Thursday, January 26, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic Gets Anti-Aliasing - NVIDIA vs AMD/ATi Still Image and Video Comparisons

I haven't played SWTOR in a while and it was great to see when logging in that a patch installed a much-asked for anti-aliasing capability to the game engine (which came out only days after our post poking fun at it, but it was something asked for since Beta). Great job listening to your customers, devs!

To turn it on, simply open up the Preferences in SWTOR and under Graphics, it's a pulldown menu that allows Off, Low and High settings.

The HERO engine was said to not have this capability, so either they injected it, programmed it, or it must be a post-processing filter, similar to Skyrim's FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing) and BF3's Post Filtering, where the calculations (the detecting and blurring of the edges) isn't done at the drawing stage but afterward.
It works well:

Having now a set of good mid-range video cards, one NVIDIA and one AMD/ATi, I thought I'd see what the difference was in-game, when each was set to High.
Here is a short video showing the two side by side, in a short clip speaking with an NPC, and a pan and still shot of a FRAPS captured frame from the game:

There aren't really any big differences by the look of it, unless you really want to nit-pick. Both do a great job. Textures seem to be slightly crisper with ATi, slightly clearer, and NVIDIA seems to use higher-quality settings for AA from the get-go, just picking High makes it look great. I find with the newer ATi cards that forcing Higher Quality Anti-Aliasing (Supersampling, HQ A.I., etc.) results in a higher-quality picture overall versus the NVIDIA, using a GTX560 as a comparison against an HD6870. Again, both do a great job though - if you have those cards or higher the game is smooth as silk to play. Hopefully your video card can handle turning on Anti-Aliasing. If it can, things will run a little slower but the sometimes-distracting jaggies are heavily reduced with this great addition to the game.

To celebrate this new option from the developers and my upgrade of a monitor (Thanks, P!), I present a larger size Star Wars Loading Screen Desktop Wallpaper at 1920x1200, from us to you:

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Loading Screen Desktop Background Wallpaper at 1920x1200

See you in there!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Battlefield 3: Tips And Tricks For Making It Click

[currently this article is mostly point-form list, with no screenshots]

Hey all, Troy here and I am having pantloads of fun in Battlefield3, both in the Single-Player Campaign and in  Multiplayer. At first however, even after a 4GB patch was downloaded upon installation, the game seems to take a bit of tweaking and fussing with to get working smoothly. Here is a point-form (I may add screenshots, etc later on) reference of many of the things I tried and learned about for BF3, getting it to work better/smoother. I also included some Gameplay Tips that I have come across already (which I would like to make into an instructional video sometime for you all).

Hopefully this will help some people out:

  • In some cases, it may help to change the process of the game (the game running in Windows/etc) to only use one core, for systems with 2+ core CPUs.
    To change it in Windows for example, Right-Click on the Taskbar at the bottom and choose TaskManager. In the Task Manager, click on the Processes tab and then click on ImageName, which will organize the running processes by name. Right-Click on the BF3.EXE process and select SetAffinity... uncheck one of the CPU cores (0 or 1) and then click OK.
    I personally found this slowed down the game a little, but it should provide stability for the game if it is crashing or stuttering (especially if the audio is stuttering)

  • You can always lower the Graphics Options within the game, but if putting them on LOW seems to make no difference, it may be your CPU that is limiting performance, not your Video Card (GPU). 
One way to see how a couple aspects of your system is performing is to enable the in-game Performance Overlay. To enable it in the game, while playing, hit the Tilde key (~) which is usually next to the number one key on a standard english keyboard, then type:  
render.perfoverlayvisible 1     
(that's render-dot-perf-overlay-visible-space-one)
and you will see a graph being updated in the lower left of the game.  
This is DICE's utility that basically shows the performance of your CPU (main engine/processor of your computer) and your GPU (video card main brain chip/processor), which are the two main components of a game being run and displayed on a computer system.
In this graph, the amount of time your CPU is taking to respond (it's efficiency in working) is shown in YELLOW, your GPU/videocard is shown in GREEN.
  1. If the green is below the yellow, then your videocard is working more efficiently/faster than your processor.
  2. If the yellow is below the green, then your processor is working more efficiently/faster than your videocard.
  3. If either of them have spikes or jagged changes while updating the graph, they are waiting/processing too hard and this will cause framerate drops within the game.

