Chris Roberts is making something new for space jockeys

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2012 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: wing commander, gaming

If the name Chris Roberts doesn't immediately fill your mind with fond memories, you obviously never watched the credits of a Wing Commander game.  He was the creator of the Wing Commander universe and the cut scenes featuring real actors instead of CGI.  He has announced that he is working on something, though the actual details are fairly slim.  We know it will be a space sim, but whether it will take place in the Wing Commander universe, if it will be mission based or open like Freelancer or if he is planning on unveiling something completely new is unknown.  Either way it is a win for space sim fans and gamers who appreciate the quality of story line and extras that he is famous for.  Check out Rock,. Paper, SHOTGUN for links to his new site.

In the mean time, if you haven't tried the full conversion FreeSpace 2 mod Wing Commander Saga yet you can occupy yourself until we know a bit more.

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"This is something of an announcement of an announcement but it does contain information relevant to simulated spacefarers everywhere. Gather them together before the screen and allow them to gaze on the website for Roberts Space Industries. Here’s one of the things it says on the site."

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Gaming

Valve Announces First Greenlight Approved Games

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2012 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, pc gaming, greenlight, gaming

Valve announced today that ten of the games submitted to its Greenlight service have been approved. Each of the titles are in various states of development, and will be released on Steam once they are complete. While Valve encountered a minor hiccup when it instituted a $100 (one time per developer) submission fee that goes to the Child’s Play charity to combat an increasing number of joke/spam submissions, it has been overall a very successful program for the company. A number of developers have submitted their games and the community has taken to service and deciding which games are interesting enough to be sold on the Steam Store.

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The first titles to successfully be green-lit are listed below.

Personally, I'm most excited about Black Mesa and Project Zomboid coming to Steam. In the news post on Steam website, Anna Sweet stated that “the Steam community rallied around these titles and made them the clear choice for the first set of titles to launch out of Greenlight.” I am now now eagerly awaiting the Black Mesa download in particular. What about you, did any of the games you voted for make the cut this time around?

Source: Valve

CiiNow Engineering Open Cloud Gaming Platform With AMD Radeon Graphics Hardware

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2012 - 07:41 AM |
Tagged: virtualization, radeon, onlive, gaming, cloud gaming, ciinow, amd

In the wake of OnLive going bankrupt and selling itself to new investors, a new cloud gaming company has emerged called CiiNOW. The company was founded in 2010 and now has 24 employees. It has managed to raise more than $13 million USD, but with a new investment from new chip designer AMD CiiNow is ready to go public with its software. Interestingly, instead of starting its own cloud gaming service, CiiNow is positioning itself as a Middleware company by selling its virtualization and gaming software to other companies. Those business customers would then use CiiNow’s software to start their own cloud gaming services.

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In the deal with AMD, CiiNOW will recommend AMD Radeon graphics cards to customers as well as supporting them on its software platform. According to CiiNow, its virtualized platform is able to run on any data center or cloud computing platform’s hardware. While OnLive generally required specialized servers where the graphics card was dedicated to providing games to one (or a small number of) user(s), CiiNow claims to be able to provide up to eight 720p HD streams per server blade, and up to 272 HD streams per traditional server rack. On the user side of things, CiiNow has stated that gamers would need at least a Mbps internet connection in order to play the streamed games effectively. Company CEO Ron Haberman was quoted by Venture Beat in stating the following:

“One of the big issues with cloud gaming is that no one likes to talk about costs, we are more economical because we virtualize any hardware that fits underneath our software.”

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While the company has not gone into details about how the virtualization software works on off-the-shelf servers, they claim that it is an extremely scalable solution that can support rapidly growing numbers of end users without dramatically increasing hardware costs. It's impossible to say how well cloud gaming services based on this technology will work without more details or a hands on, but it is nice to see someone else take up the mantle from OnLive – especially with competitor Gaikai being bought out by Sony. CiiNow wants its technology to be used to deliver AAA titles to gamers over the Internet, so I'm interested in how they are going to pull that off using varying hardware with CiiNow's software layer running on top (specifically, the performance they will be able to get out of the hardware and how it will be sliced up between clients/gamers).

The company has said that games will not need to be ported to the virtualized software to work, only a DRM free copy from the publisher needs to be provided to load it onto the platform. Further, the cloud gaming provider using CiiNow's software will be able to support game pads and other controllers to interact with the streamed games. CiiNow does not list specific latency numbers on its site, but claims that it is using a low latency H.264 video stream to send the gameplay down to users. It remains to be seen whether or not it will be able to match or exceed NVIDIA's GRID technology in that respect, however.

There are still a lot of questions about how CiiNOW's software will work, and whether it will advance cloud gaming in general. Fortunately, you should be able to get some answers soon as the company's software is now available to the public, and we should start to see some new cloud gaming providers popping up based on the virtualization technology. Reportedly, the company has completed several trial runs in Europe and has potential customers in the US, Korea, and Australia. CiiNow claims that it could take around two months from when a customer orders equipment before its cloud gaming service can go live, so the first fruits of CiiNow's labor might emerge by the end of this year.

There is a preview of a cloud gaming service up on CiiNOW's website, but no partners with plans to launch gaming services have been publicly announced yet. 

In the video below, CiiNOW CEO Ron Haberman introduces the company's new cloud gaming platform.

Continue reading for my speculation and brief thoughts on cloud gaming. Feel free to join the comment discussion (no registration required).

Source: Venture Beat

... and Black Mesa makes it out before Half Life 3

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2012 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: valve, source engine, black mesa, half life 3, mod, gaming

We've been waiting close to a decade for the remake of the original Half Life using the Source Engine and entitled Black Mesa.  The mod project is a total rebuild of the original game, with larger areas a tweaked storyline and all of the eye candy that the Source Engine can provide.  If all goes to plan we are a mere 9 days from the scheduled release on Sept. 14th and you will be able to play through until the big battle of the Lambda Core, Xen isn't quite ready yet and is still in development.  We will also see new multiplayer maps at some time in the future but not quite yet.  If this doesn't get your blood pumping then check out all the links at the article on Hexus and watch the trailer below.  Still no news on Half Life Episode 3.

"The first release of Black Mesa will take place on 14th September 2012. This is a total conversion of Half Life 2 based upon ye olde 1998 classic Half Life brought up to date with an improved version of Valve’s Source Engine. The Black Mesa mod project started in 2004 following fan disappointment with the official Half Life: Source (2004) - it didn’t improve the eye candy to the full potential of the Source engine. Black Mesa will have improved graphics, more realistic physics and environmental effects, also some storylines will be tweaked and maps enlarged."

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Gaming

Source: Hexus
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lucid

Introduction, Virtual V-Sync Testing

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In my recent review of the Origin EON11-S portable gaming laptop I noted that the performance of the laptop was far behind that of a larger 15.6” or 17.3” model. The laptop won a gold award despite this, as all laptops of this size are bound to physics, but it was an issue worth nothing.

Origin surprised me by responding that they had something in the works that might buff up performance. This confused me. Were they going to cast a spell on it? Would they beam in a beefier GPU? What could they possibly do that would increase performance without changing the hardware?

Now I have the answer. It’s called Lucid VirtuMVP and it uses your existing integrated GPU to improve performance. As with Lucid’s other products, VirtuMVP makes it possible for two different GPUs – in this case, your integrated GPU and your discrete GPU – to work together. It’s not magic – just ingenuity.  Let’s take a closer look.

Click here to read the entire article.

Check out the how your CPU will change your gaming experience

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2012 - 03:25 PM |
Tagged: xfx, Intel, hd 7950, gaming, amd

The Tech Report wanted to explore the effect that modern CPUs have on your gaming experience and so they took an XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double Dissipation 3GB with Catalyst 12.3 drivers and paired it with a variety of builds.  In order to cover the wide variety of processors available today, they built systems on five different motherboards with 8 different AMD chips and 11 different Intel processors.  Then, not only did they test the performance of these various systems while gaming, they also replicated some tests with a video transcoding task in the background to test their multitasking abilities.  You can skip to the end of the review and check out the price versus performance graphs but with all the work they put into it you should read the whole article.

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"We bring our signature latency-focused game testing methods to bear on the latest crop of desktop CPUs. In the process, we learn a some things and shatter a few popular myths."

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Gaming

NVIDIA Shows Unreal Engine 3 Running On Windows RT Tablet

Subject: Mobile | August 29, 2012 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine, tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, gaming

One of the reasons why I have hope for Windows RT is its gaming potential. Microsoft has been hit-or-miss with its gaming projects, but when it succeeds, it really knocks it out of the park – see DirectX, the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s digital distribution via its console. Bringing Windows to tablets could make life easier for game developers in that space and offer a wider selection of mature titles rather than mobile-focused games, which often (in my opinion) feel watered down and look underwhelming.  

