Monday, December 30, 2013

Guild Wars 2 - How To Complete The Winter Wonderland Snowflake Jumping Puzzle of Wintersday (Tips with Video)




If there were an award for Most Frustrating Event of 'winter-timey' events of this season, the Winter Wonderland snowflake-jumping puzzle in Guild Wars 2 could arguably win the snowflake-shaped trophy. I'm all for getting presents to the eager kiddies, but I can only fall to my death so many times before I am reaching for the Scotch and caring less and less whether I get their gift-wrapped socks to them or not anymore. In fact, I'm doing this for ME now, for the Achievement... oh sorry, Tips and such, yes, here we go...

In Lion's Arch, near the display of presents and candy canes, speak with the Festive Youth (the map will have a red/white mint on it that says Winter Wonderland) and choose to brave the freezing peaks.

[The auto-kicker is set very low in this region - take care not to spend much more than a miunute standing still/away from keyboard or you will be 'disconnected due to inactivity']




Inside, there are three paths to choose to jump to your death get the kiddies their presents by: a path marked by two Quaggan, a path with two Snowmen and a path with Gingerbread Men. They are all similar and all three will eventually converge into a center point marked my giant mints as platforms and Toymaker Trixx warming himself by a fire. Warming yourself is what you'll need to do - and fast - as the more time you spend jumping around on the snowflake platforms, the more damage you will take from the exceedingly-cold environment. Once you get past the questions of why they just didn't build a causeway lined with intermittent fireplaces or just teleported you past this area, you can start to jump your way up the snowflakes into the white beyond, hurdling candy cane rungs on the way.

The Winter Wonderland area of Wintersday in Guild Wars 2 as it appears in Winter 2013,
feel free to use it as a winter wallpaper!
(Click to see Full Size)

Since each path is similar and eventually end up in the same spot (the fire with Trixx to talk to), choose whichever one you feel is the easiest (or get used to the quickest). After a few hundred falls, I settled on the far right one, the one with two Quaggan. There are a few large jump gaps and two sets of candy cane rungs to navigate, but I found once I got the hang of jumping the flakes and canes, I could get to the gifts [the second half] almost every time. Here are some jumping tips, but first, one that is most important in my opinion: disable your dodge/evade in the Options.

Opening the Options Menu, in the Winter Wonderland area of Guild Wars 2
[Quote from 'Forceome': "agh this is so hard can't get past the first part"]
(Click to see Full Size)
To disable the Double-Tap-To-Evade, hit Escape or click on the Gear icon in the upper left, then in the Game Menu that pops up, click on the Gear icon again for the Options. In the first window that opens, there should be checkboxes at the bottom. Simply uncheck (if there is one) the Double-Tap to Evade option to disable it, for now.
In the Options Menu, adjusting the Double-Tap to Evade setting in the Winter Wonderland area of Guild Wars 2
(Click to see Full Size)

This is important for this jumping puzzle because, as you correct your character's position on the platforms, or hit a key twice in excitement as you move around, disabling this will stop you from hurtling yourself off of snowflakes and mints or into oncoming snowboulders later (that's right not snowballs, snowBOULDERS).

After disabling that option, the rest of the game is mostly getting used to the jumping:

  • I suggest zooming out a little, to see the flakes ahead of you a bit easier. Also, I suggest having a viewing angle of about 45degrees or sharper down towards your character. It is easier to gauge distance this way, instead of seeing 2+ snowflakes ahead of you in a flatter, more restrictive view that doesn't show you just how far you have to jump or where the next snowflake is, as clearly
     
  • Get your hands in a comfortable position and have lots of room to move your mouse (if you do not have your sensitivity up high). As there is a time-limit involved, you will be spinning your mouse around quickly to navigate the turning angles and giving your mouse more room to move around may help in not bumping into anything and stopping it from being able to turn your character
     
  • Jump as late as possible for the larger gaps. Start to move towards the edge of the snowflake in the direction you want to go and press AND HOLD the spacebar to leap as far as you can
     
  • Find out which way of stopping your forward travel while in the air is easiest for you. You may find that letting go of the spacebar is easier (when you need to just drop down or drop quicker so you don't overshoot a platform). For me, I found that while holding forward and jump to leap through the air, letting go of the W (forward) was easier for me, so that's how I'll explain it in the following tips
      
  • For smaller platforms (snowflakes, mints, gifts, etc), I hold my spacebar down as I leap towards it, and as I come over top of the platform, I let go of W when centered over it, so that I basically drop down onto it perfectly, without overshooting or getting too close to the edge. This also leaves a little bit of a run-way to build up a jump to the next platform, whatever it may be
      
  • Although it might feel good to get a long chain of jumps together in a row, I suggest not getting into this habit too much, as the twisting paths and changes in gap spaces make it harder the longer you try to keep your hands in the same position and not 'resetting' your hands on the keyboard/mouse. I found it was easier to get past the snowflake portion [the entire first half of the game] if I let my hands reset often, even if I did not feel rushed or could keep going in one long jumping chain. It gives you a second to breathe and reset your hands and refocus
     
  • Speaking of focus, when you find your eyes starting to wonder a bit (there is a lot of nice stuff to look at and your health going down is unnerving and distracting of course), try not to look at your health. This takes your eyes away from the platforms and stutters your concentration. Yes, your health is going down slowly and it will, as long as you are not by a fire, so just let it do so - and if it is getting close to the end (it will as you get close to the Mints middle part) try not to look at it, as it will take precious seconds away from your forward movement and focus. You will eventually die from the cold, if you do, just let yourself die and you'll get a chance to start over, don't look at anything on your HUD if you can
     
  • I found navigating the candy cane rungs easiest by doing this technique: I would hold the space bar down and I jumped straight up and then I would tap the forward key (W by default), holding them both for one second, then letting both of them go. This would launch me up, then forward a bit, then drop down, right on the next rung/cane. [Hopefully, this old-school 'hold-a-then-b' style of jumping will help you past those treacherous treats]
     
In the middle, once you pass the ungodly snowflakes, there is the toymaker Trixx, awaiting your decision as to whether you want to try for extra prizes or take a consolation prize at this point. There is also the choice to give up a chance for bonus prizes by starting at this spot again if you fall when jumping from here to the end. Note that this does not allow you to ALWAYS start from here, it only gives you TWO chances to fall and start from this mid-point. Once those are used up, you will get forcefully placed back at the start of this Wonderful Wonderland of Woe.

In the second half of the puzzle, there are a scattering of gift boxes to jump on, then some mountain paths with snowBOULDERS rolling towards you. If that isn't enough pressure, there are also gusts of wind from large "friendly" snowmen and icicle missiles that drop down on you, all while you try to climb up the mountain pathway. Some tips for this section are:


  • Although noone really knows how the gift-boxes work and what triggers them (some have said they are a fixed pattern, but they do not seem so and some have said it's if others touch them first, but I have seen boxes pop and disappear without anyone touching them), it does appear that if one person goes, you can go next over the ones that did not explode; but if a group of people go, the gifts go explode-crazy and I suggest waiting until they reset
     
  • Don't just frantically tap spacebar and think it will work all the time on getting past these gifts. There are gaps between some of them and some will explode in front of you - so you must then adjust and hold the spacebar to get over the new gap. [I could have sworn wildly tapping the spacebar worked far better closer to the start of this event, but it seems it does not do so anymore]
     
  • Once past the gifts, watch out for a gust of wind as you cross a large mint and hop down onto a candy cane bridge. Then, move onto the large mints on the side of the mountain paths, as snowBOULDERS will be coming down at you Indiana-Jones-style
     
  • As you avoid the boulders and get onto the side mints, watch out also for glowing rings of fire on the ground, signalling an Area-Of-Effect incoming and stay out of the rings [It seems as though it is a giant icicle that drops down on the spot, but I have not paid enough attention to it to see exactly what it is yet]

Finally, at the end (watch out for one last snowBOULDER), are a pile of spilled gifts to the right that you must jump across to leap into the exit (a huge glowing gift box portal). The way that I prefer to do this last portion is shown in this animated GIF:



Once you jump into the huge glow and come out the other side, enjoy the rewards that await you and settle gently into the idea that you only have to do all of this 19 more times to get the Achievement!

Don't worry, it can be done... Along with some of the tips covered above, here is a full Playthrough [with embedded tip reminders] of The Winter Wonderland Jumping Puzzle of Wintersday:



Good Luck with it - hopefully these techniques will help you out a bit - and See You In The Game!



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quick Tip: Medieval II Total War - 'Fatal Graphics Error' [Possible Fix]



I first bought this great game as a DVD Retail Box and then later on purchased it through Direct2Drive [when Direct2Drive was around, then that service became GameFly (2015 Edit: and now it's D2D again)]. I also have it on Steam as a backup digital download source - it's too hard to resist those really cheap Steam Sales! Recently, I was Re-Installing M2TW, to begin conquering the world once again... However, I was surprised to see nothing but an error message (on Windows7):

The "Fatal Graphics Error" message, when starting MTW2


I personally found this error humorous, as it complained about Graphic Settings - and I couldn't even start/get into the game to change or even set them in the first place! So, I started Troubleshooting....

Apparently, a lot of people, on many forums, have been getting and asking about this error - and still are - so here is a great chance to share this Quick Tip on a simple 'fix' for it I eventually found, simply by playing with the Shortcut Properties:

Right-Clicking on the Shortcut for the game and editing the Compatibility Tab to match these settings,
is how I fixed the Fatal Graphics Error problem when I played M2TW recently. Try it out!
Click image to see Full Size

After making these changes to the Shortcut that runs the game (adding two quick checkmarks in the checkboxes shown above), after launching it should show a black screen [detecting settings?] momentarily and then load up the game properly (you may have to click on the icon in the Taskbar [Windows] to bring it up a second time) but that's it!
Hopefully that works for you all, as it did for me.

See You In The Games!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Planetside 2 - How To Find Snowmen (Winter Event) Known Facts, Tips and Suggestions


[Update: Note that although these Tips And Tricks noted herein have been noted to be of note during the first year of note in this notable noting, they have been tested to be valid for successive Winter Events, meaning that these Tips are still viable and applicable and other terms that end in -able for following Winter Event years. Enjoy!]


 Merry Auraximas!


For those playing Planetside 2 at this time of year, there is a Winter Event from SOE going on, that involves hunting snowmen in the blowing snowdrifts of the continent, Esamir. Killing 10 of these somewhat-rare snowman spawns earns you a new Title for your Soldier. Killing the far-more-rare Golden Snowman unlocks a Golden Hood Ornament instantly! This post is a collection of tips, strategies and ideas to help you do these very things this winter season. But first, an introductory video to the Winter Events, from the Official Planetside 2 Channel:





Known facts about the Snowmen:

  • The elusive Snowmen are not quite as tall as a human/soldier, but they are definitely not "small" - the main problem is that they are...white - on a continent of snow. [They are about 2/3 the height of a player/soldier] 
  • To help with spotting them, they have NC gloves stuck in the sides of them, a TR hat put on them and a VS stylish scarf draped around their necks knife as a nose 
  • The snowmen cannot be run over, spotted, or their visibility increased by using thermal vision, as they are snowmen and do not have souls are cold [they did appear stark white on night vision however, in my tests] 
  • They do not take many bullets to kill, they seem to take about the same damage as a regular player/soldier. For instance, in one test, a snowman was done in by two knife/melee hits [they are not excessively hard to kill] 
  • They are somewhat-random spawns. They seem to appear at the same locations, but the spawn timers are unknown
  • They can be found in groves of trees, near rock formations and even in the nooks and crannies of building structures, but only on the Esamir continent [there may be a queue in your region/server primetime playtime]
  • There are two types of Snowmen: Regular Snowmen and Golden Snowmen. They both seem to be able to appear on the same spots (share spawn points), as some have even reported that one type of snowman was 'inside' another type of snowman (they were 'on top' of each other/shared a spawn point)
  • The main difference between the two types of snowmen is that Golden Snowmen are far more eXPerience, reward a Hood Ornament upon "killing", and it seems that there can only be one Golden Snowman on the continent in existence at one time - all of this making the Golden Snowman a much more rare (but rewarding!) find

Snowman found in grove of trees, not far from a road, with some rocks around






Tips and Suggestions:

  • Although a Flash is fast and versatile, I suggest trying a Harasser, due to the difference of having a 360° rotating camera, while still being fast and relatively easy to steer/handle (and it can 'power' over some hills that the Flash cannot). You can also switch to the 2nd seat (hit the F2 key on your keyboard by default) and use the mounted weapon, even if you did not (or cannot) purchase any vehicle upgrades or add any weapons at all [the Flash would require a weapon-add upgrade] to kill found Snowmen (and contesting enemies)
     
