One of my favourite board games is the excellent Carcassonne from Z-Man. It’s a simple but fun tile-based game where you build and claim cities and roads, farms and monasteries and gardens to acquire points.
Over the last few months, I’ve been enjoying playing the latest official version of Carcassonne for Android but it wasn’t until last week that I realised the game was also available for Windows via Steam.
I wonder if any of the Tour de France cycling teams will be playing Carcassonne on the rest day in the city that inspired it this year?
I’m not a big gamer by any standard. I have quite a few computers games but they mostly fall into five categories:
LEGO games—I love these, as do my three boys.
Call of Duty/Battlefield first person shooters—I only play the story-mode versions on easy level for the cinematic experience.
Story/walking simulator style games (Dear Esther, Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, Firewatch).
Multiplayer, party-style games for my children (Screencheat, Sonic All-Stars Racing, Mini Motor Racing Evo).
Baldur’s Gate family Dungeons & Dragons’ role playing games.
Apart from the LEGO games—which are part adventure, part puzzle games—for the most part, I enjoy games for their cinematic and story-telling properties. I want escape and entertainment rather than spending hours building an empire or working out some kind of complex strategy.
Cheat / debug mode
So, for the last few years in Baldur’s Gate (in the few moments that I’ve had a chance to play it) I have activated the cheats (or debug mode). This gives me access to the entire game inventory to equip my character accordingly and a better chance to survive the adventure.
Clue: I have never yet completed Baldur’s Gate, despite owning it since about 1999 (I still own my original copy on five CD-ROMs).
Having just reinstalled my PC, I was disappointed to discover that the old way of activating cheat mode (by editing baldur.ini) had changed. This is how I managed it today (on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, with OneDrive installed).
Locate the folder at Documents > Baldur’s Gate – Enhanced Edition. On my desktop PC this was in the default Windows 10 Documents folder within OneDrive; on my laptop it is in C:\users\<username>\Documents. It will depend on how your computer was set up.
2017-04-17 Updated the location of Baldur.lua as it was in two different locations on two PCs running Windows 10. It depends, I guess, on whether Windows 10 is told to use OneDrive as the default save location.
Me and Google Chrome had another falling out this week. This time it wasn’t about bookmarks but speed.
For some reason, over the last couple of days Google Chrome suddenly felt very sluggish. Whenever I opened a new tab it would take a few seconds to open and a few more to load the page—notably longer than usual.
And a similar experience after closing a tab: the cursor would change to the ‘progress’ cursor (arrow with egg-timer) for a few seconds.
Having put up with it for a couple of days I couldn’t stand it any longer.
Things I tried that didn’t fix it
Running system file checker (sfc /scannow) from an elevated command prompt.
One forum suggested installing the latest NVIDIA graphics card drivers. Another pondered whether it was related to the recent Windows update. Plenty of people advised switching off hardware acceleration (I’d tried that, it didn’t help).
What I tried that did
The Chrome software removal tool — still currently in beta — is a clever application that scans and removes any software that may cause problems with Google Chrome.
I ran it. I waited, and hoped, and it worked! I have my whizzy Chrome back. I guess that something was corrupted.
As well as scanning for typical malware that can corrupt your installation of Google Chrome it also kindly offers to perform a ‘factory reset’ and return your browser settings to defaults.
In a way I find it curious that Google are only now offering this as a currently beta standalone application when Microsoft Internet Explorer (for all its criticism) has had this built-in for years.
I ran the software removal tool which quickly returned this dialog:
Nothing suspicious found. I clicked Continue and was invited to reset my browser.
That’s what fixed it.
This is definitely another useful tool in my diagnostics toolkit. Thanks Google.
It’s a relief to have had this fixed. That said, I’ve said it before that if there were the same Trello plugins available I would move to Opera tomorrow.