GamersGate Offering Free Ad-Supported PC And Mac Games

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2011 - 09:01 PM |
Tagged: PC, gaming

You may remember versions of Far Cry and Psi-Ops being released a few years ago that were free-to-play and supported by advertisements. In the case of Psi-Ops, at the start of the game you were presented with a 30 second video ad, after which you were able to jump right into the full game. Far Cry also saw a similar ad-supported version for a time that made the game free.

GamersGate is looking to continue in a similar manner with their upcoming FreeGames service. This new service, which is set to release this fall, will allow gamers to “download, install, and play up to five titles at once” for free. These games will be preceded by a short advertisement before the game launches. Gamers will further have the option to add additional game slots, possibly for a monthly subscription fee according to the FreeGames website.

GamersGate CEO has been quoted by Tom’s Hardware as saying “the new service offers the best of both worlds for both gamers and publishers.” Further, he believes that the ad-supported free-to-play model will be a great way for gamers to test out a new game before they buy the non-ad-supported version as well as a cheap way to catch up on game series. The company expects that the majority of its current catalog will be available on the free-to-play ad-supported service in the fall. The website currently has a countdown timer to the launch as well as a beta sign up via email option.

GamersGate, and its FreeGames service’s popularity will largely depend on the catalog, ad relevance and ad length. If GamersGate can provide a wide selection of new PC and Mac games as legally free-to-play, I suspect that it will see a good amount of adoption and will likely replace the once popular but now rare demo. On the other hand, the long-term success of the service will depend on publisher cooperation and DRM. The service will need a fair bit of stable DRM in order to dissuade casual pirates from stripping out the ads, because if this happens than ad and game publishers will pull back from the service and legal gamers will lose out.

You can find more information by following PC Perspective as well as the FreeGames website itself. Do you feel that the service can succeed? Would you use it?

It's not Invisible War 2, we promise!

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2011 - 09:24 AM |
Tagged: deus ex, gaming

About the only thing more dissapointing than Deus Ex 2:Invisible War would probably have to be Daikatana.   Eidos Montreal however promises that Deus Ex 3 will be nothing like that and will try to focus on what made the first game so enjoyable.  Many sites, including Ars Technica, were given a 10 hour preview of the game and so far the feedback has been quite positive.  That is no guarantee of a good game but it does bode well for fans of the original.

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"There are few games with both the respect and baggage of Deus Ex. The original PC game is considered by many to be a masterpiece, and the sequel—Invisible War—is considered by many to be one of the most disappointing games ever released. Eidos Montreal has been working on a new Deus Ex title that is part prequel and part reboot, with Square Enix as the publisher."

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Source: Ars Technica

Can Kerrigan and Raynor reconcile their differences and get back together? Tune in for the next episode.

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2011 - 09:51 AM |
Tagged: gaming, starcraft 2

We can now see a 1:29 long preview of StarCraft II : Heart of the Swarm at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.  In it we learn about evolving Banelings and Zerglings, the importance of Yeti DNA and the apparent focus on heros and their upgradability.  What is not clear is who you will be playing; Kerrigan building a reformed swarm, Raynor and his marines squashing bugs and Eldar wannabes or maybe even Nova and her ghosts?  Maybe you play all three, building up and defending a base in one mission and destroying it in another?   Check the video in HD to get the most of the sneak peek.

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"Following last week’s leaked cinematic teaser we now have some actual footage of Starcraft II’s second episode in action, and you can check that out below. We’re expecting the game itself to turn up in the first half of next year, and it could be a rather different hero-focused experience, if the previews are anything to go by. Which I guess they must be, since they’re about the game and all.

It’s no Men Of War."

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Pigs were spotted flying over the frozen banks of the river Lethe; Duke has gone Gold

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2011 - 09:44 AM |
Tagged: gaming, duke nukem

The Duke is back, or at least at a point where the release is unstoppable.  The master DVD , aka the gold copy, has gone to the manufacturers for mass copying and assembling of the final package.  The arrival is not a guarantee of a good game, but like Ars Technica, we can at least hope.

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"When we say a game has "gone gold," it means that the work on the game has finished, and a master copy has been sent out to the duplication plants to be pressed, packaged, and shipped out to consumers. This used to mean that the development team could take a break, but now going gold is likely to simply start a countdown to the inevitable day-one patch. Let's not be cynical, however, because today is a grand day: Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold."

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Source: Ars Technica

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

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2011 - 09:13 AM |
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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Steam Launches Daily Deals Game Sales

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2011 - 09:30 PM |
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 - 12:57 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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Samaritan Demo Showcases New Unreal Engine 3 Graphical Effects

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 10, 2011 - 09:36 PM |
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 - 03:04 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.

HS_aviva.jpg

"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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Meet bufferbloat, the worst enemy a gamer never heard of

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2011 - 08:56 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.

Bufferfish.jpg

"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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Source: Slashdot