Covering the Star Citizen technology demonstrations and planetary procedural generation v2.0, we noted that the live framerate, although variable, seemed to stick around the ~96~100FPS AVG range. Even the hardest dips fell to about 75FPS, mostly when the Constellation star ship entered the camera frustum, but overall frame throughput was consistent and fairly fluid. (Note: Some folks reporting low dips to ~36-43 at times. We did not watch the FPS counter for the entire demo.) Frametimes were also on-point, sitting at an average of about ~8~10ms delta between frames, or effectively perfectly fluid on a 60-120Hz display. Z-fighting and artifacting occurred in the demo, but that is known to the team and is mostly a result of the LOD scaling and pop-in. Runt frames, however, were not much of an issue during the gameplay demonstration.
That comes down to hardware. As we detailed heavily in our Pascal architecture and Polaris architecture deep dives, this generation of hardware has focused efforts on stabilizing frame throughput for greater consistency. Variance between frame delivery exceeding that of the monitor's refresh rate, e.g. 8ms for a 120Hz display, 16ms for a 60Hz display, will create more runt frames and screen tearing at time of playback. This is because the monitor, without adaptive sync tech (which the projector almost certainly did not have), slaves to the GPU and either waits on refresh (V-Sync) for completed frames or immediately “publishes” the frames to the screen (V-Sync off). The latter creates tearing by producing runt frames which don't fully “paint” to the display, with the former producing stuttering when framerate falls below the V-Sync threshold, triggering what is effectively a reprojection of the previous frame.
The ESL One in New York is just a week away. The top eight teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be duking it out for $250,000 starting on October 1st, and ESL One plans to stream the tournament on its official channel. Hardware sponsor nVidia, who are presently making noise that ESL One NY is “the first” major tournament to be held on Pascal architecture, will also be operating a live stream channel for online viewers.
GamersNexus articles have noted in the past that we have a history with board games and pen-and-paper RPGs. When we saw the animation and art style of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the game instantly stood out as worthwhile for PAX coverage.
Characters in Firetop Mountain are modeled like miniatures in a tabletop game. They’re not animated like a video game, either; their limbs don’t move, and instead the characters appear to be picked up and moved about by the player. More so than any title we can remember, including Sword Coast Legends, the sets look like elaborate Dungeons and Dragons pieces.
If MOBA games are clustered into the overall “strategy” genre, that makes it the most popular in the world. A game like League or HOTS differs heavily from RTS, but the former creators of Rise of Nations think that they can tap into a new audience of strategy fans with a fusion of genres.
Dropzone is an RTS that eliminates base building and instead focuses on player control over three hero-type units, leveraging a sports-like points system as a victory condition. The three pilots man mech fighters, primarily split between the classic Tank, Support, and DPS roles. An additional two classes will be added in the future. Players draft their pilots and load-outs before each match, each load-out offering various passive (Software) and active abilities.
Dawn of War III's presence at PAX West 2016 made for the first hands-on gameplay opportunity available to the public. The game is true to the RTS genre, but mixes and matches components from the first two titles to make more of a “core” RTS game. This time around, Dawn of War III has added base building back in, meshing with a push for large army sizes and a battlefield littered with Hero and Super units alike.
Dawn of War III is a Relic game. Aspects of gameplay are distantly familiar to Company of Heroes, but Dawn of War's third iteration has distanced itself enough (while running on the Essence engine) to feel mostly unique in its mechanics. For our hands-on demo, we played as the Space Marines (Blood Ravens, sub-faction of Blood Angels) in a late-game campaign mission with access to hero Gabriel Angelos and Super Unit Titan (piloted by Lady Solaria).
iBUYPOWER continues to show its support for the eSports community with a new tournament. The SI’s tournament series returns this fall with the CS:GO and Overwatch Invitational in September. From the 17th to the 18th, the top 8 teams in both games, as picked by iBP, will be competing for a combined $21,000 prize pool.
For our average multiple interviews per year with Chris Roberts and team, this year has been a quiet one. The team's been keeping their heads down while working on finalizing Squadron 42, the single-player release of Star Citizen, for a major release this year. Version 2.5 and 2.6 of the Star Citizen client will soon be released – a matter of days for 2.5, in theory – but that hasn't stopped CIG CEO Chris Roberts from detailing plans for 3.0 while at Gamescom 2016.
The Gamescom event primarily covered procedural planet technology. This is a topic we discussed with Roberts back in 2014, who stated the following when asked for CIG's definition of procedural generation:
Taken on the new Titan X Pascal video card, this No Man's Sky screenshot was exclusively sent to GamersNexus and shows the game completely maxed-out at 4K. We're looking at something like "ultra" settings, with sliders and all toggles enabled, from what GN was told. We received the image from Hello Games earlier today, who will be shipping the game on PC in a matter of hours.
No Man's Sky is procedurally generated, so it'll be difficult to do a side-by-side comparison with consoles. The full-size image can be found below.
We're concluding our trip in England already -- spending equal time on planes as in another country, at this point -- and will be posting several in-depth content pieces next week. In the meantime, we turn to gaming news for a few interesting remakes on PC, including Master of Orion, AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake), the potential for StarCraft HD, and the new "Pokemon Uranium" game from indie devs.
GN script writer and video editor Keegan Gallick has had some hands-on time with AM2R, and was saddened to learn that the title received orders from Nintendo to remove download links. No official C&D has yet been dispatched, but DMCA notices were issued. Check the video below for more (or the script, if you prefer writing):
We reported recently that upcoming space exploration title No Man's Sky had been leaked, following news of a not-so-problematic 3-day delay for the PC platform. Now, with still more copies of the game floating around thanks to retailers, devs Hello Games posted news of a day-zero update that expands gameplay on a large scale. Bug fixes and optimizations will be deployed alongside feature additions (and improvements), and future updates were also teased, like base building.
The team also indicated a server wipe – not that anyone should technically be on there, anyway – and highlighted that early players should delete save games to retrieve the new update.