Monday, July 30, 2012

Microsoft Shakes up game developers with Metro

Article first published as Microsoft Shakes up Game Developers With Metro on Technorati.



Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 release for PC's is ruffling the feathers of independent developers.  The Redmond giant plans to not only take a cut of all sales made through the Microsoft Store but also require Metro apps to be sold exclusively through it.

It appears that Microsoft is taking a page from Apple's playbook by reportedly planning to take a 30% cut of sales through its Microsoft Store with the upcoming Windows 8.  However,  according to Microsoft when an app reaches $25,000 in sales the percentage would drop to 20.   

This is where the supposed controversy springs from with recent statements from Valve's Gabe Newell and Blizzard's Rob Pardo respectively calling the upcoming Windows 8 "A catastrophe"" and  "Not awesome for Blizzard either." 

Discomfort among the gaming bigwigs may concern Microsoft's closed platform of the Windows Store (reminiscent of Apple's) forcing  higher prices or cuts into profit margins for  developers who choose to sell via the channel.

Microsoft isn't placing any restrictions on Windows 8 for products obtained through non-Microsoft channels, however.  That leaves developers free to develop outside of the Metro interface and bypass the Microsoft Store.  That might relegate them to a "perceived" lesser Windows 8  experience but not close it off to them.  With Metro the centerpiece of the new OS, apps that don't use the channel have limited access to the new UI.

In testing on Windows 8 Release Preview there were no major issues with Valve's Steam or EA's Origin clients.  Both operate independent of the Metro interface as desktop applications and in Origin's case created a shortcut tile in Metro that opened on the desktop.

Considering the price premiums demanded by publishers like Valve and Activision Blizzard for titles of arguable quality it's no surprise that Microsoft would want a piece of the action if they develop for Metro.  With new gaming revenue models based on in-game purchases and add-on DLC to pad revenue, the potential windfall for Microsoft could be quite large.

Rumblings from independent developers may be an attempt to sow the seeds of a new anti-trust complaint against Microsoft because of the closed nature of Metro applications.
Still, so long as the desktop exists in new versions of Windows, Microsoft can avoid the anti-trust arguments of the past just as apple has done on the Mac platform.  Should future versions of Windows remove the alternatives to its own marketplace, however, it's likely the question will again be raised.  


Sunday, July 29, 2012

No ChaCha 4 me


Click picture to enlarge....




I guess that pretty much sums up the service right there...

:-)


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Borderlands 2 Pre-Order



 I "was" calling this an Instabuy till I found out how overpriced this game was!

 Who do they think they are? EA? Activision??

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Midagedgamer report 7-27-2012






This week brings more expensive pre-orders, Gabe Newell's crystal ball, Blizzard taking blows over Diablo 3 and more!

On Monday, Dead Space 3 popped up on the Origin Store page.  This time around the Sci-Fi zombie shooter offers single player and co-op play in campaign mode.   The game is available for pre-order now for 59.99 for PC (DVD and Download), PS3 and Xbox.  The game is scheduled for release February 2013. 

From the Origin page...

Game features:
• Team up and take down the terror together: Play the full campaign in online co-op or single player. Easily drop in and drop out of play.
• Experience a hostile new environment: Head planet-side to discover underworld cities and accept side missions. Explore the frozen terrain and search abandoned encampments.
• Embark on a thrilling expedition to save mankind: Uncover the past, discover the source of the Necromorph terror and fight to fend off the extinction of the human race.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Also coming in Feb 2013 is Crysis 3 Hunter edition.  The game is available for pre-order now for 59.99 for PC (DVD and Download), PS3 and Xbox
Key Features:

• Seven Wonders of the Urban Rainforest - New York City has been contained in a giant nanodome and grown into a unique rainforest with seven distinct environments. Master the ultimate sandbox and turn it into your own personal hunting ground.
• Assess, Adapt, and Attack - Crysis’s highly-acclaimed sandbox gameplay is back with more open levels to let players choose their path and approach. Your upgraded Nanosuit allows brute force or stealth, always giving you more than one option.
• Expanded Multiplayer - Experiment with new ways to customize your Nanosuit and brand new game modes.
• The Biggest and Most Explosive Arsenal in Franchise History - In addition to giving you an arsenal of human firearms, Crysis 3 lets you scavenge alien weapons and deploy an all-new signature bow
• The Evolution of CryENGINE - CryENGINE unleashes the power of the Crytek creative team and delivers a visually stunning and varied gameplay experience.

The preorder bounses offer...

OVERKILL PACK available for PC Digital Download Only:  Sorry Xbox and PS3 fans...
• Overkill Pack - Includes the base game, all Hunter Edition content and the following early multiplayer unlocks: the Overkill Pack features early multiplayer access to the Typhoon assault weapon and skin. Spewing 500 rounds a second, the Typhoon gives players the ability to go guns blazing to take back the Liberty Dome. Also included in this pack are the Rapid-Fire Nano-suit module and two exclusive Overkill themed dog tags.

