Introduction, Virtual Insanity and Game of Making Games panels
Our second day at Quakecon 2012 started bright and early with expert panel discussions led by some of the gaming industry's elite game designers and programmers from around the globe. These panel discussions focused primary around the process different game studios go through to produce triple AAA titles and current developments in virtual reality headset technology. There was also more discussions about creating mods for games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and utilizing modding communities as resources to produce higher quality games.
In between panel discussions, Quakecon hosted the first round of their annual Bawls chugging competition. BYOC gamers and event attendees were also able to try out a few game demos of Smite, Rise of the Triad, Dishonored, and Doom 3 BFG Edition. There were also several "quick draw" Quake Live matches to give out raffle tickets for a chance to win a new 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe.
Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2012 - 03:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: origin, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, crowdfunding, pc gaming
EA wishes to foster independent game distribution on their Origin platform. Developers of games which are crowd-funded through a service such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter will receive 100% revenue share from the service for 90 days.
I need to give EA credit when they do something good.
The Origin online distribution system is not as appreciated as Steam has been but that does not stop EA from trying. The service was made a requisite for PC games such as Battlefield 3 which was an annoyance to gamers -- much as Steam was an annoyance to Half Life 2 players. Whether Origin was a good service or not was irrelevant as customers just do not like to be forced to use a service to access unrelated content.
Origin has decided to waive distribution fees for crowd funded content for 90 days -- wielding a carrot.
Maybe Warren Spector should crowd fund a small project at Junction Point -- publish on Origin’s Systems
It’d be like Tim Schafer, just more ironic.
Two main options for crowdsourcing projects are Indiegogo and Kickstarter. If you are one of our Canadian viewers than you are limited to posting your project on Indiegogo as Kickstarter will not fund projects outside the US; of course you can fund American projects on Kickstarter from Canada, just not create your own. With Origin you are then able to publish on an established platform and receive full revenue for the first three months.
Of course if you have licensed technology or assets such as Unreal Development Kit you are still obliged to follow those commitments. For the first three months EA will just keep their hand out of your pocket.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 7, 2012 - 03:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, diablo iii
Tom’s Hardware took a look at the recent beta of Diablo III and published benchmarks of its performance across multiple profiles. They have found that, for minimum quality settings, a GeForce GT 440 or Radeon 6670 will be very smooth at lower resolutions and even handle 1080p. Maximum quality settings do not lower framerate by all that much even with antialiasing enabled.
Blizzard works on their own personal time zone centered on their offices. It seems quite nebulous to most but apparently 12 years somehow signifies the end of a release cycle. The last couple of years have seen a flurry of releases for the company with two of their three major franchises seeing update twelve year after their last installment.
The latter of those two franchises is Diablo and Diablo III is set to launch in just over a week. If you wonder how your machine will handle the game, and you missed the open beta a little over a week ago, Tom’s Hardware did not miss it and has put it up against several of their test systems.
Not quite a demonic presence on your hardware…
Oddly enough, raising your specifications from minimum to high with antialiasing will only drop your framerate by approximately 20-21% at 1920x1080 resolutions. It is possible that when the full game is released that the highest quality settings could have features enabled which increases that difference slightly.
The other possibility is that the game quality settings are quite CPU-bound. Unfortunately Tom’s Hardware did not test various CPUs between low and highest to see how they scale.
If that is not the case, however, the addition of quality settings seems more about allowing the user to personalize their experience rather than supporting lesser hardware. This could be one of the rare occasions where a mild overclock has a functional use.
For those wishing to see how the game will work on mobile parts, you will likely need to wait just a little longer. The benchmark focuses on desktop components. If your PC has a minimum of a GT440 or a Radeon 6670 then you should not be concerned in the slightest about Diablo III even if you output to a 1080p TV or monitor.
Also, if you are running AMD cards -- be sure to check out our recent article about what to do with the 12.4 drivers. Diablo III likes some cards on it, but not others. How about your's?
Diablo III is scheduled to be released May 15th.
Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2012 - 05:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, gearbox, borderlands 2
Gearbox advertises an enhanced PC experience for Borderlands 2 in the form of a love letter.
It takes a lot of devotion, effort, and trust to make a compelling game for the PC. Apparently Claptrap is willing to take all the time necessary to get into our pants -- or wherever else you carry your credit card. It is somewhat sad how stories like these are newsworthy. This kind-of calls to attention how half-assed most games are these days in general, for all systems, especially when it comes to optimizing for platform-specific traits.
Actually on second thought, maybe we will need some Penicillin.
The list of PC-specific enhancements is quite long, but most entries are based on interface and Steam integration features:
- FOV slider
- “100%” mouse usable menus/mouse wheel scrolling
- Remappable keybindings for keyboard/mouse
- PC specific UI
- Native multiplayer matchmaking
- Push to talk
- Logitech keyboard support ((I assume they mean LCD screen information))
- LAN support (including OFFLINE mode)
- Control pad support
- Integrated v-sync option
- Support for higher resolutions
- Mouse smoothing options (can be disabled completely)
- Cloud save support
- Achievement support
- Friends list support
- No port forwarding required
Is there any feature that you wish would be included for the PC version? Personally I would like the option for splitscreen support especially for those with Eyefinity setups. How about you?
