Monday, June 28, 2010

The fun of computer upgrades

Last week was apparently the time for this oh-so-annoying task. Two weekends ago I was happily settling down in my office chair at home looking forward to the quiet time ahead of me so I decided to take a McLaren Formula One car for a spin around the Nurburgring's Nordschleife. Yes, going balls-out on that track is relaxing to me. But apparently it wasn't relaxing for my computer. I had known for some time that my motherboard had certain issues but I put off its replacement as long as possible. Well this time the crash was hard enough that I got off my lazy ass and spent my afternoon tearing apart my box, putting it back together with a newer, much better quality Asus board, and reinstalling everything from scratch. Not exactly the way I wanted to start a weekend. I also discovered that CPUs don't like getting transplanted so I took to the opportunity to get a better fan along with the thermal compound I needed. By the way, the fucktard engineer who designed the "easy to install" push pins on Socket 775 CPU fans needs to be disembowelled with a rusty spoon. I was sure I was going to break my new motherboard in half before the things finally got secured in their little holes. Yeah, fun.

And as if my own computer headaches weren't enough, CCP had decided to move and upgrade the Tranquility server last week. I had invited my alliance mates to a PvP roam after the scheduled extended downtime, when someone mentioned "Are you sure TQ will be up and running?". I took this with a laugh but unfortunately that question turned out to be prophetic as Downtime turned into a nightmare for anybody who hadn't set a long skill, which is not my case I'm happy to say. CCP has annouced it will give us players a ship and a way to recover lost training. I'm not exactly fond of ORE ships but apparently I will be in possession of one soon!

Computer headaches aside, here is a short run-down of what's been happening in the various games I play. Reinstalling everything and having to download a whole lot of add-ons has the effect that you get to play a lot of different games in a very short time. Here goes.

In EVE Online

Every time I install the EVE client from scratch I feel like taking the next Icelandair flight to Reykjavik and having a friendly chat with the UI designers. To go from the client's default settings to something I am comfortable with like overview settings, window placement, UI color scheme, audio settings and container unlocking takes over an hour, sometimes two. A complete newbie who installs the client for the first time has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that his client settings are nothing short of COMPLETELY USELESS. Why CCP is not dealing with this while they try to implement new features to the game - breaking a few things that were working here and there of course - is totally beyond me. To CCP Torfi: please grab the T-shirt you were wearing at the AT8 finals and read it; now, either apply what it says or burn that T-shirt.

Apart from that, after the crazy Downtime and the client set-up business, a small Recon gang (Arazu, Pilgrim, Falcon) decided to camp Chaos Central for a couple days. The Arazu first ganked Letrange who was mining away, and the next day the other two made themselves known when Let and I tried to bait the Arazu. That's all good but the worst part was the Arazu pilot's parting shot: an evemail to me with Hall & Oates lyrics. Who the hell said Hulkageddon was bad ?!?! But the intruders have now left and peace has returned to Choas Central, and yesterday's nanoribbon haul will make my wallet happy :)

In rFactor

Next to EVE Online this is my Main Squeeze #2. This is simply the best 40$ USD you can spend on a race game, and the amount of cars and tracks you can add to it is simply mind-boggling, and here's the stuff I got since the box upgrade. The cars: Formula BMW (my 4y old is getting there), F3 Euroseries, CART 1994-1995 (featuring JV's Indy 500 winning ride), Porsche Fabcar, Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 Challenge, and FSOne's brand new 2009 season. The tracks: Nordschleife 2007, Le Mans 1976-1984, Rouen-Les Essarts, Charade, Montreal 2008, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, UK Rally (oh the LOLZ!), F1 1988 track pack featuring the awesome Spa-Francorchamps, and a fantasy track set "somewhere in Switzerland" called Vitus Parc. I still need to download the amazing Grand Prix '79 mod with its track pack, and of course there is still much much more. For the hell of it my 4y old boy Leandre tried to drive the Gallardo on the Montreal track... let's just say I was happy the Lambo is virtual :))

Two years ago I posted a video on YouTube of my Nordschleife run in 5:52.246, but the 2009 F1 cars look like they will be able to destroy that. They may not have as much top speed as the 2007 car I used in the video, but they accelerate like Top Fuel dragsters and brake on a dime leaving 0.09$ change. It will take a lot of practice to get the timing right to brake as late as possible into the trickier parts of the Green Hell. Sorry if I sound obsessed by this track but it's simply the most beautiful and crazy racing track ever created by man. I have to try the real thing before I die.

In Flight Simulator 9

Because my new motherboard doesn't have any USB port issues like the old one, I was now able to reinstall my Saitek X52 joystick/throttle properly. The fun part will be to configure the thing the way I want to because there's just no such thing as flying a sim without having to even touch the keyboard. Of course, downloading aircraft and scenery for FS9 can become a full-time job because there is so much stuff to be found. Scenery-wise the only thing I got was a basic landclass package; no custom airports or terrain meshes yet. As for the aircraft I added so far: Saab Draken (goes like stink, turns like a city bus), BAE Hawk T1, Tu-144 Concordski, MiG-31 Firefox (the one from the Clint Eastwood movie, not the real MiG-31), North American F86 and X-15, and my all-time favorite, DSB's Eurofighter Typhoon. I know I downloaded more but I don't remember which ones, and I know there are TONS I need to get still.

The thing with FS9, or the newer FSX which I need to upgrade to at some point, is that the better add-ons cost money, and believe me they are not cheap. Someone serious about flying can litterally plow thousands of dollars into software alone. But the good thing is that one can make the plain stock FS9 a lot more realistic looking without putting a single penny into it, and once in a while the companies that make the good add-ons make their older stuff free. So it's very important to look around the various flight sim sites to be up to date on what's going on in the world of sims.


These are the main three games I play with some seriousness. I also reinstalled Mechwarrior4:Mercs and Dungeon & Dragons Online. I'm not really sure how long I'll stay in DDO; I really like fantasy settings but I prefer darker themes along the lines of Diablo, but Diablo III is still pretty far away. I really miss the humor-filled Dungeon Runners! So to anyone on DDO's Argonessen server: do you want my stuff? After I've downloaded the MWL maps for Mechwarrior4 I will surely play more of it though. The guys at Mektek are doing an awesome job at keeping this venerable franchise alive, and blowing shit up is never boring :)

In closing, back to EVE Online a bit. A few weeks ago we had recruited semi-celebrity Crazy Kinux, and this weekend we recruited one Lucky Cuss, refered to us by Arancia Detto, formerly of Clown Punchers. Sort of like the way I was when I joined BOZO, Lucky is a 1m SP pure noob who will be receiving The Mother of All Head Crammings in the near future. The good thing is he is asking a lot of questions and he's listening to the advice we're giving him. So with two new recruits the roam I was expecting to have on the crazy Downtime day will have to be done in the very near future not only to teach them the ways of The PvP, but also to make sure none of us veterans get rusty. And that about covers the news!

Until I see you on my overview, fly dangerous


1 comment:

Arrhidaeus said...

Oooo, I agree -- what I wouldn't give to get to do a few laps on the Nürburgring in, well, just about any Porsche would do (the shinier the better though).

My computer is on the verge of death as well though, so I'm thinking of hitting up EVE players for the inside scoop on building a new machine to get some second opinions.

Also, allegedly we're getting free SP that would be equivalent to the maximum SP possible to have earned with perfect skills/implants/remap over the entirety of the downtime, though it hasn't been confirmed yet.