Author: Kranky

Stay safe

Hubby is working from home, like many others. He’s had a cold for a week, doesn’t seem anything serious. We’re not out of toilet paper yet but at some point we’re going to have to do the run-all-over-town looking for some, I guess. Our situation is generally fine, we’re just waiting things out like everyone else. I’m a homebody to begin with, my life hasn’t changed much because of this pandemic crisis. I worry more about economy and infrastructure effects, social changes/attitudes.

I largely finished Death Stranding (great game but the ending story scenes went on forever and ever….). I occasionally dip into it for lack of better to do, but think I’ll wait a while to replay it. If you like sandboxy (mostly) open world games, it’s a keeper imo tho. Had such a great and obsessive time with it. Zip lines are so much fun.

What I’m playing now: Death Stranding

death stranding screenshot

What a beautiful game.
I’ve never played any of Kojima’s other games and hadn’t heard of this one at all. A streamer I follow on Twitch has been playing it for a while – at first I was all “wtf is this weird-ass game” but over several days of observing I became eager to try it myself. So when it was on sale for PS4 recently I bought it. On the Pro it’s gorgeous on the 43″ 4k TV and whenever you hit one of the spots where you get a new song to play, it’s the most wonderful visual/auditory experience.  The music tracks at those times are mostly by a group called Low Roar, (YouTube link) and I love all of them. So thanks, game, for introducing me to this musical group, as a side-bonus.

Death Stranding is kind of a walking-sim I suppose, but no more than all the traveling and fetch-questing in open world games like Skyrim, for example. You get vehicles to help out as well. There are elements of strategy, resource and time management, stealth and occasional combat sections. Outside of the main storyline it’s very sand-boxy. It is not an “action” game by any stretch but I feel like just calling it a walking-sim is too extreme. There are enemies and things to deal with – but it’s the type of scenario where most of the time you can avoid it all if you wish. Or you can decide to have fun with raiding the Mule (bandit) camps or the more supernatural BT’s as a break from all the deliveries or story missions.

Still, if one generally likes fast paced action or combat heavy games, Death Stranding probably won’t be a game for you. Myself, I love wandering the world delivering packages, reconnecting people, towns, and a vastly changed US continent, rebuilding the interstate (which takes forrrever if you don’t use the pseudo “online” feature that shares player structures, but I prefer no help). The story is very weird and very long (lots of long cutscenes sometimes, like a movie) but I find it interesting enough. There have been a couple delivery encounter missions that really touched me, re: small character stories, too.

Anyway, I started Feb. 20 and I’ve already put 50 hours into the game (with a couple 10 hr sessions which is a lot for me these days…). Once you hit episode 3 it opens up a lot more and I was completely sucked in. It feels different, it’s chill/meditative at times, and so weirdly addictive. When it comes to Steam/PC in June-ish, I may buy it there if it adds enough stuff (or is moddable). Otherwise this is a game that I’d be fine with never owning on PC.

Funny sidenote: this is exactly what happened to me with FFXV, where I watched someone on Twitch playing it (I had never played a previous FF or heard of FFXV) and the lengthy exposure is what eventually convinced me I had to have/play FFXV.  Sometimes it’s cool to discover a game randomly like that, where you know nothing and have no expectations, so it’s more of a clean feeling of discovery.  Death Stranding is definitely a game I can see myself spending at least 200-300 hours with, maybe more. 😀

 

Which one do you like better?

(I suggest to view full-size to get a better comparison)

If you picked the second/bottom one, we can’t be friends.  winkwink  😉

–The top picture has the game’s Filtering setting on Low. There’s a better sense of overall sharp focus.
–The bottom picture has Filtering on High (Average isn’t much less).  Notice the street lights are now big blobs of yellow glowing with “bloom,” and the palace in the background – and the tree, the road, and everything else – is more blurry and out of focus.  I can’t stand either effect. It’s the first damn type of thing I turn off in any game, whatever they call the setting, and if the game doesn’t let me turn it off (or at least greatly minimize it) I am an unhappy camper.  Ha.  I wish you could turn Filtering totally Off in FFXV, but at least Low is pretty darn close to off.

If it’s very subtle, bloom/similar used ONLY on things like lights would be ok. But it’s almost never that subtle, effects too many things, or worse it’s an overall soft-focus, bright glow over everything/the whole screen.
Background blurring just gives me a headache. Things in the background in real-life (barring atmospheric interface of some kind) don’t blur and game blurring gives me eye strain from my eyes/brain constantly thinking it should be in focus (eg, squinting). Now, I get it, sometimes it’s effective to selectively blur backgrounds, in order to put emphasis on a specific subject (in photography we call this “bokeh” ),  but having it active all the time (like in games) is blech. I suppose it helps performance at times tho, sometimes.

