Jul 31 2014

Yosemite Sam II

Adel Gabot

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Today I screwed up my courage and installed the Public Beta of Yosemite onto my iMac.

I know I wrote something about this before, and I have already installed a beta copy onto my iMac. But that was on a separate testing partition, and I kept my main Mavericks installation safe from the vagaries of of an OS-in-progress. I installed the barest minimum to operate OS X the way I liked it. Be it far from me to install a work-in-progress over my working configuration.

But Yosemite has gotten much better, and with Update 4, it approached a nearly-perfect state (well, beta state, but you know what I mean).

Last night, while performing for the nth time the act of rebooting to Yosemite, I thought, why not install the Public Beta that Apple released last week? It was based on Update 4, which made it a stable release indeed, and some sites said it was even better. Any why not install it over Mavericks?

Now it takes some cojones to install a beta over a fully working and tested system. The Mavericks system has been working for me for around a year, and it was a humming machine. It’s slowed down some, even if I maintained it every week, so it was a bit long in the tooth. But who needed to mess around with a working configuration?

I thought, me!

What the hell, why not?

So this morning I deleted the 50GB Yosemite beta test partition, and prepared myself to install the new OS onto my main machine.

I had a reservation for the Public Beta release and Apple was just waiting for me to download it. So I redeemed the software from the App Store—all 5+ GB of it, and it took me all morning (dammit). While waiting, I did the usual maintenance things on my Mavericks: getting rid of unnecessary things like system caches, correcting permissions and verifying the integrity of the main drive.

The download finished before lunch, so I got to installing the Public Beta after I had my meal, and it took me about an hour to install it. Then I had to download newer updates and Java installs, then made sure everything worked as usual. By around 2:30 I was through.

Now it’s a humming machine again. There are a few glitches, but I verified that everything works.

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It looks wonderful now. The interface looks great; the fonts are perfect; and you can’t beat the snappy response.

Now, Apple better not mess this up for me until the actual release.


Jul 29 2014

Done over

Adel Gabot

The Last of Us™ Remastered_20140727132656

I wrote about the fact that I got my PS4 copy of The Last Of Us Remastered last Sunday, a couple of days early. It’s supposed to be released today only, and most of the DLC and other materials are going to be available today, as well as getting to be registered in the What’s New section of the PS4 menu (I’ve been playing it since I got the game, but so far it hasn’t registered there, not once; still doesn’t now, as far as I can tell).

When I woke up today I checked my PS4, and indeed an update to the game had come and downloaded itself early in the morning. I don’t what the update has added, or really, how big it was. But it’s there. The Factions MP is now connecting at least. So I guess now it starts.

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I’m amazed at how much clearer and cleaner the graphics are on this version. I got so caught up in watching the cutscenes, like it was a movie, that I forgot that at some point I had to give it some input, and the characters just stood there waiting patiently for me to get my act together.

More than anything, I noticed how smoother it was, in all aspects. Like it was on rails.

I don’t it matters much that I already played half of it on my PS3 before. It’s so good now that I’m wholly onboard with the Remastered version. Yes, the glitches are still there, as well as the few limitations imposed on it being designed originally for a PS3. But it’s way better now. Way better.

This one is going to be my go-to game for the next month, as Destiny isn’t due out for more than five weeks, and there isn’t anything new on the horizon until then.

I don’t think I’ll be posting any videos of my gameplay just yet. Truth be told, I’m not very good at playing the game, taking me many, many tries before I hurdle a particularly ordinary bump.  But here are a couple more screenshots, just to whet your appetites:

 

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Jul 28 2014

It’s closed. Sigh.

Adel Gabot

The Destiny beta just shut down over an hour ago, and invited us to the release of the game on September 9.

Aw, damn.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.


Jul 28 2014

Introducing…

Adel Gabot

…my Destiny Beta cast of characters.

What with the Beta ending today, I’m going to be starving for Destiny action until September 8, when it’s finally released.

As such, for the sake of posterity, I’d like to introduce you to my small army of Guardians, the set of three maximum that the Beta allows you to have. Mind you, I could’ve stuck to just one and maxxed him out spec-wise, but I figured, what the heck, I got more than a week to max out three of them.

So here they are, in descending order of priority. The first one is of course my favorite, and I played him the most even after the other two were maxxed out. I started with him, and end with him.

My PS handle is magnanakaw, so that’s my name across all of my characters. They all have different genders and species, and I tried to cram all available options into the three of them.

All three share a common locker of weapons, armor and gear, but have different specs as far as Glimmer (money) collected and insignias. They all bought their own expensive and specific speeder and jumpship apart from the supplied stock units, and have their own particular weapons they carry and armor they wear. And they’re all basically maxxed out as far as the Destiny Beta will allow.

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He’s a male Awoken Titan character, with the most experience. I enjoyed playing with him a lot. He’s a real badass, this guy, although in this picture he’s just lounging around like a homeboy.

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She’s a female Human Hunter character. I made her very pretty. And also very deadly.

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Lastly, a male Exo Warlock. I tried to make him the best proto-robot I could, but I don’t think I succeeded all that well. Still, he’s also a bad-ass.

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And lastly, for the sake of completing the experience, a cast photo of my Crucible fireteam. I didn’t really enjoy playing multiplayer (truth be told, I wasn’t very good at it), but I played it just to say I tried everything.

So there you have it.

I hope this holds me over until September. It’s going to be a long wait. At least I got The Last of Us Remastered to keep me company.


Jul 27 2014

Excellent graphics!

Adel Gabot

The Last of Us Remastered was, as expected, excellent! The graphics are hi-res, detailed and clear, and it’s as if I was playing an entirely different game from the PS3 version. Going through the game again (this time in Grounded mode; I’m trying it out—we’ll see if I can last) is a real treat.

Some of the downloadables and the DLC are still not ready, so you can’t download them until the 29th, I guess, but the game itself is enough for now.

It starts up with the same interminably long loading screen like in the PS3 version (I guess they couldn’t fix that, even with the 50GB preload), but the rest of the game zips along. The initial introductory cutscene is an especially nice experience; it was like I was watching a movie.

Here are a couple of shots from the game (thanks to Share Factory!) so you can see:

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Jul 27 2014

The Last of Us Remastered is here!

Adel Gabot

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I got it today! Two days early!

I woke up early today to play in the public event of the Destiny Beta (4:45am!), and kept playing until 10am (with a short break for breakfast at 6:30), when I got a text from Data Blitz that told me The Last Of Us Remastered was ready for pick-up. It was supposed to come out on the 29th, but I guess the gods were smiling on us local players.

I’d been waiting for the Remastered version for forever (well, at least since I got the PS4), and I already pre-ordered from the shop in my impatience.

I loved the PS3 version, but it was cut short by my move to the PS4. I got stuck at a particularly difficult level, and was taking my time trying to solve it (weeks, actually), when I bought the PS4 for my birthday and put aside everything PS3, including TLOU.

In the interim, when I found out there was a remastered version coming out for the PS4, I reluctantly sold my PS3 game in anticipation of the new version. But it took forever to arrive.

And now it’s here!

It’s everything the PS3 version was, only clearer, and it had all the extras—DLCs, Photo Mode, Multiplayer and lots more.

I already put it in an honoured spot among my current favourites—the little stack in front of the TV, where it shall stay.

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Jul 25 2014

Region 3 DVD player

Adel Gabot

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I’ve had some trouble with some of my DVDs—Region 3s, some of them, and they won’t play on my PS4. Add to that my cache of newly rediscovered titles, and you got a bunch of unplayable movies.

I figured I’d go get me a cheap player from CDR-King, just like what my Dad uses to play his Pacquiao fights and his library of cheap videos. He’s had several players; most of them break down eventually, and he’s racked up a set: maybe four of them already. They’re dirt cheap anyway, so it’s ok.

I went to several CDR-King branches today and tried to find one, but they were out of stock. For a while now, they say.

So I looked at the SM Appliance Center for some “branded” ones, but the cheapest was P1,200.

I figured, maybe I’d try Dad’s old units. Maybe one of them would still work.

So I got home and tried some of them. I connected them to my flat LED TV and tried them out.

Most of them were duds, but I found one that still worked. It didn’t have a remote control to handle all the functions, though. One of them, the likely remote, refuses to function, even with good batteries.

So I got a player that works simply—you start playing a DVD and it runs through to the end, without the option to pause or anything. But the nice thing is, it’s not region-locked: it plays ALL of my DVDs. But still, it’s plain and simple.

I placed it under my game discs on the “media table”, and it looks fine there.

Now I got one that works.

Great.


Jul 25 2014

Getting into the groove—and finding out a few things

Adel Gabot

Destiny_Beta_logo

The few readers of this blog might find it odd that I’ve been a bit obsessed with the Destiny Beta these past few entries. Well, bear with me a little bit more, it’s all going to end soon.

Bungie, a few hours ago, opened up the beta to any Playstation Plus or Xbox Live Gold subscriber, so that takes out the exclusivity thrill of that. For a while there, getting a Beta code was a bit of a quest, an adventure if you will. But opening the Beta up takes all the fun out of that. Oh, well.

Aside from all the previous exclusivity, the novelty of the game has, strangely, stayed with me. The game is really good, in the way Halo was back in the day. It’s fun!

But, as my third character approaches the Beta Level 8 limit, it’s started to slow down and become a bit routine. What used to be near-unconquerable levels and bosses have become sort of a repetitive grind, and is just a matter of persisting with them until you finally get it. What used to have me stuck for hours is now just around 15 mins of trying hard, although hard isn’t really the word I’d use. Tedious would be more like it.

In fact, the Destiny Beta has become that sort of thing for me. Yes, the graphical prowess is unparalleled, the gameplay is fantastic, the system is studied and smooth enough—but in the end, it’s just a game.

Bungie set up a cap on the level you can achieve, and once you reach that, and everybody else does too, you settle into a routine where you don’t advance and just sort of shoot and kill and blast stuff with gaining no appreciable headway. It’s a big map at first, but when you’ve explored every nook and cranny of it, you find out that it’s a small world after all.

Going into the Explore level has become sort of boring,  and getting into the many side missions and quests have become staid and routinary. You click on the mission, accept it, shoot up the bad guys and find whatever it is that you’ve been sent to find. Then repeat. Ad nauseam.

I can’t wait for September 9, when the finally release the game, and all the caps are lifted and you can finally explore everything, and get ahead in your leveling up.

Well, it’s just a little over a month away. The Last Of Us Remastered is coming out in a few days, and that should keep me occupied until then.

In the meantime, there are still a few days of the Beta left, so I’d better get busy getting bored fast.


Jul 22 2014

Maintenance mode

Adel Gabot

So. The Destiny beta went on maintenance mode. Since last night. Interrupted a playing session; and there I was, playing my heart out, and about to complete a level. Poof.

It’s coming back tomorrow night at 10. Seems like forever.

What the hell. It’s free. Can’t ask for more.

In the meantime, I got nothing much to do on the PS4. Well, there’s Firmware Update 1.74. And a War Thunder update. But, aside from those, zip.

In my boredom I uploaded a PS4 game session recording of mine onto YouTube. 15 mins long. Took forever to upload, but it’s finally up there.

Shared it on PhilMUG just for the heck of it. Five views from there so far. Good enough for an hour up. I expect more in the morning. But not much.

Here it is, if you want to see:


Jul 20 2014

Timesink

Adel Gabot

IMG_0323

This Destiny beta is really something.

Last night, I started playing after dinner (around 7:30), and got into a Fireteam with dirk33diggler and tehshinster, a couple of guys I met online (although I knew one of them vaguely—dirk33diggler, who was the younger brother of Christine, barkada of Mano), an experience made especially nice because we were all equipped with mics and could communicate directly.

Before I knew it, it was early in the morning already, with my hands and arms aching from holding the controller so tightly, and my head pounding from the BassImpact feature of the Sony Pulse Elite headset.  We had an especially difficult time with one of the missions, which had all of us dying at the same time, requiring us to repeat the level many times over until we finally got it.

This morning, when I got up (after my internet ablutions and breakfast, of course), I was suckered into going online again by a website that had 17 codes you could enter at the Bungie site that allow you bonuses and access to secret areas. I entered the codes into my computer, and checked it out on the PS4 to see what they were like. Before I knew it, I was playing again, what seemed like a brief session turned out to be a couple of hours of gaming—I didn’t even know that much time had passed.

I’m trying to stay away. Otherwise this is going to take over my life (at least for ten days anyway; that’s how long the beta will be live).