10
Apr
09

The Sound of WAR

I have no-one to blame but myself, and I hate it when that happens!

No-one told me that onboard sound was anywhere near up to par with a proper soundcard, I just… assumed this. I assumed that in 200-bloody-9 a quad-bloody-core computer would be able to process the sound without it affecting the performance of my Nasa-grade pc.

So yeah, I got a bit sick of the sound in WAR slowly degrading over the span of a play session. At first it would become slightly more hollow, especially when joining large warbands for some keeptaking action but after a couple of hours it would totally scratch out and my framerates would be noticably affected if a lot of soundeffects were going off at once. Use of vent or Skype at that point was all but impossible and I ended up playing with all the sounds of the game turned off, which is quite a shame because WAR has some pretty decent sound.

Yesterday my new soundcard arrived. I don’t even need to mention what brand it is, are there even other companies that make soundcards anymore? But for those interested it’s a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium. And yes, it’s the Fatal1ty version *blush*.

Other than it barely fitting between my Videocard and the Motherboard heatsink, the installation went absolutely flawless. At first I was confused because Vista wouldn’t pop up saying “Hey dude you has new hardware! I is installing random drajvurs for it now!”. Rather than doing that it kind of sat there, waiting for me. And then when I put the driver disk in it just… detected the disk and started to install the hardware without a single click or interaction from my part after which it all worked just fine. You can say what you want about Vista but that is pretty snacky.

I spent the rest of the night playing games and listening to music, once again enjoying the audio facet of gaming. On Norn I logged in in the middle of a crowded Warcamp so within seconds I was in a nearly full Warband taking keeps and BO’s. I love Norn! The sound held up perfectly and although I forgot to really check my framerate before the upgrade I can’t shake the feeling that the game is running smoother now in larger scale battles.

So yeah, I learned, I grew, I am a better man now, I have a soundcard rather than onboard sound and goddamn does it make a difference.

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9 Responses to “The Sound of WAR”


  1. April 10, 2009 at 14:03

    That’s the first I’ve heard of anyone using a soundcard in WAR. If it’ll keep my sound from dropping out on my alo-NASA-grade computer, it’s about damn time to get one.

  2. 2 Roo Stercogburn
    April 10, 2009 at 15:37

    Interesting.

    I generally have the sound way down because I use a separate PC for comms. It means that when the WAR client explodes I don’t get cut off and I can still tell people what’s happened. Downside is I don’t tend to hear much of the ing ame noise, which at times I miss.

  3. 3 Magnus
    April 10, 2009 at 20:38

    Glad to hear that a new soundcard improved the overall gameplay quality so much! I’ll keep that in mind.

    @Roo – could you not have the TS/Ventrilo on your headphones while playing the WAR sound from your gaming computer in small speakers or something. You’d probably need to fiddle with the volume now and then but it could be a net gain in the end!

    -Magnus

  4. 4 Roo Stercogburn
    April 10, 2009 at 21:46

    Don’t laugh. I use up to 3 PCs while playing WAR and only have one account.

    Gaming on one, comms on another (which is slow and old) for voice and instant messaging. I like to have a full screen on it so I can see who is chatting on voice comms as I don’t recognise all the voices, especially on larger scale events. Yes, I know I could run multiple screens from a single PC, I’m just using what I have. But also…

    I have ran voice on the same machine as the WAR client but found it problematic when I hit one of the WAR client’s little ‘eccentricities’. I found it doesn’t unload properly from memory and only a reboot sorts it out so to play safe I typically go for a cold boot. On alliance and server-wide events thats an unacceptable break in comms to me if I have a way around it. Running my comms on a different machine gives me resillience which has at times been extremely helpful.

    I keep another as a spare and for displaying a browser (forums, info and such). Sometimes I’ve found when the WAR client goes down I can log in to this other machine temporarily until I have my main gaming machine back up and running. If something big is happening I can get onto the other PC faster while I wait for the main machine to sort itself out. On some previous events this has helped reduce the break in in-game communication after zone crashes and such.

    All these geek goodies are in my office at home along with my servers and various networking bits and pieces. That sounds grander than it really is but you get the idea πŸ™‚

    She Who Must Be Adored is very tolerant.

  5. April 11, 2009 at 12:31

    Roo,

    Turn on the Creative labs options within sound options. You will be surprised how much ambient noise you have been missing. I will note that it’s sometimes a bit flaker for having it on. But it makes a reason.

    To be honest, I can’t believe anyone would believe that an onboard sound solution would ever equal a specific soundcard solution. Roo, sorry squire but this is straight to the back of the class for you. Big Doooohhhh. It’s like saying, why buy a new graphics card if you have an onboard one ready already.

    There is a reason that the better soundcards are equivalent to a reasonable priced motherboard. Those extra bits of silicon don’t come cheap and they aren’t there for show.

  6. April 11, 2009 at 12:33

    oh yes, I have the sound for the game pitched lower than the voice comms, while using the volume control on the headset to jack it up, when I want people to be a little louder on vent.

  7. 7 Roo Stercogburn
    April 11, 2009 at 19:15

    You misunderstand. I’m not arguing about the quality of sound. I much prefer soundcards to onboard and I don’t think anyone would disagree. I split between machines because WAR, both at client and server, has shown itself to be unreliable. By using voice comms and other messaging on a separate PC I sidestep the issue for those times WAR crashes either at the server or the client end.

    Comms is more important to me than ambience. Look at the times WAR has crashed on us in big ways – it has always been at utterly crucial moments that the server (or zone) goes down. It can be up to 10 minutes before you are back in the game. Thats 10 minutes too many to be out of contact if you’re in the hot seat and supposed to be organising things.

    Those times I’m soloing on alts, the sound goes up and I can immerse a bit more. I regret it when I’m at the bank vault in the Inevitable City. All that screaming. If I wanted to hear constant high pitched whining I’d have become a school teacher.

    One of the things I rather liked was that some of the ambient sounds from DAoC have been used. While it could be argued this is a little lazy, I found it a really nice touch in some of the areas to be hearing the old troll ambience from around Gna Faste and such.

    I’d still prefer to see the original music from the Orc loading screen brought back into the game. That is still the best music there has been in WAR to date and I don’t think anyone that came after closed beta will have even heard it. I could be wrong of course – maybe it plays in one of the game areas and I don’t notice because I have the sound turned down πŸ˜‰

    But when logged on as Roo, reliable comms comes first, always πŸ™‚

  8. April 11, 2009 at 21:37

    I’ve got a daft USB desktop speaker thing… it’s probably utter rubbish.

    WTB surround sound system, but first I need a bigger house to fit it in 😦

  9. April 12, 2009 at 15:12

    Yep, Roo, I misunderstood πŸ™‚


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