As an online freelancer, I receive some of my pay via Globe Telecom’s mobile commerce service—GCash. Getting paid this way has several benefits. For instance, it offers a faster and cheaper way to withdraw. Paypal, on the other hand, takes 2-4 banking days to withdraw to my bank account and deducts a rather hefty fee (considering the smaller exchange rate from USD to PHP it uses). That and there are other remittance fees to pay as well.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Though I like the occasional trips to the mall during my leisure time, the experience is sometimes exhausting because I also have to pay for my bills, specifically my phone and Internet bills issued by Globe. This local telecom arguably has the best retail concept stores—complete with demo phones, welcoming ambiance, and helpful support staff, but customers like me visit the place in droves. In other words, the queue for the cashier is quite long at most times, consuming most of my time at the mall just waiting for my turn to make payments. That’s why I’ve decided to make good use of GCash to pay my Globe bills.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
GCash subscribers with an Android smartphone can now easily perform transactions with Globe’s mobile commerce service via the GCash app. With an easy-to-use interface and plenty of features available, it’s a perfect way to transform your handset into a virtual wallet. It also replaces the rather outdated sending of keywords/commands as text messages to do business.
Unlike many other games where currency can easily reach more than thousands, gold in Hearthstone is rather hard to earn. Besides using real money, gold is the only in-game currency available in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft that can be used to purchase cards or enter the Arena. Continue reading this guide and learn the quickest and best ways on how to gather the virtual moolah. But to sum it all up, it's to have fun in playing the game, learning the best ways to win, and just let the spoils of war roll in.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
As a Blizzard fan, I’m excited for the launch of the company’s upcoming digital card game called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. As for when exactly Blizzard is going to release the game, no official announcement has been made so far. But when it does become ready for the public, expect it to be a huge hit.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Every starts out as a noob in Dota 2, and that’s nothing to be ashamed about. You can’t forever stay as a beginner, though, or you will be under a constant barrage of trashtalk and hate from those who think they’ve matured enough and “leveled up” into pro Dota 2 gamers. So, what’s the fastest way to familiarize yourself with the game? It’s simple: learning to play using Dota 2 beginner heroes. Of course, there’s also the in-game tutorial for basic mechanics such as denying, last hitting, and item building. But if you want to directly dive into the multiplayer action, you can do so too. I wouldn’t recommend it, though.
I previously posted on how to code using the Java programming language by creating a Tic-Tac-Toe game, complete with basic AI as computer opponent and a two-player mode. This time, let me show you how to code a simple text editor that functions like the Microsoft Notepad for Windows. The source code is contained in one .java file, containing all the necessary lines and class imports needed to launch the functions and graphical user interface. While the code is also shown below, I also made the source code (.java) and the compiled runnable program (.jar) themselves available for download.
In less than two weeks after signing up, I received an email from Blizzard containing a closed beta invitation for its upcoming digital collectible card game called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. To be specific, I got entitled to beta testing “for the Americas,” and will join other testers to help devs polish the game for a gold release based on our feedback.
Friday, November 22, 2013
When you know your article is a masterpiece, you surely want the world to know. For that to happen, your post must be good enough for search engines to display on their search results. It must appeal to them, so to speak.
Without any further ado, here’s the checklist you need to comply with in order for your blog post to be pleasing to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Rich in visual detail and effects, the popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Dota 2 by Valve is by far more taxing to the hardware than the original Defense of the Ancients minimap of Warcraft III. Veteran players all know, that in order to pwn most of the matches, one must not only be good and proficient in all hero strategies and map awareness, but also have a good system to run the game. Very few other aspects of the Dota 2 generate more annoyance than suffering from a terrible frame rate, which leads to missed kills, delayed reactions, and other game-breaking mishaps. So, what are the minimum system requirements needed to run Dota 2? Though an important question, we know that’s not the one being asked by hardcore and professional gamers. We also need to know the recommended or optimal system requirements for a smooth gameplay.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
As of this writing, the Dota 2 game is over 8GB in total size, which takes some time to download everything to one computer alone. With future updates inbound, no doubt the overall size will only get bigger. So if you’ve another computer that you want the game installed into, it’s simply better and faster to just copy or move Dota 2 to this other system from another PC. The guide below will show you how it’s done.
Heroes of the Storm is a new video game being developed by Blizzard Entertainment for Windows and OS X platforms. Just like Valve’s Dota 2, the game belongs to the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre, in which each player controls one character/hero and joins one of two teams that compete against each other.
