Remember a little while back I reported on a new game called 16 Bit Arena? Well it’s A new old-school-style game, and while it is available on Amazon and 5 other stores, the developers have announced an all new experiment. FromMay 16-31 it will be given as a free permanent download, and if enough people come in, it will stay free, with donations enabled. Donators are entered into a drawing with the winner getting a character made just for them; 10% will go to charity.
The game’s existing features are described as:
Fighting in turn-based multiplayer battles up to 9v9 with nostalgic old school graphics
Entering battle as a Warrior, Mage, Rogue, or Healer of either gender, and using a card to transform into any of 16 characters, adding on their stats and abilities to the class’s
Elemental properties for every character; collecting gems let the player choose theirs, and cast its magic
Gaining Charge during battle allows players to do more damage, boost specific stats, and more- even save turns for later and take down an enemy all at once
A high-energy soundtrack featuring real guitar
Journeying through eight intense Trials to gain cards and gems for use in the Arena
A 2-player tactical-RPG-style Card Game included- a great additional game on its own, it lets the player you earn cards and gems too
Site includes a webcomic, updated weekly, featuring the eight Paladins from the game
The game will be free on all six stores, planned as a one-time thing from May 16-31, as opposed to its usual price of $9.99; but during the promotion, if enough people come in (filling even one server completely with 9v9s), the new experiment will begin. Donations will open, and every $5 you send puts you into a drawing to get a character made just for you. If this is successful enough, they’ll keep the game free permanently and do the drawing on a regular basis. If you don’t win, 10% of everything sent will still go to ChildFund (supports hungry children around the world), so either way somebody wins.
For now, with features like strategizing in large battles to the tune of real guitar accompanying retro graphics, this is already a very one-of-a-kind and just plain fun game. The game’s trailer, store listing, how-to-play info and screenshots may be seen at the 16bitarena.com website and I highly recommend you check it out, its something unique in a gaming world that is crowded with FPS titles and Indie madness like this should always be given its moment in the spotlight.
Epic Games, Inc. has worked with numerous exceptionally talented independent developers to put together the very first Unreal Indie Bundle, giving gamers seven acclaimed, Unreal Engine 3-powered indie games for the price of one. For one week the Unreal Indie Bundle is available for $19.99 (USD), £14.99 (GBP) and €17.99 (EUR) on Steam.
From the tower-defending excitement of Trendy Entertainment’s “Dungeon Defenders” to the abstract first-person puzzling of Toxic Games’ “Q.U.B.E.,” the limited-time Unreal Indie Bundle showcases the great variety of games that can be developed using Epic’s industry-leading Unreal Engine technology.
Here’s a rundown of the titles included in the bundle, which launches today:
The Ball – Teotl Studios
The Ball is a first person action-adventure game featuring a captivating single-player campaign. When a swashbuckling archaeologist working on a dormant Mexican volcano gets stuck in a cavern, it doesn’t take long to realize there is much more to this exotic place.
Dungeon Defenders – Trendy Entertainment
Save the land of Etheria from an Ancient Evil in the tower defense action-RPG “Dungeon Defenders.” Create a hero from one of four distinct classes to fight back wave after wave of enemies by summoning defenses and directly participating in the action-packed combat.
Primal Carnage – Lukewarm Media
Primal Carnage” is an online multiplayer shooter that engrosses players in skilled PVP combat, team-based strategy and savage class-oriented matches unlike any previously experienced. Be it an armed human mercenary or a cunning dinosaur, “Primal Carnage” unleashes the inner beast in anyone who seeks to survive amongst the fittest.
Q.U.B.E. – Toxic Games
Set in a mysterious and abstract sterile environment, “Q.U.B.E.” (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion) is a first-person puzzle game that challenges players to navigate each level by manipulating coloured cubes that surround them.
