Stepmania in 120Hz


A bit before I got sick I finally upgraded my home theater receiver, to a Denon AVR-S760H, mostly to finally get HDMI 2 support so that I could finally get 4K video from my connected devices (especially my Playstation 4).

As an obvious bonus, this means I can also run my connected Windows PC at 4K. Its GPU (a 1050Ti) isn’t quite up to snuff for that for gaming, though, although having desktop and web browsing at 4K is quite nice.

Stepmania defaults to running in a borderless window instead of proper fullscreen, though, and so even though it only internally renders at 1080p, it then tries to upscale to 4K, and gets very laggy as a result. Running at native 4K isn’t really any slower, at least, but it’s stil laggy and unplayable.

However, I discovered that if I set the fullscreen mode to exclusive, then setting the resolution to 1080p unlocks much higher framerates, up to 120Hz, because my TV supports VRR and 120Hz. (Ostensibly it supports this on 4K as well, although Stepmania didn’t offer this configuration, likely due to my GPU.)

So anyway, Stepmania at 120Hz is ridiculously smooth — almost uncanny in its smoothness. It also makes steps register with much greater precision, and I’m actually surprised at how much more responsive the game as a whole feels now.

It still does nothing to help me with my cough or fatigue, though. But it was still nice to play for a little bit.

There are no happy endings


The recent unfortunate and tragic news about Alec Holowka has hit me very hard. On the one hand, I was a fan of his music and games, and saddened that he could be responsible for such things. But also the reaction at large to every stage of this whole horrible affair has been dredging up some very bad, stressful feelings that have been affecting me for the past eight years, and I feel it’s finally time to talk about it publicly.

I am not going to name names, even though the names are easy enough to figure out. I don’t want this to be about me, either, but I am necessarily talking about a thing that happened to and around me, and affected many people in a profound, terrible way.

In particular, I have at least something of an understanding of what Scott Benson is going through right now.

This is probably going to be a difficult read.

Read more… (CW: suicide, abuse of minors)

The Legend of Korok: Breath of the Orcastraw


Of all the streamers I follow on Twitch, my favorite by far is Orcastraw (Kaitlyn). She maintains an amazing community of chill, accepting people, and has the most positive (and well-moderated) Twitch chat I’ve ever seen. She first came to my attention when she was the first to run Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at Games Done Quick, and she had the BotW Any% world record for around a month shortly after that (and even a year later her record-setting run is still 6th place overall). Her attitude is what even got me interested in watching Twitch regularly, running my own occasional stream, and even becoming more confident in my own gender presentation. Basically, she’s pretty neat and is worth watching if you’re into this sort of thing.

Recently she started making streaming her main source of income, meaning that her livelihood depends primarily on viewer donations. As part of her September donation drive, she offered an incentive: at the $250 mark she would do an all-Koroks run of BotW.

Read more…

Wii don’t fit into molds


So, the inspiration for the Wii Fit comic is that, after about a week of daily weigh-ins, I started to feel like Garfield in his Sisyphean struggles against the talking bathroom scale. I have a feeling that Nintendo’s designers really weren’t thinking things through when they designed the daily body test component.

The big problem with it stems from that it uses BMI’s ridiculous classification system (which is good for a casual statistical clustering of body types but is not in and of itself a useful diagnostic tool), and that it disregards progress and only tells you how you’re doing based on where you are in the BMI.

I measure in the upper end of the “overweight” category on BMI. I could certainly stand to lose some fat, but I could also stand to gain some muscle. So far my weight has stayed about the same, but even in the past week I’ve definitely built up some muscle. Muscle is of course denser than fat, so even if I were to never lose a single pound I’d be happy if it meant getting much stronger.

Of course, Wii Fit just looks at BMI and knows nothing about my skeleton (and being of Eastern European descent I’ve already got a naturally stocky build, nothing like the lithe Japanese creatures I’m sure Nintendo used as their references). So, okay, at first it was a bit funny how it drew me as a Mario Batali-esque fatass, which seemed like a humorous bit of gentle encouragement, but after a week of this, it gets pretty old.

When I step on the balance board, it actually does go, “Oh!” as if it’s surprised by my mass (sometimes it does say “Great!” if I step on more slowly), and after it weighs me, it actually does say, “That’s overweight!” And, of course, every day, weight fluctuates a bit. I’ve had days where I’ve lost a couple pounds (and it doesn’t congratulate me), and then I’ve had days where some of it has come back (and it demands that I select the reason why I haven’t lost weight that day, with choices like “I eat snacks” and “Not getting enough exercise” — which is particularly funny because it knows exactly how much exercise I am getting!).

I do like the weight-tracking portion of it, but it really needs a way to disable the BMI bullshit, and a way to have it just draw my Mii in a more realistically-proportioned manner.

Positive encouragement is absolutely vital for staying on any sort of diet/exercise plan, and while parts of Wii Fit do give you that encouragement (the minigames are designed pretty well in that regard, and the yoga components are excellent), the primary interface aspects (the daily body test and how you’re displayed in the “Wii Fit Plaza”) are right in your face.

So far, I tolerate the daily body test simply because tracking my weight and balance are important enough to me that I can look past how it continually insults me, but if after only a week of this I’m feeling annoyed enough to rant about it, I’m not sure how I’ll feel in three months when I’ve (hopefully) lost a lot of weight and it’s still insulting me. I do understand, appreciate, and in some ways live by the Japanese ethic of Kaizen (continuous improvement), but this is not Kaizen. The Kaizen approach would be for Wii Fit to say, “Let’s try to lose even more weight.” This feels more like continuous admonishment. How long before I decide to give up and imbibe an entire can of whipped cream?