Monday, June 29, 2015

Clicker Heroes - Possibly the Last Game You Will Ever Play, Literally [First Impressions, Tips, and some Screenshots]

"Cunningly Addictive" ~ The Game Tips And More Blog

Recipe For "Egg Stream Lee", A Very Addictive Game (Clicking Spices version): 
2 parts random-loot-and-gold-collection feeling of Diablo2
3 parts colorfulness of a Japanese Animation
1 part the simplicity of a Browser-based game
Generous sprinkles of Humour
Pour mixture into a shell of Mathematics, Statistics and Programming
Let Steam, Downloading for 1-2 Minutes, until thoroughly Installed
Pour Clicking Spices all over top and sides
Prepare desk for eating and have enough supplies for never getting up again

Spend the rest of your life Clicking at the main website, or through Steam
(Graphic from the Clicker Heroes Website)

I haven't played this game for very long (I expect to do so, over time); but I already feel like I am a rat in an experiment. That, or the creator of the game is a Psychology Major, as the entire thing feels like a series of Human Cheese Traps, spaced out skillfully apart - each one just far enough away so that it doesn't seem like you have limitless amounts of cheese, but also close enough together, so that once you are finished with your present goal/cheese, looking up, there is another piece not far away - and you want that one now, too.

One of the first things to learn, for your own safety, is how to Exit the game. To do this, click on the 'x' in the corner of the Window. If in FullScreen mode, hit ESC to go into Windowed Mode, then click on the 'x' to do a typical Exit [Suggestion To Devs: an Exit within the Main screen area would be great]

"An Interactive Study Into Human Tendencies", should be an alternate name for this game. The Recipe I made above says it all: there is a nice sense of progression in the game, just enough to keep you interested as, everytime I 'got bored', something else 'unlocked' and I wanted to play further. There is even a sense of 'Inclusion' - the concept that your performing some action (you, as the player) makes a difference in the game. While overall, it does not [I mean that literally in the game and metaphorically as this is a game], it does still add to the sense of Inclusion, as you are helping your Heroes kill even faster, gaining gold even faster, which allows Upgrades even faster, which then allows killing even faster! And thus is the Circle Of Life. That is, your life, which could possibly become nothing but this game (esp. if you have compulsive tendencies). Serious for one moment: be careful to balance this game and the human tendencies it illicits, with discipline, restraint and breaks with 'real life' (if you can)...
"Need to do the laundry? Give the puppy a shower? No worries! Your heroes will farm monsters and automatically collect the gold while you're gone, even when the game is closed. But don't forget to come back and spend all that sweet gold on new heroes and upgrades!" ~ from Clicker Heroes Steam Store Page (Above Graphic from Clicker Heroes Steam Store Page)

That's right, after closing the game (if you do happen to pull yourself away from it, into Real Life), all the Heroes you hired in the game will continue to fight for you, killing monsters and collecting teh goldz, non-stop. While not a new concept in games ('working for you while you are gone'), it adds to the sense of progression, as you return to huge masses of gold, ready to spend on Upgrades and New Heroes that have come to help you amass even more gold...

While you weren't playing, you earned 567 Trillion Goldz. Trillion.

The background music that plays (but can be turned off, which is important to many), is a pirate/adventure-style beat, from what sounds like Midi-powered Orchestral sources. It is catchy, even though it merely repeats over and over. [It would be nice to see a 'Battle Music' concept here, where the music changes if you actively participate (with immense clicking), changing back to the 'standard music' when you stop helping out your heroes]

When you hire the Hero named "Betty Clicker", Unlock her Upgrades as fast as possible, as her Upgrades help all your other Heroes out! As well, when you are able to hire the Hero named "King Midas", Unlock his Upgrades as soon as possible too, as his Upgrades increase all gold amounts found, from then on!

The overall strategy in the game is simple: You click/hit Monsters that automatically appear, which eventually die, and drop Gold. This money can then be used to hire Heroes, which approach you automatically and can fight for you, adding to your Damage. These same Heroes fight for you constantly, even if you aren't playing the game. After each batch of Monsters are killed, it makes opens the way for you to enter a new Area (Level). Each consecutive Area/Level has another batch of Monsters - but higher Level/Area Monsters drop more Gold. However, the higher you go in Levels, the more Damage you need to do, as the Monsters have higher and higher Hit Points [amount of Life] to hack through, in order to kill them... It quickly becomes a delicate balance of what level you could play at, versus how fast you can kill - which means how much gold you can acquire for Upgrading your Heroes (which allows them to do more Damage for you) kill faster, to play higher levels, to get more goldz... and on and on it goes. So then, 'what do??'

