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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Juliraptor Now Online

Hi, there! This is J-Raptor.

Like BNG Possum, I also enjoy computer games when I can. I'm a bit behind due to the fact that I didn't realize time was passing me by so quickly, so I'm still playing a lot of older games. Some games never get old, no matter how many times I play them. The best example is Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. I am a big fan of multiplayer games with friends and family across the country, but I like a wide variety. Alpha Centauri is a great multiplayer game, and the expansion pack comes with a faction editor so you can create your own computer opponents. This is great stuff!

In general, I look at games from the view of an average person, with little spending money to make upgrades every month or to buy giganitc gaming rigs. Currently, I have a Pentium 4, 2.5 GHz Compaq with 512 MB RAM and a sparkling new video card, the Radeon All-in-Wonder 2006 Edition (256 MB). This card replaced the factory-installed nVidia GeForce 4 MX420 (64MB). You may laugh at these specs but they were excellent when I bought the computer in 2002. I was very impressed with Compaq for providing an affordable system at a great price (no they don't pay me, but they can if they want...). My last computer before that was a Sony 166 MHz, with a 1 MB 3D-accelerated graphics card that was state-of-the-art in 1997. So this was a big step up! This will probably be the last upgrade I make to this system. I hope it will get me through a few more years, but I'm gonna have to start saving up for a new system before 2010 because new games are going to require processing speeds in excess of 2.5 GHz. Fortunately, I have a huge backlog of older games to get me through these tough times.

I haven't noticed a huge change in gameplay since I did the graphics card upgrade. Actually, because the All-in-Wonder TV component requires so much boot time, that it really bogs the system down at start up. It takes up to 5 minutes just to get my desktop up and ready to go. This can be an annoyance. I tried hiberating the system when I'm done for the night instead of a full shut-down, but even so, sometimes the TV player will not display TV signal correctly -- requiring a restart anyway. In fact, sometimes, the TV signal will not display properly if I just exit and reopen the TV player -- requiring another restart. So far, this has been the only annoyance with this card. The main gameplay difference I noticed with the new card was the ability to dial-up in-game graphical settings from "Normal" to "High" (I still can't get to "Highest" in most newer games). But since I'm in denial about the fact that it is the year 2006 already, most of the older games I play run great!

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