Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2014 - 05:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: riot games, moba, lol, free to play
MOBAs are known to be intricate, unforgiving PC games. League of Legends is one of the most popular at the moment (#1 PC game in terms of hours played for May 2014 according to Raptr). It is free to install and play, with small purchases to unlock more content ("microtransaction"). The free-to-play business model is quite interesting, albeit polarizing, because your commitment starts when your users installs your title, not ends. This often leads to one of two outcomes: abusers of human psychology or constantly developed, great games that strive to never get boring.
Now you can see why it is polarizing (or just read our impending comments).
The business model does permit games that are deep in gameplay mechanics, however, if it keeps a core user base playing (and buying additional content) forever. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult for new players to join -- especially when it is competitive and multiplayer.
Riot Games noted that they were uncomfortable with how many of their players lose "Battle Training", which is supposed to be a tutorial. Some even prove to have significant skill later on. They interpret this as the problem being how they educate new players. There is high complexity that is fair, and then there is just bad user experience.
"Intro Bots" is designed to be a mode which adjusts its difficulty to match the player currently, and as they progress. Hopefully it works. Obviously that is the limiting factor. It does seem to be designed reasonably. It teaches with repetition and in realistic scenarios.
Intro Bots is coming soon, after a brief stop in public beta. Ironically, the public beta realm was refered to as "PBE"... in a press release for a feature intended to be easier for new players. You know, the people who might not know the game's vocabulary. Just saying.
Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2014 - 01:17 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, Mantle, amd, nvidia, XSPC, quantum dots, western digital, My Cloud Mirror, A10-7850K, Kaveri, arm, quakecon
PC Perspective Podcast #308 - 07/10/2014
Join us this week as we discuss Intel using Mantle, XSPC Watercooling Kits, Quantum Dots, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Tietelman
Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2014 - 02:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, hsa, amd, open source
Open source HSA has arrived for the Linux kernel with a newly released set of patches which will allow Sea Islands and newer GPUs to share hardware resources. These patches are both for a sample driver for any HSA-compatible hardware and the river for Radeon GPUs. As the debut of the Linux 3.16 kernel is so close you shouldn't expect to see these patches included until 3.17 which should be released in the not too distant future. Phoronix and Linux users everywhere give a big shout of thanks to AMD's John Bridgman for his work on this project.
"AMD has just published a massive patch-set for the Linux kernel that finally implements a HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) in open-source. The set of 83 patches implement a Linux HSA driver for Radeon family GPUs and serves too as a sample driver for other HSA-compatible devices. This big driver in part is what well known Phoronix contributor John Bridgman has been working on at AMD."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Things that make you go hmm: GlobalFoundries hires ex-IBM chip fabber @ The Register
- Microsoft uncovers bogus SSL certificates, urges users to beware of cyber attacks @ The Inquirer
- Gameover Zeus malware returns stronger than ever @ The Inquirer
- How to Operate Linux Spycams With Motion @ Linux.com
- PAPAGO! Dashcam P2PRO 1080p Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | July 11, 2014 - 04:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x86, VIA, isaiah II, Intel, centaur, arm, amd
There might be a third, x86-compatible processor manufacturer who is looking at the mobile market. Intel has been trying to make headway, including the direct development of Android for the x86 architecture. The company also has a few design wins, mostly with Windows 8.1-based tablets but also the occasional Android-based models. Google is rumored to be preparing the "Nexus 8" tablet with one of Intel's Moorefield SoCs. AMD, the second-largest x86 processor manufacturer, is aiming their Mullins platform at tablets and two-in-ones, but cannot afford to play snowplow, at least not like Intel.
VIA, through their Centaur Technology division, is expected to announce their own x86-based SoC, too. Called Isaiah II, it is rumored to be a quad core, 64-bit processor with a maximum clock rate of 2.0 GHz. Its GPU is currently unknown. VIA sold their stake S3 Graphics to HTC back in 2011, who then became majority shareholder over the GPU company. That said, HTC and VIA are very close companies. The chairwoman of HTC is the founder of VIA Technologies. The current President and CEO of VIA, who has been in that position since 1992, is her husband. I expect that the GPU architecture will be provided by S3, or will somehow be based on their technology. I could be wrong. Both companies will obviously do what they think is best.
It would make sense, though, especially if it benefits HTC with cheap but effective SoCs for Android and "full" Windows (not Windows RT) devices.
Or this announcement could be larger than it would appear. Three years ago, VIA filed for a patent which described a processor that can read both x86 and ARM machine language and translate it into its own, internal microinstructions. The Centaur Isaiah II could reasonably be based on that technology. If so, this processor would be able to support either version of Android. Or, after Intel built up the Android x86 code base, maybe they shelved that initiative (or just got that patent for legal reasons).
But what about Intel? Honestly, I see this being a benefit for the behemoth. Extra x86-based vendors will probably grow the overall market share, compared to ARM, by helping with software support. Even if it is compatible with both ARM and x86, what Intel needs right now is software. They can only write so much of it themselves. It is possible that VIA, being the original netbook processor, could disrupt the PC market with both x86 and ARM compatibility, but I doubt it.
Centaur Technology, the relevant division of VIA, will make their announcement in less than 51 days.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 11, 2014 - 05:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kraken X61, nzxt, AIO, water cooling
NZXT's new Kraken X61 has a new trick up its sleeving, a variable speed pump for those who want as quiet a cooler as possible. [H]ard|OCP found that the design was so efficient and quiet that they really didn't need that feature but for those with sensitive ears it might be a perfect solution. The performance was on par with many of the other AIO coolers they have tested however the price was higher at ~$140 which may be a deal breaker for some. The other possible barrier for potential purchasers is the lack of documentation for both the physical installation and the software; experienced users will not be daunted by this but those who are not comfortable with muddling around in advanced settings and mounting coolers may want to print out the online docs before attempting to use the X61.
"NZXT is known to many enthusiasts for its computer cases but not so much for its Kraken series of CPU closed loop liquid coolers. After a year of design NZXT has introduced its new Kraken X61. Its claim to fame is that it is the "world's first variable speed liquid cooler." Let's see what this variable RPM pump does for the new Kraken."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240 @ techPowerUp
- Swiftech Apogee XL CPU Block Review @HiTech Legion
- Cooler Master Seidon 120XL Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Review @ OCC
- NZXT Phantom 240 Case Review @ Neoseeker
- DimasTech EasyXL Test Bench Review @ Modders-Inc
- Raidmax Horus MX Micro ATX Tower Review @ NikKTech
- In Win S-Frame @ techPowerUp
- In Win S-Frame Open Air Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Rosewill Legacy W1 Mini-ITX @ Benchmark Reviews
- Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Full Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
- SilentiumPC Aquarius X90 Mid-Tower Case Review @ Madshrimps
- BitFenix Comrade M-ATX Chassis @ eTeknix
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