Steve Burke

Steve Burke

Friday, 31 October 2014 12:28

Star Citizen to Unveil FPS Module Tomorrow

The world's most heavily crowdfunded game, Star Citizen (now at $60 million), just announced that the impending Star Citizen Fan Event in Melbourne will showcase the FPS module for the first time. The Star Citizen Fan Event will be held in Melbourne, Australia on November 1 at 9PM local time -- that'd be 6AM EST on Saturday, for East Coasters. Viewers worldwide will be able to tune-in to the broadcast on the Roberts Space Industries website.

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Valve's wallet-draining endeavors have started early for this year's Halloween, it appears. Then again, apparently Halloween is now holiday enough to mandate sales. The good news is that Valve's kept it classy with games loosely related to All Hallows.

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Our YouTube following has grown substantially over the past year, largely thanks to the tremendous support of our regular readers and active community. Having recently hit a milestone of 2,000,000+ video views on YouTube (with hundreds of millions of minutes of content consumed), we announced that we'd like to give back to the community with some big hardware prizes.

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We're currently in the process of GPU benchmarking Lords of the Fallen, a game that our own Nick Pinkerton previewed back at PAX Prime 2013. The game hosts impressive graphics technology in partial thanks to partnership with nVidia, who offer their GameWorks graphics SDK freely to game developers.

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Developers CI Games and Deck13 utilized GameWorks (detailed here) to introduce physics-responsive particle effects, soft body (cloth, fabric) physical effects, volumetric lighting that responds to transparency and surface opacity / reflectivity, and destructible environment effects.

It's not often that I get a break from benchmarking games so that I can actually play them. That's normally Nick Pinkerton's job, our Senior Editor tasked with handling our game content these days. Civilization is an interesting game to benchmark; it's always been regarded as CPU-intensive due to the heavy processing done between turns and has GPU-intensive buffer requirements for map movement. For some unknown reason, GN staff decided to actually play the game.

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We've certainly done worse.

Sorta.

Our YouTube channel just recently hit 2,000,000 views and the website is receiving approximately 3.5 million pageviews per year these days. Things are going well – GN is growing up. In light of our tremendous success this year, specifically celebrating the growth in YouTube channel popularity, we're excited to announce our next big giveaway!

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The Zotac GTX 980 Extreme ($610) is the most disappointing, saddening attempt at a high-end overclocking device I've ever seen. I've never been so resonantly disheartened by a review product. I've also never seen an aftermarket product perform worse than the reference model while being priced more than 10% higher. The added cost is justified – on paper – by several factors, including a better cooler and higher bin (better GM204).

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Testing Zotac's GTX 980 Extreme overclocking card began with excitement and anticipation, rapidly decaying as despair and uncertainty took hold. When the card failed to overclock higher than my reference GTX 980 ($550), I first suspected error on my end – and proved that suspicion wrong – and then went to Zotac with strong emphasis that the BIOS needed a serious overhaul. A BIOS update should have been quick and easy if no hidden problems existed in the hardware, as other video card manufacturers have proven in the past. We published all of this about a week ago, firmly stating that no one buy the GTX 980 Extreme until we could revisit the topic.

We're revisiting it.

The release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel saw our staff benchmarking the game's framerate performance across various graphics cards, as always. We'd already previewed the gameplay mechanics of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel at PAX, but now that the game's released, it's time to resolve some of the most common crash fixes. This is something we do regularly for major releases, including Watch Dogs and Titanfall in previous launch cycles.

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As with most major launches these days, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel suffers from some flickering, crashing & CTDs, black screens, freezes, and PhysX issues. This guide will help resolve a few of the issues we've uncovered thus far.

As we tend to do with new game releasesGRID, Titanfall, and Watch_Dogs included – we decided to put Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel through its performance paces. We originally spoke about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel at PAX, where we got hands-on with the game and discussed gameplay mechanics. Since then, the title has shipped at the now-normal $60 price-tag, complete with the usual nVidia partnership and a basis on Unreal Engine.

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We've been playing around with Zotac's GTX 980 Extreme for about a week now. The story of Zotac in this launch cycle is sort of an interesting one. The company has been making mini-PCs (“ZBOX”) and nVidia video cards for many years now, but they've managed to remain in an unremarkable B-list / C-list of vendors in the GPU market. I don't think many would really disagree with the statement that Zotac has historically not been the first company that pops into mind when looking for a new GeForce card. But all of that changed with the GTX 980 and Game24, where we caught our first glimpses of a revitalized effort to capture the limelight.

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From a design standpoint, the GTX 980 Amp! Extreme is positioned to be the best overclocking GM204 device on the market, short of adding liquid. It will compete with K|NGP|N on air. The triple-fan setup uses dual flanking exhaust and a single, central intake fan, with a massive copper coldplate mounted to the semiconductor, stemming from which are four heatpipes that feed into an aluminum sink. This will help cool the ~171W TDP device that can theoretically (2x8-pin) consume upwards of 300W (or more) when overclocked correctly. Additional aluminum is available near the somewhat over-engineered VRM, making for what should be cooler phases when placed under load. The problem is just that, though – we can't place the card under load. Yet. We've been trying for an entire week now, and I think we've deduced the heart of the issue.

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