Wading into the FPS/Reso Fray

I’m not one to really talk about these issues usually, as controversial as they seem to be to the vocal. But in recent days and weeks I’ve found my self baying for a chance to speak my mind in this topic and (while I haven’t asked) I’m most sure that my work colleagues at the Torch EG wouldn’t want me to speak on the topic. My opinions are usually not the part of the majority but their usually not controversial either. Maybe at some point this might get a re-write and end up on the site. Anyway…

Frame-rate, Resolution and Me.

As most know by now, My history comes from photography and film-making. I’m trained in both to a quite high degree. If you want to be specific, I trained as a writer and a camera man but also as a landscape and urban photographer. All don’t involve talking to people and working with other humans so it suited my secluded self. But this also means that frame-rate and resolution are mainstays of mine. As photographer resolution was key. Taking and getting the highest fidelity image possible because photographs could be used in advertising that takes up the whole side of a building. And in film-making, the standard is 24 frame-per-second on film, digital, and editing programs. It is the most efficient. You can go higher like Peter Jackson and double it to 48 frames-per-second but then it becomes expensive to produce, like shooting a film in 3D with 3D cameras. Films are already extremely costly (when it comes to Hollywood style productions) so adding to the cost to get some more frames is something most don’t really think about. Maybe in the future but now it is extremely rare. But on top if this, films are shot with the same “highest fidelity image possible” idea as photography forcing the idea that frame-rate might as well stay at 24 because it means the fidelity can get better, like IMAX showings.

In the case of video games, frame-rate is important. A higher frame-rate when playing a game means that there is less delay between you pressing a button and the action happening on-screen. But the same case can’t be made to resolution. There is the “highest fidelity image possible” idea but a lot of games are set in a graphically stylized world of fiction it doesn’t matter. Although, for games like “Call of Duty” and games set in the ‘real world’ (that being this world with humans but still as fiction) it sort of does. But does it?

Resolution is a thing that is nice for a game to have but the impact is has on the game is minimal. Graphics don’t make a game, the game makes the game. Look at the past eras of gaming. Back in the DOS years, there was no frame-rate or resolution debate. But as the games moved into 3D and 3rd/1st person the debate started. Slowly, more and more, the debate rose up to become the leading debated point between platforms. This came to a head when consoles like the Dreamcast said that they were the best graphical machine. (This ended up being their downfall ultimately because the PS2 and the GameCube shipped a year later with newer hardware.) But like I said, high frame-rates for games are good because there is less delay for the player making a more enjoyable experience. This just means that frame-rate (on the whole and generally speaking) is more important than graphical fidelity and resolution.

But why then the debate? Well as High Definition [HD] became a thing for film/television/photography it became a thing with games. High polygon models and high particle effects where already a thing because that is the of natural progression of game graphics, the same way that better ISO counts and higher film grains was the natural progression of films tapes for photography/film/television. It creates a better image, not necessarily a bigger image but better and more clear image. HD creates a better image but is that what gaming needed? It all depends on the audience. Time for some films theory.

There are widely seen in film theory as two types of audience, ‘passive’ and ‘active’. Passive audiences are mentally disconnected while active audiences are mentally engaged. Traditionally, film, television and photography has a passive audience because the audience is just sitting in a room watching, having no control over what they are watching in any way. This is the reason why film making throughout history have dappled with ways to make audiences more engaged with the film they are watching. This varied from things like “smell-o-vision“, 4D showings that are used in theme park rides, all the way up to the most recent return of 3D. Games on the other hand are active audience because that are interacting with the world they are watching through the player character. This means that the mental cognition of the audience is different, meaning that the finer details are not noticed because the audience it mentally doing something else. This is different to the passive film audience because will notice finer details because their only mental cognition is to watch the film. Things that the player will notice is things like a delay between pressing a button on a controller to the action happening on-screen. This again means that fidelity and resolution are secondary to the faster reaction time that higher frame rates bring.

