What do you do for fun, now that you've executed Order 66?

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2019 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: Jedi: Fallen Order, Star Wars, gaming

Second sister inquisitors and purge troopers, oh my!  We now know that the new single player Star Wars game, Jedi: Fallen Order is currently scheduled to arrive on November 15th and there is a trailer, which you can check out at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.  You will play as Cal Kestis, a Padawan that survived the purge and his faithful droid BD-1 and the trailer does feature lightsabers and Force enhanced combat, though much seems to be pre-rendered scenes.  We don't know much more than that, but keep your eyes peeled as there will be more information slowly coming out over the coming months. 

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"Here’s a release trailer introducing the Padawan-in-hiding, Cal Kestis. He’s not very good flying under the radar, so luckily he’ll have Force powers and lightsaber combat to help him out of sticky situations."

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Sony Shares Next-Gen PlayStation Details: AMD Zen2 and Navi, Ultra-Fast SSD

Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2019 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: Zen2, sony, PS5, playstation 5, navi, gaming, console, amd

Sony's lead system architect Mark Cerny has shared some high-level details of the next PlayStation (only referred to as "the next-gen console" in the interview) with Wired.com, confirming that it will indeed make use of the upcoming 7nm Zen2 CPU architecture from AMD, as well as Radeon Navi GPU cores in its custom chip.

Quoting from the Wired article:

"The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments."

As if to alleviate any doubt as to the AMD architecture involved, company CEO Lisa Su took to Twitter to promote AMD's partnership with Sony, and the Wired article:

And this upcoming PlayStation won't be just offer a faster SoC with the latest generation of AMD CPU and GPU architecture, as SSD storage will be standard - and not just any SSD, apparently (quoting the Wired article again):

"At the moment, Sony won’t cop to exact details about the SSD—who makes it, whether it utilizes the new PCIe 4.0 standard—but Cerny claims that it has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs. That’s not all. “The raw read speed is important,“ Cerny says, “but so are the details of the I/O [input-output] mechanisms and the software stack that we put on top of them. I got a PlayStation 4 Pro and then I put in a SSD that cost as much as the PlayStation 4 Pro—it might be one-third faster." As opposed to 19 times faster for the next-gen console, judging from the fast-travel demo."

Check out the full article at Wired.com for more of the interview with Cerny on the next Sony console.

Source: Wired

ASUS Republic of Gamers Launches the ROG Strix Helios Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 13, 2019 - 10:45 AM |
Tagged: ROG Strix, RGB, mid-tower, Helios, gaming, enclosure, chassis, case, ASUS ROG, asus, aluminum

The Republic of Gamers division of ASUS has launched the ROG Strix Helios, a deluxe EATX enclosure which is the "first ROG mid-tower gaming chassis made for showcase builds with tempered-glass panels, aluminum frame, Aura Sync lighting and an array of cooling options", according to ASUS. This is certainly a striking design, with a sharply angular look from an exterior that combines aluminum and tinted glass.

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"Strix Helios is designed for those who want to create a gaming rig that will stand out in any crowd. It boasts three 4mm-thick, smoked, tempered-glass panels fitted in a refined brushed-aluminum frame, plus a stunning display of Aura RGB lighting integrated into the front panel. The LEDs are individually addressable, and can be customized with a palette of millions of colors and a range of preset effects – all easily synced with the vast Aura Sync hardware ecosystem to augment the build."

Key points include (via ASUS):

  • Three 4mm, smoked tempered-glass panels, refined brushed-aluminum frame and integrated front panel Aura Sync RGB lighting
  • Innovative multifunction cover with integrated GPU braces, two-piece PSU shroud and translucent rear cover offer effortless cable management
  • Supports up to EATX motherboards, with ample space for 420mm front / 360mm top radiators and water-cooling pump and reservoir

While we have seen an ASUS ROG case in the past - with custom enclosures part of the ROG Strix GL12 and ROG Huracan G21 systems - this is a standalone product targeting the high-end enthusiast segment.

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"Strix Helios has been thoughtfully designed with flexible covers and a comprehensive cable-management system to keep the interior tidy, clean and sharp. An adjustable multifunction cover with GPU braces cleverly hides cabling, provides sturdy support to graphics cards and allows for an SSD or ROG Aura Terminal to be mounted for display. There’s also a two-piece PSU shroud with a front cut-out to enable compatibility with ROG Thor or other OLED-integrated power supplies. In the back, a translucent cable cover conceals unsightly wiring while allowing illuminations from RGB devices to shine through."

ASUS ROG also emphasizes the convenience features of the new enclosure, which offers unique tool-free side panels that have a hinge on the bottom, and a full compliment of dust filters.

