Virtual Reality as an Art Form? Artists Compete Using VR at PAX Prime

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2015 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: VR, virtual reality, Tilt Brush, PAX Prime 2015, paint, nvidia, art

A group of six artists from the gaming industry were brought together at this month's PAX Prime event in Seattle in a joint vebture between NVIDIA, Valve, Google and HTC. The idea? To use virtual reality to create art. The result was very interesting, to say the least.

Wearing HTC’s VR headset the artists had 30 minutes each to create their work using Tilt Brush. What is Tilt Brush, exactly?

"Tilt Brush uses the HTC Vive’s unique hand controllers and positional tracking to allow artists to paint in three dimensions. The software includes a remarkable digital palette, letting users draw GPU-powered real-time effects like fire, smoke and light."

The artists included Chandana Ekanayake from Uber Entertainment, Lee Petty from Double Fine Productions, Michael Shilliday from Whiterend Creative, Mike Krahulik from Penny Arcade, Sarah Northway from Northway Games and Tristan Reidford from Valve.

NVIDIA is hosting a contest to pick the winner on their Facebook page; so what's in it for you? "The artist with the most votes will win ultimate bragging rights, and voters will be entered to win a new GeForce GTX 980 Ti!" Not bad.

This is certainly a novel application of VR, but serves to illustrate (pun intended) that the tech really does provide endless possibilities - far beyond 3D art or gameplay immersion.

Source: NVIDIA Blogs

Intel is offering a much better deal than "Hack your car; go to jail"

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2015 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: security, Intel, hack

Intel is bucking the trend of FUD and overreaction when someone reveals a major flaw in a product that is on the market and are instead rewarding those who find ways to hack their automobiles.  As we have seen recently, remotely exploiting onboard software and causing a car to crash is no longer something only possible in the movies and it seems that Intel is far more interested in working towards secure solutions as opposed to the auto manufacturers reliance on lawsuits and security through obscurity.  Intel's Automotive Security Review Board is looking for bright minded individuals who will help bring PC style security to cars and is offering a free car (or cash equivalent) to the member who provides the best contribution.  Check out the links at The Register if you are interested.


"Intel is getting serious – dead serious, apparently – about car hacking. And nothing says serious like a prize giveaway. If you join Chipzilla's new Automotive Security Review Board and make all the right noises, you can win a free new ride."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Stop your Android from dreaming of electric sheep

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2015 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: smartphones, Android

In the model used by Purdue University they found that 45.9% of your battery's charge is drained by apps which access resources while your screen is turned off and that 28.9% of that is because of bad programming in apps which refuse to let the CPU go back to sleep.  Being able to prevent the launch of the apps, or to ensure that they do properly release resources when finished could therefore extend your battery life.  They have modified Android framework to do so in this proof of concept available at GitHub, it is not an app yet so you will need to be familiar with the Android OS to test it out now.  Check out the their paper at The Register, modify your phone or simply wait for the app to be released.


"Too many Android apps are battery hogs when the screen is off, so researchers at Purdue University have released to a tool to shut them up."

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Source: The Register

OMGChad Talks Steam Controller with Robin Walker

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | September 13, 2015 - 08:53 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Controller, steam

As far as I can tell, this video is not from a larger organization. I sent OMGChad a tweet to verify that he was at PAX as an independent YouTube personality, but I didn't get a response. I couldn't recognize the intro bumper, and it didn't seem to be in use on any of his other videos, or any other PAX video that I could find, but it seemed like a significant amount of work for a one-off. If someone in the comments knows anything, be sure to leave a note.

Update, Sept 14th, 2015: OMGChad has just responded to my tweet. He was there "for myself and @MindcrackLP". Again, it's a minor point, but it's something that I should get correct if possible.

As for the story, OMGChad talks with Robin Walker, the man who takes responsibility for all the hats in TF2, about the Steam Controller in Alienware's booth at PAX Prime 2015. After several delays, the input device is scheduled to launch on November 10th (which will be a busy day apparently). It has changed significantly over time, with early prototypes even playing around with a touch screen. The two touch pads, while markers on them have changed from concentric rings to a cross on the left and nothing on the right, were relatively close to their original concept.