But what happens when they combine? YouTube recently activated their 60 frame-per-second video player because gaming is big business on the site. Many already have taken advantage and uploaded many 60 frame-per-second videos. But does it matter? While playing a game at 60 frames-per-second is good for the person recording, it (on the whole) is not necessary because the audience that watches 60 frame-per-second videos is a passive audience. Considering that 60 frame-per-second player is only available to videos that are 720p HD or higher, it forces another boundary to people who want to come into the YouTube gaming space and those who are already in it. While recording software for PC’s is relatively cheap, same can’t be said for console recorders, (recorders that aren’t controlled and limited by the console maker) PCs and editing equipment that is capable to play, record and edit 60 frame-per-second videos. Total costs can easily rise into the several hundred or even over thousand. While it may be nice to watch videos at 60 frames, it on the whole doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter.

So to clearly state my place;

  • Frame rate matters when playing a game,
  • But doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) when watching it.
  • Resolution should be considered secondary for game,
  • But frame-per-second should be primary.

But as a final thought, both frame-rate and resolution should be considered secondary to getting good games. I don’t want graphics and frame-rates to take over to the point where that is all that matters so all that gets released is graphical tech demos that are mediocre games.


I Am Here (Update: 16th Sept, 2014)

I have not posted anything here in literally months. April I think was my last post.

With everything getting moved about a bit and with a moment were I don’t know what to do, here is whats been going on.

That was about a week ago now but not that much happens to it’s still pretty right.


As for my videos;

I’ve finally got round to making an opener for “Open Letter” so that series should start soon. Don’t know how often it will be though.

I want to start-up both Nerdcrafteria/Nerdfighteria series’ again but I need to re-do some intros before I consider it. Haven’t been on the server much recently.

My rant-y series “Opinionated” should take a few more steps soon, one I get round to doing it.

All other writings are stopped till I can sort out a schedule for everything else.

As for the Torch: Entertinament Guide;

There wasn’t a “Retro Monday” this week. Mainly because I forgot more than anything. I’m still doing it.

I’ve applied for an MCM London Press Pass. If I get it, would be my first ever press pass and the write-ups I make from it should open up more press passes in the future.

I’ve finally finished the “Blackbay” review, several weeks late. I think it shows how much of an imprint it left on me. If your interested, I gave it 2/5. Gory for the sake of it with insane design but has decent puzzles and some bum clenching moments. Not sure when it’ll go up, if it isn’t already.

Web Game Reviews” videos back next week. I’ve just called it a series break so I can tweak stuff. “Week in Game News” still went/goes up as normal.

I’ve made the first part of a 2-parter called “A Retro Gamers Buyers Guide“. Not sure when it will go up.

Things are a bit in the air as the Torch is concerned as Kennie and Chris just moved to I haven’t had much talking with them recently.

That should be everything. If I’ve missed something then go to comments and ask.

Update and Current Vid List [19th April 2014]

Hello There Internet,

I feel like there should be an update on my goings on as of today.

In recent news, the Editing PC has now been fixed and videos should start going up on YouTube fairly soon depending on how quickly they get made. This week is a fairly busy week. It is Easter after all but that’s only tomorrow.  On Friday I will be attending the “UK Blog Awards” as part of the “Torch Entertainment Guide“‘s contingent (with co-creators/owners Kennie and Chris) which as been shortlisted for the ‘PR, Marketing, Media & Communication‘ award as an organization. Might lead to a win and more work. Here’s hoping for both.

Anyway, on the video front there is some movement as I can now record and edit footage. As set series go here is what is going so far.

For the “Wil of the Torch” YouTube channel:

  • Week in Gaming News” makes a return. I want to improve the visuals but that can take time so not setting anything as yet.
  • Other stuff is planned, like group lets plays and MMO stuff but that’s in the air at the moment so going to see how that turns out first before setting anything.

