Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2012 - 04:42 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Wii U, Nintendo, gaming, engadget, console
Nintendo recently unveiled its next generation console with the Wii U. While Ryan managed to get his hands on a couple of consoles, I still have not been able to get a hold of the elusive 32GB black SKU because they have been sold out at the retail stores in my area since launch day. Specifically, new data uncovered by the NPD Group puts into perspective just how popular Nintendo's new hardware is by the sheer number of units purchased in the first week of sales alone!
According to a press release by the NPD Group (available here), Nintendo managed to sell 1.75 million units of hardware in the US from October 28th to November 24th. The 1.75 million total units is further broken down between mobile and console hardware. For mobile, Nintendo sold an impressive 910,000 mobile gaming handhelds. On the console side of things, the results are not record breaking but still notable. Nintendo sold 845,000 consoles during the entire month of november.
Surprisingly, the majority of those 845,000 sales are comprised of Wii U sales over a one week period. During the first week of the Wii U being launched, Nintendo sold 425,000 consoles. That is in comparison to the original Wii’s 475,000 consoles sold in its first week. Another interesting console number is that Nintendo has managed to sell 40 million total consoles since its launch, so the new Wii U still has a long way to go before it can topple the original motion-controlled console.
The NPD Group attributes the successful sale of 1.75 million units of gaming hardware to Black Friday sales and the initial launch excitement surrounding the new Wii U. It will be interesting to see if the Wii U will surpass its predecessor in popularity, and how long it will take to do so.
I'm sure he broke the warranty on this torn apart Wii U so it is a good thing he didn't brick it with a failed firmware update! (heh)
Overall, it does appear to be a decent system with DRM, a 2GB firmware update, and retail (un)availability being the only major gripes from the Internet that I’ve picked up on. I look forward to getting my hands on some games to see how well the asynchronous gameplay works with the new gamepad in particular.
Are you excited about he Wii U?
See a full tear down of the Wii U with photos, video, and leftover screws at PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2012 - 06:36 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, Crysis 3, crysis, CryENGINE 3
Crysis 3, the third major installment in EA’s popular sandbox nanosuit-toting FPS is just over two months away. And unlike Crysis 2, this iteration is one that PC gamers should look forward to as much as the original. In an interview with Crysis 3’s Technical Director Marco Corbetta, PC Gamer was told that Crytek has made several optimizations and improvements to CryENGINE 3 that take full advantage of the horsepower offered by today’s high-end gaming PCs. Reportedly, with Crysis 2, there was a focus on delivering a console title, but with Crysis 3 PC gamers will get advanced graphics options and the high resolution textures on launch day that they deserve (my opinion there).
PC Gamer quoted Corbetta in stating that Crysis 3 improves upon the “AI navigation system, animation system, water, fog volumes, cloud shadows, POM, AA, cloths, vegetation, particles, lens flares, and grass.” Basically all of the little details that PC gaming is known for. On the topic of grass, the technical director expanded in saying that Crysis 3 is able to model each blade of grass which the player and NPCs will interact with, allowing movement to be spotted in the brush (and now I’m having flashbacks of Jurassic Park and it’s tall grass...). In essence, Crysis 3 is reportedly returning to its PC roots with a vengeance.
As far as advanced graphics, users will be able to adjust a number of features to tweak the graphics details to get the most out of their hardware (or at least make the game playable until the next generation of cards?). From the top down, the advanced graphics menu has the following options: Game Effects, Objects, Particles, Post Processing, Shading, Shadows, Water, Anisotropic Filtering (AF), Texture Resolution, Motion Blur Amount, and Lens Flares. There are no sliders, but you will be able to choose from low, medium, high, and very high (for most settings). And if the previously announced PC system requirements are any indication, you will need a rather beefy multi-GPU system in order to crank these settings to the maximum.
You can find more details and the full interview over at PC Gamer. If you’re interested in the upcoming Crysis title, it’s worth a read.
Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2012 - 02:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Counter-Strike
Having seen Dust2 more times than is probably healthy makes picking up CounterStrike Global Offensive less attractive than perhaps it should be. The Tech Report makes a strong case for the game, especially when it comes to weapons loadout. Instead of spending the beginning of a game taking a random amount of time pulling out your favourite super rifle which you earned after putting 80 hours into the game, everyone has the same amount of time to purchase the same variety of weapons. Since the money comes from kills you got previously on the map and not a stockpile that began from the first time you ever played the game you will never fall too far behind the competition, no matter how infrequently you play. Not getting rewards might chase off some fans, but that might also improve the quality of in game chat, so it is not really a bad thing. Check it out and see if they can convince you to get AWPed again.
