May 28

NightSky Backlog – #4

 

Nightsky - 1

A relaxing, beautiful looking game with impressive level design

Starting this challenge was a great idea, I’ve played a few games now that I wouldn’t have glanced at before because I’ve been too busy playing the latest open world survival or AAA title. It’s fun!

NightSky is a simple platform game where you roll about as a ball, trying to get to the end of the level. Easy right?

It starts of simple, bouncing over a bumpy floor, flying off to the side of the screen, but progressively gets more technical and introduces physics challenges which are always fun to beat.

Nightsky - 2

Mechanical rolling flipper carts!

The level design is great, it takes advantage of the physics of being a rolling ball and throws you in mechanised vehicles, forcing you to rethink how you are controlling the character. It ends up as being a challenging, peaceful little puzzle game.

Nightsky - 3

The art style is lovely too, the contrasting colours doesn’t take anything away from how good it looks; very crisp and edgy, which build directly into the level design, giving you a seamless world for you to roll around in. The music

May 24

SkyDrift – Backlog #2

SkyDrift - Complete

SkyDrift – It’s like pod racing, except your a plane.

 

The second game of the backlog challenge is complete. SkyDrift is an action racer where you fly planes of various different stats and race around a course, picking up power ups to destroy your competitors and fly your way to first place.

SkyDrift looks to be quite a polished casual racer, the graphics look nice, the effects work great to give you a real sense of speed and the controls work fluidly as you slice in between two cliff faces to pick up a power up. But it’s not without its shortcomings; there is only about 4-5 different race tracks, along with 3 modes, a sprint race with  power up rings which increase your speed. A normal race with power ups and a survival race where the person in last place is destroyed every 30 seconds or so. SkyDrift - Podracing!

Despite all this, SkyDrift was pretty fun, though I did get bored of the same map over and over again during the campaign, that may be the fault of completing the game in the one sitting.

Onward to the next game in the challenge!

SkyDrift - Heated

May 19

VVVVVV – Backlog #1

VVVVVV – My first backlog game complete!

VVVVVV Complete

One down a bazillion to go!

Did I pick a first game to tackle or what? VVVVVV is one of those Nintendo-hard games that somehow makes you relive the same death over and over again until finally, though luck or good timing, you dodge some spikes and combo-flip yourself to victory!

I went into VVVVVV not knowing what to expect to be honest. I think I picked it up in a humble bundle somewhere.. and it has been sitting in my library for who knows how long. As part of the backlog challenge I picked a short looking game for the evening, installed it and dove in.

The story revolves around a crew being teleported into some strange dimension and scattered across the map, your job as captain is to flip gravity and fall to their rescue. One of the biggest positives about it was the sound track! The music throughout the game keeps you going makes you feel epic when your flipping over spikes and lasers to save your buddies. The game is so simple to control, Analogue to move, A to flip gravity and cause the Captain to fall up or down in order to traverse the weird dimension and survive the traps setup to slow you down.

Checkpoint, flip, die, checkpoint, flip, die..

I admit I got frustrated at some points where the level was beating me, its easy to pick up but oh man can be difficult, as can be seen by my 776 deaths above.

Looking at the Steam reviews most people recommend you stay calm and don’t get too agitated or it will just get worse. Good timings and hand eye coordination are a must to keep the pace up on this fun little game.

VVVVVV - Start

What do you think about VVVVVV? Leave a comment below!

Let me know what game I should play next in my backlog!

 

May 18

Steam Backlog Challenge

Steam BackLog
A backlog of Steam games; an ultimate first world problem.

I’ve attempted to break my steam backlog a few times now. Unfortunately it ends up breaking me and I go back to whatever recently multiplayer purchase me and my friends are currently on.

Too much time is spent trying to rank up in online games and compete in the repetitive cycle of Minecraft or Rust. I feel like I’m missing out on some great games I picked up in sales that I’ve never got round to even booting up. Things like Mass Effect or Dead Space, even the whole Bioshock series have gone unplayed in the vast backlog of steam games.

This time though, I tell myself it will be different! With my current count showing around 200 games which still need to be completed and with some motivation, I will be push through and experience all of these wonderful works of art!

Categories

The Challenge

 

With the help of howlongtobeat.com and some rapid gaming, I aim to get through a good number of the games on my list. With each completion I will review the game with my overall feelings and key take-aways from the game.

Some games will be easy, only requiring a few hours to complete the main story.  Others however, will take much longer, beasts like Dragon Age and The Witcher series will certainly take me a lot longer.

The main thing is to not constantly add the backlog. I’ve backed away from some of the recent humble bundle deals, realising I never get round to playing them. My most recent purchase was The Talos Principle DLC: Road To Gehenna, which has been a fantastic challenge so far.  I’ve made a point to complete games I immediate buy, but then I always go back to the tried and true multiplayer games.

Lets see how it goes! Look forward to posts and reviews about AAA games that have been around for years and obscure indie games picked up from sales all-round.

 

May 07

Come join our new servers!

Saor-Gaming Servers

Hello everyone!

Our server is now in the data centre. I’ve been working hard setting up some of the most popular games for us to  play on.

Everything appears to be working fine 🙂

We have dedicated hardware at our disposal to set up new game servers and add resources to our current ones if needed.

Some of the servers are up and running, however others, though playable, some still need some configuration, like Gmod, L4D2 and Minecraft.

Otherwise, Rust, Space Engineers and TF2 are more or less ready to go!

We also have a 32 slot teamspeak server, but as time progresses we may upgrade and request a community license to increase it up to 512 slots.

Check them out!

Garrysmod 20 slot build server
185.141.204.242:27015

TeamFortress 2 Classic Map Cycle
185.141.204.242:27016

Left 4 Dead 2
185.141.204.242:27017

Minecraft 50 slot Survival
185.141.204.242:25565

Rust 100 slot Survival
185.141.204.242:28015

Space engineers
185.141.204.242:27026

Teamspeak
185.141.204.242:9987

Apr 18

iPega 9055 Bluetooth Controller

iPega 9055 Bluetooth Controller

For mobile gaming on the go!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m a big fan of mobile gaming, I love playing games on my Oneplus One, its especially awesome being able to play retro games on the go.

One of my gripes though is a lot of the controllers you get these days are small – for means of being portable and I have quite big hands. This makes gripping onto small controllers a pain, squishing your thumbs down to reach the buttons or analogue stick makes gaming even on a short train journey feel like a waste.

Finally, a controller for man hands, the iPega 9055!

The controller is a telescopic style game pad with your standard array of controller buttons, DPad,  shoulder buttons and triggers.

The 9055 accommodates phones and phablets up to 5.6inch. One good feature is that it collapses small enough that it also supports most phones in portrait, as well as horizontally, which makes playing Nintendo DS emulator games such a breeze!

Easy to reach glassy, clicky buttons, what’s not to like?

This controller wasn’t available from any UK sellers I could find. So I ordered it from dx.com for £20.

Get it here!

It took a while to get to the UK until its stocked by UK sellers that’s the way these things go.

The build quality of this controller is solid. It feels sturdy and professionally made. The controller sports a rubberised grip on the handles, which also extend just over a centimetre to give your hands something more to grab onto.

The dpad is one of the better ones I’ve found in mobile controllers, though it lacks diagonal movement, the arrows have great feedback and make a nice “click” when depressed.

The X Y B A buttons follow suit, the feedback is great and the glassy effect looks awesome. They are in an easy to reach position on the controller, they could of probably made a smaller version just with the dpad and X Y B A buttons for some good ol’ NES gaming.

The analogue sticks don’t feel like Xbone or PS4 sticks, but in no way is that a bad thing. The analogue sticks are response, yet stiff enough to allow you to control delicate movements.

Finally, the R2/L2 triggers are actual analogue triggers, which is good as some games require them to be. R1/R2 are nice wide buttons which lack the distinct click the dpad has. They are angled downwards off the controller, sometimes its not obvious if the button press has registered.

It supports IOS and Android!

I tested the controller with my Android Oneplus One, it was really easy to connect it via Bluetooth. All you need to do is flick a little slider switch on the side of the controller to the Android mode, then hold the Home button for 3 seconds to put it into pairing mode.

It connected first time to my phone after enabling Bluetooth and selecting the iPega 9055.

There is even a nice little battery indicator button which when pressed lights up four LEDs indicating the battery charge.

You can also connect this controller to your Windows PC using a micro USB cable or even through Bluetooth. It natively works out the box. I was able to play GTA V with no problems using it.

 

 

Apr 11

Multi-OS bootable USB

How to create a Multi-OS bootable USB drive

 

This guide will show you how to simplify things by creating a Multi-OS USB drive which can store multiple operating systems and diagnostic tools which you can plug into just about any machine and boot.

There always comes a time where you need to wipe Windows and start over, or install an OS on a new gaming build. Gone are the days of  multiple CDs or DVDs laying in a drawer somewhere with OS names scrawled on them.

 

What do you need?

 

  • A USB drive with 8GB storage or more, depending on how many ISOs you need.
  • A couple of Linux and/or Windows ISOs
  • A Windows PC to install the software
  • Software to allow multiboot  solutions

 

Preparing the USB Flash drive

iBoutique 128GB Flash Drive

iBoutique 128GB Flash Drive

Even though we stated a USB Flash drive is required, it’s not limited to flash drives; portable hard drives can be used just as well.

