Bloggy blog post

So there are more people coming to this site these days which is cool. I don’t get anything out of it, monetarily, any ads you see are from WordPress.  I tend to be an open book which I’ve been wondering for days if that was a smart idea or not considering that I now have higher visibility and therefore more crazy people who will use whatever little tidbits of info they can find and throw it back in my face.  It’s weird. But let’s face it, I’m not changing at this point.

I’m obviously not new to the internet or how people freak the fuck out on each other over the internet but I’m surprised by how differently it is when it’s actually directed at you.  I had just watched Patrick Klepek’s talk last week about vitriol on the internet before all of this 720p and OS crashing stuff blew up and I was thinking “you gotta just let that roll off your back, man.”  Which is also what he was saying.  Now, these days I have a lot of people telling me that.  It’s not that any individual comment (other than death threats… those are a special kind of creepy) affects me but every once in a while I get this surge of “Holy fuck do I really want to deal with this much hate on a regular basis?  I’m not even getting paid for this!”

There is a very distinct pleasure in being right though.  Especially when you are getting 100s of tweets/PMs/emails/etc telling you that you’re full of shit.  I love that feeling.  In sports you’ll often hear rookies talk about being motivated to prove to every team that didn’t draft them that they fucked up.  I never really understood that feeling… I’m not big on ego.  But it’s not just ego, it’s self-defense. You think you’re doing something good, others say no, and you want so badly to throw it back in their face when you were right and they were wrong.

Which, I guess, leads me to the nature of being a ‘leaker.’  What I do isn’t really worth a shit.  On a technical level all I do is take info that someone else gave me and make it public.  Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do it.  It doesn’t prove anything about my intellect or anything like that.  I do an awful lot of cross checking with sources before I make anything public which is the closest it ever comes to being work.  But really… I don’t think I’m hot shit because I knew that CoD was 720p on the Xbox One.  I do feel like hot shit, however, if you went off on me and now have gone back in your hidey-hole.  You all are anonymous on the internet, going off on me.  I’m divulging corporate secrets with my real goddamn name.  I mean seriously, I’m pretty much an idiot!  I’m also making posts about family members being murdered, struggles with anxiety, etc.  I’m feeding your anonymous hate machine with actual information from a real person that isn’t hiding.

After feeling anxious for a few days I realized that I’m the brave one. I’m not out here making shit up to make this site more popular or give me more “neogaf cred” whatever the fuck that even is.  No matter what I do at this point it won’t be as awesome as #PS4NoDRM and if all I cared about was internet cred I would just ride the wave of that until the end of time.  I made my mark.  But, no, I actually like videogames quite a bit and I enjoy writing/talking about them.  A lot of news I’ve had lately has been bad news…  DriveClub Delay, 720p CoD, OS issues, etc.  That’s not my fault.  I’m not here to be negative. Microsoft people on GAF know that I also gave them quite a bit of good news before E3 about what games they were going to see including what surprising companies would be on stage with them.  I report shit as I learn it.  I don’t have an agenda.  I do have preferences… because, well, I’m human – and so do you.  But it’s not like I shied away from the DriveClub story because it was bad news for Sony.  It was REALLY bad news for Sony, it was 1/3 of their first party lineup and their lube for forcing PS+ on us.  Historically have I liked Sony games more than Microsoft games?  Yes.  Does that matter if I get a piece of info about something?  Not at all.  I’m not a console warrior.  Until someone hires me I don’t give a shit about anyone’s profits.  Vita is selling like shit – I don’t care – all I care is that it has games coming that I want.  When that stops I’ll care.

People get really hung up on sales.  Early today there were quite a few Nintendo fans in my twitter feed bugging out about Wii U sales.  Now, there’s no way to spin it that it’s selling well…  but if you own a Wii U are there games coming that you want?  Do you want Mario?  Do you want Mario Kart?  Do you want Smash?  Do you want X?  I’ll answer for you…. yes, yes you do.  So who gives a fuck.  You already bought the system.  The one and only sale that matters already took place.  Watching the Media Create charts each week is only going to make you miserable.  Though, special shoutout to those that are defensive about Wii U sales and then total dicks about 3DS sales  (and likewise for Sony people who are like that with PS3/4 and the Vita).  It takes a special kind of lack of self-awareness to achieve that.

