New from the creator of X-COM; Phoenix Point

Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2016 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, xcom, phoenix point

The turn based strategy and base management of X-COM will survive in Phoenix Point but from what was revealed by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN you may not survive that long.  It is not just the mutated victims of the alien virus you need to be wary of but also your fellow surviving humans as there are several faction with very different and incompatible survival strategies.  The mutated enemies will not be broken down into distinct and repetitive races, instead they will evolve as you try to defeat them.  Sniper heavy tactics could result in aliens with reinforced front facing armour the next time you deal with them, use grenades and the next wave you face may be resistant to fire.  The game sounds very complex but it is not due for release until 2018 so there is plenty of time for them to make this game work.  Check out more by following the link.

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"One of the most exciting games in Los Angeles this week won’t be featured at press conferences or on the showfloor. Phoenix Point [official site] is the new tactical-strategy hybrid from Julian Gollop, the creator of the original X-COM, and we met yesterday to discuss its procedurally generated alien threats, simulated human factions and much more."

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Battlefield 1; faster bullets and slower truncheons

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2016 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield 1

It won't just be flamethrowers and HMG emplacements in Battlefield 1, you can expect shotguns, sniper rifles, submachine guns, LMGs and semi-automatic along with a variety of melee weapons to inflict pain with.  According to the information Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN garnered from the Q&A sessions that the developer hosted, bullet velocity will also be increased; not in a CoD way but to travel at speeds somewhat closer to reality.  There will also be tools for snipping barbed wire and possibly to damage light vehicles if the inference is correct ... and not referring to a horse.  Follow the link for an extremely short video of two weapons in action.

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"The weapons of Battlefield 1 are a bit more specialized,” Schimek said. “To get the most out of them, you have to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and use the right one in the right situation."

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GOATS IN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2016 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: gaming, goat simulator, #MakeSpaceGreatAgain

That's right, those insanely beautiful bastards over at Coffee Stain Studios did it again, Goat Simulator: Waste of Space will be arriving tomorrow on Steam as DLC, likely at the $5.00 price point the previous GoatZ and Payday DLCs sold for.  It features a lightsabre so impressive it will throw Kylo into a sulk, romance plot lines that put Mass Effect to shame, facehugger spitting goats and plenty of self referential humour as well.  The trailer is below and you can read a bit more over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

You are a goat too!

"Then there’s the faux-Schwarzenegger narrator. “Listen to me, you bastards,” he demands. “You will stop at absolutely nothing to make the galaxy great again.” Which evidently involves licking a crew member’s face who has cherry-topped cream cakes covering their nipples."

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DOOM is back

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2016 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: gaming, doom

Most reviewers agree, the new DOOM is a callback to the old days of run and gun shooters, not the overly prevalent cover shooters of today.  The speed is the key to having fun, leaping up obstacles, chainsawing demons when you are low on ammo or simply putting your boot through them.  The shotgun comes early and does exactly what you want it to, or you can choose different favourites from the arsenal you are sure to accumulate.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN were hoping for a little more variation in the common demon types and the inevitable mod to enlarge the colour palette used in the game but are having a great time already.  Check out their first impressions here if you have yet to find the time to play.

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"It’s early doors of course, so anything I say below may well become incorrect depending on how things shake out later on. I also haven’t dabbled in multiplayer yet, but will go hang my hide out for an online beating a little later today. "

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Hmm, this better not be Civ V, take II

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2016 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Civ V, sid meier

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN got a deeper look at Civ VI than just the launch trailer and it is hard to say if this will be a good one or not.  The armies will continue to be unstackable but they have created formations, allowing you to group a number of units to move together which will lessen the onerous task of moving your armies around.  This may help somewhat but we shall see how they deal with terrain and path calculation.  The unstackable trait will now infect cities, buildings no longer stack on top of your city but will be laid out on the map just like improvements.  No longer will you be sending out workers to build farms as you have in previous games, instead they will be working on upgrades from your city menu.

Research is now not only geographically based but also reliant on certain resources or upgrades; if they are appropriate your research will go much faster.  Diplomacy and the AI have also been changed.  There is not enough information yet to make a call but so far the news is worrying and it seems unlikely devoted fans will move away from Civ IV and its mods.

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"The game is running on a brand new suite of software, built to be far more mod-friendly than its predecessor, and as well as brand new AI systems, there are a host of new mechanics that will explore and emphasise your relationship with Civ’s greatest character: the map."

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It's raining Men ... and Orks and Eldar

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2016 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: gaming, warhammer 40k, dawn of war III

The Dawn of War series has been very popular, well designed and as pretty as there were bloody; THQ and Relic even managed decent add-ons that surpassed your run of the mill DLC for the most part.  The trailer below gives you a CGI tease of what Dawn of War III might look like when brought to you by Sega and Relic.  Those who preferred DoW II are in for a very unpleasant, even heretical, surprise; according to what Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have heard, the base building of the first instalment is coming back.  They do promise to continue the equipment customization of heroes from the second game; here is to hoping they are not just talking about silly hats.

"This isn’t the first public mention of Dawn of War 3. That was way back in 2011, when Relic were still owned by the now departed THQ. It’s likely safe to assume little of that original plan remains."

