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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...


oblivion437 oblivion437's Blog
Old Before Their Time
Posted on Monday, April 13 2015 @ 13:49:44 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

Bloodborne's apparently successful launch (see note below) has yielded two interesting points, for me.  One is that it's being hailed as the PS4's savior (see note below) and the other is that it seems to have serious technical problems.  Conversations erupting around previous games regarding lowered resolutions, trailers containing content not in the final game, downgrades, PR speak about 'cinematic' presentation and so on are nothing new.  Fountains of lies have erupted about the new consoles and have kept giving generously even as individual wellsprings went dry.  Remember all that talk about 4K gaming?  Well, forget all about that because they were never offering that.  It never happened and if you don't shut up about it, you'll find out what happened to Nikolai Yezhov.

One complaint deals with lengthy load times which are, in part, an optimization issue but the actual bandwidth for data is in some areas very narrow on both the PS4 and the XBOne.  Both stock hard drives operate at 5400RPM and both use the SATA 2 interface.  Hard drives store data on magnetic platters so 5400RPM (which is very low for gaming) basically means every time the software calls up information which requires active seeking (hunting around the platter for the relevant bit of information), latency will creep in more heavily than if the platters were spinning faster.  The SATA 2 interface is limited to a 300MB-per-second bandwidth which is a problem when you consider the size of contemporary game files.  The problem comes together in that the files may not be organized to limit seeking or limit the amount of seeking needed.  It's probably too late to fix the root cause of the problem.  It would require an overhaul of the file structure.  The reason such a bad compromise was struck will be discussed below.

Another is frame rate which proper performance optimization can mitigate but there are serious bottlenecks in the PS4 and XBOne which will make it difficult.  Both use one type of memory for all tasks.  The PS4 uses GDDR5, which is commonly used in video cards while the XBOne uses DDR3 which is used as system memory in PCs.  They're actually quite different; the DDR and GDDR specs are tailored to the needs of their particular tasks.  DDR3 memory has a comparatively low clock speed and low address latency.  It's meant to accomplish small tasks in rapid succession.  GDDR memory, by contrast, has very high clock speeds but high address latency.  Used in their specialized ways the trade-offs for both are completely acceptable - DDR3 isn't as fast as GDDR5, but it doesn't need to be.  The address latency is higher on GDDR5 but it's an acceptable trade off due to the way information runs through it.  The problem, really, is that each console uses one type of memory for everything.  So each has weaknesses the mirror image of the other.
  These consoles were not built for power.  They were built to turn profit per unit sold.  Unified memory pools can, on paper, be smaller while remaining sufficient.  A slower hard drive with a slower interface cuts down on operating heat which in turn removes the need for a more involved cooling solution.  This, in turn, drives costs down.  The consoles are underpowered in ways which cannot be fixed and will only get more troublesome as time goes on.  They were rushed to market and short-term profitability was the only thing which really mattered; both consoles were, initially, sold at a profit.  Given the combination of rush to market with little to no third party support and the weakness of the systems one must consider the possibility this was a deliberate move.  The libraries are still anemic and major titles which haven't already been delayed to 2016 are clearly at risk.  It's looking like the only winner of this console generation will be AMD.
Note: Reliable sales figures for Bloodborne across all markets are currently hard to get.  Some sources say that it sold 150,000 copies in its first week in Japan.  If this were done on a Western AAA development model figures like that would be followed up with an announcement of an impending studio closure.  These aren't system saving sales.  The console having passed the ten million mark some time ago this game's sales are just North of 1% market penetration.  I'm sure the game's gone on to sell more copies and consensus from players and critics both justify it but the celebration seems a little overblown.

[The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of GameRevolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article, posted on April 05, 2015, has been very lightly edited for grammar and style. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan]  

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A Look Into the Shady World of Stolen Content Scam Apps
Posted on Sunday, April 12 2015 @ 09:38:19 Eastern

In the world of game advice there are basically two models - free and premium.  Premium usually comes in the form of paid advice consultation, subscription services or (increasingly obsolete) print guides.  Free comes in the form of wikis and FAQs hosted on sites such as Gamepedia, Wikia, GameFAQs and even here on GR.  Well, suppose one wanted to make a little money and not have to earn it in any way shape or form.  One could, say, steal content from sites such as The Vault or Nukapedia and then sell it in an App as discussed here.  If one were even more unscrupulous one could not only steal content from those two wikis but also include some tasty viruses to spice things up, as discussed here.

The only advice I can give to anyone reading this is to report such theft and don't pay for something that is legally available free elsewhere.

