Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Is Gran Turismo 5 Better Than 4?

In one, plain, simple, to the point word, No. Sorry i had to break it to you like that, and you, at the back there crying, put down your Hotwheels car and pay attention. The thing is if can look beyond the Ps3 rendered tracks and the shiney new user interface what do we have? Is the difference between the 'Standard' cars and the 'Premium' cars all that great, i mean if you squint and turn your head to the side you might just see that they are marginally better as they race around the track, but apart from the fact they have interior views i suspect there was much own trumpet blowing being done to big them up without much to back it up.

The Premium cars do come into their own though during the Photo Travel mode but put a snap of each side by side and you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference at a glance.

I also feel, as i had feared during my playtime with Prologue, that the series had in fact been dumbed down, sure the physics and handling had been improved but the other drivers thus far have not shown any inclination to try and beat me. I am currently at 40% completion, Lv15 and have an iA licence.. that's after a week! i have had GT4 for the best part of 5 years and haven't achieved that much. Not sure what that says really, but to me, right now, GT5 feels like a much smaller experience to the monster that is Gran Turismo 4. Maybe things will change once i start in the Special events, NASCAR, WRC etc and start racing in the Expert Series of races.

The other bugbear that has been knawing at the back of my mind, apart from no changing the wheels on Standard cars, is the lack of options with regards to that intrusive in car HUD and the fact you can't alter the set level of the AI. First off, the HUD, WTF! last time i sat in a car i don't remember lots of data readouts floating around my head as i tried to drive, could we not at least have the ability back to customise it a bit and remove some of the junk. In GT4 i had the thing set to minimal, none of this flashing gear change indicators and lap times or position, just your speed and some other data sat neatly at the bottom of the screen, out of the way. I get that lesser mortals Need this information but it would be nice not to have a red flashing distraction on screen at every corner.

I hope to Grud that once i enter the Expert Series i will get an additional option in Arcade Mode to up the level of the drivers AI, i race in 'A' Professional Level setting and still find it way too easy. In the last GT you had a slider you could adjust to suit your level, and to be honest it didn't need to go much above 100 to provide a decent racing challenge. Are Polyphoney afraid to let people lose at races these days?

Don't know what any of you guys think so far, be interesting to hear what you have to say.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Cats Love GT5 Too

GT5 early thoughts

Being Gran Turismo, there are, generally, absolutely no surprises. It looks/sounds exactly how it should look/sound, so thats the first point.

I must add though, that it feels way more fluid than prologue, whether driving a crappy little 600cc thing or a monster AMG Merc. It feels.. more.. fun :)

My GT Force steering wheel (bought with GT3 on PS2) is really good, much better than with prior iterations of the game, good work there. I don't think I need a new one at all, although wouldn't mind comparing. tone: the pedals are OK actually, especially the way I drive (flat out > skiiiiiiiiid > flat out). Fine with a Dual Shock too, but the wheel is more immersive and accurate.

It still suffers my pet hate: I currently need a pre '79 Jap car, a 60's car, a classic European car, in order to enter the last three competitions in the Beginner class - I hate looking for a purchase!! First you have to look at the prerequisites, then come back out, go into dealerships, pick a manufacturer, look at the options, no nothing there, pick another, go through four or five, forget the prereqs so go back to the competition, store in brain, come back, try the used cars etc. etc. why can't it just give me a suggested list of cars I can buy so I can clickety buy, or maybe hit triangle for buy best option?

I'm sure most of you will say this is part of the fun, well, great, for you - I can't be arsed!

Following the blue/red line makes the game too easy, switching it off makes it too hard, for me at least, being a mere mortal more into arcade games. I'll admit now, the line is mostly going to stay on for a good while yet! It's too wide and bright, spoils the look.

Also, it's really easy to win many races with an overpowered machine, both online and offline. I feel like a bit of a fraud, takes the fun out.

My score: no less that 9.5 out of 10, it's just incredible. Sterile and bizarre as ever, but huge, insanely well polished, perfect in every respect... except I just want it to help me with the sea of decisions a bit more, I'm no strategy game fan.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Xmas Is Coming, Pressie Idea?

This was one of the first Apple computers ever made!

In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first batch of 200 Apple-1 computers and sold them for $666.66 from their parents' garage.

And now it's going up on the auction block for $240,000.

Worth it??

Possibly. This machine was hand-carved and contained 8K of memory. It was the first fully pre-assembled computer, produced with a 1.0 MHz MOS 6502 processor and a cassette for read/write capability. (Imagine saving info on a cassette tape instead of a CD or a flash drive!) It would now be considered a "glorified calculator." It comes in its original packaging, complete with instruction manual and a letter signed by Jobs.

A quarter of a million dollars seems like a hefty price, but it is a symbol of technological history and shows just how far we've come in the past 34 years.

Read More: Own A Piece Of History! | PerezHilton.com http://perezhilton.com/2010-11-14-first-apple-computer-goes-on-the-auction-block#ixzz165hs2L69
Celebrity Juice, Not from Concentrate

Monday, 22 November 2010

My Pimp-Boy 3Billion

Roaming the wasteland in style with my gold and diamond encrusted personal PDA.
Now at the 95hr mark and off to look for a secret bunker and have words with Legion.
I have got my missing Platinum Chip back finally, Benny you f@#k!
Robot dog and trusty sidekick wench Cass doing well despite them spazzing out and
getting stuck in The King's several hours back. Used Inventory trick and they unfroze.
2500XP off level 30...


Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Kids'll Dig This New App.


seriously facinating. i cant. stop. watching. it. my last poop is averaging 4.55mph.

Friday, 19 November 2010

What If You're Not Into GT5

Well, i have to say we have some sweet looking games out this week, what with Apache, the new Need For Speed and Assassins Creed Brotherhood it's looking like a good time to be into gaming. Personally i would snap Apache up in a shot as i have been waiting for a decent chopper game since Gunship 2000 on the Amiga from back in the day, damn, have i been waiting THAT long!? But funds are limited at the moment having forked out for the CE of Gran Turismo 5 and inconsiderate people having birthdays next week :) The Need For Speed demo a couple of weeks back really impressed me, felt like the original NFS off the 3DO, yes, i did have that console, worth every penny, *ahem* Not into the Creed games, i did buy the first one and though it did impress with the graphics i found it didn't really hold me for very long, decided not to bother with the other titles in the series but it does have it's followers.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Week Long Wait Ahead For GT5

SO, what are you into apart from gaming? me, i like to ride trails and build bikes, infact i have this at the end of my road. pretty sweet hey, it cost a cool £50,000 to put togther and is national race spec'.. though it does take longer to heal these days when it all goes tits up, it's still fun to blast around.

10 month old developed RLOD - why me?

In February I posted my sad YLOD story, not that I was alone - most of you have/had original PS3s which boiled themselves to death this way...

My PS3 slim has over the last week, bugged out with a flashing red light on (literally) cold boot, I think the turn in the weather causes this. Press again to switch off, press again and it comes good - every time at the start of a session, i.e. when the PS3 is cold.

I've had a quick Google and it's mostly idiot forum posts I'm finding - any of you lot more experienced with this? Off to look for the receipt...

***Also - are you regulars cool to have your portable IDs addded at the bottom? Just say and I'll add them, it'll be cool to see you all there.***

Monday, 15 November 2010

UTS GT Training Camp, Probably...

Hey now, your a Rockstar...

This looks incredible, Rockstar are the ones I wanted to take motion capture of actors to the next level, and it's them that clearly have - Spring 2011 too, can't wait.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Logitech Driving Force Mini Review

Didn't want to say anything until i got one and tested it in case is was a pile of fail, but Maplins are knocking out some Logitech Driving Force wheels for the very reasonable sum of £24.99. Looking at their website it looks like stores only got a few in each so if you're in the market for a new nonwaveystick or arm flailing invisible controler then i can give this the Tone thumbs up seal of approval.

The Driving Force is the one without the foot pedals and has flappy paddle style levers, which are easy to configure in GT to throttle and brake. The Force feedback is very nice and strong, settings go from 0 to 10 and it feels well built for the cash, unlike that horrible horrible Trust wheel i tried a couple of weeks back, The LDF has true 1:1 movement and the slightest turn is translated onto your screen wheel. nice.

Mine, once set up was strangely about 15' off true clockwise, but upon removing the base cover i saw what needed to be done. i marked the gearing with a pen at the point the wheel thought was true, then moved it around to where i wanted it and marked the gear again. i then set it back to the first mark and carefully disconnected a mini connector off the motor, moved teh wheel back 15' anticlockwise and replaced the connector. job done.

