Portal Player Immersion

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Portal 2 has the most immersive single player experience, for a first person puzzle platform game, that challenges the player with special challenges, because of its unique character development and design.

The biggest downfall of many other video games is the lack of three-dimensional characters. Portal adds character depth and character ark as well as plot twists that change characters’ behavior. In the beginning of the game she appears as a simple voice but as Chell continues to try to escape GLaDOS becomes more violent and threatening, but maintains her calm voice throughout most of her dialogue. They add character depth and background by literally diving into the abyss of Aperture Science. This happens in the second game Portal 2 and they dive into to Aperture science’s past and hints at the creation of GLaDOS and the other cores. The game suggests that Caroline aka GLaDOS was forced into the robot body as a part of a crazy science experiment to save her.  Her design is supposed to resemble a bound person.5647132238_9e38c5d3d1_o

The first and simple implantation of the immersion of the player is the lack of character lines by the main character. This lets the mind wonder and makes the character fit the player as the character naturally responds with his/her own voice. The response may not be spoken, but it is hard not to laugh at the remarks or grow in frustration as the game develops. The lack of lines allows the main character to fit whoever is playing her. When other games give the character scripted lines, the game feel more like you are watching a movie from their perspective because the decisions seem to be made for you. Instead, her character is built as she fearlessly conquers each of the given tasks and attempts to overthrow GlaDOS and through hints inside the game. For instance, one of the rooms is an old science fair from many years ago that all pertain to potato batteries.  Inside there is one huge overgrown potato and on the project, in small letters, you can read the name Chell.  The game becomes much darker when the actual storyline and ties to other games such as half-life 2 come into play.

The most basic form of character development is the character’s appearance because the image of a character normally determines its characteristics. Giant monsters tend to be very aggressive, strong, and stupid, while a baby would be small, cute and fragile.  The player makes these assumptions within seconds of seeing the character and if the character’s personality does not reflect the character’s appearance the player becomes confused and the mismatch often becomes annoying and an eyesore because the character does not match the player’s mental image. An example of this is Chell’s character, they depict her as a strong woman and some fragile being and GlaDOS often comments on her unnaturally large size. There is a certain scene when Chell is using a jump pad and the jump pad breaks each time she gets on.  GLaDOS then says “This plate must not be calibrated to someone of your [brief pause] Generousness. I’ll add a few zeros to the maximum weight.” This shows that Chell is not the average girl.5655067129_f65011621a_o

They strengthen the characters by giving them unique look that your brain doesn’t instantly associate with other common video game characters or characters in general. Having unique characters allows the developers to build the character to their own desire as long as they don’t clash between good and bad. For example, GLaDOS has a yellow-orange eye while Wheatley has a blue eye that seems much more friendly and matches his character. GlaDOS is also much larger than Wheatley which is in direct correlation to how much power they have. GlaDOS is in direct control of the facility and Wheatley can only control small insignificant modules.

Most importantly Portal 2 immerses the player by keeping the player thinking and focused on the current objective. The developers don’t add in many dramatic cut scenes followed by hours of pointless shooting to add time. Instead, they focus the player on specified objectives, in this case, it is solving simple logic puzzles while at the same time trying to escape from robots in a facility deep underground that has been abandoned for a very long time. They also add in simple odd humor and subtle background hints that are worked into the characters’ dialogue and the surrounding environment all the way down to the tunes the radio plays or the numbers written on the side of the housing containers.    An example of this is well-placed lines throughout the puzzle. In the example above each time, Chell steps onto the jump pad. She can see and hear Wheatly speaking very quickly and fades in and out as he continues to explain his side of the story. This helps introduce the player to a crucial component of the game, the jump pads and builds on the existing storyline. This engages the player in multiple ways and increases how immersed they are in the game.

 

Photo Credit:

I am I.A.M. “2011-04-23_00108” Flicker.com, April 25 2011. goo.gl/5MFXRy

I am I.A.M. “2011-04-23_00027” Flicker.com, April 23 2011. goo.gl/0Hncq1

I am I.A.M. “2011-04-21_00078” Flicker.com, April 21 2011. https://goo.gl/5e6rSj

Is AMD Back?

AMD has recently released their brand new line of processors using the new Zen architecture. Still focusing thread count over single core speed like the earlier Bull Dozer FX series; however, AMD still successfully dropped a very competitive CPU line with a competitive price tag to accompany it.

The flagship CPU is AMD’s Ryzen 1800x packing eight cores with 16 threads and a base clock of 3.6 GHz and turbo of 4.0 GHz. The 1800x not only competes with Intel’s recent i7-6800k it outperforms the i7-6800k. Granted, the 1800x has 16 threads vs the 12 threads of i7-6800k and the 1800x is currently more expensive by around 100~ dollars. The price increase is expected because the AMD has just released this product and is trying to capture some of what used to be a completely Intel dominated enthusiast market.  I suspect given some time the price will drop closer to the price of the 6800k.

