Steam Uses One Billion GB of Bandwidth in 2011

By Published January 06, 2012 at 6:39 pm

steam-logoWith the days of physical retail hanging on by a strand, this news shouldn't come as much of a surprise to many of you: Steam's digital distribution service reached an all-time high in 2011, securing 14.5 million game registrations and 40 million accounts.

Steam now has 1,800 games listed in its distribution database with a mere 18 of those being free-to-play, but the company promises many more FTP titles in 2012. Valve has consistently reported a 100% sales increase each year.

 

Our SSD article kicked off a discussion among a few forum users and commenters, even a couple of staff, all wondering how to better manage limited SSD space when Steam forces its games to be installed on a single location on the hard drive. Due to this Steam restriction, you're basically forced to have all of your games on a single, designated drive, at which point -- if you had a 60-100GB SSD, you'd have to add and remove games quite frequently.

In this short tutorial, we're going to address the question of how to move Steam games to a different drive or folder/directory. It's quite easy, actually, and we're going to do it all with a simple utility that I discovered about a year ago when I had the same questions.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has certainly captured our attention, and although beta glitches and gameplay redundancies had us worried for a brief period, most of those have been addressed to some extent now that the game is rolling in full-force.

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Skyrim Save Game Manager Mod

By Published January 05, 2012 at 2:42 am

skyrim-savegameManaging games in Skyrim can be unnecessarily complex when juggling multiple characters or if others use your computer, and while save game managers are no new concept, we thought we'd provide a brief guide on how to make your life easier by using Skyrim save game manager mods.

This is by no means a new mod -- it came out back in November -- but with the recent questions coming in to us via comments, forums, and email, it's time to publish a guide for everyone. Note: If you're looking for how to change your character's individual stats, items, or appearance, this is the article you want. It's simple, here's how it works:

If our in-depth case fan tweaks - a topic which only very, ah, special people find interesting - is any indicator, we love hardware. Especially gaming hardware -- it's customizable, it's tweak-able, and it is effectively an expensive toy, albeit one that you really don't want to break. Or share. Get away, it's all mine!

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The hardware release schedule for CPUs, video cards, chipsets, and other important gaming equipment isn't firm yet, but this article collates all the data we have accumulated over the past months to combine a 'hardware release timeline' for 2012. We'll be pinpointing the upcoming Intel Ivybridge release date as well as AMD's second iteration of Bulldozer-esque CPUs, the hard drive market, the new 79XX AMD/ATi video card series, and some cool nVidia gear as well. This guide will give you a solid idea of whether or not you should wait to upgrade or act now. We've made a convenient chart of the pending releases below...

The Do's and Don'ts of Scary Games

By Published January 02, 2012 at 6:04 am

I've recently seen a trend in many horror games: They aren't scary... granted, this trend is scary in itself. This has been a problem ever since Resident Evil 4's launch back in 2005 and has only continued to get worse. In effort to help developers presently working on a horror title, such as Vivec Entertainment's upcoming Shadow of a Soul, I've compiled a list of "the Do's and Don'ts" to help ensure people playing your game will never be able to sleep again. It's been a while since our previous 'Fear of the Dark' article, so it's time to dive back in!

dead-space-flamethrowerNote to self: keep personal flamethrower within arm's reach at all times.

With the myriad of fan sizes available today it can be tough to truly understand the difference of larger fans without hands-on experience -- that's what we're here for. Our previous guide explained the basics of fan placement and our recommended number of fans per system, this guide will go into depth on fan sizes, quieter gaming fans, and we'll set the stage for our next article, which will cover case fan bearing types and technologies.

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120mm fans used to be the prevailing option for gaming cases, but in the last year or two, companies like Cooler Master, Antec, and Thermaltake have pushed the combinatory usage of 140mm, 200mm, and even 220mm+ fans in their larger cases. 120mm fans are still abundant in the sub-$100 range, but the larger variations do have a noticeable impact on noise-levels and cooling efficiency. This is for reasons that are much more transparent than most would think -- let's make it easy by looking again at the physical properties of fan size:

Kill Everyone in Skyrim - No Essential NPCs

By Published December 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

If you haven't done it yet, you've thought about doing it: making all NPCs killable in Skyrim, as was possible in Morrowind ("A thread of the prophecy, blah blah blah"), is now easily done through the installation of this simple mod.

skyrim-npcTime to return the favor, bitches.

The "No Essential NPCs" mod by Trira removes the 'essential' characteristic of all (or nearly-all) NPCs in Skyrim, making them killable - including that Brynjolf jerk in Riften and the Imperial generals.

Stick Man Rescue Game Revealed

By Published December 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Nearly every child that had to suffer through an otherwise unbearable school session can recall the numerous, embattled stick figures that they had drawn as the school hours droned on -- or, at least, I can. TikGames attempts to pull from these simplistic-yet-innovative concepts that were initially born out of our boredom; in their upcoming PSP game, Stick Man Rescue, players will attempt to save stickmen from horrible deaths involving our favorite stick-murder mechanisms: fire, acid pits, enemy stickmen, electrical doom, explosions, and other equally-deadly alternatives.

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This low-difficulty guide addresses what I call "fan placement theory," essentially looking at how many fans gaming computers should have, where they should be placed, and what the ratio of intake-to-exhaust case fans should exhibit. Cooling for gaming rigs -- even in the budget build guides we write -- has the power to inhibit gaming (and even damage components) if it is insufficient, so it is of high priority that you get your cooling figured out early in the game to increase the longevity of your gaming computer.

fans-sliderOne of the fantastic cases we saw at PAX East '11.

This is part of an ongoing, extensive guide about case fans and cooling. You can expect a feature about fan bearing technology and fan noise level reduction to be published over the next few days. Update: Our guide to quieter case fans and case fan size differences can now be found here.

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