Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Games Wednesday: New Games

So as promised here is another Games Wednesday again!!  So I'm starting to get through some of my backlog of games (I've finished Far Cry 3/Diablo 3 and almost finished Dishonored) so I'm looking forward to starting some new games now.

Path of Exile

So I'm a big fan of hack 'n' slash RPGs having played all 3 Diablo games, Torchlight, Titan Quest, Too Human (does this count??) and more.  Path of Exile is a free-to-play game that is in the same vein as Diablo 2 and is regarded by many as what Diablo 3 should have been (personally I don't understand Diablo 3's criticism but then again I've only just finished it on normal difficulty).  I've only played around 30-40 mins of the game so far and it was an interesting experience.  While the combat was largely familiar the game has integrated several features that so far feel very different.  The first thing to mention is the ridiculous passive skill tree which from what I can tell will require several playthroughs of trial and error to get to grips with the enormity of it.

The Passive Skill Tree
The other things that make this feel strange is the lack of gold (you use scrolls and other items to barter/trade), having skills bound to socketable items and sockets buffing different attributes.  With all these new ideas I look forward to delving much deeper into this game.

Further reading:

BioShock Infinite


So I'm a little giddy about the release of BioShock Infinite.  I'm a huge fan of the series having spent many hours playing the first two games and from what I've seen of the latest iteration then it is going to be even better than those set in the underwater city of Rapture.  This game is set on the floating city of Columbia (the polar opposite of Rapture) and the aim of the game is to rescue a woman called Emily from the two opposing groups (who seem to come from either side of the political spectrum).  If like me you can't wait to play this game then you might like my Let's Play of the very first BioShock on my YouTube channel (Playlist here:

Further reading:

Thanks for reading everyone and I will be back for Science Friday this week!!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Geek Monday: I'm Back

So I've not written on my Blog for a couple of weeks now and this is due to me being busy at work and being ill.  But now my workload and health is evening out again I feel that I now have the time to devote to writing to my Blog.

Samsung Galaxy S4

So Samsung have just announced a date for revealing of the S4:  March 14th.  I was hoping that  the S4 wouldn't be announced till later in the year because I'm now into the second year of my contract and I'm starting to think about my upgrade in January 2014.  My hopes were pinned on the S4 being released around September to October this year so that when I upgrade I would be able to pick it up with it still be relatively new but with the prices of contracts significantly reduced.  With this early reveal date I'm now worried that the release will be in April/May which will then mean that the phone will already be getting close to a year old.  Bloody hell Samsung!!

Further reading:

Nvidia Geforce Titan

Nvidia have gone and released the most bonkers graphics card currently available.  The Titan GPU is inspired by those used in supercomputers but based on the current 600 series Kepler architecture.  This card offers performance that is significantly more than a GTX 680 but only slightly less than a GTX690.  This is attractive over the dual GPU GTX 690 because some games suffer from multi-GPU incompatibility so having a single GPU that can offer close to this performance is ideal.  The only problem with this card is the monster price tag that goes with it!!  This card is retailing at over £800 which is more than a single GTX 690 or 2 x GTX 670/680s.  Two GTX 670s (the GPU in my own rig) wouldn't cost you any more than £600 (reference style cards anyway) which would give you a superior performance to the titan with £200 to spare.  From what I've seen Nvidia are great for releasing SLI profiles for new games so if you don't play the latest releases at launch then a multi-GPU set-up would be no problem.  Still at least Nvidia can now safely beat AMD again with the fastest single GPU!!

Further reading:

Thanks for reading everyone and I will be back for Gaming Wednesday and Science Friday this weed!! 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Science Friday: I'm Back!!

So I haven't written on my Blog since last week!  I've been wanting to but just don't seem to have found the motivation to do so.  But back to the topic at hand:  Science.  I've not really had much success so far writing the science part of my blog.  It's frustrating that it's so easy to find information on completely mundane things but for one of my main passions I can't seem to build enthusiasm.  I thought that today I would fail again until I saw a great page posted on Twitter.

This is a collection of Chemistry GIFs that really demonstrate how cool some chemical reactions can be.  GIFs like these are the reason that I find Chemistry so fascinating (I do have my undergraduate degree in Chemistry after all) and its amazing to see some of the amazing things that can be done.

Now I'll come to my own gripes in science.  So for my PhD I'm expected to perform experiments but the problem with this is that half the time all the equipment in the department is broken!  It's so frustrating when you think that you might finally be getting somewhere and suddenly you are set back a week or more while you are waiting for equipment to be repaired.  Another annoyance I've found is the uncooperative nature of some academic staff.  It would be nice when you ask politely for permission that you could borrow something that they'd at least have the courtesy to at least be receptive and not hostile.

Well that's my little blog post over for this time.  I will hopefully be back for Geek Monday next week.  Thanks for reading everybody! 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Games Wednesday: So Where's the Rest of my Game?

