MONGOL EMPIRE – RED EYE REPORT 308

On this episode of the Red Eye Report, we’re talking about the Mongol Empire. These motherfuckers accomplished a lot in the 13th century. How did they do it? Also in the show, Teddy makes some potent-ass infused oil, Ashtray cuts off an emotional sponge, and Oracle cries about the ending of Alita: Battle Angel. James Cameron, get your ass out of the ocean and bring us a sequel!

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EVERYTHING GAY – RED EYE REPORT 306

In this episode of the Red Eye Report, we get super high, and Mistic tells us some rando facts about gay people throughout history. Also in the show, Teddy crushes on Master Ken, and Ashtray tells us about his about a weirdo dream involving his ex…or is this the dream? Download the Red Eye Report wherever you get your podcasts.

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Real VR Fishing Review – Killer Catch

Real VR Fishing

VR is in a unique position in gaming. It’s truly novel for many users. Long gone are the days of marveling at mouselook in a first person shooter or crying in jubilation at the sound of your dial up modem connecting to a friend and the possibilities of online multiplayer. VR tech, even though it has been around for 20+ years, has yet to be experienced by most people outside enthusiasts. “Good VR,” or VR that was produced for a larger consumer market has only been around since 2016 with the official release of the HTC Vive. To enjoy that experience, you needed a powerful gaming PC. Wireless, PC-free VR gaming (Good VR with proper controllers) didn’t arrive until late 2018 with the original Oculus Quest. The release of the Oculus Quest 2 in 2020 meant much higher fidelity games for PC-free VR, more developers creating games for PC-free VR, and thus more opportunities to blow somebody’s mind when you let them try VR for the first time.

There is a certain ilk of VR apps that you want to show off to your relatives or friends that have never tried VR before. It needs to be a recognizable experience that they can dive into right away. Chances are you’re showing it off to a non-gamer or someone that plays Candy Crush more than Call of Duty. VR games that are on the top of that list are things like Beat Saber: Just hit the fucking blocks, Grandma! Superhot is effective as well: Just shoot them in the face, Grandma! The king of VR games at the moment in terms of technical chops and what not, Half Life: Alyx (which needs to be running on a gaming PC but can be streamed over wifi to the Quest 2), is too much for a non-gamer. Us nerds take reloading mechanics and checkpoints for granted. We’ve been suckling on those gaming tits for decades now. Newbies just need to hit a fucking block or point a shooty-shoot in a direction and pull the trigger.

Good news, I have a new VR app suggestion that will absolutely blow your uncle’s alcoholic brain: Real VR Fishing for the Oculus Quest and Rift. I’m playing it on the Quest 2.

Fishing works really well in VR to begin with. Real VR Fishing has taken many of the best aspects of VR fishing games and refined them to produce something that feels polished and is a lot of fun. The first thing that will make your cousin cream her pants are the graphics.

Photorealism is not something that you find in today’s VR games. VR is taxing on current hardware. To make VR work, your machine needs to render two separate cameras simultaneously, one for each eye, at a high frame rate like 90 fps. If the frame rate drops below 90 fps, the user will become VR sick. Having players puke their guts out is a bad business model for VR developers. That’s why many VR games use simpler graphics models and graphic filter techniques like cell shading. More basic graphics are fine for most VR games. If the core gameplay mechanics are solid, the physicality of VR games with directional audio combine to make an engaging experience.

Real VR Fishing stands outs immediately in the graphics department. The team at MIRAGESOFT has masterfully pulled off a blend of 2D photos and 3D geometry. I seriously think this might be the best and most convincing example of the combination of 2D photos and 3D geometry I’ve ever seen in a video game. In the distance, you will see bridges, hills, docks, and parked cars. Those are all comprised of a curved, 2D images. The water, rod, and fish are 3D geometry, and they have been crafted with exquisite detail.

It’s that level of detail that pushes Real VR Fishing off the charts in the graphics department. For instance, in one level where I was fishing at dusk, a swarm of bats emerged over the wide river that I was fishing on. While I watched the tip of my pole flex as fish nibbled at my lure, I was watching the giant swarm of bats gyrate and morph over the water in the distance. If you look off to the right or left on a shoreline, you might be rewarded by the sight of a swarm of insects flying over a pile of vegetation. Flocks of birds will frequently fly overhead. At night, fireworks will burst over the city skyline and shooting stars will streak in and out of view. There’s even a double rainbow. All of these fine graphical details stack up to create an ultra-immersive experience.

