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DIRT 3 VS. DIRT 2 - SHIBUYA SIDE BY SIDE COMPARISON   *   30.07.2011
The second track pack for DiRT 3 is out. It is a bit of a disappointment, as it includes exactly the same track that was featured in DiRT 2 (it definitely should have been included in the retail game), but at least it looks a lot different.

The lighting has been completely reworked, most of the God-awful bloom is gone and instead beautiful HDR is at work. Motion blur is also a lot less intensive, and textures are definitely better. The overall image is very sharp, the track looks simply awesome in my opinion, just as every other location in DiRT 3.



Instead of zooming both videos in, which would actually reduce the horizontal field of view, I decided to crop the DiRT 2 clips to match them with the default DiRT 3 black bars. This way the vertical fov is exactly the same, but we can see a lot more horizontally. I actually wish I had zoomed both videos out a little bit, so that we could see even more on the sides. If you do not the like black bars, you can just download the video and zoom in with your player. It is that easy.

Both games are rendered in DX11 at 1920x1080 with maxed out details (except for Ambient Occlusion) and MSAAx8.

Higher quality video can be downloaded here - DOWNLOAD
Contact me if the link dies, I can always reupload.


CRYSIS 2 - WHAT IS THIS GAME ABOUT?   *   29.07.2011
I have recently completed Crysis 2, and for the first time in my life I had no idea what was going on, straight from the beginning to the bitter end.

The following ramblings will contain spoilers, so if you have not yet played the game you should close your eyes before you continue reading.

We are introduced to the game by a nice intro movie about the alien invasion. However, that seems to be the last crystal clear thing in the entire game.

After the intro I must have fallen asleep or something, because I had suddenly found myself being chased by the military or whoever they were. Why was that? I will probably never know.

Of course while trying to fight my way through them I was repeatedly given the impression of playing with a crazy character, because of the voice in his head constantly reminding him of this very important mission he was on. I think it was a Goa'uld speaking to him, though I do not know which one, as I did not recognize his voice.

Anyway, I proudly marched on forward until the military got exchanged with aliens. That was when the game stopped being a shooter and became a stealth game. It took a whole clip worth of shooting to drop an alien, and running around looking for ammo was kind of stupid. Instead of getting frustrated all the time I decided to sneak through pretty much the rest of the game. The cloak sure did help me do that.

The weapons in the game are absolutely terrible. Remember in the first Crysis the awesome energy weapons that had no ammo, but instead featured a cool-down period? How cool was that? Playing through the alien infested levels resulted in total mayhem, which was tons of fun.
By the way, if we are remembering stuff, remember the aliens themselves? How awesome were they? Super duper far out matrix-like machines the flew all around us just praying to blow the crap out of them. Remember the levels where we had to hold the fort against a huge group of them?
And what about bosses? Well, I think we had three in Crysis 2, if we can even call them that. One outside a small store, one after defending some outpost or something, and one in the library? And it took what, like a few shots with the whatchamacallit (rocket launcher?) to drop them?
And what about the last level? For the second time we had to destroy some spores (what was that for, by the way?), then kill I think four aliens who possessed cloaking abilities, which did not help them a lot. After that it was just a matter of triggering the final cut-scene and pressing the A button a few times along the way. "I am Prophet" and bam, the end. Remember the bosses in Crysis and Warhead? How enormous were they? How long did it take to destroy them? Well, a lot bigger and longer.

So, after 8 hours of playing the game I was able to add it to my "completed" list.
Now, what if someone asked me if I played Crysis 2? I would of course have to say "duh...". What if they asked my what the story was about? Well, I would have to say "uhhhhh.....".

If you were lucky enough to figure this game out, do let me know.


NEED FOR SPEED: THE RUN - RUN FOR THE HILLS   *   28.07.2011
Guys at Gamersyde have posted a few nice bullshots from the upcoming Need for Speed: The Run.

While I do not think there is a chance the game could look like that (not if the console versions are primary, and why would they not be?), it is still great to look at this kind of pictures.

As we can see in the comments, some people criticize the graphics, and I cannot understand the reason for that. The renders look absolutely awesome, maybe even mind-blowing? Check them out and decide for yourselves.

You can view the gallery here - LINK

Need for Speed: The Run - Golf


THE HUMBLE INDIE BUNDLE #3   *   27.07.2011
Humble Bundle is back. It is actually the fourth one, but the last one featured games from only one developer, so I guess that was why I did not get a number.

