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User information for Steve Wood

Real Name Steve Wood   
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Nickname Rockn-Roll
Email Concealed by request - Send Mail
ICQ None given.
Description Rock (Ibanez 7-string guitar into Marshall amp) and Roll (Corvette Stingray).

Computer Engineer for 28 years...mostly corporate applications, but some gaming. Have worked for/with Gamespy, Intel, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and People Soft.
Homepage None given.
Signed On Jun 25, 2004, 10:25
Total Comments 279 (Amateur)
User ID 21182
 
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News Comments > Gaming Mouse Maker Knocks Gaming Mice
5. Re: Gaming Mouse Maker Knocks Gaming Mice Mar 29, 2011, 03:26 Rockn-Roll
 
Any company that compares "randomly generated commands" to "a conventional icon and pull-down menu interface" as a means of saying their product is faster has some seriously stupid people as their marketing team.

As far as a gaming mouse is concerned I can't stand any mouse with a wheel...it's uncomfortable and frequently pressing the wheel button will put a dent in my finger and make it sore. It's also imprecise and prone to overshoot the selection; plus, it robs that middle finger from the more useful comfortable button that the other two fingers have available.

In 1998 I bought the largest mouse available...the Logitch Mouseman 4-button mouse...here's an image except that it's got three buttons on top instead of two buttons and a wheel: Amazone.com image

Unfortunately, the electronics in my mouseman 4-button mouse died about 6 years ago and nobody makes 3 button mice. So, I ripped the guts out of it and bought a Logitech MX-620 and carved it up and stuck it inside my 4-button mouseman...it's what I call my Rat...it's bigger, meaner, and eats wheel mice as a snack. And, I don't bother with macros because selecting then executing the right macro still requires some skill...and it just exposes more things that can go wrong. The best controls are the ones that you don't have to think about...that way your focus can be on strategy and tactics. That WarMouse not only looks totally uncomfortable and too complicated...it's a wired device which gamers realized a decade ago was a problem that a wireless system solves...as long as that wireless system has the communication speed to match the sampling speed of the mouse positioning frequency.

This comment was edited on Mar 29, 2011, 04:01.
 
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News Comments > Avalanche on Piracy, DRM, and Ports
17. Re: Avalanche on Piracy, DRM, and Ports Mar 26, 2011, 22:33 Rockn-Roll
 
Slashman wrote on Mar 26, 2011, 17:31:
I actually felt kind of good that I found console players on the forums who were envious of the mods and stuff that came out for the PC and some of the other perks we got. That doesn't happen often.

Good point...it just adds another question mark for why game developers don't design the games for the PC and then port it to the consoles. The PC really is the best platform for gaming with it's (soon-after-a-console-is-released) better processing and graphics hardware as well as freedom of modding, dedicated servers, ability to host LAN parties, wider range of controller options, surround gaming, etc. Consoles are toys compared to the features available in a PC.
 
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News Comments > Avalanche on Piracy, DRM, and Ports
16. Re: Avalanche on Piracy, DRM, and Ports Mar 26, 2011, 22:18 Rockn-Roll
 
I've never before read something so self-serving...if "50% of his employees come from hacking background" then of course it would make it easier for them to pirate games if there was no DRM...they would not have to do any work at all to steal games.

I'd also like to point out that his statement of "I would like at some point to do a really good PC game designed specifically for PC players." is basically saying that he too is designing games for the consoles and porting to the PC, or that he is not designing really good games...but gee...does it make him right because he wants to do really good games designed for the PC?

I'm a computer engineer with 28 years of experience...and hacking is a very specialized talent. I had some experience with it myself...a friend gave me their copy of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but they had lost their key. I'm sure it was a legitimate copy because that friend worked for my father...he would have been risking his job and career if it was stolen. This was back in the DOS days...late 80's, so I used a debugger included with a shareware assembler called ASM86 to step through the machine code and locate where the key was checked...and then used Norton Utilities to change the conditional jump code to a non-operational code in the exe file so that processing wouldn't jump out to the exit routine.

That got me through the first few levels, but then the game would crash after that...I never found out why...whether it was another DRM check or whatever because I had already got my fill of the game and didn't bother to continue, because stepping through the machine code is tedious and time consuming work. I recall that it took me a good 4 hours or so to get the game working. And, hacking is not a stepping stone to application development because it doesn't require any code design...it's just tediously stepping through machine code until the normal process is interrupted and the code jumps to a segment of code where the exit message is displayed...replacing the conditional jumps with non-ops takes no brains at all. Hackers don't get my respect at all, but neither do most programmers...in reality there are very few programmers that would gain my respect...many of the jobs I've worked in my career has been fixing the problems that other programmers have caused and which dozens of other programmers could not find and fix.

The tools hackers use today are more sophisticated, but so are the DRM measures. And, some DRM measures are seamless and painless to use...for example Steam...after a game is installed and the key used to unlock it...the game is forever unlocked for that Steam account even if the unlock key is lost. In fact, I don't hear any of my friends complain about DRM unless it's GFWL which is a console port itself or SecureROM or the like where there's a limited number of activations.

All this did for Christofer Sundberg and Avalanche Studios...as far as I'm concerned...is put him and the studio on a list of game companies which I will never purchase from...because the last thing I want to do is help fund pirates or programmers who are causing the problems that I need to fix. Programmers that keep creating buggy code really should find another career...rocket science is actually easier than designing bug-free code...I know because I studied rocket science in college (basically it's fluid dynamics plus mechanical dynamics, and a little chemistry and physics).
 
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News Comments > Deus Ex: Human Revolution Trailer
1. Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Trailer Mar 25, 2011, 13:03 Rockn-Roll
 
To be completely honest the way the AI characters move and the movement of the controls it looks like games made for consoles in the late 90's.

Specifically, the AI character movement is stiff and lacks fluidity. A problem with console games of that era was the AI character movement didn't coincide with the distance the characters travel across the ground...almost like their feet were always slipping. In other words the animation was designed to make the characters appear to move at a specific speed, but the characters are moving either slower or faster without any change in their animation.

Also, it is apparent that the trailer was made using a console control system because the gun will move at a set speed rather than a fluid motion such as when a human controls it or like a mouse where the motion speeds up at first then quickly slows down when the player reaches the position that they want the gun to be in.

This is definitely a game which I would not purchase for a PC without first trying a demo. No Demo = No Purchase.
 
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News Comments > Crysis 2 Workarounds
35. Re: Crysis 2 Workarounds Mar 24, 2011, 22:37 Rockn-Roll
 
I haven't been able to retrieve my MyCrysis account because the email address is IWANTNOJUNKMAIL and from what I can tell something is preventing any emails from leaving the European continent which have the words Junk and Mail in the header...all my other email addresses work for communicating with European countries. Their online support contact web form isn't working either...and all the other support options start with logging into the web site with a MyCrysis account. The account is there because if I try to register again I get a message saying that my email address is already registered.

I had to use the domain name administrative contact to send them an email and ask that they change my email address to another one that won't be blocked...and I have not received a response. It sounds like they really screwed up when they ported the game to PC...I most likely will never know because I'm not buying a game if I am not allowed to post in the game forums.
 
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News Comments > Duke Nukem Forever Delayed Until June
25. Re: Duke Nukem Forever Delayed Until June Mar 24, 2011, 11:41 Rockn-Roll
 
Smoove wrote on Mar 24, 2011, 10:43:
It's been over 3 years since I last used this; now seems like as good a time as any for a repost, updated to include what's happened since then.



Some highlights of what has been accomplished in less time than DNF has taken, courtesy of http://duke.a-13.net/

  • The Beatles formed, released every single one of their albums and broke up. During this time they also toured the world several times.


  • The Wright brothers designed and flew the first airplane.


  • The United States' entire program to put a man on the moon, from Kennedy's challenge to the landing.


  • Events occurring during the development of DNF:

  • All 3 Star Wars prequels, all 3 Lord of the Rings movies ( including extended editions), and all 3 Matrix movies were filmed, released to theaters, and are now on DVD.


  • Google was incorporated, growing from a two-person company with a net worth of next to nothing to employing 16,000 people and being worth billions.


  • The Xbox, Xbox 360, Gamecube, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, Dreamcast, Wii, PS2, PS3, PSP, and Nintendo 3DS were all released.


  • Blizzard released Starcraft, Diablo 2, Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft II, including expansions for all except SC II.


  • Half-Life, Half-Life 2, plus all their expansions and mods


  • Black Isle was formed, released seven titles and was shut down


  • Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, XI, XII, XIII, and XIV have all been released

  • Priceless!

