Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Byte: Rant Time

Okay, I'm mildly pissed off. Not just at the fact that there's fuck all due to be released that I'm interested in until March, videogame-wise, but because the one game I have bought this year, GTR (a FIA GT racing simulation, which makes Forza look a bit stupid and has a killer online mode), I can't even bloody play, because my gamepad's up the spout.

If I ever told you in the past about how good the Saitek P2500 rumble pads are, I hereby retract the recommendation. Don't touch the fuckers with a barge pole. Why? Basically, because although they're a decent enough dual-shock clone pad, they have one fatal flaw.

After a while, the input range of the analogue sticks starts to decay: in my case the left stick doesn't have full range of movement on its right and forward axes, and the right stick doesn't have full range of movement on its right and backward axes. And thanks to a wonderful design flaw that Saitek's support team won't even acknowledge as being a problem, there isn't a setting in the driver software that allows you to manually calibrate the sticks. Meaning that once the input ranges start to decay, the pad is fucked. Permanently. Meaning that if you want to set up the pad for a driving game, using the left hand stick for steering and the other stick for throttle and brake, you're left with a partially stuck on throttle, and steering that pulls to one side or the other. AND THERE'S BUGGER ALL YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Except throw away the pad and buy a new one. Which I've just done. Yet again, I've taken advantage of Play.com's extraordinarily low prices and got myself a Windows XP compatible Xbox 360 USB pad, which not only has the wonderful analogue triggers that are piss perfect for driving games, but will also double as an extra pad, should I ever pick up a 360 (in the unlikely event that it ever gets some decent games beyond PGR3 and the inevitable Halo sequel - oooh, cynical!).

In other news, I've been watching some of the speed runs on the videogame Speed Demos Archive again. I have to confess that I don't really understand the whole ethos behind completing a game as quickly as possible. I suppose it's a little bit like the motivation to climb Mount Everest ("Because it's there!") and some of the madskillz on show in some of the shooter games in particular are incredible, but I can't see myself ever trying it. Perhaps just because I'm too shit.

The Morrowind one is hilarious - he spends practically all of the time brewing potions, and then just goes straight for the end boss and kills him before he finishes his "You can't kill me! I'm a God!" speech. Ah well. There's a game I never need to buy now...

Arguably the most impressive is the Baldur's Gate speed run. An hour and a quarter in a "single segment" (i.e. without reloads to trim down the time). I'm going to have to replay Baldur's Gate as a Fighter-Thief multi-class, as I don't really play either of the BG games that much as multi-classed player characters. That said, the closest I ever got to completing Baldur's Gate (getting horribly killed in the final battle with Sarevok) was with a Fighter-Druid, so multi-classing must have its benefits...

I quite fancy another go at Baldur's Gate, actually. It should keep me occupied until something decent comes along at any rate.
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