Apparently, one of the reasons Steam Deck’s underlaying technology owes to Nier Automata if the itnerviewlets at Proton and Tier: Automata – the unique story behind what makes Steam Deck tick, are to be believed. Which really doesn’t surprise me.

Steam Deck’s graphics and battery life in my opinion aren’t as impressive as achieving them in such a small, portable package. You get roughly Xbox One grade graphics from roughly Xbox One grade hardware, and x86 will never offer great battery life under heavy load. But it’s got one thing I love most of all.

Video games work on it. There’s a fair bit of video games on Steam that actually have a native Linux version, and unlike the support for macOS, it’s not quite a joke. But the vast majority of games are Direct3D based games for Windows that require DirectX. That’s how video games are written in this world.

Yet, Steam Deck runs them well as the hardware is capable. In ways that I was never able to achieve back in the day, now more than a decade in the past, using purely Wine and derivative solutions. So I find myself very glad now that folks made a video game with 2B and 9S 🙂

Actually, that reminds me: I’ve been debating picking up a copy of the game on Steam one of these sales. Haven’t played it since I was active on console, and I haven’t even bothered to hook up Deathstar One since moving thanks to getting Rimuru operational and Steam Deck largely taking over for both the ol’ Steam Link and Deathstar One.

MicroSD cards

When I decided to grab a Steam Deck during the last sale, I opted to take advantage of the opportunity to get the 512 GB model rather than my default choice of the 256 GB. Overall this has worked out pretty well, since most of the games I’m more inclined to play laying in bed or sacrifice the power of 4 pounds of RTX for portability’s sake, on the whole tend to be on the smaller side. That is to say under 35 GB and often closer to under 10 GB.

On my Xbox One, aka Deathstar One, I’m used to the peasy 500 GB of storage being augmented by 3 to 4 TB of platter drives. Which made things a lot more roomy over the years as typical game sizes started to spring past 60 GB and toward 90 GB and beyond.

So much in the same way, the Steam Deck’s 512 GB of storage is rather small one you start loading larger games in the over 60 GB club. With about 200 GB of the 460-something GB capacity filled, I think this is a fair trade off between capacity and affordability. The 256 GB model, I suspect would feel pretty tight once you load modern “Big assed” video games on the device.

Effectively, I’m straddling the line between not having to care and needing to pay attention to what I install. For example a few more recent games the size of dual and quad layer Blu-ray discs, and I’d have cause to manage storage but for games measured in terms of CD-ROM or a few single or dual layer DVD, there’s enough capacity to be well stocked for a nice vacation.

I’ve been meaning to take a look at the cost of larger MicroSD cards since getting the ‘Deck. When I came across yet-another Best microSD Cards for Steam Deck article, I decided to take a gander since it would likely recommend larger cards. Then I realized a nice 512 GB microSD card cost about as much as the handful of 64 GB cards I bought a year or two ago, as a mixture of refitting vintage computers with non vintage SCSI/IDE drives and restocking my pool of memory cards for random Raspberries.

Racking up pretty nice results in Amorphous Disk Mark, I can’t help but think if SD slots weren’t as rare as they are, at these prices I’d start using the smaller sizes as modern floppy disks for those times I don’t feel like busting out my external NVMe to USB-C drive :D.

Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human is one of the more emotional games that I’ve ever played. As a story-based adventure game, it’s superb.

Connor the Deviant Runner, Kara the mother, Markus the revolutionary. Each character’s story twists and turns and entwines until by the end they veer off again but continue to be influenced by the choices that lead them, your choices.

I found the story very emotion provoking. Kara’s story especially resonated, and I think perhaps she is the most human. Connor’s story splits down the middle. Whether you choose to role play or be yourself eventually his paths will make you decide who he really is. Faced with Android slavery, Markus can follow a path that would make MLK proud or paint the streets in blood, or somewhere in between. It’s left up to you and many a quick time event.

As a human, I find the games choices remarkable. Kara may represent the best in us in a grey, grey world. The crisis of conscious an identity Connor experiences aren’t that far off from what most people will eventually face. Markus’s story stabs us right in the belief, perhaps even more so if you’re familiar with America’s history. It’s even neat how the main menu Android fits into the picture, and Kamski’s test is an awesome test of humanity.

I’d give it 5/5 except for technical issues. To play via Steam Link: you need to set the game to regular Windowed mode, not Fullscreen or Boardless Window. Probably related to the company’s fondess of rolling their own tech rather than using a common game engine. Periodically the screen will go black except for overlay based UI (like interaction prompts) or go to a fuzzy outline, as if certain shaders crashed and broke the rendering until quitting to desktop and restarting the game. That may be because I have an old GTX 780, or because I don’t have the kind of AMD GPU you’d find in a PlayStation 4. But those issues were relatively minor, and most often occurring right after a check point save or major scene change.

 Signs that I really liked a game: when I’ll buy it on another platform.

Resident Evil 0 was probably on sale when I bought it on Steam. Mostly, I got it because it would be the most like what I grew up with: the original Resident Evil, dual shock, and director’s cut editions. While I had very mixed feelings about Resident Evil HD, since it invalidates everything I remember: I really enjoyed zero. Haven’t cared too much for most of the series since the original trilogy, and had never played zero.

Thus, seeing it on Xbox sale for $5…no brainer. The only real negative from my time with it on Steam was how hard it is to actually hit the giant ass bat monster….lol

Thumbing through my Steam library, my brain eventually floats off in various directions.

One is the reminder that Love In Space recently released their follow up to Shinning Song Starnova, and remember that last time I had checked their Patreon, and active projects post, the next installment of Sunrider was next on their road map. Much to my joy, it seems like Sunrider 4: Captain’s Return is elevated to current project. Just as previously scheduled.

I remember playing Mask of Arcadius, and enjoying how they combined turn based fleet + mech tactics with a visual novel setting. Because who doesn’t want to laugh your ass off between being out numbered like 80:1 in a space battle? I think MoA is still free, and it’s worth playing both for the intro to Sunrider’s story, and for the campaign.

When Liberation Day came out it was a rather shuddup, and take my money response. Excellent improvement on the mechanics, and enjoyable for the same reasons. But of course the damned thing ends with a cliff hanger end on par with Old Ben Kenobi, so it’s been a long wait to see what happens next.

The purely VN based expansion with a side story / alternate endings for the crew was also pretty amazing. Give or take how many jokes you can make about the story twists that Claude aka miss boob rockets presented in the campaign. Won’t spoil the details, but let’s just say between her attempts on Captain Shields, and what she turns out to be, you can probably enjoy that lark a lot more than the other plot twists. Because it totally fits her personality, and should make you revisit some of your beliefs in religion and science :P.

Ahh, in a few years perhaps we will have Sunrider 4….hehehe.

Thoughts on Xbox Game Pass and SteamLink

One of the perks of Steam, is the ease of continuing from anywhere.

Most games on Steam with more than ten cents worth of effort, support cloud saves. Most that don’t tend to be very old, or games that shouldn’t. Which makes it pretty easy to continue from another machine, or even the same machine from some future reinstall of the game. Many games on Xbox also support cloud saves, and it’s usually less famous titles that lack them, like indie titles.

At least when you’ve got a solid graphics card, and aren’t struggling to run the game to begin with, Steam’s in home streaming actually works great. So transitioning from /dev/desk to /dev/couch is more to do with input devices.

Microsoft’s Game Pass is pretty sweet, and ultimate makes sense if you were already paying for Live. But the trade off I think is the portability.

When I play a game on Steam: principally, I give little mind to whether I’m playing from my couch or in front of my computer. The decision is typically driven by how much precision mouse/keyboard work is required. The only game that’s been otherwise is Final Fantasy 15, as my CPU struggles to run it locally, unlike 99% of my other Steam games.

When I play a game on Game Pass, principally my thought is “Do I want to play at my xbox?”.

As much as I applaud Microsoft’s record and stream tech, I really love that they made it available, the truth is that I find the stream quality from my Xbox to my desktop to be inferior to my 780 GTX to my SteamLink over the same network and locations. There’s more visual glitches and even set for quality, the encoder can’t best the encoder on my nVidia card.

What would really make the PC side of that coin mean something, is if it were possible to share the same saves between my desktop and my Xbox. I.e. the decision would be like open Outer Worlds on my desktop, and continue from the same save I made on my Xbox. I’d call that a win.

By contrast the decision works out that I started playing on my Xbox, and need to stream to my PC if I want to play at my desk. Which means a loss of image quality, and the occasional wtf/freeze/lag; on the flipside Outer Worlds seems to do that less often than Halo 5 when I stream.

Likewise, I don’t think Microsoft offers the inverse. I.e. that I could stream my desktop to my Xbox, if I had started with the PC, I’d not be able to stream to my Xbox. Although it might be possible to horse wrangle something with my SteamLink. By contrast, Steam’s streamy goodness is basically from anything to anything, especially when you account for needing a Direct3D PC for most games anyhow.

Thus, I am finding that Game Pass is very worth it for the Xbox side of the catalog. On PC, it’s more like a “Meh”, because the only benefit I’m really seeing there is good odds of playing on desktop with a mouse, a game I wouldn’t want to play on console with a controller. To be fair though, my decision was based on the cost comparison of Game Pass + Live versus Game Pass Ultimate; that is to say on the dollars required.

Beyond the lack of PC <-> Xbox crossover, I’m finding Game Pass to be very worth it. For a while, I’ve actually considered dropping my Live subscription because Games with Gold doesn’t bring that many games of interest down the pike, versus how little multiplayer I tend to do on Xbox. Where as Game Pass delivers the content, and probably curtails much of the need to buy games outright.

I’m also pretty sure that if Valve offered something like Game Pass on Steam, I’d probably hand Gabe Newell my checkbook and be done with it, lol.

On one hand: I try to respect how much care seems to have gone into Steam’s controller. Whether it was an internal Valve team or an external, some real TLC was put into its design.

On the other hand: trying to use it makes me feel like I’ve had a frontal lobotomy, and don’t really feel like my brain cells can ever adjust to it versus a normal controller. Where normal is probably anything in the vein of a PlayStation or Xbox (modern) or Super Nintendo or Genesis (classic) controller.

Yeah, I think it’s going to end up in /dev/closet. Unless someday they’re worth something on eBay.

While I will admit, my main plans for Christmas involved video games, looking at my Steam wishlist sorted by price, the feeling is more like “Fuck me with a snowman, fuck me harder”.

Over the years, I generally made it a rule to only participate, much, in one of the major steam sales per year. In the past few years, I’ve mostly tried to avoid them all. But even an ostrich with his head buried in the sand can’t avoid them indefinitely…

A snowman makes a good frosty dildo, right?