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* Posts by tsdadam

42 posts • joined 11 May 2010

HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

tsdadam

Double-tap to wake

It's far from useless. I have it on the LG G2 (which, by the way, this review has made me even more glad to have chosen), and it's so handy that I get annoyed at absent-mindedly trying to do the same on the tablet. Phone on the arm of the chair in the evening, or on the desk at work, and want to check time or whatever? Just double-tap the screen - no more claw-hand trying to hold the phone still while you press the power button.

I know, I know, if you're reading this and haven't tried it it sounds really petty and a stupid thing to pick out, but once you've used it you'll wonder why every phone doesn't have it.

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Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

tsdadam

Mode 7 Starwing?

I think you're mixing up your Super FX with your Mode 7. Mode 7 was the background scaling and rotating Effect Du Jour that was used in a ton of games from the likes of F-Zero onwards. Super FX was the Argonaut-developed chip that was popped in Starwing and others.

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HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT

tsdadam

Re: Less than generous respawn points ... rehashing whole swathes of levels again and again

"And, actually, that's kind of the point; games are not just for kids - those of us who grew up playing hard, unforgiving, non-saveable games (I'm looking at you, R-Type, Probotector*) are now adults, with jobs and responsibilities; kids of our own even.

Most of us remember those old-school games fondly but our relationship with games has matured and changed as we (hopefully) have."

The difference now is where the games come from. Arcade coin-ops dictated the games we wanted to play as kids. Coin-ops were designed to draw you back, no saves, and be completable within about half an hour or so. Wham, bam, thanks for your 10p, please come back again in 5 minutes to see some more of the game. We all read magazines back then longing to see those two sacred words next to a review of a home conversion:

"Arcade Perfect"

I still love these quick fix games, and difficult games too (the two are not synonymous, have a go at Dark Souls), but each has its place.

I have an urge to go and play Karnov now :)

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No sign of Half-Life 3 but how about FOURTEEN Steam Machine makers?

tsdadam

Re: Difficult to predict

"Question: since it's basically a Linux PC does this mean it will support Netflix and all those things"

As it stands, that's one of the few things that won't happen.

Netflix won't run natively on linux at the moment, just through dedicated hardware and manfacturers (Roku etc), but 'desktop' linux cannot run it.

Yes, there are shoehorned implementations that let you do it with packages related to Wine, but nothing for linux as it is.

It's an interesting thought though, with Valve's weight thrown behind it, maybe it'll help nudge Neflix in that direction.

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Vladimir PUTIN officially HARDER than CHUCK NORRIS

tsdadam

Re: Wrong Art - Chuck's 9th Dan too.

What can I say, I was a at a loose end while my coffee brewed :)

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tsdadam

Wrong Art - Chuck's 9th Dan too.

Chuck earned his way in Tang Soo Do, not TKD. Sure, he got graded in TKD too, but TSD is what he's known for, and he's a 9th Dan in that.

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Reboot the formula: F1 and FIFA tweaked for another year

tsdadam

Re: Does FIFA ## still cheat?

I can't say I particularly notice either of those, and I've played a lot of it over the last 3 or 4 years (was a WE/PES person before that).

Your second point though is probably due to the computer switching up to attacking or ultra-attacking when losing in an attempt to claw the match back. If you play clever and defensively (cover players, don't constantly try to tackle, double-up if you can) you can actually catch the computer with counter-attacks more often when it's happening.

The quick formation change option in 14's pause menu also means you can quickly change-up without diving into menus if you need to alter the game. I like the game, far better shooting than the last couple of games and finally some inertia on sprinting!

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Former Microsoftie in AUTOMATIC BEER MAKER funding plea

tsdadam

Re: Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts

@phil dude: Are you talking about boiling the wort, or pasteurising the bottled/canned finished beer?

If you're talking about boiling the wort, the yeast is always added after the heating. I boil my wort for at least 60 minutes (more often 90) on a strong rolling boil. It does what you're talking about but also drives off Dimethyl Sufides (DMS) responsible for nasty tastes, and helps isomerize the bittering oils in the early hops.

Beer is naturally pretty resistant to nasties once it's fermented. In fact, even while it's fermenting it's pretty hardy. The thick foam (krausen) forms a natural barrier, and from then on there's a nice layer of CO2 sat on top of the beer. The PH change in the beer helps make sure nothing nasty takes hold too.

Pasteurisation of beer is a bad thing if you ask me. Hop flavours and smells aren't as good, and it can taste a bit... old.

(sorry if I got the wrong end of the stick, I'm not trying to tell a microbiologist his stuff :) )

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tsdadam

Re: Real men drink real ale

I'm an ale drinker, and I love a lager too, but a _good_ lager. Even a simple comparison between something like a bottle of Budvar and a bottle of Coors or Budweiser will show you that lager can taste of something other than brown and water.

Ironically though, making a lager is MUCH more involved and needs much more time and care than knocking out a pale ale.

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tsdadam

Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts

As any all-grain homebrewer will tell you, getting the wort out of the grain is only half the job.

There's no provision for chilling the wort (throw it in a bucket of ice...), and the fermentation is treated as something trivial that happens afterward. Temperature control during fermentation is just as important as the rest of the brew. This machine never even gets to a full boil, and starts at about 50% efficiency, I get better from my £30 home-made mash tun and £150 boiler.

Four weeks is the bare minimum I would expect to get anything even approaching a nice beer into a glass, but they reckon you can drink it after a week?? Then they talk about adding the kegs to your kegerator for serving. Anyone who goes to the trouble of building a kegerator isn't going to be too bothered by doing a full mash.

I suppose it could be useful for making up small test batches of a recipe, but that's as far as I'd go. For the cost of one of these you could easily put together a 23 litre all-grain setup and buy enough grain, hops and yeast to make beer until the end of the world :) Brewing's a labour of love, it takes time.

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Campus Party: Did it start Silicon Britain or let 5,000 geeks sleep together?

tsdadam

Disappointing

When I read the original article I thought this was going to be a case of a load of hobbyist programmers getting together to make some useful, original apps.

Instead they seem to have shown some people 'Hello World' in Python on as RasPi (probably) - but wasn't this event intended for developers? And how to overclock a computer. Why overclocking? It seems so pointless. For people playing games, fine, but for developing apps?

The whole event was talked-up in the original article as being for developers, the post-event write-up sounds nothing like it. What a waste of a potentially great event.

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Sony sets dates for US and Euro PS4 unleashment amid Xbox heckles

tsdadam

Re: At least with a console

Personally, this generation I'll be doing the best of both worlds. A mid-range PC with a half-decent GPU sat under the TV in the living room.

There's no need to keep going down the 'constant upgrade' route if you build a small PC for the living room. Unless you own a 4K TV (I don't) you don't need to cater for anything over 1920x1080 resolution, so there's no chasing max resolutions all the time. My three year old GTX-460 card (which was decidedly mid-range at the time) still spits out Battlefield 3 at that resolution looking a whole lot better than the console version.

A mini-itx (i.e. shoebox-sized) PC will do just about anything the next crop of consoles do in terms of games and media, the games are cheaper, and I have a big back-catalogue of games that I can still play on the same hardware. If something fails, I replace that bit rather than getting the console replaced (3 times with my 360, once with PS3). Don't get me wrong, I love the console experience, I really do, it's just that there's a viable alternative this time around that I'll still be able to play a lot of the games I would have bought on console. For less.

All of this said I'll no doubt pick up a PS4 when the price drops, but only_if_ there are enough decent exclusives. :)

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Mint 15 freshens Ubuntu's bad bits

tsdadam
Facepalm

Awesome, but...

I've run Mint almost exclusively on my recent cheapo Lenovo laptop, and it's been brilliant. There's genuinely almost no reason left to boot into Windows for me now, and I love Cinnamon. Cinnamon + alt tab coverflow switching + windows 7 style grouped tasks addons = nigh on perfect for me.

Why nigh? Well, because despite the majority of high street laptops coming with 16:9 screens, there's still no option of a vertical panel in Cinnamon. Windows and Unity manage it, and I know the likes of XFCE does too, but I want it in Cinnamon, and can't have it. That precious vertical screen real estate is still eaten by the panel.

