Category: Personal

Improve Dungeon Siege’s Graphical Resolution

Game:  Dungeon Siege
Runs on Windows 10:  With No Modifications
Notes:  Does not include Legends of Aranna

This is for the Steam version of Dungeon Siege but is applicable if you know how to add launch options to your particular launcher.

Right click on the Dungeon Siege game name in the Steam library and choose Properties.

From the window which appears, click the Set Launch Options button.

In the screen which appears enter the following text:

width=1920 height=1080 fullscreen=true vsync=false maxfps=60 nointro=true bltonly=true

width=1920 sets the width of the game screen; replace 1920 with your desired width.

height=1080 sets the height of the game screen; replace 1080 with your desired width.

fullscreen=true turns on full screen mode.

vsync=false turns off vertical syncing.  This can help with FPS flutters.

maxfps=60 sets a maximum number of frames per second.

nointro=true turns off the introductory video screens.

bltonly=true turns on BLT mode instead of flip.  (See DirectX documentation for further details.)  Specifically, this handles a situation where nVidia cards flash.

zonematch=true (see screenshot) will, by default, open the multiplayer menu for you to connect.

Although Dungeon Siege was considered highly moddable at the time, it doesn’t appear that any high definition graphics packs were created or survived.

When you start the game you’ll get an error message about the resolution not matching the hardware configuration.  Ignore it.

Once you’re in game you want to hit Escape, then Options.  Turn on All Complex shadows and set Texture Filtering to Trilinear.  Next, crank up the Object Detail as far as it’ll go.

This video represents all of these settings.

 


Fitbit Killing Off Pebble

I’ve had a Pebble since the first Kickstarter; I’ve loved it. With the Pebble Steel they really hit a style I could endorse. They’ve been having a rough patch recently and Fitbit is reported to be making the purchase for under $40 million. The kicker is Fitbit is planning on killing everything Pebble related after the acquisition. Which blows my mind. I’m horrible with money but that seems like such a bad decision – the Pebble name has value alone I’d think.

Anyway, my wife saw this news before I did so for my 20th wedding anniversary she got me an Apple Watch. I’m not sure how I feel. As I said, I always enjoyed my Pebble, but I have to acknowledge the lack of support for Pebble will very quickly become a thing. The Pebble watch will become one of those pieces of hardware that folks hack in a desperate attempt to maintain relevance. I’ve ordered a new band for my iWatch and started trying to figure the various bits of it out. One of the reasons I liked my Pebble was it’s simplicity – 3 buttons, no touch screen.  But the Apple Watch is definitely more of a two way communications device – you can respond to texts, track activity which is forwarded to your phone, all kinds of neat stuff like that which the Pebble couldn’t do.

I know I’m getting old. I’m resisting change solely because it’s change.


x264 vs x265 Encoding

Software Used

I have a previous post similar to this but it’s been misunderstood by just about every visitor that I’m aware of.  The point of that post was to trans code an already encoded x264 file using x265, to determine if the space savings were worth the quality cost and time investment.  In my mind the answer was a resounding no – mostly because of the time investment required.

It’s been a while since that post and x265 support has matured quite a bit.  So let’s do an actual x264 vs x265 comparison.  We’re going to be using Handbrake 0.10.5.  Our source material will be the same 30s video I used for the Dual OBS PC Setup article, which can be found here (1.4GB in size).

I’m not touching any of the settings except two things:  first, the encoder to be used (x264 vs x265).  Second, the Constant Quality (CQ) rating.  We’re going to start at 20 and notch our way forwards by 3 until we hit CQ 29, using each encoder.

Encoder CQ Result Size Encode Time Activity Log
x264 20 Fallout-x264-cq 20.mp4 44,769,921 bytes 55s Fallout-x264-cq 20.txt
x265 20 Fallout-x265-cq 20.mp4 29,737,072 bytes 114s Fallout-x265-cq 20.txt
x264 23 Fallout-x264-cq 23.mp4 27,418,538 bytes 47s Fallout-x264-cq 23.txt
x265 23 Fallout-x265-cq 23.mp4 18,322,817 bytes 82s Fallout-x265-cq 23.txt
x264 26 Fallout-x264-cq 26.mp4 16,720,900 bytes 49s Fallout-x264-cq 26.txt
x265 26 Fallout-x265-cq 26.mp4 11,235,302 bytes 75s Fallout-x265-cq 26.txt
x264 29 Fallout-x264-cq 29.mp4 10,339,204 bytes 49s Fallout-x264-cq 29.txt
x265 29 Fallout-x265-cq 29.mp4 6,989,356 bytes 82s Fallout-x265-cq 29.txt

So at CQ 20 x265 produced a file 34% smaller at 200% of the time.  The rest of the numbers line up pretty closely behind that:

CQ 20 34% decrease 200% time
CQ 23 34% decrease 174% time
CQ 26 33% decrease 153% time
CQ 29 33% decrease 167% time

File sizes and encoding times are great, but what about quality?

Starting with the highest setting, 29, the x265 version of the clip suffers from pixelization around Hancock when he runs forward and when the gun bobs up and down.  The x264 version of the clip suffers from some early banding, then goes on to have the same problems as the x265.  Definitely worth the compression here.

Looking at the files for CQ of 26, x265 looks great at first and that’s the only reason you can notice the issues around Hancock.  With x264 Hancock is a little blurry but decently represented.  Still, the savings on compression definitely outweigh any loss of quality here in my opinion.

For the CQs of 20 and 23:  I couldn’t tell a difference between the two.  That might be exhaustion from staring at the same clip over and over again, but both looked very presentable.  I’m surprised that none of the encodes caused the smoke from the grenade to block up.

So x265 wins, hands down.