AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta GPU Driver With Optimizations For Crysis 3

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2013 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, amd, graphics drivers, gpu, Crysis 3, catalyst

The Crysis 3 beta was launched January 29th, and AMD came prepared with its new Catalyst 13.2 beta driver. In addition to the improvements rolled into the Catalyst 13.1 WHQL graphics driver, Catalyst 13.2 beta features performance improvements in a number of games.

Foremost, AMD focused on optimizing the drivers for the Crysis 3 beta. With the new 13.2 beta drivers, gamers will see a 15% performance improvement in Crysis 3 when using high MSAA settings. AMD has also committed itself to future tweaks to improve Crysis 3 performance when using both single and CrossFire graphics configurations. The driver also allows for a 10% improvement in CrossFire performance in Crytek’s Crysis 2 and a 50% performance boost in DMC: Devil May Cry when running a single AMD GPU. Reportedly, the new beta driver also reduces latency issues in Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Finally, the 13.2 beta driver resolves a texture filtering issue when running DirectX 9.0c games.

For more details on the driver, AMD has posted the change log on its blog as well as suggested image quality settings for AMD cards running the Crysis 3 beta.

Now watch: PC Perspective live streams the Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta.

 

Source: AMD

Return to Neverwinter

Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2013 - 07:14 PM |
Tagged: neverwinter, hero of teh north, gaming, beta

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has information on how you can try to get into the Neverwinter beta which will take place in February and March.  For those of you screaming "shut up and take my money", you can invest in a Founders Pack which apparently for those of you who can't make up your own character and have to pretend you are actually Salvatore's famous Drow.  If you fork over your cash you will get swanky outfit, a pseudo-Guenhwyvar and strangely a giant spider mount which is just odd to ride above ground in daylight.  Still, if that is your cuppa, head on over.

As well, it is likely we will be trying out the Crysis 3 Multiplayer open beta after the podcast tonight, so fire up Origin and download it if you want to join in on the action.

"I’ll retreat there, probably around February 8-10, March 8-10, and March 22-24, which is when Neverwinter‘s beta will take place. With its user-generated content and D&D trappings, it should be a healing sort of environment for discombobulated old nerd-wraiths like me. The more excitable among our kind – and those with wallets full of platinum – will like invest in Founders Packs, which are fashionable pre-order garments of the online-gaming catwalk. Or something."

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Gaming

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.

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"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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Gaming

Razer's Ultimate keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2013 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, gaming, razer, blackwidow ultimate

With a name like Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, this new mechanical keyboard has a lot to live up to.  It comes with the Razer Synapse software familiar to many, which allows you to program the LED lights behind the keyboard for mood typing as well as programming up to 10 profiles with different keys and macro key settings.  It has headset and microphone jacks for those not using a USB headset and USB-Passthrough for those that do.  R&B Mods like the overall performance and look of the keyboard but were a bit taken aback by the $135 asking price.  It also seems strange that Razer does not advertise the type of mechanical switch this keyboard uses.

RandB_razerulta.jpg

"Mechanical keyboards are high demand these days as more and more people have realized how nice they are to game on with their quick response time and keys. Today we are going to review the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard, it will be tested in various situations and also see if it is better than the competition that we have tested in the past."

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Tech Talk

Couch surfing gamers take note

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2013 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, peripheral, nerdytec, gaming, couchmaster premium

It has been a while since we have seen a review of living room furniture, long time readers may remember a certain gaming class beanbag chair from 2008, but with the advent of Steam's Big Picture perhaps it is something we shall see more of.  In this case it is more of a gaming class TV Tray, called the Nerdytec CouchMaster Premium with interchangeable wrist and palm rests, Velcro wire management loops, a 4 port USB 3.0 powered hub and a 5m USB 3.0 extension cable.  This should allow you to get your mouse, keyboard and any two other USB peripherals set up on the CouchMaster with you comfortably sitting on the couch.  It also sports a pocket where you can store some items but open containers of liquids are not going to be safe in it.  Read on at Kitguru to see if this is an idea with potential or if you should pass this one by.

