Woke up today to find my computer running and the monitor off. This is a normal occurence, as my computer generally runs 24/7 with only occasional breaks when I’m out for a few days. After fifteen minutes the monitor goes to sleep while the machine just hums quietly to itself. It’s rather pleasant at night, really.
I pulled up to a stop sign earlier today, and glanced into my rear view mirror. Behind me was a blue sedan, and behind that, I could just make out a Schaumburg Police car. I made sure to come to a complete stop, checked traffic, then rolled across the intersection and on my merry way.
Dragon Age 2 was released a few weeks ago, and from what I hear it kicks ass. EA’s in some hot water for sneaking SecuROM in under the radar, which they certainly should have known better than to attempt. But that’s actually not what grabbed my attention. On March 7, BioWare announced the release of the DA2 high resolution texture pack.
Two types of gameplay do not work on a mouse and keyboard, no matter how staunchly one stands behind PC gaming: platformers, and driving. At heart I’m a console gamer, but when it comes games involving shooting, PCs have always held the high ground. PC enthusiasts, be quiet for a few minutes, because this is the undeniable truth and you know it.
I recently started playing Mafia 2 via Steam, and buried within the game’s climactic turf wars and lookalike Studebaker Champions was a teensy little mechanic that would never be noticed, if it were not pointed out to the player: a speed limiter.
The main deterrent in the realm of driving mechanics is that in driving, some form of progressive input is required. Turn the car a tiny bit, or turn the wheel hard over for a hairpin at top speed. A joystick (or better yet, a steering wheel) achieves exactly this. Tip the stick a small fraction and the car meanders to one side; get to maximum tilt and the car will swing around. A keyboard is a collection of binary switches–each key is essentially on or off. The best you can do with this mechanic is constantly tap the key for a fraction of a second, making the car turn a smaller amount over time. But it’s awkward, at best. The same problem happens when trying to control one’s speed:
By pressing the L key while driving, the player invokes a “safe driving mode” that limits the vehicle’s top speed to 40 mph. Being that this only has the one setting, and is essentially a binary switch, its usefulness is limited, but it has its uses. Some of the roads in the game are marked as 40-mph zones, thusly I was able to activate the limiter and then just cruise with my finger on the gas, always moving at a good clip with respect to traffic, but never too fast to lose control.
This wormed its way into my brain after a few minutes, planting a parasite of an idea.