Saturday, August 31, 2013

Limit Theory - looking forward to this one

My good friend told me about Limit Theory - an open space exploration game developed by a one-man indie developer. His name is Josh Parnell and I am constantly in awe with what this guy is creating. He is 20 years old.

He put his project on Kickstarter, and it was successfully funded - he managed to get about $185k for his game, and on his Kickstarter page he calls the game "An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one. Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe."

Every time I see one of the videos he posts about the progress of the game, my jaw almost literally drops to the floor - the thing is, I've delved a bit into games programming myself, and it is no easy task believe me! Here's this guy, all by himself, creating this masterpiece!

I mean, look at it!! (I borrowed them from the official site)  That's some fine ass visuals, especially for a single developer! Josh, I salute you, and I can't wait to start playing Limit Theory!

There is a dedicated Youtube channel for Josh's progress, please go check it out here.

Thieving Vodacom

So it happened a good bunch of hours early. I handed in my 30 day notice to cancel my Vodacom contract on 31 August. Low and behold, they did. At about 9:00am on 31 August, costing me about 60 odd free minutes which I was planning to use today.

I'm now on prepaid, and I'm just waiting for a few days to see what happens with the Galaxy Note 3 stuff, then I'm moving my number over to Cellc. I will be extremely happy to be rid of Vodacom.

We've been staying in our current house for almost 2 and a half years, and the reception (well known suburb in Cape Town) in my house is so poor, I have to go to my bedroom if I want to make or receive calls without getting cut off.

Now, I've enquired on numerous occasions on how we can sort this out - I even once asked if there isn't something like a booster that I can install in my house to increase my reception, but no, nothing.

And the best part (and I mean that most sarcastically), they don't give a damn to lose me as a client. As if they'd care about their customers anyway.

Anyway, good riddance! Goodbye Vodacom, you will not be missed.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The second Borderlands 2 Short Film

Here's the second Borderlands 2 video - it's about how the game of Bunkers and Badasses starts, brilliant as always:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My strange new addiction: Steam Trading Cards

A few months ago, the geniuses behind Steam launched a new feature. Trading cards for games. And the best part, you can actually sell them to people - for real money!! Now, you can't "draw" the money, but you can use it to fund your gaming habits on the platform itself.

Each applicable game has a set amount of trading cards available, and by just playing the game, about half of that will randomly "drop", and get added to your inventory. You don't have to actually play, you can start the game and go out for supper or something. I've found it takes about 30 minutes or so for a card to drop.

If a game has an odd number of cards, you'll get half of that rounded up as drops (so a game with 9 cards will have 5 drops). It is also possible that the same card drops twice, or even more.

So, why collect these cards? Well, you create badges with them for each game, and the creation of the badge gives you a profile background, an emoticon to use while chatting (both which you can sell, or trade with your friends), and lately a discount coupon for another game on Steam. It also scores you 100xp points for your Steam profile. Here's a screenshot of some of mine:

All in all, it's just a ways to make your public profile a little bit more attractive, and to have some interesting emoticons to use while chatting with your friends.

The making money part is you don't have to keep the cards. You can actually sell them on the Steam Market, and name your price. Obviously the guys with the cheapest card will sell theirs first. A part of the price goes to Steam (clever fellows they are) and another part to the developer, and the rest gets added to your Steam Wallet.

One incentive to actually level up your profile, is that for every 10 levels, you get a higher chance of getting a random booster dropped - boosters contain three random cards - so far I've received 3 of them, and 1 of them actually contained a rare foil card - these are much rarer and typically sell for at least 10 times the price of normal ones, but other than looking a little bit different, they don't mean much. I've put mine up for sale :)

See my Steam profile here (feel free to befriend me on Steam, maybe we can play together sometime!)

I've crafted 19 badges so far, and it didn't cost me anything, just choose a few games and sell their cards, then with the money you make, buy the cards you need for the games you want to craft your badges for. I'm sure if you have tons of time to kill, you can actually buy low sell high and make enough to buy a DLC or two, but that would take some real commitment!

Anyway, it might seem pointless, but believe me, once you get going with it, it's very addictive hehe...