It is reported to use the freemium model, meaning anyone can sign up for an account and be able to play the game without spending any money, though optional in-game money transactions are also available. These purchases are similar to Dota 2 items; they will only affect the appearance of the heroes in the game (e.g., changing the outfit, mount, etc.) and won’t give players a winning advantage over others.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Have you ever seen those Google ads claiming that the search giant apparently lets you earn thousands of US dollars in just one week? It sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is, trying to lure innocent people looking for an easy source of online income. The same thing goes to ForumCash. It apparently offers a more reasonable rate for your honest hard work, but it doesn’t actually live up to its promise. It’s just a fraud.
It’s not an outright scam, mind you. ForumCash isn’t like many websites that promise riches with very little effort in your part. It also doesn’t ask any upfront payment in order to sign up and then just ignore you when you’ve already sent the money. You can even get paid, assuming you do get accepted. Its evil scheme lies elsewhere.
ForumCash begins tricking you and other users with job offers that are reasonably straightforward. But before you can get to those money opportunities, you will need to undergo a certain kind of test first. (At this point, everything still seems fine. Many legit online destinations for freelancers—like oDesk—require tests so they can award you with credentials.) It will apparently measure how eager you are in accomplishing the upcoming tasks. The next part is where it all becomes suspicious: You will be required to share certain links on your Facebook wall, basically promoting ForumCash. And the endorsing doesn’t end in just your wall, because you will also have to spam on the FB timeline of several friends and on your Twitter feeds.
Though required, there’s no one in ForumCash who will actually verify if you’ve complied with the certain number of spam you must make on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I don’t think that they will even check if you’ve done any promotion at all! I guess they’re fine with things as long as they fool several would-be workers to scam more people into joining their cause. It’s like a pyramid scheme.
If you do receive an assignment from them, the tasks usually are tedious and tiresome. You’ll end up working for several hours (more or less 18 hours a day) that usually requires writing, copy-pasting, encoding, and more spamming. You’d think you’ll rewarded with big bucks for all those work. In reality, the compensation only ranges from Php200-300 a day. As of this writing, that’s equal to 4.59 to 6.89 USD. That may already sound a lot for the average online worker who lives in developing countries like India and the Philippines, but don’t forget the number of hours spent just to earn that amount.
ForumCash is capable of continuing its scam, because of the exponential effect from the social network promotions done by the applicants. Any hired workers don’t get to stay working for the company for too long. They will eventually get tired of the long hours of work for the small pay or of the lack of active communication.
If you’re wise enough to read reviews like this post before signing up for ForumCash, you’re lucky. Others have fallen into their trap and have regretted it. Check out these other links to prove that the company is a fraud:
Of course, there are some people who claim to have a positive experience on ForumCash. We’ll let you decide if they really are telling the truth.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Looking for places for a Plants vs Zombies 2 free download? This popular sequel to the original tower defense game by PopCap can be easily obtained through the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store. Both of them offer the game free of charge, since the game is developed as a freemium app. In other words, it can be played and finished at no cost, though some optional features can only be accessed through in-app purchases.
As of this writing, it’s not known if a Plants vs Zombies 2 free download will arrive on the Amazon Appstore.
Beware of Illegal PvZ 2 Free Downloads
If you know where to look, there are several ways to download an illicit copy of PopCap’s popular tower defense game. To name a few, one get download through torrents and direct download from websites listed in Google results (using the search term “Plants vs Zombies 2 free download”). I don’t condone such illegal downloads, though there are some who would rather have a cracked/pirated copy because of the promised limitless amount of keys and coins. They may also claim that some plants that can only be unlocked through money is beyond what they’re willing to spend in a game.
Do note that if you do install the Plants vs Zombies 2 APK file from another source besides the Google Play Store or iOS App Store, you may likely be exposed to malware that the hackers attach in their modified installer package of the game. The illegal copy might seem clean at first, but maybe your accounts and mobile wallet have already been compromised.
Yet another reason not to grab an unofficial copy of the PvZ 2 app is because of future updates. You won’t be able to enjoy the latest features that the great developers of the game made for the fans. And when you do decide to switch back to the legit game, you won’t be able to transfer your old progress. You’ll have to start over, with all gates, plants, and other unlockables remained barred, waiting to be unlocked once again.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
If you’re one to frequent the Stats feature of the Blogger dashboard, you may have noticed a couple of sites that generated traffic towards your blog. If any of them happen to be Vampirestat, AdSenseWatchDog, and Villainstat, don’t bother checking out those sites. They’re expected to be rife with malware.
