I am kaitco

a writer's log

Why, Despite 250+ Steam Games, I’m Returning to Consoles Sunday, September 24, 2017

Filed under: Gaming — kaitco @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

As I sit typing, I’m waiting to re-download Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. I’ve got another 11 minutes to go. You’ll notice that I’m RE-downloading KotOR from Steam.

Earlier this weekend, I finished another Mass Effect playthrough on Xbox 360 and decided that I should go back through my game library to play something else before attempting another Mass Effect run. I chose KotOR because of the acclaim and the fact that Drew Karpyshyn seemingly can do no wrong.

I’d bought KotOR for original Xbox eons ago and I, literally, dusted off the disk to see if it would even play on Xbox 360 years and years after the original backwards compatibility for the game was announced. Though the game doesn’t play in Widescreen, I began exploring Taris and was having some fun getting into the game until I died and decided to take a break.

The smaller screen was getting on my nerves, and it’s usually within that first game death that I find myself “taking breaks” in games, not to return for another five years. After research advised that there was no way to “stretch” the image on KotOR for Xbox, I recalled that I’d purchased the game on Steam during either a Steam sale or a Humble Bundle. Whichever it was, the fact that I had a physical copy of the game was not enough to combat some minimal price tag for PC (I have the game on iOS as well, but that’s for another post). I imagined that I could get the game to play in widescreen and play a lot better and also easier through Steam than through playing on Xbox. This is where troubles of epic gaming proportions began.

After 20 minutes of downloading the game through Steam, I started up the game with my Xbox for PC controller and tried to see what the game looked like. Not only did the game not appear in widescreen, it was instead a tiny box in the middle of my 1920×1200 resolution. If that was not bad enough, the game would not run. No matter what I did, none of the options would select, even though I could see the mouse moving.

I unplugged my Xbox controller, restarted my laptop, and tried again under the tried and true troubleshooting method of “turn it off and try again”. I restarted the game sans controller, and still nothing; tiny screen and nothing would click.

I think most people would have probably quit at this point and just returned to the game on the Xbox, but I refused to be daunted. Whether I spent $2 or $10 on the game through Steam, there was no way I’d have a game that I couldn’t play. Many, many, MANY searches later, I learned that the game would only run and register the mouse clicks by turning off Steam overlays and still running directly from the executable. To get the image to display at widescreen, I had to download Flawless Widescreen and then I still needed to finagle with the .ini file settings to make sure the mouse pointed correctly. I haven’t attempted to run the Xbox for PC controller yet, but that, too, requires Pinnacle Profiler, which I’d purchased years earlier for an equally irritating PC gaming adventure. About 72 hours after first sitting down with the intention to play the game, I think I’ve finally got the game moderately running the way I’d like.

With the Xbox One X coming in just a few months, I’ve been contemplating where my next steps with gaming will go. I’ve got 250 games in Steam (about 5 of those are probably games that are just Steam shortcuts), yet out of all those titles, I’ve only played 6% of those and even out of that 6%, the majority of the time in Steam has been spent in either Civilization 5 or Banished. It makes more sense for me to continue pursuing PC gaming as you can always do more with PC games than you ever could with console games (modding, textures, etc.), and I’ve also got 250 games waiting to be played. The massive library notwithstanding, the new Xbox is calling me for the simple fact that it is highly unlikely that I’ll need to go through all the above steps just to get a game to run.

With Xbox specifically offering backwards compatibility for Xbox, 360, and One games, my last major rationale for staying with PC gaming is slowly failing. With consoles, you put in the disc, download whatever is necessary, and off you go. With PC games, it’s a matter of ensuring both OS and graphics card updates haven’t disrupted the game, working all kinds of magic to make a console controller on the PC, and then using every digital gymnastics trick in the book to make the visuals what they ought to be.

I should have gone into PC gaming with a little better understanding. I’ve been playing The Sims 2 since 2004 and a fair bit of the “fun” of the game is troubleshooting why the game isn’t working. Obviously these problems are less likely to exist with newer games, but my gaming preferences keep pushing me towards consoles.

