Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

The Framerate Debate: 30 “Feels More Cinematic” Than 60

By Alice O'Connor on October 10th, 2014.

It is pretty.

“The human eye can’t see more than 24 frames per second,” Those Internet People say. “Tests found fighter pilots watching a 250fps video of playful kittens will grow furious if you slip in one single frame of Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties,” Others insist. “If a game ran at 500fps it would seem so real that if you died in the game you would die in real life,” I’m also told. I thought I’d heard it all in The Great Framerate Debate that rages eternally across the gameosphere. Dear, sweet, naive Alice.

Some Ubisoft chaps have declared that 30fps “feels more cinematic” than 60fps. Gosh.

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Control The Winds Of Venus With A Repurposed Radio

By Philippa Warr on October 10th, 2014.

Actually Venus seems sunnier

Updated to add Petri as a co-creator

You know what’s cooler than being cool? Being absolutely freezing. Also custom controllers which augment the experience of playing a game in interesting ways. Long story short? We need to talk about The Winds Of Venus.

I’ve been tinkering with the free keyboard-controlled version (you can do that too if you fancy). In it you are piloting a Space Dirigible on an expedition from Helsinki to an alternate universe version of Venus in 1927. You must contend with strong storms while seeking the harvesters you need in order to escape the hellish environment. And then there’s the controller.

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Wot I Think: Oculus Rift DK2

By Alec Meer on September 24th, 2014.

The possible future is here, delivered by a nice man from UPS after a challenging five-month wait on my part. The first gen Oculus I’d been using had sadly morphed from toy of tomorrow into insufferable antique in the time it took for my gen 2 Oculus pre-order to process, and I’d almost forgotten why I was once so charmed by the whole concept of VR headsets.

The Oculus Development Kit 2, which I’ve been using for just under a week now, is an excellent reminder. My excitement is back, and I have a raft of new games, mods and experiments with which to assault my now bone-dry eyeballs. At the same time, I’ve been a little underwhelmed by this new-gen prototype.
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Week in Tech: Faster, Cheaper SSDs, Nvidia’s Driver Bomb

By Jeremy Laird on May 29th, 2014.

Want it cheaper? Want it faster? This week, I can offer both. But not quite at the same time. I speak of SSDs and the first part of the puzzle is Crucial’s upcoming MX100. It replaces the existing M500 as Crucial’s value SSD. And may I remind you the 240GB M500 can currently be had for a preposterous £80/$110? The MX100 sports 16nm NAND memory, doesn’t replace the higher performing M550 and I can only assume its raison d’etre is to be even cheaper. Meanwhile, the first looks at quad-channel SATA Express are popping up (cue 1GB/s SSDs), Nvidia has a new driver out that promises to make your graphics card eleventy-two times faster. Ish. And some other stuff including yet more cheap 4K panels, including one with G-Sync support, and a hot looking gaming lappie from Gigabyte. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: Intel 9 Series, £200 GPUs, VR And Fast Food

By Jeremy Laird on May 22nd, 2014.

Where awesome game developers go.

Bit of a mish mash this week starting with a quick update on Intel’s new 9 Series chipset and the motherboards that go with it. The boards are now on sale, but new CPUs of note are missing, so what gives? Meanwhile AMD has officially cut the price of ye olde Radeon R9 280 to $249 which seems like a good cue to look at the state of graphics at that £200 sweet spot here in Blighty (apologies for the mixed currency messaging). While we’re talking AMD, there’s confirmation that new high performance FX CPUs are on the way. Hurrah. But probably not until 2016. Haroo. Oh, and try this bombshell for size. Oculus Rift will be testing out its headsets on snotty youths at none other than the swashbuckling culinary trend setter and conspicuous Michelin star non-awardee that is Chuck E. Cheese’s. And some other stuff that I haven’t quite decided on as I write these very words. Click through and you never know what you might find. It might even be worth reading.
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Damn & Blazkowicz: Wolfenstein New Order PC Tech Issues

By Alec Meer on May 20th, 2014.

Update – I’ve borrowed on oldish GeForce and the game’s now running fine. Definitely primarily an AMD incompatibility, presumably at driver level.

What time is it? It’s WHINY MOANY GRIPEY O’CLOCK, that’s what goddamn time it is. I’d hoped to have made decent inroads into Wolfenstein: The New Sequel* by now, but no PC code was available before release, and post-release the thing’s all but unplayable on my system, even on its lowest settings. I’m not alone in this, but while troubles are reported on a myriad of systems, AMD-ATI graphics card users have been hit particularly hard. I even bought a Radeon R290 yesterday for the express purposes of this and Watch Dogs, but I’m looking at 10-20 FPS most of the time. It does spike to 40 on occasion, but not often or consistently enough to enjoy the experience. Even the Bethesda and Machine Games logos at the start play like a cellphone video from 2004. At least I’m not suffering from the crashes to desktop that many others have reported.

A few possible performance aids are below, but they haven’t helped me.
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Week in Tech: Cheap 4K, Adaptive-Sync, DP1.2a, Screens!

By Jeremy Laird on May 15th, 2014.

Sammy's £500, 60Hz, 4K monster

4K, 6-bit, 8-bit and 10-bit panels, G-Sync n’ FreeSync n’ Adaptive-Sync, 120Hz-plus refresh, DisplayPort 1.2 and 1.2a, backlight modulation, multi-stream vs single-stream and IPS vs PLS. The PC display market is completely out of control. But in a good way. Things are developing faster now than at any time I can remember since getting into this game. And I am incredibly, astonishingly, implausibly old. The Atari 2600 was still on sale (just) when I achieved something approaching sentience. I still haven’t truly recovered from the 2600′s piss-poor Pac-Man port. Anywho, the last week or so has seen some really interesting developments in the monitor market, including the announcement that AMD’s FreeSync tech is moving into the mainstream courtesy of official VESA status and the appearance of a cheap Samsung 4K monitor with 60Hz support. High time, then, to pull together the state of play in PC monitors into something we can all understand. Well, hopefully. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Clash Of Shafts: Three Flight Sticks Compared

By Alec Meer on April 22nd, 2014.

I’ve spent far too long thinking about and researching joysticks lately, primarily as a result of playing Elite: Dangerous. One thing I haven’t established during all that time is whether ‘joystick’ is the right word for a genre of game controller which also throws out terms like ‘flight stick’ and ‘HOTAS.’ I’ve probably offended someone with just the title of this piece, but then again someone like decided that Hot Ass is a perfectly reasonably thing to call a ‘Hands On Throttle-And-Stick.’ Someone also thought that writing ‘VIBRATION’ in enormous capital letters down the shaft of one of the three sticks I’m looking at here was sensible. Basically, the joy/flightstick industry is a place where innuendo goes to die.

In any case, I’m sticking with ‘joystick’, and I’m using it as a term for three very different types (and costs) of stick I’ve looked at in my recent return to space games. Those are, in descending price order, the Saitek X52 Pro, the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro and the Speedlink Black Widow.
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Elite Dangerous, Nostalgia, Joysticks & Returning To Space

By Alec Meer on April 11th, 2014.

I come and go on old franchises and old ideas being resurrected by rich old men for rather less rich and old men and women. Sometimes it seems like a roadblock to fresh invention, other times it seems like returning to roads that games were forcibly and unfairly turned away from as forces of marketing and demographic-chasing decided they weren’t suitably commercially viable. For example: space sims didn’t all but die out because the possibilities were exhausted. Though there have always been survivors, they all but died out because they required huge budgets to pull off well, but could not command the sort of easily advertised-at mainstream audience required to earn their keep. What remained turned inwards, servicing the very particular demands of a passionate few, and making themselves all the more inaccessible to those who were interested but not quite so fervent about it.

The comeback, thanks to the removal of almost all middlemen and the ability to engage directly with an audience large enough but spread far and wide, is something I find incredibly exciting. After having barely touched space games for years, I now find myself owning a £120 joystick and obsessed with Elite 4.
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Week in Tech: DirectX 12 And Faster PC Games

By Jeremy Laird on March 20th, 2014.

It’s not a huge surprise. But it is interesting. Microsoft has lifted the lid on its latest graphics API, DirectX 12. And the big news isn’t a fancy new rendering technology. The big news is better performance. Just like AMD’s Mantle API, DX12 promises to reduce CPU loads when playing games by as much as 50 per cent. Intriguingly, DX12 is coming to the Xbox One and phones, too. Which brings us to the really good bit. It looks likely your existing graphics card will be compatible with DX12. And that includes Nvidia GPUs… Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: Nvidia Laptop Graphics Update

By Jeremy Laird on March 13th, 2014.

Yes, we’ve done the Nvidia Maxwell graphics thing already. As a desktop GPU, the new GeForce GTXs 750 and 750 Ti aren’t all that exciting. But the same Nvidia GM107 chip rebadged Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M and stuffed into a laptop? Suddenly, things get a whole lot more interesting. The specifics aren’t official yet. But it looks like GM107 might just deliver twice the performance for the same power budget as its predecessor and that’s pretty exciting for thin-and-light gaming lappies. And remember, this is just the beginning for Maxwell – the arrival of second-gen 20nm Maxwell mobile GPUs could be spectacular. While we’re here, I thought a beginners guide to mobile GPUs would be useful for some of you. What with all the branding shenanigans both Nvidia and AMD get up to in the mobile space, keeping track of what’s actually on offer isn’t always easy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: Nvidia’s Mighty New Maxwell Graphics

By Jeremy Laird on February 20th, 2014.

Nvidia’s new Maxwell graphics kit, then. It’s out but what’s it all about? Epic performance density and power efficiency is the elevator pitch, with a spot of improved cryptocurrency hashing thrown in for good measure. But are the first new Maxwell boards – the GTXs 750 and 750 Ti – the bomb or a bum deal? Read the rest of this entry »

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The RPS Verdict: Steam In-Home Streaming Beta

By Alec Meer on January 30th, 2014.

A computer and a stream, yesterday

The first raft of people have been allowed into the beta of Steam’s upcoming In-Home Streaming tech, which enables you to stream pretty much any Steam game (and even a few non-Steam games) from your main games PC to another PC elsewhere in the house. Among those people are Graham and Alec, who’ve been trying it out on assorted hardware, and who here sit down to have a good old chinwag about their respective experiences. It’s a great idea on paper, but does it really work? Yes, obviously it does or they wouldn’t have released it. But does it work well? Sir, you are being clickbaited.

(Yes ok it works quite well, sort of, depending on your setup and which games you try, but please read the article anyway).
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