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Real Name WaltC   
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Nickname WaltC
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Signed On Jan 31, 2003, 04:03
Total Comments 426 (Amateur)
User ID 16008
 
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News Comments > Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
54. Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 17:54 WaltC
 
Tumbler wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 13:29:
Well valve certainly owns my steam games. There is no question that my access to the game I've paid for on steam are not mine at all but belong to Valve and Steam. I have no ability to sell my steam library so I do not own them in any real sense. This is why I pay very little for most of my steam games. Regardless how much the game is worth the value I get from playing it through steam is on par with rental prices which to me are around $5.

Arghghghghgghhhh.....! Please--not another "Life is unfair and that's why I pirate my games instead of pay for them" ridiculous point of view. You'll get no sympathy from me. As well, what on earth makes you think "renting" is cheap?

Reviewing a couple of things...when you rent a game somewhere you have to take it back after the rental period is up. (If you don't, your credit card is billed for the cost of a new copy of the software, or charged the daily rental rate until you return it, along with any late fees due.) Last time I looked there were no time limits controlling my use of my Steam Library games. By that property alone we can deduce that Steam ownership does not equate to game rentals. Another fundamental difference is the fact that if you rent and want to play game X again you must pay the rental fee *every time you decide to play the game again.* Steam ownership has no such recurring costs. Indeed, apart from paying for your Steam software, there are no other expenses to bear.

I could continue onward--but just those differences above are dramatic enough and fundamental enough to convince even the most ardent skeptic that renting does not equal Steam ownership--Steam is much better and much cheaper...;)

There have been odd little comments about passing these accounts on to your children, like when you pass your stuff on to your children...what happens to these accounts?

Pretty much what you as the owner decide will happen. If you give your account user name and password to your children, or your wife, or *anybody,* then I expect they will continue to use those accounts in perpetuity. What would be stopping them?

Just understand what you're paying for. It's a rental. You're renting stuff from steam. It might be a very generous rental in your opinion but you have no rights. (at least nothing that has been upheld by the courts)

Steam is not even close to being a rental service. Stop embarrassing yourself...;) When you rent you pay continuously as long as you rent--whether by the day, the week, the month, etc. When you purchase you pay for something once, generally, and once only, correct? As to "rights"--why as long as Valve exists (and quite possibly longer) I can open my Steam account--the use of which is free in perpetuity--and play the games I have purchased, without charge or without constraint as often as I would like. Indeed, anyone to whom I give my Steam account user name and password can do the very same thing. Such unfettered, free access is a property of ownership, not a rental--in which case you genuinely do not own the software and so must pay for your time with it each and every time you access it. Renting can easily be far more expensive than Steam ownership.

Several games in my Steam Library do not require an Internet connection to play--Skyrim 1.4.x.x is just one of them--Steam itself need not be even running for those games. Other games, however, like Witcher2 v2.1 require an Internet connection or they are not playable at all. Since there are so many differences in how this is determined in Steam games, it seem that whether or not to use Steam as a sort of "DRM" from which you always must have an Internet connection to successfully launch a game is not decided by Valve but rather by individual game publishers--thus your situation with Valve is no different than having bought directly from each Steam game's publisher/developer.

I think the courts should rule in the favor of consumers in these cases and force all these companies to allow these licenses to be retitled and transferred. Possibly at a cost to the consumer but there is no reason the consumers should not be granted ownership of these titles the way they are being marketed. The terms purchase, buy, and such which they freely use at the point of purchase should not be allowed if these companies are renting these titles. The reality that this is a rental is buried inside those eula's which is done deliberately because consumers are smart enough to know that you should be paying less for "rentals" than you do for ownership.

Your rental analogy is completely wet and falls completely apart, as demonstrated above. It's a very weak defense of piracy, if that is what you are doing and if that is what you are using the word "rental" for. Compared to Steam software ownership, software rentals would be inordinately, immeasurably more expensive and far more restrictive.

