Our game news recap starts off with some surprise news from Good Old Games. GOG.com has re-released SWAT 4. Despite being widely regarded as a classic of the FPS genre, SWAT 4 has been an elusive title in recent years. SWAT 4 is a cornerstone of Tactical Shooters, and was noteworthy for implementing squad-based tactics and non-lethal takedowns in addition to its realism. For the first time, SWAT 4 is now readily available online through GOG.com. GOG conducted a Q&A with creators Paul Hellquist and Bill Gardner to celebrate the release, available for a read here.
We've talked about Paragon a lot lately. It's got impressive visuals and promising gameplay; we're curious about how it'll do against other MOBAs in the (overly) saturated market. The first free open beta is near closing – it ends on the 30th – and for some of us, the first open beta wasn't enough. There's a paid early access for those people, granting more access to the TPS-MOBA-action-twitch-shooter amalgam. Starting on May 31st, early access buyers will be granted control over the next playable character: “Riktor,” the 17th hero to join the cast.
Epic’s Paragon is getting ready for a free beta weekend later this month -- from May 26th to the 30th. Anyone interested can sign-up here to participate, but you must sign up before the 25th.
Paragon is Epic’s take on the MOBA genre; however, the gameplay in Paragon is more like a third-person shooter than a traditional MOBA game. Also unlike other MOBAs, Paragon’s visuals are nothing to smirk at -- nVidia even brought Epic CEO Tim Sweeney out to their recent media event to use Paragon to show off the GTX 1080.
Austin, Texas this weekend hosted nVidia's Pascal GTX 1080 unveil event, headed-up by nVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and dotted with high-end demo rigs from well-known case modders (including BS Mods). The week's #OrderOf10 event prefaced tonight's press conference – a puzzle we solved just ahead of the show – and ultimately unlocked a count-down timer that unintentionally coincided with Dreamhack US. Tonight, nVidia announced its new GeForce Pascal architecture GPUs, including the GTX 1080 video cards.
The Pascal architecture was first unveiled at GTC a few years back, when nVidia's roadmap through 2018 was posted (concluding with Volta). Earlier this morning, we published a Pascal architecture deep-dive that fully detailed the new Pascal SM (Streaming Multiprocessor) and memory subsystem as it relates to GP100. Although GP100 belongs exclusively to the Tesla P100 Accelerator Card, Pascal as an architecture applies globally to the platform – and that includes the imminent GeForce cards. Pascal as it relates to GeForce is almost certainly running a “lite” version of the architecture, but will carry-over potential game-changers from the GP100. A 16nm FinFET process node from TSMC heralds nVidia's move away from the 28nm process that both major GPU manufacturers have resided on for the past few years. Other changes, like a reduction in cores-per-SM while increasing or maintaining warp schedulers and dispatch units, will work with this datapath organization change to improve overall efficiency and performance-per-watt of Pascal.
If this architecture discussion interests you, we'd urge you to read our deep-dive on Pascal.
(Article title & content updated).
Our East Coast Game Conference coverage kicks-off with Epic Games' rendering technology, specifically as it pertains to implementation within upcoming MOBA “Paragon.” Epic Games artist Zak Parrish covered topics relating to hair, skin, eyes, and cloth, providing a top-level look at game graphics rendering techniques and pipelines.
The subject was Sparrow, a Braid-like playable archer hero with intensely detailed hair and lighting. Parrish used Sparrow to demonstrate each of his rendering points – but we'll start with sub-surface scattering, which may be a bit of a throwback for readers of our past screen-space subsurface scattering article (more recently in Black Ops III graphics guide).
Epic Games made the most of the its stage at GDC 2016. In the company's “State of Unreal” panel, CEO Tim Sweeney packed in as much news in as he could – an empowered battle against CryEngine's latest announcements. The success of the latest iteration of the Unreal Engine was a focus point; according to Sweeney, Unreal Engine 4 now has over 1.5 million users, and the seven largest franchises on the engine have generated over $1 billion in sales each.
The Unreal Engine news wasn't limited to larges titles, though. Last year, Epic announced a grant for indie developers using the Unreal Engine and, not to be outdone by CryEngine's $1 million indie fund, Epic increased their grant from $800,000 to $1.2 million. Epic is additionally partnering with HTC and Valve to bring 500 Vive units to indie developers to increase the development of VR titles.
Cars, spaceships, and a metal band star in this week’s game news recap -- actually, two metal bands, and they’ve both got forthcoming games. In the past week, Epic Games pushed critical announcement regarding its new Paragon MOBA: The game will be entirely free-to-play -- access to all heroes included -- with only monetized cosmetic items. Early beta access costs $20, but will be waived at launch (similar to the successful Dota 2 model). Time will tell how financially viable “cosmetic items only” is for yet another game on the market, but it’s been working out well for Dota 2 so far. Not a bad model to follow.
Other news includes No Man’s Sky, a game we think is well worth a follow, and Dream Theater’s new The Astonishing game and album. Maiden’s in there, too, because Steve Harris has decided to bring Eddie to mobile devices. More in the recap video below. Script follows.
The last week's worth of computer hardware news contained a few disappointments – the removal of non-K overclocking from some boards, for one – and a few upshots. One of those upshots is on the front of VR, headed-up by Epic Games in a publicly released video reel of unique implementations. Virtual reality's use cases also expanded this week, as developers Epic Games have learned new means to utilize the technology (something we think needs to happen).
Our weekly hardware news recap is below, though the script has been appended for the readers out there. Topics for this week's round-up include Intel's crack-down on non-K overclocking, editing games within VR, AMD's Wraith, a Sony SSD, and some new peripherals.
Epic Games today unveiled its second trailer for upcoming MOBA “Paragon,” featuring alpha gameplay of the vertically-inspired title. Titled “Mid-Lane Push,” this trailer shows significantly more in-game action than previous videos (and initial, info-devoid teasers).
Several new characters are on display in the trailer: Gadget and Feng Mao aggressively assault a tower defended by Rampage and Kallari. So far, Paragon is most interesting for its addition of vertical gameplay elements in a genre dominated by flat, single-map arenas. The trailer also shows a couple abilities for each of the new characters.
This week's game news looks to the worlds of Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher, Overwatch, Elite: Dangerous, Paragon, and Steam's account theft.
An interview with CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski went live on Polish site Money.pl, where the CEO – who openly discusses his company's financial efficiency – talks about the White Wolf's future adventures. The company hopes to continue its devotion to the Witcher series, despite initial plans to conclude the story with Wild Hunt. Geralt's story is done, Kicinski told the site, but that doesn't mean The Witcher is. This has been the major delay to Cyberpunk 2077, a game that has internal, unannounced deadlines, but Kicinski said to expect Cyberpunk news in 2016.
Our hardware news recap is over here.
That and all the other week's news items are recapped in the below video:
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