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We’re moving!

Hi my fellow blogger and followers. After over 5 years of being on WordPress, I’ve decided to move this blog to a proper domain, http://www.dr3amcast3r.com and to a hosted server space. There’s already a Facebook fan page, but it’s quite empty so far. Soon there will be a youtube channel and a twitter channel.

The blog itself will also have to change in target. While the main theme is still my reviews on stuff, I’ll broaden the subjects of the reviews. It will future lot’s of a games reviews, mostly from my Steam and GOG backlog, some PlayStation games, since I own a PSP, a ps2, a ps vita and a ps3, specific hardware and services.

I will also begin a series of “how-to” articles to share my experience, some guides for games.

There is a companion website that I also invite you to visit that is for my own creations. http://www.dreamcasterstudio.com is my baby project. It’s main purpose is to share what I envision with the world as well as some creations. I’m currently taking some courses at udemy.com (not yet an affiliate, not yet) and as my theoretical knowledge grows, Dreamcaster Studio will be the place where I’ll share the practical application of that knowledge. That project already has a Facebook fan page that has some stuff on it, check it out, please.

That’s all for now. I’ll continue to update this site, but mainly to point to the full posts on the main site.

Cheers and thanks for putting up with me for all this time

Francisco Ribeiro

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Hello to all. I know I’ve been away for a very long time.

Today I write to talk about an amazing kickstarter project. Larian Studios has an accomplished history a gaming studio. They didn’t need Kickstarter to make the second instalment of Divinity: Original Sin (D:OS), but they did it because they wanted to hear from the community, the gamers. This, for me, is the way to go. Develop the game that people want to play, by talking with them.

The project is in it’s last 24 hours and with “only” 170K to go to reach the last stretch goal I’ve decided to give them the help I can.

So here’s the link for the Kickstarter Project Page Divinity: Original Sin 2, check it out and if you think it deserves it, pledge it.

Cheers

On the 23nd of April, 2015, the internet exploded with the announcement of paid mods. The first game to have it implemented was Skyrim.

Skyrim an amazing game. It’s one of the games where I’ve put more ours and effort ever. But I’m against paying for mods. I’m even against paying for low grade dlc (like special cloths or a re-skinned weapon). mods are the main reason why do pc gaming. When I look at the modded interface of Skyrim next to the standard interface that console gamers have to endure, I realize that I’ll never play a game on console that has modding options on the pc.

And them I started thinking, would Skyrim be as enjoyable, for me, as it has been without mods like Vilja, Frostfall, Amazing Followers Tweaks or Ultimate Followers Overhaul, Immersive Armours, Crafting Overhaul, etc?

This mods are the core of my play, among many others. How would be my game without them, because I wouldn’t buy them. I’ve paid Bethesda for the game, if anyone should pay the modders, it should be the Producers or the Distribution Platform (Steam in this case).

But the worst here, is that the mods mentioned above only add content to the game or rebalance stuff (that should have been already balanced), making the game more enjoyable. Other mods/tools actually make the game playable. Stuff like SKSE or SkyUI are essential to most mods right now. The Unofficial Patchs solve more bugs with each release than all of Bethesda patches put together. When Heartfire came out it broke Breezehome (in Whiterun). With paid mods people would either have to pay to fix something introduced by the game Producer or wait months (more or less one year) to have the problem fixed (partially) by a pacth from Bethesda.

But, allow me to share with you my mod history with Skyrim.

