Review : Ready Player One

When I first saw the trailer for Ready Player One, I was like “wow, this looks cool”, being geek and game related. Steven Speilberg being involved as well, “WOW”.

So I waited… and finally it was released here in NZ last week in time for the Easter break.

Was it worth the wait ?

Not really.

The CGI, sound, acting were all great, but the story itself was quite messy I felt.

Lets start with the first part of the story, where Wade (the main character) takes part in a race to obtain the first key (of three) – this race does not exist in the book (well, I will admit I’m only about 1/3 the way through). OK, so they decided to make it a bit more exciting and understandable to today’s viewers who wouldn’t understand the “Joust” aspect that was in the book.

From there on, the story was pretty predictable.

However, to me it seemed like there were two teams working on the writing. One was keeping everything “PG” and friendly, and the other was out for some “M” action. So one character would be all happy happy joy joy, then the next scene, the character would be “murder death kill” – there was no consistency across the scenes.

I’ll finish the book as I enjoy this sort of story, but for the movie, I’ll give it 6.5/10.

PUBG – Android

So, Tencent released a mobile version of PUBG.

Lets take a look… bearing in mind, I’ve never played the PC version.

I’m running it on a Huawei P10Lite running Android 7.0 and it runs ok in low settings, except for some major graphical glitches. Due to the number of chipsets etc, its to be expected. I did get one kill in the game however, so its not too bad.

 

Sea of Thieves : Thoughts

Sea of Thieves – since it was first announced it had my attention, but I was slightly concerned that would be it different enough than everything else out there to get people interested, and hold their interest.

Well, since the game had its Final Beta this weekend and I can reveal more info and a video (all previous Beta’s etc were under a NDA), I’m happy to announce its looking damn good and a lot of fun.

Graphics – wow. I have not seen such amazing water physics in a game. GTA5 water was good, but this takes it 5 steps further. The water looks real, acts real, and when light hits it, it reacts how it would in the real world. The main ship and character graphics look like they’ve been ripped from Team Fortress 2 due to their artistic style, but are very well animated. Their simple looking but very effective. Everything is very smooth and clear. Now, most games of this ilk, if you go under water, you’re either looking at fairly bland scenery or just cant see the bottom – not so here. When you’re near an island, the water is teeming with life and color.

Sound – everything that can move, has a sound effect attached to it – sails, ropes, wood, when people moving around on deck while you’re below, you can hear their footsteps etc. Music is played in a similar fashion to Red Dead Redemption – a small bit of background music will come on occasionally. If you like your sailing to be a bit more noisy, then you can select one of two period correct instruments and start playing one of 3 pieces of music (Ride of The Valkyries while chasing an enemy boat is awesome) and if one of your fellow crew decides to pull out a musical instrument at the same time, you both play the same piece giving the music a more complete sound.

Gameplay – very simplistic and yet effective. Switch between a sword and a pistol/rifle/shotgun quickly, access various other equipment such as buckets (needed when you’re taking on water), banana’s (for energy), lanterns (to see) and other options. When you encounter an enemy ship, thats when the game really kicks in, you can either attempt to get away by angling your sails with the winds for maximum speed, or fight it out – either with cannons, or just ram the other ship and board them.

When you die, you end up on The Ferry of the Damned, a ghost ship where you must wait a couple of minutes before being able to spawn back into the game.

If you are left behind by your crew, or fall overboard, you can spawn back on board courtesy of the friendly mermaid/mermen who appear.

Overall, this game is looking to be a lot of fun, with crew not working together (oi who’s steering/fixing the ship/bailing water), firing yourself out of a cannon to board ships or get to hard to get to places, getting drunk in game together and so on. I’m on board for it and hope to purchase the full game on the 20th when its released.

I have had someone ask if its a grinding game etc like WoW/Guild Wars etc – not really, depends how you want to play it. There are quests and treasure maps, to give you money to buy better gear, but honestly, I think if you were just in it for the ship battles and exploring, then you’ll be happy as a fish in the sea.

