Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Video Games - League of Legends Highlights Sway

This past Tuesday was a Professional Development Day (Pro-D Day) for my district and rather than drive 2 hours to the town where the various Pro-D sessions were held, I instead opted to submit a self-directed Pro-D application to learn how to make a Sway.  Sway is a new presentation app that Microsoft developed as (I guess) an answer to Google Slides and Prezi (both are presentation apps that are natively online).

I originally wanted to learn the program at another Pro-D day but that session was full.  The app did interest me so I briefly looked into what it actually was and initially dismissed it until now.  Neat little program and in my mind, the biggest advantage over PowerPoint is the native online presence Sway has.

However, since I'm not supposed to be making lesson plans or other lesson related activities during my Pro-D day I instead learned how to use Sway and created Mr. Arocena's League of Legends Highlights.

In the process of learning Sway I also inadvertently ran across HitFilm Express which is an amazingly powerful free video editing software package.  I'll end up using it for all my education videos as well as it can do things that Movie Maker cannot.

The only flaw I found (and it's a major one in my mind) is that for some inexplicable reason Sways cannot be grouped into folders.  So for example if I make a bunch of League of Legends Sway presentations, they will just be sitting there ungrouped and unorganized in the My Sways tab of the website.  Huge flaw and the only reason I'm not going all-in on this new tool.

In the meanwhile though, Sway is great for special projects like the one I made.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Video Games - New Gaming PC Built!

My birthday came and went and with it an opportunity to build a new gaming PC.  I hadn't actually built a new PC from scratch since my university days, instead relying on pre-built systems and just upgrading the video card from it.

That sufficed for the most part but recently I've been experimenting with streaming and recording my gameplay and the pre-built systems I had been buying just weren't up to the task (part of the reason I haven't posted many video game related things or even streamed any game play).  With the opportunity to build my own PC again I spent a few days researching parts and finally decided on the following build

I scavenged the case and HDD from the existing computer so that saved me a bit of money.  Although in hindsight I should have picked up a new case anyways as I could then have a 2nd PC.  What I would do with the 2nd PC I have no idea but it would at least be working.  Maybe sell it or give it away to someone I guess.

Anyways, the new system was arrived last week and was fairly easy to put together compared to when I last built a computer.  Installing Windows 10 wasn't too bad either and I managed to activate it with an old Windows 7 key I had from an ancient laptop we had kicking around.  The computer operates much quieter than the previous one and is ridiculously fast in comparison as well.

My old system (running on an AMD A8-6500 with a Radeon R7 240 graphics card and 6gb of RAM) struggled to play Final Fantasy 14 at 1080p resolution on ultra low settings with an average of 20 FPS.  My new system runs it on maximum at 1080p while averaging 60 FPS.  There is no noticeable drop in FPS during gameplay while recording or streaming either so I think I'm going to be more inclined to stream/record my games now.

Obviously the PC is nowhere near top end but man is it ever a huge improvement over what I had before.  I have a potential significant upgrade path as the 7th generation Intel processors will use the same socket and I have a power supply large enough to power a beefier graphics card if I need to upgrade that later.  Given the current benchmarks though, my system should last a few years before needing any major upgrades (so says every PC builder).