Monday, June 30, 2014

OMG fix pls!

So I've just had a very frustrating game of Battlefield 4.

Usually I hate sniping in games, and I think I suffer from the same problem anyone who has experience with a real rifle has - Usually bullets in games travel like laser beams: They travel in a perfectly straight line and hit the instant you pull the trigger.

As someone who would regularly shoot a real rifle at over 200 meters (I know, hardly sniper ranges, but it was a .22)...I have nearly ten years of muscle memory telling me to account for wind speed, bullet drop and travel time.

It's why BF4 is the first game I've ever been any good as a sniper: There are actual physics involved. While the bullet isn't affected by wind (which is a good thing, you can't toss a handful of grass into the air in a game), the bullet does drop over time and travel time is a factor.

Suddenly, my muscle memory wasn't a liability, but an advantage.

However, it highlighted something else wrong with online shooters: As a sniper, lag and latency are a real factor.

You see, usually, I play whatever class is the most run and gun in online shooters...and while lag is an issue for everyone, it doesn't hit the assault class as hard. You're nowhere near as precise. If you're shooting at a guy 20 meters away, even an aimed shot with an automatic weapon is going to 'spray' a if the hit detection is a little off, if there's 70ms of lag, who cares? When your gun is shooting 900 rounds per minute, if a couple shots 'miss' due to lag, the rest are going to hit.

Now compare that to firing a single bullet at a moving target at 300 meters, and you only get a one-shot kill if you hit the head.

It's frustrating as hell.

I know, I know...I know a lot of BF4 veterans are snorting and saying 'lern 2 play'... but when you've lined up a perfect shot, pulled the trigger, then watched the bullet pass straight through the guy you're shooting with absolutely no effect, it makes you want to bite your controller in half.

In the game I just played, I was in a spot with really good concealment and saw a guy stopping to launch a rocket at a helicopter. He was 100 meters away and dead still. This is a dream shot. At 100 meters, bullet drop isn't a factor, the guy's head fills 50% of my scope and it's a stationary target. I'm lying prone with a bipod on my rifle...there's not even any scope sway.

I lined up and fired. The bullet passed through him with no effect. This happened four times before he finally realised he was being shot at and returned 100 meters, with an smg. His first bullet got me right in the head and I died.

That's the problem with online shooters. I have a 150mbs fiber connection, and every time I start BF4, I know I'm either in for a couple of hours or awesome fun...or a couple of hours of complete and total frustration. Sure, I know it also depends on the skill level of the people you're playing against....when your average K/D drops from 20/1 to 1/10...there's more than skill involved.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The reason for Nerd Rage – and why we need to get over it.

In 2014 it feels like Hollywood is filled with nothing but sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots…and the only thing that goes better with these movies than popcorn and a suspicious hotdog, is a massive amount of nerd rage.

From Star Wars to Transformers, regardless of the popularity of the movie, you’re never more than an angry rage-spit away from someone who will tell you how the remake ruined the original, or how the director personally set out to rape their childhood.

Let me explain something.

My favourite movie of all time is Star Wars. 

The most important thing to understand here is that even though Star Wars is my favourite movie, I don’t think it’s the best movie ever made. Hell, I’ve seen movies that are objectively better than Star Wars in every single way, but Star Wars is still my favourite.

This is something that people just can’t get their head around. It’s why my wife can’t fathom my Star Wars obsession, or how I can even watch classic Doctor Who.

The thing is, sometimes the actual object isn’t as important as its context. It’s like your first car. My first car was a second-hand 1984 Nissan Micra. To cast it in its best possible light, that car was a total shitbox. It was slow, clunky, looked like a piece of deformed Tupperware and had a gearbox that was like stirring porridge…but you know what? I fucking loved that car. 

The car itself didn’t matter. It was what that car represented. I owned that car at a time of my life when I was taking those first steps into adulthood. Yeah, it was a total shitbox, but it was the car me and my idiot friends would pile into at midnight to drive into town to go watch a movie. It was freedom.

It’s the same with movies.

The first time I watched Star Wars I was 5 years old and in blew my fucking mind. I was living in a world that stopped at the end of the street, and suddenly there were space-ships and Jedi and the Force. It was the first thing that really captured my imagination.

One day, surely, I’d have my own spaceship with a wookie co-pilot who would beat the shit out of anyone who even looked at me funny. I’d grow up and be a great hero who’d save the world. After all, Luke Skywalker grew up in a desert…and he blew up the fucking Death Star.

I think that’s something we forget as we grow older. The fantasy and magic slowly fade and we’re forced to get grounded in the real world where we have to work jobs we don’t like, worry about mortgage payments or how we’re going to swing the budget this week because the exhaust fell off the car. 

We eventually have to accept that we don’t get to be Jedi, flying around the universe in the Millenium Falcon. That we’re not the star in our own personal movie, and we live in world where the good guys don’t always win, and the bad guy doesn’t get chucked into a super-weapon’s main reactor.

…and that’s why I love Star Wars. Because, not matter how shitty my day has been, no matter how stressed I am about work, for 125 minutes, I get to turn the lights down and be 5 years old again.
That movie is an integral part of my childhood. It represents a time when I didn’t have a care in the world and little things like keeping a roof over my head or food on the table didn’t even register as something that could be taken away.

So, when George Lucas comes along and fucks with it, he’s not just re-editing a movie, he’s messing with something I love that I have a very real, deep personal connection with.


Here’s the thing. What we have to understand is that remaking these movies don’t make the originals go away. George Lucas can’t rape my childhood, because I’ve already had my childhood…and no amount of Jar-Jar Binks or Greedo shooting first can erase those memories of sitting on the couch, watching Star Wars and then challenging the dog to a lightsaber duel.

Here’s the bitter pill to swallow: The new Star Wars movies, the Transformers movies, Godzilla or whatever movies you’re into…those aren’t meant for us. They’re meant for the next generation of kids to sit, wide-eyed, in the movie theatres and watch.

Sure, they’re doing it all wrong and the originals are better…but I guarantee that your parents told you the same thing when you first watched Star Wars.