Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2012 - 02:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, skyrim, elder scrolls, mod
High Definition Textures have arrived for Skyrim via Steam. The download is just over 3GB and contains .BSP files which is the file type Bethesda in general and Skyrim in particular store their textures. This is rather handy as two mods which already add high definition textures do so via a new folder called Textures under your Skyrim folder. This means that the mods do not interfere with the official HD download as far as crashing the game, however more investigation is needed to discover how the mods interact as far as texture rendering priorities as well as determining which gives you the best looking textures.
Just download it via Steam and ensure that you enable it via the Data Files option on your Skyrim launcher. While you are clicking on that download you might notice a link to something called Steam Workshop. This leads you to a section of Steam where you can download mods for Skyrim via Steam which can be applied to your game though it does not necessarily replace Nexus Mod Manager. When you have clicked on the mod then the next time you launch Skyrim it will run a check and synchronize your game and the mod. The mods can be enabled and disabled just like the HD textures via the Data Files portion of your Skyrim launcher.
The addition of official HD textures and supported mods is a brilliant move by Bethesda and Steam and the PC gaming community wholeheartedly thanks them for this wonderful addition to the game. Many PC users initial experience with Skyrim was not positive, especially those using AMD graphics cards. The patches to Skyrim and AMD's drivers have finally fixed most performance issues users experienced and with the addition of PC specific improvements and mods Bethesda may have gone a long way to wooing back those users who were initially unimpressed with the game.
Along with these additions does come a plea to Steam. You may notice negative comments underneath the mods which you choose, such as "It should say "Stolen by: Manic Zombie" The uploader gave no credit to the author of this.". This is very unfortunate for the brilliant mind that decided to model mudcrabs with a monocle and top hat as the number of users of this mod will soar but the modder themselves are doomed to obscurity. It could be that Manic Zombie was indeed the original modder as the Japanese site links to a download on Skyrim Nexus that he posted. If Steam is going to offer mods the modding community would greatly appreciate it if Steam researched the mod to ensure that the submitter is indeed the actual source of the mod or at least has the modders permissions. The "Report" button is a great start but in order to help attract game modders to Steam, reassurance that they will get recognition for their mods would go a long way to bringing even more modders into the fold.
"The long-awaited Skyrim Creation Kit is out, and it’s come with the rumoured High-Resolution Texture Pack all the kids wanted! The game’s also 33% off on Steam in the US and UK at the moment, if this is what you were waiting for."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Unstoppable Gorg Review - The Aliens Are Coming! @ Techgage
- Need For Speed: The Run PC Review @ eTeknix
- Paradox Hint At Three New Games, Revealed Next Month @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Microsoft Flight release date pinned down @ Hexus
- PC Gaming - What to expect in 2012 @ eTeknix
- Soul Calibur V @ HEXUS
- NFL Blitz 2012 Edition PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
- SOULCALIBUR V Review @ HardwareHeaven.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2012 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: skyrim, gaming, creation kit, bethesda
Attention all modders and Elder Scrolls fans, the official Bethesda Creation Kit for Skyrim is coming down from the mountain to give a shout out to the community. It will be a free download via Steam under Tools and will not only give you the tools to mod the game but it can also replace the Nexus Mod Manager for updating and enabling or disabling mods. From the description of the Creation Kit those familiar with previous versions from Elder Scrolls games and Fallout 3 will be familiar with the interface. If you want to see a video of this tool in action head to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and feast your eyes on the newest drain on your free time.
"Bethesda is soon to release the Creation Kit for Skyrim, that’ll allow official modding to begin, along with some really powerful-looking tools. It will also plug directly into the Steam Workshop, which will make adding user-created mods to your game over 39024% easier. You can see a video giving an overview of those features below."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Know Your Enemy: Firaxis On XCOM, Part 1 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Star Wars: The Old Republic @ Tweaktown
- An Hour With… King Arthur II @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Most Anticipated PC Games of 2012 @ Techspot
- Syndicate Video Preview @ IGN
- FIFA 12 (PS3) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | December 8, 2011 - 11:45 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tweaks, skyrim, nvidia, gaming, elder scrolls V
NVIDIA has put together a comprehensive tweak guide for getting the most from Skyrim. The tweaks themselves also apply to AMD GPUs so just because you aren't running an NVIDIA GPU right now doesn't mean you should skip checking out the information they've posted. Much of the information deals with the settings you find under the options menu, from choosing how you want autosaves to work to how far you should set your draw distance to.
They focus on the effects of the graphical settings for the majority of the article as it will be there that most of the tweaking will be done. Results of combining FXAA and MSAA are covered, both in terms of visual quality and performance impact at several different resolutions. As well, textures and shadow quality are examined in depth, including object detail. There are settings which seem to give you improved visual quality with little to no impact on your frame rate, options such as reflections, anisotropic filtering and actor fade can be turned up without crippling your system.
