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AMD recently launched a new open-source initiative called GPUOpen, a new philosophy backed by optimized software that's specifically designed to let developers harness more graphical power regardless of platform--PC or console. Team Red will discuss GPUOpen at GDC 2016 in March, and open up about the new project and how it'll shake up the world of gaming.
GPUOpen is essentially AMD's answer to NVIDIA's GameWorks, and will give devs more power over GPU integration and provide them with a wealth of tools, effects, SDKs, and a huge collaborative network of open-source software and connections with other developers. AMD also wants to use GPUOpen to remove the hardware limitation disparity between PC and consoles by giving "open and unrestricted access" to graphics hardware.
"GPUOpen is a new philosophy spearheaded by AMD that aims to bridge the gap between console and PC game development by allowing optimal access to the GPU for developers," reads a statement provided by AMD. "GPUOpen is a portal to effects, SDKs, libraries and tools that provides various levels of GPU access and functionalities for real-time graphics and content creation. GPUOpen marks the beginning of a new era where developers are able to achieve their artistic and technical vision via open and unrestricted access to the GPU."
AMD has just rolled its new Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1 drivers, bringing performance optimizations and long-overdue CrossFire support to a number of games.
The new Crimson drivers add CrossFire profiles for Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, allowing both games to leverage the power of multi-AMD video cards. Just four days ago AMD promised hotfix optimizations for Rise of the Tomb Raider, and it's great to see they've delivered.
Gamers instantly noticed the absence of CrossFire support in both games upon release, especially Crystal Dynamic's performance-demanding Rise of the Tomb Raider. Based on our Rise of the Tomb Raider PC analysis, AMD cards pushed their own muscle against NVIDIA's GPUs, despite the fact the game's engine was built with Team Green hardware.
The latest Firefox build, now up to 44, can give you push notifications even after you close the browser. They've also removed support for the RC4 encryption cipher and added some very powerful, and easy to use, developer tools.
The push notification feature lets you receive all notifications from any website that you give permission to, and if it's not loaded in a tab you'll still get the notification through Firefox itself. Mozilla says it's a useful feature for getting dynamic updates about weather and even your social network feed.
They've also stopped support for the aging RC4 cipher that's used for HTTPS connections. It was originally designed in 1987 and is incredibly weak by today's standards. It doesn't take long to crack a this cipher with today's compute power. So if a website uses that as their method of connection, then you'll get a warning page and you won't be able to connect. Modern SSL certificates don't make use of that anyway, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue. And those developer tools? Very slick.
Some astute individual went ahead and taken everything that Presidential candidate Donald Trump has said throughout this past year, and has created programming language that follows all those statements and rules. And the language doesn't follow any sort of logic whatsoever.
The language was created by two Rice University students during a hackathon, Chris Brown and Sam Shadwell, and it's based on Python. This appropriately named TrumpScript uses the basis of his Presidential campaign philosophy as the groundwork for how it operates. So you can't play with floating point numbers that are smaller than 1 million and users from China or Mexico can't use it either.
There're a lot more little nuggets of humor floating inside this semi-usable language, and you can play with it right now by heading over to the github page. But even in this incomplete state, it's a lot of fun to play with and you can even add your own audacious logic to it if you'd like.
Microsoft's Office Insider Program used to only be for Windows users, letting you download beta updates that let you preview experimental upcoming features. Now Apple users can get in on the fun with a preview program of their own.
The Mac Preview Program lets Office 365 subscribers opt into the program by checking the appropriate box from inside the Microsoft Auto Update tool. It's simple and generally the features that get pushed to the insider program don't cause Office in general to be unstable.
The blog post announcing the insider program didn't specify anything Mac users can look forward to, though it's not too much of a stretch to think that whatever features come to the Windows version will also find their way to the Mac version as well.
NVIDIA and the Khronos group had a developer day yesterday on the 19th where they talked about the proper application of Vulkan in games.
During the talk, Neil Trevett, who is the president of Khronos and a key employee of NVIDIA, went over how the open-standard API can be be used for some fantastic graphical effects. As you know, it's a low-level API with far less CPU overhead, that essentially spawned off of AMD's Mantle. Vulkan allows for greater access to the GPU than ever before, which is something that only consoles enjoyed previously.
Programming for Vulkan, and DirectX 12, is a different beast than DX11 or OpenGL. You can have explicit control over GPU functions and especially of multi-threading, which is a huge advantage that can lead to increased performance, or much better looking scenes at the same performance. So at this dev day, NVIDIA talked about how they're committed to the open-source API and how they want to help optimize their driver for it, to welcome it into the gaming world.
The government of British Columbia, Canada will be adding computer coding into its school curriculum over the next three years across all grades, including kindergarten. The new lessons will be integrated into mathematics and science programs, and apart of a new "applied design, skills, and technologies" (ADST) component. At the kindergarten level, it will be designed to encourage "exploratory and purposeful play" and stimulate ADST aptitude; older students will learn about computational thinking and programming in general; by the time grade 9 is over, students will be able to code on a basic level; high school students will be able to specialize in a particular area of technology.
The move serves as a pointed decision to address BC's technology skills shortage -- though the industry employs more than the forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries combined (86,000), there's traditionally been a much bigger focus on serving those now suffering industries instead. The government last month put up $100 million in funding for tech startups, so this is part of a broader plan. Google has put its money where its mouth is, too: its Codemakers program aims to bring programming to 100,000 Canadian children.
NVIDIA's latest beta update for its GeForce Experience software adds yet more juicy new features.
First up are desktop and windowed mode capture and streaming. Pretty self-explanatory: if you want to capture or stream non-game activities happening on your PC, you can now do that. As well, if you prefer to play your games in windowed mode, you can now do that while not being prohibited from recording or streaming. To access this unified mode, navigate to Preferences > Share and check "Turn on desktop capture for Instant Replay, Record, and Broadcast". Good to know: you can switch back and forth between fullscreen and desktop modes without interrupting recording or streaming, and you can capture screenshots while in this mode, too.
The "next evolution" of Skype is apparently group video calling on mobile, which comes about six years after 1 on 1 video calling on mobile, and 10 years after Skype video calling on non-mobile devices.
The new feature -- which supports Android, iPhone, iPad, and Windows 10 Mobile platforms -- isn't public yet, but you can pre-register here for a "sneak peek". It's not clear if you'll be able to try it immediately or if there's a wait period, but try for yourself and let us know what happens.
Login service Persona will be shut down as of November 2016. Launched by Mozilla five years ago, it has proven unpopular, with no signs of that changing anytime soon, so the company has decided to give it the boot.
Persona works much like OpenID and Facebook Connect, utilizing the BrowserID protocol to let you log in to websites without the hassle of site-specific passwords, while remaining secure; all that's needed is an email. Unfortunately for Mozilla and perhaps its users, the project has failed for unknown reasons.
November 30 is the shutdown date. At this time, support will end, and user data will be destroyed for security reasons.