A list of bogus sites that you have to avoid can be found below:
At first I thought one of my posts got popular or had been found useful by a reader that he shared it thru his site (Vampirestat) as a sign of thanks. Being a cautious person, I didn’t immediately visit the site and instead turned to Google for answers. As it turns out, it’s not just my blog that got bogus traffic. Other bloggers have been targeted, too.
So what must you do when you also get referred traffic from those sites? The answer is simple: do nothing. That’s right. Apparently, Vampirestat and company spam the statistics page of Blogger to lure curious users into their sites. A lot of things can then happen once users visit them: spammy ads, malware infection, phishing, and more.
Do you need to worry about your AdSense account getting banned for getting traffic from VampireStat and the like? Don’t. Just don’t get involved in these so-called referrer spam. These visits are automated and no actual links to your blog have actually been placed in the wrong places. You need not worry about your blog’s page rank or reputation.
Most important of all, don’t link back to them on your own blogs. You’re simply advocating their scam. It will also affect your search rankings negatively.
Other blogging platforms (e.g. Wordpress, Tumblr) are apparently unaffected by these bogus referring URLs. I don’t have any blogs beyond Blogger with meaningful stats, so I can’t verify by myself whether or not Vampirestat and the other spam sites appear there.
Realizing that a major number of visits to your blog is actually caused by referrer spam is indeed disheartening. Just don’t give up on your blogging. With nonstop passion to write, you can eventually increase your page views made by real visitors who frequent your blog for interesting content.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Since I updated my laptop, I’m loving almost everything about Windows 8.1: new features, major UI changes in many stock apps, security fixes, and so on. There’s one problem that rather pestered me, though. I can no longer adjust the screen brightness. My laptop can still detect that I want to change the brightness as I fiddle with the function keys, but it just can’t do so.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t really Windows 8.1’s fault here. I happen to pinpoint the latest driver of my graphics card (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870) as the culprit of the bug. The default one that 8.1 installs by default actually lets me adjust the screen brightness. Then again, if I don’t update the driver to a newer one, I’d be then worrying about performance and glitches when I play my games. Caught between two problems, I suppose smooth gameplay is preferable to a stuck screen level of brightness.
Possible Solutions to Adjust Screen Brightness
In my case, obviously I need to find a more compatible driver for my video card. As of this writing, though, AMD has yet to release a newer version that addresses the brightness issue.
For other users out there who happen to also suffer from being unable to adjust the screen brightness of their laptop, they can always revert to an older, yet more working version of their video card driver. This can be done by any of the following:
- Windows’ System Restore
- Uninstalling current driver with maker’s special removal software (e.g., AMD CleanUninstall Utility) before installing older driver
- Uninstalling current driver and then check for drivers through Windows Update
- Manual downloading of older driver
- Installing the driver that came with the laptop’s companion optical disc
If, however, you insist on using the current driver (even though it really is the one that’s causing the problem), there are other ways to adjust the screen brightness of your laptop without using the dedicated function key combo or the Control Panel > Power Options slider. For instance, go to your video card’s utility software package. For AMD cards, it’s the Catalyst Control Center, under the My Built-in Displays > Display Color setting of which are configurations for color settings, including brightness, contrast, and more.
A rather embarrassing explanation as to why you can’t adjust the screen brightness of your laptop is its low on battery and is trying to conserve power. That’s probably why you can’t make the screen more brighter.
If, for some reason, you’re initially able to adjust screen brightness after a reboot but unable to do so after a while, the problem must be a recently installed or updated software. Trace back your recent installations, uninstall them, and see if that fixed the issue.
This problem might be happening to tablets running on Windows 8, too. If your device is affected, try doing the possible fixes above. I can’t guarantee their effectiveness. Your device may even become more unstable. You have been warned.
Despite missing ones that are so popular in the original Warcraft III mod—Techies, Phoenix, Soul Keeper, etc.—Dota 2 already has several heroes to choose from. Naturally, some of them are bound to hog the spotlight and be chosen a lot by players, while the other Dota 2 heroes are shunned for a reason or two.
