Tag Archives: Graphics

Haven Reviews: several Good Old Games

Haven reviews: Several Good old games. GOG is a fantastic service that breathe new life into old titles, which may or may not run properly in new operating systems. Most of that has to do with the original game code being crap and a general lack of compatibility. Some games run fantastic even on Windows 10, while some will only run on a specific OS and some does not run at all. This is a short list of several games I bought from GOG.

Blood: One unit whole blood

It’s violent, filled with blood, mutilations and monsters. It’s a old school fast phased first person shooter, with some inventive weapons and some great sprites. The GOG release comes with the original music and the FMW sequences. Which has not aged well at all. The 3d graphics looks worse than my first attempt at modelling. Which is quite jarring, since the in game graphics are quite good, with detailed sprites. Each level has an unique design and theme, heavily inspired by horror movies. A froze Johnny can be found in a hedge maze. While the game supports different resolutions, they may or may not work entirely as intended. At least they’re there. There is only one big issue and that is the music. It can’t be turned muted, turned down or stopped. Especially in the amusement park the music is loud. Not sure if GOG can fix this.

Swat 4

It’s a game about breaching doors, busting criminals and rescue civilians. Where the biggest question is why that guy ignore teargas and where the devil a suspect dropped his gun. The Ai is questionable, but the levels are fun, with random perp placement. It runs, looks okay for the most part and sports a terrible aspect ratio. However it does come with the expansion pack. The game itself runs fine, minus one place where it had stuttering and slowdown. Apparently there are mods to improve the game. Such as the elite forces mod, that takes the realism up several notches and adds more features.

Sim City 4

Build a town, run the town, play mini games to keep earning more money. Then call in a meteorite and nuke it all to hell. Just for fun. While juggling traffic jams and air pollution. It’s fun, addictive and a great educational game, when it comes to city management and all the problems that comes with it. Runs fine, looks fine and it works.

Roller Coaster Tycooon 2

Run and operate a custom built amusement park. Build attractions and kill guests with a badly designed roller coaster. It’s a seriously fun management games, with many fantastic features. However the sprites and the interface is almost impossible to see. Since everything is so small. Usually these old games have too large interfaces if anything.

Outlaws

Lucas art made a game about a sheriff trying to rescue his wife from a big man, with a lot of money. It’s a first person shooter, with some fantastic levels, questionable physics and a insane difficulty. The dynamite has some of the worst physics I’ve ever encountered in a game. It’s also prone to random crashes.

Alien Breed: Tower Assault

Your ship has crashed and the place is over run with alien monstrosities. It has coop, challenging levels and limited ammo. With enemies that spawn in your face a lot of the time. It runs great and has a cheesy as hell intro movie. It’s top down and easy to play, very hard to complete with several paths to take.

Anachronox

A gum shoe detective has an office on the top floor of a seedy bar, set on a very odd planet. it’s a turn based RPG game, with a great story, some really interesting characters. But is littered with so many bugs, that i’d recommend watching a let’s play on Youtube. I have had all of the movie sequences go on repeat, while I was still playing. Looping them when ever I got back to the spot. At one point I also fell through the world.

Planescape: Torment

A man wakes up in a morgue, with no memory, next to a talking skull. It’s one of the few RPG games that brings the town of Sigil to life, with good graphics and for the most part avoidable combat. It’s a terrific story, with a lot of twists and turns around every corner.

Tyrian 2000

Jump from system to system, collect data logs and kill hordes of enemies. It’s a top down scrolling game, where  you control a heavily armed and poorly protected space craft. It’s an okay game, with some dry graphics and intense bosses and a hair raising difficulty.

Archimedean Dynasty


The world has gone down the crapper, along with man kind. Now everyone lives under the sea and commute with submarines. Which pilots a lot like space crafts. As far as sandbox games goes, it’s very open ended, with some catchy tunes and hard enemies. Plus a plethora of bugs. It may or may not run properly. Personally I could not see anything on the screen, followed by random crashes. Hopefully a fan patch or GOG will make it run better.

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Gladiators online: Death before dishonor

Gladiators online: Death before dishonorgladiators

In the awe-inspiring coliseum; Two mighty, shiny men of flesh and bone stands face to face. Clad only in pieces of armor and exposed skin. Ready to strike each other down in the name of the emperor and myself. Little do I care about their past. I only care for victory. For what are we but shadows and dust!

My warrior snarls like a wild beast as he lunges towards the opponent. Whom nimbly jumps over his trident. Only to retaliate with a roar which echoes through the arena. As he spins in a circle and breaks the shield my gladiator is holding. However this move would cost him, as he exposed his belly. A fast strike from my gladiator ended the match in a squirt blood. Victory was mine to claim this day.

Long story short.

This is a browser game made with unity. However I could not launch it in a browser window, after installing the plugin. Therefor I downloaded it instead.

Despite being able to make an account and adjust the resolution, all the pictures are of terrible quality and indicates a lack of texture scaling. The in game graphics are simple and quite basic. Though this is a good thing. Since it easy to get a good overview of the arena. Though at times there was a pillar that kept obstructing the camera. As the warriors keep hitting each other small pools of blood squirts out of them only to shortly vanish afterwards.

As I enter the main menu. I’m thrown straight into the tutorial. where a very helpful voice over explains the mechanics. Which is good, since I had a hard time reading the text. The voices in the game are quite good and fits well with the hammy showmanship nature of gladiator fighting. Never the less,  the audio quality is piss poor and I can’t adjust the in-game volume. 

