Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A question and a statement?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Vlog–Vlogging with Tod

Tod came over, he wanted to make WoW videos for youtube but he knew not how, how i entertained and educated him...

For some reason he does not like being called Tod.

Thanks for watching

Co-op gaming, with other people

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fish[2]Yesterday I finished Portal 2 co-op campaign on my PS3 with my other half, our sometime contributor Lady Fleata. And when it finished I wondered out loud, what co-op game shall we play next, Age of Conan? (oh yeah I am playing that again). Then it occurs to me that I no longer think of mmorpg’s as, well massively multiplayer. For me you might as well call them co-oprpg. See over the last year or so, pretty much all the mmo’s I have played have been with, not wishing to get all mushy and stuff, the woman I love.
I have ended up seeing mmo’s as a fun co-op experience we can play together, much the same way the Portal 2 was. The obvious advantage of mmo’s is that resident-evil-5there tends to be a lot more content than something like Portal 2 or Resident Evil 5 (we played a hell of a lot of that game). 
This has perhaps caused me to not understand the criticsm of some games. For instance when taking to Hex about Age of Conan, he said he was always put off by the fact the servers seemed very quiet. Now this never bothered me and I can see why now. I don’t really care if there are people playing the game or not, at least for the most part. Obviously if I wanted to do a dungeon or something a busy server is better, but as long as the levelling, world and quests are enjoyable, I really am not that fussed.
rift_quest_titleHowever I am guessing it also causes me to be perhaps be more critical of games like Rift. Rift was very popular and busy when I was playing it, however this did very little to make up for the dull and uninteresting quests and environments. I guess it is also why I love Dragon Age, for me it is like a great mmo that I can play by myself.
It could be argued that I am missing the point of mmo’s and that I need to get into a fun guild and be active. However I like that fact that I can jump into a game, have fun with someone for a couple of hours and then log out. I don’t need to put effort into being chatty or waiting to meet up with other player, or going through the usual nonsense that gets in the way of actually playing a mmo. Does anybody else have a special, erm mmo buddy, out there?

Quest Hard & MMO Voices.

MMO Voices

Hey all, as you probably know I cross post all my blogs from here over to MMOVoices.com. I’ve been asked to help out over there with as a community manager, nothing changes for you guys here as this is now and will always be where all my posts live but it does mean i now have an active interest in making sure people know about MMO voices.

If all goes well I’ll be semi-regular on their podcast, so will post here when its released.

Quest Hard is very important to me personally as its got every blog i have posed for quite some time and i am not going to stop developing it in any way. I like it here its home for my blogs.

Thank you to everyone who comments and contributes here. Please carry on i love to read your comments (however infrequent you are… naughty readers)

TLDR: I’m helping with MMO Voices, don’t panic Quest Hard is still my most awesome project.

Community management - I hate double glazing

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hex We all play games, that’s both the why and how of why and how you ended up reading this post. Most people who read blogs tend not to be the kinds of people that comment mean things on peoples work. I am of cause talking about the troll

The Urban Dictionary website has this little gem to describe the internet troll

TrollfaceOne who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

The troll of would point out that they have spelled relevance incorrectly and ignore the rest of the paragraph.

What is interesting about the troll is that they generate many comments on websites, this is often why they are allowed to sleep under the proverbial bridges of larger websites

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I have recently been asked to support the great people of MMO Voices by applying my people skills as a community manager. I thought for a while about how best to flex this muscle and came to the conclusion that I hate double glazing. You know, the kind you have on the windows in your house.

Right now, you thinking that I've gone mad aren't you? I haven't, this makes perfect sense, allow me to explain…

When some one writes a blog, people read it and agree or disagree. Then they comment or do not comment, often they will comment on other comments (following me so far) but if the blog or the comments don’t prod an emotional response out of the reader there will be no comment.

Trolls are pointless, they irritate me and everyone else who reads their comments (and i won’t tolerate them if i do not have to) but they do prod a response out of people who get angry about their pointless, err, trolling. This is because as i have said people are more likely to express an emotional opinion that “i agree with your post, thank you for writing it”

So, now I get to call myself a community manager (I’m going to get a shirt with that written on it) how will I make you fine unemotional folk’s respond and interact without allowing trolls? easy.. boldness.

I write posts that are over opinionated, why? because they are my opinions and a blog is a personal expression. When I want to say “Eve online is a niche game that does not cater to my tastes” I will instead phrase the same thing in a more opinionated way, for example “I find Eve boring” is it a literary work of genius? no. but if you play Eve seriously then I’ll bet that that little four word sentence ticked you off more than the 13 word one before it. You see, my point is not that a blog has to be good, it has to be honest and its your opinion so express it.

 

Be bold, people will respect you for it. Don’t write blogs to intentionally poke the audience or make them angry but if your honest opinions (that you express without naughty language or offensiveness) tick people off then that’s fine, don’t apologise for it but never turn into a troll.

arguecat

When I was a kid we lived in an old house in a village that was little more than a field, when the weather was bad I would listen to the storms outside and hold my hand near the window to feel the cold radiate from it as the rain hit, you could sometimes see the glass flex in reaction to the storm and wind. I’m a grownup now and my house is much newer, I stay warm in the cold and the double glazing keeps me from hearing the storm and helps me get a great nights sleep no matter what the world is doing around me, but i hate it. My daughter is never woke up in the night by the world tapping on the glass, so she will never share that special moment with the storm where you are captivated by it and a little scared of it.

Why did i tell you that? because its how the internet is, we double glaze our thoughts when we write blogs so not to offend and that’s great but the result are seen in those who break their own social windows and troll the rest of the internet because they want to feel the storm. may i suggest that we may be better off with single pane’s and more awareness of each other.

What I’m saying is you should express your self in your writing be it blogs or comments because the community your sharing with will be one that will make your whole social internet experience better.

in short – I hate double glazing and things that live under bridges, but i love your honesty.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Audiosurf - Its great, still

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hex Audiosurf was released on steam back in February 2008 as a cheap indie rhythm game. the premise is that you load any MP3 you have and it generates a kind of race track using the structure of the song, then it places blocks on the track that match the songs beats, some coloured and some grey (dependent on game mode) you collect the coloured ones by flying your little ship into them and dodge the grey ones.

AudioSurf

A simple game yes. but it has two features that made it an instant success for many players. Unlike ‘boom boom rocket’ or just about any other rhythm game you can load any track off your hard disk. literally any MP3 becomes content for the game. the second thing that makes the game awesome is that there is no need to hold a little plastic guitar, its all you and your mouse.

audiosurf-tilt-zune-hd-07I recently brought some new speakers for my PC (Logitech X-210’s) and though the game would be a great way to test them so then i pretty much randomly selected a track off my drive and ended up ‘playing’ the whole of the Cardigans ‘gran tourismo’ album an enjoying every moment of it.

Strangely as you play your music in Audiosurf you pay more attention to it. you experience it in a more focussed way, when i put an album on usually I'm only partially aware of it but with this game i take in every moment of it and it does add something to the music. audiosurf5--article_image

The key to enjoying this game is not to play it all the time, just occasionally spend an hour with it and a new album, you wont be disappointed.

the game scrobbles to Last.FM and supports itunes. its a great title and very cheap.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The clothes do not maketh the man (erm character)

 

LOTR costumes

fish[2]I have come to the conclusion that quality games like LOTRO and Age of Conan going free to play is good for me. The reason being that the stuff they try and sell me, I generally have no interest in. The best example of this is the cosmetic system, where you can buy dresses and silly hats for your character. This didn’t work on me in Team Fortress and it won’t work in an mmo. This is because I usually don’t care what my character is wearing, especially when I have to pay a couple of pounds on a incorporeal piece of clothing for an incorporeal character (yes I did have to look up how to spell incorporeal).

The same goes for player housing, which LOTRO also has. It is bad enough buying Housingclothing for your character, which I sort of get, as other players will see you and perhaps think that the hat you are wearing with a badger stuck on it is cool. But with housing, paying for a painting or similar for a in game house that it is only really you that goes to, and even then just to open a storage box, this strikes me as especially useless

Other things that theses stores sell, like xp potions, I would never buy either. Now I know I am harsh judge, but there should be more than enough game content for me to never take a single potion, and still happily get to max level. If I can’t do that it is a failing of the game, not me being tight.

And I certainly wouldn’t consider buying in game weapons and stat increasing apparel. Why? Humm I guess it just seems unfair to me, why should I have a better character than someone else, just because I have a few pounds to spare. So the obvious question is there anything I would buy?

store-quest-packsOf course there is, content. LOTRO opening 20 odd levels are entirely free, and then you have to buy quest packs for the various areas. I have absolutely no issues with this at all, as you are at least gaining something of value for your money.

Now if you want to spend a fortune guzzling xp potions and running around in a wedding dress you brought because it was 10% off at the store, I would actively encourage you. After all, it is players like you that keep the games going when tight arses like me refuse to pay out for pointless tat.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Quest Hard Podcast - Swirly

QuestHard

The Quest Hard podcast is the official podcast of www.QuestHard.com a place where we blog about video games.

Another episode o the Quest Hard Podcast is here for your auditory pleasure. We talk about Dragon Age being too long, Age of Conan being free to play, Eve online being a menu and at least two or three other things.

there be an em pee three

Our RSS is here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/QuestHard

Hex Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Hexdsl

Fish on Twitter: http://twitter.com/hangmansj0e

Possibly available on ITunes…. unless you live in my house, then it says your in the wrong country for some reason.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Dragon Age, its finally over.

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hex Almost two months ago I began my journey into Dragon Age Origins. it had been out a long time but as a long in the tooth (and very jaded) gamer i rarely buy full priced titles, so it had only just found its way to my amazon basket. the Ultimate edition consisting of i think every piece of downloadable content and the Awakening expansion.

As of last night I have finished the Origin campaign. I have not finished any of the DLC campaigns or the expansion, in truth i have not even loaded them.

2011-05-23_00010After the first 40 hours it became apparent that there was a good change i would burn out of the story before i reached the end so i made it personal, i was going to beat this game and nothing was going to stop me, and so i skipped many side quests and barrel rolled towards the end.

I Played a mage, and i played him as a hero and i really believed in the character i had crafted as i played he was a paragon of perfect decision making and he never took the easy way out. I liked him.

Towards the end he made some difficult choices that he hoped he would not have to but i believe he handled those messed up situations as well as a man in his position ever could.

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According to the Raptr service it took me 57 hours to play the game and that’s longer i think than any other single player game i have ever tried.

Dragon Age is excellent from start to finish and there is very little bad you can say about it, story is excellent, so is voice acting, graphics controls and just about everything else.

2011-04-27_00016Dragon age is however guilt of one thing. its too darn long. i know that sounds silly but I like to finish a game, for epic never ending time sinks i have MMO’s. this game is awesome. This is probably one of the best games ever made but i wonder how many people have not finished it because its scope is too grand.

I’ve asked before if a game can be too long but in the case of this one i think if anything it is two games worth of content.

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Not really a review i know but i have had a constant fight with this game, i love it but i wanted it over so badly.

I’m glad its over and just as glad i have played it, will I play the sequel? no. I think I’m done with this franchise for a long time.

Who? what? why?

How did it come to this, I'm contributing to an MMO blog called QuestHard and I don't have a single MMORPG installed on my computer. Its my first blog and I know what you're thinking but I didn't just burn out on WoW, that happened years ago.. and I don't think 2 weeks and 20 levels of Rift really qualifies as burnout.

Anyway, less MMORPG's equals more time for games with gameplay that I actually enjoy. I played through Portal 2, good stuff. I play League of Legends a lot, I'm pretty competitive at this game. I would love to cover the new crowdsourced punishment system called the tribunal, which has become the new highlight of my day. I suspect an adequate review of this feature would be so full of profanity it would cause this site to collapse, so I'm going to have to think of a clever way of doing that. My main game is StarCraft 2. I'm on there all the time, and when i'm not playing it i'm usually thinking about it or watching it, 'it' being StarCraft 2.

I've got a lot of ideas for blog and vlog content, probably because I've sat on the fence for so long, planning content but never actually doing it. I remember trying to organise a podcast with some friends while raiding vanilla WoW. It was going to be WoW from the perspective of a server first progression raider, but I could never get it sorted out due to the huge commitment of the 6 nights a week raiding. I remember a few times going out to the pub on a Friday night with a couple of mates and answering the call to fill a spot with all the seriousness of a surgeon answering a page.

Anyway its getting long winded now and I was only breaking the silence to say hello. See you again.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

APB relaunches, to fail a second time?

 

fish[2]

APB has gone into open beta, so the second time around I try the beta (I tried it when just before APB launched first time). Again I am frustrated that there is excellent game in there. Well just watch the video.

I am not angry just disappointed, ok that’s a lie, I am angry

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I am not biased to my bios

 

fish[2]

As people (well 2 to be specific, that's still people right?) have been asking about the Bios on my new motherboard here is a very quick run down of it.

Using a mouse in a Bios is just crazy

Get a Move on I need to shoot you.

 

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fish[2]I am a pretty big fan of Killzone 3 on the PS3, which I play using the PlayStation Move. The Move, much like the Kinect I guess, has generally not picked up the massive main stream support I assume they hoped for. However at last the Move supports some grown up games like Killzone.


Now it might seem counter intuitive to use a motion controller to play a first person shooter, for me it is a very natural fit. You see I have a confession to make, I am just not very good with a pad.  I find them slow and inaccurate, to the point that I feel like I am being handicapped when using them.


Killzone-3-013A game like dead space is a perfect example, I tried the xbox version and got bored of the monsters been able to run up and start eating my face, before I could even get a bead on them. However on the pc I found the game (and it's sequel) very satisfying, even though perhaps the mouse accuracy actually made the game a little easy.


Now this post is not a keyboard and mouse is better than pad rant, as joy pads have their place. They are excellent for racing, platform and action games, basically anything that doesn’t call for high levels of accuracy. The reason I like the Move so much is that, heh well I feel that in Killzone I am going from being handicapped with the pad to actually gain an advantage over other players. Whether that’s because I am actually pretty good and the Move just allowed me to express that,  or, more likely, that it’s quick movement is a little like cheating compared to using a pad. All I know, from a selfish point of view, is that in every game I am now the top two or three player.

If anything it feels like playing a shooter with a keyboard and mouse, and making b37a83b3725204a4fbbb1ed7c364c963_15948039everyone else use a pad. For the most part you can shoot them before they even get a round off. In fact using the Move is quite a lot like using a mouse, you have a very similar response speed.

It does occur to me that I brought the motion controls for the PS3 mainly because I thought that there would be fun party games and the similar. I am glad that it turns out that it hasn’t been left in a corner to rot, and furthermore has allowed me to enjoy console online shooters (or spawn dead cycle as I used to think of them).

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Make me cry damn it

 

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fish[2]I think that there has been a lot of discussion as to whether games can be considered art. Now I certainly believe that they have the capacity to be art, though the majority would be better qualified as entertainment. That is by no means a criticism, as most other forms of media I would qualify as entertainment.

For instance most movies, tv, book etc l would also classify as entertainment. I think that to be considered art, a piece of media had to be able to produce an emotional response, such as anger or saddness. Now these would be unusual for the average summer blockbuster or tom clancy thriller.

I am not saying that games are incapable of prompting an emotional response, or at least some try. Most recent that I can think of being mass effect 2 (I won’t go into due to spoilers). Though I think for me the best case is final fantasy 7 when Aeris is killed (surely not a spoiler after all this time). Though generally it is up to the more indie games and modders to produce the more touching imagesgames (dear ester springs to mind), i suppose as is also the case in movies.

I play games to be entertained, much like I go to the movies. I recently went to go see Thor, which is a great movie but didn't exactly engage me emotional. However there are big movies that do this very well, inception and watchmen to name a couple.

What really does surprise me is that more, well any, mmo's don't try and tug the heart strings a bit. Your talking about games that ask people put a gre129144389031472576at deal of time in, they seem ideally suited to prompt emotional connections with a game character.

For instance, you could have a NPC that you spend a lot of time with and at some point in the game you have to make a choice about their future. At a basic level something like saving your NPC friend or a town full of people. Obviously this can been taken to any extent the developer wants, it just a little sad no one tries. In fact probably the only emotion that is really aimed for on a regular basis is fear, and that is done with various levels of success (yes I am looking at you dead space, gorey does not automatically mean scary).

I believe that if games genuinely want to be taken seriously we are going to need, humm a few less blockbusters and a few more heart warming tales.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Portal 2, the final advertisement.

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hex The final hours of portal two is a digital presentation, a little more than an E-Book as it has interactive videos and a pictures. it started life and an IOS application and has arrived on steam for the fair price of £1.49.

Its powered by Adobe Air and is very responsive, it is no better than any flash powered web site. its a little disappointing as you don’t even get a free in-game hat.

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The information in the ‘book’ (lets call it what it is) is very good, however as you read you quickly realise that everything in the book is available through websites and nothing in there is what you would consider insider information. for the most part its a collection of promotional materials designed to make all evolved look great.

At the end of the book there's a wonderful little ‘buy the game’ menu. had this little book been released before the game then it would have been a nice hype machine.

However as they are charging for what is basically an advertisement that's already out of date i can not recommend this as a purchase. Even for a hard-core Portal 2 its a little lame.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Vlog–Eve Online,

After purchasing Eve Online i really wanted to say great things about it and about how i was in love with the game and wanted to play forever but that would have been a big fat lie….

Eve, not a fan… so far

Thanks for watching, Feedback and comments welcome.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Questing Hard – Eve online.

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hex Steam got me again, this time with Eve Online for £3.75. As i have said before i have played the Eve trial many times and never enjoyed it. so why play it now?

As I said before in a blog, Eve Online is the best game i have ever not loved. It has everything, Space ships, lasers, trade, pow pow pow out the rear with no servers to worry about, its almost bug free. It also has some of the best little adventure stories ever told.

I don;t play it however because its way more hard-core than i am. Seriously, its insane, the people that play Eve heavily they think of WoW Raiders a casuals.

imagesBut i want to love it, right now while i write this post i am watching Babylon 5 and thinking that its the coolest thing ever. I love space ships, so I’m going to play Eve I’m going to play eve until i love it!

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Come play, My Lord

 

fish[2]

Yet another lazy one take vlog in which I talk about Lord of the Rings Online, and my confusion as to why everybody isn’t playing it.

It’s free, what’s the worst that could happen.

Vlog – Retro Treasures

I cleared out a shelf and found some awesome stuff, half of it, i have no idea where it came from but its cool as hell and i thought i would show you.

one box contained a pretty cool registration card that i plan on posting later today, will let you know if i receive a reply.

See, Retro!

Thanks for watching.

Me getting over the (sandy)bridge

 

fish[2]As a birthday/christmas present my other half brought me a new motherboard and one of the new intel chips. So I decided to chuck in another 4 gigs of ram myself to build a pretty bad ass pc. I put a little video of me sorting it out, which is below.

All will very few issues

When communities die


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fish[2]I like to think that we here at questhard have got a nice amount of content going up onto the site. Me and Hex aim to get at least a couple of pieces up each a week, to keep people coming back. And we know people come to our site and look at our sites (Google tells us, they are always watching). So despite the fact that a few more comments wouldn’t go amiss we are pretty happy with questhard.
One of the reasons that we set up questhard in the first place was because we were on a series of gaming communities, all of which died off/failed, Gax being the most prominent one in my mind. So we decided to have a place of our own, and we set up questhard (I will be honest I leave the majority of the internet magic working to hex). Now having seen this other communities go through there death in a slow creeping way, I wonder how I can prevent that from happening to Questhard.
The obvious answer is to keep doing what I am now, blog away, and perhaps encourage others to do the same. humm I am not exactly sure where I am going with this. I guess what I am saying is that if you find a place you are happy on the internet, then you should cherish it because there is a good chance it won’t last. The internet is mercurial at best and people come and go, and sometime you will go to a former loved community to find that there are literally only 2 people on the sites and everybody else has wandered off.
I think that is why I love questhard, because we have largely forgone the community and it is just a me and hex love in. While we appreciate our contributors but should they move on, we will still be there expressing our crazy opinions on games, society, our lives, and of course biscuits.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Android Extreme Tweaking

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hex Warning, the following blog is something of a geek diary, feel free to skip it, i wont be offended.

 

As someone who plays allot of phone games on my Android handset i am  always looking to get some extra performance out of it, i have tweaked and messed with every setting you can imagine, but after a while you realise that there is not much you can do, android 2.1 will always be just that, 2.1. so began my quest to play Angry Birds on a substandard handset.

android-2.2-froyo

you see, my phone is pretty great for mobile gaming, its a Samsung Spica (known as a Portal here in the EU) and it plays most things but Angry Birds is a mess of an application, when i load it on my handset i get white blocks where those bad mood birds should be as well as some strange loading issues that come and go. this is partly because the game expects a far faster GPU than i have and partly because  its much more optimised for Android 2.2 (yeah, that 0.1 difference is a big deal in Android terms)

One thing you should be very aware of with android devices is this, tinkering is not illegal in any way, there are no guidelines against it, its not like jail breaking an iPhone. Rooting give you ‘root’ or super user access to your device. As the Android OS is based on the Linux OS you are free to tinker and change because its open source.

After some serious Google-Fu sessions i realised that to get some serious performance changes on my phone i would have to do some hard core software modifications

First thing (i had already rooted my handset) was to factory reset my device and wipe literally every tweak, file, application and modification i had made in the last year (i almost cried) i did this in the recovery console (a benefit of the rooted device)

I then applied the Cyanogen Mod , this is an experimental project designed and build by enthusiasts, what it is is an entirely custom built version of Android 2.2 build from the ground up, its important to get the EXACT version for your device.

then i applied some new graphics drivers known as the ‘intercept’ drivers giving my device some seriously enhanced gaming power, this is available not because these drivers are made with unholy magic but because the stock drivers that Samsung provided with my handset are to be blunt… total kak! it didn’t take a skilled hacker long to vastly improve on them

Next up was my devices kernel, this is the basic core of the operating system, and the one Android comes with is great but i want to forgo the mainstream conventions like error handling and super prioritised memory management for something more custom, something a little more raw, so i chose the Pixie Kernel This Kernel has some built in tweaks that aid every day use lots but the device boots far slower, not a problem i just won’t switch it off. (how often do you reset a mobile anyway?)

i_spy

The guys over on the XDA forums have done a great job on some scripts that optimise your filing system making everything a little faster and reducing the ‘hang’ that Android is famous for. there where four patches in total, so i applied one rebooted the device and applied the next (with my new slow boot times this was something of an irritation) soon enough though i was finished and very happy with my new tweaks.

a hacker named Cadavre made a wonderful GPS/Compass tweak that helps you pickup your location much faster as i like to tweet with location tagged i applied that too.

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While i was rebooting i thought it a good time to put on a custom boot animation so goodbye to the Samsung logo and hello red cyborg eye thingy!

I also took the time to apply a camera tweak to reduce load times on the application and enhance the image correction, a new music player (a rip from 2.3 i believe)  and a rather nice toggle menu for the notification bar.

Then totally by accident i found a single patch file that contained every Google app and all bang up to date so no market patching would be needed in a while for the important things.

I changed my default launcher to the fabulous Launcher Pro and removed the stock launcher completely

There where a host of other little tweaks that i made along the way but now the final product is a rock solid android operating system that Google register as a 2.2 device even though it has more in common with 2.3.

The final slice of joy was when i found a hacker improved version of angry birds that worked just perfectly!

The whole process has taken me about 9 hours of constant patching and rebooting, i almost ‘bricked’ my device twice but the final product is so much better than i started with that it has been totally worth the effort.

anyway i hope you enjoy this little insight into my less gaming related activities, i’m going to play Portal one now Smile with tongue out