not try to apply Bruce Lee’s fighting mindset called Jeet Kun Do to this game.  Then I can start a clan of Absolver Jeet Kun Do practitioners in that virtual world.

I’ll soon see.  By the way, check out the Absolver official web site.

 

I was just watching some information about some advanced topics on Minecraft command blocks.  I saw a Youtube video where the item IDs where showing up as additional information in inventory tooltip.

I did some searching and all you have to do is press F3 and H at the same time.

There have been many first person shooters that try to simulate the military experience like these console and PC gems:

  1. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
  2. Battlefied
  3. Counter-strike
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  5. Call of Duty:  Modern Warfare

In these games, teams have no pre-designated functions or hierarchy .  The playing field is very small, and there really is no combined arms that is integrated well in the game.  The closest thing these games have to simulating the military experience is the chaotic way things happen in the game. These games are also characterized by very fast paced action where the person with the most hand and finger dexterity, as well as game experience, generally dominantes the game.  The best one I’ve seen that come close to a good military simulation is the free FPS created for the US Army called America’s Army.

None of these come close to ARMA 3.  What makes ARMA 3 especially unique and realistic in terms of the player’s experience are these two main things:

  • Modding community support (e.g. through Steam and Armaholics)
  • More mature military simulation gamers (in public games and in clans)

This trailer from Bohemia Interactive (maker and producer of the game) gives you a good taste for the game’s military immersion:

Below is a short gaming session so you can get a feel for the military immersion.  Warning:  the audio below has some 4 letter words sprinkled in there.  Just be aware.

It is very easy to put in several hours in one session.  The players in the game can talk to each other via the built in voice over IP communication or via chat.

I just joined a clan recently and I’m seeing more and more of this game’s potential–more than what the videos above show.  I may write more about this at a later time.

If you have any opinion about this game, please feel free to share.

XCOM 2 Custom Character

XCOM 2 Custom Character

XCOM 2 was recently released and is generating a lot of interest on the web.  The interest comes not from the mods produced for it, but from the ability of players to create their own custom pool of soldier recruits.  This seemingly small feature adds an interesting twist to the game.  Already various content providers have created their custom pool of recruits.  One such example is PC Gamer magazine with their best custom set of XCOM 2 characters.  Check out some celebrity names you should easily recognize.

To install the binary files, simply copy the downloaded binary and move them to C:\Users\yourLoginNameGoesHere\Documents\My Games\XCOM2\XComGame\CharacterPool\Importable.  From there, the custom recruits will become visible from XCOM 2’s Character Pool’s Import Character tab.  There you can open the pool, select the characters you want, then click the import button.

By the way, I created 4 characters of my own and was able to export them to a .bin file.  This file ends up in the same location as the binary files you can import.  Here’s a mission I played that included one the custom characters.

If you enjoy playing games of thinking strategy, you will like XCOM 2.  It is definitely challenging.  You can buy it on Amazon for just about $60.

 

I’ve been looking for a nice but cost effective gaming laptop for some time now.  After over a month of searching, I found  the ASUS ROG G751JL-DS71 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop which my wife purchased for me at Amazon.com.  At the time of purchase, the unit cost $1199.  For this price I got an awesome ASUS gaming laptop with the following specs:

  • 17.3″ display screen
  • 1TB of 7400 RPM hard disk drive
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Intel i7 processor
  • NVIDIA 965M with 2GB of video RAM

At the time of this writing, I’ve had the laptop for a period of over one month.  To date, I’ve used it to play awesome games like Guild Wars 2, The Witcher: Wild Hunt, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Minecraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.  My experience with the unit and the games has been great to say the least.

The laptop performed extremely well.  Specifically, I didn’t perceive any lag in any of the games I’ve played.  Even with the graphics settings set to maximum, the laptop ran and displayed the games smoothly.  In addition, the fast 7400 RPM 1TB hard disk drive really showed off ASUS ROG G751JS’s speed in terms of boot time.  I could really perceive its fast boot speed having used a solid state drive on a work laptop.

I could easily run a benchmark test on the unit, but my own senses really could really tell that this unit is a computing and gaming workhorse.  At the price my wife purchased this for, $1199 is well worth the price.  Depending on supply and demand, the price for this awesome gaming laptop could go up or down.

