Blogging since 2007
Welcome to DemiGoth's Fantasy Role-Playing blog
All about news and updates of the (MMO)RPG games I play and general news that I deem important enough


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[UPDATE] Playstation 4 review - internal HDD vs USB3 HDD
21 April 2017
Posted in Reviews

In my review of the Playstation 4 Pro, I spoke about periphals as well, including the USB3 external harddisc. I said that the speed of the internal harddisk was about on-par with the USB3 external harddisk. Now I can confirm this, but the external USB3 harddisk is a bit slower than the internal one though.

Yesterday my brother and I played Elder Scrolls online and we teamed up to do some quests together, which included a lot of going in and out of buildings and the Thieves guild. Those are the moments when the game loads it's assets from the harddisk. With my brother only using the internal harddisk and me having dropped ESO on the external one, the (slight) difference in speed became clear.
Where we both were about at the same time to exit an area (or to enter a new one - take your pick ), he was always a bit earlier in the game again then I was. The difference was about a second or so (and with ESO loading really a lot of assets for the world, it's almost nothing), there was a bit of a delay when loading from the external harddisk.

I also noticed this difference when playing Games of Thornes - a Tell Tale series (I'll give you my review on it later this month). I've bought the season pass disc with the first 5 games on the BluRay disc and the 6th one being downloaded. That download was stored on the external HDD automatically and when I reached the 6th season of the game, I noticed that the game was loading a bit slower compared to the load from the BluRay drive.

This means that (as I said), the external harddisk indeed is a bit slower than the internal one, and it's barely noticable. But when you're playing a game in multi-player mode, it advisable to have that game on the internal harddisk instead of the external one. Also, very small games (those under 3Gb, and most likely indie games) can be easily installed on the external harddisk. These games will load in one go and most likely have very little assets to load when switching maps/areas.


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Reasons for the change to console gaming
19 April 2017
Posted in General

If you've been following my blog, you know that I've been a PC gamer for the last 10 year - but that time is not quite accurate. I've been a PC gamer for the last 30 years already, it all started back in 1985 when I bought my first Atari 800XL and in 1989 when I bought my first 8088 CPU based IBM compatilbe PC (not gonna tell you how much I paid for that thing... ). During that time I've had consoles for a short period of time, but I never really could set myself to playing on them - that is aside from Final Fantasy VII on the PS1, which I almost compeltely played through.

But times change as do I. When in the past I loved to play games on my PC, these days I'm no longer really enjoying it. Partly because of my physical condition, partly for the costs and partly because consoles are no longer a 'lesser piece of hardware'.
On the latter part, I advice you to read my previous blog entry where I reviewed my PS4 Pro, and search the internet for the hype around the upcoming XBOX Scorpio. Both are extremely powerful consoles that they are at the lower to middle end of the gaming PC market. The only difference with their PC counterparts is that the consoles have fixed hardware configurations, while the PC does not. This saves the developer a lot of time to make their games compatible with every possible hardware configuration and put that development time (and CPU power) into other parts of their games.

About the physical part for the change I can be very short. With the chronic fatigue I'm experiencing, sitting for hours and play games with mouse and keyboard is just too straining. Instead I'd much rather pick up a controller and sick back on my o-so comfy gaming chair (I bought one last month and it also helped against a lot of backpain I've had the last year) and play games in a more relaxed way. Sadly though, a lot of PC games have no or very limited controller support, so that was kinda a no-go there to keep playing PC games

And then costs. This is more a two fold issue than a single one. I'm talking both hardware and software here.
My current PC is getting old. That Phenom 1090T is still running smoothly, but it's performance is (as stated in my PS4 Pro review) getting to the lower end of the PC performance already, while the GTX970 that my PC has is still okay, but beeing bottlenecked by the CPU at times (Black Desert online shows it so well). I've made a calculation what a new PC would cost me, and it ranges from around 500 up to 900 (both without buying HDDs, GPU and a case), but then I'd have the latest AMD Ryzen CPU series. A series that require me to buy new RAM (DDR4) as well and motherboards that are more expensive than the one I'm currently using, not to mention a future FORCED upgrade to Windows 10 (still running 7 ultimate and not wanting to get 10 at all - I'd much rather switch to Linux). Not to mention that to keep PC's 'up to speed' you should build/upgrade a PC every 3 years, shile consoles have a much longer lifespan (PS2 has been in production for nearly 15 years iirc). Compare that to the 400 I paid for my PS4 Pro and you see the first reason why consoles are cheaper...

