The Homerun – 2nd October 09; 1.3 Update and more
This week we have the big one, Home update v1.3, that brings a ton of new features and improvements.
The first major change in this update is universal game launching. This means that you can now jump into any game you have on your PS3 from Home without the game being patched first.
With this feature, you can arrange a multiplayer game inside the Home environment, although you cannot set it up until it has loaded. Games that are game launching “supported” will still allow you to set the game up while still inside Home.
Still, it will be useful when you want to speak to everyone at the same time before playing.
A feature that we have been crying out for is the ability to preview items in the shopping mall or centre before purchasing. This has been added into v1.3.
You can preview multiple items at the same time and also use the feature with furniture. This will make spending our cash a little easier, although it would have been better to have a full screen wardrobe interface for the stores with the menu system on top of that instead.
The patch also supports interactive items that work for a limited time or can be rented such as shrinking potion, although Sony has not managed to deliver any of these to PlayStation Home yet which is disappointing.
Some of you eagle-eyed readers may have noticed in Home that your avatar’s face has changed. This is because Sony has altered the facial appearance for the virtual people, and so now they all seem to be smiling.
Many people are a bit freaked out by this change, but we guess Sony just don’t want their Home users to look all depressed.
This update adds brand new emotes such as a dance move, actions like flipping a coin, and new ways to sit on the floor! These are some good additions to the already long list of emotes available.
Another thing that we have been asking for is a new targeting system. Sony has attempted to do something about it and say that with this new patch, items such as games will be weighted so that they are prioritised over people around you.
They also say that the camera angle will be taken into greater account. Unfortunately this causes a problem when you want to play something such as pool and bowling, and we now actually find it harder than ever before to do these activities.
A far simpler and user friendly option would be to simply assign one button for people, and another for interactive objects – maybe next time then!
If you are looking to join a game of pool or bowling, you can now use a new Queuing feature that makes it easier for you to jump into something that is already occupied. This feature is good because you can walk away and then come back to it when ready. But you can only queue for one thing at a time, and for some reason it appears to not be supported by the arcade machines.
Other new features include improvements to pool that now supports spin, and extra clothing options such as outfits.
The update is also supposed to speed up the loading times throughout including on start-up, although to be honest there’s very minimal change and it’s still nowhere near fast enough.
So as you can see it’s a fair update. But realistically it doesn’t really add much to the overall experience of PlayStation Home, so it’s unlikely to change how a lot of people perceive the service for the time being.
If you haven’t already, have a read of the top five features that we would like to see added in PlayStation Home.
Some people have experienced problems logging into Home after updating it. If this applies to you, the solution is to delete Home via the icon found on the XMB. You must then download it again and update. All of your settings, clothing, furniture and avatars will still be there.
Now, aside from the update, North America users are getting an new and improved Central Plaza with an updated Listen@Home, plus leaderboards for the Saucer Pop mini-game.
There is also a Neptune Suite personal space that is based under water and includes a multi-player shooter called Blast Zone.
You may also be interested to hear that the Lost Planet 2 demo fully supports game launching, so don’t forget to try that out if you haven’t already.