Posted by: pswi60 | March 2, 2009

Killzone 2 control fix

I posted this on the official KZ2 forums here.

For those of you that know me, I am pro-ps3, but I’ve also played BioShock, Halo 3, Gears 1 +2 all on my multiple Xbox 360s. Thru some testing, this is what I found, and also a temporary solution that should work for anyone still having a problem, and those who don’t have any problems with the games controls.

Control / Controller Issues

Let me first say that I have been defending the controls in this game. I really don’t see a huge problem with them, and have gotten used to them and do fairly well, sitting at a 1.30 fragrate. I was at 1.48, however I wasn’t ready for the ranking up part and playing against shotty’s, snipers, turrets, drones, and rushers, so a 1.1 fragrate during that adjustment period brought it down.

Now, on to the issue at hand: part of the problem, I believe, is the ps3 controller itself, or more specifically the analog sticks. There is much more “travel” in the ps3 analog sticks when compared to the 360’s analog sticks.

From extreme left on the 360 and ps3 stick to the extreme right, we have about 60 degrees of “travel”. However, on the ps3 sticks, there is more distance between the circular edge of the stick and the middle, so there is more “travel” on the ps3 stick to move the same 60 degrees.

I have switched between Gears of War and Killzone 2 a few times comparing the controls, and to be honest they are very similar, however the 360 trigger is a touch more sensitive than the ps3 trigger, so in Gears you can just “tap” the trigger to fire, however in Killzone 2 you have to fully depress R1 in order to fire (again, more “travel” to accomplish the same goal).

I fully believe that it is this “travel” among the right stick and R1 (mostly the stick) that is frustrating most people. Especially in a game where you are constantly trying to adjust your aim, the fact that there is no sweetspot among the analog stick due to how much “travel” is involved can be frustrating, as these message boards have shown. I think the left stick is very responsive for this game when compared to the right stick, where it is easier to adjust your aim with the left stick than it is the right.

I don’t know if GG can program a solution for this, but I have found a solution that should work for most people, and having tried it myself, I will not go back because it has completely fixed this issue for me, even though I didn’t think there was an issue to begin with. Here is the solution I came up with:

analog stick mod

So, if you are getting frustrated with the controls, or just want a better feel, take a small rubber band and wrap it around the post of the right stick as I have done. You may want to use a larger or smaller rubber band, depending on how much “travel” you are comfortable with. Of course, you will have to play around with the sensitivity settings again because you have shortened the “travel” and may need to up the sensitivity a bit.Also, it would be nice if we could adjust the sensitivity on the fly during MP, because different maps require slight adjustments in the X/Y sensitivity.

And I also agree that the zoom button should be mappable. L1 makes it somewhat difficult to crouch and zoom, and R3 just makes the whole “travel” issue worse because of clicking and trying to aim/unclick, etc…R1 zoom and R2 firing with L1 crouch and L2 grenade would be awesome, in my opinion.

In light of everything I’ve said, I want to say to the developers, in the light on these minor problems, this is one of the best shooters I have ever played, and I’ve played a lot. I can see why some of the 360 crowd might be whining about this, because they are whiners anyway (teehee), but I do think what they are saying holds some truth, because they have been playing shooters for 3 years on the 360 relentlessly, so even though they can be juvenile, they know a thing or two about controls.

But again, awesome game, awesome job, awesome awesome awesome!!!!

I hope this helps those of you who are frustrated, don’t let something this simple keep you from playing this game or recommending it to your friends. I believe that GG will tweak this, so for now, get those rubber bands going and I’ll see you in the warzone!!!!

psn id: Gamer20

Posted by: pswi60 | January 6, 2009

Is the gaming media really biased?

Is the gaming media really biased? Welcome to the Killzone 2 Press Preview. Here, I will outline what we can expect from various web and magazine outlets and their subsequent review scores before and after Killzone 2 is released.

kz2cap2

For ps3 owners like myself, we have gotten used to ps3 exclusive games coming under extreme scrutiny from the media. The equation usually goes like this:

Ps3 exclusive game is in development. Various claims are made by websites stating things like “much needed game”, “will it save the ps3”, “can it finally sell systems” etc…this hype is generated BY the media, not by ps3 fanboys like myself. With Killzone 2, however, much has been made of the target render during E3 2005, and you can bet that almost every single review of this game will reference to that video; somehow having lofty goals isn’t an acceptable way to design a video game.

mgs4cap2

Next, ps3 owners get excited about the game because of all the media hype. We want the game to do well, so all the naysayers can finally shut their mouths and start giving some respect to the system. But that respect never comes. How many times have we heard “Haze and Lair”? These 2 names will be repeated throughout the life of the ps3 console, because the ps3 isn’t allowed to have bad games. Yet other systems like the Wii are praised for shovelware, while the Xbox can get by on half of the amount of exclusives due to monopolizing the market for a full year before the ps3 was released, giving reviewers nothing to compare these games with and gamers nothing else to buy. Are Gears and Halo bad games? NO, absolutely not. Do I think these games are as good as I once thought they were now that games like Warhawk, Drakes, and MGS4 are out? NO, absolutely not.

Anyways, so now the media has set up the trap: the hype has been made to the point that the game cannot possibly live up to it. The media has made a mockery out of the target render, giving 360 fanboys unlimited fodder to throw at the system. Take LittleBigPlanet for example. The media hyped this game, and they loved it. Yet somehow, because the game didn’t sell 8 million in its first day, the game has been labeled a flop.

little_big_planet1cap1

So here comes Killzone 2, scheduled for release at the end of February. If this game was a 360 exclusive, you can bet 9+ would be the average review of this game. Resistance 2 was labeled by IGN as a superior game to Gears 2, yet since R2 is a ps3 exclusive, it is held to a much harsher standard than Gears 2, even though the improvements over Resistance 1 were mind boggling, and the amount of online players in one match crushes that of Gears 2.

So now we get to the heart of the matter: what will happen to KZ2 right before and after it is released? Here is my prediction:

1 week to 10 days before release, IGN publishes their review. They will give the game a 93-97, stating top graphics and solid gameplay. During this time, other sites will be scrambling to release their own reviews, with each one scoring lower and lower, punishing the game for not being Halo, Gears, Bioshock, or some other iteration of FPS/TPS. Basically they will punish the game for being a ps3 exclusive. 1UP will give the game an 87. Variety will give it an 80. Eurogamer and Edge will give it a 79 and 75, respectively. Mind you, these estimates are high.

l4dcap4

Then, as a final nail in the coffin, Metacritic games’ editor Marc Doyle will allow some rogue sites that nobody has ever heard of to the overall Meta score of KZ2, ensuring that the ps3 still has no FPS exclusive above 90. Mr. Doyle commented that KZ2 will be the last game to allow user scores to be added before the game was released, citing that the game was added to Metacritic too early to avoid this problem. Why was this game added so early?

warhawkcap3

No matter what KZ2 goes on to sell, it won’t be enough. Now that ps3 games are eclipsing xbox 360 games for top scores, the argument has shifted to sales data. And if by chance, the game somehow were to surpass Halo 3 in sales, the argument would again change to something else totally unrelated to the quality of the game.

With millions of xbox 360 consoles defective this generation, somehow the splotlight has been put on the ps3. Ps3 owners are being treated to groundbreaking games in terms of graphics, gameplay, and online multiplay, not to mention user created content, and will be the first console to support a lifelike 3d user environment, yet it cannot get a pass from the media, not once.

pshome2-copy

If by some chance the ps3 pulls ahead this gen, the only thing Sony has to look forward to is another generation just like this one: the constant bashing of the PlayStation and its games. The sad reality is that there is a large amount of people, that truly want the PlayStation brand out of the console business.

Be careful of what you ask for, because you just might get it.

Related Articles:

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Game Reviews: Five Things that Need Changed NOW

Posted by: pswi60 | September 4, 2008

Debunking the Laser Blindness Myth

Recently, I was working on a playstation 2 that stopped reading discs. The ps2 was notorious for its lasers burning up or being out of alignment. So while reading a tutorial from arstechnica on how to realign the laser, there was a warning about looking at the laser. Here is a quote from that tutorial:

“During the repair of your Playstation 2, we’ll be taking the device apart. Most of the supports will be taken out, so be careful you don’t bend or break any of the connectors on the various ports or internally. We’ll also be taking apart the loading tray. This includes a Class 1 laser, which can blind you. The easiest precaution is to make sure your PS2 is left off when the disc tray is open.

Now, this wouldn’t be an issue, had I not caught myself staring into the red ps2 laser after I had made adjustments to it. I was mesmerized by the laser moving up and down trying to read the disc. After I caught myself doing it, and realized I had been staring into the laser, my first thought was I was probably going to be blind.

Being a hypochondriac already, I instantly searched the internet for anything I could find about lasers, specifically the ps2 laser and how powerful it is. What I found though was rather interesting: lasers, especially those installed in home electronics, are not as dangerous as people think. Here is a breakdown of the amount of exposure you can receive from each class of laser from the University of Kentucky:

  • Class I lasers are low powered devices that are considered safe from all potential hazards. Some examples of Class I laser use are: laser printers, CD players, CD ROM devices, geological survey equipment and laboratory analytical equipment. No individual, regardless of exposure conditions to the eyes or skin, would be expected to be injured by a Class I laser. No safety requirements are needed to use Class I laser devices.
  • Class II lasers are low power (< 1mW), visible light lasers that could possibly cause damage to a person’s eyes. Some examples of Class II laser use are: classroom demonstrations, laser pointers, aiming devices and range finding equipment. If class II laser beams are directly viewed for long periods of time (i.e. > 15 minutes) damage to the eyes could result. Avoid looking into a Class II laser beam or pointing a Class II laser beam into another person’s eyes. Avoid viewing Class II laser beams with telescopic devices. Realize that the bright light of a Class II laser beam into your eyes will cause a normal reaction to look away or close your eyes. This response is expected to protect you from Class II laser damage to the eyes.

  • Class IIIa lasers are continuous wave, intermediate power (1-5 mW) devices. Some examples of Class IIIa laser uses are the same as Class II lasers with the most popular uses being laser pointers and laser scanners. Direct viewing of the Class IIIa laser beam could be hazardous to the eyes. Do not view the Class IIIa laser beam directly. Do not point a Class IIIa laser beam into another persons eyes. Do not view a Class IIIa laser beam with telescopic devices; this amplifies the problem.
  • Class IIIb lasers are intermediate power (c.w. 5-500 mW or pulsed 10 J/cm²) devices. Some examples of Class IIIb laser uses are spectrometry, stereolithography, and entertainment light shows. Direct viewing of the Class IIIb laser beam is hazardous to the eye and diffuse reflections of the beam can also be hazardous to the eye. Do not view the Class IIIb laser beam directly. Do not view a Class IIIb laser beam with telescopic devices; this amplifies the problem. Whenever occupying a laser controlled area, wear the proper eye protection. Refer to the University of Kentucky Laser Safety Manual for complete instructions on the safety requirements for Class IIIb laser use.
  • Class IV lasers are high power (c.w. >500mW or pulsed >10J/cm²) devices. Some examples of Class IV laser use are surgery, research, drilling, cutting, welding, and micromachining. The direct beam and diffuse reflections from Class IV lasers are hazardous to the eyes and skin. Class IV laser devices can also be a fire hazard depending on the reaction of the target when struck. Much greater controls are required to ensure the safe operation of this class of laser devices. Whenever occupying a laser controlled area, wear the proper eye protection. Most laser eye injuries occur from reflected beams of class IV laser light, so keep all reflective materials away from the beam. Do not place your hand or any other body part into the class IV laser beam. The pain and smell of burned flesh will let you know if this happens. Realize the dangers involved in the use of Class IV lasers and please use common sense. Refer to the University of Kentucky Laser Safety Manual for complete instructions on the safety requirements for Class IV laser use.

