That’s right it’s a post.

Another semester of college is dwindling down already, providing me with the chance to finally get my thoughts in order enough to post.

I haven’t really made any progress on any projects other than school stuff, so no news there. I’ve mainly just been trying to relax to some good gaming in between the schoolwork. But since finishing Titan Quest, the gaming has been rather ho-hum.

I went back and played Hitman: Contracts, getting Silent Assassin in all the missions. But alas, it made me appreciate the improvements in Blood Money more so.

Now, I’ve just starting working on Stalker but am having mixed feeling about it. First of all, it’s just as buggy as Titan Quest was. I experienced random freezes, stuttering, and save game corruption within the first few hours of play. Thankfully, the Internet provides communities of other irate gamers in the form of forums. I eventually combed through enough search pages that I found a working solution for the most-annoying freezes. Oddly enough, it has to do with the behavior of the OS’s paging algorithm–a hack that shouldn’t be necessary but is because of the half-assed state of the game’s engine. You just change/add two keys to the registry path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management
DWORD PagedPoolSize = FFFFFFFF(hex)
DWORD PoolUsageMaximum = 50(dec)

PoolUsageMaximum is a percentage that controls the aggressiveness of the page swapping (this setting may not even be needed). PagedPoolSize controls whether the OS handles swapping dynamically or just lets the pool fill up to a specific size.

Anyways, the gameplay itself is…interesting. At first, it felt like playing Morrowind, but that soon faded as the story drove the game into a more linear style than expected. The game world is not contiguous or load-free, but rather a collection of areas connected together by teleport points. In other words, it’s no Oblivion. It plays more like a perversion of Far Cry than anything else. The few RPG elements almost seem tacked on and only include inventories, looting stashes, and augmenting with passive artifacts. It’s definitely no Deus Ex, either. What it does have are some pretty intense and frequent fire-fights. They actually happen too often, because areas are quickly refilled with mutants and bandits. It’s a real chore to clean out an area on your way to somewhere and then clean it out again on your way back. And there’s no quick travel. I’m unsure I’ll continue playing, because this game is just too in need of polish.

I’ve had a more enjoyable time pwning the shit out of my girlfriend in LieroX 😛 . There are so many weapons in the various mods to try out that it never gets stale. Our favorite right now is the Warhammer weapons mod. It has great effects and good balancing with a wide assortment of weapon types. If you’re unfamiliar with the original Liero, it was basically a side-scroller deathmatch not unlike the popular Worms series (sans the turn-taking). LieroX is just an amped up incarnation with full-color destructible levels, player skins, weapon packs, and Windows and networking support.

And my last bit of news is the conversion of my How-To Deus Column into a plaintext document available on GameFAQs. So my much slaved over guide is finally getting all the hits it deserves. I will, of course, continue to update the original column, as it is easier to maintain in HTML than a heavily-formatted text file.

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