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DX11 is supposed to be the next big thing. At least that is what AMD and Microsoft would like you to think. On the surface (and in reality) it is a good step in the right direction for gaming. The problem lies in the way that it might be implemented by developers.
When we first heard that DiRT 2 and Racecar Driver Grid 2 were going DX11 we were very excited. Now we hear that the DX11 implementation will be a partial effort. Codemasters is not going to launch the game with full DX11 support.
Our sources tell us that there will be some of the more visible DX11 eye-candy enabled, but not all. This is a little disappointing to be honest, especially given the fact that AMD is offering coupons for a free copy of the game when it launches around the 23rd of October.
Speaking with other sources we see a pattern of developers half-heartedly implementing DX11 support. This is a shame as DX11 IS a much better gaming API than DX10. It should be easier to code for as well. To me this shows a sense of laziness on the part of game developers. If they would stop reusing code and engines far past their graphical usefulness then we might see some truly great games visually.
Then again considering the terrible plots and awful gameplay in most of today's games it is not surprising to see this happening. I mean, if they cannot be bothered to write a compelling story or side plots, why bother to write complete code for DX11 support.
Of course, there are and will always be bright spots. Word has gotten to us that while Modern Warfare II will not have DX11 support it will be as immersive as the first in the series. We also hear that the next Battle Field title will have full DX11 support.
In similar fashion to ATI's deal with Valve in providing coupons for copies of Half Life 2 upon launch when purchasing select DirectX 9 based ATI graphics cards, it's been said that the imminent release of ATI's next family of desktop graphics cards, the Radeon HD 5800 series will come shipped with a coupon that allows the buyer to grab a copy of Dirt 2, the first DirectX 11 based game to hit the market.
However, no doubt due to shaking hands on optimization processes that favour ATI based graphics cards, the game's original launch date of September 10 has fallen back and at the least it won't be available until sometime in November, whilst the 5870 will inevitably be on shelves well before then, so you'll have to hold onto your coupon for a while before you can make use of it.
So you don't want to pay for a high powered computer, or you just can't afford to. Well there is no reason to worry or to sell of your younger/older brother (or the kids). All you really need to do it wait for OnLive to get going and you are good to go.
OnLive is a cloud based system that allows you to play games even on the lowest end hardware. To do this they execute all of the commands and code in a large power cloud system and send you only the parts that need to be displayed on your system. It is like a high performance version of the remote desktop protocol.
OnLive is currently in an invite only Beta they are still accepting requests for invitation so you could hear over and see if you can get in.
I will be very interested to see how this works out and what hardware these games will really run on. After all a service like this is not in the interest of the gaming or hardware industry at all.
NZXT has pushed another gaming case out the door. The new case called the Lexia S is designed for optimal air flow with up to 5 fans.
NZXT has included spots for 120mm fans in the front, side, and back while a 140mm fan exhaust air out the top of the Lexia S. The Lexia S has a built in fan controller to allow you to adjust for noise or for cooling.
The overall look is reminiscent of the Guardian case and features a sleek black front and angled smoked window on the side. The interior will be all black which should help make your components more visible.
The Lexia S will retail for around $70 which is a good price for a mid-sized tower with high airflow.
Ok so I am not a fan of the PS3. I will admit it I do not see anything that makes me want to get one. In fact I really feel that way about most consoles (even though I own a Wii and an XboX).
However there is one thing about the PS3 that I do like; that is Gran Turismo. It is simply a stunning game visually and in terms of game play.
Today I saw some of the first screen shots of the 5th installment of this game. All I can say is Wow. The graphics look great and I know from playing this game in the past that the controls are also top notch.
Joystiq also put up some screen shots of GT5 for the PSP. With all the new game titles coming out soon it is going to be a great time to be a gamer no matter what platform you prefer.
Nintendo has finally come out of its tiny little hole. What hole is this you might ask? Well it is the hole they have been living in while they thought it was ok to charge for the internet, or at least their internet channel.
Starting today you can get this handy little feature (complete with a new version of Flash Lite 3.1). This means that now you can browse the internet from your couch with a lazy wave of your hand. What could be better?
Well I guess there is more; you get access to a virtual QWERTY keyboard, favorites and even a home page.
If you already bought the browser for the previous 500 Wii Points you will get to pick an NES game of your choice just to make up for it.
Since the browser is provided by Opera and there are no alternatives on the Wii for Internet browsing; I have to wonder if there will be a complaint about people not being given a choice to use firefox, Chrome or IE...I will have to look into that one.
