'Games' Articles

Fallout 3 licensed soundtrack with Amazon MP3 links

I just finished Fallout 3 last night. Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I haven’t released anything new in a while. One of my favorite parts of the game was the old music they used. I loved the BioShock soundtrack too. Now that I’m done with the game and won’t be listening to Galaxy News Radio anymore, I figured I’d hunt down the individual songs on Amazon MP3 so I can listen to them while I’m playing other games (my favorite is when Halo or Chrono Trigger music plays over another game). As long as I’m doing that, I thought I’d post the links for everyone else, since I didn’t find a list with links to download the songs anywhere online. I got the list itself from Wikipedia’s Fallout 3 page. Unfortunately not all of the songs are available - hopefully they’ll show up in time.

  1. I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” - The Ink Spots
  2. Way Back Home” - Bob Crosby & the Bobcats
  3. Butcher Pete (Part 1)” - Roy Brown
  4. Happy Times” (From the Danny Kaye film The Inspector General) - Bob Crosby & the Bobcats
  5. Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)” - Danny Kaye with The Andrews Sisters
  6. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” - Ella Fitzgerald with The Ink Spots
  7. Anything Goes” - Cole Porter
  8. “Fox Boogie” - Gerhard Trede
  9. “I’m Tickled Pink” - Jack Shaindlin
  10. “Jazzy Interlude” - Billy Munn
  11. “Jolly Days” - Gerhard Trede
  12. “Let’s Go Sunning” - Jack Shaindlin
  13. A Wonderful Guy” - Tex Beneke
  14. “Rhythm for You” - Eddy Christiani & Frans Poptie
  15. “Swing Doors” - Allan Gray
  16. Maybe” (Intro song from the original Fallout) - The Ink Spots
  17. Mighty Mighty Man” - Roy Brown
  18. Crazy He Calls Me” - Billie Holiday
  19. Easy Living” - Billie Holiday
  20. “Boogie Man” - Sid Phillips

Update: Amazon added the right version of “Butcher Pete” and I’ve linked it above.

Why do I need to crack a game I own?

I haven’t really played PC games for years. Sometime in college I bought my first console, an Xbox, and ever since, I’ve preferred the gamepad to the mouse. However, there are just some games that you can’t get on a console - strategy games. I loved StarCraft, Homeworld, Command & Conquer, and Myth. But as my poor old machine became more and more obsolete, I stopped being able to play even budget titles. Beyond that, the quality and selection of PC games was dropping fast - I think I finally swore off PC games when I bought Unreal Tournament 2003, new, and it came as 4 CD-ROMs in paper sleeves in an otherwise empty cardboard box, required 3 patches and 2 driver updates to work, and wasn’t even a very good game!

However, as the time to build a new machine approached, I got excited about being able to catch up on some of the titles I had missed, like Darwinia, DEFCON, Galactic Civilizations II, Supreme Commander, and Civilization 4.

When I finally built my new machine, the graphics card I ordered actually came with a copy of Civilization 4. I figured it would be a great way to get my strategy fix, so I popped it in and installed it, which took quite a while. I started up the game and got about 10 seconds through the terrifying virtual-Sid-Meier-led tutorial before it crashed. I found out later that this was due to heat issues on my graphics card, but at the time I just chalked it up to flaky 64-bit Vista drivers, ejected the CD, and worked on something else.

A couple weeks later I had a new version of the ATI Catalyst drivers and I figured I’d give Civ4 another shot. I popped the disc in, and it spun up… and spun down. And spun up. And whined a bit. And spun down again. This continued for a few minuted before the drive gave up. Windows never got ahold of the disc. After about 10 minutes of polishing the disc, trying it in other machines (they could read it), and blowing air into my DVD drive, my wife suggested uninstalling Civ4. I was frustrated enough at that point that I actually tried it, at the same time thinking that there was no way the game’s presence on my hard drive could have anything to do with the CD not spinning correctly in the drive.

It worked. Once the game was gone, the disc was recognized right away and cheerfully asked me to install Civ4. A bit more warily this time, I reinstalled the game. It started up just fine after the install finished, but when I ejected and reinserted the DVD I got nothing but airplane noises again. After some research online, I learned that the disc wasn’t being recognized, most likely, because Civ4 employs tricky techniques to stop people from stealing the game. However, I was pretty sure I had a legitimate, purchased game. How could I get my game, which I own, to work? I cracked it. One Google search and 3 or 4 clicks later, I had downloaded and installed a patched executable that bypassed the CD check, and my copy of Civ4 was up and running, sans DVD. It turns out that there is no reason at all for the DVD to be in the drive, other than to “prove” that you own it.

So to summarize, if you own a legitimate copy of a game, it might not work because of the content protection devices in place to protect it from piracy. However, if you are stealing the game, you don’t need to put in the CD, and it’ll work right away. Add in the fact that you get spiffy digital content distribution. It gets better - some companies use “protection” like Starforce that’s so invasive that it installs hidden device drivers and mucks around with your machine at the kernel level. Who would put up with this? It’s no wonder that console games, which offer drop-it-in-the-tray ease of use, are beating the pants off of PC games.

