Getting Back Into Max Payne

Max Payne is a shooting and action game released in 2001 by Remedy Entertainment. This well known game development company has also come up with titles like Control, Alan Wake, Death Rally and Quantum Break. The company is based in Finland. I have tried to apply to there as a junior software developer some years ago. As you can figure I didn’t get that job back then, but it was well worth trying.

I played Max Payne back in 2001 with my personal computer. It was the first video game that featured an element of game play called “bullet time”. This effect made the main character to slow down. Actually the time was slowing down for a moment. This way the player had more time to make an accurate aim. The player had his or her choice of weapons. These included many different hand guns, uzi, shotgun and even a baseball bat for close encounters.

Max Payne was somewhat a masterpiece that can well be called art. This was to my knowledge also what they were aiming for as game developers. It did sell well too. Max Payne does own a bit of its success to action titles and movies like Matrix and those action films directed by John Woo. The game also includes a joke in which this movie directors name is used. You can find this joke easily if you play this game.

Max Payne featured Sam Lake as the main character. He has also written the whole plot of the game. As I know a lot about this game it doesn’t come as a surprise that he has some background in producing movies. The game doesn’t have so many cut scenes and I think this was because the games release would have been delayed too much. There are many funny details in this game. In overall the game is very entertaining. You can go a long way using your skills and experience from many of first person shooter games. This game has a view of the third person.

I am getting back to this game in early 2023. It did cost me 15 euros. I bought it from Xbox store. This game is compatible with Xbox Series X if you still own a copy of the original Xbox game or if you find it from a game shop. I didn’t this time get a physical copy of the game. I got it as a digital copy. I also bought the sequel, Max Payne 2, The Fall of Max Payne and Resident Evil Village. So I spent 15 euros for Max Payne 2 also and 20 euros for Resident Evil Village.

The game plays very smoothly on my Series X. Graphics look just fine. Controls are good. I did turn invert aim off. Otherwise controlling was made easy. It did take some time to get used to but after a while everything was great. The only thing I am a bit unsatisfied with is the lack of cut scenes which are replaced with these comic slides that feature some audio also. I have only started playing this game once again. I have earlier finished it about 2 or 3 times. This time the featured image displays a screenshot.

Why I Think It’s not Worth It To Buy PS2 Today

Some years ago, like maybe three or so, I broke my PlayStation 2. I was seriously thinking about buying another one. I have over 50 games for it already. I also think that there might be some very good games waiting to be discovered. There are lots of used games available.

I found a PS2 that had a price tag of 80 euros. It includes only the console and wires and not a single controller. A console with a controller would cost about 110 euros. I do have a controller or two so I would preferably go for the cheaper deal right here. I just think that it’s not really worth it. Do you want to know why? Keep reading if you do.

When PS2 was the dominant and also a new gaming system there were more games released. They also had crappier graphics. As games they were also more limited in sense of overall game design. It was a pain to still use memory cards. Sometimes a game would just not load a save. This happened to me as I was playing Burnout 3. I had over 25 percentage of the game completed and the save somehow got corrupted and refused to load. I was using a third party memory card that had 128 MB of space. That might have something to do with this issue. The regular Sony’s memory cards are 8 MB.

PS2 was released int he early 2000s. There are two models that were released. The newer is a slim model and the older model is called usually the fat model. It is possible to play PS1 games on a PS2. Controller for this console is Dual Shock 2 which is an upgrade of a PS1s controller. There are over 4300 games released for PS2. You can find lists of games from your favorite search engine.

There is a very good emulator for playing PS2 games on your Windows or Linux PC. This emulator is, of course, PCSX2. In order to play games you have to set up a BIOS. If you want to do this without breaking a law you have to get the BIOS from a PS2 that you own. It is illegal to download a BIOS file. And, of course, you don’t want to break law, right?

