We have just spent some considerable time updating each of our SBG computer systems. We made some big changes, so listen up.
Starting off with the TweakTown Sub-lieutenant PC ($1000 USD), hardware stays the same. We have been pondering changing the video card from the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 460 OC 768MB to something a little more recent, but have decided to keep it in place until it is no longer for sale. The GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 460 OC also saw a price reduction of $10 USD this week, making it an even better choice as it finishes up its life cycle.
Moving onto the TweakTown Commander PC ($2000 USD), we were a little naughty this week - we broke the budget by around $50 or so. We replaced the Radeon 6850 1GB with a Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB. As we mentioned, it puts the system over budget, but does result in a big gain in performance.
And finally we have the TweakTown Admiral PC (Unlimited Cost) which sees the most changes.
News is floating around that LionsGate is looking to bring the Cube series back to life in the form of a 3D-based movie, be it a prequel, sequel or reboot. If you haven't seen Cube, you're missing out on an amazing movie.
Cube was the Saw movie of the 90's, before Saw was cool and pumping up $100 million weekends, Cube was a small hit from 1997 that spawned two follow-up movies in 2002 and 2004.The movie was a horror/thriller with a twist, that featured a group of people trying to escape a number-coded series of rooms which were booby-trapped, all within a maze-like structure.
Android Honeycomb is set to raise the bar a fair bit with syncing music on your Android-handset to the cloud, impressive, eh? It has even been tested by syncing music to the cloud, removing the Android's SD card with a new one, and then tapping "stream music" which will stream your tunes from the cloud.
This is a great addition to any Android users phone, in the case of a damaged or lost phone, being able to sync directly from the cloud has many benefits. But what of pirated music being stored on the cloud? Would people feel safe with their illegally-obtained Britney Spears mp3's sitting on Google servers somewhere in the world? I hope you wouldn't... Hold It Against Me, if you'll pardon the pun. (Britney fan #41413 signing off).
I find this one a bit strange, Microsoft are only hiring people now for work on the next-gen Xbox? Surely they'd have R&D constantly going before the Xbox 360 was even finished, but anyway, on with the news. Microsoft has reportedly begun recruiting hardware engineers to work on the next-gen console.
Microsoft have yet to have confirmed the news, but have advertised three job positions on LinkedIn with each position looking for people to work on designing new console architectures. The roles currently being advertised include Graphics Hardware Architect, Senior Architect and Performance Engineer for the Xbox Console Architecture Group and Senior Hardware Design Verification Engineer. Quite the mouthful.
Dragon Age II launched today in North America and BioWire has decided to surprise PC gamers with a download of a high-resolution texture patch which adds an option to enable higher detail replacements for most textures in the game.
Obviously a beefy PC would be required, but it's nice to have the PC version having something over the console releases. To take advantage of the high-resolution textures, you'll need to have a video card with at least 1GB of memory. BioWire has also noted that most of the benefits from the high-res textures will only be seen when running the game in DirectX 11 mode.
GDC was all about the 3D engines and games- and none was so impressive as Crytek's passive 3D engine. I demoed at least 5 different passive and active 3D engines, and Crytek's shined more than any of them.
The Crytek section looked like a scene from Risky Business: GDC with all of the dudes wearing the Real 3D glasses, both spectating and playing. The camera really doesn't do it justice, but the 3D here is top of the line. And it would have to be, as the Crytek demo area was crowded from beginning to end of Friday's Expo.
Part of that is undoubtedly due to Crysis 2's environment within the game. Unlike a lot of FPS's these days, the surroundings in Crysis 2 are very subdued, and reactive rather than constantly shifting and moving. The player is immersed almost seamlessly within the action because of how easily accessible it is. Though the gameplay is enhanced, there are few 3D gimmicks here (flying random projectiles, unnecessary "gotcha" pop-ups, etc), which sets it apart from much of the 3D media out on the market now (Don't get me wrong, I know it was absolutely imperative that the Justin Beiber movie was in 3D).
The AR.Drone by Parrot might be the coolest video game ever, if you can even call it that. Imagine for a second that you could take the external camera on your iPhone and fly it around your backyard. Or your neighbor's backyard. Or have it follow you while you're on the 21 Bus going down Market Street in San Francisco. Now make the camera a bad-ass insectoid quadracopter. That's the AR.Drone.
While I was checking out 3dvia's 3D game development engine, I couldn't help but notice some reverberating techno dance music. I looked to my left and noticed the following:
Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the giant cage- I had to go check it out. I had heard a lot about the AR.Drone previously, but never seen it in person. I experience a moment of eager child-like euphoria as I realized there was no line, just spectators, and that I would be able to fly it like one of those annoying kiosk dudes in every mall in America- but I just as soon realized that they weren't allowing attendees to try it out. I spoke to the rep in French for a bit (no big deal) and he explained to me that the Moscone Center wireless was too spotty to let people test it out, and they had the Drone on automatic pilot. Damn you Moscone Center!
It seems a little late, but I'll be posting wrap up reviews and cool things we found on the Expo floor at last week's GDC, including video and more photos.
The Nintendo section was almost entirely devoted to showcasing the new 3DS. The active 3D engine was pretty impressive, and the 3DS has an adjustment slide that lets the user decide how much he or she enjoys it or finds it necessary (which for the most part, I didn't). No offense to the good people at Nintendo, I just find active 3D disorienting and just a tad bit gimmicky. Luckily, the 3DS didn't sacrifice or slack on any of the other features in the wake of 3D, and all I saw at the booth were wide eyes and smiles. My own eyes and smile were added to that mix when I tried out two of the augmented reality games that come preloaded on the system. Nintendo uses marker-based AR technology to run their games, launching the AR experiences from a small card (cARd? No? Okay, I'll stop) bearing the familiar Nintendo Question Mark logo. The user orients the 3DS camera toward the card until it recognizes it, and then a variety of things happen depending on what game you're playing.
From Research Triangle Park, just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, Lenovo announced today its next generation of ultraportable laptops: The ThinkPad X220 Notebook and the X220 Convertible Tablet PC. Lenovo has given the tech consumer the option of purchasing a super-transforming-ultraportable device with detachable keyboard and trusty pen- or instead, you know, a regular notebook. The X220 is however far from standard as it brings with it a host of nifty features that will be sure to make 2010's Best-Selling Ultraportable Laptop a surefire success in 2011 (According to IDC Worlwide Quarterly PC Tracker, February 2011)
The spec sheets, which we've attached in the gallery at the end of the article, read almost the exact same- Lenovo has outdone their previous efforts in releasing an ultra ultra portable product in tandem with their notebook. The X220 Tablet is therefore quite remarkable in that it possesses almost the exact same external and internal hardware features as its less-transformable cousin, the main tradeoff being that the Tablet weighs in almost a pound heavier than its alternate (~3.88 lbs) with maximum 66% the battery life.
Since January 26th till March 5th thanks to our fabulous community and friends, we managed to donate $6,289.77 AUD to the victims of the Queensland floods.
Today a check was mailed off to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal and as promised, you can see a scanned copy of the check above. The Queensland government has already thanked us for the donation as we alerted them about the check that will be mailed once we knew the final amount.
Now, the moment you have been waiting for... the winner of the Aussie Flood Appeal Dream System. A hardcore computer gaming system valued at almost five thousand US dollars. Of course none of this would have been possible without the support of the generous companies who provided parts for the Dream System. Thanks again goes out to Corsair, GIGABYTE, Sapphire, Thermaltake, Western Digital and AVADirect. You guys are the best!