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JustTheBast

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JustTheBast last won the day on September 21 2018

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About JustTheBast

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    Sacrificed Minion
  • Birthday 03/19/1974

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  1. Instead of a binary choice of “Quest Markers On/Off” (which is in reality a “Quests playable/unplayable” option), there should be a detail slider for map markers with the following steps: OFF — No map marker, but actual, useful information in the dialogue and quest journal. General Area — Marker is somewhere in the vicinity of the specific target location (The house/castle/dungeon/camp to be searched), unless it has already been discovered earlier. Specific Location — Always put the marker directly on the location, even if it hasn't been discovered. May also add an “undiscovered” location marker on the map. Exact Item — The marker is magically pointing to the exact item/NPC within the location you need to reach. Internally, the marker would still be on the actual quest target, like before, and the slider would only alter how it is displayed in-game.
  2. The technology is almost there, but not quite yet. Technology giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon can already do some amazing stuff with their enormous computing capacity and the spare capital to run showy "AI assistant" services via network-connected devices — but an ordinary PC, even a powerful gaming rig, can't do that yet, without those billion-dollar servers backing it behind the scenes. The first step, I expect, will be the use of synthetic voices for minor NPCs. A game company could license a modern speech synthesis engine and the technology to create custom voice banks from recorded speech, pay a dozen voice actors to record the necessary vocal sounds, and use those dozen voices (with various pitch and speed modifiers) to populate a game world with thousands of speaking NPCs, each with rich, deep dialogue trees to put Morrowind to shame. Instead of costly and space-consuming audio recordings for every single line, the dialogue would be stored entirely as text, with the appropriate markup to tell the synthesis engine about the intended inflections, stresses, pauses, volume and pitch changes. In that scenario, the most important characters of the game would still be voiced fully by voice actors, since synthetic voices aren't quite ready for the starring role yet — but the game developers would no longer be forced to leave their games mostly empty, and stick the few NPCs that are there with nothing but short, generic "Hello" and "Goodbye" lines, because anything more would be too expensive to create.
  3. 08:46 — “Or Fallout 4, where you're given four words, almost, and then you pick one and then the character says something. You're: ‘No! That's not what I wanted to say!’ ” Okay, of all the criticisms FO4's new dialogue system (deservedly) received, being too unpredictable is not one I've heard often. On the contrary, the most common complaint, after "NO VOICED PROTAGONISTS!!! EVARRR!!!!!", was about the deliberate, almost painful, reduction towards complete predictability. Usually stated as "THEY DUMBED IT DOWN!!! BECAUSE CONSOLES!!!!!¡!!!1" 🤬 This was part of Bethesda's experiment in creating a new, more free-form and flowing conversation system that was supposed to work in real-time, rather than the old, time-freezing, stop-and-go method. For what it's worth, they succeeded in implementing what they set out to create — but to do it, they required a voiced protagonist, high predictability, and low-to-zero impact on story choices within dialogue. Every single one of these trade-offs negatively impacted replayability. Role-playing is rather inhibited by the fact that, no matter what face and body you give him or what gameplay choices you make, when your character opens his mouth, it will always be the voice of "Nice Guy Nate, the loving husband and concerned father" that comes out. In order to make dialogues capable of being played out in real-time, the options presented to the player had to be few, short, and practically consequence-free, so that the player could select them on the fly, without having to read long responses and slowly weigh their respective pros and cons, and without having to fear ruining their game by a “wrong” choice. As a consequence, the dialogues in FO4 are practically on rails, proceeding pretty much the same, no matter what you choose. The player's role is not to steer the direction of conversation, let alone make any weighty game-affecting choices, but merely to inject their preferred “flavour” into the next line, which may or may not elicit a mildly different response from the NPC, before they inexorably move on to the next station along the tracks, regardless. Although it was a good experiment to make in theory (if maybe better tried in a very different game, without the obvious expectations of role-playing as Fallout), I believe Bethesda have heard the reaction of their players, loud and clear.