  • You can use an empire-specific fighter (jet), but it has been reported that the snowmen cannot be seen from very far away (and some are under overhangs, etc) so this makes it somewhat more difficult if it is true, even with the difference in travel time.. [I have not tested this bit of info at this time]. You'll have to make that decision for yourself. Many people have reported flying around (low to the ground) has been fruitful for them
     
  • All classes have their strengths with this event [no doubt thought of by the developers]: Infiltrators can scan a wide area with their scopes, sniping the snowmen from a distance and can cloak if threatened (or fight). Engineers can refill their own ammo and repair their transport vehicle if it becomes damaged. Light Assaults can utilize their Adrenaline Pump ability to sprint faster to their destinations, as well as jump-jet up to higher points and over rocks [I prefer the Light Assault for these reasons, but the choice is up to you] - however this is just an example of some of the benefits of some of the classes for hunting
     
  • They appear at the sides of roads a lot [I ran into most of my snowmen this way, driving down roads and veering off when I saw a grove of trees or an isolated rock grouping]. Rocks seemed to have far less snowmen [for me], but there have been reports of people finding them in rock formations and on mountains [I found a couple, in rock formations; but since many of them seem to be easily found from the road, just driving around on roads and keeping a sharp eye open may be the 'fastest' way, in my personal opinion, at least, when starting out hunting, at first]
     
  • As you can see from the maps in the next section below, they are spread out pretty well - there are lots of places to at least have the chance to find one. Of course, it will help [be easier] if your faction controls the area you are hunting in; but even if not, it's a chance to engage the enemy for fun (or if you are less inclined to battle, you are allowed to create a soldier of a different faction on the same server, so you can choose one that 'owns' the territory you wish to go hunting in)
Snowman found by the edge of a road [I personally ran into most of my Snowmen this way, finding them along the sides of roads]
Snowman found near edge of road, while driving around in Harasser



Community-Created Maps:

Here are a couple of maps that were posted on the Official Planetside 2 forums (shared with cartographers' permission):

[This map has been added to since this version by many helpful people at the SOE Planetside 2 Forum here: https://forums.station.sony.com/ps2/index.php?threads/esamir-snowman-spawn-map.163625/ ]
Esamir Snowmen Locations, map by Slaudog
All markers can be either Snowmen or Golden Snowmen, circles mean more than one was found close to another
[Later versions of this map have more contributors, see the thread for updates]
(Click to see Full Size)
Esamir Snowmen Locations, map by MaxDamage
(Click to see Full Size)


Snowman somewhat-hidden by brush within a grove of trees, not far from a road
Snowman found near base structure, alongside a road
Snowman "kill", showing eXPerience gained. With the Double XP Weekend plus a 10% bonus, it seems that a Normal Snowman will give 500XP





With the great eXPerience that the Snowmen give, if you are a lower level (Battle Rank) you can literally rank up just from popping these party piles of pudgy powder [This one was found right next to the road]






I have already achieved the custom soldier Titles for a couple of my Soldiers since this event began and have started to help others find them and wanted to collect everything I've learned so far together in one post. Hopefully, you will find this information helpful in seeking out these little fellas, especially if you are just starting out - now get out there, start hunting, good luck - and See You In The Game!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Quick Tip: Team Fortress 2 - What To Do With Those Naughty and Nice Winter Crates (Winter 2013)



By now, most of you have seen these Random Drops, Crates that are either "Nice" or "Naughty" - but, "How do you open them..", you may have asked? Well, this post is just a quick note to answer this question I have already started seeing on game forums and Question/Answer websites. Answer: You Can't Open Them (Yet)...

Soon hopefully, keys should be available for purchase at the Mann Company Store (Steam/Valve/TF2), most likely for $2.49 USD, if keys and dropped crates combinations of the past are anything to go by [I assume they are dropping them now, to allow people to collect some before the keys go on sale - to sell more keys]. So, if you get these [I have already started getting them when playing, hence the screencaps], just wait a little bit longer, until the keys themselves go on sale. Then, if you want to open them, just purchase keys and unlock them! Soon™... (Remember, you will need one key for each crate)


See You In The Games!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

And More: Deals and Sales - Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics - All 3 Games Completely Free Until The End Of December 13th at Good Old Games (gog.com)


Pardon me, I got so excited seeing this great deal, I forgot that they aren't called Good Old Games anymore (since sometime last year..). Don't let that stop you from taking advantage of this absolutely Free Gift from GOG.com: Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics are all wrapped up with a bow for the Holidays and waiting for you to add to your DRM-free collection at their website - see the full details there: http://www.gog.com/news/free_games_fallout_fallout_2_and_fallout_tactics

I hope you catch'em in time and See You In The Games!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

And More: Deals and Sales - Black Friday Weekend 2013 Deals Are On Now


I don't usually talk about current sales/promotions on this site [or haven't so far], but after seeing all of the sales on out there, I had to make a quick post just to say that there are some great deals on now! 

Even if you don't live in the United States (for instance, I'm in Canada [eh]) you can still take advantage of them, as most electronics and entertainment companies are on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend bandwagon, with tons of purchases available online - and it's all "nuthin' but good" for gamers... Steam, Origin, Gamefly and other digital gaming distribution platforms are all chock full of great sales, as is Amazon, TigerDirect, MemoryExpress and other local and online hardware stores, allowing you to finally get that Upgrade you've been wanting, should you decide to jump on a deal out there.

Some examples of games on sale are below; but whether you buy a few games this weekend or save your money and just play with the new influx of players in your own favourite online game - I hope you enjoy your weekend and have some fun:

An example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Steam

A small example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Origin

An example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Gamefly


See You In The Games!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gone Home - First Impressions/Mini-Review (Text-Only Version)


When beginning to play Gone Home, one of the first games that came to mind was "The Uninvited", a point-and-click adventure game from the 90's, where you did not have to have fast 'twitch skills' to kill oncoming enemies or opposing players, but you had to be able to learn; searching, exploring a house and collecting and organizing information, all the time exposing more and more of the storyline (that you did not know fully at the outset) and that's what this game is [including being scary!].

