On Hong Kong

Blizzard’s (a)moral, and incredibly fast-moving Hong Kong fumble (repeated over the past few days by the NBA, and by extension, Disney’s ESPN) has suddenly become a lightning rod of a reminder of the nature of the gaming business. Companies and corporations aren’t our friends, and keeping a healthy distance informed by a baseline antagonism (someone wins, someone loses, and the winner is never you) is always the way to go.

On the China microblogging site Weibo, Blizzard’s statement in Chinese was: “We will, as always, resolutely safeguard the country’s dignity.”


The above statement is just so unbelievably bad. B-A-D. That’s what really got me over the hurdle: A video game company defending the “dignity” of a government, of any government? I’m sure this message was not intended to ever come out of China, but I don’t think the general response (from dubious congressmen, no less) to it has been overstated, at all, given the magnitude of this mistake of a comment, and in fact has turned the situation from a gaming moment into something of an international-level incident.

Our world is worth fighting fo… wait, what?

I know, I know, some of y’all already can’t wait for this to blow over to get back to WoW Classic in peace: consumer “activism” 1)“grassroots collective organization of consumption or its withdrawal” per Lawrence Glickman is no-one’s idea of fun, exactly, and there’s actually something of a point to the idea that we shouldn’t grow too attached to our “consumer” identity (shoutout to Jason Schreier).

Buying games doesn’t make anyone a gamer (shoutout to my Steam backlog) – playing ’em does. So there’s that.

Still, many such consumerrilla camps have indeed sprung up in a matter of hours, not days: The Blizzard portion of Reddit is pretty much on fire right now (and will continue to burn, surely), there are pro-Hong Kong Mei memes popping up, and fans are sending GDPR requests en masse.


References   [ + ]

1. “grassroots collective organization of consumption or its withdrawal” per Lawrence Glickman

Read More

Quote for the Day: CollapseOS

Winter is coming and Collapse OS aims to soften the blow. It is a z80 kernel and a collection of programs, tools and documentation that allows you to assemble an OS that can:
Run on minimal and improvised machines.
Interface through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
Edit text files.
Compile assembler source files for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
Read and write from a wide range of storage devices.
Replicate itself.


Read More

Destiny 2 Incompatible with AMD Phenom II?

Update 31 Oct, 2017:

Original story:

I just published my List of Games That No Longer Run on AMD Phenom a month ago, and then Bungie’s Destiny 2 launches on Oct 24th. The launch has raised the ire of tons of Phenom II users, as the game seems to be crashing mightily on those processors. In the developers’ known issues thread, the following SSSE requirement is mentioned:

  • SSSE3 Required: Destiny 2 will not run on processors without Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 (SSSE3).

Wait, what? Usually, the common problem with games not running on Phenoms is their missing SSE 4.1+ support! This time around, the problem is SSSE3 (“Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3,” not to be confused with SSE3!), which is unfortunately supported in AMD processors only after the Bobcat architecture, released in early 2011.

Destiny 2 is only the second game released with the SSSE3 incompatibility, with Resident Evil 7 (which was later patched for support) being the first. The system requirements for the game are as follows:

Minimum Requirements Recommended Specifications
Operating System
Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
Windows® 7 / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
Processor: Intel
Intel® Core™ i3 3250 3.5 GHz or Intel Pentium G4560 3.5 GHz
Intel® Core™ i5 2400 3.4 GHz or i5 7400 3.5 GHz
Processor: AMD
AMD FX-4350 4.2 GHz
AMD Ryzen R5 1600X 3.6 GHz
Video: NVidia
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 2GB or GTX 1050 2GB
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970 4GB or GTX 1060 6GB
Video: AMD
AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
AMD R9 390 8GB

Destiny 2 is, honestly, the first game with minimum requirements that make me finally wonder whether it would actually run on my 3.8GHz Phenom II. All other incompatible games to date have had much lesser minimum requirements. Will investigate once the situation changes; other Phenom II users have reported that the game ran fine in beta, however.

Crucially, Bungie have added the following modifier to the SSSE3 incompatibility:

PLEASE NOTE: We’ve seen a number of reports of crashes on CPUs that fall below our stated minimum specs (E.G. AMD Phenom II series). We are investigating the issue and will attempt to fix the crash, but these CPUs are below minimum spec and are not officially supported.

What do we know to date?

  • Fixing the classic SSE4.1+ incompatibility has not been a major hurdle to developers at all.
  • I am so far unsure of the seriousness of the SSSE3 incompatibility, but it was fixed in Resident Evil 7, and
  • The Destiny 2 betas apparently did work for Phenom users.

Given that the betas did work – which comes off a little bit as false advertising -, the chance of the issue being fixed is relatively high. Whatever changed since launch? All in all, though, I must advise Phenom II users to not purchase the game and wait while the team attempts to amend the situation.

Update 31 Oct, 2017:

Destiny 2 received Hotfix on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 10 AM Pacific (5 PM UTC), which fixes the SSSE3 incompatibility with AMD Phenom II CPUs.

Read More

Warframe Starter Guide for Plains of Eidolon

Warframe is huge right now – and for good reason – after their latest big update, Plains of Eidolon, has come out. It is indeed a fantastic update to a fantastic game. If you are thinking about jumping in, here are 12 important things about Warframe you absolutely need to know before starting out.

1. Warframe is really, truly free

Warframe is free to play. Really! Make no mistake: If you want, you’ll never have to pay a single dime. It is common for the games press to make the mistake of thinking you have to pay in the game, because the marketplace is built that way – but apart from cosmetic items, you can truly get everything without paying – either by grinding for it, or trading for it.

Let it be known, however, that Warframe is a “patient gamers” (shoutout to /r/patientgamers/), a “gamedeals” type game for non-paying customers: It is a long-term investment, and requires you to be patient, and wait for things to come to you in waves. Some items are available only periodically, others come and go.

I repeat: You have to be willing to wait in Warframe – especially if you want to play for free. If you’re impatient, then Warframe is not the game for you.

2. Warframe runs on a potato

Warframe is one of the best-optimized games available today. It can almost be run on the oldest, most garbage entry-level laptop that you can imagine. Plains of Eidolon’s Cetus hub is currently a bit stuttery for everybody, but the actual gameplay content runs on pretty much everything. (more…)

Read More

Fallout: New Vegas 2017 Soft Touch Modification Guide

To celebrate Fallout‘s 20th anniversary, I figured it would be fun to completely start from scratch and tool the Bethesda Fallout game series for new, fresh playthroughs. Since I have now spent an evening’s worth of catching up on, and customizing, each of the Fallouts, I figured I might as well put my lists out here. In fact, I have actually written an article on Planescape: Torment (hilariously obsolete today, with the new Enhanced Edition out) before, and it’s a ton of fun to share this type of info!

I’m personally a fan of a “soft touch” style of modding, so the purpose here was to create a list of

  1. recently updated,
  2. light, and
  3. simple

modifications that work to make Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas more playable. Modding Bethesda games is pretty fun, as there are so, so many options. If you get too trigger happy, however, it can also be quite frustrating – much like the games themselves!

If you do want to follow this tutorial, either as your setup, or as a basis for adding on more modifications, for the purpose of playing and/or purchasing Fallout: New Vegas, I recommend the Steam Ultimate Edition version. Unlike Fallout 3, New Vegas works quite fine on Steam.

This tutorial operates under the assumption that you are on Windows, have all the DLC, and are running Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition version (more…)

Read More