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

Now that's a teaser; 12 minutes of Deus Ex 3 gameplay footage

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2011 - 03:36 PM |
Tagged: gaming, games, deus ex 3

Jean-Francois Dugas, the Director of Edios Montreal, grabs a controller and takes you through three minutes of the game.  Even better is that this is not a hand picked blood bath, he starts in a public lab area with civilians wandering around, which he has to find a way in.  Stealth melee takedowns are shown, as well as the ability to drag unconcious bodies to a hidden area to ensure you are not given away by a trail of corpses.  Unfortunately since they are playing the console version it is difficult to say what the PC interface will be like but it seems that the contextual menus may have been done better than many console/PC releases.  Check out the full preview at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN!

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"Check it out. Here are twelve (count ‘em!) minutes of hot Deus Ex: Human Revolution footage, courtesy of the overflowing infinite video vat at IGN. Eidos Montreal Director Jean-Francois Dugas shows us around a section of the game located in “Tai Young Medical”, where Jensen is on a critical mission to collect some information from a data core. Why is it always a data core? It’s never data-lollipops or data-bears… Hmm."

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Excited about an interview with the developers of the XCOM reboot? Your age is showing

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2011 - 11:58 AM |
Tagged: xcom, gaming, 2k games

With great fear and much hope, many of the 30+ gamers are awaiting 2K Games' reboot of the XCOM game.  The fear comes for the game being a first person shooter in the style of Mass Effect and not the proper turn based strategy game it once was.  However the developer that Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN interviewed, Jonathan Pelling, described a story line of invasion and alienation which might lend a different kind of depth to the series, something that has been lacking from more recent versions like UFO:Aftermath.  The trailer also implies that research will be important to the game, as you start to reverse-engineer alien technology, but let us hope it is more indepth than a scientist handing you a new gun before a mission.

In case you don't feel old enough remembering the original XCOM, RPS also points out that "The Might & Magic series is twenty-five years old."

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"Recently we had a chance to look at 2K’s intriguing reboot of XCOM – and a full XCOM preview is coming up soon – but first there’s an interview which explains a bit about the world, and the intention to tell a story about the origin of the XCOM alien invasion in the setting of 1960s America.

In the depths of a bunker packed with strange humanoids that communicated almost entirely using the words “like”, “totally” and “hella” we spoke to something that claimed to be Jonathan Pelling, Creative Director at 2K Marin, developers of XCOM. Here’s what he had to say…"

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AVADirect Now Offering NVIDIA GTX 580M Graphics In Clevo Notebooks

Subject: Mobile | June 29, 2011 - 09:53 AM |
Tagged: notebook, gtx 580m, gaming, AVADirect

Hot on the trail of NVIDIA's latest 580M mobile graphics release, AVADirect has just announced that it will be incorporating the new graphics chip into their gaming focused Clevo notebook lineup. The 15.6" P150HM, 17.3" P170HM and 17.3" X7200 gaming notebooks will be the first to receive the upgrade, and will be made configurable with the new mobile graphics chip today. Further, the new notebooks with the GTX 580M will be shipping out to customers according to their advertised time frame starting today.

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Because the GTX 580M uses the same MXM module as the preceeding 400M graphics cards, laptops with the older chip will be able to be upgraded to the GTX 580M easily, according to AVADirect who further stated that the chip uses less power and has a smaller footprint than the 485M.

In addition to recieving the updated graphics card, the three Clevo gaming notebooks all feature HDMI, USB 3.0, SATA III 6 Gbps, Intel Sandy Bridge processors, DDR3 SODIMMS at 1600 MHz, and the option of a SSD (Solid State Drive).  The three notebooks further feature a Full HD 1080P 16:9 display, that the GTX 580M should easily power with cranked up visuals on today's latest games.

Source: AVADirect

Part raptor, part mouse, all game

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: raptor-gaming, mouse, input, gaming

The Raptor-Gaming LM2 mouse actually looks unique in a market where several mouse bodies are rebranded and perhaps slightly modified and sold as a unique product.  In theory the use of a 2400dpi optical sensor should help keep the price down and they also completely skipped any sort of control software. That might annoy micromanagers but it will please the plug'n'play crowd.  Hardware Heaven felt that with 5 buttons including the scroll wheel it has enough controls for most usage but the asking price is equivalent to mice with more features and a control suite which is why they recommend you give this mouse a miss.

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"Today we have another new product from Raptor-Gaming, the LM3 gaming mouse. The LM3 is a mid-range gaming mouse offering simple plug and play support and we will find out if it suits the needs of today's demanding gamers."

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