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.

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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. He has a degree in Computing and Networks.

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