Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 14, 2013 - 07:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: never settle forever, never settle, battlefield 4, amd
UPDATE (11/14/2013): After many complaints from the community about the lack of availability of graphics cards that actually HAD the Battlefield 4 bundle included with them, AMD is attempting to clarify the situation. In a statement sent through email, AMD says that the previous information sent to press "was not clear and has led to some confusion" which is definitely the case. While it was implied that all customers that bought R9 series graphics cards would get a free copy of BF4, when purchased on or after November 13th, the truth is that "add-in-board partners ultimately decide which select AMD Radeon R9 SKUs will include a copy of BF4."
So, how are you to know what SKUs and cards are actually going to include BF4? AMD is trying hard to setup a landing page at http://amd.com/battlefield4 that will give gamers clear, and absolute, listings of which R9 series cards include the free copy of the game. When I pushed AMD for a timeline on exactly when these would be posted, the best I could get was "in the next day or two."
As for users that bought an R9 280X, R9 270X, R9 270, R9 290X or R9 290 after the announcement of the bundle program changes but DID NOT get a copy of BF4, AMD is going to try and help them out by offering up 1,000 Battlefield 4 keys over AMD's social channels. The cynic in me thinks this is another ploy to get more Facebook likes and Twitter followers, but in truth the logistics of verifying purchases at this point would be a nightmare for AMD. Though I don't have details on HOW they are going to distribute these keys, I certainly hope they are going to find a way to target those users that were screwed over in this mess. Follow www.facebook.com/amdgaming or www.twitter.com/amdradeon for more information on this upcoming promotion.
AMD did send over a couple of links to cards that are currently selling with Battlefield 4 included, as an example of what to look for:
As far as I know, the board partners will also decide which online outlets to offer the bundle through, so even if you see the same SKU on Amazon.com, it may not come with Battlefield 4 as well. It appears in this case, and going forward, extreme caution is in order when looking for the right card for you.
END UPDATE (11/14/2013)
AMD announced the first Never Settle on October 22nd, 2012 with Sleeping Dogs, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, and 20% off of Medal of Honor: Warfighter. The deal was valued at around $170. It has exploded since then to become a choose-your-own-bundle across a variety of tiers.
This bundle is mostly different.
Basically, apart from the R7 260X (I will get to that later), all applicable cards will receive Battlefield 4. This is a one-game promotion unlike Never Settle. Still, it is one very good game that will soon be accelerated with Mantle in an upcoming patch. It should be a good example of games based on Frostbite 3 for at least the next few years.
The qualifying cards are: R9 270, R9 270X, R9 280, R9 280X, R9 290, and R9 290X. They must be purchased from a participating retailer beginning November 13th.
The R7 260X is slightly different because it is more familiar to Never Settle. It will not have access to a free copy of Battlefield 4. Instead, the R7 260X will have access to two of six Never Settle Forever Silver Tier games: Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite (V2), Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, DiRT 3, and (for the first time) THIEF. It is possible that other silver-tier Never Settle Forever owners, who have yet to redeem their voucher, might qualify as well. I am not sure about that. Regardless, THIEF was chosen because the developer worked closely with AMD to support both Mantle as well as TrueAudio.
Since this deal half-updates Never Settle and half-doesn't... I am unsure what this means for the future of the bundle. They seem to be simultaneously supporting and disavowing it. My personal expectation is that AMD wants to continue with Never Settle but they just cut their margins too thin with this launch. This will be a good question to revisit later in the GPU lifecycle when margins become more comfortable.
What do you think? Does AMD's hyper-aggressive hardware pricing warrant a temporary suspension of Never Settle? I mean, until today, they were being purchased without any bundle what-so-ever.
Qualifying R9-Series Cards (purchased after Nov 13 from participating retailers) can check out AMD's Battlefield 4 portal.
Qualifying R7 260X owners, on the other hand, can check out the Never Settle Forever portal.
Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2013 - 05:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, battlefield 4
EA may have released the minimum and recommended specs but until properly tweaked and benchmarked it is never clear how much power BF4 wants. Thankfully TechSpot has gone through all of that work for you, testing over 2 dozen video cards and their performance in BF4 at three different resolutions. They didn't parse the performance by every single graphics option switching between enabled and disabled but the benchmarks are informative enough to give you an idea where to start.