    Everything that has happened since Gearbox took over DNF has already been done by 3DRealms...everything...not a single thing has changed:

    Confirmed Release Date? Check.
    Playable demo shown at game shows? Check.
    Pre-Release purchase available? Check.
    Box art revealed? Check.
    Release Date delayed? Check.

    If you set your watch by DNF time then time travel to the past is possible.
     
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    News Comments > On PC Deus Ex: Human Revolution
    13. Re: On PC Deus Ex: Human Revolution Mar 23, 2011, 23:14 Rockn-Roll
     
    I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with games being developed for a child's toy (console) and then hacked (ported) so that they work on a state-of-the-art gaming platform (PC).

    All games made this way have had serious problems:

    1) Controls...the entire keyboard and mouse configuration is a completely separate application and is pasted into the game as an afterthought...so are any hints..."Press X or O for ...." Pressing X or O on my keyboard doesn't do what it says. Result is lots of bugs and quality control is non-existent...the game has been fully tested on the consoles and then the testing of the PC control application is sparse and most likly only checked that it works with a few sample keystrokes.

    2) Graphics Settings...consoles are played on a TV which means a single monitor with poor response times...they are only designed for 30fps unless it's a high-Def model...which is becoming more common, but the console system is normally moved into a game room/den with the older TV for the kids to play on when the living/family room TV is upgraded to High-Def. Wide-Screen resolutions such as the 5040x1050 that I use are most likely selected for the very first time by an end-user...PC gamers essentially pay $60 to participate in a BETA test of the game.

    3) Aiming...console controls use an analog movement control (directional pad or joystick) where the speed of the movement is controlled but where the cross-hairs stop depends on the timing of the control manipulation while the PC controls use an analog movement control (mouse) where the position of the cross-hair is directly selected and the speed at which it is selected depends on the speed of the controller and not the position or pressure on a button or stick. Many games implement an auto-lock feature because aiming on a console is so difficult to master...if auto-lock isn't implemented the hit-boxes are made which are huge and makes it too easy for PC gamers to enjoy.

    What happened? PC game developers became greedy...the millions they were making on PC games wasn't enough...they wanted the tens of millions they could make by including console systems. Console system manufacturers most likely are providing incentives for games to be developed on their systems...providing tools and assistance in developing for their platform. If there are no games being made for their system then sales of their system will plummet.

    PC Gaming? It's now an afterthought and no PR is going to change that. In fact, you can be sure that the recent PR efforts to make PC gaming look like game developer's focus is proof that it's just an afterthought...after making sure their tens of millions for the consoles are secured they pass the tediuos and less valuable porting of the product to PC to smaller companies make that last million or two.
     
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    News Comments > Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness
    11. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 18:13 Rockn-Roll
     
    Whose Vale? I thought ValveSoftware developed Steam.

    TF2 voice chat has always been superb but Steam chat has always been poor. I thought it was just a problem with the response latency of the Steam server and a low bandwidth resolution for the data stream as well as poor settings on the clients as well as poor impedence matching of the microphones to their audio hardware. It sounds like SILK is going to allow the bitrate to drop to half what it was originally or under some undisclosed conditions doubled.

    This might be an improvement...under unspecified conditions, but I don't see how that is going to help solve the latency problems or poor settings on the clients or poor impedence matching. If valve wants to improve their voice communication then they need to sample the audio signals for cut-off and noise and provide a signal generator to test the settings and provide feedback to the client and let them know if their microphone is not the proper impedence...it's not rocket science.
     
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    News Comments > Rogue Game Admins Speak
    1. Re: Rogue Game Admins Speak Mar 21, 2011, 12:18 Rockn-Roll
     
    I voted that it should only be done with approval. The reason is that some companies depend on that bandwidth. For example, in 1998 I "rented" an office in San Francisco from a company called MedWeb which provided online X-Ray, MRI, and other image transfers between doctors. The office was part of a project I was working on for Intel on their iGames.org web site for the Cyber Cafe's that they were supporting.

    Before I moved into that office I started up the Quake2League.com website and was hosting the Deathmatch Database for Gamespy and running Quake 2 tournaments. That got shut down by pacbell because I started getting too many visitors to my personal web site...they claimed it was abuse.

    After getting into the office I continued to work on my tourney software and expanded it to provide real-time scoring and TFC server features such as auto-kicking engineers who dismantled their teammates sentries. I soon had two 24-player TFC servers running which had an average of 1,000 players joining each day.

