OCMS News August 2007

Fury Preview: MMO Meets PvP
Friday, August 31, 2007
Fury is a massively muliplayer online role-playing game, but it has fast action like a first-person shooter. I was able to speak with the CEO of Auran, Tony Hilliam, who showed me the current state of Fury. Tony stated that the number one goal of Fury was to create a great PvP game, as most PvP games are an afterthought for an existing single-player game (such as Quake, Half-Life, and Far Cry). He described it as World of Warcraft on steroids, mixed with a healthy dose of Unreal Tournament.

In focusing on PvP, there are no tradeoffs on PvE Elements. As you level up and aquire more goodies, fighting is still about the skill of the player. Part of the skill is matching the appropriate power-ups and using them appropriately. There are over 400 abilities available to the characters, and you can only equip a certain number of them at any one time (based on your current level).

Mafia 2 Announced! With Screenshots!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Like the original Mafia title, Mafia 2 immerses players in the mob underworld of a fictitious late 1940’s-early 1950’s scenario. Players will easily become engaged in the game’s cinematic Hollywood movie experience with strong, believable characters in a living, breathing city. By fusing high octane gunplay with white knuckle driving and an engaging narrative, Mafia 2 looks to be the industry’s most compelling Mafia title to date.

The Goblin Game: A Turn-Based Online Strategy Game
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
When I was a kid, I played Dungeons and Dragons. A lot. Upon reading all the RPG magazines of the day (Dragon Magazine was by far my favorite), I would notice a pattern in the types of ads that were strewn across the back half of the periodical. Of course there were advertisements for off-the-wall role-playing games that no one has ever heard of, discount figurines and paints, but there was one that I couldn’t quite figure out… the play by mail game.

I never subscribed to any of these, but I figured that someone out there was, because there were so many ads for this type of game. This type of game would never work today, but what if everything were handled by email? What if there were a web portal where you could login, check your “game mail”, place your turn, and check the next day to see the results of your move? Wizards of the Coast is working on just such a game, called “The Goblin Game”.

Assassin’s Creed Q&A With Ubisoft’s Patrice Desilets
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
On August 26th, 2007 an 11 minute demo of Assassin’s Creed was shown at the PAX 2007 by Ubisoft Montral’s Creative Director, Patrice Desilets. Too bad Jade Raymond, the producer of Assassin’s Creed, wasn’t there… there would have been a page dedicated just to her! The level that was shown was the same as in the E3 demo, however a different path was taken to reach the target. At the end of the demo, a conversation between Altair and the head of the Assassin’s bureau in Jerusalem, Malik, showed an intense rivalry between the two.

Halo 3 Gone Gold
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The wait is almost over. “Halo 3,” the final chapter in the groundbreaking “Halo” trilogy and the most anticipated game release of 2007, has been released to manufacturing.

Three years in the making by renowned developer Bungie Studios, “Halo 3” is now finished and will begin its journey to store shelves around the world in less than four weeks. “Halo 3,” which has already set new records as the fastest preordered game in history, has exceeded one million presales in North America alone. The title is set to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released worldwide beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Indianapolis 500 Legends Hands-On Preview
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Destineer is a game publisher that has focused a lot on Nintendo platforms, from the Gameboy Advance to the DS and now the Wii. They have several upcoming games to be released this November, right before the Christmas rush. I was able to speak with Jeremy Zoss, who is the Communications Manager at Destineer, who demonstrated all of their company’s game lineup.

Their biggest game was “Indianapolis 500 Legends” for the Nintendo Wii. This game covers the Indy history from 1961 to 1971, so racing buffs can recreate famous moments in history. There are 33 official Indy cars in the race, organized by era. Each race’s difficulty increases with each year, as more advanced cars are mixed in, and the AI becomes more aggressive.

Halo ActionClix Miniatures: Hands-on Preview
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
If you’ve been gaming for a long while, then perhaps you remember the time when what now are popular video games were played exclusively with paper and dice. Dungeons and Dragons, BattleTech, Lord of the Rings, and many other gaming franchises were originally games that took many hours to play. Now, one hour of checking the rulebook, rolling dice, calculating hits, and logging damage are simulated by the computer in just a few seconds.

In an unusual twist turn, a popular video game franchise has been brought to the tabletop, in the form of WizKids’ Halo ActionClix. Since Halo ActionClix aims to bring the frenzy of PvP to the tabletop, and thus the rules are simplified to make for quick gameplay (by tabletop standards).

The Lovely Ladies of PAX 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Walking around the exhibition floor at PAX can be rather exhausting. There are crowds of people in the way, but luckily there are lots of hot gamer ladies to bump into “accidentally”. I’m quite a big guy, so it was only a matter of time before I would make some of these gaming mavens a little uncomfortable. Many were happy to pose and show off their costumes and clever T-shirts.

Since PAX was nearly three times larger than last year, there were more booth babes. Only a few booths had true models, but many of the game PR managers and producers were beautiful women, and are more than happy to talk with everyone.

Wil Wheaton Keynote Address @ PAX 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Here is the summary of the absolutely awesome keynote by Wil Wheaton. It has been rephrased, but here is the summary. The complete audio file is available for download in the article, as well.

The keynote address was absolutely amazing. It was genuinely entertaining. Not only was it as good as any stand-up comedy act, but it left everyone with an exhaulted feeling of pride, and I learned a few things about myself in the process. Kudos to Wil Wheaton… he has a deep passion for video games, and appreciates them for what they truly are: modern art.

Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 Hands-On Preview
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Dragonball Z Games have not had the best reputation in the past. Many reviewers usually give them lackluster reviews, which usually results in numerous angry letters from die-hard DBZ fanboys. This trend may soon change, as we were given a hands-on preview of the latest Dragonball Z game for the Nintendo Wii.

Yes, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is yet another fighting game, but this time it’s on the Wii, and sports a whole new control mechanism. Although the Wii has limited horsepower compared to the other next-gen consoles, it is the most powerful system a DBZ game has ever run on. Because of the upgraded silicon, this new game looks as close to the classic anime series as you can get.

Q & A With Uwe Bolls, Director of Postal, Bloodrayne, and House of the Dead
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Some of you may (or may not have) heard of Uwe Bolls. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, then his movies certainly do (especially if you’re a gamer). He has directed or produced alot of movies based on video games, and as most of you already know, the whole video game to movie translation doesn’t work out so well most of the time.

Postal is based on the controvertial 10-year-old franchise by Running with Scissors games, in which a deadbeat from a trailer park goes on a shooting spree that’s filled with macabre and sick humor. Regardless of its qualifications in taste, Postal has been a cult classic video game, and has fueled policital debates about video game censorship.

Penny Arcade Expo 2007: The OCmodshop Experience
Friday, August 24, 2007
OCMS is at PAX 07, and we have you covered like a Jimmy Hat. We have info on all the latest gaming news announced at PAX, as well as photos and articles on the keynote speeches, LAN parties, Booth Babes, Gamer Babes, and just tons of information on gaming culture.

How to Speed Up Firefox in XP and Vista
Friday, August 24, 2007
Both Firefox and Internet Explorer put limitations on file downloads. These Internet standards only allow 2 downloads at the same time, but there is an easy way to modify the number of simultaneous downloads within Firefox. Additionally, you can do a few other tweaks to speed up Firefox, such as reducing delays and enabling parallel downloads (or pipelining as Mozilla calls it). You don’t even have to edit the registry to perform these tweaks: you can use a cool hidden feature in Firefox to hack the raw configuraiton settings right in the browser. Follow these steps to speed up browsing with Firefox:

Sennheiser CX-300 In-Ear Headphones Reviewed
Thursday, August 23, 2007
There is another thing that I value above the music and that sound quality. I hate having to listen to music without some depth; some nice clarity to be able to hear every stroke and glide cross the strings of a guitar, and the pounding bass drum of a rock song. Of course I take my music with me wherever I go on my mp3 player, but I want something better than the average headphones you get with a media player.

Now the CX300 is the first and currently only in-ear (or ear canal) headphones Sennheiser makes. Let’s find out of their in-ear products are up to spec.

Nyko Gameface 360 Review: Create Custom Faceplates for Your Xbox 360
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Since the dawning of man there were computers, and people who modded those ugly grey boxes. Since then was the birth of the Xbox 360, but you where delivered in the hands of the heathen gods that brought premade faceplates with lame designs. Now is the time to rise up and fight back with those boring faceplates.

Let your own imagination run free as we review the Nyko GameFace 360 customizable faceplate.

Slim Aero’s Bloated Borders in Vista
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
There’s no doubt that Windows Vista’s visuals are a huge improvement over XP, but it seems like Microsoft wanted to show it off a little too much… at the cost of some screen real estate. They want to show off the new transparency of the window borders, but how can you truly appreciate them new-fangled glass borders unless they’re as wide as a barn?

If you want to get some of your screen real estate back, or just prefer a more slimmed-down, minimal approach, you can easily configure the windows.

Overlord for Windows PC Game Review
Monday, August 20, 2007
Overlord is an adventure-RPG with solid fundamentals, beautiful graphics and tons of innovative features. But above all, it’s packed with humor and is quite simply a blast to play.

The game begins as a new and fairly weak Evil Overlord, controlled in a third-person view throughout the game. First off, you have to get your home tower operational, and then it’s time to recruit an army of cackling minions to do your bidding. You do so by killing sheep, bugs, enemies and so forth, then capturing their “life force” which works as a currency for spawning more minions.

Into the Pirate’s Lair
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Honest folks who tell you everything is going to be instantly available when, where you want it…live in a virtual fantasy world. Some of them also told you about the paperless office. A forecast right up there with the paperless toilet. Raise your hand if you watch a show on HDTV at home, take your notebook and watch the show on the plane, switch to viewing it on your cellphone in the cab.

Antec EarthWatts 500Watt Power Supply Review
Friday, August 17, 2007
Over a 5 year period, nearly $70-$100 can be spent on wasted electricity from one power supply. Many in today’s digital lifestyle have multiple computers, or computerized appliances, so even a 5% improvement over all of your equipment can mean hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars over time. I’m not an Al Gore-wannabe; I’m just pointing out that a slow leak of money adds up after a while. And it doesn’t make sense to buy an exhorbitantly expensive power supply to combat the problem, because that’s money out of your pocket, too.

Antec has introduced their EarthWatts line of power supplies to address this issue. These power supplies are available in three highly efficient models—380 Watt, 430 Watt, and 500 Watt—and are all 80 PLUS certified (the newest standard in power supply efficiency).

The Easy Path to Home Entertainment Networks & Support
Thursday, August 16, 2007
We always wanted the same for our modest home. But unlike the movie version of a home PC/entertainment solution it doesn’t just suddenly appear…it evolves. It’s a waste of hard earned dollars for every computer user in the house to have his/her own printer…their own internet connection.

Noctua NC-U6 Chipset Cooler Review
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Many computer motherboards still cool their chipsets with a standard aluminum heatsink and a small fan. While these may work fine at first, the fans tend to break down or become noisy, or just aren’t sufficient when overclocking. Motherboard chipsets are running hot, especially since more northbridge chipsets are taking on additional tasks like audio and video processing. There are several third party chipset coolers, all with varying degrees of pros and cons. Some are just as bad as the OEM heatsinks, while others offer extreme cooling while remaining virtually or completely silent.

Noctua is aiming to deliver high quality computer products and proudly proclaim their products are “Designed in Austria”. Their answer to the chipset cooling problem is the Noctua NC-U6 chipset cooler, which is a high-rising copper and aluminum heatsink with heatpipe technology that looks rather impressive.

