March 30, 2012

1000 Days of Gaming

I received the 999+ Day Streak badge on 360voice this week. The 360voice is an automatically created blog that tracks your Xbox 360 profile and posts an update each day what you've been doing with your console.

Summary for Year 2011

In 2011 I tried some browser games. In June 28th, 2011 Google+ was published and I received my invite. In August 11th Google+ launched the games section. I tried Angry Birds, Dragon Age Legends, Zynga Poker, Zombie Lane and so on. I haven't played much Facebook games, because I mainly play with my consoles, but I did try the Sims Social, which was launched in August 9th, 2011.

I also kept testing some random phone/mobile platform games. With Windows Phone 7 I upgraded to the Mango version and played the free Xbox Live games Minesweeper, Flowerz and Plants vs. Zombies to get some easy achievements. With my 3rd generation iPod Touch I tried Rage HD and 1000 Heroz. With my Android 2.1 phone I tried Angry Birds Rio and some random OpenFeint games.

I have Mac Pro 8-Core and MacBook Pro, so I have tried some games on OS X 10.7 Lion to see the difference compared to Windows and Linux. I bought World of Warcraft Battle Chest, which is aimed for the beginners and contains a couple of manuals. Upgrading to Wrath of the Lich King and then to Cataclysm went fine. Except I couldn't upgrade from the DVD, instead I had to download the upgrades from the web. I bought a 60 day pre-paid game card from Gamestop and played up to level 80 or so. With Mac Pro you can pretty much use the full settings. With MacBook Pro you need to use lower graphics options or there will be too much lag. I bought the PlayStation 3 version of Portal 2, which also includes the option to install the game to your Mac using Steam and of course it looks nicer on Mac.

When we are talking about game consoles, Xbox 360 is still my main choice. I rarely touch my Nintendo Wii anymore. With PlayStation 3 I played only Gran Turismo 5 occasionally and the beginning of Portal 2. With Xbox 360 I played for example Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Saints Row: The Third, Gears of War 3, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I purchased Call of Duty Elite membership, but it doesn't offer me anything special I need. Yeah, you get the maps sooner, but I'm not usually the first people to buy new maps anyway, because I can wait for a few months before making my decision.

I went back to Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. Because Arrival DLC was published March 29th, 2011 as an introduction to Mass Effect 3, I also decided to download Kasumi DLC and Overlord DLC. Then I played ME1 and ME2 with a paragon female, because previously I already played them with a renegade male. In addition to that, I also played ME1 and ME2 with an ugly engineer trying to kill as many in-game characters including my team mates to see what happens in the last mission when you don't have pretty much any updates to your ship either. And that's about it!

September 18, 2011

Power Consumption of Consoles

I decided to make a small comparison of the power consumption of my consoles: Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. I used Esic Power Meter PM498 for measuring. It's a simple device and you can only plug in one device at a time.

And directly to the results... Nintendo Wii takes the least amount of electricity, about 17 W and 19 W when using the dashboard (Nintendo Channels) or playing Animal Crossing (disc game). PlayStation 3 takes around 120 W and 154 W on dashboard (XrossMediaBar) or when playing Gran Turismo 5 (not installed on hard drive).

I have three different Xbox 360s, so I compared them together using an unregistered silver account, so I didn't have to transfer my profile from one console to another. I tried to make the comparisons as similar as possible, but because you can't use HDMI with the Xbox 360 Core System, I used VGA instead. The oldest Xbox 360 (Core System) uses the most amount of power and the newest one (Xbox 360 S) the least. Games installed on hard disk take less energy on all of my X360s.

After unregistered silver accounts I also used my online gold account to see any differences by comparing two games and the Video Library to the Dashboard. I chose an empty Video Library, because it doesn't have any animations increasing the power usage and I noticed it uses just a little bit less energy than the Dashboard. The popular Xbox Live Arcade game UNO uses energy a little bit more than the Dashboard. Halo 3 uses about 20 W to 40 W more power than the Dashboard depending on has it been installed on hard drive or not. There were no surprises, but now I have my own results I can look up, if I ever need them! Below is the more detailed information.


