Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2014 - 11:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: square enix, kingdom hearts 3, unreal engine 4, ue4
I did not report on this the first time because it did not seem like a credible rumor. As it turns out, they were citing an interview with the game's director from Famitsu, the Japanese video game magazine. Basically, while Square likes to make their own engine to use with their RPG projects, their Luminous Engine did not satisfy their needs so they decided to shift production to Unreal Engine 4. While it is still not scheduled to come to the PC, we know that the engine feels at home on our platform.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
It seems pretty clear that Kingdom Hearts was not moved to Unreal Engine 4 for PC support. That would just be silly. More likely, their internal engine might have needed a little extra development work and, especially with the vastly different art styles of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, they moved the two release dates further apart. Maybe they will even release Kingdom Hearts 3 earlier than intended?
But, if it does come to the PC, it seems somewhat more likely that it will function better than Final Fantasy XIII does. That title was locked to 720p with a few odd quirks, like Esc being the equivalent of "/qq" despite even Alt+F4 giving a warning prompt, and that it seems to require a keyboard to close (I could not find a way to close the game with the gamepad or mouse alone). That said, while a tangent-to-a-tangent, I did like the option to have the original, Japanese dub. Yet again, I digress.
This was not the first time that Square has developed an RPG on Unreal Engine. The Last Remnant, for the Xbox 360 and PC, was developed on Unreal Engine 3. Kingdom Hearts 3 does not have a release date, but it might be sooner than we expect (and probably much earlier than Final Fantasy XV).
Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2014 - 08:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, free to play
Year to date, League of Legends, Crossfire, and Dungeon Fighter Online are each closing in on one billion dollars in revenue. Yes, three free-to-play MMO titles are closing in on $1 Billion USD in a single year. All three exceed World of Warcraft, which is still the most lucrative subscription MMO. That might change once expansion pack revenue from the upcoming Warlords of Draenor is accounted for, however. The total MMO industry, free-to-play or subscription, is estimated at almost $8 Billion USD, from January through September.
This is all according to Gamesbeat and their dissection of a SuperData Research (how is that a real name?!) report on the MMO industry. Of course, there is always the possibility that these products will fall short of that milestone by the time January rolls around, but they are pretty close for nine months in and three to go.
The interesting part is why. The article discusses how easily these games can transition between markets due to how low the barrier to entry is. This is especially true in markets that embrace internet cafes, where the game is already installed. The barrier to entry is creating an account, the customer does not even need to think about payment until they have generated interest in the free content.
The second reason, which is not mentioned in the article, is the curve of revenue by customer type. A flat-fee is some value multiplied by the number of legitimate users you have. You will get at most "X" from a customer, maybe a little less for sales, and zero for pirated copies or customers that simply ignore your content. Subscription games split this off to a recurring income; it is the number of legitimate users for that month, summed over every month. While this will get more money from the most dedicated players, because they are playing longer, this still has a ceiling. Free-to-play and other microtransaction-based models have no ceiling except for all the content you have ever made. This is an unlimited ceiling for consumable content.
This can be good for the consumer or it can be bad, of course. Where a game falls on this spectrum really depends on how it is designed. Also, money is not everything. A game can even be released for free if the developer has a reason to not ignore all claims, whether it was a hobby, tech demo, are art piece. It is up to the player (or their gift giver) to decide what is worth their time or money, and that is okay.
Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2014 - 03:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: wow, blizzard
With the new expansion for World of Warcraft, Blizzard is expanding their infrastructure to better serve their customers in Oceania. The company will not require users who are currently on North American realms to switch, but will be reimbursing server swaps, for as many characters as desired, during the two weeks leading up to Warlords of Draenor's November 13th launch date. This will not affect the time of release, which will be 7:00 PM AEDT / midnight PST (PDT ends on November 2nd).
The expression, better late than never, definitely applies in this situation. The game has "Oceanic" realms for quite some time now, but they were still physically located in the west coast of America. Sure, the ideal latency of a packet from Australia to California
is around 30ms (Update: It's actually around 60ms, 120ms round-trip ideal assuming 66% speed to light in a fiber cable. When Googling the distance between Australia and California, it thought I meant Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, 4000mi, not Sydney, Australia, 7500mi. Pixy Misa in the comments, who pointed out my error, said that they experience about 170ms of latency in practice), assuming the speed of light in fiber optics is about 2/3rds of light in a vacuum, but the actual latency is significantly higher in the practical world. Getting the servers about 4000 7500 miles closer should be welcome.
