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PC Games (Games)

PC Bioshock Demo Now Available 96

Dr. Eggman writes "Valve announced today that their digital distribution system, Steam, is now hosting Irrational Games-turned-2K Boston's soon to be released title, Bioshock. The game will appear on Steam and the US August 21st and in Europe on the 24th. If you don't enjoy pipes, perhaps you'd like to utilize the tubes at 3DDownloads, Worthplaying, FilePlanet, or Gamer's Hell."
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PC Bioshock Demo Now Available

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  • I think I can manage to wait another 18 hours to enjoy the game as a completely fresh experience.
    • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:34PM (#20299899)
      Actually, the demo is important for ensuring that the game will run properly on one's computer before laying out $50 for it. For example, the system requirements claim you have to be running WinXP, but is it possible to coerce the game to run under Win2k?

      Irrational has been pretty sensitive to the plot-relevant details of their game being ruined by spoilers, so I'm hopeful that the demo won't spoil the full game.

      • Actually, the demo is important for ensuring that the game will run properly on one's computer before laying out $50 for it.

        Irrational has been pretty sensitive to the plot-relevant details of their game being ruined by spoilers, so I'm hopeful that the demo won't spoil the full game.

        Fair point. My understanding though is that the demo is essentially the first hour of the game and therefore playing the demo might well serve to take some of the initial lustre off of what is evidently a sublime experience. I've already taken the chance (since my PC is fairly well specced) and pre-loaded the game via Steam, so I have no interest in the demo. I can definitely agree with you though that the demo might serve as a testing device for more marginal systems.


        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Actually, it does essentially give you what the game is about, but it's just enough to start with; it essentially lets you know "this is your situation, here are the key players, here's how you play", and it leaves you at a cliffhanger. It's a damn good demo (I played the X360 demo).
        • My understanding though is that the demo is essentially the first hour of the game and therefore playing the demo might well serve to take some of the initial lustre off of what is evidently a sublime experience.

          IIRC remember the Baldur's Gate 2 demo was a large portion of the first chapter, but you had the option of continuing your saved games in the retail version. Isn't something like that possible with Bioshock?
      • If you go into the bar where the 1959 party was being held and listen to the voice recording by the big "1959" neon thing, listen to what the people are chanting in the background. Then look at your radio.

        I can't wait to consume this game:P
      • Re:No thanks (Score:4, Informative)

        by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @03:14AM (#20301655)
        I've been working on getting it run under win2k for a while now:

        'Release' folder == Progra~1\Steam\steamapps\common\bioshock demo\Builds\Release

        1. dbghelp.dll must be downloaded from 'dll download sites' on the internet and dropped into 'Release'

        2. You must hex edit xinput1_3.dll in 'Release' and replace the String 'TraceMessage' with 'GetUserNameA'. It simply forces the debug messages to be dropped on the ground, I think anyways.

        Thats where I'm at so far. Right now I can load up and start the demo, but I have two issues:
        1. The mouse is not drawn
        2. When you start the actual plain crash sequence, textures are missing and it looks like a big pile of crap. Since I have really old drivers installed, I'm going to attempt one of the 'non-ati' bundles or maybe the hotfix driver (if it works with 2k) to see if any of them work out for me.

        Good luck
        • Re:No thanks (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @08:21AM (#20302981)
          Thanks for the info. The hex edit of xinput1_3.dll (which, coincidentally, works to get any version of the XInput DLL to at least load under Win2k) causes that DLL to call the wrong function if ever it were to happen to try to call TraceMessage. The results would almost certainly be a crash, but since I've played other games with this hack present with no problems, I suspect that it would require unusual circumstances to cause this to happen (and that's assuming that the XInput DLLs actually call TraceMessage anywhere at all). Keeping the DLL in the individual game's directory greatly reduces the chances of this hack being used as a security vulnerability.

          The demo ran fine for me under Win2k taking the steps mentioned in the parent post. I had installed the nVidia drivers that were also released on Monday. The only problem I had was an annoying tendency for the game to momentarily freeze up when loading new textures, resulting in a disorienting turn to an arbitrary direction if I happened to be turning at that moment.

          Anyway, the ease with which a person can get these games to run under Win2k (Overlord was the same way, minus needing dbghelp.dll) makes one wonder why it's not supported directly out of the box. Having the game decline to load the XInput DLL, for instance, unless you're actually using an XBox360 controller on your PC, would eliminate one source of seemingly arbitrary incompatibility that was introduced by Microsoft. The dbghelp.dll file is a good bit different between the two versions of Windows, but the new version seems to function as a drop-in replacement if you add it to the executable directory for whatever game you're playing. Is the incompatibility purely unnecessary, created artificially by Microsoft to induce sales of XP or Vista (perhaps as a strategy that took longer than they expected to start working, due to game manufacturers being reticent to abandon Win2k users for several years)?

          • by Nimey ( 114278 )

            Anyway, the ease with which a person can get these games to run under Win2k (Overlord was the same way, minus needing dbghelp.dll) makes one wonder why it's not supported directly out of the box.

            It's more effort for the developers to ensure compatibility. If they don't have to bother with an arguably obsolete OS, that saves both time and money, especially if there are in fact workarounds that need to be implemented just for Windows 2000, /especially/ if those workarounds degrade performance on newer versions of Windows.

            2000 was never meant as a home/gaming OS anyway, so you were lucky to get what you did.

          • by pavon ( 30274 )
            I'm not a huge gamer, and had stopped buying PC games because none of them support Win2k anymore. Seeing as how I almost never use Windows much anyway, I wasn't about to pay hundreds of dollars for XP just to play the occasional game, not to mention all the EULA garbage.

            I didn't realize there was such a simple fix - Looks like I will be picking up a copy of Overlord after all.
          • Even though it's relatively trivial to run under windows 2000, officially supporting Windows 2K would require re-qualifying the game for that platform. Basically, that would mean repeating all the testing preformed on Vista/XP on another platform.

            Remember that testing a game requires considerable time with different drivers, and video cards.

            When you consider the cost and time required, putting a 2K stamp on the box might not make sense.
        • Those are the *exact* two symptoms I'm experiencing except using XP. However, after some googling I wrote the experience off to the fact that I'm running an X800 card. According to some posts there's no way to use it because it doesn't support pixel shader 3.0.

          If it's not due to that it would be worth another try. Any input appreciated.
          • by ADRA ( 37398 )
            OMG's I'm using an X800 GTO as well... At least I know now so that I can save $50 from buying the retail. What a shame, because the online demo walkthrough really did look swank. If you're getting the issues, you may want to hunt down ATI's specially crafted bioshock driver hotfix. Its big, but apparently it fixes all the annoying issues.
          • Alright here's the deal. I tried running the demo last night only to find it wouldn't draw a mouse cursor. This morning I dig around and realize that the game will only run in Shader Model 3.0 mode. If you have an ATI X800 series or older, or Geforce 5 series or older card you will never, ever get to play this game.

            This really irks me because it smacks of a smug (lazy?) developer who cares little of someone with even a 2 year old graphics card. It stings even more because the game runs on Unreal Engi []
            • As an addendum to this, I highly recommend finding a copy of System Shock 2 and play it instead. There are plenty of community made patches that update various portions of the game that haven't aged well, if things like graphics bother you.
  • ok it is weird. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pkw111 ( 136176 )
    ok it is weird.

    A very immersive and artful environment. Water effects are indeed beautiful, but beyond that the graphics remind me of Doom3 (even though the engine is Unreal's). The combat is classic FPS like DoomIII, but the devious AI and funky weapons give it a sandbox-ish twist. You can hack (via mini-games) other drones and shit to get them to help you.

    Kind of a freaky story though... kind of encouraged to kill zombified 10 year old girls as part fo the struggle you are dropped into.
    • Actually from what I've heard the girls are as such so that the player would have to make a difficult ethical decision... it'd be a lot easier to blast them to bits if they were adjust male zombies, yes?

      • by Nimey ( 114278 )
        After experimentation, I can assure you that female zombies consider human brains just as delectable as do male zombies.

        Hey, baby, want to see my BOOM STICK?
  • I can honestly not comprehend why they would delay the game for days in different regions when the delivery medium is online. What possible reason could they have for making the rest of us wait? What harm is it to release the game on the same day everywhere?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JNighthawk ( 769575 )
      Legal. Breaking street dates is bad juju.
    • Maybe they can't handle all the inevitable tech support calls from the entire world at once? You also gotta figure that any internationalization teams are automatically always lagging the main version a bit during development.
      • Maybe they can't handle all the inevitable tech support calls from the entire world at once? You also gotta figure that any internationalization teams are automatically always lagging the main version a bit during development.

        Firstly I doubt they would seriously get that many tech support calls.

        Secondly any calls would be distributed throughout the day due to timezone differences.

        Thirdly there have always been international call centers handling tech support,so I doubt they would be overloaded.

        Fourthly the internationalization would have been well and truly complete before the DVD's were pressed.

        • by Guspaz ( 556486 )
          There are numerous issues with the game's demo that are probably present in the launch copy. For one thing, the game crashes for most people (all people?) with nVidia cards unless the newly released BioShock-specific driver is installed (or high quality shaders are disabled). That alone will probably cause a ton of confusion among less technically savvy users.

          For another thing, the widescreen modes don't change the FoV, so going widescreen means the top/bottom of the screen are chopped off instead of the im
          • by absorbr ( 995554 )
            Dang, EA/Dice also has the same issue with FOV for wide screen monitors in their Battlefield series, and they claim fixing it would give an unfair advantage to widescreen users, which is a rediculous stance. If you go to Frys right now, judging by the LCD offering on their website, roughly 90%+ of their monitors are 16:10. It's the ones who can see the upper and lower parts of the image who have the advantage!

            And if you're a photo professional who has a dedicated 4:3 monitor for photography, surely you ca
            • by Guspaz ( 556486 )
              BioShock is a single-player game, though. There's no question of certain players having unfair advantages.
          • by malf-uk ( 456583 )
            Someone's created an unofficial FoV fixing patch for this demo apparently. Link about halfway down this page [].
        • by nuzak ( 959558 )
          > Firstly I doubt they would seriously get that many tech support calls.

          Not tech support, but sales support. "Dude, where's my order" kind of stuff. 2K is a pretty darn big company though, so I imagine they can handle it, but it can really screw your supply chain if you don't stagger shipping dates properly.

          My guess is it's largely about marketing -- you get more buzz if you have lots of releases than just one big one.

    • If they release everywhere at once, they get one big burst of publicity in magazines and on the web. If they stagger their releases, they get publicity in different regions at different times, and some of the publicity from one region may bleed over into regions that haven't had their release yet. "North American gamers are having a great time playing game X, European gamers can't wait to get their hands on it!"
    • I assumed it was because they didn't want the world to login and start downloading all at once and kill their servers... kinda like what happened to the Skype network...
    • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:47AM (#20301203) Journal
      This is probably tied into highstreet store release dates and sales deals. For reasons connected with the distribution chain, most US games releases happen on either Mondays or Tuesdays, while pretty much all UK (the most important European market since Germany effectively closed its borders to many games) releases happen on Fridays.

      Obviously, retailers would kick up a fuss if online vendors were selling the game in their region before they had it in their stores. For this reason, they tend to insist on contractual obligations ensuring that "online" releases don't pre-empt titles hitting their stores. Of course, given how easy the region-checks on most online sales of games are to defeat, I'm not really sure that this policy is getting them very far, with the generally technically savvy PC gaming scene.
  • Where's the torrent? (Score:2, Informative)

    by eagl ( 86459 )
    Why isn't anyone hosting a torrent yet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The torrent has been around longer than the links in TFS mo []
      • by eagl ( 86459 )
        Thanks. I goofed and searched for "bio shock", instead of "bioshock". Whoops.

        With 5800 seeds, I expect the DL will be fairly snappy. I'm in line at one of the legit DL sites with 80+ min remaining before I can even start that DL...
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If you're downloading a perfectly legal file I don't see why it would mater how "legit" the source of the torrent is. Why not jut grab the torrent from thepiratebay (nobody will twist your arm to download the ub3r-1337 w4r3z, I swear) and save yourself the 80 minute wait (probably longer than the actual download will take).
          • by eagl ( 86459 )
            I got it from TPB. DL speed was pretty bad for some reason. Not sure why exactly. By "legit" site, I mean the typical game sites that specialize in games and are specifically authorized by the game company to distribute the demos. Sometimes they're even authorized to customize the demo to highlight where it came from, as part of the promotion package. That's what I meant by "legit", as in an original distributer designated by the game company.

            There is a diff between "legit" and "legal". I have nothing
  • Demos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .werdnaredne.> on Monday August 20, 2007 @10:30PM (#20299861) Homepage Journal
    I never really bother with game demos, but I will make an exception here. There are far too few atmospheric games, far too few quality PC games, and I love to see people harken pack to PC classics like System Shock 1 and 2, which this would have been a sequel to if they had the rights.
    • by Psiven ( 302490 )
      I'm having good luck on usenet. The torrents and public hosts are completely bogged.

      If you've got an .nzb capable newsreader, try this collection []
      • by absorbr ( 995554 )
        heck yeah, binsearch is my home page. $40 for 3 months of maxes my 10mbit connection almost always. I let a friend who works for an ISP try it out once and he saw 30-40mbit sustained!! Why mess around with torrents for the popular stuff :)
        • by Comen ( 321331 )
          Idiots.... Fist rule of USENET is DO NOT TALK ABOUT USENET!
          A car whould be at your house momentarily
  • What a messed up story submission. The headline and the last sentence suggest the article's about the demo, but everything else is referring to the retail game itself. To make it quite clear: the full game's available on Steam and will be unlocked on the release date. The demo's out in the wild and is available at the mirrors listed. I'd suggest waiting for the full version. All indications point to one of the best games every made.
    • All the other indications point to it not running on my PC. So I'll be grabbing the demo first to check.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sibko ( 1036168 )

      All indications point to one of the best games every made.

      All reviews point to one of the best games ever made. Quite honestly, I don't believe them. When you start throwing around buzz words like "Epic storyline, Most revolutionary FPS to hit the genre" it tells me the game is being overhyped. I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed with the game. I played the demo on the xbox, and it really doesn't do much for me. It's atmospheric, it looks good, but the gameplay itself is just... lacking. Your options for killing things are various magic spells, a

      • by Demonix ( 140379 )
        While I agree with you that the reviews are not likely a good indicator, I am still cautiously optimistic that Bioshock will be a great game, if only because it is a spiritual successor of System Shock I and II.

        Your examples of games that are better, however, are somewhat lacking. While I agree that Stalker was a good game, it certainly didn't bring anything new to the table, or even really have anything resembling RPG-lite gameplay. The graphics were good, the physics were decent, but the whole thing was
      • This is the spiritual successor to System Shock 1 & 2 by Looking Glass, while you are talking about games by iD and Bungie. Especially the iD Quake game says a lot about you.

        System Shock and Doom came out roughly at the same time. Now be ready for a shock, Doom was inferior in EVERY aspect to System Shock, save one. Sales. Except that they never really competed except in the eyes of shallow people that label every FPS game a FPS.

        The simple fact is that System Shock NEVER was a FPS like Doom/Quake/what

      • ...and you have only played the demo. There is more you haven't seen. Perhaps they know something you don't?

        Still, far be it from me to tell you what to like.

    • The BioShock demo is also available on Steam. I'm getting it now.
  • TPB showed that BioShock was released "2007-08-20 05:26:09 GMT". Add in -5 hours for Central Time Zone, and you have the torrent available on the 20th, just after midnight. That's what, 20 something hours ago?

    Another great release for BT.

    BTW, I downloaded it a few hours ago and just about maxed my 15MBPS connection.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by samwh ( 921444 )
      Actually, there is an interesting story behind the torrent. Someone from discovered that a modification to a html file on fileplanet allowed people to download the demo almost a day ahead of time. Fileplanet removed this exploit, but there was already a torrent by then.
    • by Cheapy ( 809643 )
      Some Toys 'R' Us stores accidentally started to sell the game last week. Someone must've bought a copy there and uploaded it. So it's not so much "another great release for BT." as much as "a screw up on Toys 'R' Us' part." Although I'm sure Irrational wouldn't mind if you went out and bought the game. They might like that even. It'd provide them with a reason to make a sequel.
  • I was reading the Ars Technica thread - one person asked if the demo would run on XP; no answer yet. Another mentioned that he had downloaded the demo from Steam, but it wouldn't run; didn't mention his OS. Does anyone yet know if the demo will run on an XP and/or 2K system with DX9?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Easily. You need Vista for Bioshock like you need a third leg for fishing. Like, you don't need it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bieeanda ( 961632 )
      According to garbled reports, DX10 just gives you prettier water effects, and possibly FSAA.

      According to my eyewitness report, it runs on XP, with a 7600GT, 2 GB of RAM and a 3700+ processor.

      • by JonXP ( 850946 )
        Yeah, all you get from DX10 is AA and better shader effects (water, the ground/walls/objects look "bumpier" without looking wet, etc). Runs fine on Vista with 2GB RAM and a 2.1Ghz CoreII Duo.
    • thx. time to download.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tukkayoot ( 528280 )
      Yes, the demo is DS9-able, but as usual you may have to play around a bit to get the Cardassian, Federation and Bajoran technology to work together properly.
      • by JonXP ( 850946 )
        Bah, just divert more power from the station's shields. It's not like there are any enemies in this sector.
  • Yes, but does it run on Linux? Yet?
    • I think WINE would take one look at the engine requirements and proceed to uninstall itself in horror. Absolutely no chance.
  • The "Matt" in WhereTheHellIsMatt just downloaded and blogged about this demo, and he loves it:

    "Two days ago, a demo went out on Xbox Live for a game called Bioshock. It's the best demo I've played in years. The game is actually literate, which is a quality I stopped hoping for long ago. The situation they drop you in is absolutely riveting and the quality is at a level that no amount of money can produce. Having worked in games, I know all forms of bodily fluid were excreted in its creation. A lot of peo
  • Bioshock Demo (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Great looking game, Runs great on 2 year old hardware amd 3700 and 7900gtx with 1gb ram, also runs great under XP. I haven't updated the NVidia beta drivers likey they suggest but i get very playable frame rates without it. As soon as i get cash, it's going into this game.
  • Loved it, because it confirmed my PC won't be able to run Bioshock, as I suspected. Hope those neat water effects were worth my $50 (and the $50 of everyone else who doesn't have a "100% Directx 9.0c compatible" video card.)
    • by TeraCo ( 410407 )
      I think that one other guy is planning on upgrading his card though.
      • Might as well buy a 360 if I'm gonna drop the money to upgrade my video card. Is scalability really that difficult?
        • The engine the game is built from has the capability to scale to 9.0b built in. 2k simply decided not to implement it. My X800XL still runs all latest id engine games as well as Source games just fine. But as you put it, hope the cute water effects were worth my $50.
  • Now i see where the complaints about the unreal engine come into play. Even with the demo's heavily handicapped graphics, it plays on my 3 Ghz 1Gig 6800 like Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries did years ago on my 100 Mghz machine on 640 x 480 mode. True I left shadows on, but thats a large part of the atmosphere. Then it locked up my computer after that confusing part with the alarms and such. Guess I'll have to get the 360 version even though I prefer FPS's on the PC.
    • Yeah, I've been facing a dilemma over which version to get. Ordinarily, like you, I prefer my fpses on the PC, because even though I can play them perfectly well on a control pad these days, keyboard and mouse still feels slightly more natural. My current machine is a 9 month old C2d 2.66ghz, 2 gigs RAM and the 1gb SLI-on-one-card 7959GX2 - fingers crossed, it should be able to play the game just fine.

      That said, I always get a little nervous around games which use cutting-edge engines on the PC, just becaus
  • by Emetophobe ( 878584 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @02:47AM (#20301503)
    I was pretty skeptical about the game before I tried the demo, I thought it looked like Doom 3 meets Half-Life 2 meets F.E.A.R, but I was wrong. I really like the 1950s theme mixed with an underwater world. I like the fact that you can loot corpses among other things, it gave the game more of a RPG feel than a straight FPS to me. Of course there's also the plasmids which is a nice touch. Before playing the demo, I thought it was just another over hyped FPS, but I now see what everyone else was talking about.

    I was a bit worried about performance before hand, but it ran very well on my year and half old system (AMD X2 3800+, 2 gigs of ram, Radeon X1900XT 256mb). I had it running at 1680x1050 with maximum detail settings and 4xAA/8xAF and I only noticed a brief frame rate slow down at one point near the end of the demo.

    The demo was good enough that I plan on buying it tomorrow (PC version of course). I think this is probably the first demo that I've tried all year where I actually want to buy the game instead of just uninstalling the demo and being thoroughly disappointed afterwards.

    • Very nice game indeed, but I am not going to get the full game...

      I also got to play it tonight (I actually had free time and not in crunch mode?) for about 40 minutes (yes, it is short). The previews, screen shots, video clips, and trailers didn't excite me for this game. I kept hearing and reading very high scores from Xbox [] 360 port (demo and the full game that was sold earlier). Everyone was raving how scary, addicting, and pretty the game was. Now, I know why. The audio, graphic, special effects, etc. we
      • by orcrist ( 16312 )

        So one extra copy for you to buy since I am not buying it due to above reasons and lack of free time (got other games to play and finish).

        I'm confused. I searched for your "above reasons" and all of the text there looks like a recommendation. You said nothing negative at all. Were you thinking of some negative point and forgot to list it? I'd be curious what outweighed those positive points in your opinion.
        • by antdude ( 79039 )
          My negatives were the themes of the game.
          • by anethema ( 99553 )
            You didnt list any negatives about the theme or otherwise.

            It really does seem like a glowing review of a game you'd much like to purchase.
      • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 )
        Both parent and grandparent posts REEK of astroturfing [].

        Please mod that shit down, it's pathetic.

    • I have an AMD X2 4400+ - the game used about 90% of first CPU and about 60% of the other. It ran beautifully on my 6800GT with 2GB of RAM.
  • I was able to play the Xbox 360 demo a few days ago at my brother in law's and I enjoyed it. I'm not really a fan of creepy little girls (ala The Shining) but it was fun and the atmosphere was intense. I wasn't able to play on an HDTV so I didn't get the full beauty of the game, but it looked wonderful on SDTV, which definitely says something. Too bad my PC is old and I don't own a 360, won't be playing this game for a long time...
  • ...found out i was playing it a lot like i did system shock 2. creep around corners. check every nook and cranny for items. horde crap. on easy mode, there is too much stuff and not enough need of resourcea use to be a problem. on medium, that evens out. on hard, dunno, disabled on the pc demo.

    i will say it ran pretty decently on a E6400 (2.13GHz per core), with 2GB ram, 7900GS vid card (my only possible stumbing block for a full graphic experience), 1440x900 reso, on XP. a few frame skip issues h
  • i just grabbed this for 360. incredible. i put in a good 3 hours tonight and i can't wait for another block of free time to burn.
    • by Comen ( 321331 )
      I went the 360 route also, I did not want to take the chance that it would not play well on my PC, it really looks great and plays very well on the 360!
      And I have liked the game allot, put in about 3 hours so far also.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.