Do you stay on the same level longer, to get easy (but less) gold?
Do you try to move on, killing slower (but the monsters you kill drop higher amounts of gold)?
Do you hire a new Hero to help your DPS (Damage Per Second) or Upgrade your current Hero to do more damage instead?
Do you hoard your gold and spend it in large purchases, or do you spend it as fast as it is coming in?
These are Life Lessons, people.

Maybe that's what this game is, a Training Course for Real Life... It is showing you that the sense of progression in Life is merely nothing but one piece of cheese after another. Feed that hunger, earn that money, buy that thing, play that game, poop that poop. Sleep. If you wake up, Repeat: Feed that hunger, earn that money, buy that thing, play that game, poop that poop. Sleep. If you wake up, Repeat. Do you see? This game is an allegory for the human experience! It is showing you the folly of life! Life is nothing but a treadmill of "upgrades" and "quests" and "other people that come along" and all your life can be simplified down to what... CLICKS! The clicks are your footsteps in life! The clicks are your thoughts as you walk around, the thoughts of the people "the heroes" in your life, the clicks are your actions, your doing homework, your paying the bills, your food going in your mouth! The clicks are your breaths! The clicks are your heartbeats! IT IS ALL JUST CLICKS AHAHAH...

...I got up off the floor after laying there a while... I'm ok now.

See this little orange guy to the right? Hit these! They have a chance of dropping Rubies, which can be used to purchase items from the Shop (giving you 'buffs' such as Gold, Faster Cooldowns, and Higher DPS).

These 14 Rubies I have, were found (not bought) by killing the li'l orange Monsters shown in the GIF above. They appear randomly and have a random chance at dropping a Ruby. Of course, the Developers of the game can always be Supported by purchasing some!
(Screenshot of Cash Shop, Click to see Full Size)

Wondering what the Letters and Symbols mean? Here is the Key to them:
  • 1K = 1,000 = One Thousand
  • 1M = 1,000K = One Million
  • 1B = 1,000M = One Billion
  • 1T = 1,000B = One Trillion
  • 1q = 1,000T = One Quadrillion
  • 1Q = 1,000q = One Quintillion
  • 1s = 1,000Q = One Sextillion
  • 1S = 1,000s = One Septillion
  • 1O = 1,000S = One Octillion
  • 1N = 1,000O = One Nonillion
  • 1d = 1,000N = One Decillion
  • 1U = 1,000d = One Undecillion
  • 1D = 1,000U = One Duodecillion
  • 1! = 1,000D = One Tredecillion
  • 1@ = 1,000! = One Quattuordecillion
  • 1# = 1,000@ = One Quindecillion
  • 1$ = 1,000# = One Sexdecillion
  • 1% = 1,000$ = One Septendecillion
  • 1^ = 1,000% = One Octodecillion
  • 1& = 1,000^ = One Novemdecillion
  • 1* = 1,000& = One Vigintillion
This game deals with extremely high damage, gold and numbers in general - use the above Key to decipher what stage/amounts you are dealing with!

There's not much else to say about this deceptively addictive game (other than you can play it at the Main Website or Install it via Steam). You will either hate it, saying it is too stupid, too simple, too repetitive - or you will love this game and you will find it fun and addictive, and you will play it a lot - you will play it forever. Just don't hold your breath when you are trying to click as fast as you can...

Don't hold your breath when you are trying to click as fast as you can. You may die.
Actually, you will just pass out, and then you will resume breathing normally and wake up. Unless you hit your head on something when you pass out, or fall on something that crushes your windpipe. Then you will die. Basically, don't hold your breath while clicking, ok?

I haven't been playing very long [Level 85 woo!] and already I can see this game may ruin my life. This game has already ruined many lives. Maybe you shouldn't play this game after all. Maybe everyone should.

See You In The Game... or at least, Playing It.

