281 Posts

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New features
  • New blocks

  • New animals

  • Ocean monuments

  • Improved performance
On 9/2/14, Minecraft was updated to version 1.8. This update is called the "Bountiful Update." It contains many new features and improvements. For a detailed description of the new update, please see the wiki (http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/1.8). In the meantime, there are a few changes that I wish to report.

New blocks: Four of the new blocks that have been added to the game include andesite, diorite, granite, and slime blocks. The first three, in that list, are new rocks which can be crafted into "polished" versions. Andesite and diorite look similar to gravel and cobblestone, while granite looks almost like dirt. All three are very abundant and easy to find. So far, I have used all three polished versions to create a house in my new world. I have not yet had any experience with slime blocks, but I know that you can bounce on them. One of my favorite YouTubers has a video regarding this new update, which I recommend watching (http://youtu.be/Q9ykTDAFl7E?list=UUP6f9x4iXk3LH8Q1sqJmYPQ).

New animals: Sheep now drop mutton, which can be cooked as another food source. This update also introduces bunnies. They are adorable and come in a variety of colors and designs. They can be bred with a variety of items, but only carrots will make them follow you. They also drop meat, which can also be used as a food source. There is also a slight chance for a "killer bunny" to appear. This bunny has red horizontal eyes, while the tame ones have eyes that are vertical. This "killer bunny" is clearly a nod to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The end of the following video gives the best strategy for when encountering this new "killer bunny" (http://youtu.be/92gP2J0CUjc). (Hint: Run away!)

Ocean monuments: There are now also ocean monuments which are underwater and apparently filled with water. I have not yet found one, so I can't quite report on it. I know that these monuments contain guardians, which are a new mob. There are also new blocks within these monuments including prismarine and sponges. For more information visit the wiki (http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Ocean_monument).

Improved performance: Finally, I think the most important part of this update is that the game's performance has been greatly improved! When I got my new PC many months ago and played Minecraft, I was impressed by how far I could see, but still disappointed in how long it took chunks to load. Since I've been playing with this new update, I have not had any issue whatsoever with chunks loading. The only chunk loading I noticed was initially when I spawned in my new world, but that's it! Previously, while walking around, I had to wait for chunks to load, I no longer have to wait at all! There is also a new option in the video settings, "use VBO." This feature apparently gives about a 10% increase in performance when set to "on," by reassigning some of the processing from your RAM and CPU to the GPU. For a little more information about this setting please see the following link (http://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/177257/what-is-the-use-vbos-setting).

Now seems to be a great time to get back into Minecraft, if you've been away from it for a while. There is still much that I have not covered, so I recommend checking out the wiki for the full release notes.




I've been waiting for some updated news about Starbound. I've remained out of the loop for a while, so after seeing Travis mention something about an update, I thought it was time to look into it. One of the developers posted some great thoughts about the game's development, which give great insight into Starbound and Early Access gaming (http://playstarbound.com/some-thoughts-on-early-access-release-dates-the-big-1-0/).

I also found out that the developers were going to be releasing "nightly builds." This gives us access to what they have done each day. In order to access them you have to opt-in to get them (http://playstarbound.com/nightly-builds-are-live/). It is recommended to back up your game files, if you want to save anything. I did not create a back up because I wasn't too concerned about saving my current characters. After Starbound updated with the "nightly builds," I was given an error. After some brief troubleshooting, I found that I had to delete my universe and player folders along with starbound.config. This got the game running.

I also realized that all schematics seemed to be unlocked and I was invincible. Luckily, I found a post about it that said you need to turn off administrator privileges. Typing "/ruinthefun" in the game took care of all of that. While I've only spent a couple of hours with the new build, I thought I'd share some of the issues I ran into along with how to resolve them.

I'm looking forward to exploring the game again to see what's changed since the last main update. I think just even after playing it for a couple of hours has shown me some of those changes, which are so far welcome.


I recently found Edge of Space by looking on the Steam Store at Terraria to see what games were similar to it. I've already played Starbound. It seems Edge of Space was inspired by Terraria. In an addition of the game, Terraria content is included. All three games are being developed by different companies, even though the Terraria artist worked on Starbound.

I really enjoyed Terraria and am looking forward to new game content. As for Starbound, I enjoyed it most the first time I played it, but then I hit a part where I had the highest minerals and gear. Eventually, I really had no reason to continue mining. After exploring a variety of planets and biomes, I began to found little reason to continue exploring. I know the game progression is supposed to change and I think it might be an improvement.

As for EoS, I've finished the tutorial and am now apparently free to roam. The tutorial teaches you the basics, but doesn't mention how to heal. Death is frequent. Often I fall down too far and hit the ground too hard. I've also gone down into an area that causes me to eventually die of "exposure." I have crafted armor and see that I need more materials to craft things such as a base.

Like Starbound, some aliens appear to be friendly, such as the fireflies that help light up an area. You can usually tell by a thought bubble over their head that goes from a question mark to an exclamation mark if it's going to attack. Aliens frequently drop consumables which apparently give your character more stats. Oh, there are boss fights. I haven't come across any yet, but apparently Skeletron makes an appearance.


I recently finished playing Oblivion on the PC. I thought I'd give Morrowind another try afterwards. I have the game disc, but not the DLC, so I decided to buy the Game of the Year Edition on Steam. After a couple of days, I feel like playing something else, but don't know what. That's why I'm asking for your game recommendations. Fable is one of the recommendations I have from Steam, but I'm not sure about it. I saw some other games listed in the recommendations section that may be like Terraria and Starbound, so I may look into those games as well. So, gamers, what's good?


GregoPeck gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
GregoPeck gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Review

  • Recommended +1

  • Different editions

  • Alchemy

  • Repair hammers
It's been less than a year since I first played Oblivion (Game of the Year Edition) on the PS3 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It exceeded my expectations. It's so great that I've been wanting to play it again.

Editions: When I searched in the Steam Store for Oblivion, I was surprised to find two versions of the game; a Game of the Year Edition and a Game of the Year Edition Deluxe version. Apparently the Deluxe version includes everything in the Game of the Year Edition plus a couple of extra quests and places you can live in.

So, I've started playing Oblivion and have only spent about 3 hours in the game (according to Steam). I have decided to play Oblivion the same way I did originally. For this game that means I'm an Imperial warrior that uses warhammers. One of the things that's new is that the Deluxe version has given me a few places to live. I have already visited each of them and began making one of them my home by storing some stuff in a chest there.

Alchemy: Another thing I've done differently is that I'm working on Alchemy, which I think I completely ignored the first time I played the game. I have started to use ingredients that I find to create some potions, even though the only potions I'm using are the ones that restore my health. Alchemy in Oblivion is different than in Skyrim. In Skyrim, you cannot see the effects of an ingredient until you eat it or use it. Oblivion, however, tells you what the effects are and seems to only allow you to combine ingredients that have the same effects.

Now that I have finished the very beginning of the game, I'm thinking I must have not fully explored that area when I first played it. This time around, I believe I've explored more thoroughly and found a lot of stuff. I came out of the sewers with a warhammer, which was the kind of weapon I used mostly when I first played the game, although I don't remember getting one so early before. Also, I have not yet died. When I first played, I found it difficult and I think I died a few times. I think that's because I was just beginning to play the game and wasn't as familiar with it as I am now.

Repair hammers: When it comes to my preference between Skyrim and Oblivion, I think both games have their differences, which makes them unique. I enjoyed not having to use repair hammers in Skyrim, but after a while I got used to having to do so in Oblivion. Eventually your Armorer skill increases and repair hammers don't break after being used. The only other Elder Scrolls game I've played is Morrowind, but I haven't finished it. I tried to play it again recently, but I didn't spend very much time with it.

So, I want to throw some questions to those of you who have played any version of Oblivion. Were you aware of the Deluxe version? I also wonder if you've had a similar experience with the game and find yourself loving it.

Update 11/2019
The last time I tried to play the game again was over a year ago. I remember being very fond of Oblivion, I really loved it. But now it seems too difficult. I’m not sure why that is. Apparently, you can change the level of difficulty, I must have missed that some where or forgot that you could do that. I remember being inside an Oblivion gate was tough, even the beginning was tough right before you go through the first portal. After that, I found myself helpless against a group of vampires.


http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/22370/header.jpg?t=1383348134
This section contains information about bugs, crashes, and issues along with some possible fixes.
I played and enjoyed Fallout 3 on the PS3, but I ran into some severe issues with it. The game crashed frequently and it ran at a lazy snail's pace, especially when I was playing the DLC quests. I also ran into bugs, like a teleporter not working on Mothership Zeta. Although in that particularly mission, I was able to resolve the issue, but with the other issues I had with the PS3 version I was not able to complete some of the DLC. Since I got a new computer months ago, I thought I'd play the game on the PC, thinking the PC version would be more stable. I was kind of right and yet not.

Before I bought the game for the PC, Steam showed a notice that the game wasn't "optimized for Windows 7". I'm running Windows 8.1 and was concerned with having issues with the game. Although, I didn't think it would be too bad since older games, like Morrowind, work just fine on my PC. Travis told me that his wife was able to get the game running in Windows 7 after a fix, although he didn't have any issues with it. He suggested I try the game before applying any fixes, which I did, but was unable to get the game running without additional software.

When I first tried to play the game, it's main loader opened just fine after clicking the "Play" button in Steam. The next step (after optionally configuring settings) to get the game running was to click the game's "Play" button in it's loader. After doing so, the game just disappeared from my screen and didn't load. I found out that I had to install Microsoft's Games for Windows Live application. After doing that, the game was then able to load. I didn't have to sign into GFWL nor have it running along with the game.

Still, the game was quite unstable, it crashed often. The only way I was able to recover from a crash was to hit Ctrl-Alt-Del and tell Windows to restart, I was not able to just close the Fallout 3 window. Although this was very annoying, it made me very glad to have a very high-end gaming PC because I was able to reboot and get back into the game in less than 5 minutes. Still, the game was crashing way too often and I decided to search for resolutions.

Finding fixes for the game's issues was very easy with a simple Google search query. I was able to access some of the resolutions fellow Steam gamers had with this game. One of the main fixes was editing a couple of lines in a .ini file. That same forum post also suggested installing GFWL, running the game or GFWL in compatibility mode (which I did not do) and installing a .dll into the game directory. I did edit the .ini file and found the game to be more stable. After that minor edit it crashed a lot less, but it still crashed at least a few times per day. Putting the .dll file into the game directory did not seem to change the game's behavior. For reference, I am talking about the post at the following link: http://steamcommunity.com/app/22370/discussions/0/846940248950664435/

Even though it crashed less often after the applied .ini file edit, I was able to complete and enjoy the game. Other than crashing, I noticed much fewer bugs in the game than I did in the PS3 version. The bug I mentioned above in the PS3 version on the Mothership Zeta did not occur on the PC version. In fact, the only bug I came across was during another DLC quest in Point Lookout. While helping the Ghoul defend his house from the local insane tribe, he kept telling me to help him defend his house even though we had already killed the first wave of tribal members. The resolution for this bug was easy to find and easy to get around. I simply had to make him "unconscious," which meant I had to shoot him. Shooting him didn't cause him or his dogs to attack me. It didn't kill him either, he just went "unconscious" for a while, got back up, and then told me to follow him for the next wave of tribal attacks.

This section may contain possible spoilers
I don't believe I played the game very differently than when I had played it on the PS3, although there were some definite changes. I didn't meet Dogmeat until very late in the game when I went exploring the Scrapyard because I had a key for a safe there. When I did meet him, I told him to wait for me at the entrance to Vault 101 while I was searching for the safe. When I was done, I went to Vault 101's entrance, found him, and told him to follow me. I then fast traveled to Megaton, got into my "Luxury Apartment," and told him to stay there (I didn't want him getting killed). I think I met him earlier in the game when I played on the PS3, but I still told him to stay at our place in Megaton.

I also disarmed the bomb in Megaton and got the sheriff/mayor killed so that I could get into his place to get the bobblehead. I collected all of the bobbleheads while playing on the PS3, but on the PC version I got all but one of them. A wiki page for the game suggested getting the ones that upgrade your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats after hitting level 30 because at that point you can take a Perk that puts all of those stats at level 9 and each bobblehead increases those stats by 1. I did not follow this suggestion.

One thing I did do differently was the "Into the Pitt" DLC quest. This time I did not kidnap "the cure" and I killed the guy who wanted me to kidnap her. This made my time in "the Pitt" much shorter and I therefore did not spend as much time in it since I didn't have to do the related quests when kidnapping "the cure."

I remember helping Sydney in the National Archives when I played the game on the PS3. I don't remember her being with me long, perhaps because she did not stay alive very long after becoming a companion. She was quickly killed by Super Mutants after joining me. I still took her weapon which proved very helpful later in the game.

As for Eden, I again convinced him to destroy the Enclave as I had done originally. As for the end game, I finished it the same way by letting Fawkes go into the radiated Purity Project area so that me and Sarah Lyons wouldn't die. I was then able to play the Broken Steel quests which are only available after finishing the main quest line in the game. I remember starting that DLC when I played it on the PS3, but I know I did not complete it nor did I get very far with it due to the severe issues I had with Fallout 3's DLC on the PS3. I was able to complete Broken Steel on the PC, however.

After completing the main quest line in Broken Steel, you're left with "two unmarked quests" from two of the DLC's characters. However, I decided not to participate in those quests as they were just about collecting items which help in obtaining caps and XP. By the time I started Broken Steel, I was already at level 30, which is the max in the game with the Broken Steel DLC.

I remember some point in the game I was desperate for caps because I needed Stimpaks and ammo. There were probably only a couple of times that I hoarded some junk to sell so that I could get some caps to buy what I needed. I also turned in Blood packs to the vampire, Sugar Bombs to the ghoul that wanted them, and Scrap Metal for the guy in Megaton. Eventually I had 200+ Stimpaks and thousands of caps.

At this point, I want to tell you what's next for me. I've only played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion once and it has not yet been a year since I played it on the PS3. Before I went to bed last, I noticed that Steam had a couple of versions of it. There's the Game of the Year Edition and the Game of the Year Deluxe Edition. I decided to get the Deluxe version, it apparently comes with more DLC. Thanks to Steam's Summer Sale, I spent about $13 (50% off) for the game and can't wait to get started. I really enjoyed Oblivion and there are a few things I want to do slightly differently. Running into some of the Dremora in Skyrim and hearing them made me really miss Oblivion. I also thought the game was very beautiful. Honestly, I'm surprised that I still want to play it so badly, it is an awesome game.


GregoPeck gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
GregoPeck gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Features
  • Recommended +1

  • Beautiful in HD

  • Anti-gravity racing, gliding, and drifting

  • New characters and tracks

  • Multiplayer

  • Post to YouTube
HD:
Mario Kart has been a very popular series since arriving on the Super Nintendo. Since then, the game has evolved to include new courses, new characters, new karts, and more. Mario Kart 8 not only adds these new things, but is the first in the series to be in HD, making it the most beautiful Mario Kart yet! There is also a Wii U Deluxe Set which includes the standard Wii U components, the game, a red Wii-mote Plus controller, and a red wheel accessory.

Anti-gravity racing: One of the new features of Mario Kart 8 is anti-gravity racing. At certain points in the various courses, the wheels flip on their sides so that the kart hovers above the race track. While in anti-gravity mode, players can get a speed boost by bumping into other players. There are also structures that players can bump into to get a speed boost as well.

Gliding: If you've played some of the other more recent versions of Mario Kart, you may remember being propelled across a long distance, usually by a cannon. In Mario Kart 8, when you are propelled into the air, the kart releases a glider, which allows the player to glide through the air. While gliding, you can move the cart around, but you can also increase the gliding distance by holding the control stick down or decrease the gliding distance by holding the control stick up.

Coins: While racing, players will come across coins on the track. Some of these coins can provide a short boost. The game shows a maximum of 10 coins (similar to a health meter) that can be picked up, but players can lose those coins if hit with a power-up such as a turtle shell or fire ball. Players will want to collect these coins because they are used to unlock new karts and equipment such as wheels, or gliders.

New characters: Mario Kart 8 includes new characters such as Bowser's Koopalings; Wendy, Larry, Lemmy, Iggy, Morton, Roy, and Ludwig. Other new characters include Metal Mario, Baby Rosalina, and Mii. New characters are unlocked by winning gold medals in races. While I've listed some of the new characters here, there are still more and perhaps more to come. Diddy Kong, for instance, has been seen in game pictures, but does not seem to be in the game yet. Perhaps there will be more available to unlock in a future game update.

Drifting: in Mario Kart was introduced in the Nintendo 64 version, but has evolved with the series. As I did not play the N64 version (I know shame on me), drifting was new to me in Double Dash, the GameCube version. Since then, I hadn't really used drifting, until now. My son was the first between us to play Mario Kart 8, so by the time I started to play it, he understood the game play better than I did. As he watched me play, he would tell me when to drift, which was very helpful!

New tracks and multiplayer: There are, of course, new race tracks, which are absolutely beautiful in HD. The game also includes "retro" race tracks from previous games in the series, something that isn't new with Mario Kart 8. Up to four players can race together locally, but players can get online and race against up to 12 players.

Post on YouTube: As I'm reading about what's new with Mario Kart 8, I see a bit more information about Mario Kart TV, which allows you to post Mario Kart 8 videos to YouTube. I have not yet tried this out, but I think it's a really cool feature of a game since YouTube is a very popular website to watch people playing video games. I think that people who post videos on YouTube of their game play usually require extra hardware (like an extra GPU) and software in order to do so. Having this feature built in to the game means that no extra hardware or software is required. I think this feature is note-worthy and something that I'd like to see in more games.

Controls: I have not yet used a Wii-mote for Mario Kart 8, I've only played with the GamePad. However, unlike my game play of New Super Mario Bros. U, I've had to play Mario Kart 8 with the TV on. This is because most of the GamePad's screen was filled with the steering wheel, which can sound the horn when pressed. The GamePad does show the race, but it's too small. The GamePad can also work like the Wii-Mote in that you can hold and turn it like you would a real steering wheel. I decided, however, to use the control stick for steering.

Mario Kart 8 continues to prove that Mario Kart is a really fun game to play.


Bundle info:Recently, I decided to get the New Super Mario Bros. Wii U Deluxe Set. This set includes a Wii U with a 32 gigabyte hard drive and a disc containing New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi Bros. U. It also comes with an HDMI cable, which I was delighted to see. Other A/V cables can be purchased separately.

Synopsis: In New Super Mario Bros. U, the Princess is once again in need of Mario's help as Bowser invades the Mushroom Kingdom with his Koopalings and Bowser Jr. The Koopalings were introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3 and have appeared in other Mario games and the cartoon. They are Wendy, Larry, Lemmy, Iggy, Morton, Roy, and Ludwig. Toad also makes an appearance in the game along with Blue Toad and Yellow Toad. Yoshi also makes an appearance along with Baby Yoshi who comes in blue, yellow, and pink versions. Each Baby Yoshi has their own abilities. The pink Baby Yoshi acts like a hot air balloon, giving the player a lift into the air and the ability to float down. The blue Baby Yoshi spits bubbles which turns enemies into bubbles that contain coins. These bubbles can also be jumped on and provide a bounce. The yellow Baby Yoshi lights up the area when used, which is helpful in dark dungeons.

One of the reasons there are so many characters in the game is perhaps because the game has a multiplayer feature, which allows up to five players to play the game together. One player can use the GamePad and the other four can use Wii-motes. I can't report on this feature as I have not tried it out yet. I have, however, played the single player Story Mode using the GamePad. In fact, I didn't play the game on my TV, I simply used the GamePad, which seems to pretty much be an HD DS XXL. However, the Wii U console must be on and within about 10 feet as it uses Bluetooth to connect to the GamePad. I did test the range.

New Super Luigi Bros. U is actually a DLC, which seems to be something new with Nintendo. Perhaps I should say, "new-to-me," as I haven't seen very many Nintendo games that have DLC. That is if you think of DLC as in add-ons, I have, however, been familiar with games that have digital versions which can be purchased from Nintendo's online store. As for the new Luigi game, it is very much like the new Super Mario Bros. U game, but Mario does not make an appearance in it. Instead, the player controls Luigi who has abilities similar to his character in Super Mario Bros. 2. That is, he can jump higher than Mario. The courses are also different as you only have 100 seconds to complete a course, but they are also smaller and do not contain flags which mark halfway points. So, failing a course means starting back at the beginning of the course.

In the game, you can visit Toad houses in order to play a small mini-game in which you can win power-ups. One of the new enemies is a rabbit named Nabbit who is introduced when you get near the first Toad house. You see him come out of Toad's house with a bag and he runs away. Toad then tells the player about what happened and shows you how to use pipes to quickly get to another area in the game. Toad uses a pipe to get to the first area in the game after asking you to help him chase Nabbit and get his stuff back. Nabbit is visible on the world map, so you know where he's hiding. Once you select to play that course, you have to chase him down. He is fast, but not too difficult to catch. Luckily, after catching him, you don't have to finish the course. As soon as you catch him you see yourself at the end of the level with Toad, who gives you a power-up for helping him.

Along with the standard Mushroom, Star, and Fire Flower power-ups, the game includes Super Acorn, Ice Flower, and Mini Mushroom power-ups. The Super Acorn allows you to glide in the air, much like the new enemy that seems to be a flying squirrel. The Ice Flower power-up allows you to freeze enemies. You can stand on them, but they will thaw out eventually. You can pick up a frozen enemy and throw it, which can knock out other enemies as it glides through the course. I did obtain a Mini Mushroom power-up, but never used it. I believe I did see a couple of mini-pipes that you could probably enter with this power-up. There is also a power-up that turns you into a penguin and allows the player to glide across ice. I also found a propeller hat which helps you jump higher and float down.

Finishing Story Mode allows you to save at any point, instead of just when a castle or fortress is cleared. It also unlocks a small island that you can visit that shows you statistics. Another course, Star Road, is unlocked and available, but each course is locked until you collect all the Star Coins in each area. For instance, in order to unlock the first course, you must have obtained all the Star Coins in the first area of the game. This is something I have not yet completed.


As I'm playing Skyrim on my new PC, I can't help but to be reminded of the other games in The Elder Scrolls series, particularly Morrowind and Oblivion. These three are the only games in the series that I've played. I love Skyrim and Oblivion and how beautiful they are. Morrowind isn't a bad game, but it isn't as beautiful and I wish it looked more like Skyrim and Oblivion.

This brings me to a new point of discussion. What games would you like to see completely remade to look better? I don't mean just given an HD remake.

I know many of us would like to see Final Fantasy VII redone in the same way, although I'd also like to see FFVIII and IX redone, too.

Also, I mentioned months ago that I found the Diablo II Battle Chest at KMart for about $2. I spent very little time playing it. Although I'm not one who believes that graphics make a game, I couldn't get passed my disappointment in the way the game looks. I'm sure it was great for it's time, but compared to Diablo III, it looked ugly.


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