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MojoKid writes To say that BioWare has something to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition is an understatement. The first Dragon Age: Origins was a colossal, sprawling, unabashed throwback to classic RPGs. Conversely, Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn't just tell an epic story, it evolves in a way that leaves you, as the Inquisitor, leading an army. Creating that sense of scope required a fundamentally different approach to gameplay. Neither Dragon Origins or Dragon Age 2 had a true "open" world in the sense that Skyrim is an open world. Instead, players clicked on a location and auto-traveled across the map from Point A to Point B. Thus, a village might be contained within a single map, while a major city might have 10-12 different locations to explore. Inquisition keeps the concept of maps as opposed to a completely open world, but it blows those maps up to gargantuan sizes. Instead of simply consisting of a single town or a bit of wilderness, the new maps in Dragon Age: Inquisition are chock-full of areas to explore, side quests, crafting materials to gather, and caves, dungeons, mountain peaks, flowing rivers, and roving bands of monsters. And Inquisition doesn't forget the small stuff — the companion quests, the fleshed-out NPCs, or the rich storytelling — it just seeks to put those events in a much larger context across a broad geographical area. Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the best RPGs to come along in a long time. Never has a game tried to straddle both the large-scale, 10,000-foot master plan and the small-scale, intimate adventure and hit both so well. In terms of graphics performance, you might be surprised to learn that a Radeon R9 290X has better frame delivery than a GeForce GTX 980, despite the similarity in the overall frame rate. The worst frame time for an Radeon R9 290X is just 38.5ms or 26 FPS while a GeForce GTX 980 is at 46.7ms or 21 FPS. AMD takes home an overall win in Dragon Age: Inquisition currently, though Mantle support isn't really ready for prime time. In related news, hypnosec sends word that Chinese hackers claim to have cracked Denuvo DRM, the anti-piracy solution for Dragon Age: Inquisition. A Chinese hacker group has claimed that they have managed to crack Denuvo DRM — the latest anti-piracy measure to protect PC games from piracy. Introduced for the first time in FIFA 15 for PC, the Denuvo anti-piracy solution managed to keep the FIFA 15 uncracked for 2 months and Dragon Age Inquisition for a month. However, Chinese hackers claim that they have managed to rip open the DRM after fifteen days of work. The hackers have uploaded a video to prove their accomplishment. A couple of things need to be pointed out here. First,the Chinese team has merely cracked the DRM and this doesn't necessarily mean that there are working cracks out there. Also, the crack only works with Windows 7 64-bit systems and won't work on Windows 8 or Windows 7 32-bit systems for now. The team is currently working to collect hardware data on processor identification codes.
91 comments | about two weeks ago
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Life is hard when you're a AAA publisher. Last month, Ubisoft blamed weak console hardware for the troubles it had bringing Assassin's Creed Unity up to speed, claiming that it could've hit 100 FPS but for weak console CPUs. Now, in the wake of the game's disastrous launch, the company has changed tactics — suddenly, all of this is AMD's fault. An official company forum post currently reads: "We are aware that the graphics performance of Assassin's Creed Unity on PC may be adversely affected by certain AMD CPU and GPU configurations. This should not affect the vast majority of PC players, but rest assured that AMD and Ubisoft are continuing to work together closely to resolve the issue, and will provide more information as soon as it is available." There are multiple problems with this assessment. First, there's no equivalent Nvidia-centric post on the main forum, and no mention of the fact that if you own an Nvidia card of any vintage but a GTX 970 or 980, you're going to see less-than ideal performance. According to sources, the problem with Assassin's Creed Unity is that the game is issuing tens of thousands of draw calls — up to 50,000 and beyond, in some cases. This is precisely the kind of operation that Mantle and DirectX 12 are designed to handle, but DirectX 11, even 11.2, isn't capable of efficiently processing that many calls at once. It's a fundamental limit of the API and it kicks in harshly in ways that adding more CPU cores simply can't help with.
262 comments | about a month ago
Today at Blizzcon, Blizzard announced its first new franchise in 17 years: Overwatch. It's a first-person shooter, a type of game Blizzard hasn't made before. It seems to be based on team deathmatch combat, with a number of characters/classes that all have different abilities. The beta test will start sometime in 2015 (you can sign-up here at the official site, unless it gets crushed by traffic). Game director Jeffrey Kaplan (a.k.a. Tigole) said one of their big goals is to make it an approachable game in a way shooters often aren't. A cinematic trailer is available, as is a gameplay trailer. Blizzard has set up stations for players at Blizzcon to play Overwatch this weekend, so more details will be coming soon.
183 comments | about a month and a half ago
jones_supa writes Four months ago YouTube promised support for 60 frames per second videos. Back then, the feature was limited to some selected demonstration clips. Now the capability to upload 60fps videos has been opened to everyone. By searching YouTube, a lot of interesting high-FPS material can already be found. For now, some caveats apply though. To watch the clips at 60fps you currently need to use Chrome (further browser support is on the way) and be sure to select 720p60 or 1080p60 from the settings menu of the video player. A fair amount of decoding power is also required, so you will need good hardware. In addition, YouTube says that the content format will be only available on "motion-intense" videos, and the average cat video may not be detected as such. Of course gaming will be the most obvious genre that can take advantage of the higher frame rate.
152 comments | about a month and a half ago
An anonymous reader writes Oculus has repeatedly tapped Epic Games to whip up demos to show off new iterations of Oculus Rift VR headset hardware. The latest demo, built in UE4, is 'Showdown', an action-packed scene of slow motion explosions, bullets, and debris. The challenge? Oculus asked Epic to make it run at 90 FPS to match the 90 Hz refresh rate of the latest Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype. At the Oculus Connect conference, two of the developers from the team that created the demo share the tricks and tools they used to hit that target on a single GPU.
30 comments | about a month and a half ago
SlappingOysters writes: One of the highlighted games at the PAX AUS expo starting on October 31 is Blowfish Studios' Gunscape, a game described as an FPS construction kit. As well as building and sharing FPS maps for multiplayer gaming sessions across eight different modes, the game will also be able to handle up to nine-player splitscreen on a 4K display. This includes co-op map building.
50 comments | about 2 months ago
MojoKid writes When Apple debuted its A8 SoC, it proved to be a modest tweak of the original A7. Despite packing double the transistors and an improved GPU, the heart of the A8 SoC is the same dual-core Apple "Cyclone" processor tweaked to run at higher clock speeds and with stronger total GPU performance. Given this, many expected that the Apple A8X would be cut from similar cloth — a higher clock speed, perhaps, and a larger GPU, but not much more than that. It appears those projections were wrong. The Apple A8X chip is a triple-core variant of the A8, with a higher clock speed (1.5GHz vs. 1.4GHz), a larger L2 cache (2MB, up from 1MB) and 2GB of external DDR3. It also uses an internal metal heatspreader, which the Apple A8 eschews. All of this points to slightly higher power consumption for the core, but also to dramatically increased performance. The new A8X is a significant power house in multiple types of workloads; in fact, its the top-performing mobile device on Geekbench by a wide margin. Gaming benchmarks are equally impressive. The iPad Air 2 nudges out Nvidia's Shield in GFXBench's Manhattan offscreen test, at 32.4fps to 31 fps. Onscreen favors the NV solution thanks to its lower-resolution screen, but the Nvidia device does take 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited by a wide margin, clocking in at 30,970 compared to 21,659.
130 comments | about 2 months ago
MojoKid (1002251) writes A new interview with Assassin's Creed Unity senior producer Vincent Pontbriand has some gamers seeing red and others crying "told you so," after the developer revealed that the game's 900p framerate and 30 fps target on consoles is a result of weak CPU performance rather than GPU compute. "Technically we're CPU-bound," Pontbriand said. "The GPUs are really powerful, obviously the graphics look pretty good, but it's the CPU that has to process the AI, the number of NPCs we have on screen, all these systems running in parallel. We were quickly bottlenecked by that and it was a bit frustrating, because we thought that this was going to be a tenfold improvement over everything AI-wise..." This has been read by many as a rather damning referendum on the capabilities of AMD's APU that's under the hood of Sony's and Microsoft's new consoles. To some extent, that's justified; the Jaguar CPU inside both the Sony PS4 and Xbox One is a modest chip with a relatively low clock speed. Both consoles may offer eight CPU threads on paper, but games can't access all that headroom. One thread is reserved for the OS and a few more cores will be used for processing the 3D pipeline. Between the two, Ubisoft may have only had 4-5 cores for AI and other calculations — scarcely more than last gen, and the Xbox 360 and PS3 CPUs were clocked much faster than the 1.6 / 1.73GHz frequencies of their replacements.
338 comments | about 2 months ago
Destiny is a first-person shooter set in a persistent, online world. It was released on Tuesday by Bungie, the development studio behind Halo, and billed as a blending of console shooters and progression-based MMOs. Reviews for the game are finally trickling out, and most publications say it's merely average. (Though it's worth noting that the social and multiplayer portions of the game are difficult to evaluate in such a short timeframe, and like many MMOs, Destiny will continue to see active development.) Polygon's Arthur Gies reports, "Destiny doesn't look real, but rather, it looks like painted concept art, meticulously assembled and presented to you at all times. Instead, it's the suggestion, through Destiny's concept, its soundtrack and its visual presentation, that Destiny is big. That there's a whole universe out there to explore, a reality worth discovering. There isn't, though."
Jeff Gerstmann at Giant Bomb had a similar reaction: "There are cool little flashes of brilliance in Destiny, but a lot of it feels like a game designed by people who weren't sure what sort of game they were designing. Is it a loot shooter? Sort of, but the loot isn't very good. Is it an MMO? No, but you'll occasionally encounter other players out in the field. A story-driven shooter like the Halo franchise? Sure, if you don't mind digging through the developer's website to find those little bits of lore." The Escapist's Jim Sterling concludes, "Destiny exists in the shadow of multiple games, taking a little from each, and doing nothing truly remarkable with any of it. It's a prime example of how the nebulous concept of 'content' can be used to puff up a game without adding anything to it."
93 comments | about 3 months ago
An anonymous reader writes: John Romero helped bring us Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein, but he's also known for Daikatana — an immensely-hyped followup that flopped hard. After remaining on the periphery of game development since then, Romero announced last month that he's coming back to the FPS genre with a new game in development. Today, he spoke with Develop Magazine about his thoughts on the future of shooters. Many players worry that the genre is stagnant, but Romero disagrees that this has to be the case. "Shooters have so many places to go, but people just copy the same thing over and over because they're afraid to try something new. We've barely scratched the surface."
He also thinks the technology underpinning games matters less than ever. Romero says high poly counts and new shaders are a distraction from what's important: good game design. "Look at Minecraft – it's unbelievable that it was made by one person, right? And it shows there's plenty of room for something that will innovate and change the whole industry. If some brilliant designers take the lessons of Minecraft, take the idea of creation and playing with an environment, and try to work out what the next version of that is, and then if other people start refining that, it'll take Minecraft to an area where it will become a real genre, the creation game genre."
266 comments | about 3 months ago
An anonymous reader writes: As id Software aims for a larger, more mainstream audience for its free-to-play shooter Quake Live (based on 1998's Quake III Arena) on Steam, big changes are afoot. A new update was pushed out last week which adds some new, more beginner-friendly features to the game. These include weapon loadouts, which grant players a weapon of their choice when they spawn, timer icons, which indicate when the all-important powerup items will spawn, and an automatic bunny-hop to gain extra speed. The changes have been met with hostility from longtime players who prefer the "purist" rules of old and the duel format. As the writer points out, however, if the update helps attract more elite players to the gamer, it could breathe new life into a very old game.