The flash drive I’m using is an iBoutique 128GB USB 3 drive, a great drive that has been very useful for many things, such as transferring Steam game files to my friends PCs to save them downloading the files, all they need to do is verify them! (Another guide will go indepth on this)

The latest version of this particular drive can be found here:
iBoutique IB128GUSB3 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Please make sure you have backed up any data on your flash drive, as it will get wiped!

First we need to download two pieces of software:

 

Formatting the USB drive

Install RMPrepUSB and launch it. You will be presented with a screen with many configuration options.

The ones we are interested in are selected in the image below. Make sure the correct drive is appearing in the selection list at the top. In our case its our iBoutique Drive, which comes up as Innostor.

Set the configuration as follows:

  1. Partition Size = MAX
  2. Volume Label = Anything you like, we went with Multi-OS
  3. Bootloader Options = WinPEv2/WinPEv3/Vista/Win7 Bootable [BOOTMGR] (CC4)
  4. Filesystem and overrides = FAT32 & Boot as HDD checked
  5. Leave section 5 for now.
RMPrepUSB

RMPrepUSB Configuration Screen

 

Next, click Prepare Drive.

This will format your usb drive and prepare its Master Boot Record (MBR) so it is bootable.

Click OK on the popup to begin formatting the drive. It will give you a final warning that all data will be wiped, so please make sure you backed up your data! Otherwise cancel and do it now.

Prepare DriveFormatting

Once it is complete you will be returned to the configuration screen.

 

Installing a bootmanager – Grub4DOS

 

Within RMPrepUSB, with your flash drive still plugged in, select Install grub4dos.

A window will pop up asking you to install it to the MBR or the PBR, we will be installing it to both for maximum compatability.
Click Yes the first time to install it to the MBR, follow through the onscreen prompts.

Once it is complete, select Install grub4dos again, but this time click No so it also installs to the PBR.

 

Installing the Easy2Boot Files

The next part is the easiest  thing to do, remember those East2Boot files we downloaded? All you need to do now is extract them to your USB drive, or extract then copy them over.

Extract Easy2Boot

Easy right?

 

Adding the ISOs

Instead of only having one ISO available on a USB drive or having many CDs/DVDs burnt with the images, we’re going to add multiple ISO images to our drive which will be accessible through Easy2Boot.

Open up your USB Drive in Windows Explorer and browser to the _ISO folder.

ISO files

Within this directory we can add as many ISO files are our drive allows us space wise. There is a lot of configuration that can be done with Easy2Boot, but for this tutorial we will keep thing simple.

We want to add a couple of Windows ISOs and a few Linux distros. This will make things easier when repairing Saor members computers or upgrading our PCs!

The folder structure is self explanatory, there are folders for Windows, Linux, Utilities, WINPE, Backup, DOS and Antivirus, with the exception of the Windows directory, all we need to do for the other directories is copy over our ISO files.

 

Let start with Linux. I have downloaded from debian.org a Debian Live AMD64 Standard ISO and a Net Install ISO.

First, navigate to

USB://_ISO/LINUX/

Then copy over your .ISO files.

Linux ISOs

The same sort of method goes for Windows files.

Navigate to USB://_ISO/WINDOWS

Next navigate to the folder which matches the version of the OS you are copying over.

For instance to install Windows 10, navigate to the WIN10 directory and copy over your ISO.

 

Windows ISOs

 

 

 

Testing our Multi-OS USB

RMPrepUSB makes testing really easy, within the application you can press F11 or click Test using QEMU Emulator. This will boot an emulator and boot to your USB drive, allowing you to select your ISOs and launch them. I had trouble launching QEMU with the default RAM allocation, I dropped it down to 1024MB and it happily booted.QEMU MenuWe can now navigate to the Linux Menu, using the arrow keys and Enter to select a menu item. Lets check our Debian ISOs!

 

QEMU Debian

Yup both are there, lets try booting to the Debian Live ISO, select the image with the Enter key. The ISO booted, but we could not launch the Live CD as it was for an AMD64 architecture, QEMU only emulates an i686 CPU.

QEMU Debian i686

 

Finally lets check the Windows 10 ISO in the Windows Install Menu and boot to it.

QEMU - Windows

QEMU - Windows fail

 

Again Windows 10 booted fine, but failed the install because its the x64 version of the ISO. QEMU is good for testing the USB stick boots, but the ISO itself still needs to be run on a supported platform.

 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, let me know if it was helpful in the comments and any questions you have!

 

– Wully

 

 

» Newer posts