Monday, July 10, 2017

July Update

It hasn't been too long since my June update but I'm close to launching on YouTube now so I wanted to write a bit about that. Actually, the channel is up, there just aren't any videos yet and apparently I cannot get a custom URL until I get 10 followers on Google+ if I understand the policy correctly. Everything with Google is linked to a single brand account such as this blog and YouTube. Unfortunately, I had been ignoring the Google+ account so I have no followers there. Going forward I'll link my ad and article posts there to see if I can't grab a little more interest.

For some YouTube videos I will also provide a blog post with much of the same information for those that do not care to watch videos (I'll embed the video in the post as well). A few other benefits to accompanying videos with a blog post: I can cover anything I forget to say in the video; I can typically explain things better when I write; I can provide more details if anyone is interested; I can provide photos that people might like to see and share; and it's an alternative for people with a hearing impairment or for those that simply don't want to listen to me talk.

I've got the first post written and ready to go which is a little backwards since I have to film the video again. A week ago I filmed it and the poor audio quality bothered me a lot, plus it was too long at 26 minutes. Today's mail had a new adapter for my microphone and that appears to have solved the problem. My other adapter wasn't very good and caused a humming noise throughout the video. I'm using a stereo microphone with a 3.5 mm connection on my digital camera that has a 2.5 mm port which is why I need an adapter. I hope to film tomorrow afternoon and possibly have the video up before the evening if all goes well (if not then expect it on Wednesday or Thursday). It very loosely ties into the MLB All-Star game that takes place tomorrow night so I had hoped to originally post a video this past Sunday.

Since my last post I've completed Horizon: Zero Dawn and played a few more games briefly: Micro Machines World Series, Cars 3: Driven to Win, Tekken 7, and Valkyria Revolution. I like open world games and enjoyed Horzion: Zero Dawn quite a bit. It's set on a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Earth where people fight with bows and spears but there are also robotic creatures wandering the land. Although the publisher says it's a role-playing game, it's more of an action game with the ability to gain experience and distribute skill points (honestly, I'm not entirely sure how to define a RPG anymore). You'll mostly be running around fighting robots and other humans, and quite a few side quests have the protagonist using her tracking skills to run down leads. As soon as I finished the game the developers released a big update that adds new features, including a New Game Plus option, face paint, and new weapons and outfits so it has even more content now.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

The other games I didn't play too much of so I can't provide a strong opinion. Micro Machines has a Cobra H.I.S.S. tank in it which gets a thumbs up from me but it's not much fun playing solo. Multiplayer must help, though how much I cannot say. At least that game is only $29.99 whereas Cars 3 has more content and is okay, but it's not worth $59.99. Cars 3 has rubberbanding which in a racing game means you'll never get too far ahead of the computer so races are close at the very end regardless of how good you are. On medium difficulty I actually struggled to win some races; easy difficulty was relatively easy aside from getting blasted near the end on one particular battle race over and over. A couple of the modes have weapons while others are either straight racing with a turbo boost or require stunts to be performed. It's not a great game, it's passable though for kids once the price drops by at least half.

At least Micro Machines has a H.I.S.S. tank!

I'm not a big fighting game fan though I did play a lot of Tekken 3 back on the original PlayStation. I played through Tekken 7's arcade mode a few times which is short, five fights maybe. There is a treasure battle mode as well where you fight for loot to customize characters with. For the story mode I only tried the prologue and first chapter, and it appears to be about Heihachi and his family (no surprise). If you've played Tekken or other solid 3D fighting games from Japan then you probably know what to expect. Nothing groundbreaking here as far as I could tell. There are a lot of characters and plenty of customization with the outfits and hairstyles if you like that. One really nice bonus is that you can select music from any of the Tekken games (the music bonus is PS4 exclusive) and unlock the cinematics from all the older titles too!

Maybe I need to give it another try but I really don't like the
 combat in Valkyria Revolution.

Valkyria Revolution is the game I wanted to play most but no longer want to after less than an hour. Yeah, I didn't give it much of a chance however the combat is nothing like Valkyria Chronicles and that's a bad thing as far as I'm concerned. If you loved Chronicles don't expect to love Revolution as it's very different. The story is about revenge and the characters aren't like the fun-to-love group of the first Chronicles game. Also, cut-scenes that are not very interesting make up at least 30 minutes of that first 45 minutes. I read that there are a lot of story cut-scenes throughout the game that can't be sped up, only skipped completely. The combat is really the biggest problem as it's not turn-based. Instead it's all real-time with you controlling one character who can give orders to the other three following (the game does pause when issuing orders; also the other characters will do their own thing if you don't assign them actions). I've been so busy with other things that I don't know that I'll go back to it. I still want to try Persona 5 and next month is the Uncharted spin-off and Everybody's Golf that will likely steal a lot of my time.

Before June I had only borrowed a PlayStation 4 and didn't realize the console automatically takes screenshots every time a trophy is earned. Those are my auto screenshots above and now that I own a PlayStation 4 and know what's going on I'll try to start taking my own screenshots and videos if I'm going to talk about new games in the future.

7/11 UPDATE: Unfortunately, I may have gotten ahead of myself here. Although not as loud as before, the audio does still has a hissing noise that is driving me crazy. I'm not sure I can fix it as there are very few settings available on the microphone and I can't find any on the camera itself aside from a wind cut that only applies to the built-in mono microphone. I'll keep trying but I'm not confident that I'll be able to fix it and I'm afraid if my first video has bad audio then I'll lose any potential audience.

7/12 UPDATE: After six hours or testing every audio device I have I think I've reached a solution. I was about to settle on recording on a separate device and then syncing the audio with the video afterward but the microphone cable is tiny and the only extension I have causes a lot of feedback. One microphone that isn't too bad is the tiny lapel mic with earpiece that was packaged with the PlayStation 4. Sure, it's low end but there isn't the loud humming the stereo mic causes. However, a Turtle Beach headset I got for the Xbox 360 and my PC many years ago sounds decent. The only negative is the mic volume control is on a plastic piece molded for the Xbox 360 controller so I'm going to need to take that apart to see if I can get that to work with the camera. Without it I'm a little loud (if I wear the headset, I can also set it on the table), though that could be a good thing as nobody has ever accused me of being too loud -- I'm usually too quiet.

I'm sure these updates are thrilling but I felt as if I had to write them because I said I would have the video up Tuesday if all goes well (not much has gone well), or at the very least Wednesday or Thursday. I didn't sleep much last night and am yawning too much to film today. I'm confident I can get something uploaded before the end of the weekend! Someone did subscribe to the YouTube channel early but they might be more interested in the video game side, I don't know. As soon as I get my first toy video done I'll look into testing out the PS4's built-in recording and the best way to go about filming gameplay on the older systems (was going to record the TV directly but without the stereo mic I might have purchase a video capture device; I do have an old one now, quality might not be good enough though). I hope to do unboxings of Sega's consoles somewhat soon too. Thanks for putting up with my technical inexperience, sorry about the delays.

7/14 UPDATE: Believe it or not, it's done! I'll be uploading it at some point today as it's currently being processed by Windows Movie Maker. It's not perfect but I'm mostly pleased with it and I expect in the future I'll improve.

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