Subject: Editorial, General Tech | September 24, 2014 - 03:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: wow, blizzard
When software has been supported and maintained for almost ten years, like World of Warcraft, it is not clear whether the worst compatible machine at launch should remain supported or whether the requirements should increase over time. For instance, when Windows XP launched, the OS was tuned for 128MB of RAM. Later updates made it be highly uncomfortable with anything less than a whole gigabyte. For games though, we mostly pretend that they represent the time that they were released.
That mental model does not apply to World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. While technically this is an expansion pack, its requirements jumped again (significantly if compared to the original release). Even the first expansion pack, Burning Crusade, was able to run on a GeForce 2. Those cards were bundled with the original Unreal Tournament, which was a relatively new game at the time that the GeForce 2 was released.
Now? Well the minimum is:
- Windows XP or later.
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750
- NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT, AMD Radeon HD 4850), or Intel HD Graphics 3000.
- 2GB of RAM
- 35GB HDD
And the recommended is:
- Windows 7 or 8 (x86-64)
- Intel Core i5 2400 or AMD FX-4100
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 or AMD Radeon HD 5870
- 4GB of RAM
- 35GB HDD
World of Warcraft, and other MMORPGs, might get a pass on this issue. With its subscription model, there is not really an expectation that a user can go back and see the game in the same state as it launched. It is not a work, but a service -- and that does not devalue its artistic merits. It just is not really the same game now that it was then.
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor will launch on November 13th.
Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2014 - 01:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Oculus, oculus connect, crescent bay, gaming
If you haven't had a chance to listen to it, Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has linked to the Keynote Panel of John Carmack, Palmer Luckey and several others presented during the Oculus Connect event. They also give you a few insights into their experience with the new Crescent Bay prototype which features “new display technology, 360° head tracking, expanded positional tracking volume, dramatically improved weight and ergonomics, and high-quality integrated audio.” They were not the only ones who were playing with the new device, Polygon has both a video and a write up on their chance to use the new model, which is likely to be the last one revealed before the final consumer release. Unfortunately there is not yet a date as to when that will happen so for now try to make friends with someone who has a Dev Kit 2 model.
The Fragging Frogs are still working towards the next major gamign event but that doesn't mean you can't play with them, there are still official pick up games every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and you can find members online almost all the time.
"The new kit was available to play at Oculus Connect, with a new set of demos designed to show off the increased sense of “presence” provided by the device. If that word sounds familiar, that’s because that’s what Valve called it when they worked on their own VR prototype. Michael Abrash, now at Oculus, headed that team at Valve."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive NVIDIA/AMD Benchmarks On Linux @ Phoronix
- Play With The Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Skill Trees @ [H]ard|OCP
- Have You Played… MINERVA: Metastasis? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Have You Played… BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Divinity Original Sin and Wasteland 2 reviews: Turn-based gaming's NOT DEAD YET! @ The Register
- Diablo 1 HD Mod Adds Support For Modern Machines @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- PC game code stripping is widespread says report @ HEXUS
Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2014 - 12:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, nvidia, hp, dell, asus, acer, toshibe, mobile gpu
The growing market of low cost $200 to $400 10" to 15" laptops is expected to cut into the sales of AMD and NVIDIA's mobile GPUs as they are forced to focus more on higher end models. That is a much smaller market and the margins generally favour the laptop vendor as opposed to the company providing the mobile GPU. This will be felt more strongly by NVIDIA as AMD's APU lineup will appear in the smaller and less expensive notebooks but will still have an effect on AMD's bottom line over the coming quarters. DigiTimes also mentioned that AMD's R9 390X is due out in the first half of 2015 and that both companies are currently reducing the price of their GPUs in the hopes of increasing their sales volumes on the desktop.
