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buft Blog

Help me with recording gameplay footage, I'm bad at it!

Just recently I bought a new PC, nothing fancy just a mid range machine as befitted my financial situation, a friend of mine who lives thousands of miles away would like to build a similar machine so that he can play newer games such as The Witcher 2 or Battlefield 3.

I suggested to him that I record video of my gameplay and post it on YouTube so that he could see the performance a mid range machine would offer him in terms of graphical quality and frames per second, so I recently set about doing this but I've been having problems with the video.

Recorded video seems choppy even when gameplay isn't and when I do get a reasonable video using Fraps or Xfire the YouTube video has tons of artefacts.

here is a link an example video below so that you can see what I'm referring too.

I know i'm bad at the game but i really just wanted him to see the combat, I appreciate your input.

Its hard to buy a PC nowadays, it really is!

I should preface this blog by pointing out that I'm referring to buying a desktop PC in a retail store on the high street as shopping online still provides a wealth of options for the discerning shopper but in my particular circumstance a lack of credit/debit card proved to be a major stumbling block and I had hoped that one of the major retailers would provide me with a decent PC with a good price to power ratio.

My predicament started around a month ago when I decided that enough was enough and that I would get a PC that I could use to not only surf the web but also play games on, my old laptop simply wasn't up to the task and the people at the local library frown upon you trying to install games on their surprisingly powerful PCs.

As I mentioned earlier my bank doesn't trust me to have a debit card so I was forced to look around for a PC I could buy with real money and here's where the problem lies; retail chains such as Tesco, Currys and even the ironically named PC world only want to sell you a laptop, some do sell desktops or all in one PCs but only a small selection and none included a dedicated graphics card.

Smaller stores in my area no longer even stock PCs or laptops because they simply couldn't compete with the big players prices and found themselves switching to PC repairs just to stay alive and now the big players themselves have moved away from these machines as the portable devices market has become more dominant.

It took me over a month of searching nearby towns and even the capital of our fine country before I finally bit the bullet and went to someone with a debit card with the offer of cash upfront and a hearty handshake in exchange for their services so that I could finally got a PC, nothing too fancy just a mid level gaming rig but the whole experience has soured me on large retail chains and for the first time I've felt the effects they have on local shopping.

When I last bought a gaming PC it had a Matrox G400 and at the time it turned out to be a pretty poor choice for playing games but at least there was 4-5 shops that were willing to help me and I cant help but wonder if this lack of options and accessibility is hindering new comers or even casual players getting the most from their PC gaming experience because not only is there less shops but the people who had worked in the old PC stores had a lot more stake in the experience you got from them and quite frankly seem a lot more knowledgeable than your local big electronics retailer.

A World with Digital Borders

In this new digital age the world as we know has become smaller and smaller, the once humble toaster can now call up Australia find out how the weather is on Bondi beach and print its discovery on the side of your morning toast, your friends in countries all over the world can hang out and play video games together and we can now teleport from one point of the globe to another in the blink of an eye.

Ok, so that last parts not quite true but high speed internet access has made it much easier to feel closer to other nations than it has in the past and with it the world has changed but one entity hasn't came along for the ride and that's the men and women who organise the distribution of video games.

As a European citizen that spends his life on the internet reading and writing about my own hobbies its hard not to notice the disparity between continents when it comes to video game releases. Some of these are relatively minor, a 3 day difference in release date for most major video games is hard heart breaking but there are some rather massive discrepancies

Kirby's Epic Yarn took a staggering 5 months to be released in Europe, the Playstation 3 was delayed 6 months due to manufacturing difficulties. The list goes on and on, well it doesn't because I couldn't think of any pertinent examples but rest assured there are lots.

These delays in games can often be explained in very simple ways, Shipping concerns, publishers unwilling to take the risk on smaller markets, localisation problems and in a way that's fair but one thing really grinds me the wrong way and that's digital distribution.

In a world where I could watch someone else's TV from 300 miles away in real time surely I should be able to download the same content from my console or handhelds online store and while I would hope that would be true, its not.

While Microsoft and Sony have generally been quite good when it comes to releasing the same content worldwide Nintendo continues to disappoint European gamers with lack of content on its online store and each company still have problems when it comes to working out a decent exchange rate, most of the time simply settling for the same figure but with a different currency symbol prefixing the number.

whats a euro?

To sum it all up with a video game analogy, in the world of video game distribution Japan and North America get to take turns being the easy tutorial levels, while Europe is a mid-game dungeon that may require the use of a guide and not everyone will even bother but it could be worse, the Australian level requires several GameShark codes and is set on the moon!

I never realised how little OoT i actually played before

Ocarina of Time is a genuine gem of yesteryear, everbody knows it, everybody of a certain age played it, right? well the truth is, I did play it but i never finished it, infact I played it on the N64 and again on the Gamecube when i got the disk packed in with windwaker.

Then the 3DS release came along and i bought it, only then did i realise how little of this game I actually slogged through, when i started the game up it all looks so familiar, i travelled through tha first 2 dungeons and made my way to the third.

right as i entered Zoras domain it struck me, I have never been to this area and from that point on everything has been new to me but now one thing bugs me.

they made some of the things easier how much of the content am i breezing through that others have slogged through in the past ? if you can answer this leave me a message in the comments.

So i have played what i think is half of the game by now and aside from one eye shattering moment at the end of the first dungeon the 3D has been great, the world looks amazing and its testament to the artists that i narely botice how much the game world and art style have changed until i look at side by side comparisons.

The whole world looks fantastic, the day night cycle is a sight to behold and the dungeons look suitably epic though i did notice the fog effects from the original dungeons boss battle have not made the transition to 3d which made it feel a lot less creepy.

Gameplay is incredibly fun, the controls feel very intuitive even the positioning of the touch screen buttons for switching equipment dont feel out of place. combat is satisfying especially in later dungeons where enemies require gadgets to defeat.

Not much else to say except im thankful im able to finally play through the whole journey again.

Open letter to Microsoft

Well done to the guys over at Xbox Headquarters on your most recent update to the Xbox Gamertag system, thank you for removing all that useless information such as Zone , which many of us use to identify other like minded gamers.

Thank you also for keeping the rep in place as like all other users I pride myself in having 5 stars and can now feel safe in the knowledge that at least one person, somewhere has told you that I'm a great person.

I'm also particularly enjoying the new colour scheme, I love how it blends in seamlessly with the rest of the service you have built for me, everyone knows grey and black are the perfect compliment to green white and purple.

Thank you for removing that hideous Tenure from the end of my name, do people really need to know how long I've been a member? Probably not but I was glad you where able to make use of that now empty space by filling it with a measure of your own E-peen.
 Major Nelsons E-peen is a thing to behold! Major Nelsons E-peen is a thing to behold! I would also like to say thank you for inviting me to your rewards program, I am thoroughly enjoying my time spent on that site even though I'm not eligible to earn very many points ,as your customer service team pointed out, as an early adapter to your services I already got my reward, having more time to play with the features.

Speaking of features thank you for adding all the wonderful features to my Xbox such as Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM, Sky player and Zune Marketplace, there is nothing worse than having to use these free services on my PC with their slick interfaces and full functionality, having access to them for just £5.95 a month on my Xbox is much handier and better value, thank god you didn't try to lumber me with services I might never use like ESPN or Hulu, you always know whats best for us UK users.

Keep up the good work and remember that DLC I got a month earlier than other consoles is much better than Exclusive games.


Yours sincerely
Buft

The Ten of 10... No

Here it is 2011 a new year and my first chance to reflect on the releases of last year. I compiled a top ten list that I'll be posting in the near future but one thing struck me about it during my deliberation process, there where some notable games missing from it and the reason was simply that I hadn't even bothered to pick them up.

By far out of all the developers Platinum Games had by the best and worst of years.They started the year with the great Bayonetta which was an amazing feat of both programming and visual style, the combat with its crazy over the top style and fantastic combo system blended with a world that just looks stunning made this game instantly enjoyable , unfortunately its competition came in the form of Mass Effect 2, Darksiders, No More Heroes 2 and MAG just to name a few and although it sold moderately well it (1.1 million copies according to SEGA) it deserved so much more.

Platinum then rounded out the year in break neck fashion with the superb shooter vanquish which currently holds an aggregate score of 85.1% on Gamerankings, the introduction of the Rocket Sliding to the standard cover based shooter instantly made it stand out from the pack but again the game didn't sell as it should.

Both of these games have won numerous awards from Best Debut from Giantbomb for Bayonetta to Best Mechanic and Best game No One Played at Gamespot for Vanquish.

The other game missing from my list that I decided to check out was Enslaved, the story and look of the game have received high praise from reviewers and with a decent combat system I feel bad for missing it.

So I picked up all 3 of these games and decided to hold off my judgement of the top 10 of 2010 until I can get these titles under my belt.

Top 10 games, reviews and impressions coming soon.