I know there are options like installing Cairo or Docky and using that, but I want the bona-fide original panel there.

Christ, that looks like a whinging post, and it shouldn't be. Mint 14 was great, Mint 15 is better.

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Can Microsoft's U-turn stop the Xbox 360 becoming another XP?

tsdadam

Re: Would the 360 being another XP be a problem?

"unless they're happy to get out of the struggling console market"

The console market is too important to them. Ignoring hardware profits/losses in the first few years, as the hardware starts expensive to make and gradually lowers, the money's in the games.

Worldwide console games sales were ~$25B last year, anticipated to be $26B this year, and then expected to rise to over over $27.5B the next year. Given the three-way split the money is going at the moment, I'd say that's a pie they'd like a piece of.

Conversely, PC games (even with the advent of SteamBox et al) are expected to stay flat at around $7B for the next few years.

"Gaming is growing and it will continue to grow at exceptional rates compared to other entertainment categories”

source: http://goo.gl/XNWNV

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Interview: Steve Jackson, role-playing game titan

tsdadam
Happy

Sorcery Spell Book

The first thing I thought when I saw the picture of the spell book from Sorcery was just how much it reminded me of the box for Ultimate's Knight Lore. It's not really that similar at all, just one of those pictures that instantly fires something off in your brain and takes you back 20+ years.

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tsdadam

Re: Bigger

He's got Caylus and Tikal there, so he's already doing well, could do with Castles of Burgundy though :)

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Review: Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

tsdadam
Facepalm

Tablet?

Apparently just having a touchscreen is enough to push this review into the Tablet section of the site instead of Laptop ;)

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Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

tsdadam

Re: Wouldn't boot in Linux

If I were to guess, I'd say so (Secure boot thing). UEFI is rife sadly, and Lenovo's bios/uefi is weird. My recent Lenovo laptop with Windows 8 pre-install won't even recognise its own Optical drive as a boot device unless the setup is changed back to bios/legacy mode.

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Trip the fight fantastic

tsdadam

Re: A few comments

While I agree whole-heartedly on the KB/Mouse vs Pad for the sort of games you're talking about there (FPS, RTS), I'd have to argue that there are areas that a gamepad kicks the pants off of a keyboard/mouse combination.

Take sports games for example, or platformers, or 2D fighters. A good pad or joystick knocks spots off a keyboard and mouse here, and that's because of the largely overlooked downside of using a keyboard for movement, and that's it being digital. Say what you like about using an analogue stick for aiming (and yes, it's rubbish), but analogue movement is what's missing.

There's something archaic about having a walk/run modifier key. Or maybe try playing fifa on the keyboard and watch that same twitching you mention as you alternate between left and up-left trying to follow a non-45 degree angle. No amount of tweening's going to fix that.

The holy grail of controllers will have analogue movement, with relative positional aiming/cursor control - and do it well. God only knows what it'll look like, although that PS4 pad has a touch-pad controller. It's not where I'd like it, but it's a start.

Signed, a massive BF3 fan (mouse + keyboard) who wouldn't dream of playing a fighter or sports game without a good pad.

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tsdadam
Thumb Up

Re: Square Syndrome

Personally I quite like the way the game's done it. To me it feels like a mix of 'doing what it takes to survive as everyone tries to kill her' followed by frequent cinematic breaks of desperation.

As the reviewer says though, it's a game at the end of the day, and the combat is actually pretty good for the most part. Sure beats pogoing around trying to shoot marauding dinosaurs like the original :)

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Twenty classic arcade games

tsdadam

Re: What was that one called...?

You're actually thinking of Mad Dog McCree (I think), Quickdraw McGraw was a cartoon horse.

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tsdadam

BEWARE, I LIVE

Sinistar made the space invaders look as scary as E.T.

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Microsoft notices Xbox gamers actually slack-jawed TV fans, adds 43 new apps

tsdadam
Thumb Up

No problem with Gold

I've had a Gold account since the original Xbox (~8 years) and personally find it excellent. It's by far the best all-in-one friends/games service on a console, and its uptime is fantastic. I have a PS3 too (never payed for their equivalent premium service), and yes, it's a free service, but at the same time Live has never been down for weeks, or leaked my details. Cross-game voice chat, messaging, invites etc have been the norm for a long time.