The other part is software, or rather games. Where on the PC 99% of the games are digital (even when buying a boxed copy with CD), on consoles you have a choice between ditigal or physical copies (and those buying the digital copies for the same price are just CRAZY for the upcoming reason ). When I look at the Playstation Store (and I guess it also goes for the XBOX store), a digital copy of a game has the same price as the physical copy, and when a game gets older, the digital copy is in most cases even more expensive than the physical one !! But when you buy a physical copy of a game, you can play it, compelte it and when you're done with it, you can sell it again, or even trade with friends for an other game. You can't do that with digital copies of a game (aside from 5 friends on Steam who you'd give access to your library, but they'll be kicked from the game the moment you start to play).
An other very point people forget about are cheaters in games. You have them in almost every PC game, and certainly if there's competition involved of some kind. Aimbots, hacks & exploitsm cheating and more of that stuff happens a lot in PC games, while on consoles it's virtually non-existant (I know that some games have issues, but that comes more from bad coding than 3rd party software).

Will this all mean that my current PC is my last one? Certainly not! That CPU of mine is about 7 years old already and I'd be lucky if the thing will reach it's 10th birthday Not to mention, I'm still using the PC for my programming activities (though not as much as I used to / want to) and the developments on that front are still ongoing as well. I seriously think I should build a AMD Ryzen PC because of it's so well done muti-threading, but that's probably something for next year or so. I do however realize that my next PC might be one of the last one I might build/buy...


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[REVIEW] Playstation 4 Pro
11 April 2017
Posted in Reviews

It's time for my first review, and let me kick off with that one thing that I'm using for most of the reviews. Yes, that's right, my Playstation 4 Pro! While I haven't owned a 'regular' Playstation 4, I can't compare it to it, but I can make some comparison with the older Playstation 3 and my current PC when it comes to performance. Now I realize that the Playstation 3 is a total unfair match to say the least, but there are 2 games that I used to play on it (Destiny and Final Fantasy XIV: A Real Reborn) that I can use as a reference. The same goes for my PC, but the thing is pretty old and I think it's old enough (AMD Phenom II X6 1090T with 16GB DDR3 RAM and a GTX970) to make the PS4 Pro a compatitor anyway Last but not least I will also give my thoughts on the 4K features the Pro (and the upcoming XB1 Scorpio) have. Also an important note that I will not get into the technical specifications of the PS4 pro. There are already enough topics on that part on the net and while I know a lot about PC technical building, consoles is a totally different thing and (for now?) out of my legue.
I will cut this review down in the follwing parts: (loading) speed, graphics, controller and periphels and VR (not owning one [yet], but what I've read about it). I will end the review with my view on 4K and HDR in general.

(Loading) speed
Compared to the PS3 here the PS4 Pro certainly has gained a lot. I've read that the PS4 Pro uses SATA3 for the HDD input/output and you notice that a lot. When comparing the loading speed (along with the graphics buildup) in FFXIV the difference is significant. Where on the PS4 it took me about 10 seconds to zone from one map to the next and then had to wait at least the same time for all non-map objects (mainly other players, characters and houses), the PS4 zones in a couple of seconds (3-5) and the build up of the non-map objects is almost completely done when you're entering the map. I realize that this difference in time is also related to the graphical power the PS4 Pro has, but is certainly also has to do with the general HDD and CPU speed difference between the 2 consoles. On the other hand, Destiny on both consoles shows about the same speed when loading, where the PS4 wins by just a little bit.
Comparing the PS4 with my PC and then specifically The Elder Scrolls online, I think they are about on-par with eachother. I think my PC is a bit faster, but that's more thanks to the faster GPU I have than the CPU.

