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Friday 24 August 2007

The state of PC Gaming [Slim]

There's little doubt that Bioshock will probably be the game of the year. We wanted it so bad, and it looks like it's going to deliver. Provided you play it on the 360...
[16:46] gah trying to find a goddamn yank proxie[17:14] what sucks about Steam right now is that they've done a news announcement "Bioshock is ready for play, if you pre purchased!" and there's a button for pre-load, and it does absolutely nothing and its all a sham[18:25] why is bioshock still not out on steam?[20:02] still don't see bioshock as an option to download on steam, cie la vie[21:37] stupid auto patcher wont download the patch[21:44] I actually have 60% of the patch[21:45] but I guess the servers are being hammered[21:45] It keeps disconnecting me and claiming its my connection at fault[22:12] crashed on loading the first level[22:38] 4 crashes now[22:38] this is turning out to be quite s shit night[22:48] thats 1.5h I've been here now and I've not mannaged to actually play the fucker yet[22:48] can't get bioshock working properly on my ati laptop[10:05] bioshock simply wont load the autosave now[10:05] just hangs

What the fuck is all this about? I'm still a big fan ofPC gaming, especially as I can't play Bioshock tonight either because the missus is watching that annoying bender on the Friday Night Project, but after all the DRM and Fov bollocks to be hit with these extra fustrations must surely tarnish the Bioshock appeal?


  1. Hmph. I saw it was just at preloaded still so I thought for about 0.0001 seconds and restarted steam. Bosh. Unlocked, no crappy SecureROM protection either. Played around an hour. Great experience, even without an uber dx10 card. There's a hack on the wide screen gaming forums to fix the fov already. The devs are working on a proper fov patch for the pc, but haven't decided if it can be done for the 360 yet.

    Get some skillz, or get a console.

    Oh you did :)


  2. Valve's distribution system is a bit crap for new games really. They gave me a counter saying this how long until it's out. Then in the last 3 hours the counter vanished and it was released maybe 5 hours after that point but I didn't know when, I just had to keep restarting Steam. Clearly this stuff ought to be built into Steam. A count-down and it goes and decrypts or whatever it does exactly when it's able to.

    As for Bioshock, it runs okay here but on level loads it's been hanging for me. Hanging my PC in fact requiring a reboot. I'm running XP with the beta NVIDIA drivers for the game.

    This morning there was a Steam patch for Bioshock. No news update, no choice but to install it. It's gone and wiped my save games and left the auto save. I've hit the auto save and ... Bioshock hung. At least this time I could kill it off with the task manager but still. This is a really poor show I have to say.

    There's smug types banging on about how the they're doing it on Xbox 360. I want to play it on the PC because it just plain looks better with my ridiculous spec system but if I'm having problems like this, I shudder to think about the legions of PCs with lesser specifications and not quite the same willingness to run beta drivers just for one game. This shit with crashing your machine to require a reboot is quite remarkable, it feels like we're going backwards.


  3. I'm also getting really fucking tired of having to change the goddamn game settings back to where I want them every time it crashes.


  4. Yeah, its piss poor it doesn't just save them when you change them. I finally got it working in the end and had a fun 2h worth. Turns out it was the High detail shaders that were crashing my machine. Once I turned them off it worked fine. Pretty shitty tho really. My machine is powerful enough to use them at lower res but even with the latest beta drivers they dont work. I'm not alone either, there are other people who identified the same problem on the forums.
    Undoubtly its the publisher thats pushed the game through untested. Is it any wonder that they're in financial trouble?


  5. The Steam Bioshock forums are buzzing with Steam delivery and Securom verification hatred.

    There's a fair bit of 360 jealousy there too, something we've not seen for previous Steam titles. Not just jealousy the launch screw-ups that PC owners have had to endure, but also interestingly that on the PC with mouse and keyboard there's no keybind for walk, yet the 360 has analogue control as standard so can walk out of the box. This has lead to fanboy gripes like this shows the game was developed for 360 all along.

    Despite the unusual launch problems, and in the context of the electronic delivery version of the game costing more than the boxed copy, I'm concerned that many sites including Eurogamer are giving the game glowing praise and a 10/10 score. This vindicates the publisher of their problems at launch, who can now point to their reviews or nonsense metascore and sweep aside their mistakes with a wave of the hand.

    If the review is 10/10, then the buyer discontent is safely contained within forums not reviews, where it can generally be passed off by Take Two and to a lesser extent Valve as the rabid rantings of the undersexed teenage gaming population. Which begs the question, where's the discouragement to prevent more PC gaming pain like this in the future?


  6. That's a good point Beej, any game with significant issues such as this dosen't deserve full marks. To be fair to the devs though, they are trying to remedy the fuckups. There's a pretty good interview with Ken Levine on Fridays PC Gamer podcast. It still sounds like QA should be shot though.

    Out of interest, are the crash problems dx10 related, or is it an nVidia/ATi thing?


  7. Spine, you seem to be the only peon in the world that's avoided securom with Steam?

    Anyways, it gets worse, apparently securoms now rootkitted you with an unremovable install, and not just with the retail release, but the demo too. This is bang out of order in my book.


  8. So securerom do authentication & not steam? That's a bit fucked. I was refering to not having a disc check through not having a disc really.


  9. It's worse. It seems like some SecuROM service you neither asked for nor were asked if you wanted to install it, is installed on your PC. It's not removed on uninstall. You will even get it if you install the demo. Worse still, they've used a nasty trick which makes it impossible to remove the keys with regedit (null character in the key name), so you have to download an app to remove the keys.

    I say again, publishers don't get it. I'm sure the business pitch of these SucuROM looks great, I bet it's got lots of graphs with how much money you'll make. However at the end of the day these guys are about fucking around people who actually bought your game, not impacting upon piracy at all. All this negative PR and bullshit is entirely your fault.

    At least this is coming out into the open. The sheer number of times this sort of malware has been foisted upon us by other, lesser games defies enumeration. Like those Ubisoft games telling you that you're not allowed to have daemon tools installed. Excuse me? Who the fuck are YOU?!


  10. Another thing that's fucking me off, this unskippable video shit that just appears to have become the norm in games now. I don't want to read three pages of random Take 2 legal shite in 18 different languages and I especially don't think we should have to watch the fucking NVIDIA 'way it's meant to be played' animation every goddamn time you start the game. Which is a lot, when it crashes this much.

    Fuckwits. No longer is publisher Evil constrained to EA. It's clearly catching.


  11. Having returned from holiday, my first read of this had my heart sinking that I was apparently walking into a clusterfuck. Happily, for this individual punter in dx9 world, it has worked out of the box with no crashes in about 3-4 hours play so far. Oh the advantages of pissing about in Wales while the first 48 hours gets sorted out.


  12. Oddly I've played for hours today with no crashes nothing. Seemed to all surround the move to the new patch, had to start again and it was fine. Then again, that might not be it at all...


  13. Here's hoping eh because as far as that other Future Of All Gaming title, Crysis, the latest video on eurogamer has got me going what the FUCK is it with the neo-neon clag-nut enemies?????!

    Are this lot french or isthat just a self-perpetuating bad dream? Cmon people!


  14. Couple of Turkish dudes in Germany set up Crytek. Thing is, Farcry looked real nice but as an FPS I thought it wasn't worth playing. It just managed to do everything in a slightly weedy half-arsed way. Crysis looks amazing but I wouldn't be surprised to find there's a pretty naff game underneath. We've got UT2 coming up and TF2. So multiplayer wise we're stoked. Be interesting to see the next SupCom too, being as it looks set to be what SupCom ought to have been in the first place.


  15. Steam released the game at 6am local time on the 22nd in Australia, mine finished downloading final files at 500kb/s and unlocked within 40 minutes and I was playing it by 6.50am. Only paid $50 USD for it as well, which was nice.

    Running Vista w/ dx10 on 8800gtx, no problems at all, getting >60fps the whole time. Very happy I didn\'t have to buy an xbox360 and run in vert- widescreen.

  16. Crysis is going to be pretty fucked up. Its pitching right at the 14-year-olds and they may as well put a bikini blonde on the front of the box. In this trailer you witness the following: Punching through solid walls Leaping onto a roof like Spiderman Stormtrooper Effect AI Helicopter shot down at 1000yards with near-recoiless AK-74 Leaping into a tank for a BF2-inspired Tank battleI'm not saying games have to be realistic. Desert Combat let you drive, command, shoot from a tank without any other human assistance. But you tended to die without some buddies to help you, and couldn't leap out and switch back to being rambo on foot. What I'm saying is... this is the game design equivalent of eating 12 slices of chocolate fudge cake in one sitting. Ohhh it tastes soooo gooooooooood after a few slices... but after 12 you're just being a greedy little twunt who can't say no, and you'll be bored of fudge cake and never eat it again.Course, in Am's trailer he linked, you're shooting aliens with an AK. In befuddled mixed-universe nonsense. Can you picture the design meetings?"We need more than Farcry! Shooting humans on a desert island is not enough... we need an alien invasion... and super-strength hand to hand combat... on a desert island... in the snow"


  17. The Bioshock FOV stuff is a bit of a red herring. It's set to a similar level of other games. I thought it was a bit zoomed up at first but after playing it realised it was spot on.

    There still doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to when the game crashes, what circumstances it crashes or what's different between it running on some machine that crashes and one that doesn't. Here it tends to crash a bit to start with then I'm fine for the rest of the time I play it for many hours. Weird.

    I was thinking of reinstalling Vista on a partition for DX10 just for games but then it would seem this just lowers framerates with no noticable improvement in image quality. Oh and of course I lose audio acceleration under Vista. So fuck that.

    One thing that may be a factor in Bioshock crashing is the two sets of run-times it installs, DX 9.0c and C++ runtimes. There's some annecdotal evidence that if these don't run right, as they wont do if you weren't using an administrator account for example, then random crashes is exactly what you get. I've re-run both installers and so far, no crashes. Could be shite though.


  18. I see what you mean about the settings now. Originally I thought it wasn't saving my settings because it was crashing and settings were only saved on exit. But having played it fine for ages and over many games it crashed again and I lost the lot.I can see some merit in it. Essentially its taken you back into a safe mode of sorts. Or course that'd be fine if the defaults had everything off. For me its the default (HD shaders) that crash it!!! Oh and why the hell should it restore the control config too!


  19. Steam update forced me to run dxsetup just now when I launched the game.

    I did actually have one problem initially... my key bindings were lost. Twice when starting the demo, and once in the first few times I loaded the full game.

    When it comes to the widescreen, as a 5:4 user I am seeing more scene than the 16:9 and 16:10 users, which is just wrong.


  20. I reinstalled Vista on a spare partition. I needed to install dxsetup even on Vista (9.0c for an OS that ships with 10?!) before it would even run. No crashes, pretty smooth. However under Vista alt-tabbing is pretty fucked and the frame rate is down a few from XP. The alt-tab issue is kinda annoying really but at least it doesn't crash all the time. I don't think that's an XP vs Vista thing (the crashing) really, just that my XP install is 'mature' while the Vista is fresh. Bleh.

    On the FOV issue, again, Bioshock does it the same way as most shooters do. More or less identical to HL2.


  21. I've found that having Aero enabled under Vista can eat a few FPS


  22. Halflife 2 actually improves the horizontal field of view when you run in a widescreen resolution, and your verticle FOV remains unchanged. This is known as horiz+

    What the devs of bioshock decided to do was lop off the top and bottom of the screen for widescreen users, whilst leaving the horizonal fov unchanged. So widescreen users actually see less. Try to toggle between widescreen and 5:4 res and check out how much of your hand you can see. This technique is known as vert- and is poor implmentation of widescreen.

    For an example, see here... (The red areas are what 5:4 users see and WS users do not)

    And for HL2, compare these two images. n.b no difference in vertical FOV, but increased horizonal FOV in the WS image (1024x768) (1280x800)


  23. This idea you 'see less' isn't really right though. If you're zoomed in, you're seeing things in better detail further away. Widescreen doesn't mean you bought hardware that should show you a more zoomed out at all times. The developers wanted this view, saying vert- is automatically inferior has absolutely no basis in fact. At the end of the day, you move the camera around. You got a 4:3 screen, you see more vert, bully for you!

    The hack works on XP, I tried it both ways and prefered it the way they ship it.

    It's interesting, in retrospect I did think HL-2 was too wide. Heh.

  24. [22:52] my wifes watching tv AGAIN