Gone Home is an interactive story game, based mainly on exploration, played in the first-person [you 'look out through your character's eyes' as you move around] so, while it is not a 'point-and-click' adventure game, like Myst/Riven, any of the Quest series' (King's Quest, Police Quest, Space Quest, etc),  Day of the Tentacle and similar games, it definitely evokes ideas of exploring and analysis of the environment, as part of developing the story, as these types of games did.

Without giving away exactly what the storyline is, I will say the game craftily led me to believe many things that it wasn't (or did not not turn out to be). I thought, with the dark and scary, empty house (complete with rainstorm happening outside and the scary noises that go with it), it was certain to be a story lined with death or gore, but this game is not rated Mature and it is not "18+" rated either [although the main plot line is more for Teens than it is for Children, but then who is letting their child play 'explore the dark and scary house' games anyway?]. There were many elements, items and scripted moments, that lead you towards inferring things that the game is not - and while that is arguably a lower-brow tactic - it still does not take away from the overall feel of the game. Indeed, the overall enjoyment of the game itself is not affected by these little 'tricks', even if it does turn out to be somewhat self-defeating and make the ending seem somewhat anti-climactic as a result. While still fun in spite of all of this, this game is a prime example of 'the journey is more important than the destination/ending' - some may see this as a caveat and some will not.

A more obvious caveat with this game, is that it is short. Very, very short. As in, 'played-on-my-lunch-break-on-my-laptop-and-completed-it' short, if rushed through. While a review found online slated the game as "feeling like a longer demo" and while the material is simplistic and can be finished in an hour or two, I feel that this game is more like a dish at a fine restaurant: yes, you could gobble it up in minutes and leave, but what would be more enjoyable is to savour each moment, enjoy each bite and spend hours lingering and sampling, looking around and taking it all in over a longer period of time. If one's time is taken in the game, every nook-and-cranny is explored, every piece of evidence collected; much [much!] more enjoyment will be taken out of the experience than if one were just looking for how fast they can complete yet another title. I feel this game is meant to be gone through slow and enjoyed, like a good book.

Technically, the game's approach is simplistic too, with simple environments and sounds. The main sounds for the game are the storm outside, the creaking of the house (doors, drawers, etc) and the Narrator herself. There is only the one house to explore, but by the end it does not feel like it needed more (again, the simplicity of the game does not detract from the enjoyment of the game). What did impress me was the collection of textures [the materials on the shapes] that were used. The detail of the textures and clarity of them was fantastic. Wood and paper looked realistic, signs and labels could all be read easily, and the sheer variety of materials from the time period (whether photographed or created) was significant. The environment itself was meant to be a North American 1990's family house and it was represented wonderfully. If one lived in this type of setting in the 90's (and especially if you were 'coming of age'/a teenager during that time), you will be lovingly enveloped in decor, music and 'attitude' [mindset] of that decade.

While the story itself is simplistic (but meaningful) and the technical aspects are somewhat low-key, the winning element of the game is how the story is presented (the exploration). By exploring everything yourself, you are delving up the story at your own pace. As you go searching throughout the house, characters and plot lines are opened up and revealed to you. It is much like an interactive book. Given the financial and work-force constraints of the 'indie' development team (only three people at the outset, I believe), it was wise to pick a solitary character exploring an environment - and they did wonderfully with what they had on-hand. Utilizing the mindset of a teenager during that time (of calendar and of age), with creepy shadows and scripted sounds, the game engine is used well, in regards to portraying the story and setting, even if it is not exercised to it's fullest extent. Indeed, not using the game engine to inject excessive effects lends even more feeling to the reality of the environment and representation of the time period - where technology did not yet permeate every aspect of daily life.

I have to end this article by saying that some players and reviewers (especially in regards to the length of the game) have said that this is less of a 'game' as it is a 'demo' or 'art project' - but in the sense of competition or completion, they are somewhat correct - there are no other players to combat and no ending antagonist to overcome and you are seemingly placed in the middle of a story, playing out 'chapter three' in a person's life and then it is over. In that sense, it is not really a 'traditional' video game. If anyone were to ask me about the game, I am going to refer to it [as I have above] as more of an 'interactive book'. I could say that it is basically a point-and-click adventure game [like the ones stated at the beginning of this post] made after they were able to have "3D" graphics and as far as technology and storyline development, that's mostly true. But to me, overall Gone Home really is more akin to a short story. The characters aren't deeply developed and you experience only a portion of events in the life of the persons involved. Still, in the end these limitations don't go against the enjoyment of the game itself. You may or may not identify with the characters and what they are going through; but even if you do not, the presentation of the game is lovingly crafted and the overall experience of the game is enjoyable - even if that experience does not last as long we would like. But then, isn't that the same with every good experience in life?


See You At Home



Friday, November 08, 2013

And More: How To Pronounce "ASUS" (Text-Only Version)


This is a subject that is only lightly debated on the odd game or tech forum, and like the 'how to pronounce GIF' argument/discussions, I almost don't want to clear things up... but as with my earlier article on 'How To Pronounce "GIF"' [found here: http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/05/and-more-gif-is-pronounced-jiff-like.html ], I suppose with only this little post on this lowly blog that is mostly about games (with the odd article on editing), I won't really change things.. so here'goes:


The reason this came up at all, was that I am increasingly hearing people say their differing versions of how to pronounce the word in videos. Although most people seem to utilize either (i)"ay-zeus" (which sounds like saying, "Hey, Zeus [the Greek ruler-god of the sky], how are ya?"), or they say (ii)"ay-suss" (which sounds like a way of saying, "hey, sis, how are yah?"), some even say (iii)"ass-uhs" (which sounds like "Ask us a question" (with a silent k) or almost like "Asses" but with an 'ugh' at the end) [although I think that last version is just an excuse for some to say "ass" while at work, haha]. While I myself was mainly using the second version since I started working as a Computer Service Technician, there have been a couple of "Official" sources published on the intertubes since then.

Wikipedia, [arguably] a source of good information [I say arguable because 'anyone' can edit it to say almost anything, many people with their own agendas; but mainly it remains a source of 'good' info], lists phonetics for the word's pronunciation in their article as: (/ˈss/), which is closer to the first form (i) from above, than the others (but with a softer 's' sound than a 'z' sound)..

Engadget, a technology and-related-science information site, posted a video in 2010 [found here: http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/17/how-to-pronounce-asus-video/ ] which gives a "from now on"/Official way of pronouncing the company's name, from the company itself: "ay-suss", which is closer to the second form (ii) from above, than the others.

