AMD and the intelligent design of gaming

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: never settle, gaming evolved, gaming, amd

We don't see much of Ruby anymore the AMD Gaming Evolved screen is becoming a common sight when launching a game, much the the competitions 'The Way It's Meant To Be Played' screen has been in the past.  The DiRT series has always been a showcase for AMD, new AAA games like Deus Ex HR and Sleeping Dogs now bear AMD not NVIDIA branding as will upcoming releases like FarCry 3 and Bioshock Infinite.  The Tech Report spoke to Peter Ross, the man behind the success of this program, as well as game developers at a meeting in Markham, Ontario where they discussed the benefits of Gaming Evolved for makers and buyers of games as well as the changes which have taken place at AMD recently.  Read on to learn about the future of this program as well as the incredible Never Settle card plus games bundle that AMD is offering right now.

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"The number of games bearing the AMD Gaming Evolved logo seems to be growing exponentially. Why is that? We've traveled to AMD's offices and spoken to game developers in order to find out what's been happening behind the scenes."

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Carrier Command: Gaea Mission wasn't designed by Derek Smart, but it could have been

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2012 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlecruiser, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission puts you in control of an aircraft carrier and all of its assets, at least after an hour of gameplay The Inquirer describes as "like a demo product rather than a final game".  However if you can make it through that beginning you end up in a very tough game in which you can not only control the movements of your troops and assets from the bridge you can hop in and manually control anything in the game if you wish.  This is a completely open game and will be unforgiving to those who do not plan ahead and consider their attacks carefully.  If you are into completely open worlds and insane amounts of troop and research management this will be right up your alley, if you prefer mission based play with clear goals you might want to give this one a miss.  It has not been confirmed that you will be permanently banned for daring to ask a question in the forums.

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"THE ORIGINAL CARRIER COMMAND game was released all the way back in 1988 offering gamers a comprehensive 3D futuristic aircraft carrier simulation experience.

Sadly, despite positive reviews at the time, outside of a few hardcore circles the game didn't garner mainstream success.

Years later the game has returned, with Carrier Command: Gaea Mission offering the same mix of hardcore real-time strategy and vehicle shooter elements, tasking you to take control of a powerful aircraft carrier and use it to conquer the world."

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Source: The Inquirer

Corsair Raising Money For Charity With 24 Hour Gaming Marathon

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2012 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: gaming, extra life 2012, donations, corsair, childrens miracle network hospital, charity

What is better than a 24 hour gaming marathon? A gaming marathon that raises money for a charity that helps kids that need medical help, of course!

Popular memory and PC chassis manufacturer Corsair has assembled a 12 man team of gamers that will be participating in the Extra Life 2012 gaming marathon. Lasting 24 hours, teams will play a game of their choice all day. Much like a traditional run/walk marathon, the teams and members are sponsored by donators. In this case, the “runners” are gamers, and 100% of the donations pledged to Team Corsair go to the member’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Founded in 1912, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Oakland provides medical care to approximately 200,000 patients a year that otherwise could not afford treatment.

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Senior PR Specialist for Corsair Robert Pearce blogged about the upcoming marathon and is the team captain for the Corsair team. He stated that he found out about the Extra Life marathon through a Reddit post and hopes to beat last year’s numbers. Specifically, Extra Life 2011 raised a total of $1.2 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and the Reddit team in particular managed to raise $2,740 in donations from its 10 man team gaming for 24 hours. At the time of writing, Team Corsair has 12 members, and has $2,582 in pledged donations – or 52% of their $5,000 goal.

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Interestingly, Corsair will be live streaming their 24 hour long gaming session. You will be able to see your marathon gamers in action and know that your donation is going to a good cause (it’s actually for the kids heh). The Corsair live stream will begin at 8 am (PST) on October 20th, so be sure to check that out and give the Corsair team a virtual pat on the back. If you want to sponsor the Corsair team with a donation, you can find their Extra Life 2012 team page here.

Source: Corsair

Chris Roberts doesn't need no steenking console; Star Citizen is proudly PC only

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2012 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: wing commander, gaming, star citizen, sqaudron 42

As mentioned a few weeks ago the brains behind Wing Commander, Privateer and Freelancer, Chris Roberts has a surprise brewing for PC gamers and today we have a name, a date and a trailer.  Star Citizen will be a huge game with multiplayer support and what looks to  be a persistent universe where your actions and the actions of other players will have an effect on the overall scope of the game, for instance the ability to find uncharted warp gates and sell your navigational data for profit to companies and other players.  There will be a single player offline aspect as well, called Squadron 42, for those who want to muck up their universe on their very own.  You can sign up as of 10.10.12 and donate money to the cause as the game is in pre-alpha and still needs a lot of money and time to finish.  Help bring this space sim to fruition and support PC gaming at the same time.  Keep an eye on Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN as they may someday release video of what they have seen, in the mean time the trailer is below.

"I’m sitting in a room, definitely not watching Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts playing a new Wing Commander game. No, it’s the brand new, totally original Star Citizen [the single player aspect of which is called Squadron 42, for some reason - Ed], and as I watch him fly a fighter with no resemblance whatsoever to the Raptor with a Broadsword turret out of a carrier’s launchbay and into the never before seen Vega Sector, I don’t for a second pause to notice how he totally isn’t flying past one of the Kilrathi’s asymmetric Dralthi fighters. Or anything else that might require an expensive license or getting into bed with EA."

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List of Games for Linux Steam Client Leak

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2012 - 09:26 AM |
Tagged: valve, tux, steam, linux, gaming

A Steam client for Linux has been a long time in the making, but is definitely getting closer to release with an imminent public beta announced last month.

During the initial announcement, Valve hinted that at least one native Linux game would be available along with the new beta client. Many gamers have predicted that the game will be Valve's own zombie FPS Left 4 Dead 2. Now, thanks to a leaked list of games from Valve's CDR database, gamers can add a few more native Linux games to that list. Among the leaked native Linux games are:

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Crusader Kings 2
  • Cubemen
  • Dungeons of Dredmor
  • Dynamite Jack
  • Eversion
  • Galcon Fusion
  • Serious Sam 3: BFE
  • Solar 2
  • SpaceChem
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution
  • Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
  • Trine 2
  • Waveform
  • World of Goo 

Unfortunately, various id software titles with Linux ports appear to be absent as well as several popular Linux-only games such as Tuxracer, Super Tuxkart, and other games popular with a certain penguin. It will be interesting to see what newer games Steam is able to bring on board after the official launch as well. I expect to see games like FTL, for example. Further, I'm curious to see how well received Steam will be versus software like the Ubuntu Software Center!

You can find a full list of games currently on Steam (for Windows) that have native Windows binaries – and will likely make it onto the native Linux Steam client – on this wiki page.

Are you excited for Linux to (finally) get a Steam client?

Source: Bit-Tech

Help bring Nexus 2 to life and save the local galactic neighbourhood

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2012 - 06:44 PM |
Tagged: Kickstarter, kick ass, Nexus, Nexus 2, gaming

The original Nexus: The Jupiter Incident can be hard to explain to those who believe the only RTS game style involves a base and focuses on harvesting resources in order to produce masses of cloned troops of different styles and tiers.  It is similar to Homeworld in that it involves fleet battles and races with differing technologies and spaceships but that is where the similarity ends.  There is no mothership nor do you collect resources to spawn more ships, instead you start with a set amount of ships and equipment to outfit those ships at the beginning of the mission and if you happen to lose a ship to enemy fire that ship is gone; if you are lucky you might get a replacement next mission.   The ships can be outfitted with a variety of weapons and equipment, from shield destroying beam weapons to hull destroying missiles to close support fighters, your choices are limited only by the supplies available not the amount of money or resources you collected.  The pace is much slower but then the missions are unforgiving and simply having a ship out of place could spell disaster for your entire squadron.  At $10 on Steam if this sounds even slightly interesting you should pick it up!

The reason it is worth mentioning this 8 year old game is that the Most Wanted Entertainment and most of the original dev team have launched a Kickstarter program to fund the creation of the sequel, Nexus : The Gods Awaken.  Keeping the original feel, as they put it "a game for Admirals, not Project Managers", and updating the game to modern specifications with the use of the Unreal Engine, perhaps not an exact match to the two tech demos released over the past few years, in fact perhaps even better.  Ship design is planned to be modular which will allow greater customization of your task force as well as enabling the inclusion of larger, better designed space stations and capital ships.  You will get full control over the design of your fighters, bombers and gunboats, which may make watching them die while protecting your ships a more personal experience than in the first game.  You can also expect to see familiar faces and two new alien races, not to mention the one you already went up against but only if they get enough money to get this project off the ground.

Kickstarter is quickly becoming a way for game companies to finance the creation of a game without needing a large publisher behind them and when tied with a release on Steam it also reduces the need for a distributor.  Many will loudly scream that this will lead to a fragmentation of the gaming industry as not everyone will hear about the release of a game, as well as leading to the release of games not destined to be blockbusters.  You can safely ignore them, another Halo game should come out soon and they will stop paying attention and let those who like a game for what it is and not what the advertising says get on with supporting projects like this.  If you feel the same, head to the Kickstarter site and toss them a few coins!

"The gameplay of Nexus is everything the discerning Space Admiral could desire. Alongside improvements and polish across the board to existing graphics and gameplay, there is also a wealth of new features to expand and enrich the gameplay to ever-greater heights.

The Psis are a new class of NPC, who can be added to the crew of certain ships. Each Psi has a unique power, allowing them to influence the course of battle, and turn a lost cause into a triumphant victory."

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Source: Kickstarter

Steam Begins Selling Non-Game Software, Software On Sale Until Oct. 9

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2012 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, software, gaming

In August, Valve announced that it would soon begin selling non-game Windows software on its Steam (game) distribution service. This week, the company launched the first titles to be sold on Steam, which are mainly game related applications like benchmarks and art/asset editors.