Sanctum – Coffee Stain Studios
You think Tower Defense games are all about building? You thought wrong. Sanctum is not an average tower defense title. When the havoc starts, join the fray! As a pioneer of the first-person shooter – tower defense genre, Sanctum” takes the best of both worlds to deliver an epic, one-of-a-kind experience.
Unmechanical – Teotl Studios and Talawa Games
Unmechanical is a puzzle adventure that combines tricky puzzle solving, alluring exploration and an engrossing atmosphere. Set in a fantastic world of flesh, rock and steel, the journey to freedom requires solving a great variety of puzzling challenges. While it’s easy to pick up and play, later challenges may prove very difficult indeed.
Waves – Squid in a Box
Shooter fans deserve more. And those who haven’t discovered the pleasure of twin-stick destruction deserve an entry point. Introducing “Waves,” a twin-stick shooter that can be played by anyone, but with a high enough skill threshold to keep even the most hardened shooter fan entertained.
Globalfoundries, Inc. and Infineon Technologies have recently announced that they’re having a joint collaboration for developing and production agreement for 40 nm embedded flash or eFlash process technology.
This partnership to help develop and manufacture Infineon’s eFlash cell design which will be used for manufacturing of automotive and security microcontrollers. The 40nm eFlash MCU will be made by Globalfoundries fab plants, initially in Singapore and subsequently in Dresden, Germany.
Both the company have a very old relationship where they’ve jointly collaborated in development and manufacturing, including the development and manufacturing of CMOS-based low power mobile phone chips.
Arunjai Mittal, one of the members of management board of Infeneon Technologies said,”Next generation embedded Flash microcontrollers with 40nm process structures will further enhance our competitive strength in the automotive, industrial as well as chip card and security markets.”
The agreement which involves Globalfoundries is consistent with Infineon’s plans to be involved in CMOS-Based 65nm technology, whose security microcontroller’s process and product qualification is planned for the second half of 2015, whereas the production of automotive microcontroller is set to start in first half of 2017.
CERN has been at the forefront of technology an innovation for decades and it was 20 years ago this week that they laid the foundations for the world wide web as we know it. CERN had a major part in devising the fundamental principles and rules the govern how the internet works and they even had the first ever website, but it was sadly lost and forgotten over time as technology moved forward.
As their way of celebrating the birth of the internet and of course the advancements that have been made that have turned the internet into one of the most important tools of the modern age, CERN has reinstated the worlds first ever website.
Originally launched back in 1991, the website played host to a very simple page that hosted just a few bits of text which explained the basics of the World Wide Web, by today’s standards there isn’t much to look at, but for those passionate about how the internet works, this an amazing way to track back how far the internet has developed in the past twenty years.
CERN has managed to recover a copy of the site from 1992, although they are endeavoring to find an even earlier copy, even better still they have managed to restore the original web address, so its literally back as is was all those years ago.
Now you might be thinking,” hey Peter! 1991 and 1992 were more than 20 years ago!” and you’re right, the internet is older than 20 years, but it was 20 years ago that CERN did the most important thing in the history of the internet, they unleashed the technology behind the WWW, royalty free and from that, the web we know today was born.
There a whole heap of partners that work with AMD to manufacture graphics cards and with the release of the 7790, I’ve looked at a card from virtually every major player in the market. It’s very rare that this happens to be quite honest as I typically only see three or four cards at a time for each class of card but there’s nothing wrong in breaking the mould a little and overall getting one of the most extensive data sets for Bonaire going.
PowerColor is a partner that I’ve not worked before, but this is not to say that their product is not worth looking at. The then ATI partner, who are owned by TUL, have been producing cards since 1997 and in some respects are a little unheard of these days when compared to the big names such as Asus and Gigabyte to name a few and be-known to some have also produced cards from NVIDIA, although this was done under the Zogis brand name.