  • In the game's Graphic Options, DEFERRED ANTIALIASING is basically 'regular' MSAA (Multisampling Antialiasing) and the POST ANTIALIASING is similar to FXAA (Fast Approximate Antialtiasing), seen in Bethseda's Skyrim/Elder Scrolls V, which is similar to AMD/ATi's MLAA (Morphological Antialiasing) option on their videocards. PostAA will tend to blur (that's how AA works) the overall screen as it quickly calculates/finds edges, whereas DeferredAA will take more time to calculate/find edges and will mainly blur only those areas.
    Deferred AA is more demanding (slower) than just using Post AA, both can be used at the same time if you wish. 

  • If you attempt to join a server in Multiplayer, using EA's Battlelog web interface and it seems to just sit or be stuck on LOADING or JOINING, even though you have "Go To Game When Ready" checked: look on your Taskbar and if the game is there (BF3 icon) click on it and will bring up the full screen game and continue loading properly.

  • If you have an INTEL processor, disabling Hyperthreading may help with stuttering or slow performance (AMD does not have this problem as it does not 'fake' processors/cores)

  • Since this game is so demanding, I suggest if you are attempting to record gameplay videos (FRAPS, etc) to install the game to one drive and record to a second hard drive (this is a good setup to increase performance of gameplay while recording with any games). 

  • Joining servers with higher ping will obviously have more lag/latency than servers with lower/green ping, but if you still experience lag/choppy gameplay on lowping/green servers, try servers with less players. Both the server CPU and your CPU must calculate and assist in drawing all those players, although it is far more dependent on the server not running more than it can handle (many try to force their servers to do so).

  • If the game is crashing or locking up, after making sure all your fans/cooling is working properly, consider not overclocking (if you are) or even underclocking, just to play BF3. This sounds counter-intuitive, but if you are having stability issues, work on your stability first (stopping crashes, etc) and one way to do that is to make sure things aren't overheating. If things start to run more stable and stop crashing/etc, then think about ways to speed things up after that. (This is of course one of many Last Resorts of having stability problems, as you probably want your system running as fast as you can get it)

  • When you are at the Battlelog, the Battlefield 3 web-based launcher and server browser, and it shows "SORRY, SOMETHING TECHNICAL WENT WRONG", just hit Refresh to reload the page, and it will work itself out. If you are blocking Scripting on the web, such as using Firefox and NoScript, allow Amazon's Web Services (amazonaws) and it should work fine.

Couple of quick tips:

DO NOT lay/crawl right next to walls/objects as you can poke through on the other side and players can see you if you move around on the spot. Even though you cannot be attacked through the wall/object, when hiding/moving against something, tap the key in the other direction once or twice so that you are not directly up against an object/wall so that you do not poke through and give your position away.

Lights and Lasers on guns can temporarily blind players but also basically tell them "SHOOT HERE"

Bullet Drop seems to be more pronounced than BFBC2

If you shoot all your rifle ammo at the enemy but they are still alive and reloading feels like it will take too long, quickly switch to your pistol and finish them off, then you'll have all the time you need to reload

Movement feels more like Medal Of Honor than it does Battlefield 1942 - a little more 'swimmy' than what is realistic. Learn your pace of movement, it will help you gauge whether you can make it across that street before the armor up ahead turns around to see you. If you know how fast you can run, you'll know to risk it or not. Also, if you have the Sprint upgrade, you can catch up to people from behind and knife them and take their tags.

Don't be scared to shoot at heli's (unless you don't want to give your position away) with a regular gun or pistol, you might get a kill as they fly by. I got 400 points in a few seconds at a flag because I stopped to help cap it while simultaneously Resupplying, Captured the Flag and Killed an Enemy that was flying overhead as a passenger in a chopper that I shot at (which also got a Defending Flag Bonus), all at once.

I see a lot of people asking about how to learn to fly or drive in multiplayer. An easy way to do this is to search in the Server Browser of the Battlelog for the term "1p" which is part of the name of servers that can start with just one player. Then, put a checkmark in the "Empty" filter. You will then get a list of empty servers that you can start on your own to learn the maps or learn to fly.

