Upgrade In Quality

I’m still playing on the PS5. Recently I’ve been messing around in Minecraft and organising some things in that game within a new world – expect some videos at some point. The first thing I build, once the resources are ready, is a kelp farm with XP generator. This is handy for enchanting equipment and fixing equipment, anything where you need plenty of XP. I’m also still working my way through Gran Turismo. I reckon I’ll be able to get my first Platinum trophy on a Playstation Game within a year. I’m nearly there, just have to take part in 100 online races and 100 time trials. This will take time. Oh, and I need to buy three of the most expensive cars. Anyway, there’s no rush.

In the meantime I’ve been working my way through the circuit experience challenges. You have to complete sectors of each circuit within certain time targets and then the final challenge is a complete lap. Sometimes I smash this easily and within a few goes. Sometimes it takes a little longer. I don’t mind it taking longer, I get a better sense of achievement when I do get a Gold lap in.

I reckon the 122 miles I did of Laguna Seca is tiny in comparison with the distance I did around Spa to get the I-10 licence gold. But I’ve got the dedication to keep going in this game even with all the frustrations.

I’ve recently found the 4k screen recording option within the PS5 for capturing clips of play. I only really capture stuff that I’m proud of and normally this will be a replay of a decent lap or race that I’ve saved. I can’t imagine anything worse than watching actual gameplay! Can you imagine seeing me crash fifty times in different places on a lap as I build up to a complete Gold medal win? Here is a 4k video I took of my gold lap around the Dragon Trail Seaside Circuit as part of the circuit experience. It took a while, mostly because of the walls of death and not being allowed to scrape the barriers!

Along with this here’s my lap around Deep Forest in the circuit experience. I got gold but it took some time to completely hook up a decent lap in every sector!

All Gold – Licence Tests – Gran Turismo

Today was the day I managed to complete all Gold in the Gran Turismo 7 Licence section of the game. I had been struggling with the final test which was a drying lap around Spa in some crazy-assed Porsche. I struggled so much that I even watched some YouTube videos about completing the lap. I spent around 300km yesterday going around Spa and in that time I think I managed to complete about THREE laps. I constantly went off track or crashed. Today I spent another few hours working on this. The idea being that the track settles in my brain over the night time and I get better each day. I’m not sure I got better because it took another 395km to get a lap completed within the Gold time. I did find that I was getting better at Eau Rouge and was generally coming off in the later part of the lap more and more so I knew I was getting better and it was only a matter of time before I smashed it!

It doesn’t look much, the video. But trust me. It took a fuckton of effort to get to that point. If you touch the wet line you are fucked. If you touch a kerb you are fucked. If you accelerate too much in some corners you are fucked. Basically you are pretty much fucked at every stage of this track. You need to pull off a perfect lap and also make sure you don’t crash on the last few corners which you only see a few times because you spend the rest of the time in the chuffing barrier.

Here’s a map of Spa and here’s my list of troublesome corners in this test:

  • La Source
  • Eau Rouge
  • Radillon
  • Les Combes
  • Malmedy
  • Bruxelles
  • Double Gauche
  • Las Fagnes
  • Paul Frere
  • Blanchimont
  • Chicane

That’s right people, pretty much every shitting corner caused me problems and I crashed regularly at every single one [except Kemmel]. Obviously I crashed most at La Source because once you’ve crashed there you can’t crash anywhere else around the circuit.

How Long To Platinum?

I was a little upset the other night as I had finished a particular championship on Gran Turismo 7 and I got the ending movie! I wasn’t expecting it so soon. I’m hoping they add more championships over time but there’s still plenty of game content for me to work through. Apparently I have 294 trophies to get through to unlock the platinum trophy. Now, I have never unlocked a platinum so maybe I won’t make it but it is something to aim for. I had the following in a nice email from the Sony people:

GT Finale Email
GT Finale Email

Everything’s Connected

I have been quite impressed with the capabilities of the PlayStation 5. The graphics look amazing, the load times are impressively short and the sound is great. They recently added the ability to link screen captures into the app on a mobile phone making it much easier to save images and videos from games. I can now save a short video, get it on my phone and then send it anywhere I want. This is brilliant. PlayStations have had the ability to directly share with YouTube and Twitter for a while, they might even do Faceshit but I don’t really do that one. Having said that it’s impressive that I can now get this stuff on my phone I’m going to show you some captures I made recently and then uploaded to YouTube.

This first video I captured from Gran Turismo 7 was me driving a Ferrari thing and absolutely smashing it. I really enjoyed this short test. This most definitely wasn’t the first go at this licence. You see, the first go is generally learning about the car; how good are the brakes, how well does the thing turn in, what’s the oversteer like, what’s the engine sound on gear shift? Once you’ve got a grasp of all of that you can then start with a solid run to get the licence and then build up to the limit to get the Gold. Well, that’s how I do it.