HUNTER EDITION BONUS CONTENT:
• Become the Ultimate Hunter Online- Get early access to the new signature Crysis 3 bow, bow attachment, and "Hunter" Nanosuit module for use in Crysis 3 Multiplayer.
• Multiplayer Head Start - Get a bonus XP boost up to Level 5 and gain the ability to unlock custom loadouts early.
• Look Sharp - Customize your loadout, plus get a unique bow skin and three exclusive “Hunter” themed dog tags.


Seems EA has a lot of faith in it's marketing to command $60 pre-orders for two games that are middle of the pack at best.  Seems to be a trend here with these two coming on the heels of the Medal of Honor Warfighte'sr Pre-order...

Also on Monday, Nvidia has released a graphics demo called "A new Dawn" designed to show off all the advanced hardware features of the new 6xx cards and featuring the requisite scantily clad forest pixie named Dawn not seen since the Nvidia FX demo 3 years ago. 

The demo touts full DirectX 11 tessellation, with more than 4 million triangles making up just the vines and forest 
bark of Nvidia's latest graphics exhibition.. The creators went to extra lengths (pun intended) making sure Dawn's hair is extra pretty with  40,000 carefully rendered strands.  I guess that's a lot of triangles for a tree.
Of course there's the obligatory texturing optimizations, shader this and that,  ridiculously complex quadratic equations and blah blah blah....

See Joystiq's take on it here..

Try it out on your own rig with the download link here..

It'd be fun to see what it does on an ATI card.


In gaming news that will make your heart flutter then stop dead there's news of....

A new Ultima on the horizon?

A new but not free to play version of Ultima called Ultima Forever is currently in development  in the alpha stage but will be entering closed Beta soon according to BIOware lead designer Kate Flack. 

Unfortunately this is going to be released on the IPAD first then on to other platforms.  No word on when or what  platforms but I wouldn't be surprised to see a version on Windows RT tablets at some point.  The game is based on Ultima 4 but set 21 years after the original game.  Of course by this point you probably fell asleep immediately after the word...IPAD.

Here's a link to the story if you're still awake...

And now for something completely different as the Pythons would say...

Except it's not really different other than the lawyers shaking their legal briefs at Activision Blizzard.

Seems a German consumer watchdog organization,the German body of the Federation of Consumer Organizations (Why do European agencies have such weird names??)) is threatening a lawsuit if Activision Blizzard doesn't respond to demands to highlight the need for an always on Internet connection on Diablo 3's packaging.  Blizzard has till today, July 27th to respond. 
South Korea has gotten into the act fining Blizzard $7000 (US) after raiding Blizzard's Seoul offices for what amounts to non performance of contract due to the zero day server outages that prevented even single player games of Diablo 3.
Victims of the outages suffered the infamous Error 37bemoaned in many gaming news outlets. 
Since bad news comes in threes the last little bit of justice concerns only partially addressed exploit that allows certain character types like the Wizard and Barbarian to play with virtual invulnerability.  This affects the auction house in the game where ill gotten booty from the exploit can be sold for in-game gold or real money.  At least they don't have to worry about EBay now.

Blizzard claims to have deployed a hotfix to address the Invulnerable Wizard exploit to servers worldwide.

So it seems Blizzards unwarranted premium price, inclusion of World of Warcraft type a la' carte pricing aka "auction house" and attempt to undercut eBay sales of leveled  characters has come back to bite them.  It's bad enough that players can gain artificial bragging rights but now they can fill their wallet too and Blizzard can't do anything about it.
Remember that episode of South Park when the kids were playing WoW incessantly to defeat a cheating player that was bullying everyone in the game.  Yeah, that's a real possibility now.


In mildly interesting Hardware news the next version of Thunderbolt is reported  to run at 20GBps, using a new controller called falcon ridge slated for 2014 release.  At least the upgrade cycle is consistent.  Remember how long it took to get USB 3.0?


The Radeon 7990 is delayed till late August.  It's powered by 4 6 pin power connectors, 2 7970 GPU's and 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM.  It's said to be using GHz edition GPU's that seem to benefit from binning possibly allowing the cards to not have to be underclocked like most dual GPU cards have to be.  The release date is said to be planned around the same time as the upcoming Nvidia midrange 650 and 660Ti cards.



Now for our foot in the mouth feature....
Gabe newell had some interesting commentary on Windows 8.  Apparently the Valve head doesn't believe Windows 8 is going to be a good thing for the PC market in saying,  

"I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality." Newell's hedge is apparently Linux with recent movements toward expanding Steam's presence in the Linux space saying, 

"“The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior.“We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy.

