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Tetsuo Time

Art, Life and General Geekery!

September 25th, 2014

Well, Transgaming has finally released their Metal Gear Rising Mac 'port' today using their cider wrapping technology. Here are my thoughts so far.
1)Performance & Graphics: Doesn't seem too bad but I actually think the previous version I played was a tad faster. The graphics still look as good as ever though. I mean the performance isn't bad per say but perhaps it'll get better in future versions of OS X such as Yosemite.
Speaking of graphics previously I used to use FXAA Tool to inject FXAA into the game but now the wrapper has bugs with it causing what seems like z-ordering problems... so models such as the player model don't appear unless they are behind something... or something like that.
I ended up removing FXAA Tool and switching to 2xMSAA instead. I might try SweetFX later to see if that fares better. That injector works great for me in mainline Wine.
2)Controls: Kind of took a step back from where it was previously. I used to get the proper X360 gamepad prompts to match the controller I use on screen. Now I just get the generic PC Gamepad numbered button prompts on screen... and they never got around to implementing rumble with the wireless x360 pad I use (with tattiebogle drivers).
3)Sound: Cider has full surround sound finally. I played Metal Gear Rising in 5.1 surround sound today. It works almost perfectly. Except for during the cinematics.
The dialog there gets split amongst the front left and right speakers when it should be coming from the center. I sort of have a theory about that though. It could be that the game isn't specifying where those sounds should go so it's just defaulting to playing them back stereo so thusly they come from the front left and right.
Some games have got this right like Alan Wake and for the most part the Batman Arkham games. I'm not sure whether to blame the game APIs or the sound designer\engineer of the game or the porting process however.
At any rate it's great that Transgaming is catching up to native porting efforts and mainline wine when it comes to sound.

August 4th, 2014

TMNT Games...

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bioshock, games, little sister
It's pretty sad that the best TMNT games are from the 16-bit arcade and 8-bit NES\Gameboy days. Virutally the best TMNT game that you can play at this point is the Konami arcade game from 1989 in mame as there was never a 1:1 to the original home port. SNES was capable of it but they never got around to porting it they instead did the newer Turtles in Time (#2 on the list). Yes, there was a NES version but that wasn't a 1:1 port. The only thing it had over the arcade version was a couple of exclusive new levels. If I play that game these days I'd rather just play it in the MAME plugin in OpenEMU.
I was wanting for Rocksteady to take a break from Batman and make a good TMNT game especially since Rocksteady is the name of a TMNT villian. But another studio stepped in and made a game that tried to be a Rocksteady style TMNT game and failed. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2013) was number 3 on their worst list here.
I know some Nostalgics might get nerd rage from them listing the original NES TMNT game as #2 worst TMNT game ever. :)

August 3rd, 2014

While on the one hand I like the idea of challenging the stereotype that females aren't into anything technical. They'd have to be open minded to technical stuff in order to be the scientists that the Ghostbuster are or at least have a couple of geek girls.. OK at least one!  In the original Ghostbusters there where two scientists with degrees in physics, metallurgy and engineering along with one para-psychologist and one Joe Shmoe...

I also enjoy opposites and reversals...

We didn't like the original Ghostbusters simply because it was an all-male team. We liked it because they where comic geniuses.

But.. how do I put this...

This kinda feels like change for change's sake and an appeal to the feminist crowd. But if they really are going after that crowd they better be careful because

1) You can't just substitute male for female because then it'd be Ms. Male Character. Which is "The female version of an already established or default male character." this would be that to the logical extreme. It would be a female version of an already established GROUP of male characters.

2) What would they wear that would please the above audience and everyone else? Can't be too sexy or else they'd be objectified. Can't be the original dickey's jumpsuits because then they'd just be Ms Male Character.

In order to please the politically correct crowd it'd probably be best to go with a symmetrical male, female team. But does anyone really want a politically correct Ghostbusters movie?

