AnnoyedDragon / Member

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AnnoyedDragon Blog

The economic crisis and what most don't know (people really should know this)

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So I put together two clips from a conference talking about gold and silver, which contains essential information on where our money comes from; and why this is relevant to the current economic crisis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIFYl9i41Dg

Basically all money is created from debt, and interest is owed on this debt; despite it not existing. After all, if all money is loaned into existence; where does the money to pay the interest come from? We have to keep going into perpetually accelerating debt in order to continue paying the interest on previous debts. Essentially the currency system is a giant ponzi scheme, paying off old debts with new ones.

The problem is one of the biggest bubbles in history burst a few years ago, and we are still suffering the consequences. So rather than continuing to go into debt, we are avoiding debt; and paying it off instead. This is a natural reaction to a economic downturn, but is fatal under a debt based currency. As old debts get repaid, but few new ones are made, the currency supply is shrinking. If this went on for too long, we would see a depression.

That is what happened in the 1930s, people avoided debt after the stock market crashed. The currency supply shrank by nearly a third, making money difficult to get.

Needless to say, central banks and governments are panicking. Not enough debt money is being created to sustain the system. They are printing money like crazy to keep the currency supply up, so that a lack of new debts doesn't create deflation. But a increase in the currency supply, independent from an increase in goods and services, creates inflation. By doing everything possible to avoid a deflationary depression, by could cause a inflationary depression.

Governments and central banks will not allow us to enter a deflationary depression, they are trying to make up for the lack of businesses and individuals going into debt; by accelerating the creation of government debt. But as we have all seen, this government debt itself is becoming unsustainable, and entire countries are entering into debt crisis's.

They cannot cut central bank interest rates any lower, so the only tool they have available is currency creation; to devalue their debts. They have already pushed government spending near breaking point. Their only solution to the problem is to print money, if that doesn't work; print more. Quite frankly the debt backed currency ponzi scheme could be coming to an end, all ponzi schemes collapse eventually. If it does, it's going to make our current financial woes a walk in the park.

Consolization, the next level.

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For those who haven't heard, Windows 8 will apparently support Xbox 360 games. Meaning, you can insert your 360 disc into your PC, and play the 360 game.

With a Xbox Live subscription only, of course. Also, no cross platform play.

But why do I call this the next step in consolization? Well if the 360 version works on both 360 and PC, in a cost driven market, why offer a PC port at all?

This isn't just consolization, this is the console experience, carbon copied onto PC. I somewhat doubt they will support any PC specific advantages. No higher resolutions, no additional quality filters, no keyboard and mouse support. Almost all PC specific advantages, invalidated.

And for what? So Microsoft can try to continue to milk 360 games, while they focus on their next generation system? They couldn't possibly have risked causing greater damage to PC than they have with this move.

The market reboot has already begun. Is this the future of gaming?

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I remember being annoyed at Nvidia, when I saw they had invested in remaking a variety of mobile phone games to take advantage of their Tegra 2 processor. The reason being that I had repeatedly criticised them for just padding console ports with badly optimized effects, rather than investing in high end games to justify GPU sales on PC.

I mean; where is the appeal in buying a modern GPU, if it's just to run a badly performing ambient occlusion and maybe some slapped on tessellation, on what is largely a carbon copy console port? How will that sell the latest GPUs? Paying out for a upgrade, so you can continue to look at console art assets; and yet still experience performance drops. That deters people from PC gaming, not draws them to it.

So I see these half baked attempts at justifying modern GPUs; in what is largely a console specification limited market, and I see Nvidia investing significantly more time and effort into a mobile phone processor. I had to wonder why. So I did some looking up, and I found a year old video about the Tegra 2.

A video were Nvidia... declared the end of the PC era.

In this video, they announced their commitment to the next era, the era of personal computing. They don't specify it in this video, but they have a road map for Tegra going into 2014, right up to Tegra 6. Which is stated to be 75x more powerful than the Tegra 2 chipset they are using in the highest end mobile phones today. Nvidia isn't showing as much commitment for PC gaming as they used to, because they have abandoned PC gaming for the mobile computing market. Now saying they have abandoned the PC gaming market is a strong thing to say. After all, Nvidia still shows a strong commitment to PC hardware. I wouldn't expect them to just drop PC completely, that would be financial suicide. What I mean is, they have redirected their primary attention, and it isn't PC gaming. They have set their strategy for transitioning away from PC gaming.

