Monday, January 29, 2007

Daemon Tools

Deamon Tools is a software that emulate CD-Drive or DVD-Drive in your computer. However, there is no real place to put the CD or DVD in that emulated drive. So what good will that do you ask?

Daemon Tools can emulate up to 4 drives at one times, each drive can mount an image file of CD or DVD. The most popular format of image files are ISO and BIN. When mounted on Daemon Tools' drive, the computer will process the image file and the drive just like when you put CD or DVD into the real drive on your computer.

With current trend of broadband connection and BitTorrent, it became quite easy to *acquired* such files from internet. Once you have the image file, it was not necessary to burn them into CD or DVD before installing them. Since the files can be mount with Deamon Tools and then install right away.

This technique can be quite useful when you have old games on CD that has many scratches. You can make image file from the CD and play the game using Deamon Tools to mount that image file instead of using the real CD.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Web Instant Messengers: Redux

After going through some dfiifculties using the AIM Express around the time that the earthquake in Taiwan destory the fibreoptic cable. I have to look for some other web IM to use.
I had found a few so I would like to share the good ones with you guys :)

Meebo, it is one of the nicer interface web IM around. Meebo allow you to login to multiple IM protocals at once and arrange them into a single pane list, each name has the symbol of which IM your friends are (much like Trillian and Miranda IM). It is also written as Web 2.0 application and has widget which you can add to your website. However it seems to use different ports for each IMs. I can only access my Yahoo with Meebo when in office and not the others. Although I should added that Meebo does not use ads in their service.

ILoveIM, another web IM, a lot more basic looking than Meebo, use ads but work a lot better from my office. ILoveIM is quite an oddball in my opinion. It seems to be a work in progress as their single pane interface (similar to Meebo but each IM listed in their own service tab) is only available for MSN, Yahoo and Google Talk at the moment. For AOL, it will bring up a popup screen. I suppose it will be update later on. What I like about ILoveIM is that fact that it seems to be more stable than AIM Express. Their ads reload function have additional affect of refreshing the connection which helps bring back the lagged messages so you can continue the chat again.

I hope you will find this useful :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


It was one of the mid-era of my traditional strategy game playing. Began with Dune and ended with... Warcraft III: Frozen Throne it seems... Starcraft is truly a classic game with many ground breaking points to mention.

The story, it was the first one where the story in the game was very rich and captivating, not to mention the story continue as you play through three races in the game (which will be mentioning later on). As play you play along you will began to be interested and care about your character and wishes to knew what will become of them later on.

The graphic, it was the first of many that utilize the 2D style graphic which has been use in Diablo, but became a lot more crisp and polish on Starcraft. The audio is great as well, especially the vioce actors who portraits the main characters.

The strongest point of Starcraft, apart from the story, is the fact that there were three completely different races to play with, each with their own playing style. From the space gypsy moveable building of Terran, the rapid spawn insect-like alien Zerg, and the hi-tech & psychic power mix of Protoss. Each race features totally different units, often with no equivalents on the other side, differing construction and repair principles, and even different (though equally effective) interface art.

We will also see what will became the concept of Hero Unit in Warcraft III later on, from the use of main playable characters in Starcraft to narrate the story.

Many people finish the single player campaign and then began to honed their skills online. This is the time when we start using 56K modem in Bangkok so I am not really in to that :P

All in all, This is one of what came later known as 'Blizzard game', the moniker that implied that the game release will be delayed many times but what you will get in the end is a highly polished game with high quality gameplay. Even todays, Blizzard still releasing patch for Starcraft and many still playing Starcraft on and the game is unusally popular in South Korea as well.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Instant Message on a Go

In case you are in a situation where the computer you are using do not or cannot or do not wanted to install certain IM software but you wants to chat with your friend on MSN, Yahoo, or AOL here is your solution.

MSN Web Messenger, this one is, of cause, for MSN users. However, true to Microsoft's style, it will only works when you are using Windows OS and preferably with Internet Explorer as your browser (on the website it said it will also works with Netscape 7.1 but I doubt anybody still using that one)

Yahoo Web Messenger, the name saids it all. This one seems to be tougher to use than the other... It seems to utilize different port than usual, thus, it probably will not work in case of office environment where they often blocks most other internet activities other than web browsing.

AIM Express, for AOL users. This one seems to be the most versatile among the three. It works in closed environment, just like
MSN Web Messenger (my praise to that) and it will works on most web browsers as well.

I hope this post is useful to whoever read this :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gabriel Knights: The Beast Within

This is the game that I actually bought the actual imported box with my own money when it first came out :)

The Best FMV adventure game that ever came out. With engaging plots (if you are into this genre), professional actors, great soundtrack including a Wagnerian opera, and deep historic background make this game a masterpiece.

The sequel of the cult hit Gabriel Knights: Sins of the fathers. The story continue after Gabriel relocated to his inherited castle in Germany to continue his writing while Grace manning the bookstore in New Orleans now famous from the release of Gabriel's first novel. A group of villagers comes to the Rittersberg castle asking for the Schattenjäger, 'Shadow Hunter' to help them rid of the werewolf which has kill a young girl in Munich.

The quest will take you, Gabriel and Grace through many parts of Germany, from Munich to Bavaria, visiting the famous Neuschwanstein castle that inspired the Disneyland's castle, the Black Madonna of Altötting and probing into the myths of King Ludwig II. You will also be discovering Wagner lost opera, how important it was to King Ludwig II and the speculation of his death.

Graphic wise this is a FMV: Full Motion Video presentation. At the time this game came out it was already toward the end of FMV era, many games utilized this technology to the point of derogatory and eventually with the arrival of 3D graphic, made FMV obsolete and too expensive. However, this is one of the few games where FMV was done right, with top notch performing by the casts. Most notably the leading actors for Gabriel, Grace and the antagonist, the supporting casts are not too shabby either.

The magnificent soundtrack by Robert Holmes, who even composed an original Wagnerian opera for the story, titled "Der Fluch Des Engelhart" ("The Curse of Engelhart") help added to the dramatic and mysterious atmosphere of the game. This is one of the few game that you will actually like the BGM :).

This is the game you need to have if you considered yourself an Adventure gamer.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sam & Max: Culture Shock

Most of us who began to play computer when the CPU is still called 486 will know the name of this odd coupling duo Sam & Max from the game Sam & Max: Hits the Road. Now they are back on PC again with the episodic Sam& Max: Season One, Culture Shock from TellTale Games.

Here is the sypnosis from the official website:

The former child stars of the Soda Poppers TV show are wreaking havoc all over the neighborhood! But this is no ordinary tale of child stars gone awry. There's a dark force behind the Poppers' baffling antics. Using only their wits and a slew of heavy household objects, it's up to Sam & Max to save the day!

The graphic of the game is, while nothing innovative, fits the series very well. Everythings were done in the spirit of Sam & Max series all cartoony and slightly over the top, from the funny headlines on the newspaper to the weird looking posters and magazines (How to loath yourself, for example :P) will make you stares at the screen in each location, noticing all the funny details. There were many hotspots that Sam and Max will give comments on, all of which are funny so I would encourage you to try them all :).

The voice acting, which for this game is very crucial as it is the heart of how the characters' personalities will shine and captivate the players, while some what decent for the main protagonists, require some getting used to. Sam's voice is laid back almost paternally sardonic contrusting to Max's hyper and somewhat crazy like. The dialouge in this game do honor the name of Sam & Max quite well in delivering the dark humour style comedy along with some slapstick ones as well. The rest of the casts might not as captivating but of cause you cannot please everybody. The BGM were done in Jazz music with the flim noir detective movie style to fit the story, this is a game about detective duo afterall eventhough there are dog and a rabbit thingy :P

The lenght of the game is short, but well worth the price tag of 8.95$. The puzzle are not overtly difficult although I must admit that I use walkthrough from time to time. The ending is not that dramatic but this is just the beginning of six episodes.

The second episode will be release on Janurary 5 with the name 'Situation: Comedy' will be reviews when the PC version is released.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


After much contemplation, I eventually bought The Elder Scroll IV: Oblivion. This is due to the fact that it's predecessor Morrowwind give me motion sickness when played it over a period of time. However, that never happen during Oblivion. I guess it's because of my better than average graphic card GeForce 6600.

The experience is quite similar to Morrowwind although I felt less *lost* than in MW. As it seems to be a tradition in Elderscrolls games, you will began your journey as a prisoner before being release into the world where you can make yourself into whatever you wants to be. It is one of the more hardcore RPG game style than let's say Final Fantasy series. In ES series you can ignore the main quest and just roaming the world as you please.

The graphic in this game is phenomenal. The forest is so lush and green, add that to the Distance land feature (which allow you to see the land far away, when the weather permits) the world looks alive and more realistic than ever. You will get all that only if you have good enough graphic card, I guess mine is quite decent and that's help with the motion sickness as well.

The real strenght of this game is the free roaming in the beautiful terrains, doubling that with the vast mod community that churn out thousands of mods to date. This game will have longer play time than most games. The mods for Oblivion has already double the number of the mods for Morrowwind. And that's just only three months after Oblivion release compare to the number of mods for Morrowwind that has been release for 2 years or so already!

I enjoy visiting the ever robust Oblivion Mod forum on the official site. I must have downloaded close to 1Gb content from custom weapons, armors, quests, buildings, including graphic tweaks. One guy has made Cloud's sword from the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent children into the game and another guy apply Dwarven texture on it. The result is one very cool looking bastard sword ever :)

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