Incoming Vox from Commissar Sebastian Yarrick; Armaggedon is under attack by Greenskins

Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2014 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: warhammer 40k, Imperial Guard, Adeptus Astartes, gaming, armageddon

Somehow Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon managed to sneak under the radar but it has just been released by the gang that brought you Panzer Corps; Slitherine, Strategic Simulations Inc and Matrix Games.  You will take part in the Second War of Armageddon when Warboss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka invaded the planet with a Space Hulk quite successfully thanks to that inept waste of skin, Overlord Herman von Strab.  With over 30 scenarios in the main game, not including the training missions, this game will last strategy game fans for quite a while thanks to the replayability of this type of game, not even considering multiplayer nor mods.  The multiplayer will allow you to play as the Legio Metalica, Salamanders, Blood Angels and Ultramarines or you can control the Orc forces.  If you love Gargants, Titans and a good Waaaaaaaaugh! then you need to check this out over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

No word on if there will be Squats present.

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"It’s a serious-looking turn-based strategy game by the folks behind Panzer Corps, recreating the Second War of Armageddon across a big campaign with hundreds of different units and variants. And it’s out now. Come watch some orks get squished in an hour of livestreamed action."

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Gaming

Broken Age: Act 2 Delayed Until 2015

Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2014 - 02:45 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gaming, Tim Schafer, broken age

Tim Schafer and the rest of Double Fine set up a Kickstarter in early 2012 to fund a classic, LucasArts-style adventure game. After being funded over eight-fold more than they intended, they allowed the production to balloon and fit their new budget. This resulted in Act 1 being released in 2014, over a year later than their original deadline, with the second half (Act 2) coming later – expected in late 2014. Within the last couple of days, they announced that the release date has slipped into “early next year” (2015).

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This is one of the problems that a Kickstarter can face. There is definitely an instinct to supercharge an over-funded product, which could lead to delays, hiccups, and other problems. On the other hand, the extra money, and the public knowledge regarding how much extra, can raise the expectations of your audience – they might feel cheated if you fail to over-deliver. Beyond this, I have been told that it is very common for budgets to inflate over the course of regular development, something that you cannot really account for in advanced crowd-funding. Again, this may be wrong – it was what I expected but, of course, hoaxes prey on that.

Since the Kickstarter launched, Ron Gilbert left the company. I pout.

Broken Age: Act 2 will be released in early 2015 and conclude the Broken Age story as a free upgrade for everyone who paid for Act 1. This is nice but, while I could see an argument for Act 1 customers needing to purchase Act 2 in the era of Telltale episodic content, it only makes sense for at least Kickstarter backers to get the whole game. I mean, it was announced as a single title; it would be a supremely bad move to promise a full game and deliver a half of one (torn at an awkward point in the narrative no-less) only to ransom the second half a year later.

Thankfully, it will be free, not just for them, but for everyone who owns Act 1.

Source: PC Gamer
Manufacturer: MSI

Card Overview

It has been a couple of months since the release of the GeForce GTX 970 and the GM204 GPU that it is based on. After the initial wave of stock on day one, NVIDIA had admittedly struggled to keep these products available. Couple that with rampant concerns over coil whine from some non-reference designs, and you could see why we were a bit hesitant to focus and spend our time on retail GTX 970 reviews.

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These issues appear to be settled for the most part. Finding GeForce GTX 970 cards is no longer a problem and users with coil whine are getting RMA replacements from NVIDIA's partners. Because of that, we feel much more comfortable reporting our results with the various retail cards that we have in house, and you'll see quite a few reviews coming from PC Perspective in the coming weeks.

But let's start with the MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gaming card. Based on user reviews, this is one of the most popular retail cards. MSI's Gaming series of cards combines a custom cooler that typically runs quieter and more efficient than reference design, and it comes with a price tag that is within arms reach of the lower cost options as well.

The MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gaming

MSI continues with its Dragon Army branding, and its associated black/red color scheme, which I think is appealing to a wide range of users. I'm sure NVIDIA would like to see a green or neutral color scheme, but hey, there are only so many colors to go around.

