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.

My Thoughts on “Goat Simulator “

By now, most of you would have seen, heard or player  “Goat Simulator”. When I saw the gameplay of it (was ‘EatMyDiction1’ gameplay if your interested,) I was pulled back into the era of the PlayStation 1 and the early PlayStation 2 “Tony Hawk: Pro Skater” games. Your given the controls, a world and objectives and nothing else. At least that’s what I thought…

In the ‘Pro Skater’ games there are many levels. Even in the first one there where levels a plenty, giving you lots of space to go around in and, by the fourth and ‘Underground’ installments, lots to interact with as well. In “Goat Simulator” there isn’t. At least the developer is hopping there will be. The Steam Workshop connection is where the extra levels will come from with a tainted and asterisked ‘maybe‘.

At the moment, the game is a one-trick-goat. If/when I get it I will have fun but after I’ve done all the objectives there isn’t anything left.  You can get it but there is no guarantee that you will be playing it next week let alone next month or next year. Staying power it what games want. “Goat Simulator” is finding a new way of staying, it stays on YouTube.

‘TotalBiscuit’ made a good point in his review;

YouTuber bait“.

YouTuber bait is game that can last a few gameplay episodes of the few hours that make up a livestream, but doesn’t have the longevity that means it will be remembered as more than a joke. It like most primetime TV, its funny to watch but it forgotten as soon as it finished.  Easily digestible entertainment that is nice filling but lacks the zest that would make it great.

I moving into (or back into depending on perspective) the realms of YouTube and “Goat Simulator” looks designed for it. But whether it is a good game, in my mind is yet to be decided. The bones are to bare at the moment.

It’s still pretty funny.

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.

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE MINECRAFT!

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.

Wil.

Update: 29 Sept’ 2013

Hello there,

I haven’t updated in a while. No, I have not been in Germany all this time. In the time I have;

1) Been to Paris taking pictures. (Some will go on RedBubble soon)
2) Got back in to video making on the YouTube. Here’s the latest;

3) Writing for Torch Guide again. (By using the YouTube),

So I am here making stuff and my hiatus from YouTube is over.

Wil.

Said I’d Be Soon

Hello People,

5 new skins are up on the ‘Minecraft’ page, free for you to download. Yeah, It’s not much but I’ve been ill. Boohoo me. I will be adding to the list overtime to the 5 should become a few more soon. And maps maybe.

In other me news, those wanting to hear me speak may soon get your wish with ‘Dark Dog Gaming Media’ [ie; me and Jonn] making some videos for the YouTube. They should start going up soon over the next week or so there you go.

And finally, people who know of SLTorchGuide may soon be getting some ‘Minecraft’ goodness by a server with the help of me. So there another thing.

Been a busy week with illness, making and doing so keep watching the internet.

Wil.