With the release of the 7790, like may other partners, we see more than one SKU appear on the market by the brand with two slightly different overclock variants in that. The TurboDuo that I’m going to look over today is the faster and in a way, the better of the two, with a better cooling option and also a higher clock speed out of the box, but the real question is how does it stack up when pitted against the armada of 7790’s that I’ve already seen and tested…
PowerColor have kept the bundle very simple, with a VGA to DVI adaptor, installation guide and a driver CD. I do note that the CD still displays the ATI branding for some reason, although a guess would be that the image that is printed on to the disc has not been updated in a long time. I’d also recommended going to the AMD website to download the latest drivers.
There have been countless advancements in terms of computer graphics performance ever since they were first created, even more so in recent years as the power of GPU’s gets to incredible heights and in many cases the graphics cards which power today’s games are immensely overpowered to the task in hand, so what we need is the software that can make use of that power and while gaming graphics may look impressive now, they still have a fair way to go before they reach a level of realism that is indistinguishable from the real thing.
An all new fluid simulation engine looks set to take things to the next level and “Position Based Fluids” or PBD for short, certainly makes a noticeable difference in this area, pushing particles of water around custom shape objects, flowing naturally and responding to the rest of the water dynamically and while it isn’t perfect, it’s more realistic than you’ve likely seen in any game to day, as for the most part what you see in games is a scripted layer of animations, not a real time physics calculation.
“In fluid simulation, enforcing incompressibility is crucial for realism; it is also computationally expensive. (…) By formulating and solving a set of positional constraints that enforce constant density, our method allows similar incompressibility and convergence to modern smoothed particle hydrodynamic (SPH) solvers, but inherits the stability of the geometric, position based dynamics method, allowing large time steps suitable for real-time applications,” Said Miles Macklin and Matthias Müller-Fischer of Nvidia.
What do you think of this technology and what games would you like to see using this technology the most?
This week has been quite a good one for gaming, with a few new entries to the all format charts and a few surprises too. First of all we have Dead Island: Riptide landing straight into first place, and while I’m not so sure that it will stay there for long it’s certainly off to a good start and it show there is still a market for the Zombie shooter.
Next up we have Injustice: Gods Among Us, the latest entry to the fighting genre from the same developers that made the latest Mortal Kombat title, its certainly looking like a great game and you can be sure we’ll have a review for you soon enough.
The biggest surprise however is that Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen has placed in 3rd this week and its great to see a hardcore RPG making it this far up the charts, especially in a gaming market that is flooded with FPS titles, let’s just hope it does well enough for Capcom to keep investing in the future of the series.
All the usual favourites are still doing the rounds to with Tomb raider, Bioshock, Fifa, CoD and ACIII to name but a few still moving up and down the charts as much as ever, but with fewer and fewer games being released this year as we approach the dawn of next-gen consoles I wouldn’t expect there to be any major changes to the charts for some time now.
The Pirate Party of Iceland achieved something very impressive yesterday after acquiring three seats of parliament in the Icelandic national elections. In total, the Pirate Party grabbed 5.1% of the total vote – pretty impressive for a party that is only a few months old in Iceland. The Pirate Party’s success in Iceland also marks the first time that the Pirate Party has been elected into any national parliament. They have of course had other successes such as winning two seats in the European Parliament and winning 20 parliamentary seats in the North Rhine-Westphalia state election. However, this is by far the biggest achievement.
With 95% of the vote counted, the Pirate Party just scraped in with 5.1% of the vote. 5% is needed to get into national Icelandic parliament. Their success is not out of the blue as the Pirate Party were polling very well in the run up to the national elections and for those who can remember, the Pirate Bay just moved its domain to Iceland so we can clearly see the country has a lot of sympathy and support for the Pirate Bay cause.
Three three Pirate Party members elected to Iceland National Pariliament are:
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, WikiLeaks volunteer and former MP from 2009 – 2013
Jón Þór Ólafsson, business administration student at the University of Iceland
Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, programmer
With the Pirate Party’s success in Iceland despite being in its infancy, its popularity is expected to grow. We are definitely seeing a trend in European states of people becoming disillusioned with current systems of party politics and the Pirate Party has certainly been able to capitalise on this. The Pirate Party focuses on a wide range of issues including prevention of copyright abuse, political transparency, protection of freedom of speech and privacy and most importantly the protection of the internet.
Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, had this to say about the election victory in Iceland:
“I’m delighted every time another country gets pirates elected. Some old media and obsolete industries have insisted we were just a flash in the pan. I love it when those stories are exposed as wishful thinking,”
What are your thoughts on the Pirate Party’s success in Iceland?
I have something a little different in the office today, the Xebec Easy Eye keyboard and while some of your are likely recoiling in shock, thinking “what on earth are you doing” well, I’m going somewhere with this and I think this is an important product in many different ways, so lets see if I can get to the bottom of this.
The Easy Eye is quite a popular product and while I expect you don’t see many of them on the pro gaming scene or the gaming scene at all really, there are a lot of people in this world that would have good use for a keyboard like this, its big, bright, simple and water proof, perfect for those who are hard of sight or perhaps other disabilities that would make the use of a regular small key-keyboard more difficult.
The thing that interests me the most however is that its effectively water proof and while I don’t expect it would survive an over night soak in the bath, Xebec say it should survive some severe spillage, which is something I aim to test.
Priced at around £15-£20 from most major online retailers its reasonably price too and so long its build quality is up to par and its actually a comfortable keyboard to use, I see a big market for this keyboard, I already know before I open the box that my dad would love this keyboard.
The box is nothing fancy but it does list a few of the major features such as USB connection, large print keys, high contrast design, multimedia hot keys, a low profile design, spill proof and UK layout.
Style wise I actually think it looks pretty good, it makes you eyes widen a little at first, but that’s the point. The keys are huge and feature massive lettering that is super easy to read and hopefully this is still true for those who are hard of sight.
It’s a full size keyboard design, and we have a full set of number keys, although the ins, home, pgdn, pgup, end and del keys have been compressed into a 2×3 format and the arrow keys moved to the left a little to keep the width of the keyboard within normal parameters,
The low profile design gives a nice flat surface across the whole keyboard, and this should make it easy for your fingers to travel across the board while typing, it also means that non of the keys are obscured by other keys, regardless of viewing angle.
Around the back of the keyboard everything is straight forward and only a USB cable pokes out on the top right side.
Underneath we have two flip up feet and two rubber grips, all fairly standard stuff. More importantly we have a range of holes which serve no other purpose than letting water drain through should you spill something on the keyboard.
Setup was as simple as plug and play, there are no extra drivers, no fancy software, no macros or anything like that. This is a pure and simple keyboard that you just hook up and use and it couldn’t be more back to basics than that. This is of course one of the designed intentions for the keyboard as some people have limited computer knowledge and just need their products to work straight away and that’s what the Easy Eye delivers.
Typing is actually quite pleasant on the keyboard, the soft touch of the keys gives a nice tactile feed back and while I can’t type quite as fast as before, I don’t feel its an unpleasurable experience, the keys have a nice travel and tactile feel to them and in all honesty its far better than I was expecting. It’s not going to be #1 for a StarCraft II tournament but its not going to stop you from doing any other day to day computing tasks either.
That’s right, I fully intend to test out the main feature of this keyboard, it’s time to take it outside and introduce it to my friend Mr Garden Hose. I’ve wrapped the USB cable in a plastic bag and used a cable tie to keep the connection dry, not sure if that will work or not as I’m writing that while the keyboard drys out!
After a quick blast of water the keyboard is well and truely dripping wet and there is only one solution for that, peg it out on the washing line in the sun to let it dry off.
An hour later and its time to hook it back up to my computer and see if it works…. OF COURSE IT DOES! Not a problem and dare I say it’s also remarkably dust free too. This test might not work every time as I’m sure I would eventually break the board, but should you knock a cup of tea, pint of water or something similar over this keyboard, it looks like its got a high survival chance. Should I do this with my own desktop keyboard it would be very very dead by now and I’d be looking at a £100 bill to replace it.