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Delving into DirectX 12 performance

Subject: General Tech | April 20, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: hitman 2016, gaming, dx12, asynchronous compute, ashes of the singularity

DX12 is very new and with these two games utilizing it, Hitman 2016 and Ashes of the Singularity, it is difficult to get a good sample of results to see exactly what the new API will offer.  [H]ard|OCP have been working with both of these games to determine the performance differences between DX11 and DX12 and to find where the bottlenecks, if any, are.  With Ashes they tried limiting the CPU, one set of tests at 1.2GHz and the second at 4.5GHz which showed how well DX12 lived up to the touted benefits of reduced CPU usage.  They also tested with older GPUs on a 4.5GHz CPU to see if the new API does indeed help out older GPUs.  They also delve somewhat into the confusion surrounding AMD's Asynchronous ace in the hole.

For Hitman they contrasted various GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA while leaving the CPU alone for the testing.  This review emphasizes the performance delta between DX11 and DX12 on the same GPUs, and unfortunately also addresses some stability issues which DX12 has brought with it.  Read through the review to see what results they gathered so far but do not consider this the final word since both NVIDIA and AMD's GPUs could barely manage 10 minutes of DX12 gaming before completely locking up.

We still have a lot more investigation to perform before we can define the strengths and weaknesses of DX12.

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"Hitman (2016) supports the new DirectX 12 API. We will take this game and find out if DX12 is faster than DX11 and what it may offer in this game and if it allows a better gameplay experience. We will also compare Himan performance between several video cards to find what is playable and how AMD vs. NV GPUs compare."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Creative Assembly tries a different take on DLC for Total War: Warhammer

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 13, 2016 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: creative assembly, warhammer fantasy, total war, dlc, gaming

After committing the double sin of pimping preorders and Day 1 DLC announced before the release date, The Creative Assembly seems to be trying to win back some of their fans by offering free new content for all some time down the road.  There will be new Legendary Lords, magic items, quest chains, and units and towards the end of the year.  If you want to play as Chaos you will still have to preorder the game or pay for it after release.

The offer of free content is appreciated, apart from one small problem; the game's release date is still over a month away.  The offer of future free content seems to be a thinly veiled effort to increase the sales of preorders, since many of us have refused to take them up on their offer.  Hopefully this is a hint that the industry is beginning to realize that publishing the actual game in full will draw more customers than releasing a partial game with DLC already planned. 

Iceberg Interactive has a much better model, Endless Legends was released as planned and once they realized how popular the game was they put effort into adding entirely new features and races.  Instead of taunting their customers with DLC announced at the same time as they released the game, they have treated it more as a reward for customer loyalty.  Then again, perhaps their customers are the exception and The Creative Assembly's announcement will succeed in selling more copies of the game before the release date.

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"Now, developers The Creative Assembly have released details of their post-release plans and that includes loads of free add-ons. There will be new Lords with their own quest chains, items and campaign bonuses, new magic, and, most intriguing of all, an entire new playable race."

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A can of Ashes; benchmarking the Singularity

Subject: General Tech | April 6, 2016 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: gaming, ashes of the singularity, dx12

Ashes of the Singularity comes with a canned benchmark which makes it easier to compare the performance delta between DX11 and DX12, though actual gameplay may differ in performance it does make things much easier.  [H]ard|OCP set the graphics to Crazy and tried out the two top cards from NVIDIA and AMD in both APIs and found some very interesting results.  The AMD cards performed well above expectation, the Fury X happily sitting at the top of the pack but the 390X was more impressive, matching the performance of the 980 Ti.  The AMD cards also increased in performed when running underDX12 compared to DX11, a feat the NVIDIA cards were not able to replicate. 

It is still early days for the new DirectX and we should expect to see performance changes as drivers and game engines are refined but for now if you are looking to play this new RTS AMD is the way to go.  Check out the full performance details as well as VRAM usage in [H]'s full review.

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"The new Ashes of the Singularity game has finally been released on the PC. This game supports DX11 and the new DX12 API with advanced features. In this Day 1 Benchmark Preview we will run a few cards through the in-game canned benchmark comparing DX11 versus DX12 performance and NVIDIA versus AMD performance."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Raiding Tombs in DX12

Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2016 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: dx12, rise of the tomb raider, gaming

DX12 API support has arrived for the new Lara Croft game, for those with the hardware and software to support it.  For AMD users that means Fury or 300 family cards, which offer DX12.0 support and for NVIDIA, 980 Ti and all other Maxwell GPUs which offers 12.1 as well as 12.0.  The difference in support is likely because of the game, not the hardware in this case.  [H]ard|OCP takes a look at how well the cards perform in both DX11 and DX12 and as it turns out the warning below is very accurate and perhaps you should wait for a few more driver updates and game patches before switching over to DX12.

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"Rise of the Tomb Raider has recently received a new patch which adds DX12 API support, in addition the patch adds NVIDIA VXAO Ambient Occlusion technology, however just under DX11. In this evaluation we will find out if DX12 is beneficial to the gameplay experience currently and how it impacts certain GPUs."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP