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Is The Gaming Industry Going Through A Nostalgic Summer

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

I had been repeating that this summer for games offers little outside of some decent Nintendo titles.

“You keep forgetting Crash Bandicoot,” said my retail friend.

I laughed. “Sure, it’s a nice piece of nostalgia,” I reasoned. “But it’s hardly going to set the market alight.”

“Pre-orders are brilliant,” came the reply. “We’ve upped our order twice. I think it’s going to be the biggest game of the summer.”

I shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve written extensively about the marketplace’s current love of nostalgia, and that trend only seems to be accelerating. In the last two weeks alone, we’ve seen the news that original Xbox games are coming to Xbox One, the reveal of the Sega Forever range of classics for smartphones, and now the best-selling SNES Mini.

The trend isn’t new. Classic re-releases have been standard for over a decade. However, the recent surge in nostalgia can be traced back to the onset of Kickstarter and the indie movement, which brought with it a deluge of fan-pleasing sequels, remakes and spiritual successors.

The trend reached the mainstream around the 20th anniversary of PlayStation, with Sony tapping into that latent love for all things PS1. And today, nostalgia is a significant trend in video games. Look at this year’s line-up: Sonic Mania, Yooka-Laylee, Super Bomberman, Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot, Thimbleweed Park, Micro Machines, Metroid II… even Tekken, Mario Kart and Resident Evil have found their way to the top of the charts (even if they never really went away).

It’s not just software, either. Accessories firms, hardware manufacturers and merchandise makers are all getting in on the act. I even picked up a magazine last week (on the shelves of my local newsagent) dedicated to the N64. This is the industry we live in.

Nostalgia has manifested itself in several different ways. We’ve seen re-releases (Xbox Originals, Sega Forever, NES Mini, Rare Replay), we’ve seen full remakes and updates (Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2), plus sequels and continuations (Elite Dangerous, Shenmue 3). We’ve seen a plethora of spiritual successors (Yooka-Laylee, Bloodstained, Thimbleweed Park) and we have also witnessed old-fashioned game elements re-introduced into modern titles (split-screen multiplayer, for instance).

It’s not just games. We’ve recently seen nostalgia-tinged TV such as Twin Peaks, Stranger Things and X-Files, plus the cinematic return of Ghostbusters, Baywatch, and Jurassic Park. Yet this trend isn’t so new for film and TV (or music, either). And that’s because they’re older mediums. The demand for nostalgia tends to come from those aged 30 or above, and with video games being such a young industry, we’re only starting to see the manifestation of this now.

It’s perhaps also more significant in games because of just how different the experiences of the 1990s are to what we have today. In terms of tech, visuals, genre and connectivity, video games have moved so quickly. We simply don’t get many games like Crash Bandicoot or Wipeout anymore, which makes the demand for them even more acute.

Can it last forever? Or is this destined to be another gaming gold mine that gets picked to death? It’s difficult to say. Nostalgia isn’t like MMOs or futuristic shooters. This isn’t a genre, but an emotion ‘sentimental longing for a period in the past’. In theory, the clamour for old games and genres should get broader. In ten years’ time, those brought up on a diet of DS and Wii will be approaching 30. They’ll be reminiscing of the times they spent on Wii Sports and Viva Pinata. And the nostalgia wheel turns again.

Nevertheless, what we’re starting to see now is changing expectations of consumers. No longer are they pandering to every Kickstarter that promises to resurrect a long lost concept (sorry Project Rap Rabbit), and they will not tolerate a nostalgic releases that fails to deliver (sorry Mighty No.9). Lazy ports or half-hearted efforts will not win you any fans. If you want good examples of how to do it, look at Nintendo with the inclusion of Star Fox 2 in the SNES Mini, or the documentaries hidden in Rare Replay, or the special PS1-style case that Sony created for the new Wipeout. This is the games industry and the same rules apply. You cannot get away with rubbish.

Of course, big companies can’t live off nostalgia alone. Nintendo can’t build a business from just re-selling us Super Mario World (even if it seems to try sometimes). These moments of retro glory can often be fleeting. Will a new lick of paint on Crash Bandicoot revitalise the brand and deliver it back to the mainstream? It’s not impossible, but unlikely. More often than not you see a brief surge in gamers reminiscing over a time gone by, and then the IP drifts back to the era from which it was plucked. Musical comebacks are often short-lived and movie remakes are, typically, poorly received.

Yet there are exceptions every now and then. Major UK 1990s pop group Take That made its big comeback in 2006, but it did so with a modernised sound that has seen the band return to the top of the charts and stay there for over 10 years. In 2005, the BBC’s Doctor Who returned after 16 years. It was faster paced and far more current, and it remains a permanent fixture on Saturday night TV.

And last year’s Pokémon Go, which stayed true to the IP whilst delivering it in a new way and through new technology, has elevated that brand to the heights not seen since the late 1990s.

“Nostalgia is a seductive liar, that insists things were far better than they seemed. To be successful with it in the commercial world, you need to keep that illusion alive”

They say nostalgia is a seductive liar, that insists things were far better than they seemed. To be truly successful with it in the commercial world, you need to keep that illusion alive. You must create something that looks and sounds like it comes from a different era, but actually plays well in the modern age. And that’s true whether it’s Austin Powers or Shovel Knight.

Indeed, nostalgia isn’t always about the past, it can help take us into the future. One unique example comes in what Nintendo did with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The company altered the traditional Zelda formula with that 3DS game, and made it more palatable to fans by dressing it in the same world as 1991’s A Link To The Past. It worked, and set the company up to take an even larger risk with its seminal Breath of the Wild.

If the SNES Mini taught us anything, the clamour for all things 1990s remains strong. For developers and publishers who were smart enough to keep hold of their code from that era, they may well reap the benefits.

However, there’s a broader market opportunity here than just cashing in on past success. There’s a chance to resurrect IP, bring back lost genres, and even rejuvenate long-standing brands in need of innovation.

It’s a chance for the games industry to take stock and look to its past before embarking on its future.

Courtesy-GI.biz

GTA V Still Riding High In England

July 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

GTA V unit sales dropped 10% this week (in terms of boxed sales), and yet the game still returned to the top of the UKIE/GfK All-Formats Charts.

It was a very poor week for games retail in general, with just 171,389 boxed games sold across the whole market. The lack of new releases is the main reason for the drop, and that’s a situation that won’t be getting any better during the course of the summer.

The only new games in the Top 40 are 505 Games’ Dead by Daylight at No.16, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood at No.23 and Ever Oasis at No.28.

Although the data shows a difficult week, there were a few positives. Dirt 4, after a disappointing first week, is showing some resilience. The Codemasters game is now at No.2, although sales did drop 49% week-on-week.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is back at No.5 with a 45% jump in sales, driven by an increase in available Switch stock, while The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a 68% sales jump (but still sits outside of the Top Ten at No.12).

And Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands returns to the Top Ten after a 31% sales boost, driven by price activity at games retail.

Elsewhere, Horizon: Zero Dawn, which was No.1 last week, has dropped down to No.8. The game had been on sale for several weeks, but now it has returned to a premium price point. Tekken 7 has dropped to No.10, while Wipeout Omega Collection, which was No.1 just three weeks ago, has now fallen to No.14.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is e3 Leaving Los Angeles

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The organizers behind the Electronic Entertainment Expo are considering taking the show away from its traditional home at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

During a roundtable interview, ESA CEO Mike Gallagher said his organisation might explore other possible locations if the center fails to upgrade and modernise its facilities, GameSpot reports.

The exec specifically hopes to see increased floor space and a smoother route between the West and South halls, currently separated by a length corridor. If these expectations are not met, E3 may be hosted in another venue – and, by extension, away from Los Angeles.

E3 2018 is already booked in for June 12th to 14th next year, once again at the convention center. The venue will also host E3 2019, but no decision has been made for 2020.

The ESA has previously attempted to hold E3 at an alternative location. In 2007, the show became the E3 Media and Business Summit and was around Santa Monica. This was part of an attempt to make it more industry focused, capping the attendance to shut out bloggers and non-industry professionals, as well as bringing the costs down for exhibitors.

However, the experiment proved to be unpopular and E3 has been held in the LA Convention Center ever since 2008.

In stark contrast to its 2007 decision, E3 officially opened its doors to the public for the first time this year, selling 15,000 tickets to consumers who wanted to attend the show.

GameSpot reports the ESA has now revealed attendance for this year’s event came in at 68,400 – boosted in part by those public tickets. The 30% increase over last year’s 50,300 brings attendance figures close to the 70,000 peak seen in 1998 and 2005, according to IGN.

The ESA has yet to confirm whether it will sell public tickets for E3 2018. Gallagher said his team is gathering feedback from attendees – both industry and consumer – before confirming how the show will be structured next year.

Courtesy-GI.bz

Intel Kaby Lake With AMD GPU Expected Later This Year

June 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A few days ago, Videocards had an update on the engineering samples that got leaked. 

One thing caught our attention, the Intel(R) HD Graphics Gen9 with 694C:C0 graphics. It took us some time to ask round, and it turns out that a Kaby Lake with AMD graphics combination might be the right lead.

We already told you that Apple is likely to be the customer who nicely asked Intel to make such a Frankenstein chip. What Apple wants, Apple gets is the mantra and it is very hard to say no to hundreds of thousand sales guaranteed by the Apple logo used on any of their products.

It is clear that the platform has two separate GPUs, the Intel HD Graphics Gen9 and 694C:C0. The latter is probably one of AMD’s GPUs and it’s hard to tell if this is all integrated solution sitting in the same package, or rather two separate chip platform. We would go for the all integrated solution, as it makes more sense and saves a lot of space and BOM cost.

Sysoft goes one step forward calling the platform “Intel Kaby lake Client platform Kaby lake Client System (Intel Kaby lake DDR4 RVP17)”. It is listed as a desktop platform too.

GFX data base is very certain that 694C:C0 is an AMD device. This is not by any means a confirmation but it is the first time that we saw an Intel Kaby Lake CPU matched with both Intel Gen 9 graphics and AMD GPU. If you are an investor and looking for ways to make money, bear in mind that we are a news service and not any kind of advisory board. You do it at your own risk and leave us out of it.  

We would expect this Kaby Lake with 694C:C0 solution to ship later this year. 

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple Behind The Intel and AMD CPU-GPU Teaming

June 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

It has already mentioned the existence of an Intel based CPU with Radeon graphics. Our sources are very confident that Apple is the company behind this order.

We called this deal licensing that led to many false conclusions but if Intel wants to use Radeon graphics it implies that there is some deal/license/cross license in place.

Apple doesn’t want to use Nvidia graphics in any of its products and it currently only uses Radeon based GPUs discrete form for both its desktops and notebooks. It turns out that a whole integrated solution with Intel CPU and Radeon graphics is something that Apple was very interested in.

The Mac Book Pro 13-inch currently uses Intel Iris Graphics 540 or Intel Iris Graphics 550 graphics and this is not really enough for high-end users. A Radeon core in the same thermal envelope will simply offer more.

The 15-inch Mac Book Pro comes with a Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and Intel HD Graphics 530 or Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching to Intel HD Graphics 530.

An industry veteran, once the CEO of ATI Technology, explained to me back in 2007 why AMD needed to integrate the Radeon core on its CPU. If you have been with us for a while, this became known as Fusion. It all comes down to the fact that an integrated solution is cheaper, and the thermal envelope goes down.

A notebook with an Intel CPU and Radeon graphics will simply be more powerful and performance-per-watt efficient than a notebook with discrete CPU and discrete Radeon GPU. More importantly, the price of the APU – an all integrated CPU with a GPU – will be much lower than for two separate chips.

It also enables a smaller and cheaper motherboard. Apple is likely to be the first company to announce an Intel based CPU powered with Radeon graphics and Intel should pitch this project to other manufacturers too. We have heard that many people call this Kaby Lake – G, something that Bench Life mentioned in April this year.

Courtesy-Fud

Are PC Makers Rushing To Make Windows On ARM Devices

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

HP, Asus and Lenovo will be the first hardware makers to churn out ARM-based Windows 10 PCs.

Qualcomm says the three vendors will be making PCs with its Snapdragon 835 SoC (system-on-chip) and its X16 LTE chipset for wireless broadband connectivity.

The chipmaker said that all the models will be fanless and will offer all-day battery life.

Qualcomm has previously said it expects the ARM PCs to hit the market by the end of the year, and getting HP, Asus and Lenovo on board early means that there will be products in the shops fairly soon.

