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She Sees Red is a Neat Little FMV Title

I have always been a sucker for Full Motion Video games as of late.  No, I do not mean some of the trash that was being released in the mid-1990’s.  That stuff was complete garbage, even if it did make you chuckle a bit as you watched it.  I mean, can you believe people like Christopher Walken, Michael Dorn, Tia Carrere and Rob Schneider were all involved with Full Motion Video games in the 1990’s.  Yes, I did forget to mention Clive Owen in Privateer 2, but hey, you guys should be doing your own research here.

I bring this up because lately, there have been a lot of good FMV games coming out recently, with most of the good work being done by Wales Interactive.  Wales are the team behind such games as Late Shift, The Bunker and The Shapeshifting Detective.  All of these have solid work in them, especially Late Shift which is my favorite of the bunch.

Now a new company out there has released a new FMV title called She Sees Red and it has done a pretty good job at raising the bar on Wales Interactive in how an FMV game can be great.  She Sees Red is edgy, has some great action and is mostly in Russian if you choose to go with the default language.  And you should do that because it really adds a bit to the game.

Sure, it isn’t changing the formula of picking paths and decisions, but it tells a good story and after one play through, I had only seen a third of the available scenes that are available in the game.  Check out some of the screens below and if you are interested, you can pick it up on Steam right now.

So What are the Best Settings or Bitrate for Streaming

So first off, the only reason I am really writing this entry is because I have fiber Internet finally coming to my apartment (fingers crossed) and I really don’t know what I should do in regards to bitrates, how many P’s to use and how many frames to send.  It has become a confusing mess for me.

In the beginning when I thought about it, I just though, output your stream to 1080p/60 and you are good to go.  I mean, isn’t that the golden standard that everyone talks about.  The perfect setting for any stream.  It offers picture perfect clarity and more frames that most could want or see.  And then I started reading articles like this one.

Of course, that blew my mind, as I did not really ever think about the end user and their speeds.  I only thought of my current lowly speeds and I figured that once I had a fat Fiber pipeline coming in the house, the sky was the limit for the P’s and the FPS’s.  But it seems that is a wrong mode of thinking and that maybe I should go with the balance of 720p and 60fps with a high bitrate, in the range of 4000 or higher (I guess Twitch will only allow up to 6000).

OBS users have some input on this as well (which is of interest to me since I use the Streamlabs variant of OBS) and I did like the arguments that were made again for the lower resolution with higher frame rates and bitrates.

But what about you out there reading this article?  Maybe you can comment below and give me your thoughts on this one.  I would appreciate it.

Sometimes, Stream Audio Can Bite Me

When I stream with friends from Twitch, I am normally streaming and capturing audio from Discord.  However, we have a new partner that we stream with for Sea of Thieves, and it requires us to use Xbox Chat Audio.  Now, I love Xbox Audio as I think it is good quality audio and it works pretty flawlessly.  My problem comes when I am trying to mix it into my Twitch stream.

This became my problem today as for some reason, I could not get my Xbox Chat audio to mix into my stream, no matter what I did.  I had it working the last time I did my stream, but today, it was just a lost cause.  I am okay with that, but it is frustrating as I look at my post stream video and I see that I have myself talking and there is no response from anyone.

Anyway, this is more of a vent, but it is also a warning to make sure that you are checking your audio when you are streaming as you will find out later that things might not have gone they way you had hoped.

Watch Its Sea of Thieves Saturday with @arbesa @sevaskyr #TheGrizzlyNation #QuestMode from mclazyj on www.twitch.tv

A New Chapter In My Life as a Parent

As a parent, there are many stages in life that you go through with your child.  You have their birth, watching them learn to walk, go off to Kindergarten, struggling with homework, and the if you did things right, you get to watch them walk off the stage at their high school graduation.  Along the way, there are ups and downs, awards and getting in trouble, but through it all, you are proud to watch your child grow into the adult that you knew was inside them from day one.

