Friday, August 24, 2007

Superhero Simulations for training the "transhuman": A way to explore virtual environments and increase your range of behaviors

I'll get more philosophical later. For now I just want to record some helpful tips I've learned when trying to set up various simulations on the PC.

Today, while jogging through old Essen in Northern Germany, I found a Turkish cell phone, used DVD and computer game shop called "City Games" (Tel. 0201/1098975) and picked up a copy of "Spiderman 2: The Game" for PC to run on the Windows XP Service Pack 2 side of my MacBook Pro (using Bootcamp).

I installed the game on my 500 GB Medion HDDrive 2go (as I do all my PC games, since the partition on my MacBook is only 20 GB) and when I went to run it, it barked at me

"Negative delta time!

History: UGameEngine::Tick <- UpdateWorld <- MainLoop"

and promptly crashed the game. I typed the error message into and one of my first hits was:

Scrolling down I found the following useful information:

hello, i also have the same problem with my x2 aswell. but i have found a solution.

get win2000 launcher

and set up a launcher for ut and in the SMP tab only tick your first processer. a volia!


I did exactly as James suggested and it worked like a charm. Now Spider-Man 2 works great, so I can explore a virtual Manhattan environment from above.

Enhancements for making your exploration of virtual cityscapes easier:

The last thing you want to do when exploring various environments on your computer is have to keep finding your original CD's or DVD's -- besides the time wasted loading and unloading (preventing you from quickly changing the environments you are exploring), the constant use of the discs wears them out and subjects them to possible breakage. There are a couple of solutions to this problem. One is using GameJackal ( (30 day trial version). I've tried it for The Sims 2 and Resident Evil 4 and it works fine, but I understand it eats up harddrive space and memory. The other option is to download no-cd patches (usually modified .exe files to launch the game which you replace your original .exe with). My source for no-cd patches is

For Spiderman 2:


"Spider-Man 2 v1.0 [ENGLISH] No-CD/Fixed EXE" from

and replace the original WEBHEAD.EXE file with the one from the File Archive (in my case I had to put it in the Spiderman 2/System/ folder on my external harddrive. I backed up the original .exe in a backups folder.

Note: For GTA Vice City, if you want to explore the Florida urban environment, I suggest you use Game Jackal for your no-cd play; the no-cd .exe files (and the wonderful "save anywhere, anytime" launch .exe) unfortunately seem to cause the game to crash when you enter the ammo shop and try to purchase a weapon, or when you finish the first yacht scene. It may crash in other places as well. Reinstalling the program and running with the DVD in the drive solved the problem. Game Jackal seems to work with it once you create a profile.

Next tip:

When exploring virtual environments to learn about how they affect your behavioral psychology, you want as much flexibility as possible in your range of behavioral options. 'Playing' the game doesn't give you that flexibility as you will find yourself more concerned with staying alive or fulfilling the objectives of the game storyline than exploring your environment or options. You can waste a lot of time reading walkthroughs and learning about cheats to survive a given level, and that time is much better spent simply navigating through the environments and picking your fights and challenges on an adhoc basis.

Fortunately, for achieving this kind of flexibility there are tools out there called "TRAINERS". A trainer lets you toggle on and off parameters such as "unlimited health", "unlimited ammo" "freeze AI" (rendering the artificial intelligence driven enemies impotent and motionless so you can move around them or dispatch them) "one hit kill" (even the slightest punch or a badly aimed shot can dispatch an agressor) so that you don't have to waste your time being a marksman. With a good trainer (and there are many out there) you can go through the virtual world of the game at your own pace and decide when you want to "play" and when you simply want to explore. In effect, trainers make you a "superhero". has lots of trainers for lots of games. The ones for spiderman 2 are here:

Using such trainers is similar to calling up the console in Half-Life 2 and typing in
"sv cheats 1" to turn cheat mode on and then typing in "god" to enter "god mode" wherein you are immortal and invincible. Game testers use these modes to walk through their games for beta testing without getting killed by their own AI creations at every turn.

I have found that being invincible (i.e., being "superman") completely changes your perspective about the environment and how you behave in it, and raises serious questions about how much of our environmental response is mediated by our own fear of mortality or conflict.

My suggestion: run a trainer that lets you easily toggle between playing virtual games as a mortal and as an immortal, and record how the experiences affect your behavior and psychology.

Viel spass! (Good luck!)

No comments: