Mad Rivers and White Elephants

I finally tackled a graphics glitch in Far Cry 2 that appeared with my new graphics card. Well, I used the same workaround that I used in Saints Row, the Third, namely forcing DirectX 9. It’s interesting that DirectX 10, 11 and 12 were pushed forward as exclusives for Windows versions Vista, 8 and 10, respectively (DX11 was later made Win7 compatible) and now DX10 and 11 are rumored to have memory leaks with Radeon and NVidia graphics cards (i.e. most of them). I’m still moody that Saints Row 4 is DX10 or DX11, and thus it crashes a lot when I play it, curiously more often when I’m in the air and have a great view of the city.

Microsoft, if you’d been better behaved lately, I’d suggest that this is just par for the course and the companies would work out their compatibility issues given they want to provide a good, working product. But you haven’t, so I’m going to blame you for having feature-driven driver-pushes rather than functionality-driven driver pushes. Since my last DX drivers are dated 2010, I’d say my Windows Experience is not high on your priority list.

But Far Cry 2. I’m playing it again. Even using DX9, it’s beautiful. The sands glow hot with the afternoon sunlight. The leaves are remarkably detailed. Sometimes the game is enjoyable for walking through the environments. In Far Cry 3 they gave everything an outrageous technicolor brilliance as if they were trying to make everything wow you all at once. As Problem Machine notes FC3 is FC2 after it was steamed to sogginess. Why and how is a tale for another time.

I’ve talked before about how FC2 is about catharsis for me. I’m still trying to understand why it makes me feel better, certainly less depressed. There is certainly a wonderful juxtaposition between the beautiful natural world (modeled after Kenya) in contrast to bloody, brutal, honorless and merciless exchanges. There are some real Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba! moments, and sometimes I wonder why the fuck can’t this beauty convince us to stop the bloodshed in awe and get along. (Oh yeah, everyone is really, really hungry and not prone to sharing. And we’ve all seen that same sunrise day after day.)

As hours and hours of playtime music is difficult to come by, there’s only so much in the game. I’ve turned off the game music and created my own playlist, appending to the game’s music some selections from Hotel Rwanda, and Hans Zimmer’s scores from Tears of the Sun and Black Hawk Down and James Newton Howard’s score from Blood Diamond. I’ve added favored elements from other sources, most recently unthematicly-related stuff by Harry Gregson-Williams who does surreal really well when he’s not trying to make pulse-pounding action music. (My imagination blames too many directors demanding Faster! More intense! because Hollywood feels the need to sledgehammer audiences with action.) Surreal fits the Africa of FC2, perfectly. Bits from Peter Gabriel’s soundtracks (his Passion work from The Last Temptation of Christ) is also on the playlist, and contributes to its surreal repertoire.

In retrospect, I think I’ve made the game into a continuous montage. Which is fine. Games excel at the processes that movies like to gloss over in a montage. Movies need to focus on those specific moments when the story changes course, which you have to do when you’re telling your story in ninety minutes.

Today’s post is a bit of a ramble. I meant it to be an update and got into things. But I’m climbing out of the mire of depression, I think. I hope.

These chickens aren’t fully hatched yet.

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