Now I get to enter the next stage as a parent, and it is by far the hardest step that I have had to take and that is learning to let go and watch them go off to college.  Don’t get me wrong – it is a great thing to have your child choose a location and work towards standing on their own two feet.  But it is a hard step nevertheless.  I mean, for myself and my wife, we are watching our son move 700 miles away to New Mexico State University, and it is the proudest moment yet for us both. 

However it is a sad moment, as you know for the first time ever, your child will no longer be there under your protective wing.  I can’t lie that I constantly think of both the great things that he will get to see that I did not, but the worry of what could happen while away.  I know that the college has things in place to watch out for your young adult, but it does not put that worry at ease.  As a parent, you are always worried about what could happen while your child is away from home and trust me, 700 miles is a long way, as I have driven it several times now!

It is weird feeling both proud and sad at the same time.  It has been very emotional for me to think about the upcoming date when he takes off on his own (my son would question this as he tends to think I have no emotions!), but I have been an internal wreck for a few days now thinking about how fast the time will be here when he leaves.

I know he is going off to make himself a better person and have the ability to stand on his own two feet and make a new life for himself in this world, and I could not be prouder at the thought of that success.  But I will be sad when I look in his room in August and realize my little buddy is no longer there every day. 

I know this isn’t what I would normally post here, but I want the parents of the world know, make sure to enjoy all the time you have with your kids, because they will grow up and while it will be a proud moment for you to see them reach for the stars and make their own dreams come true, it will also be a sad moment for you to see them go off on their own.  Just know that you will still always be there for them, just with a little more distance between you and them.

Were You Wishing Too Human Was Free

This is just a public service announcement but I wanted to get the word out that Too Human is now on the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility list, but more importantly, it is available for free.

Sure, the game got bounced around a bit at launch, but for free, I think it is worth trying the game out.  I mean, what have you got to lose for the low, low price of free.  I played through a chunk of that game with a friend of mine in co-op and we had a great time going through the world.  Sure, it lacks a ton of depth, but you can see that the pieces are there to set up a cool story moving forward.  Sadly, it never ended up happening.

And hey, if you hate the game, it is easy enough to delete the game and forget you ever played it.

Where, Oh Where Nintendo, Was Bayonetta 3

So Nintendo had their E3 Direct broadcast this morning and it was packed full of neat announcements for the Nintendo faithful.  And yet, I was bummed by the one announcement that was missing from the broadcast – Bayonetta 3.  I thought maybe I might have missed something when I walked out of the room, but no, it was confirmed by many that there was no new Bayonetta 3 news from Nintendo.

Sure, there were plenty of cool announcements that would make most fans happy.  There was more news and gameplay footage of Animal Crossing.  Sure, the game is delayed a few months, but I think fans of the series were happy.  A bunch of the Dragon’s Quest XI characters are coming to Smash Ultimate along with Dragon’s Quest XI coming to Switch as well.  I mean, Nintendo pulled a super surprising Panzer Dragoon announcement out of their ass.  I mean, who the hell thought they would ever see another entry in the Panzer Dragoon franchise?

There were new Amiibos for people to run out and buy (sorry Fourhman, Amiibos are still alive and kicking), we got Banjo and Kazooie coming to Smash Ultimate and there was even some new footage and a release date for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 (yay for Kamala Khan in the game).  I mean, they even announced a super early, in development announcement for a Breath of the Wild sequel.

And yet with all these surprises, no Bayonetta 3.  My only hope is for Platinum to have some news that comes out at some point during E3 this year, but I am not holding my breath.  I guess I should take solace in knowing my E3 prediction was right about no new Switch Hardware!

Lets Be Honest, Keanu Made Microsoft Great Again

If there was one press conference that I was anticipating for the past few weeks at E3, it would have to be Microsoft. This is a company that has been through the ringer this generation, with a bad launch of a console, and from that point, have never really recovered.  For most, this conference was going to be about when the next hardware would come out, but surprisingly, the conference was much ado Keanu Reeves.