PS2 games exist in plain DVD discs so it is easy to use the emulator as long as you have, an internal or external, disc drive in your PC. You can also rip DVDs to .iso format or to some other format so you don’t have to worry about using or scratching your game discs. You might need a USB compatible controller. I prefer for PlayStation emulation a Dual Shock 4 game pad. This is also a bit tricky. This is actually a story for another blog post so I won’t get into this too deeply right now.

Prices of rare and also some of the best PS2 games have been rising in recent years. I think it was 2017 when I got Silent Hill 3 for 15 euros. Now it might cost 70 euros or something like that. This is clearly the direction in which we are moving. Instead of selling your PS2 games it might be wiser to hold on to them for some years and think again if you really want to sell them.

PS2 has some really good games. I can mention games like God of War, Gran Turismo 3 and 4, Devil May Cry series and Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. Actually many of the best games ever released on PS2 are for PlayStation only so you won’t find them for other consoles that were competing desperately against the dominance of PS2 back in 2000s.

With every fact considered in this blog post I think that it isn’t worth it. I can say this honestly. I am not a game shop keeper or game seller. I am a consumer or hobbyist and this is my own personal and honest opinion. I am not going to buy a PS2. At least I am going to wait for a while. I have made some game related purhcases recently. I have to think about where my money is going for a while.

Keep reading my blog. It was fun to write once again my thoughts here. And don’t worry because I have lots of games to play. I have lots of material that I can use for this blog. You can be sure that I am going to return to you and write some more about my experiences and describe a bit of what am I doing in this life. Be safe! I will find you the next time.

Setting Up C++ Programming Environment in Windows 10 Is a Pain

Yesterday I was excited and ready to start getting to programming with C++. I thought that it would be nice to learn and to refresh my memory. I have some years ago completed a programming basics course in C++. The idea of having an executable that could be run on a wide range of devices was the idea that was so fascinating to me. I use Windows 10 a lot. So I decided that it would be easiest to just install some IDE and also a compiler.

I was so wrong with my decision. I tried to install Cygwin. During the installation you would have to select all the components that you definitely need for C++ development. There are hundreds of them. If you would like to install all of them that would take days to download and install. So that basically wasn’t an option.

I have been around Java from 2010. I am very familiar with setting up programming environment for it. It is just way easier than with C++. I wanted to code in C++. I just think there are so many options if you learn and use this programming language. What was my solution?

While I was going through the material I found online I figured that it might be easier if I would start with Linux instead of keep hitting my forehead to Windows 10. I know that Microsoft has been trying to make it a bit easier to use Linux’s software on Windows. That however wasn’t the solution for me. So I swithched to my laptop that has a dualboot install of Windows 10 and Ubuntu.

I had already Visual Studio Code installed. All I had to do was to install the extension inside VS Code. That was almost it. I had to look up how to run build inside the IDE but that wasn’t a hard thing to do. So I got to programming quickly.

It was my goal to just write something that would work and refresh my memory on the programming language. As I got my programming environment to work I got to the actual programming. I had to look up some tips on how to present text and read it in online. I am serious as I say that any programming experience in any language makes it way easier to switch to a language that you aren’t already familiar.

C++ is used widely and still in 2022 for programming games and other software. Aside it being a tough to install in Windows it really is a dynamic programming language. There basically aren’t many limitations in what it can be used for. Even websites and desktop applications with a GUI can be build.

What I build yesterday was just a tiny application. Actually it is a personality test with a lot of humourous edges on it. You answer in five questions which give you points for a type of a person you are. There are three types. The personality type that you are is the one that gets most points based on your answers. Yes. And the types are (translated since the application is in Finnish) “a talented model citizen”, “an alcoholic” and “loser”. So you are one of these. I know, there aren’t much of a choice.

Anyways, I had fun all of the about three hours I spend developing this funny or stupid app.  I had fun. It was nice. The program managed to fit into about 150 lines of code. So you can imagine that it wasn’t so complex. It had some basic text that was read in and also printed out. It used different variable types, some loops and decision making with if-else structures and that was basically it.

If you would like to program with C++ yourself I highly recommend using a computer that has Linux installed. I also like Visual Studio Code which is a free text editor or even an IDE (which stands for Integrated Development Environment).

Silent Hill 2 Remake

So there is a new remake of Silent Hill 2 in the makings. I was thinking that in this post I wouldn’t go so deeply into what is coming for us gamers but I thought I should write something I feel about this series of survival horror magnifiency that Silent Hill has delivered and what is my relationship with it.

My first memories are about the first game of this series. I think I never owned the game. I did play a short demo of it. I liked it. Later I have played it but I never completely finished it. The latest connections between me and Silent Hill are made by playing PS3. I own the HD collection and also Silent Hill Homecoming. I had Downpour but I decided some years back to sell it. I also have Silent Hill 3 for PS2.

There is always a comparison between Silent Hill and Resident Evil. Both of them are survival horror games. They do differ a lot. While Resident Evil offers a constant feel of anxiety, Silent Hill does take you deeper into characters and how they feel and how the story keeps forming. I wouldn’t like to say that Silent Hill is in some way better or worse. Instead I would like to think that they are just different games. And they are good series of games all in all.

My history with Resident Evil is a lot closer. I started with Resident Evil 2 on PS1. I have completed also RE 1, RE 3 and RE 5. I almost completed RE Revelations and I am talking about the first in the series of two games. So I have some experience but I am not the master that has completed every game and every game in the whole world. There are lots of games in these series’s.

Silent Hill 2 is definitely a legendary game. Currently we know that it will be released for PS5 and PC. There will be no Xbox or Switch versions. There has been also some conversation about the game’s system requirements. They are going to be high. What is there to be for us? I think the time will show us. I am waiting to see something more out of this game.

A Very Nice Hockey Game

You know how many sport games are, don’t you? The game stays almost like same and there is a release every year. So there aren’t big changes in the game every year. But something always changes if we compare these games closely or then compare a game that is ten years old to the most recent one. I thought that I would bring up a game from a bit over twenty years ago and tell all of you how it is as a hockey game.

There have been many good hockey games in the whole wide history of gaming. One of my favorites is NHL 94 for Mega Drive. I played also NHL 97 for PC for a while. NHL 94 was good but if you compare NHL 95, 96 or 97 to it you find that it’s basically the same game that is released for Mega Drive and there aren’t so many updates. NHL 97 for PC is offering already 3D graphics and the gameplay also has an appeal.

The latest hockey game that I got in my hands was NHL 2021 for PS4. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get the difficulty level to something that would have been correct for me as a gamer. It was too easy and I scored almost everytime I made a shot and I won my opponent with ten goals every time or it was a bit too difficult and none of my shots would find their place. It was nice that the game had Patrik Laine and all other real and recent players in it. I couldn’t understand the gameplay completely.

I think many PS4 games have this issue that playing the game has been made a bit hard. I don’t know if this is a choice that has been made to make the games more appealing to eSport hobbyists and professionals. This can also be a thought only in my mind. You should definitely have your own opinion on this matter. There are propably games made for PS4 that are very playable and enjoyable. But in my opinion NHL 2021 isn’t a game that would inspire me a lot.

So why to play NHL 2000 for PlayStation 1? It’s appealing and inspiring game. You can definitely adjust the difficulty and I found that playing was the most enjoyable with second easiest difficulty level for me. I picked Mighty Ducks as my team since it had Teemu Selänne and also Paul Kariya. These both are fast players and their shot is very accurate. They both play in the first attack line of Anaheim.

As a hockey game NHL 2000 feels very nice to play. There is a lot of randomness. Situations change quickly. One of the best ways to score a goal is to have a breakaway. I have made lots of goals with Selänne or Kariya as they are fast. Another way to score is to give a pass and shoot the puck as a one-timer. It helps if you are closer to the goal and if you can make the goalie to move sideways there is a strong opportunity to score a goal.