Prior to this, around the turn of the millennium, I myself was searching for some 'official' form of how to say the word, and the only source at that time was the ASUS website, which stated that the name came from the concept of the Greek mythological creature, Pegasus. This suggested to me (there was no 'official statement' on the website itself of pronunciation) to say, "ah-sus" (the second half of the name Pegasus), which is actually closer to the third form (iii) from above, which sort of sounds like "asses" but with more of an 'uh' sound near the end instead of an 'eh'. This is how I would type it: "ah-sus".

So where does that leave things today and how is ASUS actually pronounced, then?

Since there has been an 'Official" statement, with example, we have no choice but to go with Endgadget's exposé on the issue, which gives the pronunciation of "ay-suss" (ii).
What is important to note here though, is that it is not just said the way it is typed here. In the video at Engadget's site, the woman demonstrating the Official way to say the word purses her lips when she says, "suss". Therefore, it is not just a plain "suss", it is more akin to "soos", which sounds almost like the Dr.Seuss name that is on all those kids' reading books.
If you ask me, this makes things a little more confused than it should be, because the sound [I don't know the phonetic symbol for it offhand but it is present in how French-speakers say the letter "Y" in their alphabet, with pursed or puckered lips] is almost exactly between "suss" and "soos", and yet it is neither of those.
At least the video does clear up one thing: the beginning of the word ASUS. It is not "ah" (short form of the letter A) it is more like "ay" (long form of the letter A). So then, the officially-demonstrated way of saying the company name is:

"ay" (almost, but not quite, the long form of the letter A) and then a sound that is exactly between "suss" and "soos" (with pursed/puckered lips)


That ended more complicated than I thought...



Personal Note/Opinion:

While that issue is now solved and 'written in stone', as it comes from ASUS itself (thanks mainly to Engadget), I have to end this post saying that I am left wondering why they changed the pronunciation from [what appeared to be] their etymological starting point. What I mean is: their website states the name came from the name "Pegasus", but [in English anyway] we do not say "peg-ay-suss", we say "peg-ah-suss".
Nevermind, I think I just figured out my own query, just by typing that in and saying it out loud: I believe that they changed the pronunciation from [how we say the mythological creature's name in English] "ah-suss" to something more akin to "ay-suss" to distance themselves from the sound of, well, "asses". I guess I can't say I blame them. 

I hope this article has helped, even if it only made things more complicated. That's helping, isn't it?



This has been a Public Service Announcement by The Game Tips And More Blog


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Battlefield 4 Beta - First Impressions and Screenshots


[Please note that previous to playing the Beta, I didn't read any information at the website, hadn't been to any of the meetings, or partook of anything that gave me information beforehand. Hearing about the Beta 'late in the game', I just jumped in and wanted to see what was different. Here then, is my reaction/opinions]


An example of the [slightly] upgraded graphics of Battlefield 4. Click to see Full Size

With only one week left until Release, if the Beta was anything to go by, BF4 seems like it will bring in a bunch of new weapons, tools, maps and 'take things vertical' [ugh, that sounds so cheesy] with much more rooftop/height strategy thrown into the mix. You could always get on top of buildings in Battlefield games of course, but in BF4 it feels downright encouraged with open roofs, lots of room to move, things to hide behind and elevators direct to the various building tops.

"I see snipers will be even more annoying with the elevation in BF4". Click to see Full Size

Yes, all of the 'Rooftop Snipers' can get annoying at times, but once you yourself get up there, you can see how addicting it is, what with the quick ability to strategically place yourself, open viewpoints (and nice views), the potential to parachute close the objectives, or 'get the drop' down on the enemy [so many cliches possible with this game already].

View from the Ming tower with one of the weapons that spawn within it. Click to see Full Size

The weapons are modern guns and tools [not being a gun expert, I'll focus more on how they 'felt', looked or sounded]. The models were nice and seemingly complex (good for something that is so close and often in view) and the textures for them looked great, only a few [that loaded wrong?] were blurry, like the C4 remote and a few side panels on some of the guns. Each one still had their differing audio - if you listened carefully, you could tell if that person around the corner was on the other team or not, just by the report that you could hear. Audio wise, in general: Reverb, Doppler Shift and all the other quality 'standard effects that Dice made standard and we expect now' are all there. Great stuff.

Recons (who now carry the C4 explosives in Battlefield 4) will be making elevators very dangerous transports to use

As far as the weapons themselves go, they seemed to all have one thing in common: reduced bullet spread/recoil [versus the previous games]. I could just hold down the trigger and found myself getting kills at a moderate distance most of the time, whereas with earlier Battlefield games I could swear it was a lot worse, and harder to get kills if you did such a thing. Perhaps this is a reflection of the modernity of the hardware or a statement of how a trained soldier actually would handle it, but either way it felt like it left a lot less general frustration in the gunplay - no more 'hold the crosshair on the enemy and never hit them'. While some might not like the somewhat 'easier kills', it seems like a nice change to me.

Hmm.. maybe he really is part cobra.. Click to see Full Size

Some of the new weapons that are based on real-life arms are guns like the XM25 Airburst, where the shell will travel to the enemy and detonate mid-air and 'burst' just beside or above the cover, damaging the enemy that is hiding behind it. A great counter to the increased number of snipers that will be in BF4, the XM25 also seemed to have very little bullet drop. Only at extreme distances did I see the white 'trail' of the shell drop off. A nice little weapon, once you get acquainted with how to actually use it.


The XM25 requires an extra step to use, compared to the other guns in the game: 
Place the 'crosshairs' of the un-zoomed reticle on the edge of the wall you are going to fire around, approximately where the enemy is, then zoom-in (use the scope) and aim slightly to the side/above the wall that is protecting the enemy. Fire and 'fugetaboutit' - unless the enemy runs away quickly, they are now respawning.

Munenushi is warming up his blow-everything-to-hell trigger fingers and will be making another Explosion Montage for BF4
(the BF3 montage is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShibKBskFd4 ). Click to see Full Size

Another change is the medic and support boxes, where instead of starting off with a huge box that heals/resupplies a large number of soldiers at once, you begin with these little packs that only top-up one soldier at a time. Perhaps this is to discourage the old 'pack of Medics making a group invincible' or other pseudo-exploits some people did since Battlefield 2; but I did start to see people with the large Medic/Support Boxes near the end of the Beta, so perhaps it is just something that is unlockable later. That's fine, as the game allows you to throw out a bunch of the little packs right off the bat, at least.

Knife kill on the top floor near the edge of a window. Click to see Full Size

If asked what the gameplay itself was like, I feel like I could now reply: "Good ol' Battfield, son". This game does indeed feel like Good Old Battlefield. The scope of BF1942 is there, the mechanics and variety of BF2 are there, the fluid feeling of BF3 is there, the high level of action of BFBC2 is there [and I think I just solved the secret of how they came up with the formula for BF4!]. With a good mixture of open and enclosed spaces, sections bright as day and parts dark and closed off, plenty of places to hide/camp/recover, and little touches like store alarms going off after you pass through the doors with a weapon, the only negative thing I could say about the general gameplay was that it felt...'cramped'.

Boats will be on streets and tanks will be indoors in BF4. Click to see Full Size

Perhaps the change is to draw in some COD players [I apologize for mentioning Call of Duty in a Battlefield article for those that are bothered by that], or perhaps they chose a smaller/city map to show off the destruction while keeping the system resource demand low, but without having access to a wide, open-field, running-for-ten-minutes map - at least coming from playing BF3 - the map felt small and cramped. The action was nice and dense, but on a 64-player Seige server, I felt like I was playing Counter-Strike and not Battlefield, at times. This is not necessarily a bad thing however, as the action was always tight and will no doubt appeal to gamers coming over from Call of Duty and other similar games.

An example of the destructible components of the game, this picture used to have barriers (left edge), walls (right half) and armored vehicles (middle). Click to see Full Size

There are a huge amount of things that are destructable in the game, but even after shattering everything I could shoot, I still felt like there should be.. 'more'. Perhaps I am destined to be forever spoiled by the GEO-MOD™-ing of Red Faction (circa 2001!), where you could literally tunnel from one section of the map to the other; but despite all of the things in BF4 you could explode, cave-in or mangle, I still felt like I wanted more, by the end. I guess the only place where you can make a quick hole in the ground these days (if you are cornered by enemies and want to create a bunker/trench to hold them off) is Minecraft - kind of sad, in a way. [After the Beta was over and I came across developer-touted terms like "Levolution", if I would have read anything like that beforehand, I definitely would have expected more than just a bunch of scripted 'exploding-into-parts-but-still-there' models/meshes, to be honest]

Visuals are one of the things that did not disappoint in the BF4 Beta. Click to see Full Size

Overall, I had a mixture of emotions with the Battlefield 4 Beta... I felt excited, pleased by many things, slightly disappointed by others, sad for BF3 (I feel like I am being pushed from a too-soon-breakup into another woman's arms - but according to what I have read about EA's Sports franchises and frequency of releases, this is an all-too-common feeling among sports gaming fans). Still, all things considered (including the fact that the Beta barely scratched the surface of the game I'm sure), I am excited for Battlefield 4. I will indeed.. See You In The Game!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Quality Test - GPU-accelerated H.264/AVC Game Recording with CUDA (with Screenshot Comparisons and Examples)

To perform game recording solely on the videocard, utilizing the high resources of today's little powerhouses sitting in our cases - resulting in high quality video and less lag while recording - sounds like manna from heaven. You might be saying, "Wait, the possibly of lowered performance hit and the possibility of a high-quality recording?.. if this is true, please stop teasing and just tell me now..". Well, dear reader, let me tell you that these things are indeed true [for the most part..].

Beginning with version 1.9.0, Bandicam (a game recording application) included support for utilizing NVIDIA's CUDA for recording your gameplay, touting high speed (less 'lag'), high compression ratio (smaller file sizes) and high quality. All you needed was a CUDA-capable NVIDIA videocard, the latest videocard drivers from NVIDIA, and Bandicam. In the most recent version of Bandicam (1.9.1) they have also included support for AMD's APP ACCELERATION and INTEL's QUICK SYNC. 

For this QualityTest, I took an NVIDIA GPU and put it through the paces of some game recording with the accelerated H.264/AVC codec (as opposed to the CPU-based x264 for example), using Bandicam [which at the time of this writing, to my knowledge, was the only game recording app that could utilize accelerated/gpu-based AVC recording] to test things out. Here are my findings, shared just for you.


An example of an NVIDIA CUDA encoded game recording, this is a frame extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Unigine Heaven Benchmark Test @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size


Overall, recording with the GPU gave good performance (low performance hit / lag), fairly small file size output, with decent quality [surprising to anyone that has compressed video with CUDA in the past, I know, more info below]. It was only with certain games that the performance suffered (although this may be more the fault of optimization with the game's engine and not NVIDIA's programming) and it was slightly disappointing that the performance wasn't "that much faster" than other codecs [more info at the end about that]. For the most part however, game recording "live" with the GPU and directly encoding to a file using a compatible videocard is indeed nice and fast and produces comfortably-small footprint file sizes.



What file sizes are we talking about here? 



I haven't looked at the specs for the codec and how it's utilized, but from what I can quickly see on the surface, it is using the h.264/AVC codec with my NVIDIA GPU, with Deblocking enabled and with a keyframe/I-frame inserted every 5 seconds. That doesn't leave 'a lot' of headroom for compression (x264 AVC usually defaults to 250-300 frames between keyframes which, at 30 frames per second, is more like 10 seconds to 'play with' for compression); but it still gave a nice small filesize when recording with VBR (Variable Bit Rate), where it would compress slower-motion areas and scenes when it could and increased the bitrate (to try to keep apparent quality) when needed in faster/high-motion sections.