170 comments | about 4 months ago
An anonymous reader writes Icelandic studio CCP is better known for EVE Online, but its first foray into virtual reality with space shooter Valkyrie has caused a stir, and is widely seen as a flagship game for the Oculus Rift headset. In a new interview, Valkyrie executive producer Owen O'Brien explains what advantages the game will have when played with a headset — and gives his view on why a dogfighter is better suited to VR than a first person shooter: "People have hacked it together, but it doesn't really work," he says. "The basic problem is Simulator Sickness. In Valkyrie or any cockpit game or driving game, what you're doing in the real world, assuming you're sitting down, more or less mimics what your brain is telling you you're doing in the game. So you don't get that disconnect, and it's that disconnect that causes sickness. So, the problem with first-person shooters is that you're running or crouching or jumping in the game but not in the real world, and because it's so realistic it can make some people (not everybody) feel nauseated if they start doing it for extended periods of time."
154 comments | about 5 months ago
jones_supa (887896) writes Google's YouTube announced that it's adding two new features that will especially benefit people who enjoy watching gameplays and those who stream games live. Most excitingly, the site is rolling out 60 frames per second video playback. The company has a handful of videos from Battlefield Hardline and Titanfall (embedded in the article) that show what 60fps playback at high definition on YouTube looks like. As the another new feature, YouTube is also offering direct funding support for content creators — name-checking sites like Kickstarter and Patreon — and is allowing fans to 'contribute money to support your channel at any time, for any reason.' Adding the icing on the cake, the website has also a number of other random little features planned, including viewer-contributed subtitles, a library of sound effects and new interactive info cards.
157 comments | about 6 months ago
An anonymous reader writes: Ben Kuchera at Polygon recommends against buying the upcoming Battlefield Hardline first-person shooter. Not because it's bad — in fact, he doesn't really offer an opinion on how good the game is — but because it's time to stop incentivizing poor behavior from Electronic Arts and its Digital Illusions CE development studio. After EA acquired DICE, Battlefield game launches accelerated, and launch issues with each game were hand-waved away as unpredictable. The studio's principled stand against paid DLC evaporated in order to feed the ever-hungry beast of shareholder value. Kuchera says, "EA continues this because the Battlefield franchise is profitable; we as players have taught them that we'll buy anyway, and continue to support games that don't work at launch." He suggests avoiding pre-orders, and only buying the game if and when it's in a playable (and fun) state. "Every dollar that's spent on Hardline before the game comes out is a vote for things continuing down an anti-consumer path. If the game is a hit before its launch, that sends a message that we're OK with business as usual, and business as usual has become pretty terrible."
208 comments | about 6 months ago
MojoKid writes: "NVIDIA recently announced that it would offer a free 24-hour test drive of NVIDIA GRID to anyone who wanted to see what the technology could do. It turns out to be pretty impressive. NVIDIA's GRID is a virtual GPU technology that allows for hardware acceleration in a virtual environment. It's designed to run in concert with products from Citrix, VMWare, and Microsoft, and to address some of the weaknesses of these applications. The problem with many conventional Virtual Desktop Interfaces (VDIs) is that they're often either too slow for advanced graphics work or unable to handle 3D workloads at all. Now, with GRID, NVIDIA is claiming that it can offer a vGPU passthrough solution that allows remote users to access a virtualized desktop environment built around a high-end CPU and GPU. The test systems the company is using for these 24-hour test drives all use a GRID K520. That's essentially two GK104 GPUs on a single PCB with 8GB of RAM. The TD program is still in beta, the deployment range is considerable, and the test drives themselves are configured for a 1366x768 display at 30 FPS and a maximum available bandwidth cap of 10Mbit."