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Continue reading our review of the MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming graphics card!!

For those who dare to taunt the honey badger

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2014 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: far cry 3, amd, nvidia, gaming

Far Cry 4 uses the same engine as the previous game, Dunia Engine 2, albeit updated and modified for the new features GPUs can handle, especially NVIDIA's Gameworks features.  This gives you some idea of how your system will handle the game but for a definitive look at performance just check out this review at [H]ard|OCP.  For their testing they used the GeForce 344.75 WHQL on their GTX 980 and 970 and the Catalyst 14.11.2 Beta for the R9 290X and 290.  On the Ultra preset running at 1440p the performance differences between the AMD and NVIDIA cards were negligible, once they started testing the new features such as the enhanced godrays and AA options there were some significant differences which you should educate yourself about.  It is worth noting that even two GTX 980s in SLI at 3600x1920 are not capable of handling 8x MSAA, thankfully SMAA is supported in the game.

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"Far Cry 4 is here, and we take an early look at how current video cards stack up in performance, and which quality settings are graphically demanding. We will also look at some image quality comparisons and talk about the state of this game at launch. Will it measure up to Far Cry 3 in terms of graphic fidelity?"

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Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Far Cry 4 Does Not Support Dual-Core Processors: Is the Budget Landscape Shifting?

Subject: Processors | November 21, 2014 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: quad core, pentium, gaming, far cry 4, dual-core, dragon age inquisition, cpus, budget, athlon

A new report covering dual-core woes with Far Cry 4 paints a "bleak future" for budget gamers.

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Image credit: Polygon

For a while now the dual-core Pentium processors have been a great option for budget gaming, with the Pentium G3220 and newer G3258 Anniversary Edition taking center stage in a number of budget gaming builds. Today, we may be nearing the end of the road for dual-core CPUs entirely as a couple of high-profile games now require a quad-core CPU.

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Is the anniversary really...over?

Far Cry 4 won't even open with a dual-core CPU installed, and while the game will load when using dual-core CPU's with hyper-threading enabled (for 4 total "cores") the performance isn't very good. PC World's article points to users "reporting that Far Cry 4 flat-out refuses to work with 'straight' dual-core PCs - chips that don’t use hyperthreading to 'fake' having additional cores." The article references a "black-screen 'failure to launch' bug" being reported by users with these dual-core chips.

This should come as good news for AMD, who has embraced quad-core designs throughout their lineup, including very affordable offerings in the budget space. 

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Image credit: AMD

AMD offers very good gaming performance with a part like the Athlon X4 760K, which matched the Pentium G3220 in our budget gaming shootout and was neck and neck with the Pentium in our $550 1080p gaming PC article back in April. And the Athlon 760K is now selling for just under $77, close to the current best-selling $70 Pentium.

Ubisoft has made no secret of their new game's hefty system requirements, with an Intel Core i5-750 or AMD Phenom II X4 955 listed as the minimum CPUs supported. Another high-profile new release, Dragon Age: Inquisition, also requires a quad core CPU and cannot be played on dual-core machines.

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Image credit: Origin

Looks like the budget gaming landscape is changing. AMD’s position looks very good unless Intel chooses to challenge the under $80 price segment with some true quad-core parts (and their current 4-core CPUs start at more than twice that amount).

Source: PC World

Bringing the tabletop back to life, Mordheim – City Of The Damned

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2014 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: warhammer fantasy, mordheim, gaming, skaven, goat mmo simulator

For those not familiar with Warhammer Fantasy tabletop games and fluff it is difficult to explain why this is so exciting, those of us who have are having a similar reaction to the one at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.  If you have been deprived of this gaming experience then picture it instead as a decaying city which holds a prize called the wyrdstone for the warband which is capable of defeating all comers and laying claim to the ... well something you actually don't want to play with but definitely do not want anyone else to have.  The gameplay trailer below shows off their take on animated turn based gameplay, movement, actions and attacks use up dots from your action pool but the actual cost of movement is displayed as concentric circles which use up an action point each time you cross one, which is a friendly way to allow players to determine where they want to position their characters.  Positioning is very important as you will see in the video; handguns are great but not when you are face to face with a Daemon.  As with Blood Bowl and other reincarnations of Games Workshop tabletops, injuries are permanent and determined at the end of the round, your warrior may recover from being put out of action but they may be missing some body parts the next time you call them to battle.

If you can't wait for early access to yet another unreleased game then there is something awesome arriving for you tomorrow, assuming you are awesome enough to already own Goat Simulator!  Goat MMO Simulator is a part of patch 1.2 which is released tomorrow, far more awesome that other non-simulated MMOs recently release since you can level your goat, or microwave with legs, all the way to Level 101!  Check out Coffee Stain Studio's latest trailer, they have a flair for putting them together.

"Mordheim: City of the Damned is a squad-based tactical combat game set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, in which an injured unit might return to the titular chaos-infected city with a pegleg. It’s entering Early Access this month and I can’t wait to get my hands on it."

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Gaming

EFF Wants Legal DRM Circumvention for Art Preservation

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2014 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gaming, eff, DRM, consolitis

This is something that I have been saying for quite some time now: games are struggling as an art form. Now I don't mean that games are not art; games, like all content that expresses feelings, thoughts, and ideas, are art. No, I'm talking about their ability to be preserved for future society and scholarly review. The business models for entertainment are based in either services or consumables. In the entertainment industries, few (but some) producers are concerned about the long tail – the extreme back-catalog of titles. Success is often determined by two weeks of sales, and the focus is on maximizing those revenues before refreshing with newer, similar content that scratches the same itch.

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DRM is often justified as maximizing the initial rush by degrading your launch competitors: free versions of yourself. Now I'm not going to go into the endless reasons about where this fails to help (or actively harms) sales and your customers; that is the topic of other rants. For this news post, I will only discuss the problems that DRM (and other proprietary technologies) have on the future.

When you tie content to a platform, be it an operating system, API, or DRM service, you are trusting it for sustainability. This is necessary and perfectly reasonable. The problems arise with the permissions given to society from that platform owner, and how easily society can circumvent restrictions, as necessary. For instance, content written for a specific processor can be fed through an emulator, and the instruction sets can be emulated (or entirely knocked off) when allowed by patent law, if patents even interfere.

Copyright is different, though. Thanks to the DMCA, it is illegal, a federal crime at that, to circumvent copyright protection even for the betterment of society. You know, society, the actual owner of all original works, but who grants limited exclusivity to the creators for “the progress of Science and useful Arts”. Beyond the obvious and direct DRM implementations, this can also include encryption that is imposed by console manufacturers, for instance.

The DMCA is designed to have holes poked into it, however, by the Librarian of Congress. Yes, that is a job title. I did not misspell “Library of Congress”. The position was held by James H. Billington for over 25 years. Every three years, he considers petitions to limit the DMCA and adds exceptions in places that he sees fit. In 2012, he decided the jailbreaking a phone should not be illegal under the DMCA, although tablets were not covered under that exemption. This is around the time that proposals will be submitted for his next batch in late 2015.

This time, the EFF is proposing that circumventing DRM in abandoned video games should be deemed legal, for society to preserve these works of art when the copyright holders will not bother. Simply put, if society intended to grant a limited exclusive license to a content creator who has no intention of making their work available to society, then society demands the legal ability to pry off the lock to preserve the content.

Of course, even if it is deemed legal, stronger DRM implementations could make it technologically unfeasible to preserve certain works. It is still a long way's away before we encounter a lock that society cannot crack, but it is theoretically possible. This proposal does not address that root problem, but at least it could prevent society's greatest advocates from being slapped with a pointless felony for trying to do the right thing.

Source: EFF

It's time for another Fragging Frogs VLAN! Saturday November 8 10:00 AM ET - Virtual LAN party #8

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2014 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, gaming, fragging frogs

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Once again the amazing crew from the Fragging Frogs and our friends at AMD are teaming up to bring you a day of fun, fragging and prizes!  This weekend we also introduce two new friends, Bohemia Interactive Studios, producers of ARMA, DayZ and other games, as well as Innovation Cooling who have both contributed to this event. 

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If you are not already a member of the PC Perspective Forums you will need to register as a member in order to be eligible to win the prizes given away during the VLAN.  The registration thread is right here, sign your name to be eligible and please read through the links to the guides which explain how to log into the Teamspeak channel, the games that will be played and the patches and add-on files that need to be installed to ensure you spend more time playing and less time downloading.  iamApropos will once again be streaming the action live via TWITCH.TV so even if you can't participate for some reason you can have fun vicariously.  Be sure to thank our game hosts, organizers and sponsors as it takes a lot of time and effort to set these events up. 

See you there, in the mean time here is a video to get you even more excited.

Get your old school game on

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2014 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: internet arcade, retro, gaming

Fire up your browser, currently Firefox is the best choice, then load up games you haven't played in over 20 years; or find out what people are talking about when they remininsce about the good old days of arcades.  Using JSMAME the Internet Archive has brought back hundreds of MAME cabinet games going back to the 70's, the majority of which are playable to some degree.  There is a tech support forum as well as a link to contact the curator of the page if you encounter issues with launching or sound and other technical problems.  The one thing that they can't help you with is the games with special controllers that just physically do not translate to mouse and keyboard or gamepad, you might have to think about creating and programming one if you want the rotating joystick from Victory Road.

If you need more modern games to satisfy you, the Fragging Frogs are up to a little something this weekend.

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"The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package. Containing hundreds of games ranging through many different genres and styles, the Arcade provides research, comparison, and entertainment in the realm of the Video Game Arcade."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Roccat Offering Ryos Tenkeyless Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard With Cherry MX Switches

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2014 - 12:59 AM |
Tagged: TKL, tenkeyless, roccat, mechanical keyboard, gaming, Cherry MX

Roccat recently launched a slick new mechanical keyboard called the Ryos TKL Pro. The "TKL" in the name stands for "tenkeyless" and signifies the lack of a number pad. The new keyboard features your choice of Cherry MX switches in a glossy black (micro dot finish) frame with raised keys and a large palm rest with thumb buttons. The keyboard further packs in two ARM Cortex processors and 2MB of flash to store up to 470 macros and drive the per-key LED backlighting. Developed and tested by professional StarCraft II gamer HyuN, the Ryos TKL Pro is a cool looking bit of hardware that is available now with a MSRP of $140.

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The Ryos TKL Pro measures 23.3 cm x 40.4 cm and holds 91 programmable keys. The keyboard connects via a 1.8 meter braided USB cable. It sits on five rubber feet with two being retractable risers. The mechanical keyboard supports USB report rates of 1000Hz and 1ms response times as well as N-key rollover anti-ghosting technology. The onboard memory allows users to store macros and secondary key functions when using the EasyShift+ and FN keys. The Ryos TKL Pro supports per-key illumination with special effects allowing any number of keys to be lit up while the rest remain dark. It can be configured to illuminate only the keys used in game, for instance.

Roccat has chosen Cherry MX switches for the Ryos TKL Pro like its larger Ryos MK Pro sibling. Specifically, gamers will be able to select models sporting Cherry MX blue, black, brown or red switches.

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Other features include support for Roccat R.A.D. software to display game stats and achievements and Roccat Talk to interface with other Roccat gear.

The Ryos TKL Pro incorporates most of the features of the Ryos MK Pro into a more compact design. (You mainly give up the USB/audio hub and dedicated macro keys). If you are looking to ditch your number pad (and while this keyboard looks cool, I could not live without the good ole' num pad!) it might be worth looking into for your next keyboard. It is available now for $140.

Read more about mechanical keyboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Roccat