Rage3D Kombuting // Mid-August Edition

Author: Panagiotis Vagiakos
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: August 23rd, 2012

Kombuting: Windows 8 RTM, GTX 680, Diablo 3

Is it a blog? Is it my rumblings? Is it Stuff That Are Entirely My Opinion And Do Not Reflect That of Rage3Dô? Guilty as charged on all accounts. Enjoy and comment away :)

So I took the plunge and installed Windows 8. RTM.

This is definitely one of the most controversial Operating Systems ever. The Metro Windows 8 UI that Microsoft decided to bestow upon us has drawn criticism, praise, more criticism (to the point of doom and gloom predictions, like Gabe Newell), and more praise. I had installed the Developer Preview, and skipped the Consumer preview in order to be surprised by the changes of the OS once it hit RTM. And it did surprise me (but not always in a good way). So here are some thoughts that quickly come to mind.

  • The OS is fast. Yes, faster than Windows 7. It boots faster, shuts down faster, and feels faster overall. Which is a cool feat from Microsoft, so well done guys. Done a few rough benchmarks with my GTX680 and games seem a bit faster too, not something noticeable, but faster nevertheless. So win-win-win overall.
  • When you install the OS, you are presented with a small video tutorial on how to bring up the charm bar. I really think they were bored to do a proper introductory video, I can't explain it any other way. There are many things that are done in a totally different way in Windows 8, and Microsoft should have really given pointers (and lots of them) to novice users. They don't. And it'll bite them in the end, mark my word.
  • I think the new motto at Microsoft is "instead of doing 10 things half-arsed, do 5 properly". And it (mostly) works. Things that are there, look polished and well executed. But some things are obviously missing. Like half settings are in the Metro Control Panel, the other half in the Desktop Control panel. And you have to know which setting is where. Not a good idea. Right now when I login I have the keyboard defaulting in Greek because I have obviously messed some language priority setting while installing. I have no idea how or where to change that yet :/
  • From the Developer preview, the Metro apps (cut for a short break, I will continue calling them Metro apps because that's how most people call them anyway) are obviously more polished. But we need Metro apps from third-party developers. The twitter client you download from the app store is good enough, but we need moar.
  • Call me insane, but I like Metro. Maybe it's because I like typography and nice fonts (for those of you who are like me, I recommend an excellent newsletter by myfonts.com called Rising Stars)- but in the shape it is right now, it just doesn't feel right with a mouse and keyboard. For touch screens, it's great. But Microsoft really needs to work on that a bit more. Come to think of it, wouldn't it be cool if I could change the typography used throughout Metro with some cool exotic font I have? And speaking of customization...
  • Can I customize my Start screen background please (among other things)? I mean, nice pictures/patters, but I want to use my own. Kthx. And since you went all mobile/touchscreen on us, nested notifications please. An indication even that somebody has spoken to me on Messenger while I was away, without having to resort to the Start Screen.
  • I loved Aero Glass. Can't say I like the new theme very much, but that's just a personal thing. I see Stardock getting my monies in the not too distant future - maybe that's a good thing, and will revitalize the customization scene in Windows, which suffered a violent death after Vista hit the shops.
  • And speaking of Stardock, Start8 people. Wonderful utility. Allows me to boot straight to Desktop and adds back a nice start button for me among other things.
  • When I am in the Start screen, and I start typing, it starts looking for what I am typing. Which is cool. But Microsoft, let me search everything by default. Not just apps. I don't want to use a different key combination depending on whether I want to search for files, settings, or applications. I want to press Start and search everything, like in the old Start menu. Fix that please.
  • When you hover on the lower left corner, there's a preview of the start screen. But in order to see the active metro apps, you have to have your mouse on the left edge of your screen, and go upwards. If you are in the middle of the Start Menu preview, and you move the cursor upwards, you lose it. That's dumb. We don't have touch screens as a default yet you know. Well I am sure to add more in my next instalment (I hope this will be a weekly thing) so stay tuned. Or Metro'ed. Or whatever.

Geforce GTX 680 - the short "I have it for two months now" review

I think the best way to summarize my daily routine with the new Geforce is impressed. nVidia has a killer combination in their hands and they know it. The card is quiet, performs like a monster, and there's even room for more; you can tell the card isn't even breaking a sweat. Aided by a 2600k overclocked at 4.7GHz and a Z77 Asus motherboard, the card really flexes its muscles in all of the games I've thrown at it. You really have to see Crysis 2 with the DX11 High resolution texture pack at 2560x1440, it's amazing.. Even Diablo 3 is :p Which reminds me ...

Diablo III - or how to make a great game, a great chore

I had pre-ordered the game from Amazon; I had found a sweet deal and only paid £28.61 - hell of a deal. So I grabbed my hands on it, I wouldn't let go. Built myself a Barbarian, and off I went. Diablo 3 is probably one of the best games I've ever played - has enough to hook you, and complete the game again and again. And this is where it gets interesting.

I finished the game in all difficulty settings, in the process getting better weapons (not via loots, mind you, which are utter crap, but via the Auction House) and I was ready to go to the most difficult setting, Inferno mode. And that's when I got my ass handed on a plate. Again. And again. And again. The difficulty just increased 50-fold. I went online (a figure of speech, since the game demands that you are online all the time, and ends your game if your line drops; something my scumbag ADSL never forgot to remind me again and again) and after a few talks I realised that I had built my character "wrong". So I sold all my gear, and tried to get new stuff to survive. Which wasn't easy, when you pay 20k gold all the time for repairs. I finished Act 1 on Inferno, and went to Act 2, where the difficulty AGAIN increased by a lot. At that time I was getting frustrated time and time again by the meaningless SLOW farming of gold and objects (you see, I wanted to play a game, not some market simulator where you buy cheap, sell expensive and gain profits. Game. As in hack and slash, you know the sort of thing Diablo III is supposed to be). The game I loved was turning into a chore. So I stopped completely and haven't touched it for the past month. Patch 1.04 just came out with some improvements (especially the Paragon Levels), but it still feels inadequate.

So in one sentence: great game, but there aren't stuff inside to keep you playing, like Diablo 2. Maybe an expansion will fix stuff that is broken, and then I'll reconsider it. But for now, I am patiently awaiting Torchlight 2 :D

More stuff no one cares about but me next week!