"I picked up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive last week. I don't know why it took me so long—the game came out in August, after all, and it costs only $15. Anyway, I was playing Battlefield 3 with a buddy of mine, and we were both getting slaughtered by a whole team's worth of veterans—you know, those folks with the golden eagles next to their names and every unlock in their arsenals. I mentioned CS:GO in passing, and my friend asked, "Why aren't we playing that right now?""
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 @ The Inquirer
- Hitman: Absolution Benchmarked, Tested @ TechSpot
- Far Cry 3 @ HardwareHeaven
- Peter Molyneux takes to Kickstarter for God game reboot @ The Inquirer
- Open Empires: 0 A.D. Is An Open Source Historical RTS @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Planetside 2: Random Battle Report @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Halo 4 Xbox 360 @ eTeknix
- Hitman: Absolution Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: razer orochi, razer, PC, mouse, mobile, laptop, gaming
Razer has been on an updating kick this month with a number of its gaming mice being refreshed with better hardware and support for Synapse 2.0 (cloud syncing) software. This time, Razer is turning to its mobile lineup and giving the Orochi an upgrade for a 2013 release.
The ambidextrous mouse can be used in a wired or wireless configuration. While the original Orochi featured a 4000 DPI laser sensor, the updated model upgrades the sensor to 6400 DPI. Further, Razer has bumped up the Bluetooth radio to one rated at Bluetooth 3.0 specifications. Powered by two AA batteries, Razer has reportedly improved battery life by a significant margin. The company rates the mobile gaming mouse at up to 30 hours of continuous gaming, and three months of normal use.
The refreshed mouse maintains the traditional LED-lit scroll wheel, mouse buttons, and two side buttons of the original Orochi. Interestingly, it comes in a shinier "chrome" colored variant in addition to the standard black blade addition.
The refreshed Orochi 2013 is available for pre-order now for $69.99. According to the Razer website, the blade edition will ship in 1-2 weeks and the chrome variant will ship in a little over a month.
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2012 - 09:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: razer, mouse, mice, krait, gaming, 6400 dpi, 4G sensor
Earlier this month Razer announced that it would be updating its DeathAdder gaming mouse with a new sensor and texturized grips. Now, it looks as though the peripheral company is going to be updating its Krait mouse as well.
The budget gaming mouse will be getting an updated 4G infrared sensor that has a maximum of 6400 DPI resolution for sniping precision. The DPI can be changed on the fly with the Krait as well. Measuring 116mm x 52mm x 36mm and weighing 85 grams, Razer has kept the same overall form factor and design as the original Krait, but has removed the strip of LEDs on the side and replaced them with new texturized rubber grips that are designed to improve grip. Support for Synapse 2.0 is also coming to the new Krait mouse, which will allow you to sync your mouse settings to other computers.
Compared to the original Krait's 1600 DPI, the updated model should bring the classic design into the hands of modern gamers that are used to higher precision mice. At least that's the idea. It will be interesting to see how well received Razer's updated designs will be.
According to EXPreview, the updated Krait will cost 299 Yuan, which works out to just under $50 USD. Unfortunately, there is no word on a specific release date.
Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2012 - 07:14 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Star Wars, pc gaming, gaming, free to play, F2P
Bioware announced on Friday that its Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO is now Free 2 Play. As a result, my productivity over the weekend suddenly dropped dramatically (heh). The subscription option is not gone entirely, but players are now able to create characters up to level 50 without paying anything. This approach is similar to the way World of Warcraft and Star Trek Online handle the Free to Play model.
Installation is simple, and is just a matter of walking through a few standard steps and accepting the EULA. While the initial download for the installer is small, you cannot jump into the game until you download all of the assets -- and Star Wars: The Old Republic is far from a lightweight game with an asset download of about 25GB required to play (plus future smaller patches).
As a free subscriber you get access to the entire game, but there are several other limitations that might just annoy you into purchasing a subscription. If you are vigilant, it is possible not to pay anything. Some of the larger restrictions include XP-rates, number of characters per account, medical probes, reduced reward choices, and not being able to sprint until level 15 of all things (!). After level 10, the rate at which you gain experience points is reduced compared to paying subscribers. As an alternative, you can purchase XP boosters to make up the difference. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase it with in-game currency. At least it’s another one-time charge instead of paying every month for a subscription. The number of characters per account is restricted to two, so you will need to delete one or pony up for a subscription if you want to play as additional classes to get their stories. That’s unfortunate, but not a deal breaker and something that Star Trek Online also does. Medical probes allow you to respawn in the same area as opposed to respawning at a medical center. This would not be so bad if it was not for the biggest issue I have with the Free To Play version: getting around the game takes forever! With a quick travel that has a 2 hour cooldown and not being able to sprint until level 15, it takes a long time to get from mission areas and back again. This became especially evident on Coruscant where walking from the taxis to the senate tower in particular was a slog.