There are in fact long lists of things that we as people buy regularly--things which we "own"--but which are used up very quickly to the point that we must always buy new things to replace them:

Paper
pencils
printer cartridges
gasoline
electricity
toilet paper, etc., ad infinitum

...I mean, the list of such "owned" things is nigh inexhaustible--yet Steam software ownership accords one far more "rights" than the purchase of any of these kinds of goods. So please stop pretending that there's only one way to "buy" things and only one way to "own" things, because it isn't close to being true. If you cannot see that Steam isn't a rental service you need new glasses...;)

 
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News Comments > Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games
48. Re: Gabe Newell on Valve Hardware and Owning Steam Games Feb 20, 2012, 16:49 WaltC
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Feb 20, 2012, 13:17:
Valve offers a better service than EA. Better value, better selection, better functionality, better experience, better community engagement, etc. But I'd like to see Valve improve their service - remove the online check before launching every game; remove the threat of a permanent VAC ban, which disadvantages those that keep all their games on a single account (dedicated cheaters will use disposable accounts); give users the option to revert to a previous version, as patches can break mods and system compatibility.

I've got several Steam games, including Skyrim (v1.4.x.x), that have no trouble booting up w/o an Internet connection & for which Steam simply does not run in that condition. The Gothic 2/3 games are others in this category. Yet, a game like Witcher2 v2.1 simply won't run at all w/o an Internet connection.

Looks to me that this is decided by each game's publisher as opposed to Valve.

As for the interview, it was a pretty difficult read. No offence to Gabe but many of the responses were verging on gibberish, with constant tangential detours and hard to follow sentences. Still, it reinforces what I already knew about Valve. The response to the Russian question was particularly interesting, as he stated that if true that Valve probably messed up. You wouldn't here that from EA - they'd be more likely to send the secret police round to your house to assassinate your dog.

I agree and was a bit disappointed with Ben Kuchera--great interview for him considering his recent promotion from games writer at Ars to Sr. Editor @ Penny Arcade--but his lack of experience shows in his decision not to ask Gabe any interesting questions--or to hold his feet to the fire, etc. I'm sure that certain topics were off the table as a pre-condition of the interview--although I really don't *know* that to be the case since I wasn't a fly on the wall anywhere near Ben...;)

But overall I have found Newell most impressive by way of what he does not say, and usually he just refuses to answer direct questions directly. A skillful interviewer can ask Gabe questions allowing the reader to piece some things together--but I think Ben was too impressed by Gabe to give this interview much in the way of thought. Gabe's answers were, as usual, rings around rings of virtually nothing...;) I've always been a HUGE fan of Valve, though, so I say these things wistfully and reluctantly. I only wonder that Gabe gives interviews at all because he generally has almost nothing to say when he grants interviews. Were it me, I'd only give interviews when I had something to say and then I'd make sure it got said.
 
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News Comments > Mass Effect 3 Demo for All
41. Re: Mass Effect 3 Demo for All Feb 17, 2012, 16:57 WaltC
 
Morgan19 wrote on Feb 17, 2012, 14:09:

Under Settings > Downloaded Games, do you have a folder on E:\ specified? I just opened up my Origin (which is on D:\Games\Origin) and the demo went right to downloading and installing in the Origin games folder there.

I enjoyed the quick bit I got to try of the demo so far... I immediately felt right at home playing again, from the grand "holy crap save the world please" cinematics to the "it just feels like ME" gameplay. Definitely Looking forward to the full game.

Thanks for the tips, guys!...;) For some strange reason it did not occur to me to check "settings"...!
 
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News Comments > Mass Effect 3 Demo for All
18. Re: Mass Effect 3 Demo for All Feb 17, 2012, 11:27 WaltC
 
Anyone know how to configure Origin so that the demo does not install to C:\? I've installed Origin on E:\, but it still wants to install the demo on C:\. Thanks in advance?  
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
10. Re: Ships Ahoy - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Feb 7, 2012, 15:56 WaltC
 
Dirwulf wrote on Feb 7, 2012, 15:11:
WaltC wrote on Feb 7, 2012, 15:08:
I tried the demo--it is borked, bigtime, on my machine--refuses to play properly--for some strange reason. After I pick up the sword in the "dark as in I can't see a thing beginning" the graphics display heads south--really weird errors I haven't seen in a long while. Won't even be looking at this until I can navigate the demo. Lots of graphics errors--demo needs a patch it would seem.

Turn off the post processing option.

Thanks--I'm sure that's it--the errors look exactly like that. For some reason I wasn't aware the option was "on" to begin with--thanks again, be testing it shortly.
 
