Monday, May 6, 2019

Send HTML Button Selection to a JavaScript Function

Here are snippets of code that will allow you to get the user selected value from an HTML page into a JavaScript function. There might be better ways to do this. This worked well for me.

HTML code:



HTML page:


JavaScript function



JavaScript console output

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Running Eclipse 2019-06 M1 version with Java 11

I had trouble getting Eclipse 2019-06 M1 (4.12.0M1) to run using JDK version 11. I had Java 8 installed on my machine, so when Eclipse launched, it was picking up Java 8.

After uninstalling Java 8, Eclipse wouldn't launch because the new JDK wasn't installed.

Adding this to the eclipse.ini file fixed the issue for me -

-vm
D:/java/jdk-11.0.3/bin/javaw.exe


Here is the full eclipse.ini file -



After successfully getting Eclipse to use the new JDK, here is the version information -
Eclipse IDE for Enterprise Java Developers.
Version: 2019-06 M1 (4.12.0M1)
Build id: 20190418-1421
OS: Windows 7, v.6.1, x86_64 / win32
Java version: 11.0.3

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Tomb Raider (2013) (PC) Review

Tomb Raider (2013) is yet another reboot after Tomb Raider Legend, which attempts to tell the origin story of Lara Croft. Its a modern take on the classic, and for someone who has played all the Core Design games except Angel of Darkness, in my opinion, the overall experience does not measure up to the original games.

The game looks great, and it ran very well on my 21:9 widescreen monitor, which was surprising considering that back in 2013, widescreen monitors were not very common.


The gameplay fell short of my expectations. Quick time events are terrible as always, and there are a few instances which take the irritation to a new level with button prompts so short that I barely had time to react to it. There is absolutely no creativity in approaching a boss fights because of quick time events.



The crafting system is a pointless addition to the game. As such, it seems like busy work to hide the fact that weapon selection is very slim. The RPG elements also fall flat. Personally, I feel that this is a sign that the game lacks  core design (no pun intended) principles, and went for a feature bloat, which looks good on paper, but adds very little to the gameplay.

I like the new dark and gritty tone of the game, but the setting was boring. The older games often took place all over the world and sometimes in fantastic locations. The exception being Tomb Raider 4: Last Revelation, which largely took place in Egypt, but they managed to have very distinct locations with varying color palettes. In this latest installment, I found Japan to be uninspiring. I remember the names of some of the levels in older Tomb Raider games that I played almost 20 years ago. I couldn’t say the same for this game, and I played it in two months ago.


The story did not make any sense, but in all honesty, the older games did not have a great story either. I am generally not a fan of exploring the origins of well established characters, because writers rarely do justice. This attempt was no exception, in my opinion. There was nothing endearing about the origin story, and it certainly is not the reason I would play this game.

All said and done, it's not a terrible game, just not worthy of the legacy of the older games. It's worth playing if you can find it for under $5.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC) Review

Shadow of Mordor is a third person action game developed by Monolith Productions, and published by Warner Bros. Interactive.

When it is reduced down to its most basic elements, the game is about killing orcs. Everything in revolves around that, and if the combat isn’t good, then it would make this game extremely tedious because a lot of time is spent in combat.


Fortunately, the combat is really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and there are times it can get repetitive, but learning new abilities which will happen as the player progresses through the missions will add to the variety. The game borrows heavily from the combat system of the Batman games. If you did not enjoy the combat in the Batman games, then there is a good chance you won’t like this game.



The nemesis system is very well done. It even goes as far as to integrate your Steam friends into the game. If your Steam friend was killed by an Orc captain, then you get to take revenge through vendetta missions. I thought this was a nice addition.

The game has an open world, but it is rather small. There are two zones which differ in terrain, but the world is not really why I would recommend this game. It's not bad, but it doesn't stand out.


There are some annoying parts about this game, such as the number of enemies that you sometimes encounter. There was a point when I had to fight 4 captains, and an endless wave of orcs which can get rather exhausting at times. However, retreat is always an option.


The story did not make any sense to me. I stopped paying attention within the minutes of the first cut scene. It's not like Witcher 3 where I cared about the writing. I wanted to kill orcs and explore the world.

The game ran flawlessly on my machine. There were no bugs or performance issues.

All in all I thoroughly recommend this game.

Price paid - $7.49

+ Nemesis system
+ Combat

- Story
- Uninteresting world

Verdict - Well worth the price I paid for it.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Mass Effect (PC) Review

As I am writing this in 2019, its so sad to see the current state of Mass Effect and BioWare...

Mass Effect is the first Bioware I played. I went in, knowing nothing about the game. My initial impressions of the game were far from good. I found the combat quite tedious and the game was really slow.

I was sort of expecting that, having played games like Deus Ex. Mass effect has a much bigger world spanning many planets. I have to applaud the level design here.

A lot of people don’t seem to have liked the planet exploration aspect; I definitely enjoyed it. The galaxy map in Normandy, which shows all the star systems the player can travel to is very well done. The music that goes along with studying map is quite fantastic.

Having teammates in the game is both good and bad. I've had the same team mates for most of the game - Tali and Liara. I liked their abilities and they provide a good balance. What I did not like was the behavior at times. More often than not, they do not take cover and rush into combat and dying shortly after making me reload the game. It’s also hard to make them go where you want them to or to get them to stop following you into combat. It’s not as broken as it sounds, it’s definitely playable, but it can be very annoying at times. Thankfully you have the power to bring them back to life later on the game; it’s definitely needed.



The popular opinion at the time was that the side missions are boring and there is no real reason to play them. I thought they were great, especially for someone who is following the story. Just shows the effort BioWare put into this game. What was boring were the long elevator rides. That is a nice way to disguise a load screen, but it gets boring considering how long the game is.

What I did not live up to the quality to the rest of the game is the inventory system, which is by far the clunkiest system I have ever seen. The different kind of ammo upgrades that tend to accumulate over a period of time is a little ridiculous. Of course, all the material in the inventory is not entirely useless; it can be converted into Omni Gel, which in turn can be used to hack electronics.

The one vehicle we get to drive in the game, Mako, handles in a weird way. It seems weightless at times, and that makes it hard to control.

What truly stands out though is the story telling. All the little choices you make during the game have an impact later on. The conversation trees are really well made.

Mass Effect is easily one of the best games I ever played.

+ Story
+ Conversation
+ Graphics
+ Music
+ Voice acting
+ Level design

+ Exploration
+ Replay value

- Inventory system
- Teammate AI
- Combat
- Squad command
- Elevator rides

Verdict - Must play

Monday, December 31, 2018

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon (PC) Review

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is a standalone DLC for Far Cry 3. The story and presentation are an homage to the glorious 80s and 90s Hollywood action movies.



Gameplay wise there is nothing very innovative here. It's very competent. Where the game shines, is in the presentation,and dialogue. When it comes to parody, there is a fine line between goodhearted fun and being disrespectful to the source material. Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon manages to not cross that line, which is a compliment to the good writing.



I am not going to waste time critiquing the game any longer. This is one of the most fun games I have played in a long time. I got this as a part of the Far Cry Franchise Pack on Steam for $9.99, and it's well worth the price.

Verdict - Must Play

Hard Reset (PC) Review

I recommend this game for the price I paid for it - $1 as a part of the a Humble Bundle deal.

Hard Reset was supposed to be an homage to the old school FPS games, but there are several design choices that prevent the game from reaching its potential.

The visuals are fantastic and they are by far the best aspect of the game. It played extremely well on a 21:9 ultrawide monitor without any problems, which is great considering this game was released in 2012.



Pretty much everything else is a step back, and could use some improvement.

Soundtrack is a fairly generic, and it ramps up when there are enemies. Enemies don’t seem to make any noise during movement, and I often found myself getting attacked from behind and there was absolutely no sound to indicate that there were enemies flanking.



Weapon system is needlessly complicated. Instead of giving the player a shotgun, rocket launcher etc., the game only has two weapons, a C.L.N weapon and an N.R.G weapon. A shotgun is a weapon mode of C.L.N weapon, and a railgun is a weapon mode of N.R.G weapon. So if the player wants to quickly switch between a shotgun and a railgun, it takes two button presses (equip the N.R.G weapon, and switch to the railgun mode) instead of one, and in the heat of combat, that is enough to get the player kill. This is change for the sake of change. There was no need to improve upon the conventional weapon system, the reason begin, it was tried and tested over the years, and this awful system adds nothing but busywork.



The difficulty in this game primarily comes from large enemy numbers, poor movement mechanics and awful reload/recharge times for weapons. I would be fine with there being a large number of enemies if the movement was smooth and the weapons reloaded at a “normal” rate.  As it stands, this leads to frustration and not fun.



In 2012, there aren’t as many shooters with similar gameplay. In 2018, there are many excellent shooters in this sub genre, such as the Wolfenstein, Doom (2016). Play those first, and if you are still not satiated, then pick up this game for less than $5.

Verdict - Excellent visuals, frustrating gameplay. Pick it up on deep discount.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Corsair H60 Review

On Friday (10/5/2018), I came home from a long day at work, and wanted to play some games. I started Battlefield 1, and I notice that the game was stuttering. I take a look at the temperature, and notice that the CPU (i7 6700k) was running at 90C.

I have a Corsair H50 AIO. I went through all kinds of troubleshooting. Applied new thermal paste, made sure the cooler was seated properly, and it made no difference. The CPU would idle at around 60C, and reach 90C+ during gaming.

After hours of troubleshooting, I concluded that the cooler wasn’t working.

I didn’t want the entire weekend to go to waste by buying another cooler online, and waiting for it to be shipped here. I did something I never thought I would do - go to BestBuy.

I went online, and found that the Corsair H60 was available at my local store. Ordered it right away, and went to the store to pick it up. I watched an installation video first, and I realized that this cooler was much better than the H50 in terms of installation. This is because the backplate has standoff screws, and doesn’t rely solely on adhesive to keep it in place like the H50 does.



Mounting the cooler is also a very simple task because the mounting bracket easily locks the heatsink in place. Overall, very happy with the H60 so far. The temperatures are fantastic.

Running Prime95, I am getting around 50C with 100% CPU load.



Total price paid - $76.11 (exactly the same as I would have paid on Amazon)

Verdict - Recommended.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mad Max (PC) Review

Mad Max is a third person, open world, action game developed by Avalanche Studios (the studio behind the excellent Just Cause series), and published by Warner Bros. (Batman,  series). 

Mad Max incorporates a lot of open world staples. The developers have their own take on the tower climbing mechanic, where towers are now replaced by hot air balloons, which reveal the activities on a certain section of the map. There are plenty of markers on the map, and tons of different kind of side quests that will keep players busy, especially those determined to complete each area. 


Some consider this to be a lot of gameplay padding, and there are things the game does where this criticism is justified. There are times when I absolutely felt that the combat, and the bases are getting repetitive. However, by and large, the game manages to be entertaining. 



The part that I felt was rather boring is the leveling up mechanic for Max, that they felt was needed. To begin with, it is not possible to just access a menu and level up your character. You need to drive to a random location, and talk to a certain person to be able to level up. This is very tedious. The leveling up itself grants abilities that make very little sense. For example, there is a skill that will make the Magnum Opus consume less fuel. Shouldn't this be an upgrade for the car? Anyhow, I thought these skills were poorly implemented.

Another aspect that I did not enjoy was the lack of inventory. It is not possible to carry melee weapons outside of combat. This means that Max needs to find a weapon each time before a fight, and he will promptly drop it on the ground when getting into the car after the fight is over. Also, the durability of melee weapons (like clubs, shovels etc.) is a skill. How does Max have any control over how durable a random object in the world is? Your guess is as good as mine.


Lack of an inventory also means that you can't carry food, and you have to scavenge for it in the game world. Anytime the player interacts with a can of food, Max drops the melee weapon he is holding. After the animation is done, you will have to pick up the melee weapon again. This is an extremely annoying mechanic.


The controls are a little weird. There is a separate button (E) to interact with objects in the game world, but a completely different button (R) to get into vehicles, and an entirely different button (F) to fuel the car. All these could have been consolidated to a single button based on the context. The character also is a little sluggish to control. Unlike Just Cause and Batman, there is a perceptible lag between activating an action, and the character responding to it. This is not game breaking, but its very noticeable.



Combat is very much like Batman. I dont mind it, but it essentially boils down to mashing the attack button (LMB), and hitting the parry button (RMB) at the right time. The sluggish controls do impact the combat somewhat, but it is still fun for the most part. It does get frustrating when the game decides to throw a wave of enemies at the player in an enclosed area. At this point, the camera gets into really bad angles which can get the player killed. 




Driving is a lot fun, and the cars handle really well for the most part. The wide open world is a lot of fun to drive in. Desert world could have been very bland, but the designers managed to make it unique and also traversing the world in the vehicle is still fun. There is a lot of freedom to be had here in each area, and plenty of activities like freeing enemy strongholds, destroying convoys etc.

The story is interesting enough. I liked the characters, but other than Chumbucket, there is nothing unique here. Its all rather predictable, but not to the point where I found the story boring. There are certain story missions that get frustrating, but by and large the pacing was good.


Some of the side quests are a lot fun, especially chasing and destroying the convoys, or freeing up some enemy strongholds.The game received negative criticism when it was released because of the number of repetitive side quests. I can understand why someone might feel this way, especially because this seems a lot like the UbiSoft open world design. However, most of the activities are fun enough, and because Max levels up fast enough, I didn't need to finish a lot of them to progress through the story.

I had a lot of fun with Mad Max, and I think its a very solid open world game.


Price paid - $4.99

 
+ Vehicle combat
+ Well designed open world
+ Chumbucket
+ Driving

- Slugging controls on the ground
- Lack of inventory
- Repetitive melee combat
 
Verdict - Recommended