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    by Published on August 27th, 2016 12:00 PM
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    The 10xx series by Nvidia has been dominating the scene in terms of performance for a few months now since the release of the GTX 1080/1070. Recently, Nvidia released the much more affordable GTX 1060 into the wild with a price target of approx. $200. This is likely to compete with the price point set by AMD with the RX 480. Both GPUs ...
    by Published on August 23rd, 2016 12:30 AM  Number of Views: 925 
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    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released on the 19th of May 2015. It was one of the most awaited games of that year and managed to receive both critical and fan acclaim. It currently stands as the most awarded video game in history, as well as the highest rated game on the PC platform by user score.

    Developed by Poland-based studio, CD Projekt Red and using the IP of the Cult Classic Polish fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, the game is also an example of remediation in gaming which makes it all the more interesting. But is all of this praise and attention really deserved? Letís find out!


    Powered by the new REDengine 3 which was crafted from the bottom up to support open world games and run on 64-bit platforms with great multi-threaded support, at least visually Witcher 3 is one of the most impressive open world RPGs ever made.


    One of the most impressive things within Red Engine 3 is its ability to render gigantic worlds. With an impressive geometry draw distance and an excellent foliage and tree draw distance, it manages to feel vast. Smooth LOD transitions avoid the dithering effects that might be seen in other open world titles. Tweaking the ini files can push many of those aspects further (into the absurd, hardware destroying range) but honestly even without such tricks it looks and feels massive.

    One can see the towers of Novigrad, the game's biggest city, the ancient fortresses or mountains of Skellige from kilometers away. This adds to immersion and helps players understand their position within the world no matter where they are.

    Of particular note is just how complex the design can be. For example, the Cities in the game can have complex sewer system, a street level full of detail and AI simulation and still have many buildings with custom details and objects inside. All of this is done without loading screens or hitches. This is something few games have so far managed to do whilst keeping decent performance and it does feel awesome. Novigrad City itself is one of the crowning achievements of The Witcher 3, technologically speaking.


    The Foliage rendering system is also very complex. The huge amount of leaves, grass, trees and bushes is staggering. It really does remind you of Crysis in a sense. The distance at which trees and bushes can be seen is vast and tends to give the game a sense of scale as well s aid immersion.

    With that being said, often parts of the foliage may appear aliased or not as high quality as they could have otherwise been. Whilst the general quality is good, those inferior parts exist.

    Witcher 3 is a game with generally excellent texture work. On Ultra settings, 16x anisotropic filtering as well as high resolution mipmaps and textures are in use. Characters, terrain, most important to gameplay animals and many key items look exceptional. A lot of work was done to make sure the details most people would notice or look at would look amazing and it shows. Geralt and other main or important characters look amazing, easily some of the best in gaming. Meanwhile, even third tier random peasants and guards look quite good both in cutscenes and out. However ...
    by Published on August 6th, 2016 09:00 PM  Number of Views: 567 
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    2. Gaming
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    A game is nothing but an idea without an engine, and in today's gaming industry there are many options when it comes to engines and APIs. When cost and royalties are factored in, the choice may become difficult. But in this article we are putting that aside and focusing purely on technology, and believe it or not, for the most part it is quite clear which technologies have the most potential.

    By game technology, as you may have guessed we are largely referring to game engines, but also physics engines, graphics APIs, and audio APIs.



    The Engine


    Several engines are worthy of respect, and many are not. Far too many studios stick to their own inferior, outdated, and terrible engines just because of familiarity. Bethesda Game Studios and Bohemia Interactive are perhaps most guilty of this because their games are in need of a new engine more than most others.

    But one engine seems to have it all. One engine supports practically every platform you can name, has an array of both graphics and audio API options, is very easy to use even for newcomers, is loaded with most of the features one could ask for, and allows you to build essentially any kind of game. And it's free to install and use, and is even open source! This engine is Unreal Engine 4.

    Unreal Engine has come a long way. Unreal Engine 3 was perhaps the most used game engine for the last 9 years. Examples of UE3 games include, but are not limited to:

    • Every game by Epic Games since 2007 obviously, such as Unreal Tournament 3 and the Gears of War games.
    • Mass Effect trilogy
    • Every Batman game since and including Arkham Asylum.
    • Borderlands and Borderlands 2
    • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, Rising Storm, and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
    • Killing Floor 2
    • Thief
    • The
    ...
    by Published on July 21st, 2016 01:00 AM  Number of Views: 1043 
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    DOOM, also known as DOOM 4 or DOOM 2016, is a reboot of the classic FPS franchise developed by id Software. The months leading up to the game's release were filled with some dread and negativity as it's multiplayer beta was met with largely negative responses. Bethesda also did not release review copies for the game on time, something that made people question it's quality as well as the publisher's trust in their own product.

    Despite all that, on release it managed to turn around the expectations and is now generally considered to be a great game by both critics and fans alike. We have waited for 12 years to see this game... so is there merit to this impressive 180 in public opinion?Powered by the new id Tech 6, DOOM looks and performs amazingly. Id Software has really outdone themselves this time. Whilst the previous id tech 5 did perform quite well even on low end systems (after some patches and driver updates at least) it also suffered from a fairly flat and non-dynamic lighting system and noticeable texture pop-in. However, the new tech largely fixes all of these issues. It represents a truly massive overhaul of an ambitious but ultimately flawed game engine, with some lessons taken from their other masterpieces like id tech 4. DOOM certainly is built to impress.

    The game ...
    by Published on July 10th, 2016 05:00 AM  Number of Views: 787 
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    2. Gaming
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    It is time for another RPG article! Role-Playing Games are endangered, and with this article and many of our others we do our best to preserve knowledge relating to them. In this article we have created a "tier list" if you will of wRPGs, sorted from least role-playing to most. Here is the catch; we are only listing story-driven RPGs with a solid amount of role-playing, an amount somewhat satisfactory to us or better. Every wRPG excluded on the list either does not provide enough role-playing to be worthy of inclusion, or we simply have not played it.

    The purpose of this article is to enlighten gamers as many of today's gamers have only experienced dumbed down RPGs with a minimal amount of role-playing, such as The Witcher franchise (something we have written about before). Mainstream role-playing games today are very limited with how much role-playing they actually provide. Only indie RPGs provide enough to compete with many of the classics.

    For more details, go on to the next page to begin scrolling through our tier list. Tier 1 represents the most role-playing, while Tier 5 represents the least. The actual order within each individual tier is unsorted; every game listed within a tier has a comparable amount of role-playing. Note that we have excluded The Elder Scrolls franchise since we are focusing exclusively on story-driven RPGs. The Elder Scrolls has always focused primarily on sandbox role-playing, letting the player do whatever they want, and sacrifice typical role-playing aspects for this (limited variation in dialogue for example).

    It is important to note that the only thing we are taking into consideration is how much role-playing each game actually offers, not the quality of each individual game. All is explained in the next pages, for each individual game. This article does not contain many spoilers, and the few present are behind spoiler tags.



    Divinity: Original Sin (2014)


    With this entry we are covering both the original game as well as Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition, as both are really the same game despite all the enhancements.

    This game has many different classes (especially Enhanced Edition) although no race selection. The player does control two characters instead ...
    by Published on June 21st, 2016 12:00 AM  Number of Views: 1087 
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    Now time for a retro review! Return to Castle Wolfenstein was a game released in 2001 to great critical and fan acclaim for both its single-player and multi-player. The game is lauded as being the very best of the extremely long running Wolfenstein series and that says a lot considering the pedigree of the franchise. It's influence was felt throughout many newer titles, from Battlefield to Call of Duty, STALKER to Metro 2033.
    Was all of this fanfare warranted though?

    RTCW was a truly amazing visual spectacle way back in 2001. Running on a heavily modified Quake 3 engine and featuring high end features such as TruForm (tessellation), the game was a technological masterpiece for its time.

    It is an example of early realistic, muscle-based facial animation technology that also managed to operate on characters dynamically according to the situation (in a manner similar to the tech later used in HL2 and TF2) as well as some really interesting and intense atmospheric effects and details thrown into the world. For example, the ...
    by Published on June 17th, 2016 06:00 AM  Number of Views: 1188 
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    This is a big question. Some gamers would be appalled at the sight of it, but we find it necessary to tackle this subject. There are many who would have you believe all of the most loved classic video games, particularly from the 1990s and early 2000s, are significantly better than today's spiritual counterparts. Most gamers today wouldn't pay much attention to such claims, but we find the subject fascinating. Are all or even most of the classics really much better games, and if so better in what ways? If not, worse in what ways?

    In this article we will explore these questions with some of the most praised classics and their equivalents today, in several different genres. Beware that every page after this one will contain spoilers. Below is a listing of all the games featured in this article.

    Classics

    • Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (RPG, BioWare)
    • Neverwinter Nights (RPG, BioWare)
    • Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, and Storm of Zehir (RPG, Obsidian)
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (RPG, BioWare)
    • Planescape: Torment (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
    • Fallout and Fallout 2 (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
    • Icewind Dale (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and IV: Oblivion (RPG, Bethesda Game Studios)
    • Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil - Code Veronica (survival horror, Capcom)
    • Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 (psychological horror/survival horror, Konami)
    • Thief Gold and Thief II: The Metal Age (stealth, Looking Glass Studios)
    • Deus Ex (shooter/stealth/RPG hybrid, Ion Storm)
    • Half-Life and Half-Life 2 (shooter, Valve)
    • Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas (open world action, Rockstar)


    Newer Counterparts

    • Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Inquisition (RPG, BioWare)
    • Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 (RPG, Obsidian and Bethesda Game Studios respectively)
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (RPG, Bethesda Game Studios)
    • The Witcher trilogy (RPG, CD Projekt Red)
    • Metro 2033 and Last Light (shooter + survival horror, 4A Games)
    • Underhell (survival horror, indie)
    • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl (sandbox shooter with survival and RPG elements, GSC Game World)
    • Amnesia: The Dark Descent (psychological horror/survival horror, Frictional Games)
    • SOMA (psychological horror/survival horror, Frictional Games)
    • Dishonored (stealth/action, Arkane Studios)
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (RPG/stealth/shooter hybrid, Eidos Montreal)
    • Grand Theft Auto V (open world action, Rockstar)


    Spoilers begin on the next page.



    To start things off, we'll look at how the classic BioWare RPGs compare to the newer ones listed on the first page. We will analyze each and every game to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of each.

    Baldur's Gate (1998)

    Baldur's Gate is a Dungeons and Dragons based RPG series utilizing pause-and-play gameplay from an isometric 2.5D perspective. It is one of the most famous RPG franchises ever because the first game, Baldur's Gate, was the first game of its kind, which is also the main reason why it's praised so much.


    Baldur's Gate was recently remade in the form of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition with modern operating system and resolution compatibility. So those curious about the game can now easily play it.

    This game set some trends that perhaps every other BioWare game would follow, such as the inclusion of a plot twist, the "full circle" trope in which important plot events very late in the game occur where the game began, and of course the fact that you play as a character (not necessarily a hero due to the role-playing) who tries to save the world (Dragon Age II may be the only BioWare game to exclude this).

    The pause-and-play gameplay is something that BioWare uses to this day as well. But both Baldur's Gate games have far more complex and tactical gameplay than any modern BioWare game (and any modern mainstream RPG), with more diversity as well in the form of playable races and classes. You also play as a relatively "clean slate" or a protagonist with only a loosely defined background, in this case it is only initially known that the protagonist lived in Candlekeep studying under Gorion for most of his/her life (this does suggest the protagonist should be a Wizard). Although it is revealed later that the protagonist may carry the blood of Bhaal, former Lord of Murder.


    Baldur's Gate: Reloaded, a faithful yet unofficial remake of Baldur's Gate.

    Baldur's Gate is known first and foremost for its role-playing; being able to play as almost any kind of character. However, ...
    by Published on May 27th, 2016 06:00 AM
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    2. Gaming
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    One of the biggest tragedies in the video game industry is that most truly brilliant classics are not remade. Technology has advanced so much that many classics can now be fully realized on platforms like Unreal Engine 4, but such things are very rare. Thankfully one of the most beloved PC classics (originally released on Macintosh actually) has been remade, and that classic is Myst. In this article we will evaluate this remake, realMyst: Masterpiece Edition, and see how it fares not just as a remake but as a game itself in this modern era of gaming.



    Like the original, realMyst: Masterpiece Edition is a first-person puzzle adventure game taking place in a distinct fantasy setting. It is remade on a brand new 3D engine, while the original had pre-rendered environments and point-and-click movment. So by clicking, you'd teleport forward in the original. Nobody can truly prefer this original style, but regardless realMyst: Masterpiece Edition can be played in that style. Or it can be played as it should, as a 3D first-person ...

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