Tag Archives: pc gaming

The Blood Eclipse new maps and support

the blood eclipse new maps linux mac support

The Blood Eclipse a first person violent action adventure has new maps and support for Linux via Steam. All thanks to the efforts of developer Only Human Studios who previous released the game back in October. Now adding Linux and Mac support via Steam.

The Incredible Future of PC Gaming from PAX East panel

The Incredible Future of PC Gaming from PAX East panel and Linux support
From left to right—Tom Petersen, Chris Roberts, Matt Higby, and panel moderator Evan Lahti (US editor-in-chief of PC Gamer). Palmer Luckey isn’t pictured because he’s behind Lahti.

A four-person panel consisting of #industry figures Palmer Lucky, founder of #OculusVR; Matt Higby, creative director of #PlanetSide2; Chris Roberts, grandfather of space combat simulations and Star Citizen creator; and Tom Petersen, director of technical marketing for Nvidia, faced down a packed room this afternoon at Boston’s PAX East conference to answer questions about the PC as a platform—where it’s been, where it’s going, and why it’s still not just a big deal, but possibly the biggest deal of all.

The panel delved into a number of specific points for the crowded room, but the key idea—and one that they kept reiterating throughout most of the questions asked—is that PC gaming has always been a huge market presence. Even as major computer OEMs produce numbers showing falling sales, the PC as a platform (and especially a gaming platform) actually shows strong aggregate growth.

It’s hard to directly measure this kind of thing, but Nvidia’s Tom Petersen pointed out that the company’s sales of OEM and aftermarket video cards are strong and are getting stronger—especially its enthusiast-targeted GTX cards. The panel moderator (PC Gamer US Editor-in-Chief Evan Lahti) asked if cloud gaming might have something to do with the bolstering PC gaming numbers. Petersen agreed that could be the case (as expected from Nvidia, which has its own burgeoning cloud gaming rendering service). However, Chris Roberts had a different take.

Roberts has been making PC games since the 1980s, and in developing his latest title, Star Citizen, he’s exploring all platform options. One thing that he says he’s been dissatisfied with is anything involving remote video streaming—he says that latency is still an issue that hasn’t been overcome, and he can’t see it ever working well enough to be truly playable—not for a long time, anyway.

Roberts also spoke somewhat contentiously about the search for the “perfect platform” for Star Citizen. He said that after a lot of experimentation, the only platform capable of realizing his vision for the game is the PC. He’s a full-time 4K video user, and the only thing that can make Star Citizen work with all the bells and whistles at 4K resolution is a high-end gaming PC.

Nvidia’s Petersen mentioned that the price point for 4K—both from a perspective of display and rendering hardware, continues to drop. This is obviously a good thing for Nvidia, since it’s in the business of selling video cards.

The Incredible Future of PC Gaming from PAX East panel and Linux support
Enlarge / The panel, with Higby’s face partially obscured by a monitor.

When asked about the biggest challenge to developing on PC, the panel turned to PlanetSide 2 creative director Matt Higby. Higby pointed out that the PC’s greatest obstacle is also its greatest strength: an infinite variety of configurations in hardware and software exist, and you have to build things for all (or at least most) of them. The issue is compounded because the people most likely to spend money on cutting-edge games are the same enthusiasts with the crazy home-built rigs.

Robert expanded on Higby’s point: the PC has always been the biggest and best platform for developers and for gamers—it just hasn’t always grabbed the biggest headlines. The “PC as a platform”—a phrase echoed by Petersen—is an absolutely massive market, but it’s not always realized as such because it’s fragmented between different OEMs and home-built rigs without a singular marketing effort.

Higby also spoke extremely candidly about game piracy, saying things I’ve heard echoed on forums before but never out of the mouth of a developer. Piracy, he said, is an availability and distribution problem. The more games are crowdfunded and digitally delivered and the less a “store” figures into buying games, the less of a problem piracy becomes. Roberts was quick to agree, and he noted that the shift to digital distribution also helps the developers make more money—they ostensibly don’t have everyone along the way from retailers to publishers to distributors taking their cut from the sale.