So Linux is held back by gaming?  Apparently the hundreds of disparate distributions, lack of standardization and need for constant fiddling for basic functionality has nothing to do with its small market share . Linux is a splintered platform exactly because it's not Windows or MAC.  As a predominantly open source platform it's impossible to get everybody in the room to agree on anything.  

That's fine for a  desktop window manager but it's debilitating to the platform as a whole.  Nobody is going to invest in an architecture without a built in user base. That's not going to happen if you try to force a market used to IPAD's to deal with the idiosyncrasies of Linux.
As a former Microsofty, Newell knows this better than anyone else.  If the former Microsoft Bob team member wants to expand Steam into realm of Linux he'll have to leave much of the open source crowd out of the loop to succeed.  In spite of this Newell claims the need for open platforms.

‘We’ve been a free rider, and we’ve been able to benefit from everything that went into PCs and the Internet, and we have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms.’”

Hmm, that's odd since last  October he predicted Apple was going to be a big influence on game consoles but is also quoted as saying, "I consider Apple to be very closed."
Newell's newfound interest in "Open platforms" may have more to do with using Linux as a closed platform for his own hardware than any act of magnanimity for the Linux community.

http://www.geekwire.com/2011/valves-newell-predicts-shakeup-for-closed-game-consoles/


http://allthingsd.com/20120725/valves-gabe-newell-on-the-future-of-games-wearable-computers-windows-8-and-more/

In this week's windows weekly Paul Thurott claimed Newell's statement was made, "in passing"  Yeah and so are Steven Sinofsky's blog posts...

http://twit.tv/show/windows-weekly/271

Finally in the Midagedgamerguys editors corner  aka "Rant" we're going to talk about the "unofficial  rules" of FPS gaming...

We've all experienced it.  No I'm not talking about the cheaters with their aimbots or another rant about campers either.  Hey, I know when the horse is dead.

No, it's something far more annoying than any of that. 

I'm talking about when you see phrases in the chat window like...

" Don't attack the flags", "I'm just trying to get my unlock" or "Don't kill anybody at the flag spawn"

I'm sorry but unless we're on an unranked server I can care less about your personal agenda especially if it's not helping the team. 

I'm also not a fan of making up rules on the fly or players whose only purpose is to screw up the game for everyone else. 
I'll bet you've run into a few of these if you've spent any time playing an FPS.  You know the scene, you spawn at your base and decide it'd be more fun to drive than walk into battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
So after foolishly jumping into the available seat of a chopper, tank or whatever,
I'm greeted with...

A-hole:  "Get out !@%*&, I don't fly with asshats"
Me: "Just go, we're wasting time"
time passes...
A-hole" Just get out"
Me: " We can go and try to accomplish something or just sit here."
A-hole, I don't go anywhere with!@%*&
Me:  "Look, save the BFF crap for the unranked servers and go already""
At which point they either accept my viewpoint or unleash their inner 4 year old.
-----------------------------------
Either way I'm entertained.  Nothing's more fun to watch than a virtual temper tantrum while I give a blow by blow to the rest of the team usually resulting in a "!votekick" on the offender once they figure out he's hogging the attack chopper.

Games have rules for a reason, so that everyone gets at least a chance to participate.  If every server turns into an impromptu private playground nobody is going to have any fun.

Make no mistake, you are going to run into it if you play long enough.  My advice, don't accept it.  As I've said before nobody has the right to ruin your experience so long as you're playing by the rules, the real rules.  If the server admin bounces you for it, don't play on that server and for god sake don't make any donations (some servers are shameless about the topic) unless you know the admins personally.  
Some of my favorite servers have made me want to punch the monitor, needless to say I'm not quite ready to make a donation.

It's strange to be a non-conformist when you're just trying to play by the rules.







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Midagedgamerguy's youtube video channel

I do a few videos a week and some of them get to this blog.
I do other gaming and some non-gaming related videos as well. 

I've provided a link to my channel here.

Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/user/74elcaminoguy/videos

Here's a little sample...


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why grown men play video games



Why grown men take video games so seriously....

These days age is a relative thing...

60 is the new 50....or 30 with the right cosmetic surgeon

40 the new 30...

Of course at the core of all of it is the simple truth that most men are in fact .... 12 years old
Nothing really changes for human males after that age.
Oh sure we get taller and girls aren't icky any more but we're still 12.
Consider this...

At 12 most boys want a Ferrari, a Corvette or a Monster truck and at some point their mommy
 At 30 we still want.. a Ferrari, a Corvette or Monster truck and "come to momma..."

The only difference is the context.

So how is that a grown man can spend hours happily staring at his TV with a game controller in his hand?
Simple...

