Monthly Archives: October 2011

Passage in the third dimension!

Having bought a NVidia 3D card, it was time to buy a 3DReady screen which goes with and to take advantage of the third dimension!

 

To take advantage of the 3D? But what he tells, will say to me you? 3D cards and 3D games, it’s been a while which we see and speak about it! It is even a big selling point of games since one about fifteen years!!!!

 

Well, it is true that it is not a very clear story. Then there’s the real 3D and the real-false 3D…

The real-false 3D is in fact any game or application manipulating an environment (or scene) in a space in three dimensions (direct or indirect). Every object (or model) have a position in this scene. This scene is seen through a camera, which is going to determine a visible volume in this space. The visible objects in this volume are going to be transformed according to position relative to the camera to appear to the good position, with the good orientation and the good size. The result is going to be then planned on a surface (in two dimensions, thus) to be shown in the screen.

To summarize, when we speak about 3D or about 3D engine it is in fact to describe the type of scene depiction and its result: a 3-dimensional effect.

The real 3D, it is almost the same thing… Blimey! Except that in it of the Stereoscopic 3D there are two slightly moved cameras, one for the left eye, one for the right eye. Two surfaces are alternately sent to the screen, and the screen posts the images… Well, it’s there where we split in two different Stereoscopic technologies of 3D (there is a third but it’s still too marginal):

  • The Active 3D… Why active? Because of the glasses which are in fact LCD shutters. When the screen shows the image for the right eye, the left-hand side is filled. Alternately, when the screen shows the image for the left eye, it is the right which is filled. By persistancy, the human brain reconstructs a 3D image with the depth, and the tour is played 😉 For that purpose, is needed all the same a particular screen, say 3DReady, capable of reaching 120 Hz refreach (60 Hz by eye, thus) and being able to increase its luminosity (to compensate for the effect of darkening of LCD shutters).
  • The Passive 3D always because of the glasses which have polarized glasses, that is which filters the polarization of the light. In then there it is a question of showing both images at the same time in the screen, a line for every image (what divides the resolution by two… You follow?) but every line being alternately polarized for every eye. The brain makes then its work and the tour is played. The advantages of this methods are on one hand that glasses are less heavy, less cumbersome and less expensive and the screen needs only a rate of rafraichissement of 60 Hz. The inconvenience comes from the resolution which is divided by two.

 

There is the third shape, without glasses, which is certainly the future of the 3D (popularized by the 3DS of Nintendo). But at the moment it’s used only on the portable consoles 3DS of Nintendo, some Smartphones (3D LG Optimus, HTC Evo 3D) and some prototype screens extremely expensive. Coming up next, but not at once.

 

Let’s go back to the subject.

Having a NVidia card, using the technology 3DVision, I turned to a 120 Hz screen certified for this technology (said 3DReady). To be there, I wanted to take a voucher. At the top of the basket, there was two in 23 inches, Acer and ASUS. The hazards of the availability made that I had only the choice of the ASUS – VG236HE 3D (but a good choice 😉 ).

ASUS VG236HE 3D

ASUS VG236HE 3D

It is a very good screen, and a very good brand. Its only defects, a brilliant screen surface (attention on the reflections) and its out of factory regulation which gives false colors. Well, the remedy is simple: to lower the luminosity (in 40) and pass in warm colors and it is adjusted. Then, it is necessary to acquire 3DVision glasses of NVidia. There, not too much the choice.

Lunettes 3DVision

3DVision glasses

And there, it is the assured slap when the games are made for this technology! Some require some regulations but they are generally supplied by NVidia. Generally, the 3D is very immersive but contents itself with effects in depths (going into the screen). There is some more of games exploiting the effects of gush (taken out of screen). Moreover, this technology is not intended that in the games. It’s possible of read 3D Blu-ray if we have a classic Blu-ray reader (mine is an ASUS BW-12B1LT), even to convert in the air media classics (video on record, DVD) via the adapted reader (PowerDVD supplied with the Blu-ray reader, in my case).

 

Little technical tips… You will have a terrible look with these glasses and your close relations not technophiles shall not miss to point out it to you especially if you add headphones 😉

Other thing… Only the persons equipped with glasses benefit of the image the screen, the others see a “vague” image… To look at several, are needed several glasses. That is expensive (that it is not cheap already).

