Category Archives: Gaming

Running Stardew Valley without Steam (and the caveats it brings)

I’ve been playing Stardew Valley for a few days, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I have the Steam version, and as I often do, I’ve asked Steam to not create a Desktop shortcut for my game. Shortly after I thought that might have been a good idea and created one by myself and pinned to to my Start Menu. All works well: Stardew Valley starts and I can play.

However, I’ve just LOST two days worth of progress because the Steam Client wasn’t running in the background. I have it disabled, because I genuinely dislike the idea of daily updates to a service I barely use, and because I’d like to run as little “background crap” on my system as possible (yes Adobe, I’m looking at you).

The Steam Client not running does not stop Stardew Valley from starting, or from running, or from saving. It all works rather swimmingly… until I started the Steam Client, at which point the automated cloud save implementation wiped out my Stardew Save – and hence I lost two seasons worth of progress. YIKES!

Continue reading Running Stardew Valley without Steam (and the caveats it brings)

Prevent Steam on Mac from starting automatically

I’ve recently installed Steam on my Mac for the first time. I made sure to disable the auto startup option from the menu as I hardly use it on this underpowered machine (under Steam – Preferences – Interface). There’s no tick box there!

Imagine my surprise when I restarted my Mac a couple of days later, only to be greeted by the familiar window showing “Updating Steam”. Bad software design at its best: do the opposite of what the user has selected. Good job, Steam!

This being a Mac issue, there’s about 0 threads on the web on how to tackle this issue. It took me a moment to remember that there’s built-in Mac option under Preferences – Users – Login Items. That’s where Steam was hiding, and as such, it is started no matter what. Untick that box, and Steam will no longer start on your Mac when you boot the system.

Flaky with a Capitol F: My Elgato HD 60 Pro review

I wanted a top quality capture solution for my PS3 and PS4 consoles, something that would last a few years and that I could use for high-quality HDMI capture of other devices too. I’ve had a cheap USB solution before and as you can imagine, the quality just wasn’t great. I finally bit the bullet and purchased an ELGATO HD60 Pro. This is a PCI-e card with a dedicated video encoder, HDMI in and out, and from what the sales brochure tells you, it’s the proverbial Dog’s Bollocks. I’ve had it for several months now and can give you some impressions.

Continue reading Flaky with a Capitol F: My Elgato HD 60 Pro review

So I’ve picked up NO MAN’S SKY – and here’s what I think

I’ve heard so many mixed reviews about NO MAN’S SKY that made me wonder what all the fuzz was about. On the surface the game seems to be something I might enjoy, combining exploration on a vast scale, building, crafting and handsome looking graphics. The asking price of $60 promises a AAA title, so when it was on sale the other day, both on Steam and on GOG, I picked it up and had a look at it.

I’m coming into this game cold, not knowing what to expect. I literally had no expectations, other than the hope of having a good time. Sadly that didn’t happen. It can be like that with complex games though, you have to give it an hour or two to get into them, learn the interface, understand what you’re supposed to do. Good games (like any good software) will help you make this a welcoming experience.

NO MAN’S SKY doesn’t do that. It’s not even trying.

Continue reading So I’ve picked up NO MAN’S SKY – and here’s what I think

Where does CONTROL store Game Saves

I came to this interesting “retro” type area in CONTROL, the one in which Jesse is dressed as an FBC office assistant. I thought this woudl be a great area to explore further with Photo Mode. However, there was really no way to save my game in that section – at least none that I could think of. CONTROL uses an auto-save feature, which means that when I reach the next section, it may not have been easy for me to go back to where I currently was.

I decided to investigate where CONTROL stores its save games and found they’re in this folder: C:\Users\you\AppData\Local\Remedy\Control\Default-Epic-User

Replace you with your actual Windows user name. Note that I have the EPIC version of the game, so this location may change when installed from other marketplaces (in which case, please let me know in the comments). The folder contains several sub folders. Copy them all somewhere save (don’t drag and drop them; right click and select copy instead). This will preserve your current game state at the last save point.

When it’s time to return to that spot, simply copy all subfolders back, overwriting any existing items in the folder above. When you relaunch the game, you’ll see a warning from the EPIC Games Launcher, telling you that your local game save is older than the last cloud save.

Choose Upload to Cloud to play with your current settings (i.e. the one you’ve just restored). Download to Machine would overwrite everything and start your game from the last save point, just in case you’ve made a mistake.

And that’s that! Now we can save multiple games in progress. You can pickup CONTROL on EPIC Games – and if you liked this article, you can use code JAY-VERSLUIS on checkout to get me a small commission if you like 😉

Where does CONTROL save shots from Photo Mode (on Windows)

Remedy and 505 Games did a good job implementing Photo Mode in CONTROL across all platforms yesterday. While they did a great job telling everyone about this feature, they did a lousy job telling us where those screenshots are actually saved. It might be more obvious on games consoles where you have limited places to investigate, but I spent half an hour exploring my Windows hard disks without joy.

Until Leuncode on Discord answered my puzzled question and said, “it’s in the Documents Folder”. Thank you so much for clearing that up!

Photo Mode can be activated from the Pause Menu (Start Button on the CONTROLler, or press ESC on the keyboard). We get several adjustment options and settings, a seriously important one is to hide the UI. The implementation isn’t great, and essentially CONTROL simply takes a screenshot of whatever is on the monitor – including the UI if it’s there.

If you want to give the game a whirl, head over to the EPIC Store and grab it. If you hack in my creator code JAY-VERSLUIS I’ll get a small commission 😉

How to play XIII (Classic) – PC Keyboard Layout

Back in the days when I had a physical copy of XIII, I never had that problem with the console versions of the game. There are only so many buttons to press on a controller, and there’s an in-game tutorial that tells you.

Surprisingly, the current GOG.com version comes with a manual, but it does not mention the keyboard layout. Neither did the original manual for the physical game if I remember correctly. When I wanted to map the PC kets to my controller using Xpadder, I quickly realised that aside from walking and basic shooting, I had no idea how to use the scope of the grappling hook.

I’ve compiled this handy list to remind me how it works for next time, might come in handy if you’re in the mood for some retro comic type FPS action:

  • WASD keys – walk around, rather fast
  • hold the left SHIFT key – in addition to WASD to walk slowly
  • SPACE – Jump
  • MOUSE – look around
  • Left Mouse – Fire
  • Right Mouse – Alternative Fire (like throw grenades, or stab with a knife)
  • Q – use Quick Heal, i.e. take next available med kit
  • E – Action (i.e. open doors, pick up items, etc)
  • G – Throw hand grenade
  • R – Reload Weapon
  • Right ALT – use the Sniper Scope
  • C – Crouch down (toggle between standing and crouching)
  • Page UP / Page DOWN – cycle through weapons

XIII Classic – available again on GOG.com

I got a newsletter from GOG.com today, and in it was XIII – listed as “new”. Which is weird, because some reviews on the site date back to 2012. It looks like this title was unavailable for many years. I know this because as it happens, I’ve been looking for this very PC version for several years. I’m glad we can legally own it once again! Let me explain a bit more.

I used to love XIII back in the day, both for PC and consoles. I played the Xbox version when it came out, and have consequently bought the PC version (on CD, for only 99 pence back at HMV on Oxford Street, when they had it on sale). The graphical style attracted me, as did the intriguing story line. I had always wished for a sequel, but it never materialised (not counting the ghastly iOS “hidden object” version they made in 2011).

Years went by, I moved continents, and I lost my 99p copy of XIII. But I never forgot this game. One day I picked up the GameCube version to play on my old Wii, and that version just doesn’t compare to the thrill of the PC version, which has its own kind of magic. The comic-like insets of closeups when you shoot an enemy far away, superb (yet sparse) voice acting by David Duchovny and Adam West, the dramatic and adaptive soundtrack, the variety of levels, it truly was ahead of its time.

Continue reading XIII Classic – available again on GOG.com

Xiberia V20 / Jeecoo Gaming Headset Review

I’ve recently picked up a new Xiberia headset from Jeecoo for $30 on Amazon. It’s a rather large pair of noise cancelling USB stereo headphones with a built-in microphone. I wanted to use these for streaming without disturbing my wife when she’s hard at work on the desk next to me, while avoiding any echoing that would be induced when using a desktop speaker. I’ve been using for the last week and wanted to share my thoughts on it with you here.

The exact model number is the V20, the exact same model that’s available from Walmart for nearly $120. That’s quite steep, and I’m not sure if it’s worth that much. For $30 however, this is quite a bargain. 

Continue reading Xiberia V20 / Jeecoo Gaming Headset Review

Fixed: Can’t connect PlayStation to EPIC Games Account

Funny story: a few weeks ago I’ve signed up for an EPIC Games account, so that I can play with the Unreal Engine, and to play some of their games. Last week I went through my profile in more detail and came across the section that allowed me to connect various other accounts, like GitHub, Twitch, Xbox and PlayStation.

They all connected fine, except for the PlayStation account. I always got the error message that “this PlayStation account has already been connected to another EPIC account”. Being 200% sure that I did not have another EPIC account, I did some research and it turns out that the problem as actually Fortnite.

I know this sounds crazy, but some months ago, my wife as playing Fortnite on our PS4. To track progress, the game needs to store its data somewhere, and by default it does so in an EPIC account. We didn’t have one, never signed in or created one, but the game worked anyway. As it happens, under the hood a so called “nameless” EPIC account is created in such circumstances only with your PSN ID and nothing else. It doesn’t even have an email address associated with it.

What I had to do to unravel this thing was the following:

  • head over to epicgames.com and logout of your “real” account
  • login with your PlayStation credentials (using the PlayStation icon)
  • the system will find your PSN ID and prompts you to create a new EPIC account
  • go ahead and do this
  • let’s call this one the “fake” EPIC account
  • use a different email address than on your “real” EPIC account
  • verify this email address (important)
  • now head over to “connected accounts” and see that your PlayStation account is already linked
  • select “unlink account” and confirm every option in the long list

This will essentially reset whatever progress you’ve made in Fortnite on this account, but free up the PlayStation ID so that you can now connect it with your “real” EPIC account. Your email address on the “fake” EPIC account must be verified for this procedure to work.

When done, login to your “real” EPIC account and link your PlayStation account. You can now delete the “fake” EPIC account if you like.