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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Like I said..

PC gaming sucks! I went off to BT Games in Brooklyn yesterday to take advantage of their sale. I picked up Serious Sam 2 for R100, and The Sims 2 for R150. To be honest I only really bought Serious Sam to be able to join in at LANs, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered, but I was really looking forward to playing The Sims 2. I have a huge interest in game AI, and the AI in the Sims games has always been interesting.. that, and it’s just so much damn fun torturing the little buggers by walling them up until the wet their pants, or something equally cruel :P

Anyway, I excitedly popped disk 1 (of 4!) into the drive, and munched on some supper while the installer popped up. ‘Oh cool’, I thought, ‘They have a minigame to keep you busy while you install’. I was so naïve, I should have recognized it as the warning it was: a warning that I would spend the next 15-20 minutes playing Memory Game: Sims Edition between swapping CDs. At least the minigame was in there; otherwise I’d probably have fallen asleep. Anyway, at least the installation was over, and the game prompted me to re-insert disk 1 (because, you know, they couldn’t make my life easier by allowing the game to start with any of the four damned disks after copying the full contents of them to the hard drive). So I’m finally watching the intro, which looks pretty cool-despite lagging on my 3GHz, 1Gig RAM machine with a Radeon 9800 on it-quite beefy for the time the game was released. No biggie, surely it’s just a stupid codec issue-it’s not like the game relies on cut scenes or anything. So the intro completes, and the load screen comes up.. and I’m dropped to the desktop to be informed that my GPU has crashed, and Catalyst manager has been nice enough to restart it for me. Ok, cool, thanks.. <Alt+Tab>. So now the load screen is done, and I’m looking at the menu.. choose to start a new game, choose ‘learn to play’, and bang, back to the desktop with the same message. Lovely. I go to the EA Easy system info tool, to see what it has to say.. apparently my 9700 with 128M onboard VRAM actually has 0M VRAM.

Now if this was a console game, I would have popped in the disk and been playing within 2 minutes. No stupid hard drive issues, no damned install times, an no more than 30-60 seconds load time. Remind me again why we play on PCs? In all fairness, Serious Sam was much less painful, it just worked. I played through the first couple of levels, just past where you run into all those giant mechanical spiders while in the hovership. It’s actually very cool, it’s probably the best example I’ve seen to date of translating the hectic “I don’t have a chance in hell but I’m going to fight anyway” feeling from those old 2D SHMUPs to 3D.

It Starts..

On a totally different note, DICE announced yesterday that they are dropping PS2 and Xbox development for their upcoming (as yet unnamed) title. They will continue with PSP and Xbox 360 versions, but do not plan to support the current (or previous, depending on how you look at it) generation of consoles. This is pretty damned significant, as they are the first to show resistance to developing on old and new platforms, and I am sure many developers are keen to follow their lead. It may seem silly to drop support for a machine with an installed user base of almost 100 million, but considering BF2: Modern combat only sold 1 Million copies on the PS2 and Xbox combined, maybe focusing one more ‘niche’ markets where there are less competitor products is a wise move..

See gamesindustry.biz for more.

4 comments:

Sci said...

LOL you bought the sims 2, don't worry I bought it aswell. that installation process takes forever, why the hell did they not release it on dvd??

Oh yeah and don't worry the game laggs on my system aswell, it's seems to be a memroy issue or something. make sure you have the latest driver for your ati card or if you do, stick to 5.10 for sims 2, I played on a 9800xt back then.

Flint said...

I just downloaded the patch, and there is apparently a DVD version. I still don't understand why game content can't just be loaded off the damned disk like a console game. Stupid lazy PC developers!

As for drivers, mine is a 9700 mobility, ATi are a bit slow about releasing drivers for the mobility range-of course I last updated it in December, long after The Sims 2 came out..

someoneelse said...

*cough* ATI *cough*

Tsk tsk. Let's see, Flint... With a PC game you only need to load it once, and voila, you never have to stick the disk in the drive again (use a crack).

But hey - I wont pollute your lovely blog with PC promoting propaganda, just had to stand up for the home team! ;-)

Flint said...

Yeah well, the home team's goin' down!! ;)

I got the problem sorted out. Strangely enough I had to rollback my graphics driver and reinstall the new version. Stupid.

Anyway else, as I've said before in our debates, I just don't see why gaming has to be a hassel. I LIKE not having to worry about detail settings, drivers and everything else that gets in the way of actually playing the game..

 

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