NVIDIA showcased this potential at IFA 2012 by demonstrating a Windows RT tablet (with Tegra 3 hardware, of course) running Unreal Engine 3. The tablet is shown playing the NVIDIA “Epic Citiadel” demo which we saw at the editor’s day conference used to debut the GTX 680 earlier this year. Quality details are probably reduced compared to the version that ran on the GTX 680 (it’s hard to tell in the video) but it still looks excellent and runs smoothly.

 


 

The demonstration highlighted the fact this isn’t some one-off or stripped-down version of the engine designed only for mobile devices. It’s a port of the existing Unreal Engine 3 engine used to make Windows PC games, which means developers shipping games that use UE3 should have minimal trouble porting their game to a Windows 8 RT tablet. Mark Rein, president of Epic Games, stated that Windows 8 RT code is now available to UE3 licenesees. It’ll be interesting to see which game developer is first to jump on board.

The tablet in the video is an ASUS Vivo Tab RT, an upcoming Windows 8 RT tablet with an 11.6” IPS display with 1366x768 resolution and a Tegra 3 SoC.  A tablet like this could be a compelling mobile gaming device if the games become available. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Source: NVIDIA

Happy Global Operations Day

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2012 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: Counter-Strike, global operations, steam, gaming

Somehow, after years of it existing as a free mod and then a part of a bundle not only are their people that still want to play Counter-Strike, they are willing to pay for the pleasure.  If you want to enjoy Counter-Strike Global Operations then you ought to get playing soon, before the hacks become available to everyone and the language in the chat hits rock bottom.  In fact, if you have purchased the game on Steam there is a good chance that it will be the game of choice after the PC Perspective Podcast tonight.  If you are on the fence, GameSpot put up a quick overview of the game here.

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"Global Operations, a putative Counter-Strike killer by Barking Dog Studios, is kind of like having to eat a banana split with your hands--just because it's a little sloppy doesn't mean it isn't still good. The game is primarily a team-based tactical shooter, combining Counter-Strike's system for cash rewards and equipment purchases, Rogue Spear's real-world settings and large weapon selection, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein's character classes and objective-based maps. For good measure, the developers have added some innovative ideas of their own to this mix. The game did ship in an unpolished state and suffers from demanding bandwidth requirements and a severe lack of servers. However, these problems are generally overshadowed by the simple fact that when everything comes together, Global Operations is one of the deepest and most satisfying multiplayer tactical shooters currently available."

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Gaming

Source: GameSpot

Time to start up the old Half Life 3 rumour mill again

Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2012 - 11:51 AM |
Tagged: half life 3, gaming, valve, rumour

If you have yet to recover from the shattering realization that Valve lied about Episode 3 then you better not look at this post on The Inquirer.  It seems it is time to drag out all your old theories on how Apeture Science and Black Mesa are related, just how Gordon spent his time where the G-Man stuck him or if Breen is truly dead.  That's right, a listing for Half Life 3 was spotted at the German gaming convention, Gamescom and the rumour mill is going crazy. It has since been removed but keep an eye out when the convention opens tomorrow and runs through until Friday.

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"RUMOURS about the next installment in the Half Life game series have re-ignited after a listing for Half Life 3 was spotted in a Gamescom event document.

The listing was spotted by T3 magazine in the Gamescom exhibitor list. The PDF document, which is still available through the Gamescom web site, does include a listing for Half Life 3, but it also includes a cautionary note."

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Gaming

Source: The Inquirer

PC Perspective Gaming Night - UT2004

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 12, 2012 - 08:53 AM |
Tagged: ut2004, unreal, live, gaming

Doing anything tonight?  Maybe while you watch the tape delayed closing ceremonies to the 2012 Olympics you'll want to join the PC Perspective Team for a little UT2004 (Unreal Tournament 2004) old school gaming action? 

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We'll be starting up the game at 8pm ET tonight and you can join me, Josh, Ken and others as we play some team deathmatch, standard DM, CTF, Onslaught and more!

Don't you deserve a little down time?  Even if you can't join us on the server, you can watch the live stream of our smack talk at http://pcper.com/live!!

The information below will be filled in a little later this afternoon:

Server: game.pcper.com (66.42.168.64)
Port: 7777
Download pack (you MIGHT need): UT2004_MegaPack

You can easily join us by looking in the Internet server browser and finding "PC Perspective" or simply hit the console (~) and type "open game.pcper.com" or "open 66.42.168.64".  See you tonight!