TideLog Archive for the “Consoles” Category

The release of Project CARS was huge, but there are a few niggling issues with it. As it uses a much improved version of the Madness engine found in Need For Speed SHIFT 1 & 2, the experience is massively improved, but as the game was mainly designed with wheel and pedal touting PC users, the controls on the console versions can seem a little touchy. Here’s some settings to help you get the most out of it:

At your driver dashboard, press your menu button (the one with the three lines), go to Options and Help in the menu that appears, then controls, and tab across to the configuration page. You’ll see lots of possibly scary looking sliders depending on your skill level! Don’t worry, use this guide to help:

Method 1:

Throttle Deadzone: 0%

Throttle Sensitivity: 30%

Brake Deadzone: 10%

Brake Sensitivity: 15%

Controller Filtering Sensitivity: 50% (you should try different values to see what you like best). A higher value means smoother (less twitchy) steering but it can cause input lag.

Steering Deadzone: 5-10% (it depends on how worn your left stick is, 5% seems fine to me, but experiment as your car may pull depending on stick wear)

Steering Sensitivity: 0

Speed Sensitivity: 60-65% (this setting allows for small corrections, it basically makes the wheel less sensitive, especially on the straights)

These settings should make the game much more playable, and the steering less twitchy. You may need to further adjust it for different types of cars, but have a play, you can’t break anything as there’s a “reset to defaults” option on the controller settings page 🙂 If that still doesn’t feel right, see below:

Method 2:

a. Set all sliders to 0. And I mean everything, throttle, brakes the lot.

b. Turn off advanced settings.

c. Then just turn speed sensitivity up to 80.

Method 2 works out the best way for me, method 1 felt like the controller didn’t centre coming off the steering, the car continued to drift slowly in the direction I’d come off when the stick was straight. The brakes were also too bitey and the steering was still too twitchy with some cars, especially the Karts, Method 2 has made me feel in control again!

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I thoroughly enjoyed Telltale’s comic style “The Walking Dead” choice based game. When the “Wolf Among Us” was announced I was eager to try it. The first episode was pretty good, so a few days ago I decided to buy the season pass.

Big mistake. Upon trying to download Ep2, the system was trying to make me pay £3.99 for the episode, when season pass holders shouldn’t have to pay. Looking on Telltale’s forums was a 3,000 page thread on the issue. Telltale were blaming Microsoft, yet Microsoft were adamant it is a bug in the API in the game, in other words, Telltale’s crap programming. Having done Xbox programming, I understand where the bug is.

When you select an episode for download, from the in game content page, the API is supposed to be told by the game whether or not the season pass is installed, it then hands the user over to the marketplace, if the check for a season pass registers as true, the download should show as free. For some reason the API wasn’t being told about the pass, so the episode was showing at full price.

Telltale then said users who had the pass were supposed to recieve a redeemable code to get the episode at no cost. I never recieved mine, yet lots of people on Telltale’s forums did. Telltale also said that they were putting out a game update in 48 hours. Four days later, the Xbox Live status is still red on the issue, the patch is still not out, and I still haven’t recieved my code. In the end I just re-contacted Microsoft an have obtained a refund for the pass.

Telltale, you should be ashamed. I bet you’ve had thousands of pounds from season passes, yet you can’t even fix a simple API bug like this. You’ve just lost my £10, and I won’t be continuing The Walking Dead Season 2. No more money from me, that’ll teach you to pass the blame. You can’t even make simple games like TWD and TWAU run smoothly, they lag like hell during some scenes, shows how much you really care about user experience.

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I’ve been following the free Xbox Live games with interest, and they’ve given me and friends something extra. The promotion runs until December, but you must stay a Gold subscriber to get them. They are free FOREVER (Unlike Playstation PSN+, they stop access to games if you cancel!). They’re not the newest games but there’s something for everyone.

Game 1 – Fable III

This was the kind of game that made me think, “Ah, no, not another medieval type game!”. Actually it turned out to be pretty good. My friend Jenny was the first one to try it as she likes role playing games. Playing as the Princess, Jenny had to try and bring Albion back to its former glory by gaining the support of each town’s followers, to overthrow the evil rulers of each, to become Queen of Albion, making everyone’s lives so much happier. As with modern Governments, you have to make decisions as the Queen, in the form of sacrifices, which make you popular with some people and not others, for example, if a big battle is coming up, do you increase taxes to make money to build your army, or do you ease tax and risk your army?

Overall a good game, one that Jenny keeps going back to!

Game 2 – Defense Grid

This game was fun at first, but quickly got annoying/difficult or boring. It’s a Command and Conquer-esque game where you build turrets to defeat aliens of differing sizes, shapes and strengths. You must defend military bases from waves of attacking aliens by positioning a range of tower-based weaponry, ranging from guns, flamethrowers, lasers, and powerful Tesla weapons, which are like the Tesla coils from Command & Conquer, they give out powerful electric shocks. The military bases are like mazes, some of them have an exit and an entrance, you must stop the aliens from stealing power cores, later levels are hard and have multiple entrances or exits. Weapons can be upgraded by getting XP points for killing aliens. I got bored after getting past story level 4, it was too hard, and annoying! Once you get over the complexity of later levels it gets old.

Game 3 – Assassin’s Creed II

This game was OK at first, it reminds me of Ninja Gaiden, but NG is a lot more fast-paced, and has more of a proper Japanese ninja feel to it, as it should, as that’s where ninjas originate. Assassin’s Creed is more of the same roof jumping, sword wielding stuff, but it’s just too slooooww, and mainly based in Italy in historical times. You have to do such tasks as hunting for feathers and paintings for Leonardo Da Vinci to decipher. It just got too monotonous for me, I gave up after the second chapter, it’s too much of an assassin-plus-Lara-Croft mix. Ninja Gaiden does the Japanese Ninja genre justice, Kana plays it a lot, she’s really quick! Assassin’s Creed is a slow snail-like wannabee.

Game 4 – Crackdown

As I kept reading in the reviews of this when I originally bought it three years ago, Crackdown is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. You play as an Agent, working with the Agency to crack down (hence the game name) on criminal gangs in Pacific City following the collapse of governments. There’s no storyline, you just have to take out gang bosses to get to the kingpin, while a game-show like voiceover man constantly gets on your nerves by saying things like, “There’s a race marker nearby, Agent! Put your foot down!”. Your abilities increase as you do races, collect orbs, and whack/smack and smash your way through the bosses and gangs. It gets old quick, as the gangs are CONSTANTLY (and I mean every second, almost) shooting a you, a lot of the bosses are protected by tons of guys constantly cowardly firing grenades and rockets at you. You die, a lot, in this, add to that if you even think of killing pedestrians, the Peacekeepers (the guys on your side) will start shooting you. The narrator then angrily says, “How many times do I have to tell you, Agent? DO NOT KILL innocent CIVILIANS!!”

A good laugh for a while, but nothing compared to Saints Row or GTA, where you can mindlessly blow stuff up and run it over!

Game 5 – Dead Rising 2 & Dead Rising Case Zero

This is the latest game in the free giveaway, but sadly it’s just another ZOOOOMMMBBIIIEEE game with absolutely NOOO BBBRRAAIINNSSS. For me the zombies in games crap got old and boring years ago. I still go back to Resident Evil 5 & Resident Evil: ORC, but Dead Rising is just another clone. You play as Chuck Greene, and his little daughter Katey, having to escape a zombie outbreak, using and combining different weapons to make them stronger.

Meh. If like me you’ve done all Resident Evil games, and Call of Duty, plus numerous other games with zombies, these games get old pretty quick. If however, you have a massive urge to eat human brains, and like dead stuff coming back to life, this is the game for you.

I’ll update when the next game comes along. These aren’t meant to be in depth reviews, just quick personal opinion.

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I saw this topic being discussed on Sony’s own forums the other day, and I had such a massive laugh! If the people who claimed to be PS3 repairers ACTUALLY knew anything about electronics, the world would be in serious danger! One guy posted about his cooling fan ramping up to full speed when he turned the console on, you should have seen the responses. They ranged from, “Ooh, your PSU is dying”, “You’re about to get the YLOD!” and most laughably, “Your CPU/GPU needs reballing!”

These people obviously don’t know as much as they claim, all those supposed causes are NOWHERE near the real cause. I’ll go into some real electronics knowledge to help people here. The fan ramping up on a PS3 or an Xbox is caused by the temperature diode being faulty.

In computers, the chip temperature is measured by a temperature sensor. Usually it’s a diode, mounted under the chip. On some standard PC motherboards, if you look in the middle of the CPU socket, you’ll see a blue lump on legs, this is the sensor diode.

    Types of diode

There are two types of temperature diode. A Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) diode is a diode whose resistance DECREASES as the temperature rises. So, when the chip is at full temperature, the resistance of the diode is at 0. The other type of diode is a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC), where the resistance STARTS at 0 when the chip is COLD, and goes full when HOT.
The control chip uses this resistance value by converting it from a resistance value to a temperature value, to set the fan speed, and to shut down the system if it’s too hot by sending a signal to the chipset. The converted value is also used by temperature monitoring apps and software.

It is all the same in automotive scenarios, with the engine temperature and radiator cooling fan, the same ramp up symptom occurs due to temperature sensor failure.

    Failure

When the diodes fail, each type of diode fails in a certain way. An NTC diode normally fails stuck at 0 (zero) resistance, meaning the system thinks the chip is really hot (because the cold reading should be full resistance), when in fact it is still cold, so the fan will ramp up as soon as the system is started cold. It may also result in shutdowns, even though the chip isn’t hot because the fan is running full tilt.

A PTC diode starts cold at 0 anyway, so the system won’t panic at first. However, the controller will soon realise something is up when the CPU starts reporting high loads, but the temperature is still reading 0 instead of a higher value. The fan will not increase speed in this case, so the temperature will rise sharply, resulting in an eventual shutdown. This will cause solder damage if the problem isn’t fixed, but it doesn’t happen BECAUSE of solder damage!

See, nothing to do with YLOD, try going to electronics school, kiddies 😉 When you switch a PS3 on and the fan kicks up to full speed then down again, that’s the system running a sensor and fan control test 🙂 If the fan stays on full on cold start instead of slowing down, you have a sensor issue 😉

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UPDATE: All my development PS3’s have now died. I have become tired of keep reballing and soldering them, only for them to die again 6 months later. I have now given up on Sony altogether, and only focus on Xbox personally, so I can no longer assist with re-marry issues

This is something I’ve done about 4 times. If a PS3 stops reading discs, it’s either the laser head unit itself that’s failed (99%), the drive board has overheated and died (1%). If the drive board has failed, you can put another logic board of the same model drive on, but it won’t work straight off. Like the Xbox 360, the PS3’s drive is electronically “married” to the motherboard using software encryption. But, unlike the Xbox, you can’t just take the drive out of a PS3 and connect it to a SATA PC to dump the keys, as the PS3 has a non standard ribbon connection. There are also no solder methods for the PS3 that I’m aware of.

The PS3 Blu-Ray drive won’t work at all if straight swapped, it won’t read PS1/PS2 (on backwards-compatible consoles) or PS3 games, Blu-Ray movies, DVD discs, or even audio CD’s, whereas a straight-swapped Xbox drive will read DVD’s and audio CD’s until the drive key is flashed across via SATA. Fortunately the PS3 drive can be “married” to restore full functionality, but only under certain circumstances such as with supported firmware. Professional repair guys like me have a service mode “jig”, which is a special USB dongle that puts the console into Service mode, and automatically remarries the drive. You can do it with a PSP and a USB stick at home, here I’ll show you how:

NOTE: This does not work on Slim PS3’s. The Slim consoles have the drive control circuitry embedded into the main motherboard like the old PS2’s did, so if it stops reading discs and you’ve tried a new laser all to no avail, you’re out of luck, you’ll need a new whole motherboard.

1. Make sure your PS3 is on OFFICIAL Sony firmware v3.55. If you are on v3.56 DO NOT attempt the steps in my article, your console will BE STUCK in Service mode. The console doesn’t work very well in Service mode, games often lock and the console freezes running certain apps, if you get into Service Mode on v3.56 you CANNOT get out again.

2. Your PSP MUST be jailbroken, and running custom firmware. I have done it using v5.50-GEN-B and can confirm it works on both FAT and Slim PS3’s running v3.55 FW.

3. Download these files (they’re hosted on this blog so won’t expire):

a. PSPJig v1.00 – this file puts the console into factory mode.

b. PS3 OFW 3.55 – This is the official Sony V3.55 Firmware. Not added to blog yet as having trouble uploading it. Google for now 🙂

c. LV2Diag.self-get-out-factory-mode – This is the file we’ll use to get out of Factory Mode.

d. PS3 Remarry v3.55 – These are the files we’ll use to actually remarry the drive.

4. To keep this article short and to the point, I’ll assume you already have the correct firmwares on your PSP and PS3. To start off, take a blank FAT formatted USB pendrive (minimum 512MB), and extract the files from the remarry zip into the root of it. Then extract the v3.55 original firmware PUP file into the root as well. DON’T extract the firmware into a PS3/UPDATE structure like you would if you were updating the system software, it won’t work, the file needs to be in the root.

The structure of your pendrive should look like this:

  • Lv2diag.self
  • manufacturing_updater_for_reset.self
  • fdm_spu_module.self
  • PS3UPDAT.PUP
  • cfg/standalone.cfg (A folder named cfg with a standalone.cfg file inside it)
5. Then install PS3Jig onto your jailbroken PSP by copying the PS3Jig folder out of the zip into your PSP/GAME folder. Start your PSP and check that there’s a PS3Jig icon under the Games menu on the PSP XMB, it will be a PS3 icon as below:
ps3jig_1
Don’t run it, as you can’t exit out of it without pulling your battery, this will reset your PSP’s clock and date!
6. Next, connect your PSP to your PSP’s first left USB port, start PS3Jig on your PSP. DO NOT connect your USB drive with the remarry files yet. You will see a screen similar to this:
ps3jig_2
Note that you’ll only see the above message up to “USB Driver Started”. You won’t see the rest until you start your PS3 up.
7. Plug your PS3 into power, and switch on the rear switch so the power light is red.
8. Now switch on your PS3 using the touch sensitive power strip, then immediately afterwards press EJECT. Your PS3 will sit there for a few seconds, and then shut down. You’ll now see the rest of the above screenshot following the “USB Driver Started” section.
9. Now, switch on your PS3 using the power button. It will now boot to the XMB, and you should see “FACTORY SERVICE MODE” written in a red box at the bottom right of the screen. If you see this, you can switch off again.If not, repeat the process. It isn’t time sensitive, apart from pressing Power and Eject.
.
PS3-Factory-Service-Mode-screenshot
Your PS3 will stay in service mode as long as you want, even after turning the power off fully so don’t worry about it coming out, we need to manually force it out, which we’ll do later. Remove the USB lead of your PSP, and pull its battery to power off, we don’t need it again. You need to pull the battery as holding the power switch won’t switch off, it simply sleeps and comes back to PS3Jig.
10. Now, connect your USB remarry drive that we created in Step 4 to the FURTHEST RIGHT USB port, and power your PS3 back on. You’ll come to a screen similar to this:
Photo-0004
I recommend sticking a BD Movie disc in before you turn back on, as this will restore BD DRL license files, essentially they authorize the drive to the motherboard that it can play Blu Ray movies. There’s a BIG note here that I need you to read, see below:
a. If the ==DRIVE INIT== section at the top is GREEN, but all other sections are RED, the re-marry was SUCCESSFUL, but only the game disc, DVD and CD reads will work. Some people have reported that sticking a Blu Ray movie disc in DOES restore BD movie playback, but it still comes up NG and FAIL on the second section. You just need to play about. Boot back into the XMB still in Service mode, and see if a movie disc will play.
b. If you don’t put a BD disc in whilst doing this, don’t worry, you can do it again any time. The tool is a bit iffy on the success feedback, but you can’t do any damage, I tried different methods when I was learning the non-dongle way of doing remarries and never bricked anything.
c. The ==INSTALL SYSTEM SOFT== section will always be red, this is because the tool is set not to reinstall firmware. Some people use this method on downgraded consoles and end up with YLOD because of incorrect syscon hashes, so it is left off.
11. Finally, once you’re happy that everything works, turn everything off. In Service Mode, games won’t play very well, they often freeze, don’t worry about this, they’ll work in Normal mode, which we’re about to get the console back into. Delete everything off the USB drive, and put the LV2Diag.self file from the Exit-Service-Mode.zip into the root of it.
12. Connect it to the furthest right port of the PS3, power on, and it’ll do the power-on-beep-shutdown process again. Remove the USB drive, and power her on, you should now be back in Normal mode again, with drive functionality restored! Congratulations! Go get yourself a beer, enjoy those feelings of having achieved something brilliant, because it is great even after doing it for the 100th time for me!

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