Booting ISO Files Directly From USB

Below is how to turn a USB drive into a bootable device. Booting into the device brings up a menu from which a variety of ISO disk images may be selected. 
 
Steps: 

  1. Format the USB drive into a single FAT32 partition; include the "boot" flag. This step may easily be accomplished using GParted
  2. Install GRUB2 to the device using the command: grub-install --force --no-floppy --root-directory=/path/to/mounted/usb /dev/usb-device
  3. Install GRUB4DOS to the device by extracting the GRUB4DOS archive to /boot/grub4dos. GRUB4DOS is required in certain cases where a disk image has trouble booting from GRUB2, e.g. UBCD
  4. Create folder /iso to contain the disk image files
  5. Configure GRUB2 and GRUB4DOS by altering /boot/grub/grub.cfg and /boot/grub4dos, respectively 
 
Note: Puppy Linux and RIPLinuX had to be extracted from ISO to their own directory in order to boot properly 

Sample /boot/grub/grub.cfg file: 

Sample /boot/grub4dos/menu.lst file: 
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Finally, a Copy of the Tribes 2 Soundtrack

Tribes 2 was and is an excellent multiplayer experience. While there are truckloads of multiplayer shooters out there, nothing comes close to the feel of Tribes. This is a game where you hurtle down mountains and fly across entire levels with your jet pack. 
 
Tribes 2 also boasts an excellent soundtrack, but good luck finding a copy. Zero results on Google Shopping! Zero results on eBay! The distributor's site lists it as out of stock, and the composer's site looks like it's long been abandoned. There was no way to get it, but thanks to Ssential over at TribesNext.com, the soundtrack is once again available. 
 
For the original thread: 
http://www.tribesnext.com/forum/index.php?topic=2530.0  
 
Or go directly to the archive (if you upload a copy, PM me a link and I'll add it): 
http://www.n.ethz.ch/~imbachb/download/Timothy%20Steven%20Clarke%20-%20Tribes%202.rar
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21643329/tribes2_soundtrack.zip  
 
While we're on the subject, where's my Tribes 4? Fallen Empire: Legions doesn't count.

5 Comments

"Sands of Time" Movie and Game Screenplays

This may be old news to some, but Jordan Mechner's blog hosts a couple of PDF files that may be of interest to anyone looking for insight into the world of video game writing and their movie adaptations. Posted on his blog is the last draft of the "Sands of Time" movie screenplay before other writers altered it into the final shooting script. Also posted are scripts to the pre-rendered scenes in the original game. 
 
Movie Script:
http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2010/10/pop-orig-screenplay/  

Game Script: 
http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2011/01/pop-original-game-screenplay/

1 Comments

Myst IV a Revelation in Tactile World Building

I was just thinking about Myst IV: Revelation and how I couldn't think of another game quite like it. Sure, there are plenty of other adventure games with a focus on pre-rendered art assets, but the level of detail and interactivity in Revelation are amazing. Opening drawers and pulling levers requires clicking and dragging the mouse, causing a pre-rendered animation to play in sync with the speed and direction of the input. Tapping objects and the subsequent audio feedback also incorporates the player into the world amazingly well.
 
What other games are this tactile?

4 Comments

A Section 8 Sequel? Really?

I enjoyed the original Section 8, its sprawling maps, and its deliberate pacing. For anyone interested in understanding what the first game tried to do, I recommend Tom Chick's game diaries: 

  
Also, a good interview with the developer: 
http://fidgit.com/archives/2009/09/section_8_interview.php  
  
This new project seems risky. The original game was quietly received and didn't sell well, so I was quite surprised to see a sequel announced. Timegate seems to make games that twist the genre in unique ways and develop cult followings. Here's hoping that this next title earns a larger audience.
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Xbox 360 Controller Emulation on the PC, Update 1

