Ubuntu, now available through Steam

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2012 - 12:12 PM |
Tagged: gaming, linux, steam

It seems the Gabe Newell doesn't like hearing that you can't game on Linux and is planning on releasing a Linux version of both Steam and the Source Engine.   The implementation is planned to be natively supported by Linux with no need for Wine, Phoronix has seen it running with an install of Ubuntu and a Catalyst driver for the Radeon that was providing graphics.  The Linux community has been waiting a long time for this day and now that Gabe is focusing his attention on this project there is hopes that it will soon come to fruition.  Phoronix could not be happier.

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"For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices. A meeting topped off the day with Gabe Newell regarding Linux where he sounded more like a Linux saint than an ex-Microsoft employee. Valve does have some great plans for Linux beyond just shipping the client versions of Steam and their popular games on the Source Engine."

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Source: Phoronix

Kids these days even need their Game of Life in HD

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2012 - 10:37 AM |
Tagged: gaming, game of life, john conway, von Neumann

John Conway's Game of Life originated in the 40s as a way of expressing the idea of cellular automata, aka life.  Originally a thought experiment using paper it has since become a very popular tool for young programmers to cut their teeth on, since the rules are very simple and you only need to input the original state after that the 'game' proceeds based on the rules.

For a space that is 'populated':
    Each cell with one or no neighbours dies, as if by loneliness.
    Each cell with four or more neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
    Each cell with two or three neighbours survives.
For a space that is 'empty' or 'unpopulated'
    Each cell with three neighbours becomes populated.

It is also a way to study how complexity can form from very simple initial states, as in some games you will resolve to a static square, while other times you might meet a fluctuating glider gun or a toad.  If you've never encountered this program before or are interested in setting it up on an FPGA then head to Hack a Day and see if you can't get some HD cellular automata to live more than 30 or 40 generations.

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"We’re going to have to take [Mike's] word for it that he built Conway’s Game of Life with high-definition video output. That’s because this screenshot is his only proof and it looks a bit fuzzy to us. But we are interested in the project which used an FPGA to generate a 1080p VGA output of the classic programming challenge."

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Source: Hack a Day

Wait, copy/pasting levels is a bad thing? Dragons Age 3 reputed to be much less like Halo

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2012 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dragon age 3, BioWare

If you can believe the hints that BioWare is dropping, Dragon Age 3 should feel a lot less like a very expensive, poorly designed add on and more like an actual new game.  Of course, this comes from a very quick talk given at PAX about an unannounced game which might or might not be in development, so your sodium intake for the day should be adjusted to compensate.  They also implied that your choices would Effect the ending of the game ... now where have we heard that before?

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"Rumours are flying that Dragon Age 3 might be something more like the sequel to Dragon Age we’ve been hoping for. After Dragon Age 2 came out feeling more like a side-project, BioWare have dropped some hefty hints that they’re looking to redress much of that in an unannounced third game for the series. At a PAX East panel, as spotted by Eurogamer and recorded by Gamespot, Dragon Age developers discussed what a hypothetical game might contain, were it to exist, which it currently doesn’t, but obviously does. It’s to be a far more varied game, with new locales, and decisions that carry over from previous games."

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Wireless Headsets and PC Cases Added To Vengeance Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 5, 2012 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, headset, gaming, corsair, case

Corsair announced today that a new wireless headset and gaming PC case would be joining the ranks of the existing Vengeance lineup of headsets and keyboards. Making their initial debut at PAX East this weekend, the new Vengeance 2000 wireless headset and Vengeance C70 Case will be available for purchase later this year.

The Vengeance 2000 is Corsair’s latest headset that takes the brushed aluminum, 50mm drivers, and microfiber ear cups of the Vengeance 1500, adds some blue and white accents and then cuts the cord. In pace of the USB cord, Corsair utilizes 2.4 GHz wireless to deliver 5.1 and 7.1 virtual surround sound up to 40 feet away and with a battery life of 10 hours. The headset further features a noise canceling microphone and battery that can be recharged via micro USB cable.