"Building with and maintaining a Strix Helios is also made simple. Release buttons at the rear of the chassis allows builders to swing down the side panels for instant, tool-less access to the interior. The panels are bottom-hinged, and will remain supported at an angle until they’re ready to be completely detached. The case also comes with fan and radiator mounts, and removable filters on the top, front and underside for all-round dust protection."

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So how much will the new ASUS ROG Strix Helios enclosure set you back? It has an MSRP of $279.99 and is available now at Newegg, "and soon available at other leading retailers" according to ASUS.

Source: ASUS ROG

Totally absurd, beautifully silly

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2019 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: TABS, gaming

If you haven't seen some of the tweets and animations from Totally Accurate Battle Simulator you are missing out.  It is a game in the same vein as Goat Simulator in that is meant to be a ridiculous heap of fun, not something you try to win or even one up other players.  Instead you sit and watch a group of Vikings armed with a ship fight it out against archers armed with balloon arrows which will cause their targets to float up off of the ground before popping and dropping them. 

You can grab the early access version on Steam in all it's googly eyed greatness right now for around $15, it may go up in price once released.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN did and posted their experience for your amusement.

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"Can a single minotaur destroy a dozen archers who use snakes instead of arrows? It’s Total War meets the childhood-slash-stoner argument of ‘Who Would Win In a Fight Between’."

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

A Sea Monster Refreshed

We can thank PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It was in a conversation after a product briefing when a manager at one of the world’s biggest accessory companies revealed the reason for the gaming headset explosion: battle royales. As gamers pushed for every advantage they could find, the value of great positional audio crystalized in the eyes of the mainstream and demand went through the roof.

A quick Amazon search for “gaming headset” today will turn up not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of results. It can be tough for gamers to cut to the chaff and find something that will actually deliver the high quality audio they’re looking for while also staying inside their budget.

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Today, we’re looking at the latest Razer Kraken gaming headset. It’s part of Razer’s latest line of budget-oriented peripherals. Coming in at $79.99, it offers stereo sound, plug-and-play setup, and Razer’s iconic green styling. In such a crowded market, does it do enough to stand out? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Specifications

Headphones

  • Frequency response: 12 Hz – 28 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω @ 1 kHz
  • Sensitivity (@1 kHz): 109 dB
  • Input power: 30 mW (Max)
  • Drivers: 50 mm, with Neodymium magnets
  • Inner ear cup diameter: 54 mm x 65 mm
  • Connection type: Analog 3.5 mm
  • Cable length: 1.3 m / 4.27 ft.
  • Approx. weight: 322 g / 0.71 lbs
  • Oval ear cushions: Designed for full-ear coverage with cooling gel, perfect for long-wearing comfort

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: > 60 dB
  • Sensitivity (@1 kHz): -45 ± 3 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Unidirectional ECM boom

Current Price: $79.99, Amazon.com

Continue reading our review of the Razer Kraken (2019) Wired Gaming Headset

The Computer is Your Friend. Not trusting The Computer is treason. Treason is punishable by death.

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: paranioa, gaming, the computer is your friend, happiness is mandatory

Ah, the sweet memories of West End Games' Paranoia RPG, in which you, a perfectly normal non-mutant troubleshooter who definitely wasn't a member of a secret society, did your best to show your love of the computer by exposing the traitorous behaviour of your other party members.  It also featured one of the best weapons ever included in an RPG, the thermonuclear hand grenade, with a maximum thrown range of 20 metres and blast radius of about 2 miles.

This game is coming soon to your PC thanks to Black Shamrock and Cyanide who are releasing Paranoia: Happiness Is Mandatory later this year.  Some of the fun of exposing your fellow Troubleshooters as the unhappy mutant terrorists that they are will be missing as you control all four members of your party, even so this lack is unlikely to extend the lifespan of your characters by more than a few seconds. 

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN posted the trailer for your viewing enjoyment.

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"Contrary to Disney propaganda, Alpha Complex is the happiest place on Earth. You now this because the Computer says so, and disagreeing with Friend Computer is treason."

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Pre-order to get a severed arm skin ... tempting Bloodlines 2, tempting

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2019 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: vampire the masquerade, paradox, gaming, bloodlines 2

When last we visited The World of Darkness, it was a list of mods for the original Bloodlines game which was released back in November of 2004.  You can try but an antediluvian game such as this is still going to look rather graphically dated, what we really needed is a new game.  That is exactly what we are getting from Paradox Interactive, with the announcement of Bloodlines 2 as well as the release of a trailer.  The development team includes Brian Mitsoda, who was a designer and writer for the original. 

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN got a look at the demo, and like anyone whom spent some of their younger years playing in White Wolf's World of Darkness should be, they are rather stoked.

"More than that, I have seen, hands off, the first half an hour of it and have spoken to senior writer Cara Ellison (late of this RPS parish), as well as Hardsuit Labs co-founder Andy Kipling, and narrative lead Brian Mitsoda. "

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Hop on a Silt Strider and quick travel to Bethesda, Morrowind is free for the next few hours

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2019 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: morrowind, elder scrolls, bethesda, gaming, kick ass

If you haven't grabbed Morrowind already via a Steam sale or just being old enough you bought it and still have the disks lying around then you should head over to Bethesda.NET.  The reason is that today is the 25th Anniversary of the Elder Scrolls, with the release of The Elder Scrolls: Arena, a celebration which Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have been looking forward to with glee

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You can also grab the Season of the Dragon expansion for Elder Scrolls Online if you delved into that set of Dwemer ruins; if you haven't you can try out the base game for free from March 28the to April 3rd.  Card enthusiasts can grab three packs and a special card for The Elder Scrolls Legends or if you are playing Skyrim Special Edition you can treat yourself, or Lydia if you somehow kept her alive, with the Nordic Jewelry Creation set.

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You might ask yourself,  why would I want to get Morrowind, especially with the required creation of a Bethesda account to get it?  That is easily answered, as you need the Morrowind assets to get hold of Skywind when it finally arrives.  This ambitious project is recreating Morrowind using the engine from Skyrim, which while not a huge change does look a lot better and gives you a shot at bringing your own favourite mods into the remake.

Here is a comparison of what the changes have done, for below you will find the original  trailer which amazed us back in 2009... dialogue wheel not included.

 

A USB-C Headset Powered by an ESS Quad-DAC

The ROG Delta is a gaming headset from the Republic of Gamers division of ASUS that offers a Hi-Res audio certification thanks to its ASUS Essence 50 mm drivers with a 20-40,000 Hz frequency response and implementation of a high-end ESS Quad-DAC, and offers custom lighting effects via the circular RGB lighting on each ear cup. A wired headset exclusively, it connects via USB-C or standard USB 2.0 for use with PCs as well as compatible consoles and smartphones.

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“ROG Delta is the world's first gaming headset with the industry-leading, hi-fi-grade ESS 9218 quad DAC, which delivers impeccably clear and detailed sound to give serious gamers the edge they need to win. ROG Delta features a USB-C connector and comes with a USB-C to USB 2.0 adapter to let you game on your PC, console and mobile device without changing headsets. A one-of-a-kind, circular rainbow RGB lighting effect provides a stylish look to set you apart on the battlefield.”

Features from ASUS ROG:

  • Industry-leading hi-res ESS quad-DAC for impeccably detailed and true-to-life audio
  • USB-C connector for true multiplatform support, including PCs, Mac, mobile phones and PS4
  • Customizable, multi-color circular RGB lighting lets you shine in style
  • Exclusive ASUS Essence drivers, airtight chamber and audio signal diversion technology for immersive audio experiences
  • Upgraded comfort with ergonomic D-shape and ROG Hybrid ear cushions

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Why a quad-DAC design? When ESS released the ES9218 they pointed to these “internally connected parallel quad DACs” as the key to delivering its rated 124dB DNR and -112dB THD+N, in addition to signal-to-noise of up to 130 dB, with ASUS stating that their implementation with the ROG Delta makes the headset “capable of achieving an unprecedented signal-to-noise ratio of 127 dB, a level untouchable by single-DAC gaming headsets.”

Another aspect of the ultra-low noise of the ROG Delta is a design feature that ASUS calls “Hyper-Grounding”, which is an ROG-exclusive technology with an intelligent multi-layer PCB design that prevents interference and shields the audio signals from any RGB lighting-related PWM switching noise.

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So how does this very impressively-specified hi-fi gaming headset sound? I’ll offer my impressions after we check out the design and talk about fit and comfort.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Delta gaming headset

This is your father's BattleTech!

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2019 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: roguetech, mod, gaming, battletech

Have you already collected every 'mech available in the game and bashed your way through the Flashpoint expansion and are looking for something new in your BattleTech gaming time?  How does gunning down a CattleMaster, Uriel or Phoenix Hawk with an LBX Autocannon sound?  RogueTech is a huge mod for Harebrained Schemes' BattleTech which adds over 1000 'mechs, just about every weapon added into the tabletop game over the years, a fair number of new crunchies and even those annoying Power Armour nitwits.  

The changes go deeper than that, with total overhauls to movement, gunnery and how damage is inflicted, by yourself as well as others.  Expect your first missions to go poorly as you stumble your way through the complete revamp of the game, as you can read about over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN; installation instructions included.

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"It brings the combat a little more in line with the full, expanded tabletop rule-set (which no sane person ever used, thanks to requiring dozens of skill checks and countless dice rolled a turn), but through the magic of computers, we can experience all the thrills of full simulation-level ‘Mech combat without putting you to sleep or frying your brain."

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