With all the major limitations out of the way, I will say that the game is just as good as my friend has been trying to tell me since launch. In particular, SWTOR is really fun, and I would even go as far as saying it is addicting. While it is not KOTOR 3, it is really close and definitely fills in a gap. It definitely encourages you to go for the subscription option but it is enoyable enough that the restrictions are worth putting up with, however annoying.
When I started out, the combat took a bit of getting used to, as you move around with WASD, aim the camera with the mouse, and also right click to attack. With ranged weapons it will likely not be an issue but when you are running in with a lightsaber, it may take a bit of training before you hurt the enemies more than yourself (heh). I wish that there was a keyboard key to auto-target the nearest enemy, especially since my companion just loves to walk in front of me when I'm trying to target someone with the mouse (KOTOR did combat that way, from what I remember). The force abilities of the Jedi Consular are satisfying indeed.
(Hint, if you go with the Jedi Shadow option as I did when you chose an advanced class, you get a free double bladed lightsaber in a backpack that shows up in your inventory--the game doesn’t make this clear at all and it took me reading on a forum after looking around the game for a couple hours trying to find a double bladed saber that is required for some of the Jedi Consular’s abilities... It ended up being in my inventory the whole time, d’oh).
You can grab the game from Bioware’s SWTOR website. If you are a Star Wars fan, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. The download is huge but ultimately worth it. Just keep an eye on the time as otherwise you may look up and notice it’s 5 AM and you missed all the Black Friday deals!
What do you think of SW:TOR?
Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2012 - 03:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: far cry 3, uplay, ubisoft, gaming
Being better than Far Cry 2 is not a difficult achievement but absolutely necessary if you want to entice PC gamers to pick up the third instalment and according to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN that bar has been surpassed. While they are not in love with the mystic portions of the main quest they were fans of the dialogue and the fact that you are not a silent protagonist. While you start with a single gun there is no reason you can't kill and skin a goat to make yourself another holster so that you can carry a second. You'll have to wait a while longer to blow up crocodiles with claymores for yourself but in the mean time you can live vicariously through this review.
"It’s also layered in skill trees, and a (largely superfluous) inventory, to make this game feel like it has a lot more going on than some other open-world shooters we could mention. The result is a little Skyrim-with-guns, yes, but in Skyrim I never caused two bandit jeeps to crash into each other, only to set fire to half of the jeep passengers with the flamethrower, and watch the other half be eaten alive by giant lizards. No, sir."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Marked by the Ninja @ The Tech Report
- F1 Race Stars @ eTeknix
- Duke Nukem 3D HRP: The Classic, Only Better @ Techgage
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown @ Kitguru
- Call of Duty:Black Ops 2 @ LanOC Reviews
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II GPU & CPU Performance @ Techspot
- Hitman Absolution VGA Graphics performance review @ Guru of 3D
- Star Citizen game breaks crowdfunding record at $5.5m @ HEXUS
MayWill Probably Be Released On Windows @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Should You Play Planetside 2? Questions & Answers @
- Dance Central 3 Video Review @ Hardwareheaven
Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2012 - 03:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Dark Souls, dsfix, console port, gaming
If you are interested in grabbing the PC version of Dark Souls from Steam then you must read through the tips and the graphics mod over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN. The DSfix mod from Durante will let you choose resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 which will make the game look far more attractive. As well they offer .ini tweaks such as setting the game to a borderless fullscreen, uncapping the framerates and which ports to open when playing multiplayer. While they do have a mod to help with smoothing the mouse and a cheat sheet for keyboard mappings, the game is still best enjoyed using a controller something common to direct console ports such as this is.
