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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

"Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?". I guess not, so I will let the video tell it for me.
It was time to have some proper fun in Grand Theft Auto IV: San Andreas.

The guys from the Rockstar Modding Studio have announced that the "World Motion" beta 2 of the mod is coming in December 2011. It was pushed forward from early 2012 after the announcement of GTA V, I do not really understand why.

Confirmed changes for beta 2:
- original San Andreas radio stations
- original time cycle (colors, weather and lighting)
- traffic
- map improvements (night lighting, bump & spec shaders on roads, collision materials)
- original HUD
- original startup and loading tunes
- Niko's sounds replaced with CJ's

No word on pedestrians yet, but if it was possible to set paths for vehicles, it should be possible with pedestrians as well. We shall see.

There are rumors GTA V will be set in Los Santos or San Andreas itself.
There was a supposed leak from one of the crew, including lots of information regarding the game taking place in San Andreas. We will see what is true in just two days, but even if it all is, it would still be great to get a fairly functioning mod for GTA IV, because a new San Andreas would certainly look a lot different.
Besides, it will probably be a long time before the game is released.

GRAND THEFT AUTO V   *   25.10.2011

Let the games begin, but please, do not shoot.

Thanks to FLSF RANGER and ANTONF141 for sharing the designs.

On October 22nd, 2001, one of the most epic games of all time was released - Grand Theft Auto III.

I remember the first announcement, when I was still playing GTA2 all the time, and I was rather skeptical about the move to 3D. I thought it would not feel like GTA anymore. Well, I could not have been more wrong.

GTA III was one of the first open world games. It had a gigantic world, where you could go anywhere, and do absolutely anything - drive, fly, shoot, beat the crap out of people, but mostly just immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Liberty City.

The addition of a storyline really made this game what it was supposed to be. It was not just about doing missions anymore, you finally had a greater purpose. Coupled with the two following titles, Vice City and San Andreas, it made the greatest trilogy I have ever played. Can Rockstar ever top that? I really doubt it, especially with GTA IV being the last chapter, which, while still being a great game, has absolutely no potential to achieve what the previous trilogy did. I really think they need to move the game to yet another dimension (if they do not want to go back to the GTA III era), come up with some really epic characters, and go back to the old way they looked at GTA.
GTA needs to be a hypnotizing game, a crazy game, it has to make you not want to play anything else, but most of all, it needs to really feel like Grand Theft Auto.

You can download tons of brand new artwork for GTA III from the official Rockstar Games website.

Seeing how popular remakes are getting these days, I was kind of hoping Rockstar would want to release something like GTA III: 10th Anniversary Edition, which would be most welcome by console gamers, who are stuck with their old SD versions. It seems we are only going to get a new mobile version for some Apple and Android devices. I am actually curious how that game will play on those devices. I would also like it to be released for the upcoming PlayStation Vita, but there was no word of that so far.

Anyway, since I am hoping for remakes, what I really want to see is San Andreas HD in three years' time, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of GTA San Andreas for the PS2, the greatest game of all time...

Many gamers expected Shift 2 Unleashed to be the PC version of Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo.
I myself was very disappointed with the game.

The most important thing in a racing game is the car handling, which is simply terrible in both Shift games. There is no control over the cars, they do what they want, whenever they want to. Coupled with a very noticeable input lag (which can be reduced, but not eliminated, with some tweaks) the game offers no fun at all. All you can do is fight with every car all the time, struggling to stay on the racing line even with all assists turned on.
There are of course lots of mods for this game, and while some improve the handling a lot, there is only so much you can do. The bottom line is that you cannot change the physics completely with any mod, all of them are just a modification of what Slightly Mad Studios were able to come up with.

The graphics in the game are very nice, of course. The tracks are full of details, the lighting is pretty natural, and the car models looks very good as well. On the other hand, considering the game only runs at 30 FPS on consoles, it is not really an achievement.

I like the sound in both games, but there are two things about Shift that are disappointing.
The first one is that all the cars sound pretty much the same.
The other thing is that the loudest sound source is the turbo. What is that about? I am driving a relatively slow sports car, yet I feel like I am taking off in a jumbo jet. What I love about the sound in Forza, is that you actually hear the engine as well as the exhaust. Just listen to the Aston accelerating out of the corners on Suzuka, amazing.

Again, both games were captured at 1280x720, but I decided to put them together in a 1920x1080 frame with 1:1 pixel mapping. The clips were cropped by 12.5 % on the sides, but there was no scaling applied, that way you can see more details on a big screen.

This is the PC version of Shift 2 Unleashed with all visual settings maxed out, except for Motion Blur, which was set to Low. No handling mod was used, only a camera mod.

The Shift series really has the potential to become a great racing game like Forza and Gran Turismo, but they really need to focus on completely reworking the physics. They should not even bother releasing another game if the handling were to stay the same, especially with the C.A.R.S. game coming out in 2012, which is looking good so far.

For me Shift is like GRID. It is a typical arcade game with simulation elements, and that is the worst combination possible. Codemasters had a great ToCA Race Driver series (Forza really reminds me of RD3), and they replaced it with a sim-cade GRID, which was often just as unpleasant as Shift was all the time.

GRID 2 is supposedly coming out in 2012. Looking at how big the difference between the first two DiRT games was, I think it is worth hoping for a very good arcade racing game. I do not want to be disappointed again.

A friend of mine has sent me a link to the official website of a modified Xbox 360 Controller, which features a trackball instead of the right analog stick.

While it is a very cool mod, and it certainly increases the precision of the cursor, which is important in shooters, I have to admit that I always become worried after seeing stuff like that. After all, it is a custom controller, which means not everybody will have one. So what should we do about those guys in multiplayer games? I actually wonder how many of those ubersoldiers I see all the time use stuff like this, either a trackball controller, or a keyboard/mouse adapter.


The price of this modded controller is very high, but I guess it is not really a problem in many countries, or in case of hardcore gamers. I just hope only a very small percentage of players use that, because it is definitely cheating in my opinion.

The idea in general is really good, and it is a pity the controllers for current generation consoles do not have this feature. Maybe it is something for them to think about before the next generation comes?
A stock trackball controller would certainly be a nice improvement.

You can find the official website here -

I finally completed Dead Island a few days ago.

I played through the entire game with my friend, and it was an amazing experience.
We have done virtually everything there was to do. We pretty much explored the crap out of this game, searching every corner, looting, modding, upgrading, but most of all slashing endless hordes of zombies on our way between quest objectives.

It is an astonishing game, made for co-operative play. Playing by yourself is a completely different experience, and while it is still a lot of fun, it is nowhere near as rewarding as doing it with another person. "You can say that again", right?

It is the first Polish game I have ever completed.
I was not sure if I should buy the game on release day, I had mixed feelings about the trailers and previews, but my friend had already pre-ordered it, so it was a rather easy decision, which I do not regret.
Even though the game is full of bugs, albeit minor ones, the graphics are really nice. Sure, there are some visual glitches here and there, but that is nothing game breaking. It is a really nice game to look at.
The story is rather bland, but that is not really what you expect in a game like this. It is a slasher, and yes, slashing in this game never gets old, not even after 40 hours of playing a game that never seems to be nearing its end. I actually started another playthrough right after completing the game (with the option that saves our XP and inventory).
I am not going to finish the game for the second time right now, but my friend and I have already made plans to play together through the entire game again in the future. That is how good it is.

Dead Island Dead Island Dead Island

The gallery contains all the screenshots I have taken during our adventure. I have also captured some video clips showing various glitches and funny moments, I will put a video together soon.

The entire gallery can be found here - Life on Dead Island

Well done, Techland. Congratulations, and please start working on the sequel (if you have not already).

Forza Motorsport 3 was one good looking game, but Turn 10 have upped the ante once again.

The major difference is the lighting. It is absolutely amazing, looks a lot more natural. HDR rendering is a lot better, especially when driving out of a tunnel, where we saw a weird dazzling effect in FM3, which looked kind of violet.
Thanks to a technique called image based lighting we also get amazing reflections, especially on cars. Shadows have been improved nicely, mostly inside the cars with the cockpit view selected. The dynamic shadow movement looks really good, as do the sun glares.

Car models looks fairly similar during races (but we have up to 16 cars on track this time), but they really shine in the menus, especially in the Autovista feature.
Photo mode has also been improved, and they have added a 3840x2160 resolution option, so taking photos will be a really a fun thing to do. We will probably see lots of artistic pictures from the community in the coming months.

This is mostly a graphics comparison, but you can see a difference in handling as well. Driving the Golf or the Renault 5 is more tricky in FM4, they do like to lose grip.
The handling in general has been greatly improved, it feels a lot more natural, but of course it is not an actual simulation, and it is not arcade either. I think it is the perfect thing in between.

Both games were captured at 1280x720, but I decided to put them together in a 1920x1080 frame with 1:1 pixel mapping. The clips were cropped by 12.5 % on the sides, but there was no scaling applied, that way you can see more details on a big screen.

The Forza 3 clips may seem a bit jerky sometimes, that is because I had to use time stretching to match the laps as closely as possible, which is very hard to do while driving, mostly because lap times in Forza 4 are significantly longer (between 5-10 seconds).

I have not yet checked what happens to the sound when time stretching a video, so I only included the game sound from Forza 4. I will test this next time I am doing a comparison of some sort.

A high quality (1080p, 15 Mbps) video can be downloaded here - DOWNLOAD

F1 2011 - DX11 VS. DX9 SPLIT-SCREEN COMPARISON   *   12.10.2011
You might be wondering what the purpose of this video is. Well, it is not about showing DirectX 11 in all its glory, it is to show that adding DX11 to a game built around DX9 is completely pointless, especially when it is a racing game.

I myself do not see a single bit of difference between the two APIs. What is noticeable is the drop in framerate in DX11. Not only is the renderer itself slower, it probably uses Ambient Occlusion as well, just as previous EGO based games did. I do not think it can even be turned off this time, unless it was incorporated into the Shadows option.

DX9 offers a much smoother experience (especially on slower hardware), which is very important in a game like this. DX11 games could really benefit from the lighting possibilities the API offers, unfortunately Codemasters have not taken advantage of any of that. Hopefully they will rewrite the engine for next-gen consoles, but when will that be?

Game is rendered at 1920x1080 with MSAAx4 and maxed out details.

The video was done using the custom benchmark feature, which allows us to choose various track and weather configurations while providing an identical lap by the AI driver.

Remember the PlayStation Network huge database leak earlier this year? Well, something worse seems to be affecting Xbox LIVE right now.

I myself have fallen prey to this problem yesterday. What is it exactly?
Well, I was watching a movie, and for a second I looked in my system tray to see if I got any new mail. Indeed, I did, an e-mail confirming the activation of 6000 MSP on my account. A minute or two later another one came in, confirming the activation of 2000 MSP.
I rushed to the website, where I could not log in. I started up my console, and I could not sign in to Xbox LIVE either.
I quickly checked my credit card balance, and over a 100 $ was charged, so I had to suspend the card immediately.

What I did next, was visit the LIVE password reset page. Fortunately I managed to reset the password and gain access to my account. Only 20 MSP were left (I had 4980 MSP, plus the 8000 somebody bought with my credit card). I checked the purchase history, and the only new thing purchased was a GOLD PASS for FIFA 12.

I checked the web, and it seems an awful lot of people have been plagued by this. In every case FIFA 12 appears in their profiles (with two or three achievements unlocked, as you can see on my gamercard), and some DLC is bought.

The word is that EA is responsible for this, and it affects everyone whose EA/Origin login is the same as their LIVE ID, mine was unfortunately. I was lucky enough my e-mail address is different from my LIVE ID, so the thief only managed to change my password, I did not loose the whole account, which happened for some people.

If there really is a leak, or an exploit on EA servers, or in the FIFA 12 game itself, it is a huge problem, and something must be done. I hope the whole gaming community will be talking about this, and that we get an official statement from whoever is responsible.

I contacted Microsoft, and they said it could not be their fault. They took my statement, lots of details, and said it will take a few weeks for them to complete the investigation. I hope I will get my points back, as well as the money charged from my credit card. I also asked for the FIFA 12 achievements to be removed from my profile, and they said it should be possible.

A terrible situation, I was insanely mad last night. Hopefully everything will be resolved, and some security measures be taken to stop this from happening.

You can read more about this here - LINK

I went to an EA presentation yesterday, where they showed us Battlefield 3.

