01 October, 2016

More Eight Ball Deluxe frustrations

At some point I decided that even the iPad Pro screen was not large enough for Eight Ball and such a tough game necessitated the biggest possible screen. So I decided to start playing this game on the Mac. (Long story short. That was a good choice, my scores improved. Somewhat. Most games I play are shitty. But from time to time I get a not so bad one).

Now the problem is that I have two iMacs. The one that is most convenient for pinball is the more recent model (iMac 15.1) with a 5K screen. The older one is an iMac 14.2, with a 2K screen, but it is less convenient to play on it. So I tried to play on the 5K one and I was welcomed by the slow-down bug. The problem is not new. It goes on for quite some time now. (But I did not have to face it since I was playing on the iPad). Since I really wished to try Eight Ball on the Mac I bit the bullet and tried looking for advice. And then I realised several things. First, I was not alone. There are dozens of Mac users frustrated by the slow-down bug. Second, FarSight is doing next to nothing to fix it. Third, had FarSight cared about fixing it, they would have been unable to do it since, from what I understood, there is only one Mac programmer working at FarSight and the person changes from time to time. Finally people are ready to offer crazy advice which 99 % of the time does not work.

The only usefulness of the several recipes I went through is to convince me that a possible cure could be found in the general options. Four settings could be playing a role and I started experimenting. First post-processing. Default setting is off. If you turn it on then the table colours turn washed-out and drab. Don't do it. 

Of course there is no effect on the slow-down. Next comes level of detail set to high. Switching it to low does not affect the slow-down. Next comes lock to 30 frames per second (FPS). The default is off but when I turned it on the slow-down disappeared. (Note that the motion looks a bit unrealistic with this setting, but, at least, you can play). Finally there is the anti-alias setting. This is what people designate as the culprit for the slow-down. I found that it has no effect. You can as well let it at the default setting i.e. off.

And now comes the juicy part. Once I had set my iMac to off-high-on-off I decided to give a try to Eight Ball (but things are the same for any other table fo the Pinball Arcade) on my second iMac.  The tables played without slow-down and so I decided to check the settings. They were off-high-off-off i.e. without the PFS restriction. At that point I decided that it was time to throw the towel.

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