That's it for now, good luck getting it working better, stay positive and have fun!

Munenushi says: 
And Now, because I myself have seen so many Russian players (on the servers where I have been anyway) I present to you, this post:  in Russian!

Munenushi говорит:А теперь, потому что я сам видел столько русских игроков (на серверах, где я был, во всяком случае) я представляю вам, информативного сообщения TROY, в русском языке!
Всем привет, TROY здесь и у меня возникли pantloads удовольствия в Battlefield3, как в одиночной кампании и в мультиплеере. Сначала однако, даже после патча 4 Гб был скачан после установки, игра, кажется, берет немного настройки и возиться с заставить работать гладко. Вот точка-формы (Я могу добавить, скриншоты и т.д. позже) ведения многие из вещей, которые я пробовал и узнал о для BF3, заставить его работать лучше / более гладкой.Я также включил некоторые Геймплей Советы, которые я встречал уже (который я хотел бы сделать в учебное видео, когда-то для вас все).
Надеюсь, это поможет некоторым людям из:

  • В некоторых случаях, это может помочь изменить процесс игры (игра работает в Windows / и т.д.), чтобы использовать только одно ядро, для систем с 2 + ядро ​​процессора.
    Чтобы изменить его в Windows, например, правой кнопкой мыши на панели задач в нижней части и выберите TaskManager. В диспетчере задач, перейдите на вкладку Процессы и затем нажмите на ImageName, который будет организовывать запущенные процессы по имени. Правой кнопкой мыши на BF3.EXE процесс и выберите SetAffinity ... снимите флажок с одного из ядер процессора (0 или 1) и нажмите кнопку ОК.Я лично нашел этот замедлился игре немного, но он должен обеспечивать стабильность для игры, если это сбой или заикание (особенно, если звук заикание)
  • Вы можете всегда ниже Graphics Options в игре, но если положить их на LOW, кажется, нет никакой разницы, это может быть ваш процессор, что ограничивает производительность, а не вашей видеокарты (GPU).
    Один из способов увидеть, как пару аспекты вашей системы выполняет это для того, чтобы в игре Performance Overlay. Чтобы включить его в игре, во время игры, нажмите клавишу тильда (~), которые, как правило, рядом с номером один ключ на стандартной английской клавиатуры, введите:render.perfoverlayvisible 1
    (Это рендер-дот-перфорация-наложения видимого пространства-он)
    и вы увидите график обновляется в нижней левой части игры.
    Это утилита DICE о том, что в основном показывает производительность вашего процессора (главный двигатель / процессор вашего компьютера), и ваш GPU (видеокарты основной мозг чип / процессор), которые являются двумя основными компонентами игру, запустить и отображается на компьютере системы.В этом графике, количество времени ваш процессор принимает в ответ (это эффективность работы) показан желтым цветом, ваш GPU / видеокарта отображается зеленым цветом.

  1. Если зеленый ниже желтой, то ваша видеокарта работает более эффективно / быстрее, чем ваш процессор.
  2. Если желтый ниже зеленой, то ваш процессор работает более эффективно / быстрее, чем ваша видеокарта.
  3. Если какая-либо из них имеют шипы или зубчатых изменений при обновлении графика, они ждут / обработки слишком сложно, и это вызовет кадров капель в игре.
  • В графические варианты игры, ОТЛОЖЕННЫЕ сглаживание в основном «регулярные» MSAA (мультисэмплинга Antialiasing) и POST сглаживание похож на FXAA (Fast Приблизительная Antialtiasing), видел в Скайрима Bethseda в / Elder Scrolls V, который похож на AMD / ATi 'ы MLAA (Морфологические Antialiasing) опцию на своих видеокартах. PostAA будет иметь тенденцию к стиранию (так А. А. работ) общий экран, как он быстро вычисляет / находит края, в то время как DeferredAA займет больше времени для расчета / найти края и будет в основном только те, размытия областей.Отложенный АА более требовательным (медленнее), чем только с помощью сообщения А. А., они оба могут быть использованы в то же время, если хотите.
  • При попытке присоединиться к серверу в мультиплеере, используя Battlelog веб EA интерфейс и это, кажется, просто сидеть или не загружается на сервер или присоединения, даже если вы "на матч, когда будете готовы" Проверила: посмотрите на панели задач, и если игра есть (BF3 значок) нажмите на него и появится полная игра экрана и продолжить загрузку должным образом.
  • Если у вас процессор Intel, отключение Hyperthreading может помочь с заиканием или низкая производительность (AMD не имеют этой проблемы, поскольку он не «подделка» процессоров / ядер)
  • Так как эта игра настолько требовательна, я предлагаю, если вы пытаетесь записать геймплей видео (FRAPS, и т.д.) для установки игры на одном диске и записи на второй жесткий д
  • Если игра происходит сбой или блокировку, после того, что все ваши поклонники / охлаждения работает нормально, учитывать не разгон (если есть)или даже underclockingпросто играть в BF3. Это кажется нелогичным, но еслиу вас возникли проблемы со стабильностью, работать на вашем первомстабильности (остановка аварий и т.д.) и один из способов сделать это, чтобыубедиться, что все не перегревается. Если все начнут работать более стабильным и остановить грохот / и т.д., то подумайте о том, как ускорить процесс после этого. (Это, конечно, одна из многих Последнее курортов, имеющих проблемы со стабильностью, как вы, наверное, хотите, чтобы вашасистема работает так же быстро, как вы можете получить его)
  • Присоединение серверов с более высокой пинг будет, очевидно, более лаг /задержки, чем серверов с более низким / зеленый пинг, но если вы все еще испытывают задержки / порывистый геймплей на lowping / зеленый серверов, попробуйте серверов с меньшим количеством игроков. Оба процессорасервера и ваш процессор должен рассчитать и помочь в составлении всехэтих игроков, хотя это гораздо более зависим от сервера не работают больше, чем он может работать (многие пытаются заставить своих серверах для этого). 
  • Когда вы находитесь в BattlelogBattlefield 3 веб-пусковой установки и браузер серверов, и это видно "Извини, что-то пошло не так ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ", просто нажмите кнопку Обновить, чтобы обновить страницуи она будет работатьсамо собой. Если вы блокируете сценариев на веб-сайте, например, использование Firefox и NoScript, позволяют Амазонки Web Services (amazonaws), и он должен работать нормально.

    Пару простых советов:
Не кладите / ползать рядом с стены / объекты, как вы можете протыкать, с другой стороны, и игроки могут видеть Вас, если Вы перемещаетесь на месте. Даже если вы не можете быть атакованы через стену / объект, когда скрытие / движущиеся против чего-то, нажмите ключ в другом направлении, один или два раза, так что вы не непосредственно против объекта / стене так, чтобы вы не протыкать и дать Ваша позиция далеко.

Свет и лазеры на оружие может временно ослепить игроков, но также в основном говорю им "стрелять ЗДЕСЬ"

Пуля Оставьте, кажется, более выраженным, чем BFBC2

Если вы снимаете все ваши боеприпасы винтовки по врагу, но они все еще живы и перегрузке чувствует, что это займет слишком много времени, быстро переключиться на пистолет и добить его, то вам придется все время вам нужно перезарядить
Движение чувствует себя больше как Medal Of Honor, чем это делает Battlefield 1942 - немного больше "swimmy", чем то, что реально. ЖЖ ваш темп движения, это поможет вам оценить ли вы можете сделать это через эту улицу до броню впереди оборачивается, чтобы увидеть тебя. Если вы знаете, как быстро вы можете запускать, вы будете знать, рисковать или нет. Кроме того, если у вас есть обновления Sprint, вы можете наверстать упущенное, чтобы люди сзади и ножом их и возьмите их тегами.

Не бойтесь снимать с вертолета это (если только вы не хотите, чтобы ваша позиция в гостях) с обычным ружьем или пистолетом, вы можете получить убить, как они летят. 
Я получил 400 очков в течение нескольких секунд на флаг, потому что я остановился, чтобы помочь довершение одновременно Снабжение, захваченных флагов и убиты врагом, который летел над головой в качестве пассажира в вертолете, что я стрелял (который также получил Защита флага Бонус), все сразу.
Я вижу много людей спрашивали о том, как научиться летать или ездить в мультиплеере.Простой способ сделать это заключается в поиске в браузере серверов из Battlelog для термина "1p", которая является частью названия серверов, которые могут начинаться только с одним игроком. Затем, поставьте галочку в "пустых" фильтр. Затем вы получите список пустых серверов, вы можете начать самостоятельно изучать карты или научиться летать.

Вот и все пока, удачи получить это работает лучше, оставаться позитивным и получайте удовольствие!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bully: Scholarship Edition - First Impressions, Screenshots and Let's Play Without Talking (Walkthrough, Part I)

A while back, during an always-great-to-run-into Steam sale, I picked up Bully: Scholarship Edition (the name the Xbox, Wii and PC versions were released under). Being a fan of Rockstar games, I looked forward to what looked like post-GTA2 gameplay, even with the simplified-for-consoles low-polygon-count look to it:
James and Algernon [Flowers For Algernon?] settling up in the hallway a'la GTA Missions.
Yes it's a lot less money,  but I think you are only fifteen in the game, after all

Saving money and time by not producing two separate versions of a game (for the PC and then the Console markets), many companies today are doing the reverse - producing games for the console market as a starting point (as they are easier to program for) and developing for the couple of de facto standards (as opposed to attempting to cover all the bases of getting things working and compatible for millions of different and changing combinations of hardware in the PC market as a starting point). Then, they simply develop and translate that game for PCs (game 'port'-ing, as in 'transporting' playability and marketability from one architecture to another). This process also allows for a game to retain a more simplistic engine, post-porting to PCs, so that it's marketability is wider (more older machines can run it = more customers buying the game). This is not the case with all games, but happens the majority of the time today to save time and money, and judging by the overall look of the game, it is the case with Bully.

James and his Biology teacher, Dr.Slawter [slaw-ter, get it? slaughter? or slot-her? umm nevermind]
Don't get me wrong, despite the pointy heads, cuboid (yes that's the correct term) fingers and overall boxy-ness of the console-focused game engine, Rockstar (Vancouver/Toronto/New England chapters) has obviously put a lot of love into the game. Making up for the low complexity of the models/meshes (and they seem to have even improved that slightly for PCs, judging by early console screenshots I have come across), things like detailed textures, varied model animations and other bits of attention to detail are everywhere. Papers fly by in the breeze and students make comments about their daily student/teenage life as you run by. Daylight levels change constantly, based on the hour of the day. There are weather changes as well:
Stand outside with no jacket on for a sec while I take this pic real quick to show it's Christmastime... Wow, it's almost New Year's!
Aspects like these have been seen in First Person Shooters before Rockstar Games existed, but Rockstar does them well and their presence is always appreciated by gamers. Rockstar's Low-Shelf (but then, Always-Accessible) humour is also present, with jokes like the Blue Balls Pool Hall. The game is rated for players 13 and up all over the world, so if you don't get that joke.. umm.. don't worry about it.

An example of the best gift you could give a teenager for Xmas
I try not to read too much about a game before I play it. A few trailers is fine, but I prefer to enjoy discovering everything for myself. One of the benefits of this occurred in this game, where I was pleasantly surprised to see classes (as in school curricula) present. I originally thought the entire game would be just Rockstar's typical open-ended, mission-based run-around gameplay. Talk to an NPC, do something. I completely forgot about the wonderful tidbits that are, Mini-Games.

Future Street Race 2165 arcade game. You only need to come in first place all 3 times!
In the adult versions of the other games (adult as in, being an older character in the game) playing videogames, billiards, darts and other such activities are Mini-Games that you can play in the settings Rockstar creates. Playing arcade games is still present and are nice little challenges, but the main mini-game aspect (so far in my gameplay) is the classes you must take. Pushing the right buttons in the right order for Chem class and drawing out an image a'la Qix for Art Class are examples of great interpretations of mini-games, are found in Bully, and are enjoyable reminders of the performance-based time spent in school days of yore [yikes, aging myself here hah].

Biology Class Tray or  Cafeteria Tray?

One aspect I must quickly touch on before ending this post is regarding the music. In game, it is present constantly (not particularly a bad thing) and it is pretty catchy. Almost too catchy. I found myself remembering and imitating the music while I wasn't playing. I began to wonder why it was so darned memorable and analyzed it until I figured out why: it is memorable because it is so reminiscent of music of the past.

This is not a dig against Shawn Lee, I'm not saying he was plagaristic, or even derivative here. Perhaps tracks like Beach Rumble sounding like the Miami Vice Theme by Jan Hammer and the track Punishment sounding like Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police are done in homage. It does seem fitting to utilize their themes for those specific settings in the game anyway. Either way, the music is enjoyable and seemed to fit in with the game well, such as sneaking around done to music that feels like 70's-era Detective Show background track.

And so, it is with this enjoyable game that I am starting a series for this blog I have entitled "Let's Play Without Talking"...

I came up with the idea of making these series of videos (each game will have it's own series/playlist of recordings) because I wanted a way to chronicle the gameplay and enjoyment of games I have - initially for myself to watch again sometime - but I thought that other people might enjoy watching them (especially if YouTube is any indication of such a thing). There seems to be a ton of Videogame Gameplay videos on YouTube today (as opposed to say, over a decade ago) but none have people just being quiet and playing.
These videos are technically not Tutorials or How To's, as I am not showing you what to do to complete the areas (heck I make mistakes in them, as it is generally my first time playing them (so you are literally watching my first time or at least my first time playing that game in a long time (a section of something may be re-recorded if there are technical problems)) and they are definitely not Speedruns or Time Attacks, as I am not trying to complete the game as fast as possible (I like to explore things but am not an Easter-Egg-Hunter either) - I am merely playing the game - and you can watch if you want.

Perhaps watch these while eating a meal or relaxing before bed, reminiscing of the game and the enjoyment you perhaps had with it in the past. It's like you have come over to my house (I made a couple dozen chicken wings for us) and you are literally Watching Me Play while you eat or something - and I don't talk while I play...
[Technically, these could be classified as Walkthroughs, as I am showing you how to possibly do things, but as it is my first time playing the game, it is not in the most efficient way possible.. I make mistakes, some stupid, some funny.. and what is shown is only one path to take, one possibility and it is definitely not the absolute full experience of the game.
I understand the helpfulness and entertainment value of commentating on videos, but originally searching on YouTube I did not find many game recordings where people would just shut up and play and let me watch the game and enjoy it that way, haha. Today, there are an increasing number of 'Let's Play' videos of just gameplay, and so I feel it is alright to share my experience of the game in the spirit of entertainment of others and not intentional copyright infringement (these types of videos will never be 'monetized' - it is even free advertising for the game and game companies - if you like the game material, buy their games and support them!)
Remember fondly, or purchase to enjoy, these great games!]

To celebrate, I present this Desktop Background Wallpaper, adapted from an original Rockstar Bully Scholarship Edition Wallpaper, edited and retiled for Widescreen Monitors:

A nice and neat pattern-style desktop background wallpaper, just for you from Game Tips And More!
Bully desktop wallpaper by Rockstar

Now, without further ado...
The Game Tips And More Blog presents:
Let's Play Without Talking (Walkthrough) Bully: Scholarship Edition - Part I (HD)


This gameplay recording is intended for Educational and/or Entertainment  purposes only
and is possibly subject to Fair Use. It is meant as instructional (a "walkthrough") and entertainment (a  "playthrough" or "Let's Play") showing only one possible example of one possible path of gameplay and it's exact likeness as a game path (movements, actions, etc) is not repeatable (with 100.000% accuracy) therefore your game experience will be different. This video is not a representation of the full experience of the game as a player (esp. as it is usually the first time playing the game, mistakes included). This category of videos will never be "monetized" by us.
Any possible copyright of any material within the video, if present, will be respected and requires notice of possible approach of infringement of the representative companies. Removal or Censorship of the possibly-infringing material will be undertaken. No actual infringement is intended and cannot be inferred. In fact, this is a form of free advertising for any companies involved: if you like their product as a result of seeing this, go out and buy it and support them! Create your own experience of the gameplay material! Have fun! 
This video is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Forcing Anti-Aliasing In Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) with Video and Screenshot Example

Since Beta, I have been attempting to force Anti-Aliasing in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I see that many many people are also trying to do the same. I have read that Bioware themselves states that with this game's HERO Engine, there is no such capability (I am guessing to allow possible merging with consoles, allowing console play in the far future, I see few other reasons other than keeping the gaming overhead low for older machines, to increase marketability).