Oh and for the 'who pays for two subscriptions?!' brigade, consider an alternative situation. I have a netflix account which I primarily use my PS3 for, but because I happen to have a Gold account (which I pay for anyway), I now have *another* device I can use it on. Win-win as far as I'm concerned :)

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Far Cry 3 game review

tsdadam
Meh

Re: Do they really play this to review it?

I was just thinking the same thing, it's three pages that tell you -about- the game, but not what it's like to actually play it...

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Taito's Double Dragon

tsdadam

*CHING*

I vividly remember this cab at my local leisure centre (among other places), where they had the volume turned up to 11. The high-pitched 'ching' noise as you kicked a knife out of the air is a joy to behold :)

Double Dragon 2 was also a great game. Who can forget 'Pogo' and timing the jump and kick just right to get the helicopter kick.

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Ghostbusters

tsdadam
Thumb Up

Megadrive

The best Ghostbusters game by far was the Megadrive version. It was nothing like the 8-bit versions, instead an excellent platformer with Super-Deformed caricatures of the actors from the film.

It's still worth a play, great game.

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Microsoft job ad advises 'Xbox 720' out by Feb 2014

tsdadam

It doesn't say next generation anywhere

A 'new' Xbox in this context could just as easily be a refresh on the current hardware.

I remember all the stuff they were saying about giving it PVR capabilities (I seem to remember them filing patents for DVR/TV capabilites), could a new Xbox not just be a different model, maybe along the lines of a media center?

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Spy Hunter

tsdadam

Master System

I remember the closest thing on the Master System - Action Fighter. Pretty good fun, and for some reason the cheat code of DOKIPEN has stuck with me 'til this day, in the same way WE5TONE for Wonderboy: The Dragon's Trap has too :)

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Streetfighter 2: The World Warrior

tsdadam
Thumb Up

NTSC/PAL

I was going to post the same thing about the arcade. That's the experience that made that game for me.

I remember seeing a preview in C+VG/Mean Machines (I can't remember which) before the release and poring over the screenshots for weeks. Once it finally arrived - wow... Hordes of kids stood around the cabs, piles of 10p pieces by the joysticks for the unwritten 'next player' rule of the arcade, and those magical moments when someone from out of town would turn up and play like a god with some character you never bothered with before.

I was one of those SNES importers (through Dream Machines I think it was back then) and this cart hooked up on the pass-through converter provided me with far, far too many hours in front of the TV. What nostalgia tends to ignore though is the hideous NTSC-PAL issues which saw us over here with ~100 lines more vertical resolution (i.e. huge black bars top and bottom), and the fact that the game ran at about 85% of the true speed thanks to the 60Hz/50Hz refresh difference.

It didn't matter though, I still remember pulling the blinds and having 'best of 99' battles with my mates :)

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Speedball 2 Brutal Deluxe

tsdadam

Re: No mention of Ice Cream?

Typically this appeared just the same time as my own post on the same thing :)

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tsdadam

No mention..

..of the most memorable bit of speech from those hazy Amiga days?

"Ice Cream!!"

I loved the Bitmap crossover stuff too, like Super Nashwan from this game and Xenon 2: Megablast :)

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Basic instinct: how we used to code

tsdadam
WTF?

They could get away with anything...

Just looking through that listing for Towers of Hanoi, t he description says it's "velly velly good".

In my head is a picture of Peter Sellers in Murder by Death as Mr Wang :)

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Soul Calibur V

tsdadam
WTF?

Score?

I love the 'Soul' series, so I've been looking forward to this. A quick question though. Given that there are almost no negative points (maybe no Ryu/Ken, but as the reviewer is a self-confessed SF fan you'd think the lack of Shoto scrubs would be a good thing ;) )to speak of in the review, and a lot of praise for game-balancing, why has it only been given 75%?

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WHSmith Kobo Vox e-reader

tsdadam

That was my point though, if it's an e-reader then a slow processor should never be a negative point in a review.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

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tsdadam
FAIL

Really?

I can't say I've ever, not even once, accidentally turned my Kindle off. And I agree with the above comment on 7 hours of battery life, that's appalling for something marketed as an e-reader.