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From the wording of the press release, it sounds like the charging cable will only act as a power cable -- meaning it will not make the headset wired. The wireless 2.4GHz radio may be problematic for gamers living in areas with lots of 2.4GHz interference (like an apartment building with lots of WiFi devices and microwaves), and in that case the wired Vengeance 1500 would be a better choice. (We are attempting to verify the wireless only aspects and will update the article if we receive a response). Update: Corsair has clarified to us that the headset is always wireless -- the USB cable is only used for charging and firmware flashing.

Arriving with two carrying handles and an ammo box aesthetic, the Vengeance C70 is ready for the war against heat with space for up to 240mm radiators (they suggest the H100) on the top and bottom or 10 total case fans. The case further features a steel front panel, eight PCI-E slots, and two removable hard drive cages with space for three 2.5” or 3.5” drives (for a total of six hard drives). The PCI-E slots and other internals use standard Philips head screws.

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The Vengeance C70 will be available in three colors: Military Green, Arctic White, Gunmetal Black. The external of the the case features large mesh grills over the fan areas. The front of the case features a honeycomb mesh for up to two fans, three 5.25” drive bays, and -- along the top -- two large buttons for power and reset with the power being the large red button (which would be difficult to resist pressing all the time). It also houses microphone and headphone jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports. All three C70 cases have two carrying handles on the top that fold down into recessed parts of the case when not being used.

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The two new Vengeance entrants will be available this summer. The C70 will be available for purchase soonest -- as early as May -- with an MSRP of $139 USD. Meanwhile, the Vengeance 2000 wireless headset has an MSRP of $149 USD and will be available in June. More information on Corsair’s entire Vengeance gaming lineup is available here.

Source: Corsair

Fancy a peek at the Diablo III beta?

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2012 - 10:34 AM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii

While we cannot offer you a way to get into the beta, it is possible to show off a game play movie made by Slashdot, or two.  The release of this gaming is fast approaching with just over a month to the May 15th release date ... assuming no more delays occur.  From the video we learn that the developers have made the stats autolevel so that players do not have to worry about breaking their character with poor stat choices.  Many skills will be tied to the equipment you are wearing and so will not be a permanent choice, swapping your equipment will change your skills.  Hopefully Slashdot is right when they state the developers spent a lot of time toning down the tedium and raising the level of fun.

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"It's been almost four years since Diablo 3 was announced, and its development began years earlier. Its predecessors helped define the action RPG genre, so anticipation is high among fans of the franchise. The game has undergone closed beta testing since September, and a lot has changed since then. Now that Blizzard has settled on May 15th as a release date, we thought this would be a good time to take a look at the state of the game as it currently exists. These two videos show actual gameplay of the various classes, explain the skill and rune systems, take a look at the auction house, and go over many of the other changes since the beginning of development."

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Source: Slashdot

How much GPU power does Commander Shepard need to save the galaxy?

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 11:04 AM |
Tagged: mass effect 3, gaming

[H]ard|OCP set out to see just how much you can get from Mass Effect 3 with a powerful GPU.  On the test bench from AMD was an HD 7970 and a 7950 while from NVIDIA a GTX 580 and 570 were tested.  All were tested at 2560x1600 with FXAA, 16X AF and Dynamic Shadows, with MLA enabled on the AMD cards and every single card provided more than adequate performance.   Since that went so well, they dropped down to an HD 7870, 7850 and 7770 from AMD and a GTX 560 Ti with only the HD 7770 having to reduce settings at 2560x1600.  Obviously this game was designed by the Anti-Bay; with the emphasis on story and not pretty explosions.

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"The final instalment in the Mass Effect saga has arrived to give gamers their sci-fi war and romance fixes. But does the game offer hardware enthusiasts anything? Does it have any cutting edge technology to make our high-dollar video cards worthwhile? Does it make us glad we spent our hard-earned dollars upgrading or does it leave us flat?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Wing Commander Saga; a rebuild by fans for fans

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2012 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming, wing commander, mod

There is some incredible news for those of you who have purchased old Wing Commander games from GOG, as well as those of you who've though about it but prefer the memories of the game they've already formed.  A group of modders has taken the engine behind FreeSpace 2 and created Wing Commander Saga, which spans a time period from just before the beginning of Wing Commander 3 and takes you through to the end of the Terran-Kilrathi War.  On top of the vastly improved graphics and features like autopilot are dozens of cinematics throughout the game, thousands of lines of original dialog and large scale fleet battles.  Do not despair if this is the first you are hearing about it for the release date is tomorrow!   Check out Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn here.

"Any old-school PC gamer worth his salt has spent some time dogfighting in space in Wing Commander, or at least is familiar with the series that first took flight in 1990. Heck, even Mark Hamill (better known as Luke Skywalker) lent his voice acting talents to the third installment, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. If you have fond memories of flying through space in the 1990s, you'll be happy to know that fans of the franchise are nearly finished with a massive followup."

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Source: MaximumPC

Give me a Marauder MAD-5M with original armour and I am good to go

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2012 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: Mechwarrior, gaming

Though not a single player game in any sense of the word, MechWarrior has finally come back to the PC in the form of a free to play online game.  Think of it as a large Solaris VII Arena where two teams of 12 mechs compete for domination.  You don't have to restrict yourself to assault mechs either, as effective scouting with smaller mechs will net you the same experience awards as blowing the leg off of an opposing mech. For those who want a more persistent experience you can join a mercenary company or if you prefer to just jump into battle like Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN had the chance to do then jump into a cockpit and lay waste to your enemies in the newest implementation of the Crytek 3 engine.

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"It’s been ten years since the last MechWarrior game. Which seems odd, since the idea of stomping around in giant robots is such a popular one. But now the license has been put in the hands of Piranha Games, and it’s going online, and MechWarrior Online is going free to play. I saw it in action at GDC, so read on for my report."

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Introduction, LAN Fest, Game Demos, Future of Gaming panel

Introduction


Check out our video coverage of the SXSW Screenburn Arcade!

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The 19th Annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival kicked off on Mar. 9 and wraps up Mar. 12 in Austin, Texas. While most of the event featured interactive workshops and panels of experts from within the web development and social media communities, I focused most of my efforts covering the SXSW Screenburn Arcade at the Palmer Event Center. This is where most of the PC and console gaming enthusiasts attending SXSW converged to watch pro gamers from the IGN Pro League battle in League of Legends, Starcraft II, and check out several game demos like Lollipop Chainsaw for the XBox 360 and Quantum Conundrum and FireFall for the PC.

 

Intel LAN Fest

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I also had the opportunity to visit the Intel-sponsored, non-profit LANFest where event visitors could jump on one of their Alienware systems and play a variety of PC games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Team Fortress 2, MineCraft, Half Life 2 Death Match, WArsaw, Alien Swarm, Portal, World of Tanks, and Left 4 Dead 2 . LAN participants paid a $5 donation to play, which helped raise funds that will be sent to the city of Bastrop, Texas that lost more than 400 homes because of wildfires last September. They also raffled off a new ASUS Ultrabook to raise money for the United Way non-profit organization.

To see more of our coverage of the SXSW and the ScreenBurn Arcade 2012, continue reading!!

Alleged NVIDIA GK104 Kepler GTX 670 Ti Photo Leaked

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 8, 2012 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, graphics card, gpu, GK104, gaming, 28nm

GDC 2012 is upon us, and in addition to the Samaritan demo and some gaming goodness, we spotted a leaked image over at Legit Reviews that is allegedly a photo of a production NVIDIA GTX 670 Ti graphics card.

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The cooler looks to cover the whole PCB and be of the blower design, funneling hot air of the of the front of the card and out of the case.  The connectors include two DVI, one HDMI, and one Display Port.  Rumors suggest that the latest NVIDIA cards will be capable of multi-display (>2) from a single card much like AMD cards have been doing for some time.

Not a whole lot is known about the upcoming GK104 "Kepler" GPUs with a good deal of certainty, but we have reported on a few leaks including that the cards will have 2 GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 256 bit memory bus, and that the cards may just be coming out in May. Due to Epic using a working Kepler GPU in their Samaritan demo, that launch date does not sound too far fetched either. On the performance front, there are conflicting rumors; some rumors state that the cards will blow AMD out of the water and other people swear the cards will not be as powerful as the rumors suggest. I suppose we'll find out soon though!

Are you still waiting for NVIDIA's Kepler GPUs or have you jumped on the latest Radeon series?