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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mutation on the Bounty.

What James 'The Amazing Randi' Randi has done in debunking nutjob psychics, fringe audiophiles and other forms of pseudoscience goes mutatis mutandis for much of the 'expert advice', 'facts', and 'tweaks' often seen in gaming enthusiast forums.

Some of my posts have dealt with just such things (see I Read it in a National Enquirer Survey, it Must Be True!, I Can See CXLVI Frames Per Second!, Port Forwarding: Slaying the Mythical Dragon of Online PC Gaming. for some examples). I do this for a few reasons. I hate bullshit. I hate even more bullshit from the clueless (the truly ignorant can be forgiven - they're too clueless to know they don't know). There's enough BS in enthusiast forums to fertilize the entire planet. (As a side note, if you enjoy seeing this kind of thing blown out of the water 'boom headshot!' style, catch some episodes of the hilarious Penn & Teller: Bullshit! series).

I laid out a challenge bounty in my frames per second entry, which I'm quite sure will remain standing until we as humans are genetically altered or evolve into some kind of über gaming race. I've got another one in mind, prompted by recent posts in a myriad of Battlefield Bad Company 2 forums regarding a tweak to the MCSS (Multimedia Class Scheduler Service) for windows Vista/7, alleging greatly improved game performance. The fact that this mechanism only comes into play with respect to network throttling at rates over 10,000 packets per second seems to be utterly lost on the Jim Jones like posters of this 'miracle tweak'. This is far beyond the actual rate used by the game.

BS! I say! I firmly believe this is a classic placebo combined with a sort of mass delusion often seen with 'tweaks' like this. This facility of Windows does not even come into play in the typical gaming environment, and any gamer worth their salt is not even trying to watch streaming videos and listen to streaming music while gaming (not that even that would necessarily invoke this feature's use).

So here's the challenge: I publicly state that the first person to demonstrate a measurable and statistically significant difference in game performance (including but not limited to ping and FPS rates, measured using metrics and tools acceptable to both parties) and a statistically significant change in player score (frags per minute or some other metric agreed to by both parties) or the ability to even recognize whether the feature is enabled or not to a statistically significant level while playing Battlefield Bad Company 2, playing only the game and optionally using some VOIP communications such as Ventrilo or Teamspeak on a fresh installation of Windows 7 with no other applications installed or running other than those present in the default Windows installation, will garner a bounty of a $100.00 U.S. gift card from the author.

For a twist on the last challenge, where a challenger has nothing to lose and everything to gain by showing fault in my statements, any challenger agrees that once the detailed conditions outlined above are agreed upon by both parties, and the challenge is accepted, failure to produce supporting evidence for the hypothesis that this 'tweak' has any material affect will require the challenger to pay $100.00 U.S. within 30 days of conclusion of the challenge to the charity of the author's choice.

As before, my Shekels are safe, perhaps I can however enrich the coffers of some charities!

As an aside, I wil NOT post any comments of the 'Well, I can see the difference!' genre for this blog entry. You think you can beat the challenge? Then post your public acceptance of the challenge. Put up, or shut up!

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