Sunday, April 1, 2012

we are strange in our worlds

Seen while hunting: Miss Ȼá໓ץ Sȶring-ყooȶʐ at Cute Bytes. Seriously, why do people do this to their display names? I now have no desire to interact with this person in any way for the rest of my virtual life.

There's even someone on my friendslist who did this: he's now Ŧяσ乙єи яαﻮє, and I just want to throw things at him every time he logs on. Thank you for officially destroying any shred of respectability to the yammering herd who wanted display names in the first place, people.

Um...Here's the thing. I realize most of these were in-house jokes just to keep the Lindens amused during their workday, and being a business full of coders and geeks (and I mean that in all good ways), things like "Cheerfully Malevolent Turret" and "Jazz Hands" seem tailor-made to be giggled over on coffee breaks.

But..."Lipstick on a Pig"? What the hell was that about? "Project Donglescrub"? Please dear gods, let that not be an employee hygiene reference. And "Perfect Threat"? Isn't that what the Lindens spend most of their time doing to us anyway?

Just confusing.

Something in a similar confusing vein, from the Help channel chat on City of Heroes.

Help] New-Type: Is there any way to make the fog that covers draw distance go further back?
[Help] New-Type: I've used vis_scale but that didn't push the fog back.


Fairly polite question. How does a player make vistas more "that's an incredible view" and less "there's something over there, but it's hard to make out"?

[Help] Mender Breaker: New, I believe your GFX settings will do so. Try fiddling with World Detail, and with Ambient Occlusion for starters
[Help] Kauter: New-Type: the setting you want is "World Detail".


Answer; clarification. Okay, I think we're done here, we'll just move on--

[Help] New-Type: But it doesn't actually push the fog back, it just increases how much it's drawing beyond it.
[Help] Mender Breaker: The thing that makes distant objects misty and out of focus was added with Ultra mode
[Help] Kauter: You're talking about Depth of Field blur, and it was actually in the game before Ultra mode.
[Help] Kauter: It came with Bloom.
[Help] Kauter: That's not what New-Type is talking about tho.
[Help] New-Type: No, not the ultra stuff, and not blur. I'm talking about how things are fogged over. It's an old trick games this old used to use so you couldn't tell where the draw distance ended.


This is pretty much an instant way to piss off people who might otherwise be interested in helping you. While granted, City of Heroes did debut several years back, "games this old" is confrontative language guaranteed to put people on the defensive about a game they like, and still, substantially, pay subscriptions to enjoy.

[Help] Kauter: Yeah, we know what you're talking about.
[Help] Kauter: Are you in Ultra mode?
[Help] New-Type: I've been in and out. Couldn't exceed. I know where I should be looking, but there's nothing specific for it.
[Help] Mender Breaker: If you have already used/maxed World Detail, disabled Occlusion and Depth of Field, not much left, no
[Help] Kauter: Occlusion doesn't have anything to do with the draw distance.


At this point, they'd answered his question twice over, as far as I'm able to interpret. But he had more.

[Help] New-Type: I mostly just want to inspect that city just north of Grandville. Says it should be St Martial but clearly not, as it has nothing but highrise.

I have issues with this statement. Two issues, actually:
  • First, St. Martial is pretty much a cross between Monaco, Las Vegas, and London's old gaming district built up to ridiculous extremes: so yes, it's mostly just highrise buildings between the pyramidal Golden Giza and the more traditional Art Deco-inspired concrete structures.
  • And second, there's no city north of Grandville.
I looked:

(from the City of Heroes album)

Literally, there's nothing there. No misty structures, no indication of a far-off city--just ocean and sky. What the hell is he talking about?

Plus, map-wise, there are cities that adjoin Grandville, but each city is fairly discrete and disconnected in various ways. There's nothing to physically see to the north of virtually any City of Heroes city that's not just window dressing; and in the case of Grandville, there's far less. You simply can't see anything north of Grandville, because nothing exists north of Grandville.

[Help] Kauter: World Detail visibly and unquestionably pushes the distance haze back on my machine.
[Help] New-Type: Yes, but only by 2x.
[Help] Kauter: Oh, you said it didn't do it at all.


Now we have further point and counterpoint: "My experience tells me this happens", point A; "But only so far"; point B. "This does not match what you said before; I find fault in your verisimilitude", counterpoint A.

[Help] Kauter: No, once you've maxed World Detail there's nothing else you can do.
[Help] New-Type: vis_scale does the same thing, but the haze only goes as far back as 2x
[Help] New-Type: Whereas draw distance goes 4x.
[Help] Kauter: What are you defining as "draw distance" in this context?
[Help] New-Type: The distance where geometry is drawn up to. Exactly what Draw Distance means.


Well...no. "Draw Distance" varies pretty severely game to game depending on how they're interpreting it.

[Help] New-Type: Haze and fog have nothing to do with how far off you're drawing your world out to, they're just there to cover it up.
[Help] Kauter: That didn't answer my question. Am I to infer that you are referencing a console command to change the draw distance independent of the vis_scale (World Detail) setting?
[Help] Kauter: New-Type, please stop assuming I am a moron.


So, challenge in return to what she's perceiving as attacks from New-Type.

[Help] Mr. P0cKetS: You are in grandville and you want to see St. M from there? you do realize this is not a continuous world......it is just separate maps on a server....

About what I was thinking. Outside of one specific location, which is treated as a separate "world" entirely, there are no adjoining sectors in either the Rogue Isles (villains) or Paragon City (heroes).

[Help] New-Type: Vic_scale is a slash command, yes. Where the GUI lets you go to %200, vis_scale lets you go to %400.
[Help] New-Type: Okay, how about people actually listen?


Now he is attacking.

[Help] New-Type: Pockets, if you go as far north as you can in Grandville, there is a city skyline in the distance.
[Help] Mr. P0cKetS: yup


Nope. Remember, I went and looked. This is it:

(from the City of Heroes album)

This is my superannuated viral villain at the shield wall that rings Grandville. There is no further north that can be gone, not by me, not by anyone. And there isn't even a watercolor-painting suggestion of buildings beyond the shield wall. There is exactly what you see here: ocean; sky; force field.

Nothing else.

[Help] Mender Breaker: New-Type, have you tried the same things in Praetoria, which has the more advanced mapping (the ones the max settings are for)

Praetoria is the zone I'm talking about. There are places in Praetoria, developed several years after the rest of the game, where you can walk, run or fly from sector to sector--but even there, there's some visual distortions from one side to another, because you're still changing servers. It's just more subtle in Praetoria, as opposed to featuring a loading screen in the rest of the game.

[Help] New-Type: By the world map, it should be St Martial, like how you can see low LOD versions of other areas in praetoria.
[Help] Kauter: So, vis_scale is the only console command you're speaking about, and it "goes to" 400% - which I assume you mean it allows you to set it to 400% without giving an error - but has no visible effect beyond 200%, which is as far as the GUI lets you go?
[Help] Mr. P0cKetS: sounds terribly unimportant...


Pockets obviously detaching and walking away from something that was sounding like an argument.

[Help] New-Type: It only doesn't have a visible effect because the fog covers it. When you set it to 4.0 it refreshes quite clearly, though.
[Help] Kauter: You realize, though, that if there's only the one setting, you can't adjust the qualities individually, right?


Valid question.

[Help] New-Type: Clearly there's a haze/fog command loitering somewhere, as there's one for DrawD. That was the question.
[Help] Kauter: Except there isn't, because the one command controls both qualities, and the haze/fog variable is simply clamped to lower values than the render distance.
[Help] New-Type: *facepalm*


Frustration is high at this point, I suspect on all sides. I guess it's good it's not spam? It's at least a user trying to get help with something on the Help channel?

[Help] Kauter: I'm talking about internally, you realize.
[Help] Kauter: You can verify it yourself with a memory viewer, you know.
[Help] Elisia Sin: lol, he is not going to stop asking until the answer to his question is 'yes'


And that answer is not valid in this context. Because there's nothing out there for him to see. What does he think he's seeing, again, north of Grandville?

[Help] New-Type: No, I'm not going to stop searching until I get an answer that isn't "The GUI won't let you so you can't"

We have a winner!

[Help] Kauter: That wasn't the answer I gave you, but sure.
[Help] Kauter: Don't listen to the lady who writes game engines for a living.
[Help] Mori Voltare: I don't think eroge games count


And there, I think, everyone threw up their hands and stopped talking.

To wrap things up, remember, you are here. (Also, I'm amused that their "here" symbol is pretty much a bulls-eye.)

And interdusing CatBlock! (Yes, that was deliberate. Also, it's proven far more useful than the original AdBlock at catching ads on pages I don't want to see, and it's simpler to set up for pages I want to screen with ad content, instead of without.)

And Razer's Aprille Fools' Day joke made me more irked than it made me laugh, because damn it, that's necessary. Get on that, slackers! Invent it already!

My last mention for today is regarding Mass Effect 3. There's now a "nude mod" out for the female Shepard model. (Which, if you click, is fairly NSFW, yes.) I only have one question:

Commander Shepard, how long has your head been attached to someone else's body? Because sure, I know that head-mapping and body-with-clothes mapping are two separate things, so there will be that line of definition across the throat--which, since Shepard is in a uniform always, isn't an issue.

Until this mod. And now the join line is glaring and disturbing. Honestly, I'm not that interested in having game characters running around naked in the first place, but still--this would be too visually jarring for me to enjoy. I'd rather have someone come up with a more revealing uniform that still hides the join line!

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