Early adopting an Xbox one

Friday 22nd November was the release day to Xbox One. As an early adopter and Xbox fan (though I own all the consoles) I had my preorder with Amazon in since May. I sometimes think I should try the midnight queueing in the cold at a store for the ultimate release day excitement but instead I opt for the pain of waiting all day for a delivery to arrive. To be fair to Amazon it did arrive on day one but just at 4pm.
I was joking around on the day that it was a race between @elemming flying back from a work trip to Dubai and the Xbox One arriving. @ids pointed out on twitter that this sounded like a Top Gear race 🙂
The Xbox actually arrived 20 minutes before @elemming due to some flight delays out of Dubai due to rain! However she had the last laugh in the race as having unboxed and plugged in the HDMI and audio cables and got it all going I was in the mandatory day one patch downloading sequence.
#xboxone won the Dubai race with @elemming by 20 mins or so
though @elemming may have lost the race with the delivery but she beat the mandatory software patch #xboxone
I have to say that this day one experience, or any day for that matter was incredibly annoying. It is of course part of the point of early adoption that you end up waiting on progress bars. It, like waiting for a delivery is a good exercise in patience!
My internet is slow, BT still have yet to provide Inifnity to me despite being in an enabled area. I had to leave work uploads to a code management system for 9 hours. So seeing a brand new mating sat there demanding that it does a mandatory 600Mb patch in order to do anything with it was strange. It did work for me though, it took a while but then I was in the new dashboard. It plays a nice video to welcome you, and I wonder if that video was part of the 600Mb “patch” if it was then I could have done without it!
The new Kinect 2.0 worked really well straight away as I signed in and picked up my Xbox Live account. I took the Day One giant QR code for Fifa 14 and the camera picked it up straight away and set about the digital download of the game. This of course was going to take ages too as it was 10gb. Oh well, I thought I would leave it in the background anyway. I had the discs of preordered games. I had Call of Duty Ghosts, Ryse Son of Rome and Forza 5.
So excitedly, now I had a brand new patched console I put the disc in the drive. There it was Forza 5. It then started to install, no more playing from the disc you have to fill up your hard drive. However I was met with a message that this also needed a mandatory patch. It then told me the “patch” was 6GB! With my 4Mbps line that would be about 4 hours. So I did not expect to be able to play anything on day one as it was already late in the day. It seemed each game required a huge update for Day one. I tried COD and Ryse and got the same message.
I left it for an hour or so and cooked tea put the predlets to bed etc.
I checked google a few people suggest a fix. Turn off your internet!
So I did! I cancelled the Forza installation and started again. The game then installed from the disc and started up. I was greater with the awesome introduction/ training of getting to drive the Maclaren P1 around a street circuit. Feeling the new features of the controller with independent rumbling on the triggers. This meant the wheel spin of acceleration or sliding feels different to the ABS judder of the brakes. I did a few races and was pleased with the depth of integration of Top Gear, especially the 3rd race around the Top Gear style “simulation” of London. I won’t spoil it for you but if you like Top Gear/Clarkson/cars its brilliant.
I was eager to try each game now I was disconnected. Each disc needed to do its hard disk install. Those install times seemed rather slow but they worked.
Ryse, as a new game, was instantly visually impressive. It is a hack and slash game with a relatively simple dynamic. It is a bit like a 3d version of Streets of Rage or Double Dragon. That is a good thing BTW! It is rated 18 for its violence, unlike Call Of Duty that is now a 16 though for swearing and violence. You engage as a roman centurion in sword and shield combat. Most of that occurs in real time. It relies on timing blocks, shield breaks and slashing with the sword. Eventually you wear down the opponent and skull appears over their head. Then it is time for an execution move. Here, when you trigger it, everything goes into close up slow motion, lots of cinematic camera moves. The moves become QTE (Quick time events). A subtle colour flash around the victim indicates yellow or blue buttons need to be pressed. Each time you do it speeds up and performs a suitable move. Before long you are seeing limbs loped off, swords driving up and through and out of victim and various stomps onto a downed opponent. It sounds horrible, but it has a sort of boom, boom, bash, take that bad guy feel to it. The viciousness of this is very much in the style of 300 or Gladiator. I am not sure it needs to be 18, though I have yet to complete the game. It is great fun though.
Finally I popped COD Ghosts in and was greeted with the usually things we see inn the franchise. I think knowing that the exact same game was out on the previous generation I was not instantly blown away. However I have played all the COD single player stories all the way through since the original one. I know it will drag me in.
After getting to play a bit on Day One despite Microsoft’s best efforts to stop me due to the patch sizes and mandatory nature of those (which was clearly not the case as the games ran fine!) I thought I would reconnect to the net. I sparked it up and popped Forza 5 back in. I was expecting to trigger a background download, but instead it went back to saying I couldn’t play until 6Gb was downloaded. This was surprising. The previous Xbox 360 did do patches but they were always really small, and quick, 5 minutes max. It was the Sony PS3 that annoyed me with its mandatory patches. You wanted to have a quick go on something and it would stop you and demand you patch, for hours. I double checked my Xbox packaging that Sony had not bought out the Xbox and applied this draconian patching to Xbox!
I gave up and started all the downloads. It only does one at a time, it queues the others. Obviously the pipe into the house is way to slow (Come on BT fix it please!!!!) but it seems to have a go downloading one thing, then swaps to another in a queue. I am not sure if there is a setting (who can tell in the confusathon of the interface) to ask it to finish one thing first but the end result after a nights sleep was this.
Still updating after all night d/l ! Microsoft gone all sony on me #xboxone
That’s right, only Ryse Son of Rome had “completed” Fifa was at 91% but was apparently able to start. Forza 93%, COD 97% and the demo of Kinect Sports only 28%. I checked the Xbox network settings and despite a 4Mb line it was claiming 1Mbps. I guess the servers were somewhat slammed by 1 million xbox’s trying to patch !
I clicked on Fifa 14, as it was ready to start. It started a bout then said it need to patch some more, and dropped back to 90% !
I was pleased then to just shout at the Kinect “Xbox Turn Off” (and was prompted with a yes/no) so I said yes definitely ! The downloads still happen when the box is off so I thought I would let the poor thing concentrate!
So I am not overly impressed with all this extra delay, which of course is compounded by horrendous internet speeds. However, I do not understand how, after all the online/offline fuss and reversals of policy Microsoft managed to pick the worst of both worlds?
Anyway, back to Forza 5. It is all working really well now (I am just dreading any more game stopping patches).
Forza 5 has utterly stunning models of the cars with lots of information, voice overs from all the top gear team and much more. Back once again is the really enjoyable car painting. Each Forza generation I end up spending a bit of time adding to the cars. 3 to 4 allowed an import of the vinyl sets, but this gen was a start from scratch moment.
Forza 5 #xboxone feeding edge livery scooby
I have once again created a predator style face, similar but different to previous versions. It still works really well on the front air scoop of the scooby. I have my Feeding Edge company logo, g33k script work too.
One of the interesting things the Xbox One provides is recording of game clips. This used to be only in a particular game. However now any game will record clips. If something interesting happens you can bark out to the Kinect “Xbox record that!” and it saves the last 30 seconds of gameplay. You can set up a recorder for longer and you can still use Forza’s replay to go back and find the moment. Once you have the moment recorded you can go to upload studio (another app you have to download!) and do some basic editing. This includes being able to record a voice over or picture in picture combination. It is going to be interesting to see what people do with this. I had a scary near miss at Spa (as I have full damage turned on in Forza 5 so this would have been race ending if I had hit the wall). I also added the “night vision” intro template in a predator style reference.

All the cars in Forza 5 are supposed to not just be in game AI but are Drivatar’s. When you play it collects data on how you drive, you style and pace. It then sends “you” to other games when you are not racing online. It seems a lot of early Drivatars want to brake going up the hill at Eau Rouge. It has a blind crest at the top and the compression on the slight right hand leading up to it unsettles the car, but don’t brake so much 🙂
I think also the Drivatar’s may take their paint jobs with them too. There is an option to turn off accepting paint work. That means, in theory, when I am not driving my Feeding Edge company car with my epred and company logo is busy turning up in peoples living rooms around the world. Up until now that had only been if I took my car into an online race. I expect some more advercar/Drivatars will start appearing very soon?
There is a great video here of a real car on the real track hitting that corner and nearly losing it about 40 seconds in. I think it shows how far simulation are getting, and yet still being playable.

Finally Fifa 14. we are not really a football family, though Predlet 2.0 is growing to love footy. Fifa 14 (and I have had a lot of other Fifa games) is really slick. The players seem to be a koch more complicated physical model as running into one another rather than just slide tackles can cause all sorts of fouls. We have had some great games as 2.0 has got the hang of the mechanic of Fifa, mostly from playing the iPad version. Predlet 1.0 is also getting to grips with it. It’s a great game, and was free with the Xbox One Day one edition. That was a good call, it is just a pity they didn’t pre-install so that you could just plug and play in seconds.
There is a lot more to experience and figure out. Do I bother plugging the Sky box on the HDMI pass thru? So the Xbox in a pre Sky filter? I am not sure that gives me much? Especially as each box in my set up is an optical output to the 5.1 speaker amp. There is a “beta” setting on the Xbox to enable 3d surround to be passed through, but that means its going to have come down HDMI get processed by the Xbox and pumped out. It sounds a lot of messing around, though it will removed the channel selection on the AV receiver. However it also means the Xbox has to be turned on all the time the TV is? Oh well I beset go and experiment. Feeding Edge – Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to 🙂

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