Travis4

Joined 01/23/2012

Web developer and all-around geek.
https://travisnewman.me

492 Posts

http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/public/images/sharedfiles/Skyrim_Background.jpg
A few quick Steam Workshop mods to get you started in Skyrim

I'm assuming some of you are playing Skyrim for the first time now, since it was half-off for the Steam Summer Sale. (How over budget are you all, by the way?)

While TES Nexus is still the best place to get mods, Steam Workshop makes it so easy to automatically download them and install them.

If you're in the market for a new house, there are plenty to choose from. My personal favorite is a Dwemer Airship called the Asteria. This player house is beautifully done, very detailed, and has plenty of storage space. My only qualm is the lack of usable bookshelves, but everything else makes up for it. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=18628

If you're interested in sprucing up the place, the Towns and Villages Enhanced series will bring new life into towns across Skyrim. Riften is in especially dire need of a makeover, so I'll provide that link here, but search for Towns and Villages Enhanced to find them all. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=80844987

One big problem PC players have is with the default menu. With SkyUI, that is changed. The menu feels far more like Oblivion, if you're familiar with that. Lots of options for sorting as well. This one requires a little extra hacking to get going, but nothing terribly complicated. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=8122&searchtext=skyui

There are tons more. Probably in the thousands. This certainly isn't meant to be comprehensive. There are many best-of lists for mods around, if you're interested in reading more. If there's anything you are interested in, just search for it and check the reviews. The Steam comment system is built in, so you can see what other people think about the mods before making your decision.

Happy dragon hunting!


Just a quick note, folks-- The Steam Summer Sale is upon us! Happy hunting!


http://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/assets/000/058/945/fb27eb5927fb87f23c46dc35696c9d35_large.png?1341628142
OUYA: A new take on the console paragidm

So you may have already heard about OUYA. It's the new Kickstarter sensation. They put up the fund drive on Kickstarter yesterday, with a goal of $950,000. Within half a day, they had $1.5 million. As of now, they have $2.8 million. This makes it the most successful first day for a Kickstarter campaign yet.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console

If this goes off without a hitch, it could change the way we think about gaming. A fully open source console, running on Android, infinitely hackable, controlled by the users.

But there are many problems with this idea. Gamasutra has a piece on the various problems at play here, and why this may be trying to fill a market that just doesn't exist.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/IanFisch/20120711/173901/OUYA_the_Android_console_Scam_or_just_naivette.php

What do you think? A new gaming revolution or a major dud? Somewhere in between? I know I'm certainly not going to be an early adopter on this one. I'll wait until the actual launch at least, and see how it goes.


http://blog.domaintools.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/android-v-iphone.jpg
iPhone vs. Android-- My take on the long debate

I have been using an Android phone through work for a year now, and
when it came time to replace my personal phone last week I got an
iPhone. I've been digging in to both, and I wanted to share my
experiences.

First: I hate fanboy arguments. Android vs. iPhone is the new PC vs.
Mac, Gnome vs. KDE, Playstation vs. XBox, Mario vs. Sonic... I just
say, use what's right for you. There are always going to be differing
opinions-- I just don't understand the hatred for the other side.

At any rate, lets get down to business. I'm not going in-depth on any
of these, just hitting some high points. I hope to generate some
discussion where we can get into the nuts and bolts if desired.

Please note that, while some things have changed significantly in
Android with Ice Cream Sandwich, this is based on Gingerbread, the
most widely available version. More on that later.

The home screen

Both iOS and Android have major strengths and weaknesses here, but
it's all down to which design philosophy you prefer.

The Android home screen is highly customizable, and even replaceable.
I've been using LauncherPro for about a year now, and I love it. The
biggest draw of the Android home screen is the widgets. There's a
widget for many system tasks, and quite a few apps come with widgets
as well. If you haven't explicitly placed a shortcut on your home
screen, you can get your apps through the App Drawer, which is all
your apps in alphabetical order.

The iPhone home screen is very different. All your apps are on the
home screen, and you can arrange them into groups as you see fit. This
is better than the App Drawer since things can be found more quickly,
but you can't place them wherever you want on the screen, they
auto-arrange. There's a glaring omission here-- no widgets! This
seems to be such an obvious feature, and I hope it does show up later
on in iOS 6 or beyond. With Android, I just have to unlock my phone to
see the weather in 2 different places. Another swipe will let me
easily turn on/off wifi, bluetooth, etc. One simple button press lets
me Shazam a song. Widgets alone tempt me to jailbreak the phone.

With the exception of widgets and home screen organization, I *do*
seem to get around a bit faster on the iPhone. I could emulate the
properties of how the iPhone is set up on my Android, I just haven't.
The point here is that, out of the box, the iPhone seems to let me get
around more easily.

Customization

This is an easy win for Android. The OS was built on being heavily
customizable. There are many core system apps that you can (and some
that you *should*) change. It's hard to compare the iPhone and Android
phone/sms handlers, for example, because there are so many available
for Android.

Jailbreaking the iPhone will let you customize far more, obviously,
but it would be nice to have more control over your device without
voiding the warranty.

The point here is that, with an Android device, you feel like it's
*yours* to do with what you will.

Multitasking

The iPhone has a multitasking bar that you can access by
double-tapping the home button. This is very convenient for switching
between open apps. As far as I'm aware, nothing like this exists for
Android. On either device, with or without a multitasking bar, you can
tap home and then re-launch the app and be where you left off with no
problem, but the multitasking bar makes switching around very fast.

On the iPhone, there isn't an intuitive way to actually exit an
app. You have to long press it on the multitasking bar to get a close
button. I have yet to see an in-app way to exit. I know that, sitting
in the background, they probably aren't taking up many system
resources or battery life, but I hate just leaving things open I'm not
using. It may be entirely a knee-jerk reaction that is unfounded, but
it irks me.

Changing settings

I don't have much to say here. Both phones are very capable, but the
iPhone does seem to have things arranged a little more logically than
Android. Neither will have you scratching your head, though.

Getting new apps

Both stores are good, but Google Play wins this one. The web interface
that you can access from anywhere is the primary reason for this, but
Google Play on the phone itself is less cumbersome and better
organized than the App Store. When installing new apps on the iPhone,
you get kicked out to the home screen with each app install, which
won't be a problem soon enough, but when you're first setting up a
phone it can be annoying to have to relaunch the App Store every time
and lose your place if you were looking at a list.

The apps themselves...

Even though the number of new Android devices sold has passed the
number of new iPhones (last I checked), iPhone still seems to dominate
the market in terms of available apps, so you can be pretty sure if
you want an app you can get it. This is generally the case with
Android as well, but there are a few exceptions that you will come
across.

Apple is far more restrictive than Google though. I use a Wi-fi
Analyzer app on my Android phone that was once available for iPhone,
but they removed it from the store for using an unpublished method of
accessing information. It's good that Apple checks these things
thoroughly, but they may be too heavy-handed in situations like these.

Siri

I know there are some competitors to Siri on Google Play, but none
quite as functional. Siri is phenomenal. Organizing a busy day is
painless, finding helpful info from Wolfram Alpha is snappy... this is
a phone seller.

Apparently Google has a competitor in the works for Jellybean that is
apparently better than Siri, but it may be years before many people
use it based on Android's update track record (again, more on that
later) and Siri is also getting a major overhaul in iOS 6, just around
the corner.

Updates

This is the major problem Google has, and they (and their phone
manufacturers) *really* need to get their act together. Ice Cream
Sandwich was released last October, yet still only 7-10% of new
devices are running it. Many smaller providers don't even have them as
an option, and the ones that do can't cut the price far enough down on
an already quite expensive device to really compete with the iPhone
4S.

Adding insult to injury, many phones that are perfectly capable of
running Ice Cream Sandwich will never get the update, because the
manufacturer has decided not to release the update. Rooting the phone
and upgrading via CyanogenMod is a viable way to get it, but consumers
shouldn't be expected to do all of that in order to get updated
software.

Jellybean is already the Android talk of the town, but this is going
to be arriving on new devices before even 1/4 of the current Android
devices support Ice Cream Sandwich.

Compare that to Apple, who will release iOS 6 this fall to all iPhones
from 3G on. Years-old hardware still getting updates. Maybe the device
manufacturers are just hoping for more sales since you can't get the
updated OS any other way, but it's inherently bad for the consumer.

One major issue is that Google has all but abandoned Gingerbread with
*their own apps*. The new, shiny Google+ app and Chrome for Android
aren't available on a brand new Android phone, but are available on a
3-year-old iOS device. How does that make sense?

The devices

And *this* is where Google shines. Allowing Android to be used on
countless devices from countless manufacturers means you *can* find a
device to suit your needs, generally. The Sony Xperia Play, for
example, is a Playstation branded phone, with a full slide-out
gamepad. If you aren't going to use it heavily, trimmed-down devices
are available, but if you need a lot out of your phone, you can get
practically a mini-tablet with enough horsepower to compete with some
laptops.

Gaming

Now, for what we're all here for, right? Gaming on either device is a
treat. I have played many puzzle games, some pure reflex-based games,
a few rail shooters, and even some reworked classic shooters, and the
iPhone's touch screen seems to work a little better for
hightly-involved gaming, but if you're only interested in simple
gaming on the go, either will suffice. The iPhone's screen is very
crisp, but so are newer Android devices as well.

However, the exclusives on the iPhone make Apple the clear winner on
the gaming front. ID Software has released two rail shooters based on
RAGE and Doom 3 that are must-haves, and Square Enix has released some
amazing, full-featured RPGs that are worth your time. The re-release
of Scribblenauts is better than it was on the Nintendo DS. Infinity
Blade is amazing and well worth whatever you have to pay to get it.

Conclusion

So which one wins? I have no idea. I prefer Android, but only slightly
at this point. The iPhone has slightly better home screen organization
(but lacks widgets), a much better selection of games, a slightly
better selection of apps, a much clearer software upgrade path, and
Siri. Android has the ever-so-useful widgets, a cleaner store, far
better and easier customization, and a wide variety of devices from
different manufacturers to suit your needs.

If all you're looking for is gaming, go with the iPhone. Otherwise, it
all depends on which one works best for you. Definitely try them
before you buy. Either way, they are both amazing-- there is no bad
choice.

I don't claim any of my opinions to be the best or most suited to the
general population, so please share your own. If you got here from
somewhere else, please sign up (link below) and join the conversation.

Join here: http://cheerfulghost.com/panickedthumb/join


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mENmeWTHetc/TramJxa3lgI/AAAAAAAAAGI/qhf60BTnUMk/s1600/Steam+Black+Logo.png
So the big Summer Sale is coming up on Steam. People projected it to start yesterday, but it hasn't yet. What games are you looking to snag?

I have a massive wishlist, I'm hoping to find the Fallouts going for cheap, maybe Skyrim. While I've played them all extensively, the experience is so much better on PC.


http://www.hidiablo3gold.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Diablo-III1.jpg
This game continues to amaze me. What follows is a somewhat disjointed collection of thoughts.

Nightmare difficulty with my Monk (Capuchin. Get it? A Capuchin MONKey?) has proven fairly easy. Jon, if you're reading this, you probably doubt me when I say that due to how many times I died when we were playing, but with a quick gear fix everything is smoother sailing. I have been reading up on builds and how to optimize things for my class, so I will probably have a powerhouse when all is said and done. I have gotten barely past the Skeleton King in act 1, and I'm at level 37. I've amused myself going back through and playing boss fights in Normal with my monk now. It's uncanny just how much easier 4 levels makes Izual and Diablo. Izual was down in 30 seconds, Diablo in about 2 minutes.

In other news, I gave my wife a guest pass and she loved it, so she's now playing with me! I started up a Demon Hunter (Winchester, named after demon hunters Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural) since she was interested in Monk, so we have some melee and ranged going. I'm up to 25 on my Demon Hunter and loving it so far.

When I'm playing DH, I think I prefer it to Monk, until I switch back to my monk. That's one awesome thing about the game-- everything (so far) feels fresh. New difficulties and new classes that fundamentally change gameplay make the same content you've already played feel fresh again.

Demon Hunter was a bit tricky, at least at first. Every death was a learning experience, but early on death came quickly and often. Now I'm a badass as long as I don't get in the middle of a pack of elites.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they both play out.

EDIT: Also, click the image for a pretty badass wallpaper.


I'm giving my wrist a rest. I had the day off today, and with the exception of a few errands and a call or two when things went wrong at work, I've been playing Diablo 3.

I think I'm approaching the end of act 2. As amazed as I was with the pacing in Act 1, it's like it just keeps getting better. The enemies keep ramping up their difficulty as I level, obviously, but the sense of your power growing is present throughout. One of my pet peeves with games is when the progression never feels like you're progressing. This avoids that stagnation in a major way, and I can't even put my finger on why.

From what I've heard, the pacing just keeps getting better.


http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/05/22/diablo-3-accounts-hacked-items-stolen-real-money-auction-house-due-next-week/

So, apparently there have been a lot of user accounts hacked. Is everyone here safe?


Alright, here we go. Namwen#1800 if you're interested in playing with me :) (stupid character limit wouldn't take panickedthumb).


http://officialrageinc.webs.com/rage%20avatar.png
I think I'm about halfway through Rage, and I have learned three things.

* Don't trust game demos.
* Don't trust gamers.
* Don't trust reviewers.

I played the demo and decided to skip it, but decided to buy it on a whim and I am having so much fun with this game. Apparently the PC version was buggy as hell at launch, but I have yet to see a single bug.

I know one of the big complaints people have is that the graphics weren't great, but honestly I've been blown away by the graphics a few times. If you zoom in on a wall it's going to look bad, sure, but in general gameplay the environment is fantastic.

The AI is pretty good, the enemies will react to changes in the battle. Some will charge you in desperation, some will flee. If things aren't going well for them, they'll fall back to regroup. They do tend to fall into somewhat predictable routines at times, but the varied enemy combat types keep it fresh.

The gunplay is excellent. It's an id game, so that should come as no surprise.

There are some downsides though. It seems like it tried to do too much. The racing mechanics aren't that great, and racing is forced on you at least a couple times in the game. Often the game feels more linear than it lets on, but I don't mind linear. For some reason, a few updates ago they decided to disable console commands, making this the first id game I can remember where you can't turn on god mode. I guess that's good or bad depending on your view of it, but I always liked to go on a rampage run after I'd finished a game, turning it up to nightmare difficulty and having a rocket-fest. Certainly not a show-stopper, but a strange decision from Carmack and Co. The story is probably the worst offender-- truth be told, there's very little story to it. Some games don't need story, but this one could have benefited from it.

Overall the game reminds me of a mix of Half-Life 2, Borderlands, Fallout 3, and Motorstorm, and in a very few cases it does better than these games, but trying to do too much they may have spread themselves thin. It never achieves the greatness of any of those games. It's fun, tons of fun, but it didn't quite gel into the perfect storm of post-apocalyptic greatness they were shooting for.

I don't know. It had years of development and a lot of hype, so I assume it was bound to get criticized more heavily than normal, but I think this is a fantastic game that is overly criticized, often for unfounded reasons. It isn't everything it's cracked up to be, but it's a ton of fun, and I can see myself replaying it years from now in the same way I do the early id games.


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