For a company like Nvidia to do this to PC is, needless to say, significant. It's a consolites wet dream, a perfect opportunity to bash PC as a gaming platform. This is one of the largest companies to support PC gaming, and they said the PC era is over. That they were turning their focus onto mobile computing devices like tablets and phones.

But there is a lot more to this.

Now to somewhat redirect the subject, I've been curious about the latest phones as of late. I have a cheap Android phone, I love it, and I wanted to look into potential upgrades. What I found was surprising.

I saw mobile phones that can connect to your HDTV via mini HDMI, and offer a console like experience using a bluetooth controller. I saw the Tegra 3 chipset running 1440p video, higher than Blu-ray quality video offered by PS3. And check out the graphical capability, considering this is a mobile chipset. Witnessing Windows 8 running on a Tegra tablet, I decided to look up that as well, and found Microsoft were designing the next Windows specifically to be cross platform with a range of mobile devices.

The future appears to be, at least according to Nvidia and Microsoft, in mobile computing.

So does this say something bad for PC gaming? Totally. But exclusively PC gaming? I think we are at the eve of something truly extraordinary here. A paradigm shift in not just gaming but general computing as a whole.

The mobile phone has been grabbing at everything we want and integrating it into its own design. It's not just a phone. It's a camera, camcorder, personal organizer, web browser, media player, GPS, portable gaming device and increasingly more. Now it is getting some serious hardware performance. Can play and in some cases starting to record high definition video, 3D gaming, replacing your portable computer in some cases. It is becoming a computer in your pocket.

5 years from now, what are these phones going to be capable of?

Do I think they are a threat to PC gaming? No, they in no way duplicate the PC gaming experience. Something else is threatening PC gaming, the same thing that is threatening console gaming, the same thing that is resulting in so many lowest common denominator cross platform games. Development costs are killing hardcore PC gaming, and it is killing console gaming as well. Nintendo has already placed their bets for next gen with a current gen performance console, and a Sony executive even stated it was unlikely that PS4 would be much more powerful.

Console gaming, as well as PC gaming, has hit a dead end. Not because of a lack of performance, not because of a lack of audience. But because it's too damn expensive to continue moving forward from here. Gaming has stagnated on these systems, with the majority being cross platform regurgitation's of tried and proven game formulas. Developers being terrified of trying anything risky when dealing with current gen budgets.

I've become so disillusioned with modern gaming, every game on my list this year was a disappointment. The new Alice is out now, which I was a big fan of the original, but I cannot even motivate myself to go try that. Know what I spend most of my time playing now? Sandbox games. Because you cannot dumb down and streamline a experience were the majority of it is player imagination and creativity.

I think, maybe, that mobile phones are big bang two. A industry reboot. They have a far greater install base than any console, and they have low adoption costs; thanks to contracts.

Their currently low specification keeps development costs low, enabling a focus on creativity again. It's a 21st century platform, born as a truly mobile and connected device. The more recent models can connect with your HDTV or HDMI enabled monitor. Bluetooth offers the potential of supporting a game pad; or a mouse and keyboard to taste, enabling one device for the couch or the desk. Android is a open platform, welcoming anyone who wishes to develop for it. It's something you take everywhere with you, it stores its own credit for digital purchases and it helps you share your experience with friends and family. There is also beta implementation of mobile phone purchases in retail shops, so it could even replace your wallet some day. Though at this moment, there is little consumer interest regarding that.

This could easily replace the console, it could even replace the typical PC. Something you plug into your desktop hub at home and get a full desktop PC experience. Then just unplug and take it with you, access the same files and content on the bus, plug it in at your friends; and play the latest multiplayer game on the TV.

I'm not saying I want this future or that I prefer it over PC gaming, but everything is telling me that this is where we could be going. A future generation of gaming and computing, in your pocket. The Wii demonstrated that the typical consumer can be happy with less than modern graphics, so the performance advantage of a dedicated console may not be able to compete with the all in one device that everyone uses. Even then, Nvidia has already set a road map to significantly improve mobile phone performance.

As with my impressions in earlier blogs, we'll have to wait and see.

Crytek got what they deseved.