Most Popular Dota 2 Heroes of All Time
Without further ado, here are the most popular Dota 2 heroes who have managed to make it to the top 10:
- Drow Ranger
- Bounty Hunter
- Spirit Breaker
- Nature’s Prophet
It’s easy to tell why many players choose the likes of Pudge and Bounty Hunter in their usual selection of Dota 2 heroes. Players like being the hunter, not the hunted. Pudge’s Meat Hook allows them to be such, while his Flesh Heap gives him adequate protection from would-be predators. Bounty Hunter is also chosen for similar reasons. His invisibility skill, Shadow Walk, allows him to catch other heroes off-guard and also lets him escape.
Based on personal experience while playing so many Dota 2 games, Drow Ranger and Sniper are popular Dota 2 heroes for newbies or beginning players. They have very simple skills that do not take much time to learn. Newbies also tend to choose a carry role, believing they’re going to be the stars in-game even though oblivious to the things needed to become an exceptional carry. To them, using a support hero is boring.
Notably important, though, is the fact that even if they are the most popular Dota 2 heroes, the ones in the list above don’t actually have a winning advantage over other heroes. Six of them even have a win rate that’s less than 50%, meaning teams in matches that have them lose more often than win.
Least Popular Dota 2 Heroes of All Time
Who, then, are the least picked of the bunch? If you’ve been a regular player, then you know it’s rarer to encounter these Dota 2 heroes. In fact, when randomly chosen, they most likely get repicked:
- Skywrath Mage
- Elder Titan
Common reasons why these heroes are the least favorite among players are skill difficulty, their supporting roles, high map awareness requirement, to name a few. Especially for newbies, Chen, Meepo, and Visage are hard to use because they and their minions/summons/conversions require great micro-management to be able to help win the game. Elder Titan, Pugna, and Skywrath Mage are capable of dealing devastating damage and killing other heroes without much help from others. Unfortunately and especially in public games, these three are expected to play supporting roles (which, once again, is a role type that newbies don’t really like to play). Io, on the other hand, requires that the player use his ultimate skill at the right moment and at the right location, or he and his tethered companion gets killed instead. Some others are least popular because they’re new additions to Dota.
Note that the ones listed above are the most/least popular Dota 2 heroes of all time. The findings came from the DotaBuff.com website, which gathered data from all public matches played all over the globe. If you filter the list with just games played on patch 6.79, Bloodseeker makes it to the number 2 spot (most likely because of its recently buffed skill that can now detect low-health heroes all over the map, not just within a certain radius).
As new patches roll out, the rankings of popular Dota 2 heroes will most assuredly change. Nerfs, stat changes, skill modifications, new upcoming heroes, or complete reimagining of the existing ones will surely have a drastic effect on what heroes will players pick for their next matches.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Appearing least often in the game, the Treasure Yeti is one of the most desired zombies for users to kill due to the riches it grants. This guide aims to teach you everything you need to learn about this mythical undead creature that’s also known as the Zombie Yeti: where to find it, how to kill it, and what prizes you get from it.
Note that this guide is written for the Android version of Plants vs Zombies 2 (build version 1.5). The iOS edition of the app may still be compatible with the tips here, though certain features may be slightly different.
Where do I encounter the Treasure Yeti?
Unlike other zombies, the Treasure Yeti doesn’t normally spawn at a pre-set stage/level/difficulty. Furthermore, zombie yeti sightings are sporadic with no predetermined time or schedule. What is certain is that this mysterious undead randomly appears in a level that the player has already cleared. Such random level will have an icon hovering above it. The spawn interval between yetis is estimated to be about 24 hours.
Your best hope to find a Treasure Yeti is to receive a notification from the app telling you that one has been sighted. When it happens, immediately go to the level where the zombie yeti is spotted. There’s no telling how long the creature stays there. That’s why it’s best to play that level as soon as possible.
As long as a level is cleared, there’s a certainly a chance that the Treasure Yeti will appear there. Beating the level once (ergo gaining at least one star from it) is enough. In case you have a yeti to kill while at the same time still have some stars to gain in a particular level/stage, prioritize doing the former instead of meeting the requirements for the star. After all, you can always come back as you please to get a star. But if you’re up to it and have a good strategy, you can also choose to hit these two birds with one stone.
Treasure Yeti official almanac entry
Toughness: Dense | Speed: Basic
Description: A rare and curious creature, he always packs a lunch.
Speed Details: runs away after a short while
Special: carries treasure
The rare and wondrous Yeti carries his lunch box up and down Mount Brainer to his isolated mountain lodge.
What’s the best way/strategy to kill a Treasure Yeti?
The Treasure Yeti in Plants vs Zombies 2 is similar to the one found in the first PvZ game. It’s main difference is its timid nature; once hit from any damage source, it starts walking backwards. If it succeeds going off the screen, then that means you didn’t have enough firepower to kill it—you let it escape instead, along with its treasure.
As mentioned above, you need to prioritize killing the zombie yeti instead of everything else. However, that doesn’t mean losing the level—getting any zombie past the lawnmower—is fine, because doing so means not getting the treasure!
Plants that can instantly kill
Tough and hard to kill, the best way to bring down the Treasure Yeti is to reserve enough sun for plants that can deal a fatal blow. These include the Coconut Cannon, Cherry Bomb, Jalapeno, and Squash.
Plant Food for added firepower
If you fail to collect enough sun for those insta-kill floras, you can also make use of Plant Food to temporarily give a plant a boost in power. For instance, feeding the Snapdragon, Bonk Choy, or Repeater grants them enough damage to kill the zombie yeti.
You can also feed a Spikeweed or Spikerock in the same lane where the zombie Yeti is. Doing so pulls it to where the plant is located, thus giving you more time before it escapes.
Another option is to consume a Power Up. Your best bet is the Power Zap (hold your finger down on a zombie to electrocute it).
Distract the Treasure Yeti
Despite your best efforts, the zombie yeti may still endure all the blows you throw at it. To prevent the creature from escaping, place a plant to its right or exactly at the plot/space it’s standing. This zombie, even though rare, is just like any other—it will always halt to eat a plant whenever he encounters one. Your best choices for this tactic are the defensive Tall-nut and Wall-nut.
Restart level to try killing the zombie yeti again
This is a bit of a cheat but is nevertheless a good way to not let the Treasure Yeti escape. For some reason, the creature disappears if you retire from the level he’s currently found in, but it will still reappear if you choose to restart the level instead. Be aware that you can’t repeatedly restart the level for more treasure boxes, because you also need to complete the level along with the kill to get one.
You can’t just ignore it
If left unharmed, the yeti will still walk backward after making a short appearance. Kill it as fast as possible.
What riches does the Treasure Yeti drop?
Based on personal experience, the zombie yeti’s lunch box contains diamonds (each worth a thousand coins) and keys. I’ve yet to obtain another item type from the box. Nevertheless, this is one of the casual ways for getting keys, which are important for unlocking several features of the Plants vs Zombies 2. Also check out my in-depth guide about keys.
Though I’ve yet to see it for myself, a yeti kill may also drop more lunch boxes instead of just one. Power Ups are also said to be possible drops.
Do you know something about Plants vs Zombies 2’s Treasure Yeti that I haven’t included in my guide? Blast away in the comments below!
Thursday, November 7, 2013
I should be flattered, but I’m rather annoyed by the fact that someone has copied one of my blog posts. It would’ve been fine if the thief only quoted a paragraph or two and made reference of my blog, but the entire content was actually copied and claimed for his own. Making the situation even worse is that it’s the violating post that’s showing on top of Google’s search result when you use a common keyphrase.
So, which one of my posts is affected by copyright violation? It’s my guide on how to set up a LAN session for the popular zombie shooter game, Left 4 Dead 2. As of this writing, searching on Google with the terms “Left 4 Dead 2 LAN” returns a post published on PC Game Monster. On the other hand, my own article nowhere appears on the listing. The guide I wrote and published myself is still the top generator of visits for my blog, though, but because it’s linked a lot by several other websites and gaming forums.
Imagine that you’re in my place and trying to earn a living as a blogger. If you own a website mainly relying on pay-per-view ads, naturally you’d want your articles to be on top of Google search results for higher exposure and therefore more organic visits. That isn’t the case here. Sadly, someone else is eating away some advertising income that should be mine. I want some goddamn justice.
What to do when someone has claimed your work for their own
Naturally, I’m not the only one affected by plagiarism. The online world is rife with people engaged in content scraping or the act of stealing posts/articles of someone and publishing it on their own website. If you’re also a victim of content thievery, you have a number of options that you can do to minimize the damage done by the wrongdoer.
Contacting the content scraper
For bloggers who make money off of their posts, they can contact the owner of the site with the copy of their work and inform them of their violation. Ask for compensation, say, a one-time fee to license your work for republication. Or you can offer them to pay you for uniquely writing another version of the content so that both articles won’t seem derivative. Politeness is the key here at first. If it doesn’t work, only then a forceful or threatening message must be used.