So there you have it….if you are working on any type of video game console, which is typical these days, you should be aware of the risks, but also know that the risks for these types of devices are generally low. As long as you are not deliberately looking into the laser despite your eyes desperately wanting to blink, you should have nothing to worry about. Looking into a laser of this type (typically Class 2 or less for all consoles) it may cause temporary blind spots, but so will looking at most bright lights or the sun. Just listen to your eyes and you should be good to go.

Happy Modding!!!

Posted by: pswi60 | April 9, 2008

PS3 Repair Log

Here is a log of the repair process of my ps3. This post can also be viewed on the official ps3 forums at http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=ps3&thread.id=2749209 page 19.

So far the process has been smooth.

My system is a launch 60gb ps3 purchased on 12/27/06. Last month during a long session of Oblivion, the screen started turning different colors (mostly green and purple) and then the system would freeze, requiring a hard reset. The system was extremely hot, more hot than it had ever been previous to this time. Thinking that maybe I had just been playing too long, I turned the system off for over an hour, and within 5 minutes of starting the ps3 back up and running a game, the same thing would happen.

Being the tech savvy individual I am, and knowing my system was out of warrant, I decided to take the ps3 apart to see if the thermal paste on the gpu/cpu was sufficient. Of course, like all mass manufactured consoles, it wasn’t, so I scraped the old stuff off and applied new thermal paste. A shame because the ps3 cooling system is massive, and not evenly distributing the thermal paste effectively nullifies the large heatsinks, heatpipes, and fan.

Anyway it was still overheating at that point, so the damage was already done. Called Sony support the next day, and could not speak to anyone due to the high volume of demand for support of Sony products. Called back the next day and spoke with a rep who asked a few simple questions and gave me a reference number. Got my coffin in a couple days and boxed up the ps3 according to the included instructions.

The tracking number given to me by uPS, upon dropping off the ps3 to thier ship facility, states that my ps3 was received in Texas on 04/03/2008 at 9:23 A.M. by GONZALEZ. Upon entering my service request number into the playstation.com repair tracking link reveals this message:

Service Request #: 1-15441xxxx Status Date: Saturday, April 05, 2008 Status: Due to high demand, your unit is currently on backorder. The quoted turn-around-time for product exchange through our PlayStation(R) Exchange Center (PEC) is approximately 7-15 business days from the time we receive your unit, not including shipping and handling time. Due to the current backlog the turn-around-time may exceed the quoted 7-15 business days. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.

So this about sums it up, I am getting my ps3 replaced for $150 which isn’t bad at all. On a side note, I picked up a 40gb ps3 at wal-mart to have while my unit is getting repaired, because wal-mart has a 90 day return policy on ps3’s so I will be able to return the 40gb and get a full refund once my 60gb comes back.

Time breakdown:

3/16/08 – Console failed
3/17/08 – Took apart, applied thermal paste to cell/rsx
3/18/08 – Called support, got call back later message
3/19/08 – Got ahold of support, got reference number. Didn’t have hold funds in bank, told rep I would call back next week on payday
3/26/08 – Called Sony support, confirmed replacement offer, gave cc info.
3/31/08 – Received coffin with prepaid label & instructions
4/02/08 – Dropped ps3 off at UPS
4/03/08 – ps3 arrived at repair facility
4/05/08 – replacement of unit is pending backorder

Total time so far – 20 days, 7 of which was my fault for being broke =(

*UPDATE 9/28/08*

I received my ps3 back from repair approx. 27 days after it was sent out.  The unit I received back from repair had a sticker on the side claiming it has passed QC. It has now been several months since I received that unit back from Sony and it is still going strong. I played thru MGS4 over the course of 3 days, and now have several hour sessions with PAIN and folding@home without so much as a lockup. So it appears that the unit they sent me is gonna hold up for some time.

I just wanted to pass this info along to anyone who may be interested.

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