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News Comments > Skyrim Hi-Rez Pack & Creation Kit
20. Re: Skyrim Hi-Rez Pack & Creation Kit Feb 7, 2012, 15:23 WaltC
 
Downloading now...looks to take about an hour for the ~3-gig texture patch to download@6Mb/s down.

I am extraordinarily impressed with this game! Had I not been told that the original textures were not "hires" I would not have suspected it--Skyrim sure included the best looking lot of low-res textures I've ever seen...;)

What I am ga-ga-goo-goo about, frankly, is that I've temporarily had to move to a much less powerful rig than I'm used to--a 3GHz Athlon 2 (separate 1-gig L2s) and an ATi 5770--and I'm damned if this game doesn't run *el perfecto* with all controls save FSAA maxed out to Ultra @ 1920x1080! The game runs great even at 2x FSAA--but looks as good and runs great at 0xFSAA and FXAA turned on--all settings maxed.

I've got a 1-gig 5770, so I'm betting the hi-res textures will run just fine! Amazing game--amazing. Been a long time since I've had the pleasure of something like Skyrim.

What I like most about the game, though, is that its stellar mega sales for the PC shut the mouths of the untalented, cowardly naysayer developers who claim you can't write for the PC because of piracy. May those guys rot and writhe in the acidic shadow that Skyrim PC casts!
 
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News Comments > Ships Ahoy - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
7. Re: Ships Ahoy - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Feb 7, 2012, 15:08 WaltC
 
I tried the demo--it is borked, bigtime, on my machine--refuses to play properly--for some strange reason. After I pick up the sword in the "dark as in I can't see a thing beginning" the graphics display heads south--really weird errors I haven't seen in a long while. Won't even be looking at this until I can navigate the demo. Lots of graphics errors--demo needs a patch it would seem.  
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News Comments > RAGE OS X Released; Windows Version Patched
26. Re: RAGE OS X Released; Windows Version Patched Feb 3, 2012, 09:00 WaltC
 
Fion wrote on Feb 2, 2012, 22:52:

As to 'megatexture' hype. The tech could be used to produce an amazing game, graphically. Rage would have been that game if Id wasn't forced to wrap the entire engine into the shit that is console hardware.

I'm not sure that id's megatexture approach can be used in this fashion. "Megatexture" seems like something used particularly and specifically in ram-constrained hardware gaming environments such as consoles and smart phones. I think id's attempt and obvious failure to use high-res textures inside of the megatextures used in Rage proves it--they could not do it, apparently, without rewriting a big chunk of the gaming engine from the ground up. Otherwise, nothing at all would have prevented them from doing this exclusively for the PC version--and frankly, if it was possible I don't think id would have left it out of the PC version of Rage in the first place.

"Can't make a silk purse from a sou's ear," etc...;)

 
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News Comments > RAGE OS X Released; Windows Version Patched
24. Re: RAGE OS X Released; Windows Version Patched Feb 3, 2012, 08:41 WaltC
 
HoSpanky wrote on Feb 3, 2012, 00:15:
Sadly, from all reviews, the console versions don't suffer from any of the texture issues. Supposedly they run flawlessly.

Well, I guess you missed this Rage review. It's of the console version, btw--and about the best thing the reviewer could say about the game was that after they moved it to the xBox's hard drive the *texture popping* was greatly reduced (but not eliminated, mind you.)

The main problem with console reviews versus PC reviews--well, there are many difficulties in directly comparing the two--is chiefly that what passes for good/acceptable/very pretty on a console appears poor/unacceptable/ugly on a PC, most especially to a person who only plays games on a PC, because he has become accustomed to higher resolutions, higher texture resolutions, and a lot more that simply doesn't exist for console games because consoles don't support them. People who chiefly game on consoles versus PCs often don't complain about the same things because they are used to the generally overall lower quality of the graphics and presentation.

Sadly, many game reviewers for both platforms often gloss over problems and difficulties with the games they review (but not all such reviewers, as the Ars review above illustrates) because they fear being "cut off" of a developer's or a publisher's game review distribution circuit. So, they simply "forget" to mention the ugly stuff they encounter, and most of them will defend this practice by saying that they wanted to give the game a chance to get its act cleaned up. You have been warned...;)

 
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News Comments > Timothee Besset Leaves id
24. Re: Timothee Besset Leaves id Feb 1, 2012, 09:38 WaltC
 
DanteUK wrote on Feb 1, 2012, 05:10:
Definitely not too young and been in IT for 30 years.
Personally I loved Rage and it worked out the box on my PC, but then I've an old Nvidia card and not a new ATI card where ATI screwed up on their driver releases. I fail to see how id can be blamed so much for a bad PC port when the biggest issues where caused by ATI releasing a driver with the wrong .dll's in it!

The original Rage instructions on how to run the game without texture popping (setting the texture preload to 8192, etc.) were published on the nVidia site, by nVidia, not on the ATi site. Hopefully, I don't have to tell you that nVidia did not place those instructions on its web site for the benefit of ATi users...;) In fact, there were references in the Steam forums for ATi users to follow to the nVidia site for just that reason--to set their game configs to minimize texture popping, along with nVidia owners. There were plenty of nVidia-user complaints in the Steam forums early on. I read them.

Also, how old is your "old nVidia card," anyway? It should not surprise you to learn that people with with, say, GF 8800-level cards are running D3d 8.1 hardware--so even if you are running the latest drivers from nVidia your hardware maxes out at displaying DX8.1 effects, etc. Same is true for older ATi cards. Rage is an OpenGL game, so DX8.1 is roughly analogous to OpenGL 2.x in terms of the hardware effects it supports.

From what I gathered, people with older nVidia and ATi hardware, running older API hardware, had less problems running the game from the start than did people with newer hardware--especially newer ATi hardware. But then, people with "old cards" wouldn't be expecting to see state of the art graphics in Rage anyway--so right from the start their expectations for Rage display would be much lower. Obviously, for people to be running 8800-level, DX8.1 hardware in today's DX9/10/11 gaming software universe, it goes without saying that the quality of their rendered graphics is of relatively low concern for them...;) The first versions of D3d 9.x shipped in ~2001, which should provide some idea of how old Dx8.1/OpenGL2.x hardware really is.

I'll repeat, the game was very playable and looked great on my PC from day of install - my rig is NOT a top of the range, in fact my Nvidia card I think is THE min spec card listed on the box! A couple of tweaks to the config file and unless I span 180 really fast I never saw any texture popping.

OK, there you go--the texture popping "fix" you obviously saw on the nVidia site, too, since you used it. Later patches to the game from id eliminated the need for this fix--it shouldn't have been needed in the first place. How *old* is you card, anyway? I'm always amused when people running 3d cards that first shipped ten years ago tell me how gorgeous their new games look on the older hardware--because I know that's only because they haven't checked out the current 3d hardware which is *much* better...;)

Let me guess--you are also a megatexture fan in that you either like, or at least don't mind, blurry, low-res textures? I agree that's a matter of opinion and a value judgment, but to be truthful about it, few people have any difficulty at all discerning the blurry texture from the crystal clear texture when you place them side by side.

Yes Rage wasn't great, but it was very playable and I completed it 3 times before moving on to Skyrim for 100s of hours.

Good for you...;)

I will say this. Skyrim is a 100 times bigger in scope etc than Rage, but during all my play time with Rage it NEVER crashed to desktop once!! Skyrim has crashed to desktop so many times I've lost count, it's also produced a bluescreen of death 3 times - actually the first time I've seen that on Windows 7!

Uh-oh--I'd start looking at that "old nVidia card" if I was you. Seriously. Come on--is your nVidia card really *that* old? Now you've got me curious...;) I've yet to get a CTD or a BSD with Skyrim, but then I'm running a hardware DX11 3d card--ATi, no less, w/o mods and w/o overclocking of any kind!

In terms of graphics, I loved Rages views and vista and texture on the NPC's etc was great, some game world objects and surfaces looked crap but then I've never played a game yet where there wasn't some surface or texture that looked low res because it was wrapped around some object strangely. The fact that Rages views had no repeating textures was really noticeable when switching to Skyrim! still I dread to think of the install size of Skyrim if the world was done using a Mega Texture!

Yea, I'm sure megatextures bloated Rage beyond belief...;) I really, really think you need a new 3d card, sir! Good time to invest in one, I'd say.

I know it's fashionable now to bash id, but Rage ( at least on most Nvidia setups ) didn't suck - was fun - looked great.

I't not just fashionable--it's fun. The day I see an original, thought-provoking game out of id software free of mutants, pentagrams and demons--free of Hell, even--will be the day that I will gladly agree that id has turned the corner. Old 3d cards are like B movies and id software games, I think--it's easy to get comfortable with them until you realize the rest of the world has passed you by.

Also--has id finished with the Rage "hi-res" megatexture patch--or are they still trying to figure out how to do that? I liked Carmack and pals much better when the PC was the company's focus--but still, even then, id's utter lack of originality was astounding.


 
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News Comments > CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt
44. Re: CD Projekt RED Ceasing Witcher 2 Piracy Witch Hunt Jan 13, 2012, 09:43 WaltC
 
What follows is somewhat of a rant...and somewhat of an Open Letter to Marcin Iwinski...

Frankly, I am disappointed in CDPR because this entire policy they've had up to now relative to how they handle piracy is really stupid--almost incomprehensible, in my estimation. I'll list a few reasons why I think this way...

First a disclaimer...;) I am not a software pirate-I buy the software I run--always have, and that is not about to change. IMO, there's no excuse for pirating software. I'm what's known as a "good customer"--a "loyal customer," even--and I am really sick and tired of the fact that many software companies today spend several times the energy and time on invisible, inimical, and supposedly ubiquitous software pirates as they do on customers like me. Whether it's the RIAA, the MPAA, or various software developers, the fact is that all of these entities feel entitled to use the convenient phantom of the "software pirate" as an excuse to manhandle their paying customers. I'd prefer to be treated much better than this--I'd prefer not to be insulted every time I turn around, for starters.

Does Marcin Iwinski really think that there is one living soul on this planet who is unaware of what a software pirate is and why the activities of same are harmful to software developers and game publishers? Why this constant lecturing and posing? Why the pretense of being "on board with gamers" even while he's claiming to sue bit-torrent users by way of dubious IP addresses? That activity has nothing whatever to do with being "on board with gamers"--gamers *buy* your software, Marcin. Gamers are *not* your problem. Please try and distinguish your customers from your pirates. I think you can do it if you really try.

First order of business is to own up to the fact that all of this publicity you've generated about "watching bit torrent" is melodramatic and has not been cost-effective for you in the slightest, and so you have wisely decided to drop the pretense and the sham while posing as a "friend to gamers" when the real reason you are dropping it has little to nothing to do with popular opinion (if popular opinion was ever your goal you'd never have implemented this policy in the first place.) You are dropping pursuit of these activities, assuming you ever did actually pursue them to any notable degree in the first place, because they cost you more than they net you and would have continued to do so in perpetuity. Dropping this foolishness was very wise--fibbing about your reasons for doing it is very unwise, however. It does nothing to enhance your public-relations profile. People are not so gullible--especially your *paying customers,* who are intelligent enough to have been able to amass the disposable income necessary so as to purchase your software--like me, for instance.

If piracy is a real concern of yours, though, allow me to make a couple of simple suggestions that would be immeasurably more effective that anything you have done to date:

(1) Come out of the starting gate with a software MSRP at least $10 less than the $49.95 that software developers and publishers have enshrined into a kind of religious mantra over the last 25 years. Why? You'll sell more copies. When game software MSRPs originated @$50 ~25 years ago, the entire worldwide computer market was ~2-4 million computers sold each year. Today's computer (not counting consoles) market is ~100x that size, with sales volumes approaching 400M a year. Does you a lot more good to sell 2M copies @ 39.95 than to sell 1M copies at $49.95. Do the math. The only certainty about it is that you will without question sell more copies of your software at $39.95 than you will @$49.95, and more copies at $49.95 than you will at $59.95, etc. Yet this simple point seems to elude so many.

(2) Go Steamworks 100% for your next launch. You can still sell your software through GoG, boxed retail, as well as Steam. Didn't Skyrim do exactly that--go 100% Steamworks? Their sales numbers were through the roof as a result. I cannot believe you missed that.

If you followed the above two steps I'll wager that you would have cut down dramatically on piracy during the first critical month of sales, and that you could have done so without suing, or claiming to sue, a single bit-torrent user anywhere. I'm really baffled that I can think of these things as a paying CDPR customer--but the co-founder of CDPR apparently cannot.

But really, it all comes down to greed, doesn't it? I'll take brains over greed any day, but that's just me...;) It's greedy to, like the RIAA/MPAA, fantasize that every single pirated copy on earth is a lost sale, is a retail customer whom, if he could not pirate the game, would have bought it and would have paid whatever you asked him to pay for it. That is not true--and it seems everyone except the people who would benefit most from this information already know it. Greed blinds.

Secondly, dropping the MSRP out of the starting gate means "lost money" to the greedy, because the greedy wholeheartedly believe that MSRPs are irrelevant and that just as many people would pay $49.95 as would pay $39.95--were it not for their ability to pirate software. Of course, every known law of economics disproves this lamentably erroneous theory. But that's what greed does--it blinds people.

Greed is also the main reason CDPR would not wish to do a 100% Steamworks game release--CDPR would not wish to sacrifice revenue to Steamworks. Greed makes people foam at the mouth in thinking about all that dough slipping through their fingers. Brainpower, however, would cause a developer/publisher to look at the kind of first-month volume a Steamworks release allowed Bethesda to rack up with Skyrim, and imagine that it could just as well be his game, too, breaking all kinds of volume sales records.

My copy of Witcher 2 was purchased through Steam, btw. Software piracy is an evil that will never be entirely eradicated. Instead of opposing this reality at every turn, as is true of the RIAA/MPAA in the US, it is far more productive for companies to concentrate on how they can sell more copies of their software! Instead of spending 50% of your time wringing your hands in frustration and weeping about "the sale that got away," (you think, maybe), far better to implement a strategy that will wind up breaking volume sales records--as opposed to suing bit-torrent users! Bethesda had the right ideas--CDPR, unfortunately, did not. I think the sales volume numbers categorically prove it.

Seriously--I wish CDPR the best of luck as I love the Witcher games and have bought W1 and W2, as stated. I have to tell you though that all of your posturing about being "against DRM" and being a "friend of the gamer" is sounding utterly ridiculous at this point. OF COURSE you are a "gamer's friend" because the product you are selling is a GAME...;) Heh...;) I mean, what? You want it known that you are not the gamer's enemy? Eh? Let's hope not!

Here's hoping you guys get your heads in the right place because CDPR is every bit as capable as Bethesda in creating record-breaking, jaw-dropping, sales numbers for its games! But if your head stays in the RIAA/MPAA space of "look what we're losing" (only possibly) instead of "How can we sell the most copies of our software it is possible to sell?", CDPR is unfortunately never going to get there in my opinion. Stop the condescension and start using your brains, is my sincere advice...!...;)


 
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News Comments > Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television
51. Re: Steam Grows: Eyes Your Television Jan 7, 2012, 09:37 WaltC
 
Prez wrote on Jan 6, 2012, 19:36:
...

Gabe Newell and his crew are the saviors of PC gaming as far as I'm concerned.

You've got to understand that the "conventional wisdom" about PC gaming was never correct to begin with...;) I mean, if it had been correct, Gabe would not have started Steam in the first place. He started it because he knew the "conventional wisdom" was wrong--was nuts, really. And, you certainly don't do the amount of work required for a HL2 and subsequent episodes for a dying medium--Valve sold/sells buckets of PC HL2.

What Steam has done that I find particularly noteworthy, and this was always implied by Steam from the start, is to help bring sanity to software publishers about $50-$60 MSRPs. It's true that the MSRPs haven't changed much at the initial point of release--games are still priced maximally. But what's happened with Steam, and to a lesser degree with companies like GoG (lesser simply because GoG deals with older software that you expect to cost less), is that those prices stay in the stratosphere for much shorter periods of time, and when they drop the prices often drop precipitously in the many and varied sales that Valve has. And, as Valve reports, that's when the number of copies sold goes through the roof--often increasing by thousands of percent over standard MSRP volumes--so that software publishers everywhere can plainly see that lower prices increase demand for their products.

I couldn't believe that I was able to buy Skyrim, for instance, at $40.19, a mere six-weeks after it launched for $60. I had expected to see the $60 price remain stable for at least six months--but it came down much faster than that in a Valve holiday sale. Any publisher with a brain would much rather sell five digital copies @$20 ea than one digital copy @$60. The key to fighting piracy is pricing. Piracy can never be completely eliminated, of course. But Valve and Steam will come as close as it is possible to do in overcoming piracy both by pricing wares low enough to stimulate maximum demand and by the use of Steam's sale and delivery methods--which are a form of very, very Lite DRM in themselves. Honestly, though, providing a *free* cloud service for my Steam games is a pretty good reason in itself to use Steam.

If I have any gripes about Steam it would be on the subject of game updates. It shouldn't take so long for them to appear, and they should always work when they are available. On more than one occasion I've had to monkey around with local Steam files just to get my game updated. That's an area that needs work, no question about it.
 
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News Comments > Steam Top 10
38. Re: Steam Top 10 Jan 2, 2012, 18:29 WaltC
 
Finally bought Skyrim today for $40! Love those unexpected Steam sales!  
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News Comments > GOG.com Geo-IP Changes
5. Re: GOG.com Geo-IP Changes Dec 23, 2011, 23:09 WaltC
 
necrosis wrote on Dec 23, 2011, 22:45:
Wait. I thought this was just over the 360 version? How does this effect GoG?

Memory is sketchy, but I believe that Namco has the distribution rights to the game inside the EU. Like you, I thought this concerned distribution of only the console version of the game, but evidently not. In providing this information, I'd guess, GoG can submit proof to the court of the location of the game's purchasers should Namco ask for it. Namco got their hooks into CDPR somehow--sure would be interesting to see how all of that came about.

 
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News Comments > AMD Catalyst 11.11b Performance Drivers
15. Re: AMD Catalyst 11.11b Performance Drivers Nov 27, 2011, 09:10 WaltC
 
ochentay4 wrote on Nov 26, 2011, 18:25:
11.11a gave me some vpu recovery... hope this one not since the performance gain over 11.10 are really good

I was getting some weird vpu recovery issues, too--and also some problems with resolution settings (at reses lower than native), which all disappeared when I went into the CCC's MyDigitalFlatpanels/Properties and unchecked the box for (turned off) gpu scaling.
 
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News Comments > No PC Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
40. Sour Grapes Nov 24, 2011, 17:56 WaltC
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Nov 24, 2011, 16:37:

Just because Skyrim is selling well doesn't mean it isn't equally getting pirated billion-fold. And I'm sure that Beth isn't exactly happy about that development, in spite of the success of the franchise.


That's not the point--all media is eventually bootlegged to some degree, somewhere on earth. All of it. The difference is that when developers put out a good game that satisfies a pent-up demand people will literally stand in line to buy it. That's not just true of Skyrim, but it is true of quite a few PC games released this year, actually. Then you have your successful PC online games that people like so well they pay something every month just to keep playing. But that's just another side of the coin...

What developers and game publishers are happy with are PC games that in a short time cover all of their development costs plus return a very handsome profit. Those people are living the developer's dream because they know what their audience craves and they give it to them. Those developers who make excuses and denounce platforms like the PC simply don't do as well because they don't put as much into identifying and satisfying their PC customers as the companies who ship massively successful PC titles do. It's pretty darn cool when a company can report $450M back on its ~$40M investment in a matter of days! All of them won't be PC sales, but a large percentage of them will be. Look at Microsoft--the company is awash in money and yet its products likely consist of *the* most pirated software in the world. That fact is, if you know your stuff as a developer you need not *ever* fear that piracy will prevent you from making a ton of money.

Secondly, and this is a big bugaboo here, console piracy is actually rampant. Just Google or Bing "xBox360 piracy," for starters. Contrary to popular uninformed opinion, piracy is not just restricted to PCs.

I think when you hear a lot of nonsense from companies like UbiSoft, what they are really saying is "We have no intention of investing the time or money it would take to create top-notch PC fare. No, we like the average to below average expectations we have to deal with in the console markets just fine." That's really the problem--it's a sour grapes problem--they see how their competitors are doing *great* in the PC market, and this causes them to defensively make statements "explaining" why they cannot do as well and have no intention even of really trying.

I've owned a computer for ~26 years, and have never bought a console and likely never will. But when a developer creates a game of sufficient quality, both me and my dollars are right there. I hate to *think* of all the money I've spent buying computer games...;) (Not really, since I've gotten a lot of enjoyment from the medium.)
 
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News Comments > The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim New LAA Workaround
28. Re: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim New LAA Workaround Nov 22, 2011, 18:44 WaltC
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Nov 22, 2011, 18:17:
What's illegal in most Western countries is the act of circumventing the copy protection. That means that downloading a cracked EXE may be legal. But installing and using it is illegal. That's how it usually goes, although legislation (or rather jurisdiction) might differ from one country to another.


