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Archive for the ‘Video games’ Category

Getting games to run properly under Windows Vista

Bioshock screenshot

Ever since I installed Windows Vista and discovered that it didn’t like to play nice with my video games, despite me running a fairly capable set-up (AMD Athlon 64 4000+, 2Gb RAM, 7800GTX graphics card), I’ve just slipped into my “comfortable old slippers” Windows XP partition and played them there.

This week, however, perhaps freshly fueled by my installation of Bioshock which ran (well, hobbled) like a spluttering, stuttering mutant — and annoyance with World of Warcraft playing at between 5-20fps — I decided to find an answer. And I did! At least in part.

After much trial and error I fixed World of Warcraft to run again between 35-50fps at 1900×1200 under Vista by doing the following:

Right clicking on the application icon and choose “Properties”, then clicking the “Compatibility” tab.

Enabling the check boxes next to: “Disable virtual themes”, “Disable desktop composition” and “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” and Windows turns off Aero and all that other resource-hungry GUI crap while you’re running the game.

Running it in “Windows XP compatibility mode” didn’t seem to make any difference.

With that fixed, I decided to take a look at Bioshock, which really didn’t play nice in Vista at all with the audio stuttering and the high resolution texture maps not showings up — no matter what resolution I ran it at or whether I chose the lowest quality settings despite it running perfectly happily in XP on the same machine. I’d assumed that there was something buggy with the on-board Realtek ’97 audio drivers or the nVidia video drivers but, with my newly fixed World of Warcraft behind me, I thought I’d have a go at trying to get it to run properly as well.

Firstly, I changed the compatibility options as I did with WoW, above, but this didn’t seem to make much of a difference — if anything at all. Then I remembered reading something about disabling vsync when trying to fix WoW. I didn’t work for WoW, but I thought I’d try turning it off in Bioshock. I also forced it to load in DirectX 9 mode by using “-dx9″… and it all seemed to make a slight difference. Not enough to make it playable yet, but definitely an improvement.

Still… one out of two isn’t bad.

Update: I managed to improve game play in Bioshock further by using an X-Fi sound card instead of on-board sound upgrading my processor to an Opteron 180. I’d imagine that I’d be able to play it full-screen at 1920×1200 with maximum settings if I had an 8800 graphics card — or at least one with more than 256Mb of RAM. Half-Life 2 already runs much more happily.

Update 2: This Bioshock Tweak Guide might also help you gain a couple more FPS.

Pac-man T-shirts

Pac-Man and ghost t-shirts

I want both of these retro Pac-Man T-shirts! Distressed Pac-Man and Power Pellet Ghost, from (via Wonderland, again, how does Alice find all this cool stuff?!)

Second Life while you “work”

AjaxLife: British student Katharine Berry has created an in-browser AJAX application that allows you to log into Second Life, sans graphics, to chat and teleport around. (via Wonderland)

Why Second Life will never go mainstream

Why Second Life will never go mainstream: For me, this biggest thing that put me off was the enormous learning curve. When I first played World of Warcraft I was up and playing like a noob that thought he was a pro in minutes. Second Life had me fumbling around for half an hour before I got fed up and uninstalled it.

Second Life Secondfest Roundup

Aleks has a round-up of Secondfest, the Second Life virtual festival that happened over the weekend.

Nintendo WiiWare dev platform

Nintendo announce that they’re going to be offering a WiiWare development platform so independents can create their own games which can then be made available via the Wii Shop Channel. Hopefully, then, we’ll get to see some of these delights in the near future.

Rejected Wii Games

Rejected Wii Games: WiiPii, Cii-section, Prostate Exam, Female Pleasure, Paperwork Mario… they’re all here. (via Kottke)

Top 10 Most Popular MMOs

The Top 10 Most Popular Massively Multi-player Online games: No surprises as to what still comes out on top!

Steve Purcell’s Monkey Island concept art

Steve Purcel Monkey Island concept artwork

There are a whole bunch of rumours about a new Monkey Island game flying around that almost definitely aren’t true. Probably. Either way, here’s some fantastic concept artwork by Steve Purcell.

You Grew Up Playing Shoot’em-Up Games. Why Can’t Your Kids?

You Grew Up Playing Shoot’em-Up Games. Why Can’t Your Kids?