Anyway, I’m just going to keep being me.  I’m also going to turn comments on and leave them completely open… no need to register or anything.  That was my ideal when I got 5 hits a week and that’s how I’ll keep it now.  If you want to accuse me of just making shit up – fine – I’ll just feed on the satisfaction of knowing that you were wrong when the truth comes out.  And at some point I will be wrong.  Everyone is.  And when that happens everyone who hates my guts will get to taste the sweet juices of victory.  Also, I swear a lot and I make myself part of the story. Sorry if you hate that but, well, fuck it.

Sound good?  Just don’t, like, actually murder me.

Round one of OMG GRAPHIXX gives us fairly predictable and unexciting results

So the PS4 is supposedly 30% more powerful than the Xbox One.  The Xbox One versions of games “look great” according to people at Microsoft and media outlets.  Battlefield 4 represents the first of what’s likely to be 100s of rounds and it turns out both camps were correct.

The fact of the matter is that the PS4 version of Battlefield 4 is a higher resolution, it’s running at a higher and more stable framerate, and it has more expensive effects (namely better anti-aliasing).  The PS4 version, in tech terms, easily covers the “30%” power gap.  The problem is most people can’t really see it unless they cherry pick images and go back and forth.  When watching video of both side by side you could easily say “the ps4 version looks kinda better” but it’s not a shit your pants difference.  We are reaching diminishing returns when it comes to resolution and image quality.

It’s not a secret that I’m getting a PS4 and I’m not even contemplating a Xbox One until the Kinect is dropped but if the situation here was reversed and the Xbox One had this resolution/framerate/AA advantage I’d be slightly bummed but then I would watch the side by side videos and go “eh, both look great to me.”  Basically these competitions are pissing contests and if you’re keeping score the PS4 wins pretty handily.  If all you want is a good looking version of BF4 to play at some point in November; there’s no need to change preorders.  I do get the argument that the system that costs $100 more shouldn’t be the one at a lower framerate and resolution but if you have a XB1 preordered at this point I’m sure you’ve made peace with the higher price.

I personally do all of my gaming on a PC monitor that I sit a couple feet away from.  I will see the resolution difference and the IGN solution of “just sit further away” isn’t going to work for me.  But even on my setup I don’t believe the differences here to be drastic.  As other games come out, namely CoD at 1080p vs 720p, we may see things much further apart.  Though to be honest the 1080p images of CoD on the PS4 look pretty damn ugly.  And, flying in the face of everything I’ve just said, I’ve spent $200 on videocards that haven’t offered the quality difference on a technical level that we are seeing between the two systems.

Pixel counters have a winner.  People who just wanted the game to look good on their system of choice (whatever it may be) have a winner also.   On to round two…

Xbox One OS and Xbox Live issues bouncing about as we approach launch

EDIT:  I wrote this entire thing on GAF but never got the go ahead from the mods to post it so I moved it over here.  There are formatting (as in HTML/ETC) errors because of that .  The guys’ I talked to also made spelling/grammar errors… we talked through means which require shortening of words.  I will own my mistakes… but don’t hold it against the people quoted that are incorrect – it’s how we talked.  I could fix it now but I feel like editing this would be dishonest so I’m keeping it as is and just leaving this up here.  

Ok, first off: the origin of the rumor. I was contacted by someone claiming to be a dev. He told me a bunch of info. I had no idea if it was true or not. I know a lot of people really hate me currently so I was very wary that I was being trolled by a well-informed person. I was looking for other sources for hours. Nothing. And then I got partial verification from another dev (not that he/she disagreed with part, but only knew part and said it was 100% correct) and then at once I got verification by two people who have never wronged me. So this isn’t flimsy but I’m still filing it under rumor because, well, it is.  But it isn’t.

I’m putting it all out on the line here. I enjoy breaking leaks but if this is wrong I’m fucked. I know this. This is how much I trust the people who have verified (and I hope for a CBoaT appearance).

The short story is that Xbox Live and the OS, especially in functions that involve XBL, are a complete fucking mess. One source says we aren’t talking weeks until it works correctly but “months.” Things like parties dropping people when moving from one thing to another. Connectivity issues. Missed invites. Friend requests not working, etc.

He then said “If all you are doing is running a game and that’s the only app things are fine.”