I've also, already, covered the center boss with carbon wrap, because thats the sort of thing i have laying around this place! :)

oh, and footstool and bungee cords not included in the box, but give a great firm base and bring the wheel upto the right height when leaning back against the sofa.


GT5 + HotWheels = Sweeeeeeet

Friday, 12 November 2010

Mubi vs LoveFilm

Two new movie streaming services launch on the PS3 within a week of each other! But which one is best?!...
Actually I've only tried LoveFilm - I'm already a subscriber to their snail-mail service and on one of their cheapskate packages I'm entitled to 4 hours a month apparently. So that should get me 2 movies, or 1 and a half longer ones.

The interface is quite slick in it's iplayer-esque look-and-feel and there are thousands of movies online to choose from apparently. First problem for me is that the official PS3 bluetooth remote isn't supported properly. Argh it's like VidZone's first year all over again! I.e. play, pause, and the other main buttons on the remote aren't actually mapped to anything at all and you'll have to make do with pressing the little tiny ones, with the head of a match / broom for a mouse. If you stop watching a movie half way through and want to come back to it later then you can do so but you have to go searching for it again rather than seeing it on the front page or on a recent items menu for example. Skipping back and forward through a movie is fiddly and inaccurate. Well I guess that's one of the drawbacks of streamed content. So it's a very basic interface in need of some improvements.

Onto the more important stuff - the picture and sound quality. LoveFilm boast that the online movies have "near-DVD quality". Hmm, 1.6 Mbit/s is not near-DVD quality, not even with modern codecs. It's when the movie has a lot of action in the scene that quality suffers - with some blockiness here and there. Sound quality is pretty good although I don't know if it's more than 2 channel or not as I only have a 2 channel amp.

So whilst you guys are all waiting for GT5 to come out why not watch a movie?! Give Mubi a try and let me know whether it's any good!

mobiletone has 12 days to go...

...before he, and everyone else, get their hands on Gran Turismo 5. My copy is on order and I'm quite looking forward to a proper driving game to play at last. Shuld be gudd.

That Date: Wednesday 24th November 2010

offical news here

Thursday, 11 November 2010

CodBlops - very early impressions

I've literally only played 3 matches (in Combat Training), but thought I'd give some very early impressions on Call of Duty Black Ops. Will update the post (probably tonight) after a few more games.

First up, Combat Training is an excellent addition and should be right up Tone's street. The few matches I've played have been on Hardened difficulty (3rd out of 4 difficulties) and the bots put up a stern challenge - using killstreaks well, using grenades/stuns effectively to flush you out if you are camping etc...You can even earn XP and CoD Points (more in a minute) in combat training, so you never even have to venture online to see all the unlocks and progression that the game offers.

I love the fact that killstreak 'kills' don't count towards your next killstreak. So if you've got a mortar strike it's no use hiding in a corner hoping that you'll get enough kills for your chopper gunner; you're gonna have to, you know, go and kill people with your gun (what a novel idea!).

CoD Points are the ingame currency used to buy pretty much everything. You still earn XP which is used to unlock things like guns, the emblem designer, clan tags, match types, challenges etc... but CoD points are used to buy everything else. Want a silencer for your M16? You don't have to wait until level 14 or you complete a challenge, if you've got 2000 points spare it's yours to buy there and then.

It seems like a great system so far. Do you pay for a weapon attachment, a new perk, some equipment or set yourself an ingame challenge?

Speaking of perks, Stopping Power has been removed so your gun's damage stat is fixed. I only have access to the basic guns at the moment and I'm rocking a kinda stealthy close quarters setup with a sub machine gun. Ghost is my main perk (invisible to spy plane), with steady aim and summat else as my 3rd. Got the default launcher as my secondary so I can take down air support. Yeah, I'm a nice guy on the battlefield!

I'm not quite sure on all the options but think you may be able to play this mode in splitscreen and over a LAN. I've heard rumours that the AI in the main campaign is standard CoD fare, but the bot AI is really nice. You can even set your bot names to show people on your friend's list. Rab (MrMonkey) and Sketch took me out a few times yesterday!

Finally, a quick word on graphics and multiplayer maps. I've heard some people say this game is ugly. Well it's not by any stretch of the imagination. Nice particle effects and good textures - yes it's not a massive leap from MW2 but everything is clean and crisp which is just what's needed for spotting enemies fleeing into the distance. Only tried two maps, Array and Cracked, but they were both really solid (particularly enjoyed the snowy, destroyed comms facility in Array), lots of terrain variety, some nice hotspots but always more than one way to enter/exit an area.

I can feel the addiction growing again. [pablo]

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New Video Account Now Running

Maybe i can stop driving my classic HotWheels cars around my desk soon..

Apparently, there is a new COD out today

Black Ops is out. I only know because I powered up for a sneaky Killzone 3 beta runaround (rather than another coffee to start my day) and 7 of my friendlist were on - aha, something is out today...

My next door neighbour is a teen who usually leaves for school around 8:45, it's 8:47 and guess what he's doing!

My Google Reader is reporting six hours of video on Facebook, loads of UK launch footage around Oxford St etc. - really? Do people still actually queue in weather like this when Play, Amazon etc. will get it to you for the morning post. Wait 6 hours you freaks!

Early reports are, it's another COD game. I've played one, it's very good. This one has to be reported at least 5% different before I'd consider loading it up, let alone a purchase.

*returns to KZ3*

Monday, 1 November 2010


Spent last Thursday in Nottingham to catch some of the Gamecity festival. Here's a quick summary of what I managed to see:

Lunch Panel

Adam Atomic (Cannabalt), Jonathan Blow (Braid), Chris Hecker (Spy Party/Spore), Keita Takahashi (Katamari, Noby Noby Boy) and some chap from Mode 7 (Frozen Synapse).

£10 to get in (no mention of this anywhere!!) but you did get a fairly good 2 course meal whilst the panel talked about their reasons for becoming indie developers. I'm a big fan of Braid, Cannabalt, Katamari and now Spy Party (more on that below) so was interesting to hear them all pretty much agree that indie is the only way to go if you have a strong idea you don't want to compromise on, whilst bemoaning triple A development as soul destroying.

Adam Atomic had some sort of semi-religious moment in the Grand Canyon and is now making a game about the experience. He sounded very excited about it, but looks like we won't see it for a few years yet.

Spy Party
Various Indie Games
Gamecity Lounge/Market Square

Comfy sofas, giant projector games (25 player Frogger anyone?), a few interesting indie games coming to XBLA/PSN, Crysis 2 and Spy Party. Despite queuing for nearly 2 hours to play this (network difficulties while they were setting up), the 7 or so minutes of gameplay me and my mate had were completely awesome.

In summary, one of you is a spy at a party, tasked with completing a set number of missions in 3 and a half minutes. These include bugging an ambassador, making contact with a double agent and switching a statue. Whilst you are trying to blend in with the crowd and complete these missions (you can take a drink from the waiter, stare out of the window, examine things in the room or talk to other guests) the other player, a sniper, has to figure out which guest is the spy and put a bullet in you before a) time runs out, or b) you complete all your missions.

It's totally gripping and has so many permutations even at this very early stage. As a sniper, I was trying to memorise the order of the statues so that I'd know when they had changed. However, I turned away to look at something else suspicious for just a second and noticed that my mate had made the switch! AI characters can perform (nearly) all the same actions as the spy, so you need to be sure before you pull the trigger. It was only in the last 30 seconds that I noticed him taking some microfilm from a book (completely by chance), so I sniped his ass.

Playing as the spy you are even more on edge. You can see the snipers red laser sight (though the sniper can effectively hide it and still be looking in your direction) which ramps up the tension when you are trying to complete a mission. Do you finish bugging the Ambassador or walk away? Which will make you look more suspicious?

Can't wait to see what other scenarios & elements Chris Hecker adds, but so far it's shaping up to be a great game. Shame Spy Party is probably 18-24 months away still.

Limbo Sound Design


Fantastic presentation from the Limbo sound designer. I have an interest in field recordings/general messing about in Logic, so this was right up my street. He walked us through a few different playable sections of the game after showing us how he created the sounds (lots of old analogue equipment to transform simple bird song and frog croaks into something more ambient and sinister).

Really have a new found appreciation for this game after seeing the amount of care and attention that went into creating the right atmosphere through clever sound design. Although he admitted he wasn't a massive gamer, he really seemed to instinctively understand how sound can lead the player on the right path.

Really looking forward to Playdead's next project now. Their Sound Designer will hopefully be involved from the start (he joined Limbo about a year before shipping).

Market Sqaure

EA Hub

EA Hub full of kids playing Harry Potter. NHS Tent full of fat kids doing aerobics and playing some EA Wii Health game. Yeah, I didn't spend much time here!