This is an update to an older post
 
A new version of the Xbox 360 Controller Emulator is available. This allows Logitech controllers to be recognized as Xbox controllers when playing Games for Windows games. The new version may be found here: 
http://www.tocaedit.com/IB/index.php?automodule=downloads&showfile=32
 
 This version now works with Red Faction: Guerrilla (which I've tested) and Trine (which I've not). These games require a few additional steps: 

  1. In the Red Faction folder where rfg.exe is located, copy the emulator's DLL and INI file.
  2. Open the INI file using an editor.
  3. Change FakeAPI=0 to FakeAPI=1.
  4. Change VID=0x0 and PID=0x0 to their respective values.
To determine these values: 
  1. Open the Device Manager, which may be found in the Control Panel.
  2. Under Human Interface Devices, open the Properties of the HID-compliant game controller and go to the Details tab.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Hardware Ids.
  4. One of the entries should contain the VID and PID values you need.
 
For example, the entry on my computer reads "HID\VID_046D&PID_C216". These values are then copied to emulator's INI file as VID=0x046D and PID=0xC216. 
 
All that's left to do is run Red Faction and enjoy.
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Thoughts Post-Mass Effect 2 (possible spoilers)

Finishing Mass Effect 2 a couple weeks ago, I immediately wrote down a few disappointments I had with the game on a slip of paper. The overall strengths of the game are pretty obvious and have been praised a hundred times over, so I copy these negative thoughts here. 
 

Security of Romance 
  • like picking from a menu
Sexist 
  • high heels
  • ridiculous clothing
  • Samara most obvious
Level design 
  • linear corridors
  • obvious when combat is coming
Miss Mako like Wind Waker's boat 
  • maybe not necessary, but made galaxy feel vast
Moving Normandy makes it feel small, light, like a toy  
Music 
  • surprising lack of ME1 theme
  • few themes present in multiple tracks
  • disappointed ME2 theme only appears for act 1/intro and final act
  • feels more generic, less memorable melodies (counter ex. quarian and thane's theme)
Plot 
  • too many "hey! remember me?"
  • Spectre reinstated (though limited), never mentioned again...
  • sometimes NPCs get a bit too chatty. Feel less like people, more like encyclopedias
  • "suicide" mission achievement for no deaths...
  • no urgency
  • codex dump at beginning of game
 
Not the most developed thoughts, but that's what's on the paper. Looking forward to Mass Effect 3, the areas I would like to see improved the most is the franchise's portrayals of romance, sex, and gender. Maybe then I can have an easier time taking some of these characters seriously. 
 
On a lighter note, the first game made such a huge deal about Spectres. The game opens with a Spectre's murder, another Spectre going rogue, and the player becoming the first human Spectre. Second game: what's a Spectre? Wouldn't it have been cool to meet another Spectre? You are on a mission to recruit the galaxy's elite, after all. Or they should have had a scene where Shepherd flashes his Spectre badge in the Terminus systems and some thugs just laugh at him. Garrus, I've a feeling we're not in Citadel Space anymore.
3 Comments

Incoming Transmission

Portal was updated today accompanied by some cryptic patch notes: 
 

  • "Changed radio transmission frequency to comply with federal and state spectrum management regulations" 
 
A new achievement has been added as well. What is Valve planning?
1 Comments

An Open Letter To Steam

(to be read by a lovelorn, internal voice) 
 
Dear Steam
 
You and I have had a simple relationship over the years. I gave you money, and you gave me intangible, virtual goods that can be reproduced ad infinitum. Somehow, I feel like you're getting the better part of the deal, but no matter. I was happy with our relationship, our understanding. 
 
I was happy to buy Popcap's Plants vs. Zombies for five dollars. I was happy to buy Arkham Asylum for twenty-five then Dark Athena for ten. Then again today, I see Zeno Clash for another five. 
 
Please Steam, don't you see that you're killing me? I can't afford it, but I also can't afford to lose you. Will you ever change your ways? 
 
Love, 
A Poorer Steam Customer
8 Comments
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