Obviously the big thing announced outside of Keanu was the news about their upcoming next generation console experience, Project Scarlett. Not much was said beyond them also using a weird Hybrid SSD drive, GDDR6 memory, four times as powerful as the Xbox One X and a custom AMD System on a Chip made for Microsoft. While many were looking for a Fall 2019 release date for this console, it will not launch until Holiday 2020.

Project Xcloud was also mentioned which is a system for playing your games via the cloud. This service will leverage the power of special Azure blades that you will connect to, but they also announced Console Streaming which will allow you to connect to your own console, anywhere in the world from different devices. This will be testing coming in the future later in 2019.

The Blair Witch

Neat surprises at the briefing was a new Blair Witch game which seemed to come out of nowhere. I had no idea a Blair Witch game was coming to anything, and as with many of the games in the show, it is coming to Xbox Game Pass day and date at launch. The next Forza Horizon 4 expansion pack will be Lego themed, which is hilarious to see these cool Lego cars based on real life (including the crazy real McLaren that was built out of Lego at the show). While not exactly my jam, I was shocked to see a new Tales game coming to Xbox as well as the first console location you will play Phantasy Star Online 2. Who would have thought an PSO game would be coming to anything in this day and age.  And to put the cherry on top of all of it, Microsoft decided to go out and buy Double Fine.

Less surprising were games like the upcoming Ori sequel, Gears 5 and of course, the obligatory Halo announcement. No, you will be waiting until 2020 for Halo Infinite as it is a launch title for Project Scarlett.

PSO2 Online on Xbox One

We did get more news about Game Pass on PC as it soft launched today with a Beta and a $1 entry point for new users.  They also combined it for free with Game Pass Ultimate, which I immediately jumped in for with the $14.99 cost. The game selection is pretty good, which newer titles like Metro Exodus and Hollow Knight showing up today.

But come on, the star of the show was finding out that Keanu Reeves was a character that you will interact with in Cyberpunk 2077. The new trailer for this game was amazing, but that end show with Keanu in shades and some serious implants was amazing. And then to top it all off, Keanu came out of a tunnel on to a stage to announce a release date for Cyberpunk 2077, which is April 16th, 2020, so just in time to celebrate after filing your taxes.

All in all, I felt the Microsoft briefing moved with a good pace, dropped a ton of announcements and definitely made owning Game Pass even more important moving forward with so many games dropping launch day on the service.  The games were looking great, they did not let Project Scarlett or Xcloud drowned out the message about current games and yes, we even got some cool surprises.  I would give the conference an A-, but this is because there really isn’t much in the way of competition for Microsoft at E3 this year.

So What Exactly is Going on with Anthem at Electronic Arts

Man oh man, how six months can change the look of a game.  Case in point is the game Anthem, which only came out in February of 2019.  There was a ton of anticipation for this game on the precipice of its release.  Anthem had a troubled beta and because of the lack of information leading up to its launch, we did not really have much to go on when Anthem launched.  I mean we knew it was going to be a Game as a Service with ongoing events, but beyond that it was sort of a mystery.

Move forward to June and now people rarely bring up Anthem in discussion, the game has fallen down the list quite a bit on Twitch in regards to active streamers playing it, a three month road map that was released shortly after launch was thrown out the window and probably most importantly, Anthem was nowhere to be seen on the EA Play 2019 schedule that they released.

It is so weird to see a game that was so touted and pushed at E3 Expo 2018, that was hyped in multiple betas, would just crash and burn so hard after launch.  This is a game that was number one on the NPD sales charts in February 2019 and was outside the top twenty games in sales the following month.

Now I know it sounds like I am shitting on Anthem as a game, but really I am not.  Its more about shitting on EA as they seem to have completely lost confidence in Anthem and by proxy, I think Bioware as well.  Note that not only is Anthem not on the EA Play docket, but Dragon Age IV (or whatever it is going to be called) is not on the list either.  Yet somehow, The Sims 4, a game released five years ago, gets a featured spot.  I know the game did not exactly set the world on fire, but there are some great concepts there that could be expanded on.  I love flying around in the suit as it makes me feel like Iron Man (and it is way more fun than those crappy Iron Man games Sega put out years ago).  The shooting is good and responsive.