When first started the game and I was presented with it’s interface, I was horrified. It looked like something ripped from a console menu (and later I discover that it was). There had to be something better. I discover SkyUI, but implement it I needed SKSE. And my interface got a lot better. I cleared Riverwood and all of it’s quest, travelling back and forth for ages to clear a dungeon of it’s loot, but got good money for it. Then I was told that I should warn the Jarl of Whiterun that the Dragons were back. And with that I got my first house and my first follower. That’s when I realize that I could only have one follower. No can do. I’m the Dragonborn, I should be commanding an army, not being a one man army. A new search on Nexus lead me to Ultimate Followers Overhaul, later to be replaced with Amazing Follower Tweaks. After this I realized that it was hard to check the time of day and the date (for stores purposes), so I found A Matter of Time, which in term lead me to realize that time spent in fast travel was broken. Walking I would take 10 minutes of game time going from Breezehome to the Whiterun Stables, via fast travel it would be like 2 hours. A new search lead me to Fast travel timescale fix. By them I had realized that Lydia was next to useless in any fight. I needed a better companion. Nexus once again was a saver. I found Vilja and Cerwiden, my main followers up until today. My next bacth of quests lead me to Windhelm. When I arrived there it was in the middle of a snowstorm and I was dressed with a simple leather armor. I should be freezing to death, but the dragonborn is in perfect health… That shouldn’t be right. I wanted to actually feel the need to protect my character from dying of cold. A new search lead me to Frostfall. And a whole new world of needs appeared. Now i had to be careful with what I wear, couldn’t be just the strongest armour I had at the moment, but one that adapt to the weather conditions. This lead me to another problem (and I’m a packrat). Weight! My to options where going for immersion or “cheating”. I chosen immersion. Back in my Oblivion days I had a mod called “DnD portable hole”. there must exist something similiar for Skyrim. There wasn’t, but there was the next best thing, A bag of holding (and yes, this is DnD inspired also). There are several, but this one is my favourite. This was when realized that: a) the crafting system was crap and b) the amount of armours was very limited. These two facts lead me to Complete Crafting Overhaul and Immersive Armors. And many more. Along the way I always had the Unofficial Patches up-to-date, along with several other mods that I really enjoy, like Skyrim Adventurers Tent and General Stores.Could I have enjoyed Skyrim as much as I did without all of theses mods? My answer is but one. No!The mods add value to the game, they add more content, balanced the game, can make full scale changes to the game, like Tropical Skyrim, where would change from a nothern region to a tropical paradise, or a new full scale region, with quests and NPCs like Faalskar.All things consider, shouldn’t modders by rewarded for their hard work. Of course! But by the company that is actually earning money from the mods. Would Skyrim be the game that he is today without the modding community? the answer is quite simple: No!Without mods Skyrim would have died a long time ago, likely right after hearthfire (that introduced more bugs than content).Now, all across the web people have been banding toghether to fight against this. But how to fight. Well there are several ways. I list some.

      Join the

reddit discussion started by Gabe Newell

      ;Join the Steam groups that are against paying mods;Write and

e-mail to Gabe Newell

    (just select Gabe Newell in the “To:” dropdown menu);Boycott Steam Workshop;Boycott Steam as a whole (summer sale is coming up, resist the temptation).

The rest is just wait and see.

The Missing Feature

I’ve been using the android platform since 2009. My first phone was a MyTouch 3G (aka Sapphire or HTC Magic). After that I upgraded to a Nexus S, then a Xperia P (inherit from my girlfriend that went apple) and now I’ve got a Moto G 2nd (2014). In between I got an Asus tablet (the TF101) and used for a few months a borrowed Wildfire S.

I’ve been using an Android phone since 1.5 Cupcake, and I’m now in version 5.0.2 Lollipop. It’s has been a great journey, one that I hope won’t end anytime soon. However, there is a feature that has been missing since day one. How to I migrate the progress I’ve got at a given game from one device to the other or between installations. Even if someone never installs another version of Android besides stock rom, there will be a time when it’s necessary to do a factory reset to the phone/tablet. Or you just want to upgrade to a newer and better device. When we are talking about a windows/mac computer, all you need is to copy certain files/folders and all your games progress is backed up for a new install/device. Not with Android. With Android, you’re limited to a) restart a game from scratch at every new installation or b) have a rooted device. Considering how easy it is for most devices to root it, this seems to be the obvious alternative (unless you like to spend another 3 hours doing that tutorial again). But (and there is always a but), rooting your device voids the warranty… That is annoying.

I’m no expert on programming, but, would it be that hard to create a tool that allows us to back up information between devices/installations? Because we can already back-up musics, photos and other stuff. But what about other information? Text messages, call logs and game progress.

