Team Fortress 2 Beta Includes "Mannpower Mode"

Subject: General Tech | December 26, 2014 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: tf2, valve

So Valve is working on a new game mode for Team Fortress 2, called “Mannpower Mode”. It is a variation of Capture the Flag and it is currently available in the beta map pool, accessible from the Play Beta Maps checkbox in Play Multiplayer. While it will change significantly over its development period, this beta launch corresponds with their Christmas promotion.

valve-tf2-gamemode_powerup_beta.png

Even though it's like Capture the Flag, there are some significant differences. First, similar to many other franchises, the objective is touch-return. Fans of Unreal Tournament, Halo, and many other franchises will know that this is different in two main ways: a dropped objective will return to base instant when it is touched by a defender, and the attacker's flag must be returned in to capture the opponent's one. Second, random critical hits are disabled.

Third, grappling hooks and power-ups? I am guessing the Valve wants TF2 to be more competitive in with the fast-paced shooter crowd, so they are finding ways to increase mobility and map control within the Team Fortress 2 ruleset. Of course, that is not a criticism about TF2's game design – quite the opposite; it is different, not worse. It is interesting to think about the relatively slow characters of TF2 being used in more of a higher-reward, lower-forgiveness game mode. The updates add mobility and incentives to use it, both rewarding flag returns as well as acquiring power-ups.

Team Fortress 2 is still free-to-play, but rarely free-toupee.

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 10 - Netgear X6 AC3200 Router

Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2014 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: router, nighthawk x6, netgear, DSLR, Canon, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

The staff here at PC Perspective couldn't decide on a final item for our 10 days series. We decided to do a post with two items to end with a bang (and extreme indecisiveness). Then, just before the post went live, one of the items was no longer available in the bundle that we considered a good deal. Thanks, universe, for stepping in and making us declare a single best deal... of the day. Our final recommendation is: a high-performance router!

Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router

IMG_410382.jpg

This tri-band, 6-antenna monster that is the Netgear Nighthawk X6 looks the part, and offers up to 3.2 Gbps performance from its three Wi-Fi data streams (one 600 Mb/s 2.4 GHz network and dual 1300 Mb/s 5 GHz networks).  It's powered by a dual-core 1 GHz CPU with 256 MB of RAM, has the usual 4-port Gigabit switch, and offers both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports on the back. It's an impressive piece of hardware with a price to match, just under $300.

Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router - Amazon.com ($288.99) - BHPhoto.com ($288.99)

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

 

Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

Rumor: AMD Could Power Nintendo's Next Console

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Systems | December 23, 2014 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: x86, Nintendo, arm, amd

The tea leaves that WCCFTech have been reading are quite scattered, but they could be right. The weaker half is pulled from an interview between Shigeru Miyamoto and the Associated Press. At the very end, the creator of many Nintendo franchises states, “While we're busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”

Of course they do. That is not confirmation of a new console.

amd-nintendo-mario.png

Original Mario Bros. Screenshot Credit: Giant Bomb (Modified)

A bit earlier, he also states, “I think that maybe when we release the next hardware system, you can look forward to seeing Mario take on a new role or in a new game.”

This, on the other hand, sounds a little bit like they are iterating on game design ideas that will shape the next console. From what I understand, this is how Nintendo tends to work – they apparently engineer hardware around concept use cases. It could also be a mistake.

The rumor's stronger half is a statement from Devinder Kumar, the CFO of AMD.

“I will say that one [design win] is x86 and [another] is ARM, and at least one will [be] beyond gaming, right,” said Devinder Kumar, chief financial officer of AMD, at the Raymond James Financial technology conference. “But that is about as much as you going to get out me today. From the standpoint [of being] fair to [customers], it is their product, and they launch it. They are going to announce it and then […] you will find out that it is AMD’s APU that is being used in those products.”

So AMD has secured design wins from two companies, one gaming and the other is something else. Also, one design will be x86 and the other will be ARM-based. This could be an awkward co-incidence but, at the same time, there are not too many gaming companies around.

Also, if it is Nintendo, which architecture would they choose? x86 is the common instruction set amongst the PC and other two consoles, and it is easy to squeeze performance out of. On the other hand, Nintendo has been vocal about Apple and the mobile market, which could have them looking at ARM, especially if the system design is particularly abnormal. Beyond that, AMD could have offered Nintendo an absolute steal of a deal in an effort to get a high-profile customer associated with their ARM initiative.

Or, again, this could all be coincidence.

Source: WCCFTech

Assassin's Creed Unity: Now with Slightly Less Terrible Performance!

Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2014 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: patch, gpu performance, assassin's creed, assasins creed unity

The latest patch (version 1.4.0) for Assassin's Creed Unity was released on Friday, and the folks at HardOCP have posted a review with their perfomance findings today.

1419218249XUmGfq1uoa_1_1.jpg

Spoiler alert: the performance numbers are better, but not by a lot. To quote the article's conclusion:

"Thanks to the recent patch 1.4.0 it is a little "less terrible," but it is still not very good. This game is poorly optimized, if at all, and performs worse than it should on the latest generation of video cards. Even with SLI you cannot maximize the graphics settings at 1440p with TXAA, one of the added NVIDIA features in the game. This is sad."

The post for Patch 4 on Steam lists these improvements:

  • Performance & Stability: Frame rate drops, game crashes, lost progression
  • Gameplay: Navigation, lock picking chests
  • Online: Connectivity, matchmaking, companion app

The tested patch (which weighs in at 5.4GB) is the fourth one released in December, as Ubisoft attempts to mitigate some of the issues with a game that has only disappointed since launch. While overall improvements seen by the team at [H] were slight, the review does concede that patch "helped performance and image quality" and that "using the latest NVIDIA beta drivers...also helped performance in this game". However to fully enjoy the Assassin's Creed Unity experience they do recommend "a cold beer, or two".

Source: HARDOCP

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 9 - SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2014 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: steelseries, mechanical keyboard, Keyboards, 6gv2, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

Mechanical keyboards are popular these days, and complex enough to be confusing (just me?). Thankfully, our own Scott Michaud recently broke down the different keyswitches involved with the various keyboards, which should help with the difficult buying decision. Another thing that helps with difficult buying decisions? Letting us tell you what to buy! So for today's "10 days" pick, we're going with one of these mechanical keyboards.

SteelSeries-6G.jpg

The SteelSeries 6Gv2 is a classic-looking keyboard (minus the beige color scheme of the 80's) that offers fast response and true mechanical switches, and is built to last with gold-plated switches and some of the heaviest construction I've seen. Best of all, it's consistently available for less than $100, which puts it on the more affordable side of these often pricey keyboards. So what kind of switches are in use here, exactly?

Cherry MX Black

The MX Black switch in action - notice how it actuates almost immediately (left)

The 6Gv2 uses a linear-mechanical switch (again, see Scott's article to know what the heck this all means) so it responds very quickly and allows for rapid presses of the same button. It does not offer the same feel of some of the other switches and isn't really designed for typing, though preferences differ widely here. Regardless, this keyboard is built like a tank, and even if you don't end up liking it as a keyboard it would make a serviceable (and compact) replacement to the classic baseball bat home-defense system.

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

 

Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

Steam Gifting and Trading Are Now Region-Locked

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2014 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam

Especially with digital distribution, some regions of the world receive different pricing for the same content based on what their target market is capable of paying for it. On Steam, most regions are just about equivalent to their exchange rate with the US dollar. There are a few, most notably Russia, that receive steep price cuts (because the increase in expected customers outweighs the decrease per unit).

valve-nope.jpg

Valve's engineers say...

This leads some thrifty people to purchase keys that were intended for other, lower-cost regions. Recently, Valve has adjusted the Steam back-end to block gifting from certain, reduced-price regions to other regions. It does not affect existing purchases, only new ones. This also might not be their final decision, as Valve claims that they are still “assessing the market”, according to PC Gamer. This currently applies to: Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, and Singapore.

I am quite... conflicted on this decision.

On the one hand, I believe that moving a game from one region to another should be acceptable. Unless Steam requires that users (or gift givers of unactivated keys) declare that the license is intended for members of a given region, which could be fraud to lie about, then I cannot see any reasonable way to prevent this. On the other hand, I find Valve's method to be fair and targeted, even though it is relying upon DRM to restrict user access.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments! (Registration is not required)

Source: PC Gamer

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 8 - Corsair Hydro Series H100i Liquid CPU Cooler

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2014 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: liquid cooler, H100i, h100, cpu cooler, corsair, AIO, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

 

When the Corsair H100i was released two years ago it was an advancement over the original H100 in both cooling and features. The 240mm all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler features a thicker radiator than the original H100, along with high performance SP120L fans, Corsair Link technology, and many other changes.

 

H100i_1.png

 

Originally selling for $119.99, the H100i is now selling for as little as $89.99 on Amazon which puts it closer to the middle of the AIO market in price for a very high performance part. And the H100i boasts higher convenience than other AIO liquid coolers, with software control provided by Corsair Link and a magnetic mounting system to help keep things in place during the waterblock installation.

H100i_2.png

You can check out our Corsair AIO liquid cooler roundup here to see how the H100i stacks up, and if you are looking for a nice upgrade for someone with the space for a 240mm radiator this would make a great gift idea!

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

 

Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 7 - Amazon Kindle

Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2014 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: kindle, holiday, amazon, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

Since the original introduction of the Kindle e-reader years ago, the Amazon-built device has been considered the best digital reading appliance on the market. That continues to this day, even with the release of the iPad, the widespread sale of Android tablets and even Amazon's own color screen devices like the Kindle Fire. The eye comfort, extended battery life and low cost continue to drive the Kindle's dominance in this market.

kindle1.jpg

Newly revised with a touch screen e-ink display, the lowest cost Kindle device can now be picked up for under $60 if you are cool with some ads showing up on the screen while the device is locked, or $80 if you aren't. E-ink technology provides the key benefits that Kindle has over standard tablets for reading: no backlight is required and thus your eyes have much less strain to focus on the words and the ability to maintain an image on the screen without constant power allows Kindle to last "for weeks" without a recharge.

kindle2.jpg

If you or anyone you love is a reader, then you owe it to them to buy a Kindle.

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Meet the M320

Logitech is brand synonymous with mice, joysticks and other peripherals, providing a handy way to interact with your computer for over 20 years.  Anyone who has used a computer for any amount of time knows Logitech and have used a variety of their products.  Their peripheral lineup has come a long way from the beginnings, with washable keyboards, webcams and mice with over two dozen programmable buttons. 

100_1103.JPG

In this case we are looking at the M320 Wireless Mouse with three buttons and scroll wheel, a rubberized grip shaped for the right hand and an offset optical sensor with 1000 dpi resolution.

100_1122.JPG

The Logitech M320 comes in a user friendly clamshell package with cut out flap on the back which is actually effective in opening the packaging without the need of a utility knife or a couple of stitches on your hand.  Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that it ships with a battery included; not the rechargeable kind but certainly a nice touch for those of us who remember receiving toys that were unusable until someone made a trip to the store to pick up the required mix of AAA's, D's or 9V's.  The documentation claims the battery will last for two years and while there was obviously no way to put that to the test the automatic sleep mode and physical power switch will ensure that your battery life will not be inconveniently short. 

Continue reading our review of the Logitech M320 Wireless mouse!!

Telltale Games Announces Minecraft: Story Mode

Subject: General Tech | December 19, 2014 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: Mojang, telltale, Minecraft, minecraft: story mode

Mojang and Telltale Games have announced their collaboration on an adventure game that is set in the Minecraft universe. Minecraft: Story Mode will feature a cast of characters... none of which are Steve... and tell a story that does absolutely zero explanation of the Minecraft universe. Telltale will release the game episodically, with the first release in 2015.

mojang-telltale-minecraft-story-mode-announce.png

This comes on the heels of news that the Minecraft movie has lost its director, because they could not come up with a sufficient story. While the movie has not been scrapped, it does show that those who are left at Mojang will veto whatever they dislike. I guess that means that Telltale has successfully pitched them a narrative, because this seems like an oddly confident announcement to make.

MineCraft: Story Mode Episode One will be released in 2015 for Xbox, PlayStation, Mac, iOS, and Android. It will also be released on the PC, which I think is the platform of choice for most of our viewers. It's just a hunch.

Source: Telltale