    Then one day the owner of MedWeb noticed that his network usage meters were getting maxed out but he wasn't seeing the billing statements from his customers. He noticed that my network card LED's were blinking very fast and pulled the power cord out of the wall. Needless to say I had to notify everyone that the servers were going down. If I had talked with him about my project he probably would have allowed me to run it in the evenings or worked with me to increase the bandwidth.

    Lesson learned.
     
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    News Comments > Out of the Blue
    8. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 19, 2011, 18:52 Rockn-Roll
     
    Of course it's not the Super Moon that caused the earthquakes. The catastrophe was caused by the planetary alignment we will have in 2012. The alignment will cause a time-loop due to the alignment coinciding with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear material reaching the center of the Earth at the exact same time that the alignment takes place. Jules Verne tried to warn us, but we thought it was just fiction.

    If I start to grow hair on my palms then you can shoot me with those silver bullets. But not until I've finished playing DNF, Dues Ex: Human Revolution, and Thi4f (unless Thi4f isn't released until after the alignment), finished reading George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons, and played the TF3 demo I keep hearing about.
     
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    News Comments > BioShock 2 Patch
    11. Re: BioShock 2 Patch Mar 16, 2011, 19:03 Rockn-Roll
     
    Silicon Avatar wrote on Mar 16, 2011, 17:21:
    So is this game any good yet? I skipped it on release.

    I liked the first one though.

    Yes...it's an excellent game. If you get it in the original release retail box then beware that it did not support true widescreen settings...they simply increased resolution both in the horiz. and vert. directions then cropped, so if you select 16:9 or 16:10 the screen will be chopped off so that only about 2/3 of the horiz. view is displayed. But, they did patch it so for widescreen gaming you will need to patch it either by risking GFWL or trying one of the unofficial patches available at fileplanet, bigdownload, etc. I used a spare computer to install BioShock 2 and logon to GFWL and patched it...then copied the patched files to my gaming rig.
     
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    News Comments > Quote of the Day
    14. Re: Quote of the Day Mar 16, 2011, 15:16 Rockn-Roll
     
    I'm sure if they paid the Beta testers they wouldn't expect a finished product. I worked as a game tester for Nintendo before and some of the testers had never played a video game before, and many of them that had were losers. If gaming companies really wanted to test their product then they would hire good players with proven experience...with the economy what it is today there's a whole lot of experienced players that would appreciate a job even if it's just minimum wage.  
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    News Comments > BioShock 2 Patch
    8. Re: BioShock 2 Patch Mar 16, 2011, 15:10 Rockn-Roll
     
    Overwrites User.ini on installation, so you'll lose your Single Player keybinds

    They have got to be joking! Don't they have any computer programmers that can read their own user.ini file and write the existing settings to the new file?

    Dramatically increases Single Player GFWL sign-in time due to added GFWL sign-in bug

    This is no typo. Apparently 2K is as frustrated with GFWL as the players are. The "bug" being referred to is due to the GFWL Client being a port of the console system. Apparently console systems don't have a local security policy that users can change like they can in Windows, so GFWL assumes it can do anything in Windows which it can on the console.

    When Windows is installed it allows everyone to access the computer from the network...except for the "Guest" account. For security reasons I change this to indicate that nobody can access my computer from the network...this one and only change prevents GFWL from working. From this effect I interpret that GFWL is trying to access my computer using Windows credentials that either it collected while running on my system and transmitted to its server...or a credential that Windows has available as a backdoor...or some method which Microsoft is not telling us about which requires a remote system to logon to my computer. If I allow access to my computer from the network then GFWL works, but so would hacks which impersonate Windows accounts. As long as Steam is available I can maintain a secured system and play games on the same system...even if someone steals my username and password. If GFWL continues to be used by PC games then the door for hackers will continue to be open...bet you didn't know that did you?
     
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    News Comments > Prey 2 Details?
    5. Re: Prey 2 Details? Mar 15, 2011, 23:01 Rockn-Roll
     
    Prey was unique but tasted bitter because it they should have been working on Duke Nukem Forever. They should have waited until DNF was released before announcing this...it feels like there's 12 year old salt in my wounds.

    An Air Martial? What are we going to do...bust someone for smoking on the plane? Why can't we be someone more dangerous like an accountant or attorney?
     
