Following our GTA V benchmark from yesterday, we decided to embark on a mission to determine the impact of texture qualities on system performance and visual acuity. We took screenshots of identical objects at Very High, High, and Normal texture resolutions at 4K, then compared the textures in combined screenshots. During this process, maximum theoretical VRAM consumption and texture quality impact on FPS and tearing were also analyzed, resulting in a specific settings benchmark for GTA V.

The launch of GTA V ($60) saw the publication of our video card benchmark earlier today, which looked at the performance of various configurations playing the new open world game. In the process of testing video cards – and while speaking with others who've attempted to play GTA V – we found several bugs and crashes that require attention.

The game is better-optimized than most day-1 PC titles, something for which Rockstar deserves credit, but still falls short for a few users. This article looks at GTA V crash fixes, black screens, frame stutter / drops, and lag and offers some work-arounds and solutions.

It's finally here.

Grand Theft Auto V took its time to migrate to PC, and from our preliminary overview and testing, it seems like the wait was worthwhile. GTA V's PC port exhibits unique PC features, like a VRAM consumption slider indicative of the maximum VRAM requirement of the current settings. The port also added first-person mode, complete with new 3D models and animations for the characters' arms, phone, guns, and what-have-you. As you'll find out in our benchmark results below, the game is also incredibly well-optimized across most graphics card configurations, something we can't say has been true for most games in recent history.

These things take time, and RockStar certainly took as much of that as it needed.

Using a suite of video cards spanning the Titan X, SLI GTX 980s, R9 290X and 270Xs, GTX 960s, 750 Ti cards, and more, we benchmarked GTA V in an intensive test. This GTA V PC benchmark compares FPS of various graphics cards at maximum settings in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.

This article makes no intentions to comment on gameplay value.

Epic Games on Level Design Psychology

By Published April 10, 2015 at 8:30 am

The East Coast Game Conference often feels like the “Epic Games Conference.” The show is indisputably dominated by local heavyweight Epic Games of Unreal fame, leveraging its home-field advantage to offer paneled insights on the game development process.

In hot pursuit of Bioware's humbling keynote on storytelling and narrative, we attended an Epic Games panel on the topic of Unreal Tournament's symbiotic, community-based development endeavors. The panel was headed-up by Senior Designer Jim Brown, an industry veteran who agreed to an on-camera discussion pertaining to oft-untold level design tactics.

The term “MMORPG” did not always exist in the games industry; something had to catalyze the word's origin, and as legend tells it, that catalyst was the team behind Ultima Online. Renowned game designer Richard Garriott and his team at Origin Systems – the industry's most successful PC games company of its era – contributed substantially to the modern world of role-playing games. Had Garriott not instituted his vision of fantasy role-playing games in the form of Akalabeth and Ultima, there's no doubt that RPGs could have “grown up” vastly differently.

The games industry circulates triple-A titles and genres in predictable waves. Last year saw the launch of several multi-million dollar titles, to include Watch Dogs and Titanfall, followed later by Destiny’s $500mm launch, Far Cry 4 and ACU, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and more. 2014 was a competitive year for big-name studios, though the indie scene was not unremarkable: Nidhogg, Shovel Knight, and Goat Simulator all made a huge impact.

Having played Fatshark Games’ Warhammer: End of Times - Vermintide, I’m left conflicted. I played the miniatures game for years -- spending untold fortunes on it -- and the idea of a game set in an Imperial (the largest Human faction) city falling victim to a mass uprising of the rat-like Skaven sounds fun and exciting. Even more interesting is the idea of a game following the events that occur simultaneously in the miniatures game, as is the case with Vermintide.

Randomly and procedurally-generated content is becoming more prevalent in independent games created by small teams. I discovered at PAX East that this is extending to a variety of game genres and genre hybrids.

Montreal studio Clever Plays has designed a unique twin-stick action RPG, Leap of Fate, that blends elements of magic and cyberpunk lore within a randomly-generated setting. Game Director Mattieu Bégin took me through half a standard playthrough and broke-down the game’s premise, core mechanics, and replayability.

Cliff Bleszinski has made video games for over half his life, hitting the industry with Jazz Jackrabbit and providing the vision for the Unreal and Gears of War franchises. After several highly-visible titles, he decided to leave video games indefinitely in 2012, departing Epic Games, the studio that got Bleszinski started.

Now, one of the most influential minds behind modern twitch shooters has reemerged in the industry with his co-founded studio, Boss Key Productions. Bleszinski's studio plans to arrive on the scene with tentatively-named Project Bluestreak.

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