That’s not to say that nobody’s doing it right. My retail copy of Darwinia installs right off the CD then never asks me for it again. And it’s available over Steam or directly off Introversion’s online store if I don’t want physical media. I just hope more publishers realize, like Introversion and Stardock have, that this sort of copy protection only hurts paying customers, and sours everybody on the PC as a gaming platform.

How to save power from your gaming devices

A few weeks ago I watched the Al Gore slideshow-in-a-theater “An Inconvenient Truth”. Al Gore parts aside, I thought it was very good, and while it didn’t tell me much I didn’t already know, it did make me think about my power usage. In general, I hate waste - wasted money, wasted time, wasted material, wasted code. Wasting energy is just as bad. This is sort of at odds with my tech-heavy lifestyle, though. I realized that my entertainment center probably wastes a lot of energy while I’m sleeping, what with the TV, the stereo, the powered subwoofer, the Xbox 360, the PS2, the Xbox, and who knows what else casually sipping electricity just to stay in “standby” mode. I don’t know what standby mode does, but I don’t think it’s worth having power flowing into those devices for the 18-odd hours I’m not using them each day. So I went to Target and bought a remote switch - the one I got cost less than $25 and included two remote switches that are controllable by one remote. All I needed to do was put this between the wall outlet and my power strip, and now I can just push a button on a remote when I go to bed to save energy. The other switch now controls the lamp over in the corner. It’s perfect. And I bet within a year I’ll have saved enough on my electricity bill to pay off the switch. In that time I’ll be using just that much less electricity, saving that much carbon dioxide, and sparing my equipment that much wear and tear. Seems like a win overall.

Why don't more games get online multiplayer right?

It should be no surprise to people who have looked over BRH.numbera.com, or who know me even in passing, that I love Halo 2. The game is a lot of fun, and was obviously built with a lot of care. However, I’m always on the lookout for a good online game, especially one for the Xbox 360, since I really like what Microsoft has done with Live on their next-gen platform. However, no matter what game I’ve played, I’ve been disappointed. Halo 2’s approach to multiplayer has essentially spoiled me to all lesser implementations. From here on out, I expect three things from Live-enabled games. These three things have so far been present only in Halo 2:

  1. Matchmaking Parties
  2. Playlist Matchmaking
  3. Split Screen over Live
Matchmaking parties are a group of friends, who get together online to move through the matchmaking system as a unit. For example, me and three of my buddies can get together and join the Team Skirmish playlist in Halo 2. We’ll always be in the game together, no matter who else gets matched with us. This means we get to play 8-player matches, but we don’t need to set up a custom match. As a result, we get into matches quickly, and enjoy all the benefits of playlist matching. In contrast, while The Outfit allows me to play 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 team matches, it doesn’t allow me to enter the quick matchmaking with a friend as my teammate! This brings the likelyhood of me playing a team game down to about 0.

Playlist matchmaking was a feature of Halo 2 that actually received a lot of scorn early after the release of the game. The old way of getting a match going (and still the default way for many games) was to create a room, select the options, wait for people to join your room, wait for everybody to get ready, then play. With this strategy, getting a game together took a while, you have to make decisions about gametypes or maps or options, and you’re not very likely to switch things up between rounds, or play with different people. In Halo 2 (and some newer games) you simply select a playlist that contains the general type of games you want to play. A random, preconfigured game gets chosen from the playlist, you get matched with other people wanting to play that playlist, and you’re off. Combined with matchmaking parties, this means more time in the game, more variety, and a more diverse group of opponents.

Split screen over Live is one of those features that for the life of me I can’t understand why it isn’t default everywhere. In Halo 2, or Crimson Skies, or a small handful of other games, you can have two or more people connected to your console, on your TV, while you are online playing with other people. This means, for example, that me and my girlfriend can both play Halo 2 online with our friends back East simultaneously. Amazingly, this capability is rare in Live games. X-Men Legends 2, the online successor to a great party game, allows only one person online at once, even though it doesn’t even need to split the screen for multiple people. Burnout Revenge is the same way. The game has split screen multiplayer, and online multiplayer, but never the two shall meet. Perhaps it’s a good assumption that most gamers only play games by themselves, but I would imagine a situation where the Xbox is shared between members of a household is pretty common.

The lack of any one of these three features basically kills an online game for me. And I really can’t understand it - most game developers must have played Halo 2. Why can’t they just rip off these ideas? Why aren’t these features part of the Microsoft livensing guidelines? Can it really be that the designers of a great game like The Outfit, which is really a multiplayer-only game, never tried to play their game online with friends?

Here’s hoping the next generation of games truly understands online multiplayer the way Bungie does. And here’s hoping Bungie comes up with 3 new indispensable features for Halo 3.