UK Dtoider in the Midlands, I spend too much time ignoring Steamtoid, and used to spend too little time "organizing" EUFNF on the forums and c-blogs. I have a good enough gaming PC, an Xbox 360 (MATTE SLIM MOTHERFUCKERRRRR) and a DSi. Sometimes I play games on them.
It's been two years since the announcement of Onlive, and late in September they rolled the service out to the UK with a heavy presence at the Eurogamer Expo and an introductory offer of only paying £1 (buck fiddy) for your first game. Since I'm on a low budget right now and have too much spare time on my hands I purchased Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine on the system, or should I say I purchased the right to stream it. The idea of streaming current generation games has been something I have considered current broadband standards simply not good enough for and with this venture into new territory I planned to develop a more solid feel for it.
Since I wasn't dedicated enough to be one of the thousands who queued for hours to pick up an Onlive microconsole on the Eurogamer Expo showroom floor, I played the game on my PC which is a horrifically noisy and rapidly degenerating beast of a machine running 32 bit Windows 7 Home Premium with an AMD Phenom II dual core 3.00 GHz processor and a second hand ATI Radeon HD 4800 series graphics card. But then of course that should not factor hugely in the experience. My internet connection is with UK ISP TalkTalk, I do not know the speeds we should be getting but speedtest.net can tell me what we are getting, which is a downstream connection peaking at just over 12 Mbps and around 0.8 Mbps upstream, with a ping of ~50ms to servers in London.
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Before buying the game, I used most of the trial time I had for the game in a preliminary test. Trial time with Onlive games is spent playing the full version of the game, I assume because it's easier to stream it to you than to host a demo alongside the full game. The graphics were neither unplayable nor perfect, and the game responded well. I used an Xbox 360 wireless pad to play the game, rather than learn different controls to what I had played of the demo on Xbox 360. In the entire time playing the trial I only had one momentary issue which was caused by Skype crashing and taking Windows explorer down with it. At least one person spectated my session, every game you or anybody else plays on the service can be found on the seemingly infinite wall of screens in the Arena part of the Onlive dashboard. I find this feature quite damn impressive myself and you can choose to talk to the player and fellow spectators with the voice chat (currently in beta).
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As I said previously, the game is not pretty within the confines of being playable, but at times there were graphical glitches when quickly turning around. The service itself never taxed my connection, my download rate never exceeding 800 KB/s and sitting under 400 KB/s when not actively playing a game, upload fluctuating and generally not exceeding 25 KB/s. Noticeability of latency issues varied, infrequently being almost nonexistent, but when playing with a controller were hard to detect overall. I was able to play on the normal difficulty as proficiently as I had done on the Xbox 360. One last thing I'd like to comment is one property of the Onlive service on PC, being able to easily set the window to any desired size whilst locking aspect ratio, since I often have a sea of windows and I am content to play games in the corner of my screen.
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An interesting thing to note is the total lack of multiplayer for this game, with the implication that it is only not available yet. The game retails for £35 on the service, which, like most games on there, is similar or an exact parallel to the pricing on services such as Steam. I find paying the same price to only stream a game rather than play it in better quality locally to be fitting for a rather niche audience, if any audience at all. The saving grace is that many games on the service can have passes bought for them that last usually 3 or 5 days for under a fiver, and over a hundred games on the service are fully accessible as part of a £7 per month deal that also grants a 30% cost reduction on everything else on the service.
To conclude, Onlive functions well enough to play games. Something not relying on reactions or brilliant graphics would likely be perfect for the service. It's definitely worth checking out in this country with the introductory offer and so you can oggle the games of complete strangers playing BioShock and Batman: Arkham Asylum. Most people out there, especially those who would call themselves PC gamers, are likely going to want to ignore this for now since installing their games and playing them in beautiful quality is their bag. Those who can snag a microconsole however would likely be pleasantly surprised by what the little box can do for them, just don't go playing it on the largest TV you can find. Last of all, playing a game such as Space Marine can use in the region of 2GB of downstream data per hour of play, so it is not a better option than download services for those on a download limit.
