Of Pinkertons, Comstock, the Songbird and Columbia

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2013 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: gaming, bioshock infinite

After the long wait, BioShock: Infinite is here, not as a sequel but carrying forward some of the atmosphere of the first two out of the water and into the clouds.  The reviews are positive, both in terms of game play and story line, as you can see by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN's preview of the game here.  That particular article is spoiler free, not revealing any secrets that those following the release already know, but you can also venture into spoiler territory if you wish as they have already published some feedback about subplots they would have liked to see fleshed out more.  For those jsut about to start playing they offer some tweaks to improve your experience, including the all important FOV hack, as well as a Konami-ish code to unlock sadistic mode immediately.

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"BioShock: Infinite is a new first-person shooter from Irrational, creators of BioShock, System Shock 2 and SWAT 4. It’s set on a flying city in 1912, where racism and religious fundamentalism dictate society. You’re up there, wielding guns and magic, to bring someone the girl and wipe away the debt. Here’s what I thought, spoiler-free."

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Xi3's SFF PISTON Gaming Console Now Available for Pre-Order

Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2013 - 09:06 PM |
Tagged: Xi3, valve, Steam Box, piston, pc gaming, gaming

It may or may not be Valve's Steam Box, but Xi3 is the closest thing to a small form factor PC gaming console running Steam on the radar so far. The Xi3 PISTON is now up for pre-order with an intended holiday 2013 launch.

The PISTON starts at $899 and increases in price from there depending on the amount of internal storage included. Basic specifications of the Piston include an AMD APU (likely the A10-4600M) clocked at 2.3GHz (3.2GHz turbo), Radeon 7660G processor graphics (384 shaders), 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. For an extra $340, Xi3 will swap in a 256GB SSD, and for $750 the company will include a 512GB option. Of course, that would bring the price of the living room TV up to $1649, which is far from cheap.

Xi3 PISTON.jpg

For that kind of money you could build a much more powerful mid tower that could actually run Steam games at 1080p with all the details cranked up. The Xi3 box will be lucky to average 30FPS at 1080p with the latest games. With that said, it is a start and I hope to see continued development of these "Steam Box-esque PCs. Hopefully once mass production, competing options, and economies of scale kick in, consumers will be able to get their hands on cheaper Steam Boxes!

If you can't wait for the official Steam Box, however, you can head over to the Xi3 website to reserve your own PISTON.

Source: Xi3

Get more out of Columbia with the all new GeForce 314.22 driver

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2013 - 10:30 AM |
Tagged: bioshock infinite, geforce, GeForce 314.22, nvidia, gaming

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BioShock Infinite launches tomorrow and promises to be an exciting third installment to the award-winning franchise.

GeForce gamers today can get ready for a great Day 1 experience with BioShock Infinite by upgrading to our new GeForce 314.22 Game Ready drivers. These drivers are Microsoft WHQL-certified and available for download on GeForce.com.

Our software engineers have been working with Irrational Games over the past two years to optimize BioShock Infinite for GeForce users and, as a result, these drivers offer game-changing performance increases of up to 41 percent.

Also, with a single click in GeForce Experience, gamers can optimize the image quality in BioShock Infinite and have it instantly tuned to the capability of their PC’s hardware.

GeForce 314.22 drivers also offer several other significant performance increases in other current games. For more details, refer to the release highlights on the driver download pages and read the GeForce driver article on GeForce.com.

GeForce 314.22 Highlights

  • Delivers GeForce Game Ready experience for BioShock Infinite:
    • Up to 41% faster performance
    • Optimal game settings with GeForce Experience
    • Microsoft WHQL-certified
  • Increases gaming performance in other popular titles:
    • Up to 60% faster in Tomb Raider
    • Up to 23% faster in Sniper Elite V2
    • Up to 13% faster in Sleeping Dogs
  • Adds new SLI and 3D Vision profiles for upcoming games.

