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A Jump On The Road

If you notice how speedy this site suddenly is, it's cause it just swapped servers! A stream of files jumped the sinking ship and boarded a new one. Same host, upgraded hardware. It is loading faster, a good example being how the time for query executions on the front page suddenly cut down by about half (from around 1 second to 0,5). It also feels the pages load in a flash, rather than progressively... but maybe that's just my imagination. The site(s) have been down during migration while I waited on a new IP, but it's all sorted out now. Good riddance!

GTA SA on Highest Graphical Settings

Last night I stayed up a bit too late playing GTA SA on the highest possible graphical settings, and it was... amazing! Toggling between the different texture qualities didn't seem to make that big of a difference back when I was playing the game with my old computer, but there's more than texture quality to toggle in order to increase the quality of the game.

The most important feature is definitely the Frame Limiter. All the old GTA games, up to the third generation, relied on a limited amount of FPS to run properly on the limited gaming hardware in that time. By default, the frame limiter is thus turned on, limiting the amount of frames generated per second, but you can turn it off for all third generation games. In GTA 3 and VC it resulted in weird physical abnormalities, like people flying up into the air when you hit them, etc, but since I've always played those games with the frame limiter turned off anyway I just thought it was the game engine at that time being a bit buggy. With GTA SA, however, my old graphic card wouldn't let me adjust this setting with resulting lag, making it seem like I hadn't turned off the frame limiter at all. I tried it again now, and it's incredibly how smooth the game is to play. It's a whole different dimension. Driving around, walking around, everything you do no longer clips. The clipping is something you might think to attribute to lag, but it's actually just the limited FPS on the game. So changing this one option has the biggest impact, and if your computer isn't too old or scrawny, it'll be a huge overhaul.

After that, there's anti-aliasing, which adds outlines to all shapes, making everything seem clear and defined. This is another simple change that enhances the graphics more than you'd expect, and also an option I wasn't able to try out on my older computer. You can set the thickness of these lines as much as you like (I set it to 1). On newer games there usually isn't even an option for single anti-aliasing, it's used in multiples of two, making the lines seem far too bulky in my opinion. Or maybe it's the fact that modern models don't really need outlines to look good, I don't know, but for this game it works wonders.

The third most important option is the screen resolution, setting it as high as the monitor allows adds a lot of clarity to the image. I played GTA VC a few months ago on 640x480px since I didn't know how to change the resolution (protip: it can only be changed before you load/start a game), and when I finally did change it, the difference was gargantuan. If you can see the pixels on the screen when you look close, you're probably not using a big enough resolution. So, with this maxed out, anti-aliasing on, and frame limiter off, there are just two more options: draw distance and texture quality.

The draw distance specifies how far you can see in the game, IOW how much of the surrounding graphics are rendered as you look around. If you notice textures disappearing or taking long to load, chances are you have the draw distance set past the limitations of your VRAM (graphic card memory). I've always had a bit of a problem with disappearing textures, even on a vanilla install, but with the new GPU this did not seem to affect gameplay at all. When textures now take a bit longer to load I believe it's the games built-in limitations rather than the computer's limitations at play, so, maybe there is a script to adjust the object limitations within the game. Hmm..

Oh, texture quality. I'm not sure how this works, if textures are compressed, or if there are different resolutions, or what it is... but this is the one option that seems to affect your machines performance the least out of the ones mentioned. Jumping between low and very-high does produce a significant level of difference in detail, but for each step the differences are marginal. I haven't been able to max this out earlier without lag, but this time around I'm playing without limits!

SRT3 and the LOD MOD are up next... and maybe ENB Series if I can adjust the settings for reflection and light without using too much bloom. Most of the videos I watch of people recording ENB footage has waaay too much bloom, the world is too bright and diffuse, it's like a dreamworld. I mean, it's too fuzzy. Btw, if you want to use ENB but it's too high-end for you, try Ultrathing, it's a great low-end alternative that produces many similar effects with much less resource use. That's all for now, when I do have the game fully tweaked/modded later on, I'll post... a post. Later.

Week 20 - GTA VC & Suspense

I looked around, I searched wide and far, I traversed the lands on the back of an elephant.... I mean I found two ads for computer repair service in a local paper. I gave them a call. One of them agreed to fetch my computer. So they did, they went through the components piece by piece, and this Sunday I received a notice that it was done. They had found the faulty component. The component in question was the graphic card. So, I'm getting a new graphic card!

I've also ordered a new DVD drive for this cumbersome box of power. I would have ordered two, but I plan on installing a drive with bluray support eventually, so I'm leaving one spot free. Buying such a reader now seems like a waste of price, cause they're still pretty expensive, and I don't have any B-Ray discs to read yet. DVD will suffice. The new drive reads at 24x/48x, too, which is considerably better than the ones I have on my current computer, and the older computer, and the really really old computer I still have mounted on my bedroom desk, just waiting to some day spring to life for a casual game... doesn't even have DVD! Can you believe that? My oldest computer has CD + Floppy. My older, somewhat newer, laptop has CD/DVD and floppy. My somewhat newer, old, stationary computer has floppy, one CD and one CD/DVD and my current computer has just one CD/DVD. I do have an external floppy reader, and I don't really know why this is relevant.

For the most part this week I've been in a good, exited, mood, because my computer's been in for repair and I've been expecting to hear from repair with an ear when the phones blare (but not really since communications occur by way of electronic methodics). I've also played plenty of GTA VC, too much, considering I should be focusing intently on studies (it goes without saying I've also spent quite some time studying), and the sun's been blazing and life's amazing and eh... there's really nothing more to say. I've enjoyed afternoon tea on the terrace each day, eating frozen bananas on sticks. Even when the sun's been away a summer warmth's been keeping the ice breeze at bay. That's it. That's all. It's been pretty normal. Moving on to next week...

Here's last.

So... Eh

A panel popped up with 4 million colors, I thought... 4 million dollars!!

That's me in the morning.

Internet Transfers

Back in 2005, my broadband company actually logged Internet traffic. I have no memory of this at all, but I do have a few log messages saved. So if you're wondering what a regular day of working/surfing looked like back then, you need wonder no more!

According to the stats below I spent around 14 hours by the computer each day! Holy shit that's... pretty much the same as it is now. :P The user number is changed, since I have no idea if that's some kind of reference still being used that I shouldn't be posting online, service account ID, maybe? Apart from that little detail, the entries aren't modified at all.

Also, here's a quick entry map from the vast majority of you visitors who probably don't speak Swedish:

Month/Date/Year
User has ended session.
Session time: hh:mm
Recieved megabyte : ####.##
Sent megabyte : ####.##

Mar/6/2005
u68395074 har avslutat sessionen.
Sessionstid : 10:53
Mottagna megabyte: 1777.76
Sända megabyte : 1194.57

Mar/5/2005
u68395074 har avslutat sessionen.
Sessionstid : 14:16
Mottagna megabyte: 2950.68
Sända megabyte : 2344.49

Mar/4/2005
u68395074 har avslutat sessionen.
Sessionstid : 14:29
Mottagna megabyte: 2952.87
Sända megabyte : 2431.8

(more…)

Week 19 - Winter Wind Still Spins

Oh man, I'm almost a full week late with this post. Here's last week. This week? It started normally: studies, buddies, etc. It was a rather busy week, and in anticipation of the new computer I was going to get I spent some time going through the old one, diving back into old GTA games a bit. I played out GTA 3, finally (I've had just the final mission left for a few months), tried getting my corrupt GTA VC save to work with no ado (Note for future reference: never save a game at the Cherry Popper factory!), finished my GTA 3 modpack and saved that for potential future use, thought I won't be uploading it because I never bothered keeping track of modified files, so that'd be the same as uploading the full game, and then some, and that wouldn't be very legal. Since my old computer has a wasted CHMOD battery the date/time modified isn't working very well either. I also realized that GTA 3 and VC do run on 64-bit systems, they just don't work that well with integrated video drivers, so with my new computer I might be able to continue playing them after all! Woohoo! But with GTA 4, is there a reason? I'm hyped to see how that'll turn out.

The biggest news of the week though: in the weekend, after a hectic week of much sun but still a little ice-wind, I brought home my computer. I fired it up, all five fans started whirring, the lights blinked, the monitor didn't get a signal... but you've probably read all about this already. So the week ended a bit shittily, attempts at digging around myself to fix the problem, thoughts about computer repair, and that's all. Before that there was much done, but not so much interesting events I'd post about them.

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