Torchlight Free on Arc Client

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2014 - 04:34 AM |
Tagged: ARC, torchlight

Okay so, before we begin, I have read a few comments regarding the Arc Client. I am not sure how much of it is gamers not wanting to install extra clients on their machines (see: Origin, Uplay, and so forth) or whether there is an actual, legitimate complaint against this one. Privacy concerns were mentioned a couple of times, but spoken in a vague and general tone. The service normally deals with free-to-play titles, like Star Trek: Online, Blacklight: Retribution, and APB: Reloaded.

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Now on to the announcement: if claimed before November 30th, you can receive Torchlight for free; you may also purchase the sequel for $5. Both of these prices are a $15 reduction (the original is regularly $15 and Torchlight II is normally $20). By now, it is a little old, being released in late 2009, but it has a dedicated following. It was also available for free last year from GoG, which is obviously a better option. I mean, no offense to Arc, but it is really hard to beat free software that is also completely DRM-free.

Source: Arc

Windows 10 Could Actually Be Windows 10.0

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2014 - 04:17 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows, windows 10, windows 6.4

Windows Vista broke away from the NT 5.x version number that was shared between Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Since then, each major OS release from Microsoft has incremented the minor version by one: Windows 7 was 6.1, Windows 8 was 6.2, and Windows 8.1 was 6.3. The current Windows 10 previews register as Windows 6.4, but screenshots suggest that Microsoft is considering a bump to 10.0 before release.

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Seriously, this time?

This leads to two discussions: “compatibility” and “why”.

First, because some applications query the Windows version number and adjust their behavior, there is some concern that 10.0 could lead to problems. For instance, if an installer checks that Windows' major version is 6, rather than at least 6, it could simply refuse to load (at least without compatibility mode). In fact, I remember Microsoft speaking about this issue back when Vista launched, saying that spoofing incorrect versions fixed (I believe) most problems. Peter Bright at Ars Technica notes that changes to application architecture, instituted with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, makes this change more safe than when Vista bumped it to 6.x, for instance. Applications will be given an earlier version number unless they claim higher-level support in its manifest.

And then we get to the “Why”. There really isn't any reason to keep the version number in lockstep with the branding. It could be a sign that Microsoft is pushing for branding with this release, which makes sense. Windows 10, from a technical standpoint, is shaping up nicely (although I am still concerned about WinRT-based app sideloading). It would not surprise me if they would go this petty to further cement a good brand image.

Source: Ars Technica

For those who dare to taunt the honey badger

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2014 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: far cry 3, amd, nvidia, gaming

Far Cry 4 uses the same engine as the previous game, Dunia Engine 2, albeit updated and modified for the new features GPUs can handle, especially NVIDIA's Gameworks features.  This gives you some idea of how your system will handle the game but for a definitive look at performance just check out this review at [H]ard|OCP.  For their testing they used the GeForce 344.75 WHQL on their GTX 980 and 970 and the Catalyst 14.11.2 Beta for the R9 290X and 290.  On the Ultra preset running at 1440p the performance differences between the AMD and NVIDIA cards were negligible, once they started testing the new features such as the enhanced godrays and AA options there were some significant differences which you should educate yourself about.  It is worth noting that even two GTX 980s in SLI at 3600x1920 are not capable of handling 8x MSAA, thankfully SMAA is supported in the game.

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"Far Cry 4 is here, and we take an early look at how current video cards stack up in performance, and which quality settings are graphically demanding. We will also look at some image quality comparisons and talk about the state of this game at launch. Will it measure up to Far Cry 3 in terms of graphic fidelity?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Even more suggestions for your shopping list

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2014 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: gift guide, holiday guide

If you read through our holiday gift guide and still haven't found something for everyone then perhaps The Tech Report can help out.  While there is some similarities such as the impressive ASUS ROG Swift and NVIDIA's Shield there are also other suggestions which might intrigue you.  We did not delve into the mice and mechanical keyboards that were released this year and they offer a few more camera suggestions than our list not to mention the light bulb.  Check it out to see if there is something else you left off your list.

