I Sur-Vive-ed VR

htc_vive_demoLet me cut to the chase. VR is real and it’s amazing. If you’re one of those people who can’t see it, or who despite the fixes in place still get sick from it, I’m so sorry but you’re missing out. I honestly hope if you’re in that small subset of people that the geniuses who make these things figure out how to fix it for you.

I first had my eyes opened to VR way back at some age I can’t even specifically remember with the Virtual Boy by Nintendo.  It was SUPER basic and low power but it was stereoscopic 3D when the only other option to do that was in the pages of Popular Mechanics or happened to have access to some MIT or Silicon Valley lab. This amazing technology disappeared(not entirely but at least in popular culture) until recently when it was announced that it was finally time and that a kid out in California figured out that modern technology is ready for that. The Occulus Rift was born and I got to try a pre-DK1 unit at Quakecon 4 years ago. Let me expound on that experience for a moments to give some better context.

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The Gaming Appendix Episode 3 – Ratchet & Clank HD Collection and Crusader Kings 2

The Gaming Appendix has released Episode 3. This time around we re-visit the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 single player campaign. We talk about the gorgeous textures available in the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection. Finally Crusader Kings 2 goes real time and seems to be an epic play. Watch the video or go to The Gaming Appendix website for the audio version and RSS feed.

Expelling the Section 8 Prejudice(s)

Section 8 Prejudice Wallpaper

Section 8 is a game by Timegate Studios featuring first person shooting and a host of innovative and different game play mechanics. Sadly this fact was not clearly communicated and was thus lost on the general public. Most, I think, came looking for a PC version of a Halo experience. What they got was a game so different it required a learning curve to great for the typical Halo player to handle. PC gaming vetreans who have mastered the learning curve behind a game like Starsiege: Tribes had little problem getting in to the game but only after spending some time learning and doing some reading on forums to discover the pieces left out of the game tutorials.

The biggest detractor wasn’t any one game mechanic but rather a mentality. One that Halo and Call of Duty fans have had to deal with very little until recent itterations of those games. That being management. Section 8 required you to passively manage your armor configuration, weapons load out and even your spawn location on the map. Things that see limited use, and some times don’t appear at all on other games. Then once you are “on the ground” you have to manage not just shields but your movement power and timing while you move. As well you need to manage your weapon choices as you go along. Plasma isn’t useful against a physically heavy armored targets where physical rounds are more effective and vice versa for lightly armored heavily shielded targets. Once you pile on item and mission requests the game becomes a rough learning curve and a much more tactical experience.

Unfortunately it appeared Timegate’s dev team did not effectively communicate to their PR firm/department the nature of the game and it was advertised in the same manor as other pick up and shoot FPS games. So when the masses arrived they found they were shooting their shielded opponent with full gattling magazines and doing little damange which became frustrating so they left declaring Section 8 a terrible game. If only they knew you needed to drop the enemies shields first with plasma based weapons before inflicting the physical damage.

I played Section 8 and loved it while it lasted. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long with both the PC and PS3 console versions dwindling to almost nothing with in a year. I did in fact buy it twice, once on PC and once on PS3 and I wager folks like me are the reason Timegate has been able to make another game. They do say they’ve made many changes to the new game. Their marketing doesnt look much different so here’s to hoping their tutorial systems are better and that they haven’t stripped the game entirely of it’s tacticle essence that was so amazing the first go around.

Timegates website can be found here.
The Section 8 Prejudice website is here.

Go grab your copy on:
Steam (releases 4 May 2011) Pre-order nets you 10% off for a cost of $13.49.
Xbox (all ready released)
PS3 (No date set yet “coming soon” on Timegates Buy Now page)

The Curious Case of Portal 2

Any one who claims to be a gamer should know who Valve is and any one who claims to be a geek should have played, at least once, the game called Portal. Portal posits the concept that the cake is a lie. Now it appears the cake that is Portal 2 may in fact be real and we might be able to have it a few days early. Valve has opened up the site http://www.aperturescience.com with their new program called GLaDOS@Home distributed computational grid which uses your gaming processor cycles to power up GLaDOS. There is a meter on the site that seems to indicate a completion status and a timer that, at the time of writing, is sitting at 93 hours. While the meter indicates a completion status the timer doesnt seem to be changing pace. Some sources have indicated that they think this timer is associated with the estimated release time based on the current gaming cycles being spun up but some rough math shows that it’s approximately the time to the official release date. A little miss leading perhaps but still good motivation to get those games out and play play play!

The 93 hour timer does in fact coincide with the original release date listed on Amazon.com as being the 19th. 93 hours is 3.875 days which would land you in the AM on the 19th.

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