29 comments | about 7 months ago
Back in 1992, Wolfenstein 3D helped kick off the fledgling FPS genre. Today, the saga continues with Wolfenstein: the New Order. It's set in an alternate-history world where the Nazis won WW2, with hero B.J. Blazkowicz setting out to join resistance fighters. Unusually for a modern FPS, the game has no multiplayer element — it's single-player only. Early reviews for the game are generally positive. Polygon's says, "First, stealth is a valid option for extended portions of the game, with silent melee takedowns and a brutally effective suppressed pistol. There's also a form of progression in Wolfenstein: The New Order's perk system. Performing certain actions in combat unlocks new abilities and upgrades over time, which can make a significant difference in the way you can tackle firefights. You can also find weapon upgrades that further escalate the raw, over-the-top violence on display. This combination of old ideas and new hooks seems mismatched, but I was taken aback by how well it all worked together."
Eurogamer had some criticism: "Less impressive are the plot and the characters, which often feel like they exist only to amplify the opportunities for violence and sensationalism. ... I wouldn't say it's offensive, but Wolfenstein: The New Order isn't a very tactful game, even though it's often trying to be. ... This is a game that does everything it needs to to earn an 18 certificate but rarely manages to achieve a sense of either gravity or maturity." The game is out for the PS3/4, Xbox 360/One, and Windows. It's build on the id Tech 5 engine, and that's causing some graphics issues on the PC, much like RAGE did when it launched in 2011. The game's massive size (~50GB) is causing problems for PS4 owners as well.
167 comments | about 7 months ago
Today game studio 343 Industries announced Halo 5: Guardians for the Xbox One. It's scheduled for launch in fall, 2015, and they say the game is bigger in terms of scope and content than Halo 4. They're rewriting the engine underlying the game, and their goal is to have it run at 60 fps on the Xbox One. 343i also announced plans to take Halo beyond games. They're collaborating with Steven Spielberg to create a standalone Halo television series.
8 comments | about 7 months ago
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this week, Respawn Entertainment launched Titanfall, a futuristic first-person shooter with mechs that has been held up as the poster child for the Xbox One. The Digital Foundry blog took the opportunity to compare how the game plays on the Xbox One to its performance on a well-appointed PC. Naturally, the PC version outperforms, but the compromises are bigger than you'd expect for a newly-released console. For example, it runs at an odd resolution (1408x792), the frame rate 'clearly isn't anywhere near locked' to 60fps, and there's some unavoidable screen tear. Reviews for the game are generally positive — RPS says most of the individual systems in Titanfall are fun, but the forced multiplayer interaction is offputting. Giant Bomb puts it more succinctly: 'Titanfall is a very specific game built for a specific type of person.' Side note: the game has a 48GB install footprint on PCs, owing largely to 35GB of uncompressed audio."
377 comments | about 9 months ago
cold fjord writes "Gamespot reports, 'Remember Doom 4? It's not dead! And it's now just called Doom, presumably. And there's going to be a beta. Anyone who preorders a copy of upcoming Wolfenstein: The New Order will gain access to the Doom beta. But Bethesda isn't saying when that beta might be. Or what platforms it will be on. It is saying, however, that you'll need to be over 18 to participate. Sounds like it might be a bit gory, then. More information can be found on Bethesda's Doom beta site.' Forbes adds that Wolfenstein: The New Order is set for release on May 20th."
108 comments | about 9 months ago
An anonymous reader writes "Gamer rage is a common phenomenon among people who play online, a product of the intense frustration created by stressful in-game situations and an inability to cope. It can have significant impact on the gamer's ability to play well, and to get along with others. To combat this rage and train gamers to deal with the stress, visual designer Samuel Matson of Seattle has created the Immersion project, integrating a pulse sensor tied to a Tiny Arduino with Bluetooth into a headset to monitor the gamer's heart rate. The heart rate data is sent in real time to the gaming PC, where it is displayed in the game. Matson even created a simple FPS using the Unity game engine that varies the AI and gaming difficulty based on the user's heart rate. Using this system, the gamer is able to train themselves to recognize the stress and learn to control it, in order to make them a much more agreeable and competitive player."
59 comments | about a year ago