Monday, September 20, 2010

bought StarCraft 2, video card trouble, MULE

Of course, the Friday night I pick up StarCraft 2, Battle.net decides to go down for a few hours of maintenance/upgrades. Which means that I couldn't log in, preventing me from playing the game I just bought. Oh technology, why must you be so ugly?

But I haven't come to you to write about the annoyances of StarCraft 2, have I? No wait, I have one more complaint -- my video card is prone to overheating! Indeed, after being off for so long (20 or so days, while I was away on vacation), my computer started overheating at the mere hint of doing something GPU intensive. I also coincidentally upgraded my ATI (now AMD) drivers, so that may also have played a part in this near disaster. With some careful rebooting (as my machine would also freeze randomly), I was able to install a handy tweaker application, ATI Tray Tools for my Radeon HD4870 X2, mercifully allowing me to manually control the card's powerful fan, which I now leave blowing at a much higher speed than was previously required, in order to keep the GPU temperature between 40 and 60 degrees C, as the card appears to die (and pull the system down with it) with anything much higher than 70 C.

Ok, but I was here to talk about StarCraft 2, the game, and what can I say that you weren't already expecting? The single player campaign is a blast with the choose-your-path missions, customizing of your army, and hefty array of achievements. Definitely hours of fun, with lots of replay value. Well, maybe once I get tired of multiplayer... ah yes, the multiplayer. I've only played a handful of games, though I did practice a bit to get familiar with the new maps. I haven't much to comment on, although I'm trying to concentrate on maintaining the basics -- lots of drones, constant spawning of larvae, with Roaches and Hydras comprising the core of my army, 'lings at scout points. I'm doing okay with a record of slightly higher than 50%, but it's well too early to tell what my plateau ranking will be.

I caught a bad cold this weekend, the likes of which knocked me out for much of Saturday and all of Sunday. Today was better but I plan on sleeping early-ish. Well, maybe just a few more rounds of SC2.

Actually, I've also finally gotten around to fiddling with Planet MULE, which is a faithful reproduction of the classic Ozark (EA published) M.U.L.E., a game I'd struggled with as a young boy, never quite understanding the economics involved. I've only played against the computer (a tough, merciless opponent if there ever was one), being the friendless, introverted type.... ah well, some things never change!

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