CES 2014 - The buzzword at this years Consumer Electronics Show was definitely "Steam Machine," and with 12 official models being unveiled everyone was buzzing about Valve and its partners. The PC and Gaming enthusiast world in general do not like to purchase their rig pre-built though and Silverstone has a DIY Steam Machine Solution for that market.
Silverstone's new Raven Z RVZ01 Mini-ITX case is designed with small form factor builds in mind that need to lay horizontal for inclusion into a living room setup. Measuring in at just 15-inches wide by 13.5-inches deep, this case will fit into any space with clearance of about 4.5-inches, which makes it the perfect size for home theater use or to build that custom Steam Machine. The Raven Z RVZ01 has enough room inside for a decent sized GPU, ample storage, and even an AIO Liquid Cooling Solution.
Silverstone has removed the full 5.25-inch bay and replaced it with a space sized perfectly for a slot-load dvd drive, while enough room for a small PSU still exist. Magnetic dust filters cover the intake ports which makes for very easy cleaning. The fans pictured are part of Silverstone's new chassis fan lineup and are less than half the thickness of a regular 120mm fan. Finishing things off are vibration isolating rubber feet which ensure a quiet living room gaming experience
Less than 0.01 percent of consumer mobile apps will make money and be considered a hit by developers by the end of 2018, according to research firm Gartner. Almost 90 percent of paid apps are downloaded less than 500 times every day, earning less than $1,250 per day.
"The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many," said Ken Dulaney, Gartner VP and analyst, in a statement. "However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just fun."
Mobile app use grew 115 percent year-over-year from 2012 to 2013, though 94.5 percent of all mobile apps downloaded by 2016 will be free apps, Gartner predicts.
Valve pushed an updated version of Steam into the warm hands of gamers across the world yesterday, but most don't realize that this is actually quite a milestone for the world of virtual reality, or VR.
The latest version of Steam allows you to use a VR headset, such as the Oculus Rift, with Steam's Big Picture interface. Big Picture was originally made for the living room, but with a VR headset on, the interface has a curved screen which hovers in front of your viewpoint, where you can see all of it between games.
This is an interesting development, considering Steam Dev Days starts today. Steam Dev Days will see Valve embrace the world of VR, with rumors of the company unveiling its own VR headset. I don't think we'll see that, but more of a close embrace of all companies working on VR, such as Oculus VR. We should also see Oculus VR's Palmer Luckey on-hand at the event, but unfortunately, no press are invited to the event.
We reported yesterday that EA finally announced an offline mode for its SimCity reboot - something I think is too little, too late - but the update is at least here now. But, it took EA quite some time to get it here.
The developer has explained how much work it did to provide offline mode in SimCity, where Lead Engineer, Simon Fox, explains: "The original creative vision for SimCity was to make a game where every action had an effect on other cities in your region. As such, we engineered the game to meet this vision, setting up the player's PC (client) to communicate all of its information to the servers. That means that our entire architecture was written to support this, from the way that the simulation works to the way that you communicate across a region of cities. So yes, while someone was able to remove the 'time check' shortly after launch, they were unable to perform key actions like communicating with other cities that they had created locally, or with the rest of their region(s), or even saving the current state of their cities."
Fox says it took over six months of coding to get here, which is a massive effort for the developer. Fox continues: "My team did, however, see a path forward towards Offline, one that would maintain the integrity of the simulation. Lucy once said that Offline wouldn't be possible 'without a significant amount of engineering work,' and she's right. By the time we're finished we will have spent over 6 Â½ months working to write and rewrite core parts of the game to get this to work. Even things that seem trivial, like the way that cities are saved and loaded, had to be completely reworked in order to make this feature function correctly."
A small update was pushed out by DICE for Battlefield 4 on the PC yesterday, which includes a bunch of stability, balancing and player spawning fixes. Stealth jets have also been tweaked, with a 25% increase in the amount of damage their cannons can do. A full list of fixes is below:
We know that by leveraging AMD's so far impressive Mantle technology, DICE can squeeze up to 45% more performance out of Battlefield 4. But with a gaming market focused on first-person shooters (FPS), what can AMD's technology do for other genres, such real-time strategy (RTS) games?
Well, there's a game called Nitrous, which uses AMD's Mantle programming tool to speed up the communication between the CPU and GPU. This increase in communication sees the on-screen unit count climb from the usual 50-70 units, to around 5,000 units. These 5,000 units aren't just mindless pieces of robots on your screen, but they can be AI- or physics-driven entities.
Dan Baker, Oxide founder and previous Graphics Lead on Civilization V, has said: "It's a difference of at least an order of magnitude. Take the most complex scene you've ever seen in StarCraft II and multiply it by 10."
CBS plans to use six Ultra High Definition (UHD) cameras to broadcast Super Bowl XLVII, able to capture video up to 500 frames per second, providing a very clear, HD picture.
During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, many high-definition TV manufacturers showed off UHD providing a whopping 3840x2160 resolution to TV viewers.
"We're using an unprecedented array of technology," said Ken Aagard, CBS Executive VP of operations, in a statement. "This year, we'll be using an innovative native 4K camera replay system we're calling 'Heyeper Zoom,' and given the right moment, we're hoping we can show something that will be really special."
The fascination surrounding augmented reality will yield countless potential users in the consumer and enterprise markets, with AR adoption on the rise, businesses can use the budding technology to complement and enhance internal business processes, according to the Gartner research group.
Using AR to help identify potential workplace hazards, for example, could lead to a safer and more productive office or production facility. Location-based and computer aided vision is still developing, and it will take time for business to jump onboard, but there is great potential in the years to come.
"AR is most useful as a tool in industries where workers are either in the field, do not have immediate access to information, or jobs that require one or both hands and the operator's attention," said Tuong Huy Nguyen, Gartner principal research analyst, in a media statement. "As such, the impact on weightless industries is lower because these employees often have constant and direct access to the information they need (such as knowledge workers)."
Smart glass manufacturer Vuzix has entered a manufacturing partnership with a tier 1 partner to develop a new generation of see-through smart glasses. The undisclosed partner hasn't been announced, but the prototypes will use the Vuzix see-through optics engine, with the first phase to be completed in 2015.
Manufacturers are trying to develop new smart glasses that closely resemble designer eyewear, but additional research and development time is necessary.
"Many analysts and industry executives are expecting this space to exhibit continued rapid growth," said Paul Travers, Vuzix President, in a press statement. "This was evident at CES last week. With the anticipated growth in this sector, those wearable products that address the real needs of the customer stand to garner the largest market share."
Intel and other established tech companies are showing interest in the blossoming brain-computer-interface (BCI) market, according to Mind Solutions. BCI is a dedicated communication pathway between the human brain and a device - with early focus on helping medical patients recover from severe physical injuries.
With the help of Intel and other companies, Mind Solutions hopes to see BCI become more common place over the next few years. As the number of transistors powering PCs and mobile devices increases, especially as technology surpasses neurons in the human brain, there is great potential for long-term development.
"We will finally remove the fiction from the science fiction," said Mooly Eden, Intel head of perceptual computing, during CES. It will be possible to "open a car door with our finger, receive constant information about our health" along with using devices that "interface directly with your brain."