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Final Fantasy XIV free to play weekend July 18-21

Don’t get too excited, because you have to have had bought and played the game in the past to participate in this free to play weekend event.

If, however, you have previously played Final Fantasy XIV and have been thinking about seeing what it is like now, then this is your chance to check out all that is going on in the game.

From July 18th through July 21st, anyone that has played the game in the past and let their subscription lapse is welcome to come back and see what has changed in Eorzea.

And if you find yourself on Goblin server, look for Kalianna Wyvernrider and say hi to me. :)

PS3 controller stops working on Netflix

A gaming friend of mine expressed an issue where their PS3 controller would not work sometimes when he watched Netflix. It seemed odd, but I assumed it was just his controller was going bad. Until last night, when I tried to watch Netflix for the first time in at least a week or more.

Everything worked fine, until I settled in to watch The Walking Dead for a little while. Around 30 minutes into the episode I wanted to pause it, but my controller would not work. Well, it worked, I could power it up from standby and the PS button brought up the system menu, but none of the buttons had any affect on Netflix. I contacted my buddy who confirmed that was the same issue they had been having with their system and told me the only thing to do was use the PS button to quit Netflix and restart it. So, I did.

I quit Netflix and restarted it, found the episode I had been watching and the restart point for the episode was only a few minutes into the program. I started to fast-forward through to get back to where I had been in the episode and Netflix froze up and the buttons stopped working.

I went through the reset process again and got the episode working, but once again the controller stopped responding after a few minutes and I was forced to exit Netflix using the PS button. I do not know what the problem was, but it was not low batteries or controller connection issues.

Electronic Arts is Making a Shift

logo_EAlogoINTERIMrgbEA has had some pretty rough times when it comes to consumer satisfaction, in fact, times have been so rough for the past few years that in 2013 EA was the first company to ever win the Consumerist’s Worst Company In America title two years in a row.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, says that the company now has a plan to turn their image and company around and make a shift in the way that EA does things. Wilson gave Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo the inside story on just what EA plans to do in their effort to change the way EA designs games that goes into detail on the new plan to make their games play good early in he process, test them more thoroughly, delay game launches when it needs to be delayed and let the consumer know about the games sooner.

Yes, that’s right, they plan to let people know more about the games sooner. Battlefield: Hardline is one good example of their move forward. The PC BETA test for Battlefield: Hardline went live after this year’s E3 announcement and there are plans for more BETA tests later in the year, including a beta for PS3 users. Another example of their new, more communicative, structure is seen in cosplay events at conventions. A recent episode of Heros of Cosplay featured the unveiling of one of the new companions for Dragon Age: Inquisition and in a post on the Bioware Blog, the company announced the release of Dragon Age Character Kits to be released for use by everyone from cosplayers to cake decorators.

In reference to the new, more open, policy, Wilson told Kotaku, “The world is changing. This Hollywood blockbuster mentality of ‘keep all of the information to yourself’ is not something that makes sense in today’s world. … we can’t keep a secret anyway so we may as well just start talking about it.”

Will the new policy of being more open about their upcoming games and promises to work harder and longer on them make a difference in how the company is viewed by the consumer? It’s hard to say, but hopefully, along with all their other plans, EA has a plan to provide consumers with a full experience up-front, since a lot of the issues of the past have stemmed not from the ability to see what they were doing, but from games that were released incomplete and a feeling by some consumers that the company was trying to get them to spend a lot on a game and more on added content.

Wilson commented on this to Kotaku: “For me to sit here and say we will not have issues again would be disingenuous. It’s not possible. The only way you get to a point where you can almost guarantee no issues is if you’re not pushing the boundaries, if you’re not innovating.”

Dragon Age: Inquisition

DAI_Key_Art_webreadyIt all began with the return of the Darkspawn threat and the decisions made by one newly enlisted Grey Warden. Events unfolded more as we followed a family that had fled the threat in Fereldan and crossed the sea in search of a new life. While the darkspawn had been defeated, there were still things to test the mettle of the brave and the Champion of Kirkwall was born out of those tests.

That was only the beginning.

Those who have played through the first two Dragon Age games know that the events at the end of Dragon Age II left Thedas in a state of turmoil that could only spiral into war.

It is in the wake of those events that Dragon Age: Inquisition picks up with the Chanty and the Circle of Magi coming together in an effort to bring new peace to the world. Peace talks that are destroyed by a great rift in the sky that kills those in attendance. Only one person survives. The Inquisitor.

It will be the task of the player, as the Inquisitor, to criss-cross Thedas in search of ways to fight against the demons that pour through the rift and recruit others into the inquisition.

And the world is an expansive experience for the player. “Our goal with Dragon Age: Inquisition is to usher in the next generation of role playing games,” said Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of BioWare Edmonton and Montreal. “Players will experience the rich storylines and characters that they’ve come to expect from BioWare, in an expansive world with large open environments just begging to be explored.”

It is never that easy, however, and the Inquisitor has enemies that will hunt them. They also have friends that will aid them and, as fans of the series would expect and hope, there will be interactions and romance to pursue.

Will Dragon Age: Inquisition be as well loved as Dragon Age: Origins? Will it hold the flaws that made players unhappy with Dragon Age II? (Such as repeating dungeon maps.) We will just have to wait and see when the game releases later this year. The official release date is October 7.

Retro Gaming 3-in-1 Console

We never forget the really great games and with retro style gaming consoles like this Hyperkin Retron 3 Video Game System you can still play those old NES, SNES and GENESIS games that have been collecting dust on the bottom shelf of your gaming cabinet.

Cleaning the basement a few months ago I came across my old game cartridges, but knowing that I could not find the controllers and wires and everything else I boxed them up and put them into storage. I might just have to pick one of these up at some point and get them old games back out. It would be great to play Final Fantasy and Link again.

Google image displayed a day early

The normally reliable and very easy to navigate search engine Google has made an opps today. Their Father’s Day image has been displayed a day too soon on results pages, while the script that displays on mouse-over proclaims it to be a tribute to the World Cup game for Uruguay vs Costa Rica.

Goops

That’s okay, Google, I still love you despite the goof. :)

Annoying AdWare Popups

In my work with Blender I decided that I would like to make some video footage of the work I have been up to as I am making things. This is good, except I think that one of the two camera options I downloaded might have snuck through adware in the installation process. My own dumb fault, I think, since I loaded up the program and agreed to the user stuff, then another one showed up, I started to read but coming down with the flu I only vaguely saw what it was and went ahead and agreed. I was told about the program from a Blender site I trust, after all.

Silly me. At the third user agreement I realized something was fishy and looked closer at the print in the main box above the “Accept decline” boxes and there was something about a virus scan tool trial or something. I did not pay much attention past that saying “DECLINE!” would not stop the camera loading. Stupid me, I think I accepted two other things before I caught what the installer was up to. Always read everything.

This was a little sneaky one too. I did not realize it was there at first. I went to a gaming website that was ad intense checking information on Mortal Kombat X the other day and saw a popup along the side of the screen for “hot deals”. Ignored it. No biggie.

Today I opened up MY website, this one, and I know that I have no ads on here at the moment because I am focusing on content then will bring back a few small unobtrusive ads on the site. Popup on the side on THIS website? I don’t think so!

I knew either someone had hacked my site, or my computer. Number one suspect – I did a stupid move and let adware slip past Avast. It tries so hard to make up for my stupidity too, poor program.

menubarSo, I stare at this “Hot Deals!” ad on the side of the screen for a moment. Then right-click in a safe-looking area on the backdrop of the slide-out menu and get a menu of options.

Down at the bottom of the list of options I select “Inspect Element (Q)” to bring up my little inspector at the base of the screen.

This leads me to conclude that the culprit is datafastguru, you can see it in the line of code here… click for larger view:

Having discovered what I believe the gremlin to be I do a search and find more information on how to remove the pest at the Mozilla Support forums which points me to: Troubleshoot Firefox issues caused by malware. And that is where I am now, working my way through the “how to remove this junk” information on getting adware off my poor abused computer.

Oh, and the potential culpret, who may or may not be where it came from, was CamStudio. So if anyone else had downloaded that for capturing video of their screen, let me know if you had issues with the hot deals adware popups. I’d like to determine if they are the source of this or where it’s from if not. I assume was them, since there was several efforts to get me to agree to terms of service, one i know was a virus check program, and that is only program I have downloaded in weeks other than a Blender update and Battlefield 3 off the EA servers. Thanks.

Space Station Bay 1: 3D model

This is what I have been working on today. This is to be a sort of pod for a space station, that will allow for a series of these to be connected end to end to create a grouping of entertainment venues or whatever else is needed. I am still working on exactly how they will fit together and if it will be a single hall or if there will be bays off of either side of the hallway.

bay1exterior

As you can see it is intended to be along the outer wall area, with ample skylight windows allowing patrons to any establishment a view of whatever is to be seen outside of the space station.

This next shows two views, the left is the model with the skylight roof section removed, the right is the same POV done in a fast render to show how the model is coming together.

bay1exterior2

This will be a three level bar area, with a cocktail area on the lowest level, a small seating balcony midway up the stairs, and a private area for whatever riff raff runs the space station bar at the top of the stairway.

Updating to Blender 2.70a

I’m updating to Blender 2.70a today in hopes it will fix several gremlins, including the current gremlin that made my model rotation ability stop working. I know I should have updated a long while back, but I’ve been busy and away from all things 3D for a little while as I worked on other things. With my birthday fast approaching I wanted to do something for me, and getting back into Blender seems like a great start, well, that and getting back to my writing.

FIXED! – sort of… MMB Will Not Rotate Model in Blender

I’m currently using Blender 2.61 and have a really bad gremlin that keeps cropping up when I am working on a model. For no known reason, at least none I can find online or know of myself, the middle mouse button (MMB) will stop rotating the model.  This gremlin hits a lot of people and there does not seem to be a proper fix for the issue as of yet. I have not discovered how to fix this issue, but I do know a workaround so you do not have to restart your model from scratch – which I have done many times.

Go to…

File > User Preferences

(Or hit CTRL+ALT+U on your keyboard to open the user preferences screen)

On the left side of the INPUT tab there is a checkbox to “Emulate 3 Button Mouse” It should be the second thing down on the left side of the INPUT tab. Make sure that you check that as “on”.

Now, in your viewer, hold down ATL when you click the left mouse button (LMB) and you will be able to rotate around your model the same as if you had clicked the middle mouse button (MMB).

Zoom in and out will still function properly for your MMB if it has a scroll wheel on it.

As I said, this is not the solution to why the MMB stops rotating the model, but it will allow you to keep working when this particular gremlin shows up.

If anyone knows what causes this particular glitch I would love to know about it. I’ll keep looking for a solution and post it if I ever locate one.

Heir to Magic Book 1

Assassins & Guardians
(Sandra Fikes)

11%

9197 of 80000 words

35 years after their uncle killed their father and stole the crown, princes Richard and Edward come out of hiding to save a kingdom they do not want to rule.

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The Light and Dark Series

Book 1: Lost in Darkness
(Sandra Fikes)

0%

0 of 40000 words

Sentenced to die in the pit of Judgment a master thief discovers a trapped man and a buried city, but is everything really what it appears to be?

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I am writing

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