So why do think things are going wrong?

“The system OS and network integration was written by a group of people who do not play games. They don’t understand why things were set up in the ways they were designed by J Allard back in ’05.”

So… what changed?

“Let me get into some technical detail regarding it – on 360, the OS handles all of the party and chat functionality. All you do is hook up the XBL VOiP OS API into your game, and it does most of the work for you. With it results in is a shared experience across multiple entertainment. If you’re watching movies or playing games, you can do it together. However, this system is entirely different on Xbox One. So, lets say me, you, and Thuway have xbox one’s that are online. We are signed in our profiles. Sitting at the home screen, we are considered to be in a “Xbox Party” on the server. There are no more ‘party leaders’. With that said if any one of us decide to start a game, the party is shifted over to that game’s party system. Each game now has their custom written VOIP.” (Pete note: shoutout to thuway!)

“In essence, it is almost EXACTLY how it was on the PS3, and it is in those API “handshakes” that is breaking the online experience.”

I asked if could be fixed soon. He said that anything is possible and Microsoft is obviously working on it but he thinks it will be months, not weeks. Getting online launch games certified is taking so long that it’s pushing games after launch back.

Talking to a different developer he says: “Yeah, getting anything online to work was a pain for months, barely worked at the very end of last month. Adding friends, sending game invites or even achievements’ toasts could be a nightmare. I don’t know that much outside of “my” project, but from what I saw in others, online was always a problem. No idea if this will still be an issue at launch though, I think it would be too much, but it looks like it won’t be flawless at all.”

As of now the Xbox One OS and XBL (the name for the XBL side of Azure is “Thunderhead”) are having major issues. Maybe it will be fixed in time, maybe it won’t. The obvious question to me was does this have to do with Microsoft reversing the DRM and having to strip it out (Pete note: That would partially make it my fault and I wouldn’t like that at all)?

“This was happening either way. This was built into the OS long ago. The DRM-removal clogged their pipelines somewhat, but this blockage was always there. It’s just simply a way they setup the VOIP API and how it would be handled. It was an oversight, not just voip, all of parties and network connectivity really.”

Ok, anything else?

“By the way, do not be surprised at the reaction you get from MS over this.”

Yeah, I know.

Call of Duty, 720p, Albert Penello, NeoGAF, and Twitter: A Dramatic Retelling

I usually don’t write about stuff like this on my little podcast blog here because I’m not really looking to leverage info I’ve gained from other people for my own personal gain.  I share info, often, on sites like GAF and Reddit and other various forums…  and sometimes things will pop up in my crappy podcast – but mostly I keep it out of here.  Being known for #PS4NoDRM is cool.  Being known because I am passing on info I got from someone else says nothing about who I am so I find little worth in it.  If people come to this site I want it to be for things I’ve done, not info I’ve passed along.

Here I am though and only because the threads are being shutdown on GAF, the xboxone subreddit aren’t fans of me, and twitter isn’t really adequate to do anything other than take potshots at Albert Penello and joke about DriveClub delays.  So this allows me to tell my side.  People can tell their side, if they so chose, and that’s that.

I had heard a few days ago that the Xbox One version of CoD: Ghosts was running at 720p on the Xbox One and 1080p on the PS4.  Personally I don’t really care…  I’m not going to play CoD, I’m not a resolution whore, it’s not going to kill the fun of the game for people that get it on the Xbox One.  It is, however, newsworthy.  I’m not sure exactly what it says, whether the PS4 is more powerful or the PS4 had better tools out to developers earlier or if Activision just hates Microsoft all of a sudden because of who knows what.  I have no idea what the story is…  but the games running at two vastly different resolutions is newsworthy.  At the time that I posted it on GAF, after a misguided tease that Bishop promptly bitched me out for (which I deserved), I said the rumor was flimsy because I couldn’t find a second source.

Days have passed and I’ve heard it from many sources now.  This is no longer something I consider flimsy.  If it’s not true I will be shocked at this point because the sources are that strong (I will also lose all credibility – that’s not something I’m oblivious to).  Though, there is a wrinkle to it that I didn’t know about during the initial rumor…  Activision is very hard at work trying to up the resolution.  Whether this comes as a day one patch, or a day 100 patch, or what… I don’t know.  It does point to Microsoft’s tools being behind more-so than just a huge power gap (the gap does exist but the XB1 is powerful enough to run this game at 1080p, clearly).  The point is that Activision is still working very hard on it.  As such they aren’t talking about it.  Microsoft isn’t talking about it.  The press isn’t allowed to talk about it.  It’s a forbidden topic.

That’s fine.  I get it.  I, however, am not part of the press and I don’t work in the industry.  So I can talk about it. Activision can’t blacklist me because they don’t do anything for me to blacklist me from.

Albert Penello came to defense of the Xbox version in the GAF thread.  I like Albert, I think he is a bright guy and even though he has to get PR-y a lot he is a helluva lot better at it than most people at Microsoft have been this year. He stated that he’s seen it on the Xbox One and it looks great and people should just wait until they see it side by side.  Totally agree.  He also said he doesn’t know what resolution it is.  That is where we diverged in opinion.  I called him a liar which was shitty of me and unfair (and also unprovable).  I believe that Albert can look at a game on a screen and tell what resolution it is.  But… what I “believe” doesn’t matter.  The fact of the matter is that Albert says he doesn’t know the resolution and that can’t be proven otherwise and I suck for calling him a liar.  I sincerely apologize for that.

The thing is that I agree with him on his main points. The resolution doesn’t matter (EDIT:  ALBERT DID NOT SAY THIS, I MISINTERPRETED HIS COMMENTS).  Especially with a multiplayer game like Call of Duty.  For instance, I own Battlefield 3 on the PS3 and on my PC which can run it between high/ultra at 60fps.  My friends play BF3 on the PS3.  Two years later I have about 2 hours of playtime on the PC version even though it’s “superior” in nearly every way.  None of that matters.  Play with your friends, have fun.  Counting pixels and all of that stuff is a decent timewaster when you’re sitting in a cubicle waiting to go home from work but once it’s time to play games just play games.  I liked the PS3 a lot – we got mostly inferior ports of everything.  Once trophies came out I played those inferior ports because I was addicted to stupid freakin’ trophies.  I played Bayonetta on the PS3 pre-patch!  That port was awful and it’s a single player game but goddamnit I wanted those trophies.  That was what was fun, not how many P’s it had or whatever else.

If your friends are getting the Xbox One and you are deciding which system to get CoD on… get it on the Xbox One.  Seriously.  Just because the PS4 version will look better won’t make it more fun than playing with friends.  If your entire decision on every game is playing it on the best console available – throw out both consoles and get a PC.  If you hate PCs for some reason but are still obsessed with having the best version, get it on the PS4 – because even after a patch it’s not going to look as good as the PS4.  This is what Albert Penello was saying (again: not exactly), in a PR-ish way, and I agree with him.  It’s easy for me to make jokes on Twitter and have some fun… because to me videogames are fun and so is everything surrounding it.  To him it’s a job.  I think I probably pissed him off today.  That’s ok, it’s bound to happen.

These stories aren’t going away though.  This is not the only launch game that will be at different resolutions.  There are games after launch that aren’t even targeting 1080p for the Xbox One.  If you care about this you should know this.  That is newsworthy to you.  I’m more interested in *WHY* it turned out this way – why Microsoft made the console in the way that they did but that’s something a real journalist will have to dig up (it will make one hell of a book). Games are fun though, guys. The PS4 is more powerful, which you will see from launch day onward, and it’s cheaper… but that doesn’t mean the Xbox One is devoid of fun.  Call of Duty won’t be any less addictive to fans at 720p than it will be at 1080p.  But make no mistake, there is a story as to why these games are lagging behind the PS4.  Someone needs to dig it out.

Doddcast 214 – Launch Torpedo(‘d)

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Sony first party, Valhalla Knights 3, Cook, Serve, Delicious!, Driveclub delay, 75-60something of my games of the generation.

Music:  Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt by We are Scientists!, Last Year’s Man by Leonard Cohen

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Hire me.

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Doddcast 213 – We’re cool because we say so!!

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This week I briefly discuss GTAV and Beyond (spoiler free on both) and then jump into a bunch of listener tweets/emails, mostly about Microsoft being awful.   I end with some Breaking Bad talk with many warnings for those who do not wish to hear about it.

Music: Help I’m Alive by Metric, El Paso by Marty Robbins

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Hire me.

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter