Game tech – to what lengths do we go?

I’m moving house soon and one of the nice things about this particular torture is that I’ll be able to ‘stretch my legs’ in terms of my gaming kit setup. There’s a long story behind the current situation which I’ll happily bore you with if there’s a drink involved!

Anyway, part of this exercise has been the mental re-cataloguing of everything I have and where I want to put it. It needs to be practically accessible – I don’t insist on everything being out and in place. Correctly placed for usage in terms of height, distance, angle, etc and also positioned ‘just so’ for both visual and audio perfection (I know perfection may be a little strong here).

Just nice!
Just nice!

This has also given me reasonable cause to investigate what’s new and shiny in the world of gaming tech, I’m thinking here of peripheral devices mainly,  but pretty much anything goes. I’m hot on the driving games – you may have noticed – and literally jumped up to buy the Microsoft Force Feedback wheel for the Xbox 360 when it was released but in the intervening years there have been some new boys on the scene and I’m liking a lot of what I see!

Dumper truck, not GTR!
Dumper truck, not GTR!

One of the things which pricks at me when using my wheel is the somewhat un-natural position I’m in. The last time I had a wheel and pedals in the orientation I have them I was driving a dumper-truck, seriously, and I seem to remember that felt odd too! I want to feel like I’m sitting in a sports car when I’m driving a sports car, not a dumper-truck and if there is a way I can have this it’s not likely to happen soon!

Then there is the visual bit. I love my screen, it’s fast, the colours pop, the blacks are umm…  black and it has all of the inputs I need. But there’s something missing… my peripheral vision that’s it! We rely so much on peripheral vision throughout our lives and as a biker (and former instructor) I know only too well how important it is to process the peripheral queues we get as they can literally save your life. In my driving games though, I have windscreen or bumper-cam only – sorry I really can’t use a chase-cam on any of the race games like GRiD, it just doesn’t feel right. But there is a way, I understand, to overcome this shortcoming! Take one Xbox 360 into the games room? Not when I could use three! Forza 2 was the first (I believe) game to support this kind of multiplexing and networked processing of graphics, but it’s a significant price to pay with 3 copies of the game being needed to run the visuals. Hmmm.

OOOO pretty!
OOOO pretty!

So we come to the last of our gaming senses, sound. My current (2 years temporary) setup runs a set of  Creative Labs 4.1 PC speakers from a surround-sound amp and frankly, they’ve seen their best years come and go. The main driver is starting to boom a little and the satellites are becoming a little wobbly in their orbits so I’m now looking forward to putting my 6.1 system back into commission and losing myself in auditory bliss!

An aspirational gaming rig?
An aspirational gaming rig?

I’m sure that there are some sublime PC-based gaming setups out there but I’m a console kid so my system aspires to be something fantastic and will more than likely run to ‘more than adequate’, and I think I’m happy with that as long as there’s somewhere for the drums, guitars and DJ controller… DOH!!







2 responses to “Game tech – to what lengths do we go?”

  1. MarkuzR avatar

    Oh I can totally relate to this great article!! No matter what you have, it’s never enough… there’s always a sharper screen out there with a faster refresh rates and the blacks.. they HAVE to be black!! People don’t get it, but it’s so important.

    When we moved from our last place to escape the locals with pitch forks, we moved to somewhere that has the old polished wood around the lounge floor… so there’s no way to get the cables from the surround to the back of the room. We’re now in 3.1 for the first time in years… the amp is awesome (an Onkyo, incredible) but those two satellite speakers are SO badly missed.

    As for that gaming setup… um… yeah… I could definitely go for that. Not got enough rooms though… on second thoughts… don’t think we really NEED the kitchen though 🙂

  2. Lorna avatar

    That last gaming rig is incredible! Nice post John!

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