An example of an NVIDIA CUDA encoded game recording, this is a frame extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Battlefield 3 @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size


Just below, you will find some data samples of game recordings that were done at incremental quality settings, showing the average bitrate of the recording overall and the sizes of the files produced as output
[(i)all game samples were recorded with accelerated/gpu-based H.264/AVC generated by NVIDIA's CUDA at 1080p unless otherwise indicated (ii)although test recordings varied in length between games, throughout each game title, all 4 tests of the same game were done with the same elapsed time]:


Recorded Game TitleQ. settingAverage BRFilesize
Batman: Arkham CityQuality 100(~75000 kbps)753 MB
Batman: Arkham CityQuality 70(~22000 kbps)224 MB
Batman: Arkham CityQuality 50(~10000 kbps)104 MB
Batman: Arkham CityQuality 20(~5000 kbps)59 MB
Unigine Heaven BenchmarkQuality 100(~120000 kbps)1390 MB
Unigine Heaven BenchmarkQuality 70(~48000 kbps)551 MB
Unigine Heaven BenchmarkQuality 50(~24000 kbps)276 MB
Unigine Heaven BenchmarkQuality 20(~11000 kbps)140 MB
Diablo IIIQuality 100(~22000 kbps)44 MB
Diablo IIIQuality 70(~9000 kbps)20 MB
Diablo IIIQuality 50(~5000 kbps)12 MB
Diablo IIIQuality 20(~4000 kbps)9 MB
Alien Versus Predator (PC-2010)Quality 100(~110000 kbps)380 MB
Alien Versus Predator (PC-2010)Quality 70(~37000 kbps)126 MB
Alien Versus Predator (PC-2010)Quality 50(~18000 kbps)66 MB
Alien Versus Predator (PC-2010)Quality 20(~8000 kbps)28 MB
Minecraft (Standalone)Quality 100(~47000 kbps)44 MB
Minecraft (Standalone)Quality 70(~27000 kbps)25 MB
Minecraft (Standalone)Quality 50(~13000 kbps)12 MB
Minecraft (Standalone)Quality 20(~7600 kbps)7 MB
Lord Of Ultima (Browser Game)Quality 100(~ 24000 kbps)59 MB
Lord Of Ultima (Browser Game)Quality 70          -      -
Lord Of Ultima (Browser Game)Quality 50(~7000 kbps)20 MB
Lord Of Ultima (Browser Game)Quality 20(~3000 kbps)11 MB
Lottso Express (Browser, 384p)Quality 100(~870 kbps)10 MB
Lottso Express (Browser, 384p)Quality 70(~320 kbps)7 MB
Lottso Express (Browser, 384p)Quality 50(~225 kbps)6 MB
Lottso Express (Browser, 384p)Quality 20(~164 kbps)5 MB
table code created by Danny Sanchez (journalistopia.com)

As you can see in the table above, due to the nature of Variable Bit Rate recording, setting a quality figure of "50" does not produce 'exactly one-half' of the bitrate or filesize of a "100" quality setting. The codec is adjusting as needed and where required, allocating more bitrate to complex areas and changes between frames, to help keep "apparent quality" near the desired estimate. Configuring the Quality setting of "100" is essentially telling everything to keep as much detail as possible - but it will only do so within the limitations of the codec being used (in this case, AVC) and how it is configured internally (the calculation time allowed per frame, the buffer allowed, etc), depending on how the developers have programmed it to encode.


An example of an NVIDIA CUDA encoded game recording, this is a frame extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Minecraft @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size


Overall, it seems that with CUDA, the file sizes are kept comfortably small - especially compared to a FRAPS or DXTORY codec recording. The bitrate doesn't stray too far from a 100,000kbps maximum (about 12 MB per second of video data) despite how much action is going on in the game at the time. At that bitrate, a half hour of straight recording would take up only about 22GB. Not too bad, especially if you are creating long recordings or can't afford that 4TB drive upgrade just yet. A Blu-Ray disc title typically uses a bitrate of 25,000-50,000kbps, so a GPU-based/accelerated recording is still allowing for more than double that bitrate to try to represent what is happening on the screen in viewable quality.



So then, what is the quality like?



Normally, if you ask anyone about quality who has used GPU-acceleration together with words like "video editing" and "compression", they will tell you: "It encoded faster, but the output looked craptacular..". I myself have tried off and on in the past to compress videos for myself and others with acceleration and every time I tried CUDA or AMD's APP.ACCEL for the final AVC output I was disappointed at the blotchy, blurred, 'macroblock-y' mess that comes out, unless I allow for a much larger bitrate than intended (and receive a correspondingly larger file size). Somewhat surprisingly then, it was nice to find that I did not need to confine myself to "100% Quality" and always expect huge filesizes with GPU-based game recording to get decent viewable quality, suitable for sharing.

A side-by-side comparison of four CUDA quality settings (100%, 70%, 50%, and 20%), these are frames extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Batman: Arkham City @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size






As can be seen in the screenshot comparison above, decent quality can be maintained at the 100% Quality setting, despite the speed of the encoding being done with H.264/AVC. I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest. Of course, Videophiles will notice slight Posterization and light MPEG-compression artifacts (such as Macroblocking) occuring even at 100% Quality if looked closely for; but for the majority of people, a quality setting of 100% (even down to 80%) should be found quite acceptable. I personally found that at 70%, the compression artifacts became more noticeable, especially the 'trails' that occur from the lossy Vector Quantization (the codec keeping track of where things are moving around between frames), which is why I chose 70% as the 'next notch down' on these tests. At a Quality setting of 60% and any setting below that, these 'trails' left behind are very apparent and in my personal opinion I do not recommend going below 60% for GPU-based game recording at this time, as the quality loss and compression artifacts become too obvious and may remain apparent even in a final render after editing.

An example of an NVIDIA CUDA encoded game recording, this is a frame extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Diablo III @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size
The screenshot above is a frame taken from a CUDA-produced Diablo III game recording. Even during a busy moment, with many things happening quickly on the screen, clarity seems to be maintained at a decent level, even the somewhat-hard-to-compress 'Red Text On A Dark Background' - and this video clip was recorded at the 80% Quality setting. Although some macroblocking is beginning to occur in the darker/flatter area of the upper left (as the codec attempts to keep detail in the high-motion areas by compressing the more static areas of the screen to a higher degree), the darker/flatter toolbar and stone floor overall do not seem to be suffering excessively.  [As always however, my personal opinions on quality are mere suggestions based on my own tests and I encourage you to do a bit of your own testing, to find out what settings you would like to settle on and use for your projects]

Since the desktop/GUI can also be recorded with Bandicam, I decided to try record a web browser game with the GPU as well, for the people out there who like to record these games. I recorded two free online games, Lord of Ultima (a city/area building game) and Lottso Express (a bingo-style game), both of which are 2D (flat, board-like), which I thought would be a good example of more static detail (low-motion) compression.
An example of an NVIDIA CUDA encoded game recording, this is a frame extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Lord of Ultima, a web browser game @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size

Lord of Ultima takes up the entire desktop in this large example of low-motion/static area handling by the accelerated codec. The game, captured above, is largely non-moving, especially the toolbars and left portion of the screen. Recorded at GPU-encoded 100% Quality, the toolbars are clear, text is very readable, and even the darker, static area of the Town Hall pop-up is clean and macroblock-free (very little compression artifacts throughout the entire screen), very nice.

