Jan. 24th, 2012

thessalian: (Talking Too Much)
I decided yesterday that I was going to treat myself, godsdamnit. I figured I more or less deserved it. And I also needed to feel accomplished about something. Just a tiny something. So I thought to myself, why not combine both? I have both Mass Effect games and Assassin's Creed that I haven't been able to play owing to serious keyboard-play issues. I thought a controller might help. But the cheap-arsed one I bought didn't work very well so I decided to pick up a decent one when I finally headed home last night and try to play Mass Effect. I don't know how I've managed to avoid spoilers (oh, yes I do - most people talk more about how much they love the LIs than they do about the actual plot, at least in any way that makes sense to me), but I have, so I honestly, honestly am approaching this blind. I'm even bad with names so while I know that the names Kaiden and Ashley and Miranda and Garrus and Thane mean things, I don't really know when they're going to turn up or how. Well. Ashley and Kaiden, I know, but ... that's another story.

First I came home to find that my shiny new controller was not working. A short while of Googling later, and I discovered that this game, which I understood as being coded more for console gaming than PC gaming, didn't have controller support coded into its PC version. So ... no, my shiny new controller wasn't going to be any more effective than my cheap-as-shit controller, and I had wasted my money yet again. Woe.

But! All was not lost! My Google-fu is strong! I found a rather charming little bit of software called Xpadder, which circumvents all those nasty support issues! It's actually really interesting because it generates a layout of your controller and then lets you create different set-ups depending on what game you're playing. So creating the ideal Xpadder set-up for Mass Effect is ... well, let's call it a work in progress.

Moving swiftly on ... well, to embarrass myself completely, the first time I tried playing it, I was so shit at the controls that I couldn't even manage to get into the comms room, never mind to any part that might involve my Shepard seeing combat. I seriously just couldn't deal with keyboard-only at the time. I was used to clicking to where I wanted to go and having my character run there! Since then, I have at least got the hang of the "Use the W key and change direction with the mouse" style of moving from point A to point B in video games, but I will admit that the controller makes it easier, particularly since I set up one of the joysticks to change camera angle. I just need to practice with it because sometimes I try to move and I must prod something the wrong way because I end up facing behind me getting shot at.

I also need to figure out which buttons I need to have right at my fingertips (no pun intended) and which I can leave on the keyboard. Possibly J for 'Journal' is not as important as R for 'FLING A GRENADE NOW', as I discovered to my great shame when I got myself killed the first time. Though I didn't actually do too badly, for all my targeting sucks rocks. I think I just need practice. Lots and lots of practice. And a few tweaks to the Xpadder settings.

So ... yeah, I have walked into this game almost entirely blind. I have no idea what's going on or what's going to happen. The closest thing I have to a 'spoiler' is what happens at the start of ME2, but I don't know what leads to that point. There are a lot of things I am experiencing for the first time in this game. For instance, it took liveblogging my first attempt at the whole mess on Tumblr to find out that the 'glowy colonist zombie-kabobs' left around by the Geth were called 'husks'. And that they are bad. And very fast. And like to chew on people. I also didn't know that if Shepard dies, it's Game Over. I'm used to Dragon Age, where you have to have a full party wipe to get that kind of result.

In short, I am bad at this but I am learning and quite curious to see what happens next. Thus I will probably reload the game from more or less the start point and keep practicing on Geth perimeter drones until I get the hang of the controller. I am allowed to suck. Sucking is the point from which one improves. I will just have to remind myself of how f'ing badly I flailed when I first started playing games on the PC at all. Like ... oh gods, FFXI, where I actually could not access my menu options to do things like, I dunno, equip a damn weapon. It probably sounds a little bit stupid to work so hard and get so frustrated over something that's supposed to be fun, but I really do think it's going to be worth it. And getting the hang of this will be way, way more satisfying than anything my job can offer. It's a challenge!

In other news, I am still up to my eyes in fic projects, I still don't entirely feel well (stupid headache), and I am rambling about this kind of crap predominantly so that I don't have to think about being at my job. Which, yes, I am also doing. Just if I don't have something else to think about, I will get depressed again and I really don't want that.

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thessalian

July 2012

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