I highly recommend this laptop, especially if you are looking for a cost effective entry level gaming laptop.  Note that the only “entry level” about this laptop is its price.

If you have the same laptop, please share your experience by commenting below.

ViewHD 2 Port 1x2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter

ViewHD 2 Port 1×2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter

Recently I encountered a problem with trying to do a video capture of a game I was playing on an Android device.  The device in question happens to  be a RCA tablet, and I was using an Elgato Game Capture HD device.

On the Elgato game capture program I noticed that although the signal was being detected, it wasn’t showing the screen.  It stated something about disabling HDCP in order for it to work.  Upon doing some Internet research, I discovered that HDCP–which stands for high-bandwidth digital content protection–was a content protection scheme implemented on connection like the one I was working on.

I thought that I just wasted about $7 buying this HDMI A type (standard size) to C type (mini size) cable (a BlueRigger high speed mini HDMI to HDMI cable, 6 ft — http://amzn.to/1dDQ4Y8) because the connection is blocked by this HDCP protection scheme.

Upon doing a bit of checking around on the web, I found that purchasing a certain HDMI splitter can get around the issue.  I found the ViewHD 2 Port 1×2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter (http://amzn.to/1KDlloV) for about $24.  I received and tried it, and low and behold, I can do video screen capture!  Problem solved.

Several years ago, I purchased a XBOX 360. I opted for the XBOX 360 4GB because of price. I thought that 4GB was enough. But with the massive growth in size of software applications as a result of storage price going down, some new games that came out for the XBOX 360, especially in 2014, will only work on XBOX 360 models that have a built-in hard disk drive. Destiny is such a game.

After some serious searching on Amazon.com, I found the perfect drive–a generic 500GB hard disk drive designed for the XBOX 360 slim form factor model.

The drive came in within 2 days.

The most challenging aspect of installing the drive was figuring out how to open the bottom of the XBOX 360 case.  I did a search on youtube.com and found a video that showed me how to open it.  As it turns out, no tools are required–just your finger to pull a latch, then pry the cover open.

Once the drive bay is open, just push the new drive in until you feel that it has snapped in.

When you turn the XBOX 360 ON, go to the SYSTEM settings and look at the storage section.  If everything worked out, XBOX 360 will detect the hard disk drive and will make it available for storage.

Above is an example Multiplayer Minecraft Survival Game

You’ve heard about Minecraft, right?  It, or its lightweight version–Minecraft PE–is probably the top selling app on iPhone and Android phones.  It is quickly reviving the PC game market since its full capabilities are only available on PC/MAC versions.  There are some 14,000,0000 copies of the PC/MAC version out there!  That is certainly a lot of customers.

Anyway, it’s sort of difficult to describe what it is.  But… It has two game modes–creative and survival.

In creative mode, you–your character, that is–can build anything to your heart’s content.  Building is based on blocks or objects which can be built on blocks.  You could say that it is a 3D editor, in this regard, but its resolution is limited to its block-object oriented paradigm.

In survival mode, your character has to survive the dangers of the Minecraft world.  At night, or in the dark, monsters appear and attack.  Aside from these supernatural dangers, your character can also die from natural means–like drowning, burning, falling, or starvation.

Here’s the interesting thing in survival mode.  Minecraft has a built-in motivation for players in survival mode to do things by using the same natural instincts we have in true life–like hunger and fear of death.  For example, if you simply decide you wish to explore the beautiful surroundings of a Minecraft world, you will soon find out that day light turns to night.  When darkness comes, monsters spawn and attack.  If for some reason you get lucky and survive the night, your hunger meter will eventually drop down to nothing, and your life meter will dwindle down to nothing.  At this point, your character dies. What an awesome natural way to motivate a player to survive!

This same driving force will help the player get motivated to create tools to help with survival.  With tools, a player can mine resources like wood, stone, and various ores.  With resources, a player can build better tools and weapons.  With better tools and weapons, a player can create armor, more tools, farm, and even tracks and mining carts! At some point, a player can get certain resources which allows him to build powered mechanics to allow automated farming, doors, lights, and so forth.

Once a player has mastered the basics of survival, he can then start challenging himself by entering “hell”, also called “the nether.”  The nether is a barren hellish like underworld where there is an eerie athmosphere.  In higher game difficulties, the nether becomes inhabited by stronger and more dangerous monsters.  The surrounding is also filled with danger because there is no water there.  However, there is plenty of lava. An advanced player can learn to enchant his tools, giving him higher level of attack and defensive power–even the ability to swim in lava.  At this level, a player can learn to find his way to “the end” where he will face the big boss–“the ender dragon.”  Once at “the end” he cannot leave until he has defeated the ender dragon, or he dies and respawns in the overworld.

This is pretty much the rough path for player advancement in single player Minecraft.  But guess what?  Minecraft has a multiplayer capability. It is in the multiplayer capability where gamers have flocked.  Imagine playing survival mode in multiplayer Minecraft?  In this mode, players can fight against other players.  The demand for this kind of play has grown so much that Minecraft server hosting has become big business.  Many players have built their own servers so that they can have many other players play along with them in survival mode. Someone even created a survival modifications that mimic the “Hunger Games” type of fighting.  If you look and check around for hosted Minecraft servers, many of them have some version of “Hunger Games” running on them.  There are even ones that boast having over 500 players!

If you did a search on YouTube using “minecraft survival” as search terms, you will see many videos of people playing Minecraft Hunger games. It is amazing how this game has evolved.

I never really paid much attention to it until one time my curiosity got the most of me, and now I find myself playing it more often than some of our electronic-based entertainment systems or games. Today, I have all versions of the game:

  1. PC version from minecraft.net (buy direct form their site)
  2. Minecraft Pocket Edition (takes you to Amazon.com, just in case you decide you too wish to buy it)
  3. Minecraft Xbox 360 (takes you to Amazon.com, just in case you decide you too wish to buy it)

What has been your experience with Minecraft?  Comment below.

Traditional Radio

Traditional Radio (credit: zirconicusso from www.freedigitalphotos.net)

During the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, FM and AM radios were prevalent.  People used them regularly to listen to music.  There were many type of radio stations–with each station specializing on a genre of music.  People used to turn to radio stations for their preferred music.  If you were within reception range of  your type of music, you are in luck.    This means you can listen to music you like.  However, if you only had a couple of radio stations within reach, more likely than not, it  wasn’t your type of music, and probably had to purchase a few albums or CDs to listen to your favorites.

I was one of the lucky ones, but I was at the mercy of the radio station’s programming.

Fast forward to 2012.  Today people listen to their music everywhere!  Thanks to a development called MP3 player which were later popularized by Apple through their line of iPod devices.  Of course this is still not the same.  You still had to purchase music, thought not as expensive as before.

I too own an iPod player–specifically an iPod Nano.  I use it to listen to podcasts and music during my long runs.  That’s not quite the same radio experience though where everyone in the room can hear the type of music they enjoy from various artists they like without first purchasing the music.

Just last year, I realized what had replaced the radio in my life–Internet radio, specifically through services like Pandora.com.  What makes this experience similar to a radio is the emergence of tablet computers.  I know you can do this through laptops, but that seems overkill.  With tablet computers, you can play the type of music you like simply by having an account with Pandora.com and entering the name of the artist or song you like.  From there, Pandora does the rest.  You can even  fine tune it to the point where you click the thumbs up or thumbs down button in Pandora to help it determine your music preferences.

I started using my tablet computer like a radio last year just after Thanksgiving.  We used to tune into a radio station which played Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving, all the way to Christmas.  They played it 24×7.  A few months earlier my wife bought me a tablet computer, and I decided to use Pandora.com to play the music she liked to hear.  From that point on, we were hooked.

Today and on most weekends, I use my tablet computer to play a certain kind of music that everyone in the family likes.  I leave it on during lunch while everyone enjoys their meal.  The beauty of using the tablet computer as a radio is its battery life.  My tablet can run for over 8 hours without a recharge!  It is certainly better than a laptop computer.

Bottom line is that the traditional radio is obsolete, especially for playing music in the house.  In my house, the radio has transformed into Internet radio on a tablet computer.