Monday, October 31, 2011

RAGE screenshots

These are all what appear to be officially-released screenshots for the recently-released id/Bethesda game RAGE. As soon as I figure out how to take some of my own screenshots of actual gameplay I will post them with a bit of a personal review. (At the moment it looks like I'll probably have to use FRAPS.) Sorry this is the best I can do for now; I've just got too much RL stuff to do today...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Depending perhaps upon what part of the world you're in, this is the Halloween season -- a time when the veil said to separate our mortal plane of existence from the realms of spirits is said to be at its thinnest.

In the spirit of the season, I'd like to pass along the story of the jvk1166z mod. It's a story that has been copied and posted numerous times on numerous internet locations, the most popular of which is likely Creepy+Pasta. I'll let you be the judges of whether the story is just an urban myth or might in fact hold some truth...

Some people might recall some momentary buzz caused a couple of years ago by a particularly odd Morrowind mod. The file name was jvk1166z.esp. It was never posted on any of the larger Elder Scrolls communities, usually just smaller boards and role-playing groups. I know in a few cases rather than being posted it was sent via PM or email to a 'chosen few.' It was only up for a few days, to the best of my knowledge.

It caused a buzz because it was a virus, or seemed to be. If you tried to load the game with the mod active, it would hang at the initial load screen for a full hour and then crash to the desktop. If you let it get that far, your install of Morrowind, along with any save files you had, would become completely corrupted. Nobody could figure out what the mod was trying to do, since it couldn't be opened in the Construction Set. Eventually, warnings were distributed not to use it if you found it, and things died down.

About a year later, in a mod board I used to frequent, someone popped up with the mod again. He said he was PMed by a lurker who deleted his account immediately after sending. He also said that the person advised him to try playing the mod through DOSbox. For some reason, this worked...sort of. The game was a bit laggy, and you couldn't get into Options, Load Game, the console, or really anything else, other than the game itself. The QuickSave and QuickLoad hotbuttons worked, but that was it. And the QuickSave file seemed to be just part of the game file, so you couldn't get at it anymore. Some speculated that the changed game used an older graphics renderer, making DOSbox necessary, but it didn't LOOK any different.

This part I can speak about from personal experience. When you start a new game in JVK (as the board came to call it), once you left the starting bit in the Census Office and came into the game proper, the first thing you noticed is that the 'prophecy has been severed' box pops up. This is because every single NPC having to do with the main quest is dead, with the sole exception of Yagrum Bagarn, the last of the Dwemer. Their corpses never despawn, so you can go check on all of them. In effect, you begin in a world that is doomed to start with.

The second thing you notice is that you're losing health. It's only a bit, but it keeps happening, a little bit at a time. The longer you stay in one place, the quicker it seems to occur. If you let this loss kill you, you'll find the cause: a figure we came to call the Assassin, because he seems to wear a retextured version of the Dark Brotherhood armor from Tribunal, even though the expansions don't work in JVK. It's all black, completely untextured, like he's just a hole in space. The way he moves...he gave me quite a start, the first time I saw him scuttling around my dead body. He crawls inhumanly on his hands and feet, his arms and legs splayed out like a spider. You'd usually only see him after death, crawling around and over your body just before the reload box popped up. Occasionally, you could catch a glimpse of him darting around a corner or crawling on a wall or ceiling. It made the game very difficult to play at night!

Other than that, the only noticeable difference is that at night, at random intervals, every NPC in the game will go outside for a few minutes. During this time, the only thing they will say when hailed is, "Watch the sky." Once they return to their normal behavior they act as normal, though.

After a while, a player on the board discovered a new NPC named Tieras, a male Dunmer in the temple at Ghostgate. Two things are notable about this NPC: first is his robe, a unique article of clothing that was lovingly rendered with twinkling stars all across it, looking like a torn-off chunk of the night sky. The second is that all of his dialogue, in addition to showing up in the dialogue box, is voiced. You can skip it if you wish, but it all sounds like it's in the default male Dunmer voice. Some people said that they thought the voice was "slightly" different, but it was a very, very good imitation.

I won't go into the details, but the questline he sends you on has to do with a dungeon referred to simply as 'The Citadel.' At least, to the point I reached, the quests were all of a fairly generic 'discover the secrets of the ancients' bent. The entrance to this dungeon is on a small island far to the west of Morrowind proper. I eventually discovered that if you used a Scroll of Icarian Flight at the westernmost point on the main landmass and jump directly west, you'd end up almost exactly at the island.

Even though the dungeon is called The Citadel, it goes straight down. It dwarfs any other dungeon, both in size and difficulty. From a natural cave area you'll proceed down into an ancestral tomb looking area, then Daedric ruin area, and then a Dwemer ruin area. I made it down to the Dwemer Ruins before I quit. The creatures here were strong enough that a level 20 character would have to take care, and since you can't use the console in JVK, level 20 takes a while to get. Since QuickSave and QuickLoad are your only options, it's all too easy to get yourself into an impossible situation, too. I did, and I just didn't have the energy to start over.

Now what I'm telling you is based on what those few who went further reported. Past the Dwemer Ruins you find yourself in a level like the Dwemer Ruins, but darker. Rather than the usual bronze, all the surfaces, including those of the creatures, are black. The sounds of machinery are loud here, and grow louder still randomly. There's also steam or fog everywhree, limiting your vision to about ten in-game feet or so. If you can make it through all this, you will reach a hall that those who found it called it the Portrait Room.

Like the fire in torches or other effects from early 3D games, this room has picture frames that always face directly at you, no matter how you look at them. The images in the frames were always randomly chosen images from your My Pictures folder. On the board, the ones who got there had some fun posting screenshots of the Portrait Room with various pictures in the frames (Usually porn, of course).

At the end of the hall was a locked door. After admitting defeat and returning to Tieras, everyone just found him saying, "Watch the sky," in his gravelly voice. What's more, nobody else in the game would say ANYTHING. There was just a completely blank dialogue box with no options at all. They wouldn't even rattle off the usual canned audible greetings. The only exception was at night; whenever they'd go out for a few minutes, they'd still repeat it. "Watch the sky." At this point, one of the players - a friend of mine from the board - noticed (and the few others who got this far agreed) that the night sky was no longer the usual night sky of Tamriel; it had changed to a depiction of a real night sky. And it moved.

From this point on, everything is based on what this one person reported. Eventually, he got himself kicked from the board, but I kept in contact with him for as long as he responded. According to him, based on the constellations and planets, the sky started around February 2005. if you died, loaded, or went back into the Citadel, it would start over. When the usual day sky graphics took over, the movement would be suspended until the stars appeared again. In the space of a single night, everything would move about two months worth. Since the timescale of JVK was more or less that of the standard game, that meant that a bit less than an hour was a 24-hour period.

He became convinced that the door would open based on some kind of celestial event. Of course, waiting for that meant leaving the game running. Of course, THAT meant that the game couldn't be left unattended, thanks to our old friend, the Assassin. My friend decided he's hang out for a whole day, just to see if anything happened. That would be about a year's worth of movement. Here's the post he made at the end of this experiment:

"I loaded in Seyda neen, where it all starts. It wasn't too bad, just had to check in now and then to move around and heal to make sure I wasn't dying. But check it out! 24 hours exactly in, and the Assassin learned a new trick! HE SCREAMS!!!! I was reading and all of a sudden, this crazy loud shriek just about makes me crap myself. It's like something out of a horror movie! I look up, and there he is, just crouched down right in front of me. Of course, the second I moved my character, he ran off. When I went back down to the Portrait Room, the door was still locked. Damn it, damn it, damn it!"

A bit later, he came to the decision that he needed to wait three days - three years. The PM advising us to try DOSbox showed up in February of 2008 was his reasoning, anyway.

"After the first shriek, the Assassin stops hitting you out of nowhere. Now he'll shriek, and if you don't move for a few seconds after that he hits you. I think whoever made the mod was trying to help. At night, I've got my headphones on and I was just kind of dozing off...when he wakes me up with a shriek; I jiggle the mouse, and I'm good!"

That post was two days in, from his laptop. Once it was over...

"FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK! FUUUUUUUUUCK! So FUCKING done. So, I wait, the three days, right, and right after the FUCKING Assassin made me jiggle the mouse, he shrieks again. So, I look, and everyone in town is outside. They're all saying, "Watch the sky." I don't see anything, though. But then the game starts getting REALLY dark. I turn up the brightness all the way on my monitor, and I can still barely see. I can see other people in the game, little figures running around in the distance, just running back and forth. If I try to get close, they run off. Now, I was trying to sleep, so the lights are off, and this is kind of creepy. I don't want to get up to turn on my light because I don't want to miss anything, but NOTHING fucking happens. Eventually I go back to The's still dark, and I gotta swim, and the whole time I can see all these guys swimming all around me, just barely there. I make it to the Citadel, and it's normal light inside, and I get worried. Sure enough, the Portrait Door is STILL FUCKING CLOSED. I go outside and it's ALL STARTING OVER. So that's it. I'm fucking going to bed, and I'm fucking done. The end."

After that, two things happen. first, another of the people who got to the Portrait Room claimed that the Assassin was showing up in his regular Morrowind game. (Quick explanation. If you reinstalled Morrowind to a different folder, you could have a normal Morrowind install along with JVK.) He himself chalked it up to an overactive imagination at first, but he reported a couple of really big scares with the black figure crawling right at him, or seeing it waiting for him just around a corner before scuttling off. Another of those who reached the Portrait Room started a regular Morrowind game, but never for sure saw him; it was just a couple of maybes, late at night, and always at a distance.

The second is that my friend started getting really abusive and short-tempered on the board, though he stopped talking about JVK entirely. It got so bad that he was soon kicked off. I didn't hear anything from him for a couple of weeks after that, so I sent him an email. This was part of his reply:

"I know I shouldn't, but with classes out I've got some time, so I started JVK up again. It's almost 2011...and I think I've got the sleep madness! But stuff is happening! It's still dark...once it gets dark, it never gets any lighter. It stays like that. The people moved a few months ago...everyone in Seyda neen just went to that little bandit cave and moved in. They killed the bandits inside, and now they're just standing around inside. They don't say anything anymore; they don't do anything when you click on them. I quicksaved and killed one, and he just stood there until he died without fighting back!

And it's like that everywhere. You have to walk, since the quick travel people are all in caves now, too, but all the cities and towns are just deserted; all the people are in caves and tombs. Everyone in Vivec is down in the sewers. I'm going to Ghostgate next...I want to see if Tieras is still there. I'll tell you what he says when I get there!"

I replied and said I wanted to see what he said, too, and waited a day. When I didn't get a reply, I e-mailed him again, and a couple of hours later he sent back:

"Sorry, I totally forgot. So it's 2014 now...since it's always night, the stars are always moving. The whole screen is dark, but you can still see the brightest stars moving around. Tieras was gone...everyone in Ghostgate was gone. I don't know where they went. They're not in any of the nearby caves. But there's new stuff...people still don't say anything, but their eyes are bleeding. It's so dark that even with a light spell you have to get right up against them to see, but there they are, little dark streaks coming down from their eyes. I think I gotta be getting close. I know this is stupid, and there's no way the pay off is going to be worth it, but I just want to be able to say I stuck it out!"

I got that one during the day. Later that night, I got a follow up e-mail:

"Some of the planets aren't moving right. It's pissing me off...if this keeps up, I won't be able to keep track anymore. It's almost 2015 now, I think. Fuck. You know, I just now noticed that there aren't any monsters anymore, either. I'm completely alone outside now. The main quest peoples' bodies are still laying around, though. I went to check on them.

I don't need headphones anymore, so I just leave them off. When he shrieks, it's like he's screaming right into my ear. I think I even kind of anticipate it. He's around a lot more now, a lot closer. He's different from the other people who started showing up, remember? They keep running around, just where I can barely see them. I have to admit, it's kind of creepy at night. Sometimes, when I go to the bathroom or whatever, I swear I can see something out of the corner of my eye. I'm keeping all the lights on now."

I sent him a letter, jokingly telling him to get some real sleep, and left it at that. Two mornings later, I found this in my e-mail. It was the last thing I got from him. After this, he stopped responding completely:

"I just got up from a fucked up dream, I think. The Assassin shrieked at me, and when I opened my eyes, he was right there, crouching over me. His arms and legs were longer, more like a spider's. I tried to push him away, but when I touched him my hands just went inside and I couldn't get them loose again, like he was made of tar or something.