Real Fishing VR features twenty different fishing spots throughout South Korea. When you catch a fish, you can choose to either release the fish for XP or keep the fish for cash. Gaining XP helps you progress in levels and unlocks new fishing locations along with the ability to buy new gear like reels, rods, lures, boats, and cosmetics for your avatar. The cash allows you to actually purchase the items. I’ve found the progression to be fair and not too easy or difficult. You need to catch a decent amount of fish to make gains, but guess what, we’re in VR-land, so if you’re using the correct bait and cast out, you’re going to get a bite in 10 seconds or so. Eat shit real life!

Let’s talk about gameplay. Fortunately, Real VR Fishing is much more than eye candy. The gameplay mechanics are good. The developers have gamified fishing in some clever ways. In other VR fishing games, it’s pretty much just about the tension of the line—which is true here too, but how you manage that tension is a bit different. On a basic level, don’t reel the line when the tension is too tight (red line) or reel it in when the line is too loose (blue line). Following those guidelines pretty much guarantees catching smaller fish. For bigger fish, how you manage line tension becomes much more critical. If a fish runs to the left, you need to pull your rod to the right. If the fish jumps out of the water to the right, you need to snap your rod to the left to potentially stun the fish and give you valuable uncontested reeling time. If the fish is in a “rage state” and splashing around, you need to slow your reeling down and anticipate if the line will be too tight or slack when it finishes throwing its tantrum. When you’re going after bigger fish, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually pull it in. You need to work for that shit, and it means that this isn’t some sort of weird South Korean fishing slot machine. You can chill and go for medium and small fish (which on hard difficulty you see a fish detector before you cast out), or if you want a good challenge that demands your attention, you can go for the big boys.

As far as difficulty goes, I recommend completing the tutorial, trying the easy mode a few times, and then bumping it up to hard. Easy mode displays a UI that shows you exactly where you are in terms of tension and which direction you need to pull your rod. Hard mode loses the UI, and it forces you to actually watch what the fish are doing as you reel them in. I’m not sure what expert mode does, because I’ve been too much of a pussy to try it. I imagine it loses the fish detector and possibly the line color tension indicator. As you go up in difficulty levels, the game becomes less forgiving in terms of losing the fish. Hard mode has been a satisfying challenge for me thus far.

The force feedback in this game is outstanding. Fishing games inherently work well with VR force feedback. Real VR Fishing nails it. Whether you’re reeling in the big fish or you’re casting your line and the lure breaks the surface of the water—the force feedback feels great in the Oculus Quest 2 controllers. I haven’t tested this game on the other Oculus systems, but I would expect the results to be very similar.

Real VR Fishing has a few other unique features. As you catch fish, you can add them to your aquarium in your lodge. This is a nice touch. The fish look fantastic swimming around, and as you progress in levels, you have the option to add cosmetics to the aquarium. You can purchase several cosmetics for your avatar. This is cool because the game has a built-in photo mode which includes a selfie camera along with multiplayer support to play with your friends.

Verdict:

Real VR Fishing is an essential title for your Oculus collection. The game is only $20 on the Oculus store. You’ll have a blast playing the game, and between this and Beat Saber, you can show off some of the coolest features of VR to newbies in under 10 minutes. Real VR fishing has top-tier graphics for not only a VR title, but fishing games in general. The mechanics of this game are solid, challenging, and fair. The tutorial is a bit lean, but if you follow the recommendations I gave in the review, you should be fine. Fine tuning your angling skills is a big part of the fun. This is not an aquatic slot machine! Along with multiplayer support, the game allows you to play your own music or even videos on the Quest while you fish. The attention of detail that MIRAGESOFT has implemented in this game builds up to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience, whether you’re a master angler at heart or someone just looking to try a quality experience in VR.

SUPERSTITIONS – RED EYE REPORT 304

In this episode of the Red Eye Report, we talk about superstitions. Where do they come from? Why are we afraid of breaking mirrors or spilling salt. Some of the origins might surprise you. Also in the show, Oracle reviews Real VR Fishing for the Oculus Quest, and Ashtray shares a story about an absolutely ridiculous Covid-19 vaccination debacle that happened recently.

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BUSINESS OF WEDDINGS – RED EYE REPORT 303

In this episode of the Red Eye Report, we talk about the business of weddings. Where did wedding rings come from? Why do we wear them on our ring fingers? What is the average cost of a wedding nowadays. We answer these questions and more. Also in the show, Teddy gets a new JC Penny bag for his AR and Oracle blows his top over delayed email responses. Download the Red Eye Report wherever you get your podcasts.