The transfer does not yet have a date, but refunds will be offered for character migrations between 6:01PM AEDT on October 29th, 2014, until 6:59PM AEDT on November 13, 2014. Just make sure to do realm swaps as a separate transaction from anything else you might buy. Apparently Blizzard acknowledges that their storefront will not be able to pick out the Character Transfer and Guild Master Realm Transfer among other services. While they should have spent a little more time making this promotion robust, I cannot really blame them. This is a one-shot. It is probably not worth the man-hours.
Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2014 - 01:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: watercooler, Nepton 240M, Nepton, cooler master, all in one
As with the previous generation the new Nepton 240M is designed with "ultra-fine micro channel" technology which quadruples the surface area of the radiator but does provide more resistance to air travelling through the rad. Installation was a breeze with only one small issue with the gasket which was easily solved. The Tech Report were more than happy with the new Silencio fans which stayed under 40dB under load, in fact the noise barely changed when compared to when the computer was idle. The pump was also reasonably quiet and powerful enough to keep the CPU nice and cool though at a cost, the new Nepton 120M has an MSRP of $130.
"The Nepton 240M is a big liquid cooler with a price to match. We strapped it to TR's Casewarmer to see whether it could take the heat."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M Liquid CPU Cooler @HiTech Legion
- Cool and Quiet, Like a Ninja: Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU Cooler Review @ Techgage
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M Liquid Radiator @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M Liquid CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- Deepcool Maelstrom 240 Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Thermalright Macho Zero Passive CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Gelid SpeedTouch 6 Fan Controller @ eTeknix
- Upgrading your CPU cooler with Kitguru TV
- Silverstone Grandia GD10 HTPC Chassis @ eTeknix
- Fractal Core 3300 ATX Mid Tower Case Review @ Modders-Inc
- Thermaltake Core V71 Case Review @ TechwareLabs
- Antec ISK 600 @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Fortress FT05 90 Degree ATX Full Tower @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2014 - 12:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dirty pool, online retailers, wretched hive of scum and villany, airlines
Have you noticed that prices seem to creep up slightly every time you visit an online ticket site hoping for a deal? As many are probably already aware, the cookies dumped on your machine when you browse allow the sites to keep track of how many times you have visited a site and can base their pricing off of that count. In other cases they can tell if you are browsing their sites mobile device version or the desktop site and of course if you are logged in as a member or not. So far none of these practices is technically illegal but they are also laughably easy to defeat. Simply browsing in anonymous mode, clearing your cookies or even just using a different device will reset those prices and is a habit you should get into. Slashdot has linked to a PDF which details many of these questionable practices and of course those ever polite commentators under the headline will offer sage and on topic advice.
"For instance, the study found, users logged in to Cheaptickets and Orbitz saw lower hotel prices than shoppers who were not registered with the sites. Home Depot shoppers on mobile devices saw higher prices than users browsing on desktops. Some searchers on Expedia and Hotels.com consistently received higher-priced options, a result of randomized testing by the websites. Shoppers at Sears, Walmart, Priceline, and others received results in a different order than control groups, a tactic known as “steering.”
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Surface Pro 3 and Xbox sales push Microsoft Q1 revenue to $23.2bn @ The Inquirer
- Android 5.0 Lollipop to land on Samsung Galaxy S5 in December @ The Inquirer
- DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets @ The Register
- Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Chipsets | October 23, 2014 - 03:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, Broadwell, Broadwell-E, Haswell-E
VR-Zone China got hold of an alleged Intel leak, go figure, that talks about their next enthusiast processor platform, Broadwell-E. This architecture is mostly Haswell-E that has its (rated) feature size shrunk down to 14nm. Given an available BIOS, it is expected to support at least some existing LGA 2011-v3 motherboards with the X99 chipset. Like Haswell, they are sticking with a maximum of 40 PCIe lanes. We will need to wait for individual SKUs to see whether one or more models will be limited to 28 lanes, like the Haswell-E-based Core i7-5820K.
Image Credit: Chinese VR-Zone
Intel claims 140W TDP, which is identical to the current three offerings of Haswell-E, for all options. The slide claims six and eight core models will be available (also identical to Haswell-E).
One bullet-point that baffled me is, "Integrated Memory Controller: 4 Channels DDR4 2400, 1 DIMM per Channel". Double-checking with the other writers here, just to make sure sure, it seems like the slide claims that Broadwell-E will only support four sticks of DDR4. This makes zero sense for a couple of reasons. First, one of the main selling points of the enthusiast platform has been the obscene amount of RAM that workstation users demand. Second, and more importantly, if it is compatible with existing motherboards, what is it going to do? Fail to POST if you install a fifth stick? This has to be a typo or referring to something else entirely.