Then I woke up, I thought. He was gone, but when I looked at the monitor I wasn't where I was. I was in the Corprusarium, with Yagrum. For once, the light was okay, and I could see him all bloated on those mechanical spider legs. I sat down at the computer and he started talking to me. Not in a box, but really talking to me, in Tieras' voice. He knew things about me. He told me things that I never told anyone, some things I totally forgot about. He told me that almost nobody had made it this far, and that the door would open up soon. I just had to hang on a little while longer. He said I'd know when it was time. He said I might be the first one to see what was inside.

And then I woke up for real, but I was at the computer. I still wasn't where I was. I'm swimming out to The Citadel Island. And I can hear this tapping. It's at my window. It's over on the left, so I'm sending you this, because I left my laptop by my bed, to the right. Just a little he's knocking his finger against the glass. I might still be dreaming now."

So, I guess that's the end of the story. I know there's a few other stories floating around about the mod, but this is the only one I know as true, as far as it goes. I deleted my JVK copy of the game pretty much right after I gave up, but I'd like to get the mod again, if anyone still has a copy of the file. I'd like to see some of this for myself.

Now, if anyone is at all interested, the alleged mod can be downloaded from the link at the beginning of the post (it took me a bit of searching to find it). I've tried it myself but couldn't see that it did anything at all that it is fabled to do. Don't worry; I've scanned it with several anti-virus and anti-malware applications and it was not recognized as a threat by any of them.

But then, those security programs might not be able to detect pure evil...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

SNES 9x et al.

Those of you who have been kind enough to frequently read my musings here surely have realized by now that I'm hardly a member of the vanguard of the gaming world, instead in fact being a bit nostalgic and retrospective in my gaming preferences. I'm not going to bore you with the details of exactly how my gaming proclivities have evolved; rather I just thought it was worth mentioning as an introduction to this particular post.

Before I had a computer, an XBox, a PS2 or even the original Playstation I had the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo, consoles which when I was just a wee Neko kitten were handed down to me by my older brother. (I even had a GameBoy!) Though these days I play a wide variety of PC games on a system I assembled myself, I've not forgotten my gaming roots or those days of my youth when I was falling in love with video games for the very first time.

I've discovered that these days, rather than attempt to track down these old console machines in pawn shops and what-have-you, it's much easier and convenient to download console emulators and ROM versions of their games that I can play on my PC when I'm feeling nostalgic (or just feeling like a big kid). For just about every gaming console in existence someone has created a PC emulator, but to cover them all in a single blog post would be quite the volume of writing. Thus today I just want to talk about the emulators for the first games I ever played, those good ol' Nintendo games.

Several emulators for the Super Nintendo have been created, but with my custom system running Windows 7 the best one I've found thus far is the SNES 9x. Simply download it and a few ROMs, briefly navigate a simple GUI setup and before you know it you'll be playing your favorite old games in all their classic glory:
Also, as you might have inferred from these screenshots, there are some enjoyable hacked (modded) versions of those classic games available as well. One of my personal favorites is Super Metroid with the Justin Bailey (bathing suit) hack...
But I mustn't forget to mention the VirtuaNES:
...and the GameBoy Color emulator KiGB (though apparently I prefer B&W):
With these (and a cheap gamepad) it's easy to relive the golden age of Nintendo like we never left!

There are many sources for emulators and game ROMs on the internet, free of charge and requiring no membership, but here are the ones I've frequented thus far (I assume they're the most popular ones because they were the easiest to find):

The Emulator Zone

Get Your ROMs

Now, I know for most of you this would be a huge step backward and you might wonder why I even bother. As I said earlier, it's mainly just a matter of nostalgia. Sometimes we all miss our childhood days, and things like this can bring back great memories... as well as put those old memories to the test. Do you remember where the secret power-up is on level 15?

Anyway, as always I hope this info will be useful to somebody (even if they'd be ashamed to admit it) and that in some way I've helped to enrich someone's gaming experience, if only a tiny bit.

Until next time, game on...

Thursday, October 20, 2011


In an effort to keep the blog sidebar from becoming a virtual mile long, links to the download sources of game mods either created by me or simply recommended by me will be listed in this often updated post which will in turn have a single link always present in the sidebar. (I'll try to remember to specify in parentheses which game a mod is for and keep them grouped accordingly; in keeping with the new spirit of the blog, eventually all sorts of things will be listed here.)

ENB Series 091 d3d9.dll (Skyrim)

Hard-coded Key Tweak (Skyrim)

Herculine's NWN Female Portrait Pack (Neverwinter Nights)(NWN Vault)

Herculine's NWN Female Portrait Pack (Neverwinter Nights)(NWN Nexus)

OHS Henchman System (Neverwinter Nights)

CM Partners Mod Basic (Oblivion)

Herculine's Ainmhi CM Companions (Oblivion) (site membership required)

Herculine's Tabaxi CM Companions (Oblivion)

Herculine's Drakin CM Companions (Oblivion)

Herculine's Ayleid Ruins Textures (Oblivion)

Nehrim Fast Travel 2011 (Oblivion)(requires Nehrim)

RR Companions Vault (Fallout 3)

Herculine's RR Scouts (Fallout 3) (site membership required)

Type 3 female body replacer (Fallout 3) (site membership required)

Ling's Finer Things/Pretty Things combo (Fallout 3) (site membership required)

Ling's Finer Things/Pretty Things combo (Fallout 3) GameFront Download Link

Herculine's RR Shojo Companions (Fallout 3)

Nos' RR Companions (Fallout 3)

Ariana, Bernie & Brooke RR Companions (Fallout 3)

NCCS - NosCo Companion System (Fallout New Vegas)

Herculine's NCCS Shojo Companions (Fallout New Vegas)

Bernie Sniper Girl NCCS Companion (Fallout New Vegas)

Brooke NCCS Companion (Fallout New Vegas)

prBoom+ (Classic Doom Sourceport)

zDoomGL (Classic Doom Sourceport)

Cool ROMs (classic game emulators)

Dope ROMs (classic game emulators)

EmuAsylum (classic game emulators)

BrotherSoft (classic game emulators)

The Emulator Zone (classic game emulators)

Get Your ROMs (classic game emulators)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blogging Friends

Back in the good ol' days when this blog focused upon a single game I mentioned that KMX E XII was writing a blog called Doomed and that it was worthy of attention. I still maintain that assertion; if you're interested in info and in-depth reviews of classic Doom maps and megaWADs then Doomed is definitely a good place to start.

However, since then the direction of my own blog has changed considerably, expanding to cover whatever games I might be interested in at any given time. In light of that fact it's only fair that I mention a few of the other game-oriented blogs that I follow.

Adventures In Morrowind is a blog by Jack The Reaper that lists links to many great sources for mods for Morrowind. I should probably point out that Jack hasn't made a new post there in about 3 months and I have no idea whether he's already abandoned the project or quite simply is too busy or whatever. Despite that fact, it's still a great source for some starting info if you're just getting into searching for Morrowind mods, and it saves me the trouble of having to list all those links here. Definitely worth a look for Morrowind fans.

Over at Nos' Mods you can find info regarding the current projects and focuses of NosCo, the corporate entity of which I happen to be a junior member. Though mainly focusing on Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, the content also looks back to Oblivion from time to time and Nos often shares with us some rare mods that we otherwise might never have heard of. Plenty of useful links can be found in the blog's sidebar for mods both authored by Nos and recommended by Nos.

Druuler's Comicville is the home of the web comic The Phoenix Imperative, a great comic using game screenshots. Though the story is beginning in the universe of the Fallout games, don't be surprised if it branches into some other well-known universes as well. Druuler's been doing a great job on this project and it's definitely worthy of attention.

When he's not taking screenshots, Druuler is also involved with some hefty modding projects. You can get more info about those at Druuler's Mod Centre. Though it's still a work-in-progress, I'm quite interested in the Resident Evil/Fallout project and I'm keeping my eye on it.

This post might seem kinda superfluous since the majority of my readers are the authors of the blogs mentioned here, but it's my hope that some newcomers might happen by and find these of interest. If you're reading this and are indeed such a person, I recommend clicking the links included here. In my honest opinion, the content is definitely worth a look.

Until next time, game on...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More Faces

This afternoon I finally got around to finishing the update to my Neverwinter Nights Female Portrait Pack and got it uploaded:
As you can see here, this time around I decided to keep my word and in an attempt to be politically correct included a pair of Orcs (or Half-Orcs if you wish) for those players who simply must have female Orcs. I hate to disappoint my critics, but this endeavor required a bit more work than simply copy/pasting a couple of images and then running them through a color filter. However, I think my "morphing" skills were up to the task and I succeeded in maintaining a delicate balance between traditionally Orcish features and feminine contours. It also took a bit of tweaking to get them just the right shade of Hulk-green. Having made that reference now, I should also mention that it was totally unintentional that the short-haired one ended up looking so much like Lou Ferrigno...
Speaking of political correctness, those of you who are familiar with my RR Scouts surely have noticed that in my projects I generally attempt to maintain a level of variety where ethnicity is concerned. However, in this case such an ethnic balance unfortunately is a bit more difficult through no immediate fault of my own. The sources of the images I've been using simply aren't as diverse (and yet I found several images of elves...) Perhaps I'll do a third portrait pack and attempt to rectify that situation then.

And just as proof to the naysayers, the portraits do indeed actually work in the game:
And with that, I suppose it's time to either get back to actually playing something or to start on that third portrait pack...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Skyrim Nexus

It was recently announced here in the Nexus Forums that the Skyrim Nexus has already been launched in anticipation of the impending release of the game.

In the forum thread I concisely expressed my thanks to Dark0ne (a.k.a. Robin Scott) for his continued efforts as well as to the other Nexus members who have been keeping us abreast of the current Skyrim developments. Just for the record, that wasn't butt-kissing ('cuz I don't do butt-kissing).

To be perfectly honest, despite any disagreements I might have with the Nexus staff or their policies, the bottom line is that, were it not for the Nexus sites, the mods available there and the friends I've made there, my experiences with these games would have been greatly diminished.

Though it might be a while before I can actually afford to own the new game, I'm looking forward to it, more new mods, enjoying them with the friends I've made and perhaps even learning a few new modding tricks and making a few new friends along the way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Recently I was doing some testing of a yet unreleased version of NCCS (for newcomers, that's the NOSCO Companion System for Fallout New Vegas), a mod with which I've been affiliated for some time now. While the latest version hasn't been released yet, I've probably done about as much field testing as I can at the moment until our beloved NosCo CEO either sends me an updated version of the mod or decides he's satisfied with his own work.

Now, you might think that this testing has renewed my interest in playing Fallout New Vegas on a regular basis. Such, however, is not the case (but is in no way the fault of the mod I was testing). Instead, running around with all those companions reminded me of another game in which I had an entire party of cohorts: Neverwinter Nights.

I haven't played NWN since January, I think, which was when I uploaded the Female Portrait Pack that I created after I discovered OHS, a mod that would allow me to, in a convoluted sort of way, create my own cohorts for use in the game. Now I'm feeling the mood to not just play the game again, but also to put together an update to my portrait pack.

The images I used in my first portrait pack were not of my own creation; they were images that I gathered from a few specific CG sites. (This should please all my DoomWorld fans who will gladly tell you that all I know how to do is copy & paste the works of others.) I could just as easily have used pictures of celebrities, but that's already been done and the game is CG after all, so I wanted to stick with CG images without swiping them from other games. If you're interested, here are the 30 images that were included in the first portrait pack:
I tried to include faces that seemed appropriate to all the races, classes and alignments but obviously must apologize to all you Orc fans. Sorry. Also, I have no plans to do any male portrait packs. Hey, I'm a Lesbian after all, and make no apologies for that. Besides, I think I forgot to give the blue-skinned ones red eyes after I ran them through the color filter, so they're not lore-correct anyway.

While I admit that there was indeed quite a bit of copy/pasting involved, the project actually required a few more skills and a lot more time and work. You see, the way that NWN utilizes these images requires that there actually be five different copies of each image, each being a different size and resolution. Thus, my pack of 30 female portraits actually consisted of a total of 150 TGA images.

I'm certain it wouldn't be any trouble to round up another 30 or more faces from my collection that I'd be happy with using in the game. The real question is whether or not I'll follow through with making all the extra copies necessary to make them usable in the game. Now that I think of it, though, I could probably run a few through a color filter to give them green or gray skin that would seem Orc-like (though they'd certainly have better dental work). But like I said, they're not designed to please the lore-mongers anyway.

Yeah... I think I'll go flip through some of my image files...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


No, I haven't decided to start typing in cryptograms; DxWnd is a program that can be quite useful to fans of retro games or even gamers with new rigs and games that are having issues with their graphics cards or drivers.

I run a rig that I assembled myself. It runs Windows 7x64 with ATI Radeon graphics drivers and has a 16:9 monitor. At the time that I assembled the rig that all seemed like a good idea, but apparently I managed to combine all the elements necessary to create a very specific bug that plagues several of my games.

When I run certain games in full-screen mode, my cursor is invisible. I think this has a lot to do with certain game engines because the games where the inviso-cursor bug manifests itself all appear to use similar engines; The Witcher, Dragon Age and Neverwinter Nights, for example. I've searched high and low on the web for a solution to this recurring problem which makes playing such games in full-screen mode nigh impossible, but so far the only foolproof solution I've found is simply to run these games in windowed mode where my cursor becomes visible and I can then actually play the games.

However, not all games include an easy way to switch to windowed mode; with some it's necessary to manually edit their configuration files. Others apparently simply have no windowed mode at all, and this is where DxWnd becomes quite useful. It can force an executable to run in windowed mode, usually without any major side-effects.

For example, I recently got a game called Armored Princess which exhibits the inviso-cursor bug and has no options or configurations for windowed mode that I could find. This is when I discovered DxWnd. Through a simple GUI I can target the game's executable and force it to launch in windowed mode, which so far appears to be the only way I could ever hope to run this game on my rig.

This can also be useful where resolutions are concerned. I have a widescreen monitor yet I play several older games that were created before those aspect ratios and such high resolutions were ever conceived. In many cases I've been fortunate that someone has developed OpenGL sourceports for these games that remedy such issues, but in others no such utilities are available and the games themselves have no options for windowed mode, leaving me with a very distorted image while playing. Once again, DxWnd to the rescue!

Though in my search for solutions to these issues I found that they are not common, these bugs are not unheard of or isolated to just my rig. Hopefully this info will be helpful to readers who have experienced these frustrating, game-crippling problems as well. If anybody else has any info or advice on these issues, please feel free to share.

Special thanks to Nynaeve for sharing with us such a useful application!

Until next time, game on...

Monday, October 3, 2011

New format; same Herculine...

Those few of you who have visited here before have doubtless noticed a change. The new look and direction of the blog is the result of protracted deliberation on what exactly I should do with it.

The two maps I created for Doom 2 have been ridiculed to the point that nobody will DL them to even give them a look.

Similarly, my Doom monster and item randomizer is getting beaten into the dirt by the critics and I doubt that it will be long before nobody will try it for themselves either.

My custom soundtrack for Doom has been banned because apparently I've totally misunderstood the definition of "royalty free".

As a result of all of the above, my reviews of the works of others are discredited before I've even typed them.

Finding myself with not much else to do where modding Doom is concerned, I needed to decide what to do with a blog that, at least for the time being, I'm not motivated to contribute to.

After much consideration, I decided to take the blog in something of a new direction... unlike my last Doom blog, which I deleted in full after my megaWAD project was shot down in flames after just two maps, this time around I've instead retained all the content to date and simply broadened the subject scope of the blog.

Rather than focus upon a single video game, the blog will now be a receptacle for my random musings regarding all the games I play. What this means in short is that you never know what you might find here. Since my gaming moods fluctuate like the weather, it could be Classic Doom one day and Dragon Age 2 the next, for example. Since I don't have a lot of people in RL to share my interests with, this will be where I'll express my thoughts on whatever I'm currently playing.

I think, at least for me, in the long-term this will be much better. Please bear with me and we'll see how it goes...