Gamertag database for the Overclockers forums

I spend much of my time on a forum called Overclockers UK, or OcUK for short (link) and from there I have built up a list of people I play on the Xbox 360 who I can be (fairly) sure are not cheaters, whingers or any of the other annoying types on Xbox Live. One annoying thing though is that not everyone uses their forum ID for their gamertag, so I loose track of who is who. So partly for my benefit, and partly because I think it'd help over on the forums, I've created a database of forum IDs and gamertags here.

Its powered by a PHP script that fetches the info from a table. Normally you can't call PHP code from a WordPress page but I found a plugin that will let you: runPHP. I was a bit concerned that if the plugin broke it would expose the PHP and perhaps let those nasty script kiddies into my database so all the PHP code does is include another separate script somewhere else on my website. PHP security is not my speciality, I'm sure I'll soon find out if I left any holes anywhere!

Tomb Raider Legend

Call me crazy but I picked up Tomb Raider Legend for the XBox 360 in the 'January' sales for £12.99 despite having completed it already on the PC. To make things worse the PC version and its 360-esqe next-gen mode was one of the main reasons I spent nearly £300 on a new graphics card, only to buy a 360 a few months later on a whim (an expensive whim) which cost the same again. I managed to complete the whole game this time round on medium difficulty in just over six hours according to the game save (not including time spent plummeting to my death a hundred times and watching the load screen).

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So what's the difference between the PC and 360 versions? Almost nothing. The controls are more intuitive on the 360, its much easier to lock on to bad guys and keep them in focus. The graphics are again almost the same. The 360 renders the game internally at 720p so my PC wins on possible resolution. However the PC's next-gen mode seems to be just a little bit less well polished with Lara looking like she's always wearing too much make-up and also mis-rendering some shadows. The worst part of course is even on my capable PC with shiny graphics card, the game can barely generate 30fps when nothing on the screen is moving. But then again on the flip side the 360 with its resolution that is not native to my screen seems less sharp than the PC.

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So a tough call. The end decision comes down to price. When the game originally came out it retailed in shops at the usual £39.99-£49.99 you pay for 360 games and £29.99 for the PC version. Of course online you could save yourself a fair bit but for forty or fifty pounds Legend is pushing it. As I mentioned above I finished the main plot – including bouncing around in the mansion for a bit – in about six hours. When I originally played it took me about 11 hours to get a 100% completed score. You don't get a lot of gaming for your money. I do feel when you put the game length together with some of the rarer screen shots and interviews, you can speculate that a lot of content was binned to make the game hit a release date and make the company some dosh. Don't get me wrong, its a fantastic game, probably the best since the original.

Anyway all this discussion is pointless. I picked up Legend for £12.99, which is a bargain price for a fantastic gaming experience on the 360.