Star Wars Battlefront online

My friend James Frost is here, in Edinburgh.

I met him at Haymarket station yesterday evening. I saw him descending the steps to the car park and stepped out of my car, dressed in a pair of dark trainers, green shorts, and my navy Firefox t-shirt. Only to realise that James was also wearing dark trainers, green trousers and a navy Firefox t-shirt. We looked like the saddest geek convention in the world!

Anyway, last night we booted up my PC and Jane’s laptop to try out a networked game of Star Wars Battlefront; James had never played SWBF before. Disappointingly, I couldn’t get it to work on either LAN or Direct Connection settings. It would connect and then immediately crash.

So I did the thing that any self-respecting geek would do (after numerous reboots, forays into the Registry, and some careful file deletions, obviously). I uninstalled and started again. I had an inkling that my various mods and hacks might be the cause of the trouble.

I was right. The reinstallation did the job, and once I’d trained ZoneAlarm to recognise the inherent goodness of Battlefront and (later) GameSpy we were up and running, and I connected with no bother to the laptop.

This afternoon I played Battlefront online, via GameSpy, with about 17 other humans / geeks. That’s the first time I’ve played a computer game online. It was interesting. The first game I joined there were four of us, two on the side of the clone army, two droids. The guy on my side just kept killing me. “I’M ON YOUR SIDE!!” I typed. “Hehe,” he replied. I logged out.

In the second game I joined there were 16 of us to start with, a couple more joined and left as the game went on. That was a better experience. There wasn’t much team work, everyone preferring to be their own little hero on the battlefield. Everyone had geeky h@x0R style names, apart from me; I was “garethjmsaunders” — how original! Sure, I kept getting ‘fragged’, but it was great fun.

Curiously, it appears that human players prefer to shoot the characters of other human players, even to the extent of hunting them down. It’s one thing to beat the computer’s AI players, but game characters controlled by real, live humans at the various ends of the network (and globe) is another thing.

Star Wars Battlefront II is coming in November.

Lego® Star Wars: The Video Game

Lego Star Wars

Lego® Star Wars: The Video Game

What more do I have to say? As a child, I spent more hours than I could possibly imagine playing with Lego, Star Wars figures, and my trusty old computer, then a Commodore 64. Now someone has had the pleasant idea of stitching these three items together to produce Lego® Star Wars: The Video Game.

I downloaded the demo this afternoon (a cool 203 MB) and installed it. It is truly a wonder of nature. I also witnessed my nephew, Benjamin, playing the same demo on his Playstation 2 this evening when we went down to visit him for his 10th birthday.

I’ve already completed the first level. It’s almost as addictive as Star Wars Battlefront. Oh… and they’ve just announced that they are currently developing Battlefront 2. I feel like a kid again. Now, where did I put my box of Lego®?

The ‘downside’ of a PC that works fine: Games!

Maybe it was a bad idea to fix my PC — everything seems to be working fine; I’ve had no problems with a fast clock or clicking during MP3 playback since I updated hardware drivers and BIOS on Thursday — I’ve discovered that not only does Star Wars Battlefront now work okay, but it is rather good, and erm … rather addictive!

But to ensure that I don’t get distracted too much with Battlefront I’ve installed Baldur’s Gate and Cluedo! I still have Colin McRae Rally versions 2.0 and 3 to install, as well as Heaven & Hell, and GTA III, and probably a few other gems.

I downloaded the massive (169 MB) Battlefront 1.2 upgrade patch this evening and installed it. While I can’t (yet) account for any of the stability improvements and bug fixes, I can say that the Tatooine Jabba’s Palace add-on is fantastic. It’s my favourite level so far. While I love Hoth (who wouldn’t want to be blasting away at an AT-AT!) the close combat in the confined spaces of Jabba’s palace adds a new level of tension. I love it!

Next, I want to see if we can get a network game going on our LAN. I suspect that the graphics card on Jane’s PC upstairs is going to let us down on that front, but her laptop might be up to the task. I’d like my brother, Eddie, to bring his PC over for a LAN party. I have a spare network port on the router, and an extra monitor he could use. (Are you reading this, Eddie?)

Heaven and Hell patch

It’s nice when software companies listen to their customers. I, and a thousand other Heaven & Hell players have been complaining about bugs in the game, that cause it to hang rather unceremoniously. What is the problem? graphics card, mouse driver, soundcard? Who knows! CDV have now released a patch, which will hopefully sort these problems.

I am a little nervous to try it again (I don’t like crashes, except in Colin McRae Rally 2.0) but will report how I get on.