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A Post-Mortem on the Obsidian Joke Issue
Posted on Saturday, April 4 2015 @ 20:28:01 Eastern

A bit of music to get started:
Van Der Graaf - Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)

A limerick in Pillars of Eternity touched off a rather silly internet fight.  The limerick was written by one of the project's Kickstarter backers and its inclusion was a reward for a $500 pledge.  Someone took umbrage at it and, instead of privately contacting either the creator of it or Obsidian made a public message about it.  Ian Miles Cheong, terminally starved for relevance since he began searching for it by selling his credibility as a redditor, sent a message to JE Sawyer, Pillars of Eternity's project director and one of the top people at Obsidian.  Sawyer made a vague statement promising to talk to the producers about it.

So Obsidian did, per the creator of the limerick's request, remove the original offensive limerick and replace it with a new one.  Per the backer's statement Obsidian would have left it alone if given a straight demur but he decided to get the various badgers off Obsidian's collective back so they could get on with their lives.  Idiots on both sides of the argument are still angry.  One side thinks Obsidian caved and the other thinks that the creator of the two poems should be begging them for forgiveness and kissing their boots.  Apparently having read the poem they realized that the original Ace Ventura/Crying Game/drunken Lothario joke was replaced with a thinly-veiled message calling them stupid.  Meanwhile those who thought Obsidian (and the backer) should have stuck to their guns won't put their pitchforks away because this is the internet.  So, congratulations are due.

Congratulations to the professional shriekers - you've managed to sour what should be a continuous moment of triumph for a studio which has successfully come back from the brink of closure, all thanks to people just like the one whose content you wanted erased, and no thanks to people like you.  A piece of incidental content you were never going to read in a game you were never going to buy is gone and replaced with one calling you ridiculous for even bothering.  Good job.

Congratulations to the pitchfork brigade.  You've convinced me to never make an unqualified statement supporting you or what you aim for ever again.  You have successfully embarrassed a cause whose opponents seem to consist, in the main, of con artists, liars, hustlers, racists, sexists, wife beaters and people who are in those and other ways so slimy that it is impossible to defame them.  Just let that sink in.

Also, congratulations to every outlet reporting on the issue quoting blogs commenting on it but not the original sources.  That's not shoddy journalism at all, no sir.

Edit: I want to thank Totalbiscuit for posting some of the image links used in the above post.  I'm not a journalist either but I'm not above giving credit where it's due.

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The Cost of Caving In or: Artistic Integrity
Posted on Sunday, March 29 2015 @ 20:04:27 Eastern

I hate discussing internet fights.  It's the lowest form of anything short of selling human kidneys to buy counterfeit jeans.  As usual for this sort of thing, a bit of nice music to lighten the mood.   read more...

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Boycott Polygon Reason No. Whatever
Posted on Wednesday, March 25 2015 @ 17:06:32 Eastern

Before we get started a nice piece of music - My Room (Waiting for Wonderland) by Van Der Graaf Generator

Via a thread on r/Kotakuinaction came a link to an 8chan thread which in turn contained a link to an of a Polygon p...   read more...

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Why Console Libraries are Still Anemic as of March 2015
Posted on Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 09:44:51 Eastern

In the March 13 entry ("Where are All the Great Console Games?") in his running video series "The Point" Danny O'Dwyer considers a serious problem - the drought of worthwhile software for new consoles.  Spending the first...   read more...

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EA Released Its Q3 FY15 Earnings Statements
Posted on Wednesday, February 4 2015 @ 15:16:12 Eastern

EA released some new financials today.

They're available here.

I'm not an accountant and have no training in reading these sorts of documents but a couple of interesting things pop out from the Form 10-Q quarterl...   read more...

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A Means to Disseminate Honest-to-God Leaks
Posted on Monday, February 2 2015 @ 11:31:56 Eastern

Wikileaks, though technically not a wiki, provides an easy means to disseminate information that some find it desirable to share against the wishes of those who find it desirable to keep secret. Aside from the morality of the leaking itself, ...   read more...

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Finally Broke My Crowdfunding Rule
Posted on Monday, January 12 2015 @ 11:26:39 Eastern

I've had a long-standing rule to avoid getting involved in any sort of crowdfunded activities.  I didn't donate to Shadowrun or Wasteland, but I did buy and enjoy both of them (I'm plugging both of those games right n...   read more...

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Not News: Gamespot Still Sucks
Posted on Sunday, January 11 2015 @ 17:35:14 Eastern

At 8:09AM on January 11 Emanuel Maiberg posted a blurb to Gamespot's newsfeed which indicated via headline that Baldur's Gate III is in development with Beamdog at the helm.

Here's the headline as it appears :

...  

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