Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting Borderlands to work on PC

Hey everyone,

I managed to get a whopping 3x new games this week thanks to the release of the 4th Tales of Monkey Island episode, Tropico 3 arriving on Wednesday and Borderlands on Thursday. I tried giving Borderlands a go last night but it took me a couple of hours before I was actually playing it to an acceptable level on multiplayer. Here are a couple of tips for getting it to work on PC.

1. Getting multiplayer to work

I actually had problems even connecting to friends, not only with Hamachi on the LAN option, but even through Gamespy's Servers (now don't get me started on Gamespy!). Anyway, some guy here managed to find the solution, and before you think it sounds way too complex and convoluted, it's not. If you've already got Hamachi it's only a few clicks and then you can host Borderlands games, not on LAN funnily enough, but on Gamespy, using the Hamachi connection (yes it's very strange, I know)!

Follow the instructions on this site:

It basically involves prioritising the Hamachi connection over your usual LAN connection to the router. Then miraculously you can play games online!

2. Turning off the voice-activated microphone

If like me you use TeamSpeak or Ventrilo, then it could get quite annoying when you're trying to talk on your voice chat program yet everytime you do it repeats on Borderlands. Worse, even if you've got a button bound to talk on TeamSpeak or Ventrilo of course your voice is still going to be recorded on Borderlands since you can't bind a button to activate speech in the game. Not only that, there's no menu option at the moment to turn off the microphone in the game!

So the solution is to do a bit of tweaking of an ini file. The ini file is called BaseEngine.ini and it's located by default in C:\Program Files\2K Games\Gearbox Software\Borderlands\Engine\Config (at least on a Windows XP system). Inside there you should search for a flag called bHasVoiceEnabled=true

Once you find it, set bHasVoiceEnabled=false and you've turned off the in-game mic! Problem solvered!

3. Turning off company intro videos

Also, if you want to get rid of the non-skippable company intro videos that waste a minute or two of your life each time you start the game, this is how you do it:

1. Go to C:\Program Files\2K Games\Gearbox Software\Borderlands\WillowGame\Config (at least that's where you go on a default installation on a Windows XP system)
2. Find DefaultEngine.Ini. Right-click on it to open its properties and un-check the "Read-Only" attribute. Then hit OK.
3. Open DefaultEngine.Ini and search for the section [FullScreenMovie].
4. Delete any entries under [FullScreenMovie] (but only up to the next section which has its titles surrounded by square brackets!)
5. Save the file.
6. Right-click the file to open its Properties again and re-check the "Read-Only" attribute.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Guild Wars Halloween 2009

Halloween 2009 is on again at Guild Wars where the Mad King Thorn visits and plays tricks on unsuspecting players. Those who hang out long enough will be rewarded with a festival hat. There will also be many mini-games and Halloween related loot dropping this weekend.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Dune

Little do some people realise that before Dune II, there was a strategy/adventure game known as Dune. And unlike the sequel it wasn't made by Westwood Studios but the French studio Cryo. The audio was so good in this game (thanks to Stephane Picq and Philip Ulrich) that the soundtrack was released separately. Kind of makes me want to go watch David Lynch's Dune movie again...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Guild Wars introduces Codex Arena

A new PvP format has been introduced to Guild Wars called Codex Arena. Basically it seems like Team Arena except you can only have one of each primary profession when you go in (e.g. no two Warriors allowed on the same team) and you have to pick builds from the limited number of skills provided from the "Codex". I personally think this is a welcome addition since it allows players to truly test what they know about the game (as opposed to those who just copy builds from elsewhere without having any idea of what they're actually doing!). Still, I have reservations on how popular the feature will be though!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Full Throttle

Ah Full Throttle, a game made in the good ol' days of Lucasarts when they still made classic adventure games. Full Throttle was quite special in terms of soundtracks as it got an actual band to contribute most of their album to the game. The band I talk of is course Gone Jackals and the album I talk of is Bone to Pick. The hard rock music from a band hailing from California complements perfectly with the setting and plot of the game.

Unfortunately I think Gone Jackals has disbanded so we'll sadly not being here anymore of their excellent music. :(

Friday, October 9, 2009

Australia gets censored Left 4 Dead 2

Seems like Australia truly is the pariah state when it comes to gaming. Thanks to classification being refused on the originally submitted version of Left 4 Dead 2, Valve has submitted a zombie-friendly version where there aren't as noticeable gaping wounds and their corpses disappear once they die. Can't say I'm too big a fan of that, and I'm not one who typically likes violent games or movies...

Anyway, Valve also appealed the decision on the original version at the same time but of course, why would the OFLC tread on thin ice by accepting the original version when they could just release the censored version and save themselves the trouble?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lair of the Leviathan Review

Just before the end of September, Telltale released the third episode of its adventure game, Tales of Monkey Island. It’s recommended that you read my reviews on the previous episodes, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal and The Siege of Spinner Cay, since a lot of the comparisons will be made with them.

Sound (5/5)
Thankfully, the hissing that was evident in the last episode, isn't as noticeable in this one! So either they've made fixes in the sound department or there aren't as many scenes that provoke the dreaded s-s-s-nake oh it's a snake, a s-s-s-nake noises...

Music (4/5)
The soundtrack is once again excellent, and why wouldn't it be with Michael Land at the helm? Yes I know, I keep mentioning how good he is, but the music is such an awesome aspect of the Monkey Island series! There are some great new musical additions and there's even a short reprise of the underwater music you hear in Monkey Island 2! Also, you get to hear a re-hashed version of the Melee Island Lookout music, complete with an in-game character, supporting it with bongos - a nice touch!

Unfortunately the music tends to start and end abruptly in this episode more noticeably than others which means the aural pleasure isn't as great but that's really the only thing I can fault.

Lair of the Leviathan Gameplay Video

Graphics (4/5)
Not much change in the graphics score. It's pretty much the same as the previous episodes. Graphics are reasonably good, although some of the minor characters are obviously used with recycled models...

Plot (5/5)
I have to give an even higher score to this episode since it's got the best plot out of the episodes yet. The game would definitely appeal to the soppy romantics out there since there is a couple of romances going on here and it creates tension in the overall story with regards to one of them. All the characters in this episode tend to have more personality too thanks to a lot of back story being revealed - much more so than previous episodes. In the previous episodes, you'd be luck to catch even a fleeting glimpse of a major character's back story...

And for the fans, a certain demonic skull makes a reappearance in this episode...

Still your above average point 'n' click adventure but I had a bit more fun in this one than the previous episodes - that's because a challenge very similar to insult sword-fighting returns in this episode, one of the hallmarks of the Monkey Island series. Unfortunately, it's not as comprehensive as previous ones and more slapstick but hey it's better than nothing!

Another fun puzzle is convincing a female manatee to go on a date with a timid male. This puzzle draws its inspiration from the insult swordfighting confrontation with Carla in Monkey Island 1 since you're given limited vocabulary in order to match wits. It's good fun and a welcome breath of fresh (ocean?) air.

There's also a fun puzzle involving you remembering certain aspects of Morgan's past which was enjoyable too.

Replayability (4/5)
Just like the other episodes, this game is about as replayable as adventure games get (without resorting to gimmicks like alternative endings and different classes - then you're entering RPG hybrid territory there :)).

Polish (4/5)
I didn't have any issues with this episode so it's about as polished as the first one.

Overall - 89%
The best episode of the series yet.

If you want to get the game, you can purchase it online off Telltale Games.