Countdown to 2011 XBLA sale full details of offer

They accidentally leaked the info on the deals through the Download to Win contest info on the Dashboard yesterday. Here's the Complete List of "Countdown to 2011" Daily Discounts. this info is also in the official rules section of the xbox.com website.

Arcade Games:

  • -Lara Croft: GoL
  • -Castlevania Harmony of Dispair
  • -Perfect Dark
  • -Monday Night Combat
  • -Sonic the Hedgehog
  • -Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • -Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  • -Sonic the Hedgehog 4
  • -Sonic Adventure
  • -Sonic and Knuckles
  • -Limbo

Add-Ons:

  • -Halo Noble Map Pack
  • -Fable III Understone Quest Pack
  • -RDR: Liars & Cheats, Legends & Killers, Undead Nightmare
  • -Alan Wake: The Signal and The Writer
  • -Dance Central: I Gotta Feeling
  • -Mass Effect: Lair of the Shadow Broker
  • -Mass Effect 2: Overlord; Kasumi

Avatars:

  • -2011 Glasses
  • -Pet Monkey
  • -Rock Band Keyboard Prop
  • -Alan Wake Raincoat
  • -Kinect Sports Giant Foam Finger (Red)
  • -Modern Warfare 2 UAV Prop
  • -Fantasy Pets Minotaur
  • -Cool Jobs Policeman Outfit
  • -Plants vs. Zombies Mask
  • -Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Car
  • -Yoda Green Lightsaber
  • -Free Premium Theme

Movies:

  • -Layer Cake
  • -13 Going on 30
  • -The Spy Next Door
  • -Wall Street
  • -Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
  • -Brothers
  • -I am Legend
  • -GAMER
  • -Semi-Pro
  • -The Notebook

note the UK movies will most likely been different and this list may include all content.

Gaming Vices

Money has always burnt a hole in my pocket, when it comes to budgeting I am the absolute worst in the world, I can never pass up a good sale, the glittery sign that says money off might as well say "free money here".

My biggest vice is Microsofts "deal of the week" and over the past while the sales have been for DLC which hasn't interested me in the slightest since I didn't own the games in question. However since last week Microsoft have forced my hand by offering games that I had the slightest interest in.

It started on Sunday night, having held off all week on buying Scott Pilgrim I bought it on a whim and quite frankly 5 bucks was a bargain but then Monday morning hit and I caught shank for 800 points and I knew it had to be mine.

So here I am 2 days later, 2 games bought and most of my emergency points spent and I cant believe I fell for it again, pretty happy with the games considering they where spur of the moment purchases but I felt I needed to come on here and confess my sins.

While we are on the subject I just wanted to do some polling into what other people think is their biggest video game vice, leave your answers in the comments.



On a side note: my review for Fable 3 and Kinect Adventures are now available, feel free to leave some feedback or some thumbs(up or down).


Kinect sees dead people!

So I picked up Kinect day one, my first impressions with it where fairly positive for the most part and for playing games it seems like it works pretty well. However there is one other potential use I have discovered for all those Kinect devices in peoples homes. Catching Ghosts!

The reason I'm writing this blog is that the freakiest thing happened to me while taking a break from the rigors of motion control gaming, having sat down just out of view of the sensor but in a position to still see the screen I started browsing the internet and eventually the Xbox went into the screensaver mode which reduces the screen brightness.

Every few minutes I noticed that the TV screen would light up and the Kinect sensor would try and adjust its angle before going back into standby mode, thinking nothing of it and continuing with my browsing I was content in presuming that this was something the Sensor did to calibrate for changes in the room.

Then the incident occurred, the camera started adjusting and out of curiosity I looked up and saw that on the dashboard IR input display the screen was lit up as if the camera had detected hands waving, a little freaked out I got up to check it out and then the straw that broke the camels back, the screen flashed purple indicating that it had indeed found a person.

No ghost here

Not pictured is any ghost what so ever!

This happened just for a second and then it was gone but it freaked me out and I decided to check out information on how the IR sensor works and apparently the Kinect sensor incorporates two separate technologies that are typically used by ghost hunters.

The IR sensor to detect possible anomalous movement and the multiple microphone setup with a system to reduce ambient background noise which creates the possibility of capturing disembodied voices.

As someone who is sceptical of ghosts and ghost hunting I honestly don't believe what I saw was indeed a ghost, possibly it was a mote of dust or some sort of glitch in the system but I wanted to throw this out there and gauge peoples thoughts, especially the people who do believe in this stuff .

Who we gonna call? Microsoft Ghostbusters!