Halo.....Cheats?

Despite the patches there are still glitches galore in Halo 2. How do I know? We were glitched on Friday by some cheating dog Americans (“your an idiot”). Then again, it’s easy to find out how they did it if you look hard enough. High Impact Halo is a site dedicated, and I mean really dedicated, to glitch hunting. Want to find an advantage in Halo – you’ll find it there. Want to jump to an unreachable spot in Zanzibar – here’s how.

Eight pages on how to cheat and total dismay when a member reveals how it is done in March, one month before the patch from Bungie. They were so annoyed that this particular glitch might be patched so they didn’t have an advantage. How sad. How American. I saw that as it’s mostly Americans that are obsessed with glitching and cheating – from Moto GP to Halo 2 the Americans try their hardest to cheat their way to the top. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when the biggest cheat is leading their country.

Getting Organised

I’ve found myself getting more and more disorganised. Maybe it’s an age thing, maybe it’s getting lazy and letting things pile up, maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever the reason action is required.

First step – e-mail. I’ve always struggled to get an organised inbox at home and especially at work due to the volume of mail. Home is easier as there’s less of it and I can keep as much as I like – no nasty disk quota’s. Work is a different beast. 25 Meg inbox, 2 gig archive and still running NT. I find mail gets ‘lost’ as I flit from one task to the next. I used to run rules to push mail into folders but this took time to keep up to date and some mail didn’t have a rule so defeating the purpose. I struggle to find mail thats somewhere between my inbox and archive. I’ve now followed some advice from the guy that runs 43 Folders and made over my Inbox. This now forces me to manage mail and act accordingly. At home it works a treat with Outlook 2003 as I can add a count to each folder and see exactly what’s still to do. I’ve installed MSN Desktop Search as I’ve found that to be the best desktop search tool – it suits my needs and allows me to find what I need quickly and accurately. I would do the same at work but I’m 4 weeks away from an XP upgrade – until then I’m stuck on NT.

Task management was next on the list. I’ve standardised a list of categories for home and work and I’m managing to make use of my Tungsten again using Keysuite which keeps Outlook talking to the Palm nicely. This has not been going to well so a bit more discipline is required. Once work upgrade takes place I can get a cheap usb sync cable for the Palm. Joy.

Finally I’ve ordered the Getting Things Done book from good old Amazon. I don’t intend to follow everything it recommends religiously but I’m sure it will give me good pointers that I can adapt for myself. Hopefully this time next year I’ll have remembered Lewis birthday before the day rather than after.

Forza

This is possibly the last great Live game to be released for the original Xbox. Touted as a GT4 killer it plays a really good game yet is full of flaws…but for all that I can’t put it down and is one of the best console racing games online…ever.

First the usual stuff – graphics and sound are great. 30 frames per second though which has never bothered me but some folk find it unplayable. Surround sound is also well used. Considering the amount of options in the game the user interface and menu’s are very well constructed and more easily navigated than GT4 – they were awful.

The main selling point has been Forza’s online capabilities and your ability to tune your car like GT4 and also customise your car to make it look like whatever you want. Then you can sell your car to other users. These features alone are also being emphasized by the 360 developers – customise the software and machine to your hearts content and go to ‘The Marketplace’ to buy further skins, parts etc but that’s for another post.

Previous racers have always been marred by lag – thankfully Forza is excellent online. Fast lag free racing with up to 8 players. Toca 2 made similar claims but get close to anyone and the cars would judder making it difficult to play…not so with Forza. A massive amount of tracks are available and a huge amount of cars make for a game with a long shelf-life. Biggest choice is the parts you add to your car and then how you configure them. Everything from brake balance to anti-role bars, downforce to gear ratio’s can be tweaked. This means that everyone can be racing with the same car except set-up exactly for them and to suit the course. This kind of customisation is superb and brings a sense of ‘ownership’ to the cars. To add to that feeling you can ‘skin’ your car. Not just change the colour but add up to 100 layers onto each side of the car including top, front and rear. I find it to time consuming but others have created stunning cars already as seen below and at the Forza Player Customization Site.
forza_custom

While I’m loving the game and the aspects described above there are still some niggles which really should have been ironed out before launch. There are driving aids in the game which although I don’t use I can understand why people use them. However I would have liked to have locked a game room to using no aids at all. At the very least I would like to see who has what enabled. I can do neither. One of the aids also makes you noticably faster no matter how much skill you have although it takes away some of the challenge. The scoreboards are also ‘broke’. You can tell what cars were used but you can’t see how they were tuned or what aids were on and it would have been nice to break scoreboards down into class (there are a variety of classes in the game so that different cars can be matched with each other). I can’t easily lock a room down to friends only, I can’t kick and block others and if I want to customise my car with new parts I need to leave the lobby, buy the bits, tune the car then rejoin. Bah. For a game that is one of the best console driving sims both off-line and online these restrictions are annoying and surprising. It also means that I’ll be playing the game mostly with friends rather than using opti-match to find new challenges.

Well worth buying and will be played for a few months at least but I can’t help but feel that a bit more polish on the online front end would have paid dividends. It’s also a look-ahead at the world Xbox 360 wants us to play in – it’s going to be expensive.

 

Minter hits the 360

Out of all the Xbox 360 news the bit that amused me most was that Jeff Minter has developed a lightsynth for it. It’s best summed up by a quote from the man himself…

It is truly a thing of beauty… I believe it finally begins to achieve the potential that I saw all those years ago when I first made Psychedelia… and I am happier with it than I have ever been with anything I’ve created in my entire career.

And we got it into the firmware again…

Microsoft firmware.

Of the Xbox360 for goat’s sake }:-D.

At last… after more than 20 years’ work, one of my lightsynths is going to reach a decent sized audience.

Millions and millions….. }:-D

I can’t wait.

Wordpress Upgrade

WordPress released version 1.5.1 which I have just applied to the site. Hopefully everything works including that 1 pixel problem in IE just for Ricky. There seems to be more info and also increased effort to guide those upgrading and letting them know what to expect. Upgrade thread is worth following for instructions and also feedback on anything that breaks.

Just need to figure out why the Super Archives plug-in works in IE, doesn’t apply the style in Firefox and also generates javscripts errors. Joy. Although the archives in IE do look spiffy.

Xbox 360

xbox360_mtv_snapshotA sneaky shot from the MTV shoot (which has revealed a November release in the USA) – I guess more will leak out before the program on Thursday. Rumours include:

  • Tivo like functionality
  • DVD writer
  • Media centre aware – will work with media centre pc’s (and others?)
  • Wireless controllers – crap – batteries? Shortcuts via the xbox logo in the centre (numbers around it)
  • Comes with camera – won’t be able to scratch my balls while playing Live
  • Web browsing, instant messaging – always online no matter what you are using it for i.e. playing music, watching dvd’s
  • Skinnable – buy different exterior finishes for your Xbox
  • Also plays games – allegedly. Perfect Dark Zero was one of the demo’s thats been played. Talk of Halo 2.5 and PGR3 also.
  • The new pad looks pretty good – at last there are four shoulder buttons and we’ve lost the black and white buttons which were always awkward to get to. The console is also finished in a mac white but I’m sure this is to emphasise the skinning possibilities which I’m guessing will end up being a pretty big market not just for M$ but all the third party manufacturers. New movies coming out could produce skins for the Xbox and I’m sure there will be loads of folk wanting Star Wars, Matrix and Lord of the Rings skins. I wonder if there will be something for Batman Begins? Anyway – some more leaked shots to finish off.
    xbox_controller

    xbox_media_centre

     

    UMD's Cracked

    The PSP UMD’s have been cracked and the iso images of three games have been uploaded to the net and newsgroups. While this in itself is of no threat as there’s no way to burn the iso to a UMD disk, how long before someone figures out a way of executing a game from the memory stick in the same way that the firmware upgrade can be executed? Also interesting that the iso’s are so small – around 150Meg. Could fit a few games on my 1 Gig card.

    Shattered

    Made the most of the holiday weekend and I can safely say that I’m glad to be going back to work tomorrow. The clear-out on Saturday was followed by lot’s of flat pack building. Also cleaned out the rest of the garage and organised what’s left – for the first time since we moved in the garage is looking tidy…for a garage.

    The rest of the furniture is all built and in place but it’ll take a few days of tidying to get back to normal. One thing I do regret is I forgot to order a lock and key for a set of office drawers I bought. I foolishly went into Ikea today for it – never again on a bank holiday. The place was mobbed and you could see three types of consumer

  • Browsers – they walk at a snails pace (now called the ‘Ikea Shuffle) and seem to stop and point at all the room displays whether they are buying anything or not.
  • ‘The Lost’ – trying in vain to make their way through the maze is not easy but on a busy day, with people wanting to take short cuts they had no chance
  • Irish – the place was teeming with them. Day trips from Ireland to the Glasgow Ikea are VERY popular
  • Never mind – a lesson has been learnt.