DOOM comes to Vulkan; or vice versa

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2016 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, doom, bethesda

*** Update *** an asute reader spotted some quick and dirty benchmarks over at Guru of 3D.  It looks like the RX480 does indeed benefit from Vulkan, the GTX 1070 not so much.

While this does not mean that the new DOOM will run on Linux, today does see Vulkan support arriving for the new FPS.  As we have seen with titles such as BF4 this is not going to benefit users of high end GPUs in any great way, however gamers on a budget should see improvements.  Bethesda did not update their minimum specs but do anticipate older cards being able to maintain more respectable framerates; the current minimum specs are a GTX 670 or HD 7870.  Expect to see some bugs as this their first shot at the Vulkan API, but do check it out if you have a lower end card or are simply curious how well it works. Handy links for drivers and more info over at Bethesda.

"At id Software, we’ve always pushed technology. With DOOM we let the game drive the technology decisions from early on. This has continued even in post-release, with new updates and more. Today we’re excited to share another big technology push: Vulkan support is now live on PC."

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Source: Bethesda

Skyrim Special Edition Announced (now with 64 bits!)

Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2016 - 10:01 PM |
Tagged: skyrim, bethesda

On Sunday, Bethesda had their E3 2016 press conference, where they announced a bunch of content that are relevant to PC gamers. One of them was Skyrim: Special Edition. It hasn't been added to their website yet, but it updates The Elder Scrolls V with new assets, shaders, and effects. On the PC, it will be free to anyone who has purchased the base game and all of its expansions.

Even better: it is also compiled as a 64-bit application.

bethesda-2016-skyrim-special-edition.png

One of the original Skyrim's limits, specifically for modders, was that it could only address a little over 3GB of system memory before crashing. Worse: RAM usage was interconnected with GPU memory usage, which further limits the number of assets you can actually load. While there are probably still plenty of ways for Skyrim to crash, especially when third-party content is injected, Skyrim: Special Edition will move the solid, 3GB wall.

DigitalFoundry also claims that the engine itself is updated to a newer branch itself, like what was used for Fallout 4. This makes sense, because several effects would be difficult to do on DirectX 9 (like volumetric god rays). Despite the newer engine version, Pete Hines of Bethesda said “basically, yes” when asked whether existing Skyrim mods would be compatible. This suggests that the internal API would be the same for at least the majority of cases. Interesting!

Skyrim: Special Edition will be available on October 28th.

Source: PCGamer

Even Mods Have Pre-E3 Trailers -- Skywind

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2016 - 07:15 AM |
Tagged: skyrim, morrowind, elder scrolls, bethesda

TESRenewal Project is basically about taking earlier Elder Scrolls titles and bringing them to newer engines. Three mods are under the control at the moment: Skywind, which puts Morrowind into Skyrim; Skyblivion, which puts Oblivion into Skyrim; and Morroblivion, which puts Morrowind into Oblivion. Morroblivion is already out in the wild, with the latest release dating back to November, 2014, but the other two are being worked on behind closed doors.

They have now released a small update teaser video (above) -- less than two minutes long -- that shows off various environments (and the assets in them). Obviously, at this point, Skyrim is fairly old. It was released almost five years ago, and it still runs on DirectX 9. It is still very popular though, and what we can see from the trailer looks at least as good as Bethesda's default content.

bethesda-2016-skywind-mod.jpg

Skywind will be a non-commercial mod, although it will require both Skyrim, Morrowind, and their expansions (except Hearthfire) to play -- even though it doesn't use any Morrowind assets. This may or may not be a Bethesda requirement; they tend to be quite restrictive with their copyrights and trademarks. (The Mod Workshop payment issue, the Scrolls trademark issue, and the Fallout-posters fan site trademark issue all jump to mind.)

Either way, it will be free if you own both titles, and it looks like an interesting total conversion.

DOOM Will Receive Vulkan Patch "Shortly After Launch"

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2016 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, doom, bethesda

Update: May 11th @ 6pm EDT

NVIDIA has released new footage, which is both higher quality and longer. It is still running on the Vulkan API, although the graphics card has been switched out to the Titan X. The game is running at 1080p, 120-degree FOV, with all settings at their maximum. The game was locked to 60 FPS, but that makes sense -- they wanted it to look good on video.

The video is embedded above. NVIDIA is also self-hosting their original capture (plus a blog post) if you want to see it without YouTube's recompression (or you don't want to stream from YouTube for other reasons).

Bethesda also has their own, new video, which is just above this.

We return to the original news post, below.

At the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 event, which aligns with DreamHack Austin, id Software showed off DOOM running on Vulkan API. It will not make launch, which is this upcoming Friday, May 13th, but the game will be patched to support it “really, really shortly after launch”. Ryan was not there, but PC Gamer took video of the presentation and posted it to their YouTube.

Video Credit: PC Gamer

We don't know how performance compares with OpenGL, but the Vulkan numbers (running on the GTX 1080) are pretty impressive. After they uncapped the engine, the listed frame rate stayed above 120 FPS except in the most intense battles, at which point it had momentary drops to about 100-120 FPS. According to PC Gamer, because I didn't hear it explicitly mentioned in the video, this is all at 1080p.

That's... good... to say the least.

bethesda-2016-doom-launch.png

This also means a game that officially supports Vulkan will land at around the same time as DirectX 12. We have a few DirectX 12 titles but, while Ashes of the Singularity is a good example, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition was plagued with performance problems, and so was Quantum Break. Tomb Raider and Hitman have DirectX 12 support, too, but it doesn't signal a commanding lead for DirectX 12. It still depends upon the engines, especially Unreal Engine, CryEngine, Frostbite, and Unity, but it's another sign that Vulkan arrived on time.

DOOM Launches on Friday the 13th.

Source: PC Gamer

Bethesda Blogs Fallout 4 Graphics Features

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 4, 2015 - 09:37 PM |
Tagged: fallout 4, bethesda

Fallout 4 is just a few days from release, and the hype train is roaring into the station. Bethesda titles are particularly interesting for PC hardware websites because they tend to find a way into our benchmarking suites. They're relatively demanding, open world titles that are built with a unique engine, and they are popular. They are very, very popular. Skyrim is still in our lineup even though it launched four whole years ago (although that is mostly because it's our last DirectX 9 representative).

bethesda-2015-fallout4-official-2.jpg

Being a demanding, open world title means that it has several interesting features. First, it has full time-of-day lighting and weather effects, which were updated in this release with enhanced post processing effects. A bright, daytime scene will have blue skies and a soft fog that scatters light. Materials are developed using a “Physically Based Shading” model, which is more of an artist feature, but it tends to simplify asset creation and make it much more consistent.

They also have “dynamic dismemberment using hardware tessellation”. In other words, GPUs will add detail to models as they are severed into smaller chunks. Need I say more?

bethesda-2015-fallout4-official-1.jpg

A lot of these features are seen in many other engines lately, like Unreal Engine 4, so it shouldn't be too surprising. Bokeh Depth of Field is a blurring technique to emulate how camera apertures influence out-of-focus elements. This is most obvious in small highlights, which ends up taking the shape of the camera's aperture. If a camera uses a six-blade aperture, then blurred point blooms will look like hexagons. This is very useful to emulate film. They also use “filmic tonemapping”, which is another post process effect to emulate film.

Fallout 4 seems to be making use of high-end DirectX 11-era features. While this means that it should be about the best-looking game out there, it also holds a lot of promise for mods.

As you're well aware, Fallout 4 ships on November 10th (and screenshots have already leaked).

Source: Bethesda

Fallout 4 PC Screenshots Leaked (1080p Ultra)

Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2015 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, fallout 4, bethesda

Someone on NeoGAF got their hands on Fallout 4 screenshots. These ones are from the PC, captured at 1080p with supposedly Ultra settings. I can believe it.

bethesda-2015-fallout4-ultra.jpg

Image Credit: RoboPlato on NeoGAF

Not much to be said about these, apart from “go to NeoGAF to see the rest of them”. From the spoilers side of things, near the bottom of the page, there's an image that lists a bunch of perks. It's small enough that you cannot read it unless you right-click and “view image”, so don't worry about accidentally seeing it. Otherwise, there isn't really any spoilers on that page, although I didn't check the other ones. Be careful if you start browsing the other pages of the thread.

bethesda-2015-fallout4-ultra-2.jpg

Image Credit: RoboPlato on NeoGAF
(See the rest of the screenshots there)

They posted their system specs, but it's kind-of irrelevant. We don't know how old their build is.

Fallout 4 launches on Tuesday (the same day as StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void -- which is irrelevant to this post, but I want you all to know my pain).

Source: NeoGAF

Don't fall for Fallout 4

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2015 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: preorder, fallout 4, bethesda

JUST SAY NO TO PREORDERS! 

It is that simple, if you want companies to stop offering supposedly magic beans to people who are willing to shell out money to an established corporation for a product that is still in development then do not preorder anything.  If a company has already broken even on a product they haven't even finished, do you really expect them to work as hard at polishing the final release when any copies sold after the release date are pure profit?