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"It's that time of year again. The big man to the north is making his list—and checking it twice—while shoppers to the south contemplate what to get for the beloved techies on their lists. Our staff has compiled a stack of suggestions based on our favorite PC hardware, mobile devices, and other gadgets."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Various

PC Components

It's that time of year again!  When those of us lucky enough with the ability, get and share the best in technology with our friends and family.  You are already the family IT manager so why not help spread the holiday cheer by picking up some items for them, and hey...maybe for you.  :)

This year we are going to break up the guide into categories.  We'll have a page dedicated to PC components, one for mobile devices like notebooks and tablets and one for PC accessories.  Then, after those specific categories, we'll have an open ended collection of pages where each PC Perspective team member can throw in some wildcards.

We thank you for your support of PC Perspective through all of 2014. The links included below embed our affiliate code to Amazon.com (when applicable) and if you are doing other shopping for the holidays this year we would appreciate it if you used the button above before perusing Amazon.com. In case you want to know the affiliate cod directly, it is: pcper04-20.

Enjoy!!

 

Intel Core i7-4790K Haswell Processor

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Last year our pick for the best high-performance processor was the Core i7-4770K, and it sold for $379. This year we have a part running 500 MHz faster, though at higher power, for $80 less. If you are still waiting for a time to upgrade your processor (and hey, games will need more cores sooner rather than later!), the Core i7-4790K looks like a great option and now looks like a great time.

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB

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Likely the most controversial selection in our gift guide, the GeForce GTX 980 is an interesting product. It's expensive compared to the other options from AMD like the Radeon R9 290X or even the R9 290, but it is also a better performing part; just not by much. The selection process of a GTX 980 stems from other things: G-Sync support, game bundles with Far Cry 4 and The Crew available, GeForce Experience, driver stability and frequency, etc. The GTX 970 is another good choice along these lines but as you'll see below...AMD has a strong contender as well.

Continue reading our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!!

NVIDIA SHIELD Gets Two New Games for GRID: Psychonauts and Red Faction: Armageddon

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 25, 2014 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, grid, shield tablet, Psychonauts, red faction: armageddon

Last Tuesday, NVIDIA launched the November SHIELD update with Android 5.0 Lollipop, The Green Box promotion, and a refreshed GRID service. Regarding the last part, which is a game streaming service, they also committed to adding at least one extra title per week. Now, seven days later, they pushed two titles to the service: Psychonauts and Red Faction: Armageddon.

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While I have never played Red Faction: Armageddon, I did purchase Psychonauts for the Xbox and, later, the PC. It is a fun, linear narrative about kids in a summer camp that specializes in telekinetic/telepathic education for gifted individuals. If you have a SHIELD device, and you are able to play it on GRID, try it. Like it or not, it's free and does not require an installation.

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As will be the case until June 30th, access to the service is free for owners of the SHIELD and SHIELD Tablet. Future titles are expected to be announced on Twitter via the “#GRIDTuesday” hashtag. We will probably have a news post about them, too.

Source: NVIDIA

Comparing Apples to Unicorns

Subject: General Tech | November 25, 2014 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: osx, ubuntu 14.10, linux, apple, OS

Over at Phoronix you can see a comparison between the new Apple OS X 10.10 and the newest release of Ubuntu 14.10.  This offers an interesting comparison in performance as both OSes were tested on the same system, a 2013 Macbook Air with a Haswell i5-4250U with onboard HD 5000, 4GB of DDR3-1600MHz and the Apple branded SSD.  For content creators and those with no interest in running Windows it highlights the contrasts you can expect between the two operating systems in data transfer and graphics applications.  Right from the start you can see that the contest is somewhat one sided, the first benchmark, PostMark, showed the disk with Ubuntu installed performing three times as fast as with OSX.  The results get a little closer in some benchmarks but overall Linux outpaces OSX significantly.

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"While I delivered some OS X 10.10 Yosemite preview benchmarks back in August, here's my first tests of the official release of Apple OS X 10.10.1 compared to Ubuntu 14.10 Linux. Tests were done of OS X 10.9.5 and OS X 10.10.1 against Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn when running the benchmarks under both GCC and LLVM Clang compilers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

1 terabyte of storage in 2mm

Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2014 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, 3d nand

Great news flash fans, Intel will be increasing the storage density of SSDs quite significantly over the next few years.  They will be using the 3D NAND technology we have just been introduced to to stack flash memory with 32 planar layers for 32GB per cell with MLC and 48GB per cell if TLC flash is used.  This increased density could lead to 10TB SSDs by 2017 as well as mobile devices with 1TB of local memory that runs at higher speeds than the current generations as well.  As The Register noted this will have to be accompanied by price reductions as at $1.00/GB no one would even dream of a 10TB drive and even at $0.50 it would be far too expensive.  Perhaps Ryan's dreams of low cost flash storage are not as far out there as some seem to feel, indeed he may not be aiming low enough for price per GB.  You can also get a peek at what Samsung, Hynix and Sandisk will be up to in the same article.

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"IMFT, Intel Micron Flash Technologies, a partnership between Intel and Micron, has a 3D MLC NAND technology, which will be used to build 10TB SSDs in two years."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

The ASUS ROG Gladius, the mouse you can disembowl

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2014 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: gladius, ASUS ROG, gaming mouse

ASUS has tried something new with their Gladius mouse, detachable USB cables and swappable switches.  The mouse ships with a 2 meter braided cable and a 1 meter rubber cable which uas a standard microUSB connector to connect to the mouse, theoretically allowing a wide variety of other possible cabling choices.  As well the switches for the top and side buttons are also changeable, you can replace them with a variety of Omron D2F and D3FC Series switches if you so desire.  This is definitely aimed at games, the mouse supports 2000Hz USB polling rates and the Pixart 3988 optical sensor has a 6400dpi resolution.  Read Benchmark Reviews article here to see what they thought of this mouse that should fit most right hands.

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"The ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of products is no stranger to gaming peripherals, however recently, ASUS has turned to it’s newer product line, Strix, to release most of it’s gaming oriented products. This made the release of the ASUS ROG Gladius mouse confusing at first, but after realizing that this is ASUS’ premium mouse option it only made sense to put it in ASUS’ most prominent line of products. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the ASUS ROG Gladius Gaming Mouse."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Well This Could Be a Colossal Failure, But... I'm Jamming

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2014 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine 4, game jam

Update 3: Day 3 is live. Clearly not going to be done before the Game Jam, but it sounds like this should be a regular thing that I do.

Update 2: Day 1 is starting just after 2 PM EST (~10-15 minutes from now). Stream is up. Link in first update.

Update: Live in less than five! Join me at Twitch.tv/ScottMichaud

It is all for fun, right?

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Last week, the official Unreal Engine Twitter account tweeted about an online game jam being held, which starts this Friday (November 21st) at midnight and ends just 72 hours later. In that time, participants will attempt to create a full video game. All art, music, code, and so forth must be created in that short window. Existing engines, libraries, and utilties are allowed though, and they are actively encouraged with several license of Unreal Engine 4, Unity Pro, Clickteam Fusion, and GameMaker: Studio being provided to contestants. There are no prizes, except that the top ten, highest-voted entries will be featured in a PewDiePie YouTube video. He is the host of this game jam.

The theme of this game jam is, “Fun to play and fun to watch”. Funny is a bonus.

Oh why not? I have an idea for a quick-ish Unreal Engine 4-based game. While expectations should be kept low, I will enter the jam and I intend to stream the whole development process live on Twitch. Whether or not I am successful, I hope that it will be fun and entertaining for everyone involved. Drop in! Talk in the chat room! Say your opinion! Give suggestions! Embrace exclamation points!

I am not, by any metric, a professional game developer, but it should be a good weekend!

Barring technical issues, the stream will start at around 11:55 PM on Thursday, November 20th, 2014. I will probably work for a few hours that night outlining the concepts and creating assets. I hope you will attend! (Details will be available before the event both here and on Twitter).