Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Full Fool

Time for an update on all things Xbox 360. Been a while:

Overheating
Well, I'm buggered if I truly know why the Xbox 360 would randomly lock up every now and then. (More often than not, it would be right at the end of a very long level in Perfect Dark Zero with no checkpoint save) But believe it or not, the best solution I've come up with so far (measured by the distinct lack of lock-ups) is this:



Yep, that's right. Putting the HUGE AND VERY HOT power supply up on the window-sill, right against the cool breeze flowing in the window. Ever since I moved it there, I've not had one single freeze. Go figure.
I'm still extremely skeptical about Microsoft's release policy, in terms of QA (given the sheer amount of reports of overheating), but like it is with all big corporations, whatta we gonna do about it? We (I) bought one despite all the rumours, right?

Interesting however, is this news announcing officially that the Xbox 360 is to receive a CPU upgrade. To quote the article:

"Currently the CPU is being produced with 90 nanometre technology, after the upgrade it will be 65nm. Translation for the less-technical people is that the new processor will use smaller transistors thus getting less hot and cheaper to produce."

"Microsoft didn’t respond whether this had something to do with the reported ‘heat issues’ they get every now and then. The new CPU is not faster than the original one, and is fully backwards compatible, so don’t worry."


Sounds a lot to me like M$ are backpedaling very quickly and doing everything they can to eradicate the likelihood of any further lawsuits.. (Quote: "One US buyer has initiated a class action suit against the company, alleging that both the CPU and power supply were prone to overheating.") That and, of course, the new chip will be cheaper to produce. Whether those savings are translated into a reduced RRP will be interesting to watch, especially come November this year when the Playstation 3 is due to be released.

(PS: Is that a really silly looking controller, or is it just me..?)

Anyhow, things are a little cooler for the Xbox 360 and she seems to be behaving a lot better. Fingers crossed it stays that way.


Xbox Live / Networking
I thought I'd give it another go today. For those of you not up to speed on my networking issues, here it is in a nutshell:

I'm having to use my old 10-Base-T non-wireless router to run all my devices through (3x computers and my Xbox 360). If I remove this old clunker and replace it with my Linksys Wireless Router, (which is new, and obviously operates at 100-Base-T for wired LAN connections) everything works except for Xbox Live.
Live just simply disconnects at random. It can be whilst navigating the dashboard, or while in the middle of an online game.

So yeh, I thought I'd have another go a getting it working today. I fleetingly enjoyed one moment of hope when I stumbled upon a setting in the router which puts it into 'router' mode rather than 'gateway' mode. This, along with disabling the internal DHCP server (as I already have one running from my DSL Modem), was sure to work!

But no. *sigh

However, I've come up with a totally non-elegant but semi-functional solution as a result. Without boring you to tears, I now have Xbox Live working just fine (on a 10Mbps LAN connection) and wireless working for my laptops (albeit also only on a 10Mbps connection). Whilst the main purpose of buying the wireless router wasn't actually for the wireless, but instead so I have a 100Mbit LAN running in my bloody house, I guess I'm now better off via actually having wireless up and running, even if at only a fraction of it's capable speed (up to 54Mbps).

Better than nowt? And handy for guests who have wireless capability in their laptops.


Tomb Raider Legend
If you've read any of my more recent blog entries, you'll recall that I unceremoniously 'dumped' Lara for being so poorly designed and implemented in the end boss section of the 'England' level (now available on video to download and view here - 10mb).
Well, like all things, time heals old wounds and I decided to give her another chance. *grin

In actuality, I had to lower the resolution of the console to 720p (from 1080i) in order to get the controller buttons to respond to my presses in a timely manner. Once I figured this out, Lara became far more responsive to my commands and I very easily knocked over the challenge, thus enabling me to carry on and complete the game.
All told, aside from that particular section, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and I'll be returning to her some time soon in order to unlock all of the additional content and achievements available, plus of course to play it through on a harder difficulty setting.

I'm also in the Top 10 ranking for registered players of Tomb Raider Legend in Australia as a result - yay!


Xbox Live Marketplace Content
Just a quick one to advise that there's been a couple of noteworthy updates on Marketplace recently:
  • There's a new demo available for Kameo:Elements Of Power. The older demo had you working your way through the Thorn's Castle level, which didn't really show off the game engine to it's fullest. The new demo is 1GB in size and allows you to do 4 things:
    1. *Fight in a massive battle (Charge through the troll army and explore the badlands on your horsey. Bite it PS3 and your superior CPU. Duration: 1 minute)
    2. *Explore a fantasy world (Explore the enchanted kingdom and see what secrets you can learn. GTA but with fairies. Duration: 4 minutes)
    3. *Invade a crumbling castle (Survive the top of the tower and defeat the Troll battalion. This was in the first demo. Duration: 3 minutes)
    4. *Destroy a huge monster (Destroy Old Mawood, the legendary demon, and save your uncle. Your average level-boss sweetness. Duration: 6 minutes)

    These great (but short) sections allow you to see the larger game in all it's technical glory. I think I'm gonna have to purchase it.. bugger. Especially for the co-op update that has been released recently. Nothing like playing through a game with a mate (like Halo2, right Exor? We have to get on to that, now that you've purchased it!).

  • A Perfect Dark Zero demo will finally become available for download today. According to the news sites, this is the update that will allow bots for more gametypes:
    1. Venge bot - targets the last player to kill them
    2. Judge bot - goes for the player with the most kills
    3. Bully bot - goes after the player with the least kills
    4. Bots that will be usable in the Darkops modes (yay, at last!)
    Plus (unexpected) there'll be some new Multiplayer maps included in the update, named Rooftops, Plaza, Trench and Gasplant.
I'm looking forward to this particular update, having finished 99% of the single player game, and wanting to get into the Multiplayer side of PDZ.



Gotta say that it turned out to be a great game, despite some of the somewlacklusterstre reviews out there. In particular, the Jungle levels, and the weapon modeling and animation is superb. Just took quite a while to get the hang of the controls, which differ a great deal (in the way they feel) from all other FPS's on the Xbox 360.

Oh I nearly forgot - Street Fighter 2 is coming to Xbox Live Arcade early next month (May). That'll be good for some retro fun.

Well, that's about it for now. Unfortunately tonight marks the end of another four-day long weekend (Anzac Day for those of you not from around these parts) which means no more public holidays for quite some time. How depressing.

Having said that, I'm not the only one from my work who will have been playing Xbox 360 over the weekend and cringing at the thought of having to go back tomorrow..
..right, REDNX and wtftrauma?

Time for pizza.

1 Comments:

At 10:24 pm, April 26, 2006, Blogger sambo_nz said...

I caved.
I picked up Kameo and Ridge Racer 6 for Xbox 360 today..

..somebody help me?

 

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