Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cheaters never prosper, except when they do.

I'd like to start this post with a quote from my youth;

"Up, Down, Left, Right then hold A, B and C whilst pressing start" - Sonic The Hedgehog (1991).

I've been thinking a lot about cheating lately, especially as I am a videogame cheater in “almost” every sense of the word. I hope you will take a few minutes to understand my motivations before condemning me to the pit of gaming despair that houses an 8-bit Judas Iscariot and Denis Dyak.

For years I've been trying to get my significant other to game with me, I'm primarily a single player gamer and grew up with no siblings, so I can't think of anyone better I'd want as my Player 2. She's no real gamer but I've had a few successes over the years. I managed to get her to Play Final Fantasy VII to the end, some World of Warcraft for a while and even got her playing as Shiva in Resident Evil 5 (which means I had a better experience in that game than most of you). So with my initial underwhelming experience with Borderlands 2, I grudgingly accepted her request after I had just completed it, to "have a go" because she liked "the funny little robot".

This turned to be one of our most successful games. Spending night after night coming home from work and playing through the whole game together was a joy, then the 2nd play-through to increase our levels, then all of the DLC, and we even maxed out our levels again after the Level Cap boosts. So, what does this have to do with cheating? Both of us going back to the original Borderlands, that's what.

As you may know from some of my recent posts, I now game on Steam as my platform of choice, so when my wife recently asked me if there was any more Borderlands I suggested we go back and do the original. I decided we would play through it on Steam. It meant we could have our own screens as opposed to the split-screen we were locked to previously.

I also managed to easily transfer my Xbox Borderlands saves to the Steam version too, and it was at this point, I became a dirty stinking cheater in The Borderlands!

Technically, just moving my save from one platform to another was cheating, and more-so in that, one of applications which allowed me to do this was a save-game file editor called WillowTree. The functionality I wanted was purely to load an Xbox format save file and save it as a PC style save. (There are numerous guides online if you want to do this). But as I looked into the software, I noticed I could actually edit my save in great depth. I could change what weapons or equipment I owned, what level my character was, how much money I had, the number of skill points I had and more. And because this was purely a case of changing numerical values in some cases I was able to go above and beyond what the game even allowed, and I could extend my attributes beyond this virtual world’s restrictions. I could easily create a new character at level 1 and have the best weapons, all my skills mastered and more money than I could ever need! Having already completed the original Borderlands several times already I wasn't super excited to go through it again, but wanted to just so that I could play with my wife (oh, ha ha). I and now had a greater reason to go back to it.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

How To Fix Facebook - Once and for all

Many of us have a love hate relationship with Facebook, As much as we abhor their policies it's become almost a necessity in modern life, whether that's as a distraction, a life diary or a way to keep up with your correspondence, you keep it around even though it annoys the hell outa you a lot of the time.

Image from facebook covers

The annoyance for me is being surrounded by negativity to the point that what I see on Facebook has now crossed the line into the land of the gruesome. In the words of Sweet Brown - Ain' nobody got time fo' dat.

Friday, 16 May 2014

How Valve's Steambox won the console war

If you weren't already aware this is the second in a two part look at the upcoming Steamboxes, It wasn't originally intended to be a two-part article, however, after speaking with an old friend, one sentence put me on a path to going almost completely 180° on my original view. To the point that I have just jumped back over to steam and started playing through my huge library of games. (I mean back through, right? No, probably like you, I bought most of this stuff in sales and never played it.) Thanks Humble Bundle.

Time................ on my side, oh yes it issss. Song lyrics never come across aswell in text. but if you can imagine me as a young(er, he was never young) Denzel Washington and the year is 1998. you may know where that song is from (its from Fallen, if you haven't seen it, go now, go and watch it).

This was the thing my friend said to me which almost immediately switched my brain from believing the Steamboxes are doomed to believing they cannot actually fail, possibly ever. In my previous article I wrote how the Steam Platform as a whole still feels quite incomplete, and whilst I don't disagree with my earlier observation, it doesn't mean it isn't an incredible success used by over 7 million people daily (65 million total users as of Oct 2013 vs Xbox live 42 Million). and yes "used = running idly on their PCs", likely as a background task. But still, who in their right mind just leaves their Xbox or PlayStation (or Wii, lol) just sat on in the background? Rock Stars and Drug Dealers that's who.

But it wasn't all like this. Several years ago, I was the sole steam user amongst my friends, begging them frequently to give up on their Playstation 2sn Xboxes, Dreamcasts or even N64s (Luke) because PC gaming is the future and that future is steamy! And now, here we are 15 yeas later and we still debate over which console is/was better, but we all have Steam accounts...........

I sill totally agree that the SteamBox cannot compete with the PS4/Xbox One, but it doesn't need to. And I don't think valve are really even trying to. Like I previously said, there is no first party hardware. But for valve at least there doesn't need to be. Why not let manufacturers with dedicated hardware experience throw their money at the platform whilst they test the waters. lets be honest, few would want it to but as I said, this could fail. and if it does valve hasn't got got a warehouse worth of boxes they need to find a place in the destert for.

If you Google the words "Valve cancelled" you wont find any notable headlines pertaining to a product or service that they have announced. Steam OS and Steambox exist and I can't see valve canceling them, In a decade or two from now, these will exist  in some form because Steambox is not a console generational console it's a modular platform that Valve have more than enough money to ensure it passes the test of time.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

How the Steamboxes failed

Before we continue, and you all start rage-hating me for damning your beloved console to be. Please take a moment to have a look at a good friend of mine's Darks Souls Gaming Blog - On The Game. If you prefer a well versed literary journey through the histories of gaming, then this should be the next link you click. If you want to read my rant below then stay here. but click that link after (I'll even make it easy for you and put the link at the bottom of the page).

How the Steamboxes failed

"It's not even out yet, how can I possibly make such a claim?", is the question you are probably asking behind all the rage and anger you feel purely over my headline. so please allow me to put this into perspective.

I love Steam, it is one of the first applications I install on a computer as soon as I set one up. As computer technician, it is the only gaming platform I have ever recommended to people when they ask for a trustworthy source. As an Xbox One owner who is a bit disgruntled that his digital purchases from the 360 wont carry over to the new platform, i'm actually looking to move to Steam as a living room alternative, so that my financial investment in the platform wont be negated in the next generation. The Steam game library is immense, they have free to play, they openly support mods and even go out there and encourage indie developers to put their games on that platform, and the creators of Steam are the creators of Half-Life. Due to that final piece alone they have my support for life. So please trust me when I say I am not hating on their soon to be released living-room extension of their platform, i was excited from the moment Valve announced they would be releasing Steam hardware. But as excited as I want to be about the potential this could have, I can't ignore the the following, in fact I believe it "has" the potential to be the Steambox death sentence.

So, I got married, and married is awesome

So, a year ago today, at about this time I was probably doing something in the run up to my wife's wedding. The wedding was in August and it's now only May but there was much to plan, so I was told.

Only kidding, my wife wasn't a crazy nightmare fiancé trying to get everything perfect, that was more my thing. She organised the hell out of it a good year prior, it was about this time I came in and messed it all up and added some creative flair.

Hand's down, best day of my life and it was mainly because of all of our family and friends making it such a great day.

But anyway, this is a photoshop related post, so i'll finish the wedding chatter by saying that this was an idea I got 2 days before the wedding.

I'll be honest this is not some of my best editing work, in fact its pretty awful in comparison to some of the other pieces I've done. But it was a hell of a lot of fun to play about with.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

How to install FreeNAS on HP EX495 MediaSmart Server

Yay, I got it working! Is exactly what you should be saying by the end of this. Especially as you won't need a debug module or VGS adapter! (although they do help)

Updated on 27/04/14

The preface, if you're reading this you probably have an old MediaSmart Server laying around your house somewhere that you'd like to re purpose into a NAS box. If you don't already have a MediaSmart server you probably don't' want to bother with this guide. I wouldn't recommend buying one of these for this purpose unless you can get it cheap or just want to have a play. Especially as you can get  probably get a 4 bay QNAP box for a couple of hundred quid that has a warranty and stuff!

This is really great to do, I was happy to find it was incredibly simple to get this all up and running.