Nvidia are currently on-stage at the GPU Technology Conference (think GDC for people who really love cores). They've just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z, a $3,000 dual-Keplar GPU graphics card that can supercharge PCs with a total of 5,760 processing cores, and 12GB frame buffer memory. To my untrained eye, then, it essentially sounds like two Titan Blacks duct taped together. I'm sure that in practice it's a little bit more complicated.
A big draw for the Assassin's Creed series has always been the setting. Whether in ancient Rome, Jerusalem, or the pirate-city of Nassau, the look of the world helps make the game's sometimes strange mix of alternate history and sci-fi a bit more comfortable. With the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Unity taking place in revolutionary France, it's a great to hear the game's first released footage is truly "in-game," according to Ubisoft.
Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in the Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.
So the new HD Rift development kit has been revealed, and it’ll cost you a princely $350 to buy. We don’t have one yet (don’t worry, we will), and the low-res screen of the first devkit is looking pretty pathetic compared to the dazzling high-res screen that Sam tried at GDC. But I’m still enjoying the original model, and a slightly blurry screen doesn’t diminish the power of the Rift for me.
There's a good chance you've seen a game trailer before. Inevitably it will have featured: a) some explosions, b) mild peril, and c) a soundtrack that honks like a steamboat fighting Aphex Twin. None of which is really possible when demoing a 4X strategy. Galactic Civilizations 3 is further handicapped by being set in space, meaning it can't even flash a bit of tantalising terrain at the viewer. Nevertheless, the follow up to the excellent GalCiv 2 is unveiling its first footage, and, if you're of the right frame of mind, it's still pretty sexy.
Ken Levine's been working on what he calls 'linear narratives' for 19 years, most recently in BioShock Infinite. In February, his studio Irrational closed and Levine left to start a new game with a smaller team, focusing on making something story-driven but replayable. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Friday, he gave a talk to explain what he means by that, and to lay out the basics of a system he thinks might be able to achieve it.
As Naval Strike sets sail on consoles today, the PC version of Battlefield 4's latest DLC is being held back in the dock. DICE have announced that the expansion's launch is being delayed for an indeterminate amount of time, while they work to fix "an issue" that "needs to be solved".
A new Rollercoaster Tycoon is coming to mobile and PC. This may or may not be a good thing. I've got my concerns, largely based on the type of games Atari are interested in (as revealed in a recent revenue report). But, as unappealing as the mobile version's trailer looked, we don't yet know any solid details about the PC release.
Now, Atari have at least confirmed that mobile and PC versions will be distinctly different. "We can't share that much, but [PC] will definitely be a completely different game," Anthony Chien, Atari's senior director of marketing, said in an interview with Digital Spy.
When will you be able play The Elder Scrolls Online? Really, that depends on a couple of factors. The most important is if you're planning to buy it, because, if not, there's a pretty easy answer to the question. Assuming that you are, things are a little more complicated. During a Reddit AMA for ESO, Bethesda posted times and dates for when they plan to fling open the gates to the online Tamriel.
A lot happens in the opening moments of Burial at Sea: Episode 2. You'll meander through a Disneyfied version of Paris, one that's a garlic garland short of full stereotype; be threatened by Atlas back in the post-Episode 1 version of Rapture; and discuss pseudo-quantum science with an incorporeal Booker. As a concentrated dollop of Bioshock lore, it's alienating but also strangely liberating. Halfway through Infinite, we started to jump the infini-sharks, now the game is willing its players to give in and enjoy the view.
I can’t recall a gaming villain who looks as imposing as Reaper of Souls’ Malthael but leaves so weak an impression. He pops in and out as the narrative unfolds, spouting a few threatening lines before evaporating in a mist of gloom, and thus he recalls Blizzard's similar treatment of Arthas Menethil during World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion. But at least Arthas had the benefit of years of accumulated lore to support his cameos. The star of but one act, Malthael is never around long enough to make us care about his grumbles.
Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India releases this Tuesday, expanding the map of Paradox's medieval strategy sandbox to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Not one to venture into strange, new lands unprepared, I met with CK2 lead designer Henrik Fåhraeus to learn everything there was to know about what lies in wait with this expansion. We talked about historical accuracy, India's religions and castes, and more. If you promise not to plot my untimely death, you can share in my findings below.