Graphics
This is probably the most important selling feature of the PS4 Pro, and more specifically the power to feed 4K display, but is it? I've watched a 4K/HDR gameplay video of Mass Effect: Andromeda (on 1080p though - I don't own a 4K monitopr/TV), and I thought it looked very good. But after I bought the game myself, I noticed a couple of differences, where the 4K/HDR video came short compared to my plain 1080p gameplay. One of the most distinctive differences is where Ryder 'lands' on the planet and her helmet is broken. On the 4K/HDR video she just reparis it, while on my 1080p monitor I saw gas (oxigen obviously) escape through the cracks of her helmet.
When comparing FFXIV between the PS3 and PS4 (aside from the difference of 720p vs 1080p), the difference in graphical power becomes more obvious between the two consoles. Where on the PS3 the graphics looked very good (for that old console ), on the PS4 the game became alive. The colors were more vibrant, you'd see sun rays and the floor was more detailed (texture wise, not resolution).
Comparing ESO between my PC and PS4, I think the PS4 wins by a bit, because ESO is optimized for the PS4 Pro and thus makes use of the extra power it provides, while for the PC need to use custom settings and then bottleneck my GPU through my CPU. I gotta admit though that I haven't played ESO for over 2 years on the PC though and can't tell how it looks now...
I am able to compare games between 'normal' and 'Pro enhanced'. Most games that are 'Pro enhanced' do have the option to toggle it off (WHY?) and the best example is shown with Horizon: Zero Dawn. The 'Pro enhanced' option for 1080p is a lot of extra super sampling, which makes the game even more impressive than it already is. I've also watched a couple of streamers who use 1080p and you also see the difference then between the 'Pro enhanced' and the 'normal' game. I think for this clear difference alone it's worth to buy a PS4 Pro, even more when you take into account that SONY wants more developers to make special 'Pro enhanced' features for their games.
There is one downside though on the extra power the PS4 Pro puts into it's GPU - NOISE. When playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, at times the fans of the console start to blow pretty hard (even on my 1080p with additional supersampling from the 'Pro enhanced' options). When playing Mass Effect: Andromeda, things even get worse with the fans blowing almost the entire game. Yes, that's right, the GPU generates a lot of heath when pushed to the limits, so make sure that there's enough airflow at the back. Also worth to note that while regular games and there's not enough airflow around the PS4, the fans will start to blow out heath as well, so DO NOT place the PS4 Pro in closed spaces like TV cabinets.

Controller and periphals
The controller, perhaps the most important thing for a gamer these days and when it comes to Playstation, a point of discussion. In the past (PS1 till PS3), the controllers were made for the smaller Japanese/Asian hands and we Western players had to deal with it and get cramps after a while OR buy a 3rd party controller that would fit our bigger hand better. And when comparing these old controllers with the XBOX controllers, they were REALLY TINY. It's good to report that the PS4 has a slightly bigger controller that also fits our larger Western hands. And while it's still a bit too small for me, at least I can play for hours without cramping or fatigueing my hands. Sadly though, the controller is still hard plastic and after a while, and certainly intense, playing you'll notice that it'll get moist from your hands sweating
An other important thing to mention is the keyboard, or lack of SONY making one for the PS4, while there was a very good PS3 clip-on keyboard available. Instead you need to buy a 3rd pary keyboard and the ones that are available to clip-on the PS4 controller just suck balls. Their bluetooth connection fails a lot, the battery depletes very fast and they feel cheap in general. Instead you're bound to buy a larger keyboard, either wired or bluetooth. I've bought a bluetooth one at a discounter which is intended for tablets and works very well with the PS4. The only downside though is that when in a game and I need to type a message, I do need to put down the controller
Ans speaking about periphals, lets start about the USB ports as well. The PS4 Pro has 3 of them (the PS4 Slim has 2) with one at the back. Of course, I've added a USB3.1 HUB on the one at the back to connect extra stuff, like my microphone, the LEGO NFC console. Those work perfectly fine, and I can even use it to charge my controllers. But adding an external harddrive for external storage on the HUB (possible since firmware 4.5) is a no-go. The external storage MUST be connected to it's own USB slot...

VR
As said, I don't own a VR set yet and what I'll be writing here is from hear-say. Generally, if you're totally into VR and think you need a PS4 Pro for it, then think again. There have been a lot of tests on the net on the topic. Yes, there is some difference between the representation of VR on a PS4 Slim and Pro, but the difference is so small that at times you don't even notice if you're playing on a Slim or Pro. Okey, when you see the difference, it's on the Pro, but if you already own a PS4, there's no need to upgrade to the Pro just for VR...