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    News Comments > Out of the Blue
    6. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 15, 2011, 11:05 Rockn-Roll
     
    I could be wrong, but I believe the original usage of the phrase "Beware The Ides Of March" was by farmers to remember that even though the end of February signals the last threat of frost...there is still a chance for another storm until the end of March.  
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    News Comments > Tribes: Ascend Announced
    17. Re: Tribes: Ascend Announced Mar 11, 2011, 15:44 Rockn-Roll
     
    And the other shoe drops...MS on Improving GFWL.

    I didn't find any information, but it's my guess that the Tribes reboot will use GFWL and Microsoft thinks it's the AAA title that will sell us on their service. I remember Tribes...it was fun when it was new...the larger environments was very cool (though Quake 2 released mega maps around the same time). And Tribes 2 was fun with it's commander mode.

    However, the weapon damage modifiers sucked totally...it took at least 20 seconds to move to a point in contention, but then the actual combat...the whole point of playing this type of game...lasts only 2 seconds...then it's respawn time for another 20 seconds of jumping and running to get another 2 seconds of combat. The Quake 2 mega maps also failed for the same reason...even though the combat on average took at least twice as long.

    I remember there were up to 2,000 players over 30 servers running for about 2 months after their releases, then it trickled down to half that, then bottomed out with 4 or 5 servers with no more than 100 players after 4 months...and mostly very young kids. It was a favorite at Lan parties, but internet play was minimal.

    I suspect the same will happen to this Tribes reboot...a decent amount of sales...initial release will see lots of servers and players, then after the newness wears out players will play games that gives them a better ratio of battle/movement.
     
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    News Comments > 3D DOOM Movie Reboot?
    56. Re: 3D DOOM Movie Reboot? Mar 10, 2011, 15:48 Rockn-Roll
     
    If they do make another Doom movie then they need to get their story straight. People mutating into monsters from a syrum derived from remains found on mars is just plain stupid. They need to stick with the original story of the portal into Hell then everything will work out just fine.  
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    News Comments > Out of the Blue
    2. Re: Out of the Blue Mar 9, 2011, 11:00 Rockn-Roll
     
    If you want healthy then become a vegetarian. I went lacto veggie in 1983, then veggie in 1988, and finally vegan in 1989 (not raw...I just don't eat anything that has a brain or came from something that has a brain). I'm 55, but I have no problem keeping up with any average male in most sports...besting teens and twenties on many occations...after a couple of weeks of exercise (I sit on my butt too much as a computer engineer), and in 2007 after 5 years of solid study I earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering with minors in Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering with many honor awards from CA State Univ - Sacramento which means my brain ain't in bad shape either.

    I think the most significant metabolic change is that when I get hungry my stomach doesn't hurt...according to my research "hunger pains" are due to the meat eating bacteria that exist in a carnivor's intestines...when there's nothing for them to eat they will start eating the intestinal walls...gives a new meaning to Little Shop of Horrors doesn't it? Like the bacteria is saying, "Feed me or I'll eat you!"
     
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    News Comments > Deus Ex: Human Revolution in August?
    10. Re: Deus Ex: Human Revolution in August? Mar 8, 2011, 14:23 Rockn-Roll
     
    baltar wrote on Mar 8, 2011, 11:26:
    With this, shogun 2 and Alice 2 coming out, it's like were back in 2000!

    Heck...shogun 2 and Alice 2 is nothing compared to the return of the Duke. But, yeah...it does look like we are getting some fun games this year instead of the usual crappy games and startups trying to cache in on the popularity of MMORGs.

    Cutter wrote on Mar 8, 2011, 13:57:
    But you'd all rather see Thief 4 first, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you?

    As much as I'd like Thi4f to be released first, I'm really looking forward to Deus Ex:HR because it carries on with some of the gameplay that we had in the dead and buried System Shock series.
     
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    News Comments > Steam Guard Beta
    12. Re: Steam Guard Beta Mar 6, 2011, 12:19 Rockn-Roll
     
    Wow...Steam is going to have better security than online banking. As I understand it even when it goes live you have a choice to use it or not...enable it if you are just going to be at home then disable it when you want to use a different computer.

    If you have it enabled and your computer crashes then that's no different from someone (in this case God) hijacking your account...just contact Steam support and they will fix things.
     
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