Tonight was the Tulsa installment of the Visual Studio 2008InstallFest that is sweeping the cities this month. In a move to get people excited about VS2008, Microsoft handed out 150 trial copies of VS2008 to those that registered. As an encouragement to those that installed VS two-double-oght-eight on site, participants who demonstrated the post-install goodness were given a t-shirt to commemorate the event.
This was by far the biggest turn out we’ve had outside of Tulsa TechFest at OSU Tulsa. Tons of food and drink were provided, including Mazzio’s Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, and Spaghetti Warehouse pasta trays. There was plenty to go around and everyone was talking and discussing anything and everything. Good times.
Once we arrived, we camped out and provided the entertainment for the room. Chris Koenig provided several XBOX 360′s for the event, one with Guitar Hero III and another with my new favorite game Rock Band. Rock Band absolutely kicks ass. We had 3-4 players all the time, and I even uploaded a few videos of people playing the game. The multiplayer on Rock Band makes the battle mode on GH3 look lame. Having a group playing all parts of the song is more fun than you could imagine based on the videos on the web.
These videos were shot on my MacBook Pro and uploaded at the event using iMovie’s YouTube export:
Needless to say, I’ll likely be getting an XBOX 360 and Rock Band sometime in the near future!
So far, the game is a blast. I’ve only played a couple of evenings (well, three, for a total of eight hours or so) but the game play is pretty darn good. I’m still working on getting some experience with more of the classes, but I’m liking what I see so far. It’s a shame there is hardly any team play on public servers, hopefully once the release happens there will be some team leagues starting or something to get some organized action.
Wow, today is going to be a long one. Last night, I went to see EOTO play. EOTO is a spin-off of the now defunct String Cheese Incident. It was a solid 2-hour techno show, but not the hard house or trance that I’ve heard so much about. It was more trip-hop or something like that, very cool stuff. The drummer played for two hours straight without a break — pretty wild.
The MacBook Pro continues to evolve. Post Fusion install I’ve gotten all my development tools installed, including Resharper, TestDriven.NET, TortoiseSVN, and NAnt. So far everything seems to be working great. I’ve yet to install PowerShell (so I can have my NIX command-line goodness for the Windows box). I pulled down the trunk of Castle and got it to build as well. I had to create the Test & Test2 databases on my local instance of SQL Server 2005 in order for all the tests to complete.
It looks like I’ll be giving a presentation on MonoRail at the TulsaTechFest 2007. It will be an introduction to building a web site using MonoRail and Brail. MonoRail is part of the Castle Project and provides a MVC (model-view-controller) framework within ASP.NET. MVC is a solid pattern for building web applications that is a significant improvement over the page-based WebForms model. MonoRail embraces web standards allows applications to be built based on controller logic and helps facilitate the separation of concerns. It’s good stuff, I can’t wait ot talk about it.
Did I mention that I’m old and staying out until 2 AM at a live show is painful the next day? Where is the Tylenol again? Strange that I can stay up until 3 AM playing with a new computer and not feel fried the next day but this was… different.
Oh yeah, Peggle Extreme is part of the pre-order package for TeamFortress2 on Steam. I highly recommend it as a fun diversion! Speaking of TF2, I’m all set for the beta that starts on Monday. I can’t wait to play the game, I hope for some cool in-game video recording (with FRAPS or otherwise) next week. I wonder if voice-chat is built into the game? Things I don’t know — they are plentiful today it seems.
I popped into Steam today to check out a few things and was shocked to see a special offer. Pre-order Half Life 2: The Orange Box on Steam and play Team Fortress 2 Beta on September 17th! I was stoked, cancelled my Amazon pre-order and picked up The Orange Box on Steam. About 6 GB later (and a few hours, seems that a lot of people saw the Pre-load option when they got home) I had a bunch of new files in my game folder. Looks like a lot of shared Half Life 2 assets, along with the Team Fortress 2 assets.
