Several (Small) Updates

May 13, 2013

I haven’t posted to this blog in what feels like several years (but has only been several months). Since then, several admittedly small things have happened:

  • I’m no longer the fervent hater of Steam that I used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I still hate the DRM behind Steam, although I haven’t been bitten by it in a long time (don’t worry, 15 minutes after I post this, something will happen). And, given the choice between purchasing a game on GoG or on Steam, I’ll choose GoG nearly every time because it’s DRM free, cheaper (unless a Steam sale is on) and is generally easier to mod. However, if I’m buying a game online, I’d much rather use Steam than some other client.
  • I purchased a domain and some hosting. I may very well create that site I promised years ago. I may very well indeed…

Tomb Raider II Gold for the GOG.com Release

November 3, 2012

Several months ago, the first three Tomb Raider games were released on GOG.com. Usually, their releases feature all expansion packs and DLC. However, this was not the case with Tomb Raider. The first three Tomb Raider games had mini expansion packs that were, of course, only available on the PC. The first two Tomb Raider games were rereleased as Tomb Raider [I/II] Gold, and included their expansions: Unfinished Business for Tomb Raider I, and The Golden Mask for Tomb Raider II. It was also released on the Internet for free for the then current owners of the two games. Tomb Raider III, on the other hand, did not feature a free expansion. It was a standalone expansion pack (The Lost Artifact) that was sold in stores.

 

While, I can (sort of) see the lack of The Lost Artifact in the GOG release, due to perhaps licensing issues, I can’t see it for Unfinished Business or The Golden Mask, as they were released for free. Thankfully, there is a way to play Unfinished Business with your GOG copy, which also features the PlayStation soundtrack (it was never included with any PC version, for some odd reason). I’ve never found a way to fully play The Golden Mask with the GOG release. There is a “glitch” that involves installing the demo version of Tomb Raider II and then installing The Golden Mask, but it doesn’t feature the soundtrack. My goal is to find a way to play The Golden Mask with the GOG release and the full soundtrack. And I believe that I have achieved that goal.

 

First, you will need the following:

 

 

As soon as you have the above, you should create a folder on your desktop. I used “TR2Gold”. After that, I then copied the installed GOG release of Tomb Raider II to that folder. Then, I deleted the contents of the “data” folder in the copy of the of the game that I copied to the “TR2Gold” folder and deleted “tombpc.dat” that resides in the main folder. All of the assets for Tomb Raider II were deleted, including tombpc.dat, which is the main script for “tomb2.exe”.

 

Now, you should install the standalone copy of Golden Mask. As soon as it is installed, you should copy over the contents of the data folder to the data folder in “TR2Gold”. Then, copy tombpc.dat in the data folder to the main folder. If you wish, you can delete the “savegame” files in this folder since they will only work in the main game. Finally, run Tomb2.exe. There it is: Tomb Raider II Gold in all its beauty, soundtrack included. No CD required.

 

NOTE: I have yet to play the entirety of Tomb Raider II Gold, so I do not know if there are any severe bugs. I doubt it, though.

Call of Duty 4, We Hardly Knew You

April 8, 2012

Call of Duty 4 was released in November of 2007, which in PC gaming terms (should, in today’s world) is not that long ago. I mean, look at Counter-Strike. That game has been out since the beginning of time and it’s still one of the top games on Steam (4/8/12: The top played game on Steam). I can still find decent servers for that game. Why not for CoD4? Why is it that the CoD4 server browser seems to be filled with “64 PLAYER 24/7 BROADCAST!!!”? Why is it that there aren’t any servers with a sane player count and a variety of game modes and maps? Why? Why, indeed. What makes it even worse is the fact that the console version is broken to hell and back with those hacks and cheats that I hear so much about. That cannot be fixed, but the issues with the PC version can easily be fixed.

I Switched Back to SeaMonkey

March 29, 2012

I’ve been hearing more and more about new “features” in newer versions of Firefox that I’ve simply decided to switch back to SeaMonkey. For one, it still has a sane interface. I don’t need an add-on to have my status bar. I mean, really. They couldn’t have just disabled the status bar by default, and let “techies” re-enable it? The address bar still shows the protocol in SeaMonkey (sure, it’s a small thing, but a lot of small things can turn into a very big thing). It doesn’t seem to be as.. bloated as Firefox is (has been and probably will still be until the end of Firefox). Since the last time I used SeaMonkey as my default browser (2007?), it’s been updated with the good features of Firefox (I reviewed a Beta of SeaMonkey 2 back in December of 2008) and a little rant about it in 2009. I was critical of it because it didn’t support older versions of Windows. Sure, it’s something to complain about, but these days most browsers don’t support anything under XP (except for OS/2, you odd man out, you). All in all, I’m glad that I switched back to SeaMonkey. It makes browsing the web enjoyable once again.

Excuse Me, McRipoffs?