Not only that, this habit leads to worse habits such as offering the chance to pay $30 for DLC that doesn't exist for a game still in development.  That's right, if you toss another $30 at Bethesda right now then you will get a "Season Pass" for Fallout 4 which will contain $40 worth of DLC that even Bethesda doesn't have a clue as to what it will be.  Maybe Dogmeat will get a hat and your character can sport a merkin.  Seriously, as much as you may love the Fallout franchise, do not help to ruin it by giving Bethesda about $100 for a product which is not finished yet!  The news about modding tools which will be available which was shared with Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN is nice, hopefully that is not considered DLC.

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“Since we’re still hard at work on the game, we don’t know what the actual DLC will be yet, but it will start coming early next year,” quoth Bethesda. I bet they have some idea, given Fallout 4 itself is surely deep in bug-splatting, QA, and certification at this point and there’ll be a whole load of devs hanging around needing things to do."

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Welcome to post-apocalyptic Boston, please do not feed your dog Nuka-Cola

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2015 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: gaming, fragging frogs, fallout 4, bethesda

At last we have a teaser trailer of Fallout 4, which for a nice change does not look mostly like Skyrim using a colour palette from Doom.  Also possibly exciting is the hint of several vehicles capable of flight, which could add quite a bit to this game if available in the story or with a mod.  The garage shown in the trailer looks to be a home base for the player, albeit one infected with the pernicious crafting system disease if the partially assembled power armour is not simply decoration.  Check out the trailer below and then patiently await the release.

On another note, the 10th Fragging Frog VLAN was a huge success with most of the day seeing 60 or more active participants blasting away in a variety of games including Toxikk which is a fun homage to the old style of online FPSes such as Unreal Tournament.  You can check out what happened as well as see the winners of the prizes which were generously donated by AMD, Fractal Design, Epic Games and even one of our own members right here in this thread on the Forums.

"Aha, now this is promising. We’re clearly looking at the game’s post-apocalyptic present-day rather than a flashback, but there’s tons of colours there. Paint, clearly, can survive the end of the world, and thank goodness for that."

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Wolfenstein: The New Order Pre-Order Includes Doom Beta

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: wolfenstein, Doom 4, bethesda

Of course, many will disagree with the concept of pre-ordering. Many have said that you should wait until reviews are released before making a purchase. Ironically, a couple of these people have also argued against the merits of game reviews, which is food for thought. Still, there is a solid argument for not spending your money blindly. It can be nice to get bonus content for reserving copies, such as developer commentary, but it can easily get ridiculous.

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What if I don't own that platform!!!

In this case, if you pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order, you will get access to the beta for the upcoming Doom game (carefully not called, "Doom 4") inside the box. Unfortunately, they will not provide much more details than that. They will not mention whether it will be single-player or multiplayer, when it will start, how long it will last, or what platforms it will occur on.

"Beta timing and platform options are subject to Bethesda Softworks' discretion."

Personally, I cannot see how this would be possible. Wouldn't it be absolutely terrible PR if a gamer purchased Wolfenstein for a platform that the Doom Beta was not available for? I would have to expect that this is only in there for legal reasons, in case an issue arises. Still, that would absolutely suck. Bethesda does like the PC platform, however. I guess we have that going for us.

Wolfenstein: The New World Order will be available on May 20th in North America.

Source: Bethesda

So you want in on a little Elder Scrolls Online beta action?

Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2013 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, bethesda, elder scrolls, elder scrolls online, mmorpg

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has the link you want to click on to apply for a role in the beta testing of Elder Scrolls Online, taking the world of Tamriel onto the web.  There are a limited amount of spaces so as it says on the application page, make sure to fill out everything you can as it could help your chances of being picked.  As for the release date Bethesda is still claiming we will see it sometime in 2013 but are not being more specific than that.  You can also catch a new trailer at RPS on the same page as the application link.

RPS_teso2.jpg

"SWTOR got it wrong – oh so very wrong – but here we are once again, looking at a mega-bucks MMO that could make World of Warcraft wriggle around uncomfortably, like it’s wearing underwear a size too small. Like it or not, Skyrim is a game which crossed to The Other Side, that strange and terrifying world of people who play games but don’t follow gaming. Y’know, Normals. As such, Bethesda’s upcoming massively multiplayer monster-stabber The Elder Scrolls Online has at least a chance at a very big audience, not purely the MMO-educated. We shall see!"

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