As spring approaches a young man’s fancy turns to…

…gaming! Well, since we are not young men or women we will just have to assume it is gaming and not girls or boys. Yuck! No one ever got cooties from a mouse and keyboard!

The sun will soon be pulling grass shoots up from the ground and forcing leaves out of branches. Birdsong will wake us in the mornings and snow will just be a distant memory. And that will mean being outside so we can cut grass and trim trees!

/insert a sarcastic Woot! here. I am not a fan of yard work.

Let’s have a great spring and start formulating exaggerated stories to tell our grand-kids about how we survived the “Polar Vortex”. :-D

97-degrees and 40% Humidity…

In California that can mean only one thing; Fall is just days away!

While we slowly melt into puddles of middle-aged, man-fat and look longingly at our gaming computers, knowing it is too hot to play, we look forward to a cooler fall.

Some of us went nuts at the Steam Summer Sale and we have hours upon hours of games to play but it is just too hot to sit in front of a monitor and try to gather experience points or make that jump to the secret area.

I hope that fall is coming to your hometown and that as the days grow shorter you will see some free-time to get out there and game!

/wipes sweat off brow

Wow – and we were having such a mild summer here is Cali… :P

Summer…

Ahhhh, the sun is out, grass is growing, kids are playing outside, Mr. Parker across the street is washing his car (please put on a shirt Mr. Parker!), and it’s daylight until after 8:00 o’clock at night. These are all the things that prevent a gamer from gaming! Dang kids! GO PLAY IN YOUR OWN YARD!!!

Warm summer evenings lead to family time, home improvement projects, and ice tea sipping while sitting on the veranda. Warm summer evenings do not lead to capturing the flag or completing all the requirements for the “Enabled Giant Robot Poop Chute” achievement.

So while we all tend to those overgrown shrubs and watch the moths play in the zapper we can nap and dream of gaming again when the sun is set at 4:00pm and the fall season of prime-time programs has not yet started.

Have a great summer!!!

Coder’s Thoughts On Rage … The game…

Rage – ID Software.

I am not normally and RPG fan – I liked Fallout 3 (FO3) and Fallout 3 New Vegas (F3NV). I completed Fallout 3 but with a minimum of side-quests – I just wanted to get through the main story line without spending a lot of time running about doing odd-jobs. I lost interest in F3NV after a few hours and never went back to it. I think the problem was that it was just so dark and green that it just made me sad. There was no humor or fun and all the missions felt like make-work just to gain experience points. Blah!

I played a few hours of Far Cry 2 but driving around the jungle fighting constantly re-spawning enemies was an exercise in complete frustration. I think I got maybe 8% into the game.

I played all the way through Dead Island but whenever I would try and pick up a weapon only to be told my “experience level” was not high enough to handle that weapon had me punching the screen in anger. How immersive can a gamer be when you can see a weapon but some random gaming god decides you are not worthy of using it?!?!?

…and don’t get me start on in-game weapons that “wear-out” and “jam”!!! Why would I want to play a game where I have to spend most of my time running errands so that I will have enough money to repair my guns so that I can wear them out while running more errands?!?!? IT’S LIKE HAVING A FULL-TIME JOB!!!

I guess I am an on-the-rails FPS gamer at heart. I like to get better guns as the game progresses and never have to drive (or even worse, HIKE) 600-miles to visit a workbench so I can fix my stuff. Make the ammo as scare as you like but let me pick up any weapon and use it because the game box said I would be playing as a chisel-chinned, ex-commando, ex-green beret, ex-navy seal, ex-gun-for-hire named Jake Steel (or Rock Cliff!) and Jake Steel would not look down at a rocket launcher and say to himself; “Boy, looks dangerous. We had better deliver more car parts and love letters before we try and use that powerful of a weapon.” No! Rock would pick up that therm-nuclear pistol, ram in up the aliens bottom and send him to that big endoscopy clinic in the sky!

I like to find the key, flip the switch, kill the baddies, search for the secret passage, plant the bomb, disarm the bomb, save the girl, and escort the VIP as much as any other gamer but it needs to feel like an integral part of the game rather than a part-time summer job to earn enough cash to but that muffler for my sand buggy. Meanwhile the bad guys are raining down destruction and I am painting the Widow Murphy’s picket fence. No. Just no.

So with all this in mind I saw Rage for $4.99 during the Steam Christmas sale and I bought it. Yes, for someone who does not like RPGs it seems like I am just trying to punish myself.  In my defense, I had just finished Crysis 2 (which I found to be excellent) and was ready for a longer gaming experience a little less Boom! Pow! Smash! action and a little more tragedy. Plus IT WAS $5.00!!! COME ON – 5-bucks?!?!? Even if I hated it it cost less than lunch!

So I fire it up and … I REALLY LIKE IT!!!

Now I had not read any reviews of the game because I do not read game reviews unless they are about games I have already played. I just really dislike spoilers. The only thing I remember about his game’s release was that everyone was complaining about some texture or rendering issues. …or something like that.

I am not too far into the game but so far I have taken ever mission offered to me because they have ALL made sense and they have ALL moved the story forward. Even taking food to a guard outpost paid-off since when I got back to town people were nicer to me and now as I walk the streets they say “Howdy” instead of giving me angry grunts. Yes, this same “goodwill” logic was in FO3 but here it really seems to make a difference.

The landscapes are mostly brown and so far (4.4-hours of game play) the sun has not set once but I just figure that everyone else is sleeping when I am at my day job.  You will do A LOT of driving in this game but even using a mouse/keyboard to control vehicles is easy and fun. You can enter races to win upgrades and better vehicles and the races are fun and fast. You can take side-job doing deliveries but so far I have been doing main mission and a minimum of side mission and they have all been unique and, most importantly, FUN!

The first real mission I got was to go to the “Ghost Region” and recover “a thing” (I don’t want to spoil the game for anyone) The Ghost people are painted white and they have several attacks using different weapons. Some of them will run at you with a club while others will bounce off the walls and tuck-and-roll to avoid your shots while coming to bash your head in. Still other will take cover and fire shots at you. The mission felt like a mini-single-player FPS rather than a “mission.”

Each of the larger missions I have tried have felt the same way. The enemies are unique and they have different fighting styles. Oh and the mutants! HAHAHAHA!!! All I will say about them is that it is nice to see boss-level monsters appear so early in the game.

It is nice to perform the mission because my character gets something out of it rather than experience points and money. Sometimes you get new weapons, sometimes you pick up things that actually make you stronger.

I have not had to repair a weapon and upgrades are purchased at any of the store locations so as the enemies get stronger so do your guns. It is a nice acceleration of hostilities in parallel with an increase in fire-power.

The game also does an excellent job with the voice acting (you will recognize many of the actors) and with the humor. The towns are full of interesting characters and it is a lot of fun just talking to people.

The complaints:

1. There are machine-gun turrets in the wasteland and even after I have blown them up and knocked them down they will re-appear and give me grief.
2. There really is a texture issue but it is only mildly annoying – when you look right-and-left you can see the textures being drawn that were not in your view milliseconds ago. Also some distant textures blink in and out as you view the landscape. If I had paid $50.00 for the game I would definitely find this unacceptable but for $5.00…
3. After an hour or so you really have to close the game and re-launch it or you get a lot of video lag and some of the textures will turn muddy.

Would I recommend it? Oh yes! I found it on-line for $9.99 and it is well worth that amount. I am looking forward to getting back to the game and taking the poison sample to Dr. Vin…oh, but I don’t want to spoil the game for you.

Happy New Year!

The website move is complete and we are back to posting in the forums and wasting time arguing over who really makes the best pizza (it’s a thin-crust with pepperoni and olives from Zito’s by-the-way) while studiously avoiding real work.

I sincerely apologize for the almost two-weeks of down-time and I want to thank [CoFR]Bulldog for climbing out of a sick-bed during Christmas to help me realize that the first web hosting company I picked simply were not gonna do it for CoFR and its web hosting needs.  The selection of a second web host fixed all the issues and got us right back on-track!

I also want to thank Bulldog for hosting the website/forums for the past several years and keeping CoFR communications humming. Your service to the community is appreciated and your “I Hosted the CoFR BBs and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” T-shirt has been ordered and should be on your doorstep any day now.

The cofr.net/cofrbbs.net website has been pre-paid for for the next three years so there is no reason to ask about “helping out” financially at this point but I do thank all of you who contacted me to ask if the down-time could be fixed by throwing money at it. :)

Hence forth you can look for a CoFR newsletter to arrive bi-monthly in your e-mailbox which will contain lots of useless information meant to fire your imagination.  Please add coder[removethis]@cofr.net and newsletter[removethis]@cofr.net to your white list so these semi-valuable notices do not end up in your spam-can.

The CoFR.net front page is now running WordPress so if you would like to post updates to the front page (gaming news, computer news, tales of Christmas shopping horror, etc.), please contact me and I will create an editors profile for you.

That’s it for now. It’s time to sweep up the confetti and stuff all the paper hats into the recycling bin so we can get on with the business of complaining  about how the kids today have it so easy compared to how we used to have to edit our autoexec.bat and config.sys to get the new games to run. Sheesh! Kids!

[CoFR]Coder
Chairman of the Council of Elders

Forum Cookie Issue – Resolved!

The “it-will-not-remember-my-login” issue on the forums should be resolved now (as of 9:00am on 01.02.13). Please delete any cofr.net or cofrbbs.net cookies you may have and then log into the forums.

If you continue to have a login issue or cannot remember your password, please contact me at coder[removethis]@cofr.net and I will get you sorted.