Anyway, I was messing with graphic settings tonight (mainly forcing things in the GPU, for example), wondering if the game could look a tad better (vs. performance).  Maybe a little. Probably not worth it tho.

Armiger Unleashed, Noctis, 4k

I have never used Armiger Unleashed before. I’ve seen it in use via YouTube so I know how it works, but I didn’t care about it and certainly didn’t need it to beat anything in the game to a pulp. But last night it was something “different” to Ansel so I finally used it – three times.  It’s more attractive at dusk or night. Hard to get the right “moment/angle” or choose which pics (as usual) and I might try it again with different fights someday.  Here comes the wallpaper spam:

armiger unleashed final fantasy xv wallpaper ffxv

final fantasy xv 4k wallpaper ffxv

Live streaming set-up/mic extension woes (blog)

This is a “blog” rambling post, if you’re here for FFXV pics, feel free to ignore.  😛

This is my current desktop setup.  I have a 43″ 4k TV, one 27″ 1440 monitor and one 27″ 1080p monitor. Most of the time now I run all three on the main Win10 rig but occasionally plug the 1080 into my older, rarely used Win7 rig when I want to do something on it.  At some point I should probably set up remote desktop so the only time a monitor has to be directly plugged into the old PC is if I wanted to play a game on it, but I digress.  (yes I always sit in very dim light like in the pic)

Point being, I was wondering the other night if I wanted to (casually) try Twitch-streaming again. A combo of light gaming+”just chatting” perhaps.  This thought is mostly a symptom of my recent boredom rather than anything serious, mind – maintaining a regular live-stream is a ton more “work” and setup than it may look like, and I don’t need income/am not at all interested in having a streaming career.  😛

Anyway, imo, you need three monitors to “properly” live-stream … yes yes you can do it with only one monitor if you really really want, but imo you need at least two, and three is optimum.  So I have that covered even if my desk isn’t wide enough to have them in an ideal arrangement….

The main setup issue I have is the mic.   I have a Blue Yeti. It’s this rather large, heavy thing.  Maybe I should buy a new/lighter one.  Regardless, I have yet to find a decent way to utilize such a mic in terms of placement.  Having it sit directly on the desk in front of your face was not ideal for me because it gets in the way whenever you want to shift/move your keyboard or whatever.  Not to mention a big mic RIGHT next to a clacky keyboard is never a hot idea (easier if you’re using a controller…).  You can buy a mic holder/arm extension, but almost all of them apparently use a C-clamp concept to temp-attach them to your desk  (example from Amazon). I don’t think I’d like that, since with the way I have things,  there’s no good place for it where it wouldn’t block a monitor view or I’d hit it with my arms or chair all the time.  Nor do any I’ve looked at have enough extension from their two “arm” sections to clamp onto the desk behind the central monitor to then reach *over* the monitor and then continue to extend even more to finally rest near/over my head. I like my monitors fairly high plus my desk is way too deep for that – it’s over 3 feet deep and most of the mic-arm/extenders seem to be about 15″-18″ for each arm section. Not enough. I’m not going to be drilling a permanent hole into my desk surface, either.  And I hate wearing headsets.

There’s only one wall-mounted mic extension I’ve seen so far (well, on Amazon at least) but again I’m not sure it’s enough reach to where I’d want it, from the wall stud I’d have to mount it to. I may have to try it tho. There are floor-stands of course but those generally aren’t for placing the mic over/next to your head.  I don’t care about uber quality live-stream mic sound, but it is important (to me) that you can move/change positions a bit and have it not drop in and out constantly, that you don’t feel like you have to shout all the time, and that it won’t pick up crazy/mega-loud amounts of other noises outside of your voice. Maybe I’m too picky. I get like that, making extra “work” for myself.  I could just use a cheap, crackly, muted-sounding, crap mic clipped to my shirt, right….  pfft.

4k scenic wallpapers

…because now and then something without the bro’s in it can be nice. They make pleasant wallpapers if the colors are your thing.

ffxv 4k wallpaper final fantasy xv

ffxv 4k wallpaper final fantasy xv

I’m still mostly playing 7 Days to Die at the moment – it’s just that type of game one can get mindlessly lost in, endlessly chopping down trees, mining tunnels, building and reinforcing bases. Next thing you know it’s 4am.

Edit: Sorry, one more. Not as much a ‘scenic’  (it’s moody?) but didn’t feel like making another post entry.

ffxv 4k wallpaper final fantasy xv