Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.

-Matt/Diggler

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Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

More...

If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request

Dig's First Night With Neverwinter Nights 2! Aka Why I Love PC Gaming
Posted by Diggler - 3/11/2006 9:56

I love PC gaming. Take Neverwinter Nights 2 for instance. I've been awaiting this game since...pretty much 2002. Yep, the second I finished the first game. I worshipped that bad boy more than life itself, it fertilised the RPG seed within me for many years to come. It was also the game that got me into BioWare. Not to mention the game that showed me what online RPGs could do. Perhaps most importantly of all? T'was the first game that truly made me feel, well, guilt, actually. I remember reloading those precious final moments of the campaign in a desperate attempt to save a certain character's life whom I had previously offed...just 'cos I couldn't live with myself for what I had done. This was unheard of at the time.

When I eventually heard official word of this sequel being in the works, I purposely decided to avoid every scrap of media I could. I saw barely a handful of screens over the past four years. One brief teaser trailer. That was it. I read no previews. Knew nothing of the story. Zilcho right across the board. I didn't wanna spoil anything, you see, that's how much this experience meant to me.

Needless to say, I was psyched for this baby.

Flash forward many a year, and the fucker's finally in my hands. It's about 8pm when I fire the mofo up, no doubt an all-too-rare late night Neverwinter Nights fest in store. Dear lord, 7gigs it quotes me? Fine, whatever. I gotta uninstall Quake IV first and delete some miscellaneous porno, but heck, it's Neverwinter! Rim-jobs and facials take a firm back seat tonight I'm afraid.

I sit there and watch it install, gorgeous artwork keeping me company...giddy at the mere thought of the amazing adventures awaiting me shortly. And I watch some more. And I keep watching. And I get bored. So I go get a drink. And I check my e-mail. And I alt-tab back. Nope, still installing.

I even take a mammoth 20 minute-long trademark Diggler dump.

Still installing.

Tick tock.

Finally the sucker finishes.

I fire it up, still pumped as ever, and ready for a quality evening of single player RPG goodness. Naturally, one has to peruse the options screen before starting up any PC game - that goes without saying - where instantly I'm inundated with an endless barrage of graphics settings. Fine, let's just get this out the way shall we? Everything straight on full...boom. My 2 grand PC is more than up to the task I'm sure. Let's roll.

Character creation time! Hmm, character models look a bit...2002, I must say. But let's give it the benefit of the doubt until we see the game in motion shall we? Plus...toon creation! I love this stuff! So much so that I take over half an hour building my dude up. Now let's let him rip!

Eventually, I'm in the game proper. A brief cut-scene kicks things off, then (finally) I'm on. Woohoo!

But wait a minute. Something's not quite right here. This thing looks pretty good I guess...but is running like absolute pish. We're talking 10 frames per second at most. Hmph. True, it ain't exactly Counter-strike, but I still need some mild semblance of smoothness before I get stuck into this sucker. Sigh. Back to the graphics options I guess. I love PC gaming.

Shadows are down to low now. Bloom's off. Texture mip-mapping - whatever the shit that is - is reduced to "pointal". Which is nice. Let's see how things fair though.

No go. Frames are still iffy as hell, and even more worryingly, the game's slowly starting to resemble arse. Sigh. PC gaming. I do indeed love it. I drop even more settings, whack texture detail to medium, and god forbid, also lower the overall resolution. Ergh.

Oh dear, I need to "reboot the game for changes to take effect". Hmph.

While I'm back out in Windows, I fiddle with my graphics driver panel too, dropping visual quality down and disabling precious v-sync. It pains me, but desperate times and all that. It's fucking Neverwinter after all!

Back in the game at last. Things are more or less sorted now, we have a relatively smooth 30 FPS. But cripes, it really does look like NWN 1 at this point. Sigh. PC gaming. At least the music's ace.

Regardless, I crack on. Let's get questing! First thing's first, I'm supposed to open a chest somewhere in this room and grab some item for my foster father. Hmmm. Sadly I can't see the chest 'cos the camera is flippin' abominable. Where the hell is this supposed chest, daddy? Drop us a clue old man, I can't see shit.

Aha, there it is. 3 meters behind me. Now...just to..turn around...and......OUCH! Who put that wall in the way? Fuckin' hell, how do I turn in this damn game? I can't even move. What the fuck is going on!

Some simple strafing should allow me to navigate the Wall of Death I guess. Oh dear. Perhaps not. Strafing in the game is the WORST THING EVER. And I still can't see a chaffin' thing.

Right. Back to the options screen. Let's fiddle with some camera settings this time. Ooh. There's four different camera modes I see, awesome...I'm sure at least one will prove more useable than this. Yikes, haha, not that one though. Hmm. Nor that. How about this one? Oh fuck me...definitely not that one. Come back default camera...all is forgiven.

Errr, perhaps I just need to rebind some keys. Yeah, that's it. I'm only running into walls and banging my nuts on table edges 'cos I can't get my fingers around this control scheme. Ooh. Would ya look at that? You can't change your keys while playing? Brill. Sigh. Quit game. Back out to main menu. Oh shit, I forgot to save. Great. Whatever, let's sort out these controls. Oh cripes, you can't rebind the mouse buttons? Oh awesome, no mouse look either? Fab-tastic! I slowly back away from the key-binding screen altogether due it really rather scaring me.

Here we are then. Back in the game. After creating my character all over again. The visuals look like arse now, I can't see fuck all due to that camera, and perhaps worse of all the damn thing proves harder to control than trying to pee into an empty McDonald's milkshake container in the back seat of a moving car (I was desperate, sue me).

One final sigh, and I push on with the tutorial regardless. I'm really finding it hard to just...move...pretty much, yet do my best to interact, to barter, to quest and generally medieval it up a storm. But really, why have Obsidian gone for this most archaic (or shit) of control schemes I continually ponder, as I slam dick first into a pig for the umpteenth time. Have they honestly not played WoW? Guild Wars? Oblivion? ANY FUCKING RPG AT ALL RELEASED OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS?? Dear god, man.

Never the less, I do slowly start to ease back into life in Neverwinter once again. I'm even enjoying myself somewhat. Right up until I enter a boxing match as part of the opening tutorial. This should be fun, I figured.

The match kicks off. My two party members charge in, kicking arse. Hmm. But where am I? My main dude is nowhere to be seen.

Ooh, goody. He's warped miles away and is now physically stuck in the scenery. My party is shortly slaughtered. My main guy remains glued to a fence. Watching from afar. Too far away to fight, in fact. Hence, I can't move, and I can't die either. I'm stuck in perpetual limbo it would seem, forced to live out this moment in eternity until the very end of time. How apt.

Let's hit up some forums, shall we? Am I the only one having any of these problems? Sure enough, Obsidian's official boards soon prove that no, I'm really not. The first nugget of info I come across though speaks of a recently released patch. At last, some good news! Surely that'll fix up my plethora of problems. But wait a minute...didn't this game only just come out today? PC gaming. Love it.

Much like its predecessor (perhaps worryingly so), NWN2 has a built-in patcher, so I fire that bad boy up. "Update found". 80mb (!). Downloading.

45 minutes later - I shit yee not - it eventually finishes. It self installs. Oh dear. Patcher has crashed. Mid-patch, no less.

Let's try that again. I reload auto-updater. Patch found. Ooh sweet, it wants to re-download the entire file. Good for it.

Cripes, that crash seems to have broken something now. "Failure Opening New File", it tells me. "Get the critical rebuild". Okay. What the frickety frack is a critical rebuild though?

It spits out a URL. I hit it. A support site pops up.

"If the update process in Step 1 did not work correctly, you can download and install the Critical Rebuild Program". Ahh, bingo.

"This file will be available shortly Please check back".

Oh. My. God.

And that's that. You just bettered me, Neverwinter Nights 2. Congratulations. It's now gone midnight, I've been fiddling with you for hours, and all I've got to show for it is a butt ugly low resolution Elf ranger stuck in a fence. Without bloom.

Fuck this. And fuck you. I'm off to play Fight Night.

Technical issues aside, you may wonder what I think of the actual game. Sadly I can't say. There may well be another epic Obsidian adventure held deep within this rough and buggy exterior, but I honestly can't get past this fucking bullshit. Nope, not anymore. Traditionally I've put up with this kinda crap on the PC due to the fact that awaiting you at the end of the endless tweaks and restarts and patches and blue screens of death was the promise of beauty. Stunning, high rez visuals that no console or handheld could ever match.

But not anymore. Laugh at Sony and Microsoft's endless sprouting of the "HD era" and the "digital age" all you want...but...you know what? They're right. We have all this beauty on our TVs now...and arguably, it looks a lot better too. More to the point, I can whack a disc in any one of my consoles and be playing the damn game 30 seconds later. No setup. No controller configs. No tweaks. No .ini files. No crashed launchers. And WITH FUCKING BLOOM.

PC gaming has the potential to be truly amazing at times. Witness your Monkey Islands, your Dooms, your Half-Lifes, your WoWs and any other one of a thousand gifts to gaming blessed upon us over the past 25 years.

But it's never, ever gonna rise up from the ashes and take its rightful place at the throne of this industry once again when this sort of bollocks is continually holding it back. No. Fucking. Way.

God. What a shit evening.

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

Untitled Document

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1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

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Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
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Consolevania
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Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

Kotaku
What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

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Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

Gamespot
The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

1up.com
Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

GameFAQs
The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

X-Fire
A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

Steam
A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

MyGamerCard.net
Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Smodcast
Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff


Matt Robinson, 2011

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