Now it is not unheard of for a game to turn it around after a bumpy launch like Anthem’s.  I mean, Rainbow Six Siege, For Honor and more have made Ubisoft a ton of cash, but those games came out of the gate to subpar reviews and lackluster player feedback.  So there seems to be time for Bioware to pull it back out and knock it over the fence.

Right now though, I think EA needs to get the player count back up, and I think the best way to do that right now is to drop Anthem on EA Access and Origin Access this week.  Make a big announcement out of it and get those player counts back up.  At this point, you have nothing to lose and you need to get people back into the game on a regular basis.  This is a start, but more work needs to be done.

Now if EA could just give Anthem five minutes of time at the EA Play event (Note on June 8th, 2019 – There are still tickets available for both the 8th and the 9th for EA Play an hour before the show starts).

Lots of Changes Coming to Destiny 2

There was a ton of news that dropped today from Bungie in regards to Destiny 2.  I mean, I did not think that Destiny 2 would be stealing the early E3 2019 buzz, but here we are two days before the first events launch and Bungie is making a lot of waves.

First off we found out that there is a free version of Destiny 2 coming at some point in the future.  This is kind of neat and should boost player count because who doesn’t like free games, especially one with the polish that you get from Bungie.  But the news train did not stop there.  We found out the game was coming to Google Stadia, that the game would be coming to Steam and there was the possibility that the game would be hitting more digital storefronts in the future.

But the last news blast on Destiny 2 was probably the most shocking and that was the news that you can do a character transfer from the Xbox One or PC versions of Destiny 2 to the Google Stadia version of the game.  Now, I am unsure if this means your character is wiped on the old platform or continues working as advertised and the two branch into separate paths, but this is being allowed, which is cool.  Apparently however, PlayStation 4 is not part of this announcement, although the Stadia video did mention that Google was still negotiating with Sony to make this work.

The news is still coming too, as I just read that we will also get cross-platform saves of characters, and that all exclusive items have been dropped moving forward starting September 17th, 2019.  One would assume that is when the PlayStation 4 exclusive timer runs out, but it is cool to think that I can have one Guardian that will cross over to whatever platform I am playing on.

Now if we could just get Cross-Play to happen, that would be perfect, but hey, its not all rain.

Looking Behind the Announcement of Google Stadia

So after getting some general ideas from Google about the Stadia device, today brought a lot of the nuts and bolts about the costs and delivery methods for the Google Stadia.  Overall, there were a few surprises, but the big thing is that your appreciation of the service may be dependent on your bandwidth and how much you are willing to spend.

First off, the only way you get to join in on the Stadia experience on November 14th, 2019 is if you are willing to jump on the Google Stadia Founders Experience package.  For the somewhat low price of $129, you get a controller, a Chromecast Ultra, a three month Stadia Pro membership for both you and one friend.  Of course there are other options, like just getting the Stadia Pro experience or just using the Stadia Free, which costs absolutely nothing, but neither one of these options will be available until 2020.  So if you want in early, you have to pay a premium price.  I have thoughts on this, but lets describe some of these services first.

Stadia Pro is akin to Xbox Games with Gold or PlayStation Plus.  You have access to premium streaming options like 4K/HDR/60FPS streaming options, and you will get selected games for free as long as you keep your subscription active.  The Stadia Free option allows you to use any controller with a launched Chrome browser window, but you only get access to limited streaming options, up to 1080p/60FPS streams.  So again, if you want all that is advertised, you must pay Google.

I was happy that Google did put down on paper what speeds you will need to make things work.  To hit the vaunted 4K/HDR/60FPS threshold, you will need a full 35mbps to get everything working smooth.  1080p/60FPS will work on a minimum of 20mbps and at 720mbps, you will need a 10mbps connection.  Of course, today’s release gave no actual working demo of the games working on those connections, so again, the argument about this working in a real world environment is still up for debate.

One place where the Stadia announcement hit it out of the park were the game announcements.  We got the first real announcement of a Baulder’s Gate III during the Stadia presentation.  Other games that will hit at or near the launch are the upcoming Ghost Recon game, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Doom, Doom Eternal and Rage 2 to name a few titles.  Also announced was that anyone buying a Founders Edition right now will get a full free copy of Destiny 2 with all expansions and annual passes, including the newest pass.

With all of this out there, I was happy with the information that we received about the Google Stadia, but I still feel that there are too many unknowns here to accept the console right now at $129.  The pack in of Destiny 2 is nice, but I still have concerns about the performance with my Internet.  I also don’t like being forced into paying a decent chunk of change to get in on their launch date of November.  If I don’t want to spend, the actual service launches in 2020 for the rest of us that might want to wait and feel out the service, which is a bit disheartening.

Let me know your thoughts on the Stadia conference and if you are looking to get one or not in the comments.

Blog Posts

She Sees Red is a Neat Little FMV Title

I have always been a sucker for Full Motion Video games as of late.  No, I do not mean some of the trash that was being released in the mid-1990’s.  That stuff was complete garbage, even if it did make you chuckle a bit as you watched it.  I mean, can you believe people like […]

Read More
So What are the Best Settings or Bitrate for Streaming

So first off, the only reason I am really writing this entry is because I have fiber Internet finally coming to my apartment (fingers crossed) and I really don’t know what I should do in regards to bitrates, how many P’s to use and how many frames to send.  It has become a confusing mess […]

Read More
Sometimes, Stream Audio Can Bite Me

When I stream with friends from Twitch, I am normally streaming and capturing audio from Discord.  However, we have a new partner that we stream with for Sea of Thieves, and it requires us to use Xbox Chat Audio.  Now, I love Xbox Audio as I think it is good quality audio and it works […]

Read More
A New Chapter In My Life as a Parent

As a parent, there are many stages in life that you go through with your child.  You have their birth, watching them learn to walk, go off to Kindergarten, struggling with homework, and the if you did things right, you get to watch them walk off the stage at their high school graduation.  Along the […]

Read More
Were You Wishing Too Human Was Free

This is just a public service announcement but I wanted to get the word out that Too Human is now on the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility list, but more importantly, it is available for free. Sure, the game got bounced around a bit at launch, but for free, I think it is worth trying the […]

Read More
Where, Oh Where Nintendo, Was Bayonetta 3

So Nintendo had their E3 Direct broadcast this morning and it was packed full of neat announcements for the Nintendo faithful.  And yet, I was bummed by the one announcement that was missing from the broadcast – Bayonetta 3.  I thought maybe I might have missed something when I walked out of the room, but […]

Read More
Lets Be Honest, Keanu Made Microsoft Great Again

If there was one press conference that I was anticipating for the past few weeks at E3, it would have to be Microsoft. This is a company that has been through the ringer this generation, with a bad launch of a console, and from that point, have never really recovered.  For most, this conference was […]

Read More
So What Exactly is Going on with Anthem at Electronic Arts

Man oh man, how six months can change the look of a game.  Case in point is the game Anthem, which only came out in February of 2019.  There was a ton of anticipation for this game on the precipice of its release.  Anthem had a troubled beta and because of the lack of information […]

Read More
Lots of Changes Coming to Destiny 2

There was a ton of news that dropped today from Bungie in regards to Destiny 2.  I mean, I did not think that Destiny 2 would be stealing the early E3 2019 buzz, but here we are two days before the first events launch and Bungie is making a lot of waves. First off we […]

Read More
Looking Behind the Announcement of Google Stadia

So after getting some general ideas from Google about the Stadia device, today brought a lot of the nuts and bolts about the costs and delivery methods for the Google Stadia.  Overall, there were a few surprises, but the big thing is that your appreciation of the service may be dependent on your bandwidth and […]

Read More

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