Gamebytes and Bots
Gamebytes and Bots
GAMEBYTES AND BOTS
The Dark Mod screenshot
THE BEST OF PC GAMING - MOD FEATURE:   THE DARK MOD
THE BEST OF PC GAMING - MOD FEATURE: THE DARK MOD
The Dark Mod screenshot
THE DARK MOD began life in 2009 as a Thief-inspired stealth mod for Doom 3, but in eventually replacing all of the Doom 3 assets, it was released as a free stand-alone game in 2013. The developers, Broken Glass Studios, consist of both professional and amateur game designers from around the globe. In Feb of 2017, the mod was added to Steam Greenlight, was quickly greenlit, and will soon be available for download through Steam as well as through other sources. The Dark Mod does not have an overall campaign however, and is described by its authors as first and foremost a toolkit that allows team members and fans to develop their own stealth missions in a steampunk environment. At this point, you can choose which missions to download from the over 80 currently available.
RECENT POST-RELEASE REVIEWS - SEE FEATURES FOR BEST SINGLE PLAYER GAME REVIEWS
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DIVINITY 2
PAGE 2

MORE ON INSTALLING YOUR DIGITAL PC GAMES AND MODS

This is page 2 and a continuation of the Install section of the site, which is directed towards those who are very new to PC gaming or modding and covers basic instructions for installing games and mods on your computer.

Be advised
that digitally downloading games does not necessary mean faster. In fact, it could take longer. It depends on the server being used, how many people are downloading at the same time and the speed of your IP contract. If you feel you should be getting faster speeds and are having a problem, it's likely others are too, so check the site forums for possible answers. You can also try downloading it from different locations.

Game Server
- To take any the mystery out of this, a server is basically just another computer that routes information from one source to another. You might call it the middle man. Virtually every internet activity requires using a server of some kind. Google is a server. In order to download information or play online, your computer needs to communicate with someone else's computer and this is achieved by both of you connecting to the same server. Some gamers actually set up their own servers and may be able to handle a smaller number of players.

Mirror
- On the Internet, a mirror site is an exact copy of another Internet site. Servers come in all sizes in terms of the amount of information they can process and may also be dedicated to types. Sometimes, if they are exceptionally busy, you may not be able to connect. Mirror sites are most commonly used to provide multiple sources of the same information and are automatically updated as soon as the original is changed. Using a location closer to your own might provide faster downloads, but not always. You might try a server from a different location if the one you are using is exceptionally slow.
Obviously,
with digital downloading you have no hard copy of the game, although some allow you to make back-up copies. With some games, you may also have to connect to the Internet prior to playing even single-player. (Don't worry, it does this automatically when you launch the game) This presents a problem if you want to play when you have no Internet connection and is one of the reasons for the variety of opinions regarding certain games. Check the game requirements concerning this and whether there is an offline mode of playing. Most games within the last decade, digital and hard copy, will require at least a one time online activation, but older games may not.
Downloading games,
patches or mods may require more than one step. You may have to download, unzip, relocate the files or execute to get your game installed and ready to play. It may not automatically create a shortcut on your desktop or may locate in hard to find places under names you don't recognize. You may want to create a folder for all of your downloads for easy access. Whenever possible, look for instructions on the site, but one of my biggest beefs is that sometimes these fundamental instructions are missing. My message to them is SHAPE UP and provide the basics! You know who you are.
With the gaming industry constantly changing, Basics covers what every PC gamer should know to get the best value as well as how to avoid frustrations, disappointments and errors
Can I run it? is a common question. TechTalk is a quick and easy lesson on the components system requirements and shows you how to locate information about your computer specs.

UNINSTALLING YOUR GAMES

Some games will automatically
install links to their site, to the game and to the uninstall function within your start menu. You can use this link, but it's not always the best way to do it. Instead, go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features (Add or Remove Programs in XP) and look for the game. Right click on it and then the Uninstall or Remove button. This will insure than all the files are removed. In Windows 10, you can now also do this from the new Settings app. Some games will leave behind certain files that are not actual game files and may have to be deleted manually if you don't want them. These may include saved games, profiles, screenshots and publisher sites. If you're hurting for hard drive space, you can probably find some here, but you may have to hunt for them. If you're not planning on playing the game again for awhile, you may as well free up the space. Search for these files in the top tree under the publisher's name instead of the game name. In Steam, you can click on the game in your library and choose delete local content, but once again, it may leave some files behind, which you must manually delete.
You're digital games
are linked to your account with the provider you bought it from so you can uninstall it and download it again at a later time. This makes some people nervous in the event the provider goes out of business. If you stick with the mainstream and reputable sites, this scenario is highly unlikely and they may even have a policy regarding this. Just be aware that there is always a slight risk of losing game functionality, particularly the multiplayer portion, due to unforeseen circumstances such as servers closing down or the creators going bankrupt. Many games have a separate location for your profile and game saves, most likely in your Documents under the Publisher's name.

Fallout 3 screenshot

Many games have "mods" that can be downloaded and added to the game and we need to devote a little space to discussing this. Mod is short for modification and as the name suggests, it modifies the game in some way. Using the original game engine, these modifications can range from changes in textures, sounds, and weapons to free additional levels, maps or even full games. These can be made by the developer and are often referred to as DLC (downloadable content), which can be free or obtained for an additional cost depending on the publisher. If the source code is released by the developer, mods can be made by the general public. You may hear modding tools referred to as level editors or the SDK. (Software Development Kit)

YOU MUST own the original game to install and play mods for that game. Patches are also a type of mod as it changes the game files in some way. When the original game is updated, it may break any unofficial mods you have installed. If this happens, the creator of the mod must also update the mod to remain current. Occasionally, fan-made mods are of such good quality, that they become free-standing games and some may even be marketed. Some publishers and developers are encouraging this and cutting deals with the modders.

A GENERAL OVERVIEW TO INSTALLING MODS

Be careful when installing mods.
I know it's hard to believe, but there are some not so nice people out there who enjoy wreaking havoc with your computer, so be careful with installing patches and community mods and be sure to scan them with your anti-virus after saving the download and before installing it. You can get a feel and recommendations for certain mods and mod sites by reading game forums. Using reputable sources for anything you download is just common sense. There are many problematic games that can be fixed with mods, or configurations created by fellow gamers, so don't be afraid to utilize them.
Also, if you play online,
your server as well as fellow players, may take a very dim view of using cheats, which are also a type of modification, and this could result in the cancellation of your account. If it's Steam, (VAC - valve anti cheat) you can be permanently banned from the game. More developers are cracking down on this and many of them do not consider ignorance to be a viable excuse, so read policy pages first. Some cheats may be intentional or fairly harmless, but others are quite malicious. The amount of hacking you run across may vary from game to game depending on what measures to prevent it have been put in place. Cheating and hacking by others can affect your gameplay in many ways and it's fairly prevalent, so just learn to expect it if your going to play multiplayer. The following is a list of things you might see - Wikipedia. You may also run across people asking about Trainers, which are a form of cheating as well. There is not the same concern with playing offline in single-player mode. Some games even let you access the control panel in-game (usually with the tilde key) to enter cheat codes.
Installing mods can differ
slightly from game to game. I've included instructions for some games within that game's page. You can find it by clicking on Features in the menu and then a specific game. In general, the mod has to be inserted into the main game folder that holds the .exe file. Unfortunatly, this is not always the case and modders are notoriously bad at giving instructions. I've personally set up a couple of general folders to download mods and patches to and then will copy them from here into the appropriate game folders. This also can be a frustrating experience as some modders seem to think you automatically know what to do, so once again I appeal to the community to please include specific and detailed instructions on installation.
Modifications can also be achieved
through config (configuration) files. Also usually located in the game folder under .cfg or .ini files, you can change the values of commands to tweak game resolutions and performance. I found this pretty scary the first time I did it, but soon realized it was no big deal. Just be sure to make a backup of the original file first if you plan on changing a lot of functions and something goes wrong. Then you can just replace it with the original file again. Some people are pretty savvy with what all the values mean, but if you don't want to go to the trouble of learning, you will likely find advice on what to change posted on forums.
Some mods may
automatically be installed in the right location when you double click on the mod's .exe file or you may have to install them manually to the game folder. Some may also need to be unzipped and some may have extensions that your windows zip program won't work on. If you need an additional zip program you can get the one I recommend free from cnet. It's called 7-Zip. Cnet is a well known and trusted site for all kinds of program downloads.
There are only a few sites
that host a selection of mods for a variety of games. Usually, finding them is more specific to a particular game and can be found by searching for mods for that game. You may also run across people promoting them in forums and blogs. Since these might not have a wide reputation, you have to be more careful about installing them. Nexus Mods and MODDB seem to have the largest variety of games, but there are others. Steam carries some in store as well as in the Steam Workshop
Game updates can screw up
mods you already have installed unless the mod creator also updates the files. If you suddenly find things not working, check to see if the game has had an official automatic update.

SOURCE PORTS

A source port
is a software project based on the source code of a game engine that allows the game to be played on operating systems or computing platforms with which the game was not originally compatible. Source ports are often created by fans after the developer of a game releases its code to the public. They differ from mods in that they don't change the look or play of the original game other than what's necessary to make them run on newer systems. However, they can also offer support for mods which do. A legitimate source port includes only the modification of the engine portion of the game and requires the original data files to be on the user's system in order for the game to run.

With the evolution of ports, the features offered have become numerous and therefore you may see a number of source ports for the same game, all offering different features. You can therefore choose the one which best suits your style ranging from the original game to a game that is enhanced in several ways. Since the first source port, which was created for Doom, the term is now broadly applied to all source code modification projects.

ScummVM
The VM in the name stands for Virtual Machine and ScummVM was originally designed by a Swedish programmer named Ludvig Strigeus to play LucasArts adventure games that use the scumm system. It's a game emulator that allows you to play the games on the platform of your choice. Strigeus was quickly joined by other developers, expanding ScummVM's capabilities and it now also supports a variety of non-scumm games. ScummVM does not provide any of the assets of the game and you must own the original. You can read about Scumm VM on Wikipedia  and ScummVM  You can see a list of games supported by Scumm VM at ScummVM games
Be sure to read Basics and TechTalk as well for a good grounding in what you should know about gaming in general. Although everything might seem slightly intimidating at first, you will soon be a pro. I came to gaming late, but took to it like a duck to water and even if I'm no expert, I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of it. It stimulates the brain and exercises your coordination skills, so it's never too late to start at any age. Just be sure to check in with the family once in awhile so they know you're still alive. Seriously, it can be addictive, but I trust you know how to control yourself and your wallet.

Page 1 for instructions on installing disc copies and digital PC games
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