Posts Tagged ‘feature’

AMD’s Ryzen: A gaming CPU worth waiting for?

Something good is about to happen. I’m fairly sure of that. RPS isn’t exactly hardware rumour central, of course. There’s plenty of that elsewhere and, frankly, I can’t compete. But after the downbeat tone of my recent Intel Kaby Lake coverage, I reckon it would be remiss not to balance things out with a quick preview of what to expect from AMD’s new Ryzen CPU. It’s definitely coming soon and will probably go on sale in around six weeks. Exactly how good is Ryzen going to be? I don’t know. But all the indications are that it’s going to be at least good enough to make AMD CPUs relevant for gaming again. Read the rest of this entry »

Delving into the depths of surprise Steam bestseller Wallpaper Engine

The Steam charts are reliably staid much of the time – ever-present Counter-Strikes and GTAs, whatever the multiplayer survival flavour of the month is, and a big new release if there was one. This week brought a true oddity, however: Wallpaper Engine. It’s a desktop wallpaper tool, and it’s outselling almost everything else on Steam. Times, they are a changin’.

So, what is this thing, and why would an estimated (via SteamSpy; not necessarily accurate, of course) three quarters of a million people be using it instead of just, y’know, setting a desktop wallpaper? And, of course, is this £3/$4 application any good? The finest minds in Christendom gathered to investigate – and to show off the best and worst animated wallpapers they found for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… WizKid?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Long before Valve took the mantle in my teens and early 20s, it was Sensible Software who seemed like the do-no-wrong game developers. Whether sports or strategy or whatever the heck Wizkid was, I loved everything I played of what they made.

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Halo Wars 2’s Blitz Mode could be its salvation

This is Atriox, your chief adversary. He leads a rogue Covenant faction, the banished – the remaining Covenant races are now at peace with humanity following the events of Halo 2. I know these things because I once had to write a 5000-word Halo timeline.

I was all set to thoroughly dismiss Halo Wars 2 [official site], before I joined Microsoft for a spot of top-down Warthog-baiting earlier in the month, and I’m still not completely convinced. Last year’s Xbox One beta suggested yet another Halo game intent on rebottling the lightning of a departed era – in this case, that fleeting, Quixotic period when the idea of RTS on console sounded like cash in the bank.

Much of what made the original Halo Wars work so well on Xbox 360 has been preserved – the snappy, colourful visual design, the stripped-down resource and research aspects, the adroit translation of Halo’s alien Covenant and human UNSC factions into the language of an Age of Empires spin-off. Startlingly little has been added or changed, whether you’re talking about new units or a fresh approach to the typically leaden business of storytelling in a strategy game. This is exactly what many fans are hoping for, I’m sure, but given Creative Assembly’s success with the Warhammer license and Alien: Isolation, it’s hard not to wish for a little more, well, magic.

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IF Only: Apocalypse Eve

Prospero Cover Clip

Apocalypse is a popular topic of IF. Brian Moriarty’s Trinity explored the threat of nuclear annihilation, back in 1986; Phantom Williams’ 500 Apocalypses got several mentions here last year, from me and from Philippa Warr. Max Kreminski’s Epitaph takes a more Spore-like approach, as you’re allowed to try to nurture procedurally generated civilizations to survive longer than a few turns, and instead (most likely) rack up an impressive collection of failures.

Whatever kind of apocalypse you’re trying to model, interactive fiction probably has something to offer. Here are some of the most interesting.

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Games are best when they ignore you

Tutorials are a lot like first dates. They’re awkward but necessary, can be a total waste of time, and sometimes there’s a lot more hand-holding than you’d like. It would be best for everyone if we just skipped all that uncomfortable small talk and went straight to the middle part. The good part. Unfortunately, you can’t have a good relationship without getting to know someone first, and you can’t have fun with a game if you don’t understand how to play it.

Or can you?

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