AMD is notorious for creating cheap CPU’s that meet all the basic requirements but never seem to reach their full potential as their Intel counterpart. This year is the first time in the last two years that AMD is actually able to compete with Intel and the new Zen architecture is just the first wave.  They will soon be releasing their new graphics line up the AMD Vega. The only downside is that Intel is suspected to drop their new 1080ti around the same time to steal the enthusiasts market as very early benchmarks suggest that the 1080ti is slightly faster. This means that AMD might not be seeing the enthusiast market just yet but still holds much of the console industry.

The future of AMD is so important because of what may possibly follow the 1800x.  Intel has already dropped their i7-6800k and i7-7700k before or very close to AMD’s release of the 1800x.  The 1800x was also released very late with many delays suggesting there might not be a follow-up processor soon. The bad news is that the 1800x might not drop the price as quickly because of the lack of a predecessor. The good news is that because of how competitive the CPU market is with the release of the new i7-7000 series and the AMD Ryzen chips the price of the 6800k has dropped.

The most important part of this chip as I have mentioned above is its more competitive performance compared to AMD’s previous chips. Yet I have shown very little proof of this so here are some comparisons to other Intel chips. Unfortunately, I do not own the individual chip so here are a few links to benchmarks comparing the two. The graph doesn’t show that the AMD CPU runs about 20 degrees hotter under load than the second hottest 7700k, but this varies a lot based on the cooler and frequency so I left it out.

AMD Ryzen Graphhttps://www.pcgamesn.com/amd/amd-ryzen-7-1800X-review-benchmarks

https://cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Ryzen+7+1800X&id=2966

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-7-1800x-cpu,4951-9.htmls

Exploding Note 7

The Explosive Note 7

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Photo Credit: Aanand Madav

Unlike the title suggests this is not about some new military technology. This is about the new Galaxy Note 7 Phones that have been known to catch on fire while charging. This is due to a battery defect and the phones where being replaced until they started blowing up as well. The phone now is in full recall and Samsung has not made it clear whether or not they will be refunding the money.  This is not only a huge loss for the consumer but also for Samsung as their flagship device is not only not selling, but being recalled around the world.

The Phones are exploding when there is a puncture in the thin plastic separating the poles of the battery. When this happens it causes the Lithium battery to short and then explode or catch on fire depending how fast the reaction occurs.  Apparently only .01% of the phones are affected by this flaw. However, Samsung is not willing to take that risk and recalled all phones and handed out fixed phones in return or at least they said they were until the replacement phones started exploding as well and now Samsung has recalled all the phones with no hope for a new one.  Carriers have stopped distributing the phone and are giving costumers new phones entirely.  Samsung has switched the manufacturer of their battery to the same factory as their rival Apple.

Samsung has switched the manufacturer of their battery to the same factory as their rival Apple because the factory did not properly make the phone or the design of the phone may have been naturally flawed, but just in case Samsung has decided to change manufacturers. I believe since the replacements are exploding as well it is a design flaw and completely the manufactures fault.

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 Photo Credit: Răzvan Băltărețu

This could not have come at a worse time for Samsung as apple has just released the new IPhone 7 and google has come out with the new pixel.  The competition has been stepping up against Samsung and they were relying on this phone to increase sales.  Apple’s stock increased by a few points the same day Samsung announced full recall of their phones; however, this is not the end for Samsung they are competitive in many markets within electronics not just phones but a range from refrigerators to TVs.  Samsung sells and produces many different electronic devices and will still be competitive after this set notable back.

The Note 7 was suspected to be one of the best of its kind, but sadly they tried to get to much at of such a small device and given the right environment, extra strain and the extra small size causes the phone to catch fire or possibly explode.  No matter how good this phone is or what its new features are, it can never compete with any other because of this crucial flaw in the phone’s design.

 

Bibliography:

Hollister, Sean. “Here’s Why Samsung Note 7 Phones Are Catching Fire.” CNET. CNET, 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

Loterina, Chris. “Samsung Is Sued After Galaxy S7 Edge Explodes And Causes Third-Degree Burns.” Tech Times RSS. Tech Times, 14 Sept. 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

Kamouri, Sara. “Why Are Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Phones Exploding?” The Sun. News Group Newspapers Limited., 12 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

 

Photo Credit:

Răzvan Băltărețu, “Samsung Galaxy S7 edge” Flickr.com, March 13 2016, https://www.flickr.com/photos/91265124@N03/25485074360/

Aanand Madhav, “samsung galaxy s7” Flickr.com, December 29, 2015, https://www.flickr.com/photos/136180994@N05/23745942830/in/photolist-Cbmavq-q8xgRD-HZVPvr-EX8osN-GpkJi1-EoAvEn-FnoWef-HF3wp1-FgiahT-HE6Z34-J6SuWd-EEsGNH-HNumSG-DDepyi-HRvQC3-HMRLtX-EaVCp9-GwioLZ-JDxHSU-HNyXLA-HEx51k-Jz7WY3-HKUCXk-JxYXY1-HsymCW-HfUeEo-EX8mvS-Fe1EiW-EcHz5a-Hi89Fg-HiLtSt-HX753H-Fe1FR5-E4tzc6-GjiajS-FNjy8L-GVTxMn-HSmxRy-JqDWf5-ErYQxQ-E4tafi-DfjTGz-Dfk6hZ-HjKYP3-HApgms-HwFaMU-HxEDWb-DqRsT5-J2nA1h-E2hdcf