Qualcomm Focuses on Android Gaming, Snapdragon Benefits to Gamers, Developers

Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 23, 2014 - 10:08 AM |
Tagged: snapdragon, qualcomm, gaming, Android, adreno

Today Qualcomm has published a 22-page white paper that keys in on the company's focus around Android gaming and the benefits that Qualcomm SoCs offer. As the dominant SoC vendor in the Android ecosystem of smartphones, tablets and handhelds (shipping more than 32% in Q2 of 2013) QC is able to offer a unique combination of solutions to both developers and gamers that push Android gaming into higher fidelity with more robust game play.

According to the white paper, Android gaming is the fastest growing segment of the gaming market with a 30% compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2015, as projected by Gartner. Experiences for mobile games have drastically improved since Android was released in 2008 with developers like Epic Games and the Unreal Engine pushing visuals to near-console and near-PC qualities. 

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Qualcomm is taking a heterogeneous approach to address the requirements of gaming that include AI execution, physics simulation, animation, low latency input and high speed network connectivity in addition to high quality graphics and 3D rendering. Though not directly a part of the HSA standards still in development, the many specialized engines that Qualcomm has developed for its Snapdragon SoC processors including traditional CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, security and connectivity allow the company to create a solution that is built for Android gaming dominance.

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In the white paper Qualcomm dives into the advantages that the Krait CPU architecture offers for CPU-based tasks as well as the power of the Adreno 4x series of GPUs that offer both raw performance and the flexibility to support current and future gaming APIs. All of this is done with single-digit wattage draw and a passive, fanless design and points to the huge undertaking that mobile gaming requires from an engineering and implementation perspective.

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For developers, the ability to target Snapdragon architectures with a single code path that can address a scalable product stack allows for the least amount of development time and the most return on investment possible. Qualcomm continues to support the development community with tools and assistance to bring out the peak performance of Krait and Adreno to get games running on lower power parts as well as the latest and upcoming generations of SoCs in flagship devices.

It is great to see Qualcomm focus on this aspect of the mobile market and the challenges presented by it require strong dedication from these engineering teams. Being able to create compelling gaming experiences with high quality imagery while maintaining the required power envelope is a task that many other company's have struggled with. 

Check out the new landing page over at Qualcomm if you are interested in more technical information as well as direct access to the white paper detailing the work Qualcomm is putting into its Snapdragon line of SoC for gamers.

Source: Qualcomm

Fly like an eagle

Subject: General Tech | June 18, 2014 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: gaming, oculus rift, Birdly

Creative geniuses have found another way to combine the Oculus Rift with other hardware to create something new, in this case it is a bird simulator.  Strap yourself in to the device and use your arms to flap the wings of your bird body and lean to try your skills at aerial manoeuvring. The Oculus provides your birds eye view of the ground and there is even a fan placed in front of you to give even more immersion.  Hack a Day also mentions an olfactory component, it will be interesting to see how that was pulled off.

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"Have you ever dreamed of being able to fly like a bird? Sadly, we’re just too heavy with our solid bones and fatty tissues – but now there’s a simulator called Birdly which will give you the experience you crave."

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Gaming

Source: Hack a Day

There are Zombies on the Holodeck

Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2014 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: gaming, Survios, oculus rift, razer hydra

With E3 2014 in full swing there are a lot of demos and trailers whetting our appetite and if the past is any proof, setting us up for disappointment as release dates move and features get dropped.  You can immediately scroll down to the long list below but first you really should take a look at Survios, once called Holodeck and then Prime, which uses an Oculus Rift, Razer Hydra, and PlayStation Move to immerse you in a zombie survival game; literally in first person.  The movie showing off the gameplay that Slashdot has linked to doesn't quite do justice to what the game will be like while wearing a Rift but the display behind does intimate just how much fun this style of gaming will be once it begins to mature.

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"Ben Lang from Road to VR goes hands on and heads in with virtual reality technology company Survios' newest version of untethered VR system 'Prime 3'. He moves around the virtual space, holding and reloading weapons as you would in real life. 'At one point while playing, I was wielding the shotgun with two hands, with the table of weapons was on my right side. Several zombies were approaching and I needed a bit more fire power. I dropped the shotgun, reached over with my right hand to grab the tommy gun off the table, then virtually tossed it from my right hand to my left hand (because I'm a lefty), then pulled my pistol out of the holster with my right hand and continued to shoot both weapons.'"

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Gaming

Source: Slashdot

Baaaaa! Why so serious?

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2014 - 11:29 AM |
Tagged: goat simulator, gaming, fun

It seems that gaming has become a lot less about having a good time over the past few years.  An entire branch of gaming expects you to run a treadmill of low level quests before you get to the point where you can actually start exploring and many people will not even pick up a game if they can't get achievements for simply playing something that they should be able to enjoy for the simple sake of playing. 

