Talk about anything and everything Squad-related here -- what you've been playing, what you're looking forward to, and how big your Pile of Shame has grown after that last Steam sale...
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Alex Connolly

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:27 am

Red, saw you playing the Turok redux. How does it hold up?
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:48 am

It has been a long-ass time since I played Turok on the N64 (which I still have), but I can tell you that Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a very very late 90's FPS. I didn't realize how much of a DOOM-clone it is until now. All the design principles are there. Maybe it just wasn't as apparent with the N64 version running at 16 frames per second most of the time.

Also, I'm thinking about seeing if I can drop a sweetFX CRT filter in there just to hide all the flaws the 1080p resolution brings to the surface. When watching the launch trailer part of me preferred the old CRT clips. They had a certain "look" to the shadows and everything. The new version looks cleaner than it was probably ever supposed to. Yeah that defeats the purpose of the "HD remaster," but honestly the thing I really value about these re-releases is just being able to play them on modern hardware, particularly on modern PC operating systems. Even better if it's a DRM-free copy I can keep for the foreseeable future, even if I play a game with its original image quality. I might try the same trick with Grandia II and the Resident Evil Remake remaster. Some games were just not meant to be seen on LCD displays. With 2D pixel games it's a back-and-forth because there's a certain appeal to the look of hard pixels, but with 3D 90's games you've just got hard-edged polygons with shitty textures. I've already seen the results from when someone applied a CRT filter to 1080p Soul Reaver 1. It was beautiful.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:15 am

Interesting. And yeah, agreed on the CRT fuzz and line. Definitely what a lot of these Retreaux throwbacks are missing, particularly in the 2D space. As much as Retro City Rampage was a love letter without the love, it had the right level of glow and softness to its itty-gritty bits. I feel Downwell might also have this among its suite of selectable graphics.

There is nothing I love more than shuddering low-polys and grainy, chunky textures. If the magic warmth of the CRT can be tucked into the equation, more power to it.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by A.I Impaired » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:14 pm

Since I have ignored steam sales for many moons, I guess ive finally made up for it with a new haul.

Life is Strange
Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The Talos Principle
The Banner Saga
Tomb Raider
Tron 2.0
Expeditions Conquistadors

Prolly spend about 45 CAD. Prolly won't finish half of them... sigh. Lots of unique experiences here demanding my time.

I am a lucky man who happened to grow up next door to someone who is now working for AMD. Dude showed up with a brand new videocard for me on Christmas Eve. Dude is good. Been trying to stress it, but frankly .... I have yet to find a modern day Crysis. Games can run better than on my PS4, and look a little better, but nothing so far is so far ahead of console tech that I even feel this R9 290x is justified. That said, I love that I have it. Not dropping below 60fps on Ultra settings is a very new experience for me.

I look at my setup today, and actually cannot believe how far I have come from as recently as 2008. I had an old wood paneled television from the 80's, and a non widescreen monitor that maxed out at 720p which could only work with my 360 because they designed a VGA adapter for that system. My PS3 was on that nostalgia laden wood paneled TV. MGS4 was way too classy for it, but I think the advance in graphics actually was kinda startling and interesting on CRT where you couldn't pinpoint most of the flaws in aliasing or texture work. It looks perhaps more like what I remember reality looking like through a CRT, than what reality looks like in HD. Everything looks smooth and blurry, but consistent. Of course the 3D games that were made for CRT just look way more flawed and terrible in HD... akin to getting a new pair of glasses I imagine, you realize all the ugly people.
However some art styles prevail. I still look at a game like Vagrant Story or Wipeout XL and wouldn't change a thing.

Nowadays I have the wall mounted 1080p 40 incher, Harman Kardan receiver attached to a fine set of surround speakers. Every modern system barring an Ouya. This is what my teenage self imagined I would have when I was rich. Now what do I wish for?
In truth I do miss my crappy TV, if at least to play those old games the way they were. Hell I wonder whether if I play PS4 games on that ancient scrap whether my brain would be even further tricked by a sense of CRT realism.I guess a filter would help emulate those effects though, and I am all for it. In the meantime though, I guess I gotta stare at Witcher 3. Oh no.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Beige » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:26 pm

Short post with more coming later - but listen: Anno 2205 is great. Don't believe the haters.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Alex Connolly » Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:51 pm

Playing the new Air Traffic Controller 4. That's a thing. Happy new year, Squad!