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Source: NVIDIA

Hair Quality is now a graphics setting

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2013 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: tomb raider, tressfx, gaming

Tomb Raider is as divisive a game as Halo, either you love the series or can't understand why people are interested in it at all.  As is usual, [H]ard|OCP put the gaming considerations aside to take a look at the technology showcased in the game as well as finding the settings which provide the best gaming experience on several different single and dual GPU systems.  Those who want to experience AMD's new TressFX feature will be glad to hear that you can enable that setting even on a GTX 660Ti.  As far as general performance, high end card owners will be able to use Super Sample AA while others will have to content themselves with FXAA, for resolutions over 1080p you are going to want a pair of GPUs as single GPU solutions struggled to meet even 1080p with high or ultimate settings.  Read on to see how your system will perform and discover which side of the fence [H] is on when it comes to Lara Croft.

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"Tomb Raider is the first game to sport AMD's new TressFX feature. This DX11 effect creates a new sense of realism in-game with each strand of Lara's hair reacting to her movement and environmental features like wind and rain. Crystal Dynamics has worked hard to advance our expectations as gamers and enthusiasts alike!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Crysis returns to its abusive roots

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2013 - 10:57 AM |
Tagged: gaming, Crysis 3

While the actual content of the game might not live up to the original the hardware requirements certainly do, [H]ard|OCP reports that "no single-GPU video card tested today able to play it at the highest in-game settings at 2560x1600".  For those gaming at a mere 1080p you will be able to max out settings on AMD or NVIDIA's top single GPU cards.  It is not just about the resolution, this iteration of CryEngine features four different anti-aliasing technologies to choose from, each with their own benefits and costs.  Check out [H]'s review to see the screenshots of the various settings as well as estimating the kind of performance your system can achieve.

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"We have a full-look at Crysis 3 with the new patch that just released. We take it through its paces on eight GPU configurations. We find out what's playable, how it performs apples-to-apples. We look at all the AA modes compared in performance and image quality, and we find out if this game is a step forward for PC gaming, or a step backward."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Steam Box Prototypes Will Reach Developers Within The Next Four Months

Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2013 - 02:26 AM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Box, steam, pc gaming, gaming, console, big picture mode

In talking with the BBC, Valve CEO Gabe Newell revealed several details regarding the company’s upcoming Steam Box gaming PC. The console competitor will go up against Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 successor. So far we know that the Steam Box will utilize Valve’s Steam distribution service and its Big Picture Mode user interface. Valve will be manufacturing its own reference design, but third parties will also be allowed to construct Steam Boxes that will tap into Valve’s gaming library. Xi3 in particular looks to be at least one of the likely Steam Box partners to produce hardware.

Newell indicated that Valve would be sending prototype devices to customers within “the next three to four months.” The designs are not yet finalized, however, as evidenced by Newell’s statement that the prototypes would be used to gather feedback, and Valve is still working on balancing heat, noise, and performance.

“We're working with partners trying to nail down how fast we can make it.” - Gabe Newell in an interview with BBC before receiving an award for Portal 2.

Further, Valve has not yet determined exactly what it wants the controller to be. It will reportedly be shipping several different prototype controllers along with the Steam Box PCs. One area that Newell is particularly interesting in is in gathering bio-metric data -- such as heart rate -- and using that data to change the game experience for the gamer. This would be one area that Valve could focus on and have an advantage over other consoles. As a fully-fledged PC, the Steam Box could tap into existing bio-metrics technology and easily have the horsepower to effectively parse the bio-feedback. I can only think of a few situations in which such data would be useful (horror games, party/dancing/exercise games), but I do see it as being at least as beneficial as the Kinect was/is to the Xbox.

With that said, we still do not know much about the Steam Box. Much like the PS4, we still do not know what the actual hardware will look like (though we have at least been shown the PS4 controller). Pricing is also one of the major unknowns, and BBC reporter Leo Kelion quoted an industry analyst Lewis Ward (IDC) as noting that Valve will likely not be able to subsidize the hardware nearly as much as the other major console players (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) are able to. The Steam Box is inevitably going to be priced more in like with PCs than with consoles, as a result. On the other hand, gamers that buy a Steam Box can look forward to getting games that are much cheaper than the console equivalents. Give Steam Box gamers a couple of Steam holiday sales and they will easily make up the price difference!

What do you expect the Steam Box to be, and will it finally take PC gaming to the masses?