The Humble Indie Bundle #3

In my opinion it is the least exciting bundle yet, but you cannot complain when you can buy games for any amount of money you want. Still, I have to admit that Crayon Physics Deluxe seems really cool, definitely my favorite of the bunch.

More details here - http://www.humblebundle.com/


FORZA MOTORSPORT 4 - WIRELESS WHEEL PREVIEW   *   17.07.2011
Alan from TeamVVV has had a chance to test the new wireless wheel Microsoft will be bringing before the release of Forza Motorsport 4.

Many people laughed at the idea, mostly bacause Nintento had a similar offering in the form of an add-on to their Wii controller. That indeed sucked, but this one is nothing to laught at.

  

Actually it is the wheel that decided to laugh in everybody's faces. as it is actually very good. Sure it has no force feedback, no pedals and no paddles to change gears (though you can do it with buttons), but it offers a lot more precision than a gamepad, and it is a very good alternative for those who cannot afford a normal wheel, or have no space necessary to use it.

Personally I am waiting to see the selection of regular 3rd party wheels we are supposed to see before the game is released. I would definitely like to get something for myself, but it needs to be good, and relatively cheap. It is a pity the wheel support for Xbox 360 is simply terrible.


DIRT 3 IN SLOW MOTION   *   08.07.2011

PASSION... ADRENALINE... FREEDOM...




LA NOIRE - THEN AND NOW   *   08.07.2011
Browsing through the Rockstar Newswire I came across a video comparing Team Bondi's recreation to today's City of Angels.
During the E3 week guys from Achievement Hunter visited and captured many landmarks in Los Angeles.



As we can see in the video, some locations look virtually identical, while some have evolved over the last 60+ years. Team Bondi have used historical data to recreate LA of the 1940s, it is nice to see how the city looked back then. I wonder what someone old enough to remember would say.


DiRT 3 - BATTERSEA: TILT-SHIFT EDITION   *   07.07.2011
Following yesterday's GTA IV video, I found another another tilt-shifted presentation, this time promoting the latest game in the DiRT series.
The video features Ken Block driving around the real Battersea Compound. It is a completely new look at gymkhana, one type of art shown through another.



Some scenes really look like they feature authentic miniature objects. Simply amazing.

Thanks to Ve3troGamesMedia for uploading the video.


GTA IV - TILT-SHIFTED LIFE IN LIBERTY CITY   *   06.07.2011
Thanks to Rockstar Newswire I came across a very cool video made by OfficialNerdCubed showing Liberty City from a new angle.
Using digital processing in modern photo and video editors we can simulate tilt-shift photography on anything we want. With depth of field we can focus on specific elements of a picture, simulating a miniature scene.



Tilt-shift photography is an art form, and as with all art, not everybody likes it. I myself find it fascinating.
I do not really understand today's obsession with using depth of field everywhere, but this is one instance where it fits perfectly.

Thanks to Machinima for uploading the video.


GTA VICE CITY - VICE CRY MOD V1.6   *   04.07.2011
Vice Cry is a mod for GTA Vice City focused on replacing objects and textures with high-res detailed ones.

Kowal125xr from Poland surely made a lot of effort to incorporate textures and models from Far Cry and Crysis into Vice City. This game is definitely worth revisiting, and now it looks a lot nicer.



There is a group working on converting Vice City to use the RAGE engine (GTA IV), it would be nice if they could combine their efforts and include this mod with their conversion, which I am hoping to see finished one day.

As for the video, you will notice there is no antialiasing enabled. That is because even with just MSAAx2 there is a terrible drop in framerate while recording. I have no idea what the reason is, because gameplay is fluid even with CSAAx32 or SSAAx8.
I really recommend enabling supersampling with this mod, it practically eliminates any flickering present (which is substantial on trees, bushes and many textures where shaders are at work). It will not reduce performance drastically with a modern GPU, but will significantly improve image quality.

The mod can be downloaded here - http://www.moddb.com/mods/project-125xr


QUAKE II - A LITTLE HARMLESS FUN WITH KMQUAKE2 (PART 2)   *   01.07.2011
Part 2 of my favorite type of gameplay I like to call "Decontamination" - walking through the entire game with a single gun, destroying everything in my way. The BFG is an amazing weapon, maybe the best one ever included in a game, it makes me feel invincible, which is a fact with god mode turned on.



I play the game at 1920x1080 with AAx8 and AFx16, and it looks awesome, considering I used the software renderer for a long time, because the standard OpenGL renderer in Quake II does not work under Windows Vista/7.

The mod with instructions can be found here - http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jimw/q2/
There are other mods available as well. I tested them all, and they either looked worse, or did not work at all.
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