Home Improvement is Scary
A good chunk of our week has revolved around planning for some renovations around the house, and I have to say the whole process kind of wigs me out. I have been acting pretty calm and collected because I know it also stresses my wife out… but I feel like I am wading out into an ocean that I know very little about. The long and short of it is that we live in a house with wood siding, which is not exactly ideal for the climate extremes of Oklahoma. Additionally our climate seems to really be a positive environment for termites… and when we moved in we knew the house had some issues. Then a little over a year after moving in… we had our first swarm. We have been on a termite plan since and it has been nearly a decade of having zero activity, but we know there is some underlying damage in the siding, but other than cosmetic issues we had not really had any problems.
That is of course until recently when we during a particularly hurricane like horizontal rain… we had a very small leak in our kitchen ceiling. After having the roofers out, they thought it was coming in along the garbage edge of siding and up over the flashing. This is the point at which we first noticed… just how bad our siding really was. Throughout the course of the week we had numerous contractors out who gave estimates… and we think we have maybe decided on a company and a product. Right now we are looking at replacing all of the wood siding with fiber cement, which is this crazy stuff that feels like ceramic tile, but looks like wood. But this means some major money, which has us also sorting out financing options. Being an adult is an extremely frustrating thing. We think we have a plan figured out… but even though I know this is something that really needs to be done… it is a massive decision. I know things will work out in the end, but this whole process is exceptionally stressful for the moment.
I was asked by someone on my steam friends list last night, if this program worked since I had been running it. I actually just started testing it last night, even though I purchased it long before it showed up on steam. I do not remember how much I paid when I bought it, but I want to say it was somewhere around the $10 mark. It promised to improve your FPS by improving your CPU utilization, and this is something I had been frustrated by in the past. The machines I use are quad core or six core… and it always felt like very little of my CPU time was actually being used. At the time I figured what the hell, purchased it… and then got busy messing with other things. When they went on steam the developer was nice enough to send me out a Steam key as well, and yesterday I actually started testing it. Is this digital snake oil? Well honestly… all I can really offer is a heartfelt shrug.
I did some testing this morning with World of Warcraft which is one of the most poorly optimized games that I have played when it comes to utilizing multiple cores. Hell lets me honest, the game itself is horribly optimized in general… but my theory was that this game seems to be extremely CPU limited, so in theory if CPU Core optimization would help any game it should help this one. The above graph is taken from task manager and shows that for the most part all of the cores are running at around the same amount of load and an overall 36% utilization of my CPU. In World of Warcraft itself I was standing in my Garrison and setting roughly 30 frames per second. The latest release of CPU Cores features a “CPU Cores It” button allowing you to scan your current process list and apply the change to an application that is running. If you look at the graph below you see that with CPUCores turned on, it is now pegging two of my six cores and as a whole the CPU utilization is now 64%. In game I was still standing in my Garrison but saw a jump from 30 fps to 40 fps… which is not really earth shattering but still not too shabby and is in line with what a lot of the reports seemed to indicate.
The confusing thing is however… that it seems like CPUCores is only really using two of my six cores. There are some settings in there to manually override what cores it is actually using to run things, so I figure I will continue to fiddle with it and see what I can get from it. I didn’t actually record any of my measurements last night, but I saw a bigger jump when using my laptop. I actually started to see comparable performance to my desktop which was kinda massive. The general advice in the community is that this is designed for medium end systems to get some additional performance out of them, and that if you already have an extremely high performance system… it is likely not going to do anything for you. Normally speaking I run Final Fantasy XIV Heavensward on my laptop around 30-40 fps… but last night with CPUCores running I was seeing 60-70 fps which is a big jump. Laptops are notoriously bad at CPU utilization because they are designed to safe energy whenever they can. I feel like maybe that is the magic bullet here for using this application, because honestly the results on my gaming desktop do not warrant the purchase. I largely bought the app because I was curious if it worked, and for the most part it does seem to do something… because a 10 fps increase is still a 10 fps increase no matter how you chop it. My hope is that over time it will continue to work better and it seems like they are just now starting to try and optimize for AMD processors. As always… your mileage may vary and I probably would not have paid the current $20 price tag on steam.
FATE Grinding Go!
So it appears that with 3.0.5 the changes to FATE experience have been noticed by the community. As I looked at Duty finder it actually scrolled for the first time in a long while, with multiple FATE parties happening in different zones. I decided to join the train in Dravinian Hinterlands and it seemed like the time spent was worth my time. I had dinged 58 earlier in the day while running a dungeon with guildies, and after a bit of FATE grinding I managed to get to around the halfway mark to 59. It is my hope that today I can run some more dungeons and FATEs and make a serious push for 59. The community seems to have been reinvigorated by the patch, and it is shocking just how good Square Enix is at timing their content. In the days leading up to this recent patch it felt like there was a slowing down as people finished their Law grind. Instead now everyone is actively buzzing again as they are trying to get as much Esoterics as they can, so that within three weeks they can get those tasty tasty level 200 weapons.
When I decided that I needed a break from FATE grinding, I opted to pop over into SkyForge and work on finishing unlocking all of the costumes. After having played the tutorial as every class currently in the game… I have to say they all feel very unique. You have everything from the mad bomber feel of the Alchemist, to the skill shots of the Archer, to the insane melee flurry that is the Slayer. The problem is… the three classes that you get to choose from at the start are without a doubt the most generic feeling of all of the classes that I played. This is rather unfortunate because while I feel it gives people a desire to unlock that class that they really want to play, it makes the initial grind feel meaningless and pointless since you ultimately have to play the lesser of the starter evils to get there. I feel like this game could benefit from the Marvel Heroes approach to classes, allowing you to play a little of each of them and then after the tutorial choose the one you wanted to unlock. I feel like eventually they will let us outright purchase these classes, but I have found that option sorely missing from the cash shop. I would absolutely pay to unlock the Berserker for example or the Slayer… but since I missed out on the founders packs I have no real way to do that.