New computer; going crazy on computer games

GeForce 8800 GTX As those who I chat to regularly are aware, I’ve just upgraded my computer and for the first time since late 2004 have a machine that is considered quite powerful. As such, I’m doing a hell of a lot of catching up by going through games I’ve had in my sights but’ve been unable to play enjoyably, and also getting into new ones.

At the moment I’m getting through Command & Conquer 3, which is extremely good like I guessed it would be and is definitely going to be reviewed once I thunder through to the very end. I’m going to start reviewing and commenting on newer games a lot more often now, since not being able to play them kind of put a damper on my ability to do so before!

Alongside Command & Conquer 3, I’m also getting back into Battlefield 2 which I played quite intensively in 2005 but soon grew fed up of it running like a dog on the lowest settings; now it runs very smoothly on 1600×1200 (boo to no proper widescreen support) with everything maxed out. I’d give the exact frames per second but I use vsync and it only reports up to 60; all I can say is that it’s always over 60. If you want to hunt me down, the name I play under is RyanJW and I stick to European servers – usually ones in the UK. I play pretty frequently.

Games I’m really looking forward to right now include Quake Wars and Team Fortress 2, both of which I’m almost guaranteed to spend a mountain of hours on. Once I get a new design for this place sorted out I’ll have a proper section on the sidebar which lists my game IDs, since it’s always more fun playing with people you have some kind of link with!

For those who’re interested, the specifications of my new machine are:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4ghz Socket 775 FSB1066 4MB Cache
  • Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 TwinX 2×1GB
  • Asus P5B Deluxe WIFI Socket 775 Core 2 Duo P965 FSB1066 DDR2 SATA Audio ATX
  • BFG GeForce 8800 GTX OverClocked (600MHz) 768MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI PCI-Express
  • 300GB 7200rpm PATA Samsung hard drive

The newest game I’ve actually ran on this new PC is Colin Mcrae: Dirt, which is incredibly beautiful and also has the usual solid, authentic-feeling Colin Mcrae gameplay. As always I initially did nothing but smash into things, compounded by the fact I was playing with a keyboard. It’s really satisfying once you get the hang of it though, and you realise that a racing game doesn’t always have to be about pure speed. Or even tipped in that direction whatsoever, for that matter.I couldn’t resist taking some screenshots of myself going mental and smashing my car into a thousand pieces, so look below for a tasty selection; click them for larger versions.

All screenshots were taken ingame with everything set to ultra. Running like this at 1920×1200 takes me down to 25 fps, although I could easily bump that up by running a few things on high instead of ultra. In all honesty, when I closed the game down to change the settings to high and then went back in I didn’t notice a difference at all; I think I only would if I literally took the same screenshot in both modes and compared directly.

Colin Mcrae: Dirt

More screenshots are available: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

You might notice that some very fancy-looking blurring has been applied to the video, making it look very film-like. This isn’t a side effect of the fact that the screenshots are derived from a video I recorded, but is actually a real-time effect used throughout the game. The result is a game that looks a lot smoother than if it were running at the same frames per second without it as the elaborate blurring fools the eye in the same way that makes films and television programmes look totally smooth despite only running at 30 fps (amongst other things). In other words, running at 25 fps in this game doesn’t feel like running at 25 fps in, say, Counter-Strike: Source.

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