When we were kids, play was more important than anything else and the more competitive it was the better.
It's no different when we get older but the games get more serious and the toys more expensive.

Remember at his core a man is really 12 years old with the requisite attention span to match.
The games we choose to compete in as adults don't'  address the instant gratification that our inner 12 year old demands. 

...and we need to address them.

Men of means can satiate their desires with a purchase.  Those less fortunate have to turn to other avenues.  Either way, the child must be placated.

Which leads us to gaming. 

As technology has matured so have the games. 

We're not limited to clunky controllers and pixilated opponents to challenge us anymore.
We can be the hero, drive the fastest cars and blow away the other team with one well placed shot.
All without consequence, other than the scoreboards. 

But it's just a game, a waste of time when more important things could be done.
Perhaps but when you examine the goals of most people in the developed world you find common themes.
Money, power, recognition, control of one's own destiny.

All of these are not ends, however, they're means. 

The ultimate goal is to have the freedom to play whatever game we choose anytime, anywhere, without consequence. 

The sad fact is that most of us will never reach the ranks of truly self-sufficient and play the way we want to. 
We'll never get to command an army against the evil hordes or test the limits of a Bugatti Veyron on some deserted stretch of highway.

Still, the child clamors for attention.

This is why gaming has become so popular amongst those who have long since left their childhood behind.

Among my generation we know the corporate ladder is a fallacy and promises easily broken thus denying the child.  We reject that which denies our inner 12 year old an embrace the things that make us whole.

Career, only important if you can master the game and not be its pawn, we need to play not be played.

Family and friends, in the context of the inner 12 year old these are your BFF's,  your lifetime playmates

Philanthropy, really we'd just like more people to play with and we don't like to see our friends sad.

In the end it all comes down to meeting a deep rooted need to be that carefree 12 year old if just for a few moments.  It's a need to free ourselves from the entanglements of our own survival and relish in the realm on the inconsequential.

If you can't have the Ferrari, at least you can blast your friends in Battlefield 3...









Friday, July 20, 2012

Midagedgamer Report 7-20-2012




Well ,an interesting mix of news this week.

Of course the big bombshell was the official release date of Windows 8. At a Sales meeting Steven Sinofsky (Microsoft President in charge of Windows and Windows Live) announced  the general  availability of Windows 8 will be October 26th, 2012 on new PC's.  No word on availability of Retail versions, however. 
Of course with a $40 upgrade price (download)  for owners of windows back to XP it may not matter as most will likely opt for the digital upgrade instead of the $69.99 DVD boxed version anyway.  Even so, Microsoft's aggressive pricing indicates they're hoping for a quicker adoption than Windows 7.  With PC and ARM based tablets Microsoft is painfully aware it's playing catch-up with Apple even though IOS and OSX are still disparate platforms.


In Steam news...

Orcs Must die 2 coming out on July 30th, Steam is currently offering 10% off pre-orders.  It's also available through Gamersgate and gamestop for 13.49.  Steam's offering a 2 pack for 22.49 that effectively makes each copy roughly $11.  So buy one for a friend, you won't be disappointed.
The new game offers solo as well as co-op play plus a new playable character, the sorceress.   New maps as well as play on classic maps is in the offering as well as new traps and spells to dispatch those medieval baddies.

Borderlands is a game I've spent more time in than any other and there's a sequel coming out soon.  Fueling the hype, a recent quote from developer Gearbox's VP of Marketing Steve Gibson says Borderlands 2 campaign takes 58 hours to complete.  Gibson goes on to say, "."We want it to feel like you get more for your money, we’re happy for people to pay their money once and feel that they get ongoing value."  If the sequel is as good as the original it's going to be time well spent.

The game is scheduled for release September 12th 2012. 


So while we all anxiously await the next two DLC packs for Battlefield 3 we got broadsided by news of the Battlefield 4 beta.  Due in the fall of 2013, according to the BF3 Reddit page maintained by a BF3 Community manager with EA. 

Of course with any news on the next iteration of the Battlefield series is bound to cause some discomfort amongst the faithful.  EA is of course promising to continue support of BF3 past the release of END GAME citing their continuing support for Bad Company 2 as an example.  I suppose this answers the earlier question of whether or not END GAME was going to end the franchise.  Apparently this bovine's got some milk left in her.

How to gain admission to the Beta isn't completely fleshed out yet according to EA but apparently buying Medal of Honor Warfighter ( 69.99) is guaranteed to get you a spot right now.  As a side note this news showed up as a popup when I opened Origin Wednesday.


Origin servers went offline at 10PM PT for 2 hours for what EA calls "important updates" in preparation for their upcoming origin 9 client.  I wonder if it will still say, BETA.
In other EA news the new trailer for the upcoming DLC pack, Armored Kill was released Thursday.  Instabuy for a tank jockey like me..MBT Service star, You Are Mine!  Confirmed is the purported "largest map ever in a Battlefield game, "Bandar Desert" as well as the first ever arctic map "Aborz Mountain".  Both are shown in the trailer.


