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Digital Foundry DF Retro videos


Nick R
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I know people tend to link to DF Retro videos in each game or console's dedicated thread, but here's a topic for all their miscellaneous videos that wouldn't really fit elsewhere.

 

Today they published this video testing out four games (Quake 3 Arena, Half-Life, Unreal, and Trespasser) on a 700 MHz Pentium III with a whopping 384MB RAM, and two graphics cards: an ELSA Erazor III TNT2 Pro, and a 3dfx Voodoo 2.

 

 

A lot of people seem to look back fondly on Trespasser. I never played it but my main memory of it is that CVG gave it a really negative review. (That score is listed on the game's Wikipedia article as 1/10, but CVG used a 5-star rating system at that time. Will have to edit that, once I've found my copy of the issue...)

 

John Linneman does lots of praising of CRT monitors in that video! I recently had to dig out my old 4:3 Dell CRT to use on my PC after my LCD monitor died. (In my case this CRT monitor seems unusually dark even with contrast and brightness set high, so I'm wondering if that's not due to this particular monitor dimming with age, but because Windows 10 and my graphics card are in some way optimised/expecting to output to LCD? There's probably a gamma setting that needs tweaking somewhere...) Anyway, at the moment I'm just pleased to have the chance to press the degauss button again - wheeee! :wub:

 

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DF Retro's great. I'm not into the dry technical analysis of modern games but seeing what creative workarounds developers had to come up with in olden times is genuinely interesting. I like the multi-format comparisons and when they use emulators to break boundaries or run in wireframe or whatever. I've also learned a lot about classic games that I missed, and their historical importance.

 

I get a little kick of joy whenever a new DF Retro video crops up on my feed. I prefer the normal structured episodes over Let's Plays (or, heaven forbid, the "let's talk over skype while watching an old E3 presentation" videos), but I did enjoy watching them play through all of TMNT on the NES recently.

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Yeah i love seeing all the short cuts dev used to create scenes or graphical effects. Especially as CRT's hid a lot of the obvious seams and it's only now you can see actually how things were done.

 

The Trespasser stuff where it created a 2D object from a 3D render and kept updating the 2D image as you moved around it to avoid actually rendering a 3D object at distance is crazy!

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  • 2 years later...

This came out the other day, and is quite a pleasant retrospective on the early Gran Turismo games:

 

 

It even references Revs on the BBC Micro at the start! I much prefer this style of video, where DF talk about why they love older games so much, rather than when they pixel-shame owners of one particular platform for not having enough pixels.

 

I particularly like the bit where John struggles to contain his anger at the original music being removed in the intro sequence and replaced with something by the "Chemical" "Brothers", words he can barely bring himself to speak. I find it interesting that people are so exercised at the removal of the original music, because that Chemical Brothers remix from the UK intro absolutely knocked me flat when I first saw it. It's an inherent part of the game for me, and still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I watch it, whereas the original music sounds like something you'd listen to while fighting a vampire with big hair.

 

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Linneman's a purist to a fault sometimes. I take issue with so many localisation decisions but the GT intro music is far down the list of crimes.

 

I wish he and Audi would just split from the others and start the retro channel they clearly want to. It'd mean I can unsub from DF and never again be exposed to that Alex Battaglia creep moaning about a Switch game not running as well as it does on his grid-collapsing Nvidia Warmind.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 17/04/2022 at 09:34, K said:

This came out the other day, and is quite a pleasant retrospective on the early Gran Turismo games:

 

 

It even references Revs on the BBC Micro at the start! I much prefer this style of video, where DF talk about why they love older games so much, rather than when they pixel-shame owners of one particular platform for not having enough pixels.

 

I particularly like the bit where John struggles to contain his anger at the original music being removed in the intro sequence and replaced with something by the "Chemical" "Brothers", words he can barely bring himself to speak. I find it interesting that people are so exercised at the removal of the original music, because that Chemical Brothers remix from the UK intro absolutely knocked me flat when I first saw it. It's an inherent part of the game for me, and still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I watch it, whereas the original music sounds like something you'd listen to while fighting a vampire with big hair.

 

 

On 17/04/2022 at 16:18, Quest said:

Linneman's a purist to a fault sometimes. I take issue with so many localisation decisions but the GT intro music is far down the list of crimes.

 

I wish he and Audi would just split from the others and start the retro channel they clearly want to. It'd mean I can unsub from DF and never again be exposed to that Alex Battaglia creep moaning about a Switch game not running as well as it does on his grid-collapsing Nvidia Warmind.

 

Oh man, absolutely all of this completely. 

 

Or Linneman and Audi should do a 4 man show with the MyLifeinGaming guys. They're all great retro-enthusiasts. 
Linneman gets SO wound up by trolls on Twitter, that i have zero idea why he still does it. To get paid I assume, but he's literally said in DF videos that he's no real interest in platform comparison videos and just wants to do retro gaming content. Yet he sits there all day every day arguing with people who are all absolutely on the wind up. 

 

DF's platform comparison videos and posts on EG back in the day when it was just Leadbetter are a load of inaccurate and half-hearted nonsense, especially after seeing for myself after collecting a few PS3/360 multiplatform games to find that there's not any real tangible difference between the two of them.  

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The second part of the Gran Turismo retrospective is absolutely fascinating, especially the bit about the GT2000 demo and its evolution into GT3. I've never played any Gran Turismo games after the second one, so I was really impressed by just how much of a leap forward GT3 was - not just over the first two games, but over other driving games of that era. Sega GT in particular looked particularly feeble - the visuals looked like those early 3D military simulators you occasionally saw on Tomorrow's World, in that they had a sparse, bleak look to them.

 

I kind of wish I'd played GT3 at the time, it looks stunning.

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GT3 was absolutely sick. It was a massive leap over everything else, and not just in terms of the graphics. I’d always snubbed the series as being for boring farts up until that point.

 

I’ve not been as impressed by a driving sim since. Not even close.

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You do have to wonder how much power is being put into 4k resolutions and what we could have got instead if we stayed at 480p and putting it all towards the graphics.

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1 hour ago, Ketchup said:

You do have to wonder how much power is being put into 4k resolutions and what we could have got instead if we stayed at 480p and putting it all towards the graphics.

 

I'd happily trade silly resolutions for rock-solid 60fps in a lot of games.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I already posted this in the Arcade Racer thread in Discussion, but I’ll stick it here too.

I adored the series and a remake of the second game would be very welcome!

 

 

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