Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Game Play: Problem Solving

Back way back, I asked people to vote for what game they'd like to see me play, with the implication that I'd do a write-up here.  Well, I didn't actually like the result (2 votes for Dark Crystal, the pony-raising sim game, and one vote for scattered others), so I decided to spend one hour on every game on the list, and any others I got in the mean time, and when I'd played through each and every one of them, I'd decide what warranted a longer playthrough.  If you think the one-hour format is a little like that of the departed but not forgotten Games for Lunch blog, then you are mistaken.  It is exactly like that.  I'm even stealing the "Do I want to keep playing?" question and disguising it with the much less useful "Play more?".  Remember: when you do it fondly, it's not a rip-off, it's a tribute. And if Mr. Kyle Orland feels differently, then I'll... back away, and put the blame on you, for peer pressure.  Yeah, I'm like that.  Shall we begin?  My playthrough of Bastion, after the break.

While I installed the game without a problem, playing it was more of a challenge.  I soon found myself faced in a series of problems and attempted solutions:

PROBLEM.  Every time I try to start the game, it crashes, and I get a warning about my Nvidia Geforce driver (v 2.65).
SOLUTION.  Attempt to update the driver.
PROBLEM.  Nvidia doesn't support updates for computers that run multiple GPU drives (I've also got some Intel under the hood).  Note that determining this actually IS the problem is a long, long process, wherein I download two different Nvidia updates, both fail to install, I consider the problem is a corrupted Nvidia installation, so I prepare to uninstall it, I buy a $10.00 program that will make sure that all traces of it are removed (no, I don't know why this seems like a good idea), and then, just before I uninstall, I check a forum post that mentions Nvidia's compatibility issues.
SOLUTION.  Disable the Intel driver.
PROBLEM: Computer immediately goes black.
SOLUTION: Restart the computer in safe mode.  Go back to the Nvidia site, and download the highest driver a 500 series can support.  Attempt to install it.  The computer resets once half way through installation, then again when installation is finished.  Then I turn the Intel driver back on.  And it resets again.  Finally, I try Bastion again.
PROBLEM: It crashes again, and I get a warning about my Nvidia Geforce driver (v 2.95).  At least I'm in a higher processing power category of failure now. 
SOLUTION: The Steam user forums for Bastion suggest two other possible solutions: reinstall Windows, or alter Steam's launch protocols for Bastion so that it appears in a windowed form, as that sometimes solves problems.  I've noticed that in such troubleshooting, reinstalling Windows always seems to come up.  It's the scorched earth solution: you get a fly not by using a fly swatter, but by a strategic air nuclear strike.  And on the offchance the fly survives, it barely matters anymore, because the odds are that you've screwed up the installation and created a much longer and bigger set of problems.  So I went with the windowed Bastion.
PROBLEM: The windowed Bastion crashes.
SOLUTION: I upgrade Intel's driver. 
PROBLEM: Bastion crashes.
SOLUTION: I disable the GeForce driver, wait for the computer to reboot, and try Bastion.  It works.

Total elapsed time: 2 hr, 56 minutes.  Well over the one hour limit. 3 h 10, if you count the time to write this blog post.
PLAY MORE?: After 3 hours of blood, sweat, and troubleshooting?  You bet your sweet bippy I'm going to play more.  And I'll rub in the face of... of... whoever's fault this is.  Yeah.

Later Days.

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