From there they get into the real tweaks, requiring you to edit .ini files (make a copy first) and become acquainted with the console. The steps to disable V-Sync to uncap your frame rates and ditch the annoying mouse stuttering, increase your field of view and fine tune the shadows of Skyrim are revealed. They also cover the console commands in the game, not just how to turn god mode on and off but also how to teleport, turn off grass and other effects for troubleshooting, setting up batch files that can be run during the game and even the 'triple q' quick quit to desktop.
Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2011 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, elder scrolls V, skyrim, consolitis
Starting Skyrim for the first time was an interesting experience, obviously you once again start as a prisoner but perhaps one with some serious brain damage as reality seems to move in starts and jerks as if your eyes had a stuttering problem. Eventually the stuttering cleared up, providing a weekends worth of gaming but by Tuesday the stuttering had returned. It became clear that it was time to embark on every PC gamers favourite pastime; troubleshooting the game you just bought in the hopes of some day playing it.
Some troubleshooting revealed a serious case of consolitis, the game was not Large Address Aware and limited its self to a maximum serving of 2GB; the adoption of 64bit versions of Windows being very limited by the end of 2011. Even more damning was what happened when Intel's SpeedStep technology was enabled in the BIOS, the CPU would dip to about 60% of its maximum frequency when you played the game and the process would use under 10% of a core, maybe two if you were lucky. GPU usage was variable and was sometimes actually sitting at or above 90% usage, but for the most part varied widely.
A little research showed that SandyBridge owners and those with the previous generation of chips who overclocked above 4GHz were not having many problems, proving that the brute force method of overcoming consolitis could work. For those who haven't upgraded yet and are waiting for the new year to do so, they must either wait or find a more elegant solution. To the intarwebs!
INI file tweaks are always popular and Gamefront has a few, the most notable are bMouseAcceleration=0 and iPresentInterval=0 which disable mouse acceleration and V-Sync respectively. As well, over at Skyrim Nexus is a modified TESV.exe that makes the game LAA and more importantly does not need to replace the main executable in your Skyrim folder so that you won't need to worry about having a modified executable. As well adding the string +fullproc to the end of the path in your executable should help Skyrim utilize a bit more of your processor. In the end though, more tweaking is needed for some PC gamers to fully appreciate the latest Elder Scrolls game and more time needs to be spent researching general tweaks as well as Bethesda specific ones.
Now if only BF3 multiplayer would stop locking with a loud noise that sounds suspiciously like a raspberry.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Performance and IQ Review @ [H]ard|OCP
- Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Performance and IQ Review @ [H]ard|OCP
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Performance Test @ Techspot
- Cities XL 2012 @ Techgage
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Community Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Minecraft @ AnandTech
- Battlefield 3 @ kitguru
- Battlefield 3 @ Bjorn3D
- Battlefield 3 major patch incoming, PC first @ HEXUS
- I Am Alive Dev Dismisses ‘Bitching’ PC Users @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Nature’s Neuroscientific Review Of Games @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox360) @ HEXUS
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Game Review (Wii) @ HardwareHeaven
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 @ Tweaktown
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary @ Tweaktown
- Assassins Creed: Revelations @ kitguru
- Assassin's Creed Revelations @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2011 - 01:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: skyrim, need for speed, gaming, games, elder scrolls V, consolitis
[H]ard|OCP has been having a hard go of it with recent game releases. CoD Modern Warfare 3 was described as being useless for benchmarking as any mid range GPU can play at maxed settings even at high resolutions. That discovery came after the Rage incident, when benchmarked it hit 60fps and refused to move, no matter what hardware was thrown at it. Picture the expression on the reviewers face when they fired up Need For Speed: The Run expecting the Frostbite 2 engine of Battlefield 3 fame to torture their test bench only to find a similar result to Rage, except locked at 30fps.
Thankfully for the continued sanity of their review team, [H] also got hold of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to benchmark. Benchmarking this game was much more productive, especially in multi-GPU setups and it also revealed a small oddity with the games auto-detection of graphics settings.
"Need for Speed: The Run was released today, utilizing the Frostbite 2 engine, same as Battlefield 3, it should have some pretty good graphics. However, after we dove into this game this morning, we found that it falls rather flat for a PC game. We'll talk about performance and image quality in this article."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Today's mid-range GPUs in Battlefield 3 @ The Tech Report
- Contemporary Graphics Accelerators in Battlefield 3 @ X-bit Labs
- Battlefield 3 Gaming and Performance Review on NVIDIA GTX 500 Series Video Cards@Hi Tech Legion
- Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 @ HEXUS
- Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 @ Kitguru
- Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 @ The Inquirer
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Tested, Benchmarked @ Techspot
- RAGE the PC Game by id Software @ Benchmark Reviews
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim @ Kitguru
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim guide: how to slay your dragon @ HEXUS
- Hot PC Games for the 2011 Holidays @ Techspot
- PayDay: The Heist PC Review @ eTeknix
- Minecraft Is Finished @ Slashdot
- Patent Issue Delays Doom 3 Source Code Release @ Slashdot
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review (XBOX 360) @ HardwareHeaven
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception PS3 @ Tweaktown
- Sega Renegade Ops @ XSReviews
- Battlefield 3 multiplayer impressions - rant included @ HEXUS
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 11, 2011 - 12:09 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: skyrim, giveaway, contest
Want to play Skyrim? Want to play Skyrim...for FREEE?? Well to celebrate the release of the new The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game this week we are giving away a free retail Steam code for it right here on PC Perspective.