For my personal “Guy off the Internet” channel:

  • Web Game Review” will make a daily, 7 day week return. I’m making better graphics for this too but (again) may take time so no date setting. I decided to keep in on my channel rather than move give it to the Torch. Not keeping all my journalistic eggs in one basket.
  • Building Nerdfighteria” will be a new series replacing “Nerdcrafteria Builds” and the other Nerdfighteria stuff. It will be a weekly (maybe more) Minecraft series building a Minecraft representation Nerdfighteria. Talking about general going’s on. May lean towards the topics of the “Vlogbrothers” talk about, more so I can rant or give my opinion on stuff.
  • Open Letter” will be something different. It’s not gameplay. It’s in lieu of The Brother’s Green “Crash Course” (Part of the Nerdfighteria community) ‘Open Letter’ segment and this from the TV series “Black Books”; There is hope that I will be funny but things like that a relative so it’s a try and see what happens sort of thing. Should be one a week but it may be longer depending how quickly I can make them. One a week at most, one a month at least.
  • I might do “Let’s Plays” and restart the “Pixelmon” Minecraft series but I’m not set on the ideas as yet so maybe.

I am also geared up for streaming. Not set on the idea yet but maybe. I might do a few test runs and see how it goes.

That’s really it for now. As I said I am planing more but it’s early days so getting back into the swing of things before going head on. As livelihoods go its pretty sketchy but here’s hopping that I can make a name of myself and get more work with other ‘Tubers, MCN’s, and stuff.

Oh yeah, writing is still slow. Defiantly no books till next year and that’s being optimistic. Depending how stuff goes they may end up on the back-burner. Still like the idea of me as a writer. Just not a a sole one.

Talk Later!


2014 New Year Update!

Hello There Internet,

Things are shifting around now. I’m not getting rid of anything before you ask. This isn’t a sad message. It’s new year. Why should it be?

Anyway, stuff here on my blog and stuff on the Torch Guide aren’t going anywhere or changing. (They’re contract locked.)

But over on YouTube things are shifting. Some of you my know that I got another channel called ‘WiloftheTorch‘. This is for journalistic type videos. That means that the ‘Web Game Reviews‘ are moving to that channel. But with that, there may be more content. For example, I have finally nailed down the format for ‘Week In Gaming News‘ and that should be going up on the Torch channel.

But with stuff shifting on the third leg off the Torch there will be lost of free space on my channel. I got a Hauppauge PVR Recorder at Christmas so that means console videos. Once I can connect it to my TV… Look, my TV is a decade old, maybe more, and it can’t connect. I have also been expressly forbidden from usurping the downstairs, bigger, year old TV for my videos. And because it means I have to ‘borrow’ my Dad’s laptop because the PC is nowhere near the TV. (Both at ether end of the room.)

While I scourer the internet for adapters, you my wonder why there haven’t been any videos in a while. 1.) It was Christmas/New Year. A long period of filled with birthdays so I took take 2 weeks off because of house jumping. No time to record anything. Also 2.) I want to make it look nicer. You may notice that the ‘WOTT‘ channel has backgrounds, thumbnails and no videos while mine has videos and nothing else. I want to change that. Also, the starting and ending graphic are a bit prolonged and crap so want to change that too. Hopefully, all that should be done soon. I’m making it and I have no graphic programs but I have and editing program I barely know how to use and had classes on film-making so that compensates. Sort of…

Anyway, I’m back on the Torch on Monday with ‘Retro Monday’ and I am also writing reviews for GTA V, Assassin’s Creed IV and Last Of Us as new games so that’s something.


The YouTube Problem

Well the last few days, YouTube has become an interesting place. With the new content ID system that has been implemented by YouTube/Google many people, especially gaming channels and private, one-man review channels have seen their content being matched and so losing their monetization privileges or at worst, having the video being taken down completely.  Joe Vargas, AKA The Angry Joe Show, made a video and said that 62 of his videos have been flagged with a few of them being taken down. [Link]

I have also seen gaming channel YouTubers comment on the issue with many of them being forced to changed what sort of content they produce. RPGMinx, a 400,000 subscriber channel, made a video saying what sort of content she would be cutting. [Link] I think it’s a good look because I think most YouTube gaming channels well make the same decisions soon. Another gaming YouTube channel, EatMyDiction1, (a 480,000 subscriber channel) made a satire video about what sort of content YouTube wants people to produce. [Link]

There are bound to be more videos on the topic. I think reviewers like Total Biscuit may also comment on the issue or not depending on journalistic integrity and swearing. For many game news sites it’s not really their jurisdiction but many have commented. Sites like The Escapist self-host their video content on the site itself so losing YouTube won’t affect them to much of a degree. But Jim Sterling made a video stating his derision in his usual manner. [Link]

IGN (who has a large following on YouTube, just under 4 million subscribers,) commented on the issue as well. It’s article, “Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Capcom offer support after huge spike in YouTube copyright claims” said that ta few major publishers (naming CACOM, Blizzard and Ubisoft,) are willing to help channels get their videos cleared. CAPCOM and Blizzard sent out tweets offering support while Ubisoft released a statement. Ubisoft’s statement said;

“If you happen to be hit with claims on any of your Ubisoft content, it may be that some of the audio is being auto-matched against the music cataloge on our digital stores – it might show up as being claimed by our distributor ‘idol’. In such cases please take the following steps and we can get it cleared for you.

  • 1. Leave the video live for now.

  • 2. Send us the URL of the affected video and let us know who flagged it.

  • 3. We’ll get it cleared hopefully same day.”

The site Kotaku also commented on the problem. In article about the issue, Brad Colburn, AKA TheRadBrad YouTube channel with just under 2 million subscribers, said;

So basically I’ve been on YouTube since early 2010 and I’ve now got over 3,000 videos. On Monday I started getting emails from YouTube every time one of those 3,000+ videos got a third party match. I’ve had almost 75 videos hit with this. What it means is during a 15 minute video of me playing a game and doing commentary taking about MY life, a loading screen will have a 10 second audio clip of in game music. That’s what gets claimed. Not the gameplay but composers of an in-game sound effect or song are doing the claiming. So now all my hours of recording, editing, uploading are used to give 100% of the revenue to that person instead of me.”

Leading off with this, Colburn said that the system is “crippling” his channel. Also in the article, YouTuber Zach Scott, AKA ZackScottGames with 470,000 subscribers, commented on the previous problems what Nintendo released a swath of Content ID claims. He said;

It seems to be the same ContentID system, except all of my matches seem heavily focused on audio and music. When Nintendo claimed my videos before, they seemed deliberate with no references to the claimed content. Now it is all automated, and it’s affected about 2% of my uploads. Some are matched from songs Nintendo has cataloged themselves, whereas most are from 3rd party music licensing companies like Ingrooves, WMG, Loud Digital Network, etc. For example, most of my old Sim City videos have been claimed due to having music from an EA soundtrack. Some of my GTA V videos have been claimed for various music that plays in the background. This is weird because other than Nintendo, this is not the game publishers going after video creators. These are all music publishers and license holders having their catalog of work detected in Let’s Plays by YouTube’s ContentID system. Even some of my videos featuring royalty free music that I’ve bought and licensed myself have been claimed.”

I have only just started out on YouTube (only 10 subscribers) but even for me the content ID system has been constant source of problems and delays. With one case (video link,) a holding company I have never heard of content ID’ed a web review video that used Public Domain content.

Content ID Steam Punk Tower

Then they didn’t reply or remove the block for 28 days after I sent a response. In another case, a claim on one of my videos was wrong. The system had ID it saying that it used a song but the song ID wasn’t the one I used. I used an entirely different sounding song that was under Creative Commons.

The system of content ID matching is automatic. Going through each video individually is simply impractical on YouTube’s side so the automated system is there to allow so many videos to be uploaded. If there was no automated system thee would be much more delays. But the system is just wound so tightly that anything can be selected. A YouTube spokesperson released a statement saying;

We recently enabled Content ID scanning on channels identified as affiliates of [Multi Channel Networks],” the YouTube representative said. “This has resulted in new copyright claims for some users, based on policies set by the relevant content owners. As ever, channel owners can easily dispute Content ID claims if they believe those claims are invalid” [Kotaku.Com]

This basically means that the automated content ID system is now being used with all channels, with all content. YouTube gaming groups like Machinima and Polaris are going be a lot more busy dealing with these claims, most of which get fixed in the end. But with the amount of time that it can take to fix it can mean that YouTuber’s can genuinely lose their livelihood. The usual process is 1.) A video is uploaded, 2.) claims made, 3.) claims replied to, 4.) claims fixed. But because there is a gap between 2, 3 and 4, YouTuber’s can lose advertising revenue. And as most of the views are in the 24-48 hour period a lot of money can be lost.

To look back at this as a whole, the content ID system is very broken. But it is an automatic system. So is YouTube to blame? Kinda. It made it and let go of the leash but would YouTube want this sort of bad press. No. Are the publishers to blame? Kinda. They signed up to the system but its automated so they have no say on what would be flagged and what wouldn’t. It’s a large and complicated issue that isn’t going to go away. I wouldn’t be surprised if this continues well on into next year. We may be still talking about this next Easter. All I know for sure is that YouTube is going to change from this. And this is just one more step for YouTube to become what It wants to become. A film and TV Network.

Recent Events With Me And YouTube

With my work for the Torch wrapped up for the year I have found myself having much more free time. So what have I been doing I hear you ask disinterestedly. Well;

I have updated my RedBubble store. A few more images have gone up so take a look at those.

I have decided that CafePress.com will be my provider of t-shirts and other general merch’ so check that out. It won’t just be merch’. It will be proper designs for t-shirts and stuff.

I have taken another break from YouTube, mainly because only bad things where happening, and I must of chosen a good time. The “Copyright” flagger has been tweaked so to screw most people over. Especially by game publishers. A reason why I took the break was because I’m getting a recorder over Christmas so I can record to a higher quality and record more. But because of the changes in the flagger, some of the plans are not just tweaked but abandoned. Thanks YouTube, you money-grubbing shit! Oh, and some publishers. Your also money-grubbing shits.  So plans for more content in January on the channel. On the cards are; PlayStation 2/1 games, [maybe PS3. Depending on the flagger.] Minecraft [obviously] and maybe some other PC games. In more news, I can officially say that plans for a second channel on behalf of the guys at Torch Guide are in the works. Not finalized, but I want it to happen so maybe.

And to fill in all the other time, I have watched stuff on the internet. Well YouTube. Really is a love hate relationship. I watch stuff on there all the time but that are bastards. In between the usual GameGrumps/Chilled/Nanners/Diction/Gassy/Others by association I usually watch, I have been watching American television. Totally legal I say with a fake lawyer present! Here in the UK I don’t get much American television. well… I do but it’s all crap. I would watch The Daily Show religiously but since Comedy Central Extra got rid of the repeat at 6:30/7ish the day after I have seen it a total of 0 times. On that, why did you cut M.A.S.H. too! It was me and my dad watching M.A.S.H. then the Daily Show over dinner every day. Its was bonding/talking time. Plus I can’t get control of the TV at 11:30ish at night! Dad’s watching his ITV4 movie re-run or war program.

Anyway, I have watched a lot of  Bill Maher and Craig Ferguson. Well, stuff by Maher (films, docs, stand up, and bits of Real Time) and The Late Late Show. First, both please get UK syndication! Maher will land on his feet I would think (we’re less religious here but more traditional so liberal-ish) and Craig was a Scot. Was being the operative term. He is now a proud American having passed his test. And good for him. Id leave too.

If they have some syndication here please mention it because it try to catch like I try to watch Jon.  If not, then put them on YouTube and I’ll watch them there.

No “Pixelmon Adventures” Today!

There will not be a “Pixelmon Adventures” (Episode 6Well Brock Was Easy…“) because episode 6 is… f***ed.

Well, broken.

Well, missing.

Well, half-missing.

Audacity messed up and the commentary, if you want to call it that, (if not call it the me-boringly-talking-bit) didn’t save and so there is only Minecraft. Like always.


Unless you want to watch ten minutes and me finishing Brock in 2 moves and filling 6/7/8 minutes with ‘what the hell do I do now?‘ then say and I’ll stick it up with no comms. Otherwise, I’ll stick something together at some point and put that up.

Anyway, no Pixelmon episode today. Blame Audacity. Will be back as normal tomorrow.