Actually, it's only illegal behavior if you engage in it solely in order to deprive the copyright holder of his due--ie, it's illegal if you use the circumvention to distribute unpaid-for bootleg copies, etc. If you paid for your copy and can prove it I hardly see how using a modified exe in its place would be illegal, since the copyright holder would not have been damaged by that activity.

OTOH, I tend to avoid "cracked" anything because I can never be sure of *what else* I might be getting besides the "cracked" exe...;)

 
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News Comments > Skyrim Patch After Thanksgiving
19. Re: Skyrim Patch After Thanksgiving Nov 19, 2011, 09:35 WaltC
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Nov 19, 2011, 04:09:
I think I've been unlucky. I've had around 40 CTDs,...

With that many CTD's, your problem is most likely somewhere in here:

Core i7 2600-K (4.6GHz) | HD5970 2GB (910/1200)

It's literally amazing how many people think that overclocking is some kind of guaranteed function of their cpu or gpu. It's not--the only thing guaranteed by the respective manufacturers is the stock clock speed. It's bizarre how overclockers will "protect" that overclock at all costs--and even convince themselves that their overclocks are fine--just because they can boot OK and "other games" run fine, and will cheerfully conclude that their software is as buggy as a termite mound, instead...;)

The fact is that different games exercise different areas of cpu & gpu circuitry in differing ways, which is why some games run like a top when you're overclocked and other games CTD on a regular basis. Best policy? Don't overclock. In fact, until you run your system at stock clocks from the install of your game forward you simply are in no position to know what's a real bug in the software you run and what's going wrong because you are overclocked that otherwise wouldn't.
 
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News Comments > Skyrim to Offer "Infinite Quests"
50. Re: Skyrim to Offer Nov 9, 2011, 15:10 WaltC
 
Daggerfall was an absolutely wonderful idea. The problem with it was that a procedural game of that type was, oh, 'bout a decade or more ahead of Bethesda's ability to program it. Also, the SoA in 3d at the time was really primitive compared to what is possible now. If Beth hasn't nailed it by now with Skyrim I doubt they ever will.

Daggerfall sucked primarily because it was so buggy. IIRC, it was patched--officially--about ~17 times or so, and after the last "final" patch Bethesda just gave up on the game. I clearly remember being crestfallen at the time because even though I had hung in there with the patches and the bugs, it was still too buggy for me to finish *after* Bethesda had blessed it with "the final patch."

I'm thinking that Beth hasn't talked that much about this aspect of Skyrim precisely because they don't want to evoke memories of Daggerfall and the fact that it was so buggy that all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Daggerfall together (there's no "again" in this case because at no point was Daggerfall ever "together" in the first place...;))

I think that Bethesda does, however, understand the yearning in the hearts of RPG'ers everywhere for lo-o-o-o-o-o-ooooong games that really "immerse" the player in the game world. I mean, how the hell do some game companies think a player can become "immersed" in a 10-15-hour game--or even a 30-hour game for that matter? That's a sick joke, imo. I think Beth is admirable for shooting for such a high bar in creating an "infinite quest" game engine that is also tied to a concrete storyline with lots of intriguing content--and that sounds like Skyrim. At least, I hope it does.

I'm a little worried by the fact that Beth hasn't (a) produced a demo, or (b) allowed the game to be reviewed ahead of its release. But that may be only because Beth wants to surprise everyone with a 5-star title right out of the gate. I'm certainly hoping it is not because the game is somehow disappointing.
 
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News Comments > New AMD/ATI Catalyst Preview Drivers
10. Re: What? Oct 20, 2011, 11:01 WaltC
 
Darth Guybrush wrote on Oct 20, 2011, 09:48:
The drivers that they used for testing were not shipped with the game is what I understand happened. Bullshit. 3 weeks after launch and nothing?


Am not at all sure what you're talking about. 3d-card drivers, pretty darn near 100% of the time, are not shipped in the same package as the game you buy. Heh...;) There's something massively wrong with a 3d game should it require "special" 3d-card drivers in order to run. If the game developer has done his job then the 3d-card IHV has had his game code a decent interval ahead of the day the game ships, and major problems have been overcome prior to finalizing the code for the version of the game software that initially ships. If game devs don't do it that way, then they they have only themselves to blame when the results are less than optimal, as happened in the case of RAGE.
 
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