Archive for November, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 – PC vs Xbox 360

On the left PC - On the right Xbox 360

On the left PC - On the right Xbox 360

Left 4 Dead 2 runs like a tortoise on the Xbox 360. On the PC its as fast as a hare, and despite how the once upon a time story of The Toroise and The Hare ended in fairy tale land, in the real world PC L4D2 is the only way to win (or in this story, the only way to play). I setup both versions side by side for some in game comparisons. The first thing I noticed was the difference in load time, the PC version loads much quicker and gets you on the ground ready to kill zombies first. I managed to capture this load difference on video below, bare in mind the PC is on maximum settings whereas the Xbox, well, it has no settings.

Whats more difficult to show is the difference in graphics. Compared to the PC, the image quality on Xbox is obviously very poor, running at a sub ‘HD’ resolution with little or no anti aliasing. But what makes the Xbox version of L4D2 suffer the most is the frame rate, which in my opinion is unacceptable. I maxed out all the video settings on the PC, including AA and AF, and the game flies along perfectly with a constantly smooth frame rate. The Xbox however is extremely jerky, chugging along at nowhere near a steady 60fps, with motion blur at the slightest turn of your head, probably to cover up the slow frame rate.

First person shooters have gradually moved from the hardcore PC gamers to the mainstream, with titles like L4D doing well on console and of course Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 breaking sales records of all time. Do console gamers even realise what they are missing out on graphically on the PC. Is image quality and frame rate important to them and do they even know what these terms mean, terms that have been the foundation of PC gamers every hardware upgrade and driver update since Doom? Do they even care? Probably not. As first person shooters continue to be released across all the platforms, its clear that if you are hardcore, PC is the only way to play, after all, how can a game pad possibly provide the level of accuracy and control of the traditional mouse and keyboard.

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The Guild Season 3 Finale Review – complete with face to face twitter break-up

Check your twitter, your dumped!

Check your twitter, I just broke up with you!

Season 3 of The Guild is over, and went out with an entertaining and side-splitting finale. Without providing any spoilers (apart from the picture above? :Ed) I think a new wave of face to face twitter break-ups will be upon us. Also an appearance from the more racy Codex (as seen in the music video below) really made this episode miles ahead of previous season finales (season 1 finale was a bit, budget). I guess all that looting of Microsoft’s gold finally paid off as this web series has become a full quality series up there with the best of traditional televised comedy shows (providing you are a gamer of course).

Being an Xbox Live gold member has had its privileges for Season 3 viewers of The Guild entitling us to full HD via the Xbox dashboard, but I think the audience could have been much bigger if they didn’t sign a Microsoft exclusive agreement. YouTube should have jumped on this deal first as Bing/MSN/Xbox video is not the best way of reaching the type of viewers of a web series. Either way its the content that won us all over and The Guild gets my vote for the Open Web Awards Best Online Video Web Series. Cast your vote now whilst enjoying The Guild’s hit music video below.

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GTA IV Performance – Dual vs Quad cores

GTA4-Performance

1680 x 1050 - All High Settings 40/40 View/Detail Distance VSYNC On

Along with many others I have been extremely disappointed with GTA IV performance on the PC. Apart from bugs with textures disappearing and key mapping which have been solved in recent patches the biggest downfall was the inconsistent frame rate. The Xbox 360 version seems to maintain a reasonable frame rate whereas more powerful PCs across the net have struggled. In my quest to get to the bottom of this I have discovered 2 things.  GPU has little affect, CPU is everything.

The majority of PC gamers have stuck with dual core CPU’s as most games have not required quad core, the biggest backup to this was Crysis, the ultimate benchmark that would bring any PC to its knees, which ran faster on dual cores. Quad core adoption has been slow but is gradually increasing (see graph below). From my in game experience and now benchmarks GTAIV requires at minimum a quad core processor, probably due to the multiple cores on the Xbox 360 that it was originally coded for. The frame rate on GTA IV on a dual core CPU is extremely inconsistent, no matter what graphic card, even a 5870 from ATI. Reaching a smooth and consistent 60fps is only possible with a Quad core.

cpu-adoption

Stats per Steam hardware survey Oct 2009

As more and more games are released on all 3 platforms (PS3 XBOX360 & PC), with PC only titles rarely being produced, and even PC specific developers like Crytek moving their flagship engines to all 3 platforms, I believe the adoption of 4 core processors will start to increase and become a necessity at the heart of any PC.

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Steam now has total hours feature

omgI just noticed a new feature on steam which logs total hours played per game. Previously steam has only displayed hours played in the last 2 weeks, but they must have been accumulating these stats in the background, and shockingly I managed to rack up 131 hours on GTA4. I think the annoying rockstar taskbar app that runs in the background has pushed up this figure, or maybe I just cannot stay away from Niko Bellic. Bring on Episodes of Liberty City for PC.

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cg_lagometer 2

cg_lagometer-2

Today, after over 10 years, I discovered cg_lagometer 2 as opposed to cg_lagometer 1. Whether this is a new Quake Live feature or has always been there I do not know. But the visual number displaying the ping in the lagometer is a great discovery.  It can be accessed in the menu via game settings> advanced> and click Draw Lagometer through to advanced or by bring down the console and typing \cg_lagometer 2.

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Introduction better late than never

writers

This should have been posted first I guess. We are up and running and myself and 2 other writers have joined the site but as you can see there is little activity in the group. We should have our profiles up soon so you can find out a bit more about us. I am still working on my NSMB review and other than that I plan to try Left 4 Dead 2 and carry on with spec ops on Modern Warfare 2.

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New Super Mario Bros Wii…for kids?

image

Mario has arrived. The sole reason I decided to repurchase a Wii, ok maybe not the sole reason.

News of a black Wii arriving in europe spread and I wanted to find an excuse to get the dark console. I was a BIG fan of New Super Mario Bros on the DS, countless hours spent re-running the levels to get those 3 big coins hidden in corners unreachable at first glance. So the console has just sat there, dust gathering on the once shiny piano black plastic, awaiting the arrival of this no doubt christmas best seller.

And here it is, arrived on release day thanks to ebuyer who now do a decent pre order game service a la play.com. But is this game for kids as pointed out by a Wii owning impulse purchasing casual gaming colleague? Will it be the dissapointment that Mario Kart Wii was compared to the DS and NES versions, a dumbed down over the top luck of the power up brawl? As I wonder I also realise my G1 wordpress app is feeling the strain of this first proper post which has extended further than I predicted. NSMB Wii thoughts after the break…

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WordPress 2.8.6 and wptogo

Ok so I am posting this from my android device using wptogo, after succesfully updating wordpress from 2.6 to 2.8.6. My host daily.co.uk seem to be really sluggish since the update, strange? Anyway just as the upgrade tutorial says, I am posting about my completed upgrade and taking a moment to sit back in my creaky chair.

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