In all honesty, I didn’t do the objective solution above. I was so enraged upon discovering that my work was copied that I went to the thief’s own website and wrote a rash comment on one of its pages. Perhaps the thief anticipated this and had set up his blog such that all incoming comments must be moderated first before getting public. My comment has never seen the light of day, and the thief—even to this day—continues to scrape content from others.
Filing a complaint through Google
What I did next was a more logical step to dealing with content stealers: filing a complaint through Google. The search giant offers several removal options for users and companies alike and for a variety of reasons. Naturally, one of them is requesting to remove a search result that directs to another site, because said site is infringing your blog post(s).
If you want to file a DMCA complaint through Google, you can start on their Remove Content page. When your case for requesting a Google removal is similar to mine, follow the steps below.
- Click the send a legal removal request link under Remove content for legal reasons.
- Under What Google product does your request relate to?, select Web Search.
- Under What can we help you with?, select I have a legal issue that is not mentioned above.
- In the other set of listed issues, select I have found content that may violate my copyright.
- Since you own the post, then respond to the next question with Yes, I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on the copyright owner’s behalf.
- Either choose Image/Video or Other, the latter being the appropriate selection for written work.
- The Google removal request will then provide you a link to the appropriate form for submitting your request.
- Fill up the form properly. Write and describe to the best of your knowledge how your copyright was violated.
If you aren’t serious in providing the required information, be aware that there’s also a form to counter a DMCA removal request. When Google approves that request instead, the content in question will stay in the search results.
Do Google removal requests really work?
You may be wondering if all these hassle with the form is really worth the time and effort. My answer to that is yes and no. After submitting, I was immediately notified—through the email I provided in the copyright removal form—that Google had received my legal request. The email continued to state that the team responsible for investigating copyright infringement would work on my request when their workload permitted. Two weeks later, I received another email from Google which stated that they had completed processing my infringement notice. It further claimed that the search giant was on its way to disabling access to the content that I complained about.
My submission was done months ago, but even to this day, the infringing blog is still shown in the top search results. So no, Google’s removal request proved ineffective in my case. Of course, I can always resubmit my request, but that will make me once again wait to no avail.
Contacting ad providers
A third option for those whose blog post was copied by another blogger is to inform that blogger’s sponsors to no longer display advertisements on his/her blog. Many ad networks prohibit users to show their ads in blogs that don’t conform to the DMCA law.
Anticipating future copyright violations
If you expect more people to copy your work in the future, you can set up a number of Google Alerts to immediately notify you if the search engine has found a page containing your specified keywords. Or, you can always do manual searches to see if there are existing duplicators of your content.
Even if your efforts to remove duplicated content from Google results do not end satisfactorily in your favor, the best next thing you can do is to not get discouraged and lose your passion for blogging. Just keep posting new stuff for your readers to enjoy. If once again someone’s stealing your work, at least that’s indication enough that you’re getting popular and headed towards the road of blogging success.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Playing Dota 2 is fun, but only if there’s no lag. When there is, expect disappointment from other players. You may also end up getting annoyed for being unable to kill an enemy hero due to that unexpected delay. Such madness must be minimalized, unless you stay with just the restricted games in LAN lobbies.
If you follow the tips below, you may reduce lag down to negligible levels for gameplay. On a side note, consider having a permanent view of your ping and FPS to help you constantly check if you’re currently suffering from delays or not.
Search matches closest to your region
As of this writing, there are nine available regions in the world where you can queue in. The game states this tip itself: “Select only the closest regions to you for the best experience.” Duly follow this tip even if the region nearest to your home has a longer average wait time than the others.
Set Dota 2’s network quality setting to high
You can find this setting under Game > Network of the game’s options. In short, low quality means bigger delay, while high quality means lesser delay.
To specify the network quality yourself, use the console commands below. See my guide on how to skip the Dota 2 tutorial to know how to launch the console window.
- cl_updaterate 40
The default value is 30, representing the “number of packets per second of updates you are requesting from the server.”
- cl_cmdrate 40
The default value is 30, which is the “max number of command packets sent to server per second.”
- rate 80000
This is the “max bytes/sec the host can receive data.”
Stop downloads and updates of other applications (and users in the network)
If you want smooth sailing as you play Dota 2, you need to stop any in-progress downloads (as well as uploads) by other programs. Turning off automatic updates of all installed software is recommended too, since updates can happen suddenly without your knowing. Though your antivirus program is usually the culprit to causing lags and delays, you can check which apps are currently eating away your bandwidth through the Resource Monitor.
If you belong to a network, also make sure that other computers and users aren’t hogging all the bandwidth and therefore making you lag in the game. Better yet, acquire your own Internet connection to have complete control.
Use an Internet connection meant for the home
You may be tempted by the promised speeds being advertised by cellular carriers, but their Internet access isn’t actually stable. How unstable is it? Based on personal experience, I got lags/delays as high as 9000ms (9 seconds!) several times just on one game.
Subscribe on connections powered by Wimax, DSL, or cable. Those types are meant for gaming, whereas mobile connections such as 4G LTE, HSPA+, and 3G are for users who are on the go. Factors you need to consider when selecting an Internet service provider are the speed, signal reception (for wireless), and reliability/uptime. Also be aware of any usage caps that your provider might impose, whether explicitly or hidden in fine print.
Lower advanced video games settings
Though not directly related to the game latency, lowering or disabling options found in Dota 2’s video games settings will help increase performance, specifically the frames per second (FPS). The acceptable rate is 40fps, though your computer must be able to reach and stay beyond 60fps for the smoothest gameplay.
For the fastest FPS, choose the following settings:
- Aspect ratio – 4:3
- Resolution – 640x480
- Vertical sync (Vsync) – off
- Anti-aliasing – off
- Specular – off
- Specular bloom – off
- Water quality – off
- Fog – off
- Shadows – low
- Animate portrait – off
- Additive light pass – off
- World lighting – off
- Ambient occlusion – off
- Textures – low
- Render quality – lowest
- Ambient creatures – off
Of course, you’d want to balance the performance and quality. If your computer can take it, just disable some of the settings. Anti-aliasing, shadows, and render quality are usually the ones causing a heavy demand in your computer’s graphics card. You may also want to configure your card’s own settings.
Other ways to reduce Dota 2 lag
To reduce lag even more, do the following:
- Achieve a faster connection through proxies and tunnels
- Don’t find matches when Steam is updating the game to a newer version
- Don’t play when Steam is updating itself
Note that there will always be delays or lags as you play Dota 2. By following the guide above, you can at least make sure that your multiplayer matches have a positive overall experience. Lastly, the tips above apply not only to Dota 2 but pretty much just about any online game.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
One of the common commands that people use in Dota 2 is –ping, which shows the game latency in milliseconds (ms) and packet loss for a short while. But as you continue playing this popular MOBA, you will want to always check if the game has a consistently short response time to your inputs. This guide is meant to show you how to display ping, as well as the frame rate—also known as, frames per second (FPS)—permanently.
Seeing the latency or ping all the time lets you determine if you have a fast and stable Internet connection. If you find otherwise, then you will need to take certain steps to reduce the lag. After all, you can’t just ignore all the spikes happening from time to time as it will just ruin both your and your teammates’ game experience.
How to display Ping and FPS in Dota 2 constantly
The tutorial steps below are what you need to see your ping and FPS in Dota 2. First, we need to enable the developer console in the game.
1. In your Steam Library, right-click Dota 2 and select Properties.
2. Under General tab, click the Set Launch Options… button.
3. Type in –console and press OK.
After the steps above, launch the Dota 2 application. The console should appear by default. If not, you can invoke its window by pressing its assigned key (single quotation or ‘ by default).
1. Enter net_graph 1.
Command help text:
“net_graph.” = 1 draw the network usage graph, = 2 draws data on payload, = 3 draws payload legend
With that command entered, you should be able to view the ping and FPS permanently, as well as the packets being sent every second.
Other Tips & Tricks for Dota 2 Ping and FPS
By default, the data is shown at the lower-right portion of the screen. If you find the numbers too distracting while you play, you can adjust their position elsewhere on the Dota 2 HUD. Use the following console commands for repositioning:
- changes height of the netgraph panel
- adjusts margin relative to the height
- makes the numbers appear smaller
Experiment with the commands above with your screen’s resolution in mind.
Should you decide to remove the net_graph data, just enter net_graph 0 in the console.
If you prefer to show just the FPS, you can make use of the cl_showfps 1 console command instead.
The net_graph is also compatible with many games developed/created by Valve, such as Counter-Strike.