I'm not sure how a Ghostbusters reboot would work out with modern comedians in there male or female. Saturday Night Live has gone downhill as it has been changing hands from one generation to the next... with the original Ghostbusters generation being the first.

It's probably going to happen sooner or later much to people like me who had the originals as a part of their childhood's chagrin though. Unlike with Robocop however a PG-13 Ghostbusters reboot would be an "upgrade" since the original was just PG.

Xenomorph

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cute, cat, kitten

About the "xenomorph" name in Aliens. I'm glad someone wrote an article such as this. When Lt. Gorman coined that name he wasn't even aware of what he was talking about. He didn't know what was waiting for them on the surface. It could have been anything. Xenomorph isn't the official name of the species of alien in the film.

I'm also glad they mentioned the whole "bug hunt" thing because a lot of people misunderstood that line too. Even writers of spinoff media. It didn't mean they faced the type of aliens that where in the film before and that they knew they where going to face an insect like foe. As someone said in the forums:

"I can't quote specific lines off the top of my head, but I always interpreted the movies as implying that humans had not run into intelligent life before, but frequently sent Colonial Marines off on wild goose chases ("bug hunts") when there was suspicion of alien life somewhere (a colony reporting a suspicious disappearance or some such)."

and

"My understanding even back then was:

1. Xenomorph is a generic term for any alien not yet know by humanity

2. Bug Hunt is interchangeable with wild goose chase"

Neither is "The Alien" or "Giger's Alien" the official canonical name but most of us call it our preferred name because it doesn't have a good readily available name other than those mentioned above.

The general gist of all this was they (the colonial marines) where ignorant of what was waiting for them on LV-426 and where just being "smarty pants" about it.

Of course later on we got prequels, sequels, comics and games that muddy the water of whether or not they have faced the titular creatures before.

August 2nd, 2014

Video Games The Movie

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kitana

I was watching Video Games: The Movie (2014) and I have to say I don't like it. First of all it gave no lip service whatsoever to the personal computer's role in video games. Even if just mentioning its role in developing games as well as originating the modern graphics processing unit. Not to mention pioneering such stuff that is now taken for granted like online play and HD graphics.

But what added insult to injury was when they started praising "the power of the cloud" and they had a guy from Microsoft talking about how Xbox One is so much more powerful than systems in the past with graphics that are better than reality because of "the cloud". I my inner started the "ohgod *facepalm*.. emotions.  At that point it started feeling more like an extended commercial than anything.

July 31st, 2014

I just finished watching Gremlins 2 blu-ray remaster. Here's my mini-review.. This is a movie I'm well acquainted with and have seen several times in the past. I enjoy it as a parody film it was even a parody of the first film I also enjoyed the fun campy nature of the film and even the part where they break the fourth wall during the latter part with "monsters in the projection booth".
On the technical side:
Picture: The 1080p transfer seems serviceable. It resembled film to me especially during the fourth wall breaking sequence which is nice. I wouldn't have liked it if they had removed the film grain and along with it part of the detail.
Sound: There have been cases where the remastered AC3 or even DTS surround sound track doesn't sound as good to me as the old VHS tape Hi-Fi stereo track. Moonwalker for example sounded better to me on VHS tape on my older Pioneer Dolby Pro Logic from ~20 years ago than on my current system.
I'm happy to say this is not one of those cases.
Gremlins 2's DTS soundtrack sounds really good and preserves the character of the original mix pretty well in my opinion. Only with more discrete channels involved... so in a way it sounds better.

July 27th, 2014

(no subject)

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Lady Kinnikume EX Figure



I love this new trailer for Mad Max Fury Road! If the movie is anything like it it's just as apocalyptic as I would want Mad Max to be! Also this is the first time I've heard Tom Hardy's Mad Max voice. It seems more gritty and gravelly than Mel Gibson's ever was.
Also, to be honest this seems like it's going to be more exciting than the similarly themed games id software's RAGE and Gearbox's Borderlands. This seems crazier than either of those. I can only hope the Mad Max game they are making is anything like this although I almost have a feeling it may not be especially since it's probably an independent project from this... It'd be interesting to find out if there's some cross polination between this film and the new game.
Looking at the comments for the leaked teaser trailer for Batman v. Superman I see a lot of people underestimate Batman. Frankly, however.. the only limits a comic book character has are the ones the writers write. Take it from me it's probably not going to be the two minute battle where Superman immediately demolishes and then kills Batman like some people think it will be.

This doesn't even compare to the amount of vitriol Batman received when a picture of him facing Daleks was posted to Facebook. People said he'd be dead in 2 minutes there too. Batman deserves a little more credit than that. He's the god damn Batman after all!

July 24th, 2014

Ghost in The Shell 2.0

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MotokoWhite
I'm watching the remastered Ghost In The Shell movie known as Ghost in The Shell 2.0. Quality seems mixed bag though. What I mean is.. while the newer DTS-ES 6.1 1.5Mbps soundtrack is a marked improvement over the original mix the visuals are another story.

It seems as if they may have tried to make it look "more clean" by removing the film grain but the thing about movies with film grain is that the grain is actually a part of the detail and when you remove that you remove part of the detail. The image in GITS 2.0 look softer than the original cut even though I've watched both in 1080p HD.

Also, the replacement CGI intro is jarring next to the 2D cel animation the movie has.

One other thing.. in the original movie the puppet master was voiced by a male actor. Which is something I liked because of the idea of the identify of the puppet master being immutable and the voice wouldn't change no matter what body he, she or it is downloaded into. Suddenly changing the voice to a female actor changes this..

The Major's voice always remained the same whenever she would download into any other body in future installments of Ghost in The Shell anyway.

My interpretation of Ghost in the Shell was always this: The puppet master was a rogue hacker who got smarter than the average bear. His mind and intellect was too vast for a human body to contain due to all the cyber augmentation he received. So, he decided to upload to a network where he got even smarter which threatened the status quo of the security firm he was working for.

So they lured him into the first body available which happened to be a gynoid (it could have been anything really). They then killed his real life body to trap him there. But his identity remained the same and to him since he was the puppet master the bodies he dove into didn't define his identity. On the other hand I only say "he" because that's what the Puppet Master was originally.

Then of course there was the whole matter of wanting to create the next step as in offspring because apparently he felt he hit the end of the road in terms of intellectual growth... thusly wanting to merge with Major Motoko Kusanagi and create the next generation of advanced computer intelligence that could transfer to any cyber body at will.

To me it seems like they changed the voice of the Puppet Master in Ghost in The Shell 2.0 for the benefit of those who lack imagination and understanding that one's internal identity could differ from their external one. Especially when that consciousness was transferred to a body from elsewhere.

The too long; didn't read version of all this is.. "The only thing improved about Ghost in The Shell 2.0 is the audio quality".

July 23rd, 2014

The second episode of Sailor Moon Crystal has been out for days now but it wasn't showing up in my Crunchyroll queue for some reason. I had to go look under updated in Crunchyroll;XBMC to find it. Here's my mini review:
That said I'm glad I did because personally I'm enjoying it. I really don't care what others think. I'm not as picky as they are apparenlty... I do think the new Sailor Scout transformations are kind of a step down now that they are CGI but I'm enjoying the style of the rest of it for what it is.
Also, I'm glad they are keeping the arcade as a part of the plot and I like how Sailor Mercury got her transformation pen as a prize at the arcade. It was funny how Usagi got her disguise pen because she was jealous she didn't get a prize too and was hitting the machine. For all we know Luna was sitting inside the machine doling out those prizes.
Arcades aren't really a thing in the USA so much although places like Galloping Ghost may help bring about resurgance.. who knows.. I'm just glad they didn't remove it from Sailor Moon is all.
Also, in the Manga eating ice cream was listed as one of Usagi's hobbies. But we didn't get to see her eat ice cream in this episode.. she invited her friend to go eat ice cream but they didn't get to.
Denon has already made an Audio/Video receiver with a home version of Dolby ATMOS! Basically what this adds to 7.1 surround sound is two ceiling speaker channels... they call it 7.1.2 with the .2 being the two extra celling speakers. If you count the channels normally like operating systems do though that'd be 10 channels. 7.1 is counted as 8 channels.
The big question mark for me is movie and games support. At the theater ATMOS involves computer software and hardware that places sounds amongst all the speakers in the auditorium in real time.
For the home it seems it may be more scaled back and involve matrixing (encoding the extra info into a lesser amount which gets decoded by the receiver at run-time) like old dolby pro logic. That is unless they are making new software for blu-ray players that does the full deal. Which then you'd have to get new blu-ray players and or other hardware. Newer HDMI specs are supposed to be able to handle up to 32 sound channels but I'm not sure what even the previous HDMI spec can handle. From what I can see it's probably just up to 8.
In theory games should be able to support it easily but many games hardly even support 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound (or support it correctly) much less ATMOS.  We're just going to have to see how ATMOS support shakes out in games. The Mac in particular is progressing rather slow in regards to surround sound support in games it seems. Sound in games usually takes a back seat to the visuals in my opinion. Both in terms of features and the attention they get when it comes to performance, etc.
Also, Dolby says there is a 5.1.2 configuration which is also an option for ATMOS. Basically that just adds the ceiling speakers to a 5.1 system which might be easier to be accomplished at home for some because you can repurpose 2 channels out of 7.1 for the celing speakers. I was thinking of upgrading to 7.1 but I might upgrade to that instead.
Also the first ATMOS receiver costs $2,000... the 7.1.2 system.
Lastly there's also going to be speakers that are supposed to be able to bounce sound off your ceiling to simulate the overhead speakers but any system that tries to simulate a multi speaker system with less is just a gimmick in my opinion and doesn't work nearly as well as the actual system. The highest form of this sort of gimmick used to fleece people out of their money would be a "Dolby ATMOS Sound Bar"... what a load of BS that would be.
Anyway, I don't know when I'll be upgrading or to which.. at this point I think 7.1 is probably more established than the fledgling ATMOS in either 5.1.2 or 7.1.2. I know I should be able to get 7.1 audio out of many of my multichannel aware games but right now I can't count on them supporting ATMOS.
I just know a vast majority of the media we all watch on our systems doesn't support ATMOS and would merely be run through some kind of virtual ATMOS and put a little bit of ambient sounds into your ceiling speakers.
http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/23/denon-dolby-atmos-receivers/?ncid=rss_truncated

Here's a video that talks about Dolby ATMOS what it is and how it would be setup in the home....

Apparently there is also other configurations that I hadn't mentioned before like some that add 4 ceiling speakers instead of 2.. I think that type of configuration with a higher number of speakers will probably be best for larger rooms and smaller rooms would go more with the types that have 2 celling speakers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b5sAsZyRm_k

July 18th, 2014

DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM

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bioshock, games, little sister
So they are making a Doom (game) reboot now that goes back to its roots and also draws inspiration from the Brutal Doom mod while at the same time taking the graphics to the next level.
On the one hand I'm not a hater against Doom 3 and the more survival horror type direction it took. Especially after I applied mods to it that changed things slightly. On the other hand I'm down with a truer to the original game that's also dark and from what little I've seen in the trailer.. sleek looking.
One thing that they seem to be lifting from brutal Doom is the "fatalities" mechanic. There'll be fatalities you can do to finish off monsters as well as ones they can do to you if they kill you. The Doom Marine will be able to double jump and do death from above maneuvers which makes me think of Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon where that could also be accomplished and I liked that.
Also, there'll be no cover, regenerating health or anything like that. That on its own isn't enough to excite me because that's more like a lack of features than anything in my view. I found myself wishing ROTT (2013) had a few more features and polish for example.
But if done right this game could be one that I could get into... DOOM and Mortal Kombat are some of my favorite gaming franchises of all time here.
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