Eurogamer is getting bigger and better. Whereas last year it occupied the Brompton Hall area of the Earl's Court complex, this year it had the considerably larger area of Earl's Court 1 and a whole host of premier games and exclusives to fill it. I've written this piece to recap what I did on the show floor and to highlight how much better your Eurogamer weekend can be when combined with Destructoid's UK community!
I attended the Eurogamer Expo on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday this year, and each day started the same way; Upon arrival I was hit with the realisation that I had no particular interest in any games, no plans of what to play and no future purchasing decisions depending any of it. This, if anything, gave me amazing freedom since it caused me to spend most of my time just wondering around until something caught my eye, enjoying the atmosphere, occasionally running into a friendly face and exchanging experiences. The first area to interest me was the retro games zone, where I assume almost every gaming platform to date could be found running a classic game. Not being particularly old school (and not being able to find an Xbox running Halo CE) this zone didn't stir nostalgic sentiment within me, but it did look fantastic and I love seeing these areas at events and this one was particularly more hands-on than the retro showcase at Gamescom this year.
Over in the 18+ area, the queuing for and playing of Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 dominated at opposite ends. Since I don't understand wasting time for a game that came out in 2007 and a game with a public beta out within a week, I was very happy to have all those silly people out of my way. I picked up a controller to play a co-op game of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North partially out of sympathy for the guy already playing it by himself, and found we were facing enemies vastly more powerful than I was used to in video game adaptions of the fiction, even for a mighty Dwarf such as myself. My Elvish friend and I were overwhelmed by big bastarding Uruks, and I left it at that. I found a 5v5 game of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier set up and elected to throw down with some randoms. Having spent the whole game sat in cover on a bridge near where our team spawned and doing nothing but pepper enemy craniums with bullets, I couldn't help but feel I missed the point of the game, even if I came out on top of the winning team.
There were several big hitters out on display, not least of all there was Skyrim. I have conflicting feelings for this game because although it is going to be fantastic I don't feel I'd enjoy it for the same reasons I enjoyed Oblivion (I liked breaking it). The people playing the game were out in the open so one could easily watch others playing it, it looks very pretty but I didn't see any dragons. Another game I didn't queue for just to play, but that I am sure I want to put inside me is Batman: Arkham City which after some cancellations also was showcased in a few developer sessions over the course of the Expo and I was lucky enough to be in one of them! The delightfully wacky Sarah Wellock took to the stage and talked the crowd through a playthrough of the showfloor demo (operated by a mostly capable test lead) and then gave an exclusive first look at some of the Riddler's new tricks and traps. This game is looking brilliant, the city itself which you'll be traversing as Batman is large, complex and jaw dropping (in the sense that my jaw dropped like so many chumps who felt the pugilistic rage of Batman during the session). And talking of Bat-justice, we were promised the chance to beat the shit out of the Riddler at some point in the game, so that'll be nice. They ended on showing off some challenge maps, using Batman and then Catwoman for a combat challenge and then a Predator challenge for Batman before having two audience members compete for a prize. The combat has been shifted up a fair bit with new moves (double takedowns, this is like Assassins Creed II all over again) and looks as great as ever.
It's worth saying that I played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, despite my complete disliking of the series, just to get swag. I came away with two large t-shirts and two codes for the PC beta and shall be trying my best to get rid of them.
Do you know what is fantastic? Shut up, I'll tell you. It's watching Jurassic Park on the biggest cinema screen in the UK, which is what many members of Dtoid UK were doing on Friday night thanks to NikMonroe's addiction to cinema and just generally being awesome. And writing of awesome, on the Saturday night we were on the guest list for a party hosted by StickTwiddlers to celebrate and contribute towards the efforts of the charity SpecialEffect. The party was a great success and it was said that about one in every ten people there was a Dtoider, so at least ten percent of the people there were awesome yet I'd wager that most people there were. These two events aside, there was plenty of pubbing and general tomfoolery all weekend, as well as eating in excellent establishments and drinking delicious coctails.
I won't lie, I wouldn't go to Eurogamer just for the show alone. The community presence there is strong in numbers and in affection, and thoroughly welcoming towards everybody. I would strongly encourage any British Dtoider to get involved and Eurogamer is the perfect time to do it, my first experience with the community was at last year's expo where I also convinced Beccy (Panchromatic) to get involved (and oh boy is she getting involved!) and with her came Adam (DeathByLumber) and I can't imagine how dull life would be if they hadn't. Walking around the expo this year in a Dtoid tee was C-blogger Discarded Couch Sandwich, and I hope he appreciated the benefits of wearing such amiably recognisable apparel.
Returning to the games, I almost missed it but I eventually found Starhawk, much to my delight. I was a big fan of Warhawk and eager to see how the sequel is matching up to my expectations. I found it disconcerting that they chose to show off a single-player demo when the previous game was exclusively multiplayer action, but even more unsettling to me was the lack of weapon variety both on foot and during the small amount of time spent in an actual Starhawk. As much as I liked the feel of the old game, this demo did feel good. The sniper rifle gave a lovely HEADSHOT celebration when appropriate, the shotguns packed a punch and the building creation mechanism worked well even if I didn't understand why I was doing it (the subtitles were not working, lolalphabuilds). The almost cartoon-like graphics of Warhawk seemed to have been lost in this demo under a thick coat of brown realism. The Starhawks handled well enough, but I found the weapons difficult initially, as I had hoped for it to be like playing the previous game.
The Indie games arcade present at the show was busy when I wondered through, but I managed to get some time on two of the games in there. Blocks That Matter is a game combining platforming and puzzle gaming based around your ability as Tetrobot to destroy and place 4 blocks at one time, with different blocks you can place having different properties. The rules for placement and acquisition of blocks result in an intriguing, challenging experience and the game is available to demo and purchase on Steam now. I also had a try at playing Molecat Twist, which I found considerably more difficult. A puzzle game not too dissimilar from Lemmings, the blocks of the game world can be rotated by your direct actions and indirect actions via the molecats that you're (hopefully) directing. I felt that the attention and thought I'd need to give the game to even complete the level was a little too much for the time and place, and fled the terminal rather quickly.
Having seen the Mega64 advert for it, I was delighted to find Rise of Nightmares playable with a very small crowd around it. The control mechanisms were briefly explained to me and I found it easy to jump into. Movement is controller using the right leg (forwards or backwards depending on your desired direction of travel) and shoulders (they turn, and you turn). Raising both hands puts you into a fighting stance where both can be used to attack enemies (whom you automatically lock onto) along with kicks. The left hand by itself can be used to interact with items such as picking up weapons for fighting the undead enemies and opening doors. The right hand can be held in the air to automatically move towards your current objective without achieving tasks for you. The only problem I experienced was being unsure where to stand and having the console complain at me occasionally, but that was just my fault for being too poor for Kinect.
I also got to play on a single player level of The Adventures of Tintin: The Game, despite being a movie tie-in I enjoyed the level. There were three co-op levels and two single player levels available to play, it looked amicably like the film and had fun and easy platforming action. Probably a great game for kids, personally I look forward to the film more even if only for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing Thompson and Thompson.
We had our group photo taken on a fucking Tank. See y'all same time next year. <3
It was four years ago this very day that sexy community member Yashoki started a group for this website's community on Steam. I joined the chat regulars around mid-2009, they haven't been able to get rid of me since and it is an important part of how I came to be part of the community. The existence of a group on steam for a gaming community makes sense, and joining it is as simple as having a Steam account and joining the group. Aside from you being able to feature the group on your profile page and look cool, being in the group allows you to receive relevant announcements to your interests, courtesy of a professional and mature admin team.
And partake in group chat with community members across the globe in an environment which facilitates the playing of games together, which is rather convenient. Throughout the years popular games have come and gone in popularity within the group; There is such a mix of gamers that you're almost always going to find somebody interested in a certain game. Games that encourage collective creativity such as Minecraft have often been used for fun times and sometimes the results make it onto the blogsandforums.
The rising popularity of Minecraft in the last year also led to a group member hosting a server for it in the last year, it is no longer running but in the time it was up there were several iterations and many man-hours spent making things which were awesome.
From humble beginnings... to megalomania.
At least it wasn't full of chill bros.
Steamtoid is definitely a great place to be to discuss PC and non-PC gaming news, with live discussions during keynotes at E3 and other major gaming events, a frenzied amassing of people before the posting of deals during sales who are also friendly enough to gift or trade games. You can also organise events and have announcements posted on the group if you ask an admin nicely, it's your community Steam group; If you have a server or Dtoid related steam group that you'd like mentioned on the page, just go ahead and ask!
"The biggest thing that stands out about Gandhi is that he has a nuke rating of 12. This is 4 points ahead of the closest leaders (Catherine, Montezuma and Ramesses tied at 8) making him hands down the most nuke prone leader." -- Ramalho, 1st July, 2011.
This weekend, you get quadruple experience in Red Dead Redemption, and of course TF2 is free to play if you can find a server with room. Some people will just want to watch the world burn though, as always.
Every Friday, a bunch of people pretend to play games. Nobody really plays games because they are lame and we're all liars. You should join us, because we have plans of world domination and/or eating burgers in Mexican restaurants in Germany. Maybe. Shit, I don't know, I was having a Nam' flashback. Play games! We list what we're doing here, you can join us or try to make us join you (good luck, we don't play games).
GAMES: Team Fortress 2, Whatever else.
Dtoiders: Steamtoiders! TIME: 20.00 CET | 19.00 BST | 14.00 EST
GAMES: Civilisation V
Dtoiders: Tarvu Ramalho TIME: 20.00 CET | 19.00 BST | 14.00 EST
PLATFORM: Playstation 3
GAMES: Red Dead Redemption Dtoiders/PSN IDs: juani-arg
TIME: 20.00 CET | 19.00 BST | 14.00 EST
Don't forget the Destructoid Steam group is nearly always populated with people that sometimes play games! Steamtoid is a fun hangout. Join the Steam groupchat to find them!
I didn't think much of the Nintendo keynote, aside from stating the obvious and showing old news they managed to really mess with me. I'm talking about how they managed to announce everything about their new console except the console itself. Nintendo presented an incohesive assortment of information pertaining to their new home console without explicitly revealing the console itself.
Apparently, this is it.
From what I gather, they left the vast majority of viewers confused even after the show had concluded. Was Wii U just a peripheral expansion for the Wii? Was the new controller a new console in itself? Their decision to only show the tablet device being used with games that were not graphically demanding and later promise a dazzling array of games that were rather graphically advanced doesn't seem to have helped. They should have shown those games being played and what the tablet controller could bring to those, since they would need a good reason to boast about releasing Arkham City on it a year after current gaming platforms.
Promising such an array of games for Wii U will be sure to interest the gaming demographic Nintendo lost out on with the Wii, but if they hope to get gamers interested in playing them on the Wii U I think they will need to focus a little more on peripheral function with those games. That tablet is going to need to do some pretty amazing things for somebody to pick one up over their controllers or keyboard and mouse. Or, they could support various peripherals.
It's been suggested that it wasn't important to feature the console, since it's just a box of crap that could change before release. But since they have a model to show off, why didn't they? Clearly the console they have planned is going to have some decent power and online capabilities to match, I think focusing on everything but the box was rather silly of them. If it is because they're not ready to discuss it they should have left it at home this year.