Oculus’ Palmer Lucky agreed that piracy is a problem that can be solved not through more restrictions, but through fewer—the way to kill piracy is to make it more convenient to simply download a game legitimately than to go through the rigamarole of pirating it. Higby chimed in to agree—it’s more annoying to download a pirated version of a game than to download via a trusted digital delivery service.

Petersen said that the total yearly industry-wide revenue for PC games (not video games in general, but PC games specifically) is $24 billion—a number that includes initial sales, in-game transactions, free-to-play microtransactions, digital downloads, and everything else. That’s a huge amount of revenue to chase, and the panel members all agreed that the money will go to the developers and publishers and makers who produce what PC gamers want, as long as they let players buy games however they want to buy them.

The platform’s the thing

When the panel moderator asked the group if Microsoft would own the future of PC gaming, the responses were mixed. “Yeah, don’t you remember Games for Windows Live?” joked Luckey, referring to Microsoft’s horribly broken (and rumored to be dying) social platform. The comment was clearly in jest, though; Petersen spoke up and said that he thinks it’s very clear Microsoft cares about PC gaming: “They have huge amounts of resources dedicated to making PC gaming great—that’s what DX12 is for,” he said.

Roberts said that the biggest issue with working on a grand-scale game on the PC is programming for the parallelization allowed by multiple cores. He gave big props to the multithreading support that Microsoft has added to DX12, which takes some of that burden off of the developers. Still, he said that it’s a fight to make Microsoft realize that it’s not all about the Xbox—that Microsoft is actually getting much more revenue out of PC gaming as a whole than it is out of consoles.

Roberts said that Microsoft should embrace not just the closed ecosystem model, but the PC gaming community in general. Top on the list of fears he said needed to be assuaged was that gamers won’t be forced into using Microsoft’s app store if they don’t want to. “Consumers might try to abandon Microsoft for Linux because they’re afraid of being pushed to the MS app store,” he said.

Speaking of Linux: Roberts reaffirmed that while Windows is the main targeted platform for Star Citizen, the game maker will also be officially supporting Linux.

Star Citizen game maker will officially suppor Linux

Enlarge / About half of the crowd that had come to listen to the panel.

VR trooper

Oculus’ Luckey was then asked what remained to lock down virtual reality (VR) and make it the wonderful, immersive, seamless experience we’ve been promised since the 1990s. Luckey said that a lot of the development to make game frame rates higher hasn’t necessarily made them faster—it’s not just the quality of each frame, but the pace and regularity with which a frame is delivered. Some games with 60+ frames per second might still have more than a hundred milliseconds of latency for that frame’s display due to the internal buffers in an application, programming quirks, or Windows-specific issues. VR has its own set of hardware-related latency, too. Killing latency is the key to immersive VR.

For what it’s worth, Nvidia is on board with Luckey’s and Oculus’ quest to make VR better: Petersen took the opportunity to give a quick shout-out to Nvidia’s G-sync technology, which is aimed at (among other things) reducing latency in frame displays.

Go do that voodoo that you do so well

But no panel could be complete without the closing question, which the panelists answered with aplomb. Aside from the technology that they specifically are working on, what other amazing thing do they want to see developed in the near term?

Nvidia’s Petersen deadpanned, “I would like a virtual reality headset.” Oculus’ Luckey replied, equally deadpan, “I would like a more powerful GPU.”

Reblogged from: arstechnica.com

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Phil Spencer Praises Valve with Renewed Focus on PC Gaming from Microsoft

Phil Spencer Microsoft PC Gamiing

When Valve announced its SteamOS initiative last year, the company put Microsoft on notice. As a game maker and retailer, Valve’s reliance on Microsoft Windows was troubling to company executives, with CEO Gabe Newell, a former Microsoft employee, calling #Windows8 a “catastrophe.” For both technical and business reasons, Valve instead began pushing hard for PC gaming to adopt #Linux, the free operating system, as a way to escape Microsoft’s control.

While Valve’s SteamOS and early Steam Machines have been met with interest, the broader gaming market has yet to signal a move away from Windows. But in an effort to stem any future tides, Microsoft used last week’s Game Developers Conference to announce a “renewed focus on PC gaming.”

As reported by Edge Online, Microsoft Studios Chief Phil Spencer discussed Valve and PC gaming as part of a broader “fireside chat” about the company’s initiatives in mobile, consoles, and desktops. Mr. Spencer praised Valve for its leadership in gaming, and claimed that its push towards Linux gives Microsoft the impetus to redouble its efforts in PC gaming.

They’ve been the backbone for PC gaming for the last decade when you think about the work that they’ve done. As the Windows company I appreciate what they’ve done. In a lot of ways they’ve focused more on PC gaming than we have, and for me that’s something inside the company that we’ll have a renewed focus on – Windows and PC gaming inside of Microsoft is definitely happening.

In line with Mr. Spencer’s comments, Microsoft also used GDC to unveil DirectX 12, the next version of the company’s graphics and gaming APIs, which promises better support for a variety of devices, as well as a lower level of hardware abstraction, allowing for improved multithreaded scaling and CPU utilization.

As for more consumer-focused announcements about Microsoft’s new PC gaming plans, Mr. Spencer promises that the company will have more to share at this year’s E3 conference, scheduled for June 10 through June 12.


Windows 8 Obsession Doesn’t Scare Off Blizzard Entertainment

After having just come across this piece of news, it is rather interesting to see further updates from Blizzard. Somehow, I was expecting more….

It was not very long ago when Gabe Newell, the co-founder and managing director of Valve, stated that “Windows 8 is a catastrophe” for the PC gaming community. Since then he has been extending his company towards broader compatibility with Linux as a dodge against the much hyped Windows 8. However one computer video game entity doesn’t comply by the same. Blizzard Entertainment appears to have changed their skeptic views regarding Microsoft’s Windows 8 and also confirmed that its forthcoming “World of Warcraft” extension will be supporting Microsoft’s new version of Windows, although the work has not yet been started up until now.
Darren Williams, the senior software engineer at Blizzard Entertainment, disclosed in an interview, “We put our games on platforms our players are already on, so yeah, it will be available on Windows 8.”

The owner of video game company Mojang, Markus Persson initially commented regarding Windows 8 that it is possibly “very very bad for indie games and competition in general” by elaborating his concerns about the Windows 8 potential as a closed system. The reason for opposing Microsoft’s new OS from the viewpoint of a major developer is totally fair considering that all the applications for the new version of Windows will be distributed via Microsoft’s closed software distribution hub.

Realistically, Blizzard Entertainment is the first gaming company to have conceded the fact that all these oppositions ultimately crank up out of paranoia. Windows still remains a fair choice if the objective is to design something that would interest the customers.

So long as Microsoft Windows 8 would interest the users, which is where even the games are required being available. Darren Williams while talking about Blizzard’s plans for shifting to Window’s 8, summed up in a CVG interview- “We haven’t worked with Windows 8 directly yet, but we’ll certainly switch over to it. I think that we’ll go with the platforms that the most people are on. There’s no particular fear we have of Windows 8.””

Source: whdi-reviews.com
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Raspberry Pi computers ready for delivery

The first batch of Raspberry Pi computers is finally ready for delivery. The credit card-sized Linux computer costs only $35 and is designed to encourage children’s interest in programming. UK distributors have confirmed receiving shipments and will soon send out invitations for purchasing to customers who pre-registered. A school in Leeds received the first delivery today.

The Raspberry Pi was announced back in February as an incredibly affordable ARM-based Linux machine designed to teach children about programming. The tiny $35 Raspberry Pi can connect to a TV or keyboard to be used for word processing, gaming, and playing HD video. Production of the computer had been delayed twice due to a production mistake as well as a testing mix-up.

Customers among the first to have placed an order should expect to receive their shipments by April 20. However, this initial supply of the Raspberry Pi is still limited, with full production volume set for later this year. Hence, current orders are limited to one per customer and only a portion of the customers who pre-registered interest will receive an invitation to order.

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