Evercool’s Fii: An External Cooling Solution for Nintendo Wii
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Nintendo’s new Wii has taken the top spot in the home console war. The Wii produces only one-fourth of the pixel-crunching power of the other major consoles, and similarly only consumes one-fourth the power. This reduced power consumption translates into less heat produced by the unit, which makes it just as stable and trouble-free as any other home entertainment appliance.

Evercool has produced an external cooling solution for the Wii, called the “Fii” (product number TG-W1) and it exploits the established cuteness factor of the Wii. While a cooler may not be necessary, the Fii offers several “fii”tures that make it worth looking into.

Too Much Information: Saving Our Past From Our Future
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
At home it is worse. People are increasingly installing networked storage for saving, using news, information, entertainment. In our household that means wired/wireless PCs (relatively easy) with NTI’s Shadow backup software installed on each, connection to the TV/stereo (real pain in the tush), and a pricey but big 1TB HD.

Four months ago we thought that would be the last home storage device we’d need.Then the kid decided it was a cool idea to rip all of our CDs (about 1,000) and put them on the drive so he could rotate them through his MP3 player. Then he got a new highdef camcorder and combined the video with his smartphone stuff to produce content for MySpace and other social networking sites.

Evercool Xfan 360 Review
Monday, August 13, 2007
The Xbox 360 is arguably the hottest-running console ever created, and as such has been subject to shutdown and overheating problems. I have replaced two consoles myself, due to damage caused by overheating. Fortunately there are a few aftermarket solutions to help cool your Xbox 360, and each offers several advantages and disadvantes, which will be discussed in this article.

Evercool’s entry into post-market Xbox 360 cooling is their TG-XB1 external cooler, named the “Xfan 360”. This cooler is an external unit that attaches directly to the console’s plastic rear exhaust grill.

X-Arcade’s Tankstick Put to the Test
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Do you remember the original Transformers, He-Man, or G.I. Joe? Do you relate to the Goonies? If so, then congratulate yourself for growing up in the 80s. You probably begged your dad to give you your meager allowance in quarters so that you could blow it all at the local arcade. Those blocky-pixel days of yore may be gone, but there really was nothing like hanging out in the arcade. Massively multiplayer games back then consisted of games that supported FOUR players at the same time! (like Gauntlet or many Capcom fighters)

The newest addition to Xgaming’s award-winning lineup remains faithful to it’s arcadian ancestry and injects the most complete and authentic home arcade gaming experience into your home.

Defeat ‘COM Surrogate Has Stopped Working’ Errors when Playing Videos in Vista
Thursday, August 02, 2007
If you have a bunch of video files, then you probably also have a bunch of video and audio codecs (Divx, Xvid, MPEG-4, AC3, etc.) to match. Most of the time when you don’t have a particular codec installed, either the video or audio stream won’t render, and you can diagnose which codec you need and install it.

Windows Vista decides to throw you a generic “COM Surrogate has stopped working” or “DLLHost has stopped working” error message when it can’t find some of your codecs. Vista’s updated Media Center will completely crash without any error if it encounters a file without the proper codec (not very appliance-like if you ask me). This usually occurs when trying to get the video thumbnail, so you can have a hard time navigating to other video files if you step upon this “land mine.”

Unable to Save to IE7’s Favorites After a Move… How to Fix it!
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Vista is very good at protecting users from their own idiocy… so much so that it can be a chore for Power Users who mess with their settings all the time. For example, some people like to move the location of Internet Explorer’s Favorites, but IE 7’s Protected Mode will prevent you from being able to write to this new location. Whenever you try to save a web page to your Favorites, then Vista will generate an error message.

Again, we have to pull out our bag of Administrator’s tricks to tell Vista that we know what we are doing. Here’s the procedure on how to fix this: