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.
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.
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.
I had signed up with EPIC a few months ago, to try out that amazing UNREAL Engine. To install it as well as the assets that came with it, I had to download the EPIC Games Launcher. It’s a central place to keep track of your own UNREAL Projects, latest updates to the engine and the latest software updates to any of its related parts.
As the name suggests, the Launcher also keeps track of your EPIC Games, so no matter if you’re an UNREAL Engine user or a gamer, we’ll all deal with the same place to install and launch our games. When I bought the Control Game from the EPIC Games Store, it too offered to install itself with the Launcher. Great I thought, let’s go and do that!
To my surprise however, my $60 purchase did not show up in the Launcher. I certainly had been billed, and the website shows I owned the game, but I was perplexed that there was seemingly no way to install it now. How rude indeed!
Turns out my configuration files for the Launcher were corrupted. Even thought I had just downloaded the latest version, and it had been applied, I had to manually clear out some cache files in the following directory:
There are two folders in there, Intermediate and Saved. Delete both of them, with the Launcher closed, then launch it again. It’s like you have to “launching the launcher”… When you do, you’ll be prompted to login again, and hack in a configuration code you’ve been sent via email (this is known as two-factor authentication).
Once I did that, the whole interface had changed, and I saw all the games I owned, alongside any UNREAL Engine assets in the same window.
I like grabbing video footage from OBDUCTION for holding loops and phenomenal backgrounds from time to time. However, by default, the big white cursor circle is in the middle of the picture. That’s handy for interactions of all kinds, but for a full screen video capture, I’d rather it would be switched off for a few seconds.
I had done this successfully a few weeks ago and have since forgotten (of course). Now that I’ve just remembered through trial and error, I thought I’d best make a note of it.
enter the game’s Settings Menu
switch Cursor Mode to Unlocked (my default was Locked)
Now when you move the camera round, the cursor will disappear when you stop moving. Switch it back to Locked if you’d like to keep playing the game.
If you’re using a game controller, you can also temporarily switch these two stats by pressing the right thumb stick in. Once done, move your character with the left thumb stick and the cursor will disappear.
Although we can use a Microsoft ID to login to Mixer.com, when we do so for the first time, the system assigns a random (rather funny) user name to us. It’s usually not what you want to be called in the chat.
Thankfully there’s an easy way to change this, and here’s how.
Click on that little icon at the top. It’s usually a little blue man icon (I’ve already changed mine). This opens up a menu, at the bottom of which you find an Account option. Click that.
Now you’ll be presented with a number of boxes, one of which will be the Change Username box. It’s not that obvious, but after entering your new name, you have to click on the white change username instruction – which turns out to be a button. It’s vital that you click it.
To make your changes take immediately, you’ll have to logout of Mixer, then log back in. As soon as you do, your new user name will appear in the chat.
Even after so many years of use, I still love my Playstation 3. I can’t imagine a life without it. As such, I get nervous thinking about the fact that native PS3 Controllers are no longer in production. What happens when my ever so slightly worn out two controllers give up? How will I play my favourite platform games?
Thankfully, Sony made it possible since software version 4.6 to use the newer Playstation 4 controllers on our Playstation 3 systems. Those are available in great numbers and colours, and from what I hear, they even have the same batteries inside as the PS3 controllers did.
Here’s how to pair a PS4 controller on your PS3 console:
switch you the PS3 console using a regular PS3 controller (attached or wireless, doesn’t matter)
head over to Settings – Accessory Settings
select Manage Bluetooth Devices
choose Register New Device (the button at the bottom)
on your PS4 controller, press and hold the PS and Share buttons together for a couple of seconds, until the light starts to flash
select it from the list when your PS3 console finds the controller
And that’s it! Now you can use your PS4 controller with your PS3 console. How cool is that? Now you can use a brand new controller on your old console, or play that multiplayer game you’ve never had a second controller for.
What works and what doesn’t
There’s a small caveat to this setup though: some things don’t work quite as expected. Thankfully that’s not during gameplay, at least I haven’t noticed anything detrimental yet on native PS3 games. Nevertheless, here’s a quick list of idiosyncrasies I’ve spotted:
you can turn the PS3 console on using the PS button on the PS4 controller (great!)
during gameplay, you cannot use the PS button to bring up the context menu and either quit the game, or turn off the console (not so great)
once paired with the PS3 console, the PS4 controller will no longer be paired to your PS4 console
even though no longer paired, the PS4 controller still manages to switch on BOTH the PS3 and the PS4 (that’s terrible)
This setup does not work for native PS2 games, like those you’ve bought before they were remastered, such as the GTA series. That’s because in emulation mode, the PS3 restarts and the controller needs to be re-connected, ignoring generic Bluetooth devices (such as the PS4 controller).
Right after pairing your PS4 controller for the first time, it’ll be dedicated as the next available controller slot. Since you need a regular controller to set it up, it’s likely to be Controller #2. That may not work for some games.
To adjust this, head over to the Settings – Accessory Settings – Reassign Controllers. You can pick which controller number you’d like the current controller to be. Choose 1 for most games.