One thing I hate about NHL 94 is that it offers only playoffs as a game mode. NHL 2000 has different kinds of seasons for you to pick. You can have a season of only a bit under 30 games, a season with about 60 games or a full season. Of course as is common you can adjust the play time and how often fights occur and also some other options for modifying rules of the game.

This is a hockey game for you if you don’t mind a bit retroish feel to the graphics and like fast, easy and enjoyable gameplay. There could maybe be more statistics, I don’t know. I am not the kind of a gamer that spends lots of time inspecting some deeper statistics  but it is nice to see how many goals the best scorer of my team has made, what is my goalies percentage of preventions or some other stats like this. This is definitely your game if you are into PS1 games all in all.

Playing Xbox One Exclusive from Remedy Entertainment

I sort of missed Quantum Break when it was originally released back in 2016. I surely didn’t have Xbox One then. I actually had only PS4 connected to my main screen that was Full HD 32 inch television. It also had SCART-connectivity. PS4 was my only gaming console that was connected to my television. It would have been possible for me to purchase this game  from Steam and install it for my PC. So there was a possibility that I didn’t choose to follow for some reason or other.

I am a huge fan of Remedy Entertainment. I have been that way since early games like Death Rally and Max Payne series. I did play Alan Wake and I have also played Control. Being a fan of Remedy can partly be explained with the fact that this game company is based in Finland. Sami Järvi actually was the person that gave Max Payne his face and he is also currently the Creative Director of the company.

If you have followed what I’ve been lately writing about you surely know that I recently got myself Xbox Series X. I actually removed Xbox Series S from my setup and replaced it with Series X. This more expensive model of the latest Xbox has an optical drive and two times more disk space for installing games. I also get to enjoy the backwards compatibility. I get to play Xbox One games also with the latest Xbox model Series X.

There are some really nice games that have been only released for Microsoft’s devices mainly being PC and Xbox. Some titles worth mentioning are Gears of War 4 and 5, Dead Rising 3 and 4, Forza Horizon series and Halo series. As I was ordering WRC10 and Back 4 Blood for Series X I decided to go also with copies of Fallout 4, which was sold for only 4 euros, and this Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break.

It was about a week ago that I received the order from post. I have played lots of WRC10. I started playing Quantum Break just this morning. I have already completed 11 percentage of the game. It isn’t a long game and that is perfectly fine with me. Based on a fact that I found while browsing the web it takes about ten hours to complete Quantum Break. It is a nice game. It includes nice graphics, as you can see from the screenshot related to this blog post. It also has elements from action and shooting games. It also has already offered me some puzzles to be solved. It reminds a bit about Max Payne but at the same time it is a completely own kind of a game.

This far I have very much enjoyed this game. Remedy has once again done a great job. While it’s not the latest of latest it still offers a solid experience. If I would have played this back in 2016 when this title was released I probably would have enjoyed it maybe even more as it is always exciting to play some game that has just been released and is using the latest so to say tricks. I don’t want to give it a grade. The Metacritic has given it a score of 77 out of 100.

 

SteamOS – An Alternative to Windows

For a long period of time Windows has dominated the scene of playing games with a PC. There is always an alternative and that is Linux. If you have played video games on your personal computer you have most likely stumbled on Steam. It is Valve’s, yes, the company that brought Half-Life to us, brilliant piece of software turned as a game shop application for buying and installing and also maintaining your library of PC games.

There are of course other ways to get your favorite games delivered to you. I have to mention Good Old Games or GOG.com. Some of you might still be buying physical copies of games. You know, those optical discs. They might be CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays or even 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. That is if you even have some sort of an optical drive in your personal computer.

Windows was my choice when I bought my desktop computer almost two years ago. I thought that for the way I use my PC it would be perfect. I have to mention that if you don’t get Windows on the system you are buying you are going to have to pay a lot to get it. I just checked the price of just the operating system Windows 11 and it was 145 euros. That all is just for the operating system.

Linux on the other side is free. It is also open source. What this means is that anyone can participate in making Linux better. I find this kind of comparison between Linux and Windows to be very interesting. In my current job I have had the pleasure to work a bit with PowerShell. This is a deep topic and I am going to just scratch its surface a bit. But let’s say that Linux is open and Windows is closed for what it comes to modifying the code that lies beneath the surface of the operating system.

But what about SteamOS? I can tell you that it is a Linux based operating system. It is free. And it has Steam installed on it. But what is that? I can already hear you talking about how Windows games aren’t compatible with Linux? Well, actually, now they are. Do you know what is “wine”? Let me, again, explain this a bit  further.

Wine is a tool that basically let’s you run software applications that were meant to be launched and run on Windows on Linux. This involves a lot of fiddling with settings and probably some deeper understanding about how software is commonly run on any platform or operating system. But the main point is that it indeed is possible to work with a game or application this way.

Now, when I made my decision of what is going to be my personal computers operating system, I thought a bit how am I going to use the computer. I wanted a machine that could be able to produce some documents so having office tools was important. I also wanted to be able to program on it. This actually works fine in both Linux and Windows. I am also a hobbyist musician as you may recall so it was important that my DAW would work and also that all my VST instruments and effects would be available. And last but not least, as I had a powerful device already, I wanted to be able to play latest PC games on this computer.

What was my choice? It was Windows. If I would have had to install and buy my operating system separately this would have meant that I would have had to buy a Windows license for 145 euros. The alternative would have been to install some Linux distro. Since SteamOS is currently free why not download it? It supports all of the games right?

Valve has had some success as it has brought a working market place and also a place for your gaming library for you the gamer. If you think about also Steam Deck you can clearly understand what is going on right here. Steam Deck is a very good and practical handheld gaming device. And it supports also Steam. I have been using Steam since I got my PC and that was about two years ago.

But would I go and trade my current and working system to SteamOS? I have to say that I am not right now yet ready for it. I am too concerned that I won’t have an opportunity to use my computer to other matters that aren’t about playing games. But I can say it is tempting. I have thought about testing SteamOS and maybe I will install it on some older PC someday.

Destiny of Jonathan: Maze of Salala

I have been thinking and also waiting to write about this game that has been under development now for several years. I have been involved in the development process with my good friend Antti Pulkkinen. I started working in this project back in 2014. Antti asked me to join and help him to get this game designed. He has had this idea of a role-playing 3D game. After some talk about the game we started to figure out what kinds of weapons and armor there would appear and how the story would be structured.

Back in 2014 I hadn’t even yet graduated and my studies as a software engineer were not finished. I saw these opportunities and they made me want to work in this project even more. From the first lines we discussed it was also clear that I would be also responsible for the music in this game. I also had the opportunity to develop the website. That’s basically my role in the designing of the game.

The game is released for PCs that have a Linux operating system. It costs 15 euros. If you want to buy the game you can register and then pay and download the game. I think this game gives something especially if you are into role-playing and adventure games and also if you are deeply into game design and programming. Antti has worked hard as he programmed this game. If you have any questions about the development process or anything related to programming you can find his email from our website: https://www.onegamecompany.fi

The game reflects our passion to how adventure and role-playing games were in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. We had also some skillful 3D modelers and graphic designers involved. There have been ideas for sequel or a series of sequels. I have been also busy with composing the music for these games. For music production I currently use FL Studio, a 32 key MIDI keyboard and a large library of different synthetic instruments and also samples. We looked for sound effects also from different websites and communities.

Diablo and Dungeon Siege series’s games were a big inspiration for us. We worked hard designing different kinds of features, mazes, puzzles, levels, discussions, characters and everything else we wanted to include in the game. We wanted it to have a clear and interesting plot and to give the main character some personality. From the beginning it was supposed to be a game that had some action involved in it. There are also many ways to develop the main character as the player progresses throughout the game. So it is an action RPG that has some characteristics of adventure games. Destiny of Jonathan was developed by our company One game company. This is our first serious game.

Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2

Today I received package from a game shop. I bought Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for PS1 along with some other games. I decided to write a word or two about this game. I got also some great Mega Drive games and the first Rayman game for PlayStation.

This game is a great skateboarding game. I played the first THPS a lot back in the 90s. I remember getting to play its sequel with PC. I had of course a game pad I could hook to the computer I had back then. I played this game for hours. It’s amazing to think that it has been already twenty years or so.

So I went and bought this one. It was cheap. It cost me only seven euros. Graphics aren’t as good as they were in the version that was released for PC. It was originally released in 2000. I have a wack controller at the moment but I am planning on getting an original controller for my PSOne. Also my game pads cord is way too short. It’s barely two meters. I would prefer three meters.

Compared to this series’s first game the sequel brings a bit more challenge and variety to the game play. You can do manuals and add them to the run or combo of your tricks. Basically in this game you try to make different achievements that give you some cash that you can spend to get some more stats for your skater. There are of course some professional skateboarding legends for you to choose to play as. I for example went with Chad Muska. You can choose from thirteen skaters and there are also some characters, like Spiderman, for you to unlock.

One big part of every Tony Hawk Pro Skater game is the soundtrack. I think the second game has maybe the best one and definitely best out of three first games. I do like the original game’s music and of course the third Tony Hawks Pro Skater had an awesome soundtrack also. I can clearly imagine myself starting to skate as Xzibit”s Paparazzi starts playing in the background.

The game play is as fun as it always has been. It brings me back to this great era of just great games. So it brings me also nostalgic feelings. Really takes back in to my memories of the time that has passed oh so long ago already. I am very content on buying this game. I hope I have some free time to get into this some more. I only played it for a while today.

So it’s a work day for me tomorrow but then it’s weekend again. Time progresses so fast right now. And every year that passes is added to my experience as a game collector and player. I have been a bit lazy for some time in writing this blog. I hope you will get to read some more of my stories, ideas and everything that is related to my life inside gaming and of course the life itself. Thanks for reading.

What Have I Been Playing Recently

I realized yesterday that it has been already a bit over two weeks from my latest post to this blog. I have been busy with work, game designing and I have also met some friends. I have also played. Actually I have played a lot. I just haven’t had time to sit down and write about it.

Yesterday I also for the first time checked from Steam how many hours I have put in NBA 2K22. I am playing it with PC as you probably figured out from that last sentence where I mentioned Steam. I have played this game for 90 hours.  already described my progression in this game in the last post to this blog.

A while ago I stopped playing Gran Turismo 7. I played it maybe 40 hours. As you can figure I have played a lot this year already. After this I figured I should get into some driving games for PS4. I saw a nice discount so I bought Wreckfest and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered. I also got F1 2021.

Hot Pursuit is a remasterd version of the game that was released in 2010. There were also some NFS games published earlier and they were also called Hot Pursuit. The comncept here is clear. You decide which side of the law you are on. So you can choose to be a police or a racer.

I have already enjoyed playing this racing game for about 30 hours. At first I was a bit disappointed. I thought the game wasn’t realistic. Driving the same circuit for 50 times seemed very repetitive to me. And you didn’t progress much. I had played as a racer so I decided to try playing as a police.

Playing Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered as a police is very fun. You basically try to drive as fast as you can, bust some racers and utilize means like using a spike strip, helicopter or road block to capture some racers. This play mode saves my experience. As NFS Hot Pursuit Remastered is not a realistic or enjoyable as a racing game it can be a nice experience as a game.

As it figures there’s too few hours for me to play every good game, be it a racing one or not. So I haven’t even opened Wreckfest or F1 2021. I have just been too busy lately. These games aren’t even the newest ones. As my dreams of getting myself a Xbox Series X seem to fade I have started to think about expanding my Series S’s memory. I just don’t know if there’s anything good and new to play.

Picking up what to play next is very common issue for me as a gamer. Thank you for reading. I try to write some more. I have a holiday of two weeks coming soon so maybe I catch you then. Maybe a bit earlier. Let’s find out!

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