When will you be able to get it? A bit later than we were hoping. It is expected for Q1 2016, rather than late 2015.
Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2014 - 01:56 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, podcast, GTX 980M, msi, X99S GAMING 9 AC, amd, nvidia, Intel, Kingwin, APU, Kaveri, 344.48, dsr
PC Perspective Podcast #323 - 10/23/2014
Join us this week as we discuss GTX 980M Performance, MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:18:59
Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2014 - 12:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: bittorrent sync, cloud, dropbox, onedrive, google drive
BitTorrent is good for more than just downloading files of various natures, it has a tool called Sync which performs a similar task to solutions like Dropbox only more privately and apparently with more speed. From the graph below you can see that in at least one scenario BitTorrent Sync is significantly faster than other solutions when it is allowed free reign on your connection, you can limit the speed in the settings if time is not of the essence. What is also very important to note is that this is purely an encrypted client to client transfer, your files are never cached on a server for posterity or for 'quality assurance' as they are when you use the competitions software. That does mean both devices need to be powered on and on the network for this to work but for many the privacy would be worth the slightly less flexible operation. Check it out on Slashdot.
"Now that its file synchronization tool has received a few updates, BitTorrent is going on the offensive against cloud-based storage services by showing off just how fast BitTorrent Sync can be. More specifically, the company conducted a test that shows Sync destroys Google Drive, Microsoft's OneDrive, and Dropbox. The company transferred a 1.36 GB MP4 video clip between two Apple MacBook Pros using two Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters, the Time.gov site as a real-time clock, and the Internet connection at its headquarters (1 Gbps up/down)."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft unveils tighter security plans for Windows 10 @ The Inquirer
- Windows Update bricks fake USB chips @ The Inquirer
- iPad Air 2 teardown reveals down-sized battery and glued-down components @ The Inquirer
- Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ... @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2014 - 03:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Mizar, input, gaming mouse, cooler master
The Cooler Master Mizar gaming mouse has a nice understated appearance with a 7 buttons and high end Avago ADNS 9800 sensor capable of 1000 Hz/1ms. That mix of design and technology let Cooler Master retail the mouse at a reasonable price without trimming out the functionality that really matters. It does not ship with a copy of the software, which is a good thing as it will be outdated as soon as it is packaged, but there is a CM utility available for download to program your mouse buttons including macros and profiles. Check out how it performs in game in Benchmark Reviews full article here.
"For some odd reason Cooler Master seems to be releasing products everyday, whether it’s a new case or a new peripheral, their product line has been increasing exponentially in the past few years. What is not odd is the fact that many of Cooler Master products Benchmark Reviews has come across end up highly appraised. Today we are looking at one of two pointing devices Cooler Master has released this month."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- MadCatz R.A.T. TE @ eTeknix
- COUGAR 700M Aluminum Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- Func MS-2 Mouse @ HardwareHeaven
- HyperX Skyn Mouse Pad Review @HiTech Legion
- Cougar 700M Mouse and Cougar Speed Mat @ Kitguru
- Aorus Thunder K7 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2014 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, borderlands: the pre-sequel
As you may have noticed, Ryan and the gang from NVIDIA have been playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and giving out lots of prizes to viewers. That is certainly enough to make anyone think positively about the newest installment of Gearbox's series, but how is the game its self? Several familiar characters make an appearance, albeit in slightly different roles than either of the previous games nor do gravity or oxygen remain as they were. Does the zany dialogue and cartoony graphics provide as much fun as the other games or has the series already reached its peak? As usual Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have thoughts on that topic to share with you.
"It’s a little tricky to avoid feeling that a review of The Pre-Sequel (!) is superfluous. Surely everyone in the world has had a taste of Borderlands at this point, and have made their minds up about it? This is very much more of that same formula, with zaniness turned up to… What’s that, Steve? You’ve never played a Borderlands game? Wow."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- To The Moon! Borderlands: Pre-Sequel Preview-Review @ Techgage
- F.E.A.R. Online Is Free-To-Play On Steam @ [H]ard|OCP
- Wot I Think: Legend Of Grimrock 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Civ: Beyond Earth’s Intro Recreates Science Victory @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Lights off, nappies on! It's Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within @ The Register
- In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream - Alien: Isolation Review @ Techgage
- Wot I Think – Styx: Master Of Shadows @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Review @ OCC
- Sleeping Dogs 2-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Civilization: Beyond Earth Linux and Mac release dates confirmed @ HEXUS
- Tunnel Vision: Alien Eyes Sore Jubilation @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Back In Flashblack: Jagged Alliance Again @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN