Just Cause it's new is no excuse Four this performance

Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2018 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: just cause 4, gaming, benchmarks, 4k, 1440p, 1080p

One of the best pieces of stress relief software* just got a major update, and TechSpot has discovered it may actually cause more stress than it relieves.  The focus of their article is on performance but before offering a hint at what to expect it is worth noting they found Just Cause 4 to be a downgrade from the previous release, with many of the graphics being similar or lower quality than the previous game and at a much higher performance cost.

If you have anything below a GTX 1080 or Vega 64 you will struggle to maintain 60fps on very high quality at 1080p and you might be able to scrape by at 1440p with a GTX 1080 or Vega 64 but smooth 4K is beyond even an RTX 2080.  Since the game itself, apart from some of the detailed scenery, doesn't seem that much different from the previous title it will be interesting to see if the reported performance issues lessen over time.

*There is a game included as well.

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"Today we’re benchmarking Just Cause 4 with a boatload of different GPUs to help you determine if your graphics card will handle this brand new title, and if need be, work out a suitable upgrade option."

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Source: TechSpot

Reactor Online, Sensors Online, Weapons Online, September 2019 release probable

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, mechwarrior 5

Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries has launched ... a trailer and gameplay footage.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have posted a recorded Twitch stream from Mech_Con showing not just gameplay but four person co-op gameplay, which is certainly new for the franchise.  There is quite a bit of building bashing and tromping all over crunchy tanks, as well as plenty of weapons fire.  The game certainly shows graphical improvements over the last time we had a Mech game, and the final touches are nowhere near completed. 

Head over to watch it in all it's glory.

"As the Mercs subtitle denotes, this will continue the mercantile side of MechWarrior by putting us in control of a new mercenary outfit making megabucks by exploding robots. We’ll manage ’em and all that, but most importantly stomp around exploding robots."

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Mechs dancing for their lives; what a feeling!

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2018 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: battletech, flashpoint, gaming, kick ass

A 100 tonne mech may not qualify as it's own Steel City but that hasn't stopped them from learning some sweet new moves.  The 1.3 patch is accompanied by the Flashpoint expansion, marking some major changes to the game.  If you didn't update to the 1.3 beta to test the new Mechwarrior skills you will have the chance to respec your entire squad with the new special skills, otherwise your crew will remain as it was.

The addon introduces three new mechs, a new environment to stomp through and Flashpoints, which are random missions, with several battles strung together, with no chance to rest or repair between them.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN enjoyed the ones they saw, as they include new characters and choices unlike the missions you generally undertake.  Check it out here.

"Flashpoint, the first expansion for wonkily-explained, slow-burn stomp-o-strategy gem BattleTech, does exactly what I wanted it to: gives me a cast-iron reason to keep playing indefinitely. "

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Xen and the art of Black Mesa updates

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2018 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: half life, xen, black mesa, source engine, mod, gaming

The gang behind the porting of the original Half Life to the Source Engine have just released a trailer of the most frustrating part of the original game, the trip to Xen.  Due for release some time next year, the trailer below shows off just how much better everything looks when moved to an updated game engine.  You can enjoy the experience of screaming in frustration at a much higher resolution Gonarch now; it looks like perhaps they borrowed a part of the new Red Dead Redemption's physics model to make the beasty even more disturbing to look at.

Whatever you do, do not not visit Steam today.  Do not take advantage of the 60% off Black Mesa currently being applied, as it will be very dangerous to even think about Steam for the next few days!

"They also say that they’re now planning to add the Xen chapter in 2019, some time from March to the end of June, so that’s three-ish years after the early access debut of its terrestrial chapters. I am pleased with how alive parts look."

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Source: Steam
Tagged: gaming, esports

The Esports Stadium Arlington

On Monday, November 19, we were invited to partake in the unveiling of North Texas' latest technological marvel, the Esports Stadium Arlington. Arlington is already a well known sports destination, hosting both the Dallas Cowboys at the AT&T Stadium, and the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. The city partnered with Populous and NGAGE Esports to construct the largest eSports venue in North America, hoping to make Arlington (and North Dallas) a hub for eSports in addition to its well-known sports stature.

Populous was chosen for their expertise in designing cutting edge sports-related venues with NGAGE Esports providing the eSports and gaming-related tweaks to make the venue a reality. The Esports Stadium Arlington is a 100,000 square foot space within the existing Arlington Convention Center complex with seating to accommodate a 2,500 person crowd watching the matches on its 85 foot long LED wall screen above the competition area.

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From the initial approach to the venue, it is obvious how much importance Arlington is putting behind its new Esports Stadium Arlington. It has top billing on the venue sign as well as an LED screen scrolling announcements for upcoming events at the venue. The venue's kickoff event will be a CSO League event occurring over the Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 24 - 25).

Entrance Hall

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Upon entering the venue, you are greeting with a large and brightly lit space with no doubt left as to its eSports-centered use. There are hanging banners with the venues core themes - Fan, Player, Icon, as well as a large name plaque with the venue's logo, a mural with various eSport-related highlights, and a fully stocked merchandise section. The merchandise section has various gamer wear, as well as video cards and peripherals, on display and for sale for those interested.

Gaming Area

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Upon entering the Esports complex proper, you first enter the gaming area containing various console and PC gaming areas where both the general public and teams to play their chosen titles of choice. They even have console style stations where players can get the true 1-v-1 experience.

Continue reading our coverage of the Esports Stadium Arlington Unveiling Event!

Production of AMD Vega-Powered SMACH Z Gaming Handheld to Begin in 2019

Subject: Mobile | November 19, 2018 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: Vega8, Vega, Smach Zero, SMACH Z, handheld, gaming, embedded, crowdfunding, APU, AMD Ryzen

A crowdfunding campaign of lengthy duration (originally known as the SteamBoy in 2014 before the name first changed to the Smach Zero the following year) the handheld gaming device now known as the SMACH Z is finally slated for production early next year as reported by ComputerBase (German language), according to an update for crowdfunding backers posted by the company.

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What makes this handheld relevant to PC gamers? The SMACH Z will now be powered by an embedded AMD Ryzen processor with Vega graphics, rather than the previously announced AMD Jaguar solution, with the description on the Indigogo page offering this:

"We have chosen latest generation of AMD Ryzen Embedded processors, the Ryzen Embedded V1605B SoC with AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. Thanks to their latest technological advances, the dream of playing your PC games on the go is becoming a reality."

What is the V1605B? It combines a 4 core/8 thread CPU clocked at 2.0 - 3.6 GHz with a Vega8 GPU offering 512 shaders and up to a 1.1 GHz core clock. The specifications on the Kickstarter page still list the AMD Merlin Falcon RX-421BD SoC with integrated Radeon R7 GPU, though the Indigogo campaign page has the updated SMACH Z announcement video (from March 2018) which refers to the V1605B instead.

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The unfortunately-named SMACH Z is targeting "AAA" game support, but lower resolutions and detail settings will be required for smooth gameplay on this portable, of course (the company's video showcases Witcher 3 apparently averaging 40 FPS at 720p resolution, for example).

Source: ComputerBase

A possible successor to Jagged Alliance?

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, jagged alliance, iron sight, end state

The world would probably be a better place if the last few 'reboots' of Jagged Alliance had never happened.  To describe them as lacklustre is being far too polite to truly convey the disappointments which have been released over the past few years.  Developer Iron Sight have been working on a tactical squad combat game called Iron Sight for a while; it was originally started back in 2014, and it should soon hit early access.  The mechanics that they show off in the trailer over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun display a game that looks far more like the old games than any that have been released since Sir Tech stopped making them. 

Take a look here.

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"It’s somehow been lurking around for years, but today developers Iron Sight put out a fancy new features trailer in preparation for an early access release in the near future. Sneak a stealthy peek at the game in the video below."

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A preliminary look at BFV performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 9, 2018 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: gaming, graphics, battlefield V

Battlefield V has just dropped and we are starting to see performance results, however they will be a while in coming as EA's wonderful policy of only allowing five hardware changes before locking you out of your purchased game for 24 hours is somewhat of a hurdle.  Guru of 3D is slowly filling in benchmarks as they are able, but with the hard limit on hardware changes it will take them a while.  AMD's RX series is easily capable of 60+ fps at 1080p on Ultra settings, however for 1440p you will want at least a GTX 1070 but if you are looking for 4K you will either need to drop your quality or plug in a 1080 Ti at the very least.  They also take a look at memory usage on the last page, if you are concerned that may be a bottleneck for you.

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"In this article, we'll check out graphics cards with Battlefield V. We'll be brutally honest - the game looks great, and has been shaping up to be something pretty good in gameplay as well. We've spent a day now on the Prerelease to check out what the game offers. Battlefield V really doesn't need an introduction, it's really much like the 2016 Battlefield 1 in gameplay."

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Source: Guru of 3D

Your recommended weapons loadout for BFV

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2018 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield V, just cause 4

The required and recommended system specs for BFV have been announced, and unless you are hoping to enable ray tracing they are not too daunting.  A Ryzen 3 1300X or i7 4790, with 12GB of RAM and a GTX 1060 or RX 580 seem reasonable and the 50GB install seems almost small compared to some current generation games.  For RTX you will of course need to invest in a RTX 2070 at the least, as well as a better CPU. 

HEXUS also posted the specs to play Just Cause 4, while lacking ray tracing the requirements to run at 4K are still fairly impressive, drop by to see if you are ready to play or if you should be looking for an upgrade.

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"Back in early September we revealed the PC system requirements from the Battlefield V beta. Now EA/DICE has officially revealed the PC system requirements for Battlefield V - including a set of reqs for DXR (DirectX Raytracing) gaming (or 'RTX On' in Nvidia lingo). A quick look back and forth reveals the minimum specs have been raised a little, as have the recommended specs."

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Source: HEXUS
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Steelseries

Slay your rivals

Steelseries is one of the leading accessory makers in the world. Today, we have a pair of their highest-end gaming mice in for review with the Rival 650 Wireless and Rival 710. The Rival 650 Wireless is the more exciting refresh of the two models, severing the cord while still offering wired-like performance. The Rival 710 has its own unique set of features to excite gamers, including the new TrueMove 3+ sensor, an OLED screen, and haptic feedback. Retailing for $119 and $99 respectively, let’s see what these two mice have to offer. 
 
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Specifications
⦁ Design: Right handed
⦁ Core Construction: Fiber Reinforced Plastic
⦁ Sensor System: Steelseries TrueMove3
⦁ Tracking Accuracy: 1:1
⦁ Sensitivity: 12,000 CPI
⦁ Maximum Speed: 350+ IPS
⦁ Maximum Acceleration: 50G
⦁ Polling Rate: 1000Hz (1ms)
⦁ Buttons: 7 programmable
⦁ Switch: Steelseries, 60-million click rated
⦁ Finish: Black soft touch
⦁ Cable Length: 2m/6.5ft
 
Rival 650
⦁ MSRP: $119.99
⦁ Lift-off Distance: 0.5 - 2.0mm 
⦁ Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wireless/Wired USB
⦁ Battery Life: 24+ hours
⦁ Fast Charge: 15 min = 10+ hours
⦁ Lighting: 8-zone RGB
⦁ Dimensions (mm): 124.8 (H) x 68.5 (W) x 42 (D)
⦁ Adjustable Weight: 121g - 153g
 
Rival 710
⦁ MSRP: $99.99
⦁ Modular Design: Swappable cover plate, sensor, and cable
⦁ Lighting: 2-zone RGB
⦁ Dimensions (mm): 124.8 (H) x 68.5 (W) x 42 (D)
⦁ Short Cable: non-braided, 1m/3.3ft
⦁ Weight: 136g
 
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