We are always quick to dispel any FUD we find. So when we saw the reports that Twitter and Facebook were only going to be free for the Xbox Live Gold members we were very disappointed but did not want to post about it right away.
Well we are glad that we waited. It seems that the information that caused these reports is inaccurate. MCV UK has been in touch with Microsoft and they have said that the statement that was at the bottom of the price cut announcement was not correct.
"Xbox Live Gold Membership will be required for Twitter and Facebook when they are available"
Apparently MS has not finished detailing how they are going to integrate these functions yet so they are not even sure what you will need. The integration is probably going to be part of the Fall update but nothing official has been said. If MS requires a gold membership it would hurt the adoption of these features. After all they are free on the PC, iPhone, BlackBerry, and even the PS3.
I guess we all will have to wait to find out what will happen with these new social networking tools for the Xbox 360.
If you are a fan of BioShock then this is right up your alley. After a couple of years wait BioSock 2 is coming closer to its release. The developers of BioShock and BioShock 2 are the remnants of Looking Glass Studios. LGS was the master mind behind the games System Shock and System Shock 2 (are you seeing a trend here?)
As with the move from System Shock to System Shock 2 BioShock 2 takes place years after the event. Unlike System Shock 2 you are returned to the scene of the original event; the City of Rapture. You take on the character of the first Big Daddy.
This time due to your status as a very powerful Big Daddy you have access to the outside of the city. This was not possible before and adds a new level to the scope of game play. The same role-playing like style exists in BioShock 2 that was pioneered in System Shock 2 is present in the new BioShock. This system has been copied by many other games including Lucas Arts and even id Software in their latest release Wolfenstein.
2K Games has improved this system by allowing you to arm multiple "Plasmids" at once. You can place one in each hand and even combine them into something unique. This adds to your power and death dealing ability.
But all is not beer and pizza as a Big Daddy. Although you are much faster than you were as a Big Daddy in the first game, 2K games have created a character to oppose you that is just as powerful and what's more, much faster than you are. This is the Big Sister.
As the Sea of Dreams takes place 10 years later 2k Games has gone to great lengths to make sure the environment matches what you would expect from the dead city. The illumination is flickering and dim. Everything appears dank and dirty. This all adds to the horror based theme that came across so well in BioShock.
This is one game that I know we are looking forward to very much. 2K games says it should be out sometime in 2010
The rumors about Microsoft dropping the price on the Xbox 360 Elite have come true. But the secondary rumor about the Xbox 360 Pro going the way of the Dinosaur also seems to fallen through a lttle.
According to Microsoft the new pricing will put the Elite at $299.99 a full $100 cheaper than before while the Pro will drop down to $249.99. These will continue to be sold until current supply is gone and then they will be no more.
The pricing puts the Xbox 360 Elite in line with Sony's new PS3 Slim. But according to MS that was not the plan. MS says that they had the price reduction in mind for the holiday season. They have also removed the HDMI cable from the packaging saying that their research indicates most people do not use them.
I am not sure about these claims from MS. They might be thinking of the Holiday Season but I have a feeling they are thinking about how well the Xbox will do against the PS3 Slim and Wii. As for the HDMI cable considering that HD content is now available from Xbox Live and more and more people are using HDMI on their home entertainment systems it does not seem to fit the current state of the market.
Another thing that is odd is the decision not to put in BluRay or a Browser. MS says this is because people can get HD content from Xbox Live but it seems to me that many people might see a BLuRay Player as a bonus. This was many people's reasons for getting the PS3 when it came out. It was the least expensive BluRay player and they got a console to boot.
As for the Browser, well MS says it would be awful. Of course Twitter and Facebook are ok just not the full internet. In the entire situation around the price drop is confusing, I get the feeling that MS is not being completely honest.
Here is some news that we all have been waiting for. The crew over at DICE has been hard at work on the Frostbite Engine. This is the engine that is used in the Battlefield games. The current version supports up to DX10 and can be run on the XboX 360, PC, and PS3. The new version will have support for DX10.1 and DX11.
The main feature they are interested in is the highly parallel workings of the engine. It is capable of running two to eight threads. This is perfect for the i7 and represents a real multi-core advancement over past games.
The actual port of the game was not that difficult as it reportedly only took three hours to complete. You can now add Battlefield to the list of coming DX11 games. This shows a much faster adoption than DX10 did when it was at the same place. Of course there are not as many differences between DX10 and 11 as there were between DX9 and 10.
In all it makes the outlook for DX11 games and hardware for the coming year.