Some companies, like Motorola solved the first two problem with “Migrate”, other companies, like Supercell (Clash of Clans) or Com2Us (Summoners Wars) also solved the problem, the first by linking your game progress to your google+ ID and the second one by making you register at their website. But this are two companies, in a universe of thousands.

So, gentlemen at Google, be so kind and to think about an app that, out of the box, allows us to back-up important information (and yes, I consider game progress as important).

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Technical information

Post grammar reviewed by grammarly.com

Je ne suis pa Charlie

With the attack against “Charlie Hebbo” the world joined in rage against what was classified as an assault on the Freedom of Speech – keystone of every democracy in the civilized world. Over the web #JeSuisCharlie manifestations multiplied… People were shocked at the brutality of the attack against people that were only expressing themselves in the spirit of the Freedom of Speech… and all the hypocrisy started.
In Paris, the heads of State or their representants walked against the attack, including representants of Nations that still violate the Freedom of Speech within their borders. And the worst part was that the initial photos gave the impression that those V.I.P. were at the head of a massive manifestation, when, in fact, they were completely alone. The main manifestation was several blocks away.
In the same week, the extremist group “Boku Haran” made an attack in Liberia where over two thousand people were killed… and the world didn’t notice it, only because the assault was not  in Europe.
I’m not saying that the attack was not violent or brutal. That the attack on a journal can be considered as an assault on Freedom of Speech. But let’s be completely honest for a few minutes.
The cartoons drawn and published by Charlie Hebo are, at the very least, disgusting for everyone. They reflect what’s worst on the so-called Freedom of Speech. And if I, that am not a Muslim, consider those images offensive, what would someone that has been raised since childhood to consider the figure of Moameth as holy, feel when those obnoxious things were printed?
For the majority of the Muslims, an offense against the Prophet or against their sister/master/daughter is exactly the same. And how many of the citizens of civilized Europe or America, would be calm and tranquil if a daughter, a mother or sister was offended in the same that Charlie Hebbo insulted the Prophet?
Very few indeed. 
This kind of violence, in itself is horrendous, but so was the attitude of the cartoonists, the editor that approved it and the authorities, that did nothing to prevent the journal from pouring gasoline on the fire. The difference here is that #CharlieHebo violence was mainly psychological, the radicals violence was purely physical. Both reveal what’s worst in the human behavior.
Violence will always originate violence. How many times have we heard stories of people that got a beating after saying something more aggressive to someone. In those stories, we always consider the physical aggressor an uncivilized person. But what about the person that offended the other with his uncivilized speech?
That’s why I can’t be Charlie. Saying “Je suis Charlie” is the same as saying “I agree that others are free to offend in the worst possible manner my family and loved ones without any fear of consequences.”
And, I’m terrible sorry, but people have to face the consequences of their actions, not with their lives, as it happened, but face the consequences they must.

After supporting three “Kickstarter” projects I think is time to say a few words about the system.
The concept behind “Kickstarter” is quite ingenious. You have a project that you want to fund but you can’t reach the money for it because:
a) you’re not rich;
b) you don’t have rich friends/family or you have but they are not willing to support your project;
c) you can’t offer the security the bank wants.
Here is where “Kickstarter” kicks in.
You create the project, you get it “running” more or less, you make a campaign that runs for thirty days and sell your fish to thousands of potential supporters worldwide. However, it’s not that simple.
From what I’ve been seeing of the projects present at the platform, there seem to be some general guidelines to ensure that your project gets funded. Please be advised that I myself never made any campaigns on “Kickstarter”. What I write is my conclusions from what I’ve seen on the platform itself and from the projects I’ve followed/backed.
1 – You need to show something to the would be supporters. A simple sketch like is not getting you any funds. A concept product or a alpha-version of what you want to make is really necessary. Most people are not going to bet their money on a concept sketched on a piece of paper.
2 – You project needs to be something that lots of people will find useful and/or be very well advertised. The more people back you up the more you can make addons to the project, hire professionals for specific task, etc, etc.
2 – You need some sort of support from other people. For instance, The “Star Trek – Axanar” project counts with the support of several key actors from the “Star Trek” series. That in it’s self helped a lot getting them the funds to make the movie.
3 – Have nice rewards for the several tiers of backers, as well as engaging add-ons to the project for when you go over the initial funding target. Don’t be afraid to lose some money on several key tiers and with limited early bird tiers, they will get you the initial momentum that the project needs to get noticed.