What do you have to do to enter? There are a handful of ways:
- Make a comment on this post. That's pretty simple right? You don't have to register, though we would appreciate it!
- Like PC Perspective on Facebook: http://facebook.com/pcper
- Follow PC Perspective on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pcper
- Circle PC Perspective on Google+: http://gplus.to/pcper
If you do all four, you'll have four entries into the contest. If you already follow @pcper on Twitter, then you are already entered. (And likely you'll be entered for future contests as well!) If only do one or two, then you are still entered, just with fewer shots at the goal.
The contest will run through tomorrow (November 12th) at 4pm EST so get your entries in SOON!! Good luck!
UPDATE!! We have our winner. Picking from a random.org number between 1 and 3850 (combined entries on comments, Google+, Facebook and Twitter) the winner was....Jared H!!! Congratulations! I have sent off an email to verify and pass on the Steam code.
Make sure you stay tuned for Monday morning when we should have another BIG contest starting around a certain processor launch...
Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2011 - 06:19 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: skyrim, PC, gaming
Although most of you are busy blasting away at Battlefield 3, there are likely quite a few that are also interested in the RPG genre, and in that vein Kotaku has recently gotten their hands on and released the minimum and recommended system requirements for the upcoming Elder Scrolls: Skyrim PC game. Keep in mind when looking at the recommended system requirements, that they are for running the game at "High" graphics settings and not "Ultra" which will require more powerful specifications.
The minimum system requirements for Skyrim are as follows:
|CPU (Processor)||Dual Core @ 2.0 GHz|
|GPU (Graphics Card)||DirectX 9c compatible w/ 512MB RAM|
|RAM (System Memory)||2GB|
|OS (Operating System)||Windows XP, Vista, or 7 (32 or 64 bit)|
Those are fairly tame, and most computers around today should be able to at least run the game, with some concessions. The recommended system requirements bump things up a bit for those that prefer shinier graphics in their RPGs.
|CPU (Processor)||Quad Core Intel or AMD|
|GPU (Graphics Card)||DirectX 9 compatible w/ 1GB RAM|
|AMD 4890 or Nvidia GTX 260 or higher|
|RAM (System Memory)||4GB|
|Sound Card||DirectX compatible|
|OS (Operating System)||Windows XP or 7|
Interestingly (though not surprisingly to some), Windows Vista doesn't make the list for recommended specs, which may or may not be a mistake. As you can see, even the recommended specifications aren't too high, at least compared to other (more demanding) new releases this year. Is your PC ready for Skyrim?
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2011 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, bethesda, elder scrolls, skyrim
For those anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next instalment of the Elder Scrolls, Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has something you might want to see. Not one, not two, but three whole previews of the game as one of their lucky reviewers plays through a few hours of the game. This latest instalment features our hapless previewer sneaking around in a cave full of bandits in the hopes of determining if that object he saw in the corner of the cave was indeed an anvil. Did he succeed? Read on to find out.
"Last week, I played three hours of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, at my leisure and free to go and do whatever I could. I’m telling a series of anecdotes based on what I saw and did; here’s the first, here is the second and below is the cowardly third."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- "I think they're mad": Inside a 48 hour battle to build the best video game @ Ars Technica
- Star Wars: The Old Republic flashpoint, warzone details announced @ Ars Technica
- Battlefield 3: Desktop PC Platform Recharged @ Benchmark Reviews
- A Look at Beamdog's PC Game Digital Distribution Service @ Techgage
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon @ HEXUS
- Wot I Think: Might & Magic Heroes VI @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Monumental: Kairo @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Week in gaming: indie developer offices, Forza 4 review, Aliens: Infestation @ Ars Technica
- Rage Against the (Benchmark) Machine @ AnandTech
- Skylanders: a toy-based RPG for kids (that adults will love) @ Ars Technica
- FIFA 12 PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
- Forza Motorsport 4 Review @ Tech-Review
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.
Last week we were in Dallas, Texas covering Quakecon 2011 as well as hosting our very own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop. While we had over 1100 attendees at the event and had a blast judging the case mod contest, one of the highlights of the event is always getting to sit down with John Carmack and pick his brain about topics of interest. We got about 30 minutes of John's time over the weekend and pestered him with questions about the GPU hardware race, how Intel's intergrated graphics (and AMD Fusion) fit in the future of PCs, the continuing debate about ray tracing, rasterization, voxels and infinite detail engines, key technologies for PC gamers like multi-display engines and a lot more!
One of our most read articles of all time was our previous interview with Carmack that focused a lot more on the ray tracing and rasterization debate. If you never read that, much of it is still very relevant today and is worth reading over.
This year though John has come full circle on several things including ray tracing, GPGPU workloads and even the advantages that console hardware has over PC gaming hardware.