February 12, 2012

So, earlier today I decided to go to my local McDonalds. All was good until I noticed two things. One: the sign on the ice machine that stated "Re-fills are NOT for drive-thru customers – thanx the mgt" (all typos intentional). The other was the fact that the small sodas (or soft drinks, if you will) are now $1.29. Now, I can understand that prices do have to go up and all that. However, couple the insane mark up that fast food companies make on the drinks, the insane "value meal" prices (I can get better food at a diner for less) and their crazy pricing in general (a slice of cheese from a hamburger to a cheeseburger is 10 or 20 cents, but a slice of cheese from a McDouble to a double cheese burger is 30 to 40 cents. Why is that? I think they have quite some gall doing that. What do you think?

I don’t think I want to go and eat there anymore, thank you very much. Never mind the fact that isn’t good for you.

SOPA and PIPA Suck.

January 18, 2012

Obligatory post. ‘Nuff said. Do everything in your power to make non-techies aware of the issues at hand. If enough people fight back, they will back down. If enough people boycott their goods, it’ll hurt them where it hurts most.

I Would if I Could

February 18, 2011

As you may know, the United States federal government has been seizing Internet domains for hosting copyrighted content or child pornography. However, they went above and beyond that when they “accidentally” seized 84,000 domains, most (if not 99%) of them innocent. Looking for more information I found this article on “El Reg”. Seeing a bold “fuck off” half-way down the article, I decided to click on the link to a blogger who was had one of the 84,000 domains. Imagine my surprise when I see that the blog is called stop_error.

At first I kind of smirked, seeing that some one else used the title. Do I care? No. Really, it’s just the official terminology for a blue screen of death. But there was a more important thing that I started thinking of. Why can the federal government just come in and “grab” any domain they want? Even domains registered outside of the United States? What about a little thing I like to call the United States Constitution? This is a result of big government. Democrats and Republicans both love big government. We need people who understand and respect the Constitution in charge. I’m crying right now about this, much like a certain person in the house. And yes, this is a big fucking deal.

I Want the Old Slashdot Back

January 26, 2011

After freshly installing a Fedora 14 virtual machine (just trying to keep up with the different Linux distros. I really don’t think I can fully switch over to Linux on my primary machine due to my love of PC gaming. I won’t get a console, thank you very much!) I decide to fire up Firefox and go to Slashdot, just to test and see if things are working. It worked, but I now wish it didn’t work, since I saw something so horrid that I wish I never saw it. I saw… the horrible new Web 2.0 Slashdot.

In typical Web 2.0 fashion, it has lots of blank white space and that downright annoying as all hell header that scrolls down with the page. I have to ask: why? What was so wrong with the older design? Or even the design older than that? I’m hearing reports that it isn’t compatible with older browsers on older operating systems, so this is a major bummer. If only web designers would design sites the way I would: “if it doesn’t work with Netscape/Internet Explorer 3, then it sucks”. There might have been a lot of things to hate about 1990’s web design (such as most GeoCities pages), but at least for the most part it sucked less. I’d love to hear what you think of the new design.

Written from my Fedora 14 Virtual machine.

 

EDIT: Of course here is the news entry about the redesign itself.

I’m Racist? Really?

January 15, 2011

When you play a game online, communication is key. A crappy team with communication will for the most part win over a good team without communication. But what happens when you’re in a game where people are communicating, but in a different language? What happens when they lag so bad, that other players feel like they’re lagging? I was playing a game today where all that was happening and I pointed this out. Another player called me a “racist”.

Is it racism when you want to play a game where communication and lag can make or break a game?

Valve, You’re Losing Your Touch

October 30, 2010

The latest Team Fortress 2 updates  have (in my opinion) practically destroyed the game. Micro-transactions. New items that don’t fit with the art style. Its turned into an entirely different game than the one I purchased several years ago. Hell, everything up to the War! update (December 2009) was great. Even the Engineer update was pretty good. But everything after that went down hill.

Micro-transactions are quite possibly the worst idea to grace video gaming. Originally, they said the micro-transactions would be cheap. Cents. Maybe a dollar or two. That was an idea I could go along with. Cheap items to customize your game play (but not let you have a have an advantage over other players). The Team Fortress 2 micro-transaction system (the “Mann Co. store”) is not cheap. The game itself cost $20 when I bought it (standalone retail release in April 2008). As I write this post, it is currently 50% off, going for $9.99. The Orange Box (which included Team Fortress 2, Portal, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One and Half-Life 2 Episode Two) cost $50, when released in October of 2007. Look through the screenshots below to see how much some items cost. It’s amazing, actually, that people purchase these “items”. And, some of these items have bonuses when purchased through a bundle. Valve said that items for purchase can also be dropped using the item-drop system. From what I can tell, some items are only available for purchase.

Valve, I don’t want to think this, but you’re turning into Activision or EA. That’s something I thought would never happen. But I was naive. In the end, everyone sells out.


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