Try the new Type-A Negative Aliens: Colonial Marines

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2018 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: oops, gaming, Aliens: Colonial Marines

When Aliens: Colonial Marines arrived for sale five years ago many fans were excited to see a new game set in this universe, especially considering the majority of the previous games were quite good.  Unfortunately the release did not live up to the hype, even Metacritic hated it which is an achievement unto itself.  The games graphics and content was so bad compared to the pre-release footage Sega eventually agreed to pay out a settlement of $1.25 million to end a class action suit launched by those poor unfortunates who purchased the game.

It has just been discovered that a single typo in an .ini file was to blame for the wonderful footage of Xenomorphs wandering harmlessly by, as the AI was more or less an AAI.  If you can bring yourself to stare at the sub-par graphics, even for 2013, the game will now feature enemies you might actually be concerned about if you delete a single 'a'.

"The improvement is immediately recognisable in your first encounters with the Xenos. While they still charge you perched on their hind legs, they now crawl far more often, flank you using vents and holes in the environment and are generally far more engaged and aggressive. Five years after release, a single letter managed to overhaul the entirety of the enemy AI behaviour in the game."

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Tech Talk

The Crew 2 in 4K

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: gaming, the crew 2, consolitis

If there is one saving grace for The Crew 2's 60fps limit, it is that even the mighty GTX 1080 Ti cannot maintain 60fps at 4k with all the bells and whistles turned on.  When [H]ard|OCP disabled the custom Contact Hardening Soft Shadows and dropped from SSAO+ to SSAO the Ti could provide good performance but the plain GTX 1080 and Vega 64 required the settings be dropped to medium.  At 1440p and below even the GTX 1070 and Vega 56 could handle Ultra settings.

That said, the word from [H] is that this game doesn't look as good as the original, even at 4k, as they expand on in their full review.

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"We take The Crew 2 and evaluate ten of today’s latest GPUs in the game. We will find what the highest playable settings are, how video cards compare, and how specific graphics features compare in performance. We will find the best value for gaming, and what graphics settings work best. Is this game worth it, or a graphical flop?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

2 Crew 2 console

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2018 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: gaming, consolitis, the crew 2

The Crew 2 allows you to drive through their open world at two speeds, 30FPS or 60FPS with no way to speed that up ... yet.  Thankfully this consolitis has not infected the resolution, with 4k playable on a GTX 1080 Ti or if you are in 1440p a Vega 56 or GTX 1070 will let you redline all the graphical bells and whistles.  The graphics settings do make this game quite pretty, with some caveats that [H]ard|OCP describes in their conclusions.   The inherited technical deficiencies aside, the ability to drive around the continental USA means there is a bit more to this game than they have been able to discover in the limited time they had. 

If this is your kind of game, grab a steering wheel and fire it up. 

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"We’ve got early access to The Crew 2 thanks to the Gold Edition, a brand new open-world racing game for the PC. Let’s find out how The Crew 2 performs on today’s GPUs in this preview. We also look at graphics settings and hit a little on Image Quality. Hopefully we will have some insight as we know a lot of readers have been waiting for this game."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

Built Like a Tank

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston, entered the mechanical keyboard market in 2016 with the Alloy FPS - which this reviewer found to be well constructed and a great value relative to the market when I reviewed both versions last year. Enter the Alloy Elite, an impressive-looking keyboard that boasts a high level of build quality and the option of full RGB lighting (a single color variant is also available). Does the Elite live up to its name in everyday use? I will share my findings with the RGB version reviewed here.

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Features (from HyperX):

  • Unique light bar and dynamic lighting effects
  • Solid steel frame
  • CHERRY® MX mechanical keyswitches
  • Dedicated media buttons and large volume wheel
  • Quick access buttons for brightness, lighting effects and Game Mode
  • Conveniently connect devices via USB 2.0 pass-through
  • 100% Anti-ghosting and N-Key Rollover functionality
  • Comfortable, detachable wrist rest with soft-touch coating
  • Additional titanium-colored textured keycaps and HyperX keycap removal tool

Pricing and Availability:

First a quick look at packaging and included accessories:

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Continue reading our review of the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB mechanical keyboard!

The view of Xen from the Source

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2018 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, half life, black mesa, mod, source engine

The strange story of Black Mesa continues, with over half of the Xen levels now completed.  The port of Half Life 1 to the Source engine was first announced over a decade ago and was finally release, as a free mod, in 2012.  The initial release ended before the Xen levels and did not require you to own any of the previous games.  The project expanded into Crowbar Collective and not too long ago they switched from a free game to launch a Steam pre-order/early access version which cost actual money.  This decision upset some, while others hoped it meant that Black Mesa would get even better.    The Xen levels are now approaching completion and the games tentative 2018 release is drawing close.

You can grab the game from Steam, where it is currently 60% off thanks to the current sale or you can just read about it over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and consider leaving nasty notes about Crowbar Collective's actions over the past 10+ years.

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"Of the five chapters that make up the Xen part of the game, two are in the final spit n’ polish phase, two are in the late stages of development, mostly just needing art assets created and installed onto the map framework, and one chapter, Interloper, is being saved for last, with the entire team planning on finishing it up as their final piece of work on the game."

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Tech Talk

Mind the generation gap, last gen games on current GPUs

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2018 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: gaming, vega 64, 1080 ti, metro 2033, metro last light, Crysis 3, tomb raider

[H]ard|OCP recently revisited a few older games which proved more than a match for the GPUs of that time, to see if the current models can manage 1440p and 4k with all the graphical bells and whistles cranked up to 11.  Metro 2033 and Last Light featured PhysX, tessellation and depth of field options which the GPUs of 2010-13 had trouble with, Tomb Raider sported nicer hair than a bearded Geralt and Crysis 3 offers as much of a challenge as its siblings.  Can you now play these games at 4k, with full graphics settings when armed with a GTX 1080 Ti or Vega 64?  Check out the full review to see.

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"It is time once again to play some older PC games on the latest GPUs of today using the latest drivers. We pull from three 5-year-old games and one 8-year-old game today and see if we can maximize the IQ settings in those games at 1440p and 4K. The theme of the day: Older games that still hold up today in terms of IQ."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Trailer trashin'; missed an E3 trailer you wanted to see?

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: gaming, E3

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have complied all the trailers they could get their mitts on and posted them to a single, very long page.  If you missed any of the trailers or would like another peek then the chances are good you can find what you seek in that link.  They delve into details in the links added into their brief descriptions and you can also follow the links below to get even more information, such as the secret message from CD Projekt Red.

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"Not to worry though, here are all the trailers and news for you in one place. There’s a surprising amount of variety in the announced titles: from an old favourite making a return, much celebrated developers showing off their new series, to even a completely free game launching very soon. The games below aren’t in any particular order but you’re in for a long ride."

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Tech Talk

New New Vegas; Fallout New California is almost upon us

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2018 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, fallout: new vegas, Fallout: New California

The total conversion mod for Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout: New California will be released on October 23rd, or at least the Beta 2.0 version.  We first heard of this mod eight years ago, under the name Project Brazil and from the trailer posted at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN the development team has not been resting on their laurel.  They have managed to make the old engine look much better than it did originally, not to mention the 16,000 lines of dialogue they've recorded.  You can drop by ModDB to keep an eye on the teams progress and sign up for the pre-release beta if you so desire.

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"Originally announced in 2010 as Project Brazil, Fallout: New California is effectively a whole new Fallout game built on top of the New Vegas engine by modding crew Radian-Helix Media, and it’s due for release on October 23rd."

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Rivet Networks Introduces Killer Wireless xTend Technology

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2018 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: wireless, wi-fi, rivet, networking, mesh network, Killer xTend, Killer Networking, killer, gaming

Killer Wireless has introduced Killer xTend Technology, which is a unique solution that promises to help improve home network coverage without having to add network hardware. How is this accomplished? In a nutshell, Killer xTend can let you turn your gaming PC - or even a gaming laptop - into a wireless extender, and do so without penalty thanks to Killer's network prioritization.

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"Killer Wireless xTend introduces powerful MESH network capabilities into computers by leveraging the Killer Wireless-AC 1550 WiFi module to seamlessly clone and extend the home network. This allows Killer-enabled computers to expand the range of the home network and to give network access to nearby wireless devices. The Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wi-Fi delivers fast and smooth gaming and entertainment experiences on PCs by prioritizing important Killer traffic such as games, voice, and video above other connected device traffic."

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You may be familiar with Killer xTend, announced at last year's Computex, but the new Wireless xTend takes a different approach. The Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wi-Fi card is a key component, and the xTend functionality is provided as a value-add, controllable via the Killer Control Center software. What this boils down to is that purchasing a system with this latest Killer Wireless card also provides the ability to extend the range of your home network without any additional cost. Announced partners include Acer, Clevo, Dell, MSI, and Zotac.

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"Killer Wireless xTend is fully integrated into the Killer Control Center. All it takes is a simple click of the button for Killer Wireless xTend to clone and extend the network it is connected to. Nearby devices will automatically connect to Killer Wireless xTend when it provides a stronger signal than the other access points. Users can choose the uplink back to the broadband network – it can be done over wireless or if the computer is using Killer DoubleShot Pro then Killer can deliver the connected devices’ traffic over ethernet."

Full PR after the break.

Computex 2018: ASUS Unleashes ROG Phone for Serious Mobile Gamers

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 5, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, gaming, mobile gaming, game streaming, Gigabit LTE, computex 2018, computex

In addition to the usual Republic of Gamers branded gear, ASUS unveiled the new ROG Phone at Computex which is a high-end Android device aimed at gamers that extends the ROG brand to mobile devices. The new ROG Phone packs a ton of hardware into a six-inch smartphone that can double as a portable gaming machine and is complete with the requisite aggressive ROG aesthetics especially around back where, yes, there is even configurable RGB.

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ASUS’ new smartphone measures 158.8mm x 76.2mm x 8.6mm (6.25”x3”x0.34”) and weighs in at 200g (0.44 lbs). The device is black with white accents drawing aggressive angles on back along with vents for cooling and both Republic of Gamers branding and a configurable RGB ROG logo. The front of the phone looks fairly standard with a large 6” 18:9 AMOLED display taking up most of the front face and surrounded by dual front facing SmartAmp speakers that can reportedly get quite loud according to the various hands on videos online. The display has a resolution of 2160 x 1080, a refresh rate of 90 Hz, a 1ms response time, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and is rated at 108.6% of the DCI-P3 color space. A dedicated image processing chip handles HDR support and the ability of the display to boost the local contrast of certain areas of the display.

As for cameras, there is an 8MP camera in front and dual cameras around back with a main 12MP camera and a 8MP 120-degree wide angle camera.

One interesting thing as far as I/O is that the phone has two USB-C ports with one in the usual spot on the bottom edge and one on the left edge to make using it in landscape mode easier. The included AeroActive cooler can plug into this port and blow air onto the back of the phone to help cool it and your fingertips while also breaking the USB-C port out into a USB-C and 3.5mm headphone jack. As far as audio, ASUS’ ROG Phone supports Dolby DTS Headphone 7.1 virtual surround sound and Qualcomm aptX for wired and Bluetooth headphones respectively.

Asus has also placed ultrasonic buttons around the edges with two on the left edge corners and one on the bottom right edge that can be used as triggers while in landscape mode for gaming or to do usual Android stuff like taking photos or launching an app.

As far as internal specifications, Asus managed to work out a deal with Qualcomm for binned Snapdragon 845 chips that can run all eight Kryo 385 CPU cores at 2.96 GHz (+160 MHz over stock). The Snapdragon 845 processor also contains the Adreno 630 GPU, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 280 ISP, Qualcomm SPU, Aqstic audio, Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and 802.11ad Wi-Fi. The chip also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 though I’m not sure which level Asus has enabled as Asus is calling it HyperCharge (up to 20W with the charging IC in the adapter to reduce phone temps). The SD845 is paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage. The ROG Phone is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery that can be charged to 60% in 33 minutes or 85% in an hour with the included charger. The USB-C ports reportedly only support USB 2.0, however so no USB 3 speeds when transferring files – I suppose Asus needs to at least try to keep the pricing in check! Wireless I/O includes 802.11ad 60GHz Wi-Fi, 802.11ac 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz 2x2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and Gigabit LTE.

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ASUS is using a copper heat spreader as well as a 3D vapor chamber to keep the phone cool while gaming and to keep the Snapdragon 845’s CPU and GPU clocked as high as possible for as long as possible. For the serious mobile gamer wanting to keep the frame rates up there is also the clip on AeroActive cooler or “enhanced cooling” in the TwinView dock.

Speaking of docks, ASUS wants gamers to be able to get serious with the ROG Phone by plugging it into docks that will be sold separately. The TwinView dock adds a second display (that is reportedly identical to the AMOLED on the phone itself), physical trigger buttons, and a 6,000 mAh battery while the Mobile Desktop Dock turns the ROG Phone into a portable computer by allowing you to hook it up to a 4K display, keyboard and mouse, Gigabit Ethernet, 5.1 channel speakers, and other USB peripherals. For those wanting to game on the big screen to share games with friends there is also a WiGig dock and compatibility with the third-party Game Vice controller that turns the ROG Phone into something resembling the Nintendo Switch with joystick and physical buttons on either side.

The ROG Phone is packed with enough hardware to make it competitive with other high-end smartphones as well as the other gaming-focused phone offerings from Razer, Xiaomi, and other entrants to this market. At launch Asus has the docks and accessories down, but pricing is going to be a major concern as the phone itself is not going to be cheap and after adding the docks it might be equivalent to a budget DIY PC build (well before the GPU and RAM price spikes I guess)! On the other hand, it would be a powerful mobile device for running emulators and Fortnite and PUBG are on mobile now (heh) so maybe there is a market serious enough about mobile gaming willing to pay a premium for the ROG Phone.

What do you think? Will you be picking up the ROG Phone?

If you are curious Hardware Canucks and Austin Evans were able to get some hands-on time with the phone and some of the accessories in Taipei, Taiwan.

The ROG Phone is slated for release later this summer with specific pricing not yet available.

Source: Asus