Monday, August 19, 2013

Killing, In Very High Resolution

Regular readers may recall that last weekend I had a bit of a problem. Kitteh mk III aka Evie was attacked by one of the older cats. During the high-speed pursuit a cup of tea was launched from the desk with sufficient quantity going through the mesh top of my gaming rig to blow it up. 'Thankfully' the only thing that got fried was my trusty GTX 670 graphics card. A bit of messing around, ripping out the fried graphics card and installing of drivers and I had Eve back up and running using the on-board graphics. Obviously the raw power of Intel HD 2500 hasn't got a lot of.... well, raw power, so all last week I was playing Eve in minimum settings at low resolution. Horrific!

Now, if you'd said to me how important are graphics in Eve at the start of the month I'd have said "ish". What makes Eve great is the game play, the community, the mechanics, the lore and background, meaningful PvP, player driven sandbox etc etc. Graphics are just the fluff. Then I had a week in low resolution. Horrible! I hated it which really took me by surprise. Poor textures, low resolution, no effects. It was really bad and I didn't enjoy playing it as much. I am very surprised at this revelation that the poor graphics actually significantly reduced my enjoyment of Eve. It also made playing a bit harder too!

"Drack! Is he a smartbomber?"
"I dunno!"
"Well look to see if he has any turrets fitted!"
"I've got turrets turned off... and particles... and engine trails.... and explosions... and drones.... and...."

Then this weekend I went up to the big city and to a mall that specialises in just computer shops. Thankfully there was a good choice of graphics cards, providing I was happy with the two manufacturers available, Gigabyte or Asus. There was a good selection of different GPUs from the old GeForce 2xx series all the way up to the 780 and even the Titan. In the end I opted for a 2gb GTX 760. Didn't want to go silly!

I got home, installed the card (painless), bunged the CD in, installed the drivers. All sorted Grumpy Cat?

W....T.....F? Why is there a blue/red haze over everything?

I gave a shout out to the #tweetfleet and soon was told it was a known issue with that version of the nvidea drivers. I was pointed to a forum post that showed that having high shader quality settings made the nvidea driver at the time go a funny blue/red! A quick change in shader quality to medium was an interim fix. Thankfully that was an old issue, long since resolved. Therefore the next job, download the latest graphics card drivers from nvidea's website.

177 MEGABYTES? FOR DRIVERS? I'm on restricted bandwidth over here!

Anyway, once installed, Eve was back to the max!

I was able to crank all settings up to maximum and the game ran great at a steady 60fps. No problems and it looked amazing again.

It was around this time whilst I'm still messing about with the PC that I hear on comms that someone has a Slepnier tackled two jumps away. We have a few frigates in the area but nothing thats going to make much of a dent in the shield tanking monster that is a Slepnier. Time to "Trust in The Rust". I jump into my ancient Tempest and undock.

Did I say its great to have max graphics again!

I high-tail it over to Pyne where the fight is slowly moving off a faction war plex acceleration gate. Now there is a consideration to take on board with faction war plexs. You cannot warp to a player on grid at the plex gate or inside. You will automatically land at the gate. Back when I was in SoTF we had some fun with a Goon fleet who didn't know this. We'd set up with snipers off a gate, wait for them to probe us down, and when their fleet landed at 0 on the acceleration gate we'd pop a few and warp off. It took a few goes for them to realise it wasn't the prober or the person doing the fleet warp who was making a mistake.

I asked for an alignment after they said they were 150km off the gate, and bounced to planet three before warping to the plex at 100km. This is the best you can do. You can warp to the plex at a range, but you cannot warp to a player. By the time I landed they were 300km off the gate and 200km from me. Thankfully someone got a scram on the Slepnier and he drops from 2.1k m/sec down to something more reasonable. I activate my MWD and start the long crawl to catch up. At last I get in range and the minor damage from the frigate drones and small guns are joined by a full rack of T2 1400's with Rebublic Fleet EMP. BOOM!

The Slepnier kills the scramming frigate and burns towards me. However, a flight of ECM drones keeps his damage down. Problem being his speed is greater than mine so he is able to negate some of my damage. Thankfully I have a couple of neuts and I am able to get some range after a while.

During this, reports are coming in of a Caldari Militia cruiser gang entering system. My lone battleship plus a few frigates verses a cruiser fleet with ECM support and logistics? Oh dear! But as we are still around 300km from the gate there is no immediate worry. The enemy gang lands but are not a concern as they are over 300km away.

The Slepnier finally enters armour and a single volley from my BFG's pop him just as the squid interceptors start to burn for us.

As our 'fleet' is now, after the earlier loss, one battleship and three frigates (Maulus, Kestrel and Harpy), I can take a wild stab in the dark who they are looking to tackle. I'm not overly concerned. If the Interceptor did catch me, his fleet members cannot warp to him due to the 'natural phenonema' so my drones and fleet mates would have time to deal with him.

In the end it is not an issue as the three kill-hungry frigate guys with me, who have already tasted blood, head towards the approaching interceptor who has been joined by a war target Atron coming in for hero tackle. They are quickly shown why the CCP video 'I was there' does not apply to fighting on faction war gates! Both of the enemy ships are dispatched whilst the flashy fleet is slowly making its way over towards me. The three others are talking about popping the support as I warp my fat ass to a safe before making my way home once I know the way is clear from a bit of D-Scanning. I'll be no help to them and a dozen cruisers on me will not end well for me!

So as I logged I had a shiny new graphics and a 600m+ ISK command ship kill. I'm happy now. Eve is back to Megan-Fox-in-stockings levels of gorgeousness!

And that ladies and gentlemen, is bloody gorgeous!

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