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Linux gamers rejoice! Valve, continuing to show its distaste for the upcoming Windows 8, has redoubled its efforts on bringing gaming to Linux. The latest example of this effort is the porting of Left 4 Dead 2 to Linux and with it came an interesting result: the Linux version performed better than the Windows version. What???
It's true! According to internal testing done by Valve, they found the Windows version performed around 14% slower, once the Left 4 Dead 2 Linux version was optimized. When the Linux version was originally ported to the high-end hardware, Valve only received 6 FPS. They say this is typical at the beginning of a successful port.
The hardware was a powerful system: Intel Core i7 3930k, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, and 32 GB RAM. Valve optimized the engine to make use of the more efficient Linux kernel and then moved onto making it more efficient with OpenGL. Interestingly, they managed to optimize the Windows version that used OpenGL to the point where it also performed better than Windows and DirectX.
This surprised Valve, so they looked into the issue a bit more and found that Direct3D has "a few additional microseconds overhead per batch in Direct3D which does not affect OpenGL on Windows." They plan to try and mitigate this slowdown, now that they know the hardware is capable of performing even better.
Activision has released the launch dates for the last two downloadable content packs for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. With the new packs come new multiplayer maps, game modes, and missions to the popular first-person shooter. Incredibly, these two packs bring the DLC count up to 29 in just under a year.
Collection #3 will be released on August 9 and is titled Chaos Pack. With it comes a new game mode: Special Ops Chaos Mode; three new Face Off maps: Vortex, U-Turn and Intersection; and four new Special Ops missions: Vertigo, Arctic Recon, Light 'Em Up and Special Delivery. The new game mode sounds somewhat similar to Zombies in Black Ops as it pits players against unending waves of enemies, helped by power-ups.
Collection #4 is due to be released on September 6 and is called Final Assault as it is the last DLC that is planned to be released for Modern Warfare 3. Final Assault adds five new multiplayer maps to the game. Boardwalk will see players fighting on a beach in Jersey Shore, Gultch will be set in a mining town, Parish will be set in the French district of New Orleans, and Decommission and Offshore will be set on an ocean liner and oilrig.
The updates will come to Xbox first for $14.99 or 1,200 Microsoft Points. Soon after, they will move to the other platforms.
Kickstarter funded OUYA has passed $6.2 million in funding, and has also teamed up with VEVO to make sure that "music lovers have plenty of places to watch videos", even on an indie game console. OUYA also announced another partnership just a few days ago, inking a deal with cloud gaming company OnLive.
OUYA chief, Julie Uhrman, has said that OUYA is all about entertainment, and that means expanding "beyond gaming", and she is right. As for the VEVO deal, its SVP of Product and Technology, Michael Cerda, has said that the company supports "OUYA's vision that the future lies in being open and accessible for users looking for high quality entertainment experiences". OUYA also adds:
Not only will VEVO and OUYA bring high definition music video programming back to the TV - we're turning control over to you. Access music videos from your favorite artists like JAY Z, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Shakira, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Big K.R.I.T., Florence + The Machine, John Mayer and P!nk when you want them and where you want them: on your big, shiny television!
For OUYA, this means entertainment beyond gaming. Browse through the most-viewed music videos on the web, explore full video catalogs of top-selling artists, or venture into the realm of new staff picks, live concerts and original music programming. Getting ready to do some level grinding? Watch one of your favorite videos to get in the mood.
It's going to be awhile before there is an official announcement regarding an actual release date for the upcoming Battlefield 4 game. However, during EA's last earnings call, they revealed that Battlefield 4 would see a release sometime during EA's 2014 fiscal year, which runs from April 2013 through March 2014.
With a bit of deduction, we can trim down that range which spans a year. We already know that the Battlefield 4 beta will be kicking off in the fall of 2013. This means that Battlefield shouldn't be released before September 21, 2013. Looking at past experiences, we can use the fact that Battlefield 3's public beta kicked off September 29, 2011 to extrapolate that Battlefield 4's beta will likely start around the same time in 2013.
The beta for Battlefield 3 ended on October 10, 2011 and the game released shortly after on October 25. There's no promise of this being the schedule for Battlefield 4, but it will likely be similar. The one thing that EA needs to do is take their time and produce a better game. There are far to many rushed FPS games on the market.
During Take-Two Interactive's Q1 FY13 earnings call, the company said that Rockstar were "making substantial progress" on Grand Theft Auto V, but weren't prepared to share a release date for the upcoming game. The company did acknowledge two screenshots for the game that were released earlier this month, which the company says shows off GTA V's "vast, detailed, open-world setting".
