January Already

Well, the ongoing web coding/design implementation project is taking a little more time than initially expected (well, not necessarily true, but things are going along nicely now). The new HP LP2475w helps with coding and debugging, the extra screen real estate is nice–I’m literally surrounded by screen now. It is too bad that currently no two screens show the same color in my setup. By far my ancient Dell 1702FP shows the truest colors, though the HP LP2475w should be able to match it once calibrated properly. Only one stuck subpixel, naturally it had to be the green one, so on darker colors it sticks out, but on lighter ones is is not noticeable. Thanks to the small size of the pixels, one stuck subpixel is not really a problem. Gaming wise, my system is too weak to push the full resolution to the monitor on any modern games. However, Worms Armageddon supports the 1920×1200 resolution just fine, most maps fit within the screen, which is awesome.

The previously mentioned new plugin will be delayed slightly as, once again, it will use jQuery. Originally it was going to use jQuery, I could not get it to work correctly so I rewrote the JavaScript using MooTools, but I think I can get it to work in jQuery. That is all I will say about that plugin for now.

An update to Breadcrumb NavXT will come out late next week. This is a feature adding release, and so far three things have been improved. I’ll be looking into paged archive/post/page pages for this release, and probably qtranslate support as well (through a wrapper of sorts).

-John Havlik

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Crysis Warhead

The only game one received this Christmas was Crysis Warhead. This covers Sgt. Skyes’ (Psycho) journey during the events of Crysis. Like Crysis, the graphics are amazing, even in super low settings. However, you never do interact with Nomad, as in Crysis, which is a letdown. The expansion, if you could call it that (Crysis Warhead does not require Crysis to be installed or even a CD key for Crysis), is more polished than Crysis.

Ammo is automatically picked up, previously it had to be manually grabbed. Ammo is abundant, in Normal difficulty one never found oneself out of ammo while trying to fend off enemies. Unlike Crysis, when you encounter the aliens you have an effective weapon to fight them (the Gauss Rifle). In Crysis you had a shotgun or FY71 (possibly a SMG or Scar but usually there is not enough Scar ammo around and the SMG is less effective than the shotgun and FY71) which are not nearly as effective. New weapons and vehicles are nice. The ASV Armored, basically a HUMVEE with heavy armor and usually come equipped with an anti-vehicle machine gun. This easily tears through the normal HUMVEE like vehicles the Koreans have and the transport trucks.

Landmines are an addition that seemed geared more towards multiplayer game play. The Claymore anti-personal and the anti-tank mine were only available in the multiplayer mode of Crysis. In reality, though available, there really are no places effectively to set traps with mines. Sure, playing with the Claymores was fun, but not as fun as simply running down or sniping enemies. Not once in the campaign did one use the anti-tank mines. There simply was not a good area to deploy them. Again, in multiplayer mode the mines are much more useful.

The FGL40, a grenade launcher with a six shooter style magazine, is perfect against groups of Koreans or Aliens, but not effective against tanks or large aliens. The AY69, a “micro machine gun”, is a fully automatic pistol that can be dual-wielded. It is one’s favorite weapon now. It packs a much harder punch than the normal pistols. With 40 rounds in each gun, you can empty 80 rounds into a group of enemies without reloading. For short range fighting, the dual-wielded AY69 is the best weapon choice. Not only is the dual-wielded AY69 effective against Koreans, it also makes short work out of those small pesky aliens as well. Simple rule of thumb, for your side arm, always duel-wield the AY69.

Crysis Warhead is short, on Normal mode, one beat the game in about 8 hours. One did not try to beat the game as fast as possible, nor did one take the “scenic route”. And, by no means is one a “hardcore gamer”. That said, it is very entertaining. Ideally, it could be three times longer if they added in the interactions with Nomad and expanded the story a bit more. Now, if they would only make an “expansion” tracing the actions of Prophet.

-John Havlik

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The Crysis is Over

The graphics were awesome (even at low settings), the campaign was fairly quick moving and in a very linear fashion in most cases, but the ending came abruptly. Anyone who after playing the campaign doesn’t think a Crysis 2 is in the works is a little dense.

As in halo, the first set of enemies were fun to kill (in this case the North Koreans) as they liked to use provocative language and curse at the player, even if they couldn’t see him. The second set, those pesky aliens (in Halo I do not like the flood that much), were a pain though the gauss gun makes quick work of them (grabbing the smaller ones is equally effective). And a word to the wise, even though I was able to play Crysis on my P4 3.0Ghz, 1.5GiB RAM, Geforce 6600GT computer, I would not recommend doing it on equivalent hardware. Additionally, I would not recommend running on anything less than 1.5GiB of RAM as Crysis was eating a full GiB on my machine. The game itself never crashed once, a first for me with a sub minimum spec computer.

Multiplayer looks cool, but I’m not going to even try until I get some new hardware. Until then, 2142 and CoD4 will have to do.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Retiring the Zen Micro

My old Zen micro 5gb served me well for the last three years, however during the last semester the on-off-lock switch became unresponsive, requiring a cleaver hack to turn on and off the device. This was my first hard disk based mp3 player, and I’m returning to a flash based device (so that I can run while listening to music). For Christmas I received the 8GiB Creative ZEN, which is sort of the spiritual successor of my Zen micro.

Let me be the first to correct the others out there that make it seem like you have to transcode everything to WMV to play on it. While it is true that the ZEN needs mpeg1/2 files transcoded, they don’t have to be transcoded to WMV. The ZEN does natively support Xvid/MPEG4-SP/DivX in addition to WMV. Since I do have many mpeg music videos I will have to transcode some, but MediaCoder does a good job at that. Most users would transcode anyways as playing a 720p video on a 320×240 screen is overkill and would eat up battery life in order to scale the video while playing, the size benefit is there too, 30MiB or less for most music videos under 5 minutes in length. Hope you all are having a merry Christmas.

-John Havlik

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Crysis

Yeah, it’s an awesome game, even at low video quality settings it makes most of the other games I have look fake. Thanks to the Geforce 6600GT from JD, Crysis does run on my computer, though the graphics card is not officially on the supported list due to only having half the “required” video memory.

The only consequence so far is that it does have to swap out the frame buffer allot, causing rocks to “suddenly” appear at times. More on card JD gave me for Christmas, it’s an Nvidia so I’ll be able to run Compiz with acceleration and no scrolling bug in Linux. The card also allows me to go to medium settings in Battlefield 2142 which show shadows and other cool things that my brothers x800XL doesn’t. Thanks JD.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]