I have a GTS250 and Santa gave me an ATi/AMD Radeon HD 6870 for Xmas. I want to share here, my findings:

Nvidia AA set in the Nvidia Control Panel VS Amd-Ati AA set in the Catalyst Control Panel.
Unedited (cropped and pasted only) other than the 3 logos put in, FRAPS capture, same area, same NPC.
Either one is stretching or one is squishing, take your pick. I always wondered why all the females seemed to have huge butts in the game. Actually, I think it's just the character models are different (randomly generated), the main thing to notice is the difference in the aliasing ('stair-stepping' on the edges of the lines/models)
Click to see Full Size.

With the Nvidia GTS 250, I was unable to, in any way, shape or form, enable or force Anti-Aliasing. I tried Ntune and other applications that work with Nvidia brand video cards, I tried initialization tweaks (.ini file editing), everything. Nothing worked and judging by the images on the internet of people who 'HAVE IT ENABLED LOOK AT THE SCREENSHOTS', it is never really enabled and there are still jagged edges all over the screen.

For those who don't know, a Tip of what Anti-Aliasing (A.A.) is:
When a graphic adapter (video card for example) talks to the monitor to draw dots and objects so you can see things with your human eyes on the screen and attempts to draw a straight line at an angle, it cannot do so properly, due to the fact that the screen is made up of dots. The result on the screen can only 'resemble' or 'imitate' a straight line at an angle. Thus, the result is termed an 'alias' or 'fake version' of a line at an angle. This is fine, but the jagged edges are distracting to the human eye, especially as they move and jiggle when there is movement on the screen.
Because of this, we have the option to try to get rid of them (which is impossible, but we can try to 'hide' them) via a technique that blurs the jagged edge over and over a few times and blends it with the surrounding dots - and that very "attempt to hide the problems of the jagged imitation of a line at an angle" is termed Anti-Aliasing. Literally, we are against and trying to get rid of, the jagged representation of a straight line at an angle that is being displayed by dots on a screen by blurring it over and over. That's it. 
[Hey, that means we can have rallies and find members by asking them "ARE YOU AGAINST ALIASING??" and they can shout back "HELL YA I AM" and then we can high five each other and all drink and shoot guns together to loud music, celebrating our brotherhood of jagged-free-ness.] 

I had planned on recording a New Series for the Game Tips And More blog, using SWTOR (it actually began with the game Bully, but I haven't uploaded those videos yet) it was to be a series that I entitled "Let's Play Without Talking" (because...well....I don't talk - other reasons for this name will be explained with that Series of uploads/videos/posts). In recording my gameplay and annoyed at not being able to get Anti-Aliasing working with the Nvidia card, I threw in my shiny new Radeon and attempted to force AA in the Control Panel (as I did with the Nvidia Control Panel for the GTS). What resulted was AntiAliasing in SWTOR. Wonderful.

The 4xAA difference can be clearly seen, especially in the front of the brown armor, along the neck and down the bars of the holding cell behind. There is really nothing more I can add, this video is proof: As of Christmas 2011, The Way To Fully Enable Anti-Aliasing In SWTOR is to buy an AMD/ATi video card!

See you in there!

**Update 2012-01-22:
There has been a patch that enables AA within the game itself.
Creating testing videos and will post em once compiled...
Article and new video can be found here:

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic - MY WAIT IS DONE - (Star Wars: The Queue Goes Public: Part II)

Well, I haven't been able to play for a while, but in that time things certainly have improved.

I haven't gone to the forums to see if it's people ragequitting (even though that isn't a real word), returning to their old games (if they didn't like SWTOR) or EA/ORIGIN/BIOWARE opening up extra servers, but in any case the results are the same: I didn't have any Queue ("kyue" not "kway-way" or "kay-ay"). Here are the lists of new servers:

SWTOR North American Servers as of 2012

SWTOR European Servers as of 2012

I wasn't able to play long, but I pooped in and was signed into my server/shard without any wait whatsoever at PrimeTime for my locale on a Saturday. Whatever changed in the last couple weeks, it worked. I look forward to playing many hours of this great game.

See you in there!