When pushed to reveal whether the game would see a release this financial year, Take-Two said that it hadn't "talked about a release date so can't talk about the credibility of a release date we haven't announced". According to a now-updated Take-Two release schedule, platforms for GTA V are still 'TBA'. This has now sparked the question of "will we see GTA V on next-gen consoles?"
Funnily enough, I mentioned that it would be great if Rockstar could release GTA V on next-gen consoles, over three months ago now. I think we'll see the beginning of console gaming split into two, which I've covered before in previous editorials. A high-end AAA title like this, with a multi-hundred-million-dollar budget, would be shooting themselves in the foot to release the game now with next-gen consoles most likely getting released next year.
It hasn't even been a year since the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, yet the company is already moving the game to free-to-play status. Announced today, the game will become free-to-play up to level 50 using 8 different character classes this fall. Of course, this free-to-play will include some restrictions.
"Players want flexibility and choice," says Matthew Bromberg of BioWare Austin in a press release, "The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe."
"Since launch, we've been listening to feedback from our fans and adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace. We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community," says executive producer Jeff Hickman.
However, this game hasn't gone free-to-play out of the kindness of the developers. Instead, the game has gone free-to-play out of necessity. In February, 1.7 million people were playing the game. In May, however, that number dropped down to 1.3 million. This is most likely the real reason the game is going free-to-play.
Square Enix has announced its support for the upcoming Ouya Android gaming console. They plan to have the iPad and and DS version of Final Fantasy III available on the console at its launch. The Ouya device is still running through its Kickstarter campaign and has already raised about $6 million, 6 times its original funding target.
This campaign is one of Kickstarter's most successful campaigns ever. Thanks to the funding campaign, over companies and developers have started expressing their interest in the platform. OnLive, a system similar to NVIDIA's Grid gaming technology, will be supported natively on the console.
A few days ago, the design for the controller was released by the developers. What can be seen in the picture above is the sleek design which looks oddly similar to an Xbox 360 controller. Note the placement of the two thumbsticks, DPad, 4 buttons, and glowing center button. This should make it easier to transition from the 360 to the Ouya.
The specifications of the Xbox 720 development kit leak out and provide us with a look at what to expect from the Xbox 720 when it finally launches, likely next year. DaE, his pseudonym, tried to sell a "Durango" developer kit for a massive $10,000 on the Assembler Games forum over the weekend. His account was quickly banned and the post removed.
But that didn't stop us from scrounging some details, first. The kit reportedly ran an eight-core Intel CPU, an Nvidia graphics card, and 8GB of RAM. Not to shabby, and likely to match many of the gaming computers running around when it comes out. The RAM is expected to be half of this amount, however, as developers usually receive a system with higher specs.
A Microsoft Visual Studio screenshot suggests that the CPU used is of the x86 variety and that it supports AVX. This indicates a move away from custom hardware that caused Microsoft so many red rings of death. The details are of course unconfirmed, but other sites have confirmed with people working on games for the 720 that they are correct.
Supposedly game developers have had the development kit since February, something that shows Microsoft is well into its development cycle. This should mean that the Xbox 720 will see a 2013 release, as long as everything continues to go according to plan.
Fan remake of GTA III is nearly here, Grand Theft Auto III: Rage Classic, built on the GTA IV engine
The original Grand Theft Auto III is set to be released on the PSN store tomorrow, which is part of the PlayStation 2 Classics series. One of the seriously huge letdowns is that its being released without much change at all, so no HD support or trophy system. The game will sell for $10.
But, there's a fan remake on its way in the form of Grand Theft Auto III: Rage Classic. The Rage Classic version of the game is built from the RAGE engine that powered GTA IV, where the cars will reportedly drive better, and the on-foot combat is said to be world's better than the semi-mess GTA III was.
Rage Classic is built by the same people who bought you Vice City Rage, and San Andreas Rage with a forum thread for the project started last July, but doesn't have a release date for the first beta. If you'd like to read more on it, check out the 80-page thread for more details.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 PC system requirements released, won't need to sell a liver to play the game
BT Games have sneakily posted the PC system requirements for the upcoming Treyarch-made Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The system requirements are very modest meaning the game should run on even older systems:
- Processor: Celeron E1200 Dual-Core 1.6GHzor (Intel CPU) / Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 3600+ (AMD CPU)
- Graphics Card (NVIDIA): GeForce GT 120AMD GPU: Radeon HD 4550
- Memory: 2GB
- OS: Windows XP 32bit (or later)
- Direct X: DX9HDD
- Space: 10GB
Can you wait for COD: Black Ops 2? I don't think people will be buying it for the graphics, but the amount of production money that this games budget would be, could afford Activision to spend some money on a new graphics engine, don't you think?