Friday, 21 March 2014

DirectX 12, more power to the people

In a presentation yesterday at the Game Developers Conference by Microsoft, DirectX 12 was announced across the Windows 8 range (Xbox, Windows 8 phones, and Workstation) to reduce CPU usage by 50% while giving better controls of the video memory and GPU by a means of a thinner API and newer rendering features.

In the past DirectX acted as a go between for game developers to allow for smoother cross hardware development, meaning most of the hardware features could not be accessed and although the DirectX 11 API has seen some great boost in performance its still not as good as it could be.

Working with hardware vendors and game developers; the Microsoft team has spent the last 4 years working on getting the best from the new interface which from reading means cutting down the api and allow the developers to access the hardware direct.

What this should mean for games supporting DirectX 12 is that they should be less fluff getting in the way and games can be designed to fully exploit all the hardware features currently underutilised.

Even non DirectX 12 games / hardware should still receive benefits too with this leaner API but at the moment Microsoft have not confirmed if it will be available for Windows 7, but should be released in 2015 which means it may be time to upgrade once the games start running on this DirectX version next year if Windows 7 is not going to be supported.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Alien: Isolation, Alone in the dark or dead on the floor

Being developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega, using a custom in-house engine.  It follows Amanda Ripley while she is looking in to the disappearance of her mother 15 years early.

The game is marked as a first person survival horror and from everything I have seen; its looking like its shaping up to be a very good game, but with every video I see and article I read; I look back at Aliens: Colonial Marines and I feel a chill of what could still happen with Alien: Isolation and how it could go so very wrong.

My hopes for this game is that they go for the less is more approach, hearing things moving and running around while in an empty building can creep you out and unnerve you a lot more then things just running at you and this is the balance they are going to have to strike and done well can set you up for some truly scary moments.

I remember playing AvP (1999) and being truly on edge listening to the motion sensor and when it goes off, darting from left to right looking for where the thing is; only to find out it was a crane above my head swinging.

Or Silent Hill 2 hearing a noise in the fog coming towards you and getting your self all worked up, to then find out it was nothing and after a while becoming indifferent to the sounds and relaxing to then run smack straight in to something that pulls your head off.

These are the marks of a good horror game, it should lull you in to a false sense of security and then bite your face off when you least expect it, the moments you think you are the safest should be the moments you are the most vulnerable.

Its a hard balance to strike, but once you get it right you end up with a game that people will never forget.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Simcity (2013) finally unplugged

Yesterday Maxis of EA took down the Simcity servers to finally roll out the offline mode we have been longing for since the game was released.

Coming out in March of last year and bugged with a myriad of issues relating to the game needing to be on-line all the time,  it spoilt what should of been a great entry to the market, to the point where EA give away other games in its catalogue to apologize for how bad it actually went.

When asked about why it was done this way it was explained that Simcity was designed to be a on line game where Maxis could explore the interactions between players / smaller cites while offloading some of the work for simulating the city to the cloud.

Unfortunately some players debunked the latter and explained how an offline mode was possible.

I did enjoy Simcity once it was working but never really got in to the multi-player side of things, Me and Monsoon built up a region together but mostly we just built up our own regions and set them to private so no one else could join, which sort of felt like going to a party and putting on head phones and ignoring everyone and I just drifted away from playing it.

Now that we have a true offline mode where I can be antisocial in private it will be something I will returning too and pottering about in.

EA have done a quick overview of the new offline mode, which outlines the ins and outs.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Hearthstone: A house of cards or a solid foundations

I have never been one for card games, I am a bad poker player and my attention span can just about manage a round of solitaire.  

Also a card game on PC just strikes me as wrong on some level, so when I saw Hearthstone by Blizzard, a card game played on the PC set in the Warcraft universe, I just hung my head and moved past it.

But Monsoon started playing as it was free and you get a mount in World of Warcraft if you win so many matches, But she does appear to be enjoying it and after a few days of listening to how much so, I finally related and installed it.

My first impressions are positive, as I am still playing the practise rounds to unlock all the decks; I have yet still to play against an actual person but the game plays out in a 1v1 turn based style were each person lays a given number of cards based on resource points which grow by one each round.

I was surprised how easy it was to pick up and play and after doing the starting rounds I had a good feel for the system and was ready to start unlocking the rest of the decks. With the customization of the decks and the ability destroy cards you do not wish and rebuild them in to something else, theirs a depth to the game that will keep me playing for a while.

At the moment the game has around 382 cards but Blizzard are planing to add more with expansion packs at a later date.

The game is fun and does not take its self too seriously and its worth installing and giving it a go even if you have never played a battle card game before.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Batman Arkham Knight available for pre order

Yesterday I talked about 2 of the rumours around the new the Batman Game and today it appears that one of them at least was right with the UK Game Store listing a new game called Batman: Arkham Knight available on the PS4, Xbox One, and the PC.

Unfortunately it appears that the link is not working at the moment.

But it lists the game as the final in the Arkham series where you can take to the roof tops and the streets using the Batmobile.

It appears to follow on from the storyline from Arkham City and see the Scarecrow making his return as he unites some of Gotham's most feared villains but no word on how Hush is involved or even if he is in the game at all.

With each Batman game Rocksteady has increased the size and scope of it and it appears this one will be no different; we will be exploring an entirely new area of the city with wider streets allowing for the Batmobile and the map will be far larger than its predecessor.

**Updated post as I just found the trailer as well**

Monday, 3 March 2014

Batman Rumours ahoy

The news / rumour on the internet is that the new Batman game could be announced as early as this week, with VG24/7 reporting that GameStop stores will be hanging a Batman banner today.

With a press-junket that been blocked until March, it adds more fuel to that fire that Rocksteady are getting ready to announce something.

T1 reported yesterday the Hush Facebook page has been updated with an image of Hush with a reference to his appearance in the last game as a side plot and that things are going to get more interesting this month.

This may hint at him making a return in the new game as the main villain or as another side plot.

We will need to see what happens this week to see if the rumours are true and if it is; will the actual game get released in October like its predecessors 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Rambo: Last Blood, Ninja hugging fun time

Rambo: Last Blood is a flash game designed by Peter Javidpour of Naughty Dog and its already getting better reviews than the 2013 Rambo game.

Now Check it
out and show them ninjas who is the boss.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Carmageddon: Reincarnation... makes a smashing return

Carmageddon came out in 1997 by Stainless Games and was censored in the UK for a while, released a few months before Grand Theft Auto it was the first game that I can remember whose aim was running people over and smashing cars to bit, I also think you could race other cars as well but that was the boring bit.

At the time it was released I was a 16 year old impressionable teenager; so my first thought when I read about this game was "I must play this" and my long term best friend Hishadow agreed with this sentiment.

We rushed over to his house and loaded the game up to find that it had been censored, so we powered up the modem and hit the internet to see if someone had a patch to uncensore it.

A few days later and a big phone bill, we had finally had done it and there were zimmer frames flying all over the place and eyeballs hitting the screen left, right, and centre.

Fast forward 17 years later and I am still enjoying violent computer games, it can be a great way to relax after a stressful day.

Stainless Games are still at it and near the end of this month they are releasing a newer Carmageddon game on steam with early access on the 25th of March 2014.

Not seen much about the game until it popped up on my news feed today, but from the tech demos its looking very good.

The game will hopefully will take a Saints Row approach and not bog the game down in moral overtones and just give us the tools to have mass carnage fun!