There were a few minor issues at first as the QWE and 789 keys refused to work at all, even after 4 hours of hanging out on the washing line in the sun there was still moisture within the keyboard, fortunately this dried out over night after leaving the keyboard close to the radiator over night, now all is good.
Other than a few water stains on the keyboard all was good and it looked fine, all the keys felt fine to press and there was no damage, now kick back and enjoy the video of me blasting the keyboard with my garden hose, because pouring a pint of water over it was just too boring.
Xebec have really hit on a few major issues here and while none of them are specific to my needs I think its easy to see why this product would appeal to certain people. Not everyone who uses a PC on a daily basis has need or desire for a high end gaming keyboard, with mechanical switches and a £100+ price tag, some people just want something that is simple and functional and thats certainly something that the Xebec provides.
The easy eye keyboard is tailored to the need of those who may be hard of sight and its big bright keys and bold lettering makes it super easy to read, obviously. My dad uses his PC everyday and he’s constantly having issues with seeing what he is typing and at 70 years old I know for a fact he would love this keyboard, not only because he can see it better but because he is terrible for spilling things on his keyboard, beer, tea, water you name it, all of killed his keyboards time and time again over the last few years and maybe this keyboard is the solution for him?
I was really impressed that it survived our water test and while it took a whole day to dry out, likely due to me over doing it with the hose, I have no doubt that this will survive most day to day spills. It’s not everyday that your going to hose your keyboard down and hang it on the washing line, although sometimes that wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you could.
Its modestly priced, performs well enough for day to day tasks and it can survive being attacked with a garden hose, overall I think that’s a pretty impressive result.
With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, comes the demand for a smaller and more affordable model, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also provides a reasonable alternative to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4, which has launched in over 50 countries and has left the South Korean company struggling to meet high demand.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is still yet to be released but the device has just received Bluetooth certification meaning it is gearing up for a release very soon – possibly in the next month. The Samsung GT-I9195, aka the Galaxy S4 Mini, will ship with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and will be Samsung’s second smartphone to run the latest Android OS.
In comparison to the full sized Galaxy S4 model, the Galaxy S4 Mini version reportedly sports a 540 by 960 resolution 4.3 inch display, comes with a dual core 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8/16/32GB of internal storage. Other rumours suggest microSD expansion of up to 32GB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and two varieties of the phone: 4G LTE and Dual SIM.
What are your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini? Does it look like a good alternative to the bigger and more expensive Galaxy S4? Are you more likely to buy this one over its more expensive sibling?
The Metro Last Light developers, 4A Games and the Metro Last Light publishers, Deep Silver, have just announced that everyone who picks up a copy of the Metro Last Light game via Steam will be given a free copy of the novel that created the Metro series of games. For those who don’t know, the Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light games are actually based on Novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky. To be exact Glukhovsky released two books so far Metro 2033 and Metro 2034 while his upcoming book Metro 2035 will be released soon. The game Metro 2033 was predictably based on the Metro 2033 book while Metro Last Light is said to be based mainly on Metro 2035 and have little to no resemblance to the Metro 2034 storyline although it is similar in themes and style.
Deep Silver and 4A Games are offering a copy of the Metro 2033 novel with the Metro Last Light game orders on Steam – naturally it is going to be a digital copy. It is not known whether copies of Metro Last Light that are acquired in the Nvidia game bundle will give this free book, but since it is based on Steam activations it would seem likely that the Nvidia copy will also bring a free copy of the book. May the 14th is the release date for Metro Last Light and you can pre-order it from Steam, Green Man Gaming, GamersGate, etc.
Being a Gamer myself, I know it is unlikely I’d ever read the book. Although it could be interesting to have a skim through. What are your thoughts on being offered a free copy of the book? Does it make you want to purchase the game more? Or is it just a novelty extra?
