Caspian Servers Now Open To Public In Battlefield 3 Beta

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2011 - 10:23 PM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, caspian, bf3, beta, battlefield 3

The Battlefield 3 open beta is almost over; however, the full experience of a 64 player map with vehicles has not been accessible to the general public.  Until now, that is.  EA has announced that the once password protected Caspian map will be available this weekend to stress test the servers.  To give you an idea of the map, PC Perspective was able to get onto one of the Caspian servers during our live stream.

bf3.png

The EA representative noted that the beta may be prone to crashes and network issues, and that they are (likely) not indicative of the final product.  They are currently experiencing a bug where users may be kicked from the server with a message indicating it was due to an administrator's actions.  The representative noted that the message does not mean that the user was kicked by an administrator but rather was due to being dropped from the server (due to network issues).  Starting Friday afternoon, PC players will be able to log onto the Caspian maps, which will be available until the end of the beta on Monday, October 10th.

Have you tried out the Caspian Battlefield 3 beta map yet?

Source: EA

The good, the bad and ... ya that is just dang ugly

Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: rage, gaming, battlefield 3

This has been a busy week for the gamer and the game reviewer as we have seen the (partial) release of two long awaited games.  The first to arrive was the beta for Battlefield 3, delivered via a new delivery system called Origin which is like Steam only not as good.  The beta has received good reviews for the gaming portion but the game browser and the entire process to just get into a game has not, as you can read about at The Tech Report.  As reviewers we cannot just play a game however, it needs to be benchmarked for performance to ensure that you know what to expect in the way of framerates as well as how the image quality stacks up.  At PC Perspective we've also made some recommendations on the best parts to buy depending on the resolution you wish to play at, which has sparked a slew of comments on our choices.

Then, the long anticipated Rage hit and proved worthy of it's name.   Those who could manage to get past the many causes of the instant crash to desktop on launch were disappointed as to the quality of the Mega Textures that we were promised.  This has caused upset in many places, [H]ard|OCP providing some unfiltered feed back here, which is being reflected on many other sites.  Ryan went so far as to slow down game play so you can see the console-tastic texture fill rate as well as the incredibly limited graphics settings in his article on rage.

trollrage.jpg

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

PC Gamers Rage Over Numerous RAGE Issues

Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: rage, PC, id, gaming, carmack

Many of the PC Perspective staff members have been testing out RAGE this week, and were among the countless fans that had been waiting impatiently for id software’s RAGE (to be released) since the first Mega-texture screenshots surfaced of the first person shooter a few years ago. As the game finally unlocked (on steam) on Monday night; however, the game’s enemies were not the only thing catching fire. The Steam Users Forum started lighting up with numerous complaints, bug issues, crashes, and graphical woes and rolled into an uncontrollable wildfire.

rage 2011-10-05 10-15-26-86.png

id Software's RAGE, when it's working

The major issues of RAGE include the trusty “CTD,” a crash to desktop, after the initial cut scene in the campaign as you emerge into the game world, screen tearing, mouse super sensitivity, and texture pop-in.  According to Maximum PC, Bethesda has stated that this error is caused when using AMD’s Battlefield 3 Beta performance drivers. I experienced this issue myself when testing out RAGE, and switching to these RAGE performance drivers fixed that particular crashing issue. There are also reports of crashing during other parts of the game; however, they are more varied than the previous crash issue and do not manifest themselves on all systems.  On the mouse super sensitivity front, using a mouse on in game dialog menus can be problematic as well. The mouse sensitivity seems to skyrocket, making it difficult to hit the “accept” and “decline” options compared to the mouse speed when using guns or walking around in the game world.  The same physical motions seem to be greatly magnified on the in-game menus, as shown in the video below.

The remaining major issues do not necessarily affect gameplay; however, they can be distracting and certainly can interrupt the immersion factor of the game. Specifically, there is currently a texture streaming problem such that when the player turns too fast (or at all in severe cases), the textures of the game “pop in.” What this means is that the game looks blurry and missing detail until the engine is able to “catch up” and present the gamer with the (correctly) detailed textures. Bethesda indicates that this texture lag/pop in problem is due moreso to driver issues than problems with the engine. It remains to be seen whether updated drivers will be able to fully fix the texture streaming issue, however. The video below shows the texture pop in issue quite well.

