Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lessons: On the Importance of Fraps

Fraps is a program that allows you to record video game footage in real time, and is responsible for much of the Eve game play footage you see on YouTube.  It’s also an invaluable tool for replaying battles to see what you did write and, more importantly, what you did wrong.

That is, of course, provided you turn it on.

Last night, I had Fraps up and ready to record when myself and a couple corp mates headed to Immensea to find some targets.  I was in an ASB Vagabond, and we had a Talwar, Moa, and Sabre with us.  A true kitchen sink fleet.

We dodged two fleets sparing over a POS in Catch, then found relatively little activity – but several neutrals – on the way.  When we arrived in the upper left constellation in Immensea owned by Nulli Secunda, and saw a couple Tengus on dscan in 94FR-S, but they were safed up.  Based on activity, we knew the staging system for the region was next door in R-ZUOL, so I jumped in to take a look around.  I figured I had the best chance of surviving if something was on the other side.

Which, of course, there was.  Quite a large gang, relatively speaking.  I immediately called on comms for everyone to get off that gate and stay away as I burned back to the gate.  Much to my disappointment, only a few of the ships aggressed me.

Jumping through again, I started to pull range, aligning towards the sun as a Raptor and Flycatcher decloaked and began to burn back to the gate.  I was able to neut out the Raptor and take him down (though, disappointingly, even my 220 guns couldn’t track when he was neuted) with my drones.  He went down just as the Flycatcher got his scram on me.

I started into the Flycatcher down as the rest of the gang jumped through – minus those who still had aggro on the other side.  Closest was an ASB-fit Vagabond that scrammed me a split-second after the Flycatcher popped.  Or so I believed.  I’d have to check Fraps afterwards to see if I had been free or not. 

As I had already burned a couple of my ASB charges, I was out of luck.  The rest of the gang descended.  I took the Vagabond down to half shield, only to watch his ASB rep him up – exactly as mine had done.  Once I saw that, I tried to switch to a Rupture – whatever you can kill, right? – but only had time to get him to about ¼ shields before I popped.  Here's the battle summary (the Moa went down a few minutes later when it tried to get out; he had the Rupture into deep structure when he popped).  I’d have a long trip home in a pod.

While I made that trip, though, I checked Fraps.  Only, I didn’t.  I had forgotten to turn it on for the battle.

Did I really see the scram icon disappear when I killed the Flycatcher, or was it a trick of the eye?  I’ll never know now, but at the time, it didn’t occur to me to warp out.  Was that because I was fixated on the battle, or was it because my mind registered that it wouldn’t work?

Because I hadn’t recorded the fight, I’ll never know which error I made, or if I’d even made one during the fight.  I’d had a lot of fun and scored two kills against a gatecamp gang, but the nagging thought still tugs at my mind.  “Could I have gotten out after the second tackler went down?”

If so, it means I mentally committed to the fight and refused to adapt as the situation developed.  That meant my laspe turned a coup into an isk-negative fight.

But if that Vaga had me scrammed before the Flycatcher popped or I wasn’t free long enough to realistically move my fingers from my F-keys to the Alt+W to warp, then I did the best I could.  That’s a much more soothing thought.

But the uncertainty irritates me more than knowing I made a mistake ever could.  We, as humans, tend to fixate on the more positive of two possibilities, even when our brains tell us not to.  It’s impossible to resist.  The experience won’t code in my brain as, “This is what you did, this is what happened”, but rather “This is what you did, this may have been what happened,” which isn’t nearly as strong of a memory.

But I did learn a lesson I’ll remember vividly: hit the damn Fraps key before a fight!

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