New phones on the horizon

My cellphone contract expires in 3 days. Yes, end of August. Then I'm FINALLY ditching the worthless Vodacom, and going over to CellC. Even if CellC's service or reception is just as poor at my house, I'll still be better off because they are a lot cheaper, and at least they're not owned by some big international company...

Anyway, rumor has it that the Galaxy Note 3 is getting revealed on September 4th. I've read a lot about what the specs could possibly be, and so far it looks like it'll have 3gigs of RAM, the same octa core type processor as the S4, and the camera will be able to take ultra HD (that's 4k) video!

I just hope they launch it in SA soon too, hopefully in September already, I really want to get that this time around...

Also, yesterday I saw an intriguing video by Sony:

Although I've never worked with, or even seen the Xperia up close, I've read 95% good things about it, so we'll just have to wait and see what they come up with this time around. I have read things like a 20 megapixel camera sensor and quad-core processor, but you never know with rumors like these...

Lastly, the iPhone 5s is also being announced some time in September or October, and it seems it'll sport a 13MP camera and a higher resolution screen and a few other goodies...

Anyway, I'm getting an Android device again, I absolutely loved my Galaxy S2, and it served me really well over the last 2 years. Just hope they don't make me wait too long for the Note 3, really want that!

The most insane game you'll ever see!

I stumbled on this video about a horse racing gaming from the wonderfully creative minds of Japan. Boy they do have some strange ideas sometimes, and I'm absolutely crazy about it - would love to visit Japan one day!

Anyway, behold the awesome:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A few of my favourite gaming related memes

Click on the images below to see them bigger :)


And this applies to all MMO's hehe:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Borderlands 2, my favourite FPS of all time

I am a massive fan of Borderlands 1, the best part was my wife also enjoyed it. We finished the game in split screen coop on my Xbox, and still talk very fondly of the Zombie Island of Dr Ned (Dr Zed's evil twin)!

That's a good game!

We happened to finish that game about 2 or so weeks before Borderlands 2 was gonna get released, and my awesome wife bought it for us the moment it became available for our Xbox. We got the special edition, which included the Mechromancer playable character and some good guns to start our journey on Pandora with.

Anyway, I now have it, plus all the DLC, on both the Xbox and my PC, and still enjoy the crap out of it! It just never gets old, the guys from Gearbox are absolute artists, and Borderlands 2 is in my opinion a masterpiece. The humor, the game-play, the artwork, the characters, the story, the villain, the enemies, the LOOT - it all adds up to the best FPS I've ever played.

Gearbox has started making short animated movies about various things in the game. They're about to upload a new one this week - can't wait for that!

Here's the first one, it's about latest playable character, Krieg the Psycho. Although it's hilariously funny, I can't help but feeling very sad for him at the same time... Anyway, here it is, enjoy:

Geekgasm: LG 84 inch Ultra HD TV

I just got this via email from Pinnacle. I see they strategically didn't put a price on it. Anyway, I would really like a sweet TV like this one:

(click to view a larger version)

Some very nice specs too... Anyway, I asked them for the price, will post as soon as I know.

EDIT: I got the price:

And that's excluding VAT and profit, meaning it'll retail for around R200k or more! EISH!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My new Fractal DEFINE R4 PC Chassis: part 2

After months and months (if not years) of looking for a nice PC chassis that isn't too expensive, but also high enough quality, I finally decided on getting myself a Fractal DEFINE R4 Titanium PC Chassis. I've had my current case for waaay too long now, so it was time for an upgrade...

See? That's enough to make anyone depressed. Besides, the chassis fans were really starting to annoy me, going all krrrrrrrrrrrrr every few minutes... (I actually disconnected the one) - plus this one is really quite crowded. And yes, the dust doesn't help either...

(also note that my DVD drive isn't connected - when my motherboard failed in December 2010, the new one I got didn't have any IDE connectors! So it's been there the whole time, but I haven't used it since. Thank goodness for an external DVD writer that I have...)

And here's the new case :)

And I even bought (finally!!!) a new DVD drive (don't have the cash, or need, really, for a Bluray drive at the moment, will maybe make a plan for something like that in the near future).

