Run the Steam Version of Doom 3 in Widescreen

One of the great things about playing PC games that are a few years old is the fact that you can usually crank the graphics up to the max and still get a silky-smooth framerate. When you couple this to the fact that I’m a sucker for video game package deals on Steam, you can see how I end up playing a lot of older PC games.

Screenshot of Doom 3 zombie in 1080p resolution.
Doom 3 running at 1080p HD resolution

One of my latest purchases was the QUAKECON pack that included a smorgasbord of games from id Software and Bethesda Softworks for pennies on the dollar. I hadn’t played Doom 3 since 2005 or 2006, so I figured I’d give it another go. Back in the day (am I really calling 2005 “back in the day”?) my GeForce4 Ti 4600 couldn’t really handle the brand-spanking-new “id Tech 4” engine that Doom 3 used, so I went out and bought a mid-range GeForce 6600 GT that did the trick very nicely. At the time I was rocking a 19″ CRT from Dell, which was an awesome monitor at 1280 x 1024 resolution. I had a great gaming experience at the time, but even with the newer video card I couldn’t run the game on “Ultra” settings without serious drops in frame rate.
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Getting Kicked from Game Servers by PunkBuster? Update It!

Several times in the past few months I’ve been kicked from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 servers by PunkBuster™. It’s really annoying, but fortunately there are a couple of quick and easy fixes that have worked for me and my friends.

For anyone who doesn’t know, PunkBuster is an anti-cheat system for multiplayer online games that detects when players are using hacks, cheats, or other non-standard game files to give them an unfair advantage. Game servers that have PunkBuster enabled will actively detect and boot players who are cheating. It’s not 100% foolproof, so some cheaters get around it, and some non-cheaters are the victims of false-positives. (more…)

Installing and Using Console Emulators – Part 4

In part 1 of this series, I introduced several console emulators and provided a link to a website where they can be downloaded; this also covered an emulator for the NES. Part 2 and part 3 continued with information about SNES and Sega Genesis emulators. Part 4 will be the final post in this series and will cover Project64 for the N64.

Project64

Unlike the previous emulators, Project64 requires a traditional installation; you cannot simply unzip files to run the emulator. Once you have downloaded the installer, run it to install Project64 on your computer. On the first screen of the installer, click the Next button.

Project64 - Install
Run the installation program for Project64

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Installing and Using Console Emulators – Part 3

In part 1 of this series, I introduced several console emulators and provided a link to a website where they can be downloaded; this also covered an emulator for the NES. Part 2 continued with information about an SNES emulator. For part 3, we’ll look at using a Sega Genesis emulator called Fusion.

Fusion

As with the previous two emulators, installing Fusion is simply a matter of unzipping the files to a folder on your hard drive. I’d recommend putting them into a folder called “Sega” to separate them from your other emulators. Once the files are extracted, run the Fusion application.

This emulator does not have many display or video options, but we can set up a few defaults. In the program’s menu, go to Video > Full Screen Resolution and set this to your primary display’s native resolution (this is usually the highest setting available). I also check to make sure that the Fixed Aspect (Fit) option is enabled and the Filtered option is enabled (these should both have a check mark next to them). This will prevent the emulator from stretching the image and smooth over the low resolution image so it looks better in full screen.

Fusion - Video Configuration
Use these settings for the Video Configuration

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Installing and Using Console Emulators – Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I introduced several console emulators and provided a link to a website where they can be downloaded; this also covered an emulator for the NES. For part 2, we’ll look at using a Super Nintendo emulator called SNES9x.

SNES9x

Just as with FCEUX, installing SNES9x is simply a matter of unzipping the files to a folder on your hard drive. I’d recommend putting them into a folder called “SNES” to separate them from your other emulators. Once the files are extracted, run the SNES9x application and set up the display configuration (Options > Display Configuration…). I set the Output Method to “DirectDraw” because setting it to “Direct3D” makes the emulator run a bit choppy on my machine. I also use the following settings (depending on your processor speed you may need to use lower settings to get a good framerate):

SNES9x - Display Configuration
Use these settings for the Display Configuration

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Installing and Using Console Emulators – Part 1

Many emulators are available for popular game consoles, and I’ll show you how to set up and configure emulators for the NES, SNES, Genesis, and N64 so you can play them on your Windows PC.

Note: These emulators are free to download and use, but the ROMs that contain the actual games for them are copyrighted, even though sites like ROMNation.NET make them available for download.

I prefer to use FCEUX for NES, SNES9x for SNES, Fusion for Genesis, and Project64 for N64. Download the latest version of each of these from an emulator site such as The Emulator Zone. Once they are downloaded, you are ready to install and configure them. (more…)

Left4Dead 2 Demo Thoughts

I had a chance to play through the Left4Dead 2 demo last night, and I can say that I am even more excited for the new game to come out in November! The demo showed off some of Left4Dead 2’s new additions to the special infected, weapons, and other items. It also showed an evolution of the level design that I’m really happy with.

Survivors

Left4Dead has a memorable cast of survivors. After hours of playing online with my friends, I feel like I know the survivors pretty well. Thousands of lines of dialogue, mostly one-off comments, really add to their depth. With Left4Dead 2, the survivors are developed the same way. I’m looking forward to listening to the dialogue throughout the game. Even the few lines I heard in the demo help to flesh out the characters. So far each survivor has come across just as strong as those from the original game.

The survivors of Left4Dead 2
The survivors of Left4Dead 2

Weapons

Left4Dead 2 has some new weapons, and the original weapons that are returning have been tweaked from the original game. The pistol does not feel as accurate as it did in Left4Dead, but it looks heftier and produces a satisfying gunshot sound when used. Headshots with the pistol are an instant kill, and it can take limbs off with a well-placed bullet.

The pump shotgun is back as well. It acts like it has a full choke, but it is still accurate well past what I would realistically expect. Still, it is very satisfying to use. One surprise from the demo is that the shotgun will not always take down an infected with just one shot unless it takes off a limb or the head. In Left4Dead, the shotgun was an almost guaranteed kill with a body shot. In Left4Dead 2 that is not necessarily the case unless you shoot an infected in the back. The shotgun also feels slower to reload, similar to the way it reloads when it is completely empty in the first game.

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