Ever since its reveal there has been much speculation in the tech world about what CPU the Google Glass hardware would be packing, would it be a simple SoC, a custom solution, or something else? Well now we have an answer and it turns out that the Texas Instruments 4430 will be powering the futuristic smart device, a CPU that has already proven its self popular with other smartphones and tablets.
TI 4430 Features:
45nm process technology
Two ARM Cortex-A9 cores
ImgTec PowerVR SGX 540 GPU
LPDDR2 Memory Controller
While this may not sound like much its actually fairly competitive and its the same cores that powered devices such as the BlackBerry PlayBook, LG Optimus 3D pP920 and Motorola Droid 3 to name but a few. Yet its no doubt seen some minor tweaks and adjustments as Google fine tune it to their OS of choice, Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”.
So what does all this mean? Well basically it means that the glasses them selves are capable of running apps without the support for another smart device such as a mobile phone, removing the need to have the device paired with a handset to do some of the work for it. This gives developers the opportunity to make software that is uniquely designed to work independently on the glasses them selves.
With Google planning to launch their new device before the end of the year you can guarantee its going to be a popular device, now all we have to do is sit back and wait for reports on the sets performance, because if it can’t cut it in the real world once it’s in the hands of consumers, Google could find them selves going back to the drawing board, either way its a promising start for the technology and the reliable CPU should help give it the performance boost we would like to see.
Are you looking forward to Google Glass or is this just one device too far for you?
With us producing more videos than ever, we want to give back to our loyal YouTube subscribers by teaming up with BitFenix to give one lucky viewer the chance to win 5 fans of their choice. To find out more, we invite you to watch the video below.
All you need to do is:
1 – Subscribe to eTeknix
2 – Comment below to tell us you’ve subscribed
Every once in awhile a politician or a large business owner will opt for join the Dollar-A-Year club. For some this means that they will only accept payment of $1 for a year or they may do this for a set amount of years. Usually this is because they have decided that they are well off and want to show the company and employees even the world that they are not doing what they are doing for the money, they are doing it for everyone else. The list is not very large, and not everyone gives up their bonuses. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has decided join the 1-Dollar-Salary Club. The reasoning isn’t really clear to me as to why he is taking the salary cut, though it could be for the title. It could also be due to the amount of taxes he had to pay for the 2012 tax season. It could also be to show everyone he isn’t in it for the money, and that he is here to build Facebook to be the best social networking outlet available to the public. To join the 1-dollar-salary club is possibly one of the greatest status symbols of Silicon Valley, and one of most prestiges groups that one could join, showing the world that you are rich and successful, so you are going to continue doing everything you have been, but for free. On April 26th Facebook, INC released their 2013 Proxy Statement in which they disclosed the fiscal earnings of Mark Zuckerberg
In the first quarter of 2012, our compensation committee discussed and approved a request by our CEO to reduce his base salary to $1 per year, effective January 1, 2013.Cash Bonuses. Our 2012 Bonus/Retention Plan (Bonus Plan) provides variable cash incentives, payable semi-annually, that are designed to motivate our executive officers to focus on company-wide priorities and to reward them for individual results and achievements. All of our executive officers participated in the Bonus Plan in 2012. Our CEO will not receive a bonus under the 2013 Bonus/Retention Plan.
Below is a list of people who have joined the 1-Dollar-Salary Club (List provided from Wikipedia) Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York City) Sergey Brin (Google) Larry Ellison (Oracle Corporation) Darren Entwistle (TELUS) Richard Fairbank (Capital One Financial) Lee Iacocca (Chrysler Corporation) Steve Jobs (Apple), also did not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) from 2003 until his death Richard Kinder (Kinder Morgan), also does not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) James Li (Syntax-Brillian) John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), who also does not take any alternative form of compensation (stock options, bonus, etc.) Joseph Marinaccio (Slam Content) Larry Page (Google) Vikram Pandit (Citigroup) Mark Pincus (Zynga) Richard Riordan (Mayor of Los Angeles) Eric Schmidt (Google) Henry Samueli (Broadcom Corporation) Arnold Schwarzenegger (former Governor of California) Terry Semel (Yahoo!) Pantas Sutardja (Marvell Technology Group) Sehat Sutardja (Marvell Technology Group) Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard) Jerry Yang (Yahoo!) Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) Source
Curved display technology is gradually maturing and we brought you the news recently that LG would be releasing flexible OLED smartphones by the end of this year. Now it appears that this curved OLED display technology is going to arrive for the TV market before smartphones as LG’s curved OLED TV is now up for pre-order.
LG’s EA9800 TV sports a 55 inch display that is just 4.3mm in thickness. You definitely pay a premium for the curvature because the LG EA9800 will cost $13,500/€10,500 which is around $4000/€3000 more than a “standard” 55 inch OLED TV.
Like with a lot of LG products they are now offering pre-orders in their native country South Korea, they should already be possible, and it is expected that the finished products will ship at some point in June. It is expected that it may take 6 months to a year for the same TV to be offered in the USA, Europe, Japan or anywhere else that demands it.
“Our Curved OLED TV is not only the proof of LG’s unmatched leadership in next-generation displays but also a testament to LG’s commitment to bringing to market the most exciting TV technology available today,” said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company.
The LG EA9800 is said to offer an “IMAX-like” experience…and you’d certainly hope so for $13,500. The LG EA9800 employs a WRGB technology which adds a fourth white sub pixel to the colour spectrum. LG’s colour refiner also gives greater tonal enhancement to all colours.
Unfortunately we have no more information than that and availability outside South Korea is going to be announced in the coming months. For those who are super desperate to get their hands on one of these soon, there is probably a way to import it from South Korea if you are willing to do your research.
A group of programmers called Music By Programmers, have released an album to raise money to fund maths and programming workshops at The National Museum of Computing, based at Bletchley Park in Oxfordshire.
The group has made the album in members’ free time in the hope that the £5000 it aims to raise will enable the Museum to offer classes and workshops that encourage the next generation of young people to learn programming techniques from the ground up, citing innovating musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and the forefathers of electronica, Kraftwerk, as influencing not only music, but programming computers in general.
The eight tracks, all written by the group’s members, use sounds initially created by such luminary devices as the MiniMoog, Yamaha CS-80 and Oberheim SEM. These ‘instruments’ now cost thousands of pounds but the software designed to simulate their sounds has been created for just £337.
Jason Gorman, founder of Music By Programmers, said in a press release:
“It’s very much in the style of ‘classic’ electronica of the 1970s and early 1980s. But we’ve created all our tracks using software recreations of those famous analogue synthesizers that model the circuitry with painstaking accuracy.”
He continued that, despite the synthesiser sounds being a reproduction of the originals, they were practically indistinguishable.
If the fundraising target of £5000 is achieved, it will pay for both parent-child workshops at Bletchley Park, home of the World War II ‘codebreakers’ and their most famous member Alan Turing, plus a new programming club at The National Museum of Computing – in our opinion, a small price to pay for the next generation of technology.
The Music By Programmers album is available to download from 29th April on CD Baby, Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.
For more information, see the Music By Programmers website.
Competitive gaming is big business, quite literally big business too as peripheral brands, pro gaming teams and their related sponsors fight for the lime light much like they do in any other sports. Year on year were seeing huge advances in the popularity of eSports and this has been backed up by an even more robust range of gaming peripherals than have ever been seen in the PC industry.
Go back to the early days of PC gaming and brands like Logitech and Microsoft ruled the roost in terms of keyboard, mice and headsets, yet these days there are countless companies offering the latest and greatest components that are tailored seemingly to any modern gaming requirement. TteSports are one of these brands and in recent years they’ve been going from strength to strength in pushing eSports and building a solid fan base for their gaming peripherals.