"Notebook vendors including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell, Lenovo, Asustek Computer, Acer and Toshiba, will launch low-cost models with CPUs with integrated graphics in the fourth quarter of 2014 and therefore AMD and Nvidia are expected to see demand for their discrete mobile GPUs decrease, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 162: Apple's biggest and Nvidia's fastest
- Adobe swallows Aviary, hopes to stuff Creative Cloud into mobes @ The Register
- Blackberry Passport arrives, claims to outperform the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 @ The Inquirer
- ARM gives Internet of Things a PIECE of its MIND – the Cortex-M7 @ The Register
- Why the Convergent Desktop is So Important to Linux @ Linux.com
- Le whoops! Microsoft France boss blows lid off 'Windows 9' event @ The Register
- Microsoft to cut Windows 7 OEM supply on 31 October @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 24, 2014 - 02:41 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sli, nvidia
SLI Bridges are thrown in with compatible motherboards and there is usually little reason to want anything else. They work. There is no performance advantage for getting a "better" one, unless it does not connect with your specific arrangement of two-to-four cards. Today, NVIDIA gives another reason: a soft, beautiful glow to match the green "GeForce GTX" on the cards themselves.
Mind you, this is not the first glowing SLI Bridge. EVGA even provided us with a few of their own for a giveaway last year.
NVIDIA has three models, depending on the layout of your cards. 3-way SLI will need to be arranged as a series of two-wide with no gaps, using the "3-Way SLI Bridge". 2-way configurations have the choice of two empty slots between the two-wide cards, or no gap; former would purchase the "2-Way Spaced SLI Bridge" and the later, the "2-Way SLI Bridge". They each require GeForce GTX 770 cards, or better, as well as a recent GeForce Experience (1.7+). Certain non-reference designs may be incompatible.
The SLI Bridges are available now. Both 2-Way bridges are $29.99 and the 3-Way is $39.99.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 23, 2014 - 08:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: transquil, monoone, all-in-one, fanless
This announcement does not have too much information to go on, but Tranquil PC is launching their MonoOne all-in-one PC at the end of the month. It will be fanless and milled out of solid aluminum. This solid chunk of metal helps keep the device cool. It is a large mass of metal with fins cut out of it for extra surface area.
Specifications are not listed. We do not even know the screen resolution, processor, drive, I/O ports, or RAM. Current speculation is that it will use a low power Core-level CPU. It looks like it has a removable metal stand and a VESA mount for the wall. In fact, it looks like the stand is attached by the bottom two wall-mount points but I cannot see for sure.
The MonoOne launches at the end of September.
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2014 - 06:35 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ups, ups store, 3d printer, 3d printing
If you have a few 3D objects that you would like to make physical, it might not make sense to purchase a whole MakerBot Replicator or equivalent device. To print, fax, and copy shops, the third dimension seemed like a natural extension to their business model (because it literally an upward extension on their previous service).
Image Credit: Wikipedia
One such retailer is The UPS Store, and they just announced that their six-location test was successful. They are now expanding to "nearly 100 additional locations nationwide". Their "Find a Location" page currently lists 45 locations which, I assume, will be appended as more stores setup with the required hardware and training.
Unfortunately, being Canadian, I cannot utilize any of these yet. I could see this being mostly useful, for me, if I wanted to print out an original 3D figurine or sculpture as a gift. Others could make replacement parts and so forth.
UPS Store has not given a timeline to complete this rollout.
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2014 - 06:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: blizzard, titan, MMO, mmorpg
Titan has been officially canceled by Blizzard after a year and a half delay. Since around May of 2013, the developer attempted to "reset" the project by shrinking its staff down to a core group of thirty, down from a hundred. This team wanted Titan to embody their wildest ambitions, but they realized that it was not going to be fun. "Fun" is not the goal of every game, nor should it be.
If "fun" was the intention though, and it isn't, then you have a problem.
As for the employees, there does not seem to be any discussion of lay-offs. 16 months ago, when the team was downsized from 100 to 30, Blizzard claimed that its staff would be reassigned to other projects. The smaller, core team is not mentioned today at all, positively or negatively. Whether that is a good sign, and why it never came up in the inteview, is still unknown. Hopefully they will be transferred to an existing game or service, or work on a different, new product.
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2014 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 4k, vesa, dockport, displayport 1.3, usb 3.1, DisplayPort Alternate Mode
The bilateral symmetry of the Type C plug has already put smiles on many faces, not having to flip the USB connector three times to find the right plug orientation will be a nice treat and steal some thunder from Apple's Lightning. That is not all that USB 3.1 will be bringing however, 10Gbps of data throughput and up to 100W on a single cable have also been announced as part of the new standards capabilities. There is something new today as well, support for DisplayPort over USB 3.1 which will perhaps only be available over specialized cables but could become a standard feature.
DisplayPort Alternate Mode takes advantage of the nature of USB 3.1 which offers four lanes for traffic to pass through, with a choice of USB data at up to 10Gbps per lane, up to 100W of power, DisplayPort AV at up to 8.1Gbps or at DP 1.2a speeds of 5.4Gbps which is likely the top speed on the first cables released. For those initial cables you will need all four available lanes to be able to display at 4k resolutions but once the speed is increased to 1.3's 8.1Gbps you should be able to see VESA's promise of 4k video, Superspeed USB data and up to 100 Watts of power over a single cable. Even when all four lanes are devoted to DisplayPort to run 5k video the cable will still support USB 2.0 speeds thanks yo separate pins dedicated for that function.
"The new Type C USB connector is causing a lot of excitement, thanks in part to its reversibility (you can plug it in either way up) and high rates of data and power transfer. But there's now another reason to buy into in: DisplayPort support."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Red Hat shifts emphasis from Linux to cloud-based services @ The Inquirer
- Ionic crystals go 1D @ Nanotechweb
- Nanoporous hydroxide makes good supercapacitor @ Nanotechweb
- Netflix Rejects Canadian Regulator Jurisdiction Over Online Video @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 11:43 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: united front, triad wars, square enix, sleeping dogs
Triad Wars, set in the Sleeping Dogs universe, takes the setting into an online "open-world" game that is exclusively for the PC. United Front, the developer of both Sleeping Dogs and this title, is said to be partnering with Nexon to make it a free-to-play game, at least last we heard. Suddenly, PC-exclusivity makes a lot of sense. The game is currently in closed beta, which they are accepting applications for, but it is set to launch in 2015.
The most weird part, to me at least, is that Square Enix is still involved with the title and Nexon is mentioned nowhere (outside of the aforementioned statement by United Front's CEO's from last June). United Front is definitely the developer, okay, but how are the other two companies involved, specifically? Did Nexon get pushed out? How is Square involved, other than hosting the accounts? No clue. Perhaps this will be answered in tomorrow's Reddit AMA. We'll see.
Triad Wars is expected to be Free-to-Play and officially launch in 2015.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | September 22, 2014 - 11:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: esports, asus, vg248qe
I am a little torn about the term "eSports". Yes, I've used it. It is the accepted name. According to the definition, it mostly fits its role. Grammar and language are also fluid concepts, too. They can mean different things as time passes. I guess my real problem is that it attempts to snuggle up to "sports" for acceptance, but maintains a single-letter divider (unlike golf and, to some extent, curling). In my opinion, it is either a sport or it is something else entirely (a game, maybe?).
Apparently they support StarCraft, too.
Also, it should be considered legitimate. Spectator sports are for entertainment, and "eSports" are entertaining to watch. Sure, it is not for everyone -- but neither is any other sport.
Two organizations that do consider it legitimate is ASUS and Robert Morris University (RMU). The college has recently announced scholarships for the top League of Legends players. After all, a sports scholarship is just an advertisement expense from the university's view. That applies to any sports scholarship. The point is to lure students to your campus and spectators to sporting events. Consistent winnings and great players gets your name out there on both fronts. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as they uphold a high standard of education, too.
Today's news is that ASUS partnered with RMU to provide "over three dozen" monitors to the university. Specifically, the VG248QE 24-inch, 144Hz display. This is almost $10,000 USD of hardware at current retail price. The press release is unclear whether ASUS donated the panels, or if they were sold at a discount. I reached out to the university over Twitter for clarification.
Honestly, I find this interesting and an innovative extension on old practices.