Quite a find, I’m glad I logged in to check it out. They also included a really fun peg game that’s great for wasting away idle time waiting for the beta to start. And if you already have Half Life 2 registered on your account, once released you’ll get gift passes to give to friends so they can play your extra copies of the game you got with the Orange Box. Very cool.
I can’t wait for Monday night, anybody want to work on a recreation of the original QW Canal Zone map?
I’ve just finished Neptune’s Bounty in BioShock. The game continues to amaze in the depth of the story and the creativity of the content. The way some of the encounters are setup reminds me of some really good raid designs in EQ2, but this time I’m a lone soldier on a desperate mission to free the… Wait. This isn’t some kind of movie trailer.
It’s the ongoing story of what is easily one of the best FPS games to be released… ever. The game is amazing and I continue to enjoy working hard to advance the storyline. The audio diaries, the interactive characters, the chases, the power-ups, the plasmids, the little sisters. The audio cues in this game are just one of the ways the game sets itself up.
Another thing that just continues to amaze is how each encounter has different challenges. Studying your targets before attacking (with the camera), learning about their weaknesses, analyzing the layout of an encounter and determining how best to use the environments, bots, cameras, turrets, and other resources to avoid dying and obtain that ultimate victory is just mind blowing. This is definitely not your run of the mill shoot first and loot the bodies later FPS. It’s an entirely new thread in the FPS story.
If you have not bought it yet, get off your ass and get it. It’s a don’t miss title, just look at all the 10/10 reviews around the web from magazines that never give over a 9.3 on a typical day.
With all the new games coming out this fall, some might be inclined to upgrade their present gaming machine to support the new games coming out. The graphically rich environments in games like BioShock need to be seen in high quality DirectX 10 viewing pleasure to be truly enjoyed. Of course, I find the gameplay itself to be enough of an attraction without all the graphical goodies, so I’m likely not going to upgrade just to play that particular game.
Nonetheless, I did the research to see what it would cost to make a machine up to date for gaming action. I came up with the following items:
Case with 600+ Watt Power Supply, Active PFC Recommended
That’s all you really need to play games. Sure, you could add a Creative X-Fi sound card if you want EAX environmental audio. I would probably continue to run Windows XP, but Vista is an option if you want DirectX 10 compatible gaming. Maybe a dual-boot option would be a good way to split up the hard drive.
You can get into this for just under $1000 if you play your cards right. Reuse some old hardware (case, DVD-drive, I recommend trashing everything else) and you can save $100 or more. With most games being designed for multi-core CPU’s (XBOX 360, PS3) you can expected multithreaded games to scale nicely on the CPU, plus you have extra cores for TeamSpeak, FRAPS, whatever else you want to run at the same time.
Personally, I can’t afford the upgrade for myself. My 6800 Ultra continues to handle the games at lower resolutions and reduced detail levels. But I can’t justify a dedicated gaming box either. The 8600 GT in the MacBook Pro will have to fulfill my graphical needs for the next couple of years…
Well, not amazing, but playable. I upgraded to the new 163.44 beta drivers tuned for BioShock and managed to get a playable game. Of course, I’m only at 1024×640, but that’s really not much less than the resolution you would get on an XBOX 360. Running FRAPS, I get a pretty consistent 15 FPS with everything that can be set on high set on high. Of course, in a crowd it gets a little bit lower but I’m only playing the demo at this point. It looks pretty damn nice with everything turned on, that’s for sure.
I’m probably going to go ahead and buy the game now, since I found out I can play it. I don’t really have time right now, so I’ll wait and see if it goes on sale at Best Buy or something in the next couple of weeks. No need to pay retail if it’s just going to sit in a box anyway. Once I get the actual game, I’ll certainly add the FOV hack to make it work properly in 16:10, the aspect ratio of my laptop display. Of course, with all the uproar, it’s likely they’ll have a patch to the game by then that makes it available from the menu.
I’ve read that some people have already finished the game in around 20 hours of game play, which certainly isn’t a bad amount of content for the price. Replay is pretty low given there is no multiplayer, but that’s what TeamFortress 2 is all about!