A side-by-side comparison of four CUDA quality settings (100%, 70%, 50%, and 20%), these are frames extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Lottso Express, a web browser game @ 384p). Click to see Full Size

Lottso Express runs in a small window, so I tested out recording at the exact resolution of this window (576x384) to see how gpu-acceleration handles lower resolutions. The differences inherent in the four Quality settings, in each of the four extracted frames from the CUDA recordings above, is shown. Although the top section/frame is quite clear (at 100% Quality), it quickly degrades as the quality setting goes down, but the recording still remains watchable. In my opinion, if one is recording just for themselves for fun, or just to share with a friend quickly, even a recording level as low as 60% quality may be acceptable when recording a low-motion 2D game with gpu-accelerated encoding; but I still recommend not going below the 70% Quality setting when recording a 3D (high-motion) game, to maintain enjoyability and clarity when using gpu-accelerated recording (such as CUDA, being used here).
 [My tests presented here are only done with CUDA, as I do not own any other videocards capable of gpu-based recording at this time. Output quality may vary when recording with AMD's App Acceleration or Intel's Quick Sync. As always, I suggest doing a few short tests yourself to see what codec and settings you personally would prefer]


What are the configuration settings that can be changed? 



There was not much available to configure, as far as the Quality settings and configuration, within the game recording application (Bandicam) at the time of this test. Certainly not as much as the x264 codec, with it's VFW interface, that has been developed over time by generous programmers/contributors. For CUDA, you can choose between Variable Bitrate and Constant Bitrate (allowing CBR if you wish to more precisely estimate the file size) if you wish, and you can utilize the CPU to assist with recording and compression as well, but that's about it. This may be a limitation in CUDA itself however, as I contacted Bandicam developers to see if there would be any deeper configuration options for the codec that CUDA is using (such as Deblocking settings and Partitions) and they got back to me stating that there were no other configuration options of that type available to include, at this time.

The interface for CUDA recording found within Bandicam's Video Format settings. 

As of the most recent version of Bandicam (announced at the Bandicam website just days ago), they have added the option to change the Keyframe Interval (the frequency of Information Frames within the Groups Of Pictures, which helps with things like 'trails' or corruption from compression) and the ability to change the FourCC identifier, both of which will make the recording more compatible with video editors such as the Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere lines of products. I am proud to say that I did a lot of compatibility testing previous to this on my own and submitted my findings to the developers of Bandicam, just in case they were interested, which contributed directly towards this recent addition to their application. Information on my tests and findings, for those interested, can be found in these articles, here:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.com/2013/05/game-recording-with-mpeg-4-using.html
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.com/2013/06/and-more-how-to-stop-trails-and.html
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.com/2013/06/and-more-game-recording-for.html
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.com/2013/06/and-more-how-to-record-with.html
http://www.bandicam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1687&sid=06b9cdb4450af00f3d33fb4306963f6f




As always, remember that if sharing your video on streaming sites (which limit bitrate) and uploading sites (such as YouTube), your video will be recompressed [converted again] at settings much lower than your production video and detail will be lost (blurred/smoothed and show Macroblocking) due to  the nature of recompression. Therefore, if wanting to save time, there is no need to create and upload huge-bitrate, finely-detail video, as can be seen in this comparison of an uploaded YouTube video and the output that people will be seeing afterward:
A side-by-side comparison of frames extracted from the Original Uploaded Video (Left), YouTube's 1080p Compressed Video (Middle), and YouTube's 720p Compressed Video (Right), showing loss of data/detail due to recompression.
(Diablo III @ 1080p, high-motion scene, moderately-detailed game engine)
Click to see Full Size



How about performance?



I don't usually talk much about performance when I do QualityTests or TestRuns, except for maybe a short paragraph on my own experiences or a "Personal Short Version/Opinion" section at the end. The reason is, every system is different and everyone has their system configured in different ways. I could say that GPU-recording ran great for me, but then someone with a laptop running a non-dedicated videocard will tell me how wrong I am and that it doesn't run well at all. I could say it lagged me out all the time, but there would be many who could run the same thing with no problems. A quick look at any Technical Support area of any forum anywhere is evidence of the fact that even with the same hardware, there are a bunch of people who will have no problem at all and a bunch who will be having no joy. So, I mainly leave the issue aside but I sometimes mention how it seemed to run for me and [especially if anyone asks directly] I would be happy to provide more information to those who want to know more about it.

For me, performance while recording with the GPU was a mixed bag. For the most part it seemed to work fine, but there were a handful of games that just didn't like it as much. Some were choppy or laggy when I began recording. The theory is, that recording with the many cores of a GPU, processing and encoding a frame to a file should be more streamlined, but in practice it seems to take more resources from the videocard itself than I expected. Perhaps it is due to needed optimization of the games or drivers, or perhaps it is my 'older' videocards that are beginning to get on in years (I was running two GTX 560 Ti's in SLI mode during these tests). I did find that some games preferred non-SLI mode when recording with CUDA (such as Diablo III, if I remember correctly) and things were smoother when recording that way; but for the most part, accelerated recording ran with about the same responsiveness as [and in some games, slower than] my own optimized settings for the x264 iteration of AVC. Not long ago, I spent a bunch of time testing and tweaking x264 to record with the H.264/AVC codec, finding the best settings for speed while maintaining quality - and in light of the performance I was able to tweak out of x264 - GPU-based-recording didn't impress me much [if talking strictly about performance hit here]... perhaps I'll end up just using my settings with x264, for now.

For more information, tests and tweaks that I did over time with h.264/AVC and the x264 codec, feel free to check out these articles here at the blog (some are the same as the above asection):



An example of an NVIDIA CUDA encoded game recording, this is a frame extracted from the CUDA-produced output file (Allods @ 1080p). Click to see Full Size



Overall, recording with gpu-acceleration was pleasantly surprising. Quality (at 100%) was better than I expected from it (it does taper off quickly as you lower the quality setting, however). The file sizes were comfortably small (about 25GB for an hour of recording at 70% Quality, about 45GB for an hour of recording at 100% Quality). The performance was a mixed bag for me, but for most games it was indeed fast and could get the job done. So, in essence, it managed to deliver on all promises. Not bad at all.


Have fun recording with your GPU and See You In The Games!