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"In days gone by, it was rare to see PC gamers sitting anywhere other than at a desk when enjoying their favourite titles. With the emergence and widespread adoption of big-screen TVs and floor-shaking surround sound systems, PC gamers’ desks have a competing entertainment area – the couch."

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Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru

Fancy a real Fallout sequel?

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2013 - 04:24 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, fallout: new vegas, fallout 3, brazil

Project Brazil is a total conversion mod for Fallout: New Vegas which claims to carry on the original spirit of the Fallout series, a harsh post apocalyptic wasteland filled with competing groups all of whom want to see themselves in control of all they survey and you to either be with them or decomposing somewhere.  While there were moments in Fallout 3 which reached the level of absurdity or terror veterans of previous Fallout games reached, there was never really a point when you realized you were a drug addicted murder seriously considering slaving as a good way to bring in more income.  While we are a ways away from seeing Project Brazil finished, you should follow Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN's advice and keep your eyes on the progress of this mod.

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“The vision of Fallout 2 will be honoured by Project Brazil. Project Brazil is a quieter, more harsh and severe world than Fallout 3 or New Vegas. It feels like a real place spotted with rare moments of absurdity and fear, split between multiple rising civilizations all trying to fight for what they want or need in a world recovering from the Great War.”

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Gaming

 

CES 2013: Thermaltake Shows Off Volos Mouse With Xbox-Style Side Buttons

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2013 - 08:17 AM |
Tagged: xbox, volos, thermaltake, gaming mouse, gaming

Peripherals are not usually items that I pay much attention to at CES, but the Volos mouse from Thermaltake managed to pique my interest. The prototype mouse was spotted at the company’s CES booth amidst several new Level 10 GT mice in various colors. 

Thermaltake Volos Gaming Mouse.jpg

The Tech Report spotted the prototype Volos mouse at the Thermaltake booth.

The Volos is a right-handed laser gaming mouse clad in matte gray with glossy black accents. The interesting bit though, lies on the left side the mouse: four colored blue, yellow, red, green Xbox-controller-style buttons and one A and B button. There is a seventh thumb button on the top-left edge of the mouse, two DPI selection buttons in the middle beneath the scroll wheel, and three additional buttons on the right side in reach of your little finger. LMB, RMB, and a white scroll wheel complete the package.

Reportedly, the mouse is not yet ready for retail, but it does suggest some interesting possibilities for gamers. Many modern games available on the PC are ports of console games, and that means that a number of games retain the Xbox controller tool tips and suggested controls. While it is possible to simply plug in an Xbox controller to pay such games, Thermaltake’s Volos mouse opens the door to a possible compromise. PC gamers would be able to keep the mouse look ad precision of their gaming mice while also being able to use Xbox-style button controls. At present, the buttons are likely used for macro activation, but it would be neat to see games auto-detect the other buttons and assign them the Xbox controls like the games do when an actual Xbox controller is recognized.

I think that I would have to actually try it out in person to determine how viable it is as a Xbox controller stand-in (ergonomically), but it at least appears to be a good idea! Tech Report has the full scoop on Thermaltake's new peripherals at CES if you are interested.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Tech Report

Ignore the Numenera part, Planescape is coming back!

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2013 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: planescape, torment, gaming, kick ass

Monte Cook worked for Wizards of the Coast and one of the major contributors to the Planescape: Torment game, way back in the ancient days of brilliant RPGs on the PC.  He recently succeeded in a Kickstarter project to create a new universe called Numenera in which to base future RPGs and he has announced that the first game in this universe will be a spiritual successor to Torment.  Part of the reason for that is the continued idiocy of what was once TSR, they not only declined Monte's attempts to license Planescape but also declined his request about Baldur's Gate 3.  Instead he is going to design a game with the same features which made Torment such wonderful game, like a story more focused on your characters personal journey as opposed to making you feel like a cog in a much bigger story as well as offering NPCs who are more than just a body to absorb damage and cast spells.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has two stories up today, a discussion specifically about Torment as well as a more general discussion about Numenera.

MorteACC.jpg

"Rumours have been swirling for years about a possible sequel to Black Isle’s legendary and powerful roleplaying game Planescape: Torment, but the closure of the original studio and the jealous guarding of the Planescape rights by owners Wizards of the Coast seemed to have put paid to any comeback. But with original Interplay boss Brian Fargo very much back in the RPG business with current studio inXile’s wildly successful Wasteland 2 crowdfunding, everything changes. He and his team have come up with a way to make a new Torment game: this is really happening.

And there was much rejoicing."

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Gaming

FarCry follows the Star Trek rule, only it is the odd ones to watch

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2013 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, far cry 3

While the rule of thumb for the original Star Trek movies was to only watch the even numbered sequels, it seems that odd numbers are the way to go with Far Cry.  While the second instalment was a bit of a let down, the third has come much closer to capturing a "Skyrim with Guns" feel.  Techgage takes you on a brief look at what they learned in the 48 hours it took them to complete the game as well as the technical challenges they encountered along the way.  Read on if you don't have the game yet, or just fire it up and play through on your own or with friends.

farcry3_17_thumb.jpg

"When Far Cry first brought us to its shores in 2004, PC gamers were given a real treat: open-ended gameplay and a highly-detailed world. Far Cry 2 brought us an even bigger world, but never hit cruising speed with most people. Does Far Cry 3 have what it takes to return us to paradise, or should it have remained at sea?"

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Gaming

Source: Techgage

Valve Opens Steam for Linux Beta to General Public

Subject: General Tech | December 28, 2012 - 03:32 AM |
Tagged: valve, ubuntu, steam, opengl, linux, gaming

Gamers were given an early holiday present last Friday when Valve announced it would be opening up its Steam for Linux beta to everyone. For the past few months the company has been testing out a version of its Steam client software intended to run on Ubuntu 12.04 Linux. Valve initially performed internal testing, and then proceeded to invite users to a closed beta. And now (finally), it seems that the company is comfortable enough with the applications stability that it can release it to the general public. While it is still very much beta software, it is actively being developed and improved.

Along with the move to a public beta, Valve is transitioning to GitHub to track changes and bug reports. Further, an apt repository is in the works, which should make installing and updating the Steam beta client easier, especially on non-Ubuntu distros (like Ubuntu forks). From the documentation available on the Steam website, it seems that apt-get install gdebi-coreand gdebi steam.debis still the preferred command line installation proceedure, however. 

Steam For Linux Beta.jpg

Further, Valve has fixed several issues in the latest Steam for Linux client. (Users that were in the closed beta will need to update). The company has improved the back navigation arrow placement and added discount timers and other UI tweaks to Big Picture Mode, for example. Valve has also fixed a bug concerning high CPU usage when playing Team Fortress 2 and an issue with the Steam overlay crashing while playing Cubemen.

Right now, the game selection is very limited, but the client itself is fairly stable. The traditional and Big Picture Mode UI are identical to the Windows version that many gamers are familiar with, which is good. Installation on Ubuntu was really easy, but I had trouble getting it to work with the latest version of Linux Mint. In the end, I was not able to use the CLI method, but the GUI instructions that Valve provides ended up working. At the moment Valve is only officially supporting the beta on Ubuntu, but it is likely to be expanded to other Debian forks as well as used in Valve’s Steam Box console.

The full announcement can be found on the Steam Community site, and the repository files are located here. Another useful resource is the getting started thread on the Steam forums, where you can find help getting the client installed (especially useful if you are trying to install it on an alternative distro).

Have you used the Steam for Linux client yet? I’m excited to see more games and engines support the Linux OS, as that will be what will make or break it.

Source: Valve