Robin Walker goes over the main design decisions and what rationale led to them. For instance, the reason for the grips on the back is because they found that people were taking their thumbs off of the view stick for just a couple of actions, such as reload or “use”. He also discusses the dual-stage triggers, which have a button at the end for secondary actions (like a nitro boost at the end of your throttle). It is somewhat expected that a representative for a company selling a controller would highlight what makes their product unique, but it's nice to have that extra behind-the-scenes insight.


The Steam Controller will launch on November 10th for $49.99 USD ($59.99 CDN). There was an option to pre-order to get it early, but the early batch is over so -- let's be honest -- you don't need me to tell you what you already did.

Source: OMGChad

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Release Date and Cinematic

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2015 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: starcraft 2, pc gaming, legacy of the void, blizzard

It has been more than five years since Wings of Liberty was released, which itself was a long-awaited continuation of the StarCraft story. The first game and its expansion had their narrative cut into six episodes, three each, that were released all at once. The three episodes of StarCraft II, on the other hand, were decoupled into the original game and two follow-ups. The third and final one, which focuses on the Protoss, will arrive on November 10th, 2015.

Representatives from Blizzard have said, multiple times, that Legacy of the Void will wrap up the story arc for the main characters. The story may continue, but we should get a solid conclusion. The release date announcement came with a cinematic trailer, above, showing the Protoss holding off against the Zerg. There doesn't seem to be much story in it at first glance, but Blizzard is quite subtle about meanings. Some questions, like who exactly they are fighting and why, might be addressed in the story.


So that's what it looks like to them...

This announcement aligned with the finals of WCS Season 3, which is the last season before Blizzcon. Apart from the two sister tournaments in South Korea, GSL and SSL, there is just one Blizzard-counted tournament remaining, which is DreamHack Open in Stockholm, Sweden. WCS Season 3 was won by Lilbow, a Protoss player from France, which propels him from 18th place to at most 8th Update Sept 13th @ 8:40pm ET (Part of the points were already accounted for apparently): 13th, minus a few positions once everyone's points are accounted for. Since the top 16 make it to the year's global finals at Blizzcon, this is enough buffer room to guarantee a spot at the tournament.

Source: Blizzard

Cooler Master Pitch Pro Earbuds are great when you are on the go

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2015 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: audio, cooler master, CM Storm Pitch Pro, gaming headset

Cooler Master's CM Storm Pitch Pro earbuds come with a bit more options than many others that are for sale, the splitter and airplane connector are good inclusions for the traveller.  They use 10mm neodymium drivers which will have some trouble with bass but are about as big as is feasible for inserting into your ears.  As you might expect, Kitguru was not overly impressed with the inline microphone though it is certainly good enough for casual usage.  Check out their reveiw here.


"Back in 2013, Cooler Master launched the CM Storm Pitch gaming ear buds and at the time, they were positively received, we even gave them our ‘WORTH BUYING’ award. Now here we are two years later with Cooler Master launching the revamped CM Storm Pitch Pro ear buds. Are they worth a purchase?"

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Audio Corner

Source: KitGuru

The humble MSI X99A GODLIKE Gaming motherboard

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2015 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: msi, X99A GODLIKE GAMING, LGA2011-v3, e-atx

Considering its name, the over $500 price tag attached to the MSI X99A GODLIKE GAMING motherboard should not come as too much of a surprise.  Capable of handling any LGA2011-v3 processor, including Xeons and supporting up to 128GB of DDR4 the board has a lot of potential.  The E-ATX form factor allows the inclusion of five PCIe 3.0 16x slots, 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, a pair of M.2 slots and a SEx port, though you are not going to have enough PCIe lanes to drive all of those at full speed simultaneously even with a Xeon.  THE NICs are provided by Killer and include WiFi as well as two LAN ports.  [H]ard|OCP were impressed by the overall stability and functionality of the board as well as the behaviour when overclocking but there were one or two things they thought might have been executed better, which you can read about here.


"MSI’s X99A GODLIKE has not only a pretentious name but more features than you can shake a stick at. The decision to use a game reference from a series that long since died out is a puzzling one. While we're not going to pretend to understand MSI’s marketing, it has built what may be one of the best "Red and Black" motherboards of all time. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Final Fantasy V Coming September 24th

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: square enix, pc gaming, final fantasy v, final fantasy

While the upcoming Final Fantasy XV release is still slated as console-only, SquareEnix has been bringing a substantial portion of their back catalog to Windows. The company seems to be slowly marching the Super Nintendo era toward Steam, just recently announcing that Final Fantasy V will join III and IV on September 24th. This leaves just Final Fantasy VI missing from that era, at least from the main series, which suggests that it will join the party (pun intended) in a little while.


A few other titles are still in radar silence. The entire NES era, Final Fantasy I and II, is no-where to be found... unless you count the former's re-release on Windows phone (although, even if you do, a case for “no-where to be found” could still be made). From there, everything has made it to the PC until you reach the aforementioned Final Fantasy VI.

From the PlayStation generation, both VII and VIII launched on the PC back in the late 90s, and both have been re-released on Steam, so those are fine. The only missing title is Final Fantasy IX, which is currently an original PlayStation exclusive. It has not been remade for any other system, period. This is a bit concerning, because it means that a team cannot be set aside to bulk-port a chunk of titles. Every port from that generation stemmed from their PC versions, so this would (at least I expect) need to be a special case. It never had one. Would they think the effort's worth it?

Next is the PlayStation 2 generation. This is a PC dead zone, apart from Final Fantasy XI, the MMO, which launched on Windows alongside Sony's console. We need ports of Final Fantasy X, X-2, and XII for the platform to be complete. Interestingly, the PS4 has just received an HD remaster of X and X-2, but XII is stuck on the PS2 (at least for now).

This brings us to the PS3 generation. The only thing we're waiting for is Lightning's Return, which is the third installment of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. It has been announced and, in fact, should have already launched several months ago. SquareEnix has confirmed a delay, re-affirmed that the PC will get it, but a firm date has not been set. Still, I'll count it as “PC”. Final Fantasy XIV was an MMO that launched, a few times, on Windows.

Lastly, Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII Remake may or may not come to the PC. Who knows?

So, ignoring the offshoots, we are currently missing: Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, and Final Fantasy XII (plus the future titles). It is funny how SquareEnix seems to be grouping the ports by generation. While it looks fairly random from the Steam search page, the gaps make sense when you consider the work required to port a game. Ressurrecting Final Fantasy IX is a completely different process than VI.

Final Fantasy V will come to Steam on September 24th. Some may argue with the price, but you can wait for it to come on sale if that is an issue. You've waited long enough already.

Source: Steam
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Skiva

For multi-device users

One of the things that we still wrestle with here at PC Perspective is keeping a host of phones, tablets and mobile gaming devices charged and ready to go when we need them. Reviewing items means we need to have multiple devices ready to go to run tests and benchmarks at any given time. Keeping that collection of technology powered up can be a pain in the rear - adapters everywhere, cables strewn across the shelf, etc.

The same is true for me at home - even though we are only a two adult household, my wife and I each have a tablet we use regularly, smartphones and a host of accessories like wireless headphones, smart watches and more. And when company comes over it is expected that at least someone will need to top off the power to their phone.


Skiva has a USB charging accessory to help alleviate much of the headache involved with these situations. The Powerflow 7 Stand Charger combines a 7-port USB charger capable of 2.4A to each port with a simple stand to support 7 tablets and phones vertically. The result is a neatly organized set of hardware that is accessible when you need it.

Continue reading our quick review of the Skina Powerflow 7 Stand Charger!!

Podcast #366 - MSI 990FXA-Gaming, Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3400, R9 Nano Controversy and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 10, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: podcast, msi, 990FXA-Gaming, usb 3.1, corsair, ddr4-3440, amd, r9 nano, Fiji, Fury, western digital, 6tb, Red Pro, Black, asus, ROG Swift, Grado, SR225e, video

PC Perspective Podcast #366 - 09/10/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the MSI 990FXA-Gaming, Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3400, R9 Nano Controversy and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

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