Now, for those on older systems thinking “crap, Ill need a graphics card/CPU update”, fear not. Its well optimized and runs nicely on my system (specs below) which is considered “crap” by many 😉

Intel Pentium G3258, 8GB DDR3, Zotac AMP! Edition 760GTX (2GB), Kingston SSD.

Rare have done an amazing job on this game, and I look forward to playing it.

 

Are You An “Unlimited Backup” Hoarder ?

“Unlimited” cloud based backup systems. Do you feel guilty about how much you actually use ?

Yes, they all offer “unlimited” storage for your data backups, and say its no problem etc but I personally feel kind of guilty about how much space I actually use with my backup supplier (BackBlaze) – yet, truth be told, I’m probably on the lower end of the scale in terms of data storage used with them.

The data I have selected for backup totals about 750GB, but only about 30GB of that probably changes in a week – its things like photos, documents, emails, purchased apps, along with a Veeam backup of my server C drive which really only houses one thing of concern, the email system.

Yet I find myself each week cleaning up the usual suspect folders (temp folders, downloads etc) to keep the back ups to a minimum – one bonus to doing this, is that it takes less time to do the cloud backup.

Do you use a cloud based backup solution ? Do you feel guilty how much you actually upload ? Is it all “legit” data, or are you using them as your personal “linux image collection” storage container ?

Digital cleanup

I like to keep my systems (well, primarily the home server) fairly “clean and tidy” as they can be in the digital world.

This means a regular run of CCleaner, check disk status (errors, usage etc), remove any software/files that are no longer required. And for this work, the server keeps ticking along, with very few software related issues.

This also keeps the backup’s size down to a more manageable level as well. (I use Veeam to backup the local C: disk to another physical drive, which is then uploaded to BackBlaze)

Recently I was cleaning out some folders and happened to run TreeSize Free, and to my surprise, found the following folder containing 8GB of log files.

C:\ProgramData\Intel\SUR\QUEENCREEK\inteldata

Turns out these files are generated by the Intel Software Driver package which a lot of users install to keep their system drivers etc up to date. And to be honest, I probably had it installed at some point. But I cant find it now.

However these files were dated on the day, and some I could delete because they are in use, indicating that the software is still running somewhere. (I’ll dig into this at a later date)

I just deleted the files anyway and reclaimed 8GB back, and shrunk my backups in one hit.

So, if you’re wondering why you have such a large ProgramData folder, this could be one reason why.

 

Overwatch League (OWL)

I don’t really watch eSports but I have really been getting into the watching the first season of the Overwatch League or OWL for short. I highly recommend to give it a go, but be warned after watching these guys in action playing solo queue competitive will be ruined for you.

Below is a brief description from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overwatch_League

The Overwatch League (abbreviated as OWL) is a professional eSports league for the video game Overwatch, developed by Blizzard Entertainment which also oversees the League. The Overwatch League aims to follow the model of traditional North American professional sports, using a set of permanent teams and regular season play, rather than the use of promotion and relegation used commonly in other eSports leagues. Each team franchise is backed by an owner, and players that are signed onto the team are assured a minimum annual salary, benefits, and a portion of winnings and revenue-sharing based on how that team performs in the season.

The League was announced in November 2016, and the first twelve teams were established within a year from that. The first season started regular season play in January 2018, to run through June 2018, followed by post-season playoffs and an All-Star weekend to occur in July. A total prize pool of US$3.5 million is available to teams within the first season.

Official Website:

https://overwatchleague.com/en-gb/

We’re back!

And you’re probably going “never knew you were gone”. That’s fine, we’re new.

We (XPD really), had a major server issue which resulted in 5TB of disk space being lost due to a nasty cryptovirus.

But thankfully Backblaze was running on the server but has taken time to pull everything back, so we haven’t lost anything of “digital value” that can’t be replaced. Phew….

So, lets get the ball rolling again 🙂