They started with a small contest, where they gave away two t-shirts. After that the actual presentation started with a couple of trailers.
First up was the Frostbite 2.0 engine features trailer, next it was the Physical Warfare Pack trailer. After that we saw the guy actually playing the Thunder Run demo they showed at E3. It was the PC version, it looked really good, and it was very fluid. I do not know what kind of PC they had there, but it was probably powerful.
There was a small crowd, so I was not able to see everything clearly, not to mention capture more videos.

After that they allowed anyone over 16 years old to play the PS3 demo of Operation Guillotine, which you can see in the video. It actually looked surprisingly good. The framerate was rather stable, some textures were blurry, there was some aliasing present, but it looked really good, maybe because it is a very dark level.

I got a chance to play the demo myself, but I did not get very far because of those stupid PS3 gamepad controls. I ended up throwing a grenade which killed me as I was climbing over the wall.

The hostess was very nice, I do not think that smile went off her face even for a second. She did not have much to do, except for constantly restarting the console after each playthrough, as it kept freezing. She seemed to know what she was doing, though. ;)

Battlefield 3 - presentation hostess

Two new multiplayer gameplay videos have been published, with a commentary from a DICE executive producer.

I have to say I was disappointed with the beta, on both PC and the 360. I do not like the Rush mode, so I will stick to a few comments about Conquest on Caspian Border, which was unlocked for every PC gamer this weekend (I played it before as well).

I was mostly disappointed with the fact that many of the features that worked well in BC2 were absent in the BF3 beta. First of all, there was no full-sized map in the pause/spawn menu. This was terrible, I had no idea where I was spawning, when choosing either the captured bases or my squad mates. It might not be a problem when you know the map really well, but that takes time. The other missing thing was the distance between flags, which was displayed above their icons in BC2.
The lack of a full-sized map also resulted in having no idea where the vehicles were, which was mighty stupid. There were also some mixed up icons on the mini-map, showing an empty tank where a stationary RPG was, what is that about? As for vehicles, I hated the fact there were no gamertags displayed over friendly vehicles. I saw a tank driving nearby, so I decided to run to it. After a minute I finally caught up, and it turned out all the seats were taken. There was neither a gamertag displayed, nor a "+1" message next to it, which informed us a tank was full in previous Battlefield games.

As for the gameplay itself, it was okay. The Caspian Border map is huge, but because it is full of trees, grass and other vegetation, it made noticing enemies very difficult, at least for me, because I seemed to die a lot from God knows where. Once you see someone, it is a lot easier to kill them than it was in the last three Battlefields, which I do not like. This is not CoD or MoH, where you kill and die all the time. I liked the challenge of killing someone in the previous games, and the chance to run away from being killed. Instant death in BF3 is way too common, I hope they change that.


But enough complaining. I watched the two new gameplay videos closely, and fortunately a lot of these things I just mentioned seem to have been fixed in the newer builds.

We can see there is a full-sized map in the spawn menu (Firestorm), the distance between flags is displayed as well, as are gamertags above vehicles of friendly soldiers. Dead/not spawned squad mates are also shown in the spawn menu, which I like, because even when everyone is dead I do not feel like I am playing alone, and I can wait for someone to spawn somewhere.

Both maps seem to be a lot clearer than Caspian Border, or even Operation Metro. I guess urban environments are where the Frostbite 2.0 engine will really shine, as opposed to CryEngine, which works best in jungles and other natural landscapes. Even the Rush gameplay on Grand Bazaar seems very interesting, even though I do not like this mode. I like the fact you can use different tactics on this map.

Destruction seems improved over the beta, we can see a lot more destructible elements, we can shoot all the lights (awesome), hopefully there will be some smaller buildings which can be completely collapsed, like in BC2.

It still seems rather easy to kill someone, or die, but I hope that is not the final build, and there are still some changes coming. I really thought about not getting this game after the beta, but after seeing these videos my hope for a good game is back. Let us hope they will show us even more videos before the release.


Top 5 Games:

1. GTA San Andreas
2. Red Dead Redemption
3. Fallout 2
4. NFS Underground 2
5. Fallout 3

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Top Games of 2018:

1. Red Dead Redemption II
2. Forza Horizon 4
3. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
4. A Way Out
5. Gravel