Steam Backlog Bonanza – TimeShift

660 words.

It doesn’t seem like a game from 2007 would be that “old,” but it sure is. I tried out a shooter called TimeShift from my Steam backlog. I bought it in 2016 for $1.80.

Installing TimeShift was painless. In fact, since it’s so old, it took almost no time at all to install. The size of the game was measured in Megabytes-3000 of them, roughly.

The mechanics of the game are pretty standard for a shooter: You point at things and shoot them, with various weapons, which generally fall into the standard categories: Pistol, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, and variations thereof.

What’s different is a system for “slowing down” and “reversing” time. You don’t get to that system for a good 30 minutes, which is kind of a disappointment. I might have given up on it as a totally generic shooter copy if not for the time-shifting thing, so it seems like it would have been to their benefit to push that as early into the game as possible.

It reminded me a little bit of F.E.A.R. (which came out in 2005, two years earlier). Basically you press a button to slow down time so you can run over behind the bad guys and shoot them in the head without getting hit. There is also a mechanic that lets you “reverse” time, though its in pre-defined areas and it basically tells you when to do it. It’s kind of neat, but also kind of gimmicky. It’s great fun though to slow time and run up to shotgun the bad guys and watch them ragdoll in slow motion. Just like it was in F.E.A.R.

Beyond that, it appeared to be a standard shooter from the 2000s. Aesthetically it reminded me of Eastern European shooters in the vein of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or Metro: Lots of rust and concrete and rain and urban decay.

I did not hate it. But I grew weary of it after an hour. I don’t see myself going back. While the cut scenes were somewhat intriguing, the story was not compelling enough for me to be interested in seeing how it turns out.

One last thing: The sounds were hard to take. It was just a cacophony of noise, with environment, gunfire, and yelling NPCs all mashed together at maximum volume so you couldn’t hear much of anything. And it was *loud*. Meter-pegging *loud* all the time. Games don’t do that anymore, and I’m thankful for it.

Stream Production Notes: I ditched Streamlabs OBS and just used OBS Studio. Unfortunately this game had a lot of trouble streaming. I think it was using up too much CPU, if that’s even possible for a game from 2007, or else the hooks that grab the game’s frame buffer weren’t working very well. In any case it didn’t capture consistently at 60 fps by a long shot. I dropped the stream resolution down to 1280×720 but even that didn’t help. I think this particular game was difficult for OBS to capture, so there was a lot of stuttering on the stream (although OBS claimed there were 0 dropped frames).

Anyway, I’m still tweaking the settings. It’s so much easier to record games locally than to stream them. Streams look and sound like utter garbage by comparison. Still don’t get why streaming became a thing. Stream viewers probably would have liked VHS more than Betamax too.

The loudness of the game is reflected in the stream, by the way, because it’s basically just 55 minutes of noise that grates on the ear drums. Next time I will be implementing some measures to deal with loud games like this in the future.

Next Up: Lord of the Rings: War In The North! I should probably do one of those “stream schedule” things all the kids are into.

This is my Blaugust post for July 29th, 2019, the second day of Prep Week. I’m not entirely sure if this is an “official” Blaugust post or not.

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