EA claims the next version of Origin (version 9) will be more User Friendly...


I guess they have a bit of work to do since they came out swinging against the "you're not as good as Steam" crowd.  Reasons cited include high prices, lack of indie games and draconian interface hostile to hardcore gamers.


In hardware news...

If you're interested in such things, rumor has it that the next  Sony Playstation will be called Orbis and will be based on an AMD x64 CPU with an AMD Southern Islands GPU (think 7xxx AMD GPU)which can display up to 4096x2160 resolution or 4K.  I guess Sony's going with the "value" option for its hardware since it's unlikely a console will receive a high end SKU.    

Apparently release is set to be  around holiday 2013.  As is current trend (think Xbox 360) there will be no backward compatibility with PS3 games and there will be measures to prevent the use of used games.  So get your games as cheap as you can because the $10 bargain bin is going away for all intents and purposes.  I'm sure someone will come up with a hack but of course you risk your PSN account with that route and you know how seriously Sony protects its PSN accounts.

Sony's half-hearted compromise offers buyers of used games limited functionality until they pay an additional fee to fully unlock the used game. 


In Graphics card news AMD has gotten aggressive with it's pricing against the Nvidia 6xx series of cards announcing price drops that shine a harsh light on Nvidia's lack of a new generation product in the mid to low end graphics market.

AMD announced price drops late last week across the Tahiti line of graphics cards with the top end 7970 GHZ edition at $499, the non over- clocked  7970 down to $429 and the 7950 at $349.  AMD's also offering a trio of free games (3 for free promotion)  with the purchase of these cards as well. 

Included in the price drop are the midrange of the Southern Islands family.  The  Pitcairm GPUS are currently represented by the  7870GHZ edition priced at $299 and the 7850 priced at $249.  Purchasers of a 78xx series GPU get a free copy of Dirt:Showdown to sweeten the deal.


So it looks like Activision/Blizzard is looking to ditch Vivendi's 61% ownership in the company.  Vivendi is said to be asking 8 Billion for its stake and has courted heavy hitters such as Microsoft and Time Warner as potential suitors.  Even so, they apparently have yet to find someone willing to pony up the cash. 

Vivendi says selling the shares back to Activision (who at last report has 3 Billion in cash reserves) is a last ditch effort and is looking at selling other of its assets first  to correct a recent negative credit watch set on it by ratings agency Standard and Poor's.    Perhaps with a sale to someone other than a huge media group, Activision could finally keep a decent development group together and stop gouging their customers.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Newest Vids from the midagedgamer

Just a few videos I released this week.




A brief tutorial on Orcs Must Die. It's not the most comprehensive treatment
but should give you a feel for the game.  Worth checking out on Steam.




I love thermal vision, especially in a tank!



BF3 Chopper action and how to scare a tank with an assault rifle!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Midaged Gamer Report for 7-13-2012


Analytics are fascinating. Google analytics that is...
For instance, did you know that the most popular blog post on my gaming blog (midagedgamer.blogspot.com) is my story on Eyefinity?  I did that back in February 2011 and it still gets the most traffic.  I guess I should let you guys know that today that same friend has moved on to a pair of GTX 680's in SLI so he can play BF3 at 2560x1600 on that same 30" Dell monitor that replaced all those 21 inchers' .  I'm all alone in my AMD  based gaming now but I'm not jealous, just poor...

Moving on to more relevant topics, Microsoft says overclocking can hurt you, maybe..

as PCPER said in their article....DUHH!


The article also goes on to point out that Underclocking your CPU can increase reliability and reduce power consumption.  That and it gets warmer when the sun comes up.
In case you care and apparently Microsoft is worried you don't, Win 8 Pro can be had  for as little as 40 bucks!  The catch is, it's an upgrade for those currently running win XP, vista, 7 and win 8 release preview.  You heard that right, breaking with Microsoft tradition you can get the cheaper upgrade and save yourself at least $100 bucks if you  upgrade over the current Win 8 consumer preview.  Looks to me like Microsoft is a little worried about the metro backlash.  At least I know it works with Steam and Origin.  Check out the link for more info.


PCPER found a story out of Asia about a passively cooled GTX 680 by a company called "Colorful"  Take it with a grain of salt as it's likely this is a more proof of concept than product.  For one thing, you'd need at least 5 bays for all the heatsinks!.   Here's a pic.  Check out the article for more info, Note you'll have to use a translator to read it as it's in Chinese.


PCPER's story

The long awaited Steam Summer sale is here with the festivities going on till July 22nd.  There are daily and hourly specials popping up on their entire catalog.  Conspicuously absent are EA titles, however.  Speaking of EA, doesn't seem they have anything to counter the summer sale at this point.

The most interesting offering from Origin/EA right now is a pre-order deal for  Medal of Honor Warfighter digital deluxe edition.  It's available for Pre-Order for 69.99.  Medal of Honor is more faithful to actual military campaigns and doesn't have quite the following of Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty but to the faithful it's a must have that can apparently command $70 for the privilege.

Taking advantage of the pre-order now will unlock the British SAS Spec Ops. Plus,  the Russian Spetsnaz Alfa Group Heavy Gunner and U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper and rifle as part of the Origin-exclusive Digital Deluxe Edition.  Release is set for October 23, 2012 

If you're a fan of the cult favorite Killing floor, the Summer Sideshow event is going on till July 23rd.  You get special NPC's to mow down plus a new map called Hellride.  I did a short walkthrough of the new map and special characters find it on my YouTube channel here...

I have no doubt that it'll be on sale during the Steam summer sale.

That's it for now

Midagedgamerguy branches out!



Just some fun...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

YouTube Confuses Me...(Updated)




YouTube confuses me....

I'm pretty new to actually taking it at all seriously and before a few months ago I primarily used it to share videos I took of my annual Christmas display with far flung family.  Then someone suggested I take my blog to the next step using YouTube and I reluctantly tried it out with thus far mixed results.

Over the past few months you may have noticed an evolution of sorts in each successive video.
For one thing, I've gotten over my physical shortcomings.  Even in the face of the cold steely subjectivity of my webcam.  In short, I can care less what you think of my appearance, I'm more interested in the content than my personal appeal.

However, I know that can be a problem since I either have to have outstanding production values or at least some attribute that's broadcast worthy.  Not that I take the medium that seriously,  I mean come on, YouTube's success was built on cat videos and amateur infomercials.

I have a face for radio and a voice that at times sounds like I've got a mouthful of cotton.  I know that, so no need to remind me of it.

Still, I do the best I can and try to be entertaining, even if I come off like a bad imitation of John C. Dvorak at times.  Still I've suffered the "get a life" commentary more than once.

You may have also noticed that comments on many of my videos are disabled.  Mostly because I get nothing but trolls and OCD sufferers delighted to correct every misspoken word or misplaced fact.

All this adds up to a very limited audience with success measured in single digit views. 
Even with my relative anonymity I've managed to run afoul of YouTube's copyright bots and faceless denials of revenue with no real recourse.  To date no videos have been pulled down but I've had some blocks in foreign countries, sorry Germany.

I've had one video in a series of videos on the same topic denied adsense revenue seemingly arbitrarily. 
I'm not looking for trouble but it seems that the inconsistent application of YouTube's policies makes it difficult to avoid it.  How can anyone possibly learn from their mistakes when the only notification you receive is a generic, " We think you did something wrong" email with no specifics? 

So it seems every upload is a roll of the dice.  Who will I offend? Will the humming of my PC's power supply somehow violate someone's copyright?  Perhaps the sound of thunder from a passing storm will trigger a copyright violation of the Door's Rider's on the storm!

Obviously I have two issues, interest and inconsistent application of the "rules" 
To go by YouTube rules I guess I'm only safe with the aforementioned cat videos so long as they don't purr in tune to anything with a copyright.

To be popular,  I have to have production values equivalent to at least a TWIT podcast.  Of course even some of their videos only get 50 views and they have a million dollar production facility not to mention staff.
I've looked at other YouTube videos similar in content to my own and seen no evidence of the heavy hand of YouTube's legal department that I've suffered.  It appears Monetization and content is unaffected in these cases.  That leaves me a bit confused.  I can only guess at my own sin.

I've seen videos with thousands if not millions of views that even their creators find less than stellar.  No accounting for taste I suppose.

So in the end, I'll keep trying new things and probably run afoul of a few more arbitrary YouTube rules in the process. 

If nothing else, perhaps my adventures can serve as a precedent as I navigate the minefield of popularity and legality in the YouTube metaverse.

Let's see what rules this video breaks, eh?


Huge Savings Click Here!

Update!


I've figured out how to make a video that can be monetized and doesn't trip me up wit YouTube's ContentID system...

An example is below...



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Killing Floor Summer Sideshow 2012

A couple of new video's about Killing Floor, a survival co-op game by tripwire interactive and available on Steam.

The first video  is the strange "conversion" necessary to run the 2012 summer sideshow event.  Even after the huge update last week another 450MB download was necessary...Strange.



The second is a brief walk through of the 2012 Killing Floor Summer Sideshow event
showcasing the special NPC's and the new map, KF-Hellride...



