This morning is not going how I expected to go in the least. About 3 am a massive storm blew in, and with it thunder, lightning and torrential rains. This of course woke me up, because rain sometimes means bad things. We have some issues with our wooden siding right now, and it is causing two leaks to happen when the rain is particularly vigorous. We have contracted someone to come out and fix all of this… but that won’t happen until sometime in September when their next available slot is. In the meantime each time it rains I either dread the potential for a leak, or like last night have to listen to the constant dripping from the top of our bedroom window. Needless to say I did not exactly get an amazing nights sleep after that all started. As a result I have been moving around this morning extremely sluggish and easily distracted. I set out with the simple mission earlier of trying to find out what my Wizard 101 account name was… and wound up playing for about fifteen minutes. The distractions are real, and plentiful and I am getting a very late start writing my morning post.
Then to make matters worse when I actually sit down to start writing, I find out that apparently WordPress has released its 4.3 patch, and I now have eleven updates waiting on me. Instead of waiting until AFTER I have advertised a post, I decided to go ahead and update everything right then. It is surprising how long twelve updates take when one of them is a new wordpress version, and a major version at that. It is going to be an interesting day I can already tell it. I have a cat on my desk right now stalking me, because she thinks she is hungry and the kitten playing around behind my monitors which always freaks me out a little bit. Thank god for coffee is pretty much all I can say at this point because otherwise I would surrender to the desire to curl up in a ball like my cats…. and join them in sleep. The cats are absolutely not helping the distracted part however, because they are both being adorable. This may or may not be the worst blog post I have written in years.
I guess in the grand scheme of things I should have known this morning would end up like this, because last night was equally spastic. Instead of gaming, I spent a lot of time “trying to game remotely”. I have this dream that someday I will be able to play games on my less than stellar laptop downstairs, from the gaming machine upstairs. I know at this point you are preparing to interrupt me with “but steam in home streaming!” but quell that for the moment. There are a huge number of games that I play that do not run, and ultimately don’t work right through steam in home streaming. I know… I’ve tried. One of them for example is Dragon Age: Inquisition that is locked behind the layer of bullshit that is EA Origin. So instead last night I started trying a different route, namely Splashtop. Some time ago I watched a video from Linus Tech Tips about creating a “Ghetto Shield” to play games from a phone/controller combination. This is all fine and good… but I don’t want to play games from a tablet or mobile interface. I hate touch screen interfaces with a passion, and all I really want is to be able to treat my laptop as a thin client for gaming purposes. The dream is simple, because in theory it would allow me to stop caring about getting a “gaming laptop” and instead just get a decent office type laptop and stream through my gaming machine. The problem has always been that there is enough lag that it ultimately ends up pissing me off.
Last night I managed to get Dragon Age Inquisition largely working, but I ran into two issues. I was running fraps on both my gaming desktop upstairs and my laptop so I could see the FPS of the two systems. My gaming machine was running DA:I around 60 fps just fine… Splashtop on the other hand was running in the 15 to 20 fps range which pretty much wrecked any playability. To make matters worse, for whatever reason whenever I attempted to move “mmo style” while holding down the right mouse button to turn… the mouse input lagged to painful levels making me pretty much abandon the mouse and start keyboard turning. I kept trying this over the course of roughly two hours, and even tried to figure out a way to get it running smoothly through Steam Streaming without much luck either. The reason why I was sent down this path yesterday is the updates to Windows 10 streaming from an Xbox One console. That is cool enough, but for the love of god… will someone make it work between two windows machines without issue. The last attempt was to try and figure out how to install the Splashtop gamepad driver, so I might try that again tonight. Everything I have read online is that the mouse support in Splashtop is just bad. I guess they are emulating the input instead of simply passing it through to the other machine…. which seems insane… until you realize that the software was designed to allow people to connect from tablets to desktops… and not necessarily desktops to desktops. I will say however it already out performs any remote desktop tool that I have played in the past. I booted up World of Warcraft as a litmus test and it ran flawlessly. There was some strangeness with the mouse cursor updating slowly, but the movement was nice and smooth.
I am not entirely certain if it was my recent foray into Hellgate London, or my recent railing on click to move as a control scheme… but for whatever reason I have had an undeniable craving to play some Diablo 3. Last night ultimately turned into a night of updating drivers and things, and in the process I installed a new Nvidia driver. One of the things I do periodically is flip through what it is suggesting as my “optimized setting”. Some of the suggestions are pure crap, because out of laziness they really have not tested any of the settings. However every now and then you get one that is really well optimized, and that seemed to be the case with the configuration it was suggesting for Diablo 3. My newest video card is capable of doing the spiffy trick where it renders the game at 4k and then down-samples it back to 1080p. Nvidia Experience ultimately suggested this mode for Diablo 3 and I have to say playing like that is absolutely gorgeous. I am not sure if you can actually see the difference in the screenshot but in game it just feels smoother than traditional anti-aliasing usually does. On a whim I decided to create a Season 3 character, even though Season 4 is only a couple of weeks away. Not sure what I am hoping to accomplish because I doubt there is any way in hell I will get a character to 70 before the season ends.
I made it to level six and the blacksmith apprentice quest before ultimately deciding I needed to log for the night. I could have likely stayed up for a few more hours playing, but I was hoping to prevent the level of groggy that is already well underway this morning. Either I am getting better at click to move, or I am getting lazy… because in truth I didn’t really do that much clicking last night. I mostly ran around with my left button held down allowing the game to auto attack most of the mobs, occasionally throwing in a shield slam. I am still not a huge fan of the control scheme, and the announcement yesterday of Marvel Heroes 2016 introducing game pad control was welcome news. That said I am maybe okay with playing it every now and then. I have been feeling terribly disconnected and Diablo is the perfect kind of soloing but still having people to talk to type gaming experience. I booted up Wildstar and attempted to play for an hour or so last night, but ultimately felt horribly lost in the expanse that is Whitevale. Diablo 3 provided me tight and constrained corridors without much thinking, and that seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Tonight however I will have to put on my productive adult cap, as it is raid night and we are likely going to be doing more tries on Ravana.