Friday, 03 September 2010 09:13

Is PC gaming set for a comeback?

gamingUnreal Engine developer Epic has been pretty down on the PC in recent years. But a new interview indicates a change in attitude, and a renewed commitment to the platform.

PC gaming has sunk from its once mighty heights, thanks to a combination of factors like console penetration, piracy and the huge inherent variability in PC hardware setups. These have interacted in various ways to push the PC to third class citizen for many gaming genres, especially the kind of high adrenaline action games that were once the PC's bread and butter.

This has led to the situation where once proud PC developers have wholeheartedly adopted console development. We've seen PC centric studios like Crytek (Crysis), id Software (Doom, Quake etc)  and Epic (Unreal series) effectively abandon the PC platform in favor of consoles. Several of these have dropped comments in the aftermath blaming piracy as the reason behind the exodus to consoles.

alienswarmRemember Alien Swarm? A total conversion mod for UT 2004, with four-player co-op top-down action. The team behind it, we’ve just learned, were hired by Valve two years ago, and have since been working on L4D and now Portal 2. Except at the same time they’ve been making Alien Swarm all over again in Source. And it’s coming out on Monday. And it will be free. And it looks great.

[utube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owusWzSppyw[/utube]

But it’s not the only thing that’s coming. Along with it the complete SDK and code base is being released, all available for free this Monday (19th).

The game will also include updates to the Source engine (in the SDK), and has had some changes made to it in its Source incarnation. A third-person camera, depth of field effects, and “a wide variety of gameplay additions.” Although what those are isn’t clear yet. However, take a look at the screenshots below to see the difference in the game.

[lightbox]http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/10/july/swnewbg2.jpg[/lightbox] [lighbox]http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/10/july/swnewbg3.jpg[/lightbox] [lighbox]http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/10/july/swnewbg4.jpg[/lightbox]

Valve lists the contents as follows:

fpnewsThe new graphics API comes with new buzzwords. We'll tell you what they mean and how they matter to your gaming experience.

Just when you think you've grasped all the jargon surrounding 3D graphics, new terms and technologies flood onto the market.

AMD has been aggressively shipping DirectX 11 GPUs in almost every price category, while cards based on Nvidia's new GTX 470 and GTX 480 DX11 parts are finally becoming available. Meanwhile, Windows 7's sales ramp has been extraordinary-the fastest-selling Microsoft OS in history. Given that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been, it's also arguable that DirectX 11 is what DX10 should have been.

When DirectX 10 games hit the streets, the new API gave users marginal improvements in image quality alongside huge performance decreases. The tiny gain in visual fidelity didn't really make up for the performance hit. On the other hand, DirectX 11 brings users some very cool potential eye-candy improvements, but also promises better performance-even if you don't have a DirectX 11 GPU.

Along with new graphics, APIs come with new buzzwords: tessellation, SSAO, HDAO, and postprocessing. That last buzzword being a catchphrase for many small but cool effects made possible with today's programmable graphics chips.

We'll take a closer look at these buzzwords to dissect what they actually deliver, plus discuss the performance impact of using high-end AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

Saturday, 03 July 2010 12:58

DICE on Competitive BC2

newsbc2

It's been well known for some time now that Bad Company 2 came out of the box with a number of problems client-side and server-side, and after some investigation it was quickly realised that the game is not suitable for competitive gameplay. Many standardized features such as demo recording and spectator mode have been removed from the feature-set which appeared in previous Battlefield titles, as well as other gameplay related issues which made balanced competitive gameplay impossible.

However, with a number of patches released over the last few months, many competitive BC2 player felt it was high time they knew whether it was worth supporting and playing the game any longer in the hope for competitive support. Partly through a sense of urgency, I went looking for answers.

Friday, 25 June 2010 05:00

DICE CM brings hope for BC2

newsbc2
Bad Company 2 developers DICE have appointed a new Battlefield Community Manager, who has already made an immediate impact on competitive players by confirming his intention to investigate and understand the needs for competitive support in the game.

The Battlefield franchise has always had a dedicated 'Community Manager' who has a responsibility, amongst other things, to collate feedback from the Battlefield community and pass it on to developers DICE to help with feature requests, patches and other game related fixes.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010 23:16

ESL Rejects BC2 for EMS

newsbc2

More bad news for the dispirited Battlefield community was delivered today, as ESL confirmed they have rejected Bad Company 2 for ESL Major Series 7 next season.

it has been known for some time that ESL was looking to give Bad Company 2 the chance to develop alongside other EMS titles such as Call Of Duty 4, however after careful consideration, it's been decided that the games lack of competitive support from DICE has made it impossible for ESL to help the community.

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