Combat is a very simple affair. There are two men, and these men fights automatically from what I can see. So the only thing I can contribute to combat is to click on a skill and wait for it to come off cool-down. Low level characters only have two skills and they’re pitched against enemies of similar strength somewhere in Rome, or in one of the other provinces.

The music is quite nice and fitting, too bad the quality is ear piercing. This is clearly meant for browsers and the face-book crowd. It also includes a Facebook login and micro transactions, that allows me to pay my hard earned money on virtual money. Cash that I can use in game to buy gear and gladiators. I can also recruit a friend for some momentary gain. Keep in mind, I could not get the Facebook log-in to work when I downloaded the game.

There is also a lot of loading involved, the loading takes longer than the matches most of the times and that is against a computer controlled enemy. Sometimes the match pauses for no reason other than to try and load in more data. At least it wast no time in throwing me back to the menu.

It’s clear to me that this is more management focused. Since I can hire a lot of men and acquire a lot of equipment. Such as the classic sword and shield, or the ever popular pointy stick.

Unfortunately I can not recommend this game. It is not fun, it is dull, drab and boring.

Also if one is averse to blood and violence this is not the game to play. Not that I have ever heard of non violent gladiator fights.

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Njål Sand-

Tech Editorial: Where is Linux going with Gaming?

TuxYears ago, Microsoft decided that Windows would be the gaming platform. Currently if you own a gaming PC, it’s probably running Windows. There’s a lot of historical and technological discussion to be held over this fact that has held in the PC gaming community for countless years.

Really you could say it all began with Microsoft having a jealousy of the old timer consoles like Sega Genesis. They were running all sorts of neat games in the day. DOS did have games as well of course, but there was a fundamental difference. Look at today, if you make a game for the X-box 360, you know it’s going to run on X-box 360 hardware. If you write a game for PC however, there’s all sorts different types of hardware you could encounter. Nowadays encountering different types of hardware isn’t as problematic. In many languages such as Java, a programmer really has to think little of it. Even someone who writes their games in a lower lever language like C++ can for the most part avoid trouble with today’s fancy development libraries and engines. Back during the times of DOS though, developers had to do more of their own work ensuring that their games ran on different machines.

I mentioned libraries minimizing this issue, and a library was exactly what Microsoft created. DirectX was born at this time to give game developers a way to write games that could be built for Windows and be distributed. DirectX was especially important for Windows because it was an OS that enforced more rules than DOS, using resources to keep a more cooperative system. DirectX was designed so that game developers could still eek that performance they wanted.

  How this ties in with this article though, is the fact that DirectX was unsurprisingly only made for Windows. To this day it only runs on Windows, and not on Linux or Mac. There is a noble counterpart however (sort of).

OpenGL is a cross-platform rendering library, it in short runs on anything provided you use it compliantly. It doesn’t make sense to compare it directly to DirectX, as OpenGL is soley a graphics library, while DirectX encompasses things needed for a game in general. You’re better off comparing OpenGL and Direct3D.

You can make OpenGL today run on Windows, Linux, iOS, Android. Hell you could write OpenGL code for the Dreamcast still. The only catch being you have to interface it properly with the platform in question. There are however plenty of libraries nowadays that run with OpenGL and handle these kind of details for you.

The thing is, OpenGL and Direct3D have been competing for years, and there hasn’t been a victor. I say we should want OpenGL to come out on top, but it hasn’t. There’s already a lot of games and game engines written with Direct3D. It won’t just step out of the picture suddenly.

  There is plenty you can learn about the long standing conflict between OpenGL and Direct3D, but I feel it’d be out of the scope of this article to go too far in depth. So I’ll summarize below.

  Many games are written specifically for Windows (use DirectX) and cannot be simply ported to Linux (Don’t use OpenGL or know how to communicate with hardware on Linux). This means that either the game just doesn’t work, or you have to have software such as Wine to use it. Wine is always getting better, but in the end it’s a work around to an application not being able to run native to Linux.

  With the past somewhat explained, let’s talk about now and the future, and the implications of Linux becoming a key player in the gaming world.

  First of all, there’s nothing about Linux itself that makes it a poor platform for games. As a matter of fact, there are a few really nice pros with Linux, some obvious, some not so obvious.

  One that’s great and not known to all, is the fact that Linux distributions tend to be lightweight, some more so than others. The minimum amount of RAM you might need for a game could very well be lower on Ubuntu than on Windows 7.

  Secondly, and obviously, Linux is totally free. This is a no brainer, but I really must point this out. It’s an entire OS for free, Windows can cost a lot depending on which version you’re getting. So maybe in the future you could spend that money not on Windows, but for more RAM, or a better GPU, etc.

  Third point, games do have potential to run better within Linux. Now, I don’t want to get misleading here. Some games today run better on Linux, while some better on Windows. There can be all sorts of reasoning behind this. All in all though, because of the lesser overhead with Linux, there is potential for greater performance. We’ve seen examples with some of Valve’s AAA titles running superbly on Ubuntu, even better than Windows. The catch is some video cards don’t have the best driver support in comparison to Windows, and the games that do run well on Linux are very likely to be running on OpenGL, not Direct3D.

  Now, I just mentioned Valve, let’s talk about Valve. It’s no secret Gabe Newell decided Linux needed some love. It’s also no secret that Valve has actually created their own distro of Linux, creatively titled Steam OS. Valve promised to make their own games run on Linux, and they were serious about it. I was very happy when I switched out of Windows to (you guessed it) and found that I could still play Dota 2 just fine. Some of my favorite titles such as Mount and Blade: Warband also still worked. There are games being released with builds for Linux on Steam, and the number of these games are increasing. Valve is playing a huge role in Linux gaming, what I really believe is the needed push to make Linux gaming dreams come true.