Mad Mack: 4 Terrible Things About PC Gaming
So, as you may know, I have recently joined the elite and high-brow fellowship of PC Gamers. I don’t mean that I have a PC that can play games by the way – I mean that I have a PC that was built for games, and should be more than comfortable playing them at top spec for the next few years. In theory anyway. In practice, I could be done with PC gaming for good by the time you read this article – for a number of very simple reasons.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an enthusiastic piece about the games I was looking forward to playing on my new PC. This, however, is the complete antithesis to that upbeat article – which was so bursting with promise and hope. This is the depressing Yang to the light and happy Yin I spewed all over the internets. As such, feel free to imagine me reading this to you in a voice dripping with sarcasm, scorn and pathos.
I am going to point out some cold, hard truths that the PC Fanboys out there might dislike. But fuck those guys. If you have a solution to any problem I raise here that is more complicated than ‘put disc in, automatically update via X-Box Live’ then save your breath because I could not give less of a shit. Perhaps if you can contain your throbbing rage-erections long enough to get to the end of the article, you might sympathise with me somewhat.
So, on with the show. The worst things about PC gaming are…
I spent a good portion of my early PC gaming experience playing DayZ, which is brilliant: a gritty survival game that takes place within one of the largest game maps I have ever seen. It is bugged up the ass, but since it sits somewhere between Alpha and Beta builds, I will forgive it. What is fucking awful about it however, is the prevalence of players that use scripts to hack or break the game.
Shitfuckers like these have been documented in many PC games, but are especially prevalent in popular FPS games. They are the lowest form of gaming life – they run scripts to either give themselves a ridiculous advantage over other gamers, or to just fuck up the game for everyone, so no one can enjoy it. And it’s not like these cunts even write the scripts themselves (at least then you can give them credit for being actual programmers); rather, in a lot of cases they buy or rent third party programmes that actually run the scripts. I mean, how much of a sad fucker do you have to be to pay for a game, and then pay the same money again for programmes that just outright break the game? Battlefield 3 had a big problem with this, with a sizeable market selling scripting programmes to said sad fuckers springing up in line with its stellar popularity. But DayZ has it really bad.
I do not know the details (feel free to enlighten me), but from what I have been told, the Arma 2 engine is not particularly difficult to hack, due in part to there being no real need for it before DayZ exploded in popularity (thus catching the eye of script-using mouth breathers). Here is a list of things that have happened to either me, or my usual partner in crime, in DayZ:
- Killed someone only for them to almost immediately respawn fully kitted out
- Found a hide containing two of the rarest weapons in the game that would in no way be left around (item duping is a pretty common offense)
- Emptied a mag into someone, only for them to kill me without apparently doing anything (admittedly this could be because I am still utterly shite at this game)
- Killed a sniper only for him to kill the entire map in some impotent, angry protest at not being allowed to cheat and ruin everyone’s fun (this happened on Play with Six DayZ UK Server 349 on Thursday 27th October. I then made it back to my corpse to retrieve kit and had the supreme pleasure of listening in on the little pube having a conversation with some mate about how he was ‘a ‘hacker’ that liked to mess around but didn’t kill people for no reason’. He also sounded 15. And a virgin).
- Been teleported about a mile above the ground, falling to my death and losing all my kit
- Been teleported to a central location with a load of other people only to be mowed down by some twat with a ridiculously powerful weapon
These (and many other) various offenses have happened numerous times in DayZ, but it is in no way the only game that suffers from abuse from teh haXX0rZ. There are scripts for sale for most games that reach a certain level of popularity – Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3 etc. etc. Really I could go on at length about the mouth breathers that throw out this shit, but I am not going to. I will just have to entertain myself with Sins of a Solar Empire until the standalone DayZ comes out.
Please, can someone tell me – what the fuck do they get out of it?
***Also, as an update, to my previous article, I have since got my dick wet and killed some mo-fos. I even killed one with a hatchet! BOOM!******
You Be Missin’ Drivers, Or Some Shit
So there you are. You have got your new PC, and it is all-singing and all-dancing. You have installed a few new games, and have even played it for a while. Then you go and sit in front of the monitor and try to load up something you have already been playing.
Error message! Apparently, in the time between shutting down and starting up, your PC has managed to lose some vital game files. Or Steam has shat itself and is refusing to start up in shame/embarrassment. Or the OS has forgotten what a ‘Graphics Card’ is, and is trying to render the game using a combination of dust and imagination.
Even when you have all the hardware in place, trying to make the computer understand that shit is all plugged in and ready to go is a cross between bipartisan diplomacy, Jenga and baking a soufflé. It is seriously equal parts luck, determination and skill. Do you know how many days it took me to make Skype recognise my new headset/earphones combo? And even then, it only works when plugged into the motherboard sound slots, and not the extra, expensive sound card I shelled out for. No sir, none of this here fancy accelerated sound for Skype. Basic and flat is how Skype likes its sound, yessiree. Do you remember when you dreamt of crystal clear, resonant sounds from your games as you used Skype to communicate with your friends? Petridge Farm remembers, but my asshole sound card doesn’t.
Basically, getting everything to marry up in a PC is a nightmare of hardware settings, software versions, software settings, driver updates and blood sacrifices, just so the stupid fucking thing does not forget its raison d’être and decide that today it is going to be a tree.
Where Did All The Space Go?
This is a bit of a pain in the arse more than anything else, and partially down to my own poor design choices, so it is not technically the fault of PC gaming. But this is my article so I will write about what I goddamn want.
My computer has a 120GB SSD primary drive, which boots up super fucking quick and is so fast that games have next-to-no load times. The second drive is a more standard 1TB HDD, which I primarily imagined I would use for illegally downloaded movies, music and porn. How wrong was I.
You see, I have been out of the loop on PC gaming for some time, so little did I know that 120GB (minus some 30GB for Windows) would give me enough space for about one and a half games. I got as far as downloading Starcraft, Arma 2 (plus Operation Arrowhead), Team Fortress 2 and Sins of a Solar Empire before being told to go fuck myself if I wanted to install any more games. What the hell Steam?
Basically, I wanted to then add the Total War package (£25 of Steam – bargain) plus Fall of the Samurai, which, lo and behold, put me over the size limit. I had not realised that in my absence, PC games had gone from requiring maybe one or two GB to install, to 25, 30 or (in the case of Arma and Arrowhead), 50GB. Of course I should have realised that in my absence, PC gaming went from using disks to direct download, which of course would increase the on disk size. But Jesus. 50GB? Really?
So what are my options? Can I keep some Steam games on my super fast SSD and put some of the others on the slower HDD? Is there a way I can manage my Steam Library over two hard drives? Can I compress the downloads or somehow reduce the space requirements? What’s that, Steam? I can have all my Steam games in one place or I can eat shit? Well, thank you very much. No, really, thank you.
So now I have my Steam games on the slower HDD, leaving me fucking acres of space on my SSD and giving me pleb-like loading times. Thanks Steam. Thank you very much, you utter cunt.
These articles can sometimes be put together very quickly, and be out in less than a few days. But sometimes, I will begin an article and then be distracted (by literally anything: a new game, work, social engagements, someone jingling their keys in front of me), meaning that the article will take a few weeks to finish. Which is exactly what happened in the case of this article. So, although I have a fully working PC right now, when I began this article I didn’t. In fact, what I had was a very expensive coffee table, that was shit at being a coffee table on account of the fan holes on the top, its narrow profile and wires going everywhere. Why? Well, perhaps this will enlighten you:
That, my friends, is the result of running a stress test on a fucked graphics card. Brand new and out of the box, my GPU worked for about a day before beginning to crash. First it was a few hours between crashes. Then it was every hour, then every 10 mins, then every few mins, then every 30seconds, essentially rendering the PC unable to play any graphically demanding games (read: all of them). I dunno, maybe my PC was giving its dream of being a tree one last big effort, but from my point of view, it became all so much expensive scrap taking up my dining table.
I should point out at this stage, that this very issue was the reason I elected to have my PC built by professionals, rather than try it myself. It cost me a bit extra, but I just didn’t think I would be able to live with myself if I suspected that it was my own cack-handedness that had damaged the internal components. You see, my fellow gamer, Wheeb (who has collaborated on an article or two in the past), built his PC to exactly the same specs as mine, using the same components, including the GTX 670 GPU, and he had the same problem. So it turns out that it was not his cack-handedness that damaged his GPU, nor was it the fault of the person who built my PC. Rather it was the fault of a shite, fragile batch of GPUs being sent out from the factory.
I know there was the issue of the X-Box red ring of death. But the differences here were that the X-Box didn’t cost over a grand, it was a lot more portable than a PC and could be exchanged that much more easily, and – most importantly – when you got the Red Ring, you knew it was a hardware problem and didn’t have to spend your whole weekend troubleshooting and ruling out every one of the roughly 3,000 hardware and software issues that could have been the cause.
Fortunately I bought my PC from a great company, with excellent customer service who were able to get a replacement card to me within a few days. Wheeb however, bought his components from a bunch of bounders and rogues, and took 6 weeks to get refunded on his defective card. Wow.
So after all that, maybe you can understand how I, a former console devotee, might struggle with PC gaming, especially at first. But, at the end of the day, even when as I compose this diarrhetic litany of complaints against the very machine I am composing upon, I ask myself: ‘Is it worth it?’
I look at my games. I look at Starcraft 2, the whole Total War franchise, Arma and DayZ, Sins of a Solar Empire. I look at what I have still to play – Diablo 3, X-Com.
My answer: Absolutely.
Dave has a Twitter: @Mad_Mack_fmv.
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