  4. Now someone, somewhere on the internets, will inevitably trot out the old “But it's just optional” excuse. “Nobody is forcing you to pay for this,” they'll say. “Nobody is putting an actual, physical gun to your actual head and literally threatening to kill you if you don't pay — which is the only form of microtransaction I'll reluctantly admit could maybe be considered ‘bad’ under some circumstances.” And to those who are even now starting to type something along those lines, I can only say: Oh really? It's “optional”, is it? So I can just opt out of having a version of the game that's specifically and deliberately balanced to make microtransaction necessary for an enjoyable, reasonable progression? I can opt not to have the developer put annoyances and inconveniences into the game, for the sole purpose of selling me a solution to the problem they created? Well, where do I opt out, then? Where do I get the good version of the game, without the bullshit? Or did you maybe mean “optional” in the sense that I can either put up with being harangued for more money every time I play, or I can just not play the game I paid for? Because, if those are the only options I'm being offered, I'll just go one step further and opt not to buy any games with microtransactions, ever. How do you like them “options”, Bethesda? Didn't look so great on your quarterly report, did it, when the customers stayed away in droves.
  5. Yes, frame interpolation happens when the output and input frame rates are different. When reducing the frame rate, it can often be done by merely decimating existing frames from the source, without the need to interpolate — though not necessarily always. Frame blending and optical flow are two different ways of interpolation. Blending two frames at various ratios, depending on their relative position to the target frame, is fine for traditional film with natural motion blur due to the shutter speed. Static parts of the image will remain crisp, and the blurred motions of both frames will overlay to form an okay approximation of the motion blur that would have been on the target frame, had it actually been shot at that time. With digital animation, such as game footage, this isn't the case; Although some games attempt to simulate fake motion blur (badly, in my opinion), in most game footage moving objects have a clear, unblurred position in each frame (which is also why games need higher framerates to look good, and a "cinematic" 24fps looks and plays like crap). If such frames are blended, you don't get a mixture of two blurs, but two distinct semitransparent pictures of the moving object overlaid on each other. It doesn't look very good. My best educated guess at what "optical flow" interpolation is, would be that it first performs the motion analysis that is part of the MPEG compression algorithm and then evenly divides the derived motion vectors into the frames of the target framerate. That way only the I-frames have to be exactly aligned with frames of the source, and the P- and B-frames can be smoothly interpolated at any framerate.
  6. But wouldn't time interpolation only be relevant if you either used footage recorded at a different framerate from the target (e.g. a 30fps or 120fps clip amidst the 60fps footage) or used a slow-motion effect? From the sounds of it, "frame blending" would happen before the motion analysis and lead to blurry frames (though that would be fine for soft transitions and fades), whereas "optical flow" sounds like it would happen post-analysis and distribute the found motion between the target frames.
  7. Yes, both take time, but vastly different amounts of it. Slightly altering the project file in Sony Vegas and re-rendering the video each time takes several hours per variation. Rendering the video once with, for example, one second of black screen at the end only takes a couple hours once, and creating several variations by using a stream editor to chop of different lengths of those 60 black frames at the end would at worst take a couple of minutes — less, if source and output videos are on different physical discs or on a SSD. Still technically "taking time", but a fraction of it. The most amount of work would be in the beginning, finding a good stream editor that works well with the output of Sony Vegas, figuring out what variations will make YouTube say "Okay, that's a different video", and getting into a comfortable workflow. And the sum of all that would likely still be less than the time he currently has to waste every week, working around YouTube's stupid problem.
  8. I know, but I was referring to the rendering that Gopher does on his side, before the upload. When the video editing software (Gopher uses Sony Vegas, I think) outputs the final video — concatenating all separate source clips, applying all overlays and effects, downmixing the sound layers, etc. — and encodes it to a specific video standard (e.g. h.264), that's also called rendering, and that's what Gopher was referring to. It ties up his dedicated rendering machine for hours, to produce several indistinguishable versions of the same video that YouTube will accept as "different" enough to upload side-by-side and process in parallel, all in the hope that one of them works properly. My suggestion was to go through the costly render process only once, and then use a different type of video editing software — one that operates on already encoded video streams without decoding-and-re-encoding them — and produce the various different-but-indistinguishable versions that way, in a fraction of the time. Another thing to try would be to re-multiplex the video and audio streams of the final video with slight variations, such as a single millisecond of audio delay in either direction, and hope that it's enough to get past YouTube's "identical videos" detector.
  9. It might not work well, unless the video was rendered with closed GOPs; not sure about that. Might take a few tries and a bit of fiddling to find a solution that works, but if you do, it would save you quite a bit of time.
  10. Instead of making microscopic changes and re-rendering the same video for hours, have you considered using an editor that operates on the already encoded stream? Appending or prepending a couple of black I-frames at the end or beginning of the video stream would result in a visually identical video with a different hash, which hopefully gets around YouTube's identification of identical videos. If it works, you'd only be limited by your upload bandwidth, and wouldn't tie up your rendering machine for hours. It ought to be worth a try at least.
  11. Surely nobody is arguing, "Metro Exodus should be exclusive to Steam, and Steam alone, instead of Epic!" Well, nobody worth taking serious, anyway. The crux is that exclusives (whether of a platform or a shop) are inherently anti-consumer by nature. A product that could be available on all platforms or via all shops is needlessly restricted to a single place, solely for the benefit of the platform's or Shop's owner, at the expense of the consumer. In essence, the product is being held hostage, in order to force the consumer to behave in a way that they might not have, if they had any alternatives. To forestall the already incoming reply, this obviously doesn't apply to games that are custom-tailored towards a specific, unique hardware feature of a platform. I'm talking about games that could easily work on any platform (or, indeed, every one) but are artificially restricted, in order to spur sales of a specific console. Just to visualise how screwed-up these exclusivity deals are, imagine the same thing happening in any other field of consumer commerce. Imagine going to your regular grocer or supermarket and finding out that you suddenly can no longer buy milk there. They didn't run out; no, they aren't allowed to sell milk anymore, because the global council of milk producers was paid several billions to make an exclusive deal with BP and now you can only buy milk at gas stations affiliated with BP. Obviously there's no good reason why milk sales must be handled by gas stations; they're not better equipped to handle milk sales than any other outlet — probably worse. This deal benefits exactly one entity, and that's BP. Inevitably a chorus of apologists would spring up, shouting, "What are you whining about? I stop by my local BP-branded gas station every other day, and it's no hardship at all to buy my milk there, instead of the supermarket. What, are you too lazy?" Which would be an excellent point if 100% of the earth's population was in their exact same situation and lifestyle. What about people who have no BP-affiliated station anywhere near them? Sucks to be them. What about people who get nauseated by petrol fumes or are even allergic? Suck it up, crybabies! What about people who do have a BP station near them, but don't visit it regularly, because they get a better deal on gas elsewhere? Well, duh! Forcing them to visit the BP station is the whole point of the exclusivity deal in the first place. Companies exist to make money, after all (Apparently this sentence excuses absolutely anything a company can do, up to and including mass murder). What about people without cars? Fuck you, goddamn hippie! Get a car, like a real person! Translating the above statements into equivalent rubbish you have heard being unironically said about exclusive games is left as an exercise for the reader.
  12. Oh, I just remembered something else that I noticed during the stream, but forgot to mention in my comments above: 1:27:20 — ‘Yeah, I'm wanting him pretty dead.’ Watch closely what happens when Quarico hits the Skeletal Scorcher with an arrow at 1:27:25. He practically squirts out fire particles and a small fire surface is created on the ground underneath it. This is a mechanism that a lot of enemies in the game have, and that can bite you, if you don't pay attention, or help you, if you do (And I think we all know which side of that equation Gopher is likely to end up on). Most living enemies create blood puddles that can spread around quite a bit, as the battle progresses, some undead leak poison, and monsters tied to an element like water or fire spread surfaces of their element, either wherever they move, or when they attack, or when injured. For example, in a prolonged battle, where the ground has been quite covered in blood, you can electrify the puddle and stun an entire group of enemies at once (excepting those that are immune or make their save roll) — though you may want to have your melee fighter jump back out of the puddle, before you deploy that tactic. The same goes for igniting the poison puddles that zombies leave. One important, somewhat counter-intuitive fact about damaging surfaces like fire or poison is that they hit you with damage for every single step you take across them. This often leads to the weird situation where it's better for you to stay standing still in the middle of a burning fire or a poison lake, rather than try to walk away, because while standing still you only get hit with burning or poison damage once per round, while trying to walk out can hit you dozens of times at once. That's where skills that let you jump large distances come in handy — or, say, apropos of nothing, the power to teleport…
  13. Probably should put the mentioned affiliate link here as well; you know, this being Gopher's own site and all… http://tinyurl.com/GopherGoG
  14. It's… not quite the same without 55 minutes of rambling about Youtube and Star Wars up front, is it? If you cut that out, it almost makes Gopher look… focused? Well, almost. 15:20 — ‘What do you mean by “Infused with new life”?’ It's not what you think. No, you're not pregnant, but if you had been injured, you would have been healed by the blood stone. It becomes a game mechanic later. 19:52 — ‘The dragon munched on the tapestry? Yeah, okay.’ Well, since tapestries are basically carpets, only for walls, that's not so far-fetched. 34:21 — ‘You weave a thread back in, and all of a sudden everyone's noses are replaced with beaks.’ Or worse. Remember when Dr. Pinkerton Chantasaur accidentally prevented the rise of civilisation before it even began, and suddenly the world was ruled by the evolved descendants of monkeys instead. Mammals, of all things! 40:21 — ‘I'm seeing Fire… Is the triangle thing Earth, you think? Mountain? And then they got Wind… and then we got Water. We don't have “Electricity”.’ As I remember it, lightning effects are grouped as part of the Air element, though it's been a while since I played the game. You'll get quite familiar with those symbols, if you play any sort of mage in your party (and you should), since they are the universal symbols for the elemental magic schools, stamped on the respective skill books, etc. 45:45 — ‘So If I do knife and a tomato, maybe I get sliced tomato?’ That's the right kind of thinking, although that specific combination is not one that's in the game. You did learn a recipe involving tomatoes earlier, from a book: Tomato + Hammer = Tomato-sauce. 52:49 — ‘A place to store all of your crap that you can't sell, 'cause you never know – you might just need it. And besides, you need one of everything anyway…’ Every game needs a Breezehome. 56:54 — ‘Okay. Is anybody else seeing a potential pitfall to that particular plan? …and I realise that's a lot of “P”s.’ Potential plan-pitfalls perpetuate problems; possibly perniciously perilous ones. 57:30 — ‘ “You just received a Teleporter Pyramid! […]” Let's not do that.’ Yeah! Why would you want the most iconic, almost essential, tool of the game? I mean, it can't be very important, if you only got one lousy achievement for acquiring it. It's only the power of teleportation, after all; that could never come in handy. 1:00:55 — ‘Am I moving? 'Cause I can't quite- I'm not moving. Why am I not moving?’ That's one of the quirks of the engine. When you're too far away to observe the current state of a place, it is shown in a default state – which often means that doors you previously opened are shown as closed, until you come near enough to see that they are actually open. When you clicked inside the tavern, the game didn't let you go there, because the path was blocked by a (potentially) closed door. Only when you came close enough, did the tavern update to its current state, and the inside became clickable. 1:18:20 — ‘Why have I got a Staff of Magus?’ But I already explained what that skill is, in my previous comment. Why, it's almost as if you don't attentively ready every single word I write here… … … Naaaaaahhh! That can't possibly be true. You probably just forgot in the meantime. 1:27:01 — ‘A skeleton with a flamethrower, Quarico!’ — ‘Ooohhh, I want it!’ Yeah, I kinda would have figured that Quarico would want to play as a Pyrokinetic, (i.e. a fire mage). I was surprised she went for a regular bow&arrow-type rogue. 1:27:35 — ‘Is everyone still boosted from my…’ [Encourage] No. The buffs last only a few rounds, and outside of turn-based combat, rounds pass automatically, each lasting only a couple of seconds, unless you pause the game. ⚠️Warning⚠️ This can seriously bite you in the ass, if you happen to have damage-over-time effects (burning, poisoned, bleeding) on you, when you leave combat. Suddenly ‘rounds’ start ticking past, and before you've had time to mentally sort yourself out, switch to the healer, and cast a spell to cure poison or heal bleeding, your characters start keeling over dead. Thus a lucky hit that ends the combat earlier than expected can suddenly turn into a near-TPK! 1:35:00 — ‘Oh my God, it does so little.’ Yeah, for serious healing you need to go to a Waterbender- err, I mean Hydrosophist. 1:38:30 — ‘I've got 125. 20% is actually about as much as that Cure Wounds.’ Umm… No it isn't. 20% of 125 is 25, which is slightly less than 46. But who needs maths skills, when you've got Resurrect Scrolls. 1:49:22 — ‘Err… I'm trying- I'm… Stand still!’ Rats are annoyingly difficult to talk to, the way they always scamper back and forth. The best way is to observe their repeating path, position your cursor on it, and wait… then click when the rat finally passes under it.
  15. 0:58 — ‘Ooh, “Special”; what does that mean? Staff of Magus, 3AP - what the hell? Why would I have a Staff of Magus?’ The ‘Special’ skills are mostly a way for you to put standard actions, like ‘Enter Sneak Mode’ or ‘End Turn’, into your hotbar, in case you don't want to use the keyboard shortcuts or hunt for the specific button in the UI. It's useful if you're using a gaming keyboard with limited keys available for binding, or if you're playing with a controller for some insane reason. Staff of Magus is a generic skill that everybody has, which allows you to shoot a magic projectile from a magic staff, if you have one equipped. This makes staves into melee and ranged weapons.
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