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Always outnumbered. Probably always outgunned, too.

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Joined 01/23/2012
Phantasm 4

360 Posts

You may have seen from the Christmas loot thread that I got a Steam Controller this Christmas. I'd been wanting to try one for a long time, and I'm happy to say it was worth the wait.

The Hardware
I'm sure you've all seen the specs so I won't go into detail, but here's a quick breakdown of the new features-- The left d-pad and right thumb stick present on most controllers have been replaced by clickable touchpads. The left one has an indented plus so your fingers can easily find the direction you need if you're using it for movement. In addition to the left and right shoulder and trigger buttons, there are also grip buttons that you press with your ring/pinky fingers. The trigger buttons are two-stage, meaning that there's a catch right before the end, so you can use one trigger to aim and fire, for example. There's also a gyro that typically seems to be used for fine-tuning aiming, but you can use it for whatever you want (even Wiimote emulation for Dolphin). The pads, stick, and gyro can all be configured with haptic feedback, which I find helps significantly.

The first thing I noticed when seeing it in person is that it looks kinda big. Luckily, though, even with my fairly medium-sized hands, it felt great, and all the buttons and pads are easily accessible. I've seen people complain that it feels cheap, but I don't see that at all. The face buttons are in a slightly awkward position that takes a few minutes to get used to, but that's a minor complaint. Also, I wish the thumb stick was concave like the 360 controller, but I haven't had that negatively impact my gaming.

One thing that I haven't had time to discover myself is battery life. It takes two AA batteries, and from what I've seen in other reviews, they last around 6 weeks of heavy play. Of course, you can also go wired and bypass the batteries altogether.

The Software
The controller can emulate an xinput controller (like the 360 controller) and a keyboard and mouse. Notably, it can do this simultaneously, so your A button can be mapped to a 360 A button, and your X button can be mapped to a keyboard's E key, for example. Steam's Big Picture mode (but not normal mode, unfortunately) has menus to configure the controller, and you can configure a control scheme for each game. Some games that don't allow remapping in-game, so this is a godsend. Some developers have provided official recommended mappings, but that doesn't mean it will be the best. The major strength (and possibly a weakness, more on that later) is community configs. You can share your configs with the world, and when you're browsing them, the most popular ones rise to the top.

And of course, you can get very detailed with your configs. The grip buttons add a new level of customization, letting you map controls directly to them or use them as mode switchers, so for example, the face buttons do four things in normal mode, but when you hold in the right grip they do four different things. Using a combination of those, and the ability to map two different controls (like aiming and firing) to the triggers, I find myself playing nearly every game without touching the face buttons.

You can change so many options, so I won't go into them all, but you can set the emulation mode for the right pad and tweak the sensitivity and various other options to make it feel just right. I've done almost all my fine tuning on the right pad.

So you want to hear how it plays, right? 90% of the time, it's my favorite controller. I'm not saying I'll give up mouse and keyboard for some games, but I'll rarely use the 360 controller. Here's how it fared in the games I tested with:

Portal 2
I suggest this game to people who are new to FPS games, or people who are switching from PC to console or vice versa. It's FP without the S, really, so you rarely experience twitch gameplay and it gives you time to get your bearings, so you can ease into new, unfamiliar control schemes without getting swarmed by zombies. So it seemed like the obvious choice. I was amazed at how natural it felt. The grips mapped to use and jump means never moving your thumbs away from the stick/pad, and the right trackpad just worked. I was far more precise than I have ever been with typical console controllers after only a few minutes. My wife has always had issues with first person games on a controller, but I handed it to her and she immediately felt more comfortable with the Steam Controller.

Fallout 4
Again, everything just worked as you'd expect. One limitation in how much you can configure the controller is that Bethesda games don't allow keyboard and controller inputs at the same time, unlike most other modern games. So for configuring the controller you have to go all-controller input or all-keyboard-and-mouse input. This isn't a HUGE issue for this game, but it could be better if Bethesda allowed that. Since Fallout 4 isn't a FPS, it's an RPG with FPS elements, there are far more controls to be mapped for this one. Some Bethesda-provided flexibility would be welcome. Still, I had no issues playing it.

System Shock 2
I read that Night Dive Studios, who recently updated the game for modern systems, made an official config for SS2, so I had to see what it was all about. It's GREAT. It's like they had the Steam Controller in mind when they first developed the game. Using the gyro to lean felt natural, and inventory management was simple, while keeping the FPS controls solid. Kudos to Night Dive for this amazing config!

Other first-person games
Rather than spelling them all out, I wanted to highlight the ones that needed highlighting. I also played Half-Life 2, Doom 3 BFG edition, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Jedi Outcast, Quake II, and Serious Sam. They all worked amazingly with varying levels of configuration. The takeaway here is that whether games were built with controller support or not, they can still shine with the Steam controller.

Shovel Knight, Rayman Origins, and Super Meat Boy
I wanted to try some 2D games, using the stick and the left pad to move, and I found that after a few minutes to acclimate, these games are better when using the pad for movement. That's definitely a personal thing, so your experience may be different. This felt at least on-par with the 360 controller, maybe slightly edging it out.

Burnout Paradise
I tried this to see how the triggers fared for racing games. There's just enough resistance, and you can map acceleration to the initial trigger pull, and boost to full click, which feels natural.

Batman: Arkham City and Assassin's Creed 4
Third-person games are where I start to have some issues. I could never get the right pad to adjust the camera in a way that felt natural, but that could be a matter of finding the right config or tweaking it just right.

Civilization V
Hey scrypt, I finally played this! You were right, it's amazing. And using a Steam controller feels like they baked in controller support. I wouldn't want to use a controller for a real-time strategy game where fast movements are necessary, but for turn-based, it's nice.

Wow! This seems so odd, but it works so well. The mouse is on the right pad with everything else feeling like a normal controller layout. The official controller config from Re-Logic works beautifully. I actually found some things easier. I imagine when I play this in the future I'll swap back and forth between the Steam Controller and my keyboard/mouse.

Torchlight II
You'd never know this game didn't have controller support built in. Modifying the most popular community config a bit got me an amazing control scheme that feels better than ARPG controls I've experienced on console (like Diablo III on PS3).

Starship Rubicon
We're on Cheerful Ghost here, so what's a controller review without reviewing a game CG published? The Steam controller shines here. I've messed around with two different control schemes to emulate the normal controls, and to simulate a more standard twin-stick shooter, and both work very well.

Guild Wars 2
I wanted to get in an MMO and I'm most familiar with GW2. There are some good configs that players have shared, and with a little tweaking it feels really natural. I didn't feel like I was missing out on functionality, BUT I imagine it would be annoying if you were trying to chat with people. It will work for you, but can't really replace KB/M.

In closing...
In short, it's great. Fantastic, even. For most games, it's my favorite controller. But its strengths are also its weaknesses. The community configurations give people a place to jump off easily and get a layout that has been vetted by others, but it still comes out sub-optimal many times, requiring some tweaking. The level of configurability is great, and they're adding more every day, but the options are not always obvious and people may not want to put in time to configure a controller.

The reviews speak to that. Early reviews were a little rough, but reviewers that took more time to dig into the controller consistently gave it higher reviews. Engadget had an article about this that's worth a read, that the reason people disliked it is just because it takes some time. http://www.engadget.com/2015/11/10/we-hate-valve-steam-controller-because-its-different/

So from here on, its success really depends on how Valve can handle things. Balancing ease of use with fine tuning, familiarity with unfamiliarity. Will gamers put in the time to get used to it? Is the target demographic of Steam's living room push one that will welcome a controller that may need some tweaking?

I hope so, because I love this thing and I want it to succeed.

Hat tip to woodsie, a youtuber that has a lot of great info. I recommend these videos to anyone getting started. The videos are short, informative, and fun. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDarkAlly/videos

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Here's hoping everyone had an amazing Christmas with lots of great family, friends, and food.

And, of course, swag. What was your gaming/geeky haul this year?

I'm not quite done (second family Christmas tomorrow) but on the category of things this crowd would be interested in, I got this badass Fallout Vault Dweller's Orientation Kit https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/irmp/

And this shirt, which is my first Star Wars wearable. http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/mens-star-wars-x-wing-strike-t-shirt-by-jem?ID=2500713

Also I got some gift cards, and I'm going to buy a Steam Controller with some of the money from them.

I hope it was fun for everyone, and I hope the last few days of your years are awesome!

EDIT: No need to buy a Steam Controller, I got one! We also got a Darth Vader toaster that prints the Star Wars logo on bread. That's a weird, but fun one. :D

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Note: There will be spoilers later in the post. They will be clearly marked, and below the cutoff for the front page, so you'll have to hit "Read all" to see them.

37 days since release.
156 hours on one single character.
Level 82.
All pre-ending quests completed.
All map locations discovered.
All bobbleheads.
All skill magazines.
All endings (each ending is only about an hour of different quests after the point where you start alienating the others).
All settlements unlocked, populated, and supplied. A few built up to over 20 settlers with a ton for them to do.
All companions at maximum affinity.
50/50 achievements.

You might say I kinda like the game.

I'm not even done with this character. There are more quests that unlock after the endings, which I plan to do. I just felt comfortable actually writing a review now.

I'll give my summary up top since there will be spoilers toward the end: In brief, Fallout 4 is incredible. What it lacks in player choice, it makes up for with great mechanics, the amazing world to explore that you'll be expecting from a Bethesda game, ramped up significantly thanks to the better graphics, and far fewer bugs. The world they've build is their best ever. Everything just melds together in ways Bethesda has yet to achieve, and the world tells its own story. It's a bit of a bummer that you aren't making the biggest choices in the world anymore, and the endings all kinda suck a big, but the actual experience may be better than previous games. It isn't perfect, but it stands with the rest as a great entry to the series, and improves on things in so many ways that it may be hard to play the older entries in the series.

First, let's address a few complaints. People were complaining around launch about the graphics. Sure, this doesn't look as amazing as some current-gen games, but for a massive, open-world RPG, they're honestly pretty good. And most people really don't play this kind of game for the graphics. Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and even Skyrim didn't look as good as the games that came out around the same time, but that didn't change the enjoyment at all. I thought the graphics were nice, anyway.

People have also been complaining about the lack of real choices in the game's dialogue. And on this point, they're spot on. When someone asks you to do a quest for example, you can choose a positive yes, a sarcastic yes, a "yes but what is that" option, or "no," but they give you the quest anyway. There are barely any quests that affect others until the final hours of the main faction quests. The ability to play it how you want it has been dialed way back for Fallout 4. I'm not necessarily saying that's objectively bad, but it is what it is.

But for me, Bethesda games are fun because of the world you're in, and on this point the game truly shines. The radio is back with some old favorites from Fallout 3 and some new era-appropriate tracks, and the radio helps set the mood for the game better than most other factors, BUT you should also turn the radio off and listen to the score from time to time. The tracks for different locations are amazing.

Because it's Bethesda, you'll see things spread throughout the world that tell stories without telling them. Like a hole in the side of a bank with two skeletons, a sack full of money, and some scattered pre-war money on the ground-- you can see from this little scene that some people tried to loot the bank in the aftermath of the bombs dropping, and failed. They also, of course, have little funny things spread about. This time the running gag was teddy bears. You can find a teddy bear on the toilet who is wearing glasses and reading the Boston Bugle, one's wearing a driver's cap and sitting behind the wheel of a bus, and so on. The attention to detail in the world design is what I love most about these games. They feel lived in, destroyed, and lived in again. 156 hours and I still haven't seen it all. I've visited every marked location, sure, but there's so much to see in between the map markers.

In short, player choice may be dialed back significantly, but the sheer amount of things to see makes the replay value high, and makes the game as fun as it is.

The big new mechanic in Fallout 4 is settlement building. In Fallout 3, it was common to see something and think "I wish I could fix this place up and live here." Well, now you can, to a point. There are 30 settlements you can unlock to build up, populate, and defend. I picked Red Rocket as the base for me and all my companions (as seen in the pic above). The building mechanic is fun, but often frustrating, and I hope Bethesda patches some of the annoyances.

(for more funny things in the world and more Red Rocket building pics: https://imgur.com/a/PkGBo)

You're ostensibly unlocking these settlements for the Minutemen. Preston Garvey gives you quests to unlock settlements and go help out when they have issues. And he just. doesn't. stop. This is one of my biggest complaints. If you're in earshot of Preston, you're going to get these quests, and you only have so long to do them before they auto-fail. A mod to shut him up would be nice.

Preston is also one of many companions you can have on your journey, and the antiquated karma system has been replaced by companion affinity. If you're with a shady mercenary, they'll like it when you steal, but an upstanding reporter may not. This also helps you feel more attached to the companions. The more they like you, the more they'll confide in you, and they each give you a unique perk for maxing out their affinity. Cait, McCready, Curie, and Nick all have quests to complete before you max their affinity, and they are some of the best quests in the game, especially Nick's.

And Nick is a great example of how much improved the characters in this game are. You won't hear things over and over again, at least not as much as "Patrolling the Mojave," and "Arrow to the knee" in previous games on Bethesda's engine. The voice actors are more varied, and better, and make the world gel together. Lynda Carter (yes, Wonder Woman herself) is back, of course, since she's married to Robert Altman, the president of Zenimax. And she's come a long way since Mazoga the Orc in Oblivion. She plays Magnolia, a lounge singer in Goodneighbor, and she can really sing! You'll hear a few of her songs on the radio after you've visited Goodneighbor and spoken with her.