This video is another Ferrari but this time a complete circuit around Monza. I really enjoyed this but it definitely wasn’t the first attempt. See the previous paragraph.

The final video I put on YouTube, for now, is me completing one of the Super Licence tests which is a complete lap around Interlagos in a Pagani. This took quite a few attempts and was good fun, although I don’t really like the accidental change into first at the last slow corner.

Getting Gold on every licence test is a bit of an obsession. I mean, why wouldn’t you? One of the Super Licence tests is an F1 clone type car around Laguna Seca. I think it took about an hour of my time to get gold. Sometimes I went off at the third corner, sometimes the last corner. It’s quite frustrating to get close to the end of the circuit knowing you are a couple of tenths ahead of the ghost car [your previous best lap] and then bin the car in the gravel.

Having said all the stuff above I am enjoying the game. I like the challenge and I’m happy plodding along doing a little each day. I know there’s been quite a backlash to the rewards and “lucky dip” that the game designers have made but I also wonder if people just aren’t patient enough to want to play a game long term. I very rarely finish a game but one thing I know for sure is that I’d rather enjoy it that complete it, if that makes sense. I don’t see games as movies which I suspect is how many other players see them. If the game can allow me to do something I can do in real life and make it fun then I’m happy.

The Set Up

It’s been just over a week that I’ve owned the PS5 and after the initial joy of cabling and getting it in place I have been messing with some of the settings to get the best experience. The good thing about modern appliances is that they can “see” what they are connected to and output the correct formats for whatever gear you have. So, the PS5 is outputting 7.2 sound into the amp. I did have a problem with the picture format though!

The Current Set Up
The Current Set Up

The above picture shows a real mix of technologies and brands. There’s a Logitech G29 steering wheel, an Nvidia Shield Pro, the Sony PS5, a Sony AV amp, a Sonos unit, some Bose speakers, the Philips TV, a Sony speaker and a Sony PS camera. I think it all works together pretty well and even if people freak out about it they should realise that audiophile types are rare and most people can’t hear or see the difference between many basic makes and low end cables! I used to think that expensive cables were a thing that could improve your experience, but the answer is “no” they do not. Most of my speakers are connected by quite think mains cable. There isn’t a need for expensive cables.

So, back to the picture output from the PS5. I tried selecting a 4K HDR output but the PS5 was adamant that the receiving device wouldn’t be able to handle this. The PS5 wanted to downgrade the signal to 1080P for HDR rather than 2160P. Well, if I have to choose resolution over HDR then it’s the resolution that’s going to win every time I reckon. Every couple of days over the last week I would remember this issue and I played with the TV settings trying to find the magic button that would clear the way for these signals. I was pretty sure that 4k HDR was possible on the television. I couldn’t find the correct combination of settings.

I once again tried messing around in the PS5 settings to see if there was a thing I could do to fix this. I even bypassed the PSVR thinking there might be a thing inside that unit that meant it couldn’t bypass a 4k HDR signal. I also tried plugging the PS5 directly into the television but this didn’t change anything – I am aware now that this is because only one of the HDMI inputs to the TV is really set up for the best quality signal. I tried googling again and found a Forbes page which looked promising. The page suggests setting an input device to “enhanced”. This seemed like some kind of BladeRunner reference but I decided to go ahead and see if I could find this setting. Then, I remembered the AV Amp.

Why an amp needs to have a HDMI throughput setting set to “enhanced” I am not sure. But there it was, in the amp settings. The option to allow the HDMI bypass to be set to “enhanced”. I switched this. Then I restarted all the devices, because it seemed sensible to do so. I headed over to the PS5 and it was in “screen set up” mode. It wanted me to set up screen size and some HDR settings. I was reasonably excited and once the settings were made the PS5 is now outputting 4k HDR. It took a week of not-really-worrying about it but also knowing in the back of my mind that I could improve the look of the games.

I will say that once I’m engrossed in playing a game I don’t really concentrate on what the graphics look like. I don’t really notice the little details. It’s something I’ve always been conscious of. It’s the gameplay that makes the difference for me as a player. I know there a people out there who quite like just watching games and I understand that the graphics can really make a difference to them, but, for me, if the game play is good enough then you don’t really notice the rest of it?

This is communication number 2003 and so here are some things that happened in that year:

  • Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas.
  • Massive protests against an illegal war in Iraq. Governments do not listen. This is the start of my realisation that governments do what they want, not what we want.
  • Two people [not Musk] start Telsa.
  • China launches people into space for the first time.
  • Concorde makes its last commercial flight.