Rename a Character in Dark Souls II (PC)

I recently had a mess up in which I lost my save game for Dark Souls II. So I borrowed a save game from my son. This isn’t trivial to do, as the save game is locked to the steam account. In order to get the game to recognized the borrowed save game do the following:

Note: The save game location for Dark Souls II is %APPDATA%\DarkSoulsII\XXXXXX\DARKSII0000.sl2 where XXXXXX is a bunch of numbers, likely associated with your Steam account.

  1. Backup your save existing save game if you have one.
  2. Launch the game, and choose Continue. (If you do not have a current game you may have to make a new character; as soon as you are past the intro video and can run around, quit to the main menu, and select continue.)
  3. At the screen which you select which character to load, alt-tab out of the game.
  4. Copy the new save game over top of your existing one in the save game location.
  5. Try to load any save game, and you will get an error: Failed to load Character data.
  6. Click Ok, and you will be taken back to the character selection screen.
  7. You should now see the characters from the imported save game.
  8. Try to load one, and you will get the same error.
  9. Go back to make screen and choose New Game. Exit to the main screen once you are past the intro video and can run around.
  10. Choose Continue.
  11. You should now be able to load the imported character.
  12. Do a fast travel to force the game to save.

Ok, here is the undocumented (until now) part. How to rename your Dark Souls II character. I could not find any info online on how to do this. I am certain I am not the first to figure it out, but I figured I would document how to do it as it seems like many are trying to figure this out.

  1. Your save game is encrypted (I think), so a hex editor won’t work, I have tried.
  2. Download Cheat Engine from http://www.cheatengine.org/. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to be cheating. I believe you can cheat with this tool, but as lame as it sounds, you are only cheating yourself. Install the tool.
  3. Launch Dark Souls.
  4. Load your save game.
  5. Make sure you do not have any in game menus up.
  6. Alt-Tab out of the game.
  7. Launch the Cheat Engine tool.
  8. File->Open Process
  9. Select DarkSoulsII.exe
  10. Change Value Type to String
  11. Check ‘Unicode’ checkbox.
  12. In the Value field, enter the exact name of the character you are currently playing as.
  13. Click First Scan button.
  14. You should see results in the left pane. Usually three results should be returned. (There will be more if you are in the pause menu).
  15. Right click on the first result, and choose ‘Change value at selected address’, and enter the new name you want to use. It has to be the exact same number of characters/letters as the existing name.
  16. Repeat for all the other instances found. When I changed first location, nothing happened, but when I changed 2nd location, both first and second changed. Just be safe, do the step to all instances. ds
  17. Return to the game, and go to the Player Info screen. You should see your new name.
  18. Trigger a save, by travelling at a bonfire… or dying if you prefer.
  19. Congrats, your name is changed.

Hope this helps someone.


Blackberry Passport is Innovative, But Doesn’t Solve FUD Problem

It has been stated that newly announced Blackberry Passport is the innovation that Blacberry needs, to stay alive.  I think this is correct to a degree, they may need to do something like this in order to stay in the public eye. It is too bad, as their “copy-cat” BB10 devices are actually really good, and innovate as much as they copy… but people don’t seem to get it, and don’t seem to want to try.

The older blackberries (OS7 and older), while great productivity machines, were no where near as sexy or as functional as the iPhone or Android phones. So many people associate that older Blackberry experience with ‘the Blackberry experience’. While some prefer the old BB OS, most came to realise how much better the iPone and Android experience were. This is why Blackberry created BB10.

BB10 is a nice mix of Android and iOS IMHO. It has a very uniformly designed UI/UX like iOS, yet much less restrictive (i.e., Z30 has USB master mode, can connect to my bluetooth OSBDII scanner, connect to keyboard, NFC, HDMI, game controllers, etc none of which my iPhone could do). Android improves every year, but I still find the UI/UX clunky. Just bought a GS4 for my dad, and I was Googling how to do stuff and I only got rid of my One X 7 months ago!

The main problem I see is that people speak negatively about blackberry because of an experience they had witha pre-BB10 device. They assume that 10 is just an incremental upgrade, and don’t understand that it was a complete re-write (not even in the same language; java vs C/C++). I have owned an iPhone, HCT One X, and Z30 in the last 1.5 years. The Z30 without question my favourite.

The ‘app gap’ is a bit of an issue, but android apps for the most part run fine. They aren’t  as nice as the native apps, but they do ‘fill the gap’. Partnering with the Amazon Android/Music/Video store was a good move, but I do hope that native apps keep coming, as TAT ( http://www.tat.se/ ) has created a really nice UI framework for native apps. I also suspect that running Android apps on BB10 will feel more ‘native’ which upcoming releases of BB10.

Another chronic problem Blackberry is having, is sales reps. They are so biased towards the phone of their choice, no one really gets objective guidance from them. The teen girl who sold my Dad his Galaxy 4 told him “You don’t want to restrict yourself with bad battery life, and the limitations of iOS, so get an Android phone.” What?! Dad is coming from a 5 year old flip phone, that could barely do texting, I am pretty sure iOS would not constrain what he wants to do on a phone! I also highly doubt he would have battery issues given his usage pattern. Another rep said “Well you don’t want a blackberry, unless you are a just going to use it for email and texting, or you just need to have keyboard with buttons.” Uhmmm well, for one, that isn’t true, and secondly your body language suggests you would think less of us, if he did choose the Blackberry. Another sales guy said that “Androids were basically just for hackers”. (You get the point, sales people are just slightly above monkeys on the intelligence scale.) I think we are at a point where you really can’t lose with Android, iOS, BB10, or WP8, so I just let him make his own decision and bit my tongue.

I wish people wouldn’t be so narrow minded when making their decisions.


Finally, a mute button…

‘Blackberry is dead’ has been the cry of analysts from Wall Street for the past 5 years. Don’t get me wrong I am not denying that they are on the rain slick precipice of being history, but at least I won’t have to analysts listen to them anymore, as going private means their opinion is officially worthless.

http://crackberry.com/fairfax-financial-consortium-agrees-purchase-blackberry-47-billion

Well maybe their opinions aren’t totally worthless, as they seem to be self fulfilling to an extent; I have heard people say I wouldn’t buy that phone because I heard in the media that their stock price is down (it is a known fact that the higher your stock price, the more cores your mobile phones CPU has).

These are the same idiots crying that Apple is doomed…. on that subject, it looks like they were wrong 9 million times  this weekend alone: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/23/us-apple-iphone-idUSBRE98J0LD20130923

I am sure the mobile platform zealots who have hated Blackberry will continue to do so, all based on the ‘empirical evidence’ that ‘people don’t use it, so it can’t be good’. I have never understood the mentality, much the same way as someone who cheers for the Yankees and tells me they would never cheer for another team because the Yankees have more World Series wins.

I likely sound like a zealot myself, but the truth is that idiots pedalling their opinion as fact drives me to play devil’s advocate. I also feel I am entitled to voice my opinion because I have used iPhone and Android for multiple years each. I have not used WinMo, so I keep my mouth shut about it.


The Hardest Video Games

Well by most standards I am pretty average at Video games. A familiar plight for me: love hockey, but I am pretty average, love music, but I am pretty… shit. You get the idea.

Anyway, came across this list of hardest video games. I am not going to get into how comprehensive this list is. I am sure I will get a tonne comments saying that Game X is way harder than anything on this list. But while calling these games the hardest games may be controversial, calling these game very challenging games is pretty damn safe.

Of these 10 games, I have finished:

  • Battle Toads (though friend did most of work here)
  • Super Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts
  • Metro 2033
  • Demon Souls
  • Dark Souls

It really made me think that all of these games were amongst my favourite and most memorable games of all time…. Does the satisfaction of beating a difficult game make it bettter? Or where these just great games? I’ll take the easy answer here: both.


The Search For a Google Calendar Replacement.

Anyone have any Google Calendar alternatives. Like pretty much everything with Google, roll out and ignore.

The inability to accept meeting invites to anything other than the default calendar is driving me nuts. In fact you can’t even change the calendar later, like you can with non-invite events. You have to manually create a new event in the correct calendar, then c/p the info from the invite. Now that I am using Google Calendar for work, this is a real pain point.

I abandoned MobileMe/iCloud because of atrocious email, but I do miss how well the calendar worked, and the contacts sync worked excellent too. With gcal it is quite common to end up with duplicate events, or duplicate contacts, etc. I mean you know your software has issues when you have a ‘find duplicates’ button: Basically a ‘fix shit that should never have happened’ button.

I have looked at zoho, but seems a little too kitchen sinky. Plus the calendar is not their focus, so likely a good chance that they treat it as a red-headed step child, same as Google does. Tungle.me is no more, hoping RIM eventually does something cool with it. I played with 30boxes, but it doesn’t have a location field in calendar which is annoying. OneMedaMedia hub is on my try list. But I’d like to hear other if you have them.

EDIT: I ended up settling on outlook.com because it also has Exchange Active Sync support for free.


Get Spotify In Canada… (It’s Easy!)

 

Every time I have thought about signing up for Spotify, I have been put off when I start reading tutorials which involve hacking the entire internet.

Well I just did it in about 5 minutes, and it does not involve any long term hacks.

  1. Go here: http://www.newipnow.com/
  2. Enter http://www.spotify.com/us/signup/open/ in the connect to box.new_ip
  3. Click on one of the free account buttons in the US.
  4. You will be taken to Spotify, click on a signup link. If you don’t see a link to sign up, in the NewIpNow toolbar, change the url to be spotify.com, and it should take you to a page that you can sign up from.click_sign_up
  5. Enter your information, using a US zip code (any one).enter_info
  6. Download the client, run the setup, enter your information, and that is it.
  7. You will not need to use a proxy after that. It only checks your IP on sign up!

Enjoy!


Creating a Complete CRUD Application in 27 Minutes

A friend of mine recently decided to reinvent himself as a .Net developer. Any programmer can pick up C# .Net pretty quickly. He works in an enterprise environment, and so I suggested he look into MVC and Entity Framework (EF), as they are Microsoft answer to the Rails stack. I prefer working with Rails, but the enterprise space is dominated by the MS stack, so learning MVC and EF is worthwhile.

I decided to through together  video showing how easy it is to get something off the ground using MVC/EF.  I hope you can learn something from the videos, but I think the most important thing to take away from these videos is a list of what can be done, for very little development cost, using MVC and EF.

The videos are of fairly poor quality. I spent hours trying to get Cam Studio to record half as well as QuickTime does on my Mac, and this was the best I could come up with, but if you view in full screen you should be able to view the text fairly easily.

Pause the video if necessary to read captions. Forgive the the  meandering nature of the topics covered.  Also the videos are of fairly poor quality. I spent hours trying to get Cam Studio to record half as well as QuickTime does on my Mac, and this was the best I could come up with, but if you view in full screen you should be able to view the text fairly easily. Vimeo provides an option to download the full size original file too, so maybe take advantage of this for even better quality.

I was doing this totally live, with no rehearsal (edit: actually edited out about 3 minutes from a total 1.75 hours of footage). In fact you will see a bunch of mistakes I make as well; I didn’t edit these out, as they are likely errors that new .Net Web App developers will run into. I wish more programming videos would leave the errors in, as a developer can learn a lot from them.

What should you have for a background? You should have some C#, as I don’t cover anything on C#, other than touching on Lamda/Linq, and MS-MVC special syntax used. The more you know about databases, the more you will get out of the video, but the only required knowledge is that you know what a relational database is.

The best way to view these videos is by using vimeo’s hubnut player here. Unfortunately the hubnut iframe does not work with this host, so I can’t embed the vimeo hubnut player. However, I can just embed the videos one by one.

Start by creating the DB here:

Build your application in 27 minutes:

Examples of slightly more advanced things you will want to do in your web app (Part 1):

And Part 2:

Enjoy!

note: When I say MVC, I mean the branded web framework owned by Microsoft, not the design pattern made famous by the Gang of Four, though MS’s MVC is loosely based on MVC.

edit: If you find the text quality poor on the embedded videos, just download the full video from vimeo.