Back in our September 2008 issue, we published a list of 9 Skills Every Nerd Needs – a lighthearted examination of the essential abilities Maximum PC readers should have in their geek arsenal. We still stand by that list, but we were somewhat one-upped last month when we saw that Gizmodo had since run its own list of 50 key geek skills. Their list was very respectable, but we thought that we could do better by not only expanding and refining our original story, but actually teaching you these skills. The highest echelon of geeks will be able to do everything in this list, and this is by no means a full categorization of the complete geek skillset – only what we consider to be the most indispensable abilities. Have anything to add to our list? Post it in the comments!
Nvidia's nZone website has posted download links to new beta videocard drivers, version 180.84, for both Vista and XP. Little information has been given about the new drivers, other than that they're intended to improve gameplay with Rockstar's new Grand Theft Auto IV videogame.
"Nvidia recommends that you update your system with the following GeForce v180.84 driver for the best experiences on Grand Theft Auto IV," nZone writes.
Users who have installed and played GTA IV on the PC have complained of varying issues, including missing textures and intermittent crashes. GTA IV's support page lists several troubleshooting steps, one of which recommends users download the newest drivers with a link to the nZone page containing the beta release. However, no specific bug fixes or performance issues have been identified with the new drivers, so it might be hard to tell what difference they're making.
As always, take proper precautions whenever experimenting with pre-release code. As Nvidia discloses regarding beta drivers, they "may include significant issues." When you're ready to take the leap:
Another day, but still no dollar. According to a stark-white sliver of the Internet, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment (developer of Stargate Worlds) employees' bank accounts are on life support -- having gone without a fresh cash transfusion for 23 days and counting. Senior Marketing Manager Kevin Balentine replied to the above allegation, but his words didn't exactly inspire confidence.
"At Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, we have always been upfront with the media and our fans that we are a start up. Like many start ups, we face the same cash-flow issues that all pre-revenue companies face. We have maintained a core of dedicated investors, but the new economic realities are forcing us to seek out additional sources of funding and that's what we're doing," Balentine said.
In addition, TenTonHammer's team of grapevine-whisperers recently heard that "more" employees have abandoned their posts at CME over the past few weeks. Definitely not a good sign for the struggling start-up.
However, we hold out hope that Stargate Worlds won't crash and burn before even crossing the starting line. After all, many mods died to bring us this game, and we wouldn't want their valiant sacrifices to be in vain.
In the beginning, Valve created Half-Life 2, and it was pretty flippin' awesome. Then, more towards the middle of the beginning, Garry Newman whipped up Garry's Mod, bestowing upon gamers a simple interface behind which they could all wield Valve's body-flinging, face-pinching powers. And after that, things got a little weird. But not for creator Garry Newman, who -- after selling his mod for $10 a pop on Steam -- found a new breadwinner.
Now, two years later, Garry's Mod has stripped 312,541 kids of their lunch money, bringing the total haul up to roughly $3.1 million -- or about 30 Midways.
"GMod hasn’t just given me financial stability," Newman said in a champagne-stained blog post. "It’s also made me a lot more experienced in c++. I learned how game engines are meant to work. I got to fly to Valve HQ and meet some game making dudes. I got to tell a nice bearded fellow how I was sick all over myself in the shower after eating airline food, and then realising I was talking to [Deus Ex creator] Warren Spector."
"And it’s my hope that it has inspired other people to do stuff. I mean, I’m a fool like you, I’ve just got more experience in pretending I’m not, and I did it... So why can’t you?"
Welcome to the latest installment of Disappointment Theater -- starring Your Life. Today's guest star: Grand Theft Auto IV! Wrecking one of the year's best games definitely seems like an impossible task, so read on and be astonished.
According to Steam's fuming masses, as well as gaming site Shacknews, GTA IV's creepy crawlies are all over the place. Topping players' lists of things not to be thankful for, however, are missing textures (apparently caused by corrupt graphics drivers) and the ever-popular crashing bug, which can potentially keep you from even loading the game at all.
Fortunately, one intrepid Steam user has tossed together a forum thread outlining all known issues and possible fixes, so as a (highly prestigious) reward we're putting his name on the site. Thanks, Ramzy!
Additionally, while it's not exactly a bug, the majority of wannabe-crime lords are being forced to run their game of choice at low graphical settings -- a complaint to which Rockstar has issued a response:
"Higher settings are provided for future generations of PCs with higher specifications than are currently widely available," claimed the developer.
Rockstar also released a statement promising that it'll unscrew this pooch as quickly as possible.
So, unless you want to pay $50 for a glorified beta test, wait a couple weeks before taking the plunge.
Ken Levine's latest dive 'n' demolish may have sold a gajillion of its umpteen-rapscillion units on consoles, but the brainy developer's true colors show right through his newfound wall of green. So, though it may be irrational, Levine is a PC man through and through.
"I wish the industry could find a way to make PC gaming more broadly successful. There are so many challenges for PC gaming--the complications from systems specifications to the drivers--most people look at PC games and say, 'What are you talking about?'" Levine replied when asked about his opinion on the industry's "biggest mistake."
"It's a shame because as a gamer, I am never more comfortable than I am sitting with a mouse and keyboard two inches away from my monitor."
Seems like a bunch of developers echo that sentiment -- which is great -- but can anyone other than Valve and Blizzard actually do something about it? What's your take?
Joining Peter Molyneux, Good Old Games, and Stardock in a swelling anti-DRM chorus, Valve president Gabe Newell has voiced his concerns about DRM's diabolical rule. The big G-man's opinion? Most DRM (ahem) is "just dumb."
"As far as DRM goes, most DRM strategies are just dumb. The goal should be to create greater value for customers through service value (make it easy for me to play my games whenever and wherever I want to), not by decreasing the value of a product (maybe I'll be able to play my game and maybe I won't)," Newell said in an email to a fan named Paul Reisinger (who promptly posted the response on his Live Journal page).
"We really, really discourage other developers and publishers from using the broken DRM offerings, and in general there is a groundswell to abandon those approaches," he added.
Of course, this is a huge about-face for Valve, whose Steam platform once coated games in a jawbreaker-esque, nigh-impenetrable DRM shell. Luckily, Newell and co. had the sense to mash that particular padlock with a crowbar, rendering its DRM far more tolerable.
Nice preaching on Newell's part, though. Choir, do you have anything to add?
If you can't beat them, be them, apparently. Browser-based MMORPG Aurora Blade is now clutching for driftwood at the center of a whirlpool of controversy after allegedly stealing art assets from MMOs like World of Warcraft, Ragnarok Online, Maple Story, and LaTale. IGG (the game's Western publisher) posted a statement/threat concerning the mess:
"Note: We would like to explain that SkyUnion(IGG) is not responsible for the developing of the game, that is any character, artwork and graphic is developed by another company and this game is HOSTED by IGG."
"Any thread or post [on the Aurora Blade forums] containing information about other games that including screenshots, game info or any other information will be deleted, as its against the forum rules. We will also take actions against members that will repeat breaking the forum rules.Therefore we have to ban members according to the severity. This may lead to a permanent ban from the forum."
See? Nothing to hide.
Also, we totally didn't nab the above comparison pic from Shacknews, and we're never thanking them. Seriously, though. If you tell anyone about that pic, we'll cut you.
Black Mesa, a Source engine recreation of the original Half-Life, has sported an unwavering "in development" status for the past four years. After a while, we just started lumping it in with Duke Nukem Forever, Alan Wake, and the apocalypse as signs that God does exist -- but that He's one hell of a procrastinator. After checking out the latest Black Mesa trailer, though, we're belting out a different tune. Or at least, we're trying. The cascading tidal waves of drool blasting out of our mouths -- fire-hose style -- make it kind of difficult.
Fortunately, the mod will apparently scale the walls of development hell within our feeble lifetimes. According to a post on the official site for the unofficial remake, "the days this mod stays in development are truly numbered. Hang tight, because at long last, it is coming."
While drowning in an ocean of famished zombies attempting to grind your brains to make their bread, paying attention to the blips and bloops of tiny achievement indications is a tad difficult. Fortunately, according to Valve's newly released list of Left 4 Dead achievement statistics, you're not missing much.
Oh sure, Valve has loaded its game with wacky (and easily pun-able) methods of undead dead-making, but at this early stage of the game, only a small percentage of players have truly lived during their short spurts of undeath.
Especially noticeable, not a single player has managed to slay their way to the "Zombie Genocidest" achievement, which forces players to sacrifice 53,595 hapless zombies in order to appease its dark whims.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 73.9% of players have laid claim to the "Drag and Drop" achievement -- wherein, you're simply required to chop through a Smoker's tongue before one of your buddies takes any damage.
So, which L4D achievements adorn your trophy case? Is your zombpocalypse training nearly complete, or are you only beginning to learn your ABZ's?