 

Well, if after some time passed in front of Stereoscopic 3D, you have a headache or with eyes… It is one or the other: either you have tired eyes (too many screens, physical fatigue, etc.), or you have a sight problem requiring the consultation of an Ophthalmologist. We understand all the same that it is necessary to keep its prescription glasses under the 3D glasses (still unconfortable and terrible look). Otherwise the Stereoscopic 3D does not cause problems with eyes other than a certain fatigue, and it is however advisable not to let the young children look at it, because of their sight forming (the 3D, not before 7 years!).

 

Conclusion:

The Stereoscopic 3D it is beautiful, the Stereoscopic 3D it is funny. It’s a dumping without preceding (except a good scenario and a voucher game design) and a fascinating technological experience. But that has a price.

Let’s say that you have to want it or have interest int it 🙂

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Privateer 2, Infinity abd Beyond !

As a small desire of trip in space?

 Title : Privateer 2 : The Darkening.

Genre : Space simulation.

Date : 1996.

Developpers : Origin Systems.

Origin Systems was at the origin of big games as Ultima and Wing Commander. Privateer is “Space Opera” in the lineage of Wing Commander, but who, besides proposing some spatial fight, offer many other possibilities, of which trade.

Privateer 2 : The Darkening

Further to a crash, the main character, amnesic, ends up alone… He just has enough money to charter a vessel and dash by chance… From there ensues a scenario which is going to be of use as main thread to the whole game. Although shelf space, the story is rarely binding, what lets the free player make about what he wants.

Privateer 2 Bar

Privateer 2  Bar

Bars are places of meeting which we often find in role-playing games (everything begins and ends in the inn as would say some people). It is often a key point for the exploration of a planet, the meeting with certain protagonists or for special missions 😉

Privateer 2 Vaisseaux

Privateer 2 – Ships

The main mechanism of progress of the game passes through vessel. This one is endowed with characteristics (speed, handiness, armor plating, shields, location of equipments, missiles and weapons). The more there is, the more it is expensive. Thus the money is once again the sinews of war. Certain models propose compromises… It belongs to the pilot to choose according to his budget 🙂

Privateer 2 Equipement

Privateer 2 – Equipment

The vessel is a tool of precious work. It is necessary to pamper it, to improve it… No, it’s not a question of putting to it alliage tires, sound system or neon under wings 😉 It is necessary to make it the most effective possible 😀 It passes by diverse equipments: afterburner, repair robots (R2D2???), decoys, electronic war tools, artillery, missiles, etc.

Privateer 2 Espace

Privateer 2 – Space

Once the formalities on the ground were settled, direction spaces! Sink, cold… But in complete 3D what is not bad for time! The view of the cockpit is very simplified, synthetic material, a small window appears to show the interlocutor during the conversations. We can move of planet in planet thanks to mini jumps following beacons which establish roads. What we make in the space depends on what we planned before the take-off: we took a mission, we bought goods which we want to resell somewhere else to benefit from it or then we want just to go somewhere.

Privateer 2 Combat

Privateer 2 – Combat

On the other hand the space is not empty. Well, when we leave for mission which stipulates that we are going to cross of the world, all right, it is normal to cross of the world… The rest of the time, we always cross somebody… And often pirates! Well, there are bonuses, but at the end of some time of game, we say to ourselves that we settled their account all the same to a good many of them and that there is always so much 😉 Has part it, the combat system is very clear, does well: taken into account by the drift, the detection of collision of missiles, counter measure… It is possible to travel with winger to which we can give simple orders, even cargo boat, which being useful to transport goods from planet to planet (also has a not insignificant fire power) 😀

Privateer 2 Planète

Privateer 2 – Planet

Past the landing sequence, we can move on planets on various key points positioned on the mini map. It is often to advance the main story. The peculiarity of this game, it is the presence of real actors. Scenes on the ground are a mixture of movies and computer generated images (big speciality of Wing Commander). The dialogues make unwind various sequences. And then they are not discount actors… Split Owen, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, David Warner, Mathilda May, Jürgen Prochnow, David McCallum…

Privateer 2 Commerce

Privateer 2 – Trade

An important point of the game is the trade. The price of the goods is not the same from a planet to the other one. That is why he can be interesting to load a carrier (cargo ship) to trade. It is even possible to make some illegal trade… More lucrative, you risk all the same to put yourselves the police in back…

Although the course of the goods is fixed (it fluctuates according to the supply and demand), certain random events can disrupt(perturb) him(it) in a sporadic way. It is then possible to seize certain opportunities. It is necessary to read news to every stage on the ground 😉

Privateer 2 Personnages

Privateer 2 – characters

Finally, the game includes an encyclopedia which complements itself according to the progress. Protagonists, stories of planets, vessels, equipments, factions… There is of what to read 😉

 

Conclusion:

Although it is not the best game of space fight which is, or if games as Epic makes more in the field of the exploration and some trade, Privateer 2 is an excellent synthesis of fights, trade, story, graphic quality… An enormous freedom but which remains accessible in term of complexity!