Qualcomm executive VP Cristiano Amon said that consumers experience mobility in nearly every aspect of their lives and they’ve come to expect more from their PCs than legacy computing models are able to provide.

“With compatibility for the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will enable Windows 10 hardware makers to develop next-generation modern device form factors and deliver unparalleled anything, anywhere creation experiences with up-to-Gigabit Class LTE connectivity.”

Each of the devices is set to run custom versions of Windows 10 that Microsoft has been developing for ARM chips.

The vendors are supposed to be interested because the ARM PCs will offer a longer battery life and require less cooling than traditional x86 processors.

This will mean that they will be thinner and with smaller form factors and do what most users want, rather than providing extra computing power which can’t be used.

Asus CEO Jerry Shen said the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will mean that users now can take advantage of new always on, always connected experiences available to them.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD Out Of The Woods?

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD reported an 18.3 percent jump in quarterly revenue but the chipmaker’s second-quarter gross margins forecast raised some concerns.

AMD said it expected adjusted gross margins to be about 33 percent in the current quarter, compared with 34 percent in the first quarter.

But the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street were not impressed. Chipmakers who want to be profitable, trade on gross margin and there is concern that AMD’s is too low to make much dosh.

AMD launched a few of its Ryzen range of desktop processors in the first quarter and plans to unveil its Naples chips targeting the server market in the second quarter.

The Ryzen chips helped boost the company’s revenue in the first quarter ended April 1.

Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su said that “all of the feedback that we’ve gotten so far from both our customers and from end-users has been very strong.”

However, total revenue was weighed down by its business that supplies graphics cards used in gaming consoles such as the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

Revenue in the business rose 5 percent to $391 million, but came in below analysts’ average estimate of $442.1 million, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

AMD also forecast low double-digit percentage revenue growth for the full year.

Revenue rose to $984 million in the first quarter, from $832 million a year earlier. AMD’s net loss narrowed to $73 million from $109 million.

Courtesy-Fud

nVidia Shows Off GameWorks Technology

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Nvidia has revealed a few more details about its GameWorks Flow technology, which should provide fluid effects for realistic combustible fluid, fire and smoke simulation.

Following in the footsteps of Nvidia Turbulence and FlameWorks technologies, the new GameWorks Flow library provides both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 implementations and can run on any recent DirectX 11- and DirectX 12-capable GPUs.

The GameWorks Flow uses an adaptive sparse voxel grid which should provide both maximum flexibility as well as the least memory impact. It is also optimized for use of Volume Tiled Resources, which allows volume textures to be used as three-dimensional tiled resources.

Nvidia has released a neat simulation video of the GameWorks Flow implementation in DirectX 12, which shows the fire and the combustion process with an adaptive sparse voxel grid used in both the fire and to compute self-shadowing on the smoke, increasing both the realism and visual effects.

Hopefully, game developers will manage to implement Nvidia’s GameWorks Flow without a significant impact on the performance.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Motherboard Shipments Decreasing?

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

With the global decline in PC shipments finally showing signs of slowing, motherboard vendors are expecting to see a correlated slowing of overall volume in 2017, with some estimates hovering near 10 percent from last year.

Last month, a market research report from Global Information Inc showed the global volume of motherboard shipments in Q4 2016 dropping 5.2 percent from Q3 and 13.6 percent year-over-year. Total shipments for 2016 were estimated to be less than 50 million units, and this was even forecasted at the beginning of the year. As the fourth quarter approached, vendors said that sales of Kaby Lake motherboards were not living up to expectations, while the overall market remained in a state of weaker demand. The report covered vendors including AMD, ECS, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Intel, Jetway, Microstar, Pegatron, QCI, T&I, and Wistron.

Notebooks, exchange rates and component shortages to blame

According to the latest report, three problems are affecting the ability of motherboard vendors to increase sales numbers. First, sources within the motherboard industry have pointed out that notebooks have gradually taken market share from the build-it-yourself PC market, mainly as a result of “better specifications, smaller form factors, and cheaper prices”. Second, the vendors have experienced a large exchange rate hike over the past two years, from 6.2 percent in April 2015 to 6.8 percent in April 2017. Finally, rising component prices and various component shortages have also contributed to difficulties in production operations. So in order to remain profitable, some vendors have focused on reducing shipments and changing their focus to other product segments, including gaming notebooks and mobile devices.

Sources within the industry note that even while Intel’s Kaby Lake processor lineup and Z200 series chipset have not sold as much volume as anticipated, it is possible that the imminent thread of AMD’s Ryzen 5 and 7 lineups has continued to stimulate prices cuts across the board to keep up on platform sales. Many retailers have now begun offering more serious price cuts when bundled with compatible motherboards, and this trend is expected to continue with the release of AMD’s Ryzen 3 and Intel’s Z300 and X299 series chipsets later this year.

Courtesy-Fud

Will ARM On Windows Take Off This Year?

April 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has dropped a huge hint that we will see ARM based PCs in the shops in the fourth quarter.

Qualcomm said the first cellular laptop with Windows 10 and its ARM-based Snapdragon 835 will come by the end of the year.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said that the Snapdragon 835 will expanding into mobile PC designs running Windows 10, and it’s scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter.

Apparently Qualcomm and Microsoft are flat out getting ARM-based Windows 10 PCs to work. If they pull it off, you should get a thin-and-light device that could be used as a tablet or laptop.

Most of the design cues will come from smartphones and it is being dubbed a cellular PC by Qualcomm and Microsoft.

The device will always be connected to a cellular network with a high-speed modem, much like a smartphone. It will have other wireless connectivity features like Bluetooth 5 and possibly Wi-Gig, which are integrated into the Snapdragon 835 chipset.

The cellular PC could also have a long battery life, considering Snapdragon 835 was designed for smartphones. It will be 4K video capable with a powerful Adreno 540 GPU in the Snapdragon 835.

So far no major PC maker has yet announced an ARM-based Windows PC and we are not expecting to see a flood of the beasts. Suppliers will be cautious because ARM based Windows PCs have not worked well. Windows RT tablets were somewhat mocked.

Dell and HP have expressed interest in cellular PCs but need time to test them. HP wants to see if there’s enough demand for such a device before making a decision.

Microsoft has demonstrated Photoshop running on Snapdragon 835 but it is not clear how much other software will be out there.

Courtesy-Fud

The Witcher Franchise Goes 25 Million Units

April 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt continues to pay off for CD Projekt. The Polish publisher today reported its financial results for calendar year 2016, and the hit 2015 role-playing game loomed large over another successful campaign for the company.

CD Projekt said its revenues “continued to be dominated by ongoing strong sales” of The Witcher 3 and its two expansions. While the base game and its first expansion debuted in 2015, the second and final expansion pack, Blood and Wine, arrived last May and helped drive revenues of 583.9 million PLN ($148.37 million). That was down almost 27 percent year-over-year, but still well beyond the company’s sales figures prior to 2015. Net profits were likewise down almost 27%, with the company posting a bottom line gain of 250.5 million PLN ($63.65 million).

The company also announced a new milestone for the Witcher franchise, saying the three games have now cumulatively topped 25 millions copies sold, a number that doesn’t include The Witcher 3 expansions packs. That suggests 2016 saw roughly 5 million copies sold over the 20 million reported in CD Projekt’s 2015 year-end financials.

Even if this year saw overall sales take a dip for CD Projekt, its GOG.com online retail storefront still managed to post its best year ever. The company reported GOG.com revenues of 133.5 million PLN ($33.92 million), up 15% year-over-year.

CD Projekt is currently testing its Gwent free-to-play card game in closed beta, and intends to open it up to the public this spring. It is also working on its next AAA game, Cyberpunk 2077, thought it has no release date as yet.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Can Violence In A Game Promote Safety?

March 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

When the original Doom was released in 1993, its unprecedentedly realistic graphic violence fueled a moral panic among parents and educators. Over time, the game’s sprite-based gore has lost a bit of its impact, and that previous sentence likely sounds absurd.

Given what games have depicted in the nearly quarter century since Doom, that level of violence no longer shocking so much as it is quaint, perhaps even endearing. So when it came time for id Software to reboot the series with last year’s critically acclaimed remake of Doom, one of the things the studio had to consider was exactly how violent it should be, and to what end.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz at the Game Developers Conference last month, the Doom reboot’s executive producer and game director Marty Stratton and creative director Hugo Martin acknowledged that the context of the first Doom’s violence had changed greatly over the years. And while the original’s violence may have been seen as horrific and shocking, they wanted the reboot to skew closer to cartoonishly entertaining or, as they put it, less Saw and more Evil Dead 2.

“We were going for smiles, not shrieks,” Martin said, adding, “What we found with violence is that more actually makes it safer, I guess, or just more acceptable. It pushes it more into the fun zone. Because if it’s a slow trickle of blood out of a slit wrist, that’s Saw. That’s a little bit unsettling, and sort of a different type of horror. If it’s a comical fountain of Hawaiian Punch-looking blood out of someone’s head that you just shot off, that’s comic book. That’s cartoonish, and that’s what we wanted.”

“They’re demons,” Stratton said. “We don’t kill a single human in all of Doom. No cursing, no nudity. No killing of humans. We’re actually a pretty tame game when you think about it. I’ve played a lot of games where you just slaughter massive amounts of human beings. I think if we had to make some of the decisions we make about violence and the animations we do and if we were doing them to humans, we would have completely different attitudes when we go into those discussions. It’s fun to sit down in a meeting and think about all the ways it would be cool to rip apart a pinky demon or an imp. But if we had the same discussions about, ‘How am I going to rip this person in half?’ or rip his arm off and beat him over the head with it, it takes on a different connotation that I don’t know would be as fun.”

That balancing act between horror and comedy paid off for the reboot, but it was by no means the only line last year’s Doom had to straddle. There was also the question of what a modern Doom game would look like. The first two Doom games were fast-paced shooters, while the third was a much slower horror-tinged game where players had to choose between holding a gun or a flashlight at the ready. Neither really fit into the recent mold of AAA shooters, and the developers knew different people would have very different expectations for a Doom game in 2016.

As Stratton explained, “At that point, we went to, ‘What do we want? What do we think a Doom game should be moving forward?’As much as we always consider how the audience is going to react to the game–what they’re thinking, and what we think they want–back in the very beginning, it was, ‘What do we think Doom should be, and what elements of the game do we want to build the future of Doom on?’ And that’s really where we came back to Doom 1, Doom II, the action, the tone, the attitude, the personality, the character, the irreverence of it… those were all key words that we threw up on the board in those early days. And then mechanically, it was about the speed. It was about unbelievable guns, crazy demons, really being very honest about the fact that it was Doom. It was unapologetic early on, and we built from there.”

It helped that they had a recent example of how not to bring Doom into the current generation. Prior to the Doom reboot, id Software had been working on Doom 4, which Stratton said was a good game, but just didn’t feel like Doom. For one, it cast players as a member of a resistance army rather than a one-marine wrecking crew. It was also slower from a gameplay perspective, utilizing a cover-based system shared by numerous modern shooters designed to make the player feel vulnerable.

“None of us thought that the word ‘vulnerable’ belonged in a proper Doom game,” Martin said. “You should be the scariest thing in the level.”

Doom 4 wasn’t a complete write-off, however. The reboot’s glory kill system of over-the-top executions actually grew out of a Doom 4 feature, although Stratton said they made it “faster and snappier.”

Of course, not everything worked as well. At one point the team tried giving players a voice in their ears to help guide them through the game, a pretty standard first-person shooter device along the lines of Halo’s Cortana. Stratton said while the device works well for other franchises, it just didn’t feel right for Doom, so it was quickly scrapped.

“We didn’t force anything,” Stratton said. “If something didn’t feel like Doom, we got rid of it and tried something that would feel like Doom.”

That approach paid off well for the game’s single-player mode, but Stratton and Martin suggested they weren’t quite as thrilled with multiplayer. Both are proud of the multiplayer (which continues to be worked on) and confident they delivered a high quality experience with it, but they each had their misgivings about it. Stratton said if he could change one thing, it would have been to re-do the multiplayer progression system and give more enticing or better placed “hooks” to keep players coming back for game after game. Martin wished the team had messaged what the multiplayer would be a little more clearly, saying too many expected a pure arena shooter along the lines of Quake 3 Arena, when that was never the development team’s intent.

Those issues aside, it’s clear the pair feel the new wrinkles and changes they made to the classic Doom formula paid off more often than not.

“Lots worked,” Stratton said. “That’s probably the biggest point of pride for us. The game really connected with people. We always said we wanted to make something that was familiar to long-time fans, felt like Doom from a gameplay perspective and from a style and tone and attitude perspective. And I think we really accomplished that at a high level. And I think we made some new fans, which is always what you’re trying to do when you have a game that’s only had a few releases over the course of 25 years… You’re looking to bring new people into the genre, or into the brand, and I think we did that.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will AMD’s Polaris Based RX 500 Launch April 18th?

March 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to reports, the upcoming AMD Radeon RX 500 series, which should be based on Polaris GPUs, could be slightly delayed, with the new launch date set for April 18th.

While earlier information suggested that the Polaris 10-based Radeon RX 570/580 should be coming on April 4th, with Polaris 11-based RX 550/560 refresh coming a week later, on April 11th, a new report from China site Mydrivers.com, spotted by eTeknix.com, suggests that the launch date has been pushed back to April 18th.

As we’ve written before, the new Radeon RX 500 series will be based on an existing AMD Polaris GPU architecture but should have somewhat higher clocks and improved performance-per-watt while the flagship Vega GPU based Radeon RX Vega, should be coming at a later date, most likely at Computex 2017 show, starting on May 30th.

Unfortunately, the precise details regarding the upcoming Radeon RX 500 series are still unknown but hopefully these performance and clock improvements will allow AMD to compete with Nvidia’s mainstream lineup.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD’s Vega Benchmarks Continue To Leak

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

An alleged SiSoft benchmark result leak that has been spotted recently has revealed a bit more information on what appears to be at least one version of the upcoming AMD Vega GPU.

According to the data provided by the benchmark result, which was originally spotted by Videocardz.com, the GPU features 64 CUs for a total of 4096 Stream Processors as well as comes with 8GB of VRAM on a 2048-bit memory interface (two HMB2 stacks, each with 4GB and 1024-bit memory interface).

Despite the obviously wrong 344MHz GPU clock, the results are quite impressive, outperforming the Geforce GTX 1080 in the same benchmark. Of course, these are just compute results and probably done on an alpha driver version so it is still too early to talk about the actual real world performance but at least it gives a general idea regarding the GPU.

Earlier rumors suggested that there will be at least two versions of the Vega GPU and it is still not clear if this is the slower or the faster one.

As confirmed by AMD earlier, its Radeon RX Vega graphics cards should be coming in the first half of this year, with the most likely launch at Computex 2017 show which opens its doors on May 30th.

Courtesy-Fud

Windows On ARM Ready To Debut

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

After months of rumors, Windows is finally fully functional on ARM based chips and the Wintel alliance is in tatters.

Microsoft officials told Bloomberg that the company is committed to use ARM chips in machines running its cloud services.

Microsoft will use the ARM chips in a cloud server design that its officials will detail at the US Open Compute Project Summit today. Microsoft has been working with both Qualcomm and Cavium on the version of Windows Server for ARM.

Microsoft joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) in 2014, and is a founding member of and contributor to the organisation’s Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) project.

The OCP publishes open hardware designs intended to be used to build cheaper datacentres. The OCP has released specs for motherboards, chipsets, cabling, and common sockets, connectors, and open networking and switches.

Vole’s cloud server specification is a a 12U shared server chassis capable of housing 24 1U servers. Microsoft is also releasing its Chassis Manager under the open-source Apache license.

Project Olympus is the codename for Vole’s next-generation cloud hardware design that it contributed last autumn Fall to the OCP.

Vole is also expected to use ARM processors in its Olympus systems which will be headed to its data systems by Christmas.

The winner appears to be Qualcomm which says it is working on a variety of cloud workloads to run on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform powered by Qualcomm Centriq 2400 server solutions.

Qualcomm said it had been working with Vole for several years on ARM-based server enablement and has onsite engineering at Microsoft to collaboratively optimise a version of Windows Server, for Microsoft’s internal use in its data centres, on Qualcomm Centriq 2400-based systems.

There’s no word from Microsoft when it will begin offering Windows Server on ARM to external customers or partners, but that is only a matter of time. With less power the need for Intel’s use in the server room becomes less important and if ARM designs become more established because of Microsoft’s blessing, it is unlikely that anyone will want Intelthere.

Courtesy-Fud

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