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Flatout 3 Video Review

I finallly got around to doing a video review of this game.  Although I did a summarized review in this blog a few months back I wanted to give you some tangible examples of some of my observations.  I've divided the review into 3 parts.

Part 1 is primarily about the setup menus and Stunt mode
Part 2 is about  Nightshiift and Race Modes
Part 3 is about  Big Battle, Monster Truck and Speed modes.

Enjoy!


Part 1

Part 2


Part 3

Friday, July 6, 2012

Of Motherboards, Video Cards and Copyrights




The Midaged Gamer Report for 7-6-2012

So this week is a mixed bag, let's get started!

Good old Blizzard is apparently banning Linux users using Wine to play Diablo 3 .  The configuration is officially unsupported but it seems Blizzard may be taking it a bit farther than that.  Apparently a recent patch has flagged  many such users as allegedly using cheats and banned their accounts with no refund offered.  Blizzard is unapologetic and claims:

"We've extensively tested for false positive situations, including replicating system setups for those who have posted claiming they were banned unfairly. We've not found any situations that could produce a false positive, have found that the circumstances for which they were banned were clear and accurate, and we are extremely confident in our findings. Playing the game on Linux, although not officially supported, will not get you banned – cheating will."

I'm still waiting to hear if they apologized for the server launch debacle.


On the motherboard side of things apparently Gigabyte is beating ASUS and MSI to the punch by having the first certified Dual Thunderbolt port boards for the PC.  In case you don't know Thunderbolt is effectively Intel's light peak architecture (sans the light part) offering 10 Gbps I/O performance (2x that of USB 3.0) per channel/connection.   It uses a combination of PCI-Express and Display port protocols on a single cable.
 That's how you can have a Thunderbolt display like Apples 27" daisy chained to the same port as an external disk array.   The question is, if this is running off the PCI-E bus, will that consume PCI-E lanes possibly affecting configurations using SLI or crossover?

 With dual connections on the GIgabyte board you can run up to 12 devices and 2 displays (6 devices per channel 1 display per channel).  In this week's TWICH on TWIT Ryan Shrout reported that he's been using a Thunderbolt drive array and having a generally positive experience.  Apparently Thunderbolt devices show up as internal instead of external meaning you could theoretically have a huge storage array and not have to keep it your case.
Not A dual thunderbolt enabled board :-)

 This could finally put USB and ESATA out of their misery as soon as prices come down.  Cables seem to be the real bone of contention with Thunderbolt with prices starting around $50.  Far from being just a patch cable, Thunderbolt cables employ logic chips in the cables themselves to sort out the signals making them active instead of passive connections.


In completely unrelated news, PCPer is reporting speculation from a Digi-times article (since removed) that ASUS and Gigabyte may be improving the motherboard RMA and warranty experience according to a Digitimes piece.  What gamer hasn't had a flaky board returned to them on their dime once or twice.  From the article..

"If these changes to the RMA procedure are indeed accurate then the worry of a faulty board being sent back to you if the damage was judged not to be a factory defect need no longer prevent you from sending a buggy or even non-functional board back to the manufacturer. There are likely to be some limits on these new policies, keep your eye out for updates as the arrive."


So the new AMD 7970 GHZ edition is said to be a bit faster than GTX680.   Of course that's an overclocked card but some will argue that all enthusiast level cards are over clocked even if the box doesn't say so.  I don't buy it...

That's great for AMD fans waving the performance flag but you can't run away from the fact that to beat a GTX680 at load means using 60 more watts of power to do it.  So what's 60 watts in comparison to the whole system.  Well, have you ever touched a 60 Watt incandescent light bulb when it was on?  I guarantee you didn't touch it for long.

Power = heat and extra heat causes more stress on all of your system components.  Yes 60 Watts isn't 300 Watts.   Still if you're running on the ragged edge with say a LAN party SFF rig you may not appreciate that extra 5% performance boost as much when all your fans are spinning at 3000RPM.  Also let's not forget that not everyone runs their pc's in the most agreeable of environments.  Every degree temperature drop has real meaning if you have to keep the thermostat at 80F in the summer.

Of course if you're the type that just simply must have the fastest anything then my arguments fall on deaf ears.  Performance is a relative thing especially with computer hardware so it's best to focus on more tangible factors.  Those being power, heat and price.

I know I sound like an NVIDIA fan boy but the truth is I'm not impressed with hollow victories.  Match the power consumption and performance of the 680 and I'll be satisfied.  Also note that I currently run AMD cards in my both my gaming rigs (a 6970 and a 6950) So much for the BIAS argument....

Catch the latest TWICH on TWIT for more info on Ryan Shrout's experiences with the 7970 Ghz edition.


