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Note on Uncharted 3 Stuttering Problems

7th November 2011 - Category: Games

Spent a good few hours at the weekend with my mate trying to fix his problems with Uncharted 3.

I have a PS3 40gb (upgraded to 250GB).

He recently replaced his launch 60GB with a new PS3 Slim 160GB. He reused his 250GB Western Digital drive from his 60GB. I noticed from day 1 it was laggier and would stutter playing back video when downloading.

I he recently had major problems with Uncharted 3. They ranged from music stuttering, audio not syncing and then breaking with cut scenes. Then game breaking levels of stutter.

I mentioned that I never thought his new system was good (his 60GB was fine, he just wanted a warranty, urgh).

So we tried my copy in case it was the disc, no luck.

I suggested it might be the hard disk combined with the more budget internals of the slim.

So we first backed up and deactivated the system. Then removed the 250GB HDD, reinstalled the 160GB (patching from the 3.73 firmware on Playstation.com). We tested video whilst downloading, no problems. We the tried Uncharted 3 it had the odd hickup, but was now an unbroken game. We then restored from his backup, reactivated the system. Tried the Video test and Uncharted 3 and it worked fine with only the very occasional stutter.

I have to my knowledge noticed no stuttering at all on my 40GB.

I am guessing that either the 250GB drive he had was badly set up or clashed with the cheaper components of the PS3 Slim.

I hope this helps anyone with their Uncharted 3 stuttering. I can guarantee you I won’t be ‘upgrading’ to a PS3 Slim any time soon. Although this is purely anecdotal evidence.

We need a new console generation soon

26th September 2011 - Category: Games

mando It isn’t always obvious until the following generation that the previous generation was hindering developers. We know that many of the gameplay types available now were an impossibility on consoles like the Megadrive. If a console has more power, it can do what those before did better and with imagination things they couldn’t do at all.

Right now it is blindingly obvious once you think about it how knackered and old the PS3 and 360 are. Most smartphones have more ram than the PS3 and can output at resolutions that the Xbox just can’t do. Most releases now run at sub 720P and have to be scaled up due to small frame buffer of the 360 and the crappy amount of ram in the PS3. Blu-ray promised freedom from compromised repeating textures, but the tiny amount of ram means you haven’t anywhere to put it. Mandatory installs on the PS3 are more and more common as it has to swap information in and out of memory all the time just to draw level with the 360. Games like Rage need 3! DVDs for the 360 and that DVD drive is really noisy.

Also don’t mention patches to me as a PS3 owner I know the pain of Sony’s stop everything for a patch. Doesn’t help I use PlayTV on my PS3 for TV! I can’t watch a recording whilst the thing is in use. Things are similarly, but not as bad on the 360.

However as I said that’s not the main reason for a next gen. With the recent spate of HD remakes running at 1080P or 3D the question is asked why aren’t today’s games running at that res, framerate or no of dimension? Because the consoles are so frackin OLD. Seriously the PS3 uses a modified 7800GT, that’s 5 generations older than the GTX 560 Ti I have in my PC. The 360 is similarly ancient.

I can’t wait for the next gen of consoles and they had better have a proper OS like Android or Windows so it can do everything else a £300 box in my living room must do well to earn it’s place.

Entering the dehomogenised age of video games

2nd February 2011 - Category: Games

Meet-the-NGP-Tech-Specs-and-MoreBack in the day (like many early medias) video game platforms and content were extremely local. My UK background of the 80-90s is very different than those of my US friends and very different to those of Japan.

The ZX Spectrum didn’t happen in America, the early PC gaming  days didn’t happen in Japan. Around 1990 this slowly started changing. We ended up with Japanese Consoles and American PCs. The market massively combined and standardised on a few key platforms. That’s how it stayed until around 2004.

2004 started to see the dehomogenisation  of the games market. Flash games and early mobile games gave way to large splits. Firstly the casual market broke off to a large degree from the core market. Certain platforms favoured one or the other, but there wasn’t one unified winner any more. The other un-noticed (in the west) split is the public commuter / private commuter split. In Japan, with it’s densely packed cities and long public commutes, fixed home consoles took a back seat and became the secondary consoles of choice. The DS and PSP are the successors to the GameCube and PS2 in Japan not the Wii and PS3. Cultures that don’t have those space restrictions and commute by car find it hard to wrap their heads around this concept. Mobile gaming has further complicated things by bringing handheld games on a scale that even private commuters can take up.

I think this break up has really confused many pundits who cut their teeth in the late 90s period where the PS1 ruled everywhere and the Gameboy was the only handheld to chose from.

A lot of games now are for them, they can just about cope with that. However that an entire platform can reside outside of their world in some sort of parallel  market is a hard pill to swallow.

2011 Predictions: New Nintendo Console

5th January 2011 - Category: Games,Tech and Computers

GCN_logoNintendo has had great success with both the Wii and the DS. However the numbers don’t lie. The DS has hit saturation in Japan and the Wii’s star is on the wain. Everyone that wanted either of these consoles has bought one.

Back when the DS and Wii launched Nintendo was in the worst position has been in a LONG time. The Gameboy Advance was looking awfully underpowered compared to Sony’s rumoured PSP and the GameCube just failed to be mainstream in any sense. Money was tight. Nintendo couldn’t afford a loss leader system in either bracket. In the home console arena things were even tougher, the twice crowned champion Sony looked like it would be on to an unstoppable third strike, Sega Nintendo’s previous main revival had packed in the hardware game and Microsoft had started showing its old time 90s teeth. Things were grim and Nintendo realised that in a straight arms race they were going to loose big. So Nintendo decided to change the rules of engagement. They radically redesigned their handheld with a touch screen and completely changed the interface home consoles with the Wii.

Times have changed. Nintendo understands this, the 3DS is not just a marginal update of the DS. This thing can output MGS3 (a top grade PS2 game) three times (once in 2D, and twice for each eye in 3D). It is a deceptively powerful system. Also they gave it a tech fan’s dream, glasses free 3D. So really this update is all about the tech this time, the core interface has not changed, but resolution is up, 3D power is up and CPU power is up.

So why this time? well Nintendo made a lot of money on both the DS and the Wii. They have the pockets to pay for powerful new hardware. Every year they delay they return to the thin times of 2003. I think the same update to the DS will happen to the Wii and it will not be the Wii HD.

The Wii is a great party game system, but it has pissed off tech fans with its low horsepower and the perception that its a shovelware system. Nintendo can now easily create a system with power the PS3 and Xbox 360 can only dream of. The PS3 is hampered by low system memory (lower resolution textures) and the 360 by low frame buffer memory (Most games are upscaled to 720p because the 360 frame buffer can’t do 720p and post process the frames). Slap a GTX 460 in there and a dual core ARM cpu freed of battery requirements and you can boast of true 1080P and 3D gaming without compromises. Give Miyamoto that kind of power and motion plus and you have an exciting proposition that could have a long shelf life.

Another reason is that Nintendo did well last time because they went against the flow. In 2004 hard core games only mattered. Now everyone has motion controls, even ASUS. Everyone is headlong charging into the casual market, but their core technology isn’t getting any newer. Oversaturation has already started affecting the earliest riser in the casual market; Music Rhythm games. Excellent releases like Rock Band 3 are not selling well. A lot of Wii owners won’t by another or it’s replacement in any great numbers. The market that will buy another is the tech fans and maybe after some momentum builds then the Wii owners will join it.

So I recon that summer/autumn announced after the success of the 3DS we will see the new Nintendo console.  NES 6 if you will.

Mass Effect 2 – The Return of Karl Shepard

4th February 2010 - Category: Games

Here’s my character Karl Shepard in Mass Effect 2 😀 Also here is my Mass Effect 2 gallery.

Adding a 3.5mm mic to a PS3

5th January 2010 - Category: Games,Tech and Computers

USB Dongle Plugged into the PS3

I purchased the above dongle from ebay.  It is a little usb dongle used to add a mic and headphone jack to just about any PC or Mac. The key thing is that it is driverless and so will be supported by the PS3. The main benefit is in playing a multiplayer game like Uncharted 2, that you have a clear headset and that it’s battery doesn’t run out. I used it with a really nice headset I got for a birthday a few years back. I don’t use the headphone jack, instead I use the headphone out on my 5.1 receiver.

Mass Effect Cover Critic: The First Game

19th November 2009 - Category: Design,Games

Mass Effect 2’s cover art is getting some criticism at the moment, even though it was reworked because of earlier criticism. I thought it a good idea to have an idea of the previous standard of artwork.

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Left to right: The standard western cover, the limited edition western cover and the standard Japanese cover.

They are all pretty  good. Sheperd in first two is a bit butterfaced and indistinct. However the first is much more space opera like and evokes a bit of Star Wars. The special edition, looks a bit more hacked together, like its made from bits of the first and the mono-orange tone is a bit bland. The Japanese cover is a much cleaner design and evokes more of an alien style hard hitting form of sci-fi. I think I prefer the first one on balance, but Saren does look lost and cramped up there, like he is peaking over the top in the cheap seats. The last is next best, OMHO, and is far more striking from a distance. The middle is just meh and looks a tad unprofessional compared to the others, it does at least try.

PS3TrophyCard

9th October 2009 - Category: Games

I previously talked about Sony’s Portable ID for PSN.

Surprisingly there is an alternative service called PS3 Trophy Card.

chrispynutt

PSN America offer a very nice alternative too.

How to make my Sheperd

6th October 2009 - Category: Games

Quick post on how to make a slimmer faced Sheperd from Mass Effect. It was in an effort to make Sheperd less space marine like and more like the protagonists from Asimov’s novels.

My for my final Sheperd I strengthened the jaw. I would highly recommend you choose winder eyes as the ones used have clipping problems when blinking. Something you don’t see until playing the game.

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I wish they made PSN IDs smaller

6th October 2009 - Category: Games,Internet

They are huge and don’t fit in the sidebar or posts! 🙁

Update: Or you can switch off Trophies, silly me.