It is more than that however, we have progressed from teabagging and hurling vulgarities at any and all players, be they friendlies or enemies, to having a subgroup of gamers actively insulting so called 'casual gamers' and 'fake gamer girls' in social media and other public forums.  Somehow the idea that gaming is enjoyable because it is a game has been overwhelmed by those who find their fun in deriding other players.

Perhaps this is why Coffee Stain Studio's Goat Simulator has caused such a divide of opinions in gamers; those who can see the fun of wandering around smashing things and generally being silly love it. Those with a need to either prove themselves better than everyone, or at least that everyone is worse than they are can't grasp the idea of purely enjoying a game because it is simply amusing in and of itself.

For those still able to enjoy pure silliness you should read through the full patch notes of Goat Simulator 1.1 on Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN; the addition of a new map and split screen multiplayer has nothing on the notes involving Flappy Goat, the "Applying plastic wrap around your screen will now give you a 3D-effect." or Minecraft goat.  If you have even a tiny bit of a sense of humour left you should also watch the accompanying trailer.

If you want to play with the Fragging Frogs, the most fun frog-based gaming community around, you had best practice having fun. For those of you who never lost that playful spirit, come on it and join in the fun!

"Goat Simulator really is just the dumbest thing, isn’t it? Naturally, that’s why everyone in the whole world loves it and I have a pet goat now. I was surprised (and let’s face it: a bit saddened) to find that real goats have functional neck bones and lack tongues that stretch like elastic and stick like gorilla glue, but them’s the breaks. Related: do not hurl real goats into traffic. They will break. That got a bit dark there, didn’t it? But you know what’s not dark?"

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Gaming

Watch this Dog run

Subject: General Tech | May 28, 2014 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: watch_dogs, ubisoft, gaming

Watch_Dogs introduces us to a new game engine called Disrupt and uses NVIDIA's new GameWorks development platform to include HBAO+ as well as TXAA 2X and TXAA 4X.  That is not to say that AMD cards cannot run the game but you will need to be running  the 14.6 Beta driver the game prefers; Win 8.1 no longer required with the released vesrion.  AMD does benefit from its tendency to sport more VRAM as [H]ard|OCP saw some texture loading issues with the GTX 780 Ti and overall preferred the performance of the 290X.  Other sites have found rather different results, it is worth keeping an eye out for further investigations on what is happening.  You can also feast your eyes on [H]'s gallery of screenshots showing the differences in texture settings.

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"We have previewed the performance experienced in Watch Dogs, now it is time to preview image quality and look at some specific image quality differences. We will look at texture quality and the great differences between modes, anti-aliasing, and Horizon-Based Ambient Occlusion effects, AKA HBAO."

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Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

How much RAGE is in the new Wolfenstein

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2014 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: wolfenstein, id tech 5, gaming

Wolfenstein: The New Order uses the much maligned id Tech 5 engine made infamous by RAGE, which leads many to ask if it will have the same issues.  The negative similarities are certainly there, a 10GB Day 1 patch, serious issues with one vendor's cards and once you start playing the game the 'texture pop' that was evident in RAGE return to either annoy or be ignored depending on your preference and a 60fps cap.  With that out of the way you can look at the specs you need to play this game, the most noticeable of which is that you have to have a 64-bit OS, 32-bit versions need not apply.  The minimum hardware is also rather restrictive, you need a Core-i7 or equivalent top end AMD processor, lesser silicon need not apply, as well as a GeForce 460 or ATI Radeon HD 6850, and 50GB free space.  

The good news is that there are graphical settings this time which you can tweak, overriding the engine's 60 fps fetish but never peaking above that ceiling.  [H]ard|OCP tested a XFX Radeon R9 290X Double Dissipation and a GTX 780 Ti at 2560 x 1600 without an issue though when testing the 280X and GTX 770 at the same resolution they noticed that Ultra settings were removed from the options on the NVIDIA product while the 280X had no issues with Ultra at all.  Read the full story for all the gritty details and the rather disappointing conclusion.

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For real fun head to the Fragging Frogs servers for some gaming, find the schedule on our Gaming Forum and see if you have what it takes to knife O-Dog or Lenny!  It might be a good idea to introduce yourself first though!

"Wolfenstein: The New Order is out on PC. It utilizes the id Tech 5 game engine and sports fast paced first-person shooter gameplay. We look at some video card performance, make some comparisons, and look at image quality as well. Can this game overcome the stigma associated with RAGE since its the same engine?"