"Dark Souls’ existence on PC is a story of hope and disappointment. Petitioned by over 90,000 fans to bring the game onto PC from consoles, around the time that the Doublefine Kickstarter was gaining momentum, it seemed like a golden age when game developers were finally listening and giving gamers exactly what they wanted. However, fans were disappointed that even after all of the petition’s noise and success, the Dark Souls developers weren’t able to deliver anything more than a functional PC port, where traces of the game’s console origins remain in plain sight."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Need For Speed Most Wanted (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Ravaged @ LanOC Reviews
- F1 Race Stars (PC) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- GTA V: Grand Theft Auto 5, Trailer 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Origin Accounts Hacked – Maybe Change Your Password @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Ubisoft Explains The Wait For Beyond Good And Evil 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Borderlands 2 Review (PS3) @ Kitguru
- Assassin's Creed III: Liberation PlayStation Vita @ Tweaktown
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown Xbox 360 Review @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2012 - 04:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, ea, medal of honor, warfigher, 14th installment, frostbite
Medal of Honor is the game which just refuses to stop, with the arrival of Warfighter which is thie 14th version of this venerable series. It uses the DX11 Frostbite 2 Engine, the same as BF3, which is famous for needing high end graphics cards to get the most out of the effects available to the engine. [H]ard|OCP took three of the fastest AMD GPUs and three of the fastest NVIDIA cards to see how they fare against this new game. You may be pleased to hear all six cards could play at 2560x1600, it was only the MSAA settings which needed to be altered. Neither company was a clear winner, it seems that just about anyone with decent graphics capabilities will be able to play this game and experience the best the engine has to offer.
That is not what PC Perspective will be playing tonight on PC Per Live, we will be continuing our preferred choice of retro gaming with the original Battlefield 1942 game. It is now available for free on Origin, so if you want to play with us tonight you'd better start downloading it now! You should also think about tweaking the .ini files to enable resolutions that were not a choice 10 years ago!
"Medal of Honor: Warfighter uses the Frostbite 2 engine which was made popular by delivering realistic graphics and physics in Battlefield 3. We will be finding out if the image quality has improved or stayed the same compared to Battlefield 3, and what kind of hardware is needed to take full advantage of the game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- X-COM Co-Creator Julian Gollop Making Chaos Sequel @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- David Braben Kickstarts an Elite Reboot @ Slashdot
- I Want Every Game To Be Made In The Sui Generis Engine @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Alan Wake PC Review @ eTeknix
- Assassin's Creed III Video Review by Kaeyi Dream @ HardwareHeaven
- Abduction Does Gorgeous Stealth In CryEngine 3 @
- Halo 4 Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
- Halo 4 @ The Inquirer
- Halo 4 Review: Master Chief is Back @ TechSpot
- Street Fighter X Tekken (PS Vita) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2012 - 02:58 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: valve, ubuntu 12.04, ubuntu, steam, linux, gaming
The developers at Valve have been hammering away at a Linux version of its popular Steam client and software distribution service.While Windows is currently the dominant platform, CEO Gabe Newell has shown his displeasure at with Windows 8 and the Windows Store such that development has been expedited to support the alternative operating systems and port Valve’s own titles to the platforms. Last month, Valve announced a limited public beta would start soon, and that it was taking applications.
That beta is now in effect, with a small subset of the total 60,000 applications the company received being invited to participate in the beta build. Intended for Ubuntu 12.04, the Linux for Steam beta includes the client itself, and several surprising additions (that were previously thought to not be included). Big Picture Mode and 26 games will be part of the Linux beta.
Big Picture Mode is Valve’s 10-foot interface for the Steam client. It is designed to work well with remote or controller such that Steam functionality and games can be easily accessed from the couch with Steam on the living room TV. (I took a look at Big Picture Mode earlier this year if you are curious about what the interface looks like.)
The list of games includes:
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent
- And yet it Moves
- The Book of Unwritten Tales
- Dungeons of Dredmor
- Dynamite Jack
- Frozen Synapse
- Galcon Fusion
- Serious Sam 3: BFE
- Solar 2
- Space Pirates and Zombies
- Steel Storm: Burning Retribution
- Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
- Team Fortress 2
- Trine 2
- Uplink/Darwinia Pack
- Unity of Command: Stalingrad Campaign
- World of Goo
- World of Goo Demo
Needless to say, there are a number of games more than the previously expected TF2, though Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 are noticeably absent (as are the rest of the Valve/Source collection). Space Pirates and Zombies is sure to suck some productivity out of Linux users’ days, however!
Valve has stated that additional users will be added to the beta from the pool of applicants over time. The company is also looking at making the Linux client available to other Linux distributions as well (even HML?). If you want a chance at getting into the beta, Valve is still accepting new applications via this survey (you need to log in with your Steam credentials).
Have you tried out the Steam for Linux beta?