Here come the spoilers
My biggest problems with the game came toward the end of the story. None of the endings feel incredibly impactful. You find that the Institute not only took your child, but that he's now in his 60's, running the Institute, and wants you to take over. You may have already been doing things for the Minutemen, the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Railroad before this, and it's no surprise that these are the four factions you can finish the game with. So your choices:
  • Keep working with the Institute, who's pretty obviously doing terrible things to people, while claiming it's for the greater good. To do this you have to wipe out the Brotherhood and Railroad who are trying to take the Institute down.

  • Go to the Brotherhood, who wants to wipe out every synth (the Institute) and anyone who would help synths (the Railroad), even though that means killing hundreds of innocents. No, ladies and gents, this is not the same Brotherhood you knew from Fallout 3. This is old-school, purify the world Brotherhood. Elder Lyons is long dead, and his influence has ended. But you get to re-use Liberty Prime from Fallout 3, and in this ending I realized that no faction should ever possess anything like Liberty Prime.

  • Go to the Railroad, who wants you to wipe out the Brotherhood for being bigots and the Institute for imprisoning synths, even though that means killing hundreds of innocents.

  • Go to the Minutemen, who want as many innocents to be freed as possible while you take down the Institute. You can also free some synths this way, and keep working with everyone but the Institute after the game is over. But the Minutemen have NO character whatsoever. They're the most boring faction in any of the Fallout games.

So ultimately there's no satisfying ending. All the factions are flawed to the point of being unlikeable, some more than others. I'd say I prefer the Railroad to the others, for various reasons, but their ending needlessly wipes out a faction that could be helped to turn around.

And this comes back to the player choice issue-- in Fallout: New Vegas, for instance, there were many warring factions, and you could negotiate alliances between some of them. Not so in Fallout 4. There are four paths you must take, with no variance.


Still, complaints aside, this game is one of my favorites of all time. I'll play it again, and love it even with its flaws. Anyone who likes massive open-world RPGs should check it out, but be prepared for some of the RPG feel to have been taken out.

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Shadow Complex, released back in August of 2009 for the XBox 360, has been remastered for it's re-release on modern consoles, and you can get it for free on PC for the next few weeks.

And you should. This is the best Metroidvania game I've played that isn't Metroid or Castlevania, and it's written by Orson Scott Card.


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Here it is, the big one!

This one gives a lot of plot information that we haven't gotten before. It looks like everyone's speculations have been proven right, and a large portion of the main plot will revolve around The Institute (MIT, most likely) and their synthetic people.

Fallout 3 had a questline that introduced us to the Institute and we met a synth, and depending on our characters we helped or harmed their mission. A year or two later, people spotted some Bethesda employees taking pictures around Boston and assumed that Fallout 4 would heavily involve The Institute, and boy were they right!

It's a common sci-fi trope to have a new class of people who are mistrusted and misunderstood be a metaphor for racism, homophobia, or other prejudices, but it's common because it's powerful.

I can't wait to get my hands on this!

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Blizzard is hiring a new Senior Software Engineer for classic games. Starcraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II will be optimized for new operating systems! Unfortunately, the even older titles aren't included in the list, but these three are amazing to see.


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We recently finished up another Cheerful Ghost Terraria server, and here's the bounty.

First, we did the fifth server in a normal world.

Then, we created a new world to try out Expert. Unfortunately I think we were getting burnt out on Terraria by then, so you can see that not much has been done in this world, but here it is if you'd like to play with it :D

But wait, there's more! For a limited time (by which I mean, however long this website exists) you can catch up on all the worlds you've missed with the Cheerful Ghost Terraria Server Megapack! If you've missed out on previous worlds, here they are in one zip file. They have all been updated to 1.3 compatibility so there shouldn't be any issues there. It's amazing to see how far we've come.

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Finally, we get to hear how much we need to pay to upgrade our rigs for Fallout 4!

And really, it's not that bad:

Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz or equivalent
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or equivalent

Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i7 4790 3.6 GHz/AMD FX-9590 4.7 GHz or equivalent
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB/AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB or equivalent

I'm finally nearing the "minimum" on new games, but at least I got this one!


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Andrew Spinks did an interview with PC Gamer recently and details what's to come for our favorite terrarium simulator. Even though he won't be directly involved from this point forward, as he's moving onto a new project and eventually Terraria 2, the future looks exciting.

First up, he shared that updates would come more frequently, and in smaller chunks, possibly including new mechanics and alternate biomes. This could be good or bad, depending on your preference, but it will keep the community more active for sure and add tons of replay value (as if there isn't already infinite replay value).

In addition, he said that in the future they'd like to add mod support and creative mode, but didn't confirm them as definite future additions to the game. Mod support would ensure the game could go on past what the developers want to put into the game.

When you consider that development ceased at one point, but then kicked back up with 1.2 and everything we've gotten since, it's really amazing to think that there could be this much coming in the future.

Read the full interview here: http://www.pcgamer.com/mod-support-and-more-frequent-updates-are-coming-to-terraria/

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I'm playing it again, I'm about 2 hours in. I need something else to play besides Terraria. This will be my third time starting it. Anything I should know going in? Anything you wish you knew when you started?

I'm playing as the female Shepherd and that's really helping. She's much better performed than the male Shep.

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I've been following this waiting for some news source I could properly cite before posting it, but there was a Steam exploit that messed with a lot of people, slowly trickling the last week, but coming to a head yesterday. Using a fake password recovery page, nefarious folks could get into your account and change your password, without ever sending you an email. If you had Steam Guard or Steam Mobile Authentication enabled, it would send you the email like it should, and the malicious users wouldn't get access to your account, but they WOULD lock you out of trading on your account for five days. In fact, I have no indication in my email about anyone trying to sign into my account, but I have a 5 day trade ban due to suspicious activity, so it seems I got bit myself.

It seems the biggest target was famous streamers on Twitch, but others got compromised or locked out as well.

Valve has fixed the exploit so it no longer works. It seems it was caused by some dev code being left in when moved to production.

This is a reminder that no security is perfect, humans are always the weak point, and you should always take any available security measures to protect your accounts. If you don't have Steam Guard enabled, or two-factor auth on your GMail account, etc, you're playing with fire. But even those aren't perfect. If some of the dev code in this case was related to what happens post-steam-guard, for instance, it's possible that they could have accessed accounts that use Steam Guard too. Thankfully, that didn't happen this time!


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The open beta for Linux and OSX is (almost) ready to go! Steam hasn't quite caught up, it seems some people are still having trouble installing it, but it's there.

For full info: http://forums.terraria.org/index.php?threads/terraria-1-3-0-7-mac-linux-open-beta.27418/

And to report bugs or provide feedback: http://forums.terraria.org/index.php?social-forums/official-terraria-mac-linux-open-beta-testing-feedback-group.690/

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In a MASSIVE update today, Aspyr has brought Knights of the Old Republic II to Mac and Linux, along with giving all versions a slew of features. It will support Steam Cloud, Achievements, and Steam Workshop mods, and the Restored Content mod will be available day 1; It comes with native widescreen support in resolutions up to 5k; and the big one... CONTROLLER SUPPORT. The keyboard/mouse controls really turned me off of these games, so it's good to see controller support, and from what I've heard the Restored Content mod makes the game infinitely better.

The game is 25% off in celebration of the new stuff.

Info here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/208580/

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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has sadly passed away today at age 55 due to bile duct complications. He's had heath issues over the past few years, but his death was still a surprise, as it didn't seem this bad to anyone.

Iwata gave Nintendo some of its best years, with the Wii and DS lines, and also some rocky ones with the Game Cube and Wii U, but his dedication to the company and his contribution to the industry is obvious.

Iwata started at Nintendo in the 80s, developing games like Earthbound, before becoming the fourth president of Nintendo in 2002.

A sad day indeed.

Nintendo press release: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2015/150713e.pdf

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OneDrop Yoyos, a high-end yoyo company out of Eugene, Oregon, is making a yoyo called The Terrarian, and it will match the look of the in-game yoyo by the same name. The Terrarian is the most badass of all the yoyos in the game, dropping from the final boss, and you can have it on your desk soon, or learn to do tricks with it. :)


If that wasn't cool enough, check out the catalog: http://onedropyoyos.com/yoyos/

So many of the yoyos in game are OneDrop yoyos. Greg asked me in-game the other day what the little icon on most of the yoyos' tooltips was, and I had no idea, but I do now. It's the OneDrop logo!

For example, this yoyo is the one I'm currently using. It drops at a pretty high rate in the Underworld, and I think there are a few back at the home base for anyone to grab.

Real life: http://onedropyoyos.com/yoyos/cascade
In game: http://terraria.gamepedia.com/Cascade

How cool is that? Re-Logic has a nice habit of teaming up with other gaming companies for cross-promotion, but this is my favorite so far. Terraria has made me want to buy a real yoyo, so maybe I'll get one from OneDrop when the time is right. Maybe even the Terrarian if the price is right (the Cascade is well over $100, for an example of their prices, but you can get other models for $40).

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