[Personal Logarithm: I have a 'tip' for clicking speed, something I call "The Quiver"... It's something I figured out in the days of Famicom/Nintendo, where I could 'stiffen' my hand (holding out my index finger) and tighten my arm (bicep and tricep at the same time, almost as though 'flexing' for your 'special someone') - and then just let it 'quiver'... If done right, your finger (held stiff on your tightened hand and arm) will be bouncing up and down, very fast, on the desired button (in those days a Nintendo a mouse). It may take practice, but once mastered, it will increase your speed not only on mouse-driven games, but also in all other games that require repeated button pressing (tested since the old cabinet stand-up arcade games..). I pass this torch of button-mashing technique, from "Old Skool" gaming days onto a new generation, you. Hopefully my unmet gamer friend, you can master this 'quivering' technique, one that will assist in mounting massive attacks in fighting games and all manner of button-mashing machines - and in Clicker Heroes, may it help you amass large amounts of goldz for your deepz... Enjoy]

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Battlefield: Play4Free - Send It Off With A Bang - Part 2 [Same Cheesy Title, Newer Play4Free Funds Code]

Just an update for those of you playing Battlefield: Play4Free, which is sadly coming to an end, which it will on July 14th, 2015; EA graciously posted a code in the Official Forums that initially gave Soldiers 10,000 Funds to spend on whatever their little digital hearts desired. That initial code has been used up - but a new one was released on the 17th (but it still works, I just tested it today (the day of this posting), so quickly use it if you haven't yet!

Newer Funds code, from EA:


A quick note again, that these codes are Per Account, not Per Soldier - but hopefully it will help alleviate some of the pain from this game ending....

See You In The Game (For A While)

Steam - Stuck On Updating Steam Information Message Thingy [It's Not Just You]

Just a quick Tip to let others know, if you've been trying to play a game on Steam 'just now' and have only been seeing this:

Updating Steam Information.... forever

It's Not Just You™ (slash-whew) 

It seems to be many, many people all over the world. It's not a 'regular maintenance time', so it feels odd, I know. But, as I recently saw in multiple forums talking about this occurrence - it shouldn't last too long. In fact, even though it started only a few minutes ago for me; it just ended now - my Steam is up and Ready!

So, like many things in life... just close your eyes, open your mouth, try to relax... and wait just a little bit longer (it took over 5 minutes for me, which felt crazy to wait for; but it has taken much longer than that for some people). If it hasn't happened for you yet, it may, the next time to start Steam. Don't Panic

Just letting you know [my personal experience with this that just occurred and may be the same for you..].

See You In The Game - Soon, Hopefully!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Guild Wars 2 - Slightly Annoying Not-So-Little Grey Arrow That Points Down And Does Not Go Away [It's Not Just You]

Just a quick Tip to others playing Guild Wars 2: I popped into GW2 after a long time away, mainly for some Stock recordings; but I found a weird little arrow that doesn't seem to have a reason for being there - other than covering up my Buffs and pointing to the 6th Skill (for no reason?). Here's what it looks like:

I asked around in the game (noone knew how to get rid of it, but others complained about it) and I looked in on the Official Forums, eventually finding this - an Official Response from a Dev there (from about a month ago):

Messing about with it a little more, it seems nothing gets rid of it for most (including myself, when it occurs). I personally have:

  • Healed
  • Died (while AFK)
  • Used a Waypoint
  • Hit ESC 42 times
  • Logged out then logged in again
That last one cleared it for me, slash-whew.. But it may return, and it may not go away until I Logout again... [Maybe something will change from today's update..?]

Just letting others know that 'it's not just you' - and as of the time of this post, it seems there's nothing we can really do about it slash-sadface

See You In The Game Anyway!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

And More: Deals and Sales - The 2015 Summer Sales Are Almost Over! [Notice]

Just an quick post as a reminder - or to let more people know, if they didn't already - there are a lot of great 'Summer Sales' going on right now at various game distribution/retailer websites [think of them as 'Winter Wonder Sales' if you are in the Southern Hemisphere!].

Here are just a few samples of deals that are going on (there are a lot more at the individual company websites):


Most of these Sales are going to end Sunday and Monday - so get out there and see if you can find anything you've been waiting for 'to go on sale' - and See You In The Games!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Quality Test: Bandicam's Xvid Implementation And Examination Of The Optimization Configuration [with Screenshot Comparisons]

For those that use Bandicam to record their gameplay, you may already be familiar with and even use one of the built-in Presets that Bandicam offers, all of which configure many of the recording settings automatically for you. Some of these Presets are directed towards 'immediate post-record upload' of gameplay recordings. One of these, is the "YouTube (720p)" Preset.

