At a GDC press event today, Intel showcased its first Iris Pro-enabled CPU on a desktop motherboard -- socketed -- alongside Dx12 updates and gameplay capture advancements. The spotlight reaffirmed Intel’s commitment to LGA-socketed CPUs for the immediate future, offering desktop users with low TDP requirements a high-powered CPU and IGP solution. Valve further emboldened its argument by pointing toward Steam’s hardware survey, which now shows Intel’s graphics solution as consuming approximately 20% of the GPU cross-section. NVIDIA holds the majority of GPU marketshare.

It's been ages since I brought up Sierra Entertainment when talking about PC gaming. To my surprise, Sierra has recently reborn itself as an indie publisher & developer, bringing the acclaimed Velocity 2X to digital markets. 

Sierra completes its re-entry to PC with a return to a beloved adventure franchise, King’s Quest. King’s Quest introduces the series to newcomers with a modern presentation and some tweaks to its mechanics, but it ties in the story, the puzzle-solving, and the King’s Quest personality to make it as close of a true successor as fans have seen from 1998-onwards.

In this article, we focus on chapter 1 of the new King’s Quest title but also wrap-up with some comments about other Sierra games including Shiftlings and Velocity 2X – launching for Xbox One and Steam.

Alongside the release of its Shield gaming console, nVidia showcased its GRID game streaming service – thought of as similar to on-demand TV services – in a more final form. The service has been known to exist for a number of years now, but hasn’t advanced beyond internal and partner beta testing phases. Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of nVidia, demonstrated cloud gaming using the GRID service and Shield console simultaneously.

NVIDIA Unveils $199 Gaming Console at GDC 2015

By Published March 03, 2015 at 11:00 pm

At the Game Developers Conference 2015 in San Francisco today, GPU manufacturer NVIDIA unveiled that it would be launching a series of new devices in the immediate future. NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang didn't waste time in teasing the company's future direction, including promises of a retargeted living room gaming focus. Part of that focus will include an NVIDIA-made game console, smart TV, and supercomputer.

Dungeons & Dragons defined the role-playing genre in nearly every aspect of its modern representation. As video games became possible and grew in popularity, upstart game developers -- to include industry legend Richard Garriott -- began adapting their own D&D campaigns to PC gaming. This spawned the likes of Ultima and similar titles, but inevitably gave way to Baldur's Gates 1 & 2, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, and many more RPGs.

Classic RPGs with tabletop-like mechanics seem to be undergoing a bit of a resurgence right now. Shroud of the Avatar is being developed by Garriott's new team, Portalarium; Underworld Ascendant just received Kickstarter funding, presented by Paul Neurath's upstart; and now, Sword Coast Legends revisits gameplay elements introduced in Baldur's Gate, with the addition of a DM mode.

The only perceivable competitive threat faced by the world’s most successful silicon company, Intel, is the one posed by ARM. For an understanding of just how large Intel is, we can use market capitalization as a relative measurement: AMD sits under $3B these days, NVIDIA (for point of reference) is marked at $12.19B, ARM has grown to $25.5B, and Intel’s market cap rests near a staggering $161B. AMD is a non-threat, but ARM has continually ensured fierce competition in the mobile and integrated devices markets with its low-TDP, high-performance processors.

ARM wasn’t at GDC to talk about its CPUs, though.

GDC’s opening day saw a session with publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Pieces Interactive, the duo responsible for bringing Magicka 2 to the world. Magicka’s unique “competitive co-op” charm netted the first game a staggering 3 million units shipped, giving way to the forthcoming PvP “Wizard Wars” title and co-operative sequel, Magicka 2.

The annual Game Developers Conference is this week, with PAX East overlapping the tail-end of the event. We’ll be at both GDC and PAX, followed by the GPU Technology Conference about two weeks later.

What We Do: New Case Review Platform

By Published March 01, 2015 at 8:30 am

As we ramp into GDC and PAX East, we're using the gap in review time to overhaul our testing methodology and test platforms. Yesterday's post revealed our open air GPU testing station, a direction that'll drastically improve our efficiency when testing multiple graphics configurations. Today, we're looking at the new case review test bench. The site has grown substantially in the past two years; we'll no longer be using the same bench for testing all components, and will now use individual systems for testing each component. This will eliminate chance of test error, improve efficiency, and allow each of our writers to specialize in an area.

GN's Staff Writer & Social Media Manager, Patrick Lathan, will be handling most ATX and micro-ATX case reviews going forward. As such, I dropped off a load of parts for Patrick's new test bench, which will be put to immediate use with NZXT's S340. Following his review of the S340, we'll look at Be Quiet's Silent Base 800.

What We Do: GN's New Open Air Benchmarking Station

By Published February 28, 2015 at 8:30 am

We try to rotate our official test bench hardware every few years to maintain a relevant, but realistic configuration. Ideally, we use mid-range components that more accurately reflect what a consumer would build – an i5-3570K or i5-4690K, for instance, rather than a $340 i7-4790K. This platform is applied to all of our game benchmarks, which aim to report real-world framerates of newly-launched games.

In a recent attempt to increase testing efficiency, we opted to remove the tried-and-died NZXT Phantom 820 (the case is shot from years of abuse) and migrate to an HPTX top-deck tech station, or “test bench,” as we call it. The unit is fully open-air, exposing expansion cards and video cards for easier access and swapping when performing tests. There are some test concerns by opting for this route, but we've addressed those in our methodology (and will briefly mention them below).

As we've always updated our readers on the site's methodologies and proceedings, I thought I'd put together a video showcasing the new test bench. You can find that below.

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