I’ll be back !!!: The Return of Unreal Tournament

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(Please note screen shots are with everything set to the max - but no AA - and with TEXTURES SET TO LOW on my 4gig system while I wait for a 8gig upgrade. I find this with a lot of the more recent games that max out my memory).

Always setting itself apart from the other shooters, first there was Unreal in 1999, then there was Unreal Tournament. Unreal always had a way of mixing together Medieval and Science Fiction to produce unexpected and surprising results, and now its back !

After some scepticism on my part over Epic’s “play for free” and “open community development” approach, I find that my fears were unfounded. The game appears to be in very good hands, very good hands indeed. The “pre-alpha” is in a surprisingly advanced stage of development and I highly recommend trying it out. At least at the moment there are not any game breaking bugs, although I did have a login problem that was solved by resetting my password (use the “Forgotten your password?” link in the login window of the launcher).

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Game play is a revelation. Gone is the failed adventure into Gears of War graphics that Epic experimented with in Unreal Tournament 3 (although there is in fact a decent enough game in there). Now we have a clear, bright POSITIVE look which was what always attracted me to Unreal and then UT. The game play is that silky smooth REVELATION that the original UT always bought to gaming. It’s THE FLOW, the same thing you see in a well produced piece of music, or a well edited and photographed film. ITS A PLEASURE TO PLAY. Thank God Epic have realised that they still have “it” ! This game is going to KICK THE ASS of the lame excuses for “fun” games that somehow slime their way out of production studios (trying not to look your way DICE with possibly SW: Battlefront not withstanding).

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To my joy, performance is very, very good. My system as usual at the moment can’t handle the enormous textures of these more recent games @ 4gig ram. So until I receive my 8gig upgrade textures will be set low. Everything else is maxed out on my AMD R7 260X, 3ghz Quad Core system. Its a mid range system and as usual Unreal Engine, even @ version 4, makes a very good job of keeping everything very well optimised and running at a high, smooth frame rate.

I’m so glad Epic are showing us that making the next generation of 3D engine does not mean having to invest in bank account crippling hardware upgrades. These days I think most PC owners would accept that you need a fairly recent GPU, CPU and 64bit OS to play the latest games. But its simply horribly corrupt not putting resources into fully optimising code so it will run effectively in real time, even at high settings.

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I have not benchmarked UT4 but its running from 40 – 60fps depending on the map loaded and that is usually towards the upper end. UT4 is meant to be a way to show off Unreal Engine 4 and there’s a lot to see here. There’s some very interesting lighting and effects going on that actually increase immersion rather than getting in the way (actually “Outpost 23” shows this better than Facing Worlds). Just as we saw in Assassins Creed Black Flag there are some genius coding innovations going on here. Ever wondered how Black Flag managed to fit in all those complex environments and a full ocean simulation to boot ? Yep, someone had to solve the math problems in the code to keep the entire thing running at a high frame rate. So here we see the same thing going on with UT4. THAT is what attracted me to the original games; innovations in the technology that are actually USED in the game play rather than being introduced simply as “lets blind them with science” effects. However at this early stage of development we’ve yet to see what else the engine can do … I’m thinking of that “Convoy” level in UT 2004, Epic.

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So here we have it all. A kick ass engine. A kick ass game. Even bots are there as well. What a tragedy it would have been if Epic had removed those with all the nonsense there has been about “MP only” games! A decent AI is essential and has always been part of gaming. UT4 is shaping up into a genre busting game by Epic and its about time someone showed the pretenders how its done. Kudos to Epic !

Torture in Britain and used by Britain is a sad reality, and is most prominent as the “psychiatric system”.

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Torture. It does not only happen in other countries. It happens here, HERE, in the UK, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Merry Old England. Factions in government and elsewhere use it against our enemies, other countries, terrorists and, last but not least, patients in psychiatric institutions (http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/britains-secret-widespread-use-torture/ ). The psychiatric system is a political system kept the way it is (an appalling mess) in order to scare the population and keep people down. What could be more scary than being in a distressed and vulnerable position to begin with, but far from being offered genuine help, to be forcibly drugged with drugs that cause appalling damage ( http://cepuk.org/ ) and then even electroshocked, bullied and subjected to hypnosis and Mind Control ? The tactic is deliberate in order to cause the maximum amount of fear in the population. The response is a situation where some brave campaigners fight the good fight while the rest of the population anaesthetise themselves with the Heroine of ignorance and denial (to be fair a situation created by living under the threat of torture). Facing these things is not pleasant, but putting off until tomorrow what could be done today just stores up a bigger problem for later on.

Quotes source: http://torturemag.org/

Starting Battlefield 2 Mods using the Steam Version

An ever amazing BF2 moment.
An ever amazing BF2 moment.

There’s plenty of talk out there about how Forgotten Hope and Project Reality start their Battlefield 2 (BF2) mod (“modification”) using their own custom executable when the user has the Steam version of BF2 installed. Those mods are Battlefield 2 Steam version compatible. But what about older mods like Nations @ War, Desert Conflict, AIX 2, Battlegroup Frontlines, Eve of Destruction, and many more (but those are some of the better one’s) ?

I could never get an answer out of anyone about this. You can start BF2 and go to “Community –> Custom Game” and start the mod from there but that means starting BF2 twice (the whole things has to restart) which is tedious. It turns out the answer is “obvious”. This is a problem I’ve found before, especially on IRC. It’s a kind of insanity that goes something like this …

“I already know how to do this, so how come you don’t ? Therefore I won’t answer you”

Or …

“The answer is SO simple he must be left to find out for himself because he hasn’t googled/thought about it enough/is stupid [insert your random excuse here, etc, etc] …”

Firstly, these things aren’t always obvious until you know the answer. Second, how do we know that the person asking the supposedly “simple” question is “stupid”. There could be any number of reasons for them not “seeing the light”. Kids crawling all over them. Late nights at the office. Or even having been tortured by your own corrupt government … but I (a’hem) digress … here’s the fix !

1. Install the mod(s) in the normal way or copy across into the “mod” directory into the “mod” directory of the Steam version of BF2. On my system it’s here: “d:\SteamLibrary_Win7\SteamApps\common\Battlefield 2\mods\”.

2. Find the shortcut for the mod you installed or retrieve whatever shortcut you were using on your non-steam copy of BF2. You will need the line after ” … BF2.exe”, which for my Nations @ War installation is “+menu 1 +fullscreen 1 +widescreen 1 +szx 1440 +szy 900 +modPath mods/naw”.

3. Now find your Steam “APPID” which is in the top left corner of the window that comes up when you look at the properties of a game (right click). For my BF2 it’s “24860” (think this is the same for everyone).

4. Now create a new Windows shortcut in the usual way. Make it a short cut to the “Steam.exe” executable wherever you have it installed. On my machine it’s in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam”.

5. Add “-applaunch <appid> <launch options>” after the ” … Steam.exe” part, which will be, in the case of Nations @ War mod, … “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe” -applaunch 24860 +menu 1 +fullscreen 1 +widescreen 1 +szx 1440 +szy 900 +modPath mods/naw”.

Now Steam will launch directly into the mod without having to go through the “Community –> Custom Games” in the BF2 menu system. Have a fun game !