In this Quality Test, I will be focusing in specifically on the "Optimization" setting within the Options of this Preset and examining the difference you can expect between the two options that you can choose from. The two options for the Optimization setting under the Xvid Settings dialog are: "Faster Encoding Speed" (the Default) and "Smaller File Size" - the area where you choose between these two is highlighted in the Header of this article, above.

Recently, on the Official Bandicam Forums here, I was trying to help out a fellow Bandicam user, with information about Quality and it's relation to File Sizes, and I ended up speaking briefly about this "Optimization" setting, offered in Bandicam. I felt as though I wanted to expand a bit more on this setting in Bandicam and the effect of each option - both for the benefit of this user and to help others as well - and so here is the 'expanding'... ness...

"Xvid" is a codec (used to COmpress and DECompress video), that is part of the MPEG-4 family. For those familiar with video compression and H.264/AVC (which is MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding), Xvid is H.263/ASP (MPEG-4 Part 2, Advanced Simple Profile). This means it is related to h.264/AVC; however, being h.263/ASP, Xvid does not have some of the 'top-shelf' capabilities of h.264/AVC. It does however, have many capabilities (such as B-Frames and Quarter-Pixel analysis) which still give it high-quality output potential.

For more of an in-depth look into Bandicam's implementation of Xvid and other Settings it offers, their effects on Quality and related File Sizes (and More!), I have written an article earlier (by popular request) talking about "some of the Xvid settings I use, and why", here.

In the game recording application Bandicam, the many options that Xvid offers have been given a simplified interface for the user, where they can very easily choose between a 'Faster Speed' version (the Default) and a 'Smaller Size' version. This is to expected from the concept of the Presets, but it is also simplified in the Xvid configuration options in general [in Bandisoft's implementation of Xvid in the program]. This should not be seen entirely as a negative, as there are many, many options for Xvid (an MPEG-4 codec, with literally dozens of settings) and it would be potentially confusing for many users to attempt to choose between the various settings [and know what their effects on recording and output would be], thus the simplified interface.

So then, what is the 'real difference' between the two "Optimization" settings? Let's take a look...

Night Scene frame comparison for the two settings, in the Unigine Valley Benchmark. Click to see Full Size

Above, is a side-by-side comparison of two frame extractions from two recordings, utilizing the two different Xvid Optimization options in Bandicam. The one on the left was from a video recorded using the Default setting of "Faster Encoding Speed", where the one on the right was from a video recorded using the option changed to the "Smaller File Size" setting.

It can be seen, mainly in the flatter, darker-blue area between the moon and the trees to the left of it, that the 'Faster Speed' side appears to have a 'blocky' effect occurring, even though it is a subtle occurrence. It does not seem to be happening on the right, in the 'Smaller Size' setting frame. The right side has a smoother change in the variations of colours, with less of the 'blocks' - which are compression artifacts (that is, visual effects seen in the video material due to the difference in how the codec is calculating the gradations ['noticing and calculating the series of changes'] in the colours).

This 'blocky' effect is likely occurring because many of the analysis and processing options in the codec may be turned OFF in the 'Faster' setting of [Bandicam's usage of] Xvid. This is a normal approach however, as turning these types of options off, essentially tells the codec "don't pay as much attention to detail" - resulting in the codec processing and outputting data (in the form of frames) much faster - hence the "Faster Encoding Speed" title of the option. It simply is not attempting to 'look at all the subtle differences in colour' and 'keep them all'.

As far as Output File Size for each Optimization setting, when recording the Valley Benchmark with the "Faster Encoding Speed" option of Bandicam's "YouTube (720p)" Preset, it was streaming data at about 24Mbps to the video file (writing about 3MB/s [to a hard drive capable of 150MB/s]).  When recording using the "Smaller File Size" option, data was being recorded at half that rate, about 12Mbps (writing less than 1.5MB/s to the video file). This is most likely due to the extra analysis that the codec is performing, being able to [with the 'Smaller Size' setting] scrutinize further and compress the video more, reducing the final recorded file size output.