Source: BBC

From the depths of space an ancient vessel drifts slowly towards the Imperium of Mankind

Subject: General Tech | March 6, 2013 - 11:07 AM |
Tagged: gaming, space hulk, kick ass

This is a good year for a certain subset of gamers who bear a love-hate relationship with Games Workshop.  Not only have we heard tell of Blood Bowl 2 and a free to play Blood Bowl: Star Coach which will resemble a blood soaked Football Manager but finally Space Hulk will be arriving thanks to Full Control.  A classic turn based game pitting Space Marine Terminators against unlimited amounts of Genestealers that is almost impossible to win.  Players often brag about their most memorable losses than their occasional victories but either can be guaranteed to be full of guts, Flamers and Power Fists.  Keep your eyes on Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more details as they may be the only ones more excited about this than I.

"SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK SPACE HULK"

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Will you play Crysis 3?

Subject: General Tech | February 27, 2013 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Crysis 3

While Crysis 3 is an incredible benchmarking tool, bringing even the new TITAN to its knees when played on multiple monitors it was actually designed to be a game that you play.  With Crysis 2 being such a disappointment to PC gamers after the incredible sandbox which was Crysis, many gamers  are a little leery of paying full price for the third installment.  Techgage recently published a review of the game, all 6 hours or so of playtime.  The suit and weapons upgrade system returns, with the Strength power returning from the first game for those who like a more physical game. They also added an unfortunate hacking mini-game and the AI might be better than Colonial Marines but is still in need of some polishing.  Multiplayer is strong, as anyone who tried out the Alpha or Beta can attest to but for the single player you should read through the review if you are on the fence about purchasing this game.

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"Following the events of Crysis 2, we find ourselves back in New York – but this time, things have changed. The city has turned into an urban rainforest, and while CELL is working towards global domination, Ceph continue their war against humanity. Only one man can save mankind: “They call me Prophet”."

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Source: Techgage

Torment: Tides of Numenera lives!

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2013 - 11:47 AM |
Tagged: planescape, torment, numenera, gaming

Planescape:Torment 2, aka the Tides of Numenera now has a website to whet your thirst for this project.  It will not be a direct sequel or clone of the first game, it will not even use AD&D rules, instead being an adaptation of the existing Numenera RGP which you can check out here.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has been following the early development of this game, from its first crowdfunded inception to the latest and greatest news from the developers.  Check out the new webpage and news at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

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"Numenera’s Ninth World is a fantastic vision of a world in which massive civilizations have risen and fallen – disappeared, transcended, overwhelmed, or destroyed – and left their cities, monuments, and artifacts behind. As each rose and fell, their achievements became part of the accumulated detritus of eons… but much of it did not decay. And now this assortment of ancient power is there for the taking, ever-present, underfoot. The humans of the Ninth World take and use what they can. They call these wonders (and horrors) the numenera."

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Finally SHODAN rides again

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2013 - 10:31 AM |
Tagged: gaming, system shock 2, GOG, steam, kick ass

It has been a long drawn out battle but gamers can finally claim a victory as Good Old Games and Steam finally get the rights to distribute System Shock 2, one of the best FPS games ever released.  Not only were the mechanics, (can you say leaning?) and the AI but the story and atmosphere were the scariest around at the time and still compete well with similar modern games such as Dead Space.  The team at Night Dive has been working hard on stability and option improvements as well as adding in soundtracks, interviews and other historical documents from the games inception.  You will be able to pick up the game 16.5 hours from the writing of this post for $10, well worth the investment and much more fun and probably less buggy than Colonial MarinesCheck out Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN's interview with the team that has finally been allowed to provide the most requested old game around.

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"RPS: You have updated the Night Dive website to read: “System Shock franchise to resurface with GOG/Steam release”. What is your involvement in the release and is the digital version an update, with high-res textures etc, or a straight re-release?

Kick: Night Dive Studios secured the license to distribute the game, and made the initial modifications to allow the game to run on most current operating systems.

Rambourg: There are some user-made mods out there which do phenomenal work on the game’s stability, but none of them were quite perfect, so we took the game to our expert techninjas to analyse and swat the remaining bugs. It was some work to get it done, but as this is a game that we’ve wanted to release for four-plus years, it was also definitely a labour of love."

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