Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2012 - 05:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: valve, steam, software, gaming
In August, Valve announced that it would soon begin selling non-game Windows software on its Steam (game) distribution service. This week, the company launched the first titles to be sold on Steam, which are mainly game related applications like benchmarks and art/asset editors.
To sweeten the deal, Valve is offering up the first wave of software titles for 10% off until next Tuesday. The launch titles include:
- ArtRage Studio Pro
- CameraBag 2
- GameMaker: Studio
- 3DMark Vantage
- 3DMark 11
- Source Filmmaker
These applications are available for purchase now, and most will take advantage of Steam features like cloud saving and the Steam Workshop to share your creations with others. Further, I can see the benchmarking utilities appealing to reviewers as they can just let Steam take care of the product keys and it can just be rolled into the same Steam backup that the benchmark games are in! For most people though, I think if the price is right Steam might be a viable option. On the other hand, it will be facing stiff competition from services like the Windows Store in Windows 8. And not to mention the pesky issue that if you lose your Steam account or do not agree to the next EULA change you lose access to any programs you've purchased on Steam (oh joy).
You can find more information in Valve's press release.
What do you think of Valve selling non-game software on Steam? I'm willing to give it a chance but don't think I'll use it all that much unless its included in a seasonal Steam Sale.
Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2012 - 09:07 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: valve, steam, linux, gaming
Valve software is slowly but surely moving towards supporting the open source Linux operating system with a new Steam client. The latest milestone is an announcement by Valve that it is extending the beta beyond its privately selected internal testers to a limited number of public users.
The upcoming public beta will be rolled out soon along with a sign up page where the public can apply. From that sign up list, Valve will be selecting 1,000 applicants to test the Linux version of its Steam client.
While Valve has not announced a specific date for the start of the beta (or when the sign up page will go live) beyond that it is coming “sometime in October,” the company did provide a couple of tidbits of information on the beta client software.
The (limited) public beta will include the Steam game client, and a single Valve game. This beta client will run on Ubuntu 12.04 or above. Unfortunately, the beta will not include any additional playable games. Also the beta client will not include the recently released (on Windows) Big Picture Mode functionality.
Many users are speculating that the single game hinted at in the announcement will be the company’s latest zombie co-op shooter Left 4 Dead 2, as Valve has shown off the game running on Linux before. Valve has stated that it is extending the beta beyond its internal testers to attempt to get a wider sample size and to be able to test the beta software on as many varied hardware configurations as possible.
Gamers that want a chance to be one of the 1,000 users that will be asked to participate in the beta should keep an eye out on the Linux blog on Valve's website.
Granted, this is a small step, and the final Steam client for Linux is probably a ways off still, but I am still excited. Like Scott mentioned, gaming is one of the things keeping me with Windows despite my interest in Linux Mint (that OS really flies on my system! ).
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2012 - 03:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, system shock 2, thief 2, classics
Remember the olden days when a game was interesting enough on its own that you didn't need to add Panda bears as a playable class just to try to get players interested? Two perfect examples of what a game should be, System Shock 2 (why we can't have nice things) and Thief 2 have recently received unofficial, community designed stability patches. If you have spent time and money at Good Old Games or hoard old game CDs in the belief that you will have a trouble free experience playing old titles under Win7, you have probably come to the realization that sometimes it just isn't that easy. That is why it is wonderful to see PC gaming enthusiasts hard at work making old classics compatible with today's software and in some cases enabling resolutions and settings we only dreamed about when the games were first released. Check out Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for the files you will need to experience these two games again, stable and with improvements beyond the original releases.
As well, make sure to check PC Per Live (over there at the right ... the radio tower with LIVE under it!) as the PC Perspective Podcast is tonight at 7PM PDT and afterwards we will probably live stream the crew playing a game, possibly one which begins with the letter 'B'.
"System Shock 2 and Thief 2 are regularly hailed as classics for a reason. They’re meticulously designed, tough but not unfair, and, well, they’ve been around for a gazillion years – at least, in gaming technology time. Unfortunately, our light-speed-traveling future machines take about as well to them as modern automobiles to giant stone Flintstones wheels. In other (pseudo) words, clunkity clunk clunk crash. But now – finally, wonderfully, mercifully – some kind soul’s seen fit to release unofficial patches that bring both games up to speed. And, according to early reports, they make some positively massive improvements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Some Things You Should Know About The XCOM Demo @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wot I Think: Borderlands 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Developer Interview @ HardwareHeaven
- World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Final Fantasy VII PC (re-release) Review @ eTeknix
- A Look at Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD for the PC @ Techgage
- Borderlands 2 GPU & CPU Performance Test @ Techspot
- Beneath A Steel Sky sequel confirmed by Revolution Software @ HEXUS
- Look: First Proper Total War: Rome 2 Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Darksiders 2 Review (Playstation 3) @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2012 - 09:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sleeping dogs, gaming
Sleeping Dogs is apparently not a part of the True Crime series and the original title True Crime: Hong Kong was misleading. Then again, it is totally not a Grand Theft Auto clone either. Whatever this game where you play a cop pretending to be a member of the Triad, in theory undercover but more likely just getting to live out a submerged fantasy actually is, The Tech Report has some advice for you. Simply enjoy the game, go on a killing spree, drive around pointlessly or even do some missions, don't think about it just play.
If you neither want to think or to play, then PC Perspective can fulfill your need. Right after the podcast the four of us are going to try streaming a little Borderlands 2 action, so grab some popcorn, your favourite beverages and kick back and relax at PCPer Live!
"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior spends a few nights with Sleeping Dogs, United Front's combat-infused GTAlternative."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Sleeping Dogs PC Review @ eTeknix
- F1 2012 Review: It's a Long, Hard Road @ Techgage
- Gimbal multiplayer spaceship shooter @ XSReviews
- Guild Wars 2 Review @ Techgage
- A People’s History Of The FPS, Part 1: The WAD @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Blooming Marvellous: Hands-On With War Of The Roses @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Papo & Yo Review (PSN) @ Kitguru
- F1 2012 (XBOX 360) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2012 - 05:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CS:GO Review - It doesnt get more thorough than this @ Hardware Heaven
- Awite Guvner! Get Yer Indie Games ‘Ere: IndieGameStand @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition @ Tweaktown
- Finally, An In-Built Way To Choose Steam Install Locations @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Damage Inc - Pacific Squadron WWII Special Edition Xbox 360 Review @ eTeknix
- Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Review (PS3) @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2012 - 05:12 PM | Tim Verry
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.
The first titles to successfully be green-lit are listed below.
- Black Mesa
- Cry of Fear
- Heroes & Generals
- No More Room in Hell
- Project Zomboid
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?
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2012 - 10:41 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.”
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).
Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2012 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Damage Inc: Pacific Squadron WWII @ Benchmark Reviews
- Skyrim - Dawnguard PC Review @ eTeknix
- F1 2012 Preview (PC) @ HardwareHeaven
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review @ Techgage
- PC Gaming - Then and Now @ eTeknix
- Green For Greenlight: Valve Now Charging $100 Fee @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Sleeping Dogs Review (Xbox 360) @ Kitguru
- Dust: An Elysian Tail Review (XBLA) @ Kitguru
Introduction, Virtual V-Sync Testing
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.
Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2012 - 06:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Valve Finds Value In Open-Source Drivers; L4D2 Running On Mesa @ Phoronix
- Sleeping Dogs (PC) Review @ Techgage
- Ocs Must Die 2 @ XSReviews
- Guild Wars 2 (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Gamings Finest Moments Horror @ eTeknix
- Spec Ops Lead Hits Out At “Tacked On” Multiplayer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Enemy Yours: Watch An Hour Of The XCOM Remake @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- A Tad Unusual? Otherland Enters Beta @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Win a copy of Damage Inc.: Pacific Squadron WWII @ Hexus
- Sleeping Dogs Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
- CrazyQuest for iOS - A Fun, Quirky Retro RPG Experience @ Techgage