While some projects go over their funding targets on the first few hours of campaign, other struggle to reach it’s target almost to the end of it and them go completely over and unlock lot’s of addons, while other don’t reach it’s target and don’t get funded.
Why this happen? Has far as I can discern those that get funded in the first few hours are project that either “are exactly what people have been waiting for” or have an excellent campaign behind it, ever before getting the “Kickstarter” campaign actually start.
The second group I think are projects that are so innovative or “out of the box” that people take sometime to notice it, but after that they go completely over target.
The third general group is field, in it’s majority, by project that are either poorly campaign (but good projects) or projects that people simply are interested with.

If after this post you want to start a funding campaign at “Kickstarter”, make sure that your project doesn’t fall on the third group because of bad campaigning. It’s preferable to delay the start of the campaign and ensure that everything is ready to go than to start right now and them have a thousand problems to solved that can cost you your project.
Here are some links of suceseful projects, some of them full commercial brands/business right now.
Adonit Jot
Star Trek – Axanar
Wasteland 2
Tabletop Connect
Demonwars: Reformation

Just two days ago I’ve got one of the less welcome e-mail type ever. A service I use and like is shutting down. Saturday morning I’ve got an e-mail from Springpad telling me that they are shutting down the service on June 25th. I’ve started using Springpad even before I was using Evernote. Springpad was perfect for me.
Great management interface, ability to add stuff I want buy and get a price list for that product… and so on. The perfect personal assistance.
As far as I can remember, Springpad is just one more on long list of services I’ve used and are now lost.
The first one to go was Posterous. One of the best group-blogging services I’ve used. Never had a replacement quite match it.
Then there was one that specialise in saving videos for later. You would simply add the video to the list, and the service would download/convert the video to your android device. Very useful service. Dead now.
Catch, previously 3bananas was the third I remember. This was the first note taking/note syncing service I used. I started using it on 2006 when I got my HTC MyTouch3G and use it all the way to it’s end.
And now Springpad.
The guys at Springpad where nice enough to provide us a easy exportation tool for Evernote that I have already used and my notes were transfered quite well. but I haven’t had time to check them all.
To conclude, I’m very sad for another great service to die, but I have to think that web-ecosystem is just like this. I hope the good people at Springpad that are not assimilated by Google get a good job quickly and Thanks to all for the great service you provided for so long!
/takes hat off

Iron Maiden makes millions of dollars by playing live for pirates – http://pulse.me/s/JNsu8
Welcome to the new world of music! Iron Maiden apparently understood a Very basic concept.
Piracy surge = increased number of fans. Pure and simple. How to deal with it? Also simple. Make something that it’s not “piratable” like a tour.
To all bands I say this: Wake Up and smell the coffee! This is the new media world.
To all the music editors: The world is changing, you either adapt or you will be ruined. The old business model no longer work.
Cheers!

The blog of Sony Europe made a challenge for the users to elect their top 5 games of the Instant Game Collection (IGC) for 2013. And they’ll also offer 5 yearly subscriptions among the comments. You can find the post and comments here.

I wrote a text about it and the blog told me that my comment was to big so I had to shorten it a lot. Because I didn’t want to lose it, so I’ll post it here.

I hope you enjoy and give me your opinions about my choices.

Hi there everyone. Despite some of my (more than fair) complains about the service, I do love it. So here goes my top 5 games of ps+ for 2013, actually it’s 10 games, 5 for each console.

