Sunday, August 15, 2004

Why I can't emulate Gamecube games on PC

Today’s main topic is why the Gamecube can’t be emulated on my computer. To answer this question, you first have to know that Gamecube dumps are absolutely huge. They have to be dumped onto you’re hard drive. These files are 1.5 gigabytes in size. I know because I was looking on Emule for Ikaruga and the game is 1.5 gigabytes. I’ve seen screenshots from the Gamecube emulator, Dolphin, which can run Ikaruga at 50 frames per second. I own the real copy of Ikaruga and played it. Ikaruga is very hard. But this would-have had been my first emulated Gamecube game. I doubt when Bob gets high-speed Internet, he won’t want to download 1.5 Gigabytes to this hard drive. I doubt that he would have this amount on his drive with his MP3 collection. I have good news the Dreamcast version of Ikaruga is only 15 MB. Or is it? I could be a fake! I tried downloading it, but the server was busy so I’m out of luck! What a shame this is indeed. Ikaruga is extremely hard to play, I own the Gamecube version, and I feel that playing the game makes me feel death is inedible when playing it. The enemy crossfire is pretty amazing. You play Ikargua, which is a prototype spacecraft, which shoots black and white bullets with similar shielding. The white Ikargua transformation shields me almost entirely from white enemy bullets. The black Ikargua transformation shields me from black bullets. The learning curve is very straight forward until you loose all your power ups in the first level. Then the game is a pain to play through. How can the fighter transform precisely in time when the black and white bullets hit it is the whole point of it. Mastering the shielding is very difficult at first. The game starts the player with 5 lives, I believe, not nearly enough to complete the game. I can not do it without cheating. It is impossible to stay clear of enemy bullets therefore the player must be in the line-of-fire continually. Most people without Gameshark / Action Replay will probably not get pass Level 2 in Ikargua including me. I have a very had time playing without invisibility. The game is made by Treasure, and was officially Sega Dreamcast’s last videogame.

My blog doesn’t have two side bars, therefore, it has more words in it than most blogs, and however, it doesn’t look as long vertically. For my second topic, and this one I am really excited to excess my opinion on. Yesterday, I was looking on the message boards today under Space Technology, and found an interesting footnote I never heard of - CATS. NASA is focusing its energy on CATS or ‘cheap access to space.’ I heard of NASA looking for a way to make space shuttles more inexpensive – I didn’t know NASA gave it a name until today. NASA has been known to develop technologies before they use them in space craft. A good example is the shuttle navigational computer. The shuttle needs to calculate everything from navigation to structural integrity. For this NASA contracts with one company to assemble satellites and space craft – Lockheed Martin. The purpose of CATS is this, have privately funded dollars put into the CATS project, and whenever NASA invents something new that gives cheap access to space, that organization can copyright mechanical parts and/or inventions so when the new technology (such as the newly invented solar sail) becomes profitable, the investors can cash in when the technology works. I think I agree with one of the posts that agree with the view: NASA’s top three priories are Finish ISS, Go to Mars, test and fly the X-43A. The X-43A can achieve MACH 7. The truth about it is - the USA only has a trillion dollar annual budget. That’s why American or International investors are so important to them in 2004 through the CATS program. We know one, Lockheed Martin.

Here are my thoughts on inner-planetary travel. The space shuttle will surely serve NASA for another 15 years. For one, we already have all of them operational. It sure beats researching a new space craft. They are well built despite the Discovery incident last year. And it takes a while for new technologies to be developed so my point is – well still have the space shuttle for a long time yet. NASA canceled the X-33 in 2001. The X-33 is developed by Lockheed Martin, and the prototype was 85% compete when the project got scraped. Recently, NASA successfully flew an X-43A rocket plane. This new plane can go very fast and broke the world record this week for the fastest jet in the world. MACH 7 although some say NASA is developing an X-43B that can go MACH 10. Ten times the speed of sound!!! Whoa!

Now I’m about the change the main topic completely! I wanna be sure everyone’s on the same page as I am.

One of the things that I was also doing yesterday was playing Star Ocean. The reason why is I knew this is an extremely hard videogame to seek out. It’s top priority for collectors, and if I did show up somewhere it would cost approximately 80 dollars or more Online. I’ve been looking at the instruction booklet of Star Ocean II – The Second Coming, which was on the shelf for quite some time now – since 2002. Star Ocean II is worth 50 dollars, and is a very rare find at game merchants. I only looked at the manual a couple times – never booting up the game in PSone to take a look-see at what the game’s suppose to be about. And I thought, “Well, I have nothing to do this weekend, so I should get into one RPG at least before school starts again.” I was playing Doom 3 yesterday since it is popular right now. Although Diablo 2 is still my favorite game, the trigger-finger-with- mouse feeling that gave the game its charm is fading away. I have little desire to play Diablo 2 anymore. And - then again - why get into an old SNES game when the 32/64 generation is much better, in my opinion, and much easier on the eyes. Not to say that old games like Star Ocean don’t demand strategy and knowledge on what skills to use. Sometimes even more so, because most RPGs of that era have ‘active-time-battle’ intergraded into them which means I almost always have to select my spell quickly or lose HP very fast. I’m tried to pull off as many normal (physical) attacks as I can because a lot of times spells confuse me. The games usually start your mage with piss poor spells to begin with and your character doesn’t have a chance against stronger bosses. That’s where Game Genie codes come into play. Using those I don’t have to worry about losing. Games are about being fun - not frustrating - are they not?

Star Ocean is the really late RPG for the SNES (1996). Star Ocean is supposed to have the some of the best graphics on the SNES. So I downloaded the English translation ROM of Star Ocean so I could play it with SNES9x. I do not own Star Ocean, but I want to play the game. I already know it’s not ownable except if you happen to buy it off Ebay. So I played Star Ocean since 9:30AM to 12:30 PM yesterday, and haven’t got into the game. The graphics are supposed to beat graphics of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy III. Both are exceptional in their graphics. Star Ocean is uber-exceptional! Then, of course, you have 2D sprites in a polygonal background on Playstation with games like Star Ocean – the Second Coming, Grandia, and Tales of Destiny which surpass any 2D RPG on SNES.

I added a new logo to Modblog. The one you see now! It wasn’t hard to do in Photoshop. I also put it on ‘Ian’s Quintessential Blog’, and a few minor changes to the design. I haven’t updated the entries on that site yet. Sorry. I don’t have my cat pictures uploaded to http://www.angelfire...log2/renegadeviking/ yet. I will upload them soon. I like the new template I modified. The template has multiple tables inside tables. The site is dominantly white since dark text and whitish colors are in favor of most sites I visit. I have 4 major websites: ‘Ian’s Personal Webpage 4.0’, ‘Ian’s Square-Enix Fan Page’, ‘Ian’s Quintessential Blog’, and ‘Ian’s 512-bit Generation News Page’. Those are the major ones I’ve created within 12 months. I modified some templates on (which are still online by the way). I wanted a personal webpage that looked like – a very modern webpage. My favorite color is blue so I try to have several shades of blue in my webpage. Designing webpages is a form of art – the colors almost always have to be similar to one another. Right now, I focus most of my energy on Modblog which drives people to my interests, of course. If it weren’t for Modblog, and gaming forums….I would just be another node in the cyber-universe. Do I rather not be heard or be noticed? I felt I wanted to write publicly instead of privately for the first time in November 2003.

I’ve been looking at other people’s blogs yesterday, and I must say, this web log idea is getting really popular. I mean look at all the good technical information Modblog shows. It has writers who keep up with software downloads everyday so I don’t have too. Do they do this for a living – keep updating checking for updates? The world-wide-web is vast so it’s addicting. If it weren’t so - I wouldn’t be in my office chair spending hours a pond end looking up information, and downloading upgrades to existing programs. I can write infinity topics from just browsing computer / videogame technology reviews alone. Gaming is driving computer technology further. There are just enough people out there who are willing to upgrade their PC/MAC to play the latest PC games. I’m a little poor now. I spend my money on software, and that extra gigabyte-stick drained half my savings. Those computer problems I thought I had with my custom pc went away when I re-installed Windows XP Professional. The Ethernet is now back online, and the sound works. And I don’t get those funny internal motherboard beeps when shutting down Windows XP.

While I was playing Unreal Tournament on Friday and Saturday, I found out it plays on a Geforce 5600 rather slowly, and it runs at the high resolution, but it doesn’t have a smooth frame-rate. This is a software issue. Reason I started to play Unreal Tournament is, well, I have a CD filled with downloaded maps, mostly composed of Capture the Flag and Deathmatch. I have Direct X 8.1 installed, and UT runs on Direct X 6.0. It is backwards compatible, but I get missing polygons in UT. Epic Games released their last patch for Unreal Tournament in 2000. Perhaps they should release more video card support in their next patch. Unfortunately, there more than likely won’t be another patch. I mean look at Half-life and how many patches that game had. Valve supported Half-life up to 2003 with their v1.1.1 patch. That’s six years of updates! The sound is flawed in some levels. The voices in UT sound robotic most of the time. But hey, I’m not complaining (mainly because the sound works and I’m happy). UT loads a lot faster than it did on the old Compaq Presario. It’s was a slug compared to my Dell PC. Graphics really improved, and all my 21st century PCs can handle Unreal Tournament easily. UT character models and backgrounds look extremely flattened compared to sequels, UT2003 and UT2004.

I have 80 dollars now! What shall I spend it on? There is one PS2 game I really want, and one RPG on Gamecube I’m unsure about. Both are RPGs. RPGs I’ll probably never play….but I’ll try because I like the battle systems and some times I like the cut-scenes also. With school starting in one week, I fear I’ll never get into it, but seeing how videogames come, and go as quickly as they do in terms of shelf life these days…I fear I will get one or two shots at owning them. 1.) Buying video-games at Wal-mart or Target or Best Buy during its short shelf life. 2.) At Game Stop or Toyriffic (videogame retailer) in Hudson and River Falls. First title I was thinking about owning is Tales of Symphonia (the sequel to Tales of Destiny II on Playstation 2) exclusive for Gamecube. And the very Internet-hyped videogame none other than Star Ocean 3: Til the End of Time which is due to be in stores August 31st. Okay, how should I put this? I never played Tales of Phantasia (SNES rom) nor that interested in Star Ocean yesterday when I attempted to play it. To tell ya the truth - I will get only one since gives Star Ocean 3 a 9.5/10, and Tales of Symphonia a 8.5/10 thus Star Ocean 3 an exceptional game in most reviewer’s eyes, and Tales of Symphonia good enough, but not as good as Star Ocean 3.

The truth that Gamecube is more powerful than Playstation 2 hardware, therefore, ToS might be more graphically detailed than Star Ocean 3. I’ve been reading review sites stating that Star Ocean 3 is instead a better game in terms of presentation, graphics, story and game play. But from what I read in reviews, ToS plays a lot like Grandia 2. Grandia 2 was the first Anime RPG I’ve was introduced too after I’ve completed Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. I only had Dreamcast and N64 before 2001. The only RPGs for N64 was Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask and Dreamcast only had Grandia 2, Skies of Arcadia, and Record of Lacross War.

Why are there so many anime fanatics on the web? I mean I can’t read videogame reviews or read message boards with out seeing some sort of Anime or Hentai character in banner form. Forums are littered with them. There is this idea that anime is popular through-out the world or English world because there aren’t too many other cartoon styles except for Disney’s. Even worst Walt Disney is starting to make their own anime inspired cartoons. Kingdom Hearts is a prime example. You have a mix of Japanese and American animation in the mix together. This hasn’t been attempted before. From what I heard, Kingdom Hearts sold very well and Disney and Square-soft are going ahead with Kingdom Hearts II. Aren’t most adults old enough to realize that cartoons are over with? Instead the Internet turns it into some type of popular culture I do not fully understand. That’s the way I see it. A lot of RPGs have anime just like 10 years ago in form of sprites. For me it stops there. There was this one time one month ago where I tried drawing anime characters freehand myself. Ya, ok…so it’s somewhat difficult to draw, and even harder to draw the cell-shaded animation types in Adobe Photoshop 8. What I mean is you’d better be pretty damn good at Photoshop to make those professional animations like ones on the Internet. Making the cartoon porn too, LOL! I played around with Paint Shop Pro 8 more than Photoshop 8, and used the paint brushes in the toolbar, and I can’t get that aspect of it too work very well. My cousin called me crazy because I told him I was drawing anime that day. I never practiced drawing anime since then. I’m almost 20, and I’m too old for this sort of thing. Then some videogame historians argue that anime/hentai is for young and old a like. I disagree. However, my friend Randy really likes to watch Cowboy Bebop on Adult Swim whenever he can. I’m not a big fan myself. I seen it, and it the episodes turn me off. I don’t watch silly shows like that.

Here are some good retro review sites I’ve found today. I got a kick out of reading old games. Really made my day!

If I owned a Genesis I would buy….

• Revenge of Shinobi
• Shinobi III
• Castlevania Bloodlines
• Robocop Vs. The Terminator
• Mortal Kombat II
• Earthworm Jim
• Ecco the Dolphin

[Modified a day later (Monday)] I decided to run to River Falls to ShopKo, and invest 80 dollars into two RPGs. It was a hard decision to make – two games would fully drain my 80 dollars. I really wanted Tales of Symphonia so I paid full price for it. I wanted it because I really like Grandia II. I’m thinking that this looks and plays almost exactly like Grandia II. Another game I got for 25 dollars is Dark Cloud 2. I paid 20 dollars for Dark Cloud earlier this year – a real bargain. Pretty good deal considering how much the game went down in price this year. I don’t know how the game plays because I’ve haven’t tried playing it. But gave the first Dark Cloud an 8.0/10 so it’s seems to be better than average. I’m excited to play Tales of Symphonia. I also ran to the River Falls videogame store and bought Secret of Mana (made from Squaresoft). I read the review of it on a retro reviews fan pages. I talked to the British retailer there, and I tried asking him about what SNES games are great. He says he first owned a Playstation then he bought an Xbox later. We also had a conversation on MAC 10 and Windows XP. I learned that Microsoft Corporation owns stock in Apple Computer Corporation. Aren’t they competitors for god sakes? Yes, his name is Nick who that funny British accent. The Midwestern accent in the Midwest must sound really funny to him too. To be precise, I am a lonely Midwestern speaking British-American techno loving citizen. We talked about Tomb Raider for a long time. He likes Tomb Raider. I got the general idea that Tomb Raider is big for Lara’s big boobs, and the fact Tomb Raider was one of the first 3D polygon games out.

Bye Bloggers!

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