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  1. #1
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    Sunday Papers Suggestions

    Little wary, as this idea has been tried before a couple of years back but didn't really take off.

    Anyway, place to link interesting game writing stumbled upon at other, lesser, sites during the week. As icupnimpn2 said in the original attempt, not all articles warrant their own their own thread, but a running thread of interesting reads forum goers can dip into may have value?

    To kick off, Eurogamer today have an interview with Geralt of Rivia, or rather, a mild mannered Bournemouth university lecturer who provided the voice in all three games:

    Funnily enough, though, Cockle barely knew the rest of the cast. "It's very rare for actors to record together for games, partly because availability for individual actors is often very hard to gel. I've always recorded alone in the booth for Geralt," he says. "We're like ships in the night. Sometimes I meet people as they're coming out of a session and I'm going into my session, and we'll run into each other in the hallway, but even then there were only a very few of the actors from any of the Witchers that I actually met."
    ... which was an interesting little bit, expanded upon in the article as it reflects upon recording more intimate scenes. I think it's been raised before - this idea that one of the reasons for poor voice work in games is everything being a solo effort stitched together in the edit. Can't remember who said that natural human conversation is two monologues crashing together, but shows that when voice work is done right (as I think it was in W3) it's down to some serious skills in both the recording booth & the editing suite.


    EDIT: remembered another one, albeit from the tail end of last week:

    PC Gamer has a stab at the perennial tech forum argument of How many frames per second can the human eye really see?

    The first thing to understand is that we perceive different aspects of vision differently. Detecting motion is not the same as detecting light. Another thing is that different parts of the eye perform differently. The centre of your vision is good at different stuff than the periphery. And another thing is that there are natural, physical limits to what we can perceive. It takes time for the light that passes through your cornea to become information on which your brain can act, and our brains can only process that information at a certain speed.
    It's an interesting read which concludes with a (predictable) muddle - in some instances 20fps may be overkill, in other highly specific instances you can detect anomalies at 500fps, the difference between the rate at which the complete human system can reliably make use of information and the rate at which it can potentially notice difference, expanding into the difference between intensity & duration, and whether you're directly looking at something or noticing it in your peripheral vision.
    Last edited by MiniMatt; 27-01-2017 at 01:21 PM.

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    Oh, interesting. I didn't know he lived in Bournemouth.

  3. #3
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    Heard mention of this story on the radio* this morning and had to look it up:

    BBC: PETA has called on Games Workshop to cease its imaginary use of imaginary fur accessories on imaginary Space Marines lest it normalise the wearing of fur.

    "The grimdark, battle-hardened warriors are known for their martial prowess," it says on a blog, "but wearing the skins of dead animals doesn't take any skill."
    "[Fur] has no more place in 2017 than it would in the year 40,000."
    * John Humphries doing his typical raised eyebrow, slightly patronising, incredulous voice he reserves for anything computer or game related like it's the 1980s or something

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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniMatt View Post
    PC Gamer has a stab at the perennial tech forum argument of How many frames per second can the human eye really see?

    It's an interesting read which concludes with a (predictable) muddle - in some instances 20fps may be overkill, in other highly specific instances you can detect anomalies at 500fps, the difference between the rate at which the complete human system can reliably make use of information and the rate at which it can potentially notice difference, expanding into the difference between intensity & duration, and whether you're directly looking at something or noticing it in your peripheral vision.
    It is a very interesting piece, though it would be trivially easy to demonstrate that a lot of gamers, myself included, can distinguish between framerates instinctively. I mean, just have a game and manipulate the framerate and I'll tell you when it's below 60*, below 50, 30 to 40 and below 20 FPS.

    Chopin is demonstrably wrong in his opinions or "limitedly right" re: 20-24hz being the most you'd need to be perfect at a game, because he's ignoring input responsiveness and steadiness. He may be technically right re: someone staring fixedly at a moving image and trying to acquire motion, but if one plays an action game at fixed no-drop 24hz and someone else is on 60hz fixed no-drop, I guarantee you the other guy will have a significant advantage, even if Mr 24hz has a higher resolution. The idea that the brain acquires things precisely 13 times per second sounds very unlikely, too - no doubt adrenaline and brain sub-systems and reactions modify this hugely.

    I think this would be pretty easy to conclusively prove, too, experimentally. I mean, a recent example for me, I'd previously played Shadow of Mordor at 30-40fps with some drops as low as 20-something (and rare 60fps), and I'd found it pretty hard to read the screen and so on, or react to split-second action prompts. At solid-60? It was like I was motherfucking PSYCHIC, I was literally, physically reacting to stuff before my conscious brain got in on the action - I didn't see the Y-button parry prompts then parry (unlike many games), I was hitting parry with my thumb THEN seeing the prompt with my conscious mind. Suddenly the game was pretty easy. I sure wasn't better at it and made worse choices with my leveling but I was just acing all the timing and reacting stuff - I found the arrow-shooting drastically easier, too.

    That might lead me to speculate (wildly) that whilst the brain my only track the motion of a given object in order to predict it's movement, say, 13 or however many times a second, there's some other system checking for new things appearing.

    (* = Seeing a game going between 60+ and sub-60 framerates is practically a physical experience for me, I can literally feel it. It's like something was turned on or off. I used to be able to distinguish 70 and 80 too, back when I had an 85hz monitor, but that was like a decade ago.)
    Last edited by LexW; 01-02-2017 at 11:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    Chopin is demonstrably wrong in his opinions or "limitedly right" re: 20-24hz being the most you'd need to be perfect at a game, because he's ignoring input responsiveness and steadiness. He may be technically right re: someone staring fixedly at a moving image and trying to acquire motion, but if one plays an action game at fixed no-drop 24hz and someone else is on 60hz fixed no-drop, I guarantee you the other guy will have a significant advantage, even if Mr 24hz has a higher resolution. The idea that the brain acquires things precisely 13 times per second sounds very unlikely, too - no doubt adrenaline and brain sub-systems and reactions modify this hugely.
    That statement bothered me hugely too. It's not just being able to acquire motion, there's a lot more to being good at a game. The feeling of responsiveness of the game is an important factor as well, which is helped tremendously by higher framerates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    That statement bothered me hugely too. It's not just being able to acquire motion, there's a lot more to being good at a game. The feeling of responsiveness of the game is an important factor as well, which is helped tremendously by higher framerates.
    I think he's making a sort of category error because he thinks you can separate out "aesthetics" which admits are better with 60hz, and mechanics, which he thinks are fine with 24hz, but it's one of those things that is obviously not true in practice, because if a game isn't responding incredibly fast and smoothly, it significantly impacts how well you can play it - it doesn't destroy it entirely, but it definitely impacts it.

    My personal experience and I have no idea if this is common, is also that if a game is running at, say, solid 30fps, I have a lot more difficulty tracking objects and combatants and so on than at solid (or even close to solid) 60fps. Like, I don't SEE the image like something that's actually happening, I see it like a series of pictures which I have to interpret. Again specific example would be Dragon's Dogma - at 30fps it was drastically harder to read and react quickly than at 60fps.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post

    My personal experience and I have no idea if this is common, is also that if a game is running at, say, solid 30fps, I have a lot more difficulty tracking objects and combatants and so on than at solid (or even close to solid) 60fps. Like, I don't SEE the image like something that's actually happening, I see it like a series of pictures which I have to interpret. Again specific example would be Dragon's Dogma - at 30fps it was drastically harder to read and react quickly than at 60fps.
    This is my experience too. It's especially obvious when I play Dark Souls 1, since I use the unofficial fix for that game that unlocks the framerate. The fix introduces a shortcut (backspace, I believe) that allows you to toggle the framerate cap, and sometimes I hit it by accident. The difference is like night and day: the game goes from fine to completely unplayable with the touch of a button. The feeling of the 30 fps version of the game is very close to a slideshow, a bit like the series of pictures you describe. I'm guessing it's my brain registering that the game isn't running smoothly and subsconsciously trying to fill in the gaps or something.
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    For me difference between 30 and 60 FPS is obvious.
    And less than 30 starts to be physically tiring almost immediatelly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    For me difference between 30 and 60 FPS is obvious.
    And less than 30 starts to be physically tiring almost immediatelly.
    To be fair the article notes that the main research completely agreed with this, that it was drastically obvious. There's just one person (scientist?) who was claiming that due to the update-rate of the brain when tracking objects, it was literally useless to run a game at over 20hz, that you will not do better at 60fps than 20fps.

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    Rob Fearon of the retro remakes doodads has a good article on Eurogamer about Steam's changes to listings (which Shotgun Alice covered over yonder):

    The very idea of 'too many games' that many will lean on is absurd the moment you give it more than a moments thought.


    There are not too many games on Steam in the same way there aren't too many songs on Spotify, there aren't too many books in libraries, I'd say too many films on Netflix as well but I'm in the UK and we only have six and a picture of a swan threatening to break your arm or something. Just pretend I'm not in the UK if it helps. You all know what I mean.

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    Oh, thanks. I'd skipped over that article not realising it was by Rob. He's always worth a read.

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    He is isn't he? A curious way of crafting similes-so-bad-they're-good makes for an entertaining read, coupled with insightful logic easily illustrated.

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    Aryanist Space Racists implanted with the Seed of the Disciples of Viking Battle Jesus should stop wearing fur.

    Peta need to stop sniffing the fumes of their games workshop paints.
    I am once again writing a blog, vaguely about playing games the wrong way
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    Just change the animal furs for human (orc? I don't know much about Warhammer) leather jackets and PETA will be happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GameCat View Post
    Just change the animal furs for human leather jackets and PETA will be happy.
    Alex Hern at the Guardian made just this point (rather well):

    I mean, Peta, if youíre going to attack Games Workshop for characters wearing skins, it might be worth focusing on the ones who donít bother killing the victims first.
    The only thing Warhammer 40,000 is worse for than ethical instruction is the wallets of young nerds.

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    I mean, Peta, if you’re going to attack Games Workshop for characters wearing skins, it might be worth focusing on the ones who don’t bother killing the victims first.
    But Hair Squigs like being worn.
    oh God, I've become one of them, why don't I just hunt a fox for a hat and wear its pups as gloves! *sobs*
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    If you skipped over Paul Dean's article about Stardew Valley, go back and read it now, even if you're not remotely interested in the game. RPS is full of excellent writing about games, but this stands out even here. Very personal and moving.

    Not strictly a Sunday Papers suggestion I suppose, but I think Alec's linked to RPS articles before and this definitely deserves more attention.

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    Heh, I've begun reading that one, but you know, with the sheer volume of posts RPS publishes these days I wouldn't mind a curated edition. Of course I'd have to create a Maxwell's Demon of the n-th Kind that knows instinctively what I'm going to find interesting and ditches the rest. Also possibly reads them for me and places the processed information in memory storage, ready to be known.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarfrin View Post
    If you skipped over Paul Dean's article about Stardew Valley, go back and read it now....
    Good lord that is a jaw droppingly good read. Just read it at 5:00am as another bout of insomnia & introspection floods over. Staggeringly, blindingly good piece.

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    This is the best article RPS had in a long, long time.

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