My top 5 is based on 3 things:

1. How much I enjoyed the game

2. How well the game adapts to the console in question (controls, graphics, and if the game uses the full capabilities of the console – mainly in the ps vita category)

3. How well the game looks

I’m a huge fan of RPG (prepare for a landslide of them) and I’m completely unable to play fps on a console because I’m left-handed For my brain it doesn’t makes sense to use the right analog for camera and the left one for movement, my brain thinks in mirror mode. On a pc, where I’m really good (no bragging here) at FPS, I use the mouse on my left hand and the keyboard with my right hand, this is the only reason why I won’t be putting many fps in the list.

 

In the PS3 Category we have

(like all good top 5, I’ll start by the bottom :p )

In 5th place I give you Infamous 2. Why is an FPS here you could ask right after what I wrote above. One single word: Move. I only play Infamous with move. I loved the game, the story and the graphics. In my book, it’s a very worth 5th place.

4th Need for Speed: Most Wanted. I’ve been an unconditional fan of Need for Speed games since Need for speed 2, played all of them on the psp and I love it on the ps3. Thanks for this one.

3rd Kingdoms of Amalur – Reckoning. I’ve been a huge fan of R. A. Salvatore for years now. When I heard that he had participated on the lore of this game I was on my nerves to get it, but my pc can’t support it, so didn’t bought and them SCEE gives it on ps+. Awesome. About the game: compelling story, great graphics and excellent game play, what more one ask.

2nd Assassins Creed 3. It’s free-run, it’s parkour, it the American Revolution a guy with a personality to match! I love this game. The graphics, the Story, the game play and the hours of fun I had with it.

1st Lord of the Rings – War in the North. I’m a complete geek when it comes to “Lord of the Rings”. I was planning to buy this game when Cris announce it for ps+. This game gives you the opportunity to play the story parallel to the events of the books (and the movies) from the instant before Frodo arrives to Bree, to the destruction of the One Ring in Mount Doom. If you ever wanted to know what else was going on in Middle Earth during those months, than this game is for you.

 

And now for the PS Vita

 

5th – Uncharted Golden Abyss. This game is here for one simple reason. It uses the ps vita capabilities to it full extend. Every single game on the ps vita should be developed with the same hard work this one had.

4th – Oddworld Stranger Wrath. I bought this before it came to the IGC (bought it on cross-buy). Despite being an fps, is one that I can actually play and enjoy. The game is very good to play on the go and that’s why it gets the 4th place.

3rd – New little King Story. A very simple and childish game, but great to play on the go. It joins two types I really like a lot, RPG and Building. Give it a try.

2nd – Gravity Rush. The game is an almost perfect. Great Story, good controls, full use of the ps vita hardware (including Accelerometer, back touch pad, etc)

1st – Lego Lord of the Rings. Gets here for the fact that is related with Lord of the rings (I’m a complete geek remember) and I love Lego. This game does fall short on two aspect, replaying already passed levels, appears shorter than the ps3 version (although I don’t why).

Honourable mentions. This are games that I didn’t enjoy for the fact I’m unable to properly play them on a console, but if I could, they would be on the top five for sure:

Far Cry 3, Battlefield 3, Hitman, X-com Enemy Unknown (bought this one on Steam after it hit the IGC).

Now games from December because I was on exams this past month and hadn’t time to check them.

Cheers!

 

MyScript Stylus (Beta)

In the last post I’ve talked about a money saving app, today I want to bring to you a time savng  app for android tablets.
I’ve found this app last week while I was searching for an app to help me in Math.
Stylus Beta allows you to use your finger or stylus as a real pen on a real notebook. It supports language dictionaries, auto correction, correction of miss spelled words on wrongly recognized words, special characters (for example @ and &) and numbers ( 1 2 3…).
The is so good that I wrote this entire text using it and stylus pen (adonit jot pro).
Of course if you happen to have an android tablet with a keyboard, the keyboard can be faster, but if not, or you want to take notes from a lecture than this is the app you need
However keep in mind that this is still a beta app so bugs and problems are to be expected.
Play store link

Technical information
Written on a TF101 Eeepad, on Word press application (v. 2.5.1), input method: MyScript Stylus (Beta) (v. 3.2.11.m0.3) and adonit jot pro stylus.

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