Bioware Montreal developer Manveer Heir received a standing ovation at GDC this week for his speech challenging the prevalence of lazy, reductive stereotypes in games. He implored the industry to "stop being so scared", and start making games with more diverse characters in an effort to "reject stereotypes as a social responsibility to mankind".
The speech formed one part of this year's advocacy series of presentations, which explored problematic issues in gamer culture and the industry at large. The clarity and passion of Heir's speech in particular proved a stand-out moment, not just because of the issues at stake, but because of his mature, reasoned approach to stimulating debate around the depiction of gender, race and sexuality in games.
Every Monday, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.
For all their faults and successes, you can't say DICE make ugly games. The Frostbite engine, over its many iterations, has excelled at modelling the destruction and chaos of big-budget militaristic entertainment. It eschews pure realism for a cinematic set-up, and uses lighting and post-processing to cast the player as the game's action hero - even in multiplayer, where their lives can be measured in minutes. To fully appreciate what the engine can do, here are 20 super high-res shots that beautifully show every gun-metal glint and flare of the lens.
Diablo 3 has occupied a substantial amount of my gaming time over the last couple of weeks. The loot 2.0 patch made all the difference, overhauling drop rates, item distribution and game difficulty in anticipation of the closure of the auction house. I liked the game on release but fell out of love with it due to well-documented problems with its endgame and economy. Now that they're gone, the game feels fresher than it has since launch.
Lead producer Alex Mayberry agrees. "It opens up the design for us, as well as the players" he says. "We have more options in our toolbox to design with. With Reaper of Souls, our designers are now looking towards the future and what more they can do with the game - having a new, open approach."
"Don't fear The Reaper," was the immortal advice of Blue Oyster Cult. And while perhaps that song was about coming to terms with the inevitability of death, it's also possible that they were instead advocating we attack Death's manifestation with a mixture of magic, piranhas, and magic piranhas. That's certainly a wish that can be fulfilled come today's release of Diablo 3's first expansion, Reaper of Souls.
The expansion is being rolled out in stages across the globe. Over the weekend, Blizzard announced the exact times that each region will unlock, giving you plenty of preparation for your dance with the reaper.
Of the many Wildstar DevSpeak videos released, most have focused on the upcoming MMO's PvE game. Finally, though, Carbine are offering a proper look at the PvP modes - from the small-scale Arenas, to the objective focused Battlegrounds. The main focus of this video is how the AoE-based telegraph system creates a PvP mode with a focus on manually aimed attacks, and frantic and constant dodging. No wonder the characters are all so in shape.
As previously announced, Betrayer, Blackpowder Games' stealth exploration FPS, will today sets sail from the land of Steam Early Access. Created by a team founded by ex-Monolith devs, including key people from NOLF and FEAR, the game strands its players on an island filled with mystery, suspense and demonic Spaniards. A new launch trailer gives a sense of Betrayer's style, and of its menu colour options.
The Dragon Age series has never romanticised its Elven population. Rather than the proud, immortal, luscious locked demi-gods of Tolkienesque fantasy, the pointy-eared citizens of Thedas are downtrodden, impoverished and - as seen in these new Dragon Age: Inquisition screenshots, published by All Games Beta - occasionally as bald as a coot. Even follically challenged, they can be capable of chucking a few fireballs. Well, it is still a fantasy game.
Survival doesn't have to involve procedural generation, crafty mines or zig-zagging zombies - too few games concern themselves with the spiritual/philosophical/Call of the Wild side of living out in the wilderness, subsisting on berries and avoiding bears. Echo of the Wilds is one game that does. It's an adventure/survival game featuring a beautifully crisp art style, exploration and gathering and crafting out the wazoo, and a metaphysical story involving an incongruous TV screen and a semi-translucent girl. It's not another Minecraft clone is what I'm saying. Echo of the Wilds is out now, has a demo up for grabs, and can be witnessed in video form below.
The majestic helicopter gets a bit of a raw deal in the following trailer for Win, Arma 3's third and final piece of campaign DLC. Also on Bohemia's hitlist: buildings, and people in a rival army to the one you're fighting in. Those guys are just the worst. Win continues the story of soldier Ben Kerry, asking players to "deploy all the skills and experience they've gathered to bring the flashpoint to a resolution". They could have almost called it 'Operation Flashpoint', but I have a feeling that name might be already taken. If you own the game on Steam it should have automagically been updated by now, bringing with it a bunch of sandbox content which I'll list after the break.