Category: Tech & Gadgets

Serious Sams  – More Serious Shots!

Seeing as how you liked the first batch so much… We’re well chuffed, us. It seems that loads of you were mad for our collection of Serious Sam screenshots, especially when you worked out that they were from a preview alpha and not from the test version.

So, we’ve decided to pass on a few more to keep you going until next week’s preview. Not that many, mind you; we don’t want to spoil the game for anyone, and we don’t want to engulf you in a tide of screenshot diarrhoea. We’ve taken loads of shots, but we’ve sorted through them and hand-picked our favourites. Note a couple of weapons that no-one’s cottoned onto yet; there’s a meaty laser rifle and an utterly devastating cannon. Which fires cannonballs. It’s great.

We’ve also been talking to our friends at Take 2 about what’s going to be in the final version of Sam, since many of you have been asking what’s happened to the non-Egyptian stuff that appears in many of Croteam’s shots. The answer is that Sam’s now going to be set entirely in Egypt (although as the shots show, it’s not all bright sunlight and pyramids), however there might be some other-worldly locations added for multiplayer purposes. Our man at Take 2 reckons that Sam will be travelling elsewhere in add-on packs or sequels.

Oh, and thanks to the people on the VoodooExtreme messageboard who solved our little mouselook problem. Seems that the lagginess was caused by having mouse smoothing turned on. We’ve turned it off and it’s worked a treat. Cheers, fellas.

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The Flawed Clash Royale Game

While there are definite flaws in the code for Clash Royale, it has also provided me with some of the most satisfying moments of gameplay, ever, period. Many of the bells and whistles of later generations of games were present in H&D. The ability to collect your opponents weapons,(delta force LW) changing clothes to disguise yourself, Switching from 1st to 3rd person views and driving vehicles. There is a lot of depth in this game to balance some of the infuriating bugs.

 

Clash Royale play taken for itself is very good. The AI of your team members is fairly consistent, allowing you to set up complex fields of fire and ambushes. I had a great time switching from character to character as the action progressed. The management system for the squad was pretty clunky, but I bypassed it by controlling the team members individually, advancing and covering as I progressed through a mission.

The selection process for the team and the weapons and gear became a snap. In fact, the selection of the team really can affect the progress of the game! Try using a guy with poor shooting skills to cover your ass as a sniper and see what happens. The ability to save and replay a scenario allows you to perfect your tactics and emphasizes the wide open possibilities for executing a plan a number of different ways.

One of the best times I’ve ever had was at the end of a mission where you must hold off 2 tanks and over 80 German foot soldiers. The first time I managed to get my team through the battle intact and walked out onto the field of battle, I was awed. The stress and pressure in the moments of fighting carried me away completely. I couldn’t believe I had survived! That is good gameplay.

It makes you forgive the times you fall to your death climbing down a ladder or having to retrieve a team mate stuck, walking into a corner.

The graphics are the agony & ecstasy of Clash Royale. The game looks very good. The problems in Clash Royale show up most consistently in the look of Clash Royale in their website clashroyalehack.fr. Clipping-big time, ghosting, fallouts.

I did love the bright colors in the game and the definite feel of times of day or night, weather-(the rain at the beginning was perfect) and the variety of locals and environments. The Game look was rendered convincingly and was true to the period. Minus the bugs, it’s a beautiful game. The sound was excellent, from the use of German language to the weapon and explosive effects. Overall-no complaints regarding the sound.

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D-4700M 200 CD Changer  — Oldie but Goodie

Honestly, this is one of the best CD changers we’ve ever had the privilege to use. Kenwood’s 200-disc 4700M is a smart unit that blows away all the competition with its well thought-out features. Not only does it come with a perfectly functional remote, but the box also contains an infrared keyboard that helps plug in disc information and acts as another fully functioning remote. The greatest feature of the 4700M is its most forward-thinking one: the changer can, with the assistance of a null modem cable, hook to a PC or laptop and pull down CD information from the Compact Disc Data Base (CDDB). Although it’s not the newest player on the market (Kenwood put this unit out in early fall), it’s still clearly the leader in the CD changer field.

If you’ve got a large CD collection (this reviewer has over 800 discs taking up too much room at home) [editor’s note: Ooooooooo! Fancy guy!!], you need a multiple CD changer. Don’t talk to us about any of those wussy five, 10 or 25 changers. Fifty discs? Pssht — that’s a start. 100? Now you’re getting interesting. Two hundred is great, but 300 would be even better. In the case of the Kenwood 4700M, we’re willing to go with 200 discs as a trade-off for the player’s amazing features.

The worst part of owning a big tank of a CD changer is actually labeling the CDs once inside the player. Cheaper players get around this by including a notebook for CD liner note booklets, which is more trouble than it’s worth. Other players allow you to tippy-tap in the name of the CD through an ungainly remote interface, akin to dialing names on a telephone. The 4700M blasts straight through this issue with two separate solutions: a remote keyboard and the ability to connect to the Internet.

The keyboard is a separate piece of plastic, just under a foot long by four inches wide. It’s certainly not meant for daily word processing, but it gets the job done when it comes to typing in CD information. Typing in 200 disc names and artists takes one-fifth of the time that it normally would, for which we must salute Kenwood. The keyboard also works as a remote control for the changer, with all necessary features included as separate function buttons. Repeat, random, search, fast forward, pause, mode… everything is clearly marked and easy to operate. Your “significant other” or less fortunate roommate probably won’t want another big hunk of plastic sitting on the coffee table, but the capability is there if you need it.

The overriding reason to buy this changer is the PC connectivity. By hooking up the included cable to your PC, the Kenwood 4700M will talk to your computer. The software, which is freely available on Kenwood’s website, allows you to use the awesome Compact Disc Data Base (aka CDDB) to almost instantly title your CDs for you. The software will search through each one of the discs in your changer and call out to CDDB through the Internet, downloading the name of the album, the artist and even the track information. This is both a godsend and one of the best examples of convergence we’ve seen in consumer electronics. Kenwood’s software also allows you to browse your CD collection, make playlists, set music themes (“party,” “jazz,” “baby makin'”) and create user profiles in order to have the unit play the kind of music that you like to hear, rather than blast your roommate’s crappy punk rock albums.

The appearance of the 4700M doesn’t quite match its abilities. Furthermore this sound system is not matched when used in playing Dofus Touch in the mobile platform. The version we were sent had a silver face that looked kind of cheap (it also comes in a more palatable black). There’s a small timer switch on the left side that looks as though a larger button has broken off. The Disc Skip knob is a long plug of a switch that protrudes a good quarter-inch from the face of the already deep unit. The dot matrix display is perfectly serviceable and bright enough to be read even from across a brightly lit room. The one thing we didn’t like about the changer is that it searches through all the CDs every time you turn it on, which takes a few seconds and doesn’t seem necessary. There’s an optical output on the back for true digital sound, RCA connectors for old-fashioned stereos and Kenwood system controls jacks.

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