Tag Archive: 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

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 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!

 

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

 

Go domain!!!

After deep consideration, I’ve decided to register a domain for myself. Fortunately the one I really wanted (Dreamcaster Studio) was available and I use godaddy to make the registration. The price was very nice, around 3€ for a year, and I manage to redirected it to my wordpress blog with the same name very easily. Then I came across the Affiliated program. Basicly they pay me to put a banner in my site, offering massive discounts (the one below is of 34% off) at the registration of new domains.

So, although this is an initial review, I’ve decided to post it here because this discount end by August 31th, so there not much time to take advantage of it. If you have a blog or a site and you where thinking about registering a domain for it, this might be the discount opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
New Customers get 34% off their order at GoDaddy.com! Expires 8/31/13AFF_FD34OFF_200x200

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.

Playstation Plus

When I bought my ps vita, it came with a voucher for a one year subscription of playstation plus (ps+), valuing 50€. At first I tough that it was another crappy marketing maneuver made by Sony. I couldn’t be more mistaken. The marketing is surely there. They wave at you with the “instant Game Collection”, “Additional discounts on sales” and Special discounts only available for ps+ subscribers. If you buy the service, it costs you 50€ (maybe less if buy/renovate it in Christmas time), in return you get all the mention above.

But what each of those items means.

“Instant Game Collection” – this translates to 3 free games for your ps3 and 2 free games for your ps vita. this games are yours to play as long as your subscription is active, even after they are replaced by other 3+2 games twelve months later. This games are usually reference games for each console. Last year games where: Little Big Planet 2 (ps3), Infamous 2 (ps3) and MotorStorm Apocalypse (ps3), Uncharted Golden Abyss (ps vita) and Gravity Rush (ps vita). While the vita games are still up, in the middle of June the ps3 titles where replaced (for a period of twelve months) by Uncharted 3: Drakes Fortune, Xcom: Enemy Unknown and Little Big Planet Karting.

This 5 games alone more than worth the 50€/year you have to pay. However, every month, and for a 30 days period, 5 more games enter the roaster.

Just to give you an idea, here is the list for June, July and August 2013

June: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (ps3), ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection (ps3), Demon’s Souls (ps3), Rayman Origins (ps vita) and Coconut Dodge Revitalised (ps vita)

July: Battlefield 3 (ps3), Payday: The Heist (ps3), Saints Row the Third (ps3), Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus (ps vita) and Unit 13 (ps vita) (and a big rip-off)

August (start today): Need for speed: Most Wanted (ps3), Mafia 2 (ps3), Spec Ops: The Line (ps3), Lego Lord of the Rings (ps vita) and When Vikings Attack! (ps vita)

These 3 months alone go well over 100€, no imagine this for 12 months… But before you go running to your local store to buy this or quickly login in your psn account to buy a subscription, there are some cons on this service.

The biggest one is for people that like to run homebrews on their consoles. Ps+ forces you to update to the latest version in order to access psn and there for to be able to download your “free” games.

One other issue is that you depend exclusively from want Sony thinks you want to play. For instance, this month the list for ps3 has nothing for me since I mainly enjoy RPG, however, June was AWESOME because of Kingdoms of Amalur. This means that sometimes we can ended up playing games you would never buy.

The third issue relates with a vita problem (don’t miss my article “Is the Ps Vita the new n-gageto be publish soon already publish, just follow the link). Sometimes there will be a psp game slipped away between a monthly update branded as a ps vita game. This problem mainly affects North America and is accompanied by a lot of flaming in the official blog and forums.

However, if you don’t care about running homebrews on your console, don’t care about being force to update and specially, don’t want to spend a fortune in games, this service is for you.

if you like this post, share it on your social networks or post a comment.

Cheers

Francisco

Commodore founder Jack Tramiel passes away at age 83 – http://pulse.me/s/7ZwEe

I still remember when the Commodore was the “biggest thing on the block”. We know that we all have to die, but it’s always sad when someone leaves this world. Be happy on the “other” side.
Respect!

Passing of a Genius!

Today I and the rest of the world received a very sad news. The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs passed away.

I write this post with mixed emotions. In one hand I always disliked Apple’s policy about the restriction they put on their devices, but I have to admit that Steve Jobs revolutionize the way the end-user deals with gadgets.

As the result of his inventions we have the generalize usage off smartphones, the highly evolving tablet market and even the top of the line systems for graphic design and audio&video editing, the Mac OS.

I would like to say another think about this exceptional man. Pancreas cancer is one of the most painful, and I’ve never saw him complain or with a painful expression. For me that was a lesson in how to live well our suffering.

For all you’ve given to our World and for the lessons you taught us,

Thank you mister Steve Jobs!! May you have the peace you deserve.

A picture someone send me that reflects the genius of this man.

After several months of complete inactivity, I’m back!

Great changes on the wordpress dashboard (I’ll address them later this week).

The reason I’m back are two. First and foremost, after almost 9 month working a laptop with a broken lcd and a malfunction VGA port (that a gave pinkish look to my Desktop when seeing it on an external monitor) I finally manage to repair my Asus F3sv-Z53s (the one with the BSOD). It’s graphic card died and after all this months I manage to find a shop (of trust) to repair it, so here I am, back at my Asus. Another sad news for me is that my EEE pc died, the motherboard fried up so I’m without a netbook. Going to wait a few more months (probably until Black-Friday) to see what’s coming up next.

I’ve also start to learn how to code for Android and Java™ and it’s proving to be a very educative experience. You can follow my progress (if you do not have anything better to do in life that is) trough this link (livejournal).

My Android phone (mytouch 3g) which I love is giving it’s dying breaths. It’s “quite” old by now, with 4 years of dedicated service to my person. I think I might replace him sooner or latter.

I hope you’re as happy for my return as I am.

Be well!

Francisco Ribeiro

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