 Let's look at other examples to see more differences between the two settings.

Close-up anatomical frame comparison for the two settings, in the Street Fighter IV Benchmark. Click to see Full Size

Above, is a comparison of two frame extractions from two recordings of the Street Fighter IV Benchmark. The left (using the 'Faster Encoding Speed' option), has not only the Macroblocking effect from our earlier example (at less severity, seen more along in the right edge of the frames); but it also shows a blotchy, speckled effect within the subtle changes of colour (seen everywhere, but it is more obvious around the deltoid and pectoral muscles of the game character [Ryu's shoulder and chest muscles]) . This is a form of Gibbs Effects, sometimes called "mosquito noise" in video processing.

This type of effect is likely to occur for the same reasons as the above comparison, where in the "Faster Encoding" setting, many of the analysis and processing options are turned OFF, resulting in higher Performance, in the end. The codec is simply not attempting to maintain the same amount of detail (the minor changes in colour) within and between the frames - again however, having the result of higher performance [versus the "Smaller Size" option].

The recordings themselves, of the Street Fighter IV Benchmark, had similar Bitrates to the above example. With the "Faster Encoding Speed" option, about 30Mbps were being saved to the video file (written at about 3.5MB/s to the drive). When using the "Smaller File Size" setting, about 20Mbps of data was being streamed out (written at about 2MB/s to the video file output). This again, is an example of the extra analysis, capable in the 'Smaller Size' option, where the codec is going to sacrifice some performance, to do what it can, to analyze the differences in the video and maintain them to a higher degree in the final video output (keeping more detail - at the cost of a performance 'hit' in recording and disk space used overall for the final output file).

Still frame comparison for the two optimization settings, taken from the Batman: Arkham City Benchmark.
Click to see Full Size

In the above pair of screenshots (extractions from two Batman: Arkham City Benchmark video recordings), evidence of both of the previous example types of compression effects can be seen. In both frame extractions, Gibbs Effects ('ringing' or 'mosquito noise') can be seen around the furniture in the bottom/front (center). The left frame also contains the Macroblocking effect, especially in the 'flatter' [area with less detail] center region (it is also present in the right frame, but it does so in a far less obvious manner).

Both of these effects occur to some degree in the right example as well, but Macroblocks occur to a far lesser degree in the central region, as the codec [with the "Smaller File Size" option] is sacrificing Speed for the sake of taking more time to analyze each frame further, taking into account the changes in colour between the frames ('Temporal') and throughout the frames themselves ('Spatial'), attempting to maintain more of the colour it is detecting.

Looking at the Bitrates used for the recordings, with the "Faster Encoding" option, it was saving data at about 16Mbps (writing about 2MB/s to the video file), where the "Smaller Size" option was recording half that, about 8Mbps (saving 1MB/s to the recording); once again showing the difference the analysis and attempt to compress the frames further, saves on diskspace. The Performance Hit for this game was little however, in difference, as the Average Frames Per Second (reported after a Full Run of the Benchmark) was the same for both: 93fps.

I wanted to do an example of a game that has far lower 'action' happening on the screen (a lower amount of changes happening at once), so I chose this Web Browser-based game, called Lottso Express (found at As can be seen above, there is little apparent difference between the two frames extracted from the two recordings, each with the different optimization setting being used.

This is likely due to the fact that there is so little changing on the screen at one time in this game [source material], that the codec is able to efficiently handle all changes occurring, losing little to the lower analysis being done when using the "Faster" option. Indeed, the difference in Bitrate between the two recordings was less than 100kbps - the Faster Encoding recording had a Bitrate of 540kbps (writing about 67KB/s to the file) and the 'Smaller File' video had a Bitrate of about 440kbps (writing about 55KB/s to the file).

Getting back to higher-action games (ones with more changes going on in the screen/frames), the above two frames are extracted from two game recordings of Battlefield: Hardline, each with the different Optimization option selected. Taken from videos where the player [me!] was standing almost still, there was little going on in game, but the frames have Macroblocking occurring in the flatter/less-detailed region on the left [of each], most likely due to the 80% Quality setting of the YouTube720p Preset - compressing the non-moving area as much as possible. Gibbs Effects ("ringing" or "mosquito noise") is apparent in the upper-right area for the "Faster Encoding Speed" side, far less visible in the same region (around the edges of the leaves) on the "Smaller File Size" side.

The Bitrate for both videos shown above was similar as well, with the 'Faster Encoding' recording running at only about 10Mbps (saving about 1MB/s to the video file), as again, the player was not moving very much at all [in this example]. The 'Smaller Size' recording saved only slightly less data, at 7Mbps (writing less than 1MB/s to the file) - not a large difference, since there weren't many changes going on with the material in the frames (due to not moving very much). This is a good example of showing how both settings, although both set with differing limitations, 'try to do as much as they can', when it comes to compressing/saving the video data to the output file.

Still frame comparison for the two optimization settings, taken from two recordings of Planetside 2. I was shooting my rifle just off to the right, creating an area to analyze between the rifle and the Console. The open areas around the Console are also open to examination. Click to see Full Size
Another high-action game, these frames above are from the game Planetside 2, with my soldier shooting a rifle just off-screen to the right. This increases the motion going on in the frames, and thus increases the differences between the two Optimization settings and how they will handle the onscreen motion vectors (seen more in the area between the just-off-screen rifle to the right and the console in the center). Between the two, especially on the left example, Macroblocking is seen in that region, as well as the floor.

Although a handful of examples can bring out the difference between these two settings, try to remember that these are all zoomed, scrutinized examples - still frames, as well, where compression artifacts are much easier to spot - so here is a different type of example, following:

Above, is an example of the two codec settings in motion (created as a GIF by Bandisoft's Honeycam [which came out of Beta just weeks ago - Tutorial for the program Coming Soon™]). Even though I applied a Sharpness Filter within the program, to accentuate the difference between the two, it can be seen that Macroblocking occurs in both (likely due to the 80% Quality portion of the Preset) - although it appears much stronger in the left half. Below is the same example, but with no Sharpness Filter applied.

As seen above, although the compression artifacts are present if looked for, it is somewhat of a subtle presence in a moving, action-packed recording, during playback. Indeed, many people will not even notice the visual differences between the two settings, being more interested in the action occurring on screen! These artifacts are also further 'hidden', if a recording is going to be further processed - such as after uploading to a video sharing site.

Many of these types of sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Plays.Tv, etc) will re-compress the video into a more streaming-friendly Bitrate, sometimes into multiple bitrates, then available to choose from, by the viewer, when browsing them. This decreases Quality (in the name of smoother streaming, with less dropped frames or 'falling behind'), further hiding imperfections like the compression artifacts above - unless of course they are far too obvious in the source recording, where then, they will still be present (although blurred or softened) in the final video playback/viewing. I created an example of the effect from this re-compression, done by video sharing sites - it is shown just below (YouTube is used merely as an example):
Originally created for an earlier article, testing out MJPEG on Diablo3 with Bandicam, this screenshot shows examples of the detail loss after uploading to YouTube, when the video is streamed back at 1080p and 720p (the frames are extractions of the downloaded post-recompression versions of the original upload).
Click to see Full Size

As always, dear reader, I urge you to try your own tests, with your favourite (or latest played) games, to see which setting you prefer. Sometimes, you may be limited in your choices. For example, if you have an older PC system, or are using a Laptop, you may only be able to record with the 'Faster Encoding' option, unable to utilize the further analysis and processing done by the 'Smaller File' setting at this time - it may just create too much 'lag' or 'choppy-ness' while recording for your system. Or, you may have disk space as a limitation, then only being able to use the 'Smaller Size' option, where the further analysis and compression is the only way you can collect enough gameplay recordings for your project.

Either way, don't be too discouraged, remembering from the last [animated] example above - and the YouTube example - that it is a subtle difference overall, one that I have accentuated here [merely for educational purposes, for those that wished to know what the 'real' difference in output would be]. When not 'zooming in' or otherwise scrutinizing the videos closely - normally enjoying them and all their action-packed-ness - one may not even notice a difference at all, even after seeing the above examples! In that case then, I urge you to use whichever is more beneficial for your circumstances - and try to have fun using either setting of this 'Bandicam-optimized-version-of-Xvid' as your recording codec, to record your gameplay experiences.

See You In The Game!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MSI Afterburner and AMD Gaming Evolved (Powered by Raptr) - Working Together In A Tense Harmony [Tutorial Of A Workaround]

I have been using Raptr (the AMD-Sponsored version, called AMD Gaming Evolved) for a while off and on, more dedicatedly since December now and have been having a lot of fun with it. In this article, I'll show my 'Workaround' steps for getting MSI Afterburner and Raptr (G.E.) to work together. It's odd, but it's easy. Enjoy.

There are a bunch of reasons why gamers would want to run MSI Afterburner along with Raptr/GamingEvolved: the added Overclocking capability, Fan Control, Buffered Gameplay Recording, and more.

At first, I noticed that when trying to run MSI Afterburner, together with Raptr/GamingEvolved, they both just looked at each other and said, "Nuh-uh.." and walked away... sometimes taking the game with it. After looking it up online, it seems that many people have wanted this and had this problem. So, I took it upon myself to see if I could find a Solution (or at least a Workaround) for this odd interaction - and I did!

I share it with you now, my dear readers and fellow gamers, so that you can utilize the potential of these two programs together (and mention the steps for the workaround, in hopes that it will help the Developers of these useful applications possibly ease their mutual tension between them, in future updates, perhaps).

Short Version first (for the impatient or those that "just want to know c'mon", and those with ADHD - both parties of which I belong to myself), then a Long Version, explaining the steps further and possible reasons why this entire interaction may be occurring:

Short Version

  • Run RAPTR_GE (set the Overlay for any corner but the Upper-Left)
  • Run Game (wait a moment to let the Overlays for RAPTR_GE load, if Enabled)
  • Run MSI_AB (which Defaults to using the Upper-Left for its Overlay)
  • Sit With  Mouth Open For A Moment

Long Version

Here are the steps I found for getting Afterburner and Raptr working together in a tense harmony**, figured out after much testing of settings, and games, and reboots, and re-installations, and more...

Initially, I found it ran much better while running Bandicam (in the background, not 'doing anything' with it); but after updating all three programs and GPU drivers since beginning Testing, it seems that the extra step of running Bandicam (and having it just sit there) is not needed anymore. So, here are the 'New and Improved', simplified steps for getting these two useful programs to work together:

  • Run AMD Gaming Evolved / Raptr and Login
  • Make sure MSI Afterburner is not running
  • Run your game
  • Let AMD Gaming Evolved / Raptr load its Overlays
    (I suggest the Lower-Left corner (I used that for testing the below games), but eventually tried the Lower-Right as well, and I believe any will work, as long as it is not the Upper-Left corner [as MSI Afterburner uses that region for its Overlay by Default])
  • Run MSI Afterburner and choose/have your settings for Fans, Overclocking, Gameplay Recording,etc
  • Go back to your running game and let these programs detect the game and load up fully
    (you should see the MSI Afterburner overlay [by Default, in the Upper-Left] and the Raptr/GE overlay load in its corner you selected - and you should now be running Afterburner and Raptr together!

  1. Note that some games can have MSI Afterburner running already (I have noted some below, in a list); but for the most part, it will result in either the GamingEvolved/Raptr GameDVR not loading, or the game simply crashing [at least, it did in my testing].
  2. Note also, that you should try not to lose Focus of the game (ie. don't ALT+TAB out of the game or click outside of the window if in a Windowed Mode) or close any of the programs (eg. don't close MSI Afterburner and leave your game and Ratpr/GE running - it will likely crash the game [at least, it did in my tests]).

That's it!

Hopefully, you are now running MSI_AB and RAPTR_GE together, seeing the overlays for both and are able to have the benefits of both; Buffered Game Recording, Game Time Tracking, Fan Control, and even Overclocking.

Note: If running the RAPTR_GE recording buffer and the MSI_AB recording buffer at the same time, game performance will be affected - but it is possible if you wish to do so - I did it in my Testing.

Now, I am not a Programmer, nor am I a Developer for any of these programs or companies; so I am not 100% sure why this 'works'. It seems to be mainly a Workaround [to me], as it should not require running a multiple almost-competitor programs, with seemingly-close functions/overlays/etc all at once [and initially, Bandicam had to be running in Minimized mode]. The only reasoning I can find (in my superficial estimation), is that there are functions/calls that the programs are making that interfere with each other 'just enough' to make this all work together in a 'tense harmony'**. I say this because it does not work near as reliably, if you run MSI Afterburner first, the games first, or other variations of this.

[At least, it did not work those ways on my system, at the time of this writing and testing - I realize that every system configuration is different, and offers differing obstacles to these two programs working together. I feel it is an immense task as it is, to have each of these programs running one at a time on such a multitude of systems and difference of hardware that exists - my compliments go out to the Developers of both of these useful programs, regardless]

To try to be a little more specific, perhaps it is 'working' because there are functions/calls that these programs are doing, that are actually conflicting with each other - but they do so in such a fashion, that the end result is that they each stake out their territory and 'dont mess with each other' - each working in their own little Overlay or Recording areas, each performing their programmed functions, but with a sideways eye held in the direction of the other applications...

Regardless of how this Technomancy is working [remember it was even more 'odd' initially, with having to run Bandicam for some reason, at the same time], I tested it with multiple games now and it appears to be a repeatable process with reliable output (as long as you don't look at your computer too long in the eye region) - thus, I wanted to share it here with you all.

Games The Above Procedure Was Tested With: 

DNW = Did Not Work
AB = can have MSI_AB running already (before game is started)
22 = Error 22 was experienced (intermittently) 

  • Minecraft
  • Battlefield 4
  • Battlefield: Hardline
  • Planetside 2
  • Just Cause 2
  • World Of Warcraft
  • Simcity (2013)
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Zombies Monsters Robots
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - AB
  • Team Fortress 2 - AB
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive - AB
  • TESV: Skyrim - AB
  • Batman: Arkham City - AB, 22
  • Tomb Raider (2013) - AB
  • Torchlight - AB
  • The Secret World - AB
  • Need For Speed World - DNW
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 - DNW (reliably)
  • Plants Vs Zombies (Steam and Origin) - DNW  

[Edit/Update: I did not initially test Hearthstone at the time of writing this post, but I have played it some since - and felt I must come back here and add that, in my experience with playing Hearthstone while running MSI Afterburner, there have been many occurrences of crashing, both of the game itself and the Blizzard Launcher [have been crashing]... Whether it is something at the moment with Blizzard's software, something with Afterburner, or something with Windows 10 (as I have recently Upgraded to it) I cannot say - but I wanted to make sure to let you know that if this is occurring with you (crashing when running Hearthstone and MSI Afterburner together) that It's Not Just You™]

By the way, if on your system, you just can't get these two to play nice together (but want to make sure and run at least Raptr/GE in order to track your gameplay or use the Optimizer, etc) - don't worry, you can do most of the functions MSI Afterburner offers with similar [also free] programs... If you purchased a video card from some companies recently, you may have gotten a disc with a similar utility on it.

For instance, EVGA has PrecisionX (you may have gotten no disc though and will have to go to their offical website). Club3D (new to North America, but they have been 'across the pond' for a couple of decades now) has RoyalFlush. Both of these examples offer Overclocking, Overvoltage and Fan Control (and PrecisionX offers Screenshot Capturing).

AMD Gaming Evolved (Raptr) of course offers both Screenshot Capturing and Buffered Recording of gameplay [Quality Tests of these GameDVR recordings, in future articles, Coming Soon™!]; but if you want the extra features that MSI Afterburner offers - and want these two programs running at the same time (for whatever reasons you may have) - I hope the above steps work for you. Enjoy... and See You In The Game!

[**Tense Harmony is the phrase I am utilizing in this article, because it is a tentative, fragile working condition: I found that if I ALT+TAB'd out of a game, it could cause this whole house of cards to come crashing down [the game could crash]. If I was running the game in a Windowed Mode, and I clicked outside of it for some reason (to look up something in the Intertubes, etc), it could cause the game to crash. Basically, any sneezing or farting of any type near the computer could cause this Workaround to asplode. Remember, that initiallyin Testing, trying to figure this all out, I had to run Bandicam as well, Minimized and 'not doing anything' - I mean, what the frell? I normally wouldn't even recommend, as a Former IT Professional, running multiple-different-and-for-the-most-part-competing [game recording] programs, each with their own functions and overlays... heck, I could have been called a heretic and forced to do Late-Night Tech Support, if I was still working, for suggesting to run multiple programs that all do the same thing for goodness'sakes, heh... Anyway, thus my phrasing utilized herein. No matter what though, I hope it works for you, as it did for me.]