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Improve Assassin’s Creed Valhalla With These Settings

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the third AC game since a major overhaul of the series starting with Assassin’s Creed Origins in 2017. I found Origins to have an impressive and dynamic open world with a decent story. The follow-up to that game, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey which released in 2018, was impressive in scope, but I found the main storyline to be uninteresting. On top of that, the combat felt inconsequential and there were too many samey quests. It was like everything from Origins had been turned up to 11 in Odyssey, and for me, it made the game less interesting.

Enter Assassin’s Creed Valhalla in 2020. Weeks before this game came out, I watched a gameplay preview trailer for Valhalla, and I remember thinking, “Here we go again. This looks like a fucking reskin of Odyssey.” I was not excited for the game. The AI looked dumb as hell, and the dialogue seemed stupid. Positive reviews began coming out shortly after the game was released, which didn’t tell me a lot, because Odyssey received great reviews when it came out. I decided to take a chance on Valhalla and was surprised by how different it felt.

I actually cared about the story in Valhalla. The gear was limited and you were motivated to invest in it. You had a community of Danes in your settlement, Ravensthorp, that actually mattered. Side-quests weren’t shoved down your throat. And raids with your crew on monasteries were fucking awesome. Ubisoft Montreal, the primary studio behind Valhalla’s development, had used lessons learned from Origins and Odyssey to deliver a much more balanced game. The scope of the game was still there, but it was presented in a compelling way.

Jesus fuck, Oracle. This article is supposed to be about how to improve the game with a few settings…not a tribute jackoff event about how good the game is!

Fine. As good as Valhalla was, it still lacked an element of exploration that I enjoyed in games such as Breath of the Wild or Jedi: Fallen Order. Just as in any other Assassin’s Creed game, you travelled to a vantage point like the top of a cathedral, synchronized, and now you suddenly had a bunch of points of interest to go to on the map and in your compass. The same applied to objectives. Once you were given a task, you knew exactly where to go, so you b-lined it to the objective.

Fortunately, there is a way to tweak settings in Valhalla and substantially increase the sense of exploration in the game. I’ve found that tweaking these settings has turned a good game into a great game. It is important to note that you need to actually be in the campaign to change some of these settings.

Here we go:

  1. Go to “Gameplay” and bump the “Combat Difficulty” up to “Beserker (Hard).”

2. In “Gameplay” change the “Exploration Difficulty” to “Pathfinder.”

3. In “Interface” turn “Enemy Proximity” to off.

4. In “Interface” go to the “HUD, WORLD & QUESTS” section and turn “Compass” to off.

5. In “Interface” go to the “HUD, WORLD & QUESTS” section and turn “Mini Quest Log” to off.

After you change the above settings, your Assassin’s Creed Valhalla experience should be much more exploratory and a bit more challenging while still being fair. When you travel to new destinations, you will need to use a combination of your raven Synin, the map, and landmarks to help you navigate the world. I’ve found Valhalla to be much more rewarding when I’ve set out on a road or followed a river to my destinations, only to encounter new and exciting side-quests that I wasn’t expecting. If you are a purist, and want to go full psycho, knock yourself out. There are many more options that you can tweak.

Visually, the game feels much less cluttered with the compass and its icons removed. The only icons that show up are speech bubbles on NPCs that you can interact with and quest markers once you get in close enough proximity of them. You can use your fuckoff supersight thingy when you’re in an area to help you locate things like loot and points of interest. When I changed these settings at first, I would frequently get lost and didn’t know where to find objectives in buildings. As I played more, I got better at navigating, and there’s no way I’m going to change the settings back. I believe some of these settings were available in Origins and Odyssey. I don’t know if I will go back to those games anytime soon though. Valhalla fine tunes what those games offered in many ways.

FAST FOOD – RED EYE REPORT 302

When did fast food come onto the scene in this country? What are the top fast food chains out there? How do you avoid getting a pube-stuffed burger? We answer these questions and more on this episode of the Red Eye Report! Also in the show, Mistic talks CBDa tinctures and the secret service can’t catch a break when dropping a deuce.

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Elgato HD60 S+ Capture Card Review: Good But Still Pain In The Ass

Streaming video games is another dumb and fruitless hobby that I have. It’s consistently a pain in the ass if you want to do anything like add overlays and a camera with a green screen. You need a capable PC to do this. Your stream will look like pixel vomit if you don’t have a high enough bitrate or fast enough internet connection. Oh wait, how do you add party chat? Oh, you want HDR while you’re playing? Don’t even get me started on HDCP or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection or copyright claims on music that is being played in game. Jesus wept.

Anyway, my last external capture card was the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus. All in all, I was happy with how the card performed, although there were a few notable limitations. Probably the most important for me was the lack of 4K HDR passthrough while plugged into the card. If I was streaming, my games didn’t have HDR. That would not do for ole boyo with 4K-oyo. So I upgraded.

I’ve heard good things about Elgato minus the usual bitching about streaming in general. Their cards are considered to be at the top of the food chain in terms of consumer-grade streaming tech. Now that I have an Xbox Series X, which you can read my review of here, I wanted to pass HDR through to my TV while streaming. The external card that would allow me to do that was the Elgato HD60 S+ for $199.

Here are my impressions after having this card for a week. It looks really good. This card has no problem handling 1080 streams at 60 fps and the graphics look fantastic. I use OBS as my streaming platform and it had zero problems recognizing the card. HDCP is still a pain in the dick. If I want to watch Disney+ or Netflix on my Xbox, I need to unplug my HDMI cable from the Elgato and plug the Xbox directly into the television. This means I have to get my fat ass up and dig behind the TV more often than I’d like. I’m lazy and slightly retarded; so to simplify and foolproof this process, I’ve color coded the cables to reduce the chances that I will fuck it up. Why there isn’t some sort of switch to handle this is beyond me.

Elgato has 4K game capturing software. I used it a bit, and it seems perfectly capable for what it’s intended purpose is. I was surprised that this software does not appear to have built-in streaming capabilities. You will need to use OBS, SLOBS, or some other streaming platform on your PC.

Let’s talk about audio with this thing. The audio quality sounds perfect. Here’s the deal though: depending on what type of USB port you are using and the speed of your PC, you might have considerable lag between the capture card video and audio. I’m talking seconds worth of lag. Now this varies depending on your hardware setup. For instance, on one of my laptops, which for some fucking reason the USB 3.0 works fine sometimes and other times it doesn’t (fucking Obama), my lag time between audio and video is 680 milliseconds. The recommended number by Elgato is 650 milliseconds. You’ll need to fine tune the number. 650 is a good place to start. On another laptop that I tested that has actual USB 3.0 ports and not crap Denny’s ports like the aforementioned one, there was zero delay.

I’ve found the best way to test the delay is to bring up a game with a predictable sound that you are familiar with. I brought up Rocket League and recorded a clip of me jumping 3 times. I could then get the audio delay set correctly based on that. Repeat as necessary. The audio delay has brought up interesting challenges in terms of party chat.

I bought a party chat cable from Elgato to include chat. It’s dog shit. The connector is loose in my Xbox controller adapter and makes a bunch of buzzing sounds. The cable is too short. I would have to be right up on my equipment to reach everything. When I plugged the cable directly into the Elgato HD60 S+ “audio in,” it didn’t fucking work. Boo. The AVerMedia card handled party chat much better. You plugged it in and it worked. There were also no concerns about delay. I managed to find a decent solution for the Xbox Series X. I imagine this will work on other Xboxes. No it won’t work on your Xbox 360…smartass.

In your audio output options, you can change your party chat output to headset and speakers. This will run the other people in your chat through the HDMI, thus allowing it to be captured with the gameplay. You will need another microphone to capture your own voice. I use a wireless microphone setup. Mine is a Phenyx Pro wireless system. This thing is tits honestly. Just remember to turn your wireless pack off when you go to the bathroom to take a shit. I use a digital interface to pipe the wireless audio into my laptop via USB. One more thing, you need to delay your voice and webcam to match the HDMI party audio that is coming in…had zero delay.

Hey, I wasn’t kidding when I said this was a pain in the ass.

I’m guessing the dog shit audio cable I bought from Elgato would work if I plugged it directly into my PC. That would cut down on the delay offset issues for party chat. Other notable things that I’ve noticed about the Elgato HD60 S+: CPU usage has been wonderful while using this card. It’s at around 3% in OBS when I’m streaming 1080p 60fps. This is much better than the AVerMedia card that I had. Heat doesn’t seem to be an issue. Passthrough feels instantaneous to the TV and even to my computer. Because of this, I’m completely confused as to why the audio is so delayed on some ports. As far as aesthetics go, the HD60 S+ looks like a small external hard drive.

Am I happy with my purchase? Yes. Is streaming video games with overlays and other features still a minor clusterfuck. Yes. If you want to stream games with camera and overlays and all of that horseshit, you have a next-gen console, are using 4K HDR, and have a capable gaming PC to handle the streaming—this is an excellent external card. There is a good chance you will need to fiddle with the audio. WHY THE FUCK IS THE AUDIO SO WEIRD ON THIS THING!?! But, if you are comfortable setting audio sync offsets in OBS or SLOBS, it should not be an issue. There are plenty of videos on YouTube.