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Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

It's Alpha Max! Carmageddon: Reincarnation early access on Steam

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming, carmageddon reincarnation, Alpha

If you have fond memories of the first two Carmageddon games and are still a little bitter about TDR 2000 then you probably don't live in Australia.  For those sick and twisted individuals who did love picking pedestrian guts out of their hair and who didn't back the Kickstarter, for $30 you can pick up Carmageddon: Reincarnation on Steam; at least the early access version.  What better way to spend an evening that by torturing peds, other racers and yourself as the game is more than a little buggy at this point, with missing content and a new city map that will crush your GPU.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN takes a peek under the bloody hood here and if you do pick up the game remember to post any serious (and repeatable) issues at http://carmageddon.com/bugger.

For a more stable gaming experience just head to the Gaming Forum and see when the Fragging Frogs will be playing next.

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"Anyway, in the meantime, work continues. Carmageddon: Reincarnation yesterday launched its second big Early Access update, bringing a new level, three new cars, more performance options, and other doodads."

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Gaming

Free as in UT!

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2014 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming, unreal engine 4, Unreal Tournament, kick ass, epic games

The only way Epic could have excited gamers more than the announcement that Unreal Tournament is coming back is to announce that it is utterly free with no DLC or pay-to-win ... which is exactly what they did!  It will be built on Unreal Engine 4, the one you can license at $19 a month and will be designed from the ground up to be moddable and eventually there will be a marketplace where modders can trade, sell or give away their work.  Polygon wasn't given any hint of a release date but this news is so exciting it almost makes you forget UT3 ever existed!

Of course you don't have to wait to join in on some classic UT2K4 action, just head to the Gaming Forum and see when the Fragging Frogs will be playing next.

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"Developer Epic Games revealed today that the multiplayer shooter's next incarnation — in development in Unreal Engine 4 for Linux, Mac and Windows PC and called simply Unreal Tournament — will be free, moddable and collaboratively developed with fans."

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Tech Talk

Source: Polygon

DICE loves teasing us with Star Wars

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront, dice, ea

We have been not so patiently waiting for this announcement from DICE and EA ever since last years E3 but we finally have a rough idea when we can expect Star Wars Battlefield ... in about another year.  While that is not the answer we were hoping for it does give hope to fans that we will indeed venture once more into a galaxy far far away!  EA even suggested there could be as many as six new titles announced at the next E3 though we do not know how many will take place in the Star Wars universe; who knows they might even set one in the Legends Universe.  Click on the links at Polygon for the full story.

STAR WARS: "LEGENDS" - Full Trailer from marc dominic rienzo on Vimeo.

"Publisher Electronic Arts plans to show more from Star Wars: Battlefront, the DICE-developed game set in the Star Wars universe, at this year's E3, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during an investor call today."

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Gaming

Source: Polygon

Results of the PC Perspective and Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party #6

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, fun, fragging frogs

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The Fragging Frogs doubled our previous attendance at the 6th Virtual LAN party and may well have quadrupled the fun.  UT2004 and Battlefield 4 were by far the highest attended events with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Titanfall also attracting quite a few gamers.  There were two challenges for prizes, an elimination UT2K4 event in which the top 10 scores went on to try to kill Lenny as many times as possible in an all versus Lenny team deathmatch.  He loves that kind of attention and we love that game, especially Fragball with Redeemers!

The second challenge took place in BF4; the first player to knife either O-Dog or tommyp1ckles picked up one of the over two dozen AMD FX-8350s we gave away.  O-Dog managed to embarrass himself a bit, managing to get stabbed in under a minute in the first of the two challenges but redeemed himself by stabbing tommyp1ckles in the second round.

You can find out when the next Virtual LAN Party is as well join in on the regular Fragging Frogs gaming sessions reach out to Lenny and all the gang on the Gaming Forum.

The full list of prizes included:

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From AMD:

  • FX-8350 processors - 25 in total!
  • Warsam71's personal 7990 dual GPU video card
  • Never Settle Forever SILVER game codes - 10 in total

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From Epic Games:

  • Games, strategy guides and posters signed by Tim Sweeney
  • keys chain, sticker and bracelet sets

Thanks go to Warsam71 from AMD and iFlak from Epic who helped make this event even better and stopped by for a little gaming themselves.

Also, special thanks go to:

  1. Lenny - for herding cats like a pro
  2. iamApropos - for streaming and promoting our event
  3. Spazster (aka tORNTV) - for creating event graphics, our sweet intro video and promoting our event
  4. iwalkwiththedead - for creating event graphics and promoting our event
  5. Brandito - for hosting our Teamspeak server
  6. mmettin - for hosting our UT2004 server
  7. Activate:AMD - for managing our Battlefield 4 server
  8. Ryan - for Upgrading our TeamSpeak server from 32 to a much needed 64 slots

Drop by the forums to see the full list of winners (my 8350 is back in the pool for #7) and make sure to offer your thanks for all the hard work from those who organized and supported this event!