Outside of games like Civ 5 that are specifically made for PCs, I really prefer a console controller to trying to use a keyboard. WSAD is never going to connect in my mind; even my Minecraft controls are switched to FVDC instead of WSAD and that’s just not conducive to more complex gaming.

I’m also a “patient gamer” in that I like playing older games more than brand new games. Part of this is because most games these days are all about microtransactions and multiplayer, which is a completely different rant in itself, but with older games, the same problems I’ve experienced with KotOR, I’ll likely see in other older games as well. This is going to be ongoing problem as OSes and graphics cards get sporadic updates. Then…that Xbox One X starts to beckon me more and more.

I’ve got a decent 360 library that will all be playable on the One X and, though I’ve repurchased a fair amount of those games for Steam, I’m a little apprehensive about repeating my same KotOR experience.

The game has now downloaded and I’m ready to try again with KotOR for PC, but I still worry that there’s a good chance that I’ll slowly abandon all 250+ Steam games in favor of a system that just lets me sit down and play.

 

Addendum: I can’t decide on key bindings that fit my hands best. After keeping up the keyboard controls on another PC screen to reference as I play for several minutes, I’ve decided to give up and return to KotOR on Xbox…

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Dorienne, the gamer Saturday, July 22, 2017

Filed under: Gaming,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , ,

From blog.doriennesmith.com/:

Something fascinating occurred over the last few months: I’ve finally decided to fully acknowledge that I’m a gamer, instead of someone who sometimes plays games.

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes has taken up a huge part of my time lately. Not just the game itself, or my alt account, but planning for it and researching for it, interacting with my guild members, and recently, writing about it. I’m writing about it on Gaming-fans.com, which is one of the first times I’ve written for someone else. I really enjoy writing reviews and such for GoH on the whole, partly because I enjoy the game, but mainly because I love writing about the game.

My gaming is really disjointed, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it from every aspect. I keep buying games like some people collect Lego sets. I had a somewhat sizeable Xbox 360 library, but then discovered Steam Sales and Humble Bundles and decided to switch to PC-gaming, which required re-purchasing (albeit for pennies on the dollar) a bunch of games and trying to play them in a different environment. That said, I’ve got 252 games in my Steam library and I’ve only played through 6% of them.

I usually end up restarting games half the time because I take such long breaks in-between them and tend to jump from game to game. Finishing Mass Effect for the first time really brought this home. Four years elapsed between the time I first attempted ME1 and eventually finished a complete playthrough, but once I got fully engaged in the game, I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. I loved every part of following my Shepard as she commanded the Normandy, befriended various aliens, and fell in love as she saved the galaxy and in playing Mass Effect and discovering its Reddit community, I finally realized that this is a media that I’ve long-since adored.

Regardless if I own a game and it’s just chilling in my Steam library or gathering dust beside the Xbox or I’m simply curious about it, I love reading reading reviews from professional critics and players alike and researching all the furor or glee about every release or console.

While every minute spent gaming is a minute not spent working on Flight or Damen or Anne or any of the other million projects I’ve got pending, with the way first-job has been stressing and depressing me, sometimes all I can do to keep my sanity is engage in interactive stories by playing, writing, or reading about them.

Whether it’s my 13-year-old Sims 2 game that still going and going until modders can’t get it to run on modern OSes anymore, or just discovering which of the latest games can hold my attention best, I’m a gamer. I’m involved.

Part of me wants to link this into all my other hobbies by thinking that eventually I’d like to write my own game, but I think it might be best to let gaming live on its own. Gaming can live beside writing and even occasionally intertwine, but there’s no need to force myself to start a new project like writing a game…at least not until I’ve made a dent in my Steam library.

 

My posts this year are analogous to 2016… Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 2:18 pm
Tags: , ,

…a barren wasteland of nothingness.

I could make a post just about Carrie Fisher…in fact, let’s start there.

Carrie Fisher passed away today. She had a heart attack on Friday, spent Christmas essentially on life support, and passed today at the age of 60. I’ve spent the last hour crying.

I didn’t know this woman. I didn’t know her friends, her family, favorite cities. I didn’t even know who her mother was until earlier this year. I have no reason to be in this much pain, but I am. Someone on reddit made me feel a tiny bit better. On the whole, however, my heart aches. It started aching on Friday, my whole body was tense across the weekend, and now the lacrimal floodgates have been opened.

Outside of Star Wars, I’d only seen her in When Harry Met Sally and, while at least one of her books has been on my To-Read list for ages, I’d never got around to it. I can’t say that I was some diehard Carrie Fisher fan, but still…I first watched Star Wars on VHS when I was about 11 and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in my life. What I loved most about was Princess Leia; a girl with big brown eyes and tons of sass, who carried the title of Princess. A young girl could hardly ask for more!

As I got older, I never found myself half-stalking her actions and film work the way I do with say, Gillian Anderson, but I knew she was writing and she was still there. This changed last year, when I got to experience the awe and wonder of watching a set of actors take up roles some 30 years after first portraying them. Offhand I can’t think of any other set of films or TV where this has occurred and I’ve spent much of this year intrigued by this and especially by Ms. Fisher. I don’t follow many celebrities on Twitter (I’ve followed Mark Hamill since Friday though because he’s good fun), but I was amused by her tweets that somehow found their way into my social media and I was wholly engrossed by how much of an advocate she has been for tearing down the stigmas of mental illness and also how she managed to take on all of her critics who complained about her looks, as if a woman is expected to look in her late 50s the way she did at 19. This year, especially, I had grown to really respect and admire Carrie Fisher, so hear that she had suffered a heart attack and then to hear that she had passed – my newly admired celebrity, my favorite princess since age 11 – this news is heartbreaking.

I think what aches the most is not just the loss of a celebrity I was gaining a newfound love for (seriously, not a month ago, I was thinking that I needed to follow more Twitter celebs and I should probably start with Carrie Fisher), but the fact that she was 60 years old. I understand that she had struggled with drug abuse her whole adult life and most abusers don’t usually live to a ripe old age, but I still see 60 as young. Perhaps, it’s because my parents are at this same age. Both dad and step-dad are 60 and mother isn’t far behind. Ms. Fisher leaves behind a daughter not much younger than myself. Her death, unlike that of David Bowie or Alan Rickman, hits home so much harder because she’s woman I felt I’d known since childhood and now she’s gone. The loss serves as a reminder that life is short and impermanent and that every moment must be cherished because we’ll never known which is our last.

This year has seemed so awful in so many respects, so I suppose this is a fitting way to close it. On a more personal level, I’ve allowed first-job to come before so many things that I’ve drifted from my church, regained all the weight I’d lost the previous year, I’ve watched my family suffer through medical setbacks and suffered through a couple of my own, and I have wallowed in a hole of depression so deep for so much of the year I half wonder if some of today’s tears aren’t just Ms. Fisher, but for just the year as a whole.

Next year will be better, I tell myself. I will write more, I will read more (starting with any Princess Leia-focused Star Wars book in creation, both canon and non, and then I’ll write one if I can’t find anything else that I want), I’ll attend church more, I’ll pray more, I’ll call relatives more. I’ll be a better daughter, cousin, niece, faux-sister, a better person. If I keep telling myself that next year will be better, maybe…just maybe, it will be.

And, so…some of Yoda’s words to help get me through the rest of this day, “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.”

 

May the Fourth Be with You, Always Saturday, May 4, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 9:11 pm
Tags: , ,

Happy Star Wars Day!

Or Cinco de Mayo Eve, if that suits you better…

I got very little accomplished yesterday. I’d say that I’d needed a break, but given that I’ve been “breaking” for most of the year, I won’t give myself much credit.

I think I may have got about 4 lines done in my Chapter Details and made a tiny change to the actual text yesterday. Not a huge accomplishment, but as I’ve been saying here for years: Some is better than none at all.

