Who wants to Civ forever?

Change of plan today. I was going to post my FIFA10 end-of-year review—that’s for Wednesday now. Instead, I have to talk about my weekend’s PES-related activities.

In a nutshell: Civilization V has changed the course of my PES2011 destiny. Let me explain.

As I mentioned on Friday, later this week sees the release of Civilization V. I absolutely must play that game or suffer intolerable mental anguish.

For the sake of Civilization V, I have bought myself a gaming laptop PC. And of course I installed the PES2011 PC demo and then the community tweaks to the demo. The ones that make the matches last longer than 10 minutes and boost the number of available teams to more than thirty.

It’s been quite good, it’s fair to say.

I bought myself an Alienware M11x gaming laptop, before anyone asks. I did research the purchase, and I’m very happy with it. My credit card is begging for mercy, but to hell with that. Live for the moment. Yeah.

The M11x is touted as being a gaming laptop, rather than just a laptop that also plays games. It is living up to its billing. It plays PES2011 perfectly. As anyone knows who’s ever gamed on a laptop or desktop, results can vary. Often it’s more trouble than it’s worth to get games running well and keep them running well. That’s been my past experience anyway.

Before I installed all the patches I played a few matches with the four teams already included. The game felt a little weird, but I put it down to the unfamiliarity of playing on a laptop with a smaller screen. I scored a beauty with Iniesta, a half-volley from a cleared corner that’s the first goal on the clip further below.

After I installed the patches I played England versus Scotland, which caused me a bit of a dilemma. It’s my usual opening fixture that I play on Day 1 of the full game, every year. I felt a bit bad playing it now, semi-illicitly, but what’s a man supposed to do?

It was very weird suddenly playing this familiar old demo with new players and teams. Scotland thumped me 2-0. I was playing on Professional difficulty and I barely had a kick. This was in a 20-minute match as well. I had about 3 shots on goal. The AI-controlled Scotland had 5 shots on goal.

Next I played a couple of matches as Manchester United against Inter Milan.  And once again the game felt totally different.

The players and team handled totally differently. And again I got soundly beaten, in both matches, with me barely able to string passes together at times. And here’s the thing: I was now playing on Regular difficulty.

At one point an AI-controlled Inter player attempted something that I’ve never seen an AI attempt. It was a ‘reverse hook’ type of shot from 35 yards that hit the bar, bounced down and was bundled in—it’s the last part of the short clip below, appearing at approx. 00:41 secs:

Link: PES2011 demo on PC

(The blurry quality of those clips is down to my inexperience with filming directly from a glossy PC screen with different refresh rates, or something. I might use Fraps in the future if this PC lark takes off.)

I can only conclude that the deaded phrase ‘new build’ could apply to the PC demo. It just feels more refined than the PS3 and 360 version. That makes sense actually. The submission process takes longer for console versions of demos than it does for PC versions, which presumably don’t have to pass through a 3rd-party approval process before release.

All I can say is, if my feeling from playing these (admittedly few) PC demo matches is correct, then PES2011 is going to be an even better game than I already think it is.

In another session of this expanded demo I played a series of matches between Ireland and Australia. Four 10-minute matches with me taking both sides twice. Three of them ended 0-0; the fourth ended 0-1 against me (I conceded yet another penalty). I didn’t score a goal but the matches were all packed with magic PES moments.

At the time of writing , Sunday evening, I haven’t played any more of the demo. Truth be told, I get weary quite quickly of playing Exhibition matches. My main interest is in road-testing the game.

I’m not even very interested in player stats, but I took a snapshot of Rooney’s anyway. Is it me or has he been slightly downgraded after his summertime no-show at the World Cup?

As of this Friday, Civ 5 day, I will probably stop playing the PES2011 demo entirely. Unless the PC gaming community finds a way to unlock other game modes, which is a possibility. Anything’s possible in PC gaming, I’m discovering.

39 Comments

  1. A smashing post, thanks for the write-up: if I can’t play it, at least I can imagine what it’s like. Alienware eh? hmm, I’ll have to have a second peek in my wallet … 🙂

    Good luck with the Civ V, surely it’ll run smooth.

  2. Thats some investment, what do M11x’s start at?? around £750?
    At least your soretd for the future and absolutely NO reason to play PES 11 unpatched now. PES10 had some amazing patches introducing kit and stadia fixes, new logos, cut scenes, the lot, we will expect to see HD quality video clips of your PES11 ML career in future 😉

  3. diego—as requested, here are the full specs for the laptop (I think you’ve already seen them in a previous thread):
    Alienware M11x (£750 current UK price)

    Processor: Intel Pentium SU4100 1.3 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 2 MB L2 Cache
    Operating System: Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    Memory: 4 Gb DDR3 1333 MHz (8 Gb max.)
    Graphics: Dual graphics (Mobile Intel GS45 Express Chipset with integrated GPU + GeForce GT 335M graphics with 1 Gb dedicated memory)
    Display: 11.6 inch WXGA 1366 x 768 widescreen LCD with High Definiton (720p) output and 16:9 aspect ratio
    Hard Drive: 320 Gb SATA 7200 rpm
    Optical Drive: —
    Interfaces/Ports: 3-in-1 Media Card Reader, 3 x USB 2.0, IEEE1394a (Firewire), RJ45, VGA, HDMI, HDMI output (TV), Headphone/Speakers, DC-in
    Wired Network: Integrated 10/100 Mbps
    Wireless Network: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n WLAN
    Bluetooth: Bluetooth ver. 2.1
    Audio: 2 x built-in speakers, internal high-definition 5.1 surround sound audio
    Webcam: 1.3 MP webcam with digital microphone
    Keyboard: Exclusively designed AlienFX illuminated keyboard
    Battery: 8 cell prismatic battery
    Additional Features: Alienware Command Centre (user-friendly access to exclusive applications and controls, including AlienFX lighting effects software and the AlienFusion power management system), AlienSense (face recognition software)
    Colour: Cosmic Black
    Dimensions (WxDxH): 285.7 x 233.3 x 32.7 mm
    Weight: 1.99 Kg

    —Obviously I had huge misgivings about that processor. It took a lot of reading on a lot of sites and forums to convince me that its low-end specs would be compensated for by the other specs. I was swayed by the many reviews I read and the videos on YouTube of people playing Modern Warfare 2 and other high-end games on it.

    Also, price was a factor. I quickly found out that gaming laptops are still very expensive, and I had to balance my needs – I wanted it mainly for Civ 5, remember; PES2011 and other games were secondary – with what I can afford right now. I was tempted by the Acer Aspire range, but ultimately I wanted a gaming laptop, not a general laptop that also plays games.

    Overall I’m delighted with the Alienware. I run PES2011 at max settings, auto-selected for me by the game. I get an occasional packed penalty box stutter, but otherwise it’s perfect. The demo’s settings.exe mini-app rates your hardware, and I get a green GOOD for everything except the processor, which gets a yellow BAD. But it seems to make no difference anyway.

    Now, if I start up Civ 5 on Friday and it refuses to run, I will burst into tears on the spot.

    Everything I’m hearing about Civ 5 says that it will tax high-end quad-core processors, never mind relatively puny dual-core ones. I might have to reduce or disable some effects, but I think I’ll be okay.

  4. Paul—£750 on the nose, and believe me after doing my research the other morning, that’s a fairly good price for a gaming laptop. Still, it puts an end to my grand plan of paying off my credit card this side of Christmas, but it’s all in a good cause.

    To get absolute security with high-end specs all round, you’re looking at spending closer to a thousand. And I actually do now kind of wish I’d done that and got the M15x, I’m that impressed with the M11x.

    As for the future, I will of course now have to get PES2011 on PC eventually. But my main PES platform will still be the PS3. I’ve aways mainly been a console gamer for a reason—convenience.

    But I will probably have a parallel PES life on the laptop. Maybe it’ll be an MLO career, who knows? As you can see from the low-quality film in today’s clip, filming goals and matches is a problem on the different screen, but I’ll crack it.

  5. Quite suprised its a Pentium chipset, i thought it would have an Intel Phenom chip, and more RAM, 4GB is decent but in gaming terms 6GB min is standard.
    Mind you if it runs stuff smoothly and your happy which sounds like you are then bonus!!
    its always the actual graphics memory thats key anyway, alot of high spec laptops that arent gaming laptops but play games usually share system memory with the graphics card, rather than having dedicated memory, and other than tinkering with lots of windows settings, allocation different processes to different cores of the chipset, stuff can be quite laggy and stuttery!!
    Love the look of the Alienware laptops too, have you got the red/black one??

    Id seriously recommend the hauppauge HD PVR for recording PS£v and XBOX footage, i rely on mine, full HD quality Vid Clips, as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e64ZdLKD0I
    they come in at under £100 now too.

  6. Paul—a recurring theme of all the reviews and discussions was that the M11x can do a lot for some of its relatively modest specs. But yours is the first suggestion I’ve come across that 4GB is modest for a gaming laptop! Ahhh, how times have changed since 48k of RAM on a certain rubber-keyboarded home computer of the 1980s was at the cutting edge of gaming…

    I’ve got the black one, yes – it can be red as well, but I keep most of the running lights switched off. I have to say it’s a gorgeous little piece of kit. Ultra-portable too. Its cooling fans occasionally get noisy, which is understandable but I don’t like that—I’ve always hated hearing the fans go into overdrive on any computer or console.

    It’s only been 4 days so we’ll see what the future holds, but for now, yep, I’m as happy with it as I have been with any comparable piece of kit—the PS3, for example.

  7. I just speak from experience Not-Greg, I have a HP touchsmart PC at home running Windows 7 on a dual core (2.6ghz_ chipset with 4GB of RAM but only 256MB Gfx Card, I do alot of video production, it runs Sony vegas, Adobe After effects etc all very smoothly but playing PES 10 i have to notch down the settings and even then occasionally get jaggedy stutters, so the GFX memory is fundamental.

    They do look v sleek!! recently sold my laptop as I have the desktop, a netbook, iphone and ipad so didnt have a need for it, im erring towards a beefy Mac for my next PC upgrade.

  8. I’m impressed with the difficulty levels you’ve encountered – do you think this has been altered by ‘external forces’ when the new teams were created for the demo tweak? I hope not as I’d love to see that level of difficulty in the console version.
    Glad to see you’re sticking with your roots and not going completely PC for the coming year!
    Oh and, just to make you really jealous, I recently recovered a mates PC from the skip with some quite stunning specs… 1.8ghz Pentium Processor, Intel Intergrated Graphics and a whopping 256MB of RAM. Alienware? Pah! This baby’ll run a browser AND Windows Media Player simultaneously (although it does tend to freeze between songs)

  9. From what I’ve read about the PC demo team expander, it seems to be using the team data from PES2010, so I don’t think they’ve been “hacked” from inside the PES2011 data files. I may be wrong.

    not-Greg, are you using a 360 controller with your new laptop, or a PS3 one?
    I’ve not played the demo yet, but I’ve installed it and it runs smoothly at 1080p. I’ve had a go using the keyboard but it’s unplayable – my final PS2 controller died, so I need to get a new one. I’m thinking of the 360 controller (£15 for a PC only one), or I might just be cheap and get one of these because I still prefer the PS2 layout of the analog sticks.

  10. Paul—My iMac is the best computer I have ever owned, pure and simple. I could probably have saved myself £750 by installing a copy of Windows XP on it and then dual-booting. I think it could handle Civ 5. It certainly runs the Mac version of Civ 4 well enough. But I didn’t want to. I just plain old didn’t want to. I didn’t want to… spoil my iMac? Is spoil the right word there for what I mean? I think so. I’ve got bad experiences in the past of running multiple Operating Systems on one hard disc. It’s all a lot of fuss. XP and Red Hat Linux didn’t get along well together, back in the day. I think I just like getting new stuff 🙂

    I dream of getting a Mac Pro with max specs at some time in the far future when I’ve made my fortune or won the Lottery or married an heiress or whatever…

    I’ve got too many devices as well. I’m going to finally sell my old Vista laptop. I won’t get much for it (it was £350 new two years ago) but it’ll be something and it’ll get it out of the way.

  11. Chris—I have had to wonder about just what the two tweaks (one for time-extend, the other for teams-expand) did to the game. Before I tweaked it at all, I played a match just to make sure the demo worked on the new laptop. It did work and nothing seemed different from the PS3 demo. I remember that I played as Barca against Bayern and won 3-0 on Professional. Now suddenly, after installing the hefty tweaks (one of them is an 830MB file), I can barely score on Regular. Eh?!

    I’ll have to go back and play Barca-Bayern again now to see. But even that won;t tell us anything. It could be that the change, if change there has been, is in the new teams only. Or there could be no change at all, as such. Like the phantom gameplay update for PES2010, it could all be a placebo effect in my head.

    My first proper computer (you know, after the Spectrum years) was a laptop back in 2003. It had 256 RAM as well, and would often completely lock up whilst shutting down. I fitted an extra 512MB of RAM and it was like a different computer. It never locked up again. I played EVE Online for a year using it, with barely any slowdown. It was one of the first in the Toshiba Satellite range, a great model. I still have it and will never let it go. I’d probably get all of £30 or something for it now, but I’ll never let it go!

  12. Id love an iMac, im a big apple fan, owning several ipods, iphone, ipad etc… ive got some decent oomph left ion my HP touchsmart at the mo though, paid a grand for it not that long ago so will sell that on in a year or so and get a mac, they do look the nuts and they just work!!!
    are games widely available on a mac???

  13. Darshan—thanks for that info about the teams and data. That makes a lot more sense than the teams being somehow excavated from within the demo. Hmmm. I wonder what it all means for the difficulty level thing in PES2011? Is it a fluke generated by the PES2010 team data, or is it a real glimpse of the final code coming soon? We’ll soon know.

    I’m using a Windows 360 controller. I tried for two hours on day 1 to get either of my console controllers working. It is possible to play with a PS3 controller either wired or wirelessly on PC but you have to install all kinds of exotic, dodgy-looking apps, none of which worked for me. The only one I found via Googling that looked as if it would work involved installing unsigned 3rd-party drivers and then tweaking the BIOS settings to allow them. That was beyond my comfort zone so I just decided to give Microsoft some more money instead 🙁

  14. Paul—while it’s true that the Mac isn’t a widely-supported gaming platform, it’s getting better and there are now actually a load of great games for it. Check Steam’s Mac store for a taster. Here’s a full list from Wikipedia – going back years of course, but just scanning that first page shows a lot of well-known games. Since I went Mac a few years ago I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how much gaming there is to be had on OS X.

    At the moment I’ve got these Mac games installed: Civilization IV, Football Manager 2010, Diablo 2, Call of Duty 2, Europa Universalis III, Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, Armageddon Empires, Dominions 3, and others I’ve forgotten. The last four are indie games – good ones too. The Mac pretty much always gets a version of a great indie game.

    PES and FIFA, sadly, don’t have Mac versions. As I mentioned before, dual-booting Windows and OS X side by side on a Mac is always an option. Mac users who do that report no issues, and tend to say if anything that Windows runs better on a Mac. (I know, I know, those insufferable Mac users, eh?!)

    Civilization V – the game that kick-started all this Alienware business for me – will no doubt get a Mac version in due course, just as its predecessors did. But not right now, and it’s right now that I have to play it.

  15. Excellent, thanks for the info mate, I must admit if, or more like when, i get my mac it wont be for gaming, I have a PS3, XBOX360, Nintendo DS, Iphone, iPad, PC etc,i dont need yet another gaming device. The mac will be purely for recreational and productive use, video editing, music production etc. I just love the look and feel of the Mac Leopard OSX and apparently mac’s dont suffer viruses and malware etc like PC’s do.

    Back to your original post, absolutely loving that Iniesta screamer, you must have let out a little yelp of joy when that flew in?
    The flight of the ball had some wicked pacy swerve on it.
    for PES 10 on the PC i just plug in a wired XBOX controller, USB, works right away and is just like playing PES on the 360 but on the PC. surely would work the same for you on your Alienware?

  16. Paul—as you know, I do love to score long-rangers, and I particularly love long-rangers from cleared corners, so yes, I was quite pleased with that goal 😉

    Re the 360 controller, I didn’t have a wired one, and from what I remember of them they don’t have USB plugs? You must be using an adaptor of some kind – no? Or if you’ve got one with a USB plug it can’t have come with any Xbox – ? As far as I know only the wired Windows 360 controllers have USB plugs.

    Macs really don’t have viruses or malware, something that it takes a paranoid ex-Windows user some time to come to terms with. I’ve only dabbled with movie production and editing (the Master League movie etc), but iMovie is a whole lot better to use than either Windows Movie Maker or Camtasia, both of which I used back in the day. Garageband is of course well-known, and rightly so from what I’ve seen. Sadly I don’t have a musical bone in my body.

  17. I bought a wired xbox controller, its not official microsoft, some 3rd party manufacturer and your right, it comes with an adaptor to be able to use via USB too, it was like 12 quid or something, works a treat.
    The CPU scored an after-corner-clearance edge of box scissor kick against me the other night, i was a little shocked but couldnt help a smirk!!!!

  18. Congrats on the new gaming laptop — this should open up some excellent gaming possibilities for you, maybe least of all for football games — even still, the PC seems like an excellent platform for playing PES due to the capabilities of the fan community to patch the game.

    I’ve felt a bit of a voice in the wilderness asking Konami to dramatically expand the capabilities of console gamers to edit and alter the game — the stadium editor is a step in the right direction, but still falls far short of what the PC game-hackers can accomplish.

  19. Paul—those CPU scissors kicks seemed a touch too common early on. The AI scored with one against me in my second match. For the first few days of the demo there was quite a bit of concern on the forums that they were too common. I’ve only seen the CPU do one in the past 10 matches though, and that was a miss, so hopefully it’s not going to be too common.

    While digging around in my, uh, ‘man drawer’ over the weekend looking for games controller stuff, I found a PS2 controller that I used to play on PC with back in 2004 or so. It was still attached to the USB adaptor too! No problem, right? Wrong. The analogue sticks and the face buttons were covered in sticky goo. No, nothing dodgy – the lubricant from inside the sticks had leaked out over all these years. I had to throw it away 🙁

  20. ck—it’s my first proper decent PC since 2005. That was a Fujitsu Siemens desktop that I bought for the sake of… Civilization IV. That PC was a true ‘buy in haste, repent at leisure’ moment. It came with a great-for-the-time 1GB of RAM and a good video card and a blistering 3.2 Ghz processor.

    Alas, with just a bit of research I would have discovered that the model suffered from an overheating problem. Sure enough, I rarely got through an hour of Civ 4 or any other game without it rebooting, making gaming on it pretty redundant. I tried everything on that machine. I installed an extra fan. I replaced the heatsink. I installed another 1GB of RAM. I partly disassembled it twice and cleaned dust out of every crevice. I moved it to various parts of the room. After hundreds of overheating reboots it just packed up one day, after the warranty had exprired of course. By that stage I think I was just waiting for it to die so I could move on. It’s sitting in a box on top of the wardrobe. I haven’t even had the heart to get my episodes of Firefly off the hard drive.

  21. Having read your post about an hour ago it inspired me to give pes another go, Let me point out that i think Pes 2011 is going to be a great game, however i have become increasing frustrated at my inability to figure this game out(all part of the pes learning curve i haer you say) any way i digress, Well what a game i just played, superb flowing football from beginning to end, neat touches, back heels, cross field balls, it had the lot and to which i might add the very same goal that inter scored against you, Messi with back to goal unleashed a ferocious first time shot that nestled in the bottom corner, that was the equaliser, with 5 minutes remaining iniesta sends a 50 yard through ball that the defender misjudges bounces once and messi does the rest, very satisfying.

    also I have played around 25 games and saw my first real goalkeeping error, shot hit the post, keeper dives and misses, rebound off post hits goalkeeper who then attempts to grab it and only ends up helping it in to the net, also in the very same game after some nice build up play, ball ricochets off defender bounces once in the area villa meets it on the volley, which demechelis attempts to block with a lunge, ball flies in to back of net, subsequently demechelis trips messi and ref gives a penalty, bit annoying, specially as the susequent penalty ended up in row Z, all in all looks promising for the full game. I dont think i will be purchasing Fifa this year, I have played 09 and 10 but mainly online as career mode as we all know is pants,If pes online is still broken, then i may be tempted, nothing more gratifying than beating a sprint clamper online. master league online could be immense, one can only hope !!!

  22. Hi there ,

    I insist …please try fifa 11 demo on PC….i admit i am a pes fan boy….but fifa 11 pc has changed my thinking …tbh its a simulation (yes with its share of bugs) but pes 2011 is no doubt a great game ..but fifa 11 is …well its diffult to say but play barca vs real and with slow seting ..proper 5 mins halfs …..n please tell me is it me or its just tht the game is as close to real football as there ever been..may be i feel ths way cos i had very few expectations from it…fifa series has been load of shit on pc….but fifa 11 is i think where pes 6 left off……one more thing i really want to play with xbox controller ..i just cant any tips on that……keyboard is wt i really have practice on but wanna change it …as both pes n fifa have made it difficult for keyboard users ……btw u make a great football gaming blogger ..keep it up

  23. wow, impressive amount of PC/Mac tech chat with this post! Great to hear that the PC version of PES is looking good, as that’s the version I play (with wired XBOX360 controller) these days, especially if the difficulty is going to be higher. In the PS2 PES halycon years I tended to find the PC version somehow lacking in ‘feel’ in comparison. This was confusing, as it ran perfectly smoothly – maybe higher resolution did the graphics no favours, or maybe it was just the lack of an ’emotion engine’!

  24. jamie—quite right, I’ve yet to try out FIFA11 on PC. After the underwhelming console demo last week and then the excitement of the expanded PES2011 PC demo, I’d forgotten all about FIFA11, to be honest. If it’s true that there’s a time-expander available for FIFA11 PC as well… I’m always open to some good football gamin’, as next-gen FIFA still is and always has been IMO. I’ll try to download the demo tomorrow.

    My copy of FIFA11 should be arriving in just over a week’s time. Crazy the way this year is passing, The fireworks have already started going off where I live.

    (Note to non-UK residents: in the UK over the past ten years or so, it’s become a habit for ‘youths’ to start letting off fireworks, completely at random, at all times of day and night, from late September all the way up to November 5th (Guy Fawkes Night) and beyond. I heard my first one this afternoon.)

  25. abbeyhill—you’ll get no prizes for guessing what kinds of websites (other than PES and general gaming ones of course) I like to hang out at. Ars Technica, Mac Rumors, Lifehacker…

    We’ll have to wait and see just what the deal is with the final code for PES2011, on the consoles and on the PC. I’m now convinced that the game is different, and that it’s the result of the extra work that must have gone into the game after Konami submitted the PS3/360 demo build to Sony/Microsoft. Either way I think PES2011 will be a good game, but I;d love this super-hard PES2011 that I’ve found on teh PC demo to be real in the first place, and not a product of my imagination and/or general rubbishness—and then for that version to be the one that comes out on the consoles and the PC.

    My last full PC version of PES was PES5 back in 2005. I have dug it out again and installed it and I’ve been playing it with great pleasure over the past few days, to the extent that I’m in the semi-final of an International Tournament with Portugal on 4* difficulty. I haven’t noticed any lack of overall feel, but it has been a few years since I played the PS2 version. I could have written today’s post about how similar the two games (PES5 and PES2011) have felt to me. At times it’s eerie how alike they are.

  26. Well congrats on the M11x netbook; it’s not really a laptop though, or a gaming laptop -but rather a netbook which is ultraportable, but just powerful enough to play some games fluently… You’ll have trouble crunching through some of the high-end FPS games on ultra-high graphics and highest res (will reach mid-25 fps on highest end settings for Battlefield Bad Company 2, for example -still playable though)… Needless to say, high-end PC gaming trumps your average best looking PS3 game ANY. DAY.

    I’ll be looking for one of the HP Envy series that have the looks of a Macbook, a decently sized display, and a gfx card significantly better than that of the M11x netbook, Mobility Radeon HD 5830.

    That said, PES 2011 is not graphically demanding AT ALL in comparison to the other insane games with dust/smoke/water/sun all over them, so you’re safe for the next 4 PESes or something 🙂

    Just wait for the Superpatches to kick in…. along with the new turfs/grass, it will make PES even more addictive 🙂

    Congrats on rejoining the PC gaming community 😀

  27. TareX—indeed, the M11x is something of an entry-level gaming-capable portable computer. Like I’ve said before, I do kind of wish now I’d stumped up the extra make-believe credit-card cash for the M15x, a ‘proper’ laptop in every way, or indeed looked a bit further into the Acer Aspire range and similar. Buyer’s remorse? No, not at all, just a rueful acknowledgement that whatever I’d laid my hands on, there’d always be the nagging feeling that somewhere there’s something better

    PES2011 is not a high-end specs game at all, you’re right. I’ve been paying particular attention to mentions of the PC version on the forums lately and a lot of people are saying they’ve got it running on their old hardware. I’m not an FPS gamer really. And I’ve yet to test the M11x on a really high-spec game. I think Civ 5, with a lot of graphical heavy lifting required for a strategy game, will be that game. I’ll post what happens, what settings I run it at, etc.

    I installed Steam and revived my five-year-old account, and installed Counterstrike, which runs perfectly as you’d expect it to. I’ve always known that Counterstrike was still around, and that it’ll probably now always be around as long as there’s an Internet, but I was still amazed to see hundreds of people playing on dozens of servers in the middle of the day.

  28. To be fair, you could have shelled out £1500 on a super spec laptop only to find in 3 months time that a slightly newer higher spec model is available, such is the nature of the beat with PC specs, as soon as a certain spec is released, the technology adapts and grows so quickly that the consumer will always be playing catch up.
    Sounds like you’ve got a trusty solid little machine there that will meet your needs (Civ 5 fingers crossed) so cant be too remorseful with that!

    I have been privvy to the Pro Evo PC patching community, having a patched version of Pro Evo 10 on my PC, some of the patches you can install really do add to the game, some real clever people out there, although knowing your tendency to steer away from any such editing Not-Greg, im not sure you’re that bothered!?
    I pesonally couldnt play pro Evo without the Option File that WENB release every year….. Merseyside Red just would not immerse me in the game!

  29. I’m loving the PC-centric angle that this latest post has taken! 🙂 It’s a lot of tech babble, but I’m reading everything & taking it all in, in preparation for a possible PC purchase.

    If PES2011 delivers as promised & ML Online is a success, then it will hard for me to resist… During the PES4/5 days I played in a online league & despite the hassles with online (setting up games, laggy gameplay), the times it did work = sublime immersive gameplay. Every strike forward was vital, every goal conceded was gutwrenching. Brilliant!

    I’m thinking of going with a stationary machine as I’d get more bang for my buck. That coupled with a long HDMI monitor cable to a big widescreen TV, and a wireless game controller & it would be almost like console gaming in the livingroom…

  30. Paul—oh I’ve got no buyer’s remorse at all, just the same nagging feeling that I’ve always had whenever I’ve bought a new PC that there might be something even better elsewhere that I’m now sealed off from. This is mainly due to the staggering range of options and choices you get with a PC. But I even had this feeling with my iMac. On the day I went to get it they didn’t have the model I was after with 4GB RAM and a 24″ screen. It was due for restocking the next day but I had to have an iMac right now, after spending days getting all excited about it, and I ended up buying the 2GB RAM model with a smaller screen (£200 cheaper, and as I said yesterday, the best computer I’ve ever owned to this day). It took a few weeks for me to stop pining for the one I never bought!

  31. diego—I’m seeing a lot of people on the forums saying that they’ve got the PES2011 demo up and running well on what they say is old hardware. They all sound surprised about it. Haven’t you been running PES6 without trouble for all these years? Did you say that you never tried PES2011 past the menu screen – ?

    If I didn’t already have a desktop computer I’d have gone for a proper tower unit PC as well. You definitely get much more value and peace of mind. Don’t get a Fujitsu Siemens though…

  32. not-Greg : PES6 plays a perfectly smooth game with rock solid 60 FPS. Its the next-gen titles that have given me problems, although PES2010 actually gave the best playing experience, I’m guessing Konami managed to tweak the code between each iteration.

    My graphics card lacks the DirectX Pixel shader tech required by the latest PES (I have v2.0, it’s now at v3.0), so it basically crashes back to the desktop after a few seconds – I dont even get as far as the menu screen.
    I’ve looked into emulating/tricking the GPU, but I think that’s a dead horse. 5 years is a long time in PC gaming…

  33. @Not-Greg: I hate that limbo of feeling like I *could* have gotten more out of my device, but will never now, because who upgrades a 1-year-old computer?

    When I first bought a Mac, it was the first gen of water-cooled G5 towers. I just thought any computer that was “water-cooled” had to be the shit. I spec-ed out an absolute top-of the line beast, and saved up until I could afford it. I was going to use all that power and space (2/3 of a terabyte . . . wtf) for making 72 dpi websites that were all of 2 megs in size, but goddamnit I was going to have the best. Possible. Desktop.

    For six months. 😉

    I don’t regret the purchase. I worked it like a dog for five years and finally replaced it this past Spring when its chipset didn’t support the OS I wanted to run. Even 5 years on that thing was still faster than I needed and only 1/2 full. I don’t make movies, I make small things for the web. I could do my entire job on a MacBook Air, but still have a quad-processor beast at my workstation. I am the guy (metaphorically) who never takes his Harley Davidson over 35 mph. 😉

    🙂

  34. diego—this might be a long shot for you but when I played EVE Online my laptop graphics card at the time didn’t support Transform and Lighting. The game wouldn’t start at all having failed that check. So after much searching and Googling I ran it through a program called 3D Analyze which emulated the TnL effect for me. There was a performance hit, but not so much that the game was unplayable.

    I don’t know if 3D Analyze would be the one to help you, but it sounds like you’re already looking into the possibility anyway, so good luck.

  35. ck—ahh, Snow Leopard, what a lot you have to answer for…

    I don’t think there’s ever any harm in being ridiculously over-specced for any task at hand in computing. For example turn-of-the century web browsing would often just stop because of the dialup/early broadband bandwidth limitations. Today’s multi-MB connections are a joy in comparison. Who remembers watching a simple webpage take an age to load?!

    If I could have afforded it (or rather, had ample enough room on my credit card for it), I’d have spent twice what I did on the Alienware without any compunction whatsoever. Probably the only reason I’m still Mac Pro-less is a lack of decent space to put it in.

  36. I tried ShaderMark, SwiftShader & your suggestion 3DAnalyzer, but none managed to start the demo.

    I’ve resigned myself to finish at least one season of PES2010 Premiership league with the latest PESEdit patch, and then I’ll see if I’ll retire PES2010. The camera angle patch mentioned in the comments sounds intriguing, might give that a go as well..

    Hopefully someone will come up with a “manual passing patch” as well 🙂

  37. diego—well at least you’ll know you tried everything, and if all accounts are true there’s a robust manual passing system in PES2011. I haven’t tried it myself except by accident 😉

  38. not-Greg,

    Could you reduce the speed on the PC PES 2011 demo? I can only select 0, +1, and +2. It seems odd to me.

  39. Darshan—we’re stuck with the the 0, 1, and 2 speeds in the PC demo and the full version until further notice. Why this is so is a big mystery and we’ve yet to hear anything from Konami about it. I find the 0 speed level just about perfect in the PC version, but if it seems fast to you try disabling ‘Frame Skipping’ in settings.exe and see how that affects things.

    I must say I’ve been very impressed with the PC version. I’ve had the demo playing on my TV just this morning via the TV Out port, and I’m kind of wondering why I need the PS3 version next week. But I do need it—it’s the convenience of console gaming that keeps me a console football gamer.

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