Call it Xenonauts if you want, it's still X-COM done the right way

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2011 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: gaming, x-com, mod

It has been a first person shooter, a flight simulator and a turn based strategy game in a world where even a glass window is utterly impervious to nuclear weapons, but never has X-COM UFO Defense been properly remade or reimagined.  It looks like an indy company will beat everyone else to it with their soon to enter beta testing Xenonauts, which keeps the style of the original, admittedly aged game, and more importantly includes destrucatable terrain!  No word yet on if you can fund your extermination efforts by selling equipment you made from alien tech to world governments but there is a lot of info on the game over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

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"It’s been a bit all-quiet for the Cold War-set X-COM reimagining Xenonauts for the last few months, but creators Goldhawk have finally broken cover to show how the major element – the ground combat – looks in action. The answer, you may not be terribly surprised to hear is “quite a bit like X-COM”, but clearly that’s exactly what we want. Higher res and detail is a fine thing, but it’s especially pleasing to see that destructible scenery, something so bafflingly absent from many of the commercial X-COM remakes, is present and correct."

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Gaming

Steam Launches Daily Deals Game Sales

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2011 - 12:30 AM |
Tagged: steam, PC, gaming

Valve announced today that is is launching the biggest sale in the popular gaming system's history: one that never ends!

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Steam's "Daily Deals" will feature a game a day, every 24 hours. You can find the games featured on the Steam homepage or by following their Twitter or Facebook feeds.

PC gamers everywhere are known to empty their wallets for Steam's holiday sales; therefore, these "daily deals" may just require a second job for the really dedicated Steam gamers.  To see just how much you've already spent on steam games, you might want to check out the Steam Calculator.

Source: Steam

Why does he get to play Deus Ex 3 already!?!

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2011 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: revolution, human, gaming, deus ex, Adam Jensen, 3

As further proof that no fairness exists in the universe, a lucky member of Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has played the first 10 hours of Deus Ex:Human Revolution; not just once, but twice.  If you played the first incarnation then you are probably terrified that it will follow the awful path of the sequel; unless you've taken the Highlander fan stance and pretend that it never happened.  If you've only played the second ...

Anyways, head over as the news is not all bad, though the rampant cut scenes made the (p)reviewer want to do something that would effect his ability to reproduce rather than watch another one played.

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"Because I am the luckiest man alive, I spent this weekend playing the first ten hours of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is starting to look like it’ll be the biggest release of 2011. When I finished those ten hours, I went back and played them again, and have finally managed to compress my thoughts into a handy list of thoughts that’ll occur to you, too, as you play. Five reasons to be hugely excited Deus Ex 3 and five reasons to be knuckle-chewingly nervous await you below."

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Gaming

Samaritan Demo Showcases New Unreal Engine 3 Graphical Effects

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 11, 2011 - 12:36 AM |
Tagged: UE3, graphics engine, gaming

Since 2006'a Gears of War, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 has provided both console and PC gamers hours of game play packed with graphical prowess. The now 5 year old graphics engine has enjoyed constant evolution to remain viable. At 2011's Games Developers Conference, Epic Games unvieled its Samaritan demo, proving to the world that not only could Unreal Engine 3 deliver graphics capable of fully utilizing current gen hardware but a huge evolution in graphical prowess that would require next gen hardware to in order to utilize all of it's features.

Using a three-way SLI GTX 580 powered gaming system, Epic Games was able to showcase some of the engine's newest features.  Taking eight months of development, the engine contains a slew of lighting, reflection, and shadow improvements as well as realistic hair and cloth physics.

Bokeh Depth of Field has been a popular artistic choice in Hollywood Films for many years.  Seen as out of focus but identifiable colored shapes in the background, bokeh objects serve to enhance a scene and influence viewers' moods.  Epic was able to improve upon earlier methods of rendering bokeh objects, though they admit that real time rendering of bokeh objects as seen in Hollywood films will necessitate next gen hardware.  Currently, the bokeh effects will be best used in cutscenes where developers can control and pre-render the objects to the best storytelling effect.

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Epic has also greatly enhanced the ways that light and reflections are handled.  Collectively called Image Based Reflections, Epic has implemented Point Light and Billboard Reflections.  These are then coupled with both static and dynamic Reflection Shadows to achieve a look resembling the real world.  While the graphics horsepower is not available today to allow Epic to mirror the way light works in the real world exactly, they are able to achieve a very close representation.  For example, they are not able to render the road to be as detailed as real life.  The road shown in their Samaritin demo was much less un-uniform.  This is so because the hardware required to calculate reflections on a road as un-uniform as in real life (in real time) is simply not available today.

Read on for more details...

Source: GeForce

Gigabyte goes wireless with their new Aviva mouse

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: mouse, wireless, gaming, gigabyte

Gigabyte has joined in the attempts of many companies to convince gamers that wireless mice are cool.  With 50 hours of battery life and 6500DPI sensor the Aviva M8600 sounds good on paper but until you get it on the mat you will never know how well it performs.  Hardware Secrets were certainly impressed by its ambidexterity, they were just as uncomfortable using it with the left hand as with the right.  No complaints about input lag though.

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"Gamers usually shun wireless peripherals, always wary of a possible energy loss. No one wants to rummage around for a cable and lose an online match. With that in mind, Gigabyte has released a wireless gaming-grade mouse with a long lasting 50 hour battery that comes with an extra battery that you can rapidly switch. Besides those characteristics, the Aivia M8600 reaches 6,500 DPI and features a design for both right- and left-handed users, plus ten reprogrammable buttons. Let's talk first about its physical aspects and then test its wireless operation."

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Tech Talk

Meet bufferbloat, the worst enemy a gamer never heard of

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2011 - 11:56 AM |
Tagged: lag, buffer, bloat, input lag, gaming, online

Packet loss, network latency and input lag are often blamed for the reason your character is now a corpse and why your opponent is doing a happy dance on your naughty bits but there is another target to blame for your lousy online gaming skills, buffer bloat.  It seems that larger storage space is not always a good thing as TCP/IP needs dropped packets to tell it to slow down and when a network sports a buffer that can hold 10 seconds or so of data in its buffer before dropping a packet and informing the connection that there is a problem.  If you've ever played a game which slows down and then does a quick speed up for a few seconds you have probably met buffer bloat.  Slashdot doesn't have a solution but they do have more information for you.

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"Gamers often find 'input lag' annoying, but over the years, delay has crept into many other gadgets with equally painful results. Something as simple as mobile communication or changing TV channels can suffer. Software too is far from innocent (Java or Visual Studio 2010 anyone?), and even the desktop itself is riddled with 'invisible' latencies which can frustrate users (take the new Launcher bar in Ubuntu 11 for example). More worryingly, Bufferbloat is a problem that plagues the internet, but has only recently hit the news. Half of the problem is that it's often difficult to pin down unless you look out for it. As Mick West pointed out: 'Players, and sometimes even designers, cannot always put into words what they feel is wrong with a particular game's controls ... Or they might not be able to tell you anything, and simply say the game sucked, without really understanding why it sucked.'"

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Gaming

Source: Slashdot

Brink Video Series Helps Players Get SMART Before Release

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2011 - 08:52 AM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, First Person Shooter

Brink is a new first person shooter developed by Splash Damage, and powered by a revamped id Tech 4 engine with a strong multi player focus. It is set to release on May 10, 2011 for the PC as well as the Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.

A web video series dubbed "Get SMART," is running up to the game's release date to both get gamers excited about the game and show them how to navigate the environment of The Ark and give them that extra bit of edge in the first days of battle.  The full series can be found on the game's website here, and shows off everything from HUD design to story and plot mechanics.  The following video; however, details a new movement system that the developers hope will cause players to rethink the way they play a first person shooter.

In an age where multi player shooters are flooding the market, Brink may appear to be "just another multi player shooter;" however, with Brink, the developers are attempting to differentiate themselves by implementing a new movement system and making combat even more customizable with deploy-able items, character buffs, wall hopping of all things and 4 different character classes.

With what they dub the "SMART" (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) system, you are able to point your reticle at an area and by using the sprint key, have your character move there wether that be by vaulting, sliding, or wall hopping.  The added dimensions for movement should help encourage new play styles to the traditional team multi player FPS gameplay.  For example, characters are no longer stopped dead in their tracks by a waist high wall, or are not able to flank their enemies due to a hole in a bombed out fence being too low to the ground.   

After watching the movement system demonstration, do you think SMART will shake up the multi player genre or is it just a gimmick?

Source: Bethesda

Psyko's new gaming headset isn't just a Carbon copy of their last model

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2011 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: headphones, headset, psyko, gaming, audio

The new Psyko Carbon headset sports 7 speakers, including 40mm subs, which is supposed to surround your head with sound.  With that insane amount of power it is no surprise to see that this headset comes with its own amplifier.  The real question is whether the PsykoWave speaker virtualization technology which is intended emulate positional sound like you would have with properly set up speakers.  The Tech Report knows how well it works, so you can visit them to find out for yourself.

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"Psyko Audio Labs has updated its surround-sound gaming headset with a new Carbon model that offers a number of upgrades and a lower asking price. We have a listen to see if the Carbon is a good alternative to traditional virtualization methods."

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Audio Corner