Based on a suggestion from Openedge, I got rid of Fraps last night and reinstalled Xfire, and began playing around with its video capture functionality, which not only doesn’t share the 30-second limitation of the free Fraps utility, it saves videos in a more compressed format as well. It seems to work pretty well on top on Vanguard – the framerate hit while it’s running is noticeable but I can play through it pretty easily. Bizarrely, I also tried recording a few sessions of Audiosurf and the degradation in the game’s performance is just gigantic – it’s totally unplayable with video capture on, even at stupidly minimal settings and screen resolution. Aside from that, I’d never really looked seriously at Xfire before but between the client and the web tools it’s actually extremely nifty. It’s got text and voice chat, can capture screenshots or videos, maintains a friends list and you can (I think) launch your games from it. I’d signed up when I bought Supreme Commander but I never used it and eventually uninstalled it. I’m glad I took another look.
Anyway, bottom line is, I’m looking to put together some kind of nifty video for Vanguard. I don’t have a real plan beyond that yet, but I’ll be writing about any progress I make. I have this vision of a Vanguard music video set to something by Blue Oyster Cult…
Voyages of Vanguard posted a blockbuster interview with developer Silius this week. I haven’t even finished listening to it yet – it’s over two hours long and contains loads of great information judging by the 30 or so minutes I’ve digested thus far. As always, VoV is a cornerstone of the Vanguard community, and anyone even vaguely interested in Vanguard should be listening to the show. I’ve also been listening to Massively Speaking, a new podcast from Massively hosted by world-renowned game journalist Michael Zenke, which digs into the top couple of MMO news stories each week and is also well worth listening to. For that matter, in the unlikely event that anyone reading here hasn’t already become a daily visitor to VirginWorlds, I highly recommend checking that site out – it’s loaded with MMO news and in the hub of MMO podcasting on the internet.
Last night was supposed to be a Vanguard night but since I spent much more time Tuesday night in Telon, I blew my game time on Team Fortress 2 instead. Heartless had a little bit of a rant earlier this week about the achievements and unlockable weapons in the game; apparently there are ‘achievement servers’ where people – sissies – go to farm achievements (cheat, basically, to get the unlocks.) I agree with his reasoning, but I’m not convinced it’s actually much of a problem in this case, since while there are certainly achievements that are very difficult to get, unlocking all the new stuff doesn’t require you to get absolutely every one, and lots of them are rather easy to get. I managed to get all three Pyro unlocks by playing for about seven hours after coming in very, very cold. And I’m not very good, so I imagine a skilled Pyro player could have gotten them all in considerably less time.
I think that people cheating the achievement system, while lame, isn’t really a game-breaker in this case simply because the TF2 unlocks are so easy to get even when not cheating. So I just don’t see that it’s a real issue.
UPDATE: Heartless himself has pointed out to me that the Medic unlocks, when originally released, were much harder to get, and that with the release of the Pyro pack the number of achievements needed for each unlock was lowered substantially. This makes his issue with this process much more legitimate. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s fixed, but it should at least be less of a problem moving forward. I do agree with him that a server rating system of some kind would be very valuable.
I should also note that I’m going to go for the Medic unlocks as well, so I may change my mind after I’ve seen how long that takes. Maybe I’m a better player on the Pyro than I think; I know I’m terrible at the Medic.