The texture issue is not only a PC issue, however. Giantbomb noted in their Quick Look of RAGE that the Xbox 360 version of RAGE also experiences the texture pop in issue, though not to the extent of the PC. Beyond texture pop in, the PC version also succumbed to screen tearing issues. As an example, when entering the Wasted Garage level, the left two-thirds of my screen became filled almost completely with a solid yellow color where the image was torn in multiple places. This image below is of another user’s screen tearing experience which was less severe than mine but still enough to cause problems in playing the game.

rage_screen_tearing.jpg

GameFront is having RAGE screen tearing issues as well.

Finally, RAGE does not play nicely with FRAPS, which saw a massive slowdown in framerate when recording (much more than the normal dip experienced in other games). (UPDATE: the new AMD driver (updated Rage Performance Driver) seems to have fixed this for the most part.)

Some of these graphical issues may be attributable to the automatically adjusting nature of the game’s graphical settings as the game may not be able to cache/reuse textures it has recently loaded if the engine determines that the graphical settings need to be lower or higher, resulting in the engine needing to reload textures, and thus having what feels like lagging textures even in areas you’ve recently looked around. The extent to which it happens though is likely caused by a number of factors, that many hope a patch will mitigate.  On the other hand, Bethesda is indicating that the texture issue is not due to the engine but rather is due to graphics drivers.

Either way, gamers are not happy with RAGE and are waiting impatiently for drivers and/or a patch to fix the various issues, whichever the case may be.  It may be prudent to take a "wait and see" approach to the game before jumping in, if you haven't already purchased it of course.  Are you running RAGE right now, and if so what sorts of issues (and hopefully solutions) have you run into?  Vent your rage about RAGE in the comments below!

Valve Releasing Free Peer Review Portal 2 DLC On October 4th

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2011 - 05:13 AM |
Tagged: valve, Portal 2, gaming, dlc

Although id Software’s RAGE and DICE’s upcoming shooter Battlefield 3 have been getting all the attention around the PC Per office lately, Portal 2 is about to receive some free DLC that just might hold gamers over while they wait impatiently for their Battlefield 3 and RAGE pre-orders! Dubbed “Peer Review,” the upcoming DLC has been delayed several times and missed its original “summer” release date; however, it is finally releasing and will be available on October 4th.

Portal 2.jpg

The Peer Review DLC (download-able content) will be available on the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. According to Digital Trends, the free content will include new co-op modes for Atlas and P-Body in addition to new single play puzzles. Unfortunately, the single player puzzles will not extend the overall story of the Portal universe. Leader-boards and a new Challenge game mode will also be featured in the DLC.

One can be assured that GLaDOS is waiting. Whether gamers will finally get the promised cake is another matter, however.

Podcast #172 - 1.6TB PCI-E SSD from OCZ, the Battlefield 3 beta, a PCI GT520, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2011 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: podcast, pci, nvidia, Intel, gt520, gaming, battlefield 3, battlefield, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #172 - 9/29/2011

Join us this week as we talk about a 1.6TB PCI-E SSD from OCZ, the Battlefield 3 beta, a PCI GT520, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:10:45

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:32 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:28 OCZ Z-Drive R4 1.6TB PCIe 2.0 x8 SSD Full Review - 8 SF-2200's Can't Be Wrong!
  6. 0:17:11 Battlefield 3 Beta Performance Testing and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
  7. 0:32:41 AD BREAK
  8. 0:33:36 Intel Core i7 2700K Will Cost More Than 2600K
  9. 0:35:00 Internet Machines' PCI-Express Patent Lawsuit Targets Numerous System Vendors
  10. 0:37:53 ZOTAC Announces A75-ITX WiFi
  11. 0:40:52 ZOTAC Expands Value GeForce GT 520 lineup
  12. 0:44:54 PC Gaming to Surpass Console Gaming in Revenue by 2015
  13. 0:52:04 Don’t touch my wife! VIA sues Apple for patent infringement
  14. 0:55:25 FeTRAM is higher and lower; gives the best of both worlds
  15. 1:01:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Battlefield 3 Beta - gets you some tomorrow!
    2. Jeremy: ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 560
    3. Josh: Nice, inexpensive speakers that sound real good:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290203
    4. Allyn:  Blue Man Group
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

Source:

Gentlemen, start your graphics engine; comparing GPU performance in F1 2011

Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2011 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: gaming

[H]ard|OCP tested F1 2011, the latest and greatest racing sim which supports DX11 and should be a way for new graphics cards to show off their stuff.  On the block are NVIDIA's GTX 580, 570 and 560Ti along with AMD's HD6970, 6950 and 6870 paired with the stalwart Intel Core i7 920.  As their testing showed, the game did not end up stressing the GPUs as much as they thought the game would and summed up their testing with "If you're going to play F1 2011 on a 30", 2560x1600 or 1080p monitor, you don't need anything more expensive than an AMD Radeon HD 6950 or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570."

As well, Ryan has some really good news for Battlefield 3 fans; he ordered a 64 player dedicated server for the Fragging Frogs, as well as publishing a look at the performance of the beta.

H_F1antialias.png

"F1 2011 was just recently released, this new game supports DX11 out-of-the-box, and is based on the newer EGO 2.0 game engine, but that may not mean it's all that graphically intense. We test performance on six of today's video cards so you will know what to expect in terms of performance. Comparing to F1 2010, we found some surprises."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Battlefield 3 Beta Releasing Next Week On All Platforms

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2011 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, beta, battlefield 3

PC Perspective’s own Scott Michaud has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Battlefield 3, and was kind enough to keep me in the loop on the important aspects of the upcoming multi-platform multiplayer shooter. One aspect that many gamers (including myself) worldwide are likely salivating over is the imminent Battlefield 3 beta launch next week. Specifically, the Battlefield 3 beta will be available for download starting September 29th, 2011 for the general public and the 27th for those who pre-ordered or purchased the Limited/Tier 1 edition of Medal Of Honor.

The beta will be available on all major platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. In order to play the beta on the Xbox 360 and PS3, the game will show up automatically in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network respectively. On the PC side of things, gamers will need to download EA’s Origin client first, and then download the Battlefield 3 beta from the free games section of the Origin client.

The open beta will last until October 10th, and until then there are no caps or time limits regarding how far you can rank up or how often you can play. The map in question will be the “Op: Metro” map from the Alpha. Unfortunately, any ranks or stats you gain from the beta will not carry over into the final game.

While many gamers will be playing the beta on Xbox 360 and PS3, there will likely be a good number of gamers who will play it on the PC for the PC experience. During the EuroGamer expo, DICE General Manager Karl Magnusson spoke to NVIDIA, and stated that 1.5 million copies of Battlefield 3 had been pre-ordered and that DICE was happy to be back on the PC. Further, he stated that they are enjoying the feedback from gamers and whether it is the visuals, audio, or game play that they are enjoying, “all the feedback we get is really freakin’ cool.”

The minimum (and recommended) system requirements for the PC are as follows: 

  Minimum Recommended
OS Windows Vista SP2 32 bit Windows 7 64 bit
Processor 2 GHz dual core  quad core
Memory (RAM) 2 GB 4 GB
Hard Drive 20 GB 20 GB
Graphics (GPU) DirectX 10 with 512mb RAM DirectX 11 with 1GB RAM
Sound DirectX compatible DirectX compatible
Peripherals Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM

 

Have you been following the development of Battlefield 3 and are you looking forward to the open beta? Let us know in the comments.

Source: EA

That's better! A psuedo Syndicate sequel that is half RTS and half global view

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2011 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, cartel, syndicate

Over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN is an interview with Shams Jorjani who works for Paradox and is involved in the development of a game called Cartel.  If you don't quite recognize the company's name, Paradox is most well known for Magicka and Mount & Blade. His first response defines what is great about Paradox, "Well we’re making PC games! That’s what we do, right?"

Cartel won't be ready for a year or more but as it is envisioned you will be fighting Cartels (think Megacorporations) with a squad of elite troops that you kit out with the equipment you have stolen or researched.  While Jorjani doesn't like the Syndicate: Total War comparison, it might be a good way for those who have no idea what Syndicate is to grasp the concept.

cartel.jpg

"Paradox are developing a game called Cartel. The timing is interesting, because this is a game of two familiar halves: one real-time squad-based RTS action, the other on a global research and diplomacy map. And it is set in a near-future world of global mega-corporations, or “cartels”, battling for ultimate supremacy. Sound familiar? It should do. This is the antidote to EA’s new Syndicate being an FPS, and Paradox aren’t too shy about it. I talked to Paradox’s Shams Jorjani about what the Swedish publisher is up to, and whether this could be regarded as Syndicate: Total War.

Sadly, there are no images at this time. Boo."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Thermaltake Oversees Production of New Overseer RX-1 e-Sports Computer Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 20, 2011 - 11:08 AM |
Tagged: thermaltake, mid tower, gaming, case

Case and processor heatsink manufacturer, Thermaltake, recently announced a new gaming centric computer case under their e-Sports lineup. The new Overseer RX-1 case is a full tower design with lots of external ports and airflow options. Set to debut in September, the company claims that the steel (SECC) chassis is made specifically for e-Sports fanatics, and lives up to the full tower name with dimensions of 21.1 x 8.7 x 22.8 inches.

Overseer RX-1.jpg

The exterior of the case is dark black with blue LED accents. The top of the case features ridges and two 20mm fan mounts. The top of the case also features a top loading hard drive hot swap bay, two internal USB 3.0 connections, two USB 2.0 connections, and one eSATA port. The front of the case includes a “breath” logo and 20mm fan both back-lit by blue LEDs, as well as four externally accessible 5.25” bays. The fan cover is a black mesh grill with the Thermaltake logo in the center. In total, the case supports six fan mounts. In addition to the previously mentioned fans, there are two optional mounts on the bottom and side panel, and one rear 120mm fan.

The internals are gamer friendly, and support graphics cards up to 12.5” in length. Painted the same dark black as the outside of the case, the interior of the case features a bottom mounted power supply (PSU), six 3.5” drive bays (one externally accessible), three 5.25” bays, a multitude of expansion card slots, two access holes for external water cooling radiators, and tool-free installation for the 5.25” bays. Other notable features include cable management holes, 3.5” bay carriages that are also compatible with 2.5” SSDs, a PSU dust filter, and a front fan dust filter (both removable).

The full tower gaming case is slated to debut worldwide in September, and while its looks are certainly subjective, it does have a lot going for it if you’re into the stylized aesthetics. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on MSRP.  More photos of the case can be found on its product page.

Source: Thermaltake

Corsair Returns With A Vengeance (Line Of Gaming Headsets)

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2011 - 07:50 AM |
Tagged: usb, PC, mic, headsets, gaming, corsair, analog, 7.1, 5.1

Following in the success of the company’s HS1 gaming headset, Corsair recently unveiled three new gaming headsets in its new Vengeance lineup of gaming peripherals. The new arrivals include the Vengeance 1100, 1300, and 1500 audio peripherals, of which two support USB connections.

The Vengeance 1100 is the smallest of the three gaming headsets, and features a behind-the-head headphone design and boom microphone extending from the left speaker. Using 40mm drivers, the headphones are capable of a claimed 94 decibel dynamic range, and is one of Corsairs lightest headsets. The microphone is of the unidirectional variety and features noise cancellation technology. Connectivity options include two 3.5mm audio jacks at the end of the 1.8 meter cable for headphone and microphone or a single USB connection with the included adapter cable.

1300_right.png

The Vengeance 1300 headset with dual 3.5mm analog connections.

While lightweight and open ear headphones have their place, they are not for everyone. Thankfully, Corsair have also introduced two larger designs dubbed the Vengeance 1300 and 1500 to suit the needs of gamers who prefer (whether out of desire for isolated sound or to appease the significant other) the around-the-ears circumaural design. The 1300 supports connecting to high end sound cards with 3.5mm audio connections for both sound and the noise canceling cardioid microphone while the Vengeance 1500 connects to the computer using USB for both sound and microphone. Both models feature 50mm drivers, 95 decibel dynamic range, 3 meter cables, noise canceling microphones, and support for positional audio. Further, the Vengeance 1300 uses X-Fi CMSS-3D while the 1500 headset supports 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby Headphone positional audio. The larger designs are bound to be relatively heavy compared to the smaller Vengeance 1100; however, the closed ear design should provide cleaner audio while blocking out background noise.

As far as pricing and availability are concerned, the new gaming headsets and other Vengeance gaming peripherals are slated for an October 2011 launch worldwide. The Vengeance 1100 weights in at an attractive $39 US MSRP while the larger 1300 and 1500 have a suggested retail price of $79 US and $99 USD respectively.

Do you game with headsets, or are you more of the crank-the-home-theater-speakers-to-11 (and immerse the whole neighborhood in your Battlefield match) kind of person? I have somewhat recently moved to a pair of headphones for gaming and it definitely has its benefits (including the aforementioned spouse acceptance factor...). How do you think the new Corsair headsets will stack up to the competition? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Corsair