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ColdfireTrilogy Blog

Gaikai? The impossible reality of ping and latency.

Gaikai sounds like a wonderful concept, play remotely, or stream the game completely without ever having to download the title. Its like netflix for gaming, its the console equivalent to OnLive. That is until you realize that unlike Netflix, you have to take ping into account. You can have netflix streaming smoothly at 600 ping, you the viewer are not making inputs, just viewing content. It doesnt matter how long of a delay there is between content delivery and it appearing on your screen as long as it is all synced at the end. When you take into account that playing a game requires precision input from a controller, having even 20-50ms of delay on pushing a button or moving an analog stick and having that actually HAPPEN on screen can be extremely jarring. Just take for example how many people were up in arms over controller lag in killzone 2. Blogs were made, large gaming media companies like gamespot devoted whole pieces to the issue. Sites ran videos of high frame rate footage showing under 20ms delay between a controller press and the subsequent in game movement delay... and that was under 20ms. Imagine having to connect to a remote server where you are likely going to experience a minimum of 50 or so ping due to your location and distance from the content server. Then add in the small delay of transmitting to the TV and then add in the small 2-3 ms delay of input from the wireless controller. Suddenly something that works ... like say netflix, turns into an unresponsive mess of a game, especially in precision gaming like racing, shooters, etc. It doesn't matter your bandwidth, or how good it looks, what will make or break this technology, like OnLive before it, is ping and latency, and currently the only way to fix that is to have a large amount of dataservers available at all locations around any specific country, something that is expensive and unlikely to happen. Gaikai will work great for those living near Chicago, or in New York, New York; where they are literally sitting on the distribution hub, but for people who live more remotely, heck not even that remote but even distances of 300 miles from a distro center, enjoy having the same lag issues that plague OnLive. Enjoy using Gaikai in say, Idaho.

Replaying Uncharted 1.

I've recently decided to go back and replay Uncharted Drake's Fortune it see how it fares after having been utterly wowed (even as a PC elitist) by how visually breathtaking and enjoyable its sequels were. So far, knowing this game originally launched in 2007 I am still quite blown away at what ND was able to push out of the PS3. Not only is the game still crisp and clean and isnt plagued by early generation overtly brown "next gen" graphics but the game also doesn't suffer from a case of the jaggies, a problem so many early and still recent console games still present as developers sacrifice antialiasing for increased graphics in other departments. Sure the gameplay is a bit more unrefined compared to its successors but all in all, I must say that I am still enjoying this game as much as I did the first time I was blown away so many years ago. A few months back during black friday I picked up Dragon's Dogma for the PS3 and have been slowly marching my way though it as I play other games. Truly a great game, and odd, for a game as flawed as DD it somehow outshines all its problems and then some and comes off feeling fun and fresh rather than being held back by many a problem that would tank any other game. Unfortunately it appears Capcom is releasing a standalone (sort of) expansion for DD that ships with the complete original game in box for 40$. Well for people like me that leaves us in a dillema, why even bother holding on to the original if I must repurchase the expansion which already includes the original game as well. Its disappointing that Capcom refuses to release Dark Arisen content by itself for those of us with the game. I will likely be doing something i rarely do, trading in DD to a local game store for in store credit that hopefully will help lower the price when I purchase DD Dark Arisen in a few months.... heres to hoping for at least 12-15$ which would drop the price of the new title into a true expansion price range of 25$ or so. I am also currently finishing up Far Cry 3 on the PC, quite a game, although it has started to drag a bit for me as difficulty has basically dropped off near the end as my character has turned into a walking armada. I currently have more titles to play than I know what to do with. Its overwhelming and hard to sit down and finish just one game. Who would have ever thought I would complain about having TOO many games to play .... /rolls eyes. Anyway, thats whats up with me ... oh and a Pokemon game for the 3DS is coming out in October and will be in a glorious full 3D world for the first time. Looks like Ill be keeping my eyes peeled for a good deal on a 3DS XL in the coming months.... peace.

Almost finished with STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl.

Its been a long bumpy ride since I initially purchased the game over a year and a half ago. I basically stopped playing at one point due to performance and also the scare factor that the game initially exudes. I recently upgraded to a spankin new i5 2500k system wit 8gigs of DDR3 so I went back and reinstalled STALKER Complete 2009 again. Boy what a difference in performance this time around. I am almost done, literally about an hour from finish and it has been a fantastic journey. I can't wait to play CoP next and experience that masterpiece as well. I am also playing through the first Metroid Prime on my Dolphin emulator. I went out and purchased a gamecube copy and ripped it to my computer for safe keeping. Now I am playing it at 1080 resolution with anti aliasing, and I must say. This game looks as good at this resolution as many 1st gen 360/PS3 games, and its fantastic gameplay wise as well. The game says I am currently 50% complete but I feel I am a bit further since it includes upgrades as well and I havent been as dilligent in hunting them as I was in past games due to the easier difficulty. On a side not I also beat Tomb Raider Underworld. Short, sweet, and a fantastic sequel to the reboot of the franchise. Heres to hoping the next game is just as good if not better. Well theres the once every random number of months update. I m looking forward to Metro 2033: Last Light, because the first one was beautiful and had a very atmospheric story to boot. Cheers all.

Update on games (as usual :P )

Once again for all you -1 readers out there heres my random update for however long. Lately my main games ive been playing are as follows: Zelda Windwaker (always wanted to play it but only recently picked up a 20$ gamecube). Also playing Infamous which I am borrowing from my roommate. Replaying the oldschool Duke Nukem 3d, in all its glory! Also picked up starcraft2 so thats been getting some heavy use. On the "MMO" side of things I suppose World of Tanks is what im playing. Not so much an MMO though, not really one at all. Fantastic tank game though! CHECK IT OUT :D Ta ta for now! P.S. give me some good suggestions for games to play that aren't mainstream. Some great gamecube suggestions perhaps!

Going back to my roots.

Small progress update. Recently finished Metro 2033 on the computer, fantastic game. Ambience and linearity truely worked together to make a compelling story driven FPS. Ive recently decided to go back and play some older games that I never got around to. Right now im playing Driver: Parallel Lines and Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for the Playstation 2. Recently purchased Left4Dead2 as well on the PC and am having a blast with that! TTYAL.

Small Game update!

Well after a year of owning GRID for the PC I have finally beat it. Later races were getting too difficult for the keyboard so i stopped playing for a while. Recently I was able to mod the 360 controller drivers for the PC so that my PS3 controller is spoofed as one allowing me to use it as a 360 controller. So i went back and beat GRID. Fun game but a bit too easy even on the hardest difficulty. Well now i have TOCA, DIRT, and GRID beaten. Looks like its time to install Dirt2 :D

Games Update

For those -3 people that read this, today's update is to signify the completion of a few games since my last update. Among those is Bowser's Inside Story (which I can't recommend enough), Modern Warfail 2 (even the singleplayer seemed pretty blah to me), Red Faction Guerrilla. Ive started and am half way through the New Zelda Spirit Tracks which is a blast of a game. I am also playing Dawn of War 2 for the PC and also still slowly finishing up Grid. Next game to start is that new Jak and Daxter for the PS2. Well see all -3 of you later!

Starting Super Mario: Bowsers Inside Story

Just an update on my gaming. Recently got Tropico 3, what a blast of a game. I definately havent had this much fun since I played Tropico 2 with all the pirating and wenches LOTS OF WENCHES!!!! I also just picked up Uncharted 2 and proceeded to beat it in under a day ahhha, best PS3 game I have played in ages, even the multiplayer is a blast which is a rarity in console gaming. I also started the new Mario BIS game on my DSlite. Very very fun and hearkens back to the original one back on the Gameboy Advance, I think it was something like mario and Luigis super star adventure. Anyway its extremely similar and quite a treat to play, lots of humor and a very relaxing pace. Allows me to pick it up for 20 minutes or so and then save and go do something else. If anyone hasnt tried it I definately recommend a rental at least!

Beat Dragon Quest V.

Just a small update to notify I've beaten DQV on the DS. Great GREAT game. I cant recomment it enough and the pacing is as perfect as it was originally. Visuals are stunning and gameplay is a blast. If your looking for a good game to play and own a DS look no further than DQV! :)

Im 3/4 the way through Lunar Knights and am also currently starting the World Ends with You.

Have we only traded PC hardware prices with console DLC prices?

The argument always goes up that playing console games is "cheaper" than PC gaming mainly because the (incorrect) assumption that one needs even a 1,000$ rig to play 99% of modern PC games maxed out at high resolution. We'll after I've witnessed what Capcom's ridiculous DLC scheme along with DLC in general I have come to the assumption that we are just trading in one price point for another. For almost two decades my PC gaming needs have led to developers for the PC giving games extraordinarily long life spans compared to today's console games. Many times this came from including free additional content well after the initial launching of the game. Epic's UT3 content is a great example as it included almost TWO gigs worth of patches, fixes (yes VERY necessary but still), and what 8 new maps, 3 new game modes and many enhancements. All for the high price of 0$.

What we are seeing is games that are asking for anything from 1.99 for new LBP skins to 10$ Halo3 map packs with a WHOPPING three whole maps (I can assure you if a dev is fine making a complete game for 60$ then 3 maps for 10$ means someone is getting screwed with, either the dev is undercharging for the initial game or they are overpricing the DLC a ton).

I have played Counter-Strike 1.6 for almost a decade now since its early 1.5 days, it cost me 30$ back when it came out and I've loved every bit of it. The game has almost 250k unique players logging in each day to frag away with and has no less than 55k-75k people on at one time, 10 years+ after its initial inception. I have almost 3,000 maps running in my server map rotation and the amount of ingenious mods (Warcraft 3 to superhero to Kreedz climbing to gungame) have left the game with an almost unending replayability. All at the fine price of 0$ (yes because they are user mods but hey consoles don't offer user mods so I'll uses it anyway). We get cool updates such as battlefield 1942's large map packs and vehicle additions all at the fine price of 0$ and developers were doing just fine then.

If gamers buy even 10 titles a year and spend 15-20$ per title on extra DLC your looking at almost 200$ a year for additional content, stuff that historically came FREE with PC gaming. I know personally that I have never had to spend 200$ per year on PC hardware to keep my PC running games at top of the line sound and graphics.
Thus in the end I think we have just traded one "inconvenience" (I love PC building so it's not to me and I know many others love their custom rigs) for another; that of ridiculous DLC prices.

[EDIT] Grammatical corrections

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