Nintendo Wii
- standby (offline): 1 W
- standby (online): 11 W
- dashboard (no disc in): 17 W
- dashboard (disc in): 19 W
- Animal Crossing (disc game): 18 W ... 19 W
- Sonic the Hedgehog (WiiWare): 17 W

PlayStation 3
- standby: 1 W
- dashboard (no disc in): 112 W ... 123 W
- dashboard (disc in, GT5): 120 W ... 130 W
- Gran Turismo 5, local race (not on HDD): 134 W ... 154 W


Xbox 360 Core System (VGA)
- standby: 2 W
- dashboard: 145 W ... 147 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (installed on HDD): 161 W ... 176 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (not installed on HDD): 163 W ... 182 W
- installing Halo 3 on hard drive: 151 W ... 158 W

Xbox 360 Arcade (HDMI)
- standby: 2 W ... 3 W
- dashboard: 93 W ... 95 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (installed on HDD): 104 W ... 115 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (not installed on HDD): 126 W ... 130 W
- installing Halo 3 on hard drive: 99 W ... 105 W

Xbox 360 S (HDMI)
- standby: 1 W
- dashboard: 68 W ... 70 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (installed on HDD): 73 W ... 80 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (not installed on HDD): 80 W ... 96 W
- installing Halo 3 on hard drive: 74 W ... 76 W


Xbox 360 S (HDMI)
- Dashboard (gold account): 71 W ... 72 W
- Video Library, empty: 70 W ... 71 W
- UNO, online match using avatars: 72 W ... 74 W
- Halo 3, local campaign (installed on HDD): 74 W ... 87 W

January 1, 2011

Summary For Year 2010

Nothing special happened in 2010: I just relaxed and played whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted. Game-wise most of my time I used with my Xbox 360 playing Mass Effect 1 and 2, Red Dead Redemption, Blur, Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops. During the November 2010 Dashboard update my Xbox 360 Arcade console showed me the Red Ring of Death, so I bought Xbox 360 S (S is for Slim or Sexy or something like that), because I have to have at least one ready to use backup console. Then I bought Kinect to see what's so special about it and got bored fast with it, because it's just too simple for me. I reached 35k Gamerscore and I really haven't paid much attention to boosting it. According to Raptr I used 137 hours with Read Dead Redemption, 113 hours with Halo: Reach, 102 hours with Mass Effect 1, 95 hours with Black Ops and 87 hours playing Mass Effect 2. The 360voice blog says I reached the 500 days streak of using my Xbox 360.

With PlayStation 3 I purchased the PlayStation Plus, which is a bit like a Gold account on Xbox Live. Because I haven't been playing much anything with my PS3 I barely reached Level 3 in Trophies with the help of Gran Turismo 5. In GT5 I got to level 20 to see the pretty dull visual damage system you can see when you crash into something. I think I like Forza 2 and 3 more than GT5. There's much more to tune and adjust in Forza.

I bought a new gadget, iPod Touch, which can be used to listen to music and play games, but it's also like a small mini computer you can use to surf the web when you're watching television or something like that.

On the Web I didn't blog anything with Blogger, but I did post some random stuff to Twitter and Facebook. I didn't add any new videos last year to my YouTube account. With delicious I added more game, movie and television related links. I tried the Party Chat Podcast featuring Stallion83, but it's just too boring. I kept on listening to Major Nelson and the Finnish Pelaajacast. And that's pretty much it.

August 18, 2009

PAL-60 Video Capturing

You may want to capture game videos of your favorite games, but some Xbox 360 games are PAL-60 only, so using any composite/S-video capture card won't be as easy as you may have thought as you can see with these three different video capture card tests:

PAL-60 Test: EzCAP 116 USB (Partial Success)

PAL-60 Test: Pinnacle 510-USB (Failure)

PAL-60 Test: Dazzle DPVM (Failure)

You may ask "what's the deal, there aren't many PAL-60 games?". Actually, there are more than you may have thought. I have more than 30 PAL-60 only games:

If you are interested in free video capture programs, I made some videos about them also:

AMCap by Noel


Windows Movie Maker

June 10, 2009

My Desktops

Here are pics of my Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii desktops, dashboards, menus, etc.

Windows XP desktop.

Mac Pro desktop.

Mandriva Linux One 2009 Spring desktop.

Ubuntu 9.04 desktop.

Xbox 360 Dashboard with Tomb Raider: Underworld Theme 2.

PlayStation 3 XrossMediaBar.

Wii Menu with Channels.

Update: June 21, 2010: added Mac desktop.

June 7, 2009

How Much Bandwidth Games Use?

How much games use bandwidth? This post only includes a few current Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games. As I mentioned on my previous post you can use your computer as a router for your game console. With Windows Task Manager you can see an approximate figure how these games use the bandwidth and that's where I was looking while playing. These screenshots are only for my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as I haven't figured out how to do it for my Wii. And here are the screenshots with short explanations.

Xbox 360: sign in to Xbox Live

Signing in to Xbox Live. Approximate speed: 0.1 Mbps. Time: 1 minute 8 seconds.

Xbox 360: select a video

In Game Marketplace selecting a video icon without downloading the video. Approximate speed: 0.6 Mbps. Time: 1 minute 37 seconds.

Xbox 360: COD4 - 6vs6

Call of Duty 4: Headquarters. Approximate speed: 0.07 Mbps. Time: 12 minutes 28 seconds.

Xbox 360: COD4 - 9vs9

Call of Duty 4: Ground War. Approximate speed: 0.07 Mbps. Time: 11 minutes 50 seconds.

Xbox 360: Forza 2 - 5 players

Forza Motorsport 2: Exhibition Race. Approximate speed: 0.3 Mbps. Time: 2 minutes 9 seconds.

Xbox 360: Halo 3 - 5vs5

Halo 3: Social Team DLC. Approximate speed: 0.1 Mbps. Time: 2 minutes 54 seconds.

Xbox 360: Halo 3 - 8vs8

Halo 3: Social Big Team. Approximate speed: 0.7 Mbps. Time: 12 minutes 35 seconds.

Xbox 360: UNO - 4 players - avatars

UNO: Ranked Match with NXE avatars. Approximate speed: 1000 bps (0.001 Mbps). Time: 7 minutes 3 seconds.

Xbox 360: UNO - 4 players - videos

UNO: Player Match using video with all the players. Approximate speed: 0.2 Mbps. Time: 7 minutes 16 seconds.

PlayStation 3: COD4 - 6vs6

Call of Duty 4: Headquarters. Approximate speed: 0.07 Mbps. Time: 13 minutes 30 seconds.

PlayStation 3: COD4 - 9vs9

Call of Duty 4: Ground War. Approximate speed: 0.07 Mbps. Time: 7 minutes 15 seconds.

PlayStation 3: MotorStorm - 9 players

MotorStorm: Race. Approximate speed: 0.07 Mbps. Time: 6 minutes 32 seconds.

May 17, 2009

Mobile Connection and Xbox Live

Because I have a mobile connection some people have asked me is it possible to connect your console to online services such as Xbox Live, PSN and Nintendo WFC and the answer is yes. I'm not a networking guru, but it doesn't stop me from telling my experiences how I have managed to connect my Xbox 360 to Xbox Live. You might be able to do the same with your mobile connection (3G/GPRS/UMTS network) using your mobile USB device. You don't need a super fast connection with Xbox Live. I'm using Sonera mobile connection (maximum speed 1 Mbps) with my Option iCON 225 USB modem (maximum capacity 7 Mbps).

Mobile computer application.

Two Ways of Connecting

I know two ways of connecting to Xbox Live with my mobile connection. The first one is by using a mobile router and the second one is by using a computer as a router.

Mobile Router

The more efficient way to connect to Xbox Live is by connecting my mobile USB device (Option iCON 225) to my mobile router (Dovado UMR), because that way I can use more than one console or computer online at the same time and I don't need to keep a computer turned on to work as a router. To get the "Open NAT" result with the Xbox Live connection test, I needed to go to the router settings, and select "Enable UPnP". Depending on the router/modem manufacturer you may need to have UPnP enabled or disabled. More info with this search.

My mobile router from the front.

Mobile USB modem, mobile router from behind and a SIM card.

Using Your Computer as a Router

When I didn't have a mobile router I used my Windows XP laptop for sharing my mobile connection. In other words, I used my computer as a router. One problem with this way is that I only get the "Moderate NAT" result with the Xbox Live connection test. Another problem is that I need to set the DNS servers in my Xbox 360 Network settings (see section "Define DNS Servers") and check the settings of my firewall (see "Firewall Settings"). In Windows XP there are two ways of making the settings for sharing a connection (see headings "Sharing: Method 1" and "Sharing: Method 2"). With both methods you need to connect your Xbox 360 with an Ethernet cable to your computer.

Xbox 360 connected to Xbox Live using my laptop and mobile modem.

Sharing: Method 1

In the first connection sharing method go to Control Panel and then Network Connections. Look for the icon for your mobile connection. It might say "Mobile Connection" or "Wireless Network Connection 2" or something else. Right-click the mobile connection icon, select "Properties", select "Advanced" tab, select "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection" and select "OK". Try connecting to Xbox Live with your console and if that doesn't help, read the rest of this post.

Allowing connection sharing.

Sharing: Method 2

In the second connection sharing method go to Control Panel and then Network Connections. From the left side select the "Set up a home or small office network" link. Press the "Next" button. Press another "Next" button. Select "Ignore disconnected network hardware" (if there are any) and continue. Select "This computer connects directly to the Internet. The other computers on my network connect to the Internet through this computer." (Next button) Select the name for your mobile connection, which might be "Mobile Connection", "Wireless Network Connection 2" or something else. (Next button) Select "Local Area Connection" so you can try to connect your console with an Ethernet cable to your computer. (Next) Press the "Next" button. Select "Turn on file and printer sharing". (Next) Select "Just finish the wizard; I don't need to run the wizard on other computers". (Next) Press the "Finish" button. Try to connect to Xbox Live with your console and if that doesn't help, read on.

Define DNS Servers

With my shared mobile connection I need to define my DNS servers with my Xbox 360 to make the connection work (at least most of the time). To see the IP addresses for your DNS servers, in Windows XP go to "Start", "Programs", "Accessories" and select "Command Prompt". There type ipconfig /all (and press Enter) and look at the "DNS Servers" section for your mobile connection (there might be more than one connection/adapter listed).

Firewall Settings

With the default Windows Firewall you may need to nothing, but if you have made settings before trying to share your mobile connection try to restore the default settings for the Windows Firewall: go to Control Panel, double-click Windows Firewall, select "Advanced" tab and press the "Restore Defaults" button. Restoring Windows Firewall to default settings stops sharing your connections, so you need to set sharing again for your mobile connection. If you have some other firewall, try using medium security. For example, with ZoneAlarm Firewall using Internet Zone Security: Medium and Trusted Zone Security: Medium works for me. There are so many different firewalls, you need to find out yourself which settings help you to connect to Xbox Live. Of course you don't want to turn your firewall off totally because of the all the Internet worms and viruses, but very strict settings may prevent you from connecting to Xbox Live.

Basic ZoneAlarm Firewall settings.

NAT Type

If with your Xbox 360 you make the Xbox Live connection test and select "More Info", you probably see this kind of text:

"Your NAT type is Moderate. People on networks with this NAT type may not be able to join certain games or hear other people while playing online. For the best online experience, you need an open NAT configuration."

If you want to get the "Open NAT" result, I don't see any other way than using a mobile router (or ADSL connection or cable connection or some other broadband connection compatible with Xbox Live).

Stop Sharing

If you want to use your Ethernet cable the normal way (i.e. surf the web with your computer), unplug the Ethernet cable from your console and stick it to your modem or router (if you have any) and you need to stop sharing your mobile connection. Go to Control Panel and then Network Connections, right-click the icon for your mobile connection, select "Properties", select the "Advanced" tab, remove the tick from "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection". You can also go to Control Panel, double-click the Windows Firewall icon, select the "Advanced" tab and press the "Restore Defaults" button.