Category Archives: Gaming

Backup and restore worlds in Minecraft Windows 10 edition

Here is how to backup and restore your saved games or worlds in the Windows 10 edition (from the Windows store) of Minecraft. It is actually pretty easy once you know where the save games are, although it would be nice if they would save to Onedrive or cloud so that they were automatically backed up.

To backup:

  • Open %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MinecraftUWP_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\games\com.mojang\minecraftWorlds
  • Copy the folders in here e.g. to your Onedrive. These are your worlds.

To restore:

  • Install Minecraft on the PC
  • Login using the same Microsoft account
  • Open the above location, and copy the folders in there
  • Now just run Minecraft and you should see your worlds

Xbox 360 Games with gold complete list

This is a sortable table showing all the games which have been given away as part of Games with Gold. Useful to check if you cannot remember which ones you bought without downloading!

Note that you can buy an xbox One game if you only have a 360, in case you might buy in the future. Just go you xbox.com and buy the free game on there. There difference with Xbox One games with gold, is that you must have an active Gold subscription to play the game. With the 360, once you have the game, you can play it regardless.

See http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/live/games-with-gold for the current free game, and also http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/Live/deals-with-gold for the current deals.

Running Homeworld on Windows 7 or Windows 8 widescreen

Homeworld-FrontCD

Today I was feeling nostalgic and decided to replay the classic original Homeworld game, which was released in 1999. I remember the graphics, story and music with such fondness, I thought I would see if it runs on Windows 8.1 x64 with an Intel HD 3000 onboard graphics card. It is still great, this is how I got it running:

  • Download Homeworld from http://coreduo.me.uk/homeworld-1999/ (abandonware)
  • Extract using 7zip, and then extract the .img file using WinImage (I was unable to mount this directly)
  • Install the game, which takes about 30 seconds on an SSD
  • Install the patch included in the download
  • Find a no-CD for the game, assuming that you do not have the CD 

Now, on running this game, and enabling OpenGL mode, I had several issues:

  • There was severe screen flickering when using OpenGL
  • Resolution was not widescreen
  • Blackscreen on startup 

These issues were resolved as follows:

Screen Flickering

  • Add /triple to the shortcut to start the game. If this keeps happening, try removing /triple again.

Resolution fix

  • Edit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Sierra On-Line\Homeworld
  • Check screenHeight and screenWidth to match your resolution 

Blackscreen

  • Set compatibility mode to Windows 95 or 98 

Note that d3d mode can be used, but I found that this has bad mouse lag in the Build menu. I found some other tweaks online and eventually used the following shortcut:

C:\Sierra\Homeworld\homeworld.exe /triple /heap 1073741824 /enableSSE /disableAVI /pilotView

Note that the pilot view switch gives lets you ride on the back of a ship by pressing q.

I had a lot of issues switching between display modes. The easiest way to do this is via the registry. Just switch these 2 registry keys around, for OpenGL:

opengl

For Direct3d:

d3d 

However, d3d takes some time to show the menu, and then has lag in the build menu which makes it unusable for me. OpenGL has no issues other than some initial flickering when first loading. It is basically a question of messing around with the registry and shortcut until you find the optimal config.  I would also suggest, if you run into issues, delete the entire key at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Sierra On-Line\Homeworld and run it again. It will go back to defaults, switch to OpenGL, and then set the resolution again in the recreated key.

Check out this post for more info on the remake and prequel to this classic game:

http://andrewhemphill.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/homeworld-bound/

 

Here is the widescreen screenshot from my laptop:

homeworld 2014-01-15 17-20-39-11

Reinstalling Windows and keeping Steam content without backup

Today I discovered somthing extremely handy if you are a Steam user for games on Windows. This does require that you already store your steam games on a seperate partition or disk to your OS installation. I do that to keep all the games off my rather small 128GB SSD drive which contains just the OS. If you don’t have steam on a seperate drive, you would have to backup all the content in Steam (right click on a game and choose backup) and then reinstall Steam on another drive, e.g. D: instead of C:.

If you have installed Steam on another drive, you are in luck. All you need to do is reinstall Windows (clean install is fine, format the C: drive and install a fresh copy), then you just download and install Steam into the same location it was previously. Lo and behold, Steam sees all your games and steam apps, and when it starts up you will see all your games ready and waiting. Pretty neat huh? If you buy games exclusively through Steam, this makes reinstalling the OS much easier. I would recommend that you backup your Save games just in case.

Offline support for Xbox Live on Windows (8) games

Windows 8 includes a Games app, where you can see your Xbox Live activity, customise your avatar and so on, as well as Xbox Live enabled games, dubbed Xbox Live on Windows, where you can earn achievements. Xbox Live on Windows games can have up to 400 gamer points, but the most so far is 200.

However, the offline experience with Xbox Live for Windows games seems to be very inconsistent. So far my testing has shown:

Minesweeper does not support offline achievements at all, but it doesn’t tell you that this is the case.

Solitaire supports offline achievements – they pop up when you are offline, and then sync when you connect later.

Adera shows no pop up, but it does actually give you the achievements, and they will pop up once you sign in later. I earned several offline and they all popped later.

Rocket Riot doesn’t support offline achievements, and tells you as much when you start the game – it says that you cannot earn any achievements.

Hydro Thunder  Hurricane  supports offline achievements – they pop up when you are offline, and then sync when you connect later.

I can only conclude the offline support is down to the developer of the game, but it is off that Solitaire and Minesweeper, but by Microsoft Studios, aren’t even consistent.

So some Xbox Live for Windows games do support offline access and earning achievements whilst offline, but it isn’t always obvious that this is the case. This is confusing and a step backwards from both Games for Windows Live (GFWL) as well as Windows Phone, both of which support offline achievements perfectly well.

Here is Solitaire unlocking one when offline:

Here is Adera showing a warning, even though you can actually earn achievements:

 

Finishing Minesweeper but no achievement!

But at least rocket riot has the decency to tell you:

Update: Some games also sync via the cloud. HydroThunder does this nicely, if you sign in on another PC it will have all your progress so far, excellent!

 

Black Mesa this week!

Many people have been waiting a long time for the eagerly anticipated Source engine remake of the original Half Life. Seemingly being resurrected out of the land of vapourware, the game is now being released this week on the 14th of September. A lot of people will be downloading this, myself included. It will be really interesting to see how well the game stands up in terms of gameplay and story after all this time. A lot of people loved the original so the devs have a tough job to remake something so loved by so many.

Whilst we are all waiting, there is a great wallpaper on deviantart that looks pretty nice on my Win8 laptop, go check it out, this is how it looks on the lock screen:

Download the original from here:

http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs13/f/2007/048/7/e/Black_Mesa_1680x1050_by_n474r.jpg