The trouble with writing a Deus Ex review is that you have to stop playing it

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2011 - 12:54 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex 3

The release of Deus Ex Human Revolution was a scary time for PC gamers.   The main worries were twofold, with the multiple platforms it was released on there was a very good chance that the game would suffer from severe consolitis and with the memory of the second game still giving us nightmares there was a concern that the new game would follow in the footsteps of the second game, not the first.

Thankfully both worries are laid to rest in the first half hour of game play.  There is no coddling for those with gamepads, a couple of shots and you are dead and there is no auto-aim function present in the PC version.  The hacking mini-game is certainly design such that a mouse is a more efficient interface, especially once the computer catches on to the fact that you are hacking it.  There is also far more reading than you would expect in a console game.  If you need more convincing, The Tech Report is more than happy to provide.

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"It's now 9PM. My plan was to start writing this post three hours ago, but that didn't pan out. Instead of writing, I found myself running around in circa-2027 Hengsha Island, China, splitting up my time between sleuthing, sneaking, and breaking bones. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is just one of those games—the kind that has you persuading yourself to stop after just one more mission... before playing for another three hours and wondering where your evening went."

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GameStop pulls Deus Ex: Human Revolution From Shelves

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2011 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, deus ex 3

Yesterday the news broke that GameStop had opened new copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution PC games, and removed OnLive coupons before selling the games as new. Today, Ars Technica reports that the brick and mortar game retailer has responded to the backlash by taking their ball and going home (as the expression goes) by pulling all copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from store shelves.

According to a screenshot of an email posted by GameLife (shown below), GameStop has sent out an email to employees to pull all Regular PC Edition of Deus EX: Human Revolution, and place them in storage to be returned to the vendor in the future. The company further stated that the reason for pulling the copies of the game is due to the included OnLive coupon competing with their own Spawn Labs Gaming Division. “We are returning all copies of the PC regular edition to the vendor in agreement with Square Enix.”

Fortunately, any customers who had the game reserved will still be able to purchase the game if they still wished to. Returns of the game will also be honored for those with a receipt.

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While this move has been supported (publicly) by Square Enix, it is sure to only further enrage customers, and result in bad PR. The issue for most customers is not the removal of the free OnLive coupon included in the package in and of itself, but the fact that GameStop represented these games and new and unopened to customers. When customers found out that their new games, which they paid a new premium price for, were actually opened (and had materials removed) prior to them purchasing them many were understandably displeased over the mis-communication.

While pulling all copies is well within the companies right, as is removing the coupons (so long as the games are not then advertised and sold as new and unopened) it is not going to help calm the waters. It is hardly my place to suggest to the company how they conduct opertions; however, as a consumer I feel that they should know their practice and recent reactions are a bit unnvering.  Do you think GameStop is handling the situation correctly? What would you like to see the company do to assuage its customers?

Source: Ars Technica

Deus Ex gives beautiful performance on cards costing less than $250

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2011 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex

[H]ard|OCP received a preview of Deus Ex and we at PC Perspective might be jealous but we will still give a nod to them for putting together a preview of the performance you can expect.  Using a base of an ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution, a Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.6GHz, and 6GB of Corsair DDR3-1600, they tested a GTX 580 and GTX 570 and an HD 6970 and HD 6950.  The good news is that even the unmodded HD 6950 could play at an average above 30fps with every option at maximum at a resolution of 2560x1600, AMD's cards using MLAA and NVIDIA utilizing FXAA.  That is great news for those with a single monitor and single GPU setup, but Deus Ex is able to accept up to 5 monitors in EyeFinity or NVIDIA Surround which means you did not waste your money.

See what happens when you don't render tessellated water underground and turn concrete barriers into works of art Crytek?

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"We secured an advance copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution so that we could show our readers how the game will perform when it launches later today. We've given it a quick once-over with four different video cards. We have a full run-down of the game coming after it officially launches, but this is here to whet your appetites now!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Soldner is free, find out if it is a game too ambitious to be or a really well done troll

Subject: General Tech | August 10, 2011 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: gaming, soldner, free

Söldner (Marine Corps) Community Edition is now free (as in beer) and you really should pick it up as it is well worth the price.  If memory serves it was originally a buggy game that reached for the sky without paying attention to their footing, it is now an even buggier game with extra vehicles and features.   At one point the game would handle 100 people playing, 50 to a team, which was even more confusing than you think.  Terrain could be destroyed, though with some intersting clipping issues you could also discover small hills and other terrain that would kill you for touching it ... they were definately not lava.  Hit the link at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and try it for yourself.

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"Oh my goodness, I have no idea how this news has taken five days to reach me, but by golly thank goodness it finally has. Söldner, one of the most buggy and hilarious games of all time, is now completely free! Get it. Get it NOW."