Introduction: Griefing the grieving
PC Gaming has been on its death bed for years -- if you believe the countless debates that have occurred most commonly over the last decade. The drum beat roared from the masses: “Why game on the PC anymore when you could just buy a console?” The focus of conversation was set upon the attack and defense of the PC as a viable platform at all, let alone the platform of choice. The question that swarms naggingly through my brain is quite the opposite: “In the long run, why game on a console?” The concept that consoles are better than PCs, given a fraction of the support that consoles receive, is about to die; console supporters are in various levels of grief.
U mad Mario Bros.?
I am an avid, though this editorial may suggest livid, video game supporter. My first exposure to video gaming was mixed between the Nintendo Entertainment System and the family 80286. I have equally fond memories with the keyboard as with the gamepad. The balance between console and PC was level throughout my life until just a few years ago when I carefully thought the situation over. The PC is now my platform of choice.
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2011 - 01:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming
The PC Gaming Alliance is not the most beloved industry body lately. The goals of the PC Gaming Alliance are to create an agency which addresses the issues with PC Gaming in an attempt to further it. What ultimately occurred was a stack of news stories chronicling who is no-longer a member of the PCGA for any given day and a series of jeers toward the group and the users of said platform. Occasionally they release studies -- like an upcoming one as announced on Intel’s software blog -- about a specification for cross-platform gaming.
United we stand, divided we prone.
Intel’s blog teased at the contents of a webinar that is scheduled to happen on the 9th:
During this webinar discussion we’ll be outlining a couple of key proposals that should not only help PC Gaming, but most other gaming ecosystems as well. A couple of the key trends we’re seeing in the research from the PC Gaming Alliance, and in discussions with Game Developers, is an increased desire to support and adopt various ‘Cloud gaming’ scenarios that are accessible across a wide spectrum of devices and displays. (aka. Compute Continuum, 3 screens, etc). This ‘Cloud Gaming’ movement is critical to comprehend in tandem with another key trend as games increasingly move towards a games-as-a-service (aka GAS) model. Due to the global popularity, massive install base, and extensibility of Personal Computers as gaming devices, the PCGA’s set of proposals will be largely targeted at addressing the PC Ecosystem.
What do you guys think of the upcoming webinar? What does Intel and the rest of the PCGA have in store for their specification?
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2011 - 04:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, pc exclusive, Mechwarrior, free to play
If you were a long-time PC gamer it is quite possible that some revision of Mechwarrior was installed to your C-drive at some point. If you are me, you likely had multiple of them. While the web of who owns what part of Mechwarrior and its larger Battletech universe is complicated to say the least, Smith and Tinker owns what Microsoft formerly acquired from FASA and is using it to make a new Mechwarrior game exclusively for the PC.
A ComStar faction should be an amusingly terrible idea.
Image from Piranha Games
The original announcement for Mechwarrior Online was quite different than where we are today. Mechwarrior Online, then called Mechwarrior, was scheduled for release on the Xbox 360 and Windows PC as a full retail game. That decision has since been overturned: Xbox 360 support has been dropped and the game is slated as a Free-To-Play PC release. Constant DLC is planned but free for players. The time-frame has also been shifted from 3015 to 3049 with each real day translating to a full day in game. You will also be able to select your Inner Sphere House when you launch and control over each planet is persistent. Like all free-to-play games, the ultimate question is how they plan to encourage their players to make small purchases leading to how successful the game will be when it is launched sometime in 2012.
Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2011 - 02:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pc gaming, jon peddie
When the senior gaming analyst from Jon Peddie Research notices that smartphone and tablet gaming is resulting in a direct increase in gaming on laptops and desktops you really have to wonder where Carmack formed his belief that the days of PC gaming are kaput. As well a growing trend in Asia where you can go to a boutique style PC store, purchase your components and build your machine in store with the assistance of employees there is obviously a growing market of PC gamers. DigiTimes does point out that the actual estimated growth for PC gaming hardware did shrink from $22 billion to $19 billion, but any industry seeing 11% growth in market is not dying. From the sounds of JPR's research, mobile gaming grows the PC gaming market, not the console market.
"Jon Peddie Research (JPR) has announced its latest figures on the PC gaming hardware market for the second half of 2011 and forecast to 2014.
In 2011, over 250 million game capable home and personal use PCs will ship. To get a sense of perspective, only 220 million PS3, the Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles have shipped since the era of the modern console began in 2005.
PC gaming hardware will grow at a rate of 11% through 2014. However, the ongoing economic recession is having its effect on even the gaming market. Taking the reality into consideration, JPR has reduced its 2011 global PC Gaming hardware market estimate to US$19 billion from US$22 billion.
Nevertheless PC gaming activity (as opposed to sales) has increased in 2011 as evidenced by ongoing game sales and online activity. JPR has raised estimates of the number of people playing PC games from their previous forecast by 3% for 2011. With a base of about a half billion people who regularly engage in PC gaming, gaming is an attractive market for hardware manufacturers, many of whom consider gamers in their product design and marketing."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- MSI reorganizing notebook business @ DigiTimes
- Thermaltake’s Cooling Off with a New Frio @ SemiAccurate
- 'Self-rewiring' devices on the horizon @ nanotechweb
- Linux 3.1 has better AMD, Intel and Nvidia GPU support @ The Inquirer
- Wicked use of HTML5 to display sensor data @ Hack a Day
- NVIDIA GeForce LAN 6 October 14-16 2011 Coverage @ Hi Tech Legion
- Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- Win 1 of 2 Buffalo Nfiniti WZR HP AG300H 300Mbps Wireless Routers @ kitguru
Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2011 - 03:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pc gaming, ea, dice, bf3, battlefield 3
The Battlefield 3 beta is almost at a close, and the Xbox 360 version of the game will come on two discs, one for the single player and one for the multiplayer modes. It is not all bad news, however. DICE has revealed that the Xbox 360 version will have an optional high resolution texture pack available on the second game disc that will bump up the graphical quality.
GamerZines has quoted Battlefield 3 producer Patrick Liu as stating “There's a voluntary install on the 360. I think Rage did it as well where you can install content to stream higher res textures.” Further, he believes that Battlefield 3 is the best looking game (on the console).
The PC will have graphical settings (far) surpassing those of the Xbox 360 and PS3; however, it is not clear how the hierarchy will stack up from there. The PS3 may well also receive the high resolution texture pack included on the Blu-ray disc that will not need to be installed, but this has not yet been confirmed; therefore, how the Xbox 360 and PS3 will compare graphically remains to be seen.
Did you manage to get onto the Caspian Border map over the weekend? What are your thoughts on the graphics of Battlefield 3 on the PC and/or consoles?
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 22, 2011 - 02:26 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: skyrim, rage, pc gaming, diablo iii, consoles, battlefield 3, batman
During a conference call with NVIDIA this week some interesting information from DFC Intelligence, "a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets" according to their webiste, was revealed that paints the world of PC gaming in a much more positive light than previously expected. By anyone's account, the coming fall and winter release schedules are going to be packed with fantastic releases:
Several of these games, including DOTA 2, Diablo III and The Old Republic are going to be PC-only titles with others (like Battlefield 3, RAGE and Skyrim) that will without question look better and play better on the PC. This sets up a great time for hardware companies like NVIDIA and AMD to sell system upgrades in order to maximize user experience in these titles.
And while most gaming pundits have been telling us for years that PC gaming is dying, the report from DFC tells a different story:
Based on revenue alone, estimates show PC gaming to surpass the sales of console games by 2014 with steady growth. How can this be? Have you stopped by your local Gamestop or Best Buy and seen the shelf space devoted to PC games compared to that devoted to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii?
Here is the key and it is something we have always suspected but haven't really been able to nail down: packaged sales are dying while digital distribution methods and new monetary game mechanics are increasing. Because the industry's most prolific digital sales platform is notoriously tight with sales numbers (Valve's Steam), we have to depend on third party reports from DFC and others. According to this chart, the digital sales of gaming on the PC are skyrocketing and will take PC revenues past consoles in just a few years time.
One note here: this does NOT just include downloaded games in the traditional sense. Instead, new pay models like the monthly subscriptions of World of Warcraft and "free to play" models that charge for upgrades and additional features are really going to be pushing the industry forward. Looking at titles like League of Legends that claims 15 million PC gamers worldwide and others like World of Tanks and World of Planes, this trend is growing and though it differs from the "traditional" PC gaming mentality, it appears to be dominating our future.
Many a PC gamer has lamented about the "console port" generation of games and this graph demonstrates how the power of the PC and the power of the current generation of consoles have diverged over the years. By NVIDIA's estimates we are now about 8-9x the performance level of the Xbox 360 when compared to the GTX 580 that currently sells for about $450. But if you look at the quality difference between something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and the consoles, you do NOT see anything close to that kind of improvement. Game developers have always had their hands tied by having to develop for the lowest common platform and while the PC market (when dominant) meant an upgrade cycle of 2-3 years we are now hitting a 6th year of static console gaming power.
If we want to see games that look like THIS, a screenshot from the Unreal Engine Samaritan demo, then we need to boost the baseline and soon.
But the numbers that DFC Intelligence provided give hope to those die-hards in the enthusiast and PC gaming community that with the expanding reach and positive growth of the PC market as a whole, developers will see this as their chance to move the medium forward beyond the status quo.