Pulling off the plastic was a good feeling :D

Here are some more shots of the case from more angles:

(I had to show off my Marshall in the 3rd pic above :)

And, in the toolbox you get a bunch of screws and some cable ties:

First order of business was to install the DVD drive. Behind the front cover, there's room for two drives, and these brackets that you can easily remove and put back again:

And the switch you see there on the side is to control the speed of your fans, but I didn't have anything to really connect the connectors to, so I won't be using that one:

In goes the drive (the cheapest LG one I could find...):

Fit very nicely. Screwed it in place with some of the included screws...

So far, I haven't really started at all... The first order of business was to disassemble everything from my old chassis, and to clean it a bit.

First came the graphics card, my trusty old Asus GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 1 GIG of GDDR5 memory. Still very happy with the card, for those who care, here are the rest of its specs:

CUDA Cores: 384
Graphics Clock: 830 MHz
Processor Clock: 1660 MHz
Memory interface: 256-bit
Memory bandwidth: 128.26GB/s

Yes I know, I should be ashamed that it's that full of dust. Anyway, I did give it a good clean...

Next came my awesome Corsair TX650W PSU, also shockingly dusty:

And here's the "after I cleaned it" pic:

It looks like something out of a horror movie hehe!

Here's my old case with what's left inside:

I took out the hard drives too as you can see, and here they are:

That's a 1TB Western Digital that acts as storage, my OCZ Solid State drive (240gig), a 500gig Samsung Drive and a 320gig Seagate - yes, I support them all! hehe

Finally I took out the motherboard, didn't remove the CPU and RAM though:

Also did a good clean, and here's the underside, just to show you the bracket for my tiny little cpu cooler:

Alrighty, everything's out of the old, and now to start installing it into the new. I started with the PSU. Used some of the provided screws, and the rubber washers:

Yup I know it's upside down, but there's a huge fan on the thing, and I didn't want to sit at the bottom:

And now, for the one bit of complaining I have to do for this case. The screws that go into the chassis to secure the motherboard to, they give you a "key" that you can fasten them properly with. There's 9 in total. After securing them all, I pretty much used up the little key. Yes, it's stripped after 9 uses - not cool Fractal!

Anyway, that will be the final complaint, other than that, I'm super happy... Onward shall we?

Next I fastened my hard drives to the brackets... First, I did it wrong, with the SATA and Power connectors pointing up, where I should have actually made them point to the back for better cable management...

The brackets are really cool, and each one has screw holes for regular 3.5 inch drives, as well as SSD's. And I really like how easily they slot it and can be removed again:

And here's how I did it first, which was wrong (remember that, it's not in the manual hehe):

See, you want them pointing away from you, which makes for a much neater arrangement...

So, I took all 4 my drives out again, and turned them around. I then mounted the motherboard:

Next I started connecting all my hard drives, and the power to the motherboard. Now the sweet thing about this case is it's wider than other cases, meaning there's room behind the motherboard area for your cables and stuff. That also improves airflow if that's important for you ;)

The only thing is the one cable that plugs into the motherboard isn't long enough for the same treatment, so it, unfortunately, has to still sit at the top of everything. But, as you can see, the main power cable, which is a nice and thick one, always in the way, is routed through the whole at the bottom and enters at the one at the top again.

Here's the back so far:

The untidiness doesn't bother you when you don't see it! :P

Last but not least, I installed the graphics card, some extra external USB port thingies, and of course the chassis power switch and reset switch connectors (which I had to download the manual for to see where they need to go hehe). 

Now scroll to the top and compare to my previous one - huge difference!

At the back I still had this:

I folded the cables in as neat as I could, and finally closed the case.

Now, if you've ever built a PC, you'll know that you also leave the case open until you've tested it. Luckily that wasn't necessary this time, everything worked perfectly when I booted up, and the case is MUCH MUCH quieter than my previous one, so that by itself is a huge bonus!


If I were to give this case a rating, it would get a solid 9 out of 10. I would have given it more, maybe a 9.5, if the screws weren't so soft, that's really the only issue I had through the whole experience. I look forward to one day finally upgrading the old thing, knowing that my new components will have a great place to call home once I do!