It is simple, nowadays the games of this kind evolved in two opposite directions: either an interventionist scenario and almost no more freedom, or a binding scenario but a system which becomes too complex to be entertaining.

 

See you soon for new adventures!

Dungeon Keeper, Evil is Good ;)

For once, we could play the evil 😉

Title : Dungeon Keeper.

Genre : Strategy.

Date : 1997.

Developper: Bullfrog.

In 1997 Peter Molyneux ( Populous) brings out an UFO… In opposite of the period when the average player saved regularly the world, we passed on the side of the naughty boy, the donjon master (in reference to Donjon and Dragon), to trap brave adventurers, not without a certain humor.

Dungeon Keeper

Dungeon Keeper

The introduction does not deceive… A knight penetrates into a donjon, gets rid of some monsters and tries to seize a treasure. But the naughty boys stay up and here is the hero put on the ground.

Dungeon Keeper Introduction

Dungeon Keeper – Introduction

The objective of the campaign (succession of parties) is very simple: put in fire and blood all the attractive provinces and their cute and frivolous tribes. The performance of your assistant is on the whole funny: the still free description of provinces depresses him… Conquered time, he paints cheerfully a dark picture. It adds to the charm of the game 😀

Dungeon Keeper Carte

Dungeon Keeper – Map

A party begins with the heart of the donjon (it is the representation of the power of the player on the map), an entrance and some sprites. The first task is to build the first rooms and to connect the set with a door so that monsters come to settle down at your home.

Dungeon Keeper Entree

Dungeon Keeper – Portal

The arrangement of caves is very important… The arrangement attracts more easily such or such monster, certain types of monsters fight between them, others need peace, halls, etc. It is also necessary to watch to feed all this small world. An unfortunate monster will go away…

Dungeon Keeper Antre

Dungeon Keeper – Lair

It is necessary, to be the best, to entrainer its monsters, to make look for spells to the magicians, make work the trolls in workshops, etc. So all this small world progresses and you (thanks to the spells) become more powerful. Every monster has its speciality which it is necessary to know how to exploit.

Dongeon Keeper Entrainement

Dongeon Keeper – Training

But the sinews of war, it is the gold. And the gold, that gets back by digging golden veins with sprites. They never dig rather fast and it is often necessary to stimulate them with small friendly slaps 😀 The gold is then stored in treasure rooms… Never fast enough (slaps). And when arrives the fateful ” it’s pay day! “, your monsters stop on the field any activity and are going to recover them of.

Dungeon Keeper Tresor

Dungeon Keeper – Treasure

During the party, you develop a donjon by making dig your sprites (slaps), by making them strengthen walls so that the opponent does not drill them (slaps) then by building various rooms (library, workshop, cave, keeps) food, treasure room, the staff room, the prison, the room of training, etc.). You can put traps, doors, etc. At times, you result in natural galleries…

Dungeon Keeper Mini Carte

Dungeon Keeper – Mini Map

At some point, you meet an opponent. Either it is a group of adventurers or a kind hero that attacks your donjon, or it is a rival donjon master, according to the level. And there… Dropping of monsters, spells, fight! It is a little bit vague, that leaves in all directions, it is good draft and very difficult to follow. This phase of fight draft is certainly one of only defect of the game, with a little bit whimsical IA. At the end of the fight, with the appropriate rooms, it is possible “to convert” your opponents so that they join your camp, a whole program 😉

Dongeon Keeper Combat

Dongeon Keeper – Combat

Optional, you have the possibility of taking the control of one of your monsters (spell of ownership). You can then dig, fight, investigate your donjon by seeing through the eyes of your creature (seen to the first person, with the distortion which is well according to the type of creature). The interest is quite relative, even trivial, but it remains pleasant 😉

 

Conclusion:

That to say another cult game 😀 A well built bestiary, certain charismatic monsters (black Mistress, Big horned, Dragon). Original, rich, with a small weakness level legibility of the fights and IA, but the pleasure to be a naughty  donjon master is there… Enhanced by the deep voice of your assistant, as well as a crowd of small funny details.

Even better if you appreciate the Donjon of Naheulbeuk (French) 😀

http://www.penofchaos.com/warham/donjon.htm

 

See you soon for new adventures!

Fallout, or the survival in a hostile environment.

Desire for a trip in the open air in a radioactive desert? Fallout is made for you 😉

Title : Fallout.

Genre : Role playing game.

Date : 1997.

Editor : Interplay.

« War, war never changes… »

Fallout

Fallout

A post apocalyptic universe built on the ruins of a retro-futuristic world, based on a fictional American culture and the science of the 50s, references to classics, well built role playing game and a good scenario… For that to ask furthermore?

Fallout Abri 13

Fallout – Vault 13

The nuclear fire ravaged the surface of the planet and the last survivors took refuge in fallout shelters ( Vault). A few decades later, a technical problem (breakdown of the water recycling) arises in the Vault 13. The “avatar” of the player is indicated to go out and find something to repair the device before water supply runs out.

Fallout Casino

Fallout – Casino

The player is thus going to discover an apocalyptic world (Wasteland), a desert filled with survivors and mutants (Mad Max?). In this world mostky “adult contents”, not deprived of black humor and where the law “of the stronger” rules, we meet drugs, prostitution, slavery, fights, etc. The player will learn to survive, to protect himself from radiations and follow the various tracks to find an extra chip. There live one of the main strengths of this game: a coherent, complete universe, in which the player is almost free.

Fallout Ville

Fallout – City

In this world, the resources are precious. For any weapon it is necessary to find its ammunitions. Sometimes, they can make rare… The same goes for the care and the protections against poisons or radiations. But there is not only fight, the player can also discuss, steal, trade… The system is rather complete and opened enough. The player can so choose between the best (help everybody) and the worst…

Fallout Dialogue

Fallout – Dialog

In this adventure, the player will not still be alone. He can be accompanied with a dog, Canigou, who will accompany him in the adventures; even appoint some team-mates. Well, we cannot make it much and they tend not to progress… But it’s better than nothing.

Fallout Confrérie de l'Acier

Fallout – Brotherhood of Steel

In the court of his journey, the player gets in touch with the Brotherhood of the Steel and has the possibility of entering it. Its purpose is to find the technologies of former days and to use them to offer a better future to the survivors. Big armors… Big weapons… Chivalrous spirit… You will have understood, I hang on 😉

Fallout Fin

Fallout – End

! Spoiler!

Having found the chip, it is sent to fight a mysterious “Master” who raises an army of “Super Mutant”. Having overcome the threat, it’s banished from the Vault 13 so that its new knowledge do not perturb the community. Nice 😀

 

System of game:

The system of display is in isometric 2D (pre-calculated perspective). It’s not the most beautiful, but it’s widely sufficient to take advantage of the game.

Fallout Combat

Fallout – Fight!

The system of role playing game is based on characteristics (definitions of the primary capacities, as the points of life, the actions), skill levels (to carry out actions) and particular features (specificity of the system, they allow “to personalize” the character).

Fallout Personnage

Fallout – Character

The inventory allows to equip the character in armor, left hand and right hand weapons. It’s classic, simple.

Fallout Inventaire

Fallout – Inventory

The travel in a locality takes place in real time. The game falls over in turn by turn during the fights. The fight takes place alternately, according to the order of initiative of the participants. Every action (movement, attack, inventory) consumes a number of “points of action”. When these points are exhausted, the turn comes to an end. This system allows very tactical fights but can turn out heavy in the presence of a large number of protagonists.

Fallout Carte

Fallout – Map

The great journeys are made on the world map. Small defect, the number of localities is not rather important and we make the tour “fast”.

 

Conclusion:

A game with a very rich contents, with a big freedom of movement and resolution of action, an impression of fragility and precariousness which almost never leaves you, a good story occupying you up to the end, the possibility of sorting out a little things around one (or worsen them, according to its goodwill) and casually often tactical fights!

Another fascinating game which occupied quite a lot of my spare time 😀

 

See you soon for new adventures!

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