I’m not sure if I’ll get much done since Sundays are usually difficult between church and working this night shift, but hopefully, I’ll have more to say tomorrow than half-garbled, half-asleep posts via Siri.

Onward and upward, and May the Fourth be with you!

 

May the 4th be with you…always Friday, May 4, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 12:27 pm
Tags: ,

It’s been May for four days now (Happy Star Wars Day, btw!) and I’ve started and deleted three different posts for this blog. This week has been the proverbial rollercoaster in terms of my writing moods and indecisiveness definitely clouded all of them.

Twice this week, I’ve come close to just giving up on the novel…if you can imagine that. It’s like running all but the last five steps of a marathon and the lying down to take a nap in the middle of street just in front of the finish line.

Fears of inadequacy have been plaguing me; What if this doesn’t make sense? What if no one finds this interesting? Is this interesting? What if I ruin the whole concept? What if I’m no good at writing? What if I can’t follow through on any of these ideas? What am I going to do with my life? What’s the purpose of this life? Have I really just wasted the last 4 years of my life with this? Am I pushing for nothing? Can I even sell a book like this? What if people hate me for it? What if people try to emulate what they read in it? What happens if nothing comes of it at all? What if I’ll never figure out how to make these last chapters work properly?

…this has been my week. Needless to say, it’s not been a very productive writing week as it’s difficult to create when all these questions and doubts are running through your mind at full speed.

I am better today though. Despite the upheavals at first-job, I am better and regardless of my fears, I will still write on this May the 4th. I’m beginning to think that all writers (would-be, aspiring or successful) go through these same thoughts…I just wish there was a list somewhere of how to counter all of this.

I know the bible says that worry is a sin itself, but it’s such an easy one and whether it’s just devil whispering in my ear or these troubles are unfounded, I still worry about my future.

 

The second week Sunday, May 22, 2011

This marks the second week I’ve not gone to church. I’m trying not to be troubled by the ease with which it has become so easy not to attend. To simply lay in the bed until 11 and then rise and say, “Oop…Well, I’ll never make it now. I guess I’ll just go next week…”

Anyway, I’ve done an obscene amount of gaming today; Green Day Rock Band and The Force Unleashed (again) to name the ones encompassing the majority of my time. It was speaking with someone the other day about games and how un-gamerlike I am by playing multiple games at one time and then never actually finishing them because I move between them so often that I can’t keep my attention on any specific one for any amount of time. One day, I’d very much like to complete a game to 100% of its achievements, but I’m really a terrible gamer since I’ve still not finished Final Fantasy X and seem forever stuck on the second round with Seymour.

All this gaming, however, has got me wondering for what I’m compensating when I play. There are a great many things I could have accomplished today, but didn’t because I was playing Rock Band and Star Wars games. I got to see my Bumby again, but outside of that, very little got accomplished. Oh well…I suppose I’ll complain about all this wasted time on my death bed…

I did manage to write 487 words tonight (her rhetorical question about his plane ticket) and I’ve decided that I’m not going to stress about word count any longer. If the first full draft of the novel is 300K words, then it is what it is and that’s why it’s called a first draft. If I try to pare down anything, I’ll end up telling my way through the novel when there is so many wonderful things I could show.

 

Uneventful Saturday, May 21, 2011

The world didn’t end today. Phoo…I was looking forward to a little looting, given that I didn’t make it to church last week, thus would not be fit for instant calling home.

Once again, I’ve got nothing significant to say other than I’m going to do everything in my power to start playing games all the way through to completion before I move onto another one. I haven’t got any games currently on pre-order so I think I can go another year before I buy another one and I now have a sizable pile of games that I’ve bought, but either haven’t started or in which I’ve only made a wee bit of headway. I’m thinking I may start with The Force Unleashed or Lego Star Wars Complete or maybe just continue with Green Day Rock Band since that is my latest purchase along with Lego Rock Band. Darn, these urges!

I wrote a measly 257 words tonight (if they could not keep quiet.), but considering I really didn’t have much to say tonight, I think I did quite well.

 

 
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