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To sweeten the deal, Valve is offering up the first wave of software titles for 10% off until next Tuesday. The launch titles include:

  • ArtRage Studio Pro
  • CameraBag 2
  • GameMaker: Studio
  • 3D-Coat
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • 3DMark 11
  • Source Filmmaker

These applications are available for purchase now, and most will take advantage of Steam features like cloud saving and the Steam Workshop to share your creations with others. Further, I can see the benchmarking utilities appealing to reviewers as they can just let Steam take care of the product keys and it can just be rolled into the same Steam backup that the benchmark games are in! For most people though, I think if the price is right Steam might be a viable option. On the other hand, it will be facing stiff competition from services like the Windows Store in Windows 8. And not to mention the pesky issue that if you lose your Steam account or do not agree to the next EULA change you lose access to any programs you've purchased on Steam (oh joy).

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You can find more information in Valve's press release.

What do you think of Valve selling non-game software on Steam? I'm willing to give it a chance but don't think I'll use it all that much unless its included in a seasonal Steam Sale.

Source: Valve

Limited Access Steam for Linux Beta Coming In October

Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2012 - 09:07 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, linux, gaming

Valve software is slowly but surely moving towards supporting the open source Linux operating system with a new Steam client. The latest milestone is an announcement by Valve that it is extending the beta beyond its privately selected internal testers to a limited number of public users.

The upcoming public beta will be rolled out soon along with a sign up page where the public can apply. From that sign up list, Valve will be selecting 1,000 applicants to test the Linux version of its Steam client.

While Valve has not announced a specific date for the start of the beta (or when the sign up page will go live) beyond that it is coming “sometime in October,” the company did provide a couple of tidbits of information on the beta client software.

The (limited) public beta will include the Steam game client, and a single Valve game. This beta client will run on Ubuntu 12.04 or above. Unfortunately, the beta will not include any additional playable games. Also the beta client will not include the recently released (on Windows) Big Picture Mode functionality.

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Many users are speculating that the single game hinted at in the announcement will be the company’s latest zombie co-op shooter Left 4 Dead 2, as Valve has shown off the game running on Linux before. Valve has stated that it is extending the beta beyond its internal testers to attempt to get a wider sample size and to be able to test the beta software on as many varied hardware configurations as possible.

Gamers that want a chance to be one of the 1,000 users that will be asked to participate in the beta should keep an eye out on the Linux blog on Valve's website.

Granted, this is a small step, and the final Steam client for Linux is probably a ways off still, but I am still excited. Like Scott mentioned, gaming is one of the things keeping me with Windows despite my interest in Linux Mint (that OS really flies on my system! ).

Source: Valve

Can't get enough classic gaming? System Shock 2 and Thief 2 get compatibility updates

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2012 - 03:12 PM |
Tagged: gaming, system shock 2, thief 2, classics

Remember the olden days when a game was interesting enough on its own that you didn't need to add Panda bears as a playable class just to try to get players interested?  Two perfect examples of what a game should be, System Shock 2 (why we can't have nice things) and Thief 2 have recently received unofficial, community designed stability patches.  If you have spent time and money at Good Old Games or hoard old game CDs in the belief that you will have a trouble free experience playing old titles under Win7, you have probably come to the realization that sometimes it just isn't that easy.  That is why it is wonderful to see PC gaming enthusiasts hard at work making old classics compatible with today's software and in some cases enabling resolutions and settings we only dreamed about when the games were first released.  Check out Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for the files you will need to experience these two games again, stable and with improvements beyond the original releases.

As well, make sure to check PC Per Live (over there at the right ... the radio tower with LIVE under it!) as the PC Perspective Podcast is tonight at 7PM PDT and afterwards we will probably live stream the crew playing a game, possibly one which begins with the letter 'B'.

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"System Shock 2 and Thief 2 are regularly hailed as classics for a reason. They’re meticulously designed, tough but not unfair, and, well, they’ve been around for a gazillion years – at least, in gaming technology time. Unfortunately, our light-speed-traveling future machines take about as well to them as modern automobiles to giant stone Flintstones wheels. In other (pseudo) words, clunkity clunk clunk crash. But now – finally, wonderfully, mercifully – some kind soul’s seen fit to release unofficial patches that bring both games up to speed. And, according to early reports, they make some positively massive improvements."

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Don't lie about Sleeping Dogs

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2012 - 09:33 PM |
Tagged: sleeping dogs, gaming

Sleeping Dogs is apparently not a part of the True Crime series and the original title True Crime: Hong Kong was misleading.  Then again, it is totally not a Grand Theft Auto clone either.  Whatever this game where you play a cop pretending to be a member of the Triad, in theory undercover but more likely just getting to live out a submerged fantasy actually is, The Tech Report has some advice for you.   Simply enjoy the game, go on a killing spree, drive around pointlessly or even do some missions, don't think about it just play.

If you neither want to think or to play, then PC Perspective can fulfill your need.  Right after the podcast the four of us are going to try streaming a little Borderlands 2 action, so grab some popcorn, your favourite beverages and kick back and relax at PCPer Live!

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"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior spends a few nights with Sleeping Dogs, United Front's combat-infused GTAlternative."

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