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Bad Steam! Stop downloading DirectX you naughty program you

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2011 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: steam, gaming

Could it be?  Is there an actual explanation as to why every single Steam game you ever bought just has to install DirectX, even though you just installed it for that last game you bought and the one before that and the one before ...

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has the explanation as to what is going on, though it is up to you to decide if it is reasonable or not.  Gone are the days of one DX fits all games, instead each of the currently used versions of DX, as in DX9, DX10 and DX11 depending on your software and hardware have many sub-versions.  In DX9's case, there are over 40 versions of a D3D helper library called D3DX and that number grows in DX10 and DX11 and that is before you toss in 32bit versus 64bit OS versions. 

Doesn't it make you happier to know the reason why you are stuck watching that stupid progress bar slowly grow instead of being able to play the game you just bought?

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"Oh God, not again – can’t I just play the damned thing? WHY? [Stomp, stomp, stomp."] This is a sound surely as familiar to the residents of the Brunswick area of Brighton as are the constant squawks of seagulls fighting over the contents of their recycling boxes. This is a sound I make, or at least variations upon it, every single time I first run a game I have downloaded via Steam. This time, I always think. This time it won’t ask me to install DirectX again first. Surely the 1023rd time’s the charm. That dream will likely never come to pass. However, at least we now know why – Valve have explained this particularly modern annoyance."

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Qualcomm Commits To Gaming Market With Software and SoCs

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 3, 2011 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm, PC, mobile, gaming, console

Mobile gaming has seen a relatively sharp rise in popularity in recent years thanks to the rise of powerful smartphones and personal media players like the iPod Touch and its accompanying App Store.  Mobile networks, powerful System On A Chips (SoC) that are capable of 3D graphics, lighting, and physics, and a large catalog of easy to download and play games have created an environment where people actually want to play games on their mobile devices.  Many people now indulge themselves in quick Angry Birds sessions while in long lines, on work breaks, or wherever they have time when out and about.  

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One area where mobile devices have not caught on; however, is at home.  Mobile devices face stiff competition from game consoles and the PC.  That competition has not stopped numerous manufacturers from trying to implement an all-in-one mobile console that was portable and easy to plug into a larger display when at home.  Everything from cheap controllers with logic inside that allows them to play old arcade games to smart phones with HDMI outputs costing hundreds of dollars have passed through the hands of consumers; however, the mobile console has yet to overcome the sheer mind share of consumers who prefer dedicated game consoles and their PCs.

According to Anandtech, Qualcomm, a popular manufacturer of ARM SoC for smart phones has announced its plans to pursue that vision of an integrated, mobile console.  They claim that the increased power provided by next generation SoC technology will allow tablets and smartphones to deliver graphics that are better than those of current dedicated game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360.  Due to Sony and Microsoft wanting to extend the lives of consoles well into the future, mobile technology may well surpass it.  The company "is committed to delivering both the hardware and the software support needed to bring developers to these mobile platforms," according to Anandtech.

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Qualcomm wants to bring portable consoles to the masses powered by their SoCs and backed by their software.  The tablets and smartphones would be able to connect to displays using HDMI or wireless technology in addition to supporting controllers (or acting as a controller itself).  Further, the games library will be the culmination of software from all platforms and will rival the graphical prowess of the current consoles.  Qualcomm hopes that a large library and capable hardware will be enough to entice consumers to the idea of a portable console becoming their all-in-one gaming device.

Portable consoles are similar to tablets and 3D television in that there is a major push for it every few years, a few devices come out, and then it dies off to be reborn again a few years later.  Whether Qualcomm is able to pull off the plans for a portable console remains to be seen; however, the device is bound to catch on at some point.  At the very least, this is certainly not the last time we will hear about the portable console.  You can see more of Qualcomms plans here.

What do you believe is holding back the portable console from catching on with consumers?  Is it a good idea in the first place?

Source: Anandtech

We've got gold! Deus Ex 2 is on time.

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: deus ex 3, gaming

The news out of Montreal is good, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is off to the production lines as the gold DVD has been stamped.  That means that come August 23 you will be able to pick it up at stores or use the copy you pre-ordered through Steam.  That doesn't give us any guarantees as to the quality of the game, though the trailers seem good and more importantly the gameplay previews do as well.  With Eidos it is hard to say how good the dialog and story will be as they've been the makers of some of the worst and some of the best examples over the years.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN better not have been lied to!

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"Humans! The promised day has arrived. Some said it wasn’t possible. Some said rude, badly-spelled things in capital letters. Others were simply impatient. No matter: it has happened. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third game in the series that has an awful lot to do with why an awful lot of us remain faithful, unswervingly loyal PC gamers to do this day, has gone gold. And I’m not just talking about its colour pallete. It is finished, Eidos Montreal have just revealed. Complete. Ready. Well, ready as it’ll ever be – and that means its release date on August 23 is actually happening."

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FPS games have hit the innovation wall? Not so says John Carmack

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 12:54 PM |
Tagged: john carmack, gaming

In a recent interview John Carmack seemed quite annoyed by a question implying that the current generation of first person shooters are all carbon copies of each other.  He picked one of the favourite targets of game critics, Call of Duty, citing the fact that if people were sick of the game and its general game play that it would not sell the way that it does.  He also touched on the cinematic opportunities offered by 3rd person game play; when you watch a movie it is very rare for the director to choose a first person view as that limits their creative choices for effects and environments.  Follow the link from Slashdot for more information.

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"id Software co-founder John Carmack defended the creativity of first-person shooter games in a recent interview. The legendary programmer, who was a pioneer in the shooter genre with Doom and Quake, said he doesn't like hearing from developers that shooters aren't good because they're not reinventing the wheel. 'I am pretty down on people who take the sort of creative auteurs' perspective. It's like "Oh, we're not being creative." But we're creating value for people — that's our job! It's not to do something that nobody's ever seen before. It's to do something that people love so much they're willing to give us money for... you see some of the indie developers that really take a snooty attitude about this,' he lamented."

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Source: Slashdot

Life is unfair: Giant touchscreen Star Wars game edition

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2011 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: TacTile, Star Wars, gaming

Look at those kids, they aren't even smiling, yet they are controlling a giant fleet battle in the Star Wars Universe by touch!  Arthur Nishimoto was a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and this is what he designed as part of his course.  It is hard to say exactly what the pop up menus signify exactly, but don't you desperately want to find out?  You can glean quite a bit about the Fleet Commander game and the interface called TacTile which was used at his personal site here.  The full size HD YouTube link also contains interesting comments, an almost unique occurance for that site.

 

 

Thanks to BoingBoing for first finding it.

"It's probably the level of concentration required, but these kids do not look nearly as excited about what they are doing as I think they should.

For the last two years, University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Arthur Nishimoto has been working on this incredible-looking video game based around a multi-touch interface."

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Source: BoingBoing

MSI Launches Two New X-Slim Series Models With WIDI

Subject: Mobile | July 9, 2011 - 10:30 AM |
Tagged: notebook, msi, gaming

MSI has announced two notebook computers with optional Intel Core i7 quad core processors and supporting a slew of fast data transfer standards including Intel’s Wireless Display technology, HDMI, Bluetooth 3.0, and USB 3.0. The Intel Wireless Display technology is capable of transmitting 1080p in addition to 5.1 audio to HDTVs without wires, and is available on both new models. The X460 and X460DX chassis is constructed of a metal alloy with feather patterns and an aluminum palm rest as well as room for a second internal hard drive. The models comes equipped with batteries that MSI claims are capable of up to 8 hours of power.  Both models also come equipped with either Windows 7 Home or Windows 7 Professional.

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Dubbed the X460 and X460DX, the X-Slim series of notebook computers has received a fresh update. The X460 weighs in at 1.98 kg (~4.36 lbs), is less than 1” thick and bears a 14” form factor. MSI claims the notebook is the lightest Core i7 quad core packing computer currently out. Further the X460 is able to use Intel’s second gen “Sandy Bridge” Core i7 2630QM or the Core i5 2410M processors. The X460 sticks with the Intel processor graphics (HD 3000). The X460DX on the other hand comes with an Intel Core i5 2410M processor and a discrete NVIDIA GT540M with MSI’s GPU Boost graphics switching technology. To be more specific, the new models come with the following specifications.

  X460 X460DX
CPU

Core i7 2630QM

Core i5 2410M

Core i5 2410M
GPU Intel HD Graphics 3000

HD Graphics 3000

NVIDIA GT540M

RAM DDR3 up to 8GB DDR3 up to 8GB

HDD

750GB/640GB/500GB 750GB/640GB/500GB
Display 14" HD LED Backlit (1366 x 768) 14" HD LED Backlit (1366 x 768)
I/O and Ports

 

1x HDMI, 1x VGA, 2x USB 3.0x, 1x USB 2.0, card reader, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, BT 3.0+HS, 1x Gigabit LAN, Webcam, WIDI, DVD RW

 

1x HDMI, 1x VGA, 2x USB 3.0x,1x USB 2.0, card reader, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, BT 3.0+HS, 1x Gigabit LAN, Webcam, WIDI, DVD RW

Dimensions 23.91 (W) x 33.9 (D) x 2.23 (H) cm 23.91 (W) x 33.9 (D) x 2.23 (H) cm
Weight 1.98 kg with 6 cell battery 2.00 kg with 6 cell battery

 

No word yet on prices or availability; however, the brushed aluminum look never seems to get old and the specifications seem decent. What are your thoughts on the new models?

Source: MSI