1080p, 4K, HDR and my view on it
I've posted a question on the MMORPG.com forums about a 24" 4K monitor and if it's wise to purchase it. There were quite some interesting responses to it with opposing opinions about size, distance and minimum width a 4K monitor should be. But one of the most interesting responses there dropped me to a chart that shows resolution vs screen size vs optimal viewing distance:

Image title

This chart shows that to benefit the most from your 4K resolution, you practically have to sit on top of the screen. In the case of that 24' monitor I saw, I have to sit 2' (60cm) away from the screen to fully benefit from it and if I sit up to 3' (90cm) away from it, it looks like 1080p already Now take this to larger (TV) screens that are 40", then the optimal distance is 2.5' (75cm) and at 5' (150cm) it starts to look like 1080p alread. When looking at the maximum on this chart (145" - anyone even has a TV like this ) you gotta sit a bit under 10' (300cm) for the optimal distance and from around 19' (570cm) it looks like 1080p (and not take into account that in Japan the TV broadcasters are already using 8K...). This makes me wonder how useful 5K is in general.

Then about HDR. I've read a post that people would benefit more from 1080p HDR than from 4K (with or without HDR) and that's very interesting. Even more that up to now there are NO 1080p HDR screens available, but instead all HDR screens are 4K (see my point just above here). But that's going to change. SONY has finally seen the light and announced their Bravia 1080p HDR line of TVs, a step most likely intended for PS4 users, but also XB1 Scorpio users will benefit from it. And I think that when these TVs hit the market later this year, the PS4 Pro might become an even better console than it already is, because now developers have choises to make when using 4K and where to cut performance. But when you use 1080p with the 'Pro enhanced' options (super sampling and more details mostly) along with HDR, gaming on the PS4 Pro might just become a bit more awesome than it already is!



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Reviewing games and how I'll be doing it
08 April 2017
Posted in Reviews

I've been reading reviews about (Playstation) games a lot lately, and I found them lacking on serveral fronts. My main complaint is that most of these reviews feel like paid reviews, where every game gets at least 9/10 while at times games feel like utter crap and totally don't live up the promises or expectation (yes I'm looking at you Mass Effect:Andromeda ). This also might be because a lot of gaming reviewers get a free copy and don't care about playing through a game within a couple of hours, while the game itself costs 65 or even more!
The other problem I have with gaming reviews is that only the 'major titles' are reviewed. When you're playing an indie game or a less known AAA-game, you have to search the internet for a (decent) review, or even turn to YouTube for some gameplay videos to see what the game is like.

With the revival of the Pages from Sages site, and me now playing a lot on the Playstation 4, I figured to start reviewing the games I play without adding a number to it. The ratings given to g ames are all personal and what I think is an awesome game, you might think sucks balls (and vice versa). Instead, I'll just write my opinion on the game (I might make vlogs later on) with a couple of points you might take into account when buying the game.

What I think is important to a game is totally different from (professional) game reviewers on some points. Here's how I'll be reviewing games:
  - Price per hour
  - Graphics
  - Music & sound effects
  - General gaming atmosphere
  - Promises / expectations (hype) vs delivery
  - Boxed vs Digital

I realize that 3 out of 6 are pretty regular, while 'Price per hour' and 'General gaming atmosphere' are the odd ones. Let me try to explain the other trhee though...

Price per hour
My brother and I have been playing computer games for over 30 years by now. We started out with the Atari 2600 system and have seen the whole gaming (r)evolution through home computers, PCs and consoles. And we both think that over time the main focus has been shifted the wrong way. Where in the past you'd have (by our current standards) ugly graphics and sounds with kick-ass gameplay that you could play for 100s of hours (Baldur's Gate and The Elder Scrolls Morrowind), now you'd have the opposite. Games tend to become more and more polished (Horizon: Zero Dawn) with almost all dialogues being voiced-over, but lacking deep gameplay, lenght of play and even re-play value (Horizon: Zero Dawn again - you can finish it in 25 hours !!).
For this reason both my brother and I feel that a 1 per hour played is a decent price. I realize that new games with this rating might not end up well though. With an average 65 for a new console game and the current trend of games becoming shorter and shorter, that 1/hour standard is hard to hit.
*I will review this feature on both retail price and what I've paid for it*

Promises / expectations (hype) vs delivery
Oh yes, HYPE. One of the biggest killer of games (No Man's Sky). Developers say that their games will be the 'next coming of Jesus' and gamers make up stuff from alpha gameplay footages that's not even there (once again No Man's Sky). While I'm no longer jumping hype trains for upcoming games, I do keep an eye out for the hype people put on games, while promises are easy to search back after the game has been released. I realize that by the time I play games (I don't have the money to grab every new game so I will go for either 2nd hand or discounts) the hype is mostly gone, but it's always easy to look back on it afterward and thus give a verdict on that as well.

Boxed vs Digital
I admit, I'm a DRM freak and I loathe the fact that most games cost the same digitally as they cost boxed. I mean, WHY? Digital content should be cheaper because it lacs the price of the physical box and distribution of it, while ditigal content only exists as one copy on a server that can be downloaded to your console (or PC). And it still baffles me that people are still so dumb to buy digital games for 65 and when they switch to the next gen console or are done playing, they can't sell th game anymore. And I'm not even talking about those 'digital deluxe editions' that come with an extra soundtrack and PDF booklet, while I can get those on CD and paper when I buy the boxed deluxe edition for the same price. I personally think that digital content should be at least 10% cheaper and that the 'digital deluxe editions' should just be ditched alltogether. But well, people are dumb enough to buy it, and where there is a demand, there's always some one to supply...
So how will I review this? Once again, I dont't have the money to buy every deluxe edition out there (though I really wish I'd have in some cases!), but I can make a comparison of what you get for the same money when you buy boxed or digital.

Last but not least, I will only review games that I play. Which would mean that there will be little to no shooters, horror & survival games and sport games will be found here. I mainly like open world and (j)RPG games and I can write about that with a passion.

Also worth to note that from time to time I will review hardware. But with consoles being quite limited in hardware, don't expect a lot of that here though. When reviewing hardware, you have to think more in the line of add-on items like streaming cards, new controllers and such stuff...


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One year later - let's recap a bit...
06 April 2017
Posted in General

I know I've already declared this blog dead twice, but blood is thicker than water they say... So before I restart the blog alltogether again, let me first recap the last year. A lot has happened on all fronts - some for the good, some for the worse.

Psychological
I think here the most has happened. For those who've followed my twitter feed and have read my programming blog might have picked up some about it. July last year my psych thought I might also have a bipolar disorder. This was confirmed that next month, when I was about to walk away from everything and step out of it. I realize that was a stupid thing to do, and luckily I'm under treatment now for both my Asperger's syndrome and bipolar disorder (no direct for my ADD, because of my intolerance of medication) For the bipolar disorder I'm on medication (Depakine) on a very low dosage (600mg a day while 2500-3000mg a day is 'normal' for my weight), because the psych ordered a DNA research, which showed that I'm 'low metabolic' for most anti-psychotics and thus need a very low dosage (this also explains why I went into a psychosis from the ritalin back in 2012).
I'm happy to report that the medication is doing wonders to my moods and my psych is keeping a close eye on the moods as well. I'm also happy to say that my 'mood swing curve' is pretty stable at around 4-5 months, meaning that whenever I'm sliding towards a depression (just got out of one), I can start on the anti-deprssives that I have.

Physical
Nothing much to report here I think. I still suffer from the Osteoarthritis in my knees and at times it aches so much that I need a cane to walk (which I refuse most of the time and just limb around a bit ).  Same goes for the B12 deficiency I have, for which I still get supplemented every other week.
On the other hand though, there are some side effects from the Depakine that I'm taking (even on this low dosage !!), which include diziness and being lightheaded. My psych thinks I might suffer from low blood pressure as side effect (something I am already familiar with), and coming Monday I have an appointment with my doctor (for the B12 suppletion) to check it. There's no real reason to be alarmed though, because I haven't fainted yet

The lawsuit - I'VE WON!
Yes, that's right. November last year I've had a hearing (again) at the UWV because I appealed for the dismissal of my invalidity social security allowance (WIA) for my work as a mailman. Luckily, the one who was handling my file was sick (again as my lawyer told me) and someone picked it up for him. She re-reviewed my file, saw the error that was made and reinstated my WIA allowance again by declaring me 68.62% unfit for work (which is actually a loss of income I'd have). This was early January, 4 days before the hearing at court. Of course, I went through with the hearing because there were still a couple of things that were not quite right yet. That hearing I lost, but the lawsuit was won
Now there are 2 next steps in the whole process:
  1. I've gone to the High Court because the judge didn't make a final ruling on one of the points we brought up, which it's a very important one. Sadly though, this might take a year or 2 before anything comes from it
  2. I've filed an other lawsuit for rejecting my appeal for the mailman part. Unlike the previous lawsuit, in this one the medication I'm taking has to be taken into account, and my lawyer and I think that they didn't do that as well as they should. And of course, the point above will be filed for as well.
If either one will come through, chances are that I'll be fully unfit for work (which, according to my opinion, I sadly am).

Now about gaming
Sadly, I've given up on PC gaming completely. The way I need to sit to control keyboard and mouse are too fatiguing for me Instead, I've bought a Playstation 4 Pro late January and amd enjoying the thing a lot! And with it's build-in streaming functions I'm streaming my games from time to time. My brother also has bought a PS4Pro only recently and we're playing a lot of games in co-op mode during the evenings for a couple of hours. The fun stuf that we encounter while playing I normally save and upload to my YouTube channel for all to watch and enjoy. I'll also be using my YouTube channel to stream as well (whenever I'm feeling good enough that is).


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The end of PagesFromSages.com #2
10 March 2016
Posted in General

I've announced last year that I'd end the Pages from Sages blog, but was talked into keeping it. Sadly tough, I'm no longer extremely active in the gaming scene and the games I am playing I will not be blogging about. As for my personal situation, things go from bad to worst and as I said back then, I will not make this blog a derge.

That means I won't renew the registration for the domain coming June and it'll be for the grabs to all. If you want to re-read the old posts, I'll keep a backup copy of the site available at pfs.erne.nl, for which I will be redirecting the site to starting coming weekend (have to make some script adjustments first).

I would like to thank you all for the support you've given me the last 9 years <3


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Phenom II X4 955 and Linux performance
25 February 2016
Posted in General

That was a real quick delivery. The AMD Phenom II X4 955 CPU I bought 2nd hand two days ago came in this morning. And while this CPU is getting close to a decade old design, it's still a very good one IF taken care of. Just look at the Phenom II X6 1090T in my main PC, that thing is already 6 years old and still working perfeclty (and beating the newer ADM FX-6300 series as well ). Oddly enough, the X4 955 is listed as a 125W CPU on the AMD site, while listed as 95W in the MSI CPU support page of the motherboard I'm using But I guess if MSI tells me that the CPU should work fine, all will be okay

Then the performance of the CPU under Linux... Aside from still trying to learn the ropes of Linux and figure out how all works, a testrun with XCOM: Enemy Unknown went so-so.

 photo Screenshot from 2016-02-25 18.36.45_zpsatbuyshe.png

I know 'so-so' doesn't sound too well, but the problem was not related to the CPU but rather the GPU. Instead of the on-board GPU, I decided to buy a cheap-ass nVidia GT 240 (1Gb) card to have some better performance and be able to play some games. And while the GT 240 isn't a bad card, it's an old one to current standards, and with XCOM requiring something more powerfull (nVidia 600+ series minimum), on 720p and rather low settings the performance was pretty good. I did try to play the game on 1080p, but that was clearly a no-go with 15FPS max

And while at it, I also kept a close eye on the CPU and RAM usage, as well as temperature of the GPU. And honestly, I gotta say that I was somewhat impressed by how well it all ran. The CPU didn't go over 90% while playing XCOM, RAM used didn't exceed 3Gb and the GPU didn't get over 52C, making the test a success. The only thing I might do is add an extra 4Gb of RAM, because a 64-bit operating system running on the 4Gb RAM it has now is generally considered odd...

And while it's tempting to play games on the Linux machine, that's not the reason I have it. I have it for 2 purposes:
  1. As mentioned earlier I want to change from Windows 7 (Ultimate x62) to Linux in time. If possible later on this year, but there's no real hurry for the change. I still have to figure out how to move stuff like my mail and bookmarks (in 3 different browsers ) from Windows to Linux. I need to figure out how to get certain Windows-only programs to run under Linux (I know: Wine, but how to configure it to the max I mean). And more such things.
  2. I want a machine to test the games I'll be making. I also want a machine that I can use as (test)server for an online game I want to make, be it either MMO or co-op but at least with a dedicated database behind it.

I know, lots of thought on the use of that Linux machine, but for now it's just a 'learning experience' only. I don't care if I screw up the configuration and have to reinstall Linux again (already installed it twice now)...


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Linux getting one step closer
24 February 2016
Posted in General

The last couple of days I've been experimenting with Linux a bit more. Or rather, I've been trying to get the Unity3D engine to work under Linux. Like I've said earlier, the Unity3D editor is one of the main features that must be working under Linux before I seriously will consider to run it in dualboot with my current Windows 7 Ultimate x64 configuration...

First I tried to get Unity3D to work under Wine, but to no avail The current version of the engine (5.3.2f1) requires full (native?) Windows 7 (and up) support and is just not installing itself under Wine. This was quite a bummer, but there are more ways to get something working, for instance an older version of Unity. For that experiment I tried version 5.2.4f1 and that one did install under Wine. Sadly though, starting Unity resuled in an error and I could not get it to work with Wine.
But browsing the Unity3D forums I found a topic with a pretty neat instruction manual on how to get Unity to work with Wine through PlayOnLinux. It looked very promising and I followed it with version 5.2.4f1 and it did install (again). Sadly though, starting Unity crashed it again with (seemingly) the same error
Now I could install Unity 4.7, which I think will work under Wine, but all my projects are already running under 5.3.2f1 and the projects are not downward compatible. That, and the jump Unity made from versions 4 to 5 in graphical performance are two reasons not to go back to Unity 4...

Then I remembered that blog post Unity made about a native Linux client. But this build is an expirimental one, and a previous experimental build (Unity for 2D only) was reserved to (professional) license owners only. But I figured to give it a try anyway and to my big surprise I was able to install and run Unity for Linux! Sadly though, it's only version 5.1...
Browsing the Unity forums once more, I found the Linux experimental subforum where a topic was made that'll contain the latest builds of the Linux version, which is compatible with Windows/Mac 5.3.2f1. I downloaded that one and it workslike a charm!

The only problem though, is getting used to Linux. I've been searching for the pull-down menus like crazy, only to find out that they can be found at the top of the screen (where the system time resides and other system info) instead on top of the current window I also want to know more about the Linux operating system itself. Where Windows (and OS/2) were clearly derived from the DOS operating system and used a similar directory structure, Linux is completely different. And while I've been playing a bit with Linux a bit yesterday and have already learned a lot on what and where, it's so different from the DOS structure...
With that, I also want to know more on how Linux itself works. It's not like Windows where you simply install something, or where a file has a clear .EXE to indicate it's an executable. You need to add flags (I already know a bit abut that thanks to scripting PHP and a lot of internet experience) and a lot of commands are running from the command prompt (so tempting to say DOS promt ) with the sudo commands.

That's all on my alt/test PC, of which I upgraded the GPU yesterday fromthe on-board one to a nVidia GTS240 1Gb (still not much, but a lot better than the on-board one ). I have also already purchased a 2nd hand CPU (Phenom II X4 955) to replace the current one (Athlon X2 250 ). I might even add an extra 4Gb RAM later on to get to 8Gb, because 4Gb and a 64-bit operating system is not the best combination, even though Linux runs very fine on 4Gb.

I'm slowly getting into Linux, but still have a long way to go. I'm so happy that I have a 2nd PC to test it all on...


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Black Desert's Pay2Win cash shop
19 February 2016
Posted in MMORPGs

I'm so glad I've had my refund for Black Desert online. Where I thought the game would become Free2Play within a year instead of Pay2Win, I was wrong on all accounts as the video below shows...

One of the promises of Daum Games was that the cash shop would only include COSMETIC and CONVENIENCE items and NO PAY2WIN items. Well, the current CBT2 where the cash shop is revealed shows other wise. Okay, there are only cosmetic items and convenience items in it, but two very imporant things are shown though...

1. The cash shop is extremely expensive. I mean, seriously, $32 or 32 (again a 1:1 conversion $: while it should be 1:11 right now) for a full set of cosmetic costumes? That while the base game itself costs $30/30, making the cosmetic items even more expensive than the game itself )
2. Costumes DO HAVE stats that give you an advantage over others. That means that the game DOES become Pay2Win, even with the slight advantage that a whole set gives.

With Daum Games already breaking their promise NOT to include Pay2Win into the game I can only imagine how long it'll take before players turn away from this game and it'll become Free2Play with a massive Pay2Win cash shop, like other regions where the game is Free2Play already has. I fear that with a cash shop like this Black Desert might become 'Free2Play' even before the end of the year, breaking all previous records of Subscription/Buy2Play to Free2Play games immediately...


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Thinking about Linux
15 February 2016
Posted in General

Windows has never been my operating system of choice, and actually it still isn't...

Even before everyone started using Windows 3.1, I was using Deskview/QEMM instead for my timeslicing (we had no multi-tasking back then because PCs only had 1 CPU with 1 core). At the time people started using Windows 3.xx (I still don't see how that ever got so popular because it was just a shell over DOS), I started using IBM's OS/2, which I used for a decade. People around me started using Windows 95, 98, and the only way I got in contact with them was on my work. At home I was very content with my OS/2 system that ran far more stable AND faster.

But sadly, time goes by and hardware got better. During that time, IBM had lost the battle for the leading operating system by far already (in favor of Windows 95) and abandoned OS/2 all together, but I still managed to keep using OS/2. That was until I made a PC around 2002 and the hardware was so 'revolutionar' that OS/2 couldn't even install itself anymore  It was a good thing that at that time I was already experimenting with Windows 95 for half a year (in dual-boot), and my first PC running Windows as main OS was born

During that half year that I ran both OS/2 and Windows 95, I did a lot of performance test between the two. I made a couple of simple programs that only increased a counter by 1 for a minute and displayed the result afterward (both in DOS box and native compiled for OS/2 and Windows). In all cases OS/2 was by far superior (up to 150% faster in a DOS box ). I also had a couple of games for both OS/2 and Windows (SimCity 2000 and Galactic Civilization are 2 I still remember), and in all cases, the AI responded faster under OS/2 and the display performance was better under OS/2 as well...

From 2002 till now I've ran XP, Vista (which I had pre-installed on my first and only pre-build PC and downgraded immediately to XP ) and 7. And though XP and 7 are very stable, I never really was content with Windows as operating system. I kept looking around for alternatives, and frankly the only alternative is Linux (nope, I don't count Apple OSX as a viable alternative for PCs).

Only recently I tried Windows 10 on my ASUS EEE netbook and much like Windows 8(.1), I don't like it's look and feel a bit. It looks like Mikcey$oft has lost track of what a PC actually is and starts to mix it with tablets, consoles and phones (certainly Windows 10 does that). Fuck off guys! I have a PC and I want it treated like that, and not some sort of 'multiple-choice operating system' that has all of those platforms installed and thus takes yet more overhead to keep running! If I want to use a tablet I'll get one (I don't have one BTW), if I want a console I'll power up my PlayStation 3, and if I want a phone I'll use my Android phone!
Not to mention PRIVACY. I've turned off ALL tracking in Windows 10 and still it tells me that it will send BASIC INFORMATION to Mickey$oft (which according to their EULA they are allowed to publicly publich in they feel like it). I don't want that and I also want to know what Mickey$oft calls BASIC INFORMATION, but noooo.... Mickey$oft is not telling that and thus can send ANYTHING it wants to their servers aside from what I've turned off...

It's a good thing that about half a year ago I made a new PC for my parents in-law and they gave me their old one in return. I installed Linux (Ubuntu 14.04.2) on it to use it later on and learn to use Linux. And by learning Linux I mean more than click on the graphical UI (everyone can do that...). I want to leanr how to use it's command prompt, how it's file system and directory structure works, and such things. I JUST WANT TO MASTER LINUX! And an old PC like that is the perfect way to get started on it.
And while not in a hurry to master Linux, I do want to try to have enough knowledge of it so that I can use it in dual-boot on my main PC by the end of the year. By that time I also hope that Unity3D has finally made it's engine native for Linux. Though that's not a hard demand for me to switch to Linux (I heard Unity3D runs perfectly under WINE), having it native in Linux would make things very easy for me...


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