"With roots that stretch back more than a decade and enough fans to justify new content every year, Battlefield is among the handful of franchises that needs no introduction around here. Even if you hate EA's approach modern military madness, you can typically expect Battlefield's graphics to raise the bar."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Assassin's Creed Revelations 2-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Assassin's Creed II 4-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Assassin's Creed Brotherhood 3-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag @ The Inquirer
- Wayne Good Deals: Latest Humble Bundle Is Positively Batty @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Batman: Arkham Origins Review @ Techgage
- Wot I Think: Call Of Duty: Ghosts – Single Player @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Satellite Of Love: Syndicate Remake On Show @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Soren Song: Civ IV Designer Founds Mohawk Games @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Ultimate Gaming Portable: NVIDIA SHIELD Review @ Techgage
- Gamestick Android Games Console @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2013 - 06:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ea, DRM, battlefield 4
((Update: October 30 @ 7:04pm: The issue was not resolved by EA before the EU release date. However, as expected, the game unlocked at 7:01pm. While I wish I could have reported that the issue was resolved ahead of time, it wasn't, and now (since EA did not demonstrate any concrete effort in resolving the issue) I cannot tell whether we will experience the same issue next time. It is possible this issue could plague several releases to come. Keep this in mind.))
I just do not have any luck with pre-ordering titles on Origin. Battlefield 3 had a rough launch, especially on my computer, with it being almost a year until they sorted through the mouse lag hiccups (seemingly related to having Google Chrome running) and random crashes. My second title was SimCity, which requires no further explanation, and my latest is Battlefield 4. Now, it seems as though the actual game launched decently for the majority of customers. They try really hard; they really, really do.
Supposedly this also affected the Beta and other Origin titles.
Unfortunately, I was at Mozilla Summit. I cannot comment on that. No experience.
Somewhere in Origin there is a mistake with region-locking and certain ISPs. My primary ISP (Teksavvy cCable... not a typo) does not qualify, for some reason, as a North American release region. October 30th at 7PM EDT corresponds to October 31st at midnight CET so the game likely believes my connection belongs to the European Union. AT&T U-Verse and Vidéotron were also reported as having this problem.
I used my (in repair) Bell Canada DSL connection and was able to access the Battlefield 4 campaign (the connection is too unstable for multiplayer until it gets fixed). I, then, tried to access it again with Teksavvy? Nope. Relocked.
I contacted EA Support (I never identified myself as a journalist) who were honest and blunt about the issue. I respect that! Congratulations, EA, for having technical support open at 2 AM and treated me with respect. The company also started a thread in EA Answers asking for more information about affected customers. Still, currently, the issue has not been resolved.
But even that is irrelevant to the actual point because this is obviously an honest mistake. Still:
The DRM is making me not want to pre-order (or purchase at all) another title on Origin!
And... the kick while down... it has not helped anyone!
Region-locking does not make sense, especially not anymore, within a worldwide digital distribution network. I can connect by a VPN to anywhere in the world to pretend that I belong there. I legally purchased the title. There is no financial reason to make me wait to access it; in fact, especially with their recent refund policy, it might encourage me to cancel my order or outright ignore the product's existence in the first place.
EA has been expending tonnes of time and resources making Origin more desirable where it counts. They seem to actually care about their distribution platform's success. The have seemingly around-the-clock live tech support and a great refund policty. Yet, time and time again, these little mistakes where it doesn't even count add up to the terrible user experience. Yes, I could refund my title; I do not get the game I want and EA loses a sale. Great job, DRM!
EA, what has this accomplished except support costs, bad press, and anger legitimate customers?
Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2013 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: battlefield 4, r9 280x, gtx 770
As the recommended requirements for BF4 indicate that a mid-range GPU should be able to handle the game, [H]ard|OCP tested out the public beta with the new R9 280X as well as the GTX 770. This not only gives an idea of comparative performance but also a chance to see if the extra memory present on AMD's card gives any performance advantage at 2560 x 1600. At first glance the charts seem to favour NVIDIA but that was not what [H] found when gaming as the high peaks represented points with little or no action and the performance started to suffer during action sequences while the AMD card remained solid throughout both calm and the storms.
"Electronic Arts has opened a public beta of the upcoming Battlefield 4 game debuting the new Frostbite 3 game engine. Today we will preview some gameplay performance in BF4 Beta on an AMD Radeon R9 280X and GeForce GTX 770 and see how the game will challenge today's GPU's. The results are not quite what we expected."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hands On: XCOM – Enemy Within @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Red Wing: SWTOR Gets Space Combat Expansion @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Bioshock Noir: Burial At Sea’s Opening Scenes @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- A Wizardry Did It: Deathfire – Ruins Of Nethermore @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Tsarist Space Struggle: The Mandate @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Super Mario Bros for Chrome @ fullscreenmario.com/
- Puppeteer PlayStation 3 @ eTeknix
- Madshrimps @ Firstlook 2013 @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 23, 2013 - 11:31 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: battlefield 4, gamescom
Battlefield 4 is still at Gamescom, possibly the last big trade show before launch, and they are still trickling out news. DICE just released their Levelution teaser, which is a cheesy name and I will not pretend to ignore that, but an interesting premise for level design. Keeping in line with the original premise for Battlefield, levels are designed for too many options to fully consider, leading to the characteristic "Battlefield Moments".
A Battlefield Moment is when something amazing, genius, or plain stupid happens in a multiplayer match and draws your attention.
Some popular examples include:
- The airborne murdering of pilots.
- Hijacking jets semi-automatically.
- Getting to the choppah.
- Sure, you can die instead.
- Indecisive snipers.
Of course capturing these moments are much more common since Bad Company 2 just due to how common video editing is. Battlefield 2 also had its moments. A personal favorite is when I dropped anti-tank mines, while parachuting, atop a heavy tank. It turns out the time it took to fall was enough for it to arm. I also enjoy proclaiming myself "The Kool-Aid Man" before running someone in my Teamspeak channel down by crashing a jeep through a wall.
DICE wants to show off their engine technology by including many user-triggered events, big and small, to give players options. You can destroy cover, lower doors, and otherwise succeed with out-of-box ideas. Check out the video, above, for more examples.
I am pretty sure the marketing people like showing off video of a skyscraper crumbling, too.
Battlefield 4 will launch October 29th in North America.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 23, 2013 - 03:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: battlefield 4, gamescom
EA TV conducted a broadcast of Battlefield 4, spectating gameplay from the attendees of Gamescom. Almost 13 minutes of were posted to Youtube and, because our readers are awesome, you get to see it here. Destructibility exceeding even Bad Company 2 is displayed in this map, Paracel Storm, as Russia and China fight over an island cluster.
... And the observer tools look interesting, too!
The hook of the map, at least one of them, is a windmill out in the ocean anchoring a destroyed frigate. Once the windmill is destroyed the wreckage is released, runs aground near a control point, and destroys a multi-level structure.
The video also announced another gametype, "Obliteration", which seems somewhat like a play on the Rush mode from Bad Company and Assault from Halo 2. Each team has 3 "MCOM" points which can be destroyed by planting a randomly spawning bomb. An interesting mashup.
I am, still, slightly upset that we have yet to see free bombing since Battlefield 2. Rumors have circulated, due to the promotional images from China Rising DLC, that bombers will make a reappearance in, at least, that DLC. The mechanic of bombers allows you to either: in the sky, carpet bomb to clear predictable attack paths; on the ground, lure enemies into bombing paths and chat with teammates in the sky.
Of course this is less relevant outside of the clan skirmish sphere, but still fun with a handful of friends on a public server.
What are you thoughts on the video? What are you looking forward to about Battlefield 4? What are you hoping for in Battlefield 4?
Stay tuned in case anything more comes out from Gamescom. Battlefield 4 launches October 29th with a Beta coming earlier that month.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 27, 2013 - 03:25 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: battlefield, battlefield 4, GDC, GDC 13
Battlefield 4 is coming, that has been known with Medal of Honor: Warfighter's release and its promise of beta access, but the gameplay trailer is already here. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes, "Fishing in Baku" looks amazing from a technical standpoint.
The video has been embed below. A little not safe for work due to language and amputation.
Now that you finished gawking, we have gameplay to discuss. I cannot help but be disappointed with the campaign direction. Surely, the story was in planning prior to the release of Battlefield 3. Still, it seems to face the same generic-character problem which struck the last campaign.
In Battlefield 3, I really could not recognize many characters apart from the lead which made their deaths more confusing than upsetting. Normally when we claim a character is identifiable, we mean that we can relate to them. In this case, when I say the characters were not identifiable, I seriously mean that I probably could not pick them out in a police lineup.
Then again, the leaked promotional image for Battlefield 4 seems to show Blackburn at the helm. I guess there is some hope. Slim hope, which the trailer does not contribute to. I mean even the end narration capped how pointless the character interactions were. All this in spite of EA's proclaiming YouTube description of this being human, dramatic, and believable.
Oh well, it went boom good.