YouTube's been buzzing again about the possibility of a dinosaur mode in BF3.  (just search for BF3 Dino mode) It all started from a forum exchange with a Dice developer that was followed up by a reddit post.  Speculation says it's more along the lines of the Zombie maps in Call of Duty.  So think of it more as a novelty than a real game mode.  Further speculation says it may show up with the aftermath DLC.   If it does come to pass at least it won't be another zombie DLC pack.

 I'm getting kind of tired of stumbling corpses.  Although I don't know how much better running around Caspian Border shooting at Barney the purple dinosaur would be.  The whole dinosaur thing was kind of played out in the 90's.  Actually, it could work, I always hated Barney....I love you , you love me....blech..

Speaking of YouTube, I apparently ran afoul of a minor copyright claim in my last video on my channel due to some music clips I included in it.  Find it here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv_uCHLkxJI&feature=plcp

Without going into some long diatribe about the evils of copyright law I will say this.  There is definitely a problem with the copyright holder's understanding of Fair Use.  In my example, the newest clip I used was almost 20 years old, was poor quality and not even a complete version of the song.  Full credit was given to the artist and label and was not used as promotion for my video in any way.  Apparently that doesn't pass muster in every country but it's ok here, so far.

I just wanted to see if I could make something cool and I think I did.   

The argument copyright holders (meaning the record companies and not the artists) often make concerns of all things milk and cows.  They say if the milk was free why would the farmer invest in producing it. 
I have two thoughts on that. 

The first is simple.  I think the farmer should make money on the milk but not after it's gone sour.  In other words, have a reasonable limit to copyright, say 10 years then let it fall to a creative commons license where usage such as mine is allowed so long as I give credit to the artist.  No harm, no foul and it could give new life to old material.

The second thought goes even farther.  Consider that perhaps the farmer shouldn't be producing milk at all but rather growing renewable crops .  In other words, the farmer's role of milk producer is obsolete and only kept relevant by an obsolete transactional system that ultimately prevents him from moving past it.  He's inhibited by his reliance on the revenue that is only possible under the old system.  His survival is tied to it and ultimately controls his actions.

I only mention this because at some point you may run into the same thing especially if you like to upload  game videos to the Internet.  If it makes you angry turn it into action and support organizations like the Creative Commons Organization.  http://creativecommons.org/

That's it for this week!

FPS Death, A celebration!

Latest Vid....

FPS death with style!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A fishy BF3 server?


As you all probably know by now if you're a Battlefield 3 player, this week has a 2x experience points event in progress.  Being an avid player I've been taking advantage of EA's gift.  It's been rewarding until last night...

I'm going to show you something.  It will be familiar to anyone who browses server lists in Battlefield 3.


It's a detail page for a Battlefield 3 server I "used" to play on.

In fact, it was one of my favorites, until today...

You see, I'm picky about servers I put on my favorites list. 

They can't have too many cheaters (average is said to be 10 to 50% of players)

They have to be ranked, not disable equipment like rockets on an anti-aircraft and

the admin needs to be around to keep things under control.

All of the above applied on my previous visits to this server before last night. 

Yes, this is a bit of a rage rant but there's a good reason behind it.

I was thrown off this server (which has never happened on any server since I started playing BF3) because the admin appeared to be protecting an obvious cheat.  I had a !voteban initiated on me and it was 2 to 2 with 11 votes left when the admin just decided to kick me off. 

The vote was initiated by the cheat in the chat window with the following phrase...

"!voteban my playername (to shut his cock sucker mouth)"

Now I've never tried to suck on any part of a male chicken's anatomy, in fact I've never even had my face near one, I hear they've got nasty tempers, wouldn't want to get "pecked"

This is the kind of juvenile rage that is common in games like BF3 but with myself and others calling out this obvious cheat it seemed strange that he stayed and I got the boot.  Come to think of it, I've never seen a server notification in the chat window about a player kick due to a detected hack.  I've seen it on other servers but not this one.  The admins generally just  leave it to a chatroom vote.  I've dealt with cheats before on this server but this time was especially bad.

Of course there's another possibility...

You see, this server takes donations for its expenses and it's possible that such donations earn the donor a blind eye from the admin.  Ultimately it's the admin who makes the call on bans and it's reasonable for them to protect their revenue stream.  Reasonable, that is,  if you think extortion is a legitimate enterprise that is.

It appears EA does little if anything to police their ranked servers so long as they get their check.   You see EA not only distributes the game, they'll rent you a server to run it on too.    So if they're going to leave it up to the community then our only recourse is to call out the perpetrators of the crime so to speak.

In any case, I'd recommend staying away from this particular server and others like it unless you're the cheating type.  In that case, by all means aimbot, auto knife and instant kill to your heart's content.  Nobody will say a word so long as your cheat is undetectable or possibly make a donation to the admin.

After all, it's entirely reasonable for a player to have 34 kills and 0 deaths on a fully populated 64 player map right?

Money talks..