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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: 51nb

The Story Begins

In the automotive world, there is the idea of a sleeper car. Sleepers are high-performance cars in mundane, dull shells. This performance can come from a variety of different areas; it might be a high-performance trim level of a vehicle that most people associate to be cheap or slow, from modifications, or even entire drivetrain swaps.

The enthusiast PC building world also has their equivalent sleepers. In general, these sorts of project swap new, high-performance hardware into chassis from vintage desktop computers, this build from Linus Tech Tips springs to mind as a standout option.

One area that largely gets left behind in the PC hardware modification world is notebooks. Generally, notebooks don’t use standard components, making it virtually impossible to do something like swap newer hardware into an existing notebook chassis.

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What we are taking a look at today, however, defies all common knowledge of the PC world. Through the work of some intrepid modders, I am now the proud owner of a 2010-vintage Lenovo ThinkPad X201 with a modern, 8th generation quad-core mobile processor, NVMe SSD, and 32GB of DDR4 memory in it.

How is this possible? Let’s dive into it!

The view of Xen from the Source

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2018 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, half life, black mesa, mod, source engine

The strange story of Black Mesa continues, with over half of the Xen levels now completed.  The port of Half Life 1 to the Source engine was first announced over a decade ago and was finally release, as a free mod, in 2012.  The initial release ended before the Xen levels and did not require you to own any of the previous games.  The project expanded into Crowbar Collective and not too long ago they switched from a free game to launch a Steam pre-order/early access version which cost actual money.  This decision upset some, while others hoped it meant that Black Mesa would get even better.    The Xen levels are now approaching completion and the games tentative 2018 release is drawing close.

You can grab the game from Steam, where it is currently 60% off thanks to the current sale or you can just read about it over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and consider leaving nasty notes about Crowbar Collective's actions over the past 10+ years.

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"Of the five chapters that make up the Xen part of the game, two are in the final spit n’ polish phase, two are in the late stages of development, mostly just needing art assets created and installed onto the map framework, and one chapter, Interloper, is being saved for last, with the entire team planning on finishing it up as their final piece of work on the game."

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Tech Talk

New New Vegas; Fallout New California is almost upon us

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2018 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, fallout: new vegas, Fallout: New California

The total conversion mod for Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout: New California will be released on October 23rd, or at least the Beta 2.0 version.  We first heard of this mod eight years ago, under the name Project Brazil and from the trailer posted at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN the development team has not been resting on their laurel.  They have managed to make the old engine look much better than it did originally, not to mention the 16,000 lines of dialogue they've recorded.  You can drop by ModDB to keep an eye on the teams progress and sign up for the pre-release beta if you so desire.

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"Originally announced in 2010 as Project Brazil, Fallout: New California is effectively a whole new Fallout game built on top of the New Vegas engine by modding crew Radian-Helix Media, and it’s due for release on October 23rd."

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Tech Talk

It's not Fallout meets Interstate 76 so ignore it and take a look at the Fallout 4 mod, Cascadia

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2018 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: fallout 4, cascadia, mod, gaming

As the trailer contained about as much information as the test pattern tweet, let's take a look at something Fallout which comes with a bit more information.  Fallout: Cascadia is a work in progress by a team of experienced modders which brings the Pacific coast into the world of Fallout, offering a very different landscape than we are used to.  They have been working on it for quite a while now and from the trailers Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN posted they have been making serious progress.  There is also a link to an interview with one of the developers if this peaks your interest.

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"Whatever happens to Cascadia though, the current trailers and screenshots do a beautiful job of showing what a different sort of Fallout could look like. “In all of this greenery, the fate of the world still shines through, a skeleton in the dirt with roots climbing over it, the graffiti of the dying peering through some vines,” said Dr. Weird about the Cascadia’s post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest."

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Tech Talk

 

Faster my stompybots, faster! Mod out the pauses in BattleTech

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2018 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, battletech

The slow pace of BattleTech, which is driving many people spare, seems to have been a deliberate choice on the developers part.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN links to Reddit posts which make this fact obvious and thankfully allow you to reverse this decision.  There are five variables you can edit in the games file directory with a text editor to reduce the pauses to 0, or whatever your preferred number is.   There are also several ways to multiply the speed at which your Mech's move, the easiest of which is creating a registry key which makes all mechs move five times as fast, or you can manually edit the 53 files for each mech with a multiplier of your choice.  There is a third way, involving activating a debug mode, which offers a wide variety of commands for your enjoyment if you so desire.

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"Two things stand between BattleTech and true greatness. User guides and videos solve the bonkers decision to not so much as hint at absolute combat necessities that make the difference between grim slugfest and satisfying tactical supremacy, but the other one’s trickier."

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Tech Talk

The Fallout: New Vegas prequel mod may soon arrive as Fallout: New California

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2017 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: gaming, mod, fallout, Fallout: New California, fallout: new vegas

This mod has been eight years in the making but we may soon see it released for us all to enjoy.  The New Vegas mod will put you into the wilds of the NCR after being rather abruptly ejected from your home in Vault 18.  This will be a nice experience for those who found Fallout 4 to have strayed a bit far from the games roots, especially in the dialogue.  Head over to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a video showing off the mod and giving you a look into how your adventure will start.

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"Vault 18 is at the heart of the California Wasteland high in the San Bernardino Mountains, and its legendary Wasteland Scouts have managed to keep its secrets safe for decades despite the wars raging beyond the great door. In their old age, their adventures have created a new generation to take their place… if their rebellious adopted kids survive the threat brewing within their own ranks."

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Gaming

 

Give Me retro Deus Ex

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2017 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex, mod, GMDX

Like many gamers you likely have very fond memories of the original Deus Ex and have replayed the first level in the last few years, only to abandon it because it really isn't that pretty compared to what you are used to.  This could change as of today, with the official release of the Give Me Deus Ex mod.  Not only do the textures and lighting effects look much better, there are a variety of bug fixes and AI enhancements to make the game more interesting.  You will need the GoTY Edition of the first Deus Ex, grab it from Steam or GOG depending on your preference.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has links to the ModDB download page as well as a link to the Deus Ex: Revision mod, a different non-compatible projects which adds extra gameplay features.

Take a peek at the Humble Bundle link just below the video as well, it is a decent bargain and you help us keep the lights on too!

"After years of development, the overhaul mod Give Me Deus Ex has launched its final version. GMDX shakes things up with more-advanced AI for a tougher challenge, improved mantling for agile Dentons, expanded physics for fancier mayhem, and new textures and bits for people who say “Ew, is that a pixel?”"

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Gaming

 

DOOM Guy gets hot and bothered

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: doom, gaming, hack, mod

It's the May Two-Four so you have probably turned down your furnace* and your thermostat has very little to do, so why not play a game of DOOM on it?  Over at Hack a Day you can get a port of Chocolate DOOM which you can set up and run on a Honeywell Prestige thermostat.  The colour may be better than the original but for now you will have to play it without sound, still it is impressive how far hardware has come, even in simple appliances.

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*offer may not be valid in Wyoming

"In his video, [cz7asm] shows us the game running quite nicely on the 480 x 272 LCD with an NES controller plugged into the USB port originally intended for software updates. The thermostat runs on a STM32F429 which is an ARM9 processor that has the juice to pull it off."

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Gaming

 

Source: Hack a Day

If you haven't tried Mechwarrior: Living Legends, here is a good excuse

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2017 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Mechwarrior: Living Legends, crysis wars, mod

Mechwarrior: Living Legends is a total conversion mod for Crysis Wars, which you can grab free of charge from this site, they use the Crysis Wars demo to provide the assets so you do not need to purchase the game.  It will dump you and up to 32 players on a multiplayer map with a side arm and a desperate need to get a vehicle.  The vehicles range from smaller tanks and VTOLs to a wide variety of Battlemechs.  Development had stalled somewhat until this week when it was announced that Version 0.8 is now available.  You should pop by to download and install it so you can give this game a shot; even if you end up disliking it you will get your moneys worth.

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"Almost a decade ago, a talented team started working on what was to become the favorite game for many of us. Version 0.7.1, released in 2013, was to be the final version of MechWarrior: Living Legends by Wandering Samurai Studios."

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Gaming

Pavonis takes a break from their Kickstarter to torment XCOM 2 fans

Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2017 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: xcom 2, mod, long war, gaming

Fans of the Long War mod for XCOM: Enemy Unknown are in for a treat, though perhaps a rather sadistic one, as a teaser for the existence of Long War 2 just arrived.  This time the mod was announced by Firaxis as opposed to the mod team, though Pavonis have updated their website with a logo for the new project.  It will be interesting to see if this means that Long War 2 will be released as a free mod or as DLC with a price tag attached.  The difference may be in the amount of time Pavonis is willing to divert away from their current project Terra Invicta.  If Firaxis does invest their own resources into developing Long War 2 it would be somewhat appropriate for them to charge some money, even if many feel this is the game they should have released in the first place.  On the other hand, if they simply want to start turning third party mods into a revenue stream for themselves; we may have the start of a problem worse than preorders and paid for day one DLC. 

Pop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a look at the first Long War and links to the recent news.

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"Pavonis have already updated their website with a Long War 2 logo and haven’t removed info about their to-be-Kickstarted standalone game Terra Invicta. That’s an XCOM-y sort of thing, though the description suggests it’ll focus on diplomatic and political strategy rather than guns and psychics."

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Gaming