Category: My thoughts


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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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!

Phoneblock – Lego meet phone

A friend of mine showed me this concept a few days ago. This is an amazing concept. The though of been able to “build” my own phone is amazing. And if I can simply replace the outdated parts of the phone when they became too “old”, without having to buy a new phone is great.

Check out the links and share it your friends.

Concept video

Official Site

Thunderclap crowd voice

Cheers

 

Dump to ps3

Ever since the launch of ps vita, people complained about the lack of backward compatibility with the psp games. First of all, Sony abandoned UMD (thank the Lord for that), so no loading of UMD games on the vita; secondly, they announced that the program to get the umd at a lower price on psn was only available on Japan (hummm?!?); and finally they marked on psp games on the psn as ps vita games also, charging a full price for a 4 (or more) years old game.

This attitude left many dedicated fans thinking “What am I going to do with my UMD collection? Do I need to carry two consoles with me or just spend (another) bunch of money re-buying my games? (if they are available on psn, otherwise, tough luck).

The problem seems to be without solution, but only Sony wish it to be without solution. A few years ago, right after the first CFW/devhook for the psp someone release an UMD dump homebrew. The piece of Software basically¬† made a file from the UMD that a CFW could read through an ISO loader. This allow legit buyers that had a cracked psp to carry with them a bunch of games without carrying a bunch of UMD’s. The games would all go to the psp memory stick. This had several advantages.

  1. you would carry several games on the same card;
  2. meaning that, when you where tired of a game you could switch to another
  3. and the games loaded much (really much) faster.

With this in mind, I came up with the idea of a official psp software that would allow us to dump our legit bought UMD’s to a ps3 hard drive and them just copy them to the ps vita.

In order to give some restrain to piracy, the dumped games could only be played on a ps vita registered to the same account on the ps3 where the files had been created. This still doesn’t stop you from borrowing your friends UMD to dump to your ps3, but it would limited it by far.

And if you don’t have a ps3, Sony could create a desktop app with the same functions and restrictions, an addon to CMA so to speak.

This idea might go a long way to boost ps vita sales, because people would at the console and say “Ok, if I buy this device, I can dump all my umd to my ps3/pc and them just play them on the ps vita. Nice”

Cheers!

Is the ps vita the new n-Gage

With more than a year of life ps vita is far from being the success Sony expected. Vita sales are all times low and apparently, never, since launch, it’s weekly sales have surpass it direct competitor, the 3ds. One must ask himself what is the problem? I personally own a vita. When I bought it I was torn between getting the ps vita or the 3ds. End up with vita for a single reason: hardware specifications. All other arguments where in favour of 3ds.

More games, backward compatibility with other ds games, lower price, easier to hack and run homebrews (ds flash cards have been around since the console was released, and as I write this post it’s already possible to run 3ds games on 3ds via flash card). But where the 3ds lack, ps vita excels – the hardware it’s built in.

This relation led me to remember a device that was the “Next big Thing” in portable gaming. The n-Gage. It was a great device, that never succeed. So we come to my main question. Is the PS vita the n-gage of the 2012? N-gage had “almost” everything it needed to succeed. Good hardware, join games with music with cellphone, read memory card (sd at the time), easy to install games that weren’t “arranged” legally and had an OS with personal digital agenda (PDA) functions. I remember buying¬† a s60 nokia phone in that period and I still use it. So why did n-gage failed? Because of the same reason that ps vita is failing: the sense that simply there aren’t any good games for the system.

Sure we had the release of Soul Sacrifice, Ragnarok, FIFA13, just to mention some. But the fact is, that if you start trying to pin-point the best vita games, you do not have much to choose from. For instance, where is Monster Hunter? Or Final Fantasy? Phantasy Star Portable?

Right now the system is on a life support system called “Playstation plus” that give 2 “free” games for the system every month and two extra for one year. However, it doesn’t have a life of it’s own, and the guilty part here is Sony.

They were so focus on preventing piracy that they ended up punishing the fans. And let’s face it, psp only started to sell like water in the desert when is was cracked. The good games for psp only came out after the console was cracked (like with all previous gaming systems from Sony). Now ps vita already has some good games (expensive as hell, but that’s another subject), it’s include in the ps+ program, has great hardware (lot’s of it not used) and the new ps4 will put the vita even more on the front line of gaming. But is that enough?

I personally don’t thing so. Where I live (Portugal) the ps vita as Zero Marketing and from I (don’t) see on youtube, neither the rest of the World. So I leave you with a list of what might save ps vita (with an emphasis on the “might”):

  • More marketing (and a good one).
  • Good games, at decent prices, need to come out.
  • The memory card price tag problem must be solved ASAP, either by putting a 8gb card on every box or by lowering the cards prices (the second being the best).
  • Some sort of backward compatibility for psp games and an app store similar to Apple and Google app store where apps can be published either for a low price or free (it’s a pity that all that marvellous hardware is only used on games).

With this I think that ps vita might actually beat the DS line to the ground, stop living on life support and be a true independent system, that can also work with living room system. Instead of the terrible feeling that I got from the ps4 show, The vita will be a companion for the ps4 that can also play games on the go.

Give me your comments and toughs on it.

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