So I've had a good week in gaming!!  I've managed to finish Far Cry 3 (how awesome is this game), start Dishonored (so far I'm loving it), progressed further in Diablo 3 and started my own YouTube channel in which I'm doing Let's Plays!!

Far Cry 3

Definitely one of the games of the year from last year.  I believe I have described it as 'Skyrim with guns' several times and it is certainly as addictive but maybe no where near as long.  The length of Far Cry 3 is my only concern with the game because after spending many hours completing missions, unlocking weapons, killing animals, taking bases, climbing towers and enjoying the story I though that when you got to the south island that it would be the same case.  Sadly it doesn't quite have the same pace because having already unlocked almost the entire tatau and having almost all the signature weapons the south island didn't give the same experience.  At the beginning of the game you feel vulnerable due to being surrounded by pirates who wanted you dead with limited health, weapons and ammo.  As play you feel yourself becoming a bad-ass and by the end of the north island you're near invincible.  When you have finished this the story and the pacing of the game flops because you have killed Vaas, who is the poster character of the game, but this is not the end of the game because you now have to take on his boss, Hoyt, who isn't any where near as interesting a character and the motivation for killing him is a lot more fuzzy than Vaas (because he killed your brother in front of you)!  Also you start the south island as a walking tank, equipped with all the best weapons, and after one of the first missions you can go almost any where (except enemy camps) with impunity as you are disguised as a mercenary.  Due to having the best weapons and being chums with the baddies getting to places and killing the enemies there happens so much quicker which results in completing the second part of the game in a fraction of the time.  Don't get me wrong I was still enjoying myself thoroughly and there were some great characters as well (Sam in particular) but I wish they had done more with it to keep you playing the game.  At some point I will go back and finish off all the side-quests I have not finished but for now I have plenty of other games to be playing.

Further reading/watching:

Official Site:
OMFGCata's Play Through:
IGN Review:

THQ Collapse

So its sad to see gaming companies come and go but tragic when its a big one such as THQ.  THQ have made some great games over the years (such as Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, Saint's Row, Metro 2033, Darksiders etc.) and it was awesome to see so many of their great games up for grabs recently in the Humble THQ Bundle (which was my first of their pay-what-you-want packs I have bought).  I thought with exposure such as this that they might be able to pull through but sadly not but it is awesome to see that so many of their franchises have now been taken up by other studios!!  RIP THQ!!

Further reading:


So here's my Games Wednesday update.  Don't forget to comment, subscribe and keep reading if you like what you see.  I'll be back this week for Science Friday!

Monday, 28 January 2013

YouTube Video

Here is my third part of the Lord of the Rings:  The Battle for Middle Earth Playthrough!!

Geek Monday: Variety is the Spice of Life

So for this Geek Monday I will look at a few stories that are floating around.

Abrams to Direct Star Wars

So probably one of the biggest stories floating around at the moment is that J.J. Abrams will be the one helming the new Star Wars film.  With this revelation I'm not sure whether to be excited or nervous about the new film.  Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of Abrams having watched all of Lost and loving the new Star Trek films (plus eagerly anticipating the new one) but can he do the same job with Star Wars.  The question is will he make it all mysterious like lost with a tonne more lore and story or will he make it all in your face action like the new Star Trek films?  Also could he remain faithful to Lucas and make a flop like the prequel trilogy?  Well we shall see when it gets released!!    

More reading: 

New File Format

So it seems that a long with the hype of 4K TVs there will be a new file format.  The H.265 format will be the successor to the extremely popular H.264 format This new format, called High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), will allow easier streaming of full 1080p HD footage and possibly the future streaming of UHD.  This is particularly exciting for people like myself who, at home, have very slow internet connections due to the inability to access super-fast fibre optic broadband.

More reading:

The Following

So I watched an awesome new show this weekend.  I decided to give the Following a chance and I'm glad I did.  This creepy new show stars Kevin Bacon who is case as a retired FBI agent who is drafted to help capture an escaped serial killer (James Purefoy) who has recruited a loyal army of psychos and delinquents to make Kevin Bacons life hell.  This has the same sort of vibe the Killing had (of which I'm yet to watch the 2nd season) and it looks like it has some potential.

Further reading:

Returning Shows

So I'm also looking forward to How I Met Your Mother returning to UK TV this week (having had to wait months after the US to watch it)!!  Unfortunately the show will not be ending this season (which I think would have been appropriate) but I won't complain none the less.  Also Spartacus:  War of the Damned will be starting soon which I am also very excited to see as I am a big fan of the previous seasons!!

Further reading:

Thanks for reading everybody and I will be back for Games Wednesday!!

Friday, 25 January 2013

YouTube Video

So having had to take down my YouTube video yesterday due to the need for more editing it is now back up along with part two of my Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth Playthrough!