10k milestone and Call of Cthulhu troubles

It isn’t really very obvious just quite how much effort goes into the Let’s Plays and some more than others. Whether it’s re-subtitling in-game movies for Silent Hill 2, zoom transitions to make Eternal Darkness’ movies appear full screen, or mixing aspect ratios together in Silent Hill 4, we try to make games appear at their best and present them as no-one else does. It is a supreme compliment when people don’t even notice as it means we’ve done a flawless job.

Call of Cthulhu has been one of the hardest LP series to produce.

The game has compatibility issues, that are sadly and misguidedly called bugs. Mostly these relate to Windows 7 not rendering the skybox correctly. This doesn’t generally affect the gameplay, with the major exception of the scene on the deck of a ship where the player must aim the ship’s cannon at some magi on an island in the far distance. This island is part of the skybox with the magi inside it. Obviously not being able to see the skybox makes the section impossible, unless the player happens to know exactly where to shoot, or is prepared to shoot everywhere until it manages to hit the invisible targets. In terms of atmosphere however, the lack of a skybox is quite detrimental. Features which are supposed to blend nicely into the distance now don’t as the skybox’s dampening effect is absent so the distance is a stark white and everything renders stark against it instead of the obfuscating fog effect you should get. Water effects just stop after a certain distance and things generally just don’t look like they were intended to. On youtube, this means that since pretty much every walkthrough and Let’s Play of the game is wrong – to the point where people simply assume that the game is poorly done, or, more insidiously, is just supposed to look like that.

It is for these reasons that we are playing the game on a Windows XP box. The PC port of the game also uses some XBox (the platform the game was originally published on) effects that are not replicated when playing on non-Nvidia hardware. So this is not being played on the current PC (the one built for gaming and rendering), but on the older PC. This PC is now my son’s main PC and so is only really available when he retires for the night.

Basically, we can only play on Call of Cthulhu when the stars are right.

Last time we tried to record was a more serious issue though, as whenever we hit the record button the game would drop to 1fps and be basically unplayable. After much clearing of hard-drives (and gnashing of teeth), we eventually discovered that it was the Windows XP OS itself which wouldn’t allow the hard drive to get properly … done (whether the issue was formatting or partitioning, we aren’t certain).

Turns out Linux is better at partitioning and formatting a drive to NTFS so that Windows XP can use it than … Windows XP.

There is a reason why Windows XP is obsolete.

Now we can record again, thank goodness.

The other news is that we’ve hit a youtube milestone. 10k views on one video. This is the FRAPs darkness problem solution. Which doesn’t really work anymore, but gives enough information to figure out what’s wrong yourself. I actually don’t like it because it doesn’t work anymore, and the method it uses is incompatible with Sony Vegas which seems to be what a large number of video guys use. Of course, Sony Vegas is incompatible with most input formats and is one of the reasons I don’t use Vegas. It also annoys me that it’s so popular when the LPs are comparatively unviewed.

I suspect when we eventually get around to publishing our video production methodology, it’ll be hopefully as well viewed.


Peter has played a lot of games over the years.

He made this website due to an exasperation with traditional videogame reporting and reviewing, reiterating what they’ve read on Kotaku and 4chan making almost all game reporting painfully generic.

This is Peter’s answer.

Born in 1981, Peter lives with his son, a cat, and a girlfriend. He has a degree in Computing and Networks.

Michaela is a twenty something cephalopod, or a 25 year old English chick with too much time on her hands.

She reviews video games, and likes tea, cats and cute things.

She enjoys reading, writing, drinking tea, and  video games, particularly story driven ones, or horror.

Michaela is the owner of StudiousOctopus.

Life is Strange

So we’ve played all of the first episode of Life is Strange. That’s all of Chrysalis.

We checked and the parts are not named the same as the AIs from Peacewalker. Sadface.

However, I can safely say that despite the obvious flaws, the most immediately noticeable being the terrible lip-syncing much like the last game of theirs, Remember Me (I actually thought the doctor’s faces in the opening were masks because they didn’t move at all), that I’m liking it. Other flaws are some of the absolutely terrible dialogue – it does have a sort of fake-retro 90s that didn’t exist likeable-ness to them, but is often painful rather than fun, especially the almost constant name-dropping in the opening to the point where you will probably feel like telling Max to just shut up. And Victoria. And Jefferson. And all of  the other classmates’ names I’m more sketchy on; I felt the game introduced too many characters early on. I’m still calling the missing girl “Laura Palmer” for the obvious Twin Peaks reasons.

However once you progress past that and get used to some of the other irritations the episode really starts to redeem itself, finishing with a scene where two former best friends rediscover each other after many years absence.

Here’s to hoping the rest of the game skips the problems the opening of this episode have. The next episode from the preview in this one is going to have a sequence involving a train. You know, like in Twin Peaks. It’s also lovely to have a game with the illusive female protagonist – like Remember Me did. Let’s also hope the game doesn’t stoop to Queer Baiting

Life is Strange, postponements

So it turns out that Life is Strange will not in fact be presented in 1080p @ 60fps as the HD PVR 2 doesn’t support that, and a higher resolution is more important than a higher framerate in this case. In fact, I can even hear myself hovering over the check out button on the vendor’s website saying, “well, that doesn’t matter, it’s not like Youtube even supports 60fps anyway”.


On the other hand, we’ll still be doing the PS4 version at a much higher quality level and resolution than the internal recorder can manage. We’re talking 1080 @ 14Mbs compared to the internal 720 @ 8Mbs. And no, you don’t need double the bitrate to compensate for double the resolution, so that’s higher resolution and higher quality. Still a bit sad though, as I do totally think that 60 fps is absolutely worth it. I’m actually surprised at the quality we do get, as it’s a lot better than what I was expecting due to the HDMI cable. Last time we used the HD PVR 2, we were using the component cable, and wow, no, the image quality is not on the same level despite what years of XBox 360 dominance claimed.

Scheduling-wise we have Call of Cthulhu and Sam & Max episodes already produced and uploaded to the channel. You know, you can always check if we’ve got more coming by checking out the playlists. We upload and queue videos as soon as we’ve got them up, scheduled, tagged, etc. In the interest of getting the next Life is Strange episode out promptly we’ll probably put off actually publishing Call of Cthulhu and Sam & Max so the first set of Life is Strange is out before the second set comes out from the developers, giving us a chance to play and get it out quickly. We figure since Call of Cthulhu is already 11 years late a few weeks shouldn’t make much difference, but we’re sorry if you’re waiting for it, but fear not; it will come out.

More Call of Cthulhu soon

Not to worry, we have managed to get more Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth recorded, and we should have those videos up reasonably soon. We’re also going to have some new Sam & Max episodes, this time part three of Beyond Time and Space – Night of the Raving Dead.

The more I think about it, the more I think we do want to play Life is Strange – but not for the most positive reason really. We want to play it because we keep reading people saying how relatable and realistic it is, and the advertising surrounding the game claims that they’re trying to revolutionise choice in games, but well, we can’t see a massive difference between it and Mass Effect’s paragon / renegade system with two unrealistic choices in opposition. So it may well become the third game in our new Mon/Wed/Fri release schedule, but we’re hoping that this schedule is a temporary measure until we get a little more free time to resume recording daily videos for your viewing pleasures.

And we would have something to offer, we do have the technology and I think the game is in 60fps which we can handle. I would be playing the PS4 version too, not sure the game works well on keyboard & mouse.

Moving back to 3/7 publishing schedule

The website is back up and being worked on, but things have been going slowly. Both the website and the channel are having to take second fiddle to Peter going back to college, this means he is both working full-time and attending college part-time and so we have less time to work together to produce the content. Really, this website was supposed to be up and populated with some of the older articles by now, but due to experimenting with some other software it didn’t work out like that and it didn’t get completed before life suddenly got busier.

Once the daily set of videos has finished (Call of Cthulhu Part 32 on Feb 7th) we’ll be moving to a different publishing schedule. I’m not sure if it’ll involve the same games or if we’ll have to take a break from recording PC games. We had to move one of the drives to a different PC just for Call of Cthulhu for reasons we’ll go into when we eventually build a sub site for Call of Cthulhu, so recording the massive files we use for PC recording is likely out, and we’ll have to concentrate on the much smaller files generated by recording with a Hauppauge from a console.

We have put off recording Calling for a while.