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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by RedSwirl » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:29 pm

Bruhs this Steam Controller is the truth. This shit is the future man. People keep talking about how they want the conventional game controller to stay the same for all time but I always appreciated Nintendo for pushing things forward. This feels like the next step forward we needed to take.

It's like I've found the final puzzle piece of my HTPC. I don't even use my mouse on that thing anymore. Whether I need to browse the web or edit images in GIMP, the Steam Controller get's it done while letting me maintain the posture of console gaming. My PC is now a console... while still being a PC. If you've set up an HTPC, you know how hard it can be to find a comfortable way to have a mouse and keyboard set up while sitting on a couch. I'm telling you, this is it. Valve thought of everything.

I haven't tried to play Civ or Air Traffic Control or anything with it yet, but I'm just saying. First person shooters are definitely a learning process though. I played through most of Turok on it and did okay. Beat the game without my HP ever falling to zero. Wolfenstein The Old Blood is killing me though. The problem is you basically gotta completely rewire how your brain processes FPSs to get this to work. I think I did alright in Tuork because it's a completely different era of shooter, and I originally played it on the N64.

Here's the deal, you basically gotta combine analog stick thinking with mouse thinking, and it's a trip. You need to handle that right track pad the same way you would a mouse plus trackball: re-positioning yourself when you run out of pad room, swiping and letting it spin, keeping the pointer centered while moving, etc. The discrepancy is that you control a mouse with your whole hand, but just put one thumb on that track pad, so you gotta translate your mouse muscle memory to that one thumb. I need to be conscious of that while also remembering everything else I normally do in an FPS which slows me down. I feel like ultimately aiming with the Steam Controller is somewhere between an analog stick and a mouse -- probably closer to a mouse, but only AFTER a lot of practice.

The only things I'm probably using my Xbox controller for again are 2D action games because of the D-pad.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Beige » Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:38 pm

Interesting Red. I got a Steam Controller for Christmas but haven't yet taken it out for a run around in the park on account of my shiny XBONE Elite controller (for PC, natch). I was excited about the Elite for sure... though it's a glass of cold water in the face to find out that its advaced features like the programmable paddles only work with Windows 10.

We just finished playing Anno 2205 here... could have been a candidate for the Steam Controller, but we preferred to Mouse N' Key it.

How does keyboard typing work? The only thing I can see keeping me from using it as primary device is the fact that we do a lot of googling from the couch in the living room.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Calin Kim » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:51 am

If the Steam Controller is a decent way to let me play stuff like Baldur's Gate and The Witcher on my couch, then I should probably get one.
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Re: Whatchya Playin' - Brand New Digs Edition

by Beige » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:35 pm

Everything beyond Witcher 1 is optimized nicely for controllers.

Tried fooling around with the Steam controller last night while browsing the web on my couch. Interesting experience, but I can't see it replacing my wireless mouse and keyboard yet.

Basic actions like surfing around on pages works mostly OK, but the lack of a physical keyboard means that typing things into Mr. Google is more of a pain than it needs to be. I like the 100% customization of every little feature though -- looking forward to poking at some of those custom user configurations for various games.

Everybody's aware that Amplitude just launched, right? I downloaded my kickstarted copy on Tuesday (I'm in the credits!). To see Amplitude once again is bizarre - like riding a bike. Picked up this instrument that I hadn't played in more than a decade. Sat down, booted up a song on Expert... finished in a single pass. You never forget.

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Lynette and I spent some time last night going through Polygon's list of 100 games to be excited about in 2016. Even if I'm only excited about 50% of the titles, that's still 50 games to look forward to - which is a crazy, crazy ratio. I really like their categories as well -- things like "mayhem" and "ooh pretty". Yep.

http://www.polygon.com/a/2016-game-preview-100-games

I'd encourage everybody to take a peek in here... there's a lot of fantastic looking high-concept stuff I'd somehow never heard of before... things like Oxenfree and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. Someone's even doing that Black America inner city adventure game in the form of "this is Chicago" though admittedly in this specific case the graphics look pretty bad even if the concept is rad. Noticed a few conspicuous absences here and there but still... ye gods, man. We are living in the times of plenty.

This is just Polygon's too. Presumably there will be weird Undertale-style outliers to this whole mess as well. It's a good time to be alive and gaming. Looks like a real flourishing of both maturity and artistry going on -- shame about the AAA ecosystem though. Too many ice-age rodents nibbling at the food sources of these hulking dinosaurs.
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