The bit that got me most though is the comment that the biggest drawback is the sluggish processor. On a device that's essentially designed to show a page of text, and then flip to the next page after a minute or two, there's no way in the world that processor speed should *ever* be an issue.

Companies should stick to making dedicated e-readers or tablet, not hybrid Frankenstein's monsters.

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Santa's Xmas Caper

tsdadam
Happy

Christmas bits in games...

The one that jumps out at me first is Crude Buster (Two Crude Dudes). One of the bosses was - if memory serves - a small maniac throwing petrol bombs dressed in a Santa outfit. What sticks with me is him shouting "Ho, Ho, Ho. Psycho Santa!" :)

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Rainbow Islands

tsdadam
Thumb Up

I'm with the others...

...and have more fond memories of Bubble Bobble than this one, but it was still a great game.

Bubble Bobble holds a special place for me for being the first coin-op I came across that let you enter secret codes on the machine before you even started playing :)

They don't make platformers like they used to: Wardner (as mentioned above), Karnov, Psychic 5, Tumblepop, Snow Bros, Wonder Boy In Monster Land, New Zealand Story et al.

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BBC iPlayer, Lovefilm, 4OD aim for Xbox

tsdadam

or...

another way of looking at it, those who are already paying for their Gold subscriptions get extra services for nothing - a good thing.

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The Secret of Monkey Island

tsdadam
Thumb Up

I'm selling these fine leather jackets

It's worth mentioning that the special editions that have been recently released do NOT contain all of the sequels, only the first two games (and if you count the Tales Of Monkey Island episodes, we're lucky enough to have had four sequels now :) ).

It's also worth mentioning the single biggest change to the Special Edition games too, the fact that they've had vocals added! Dominic Armato and the rest of the crew were brought in to voice them retrospectively.

The first two are still two of the best games ever made. The third is very good, but I prefer not to think about the fourth :( Monkey Kombat especially ruined that game for me.

Oh and while you can't die as a result of your course of actions, you can die as a result of your *inaction*. Ten minutes is a long time to hold your breath, but not always long enough... ;)

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Sony preps PlayStation gaming for Android

tsdadam
Thumb Down

Good software - wrong hardware?

I don't know if it's just me, but the thought of trying to play even just PSOne games on a touchscreen is a real turn-off. Where do you put equivalent controls for a dpad, two analogue sticks, four face buttons and shoulder buttons? I know games like to use screen overlays, and I know Sony will (probably) have thought about this, but from the outset it seems like there's going to be a lot of fingers taking up screen real estate.

Maybe it'll be like a previous poster said, controlled by Sony on which hardware can run it, despite the OS being open.

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2011 Games Preview

tsdadam

Facts Shmacts

Why anyone who calls themselves a gamer would have any reason to trawl through sites finding 'reasons' why the PS3 is best is beyond me. Get them all, enjoy all the best games. It doesn't matter what's released on which system that way.

There's no point taking sides in an industry in which any one of them would bend you over and dry-hump you for more sales.

I bought far more games on 360 than PS3 last year, but that's just because there was more I preferred on it. This year it's looking like Child Of Eden, La Noire, Arkham Asylum and possibly Brink that I'm most excited about so far.

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2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa

tsdadam
Coat

No mention of the gameplay?

It's a fair point about the annual (or in this case six-monthly) re-vamp churning from the EA machine, but what I find disappointing in this review is that not once in the four pages does it make any reference to how the game actually plays...

For what it's worth, it plays a great game a football and tightens up on a few of the snags from Fifa 10. The refs aren't quite so whistle-happy this time around and the same goes for dishing out cards. Shooting's been made snappier and the timing of the shot has more importance than ever, it's very possible to fluff shots and send them dribbling along the floor to the welcoming keeper. It plays faster, and while it's a bit gimmicky, it's interesting to see the high-altitude grounds effect the teams not used to it. I like how form carries through the tournament and affects the players too.

Is it worth forty quid to people who already own Fifa 10? Probably not. Does it play the best game of football on a console today? For my money, definitely.

(I'm not getting my coat, that's EA reaching for my wallet)

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