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Crysis 2 only came out in March, and yet it is already selling at discount prices at popular UK retailers. Usually games that drop in price this quickly are flops. Basic price elasticity. If it doesn't sell, reduce the price until it does.

http://www.play.com/Search.html?searchtype=allproducts&searchsource=0&searchstring=Crysis+2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=crysis&x=0&y=0

http://www.game.co.uk/lowdown.aspx?lid=13379&cm_sp=crysis-_-topnav-_-crysis2

(glitchspot won't let me link)

Everywhere I look, the price has rapidly plumited.

On top of this, the last reported sales for Crysis 2 were in May, at a measily two million copies.

Two million sales for a game is still good, but we are talking about Crysis here. Crytek threw a fit at Crysis's three million sales on PC; because they wanted Halo 3 level sales from a high end new IP... So they ran to consoles, damaging everything that made Crysis what it was, because they believed consoles were a magic bullet for sales. They believed by consolizing Crysis, they could get those Halo 3 and Call of Duty level sales.

They Didn't. Even though Crysis 2 will likely outsell Crysis 1 in its lifetime, it's nowhere near a Halo 3 seller, nor does it look set to in the long term.

You got what you deserved Crytek. You wanted in on the play and throw market, and that's exactly what you have gotten. Only you were thrown in a matter of months, compared to the years of support you got from the PC community.

The question is, when Crysis 2 inevitably fails to meet Crytek's unreasonable sales expectations, will they throw a fit and bash consoles? They'd be a hypocrit not to, they bashed PC for not meeting Halo 3 sales; and this is three platforms failing to do that.

If you removed the numbers

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Would there be any difference between now and early this gen?

People are looking forward to the next Call of Duty X. Many arguing which looks better, Gears of War X or Uncharted X. Regardless, 360 fans are happy to hear about Halo X this E3, and a new console has been announced to be releasing earlier than next gen. Many developers planning on filling its launch with ports of current gen games.

Know what my problem is?

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I end up in debates/arguments with some of the most ridiculous people in SW, because I cannot just leave it. If someone is saying something wrong to me, I have to correct it. But there are people who have no intention of being corrected, and will never allow themselves to be corrected. So the argument gets dragged on and on, until I cannot be bothered to respond to them any more.

And what do they do? They declare victory. Apparently stubbornness is the same thing as a counter argument, with someone quitting; meaning you won the debate. As much as it is against my own interests, I cannot stand that. So I end up fruitlessly arguing with someone in SW, only to have to go over it all; all over again with someone else next week.

Even now, as I'm writing this, I'm getting the urge to go back and go over why what someone else said is wrong. Because they couldn't leave it, they had to gloat as if they "won" the argument; because I was sick of them not dropping it. It's not a healthy mentality to have on the Internet, but it is sadly one that I have.

That age old dig at PC.

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Saw console gamers yet again trying to spin every single torrent download; as being a lost sale. One of them pointing out one game got 5 million downloads.

If console gamers honestly believed these were lost sales, they had better pray that a workable anti-piracy solution is never discovered. Because according to their claims, and those figures, developers would flock from consoles to PC.

Why not? Apparently every PC game would outsell console games by the millions, if it wasn't for piracy.

So they had better be praying the very figures they use to dig at PC are wrong.

64bit concerns

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Chances are, most gamers don't care about 64bit. Why should they? There are only a tiny number of games that bothered to support 64bit, and that minority seems to be decreasing even more. Games that adopted 64bit, later decided to abandon it in the sequels. So with no 64bit games, why should gamers care about 64bit operating systems? Some 32bit games can actually perform worse under 64bit, so there is that additional deterrent. Most games being cross platform with consoles also deters support.

So the adoption of 64bit has many problems, and I think this is going to cause problems.

Next generation, assuming consoles push forward as usual, chances are; we will see 4GB of memory in consoles. I expect a 2gb/2gb split as a minimum expectation for ram/vram. But when games start to be made with this in mind, what happens to the PC version? Undoubtedly, it will surpass 32bit limitations. PC games next gen will, at least for cross platform development, have to be 64bit.

But 64bit adoption is stunted right now, largely in part because so many developers just don't bother with it. Come next gen, they are going to get a hell of a shock, when they find their own neglect last gen; creates 64bit install base problems next gen.

A mentality that has always irritated me (pet peeve/rant)

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We all know how console limited this generation is. With games continuing to design for consoles hardware, and just crudely copying that over to PC, with minimal to no enhancements the majority of the time. This leaves most of PCs hardware benefits to be in resolution and quality filters.

Because of this, time and time again, I'm seeing the same happen. Some console biased site does a comparison between the versions, and they think it's a good idea to take a console limited game; and stick the PC version at 720p for comparison. Inevitably, you then get people in the comments boasting about consoles ability to keep up with PC...

So let's get this straight. Every aspect of the games graphics are console limited, with PCs benefit coming from resolution and quality filtering advantages. So these sites turn a console limited game down to a console resolution, and then pretend to be surprised when it looks like the console versions?

As much as I know I shouldn't stereotype the console audience, most of them are clueless. They didn't buy a console because they wanted to know how it works under the hood. So in the majority of cases, they are hype driven; not knowledge driven. So the thought that consoles 2005 hardware can magically keep up with technological progress doesn't require a leap of faith from some of them.

And why shouldn't they think this way? As some of our System Wars residents love to get excuses to point out, there are not many games on PC that look better than Crysis 2. As revolting as I find Crysis 2's visuals, we haven't had a exclusive that really pushed the boundaries of PC hardware since Crysis 1 in 2007. So by their "logic", not many of these games being around, must mean PC isn't as capable as PC gamers suggest.

We of course know otherwise. But today's market just doesn't accommodate the development of games that really show off the capability of modern PC hardware. Especially now that Crytek has gone and sold out, so completely as well. Something I'm sure anti-PC console fanboys enjoy abusing to the full extent, while mummy and daddy 1st party pay out for all their hardware utilizing games.

Brief impression of Crysis 2.

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The textures are worse than I thought, even the areas I thought were enhanced for PC. Apparently I confused the additional resolution in screenshots for additional texture resolution, but in game inspection proved them to be terribly pixellated. It's not 99% console textures as I previously believed, it's 100% console textures.

The bloom is far far worse than I ever imagined, and I thought it was terrible to begin with. It doesn't even attempt to go in line with reality, the game just loves to use exaggerated bloom lighting whenever it can. There was a street advertisement sign that looked like it was achieving critical energy levels. Perhaps if it was at night, in thick fog, the amount of blur coming off of this sign would have made sense. Not in broad daylight.

The automatic lean system is restrictive. I found myself trying to aim at an enemy around a wall, only to find a limited range of turning to restrict my ability to get the enemy in sight. Having to crouch before enabling lean on the low barriers is annoying. Even more so, having my character duck behind it; when I'm just trying to aim lower at an enemy.

The weapon sight appears designed for consoles aim assist, because it is more difficult to use than aiming in Crysis 1.

The middle mouse button mode select is unusably sluggish, forcing me to use the keyboard instead.

What on Earth is the extreme graphical setting doing for such a significant performance hit? Practically, the only difference between high and medium is the lighting render distance and shadow blurring, yet it costs you like 20+ frames to enable. Despite this, it still had terrible pop-in, with objects disappearing and reappearing in the same small room I'm currently occupying. The game seems to run well on low spec systems, but the optimization goes out the window as you "scale" upward in the graphics. Clearly, they optimized for consoles with gamer, and the other two settings were a ill thought out quick job.

Thoughts to far? Highly negative. I'm going to try the user created tool to turn off the damn blur and crappy AA. It's bizarre that disabling visual effects in a game actually improves the visual experience.

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I'm encountering some sort of visual glitch when trying MSAA, even when I'm standing perfectly still; the jaggies sort of jiggle. It's unbearable to look at. Though the game looks much clearer with edge AA and bloom turned off, I don't know why they bothered with them.

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Getting some sort of a image ghosting glitch during cutscenes, where a partial image of something stays on the screen longer than it should. Though I think it may be down to the user config settings, didn't start until I used it.

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Whose stupid idea was it to save using check points? Stereotypical stupid console approach.

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Even with mouse smoothing turned off. There is just something about the way this game controls that I don't like. I just feel less in control than Crysis 1, with everything either being sluggish or delayed or less accurate.

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I've lost all motivation to continue playing today, I'm not interested in continuing at all.