Today we’re looking at the Saphira gaming mouse, something that has already gone down well with many eSports players, as well as TteSports sponsored pro gaming team “Team Infused”. Most notably though is that this mouse is fully endorsed by Starcraft 2 legend “White-Ra” and if its good enough for him, then its got to be something a little special. Yet for all its fame you would think this would be an expensive product, but priced at around £30 from many online retailers it’s far from pricey, but lets move on and see how the performance holds up on this budget friendly offering.
As you can see from the specs above, its well equipped, but not over the top in terms of features. It’s got a high DPI, some straight forward macro features, 5 control buttons and a few LED lights, so about on par for this kind of price range.
As you can see on the front of the box we have a picture of White-Ra, his endorsement is all over the box, literally. We also have a few feature highlights such as the function lock, 3500 DPI sensor and onboard memory.
Around the back we have a sizeable statement from White-Ra, as well as the multilanguage breakdown of some of the mouses features.
The box also features a velcro panel that allows us to see some more detailed diagrams of the mouses feature set, as well as our first look at the mouse its self, so far so good
In the box I found the usual instruction book lets, the mouse its self and a nice quality protective pouch. Given the price of the mouse I’m amazed that it came with such a well designed box and any extras at all, so this all a very welcome bonus.
The mouse is hard wired with a 1.8m braided cable, an attached velcro strip to keep the cable tidy and a gold plated USB connector.
The left side of the mouse features four LED light indicators for the DPI setting, the forward and back toggle switches and a good size soft rubber grip area.
The right side features similar styling to the right, albeit without the buttons, but does feature another soft rubber grip.
Each mouse button is heavily scooped and contoured and this gives the mouse great ergonomics for right handed players, it also gives a solid resting position for your fingers.
The switches on the mouse feel really nice and responsive, offering up a satisfying tactile click and feedback. So too does the scroll wheel which features a nice rubber grip coating, plenty of tactile steps in its rotation and its also super easy to turn, allow you to rapidly scroll through your web pages, or of course your selected weapons.
The underside of the mouse is full of features, first we have two absolutely huge Teflon surfaces that should offer plenty of glide, a profile select button (configurable from software), DPI button, polling rate button and a function lock on/off switch. There is also a removable panel that houses five 4.5g weights, I can’t remember the last time I found a mouse that had this many underside features! Best not forget the 3500 DPI optical sensor that is sat in the middle.
Setup & Installation
Setup and installation were quick and easy, the mouse is fully plug-and-play compatible, and because the bulk of its features can be toggled from the mouse its self, you need not worry too much about the software for general day to day use. The included software will allow you to customise DPI, Macros and a few lighting features to your liking, it’s not overly complex and it goes a long way to adding extra value to the mouse.
The 3500 DPI optical sensor is remarkably accurate in frantic gameplay and I never once found my self doubting anything but my own ability, a few hours of Planetside 2 and Max Payne 3 certainly left me happy with the mouses gaming performance. I’m not one for Starcraft II, lack of talent might be to blame there, but a quick spin on Torchlight II was good enough for me to see why White-Ra is happy to endorse this mouse and having the additional macro features are always welcome too.
The first thing that really stands out about this mouse is how well it glides, those large Teflon surfaces really work well on a soft and smooth surface such as the Zowie G-CM or TteSports Dasher. It’s just as comfortable on harder fabrics too but I guess that’s just a matter of personal preference. The button layout is nicely balanced and overall ergonomics are great. The fact that this mouse features an adjustable weight system makes for an overall enjoyable experience, or at the very least one that can be slightly adjusted to your preferences.
I am simply blown away by the Saphira, is it the best gaming mouse on the market today? Not really no, does it have one of the best optical sensors on the market? Not really, does it have the most features and most extensive customisation, best software and anything else on the market? Again no not really, but there is one thing that I just can’t shake from me head, it’s price.
I must have googled this 6 times to confirm, I even contacted TteSports to confirm the RRP and they say its typically around £35, yet I’ve found many placed online where you’ll get change from £30 after shipping. Which brings up some very interesting conclusions about the mouse, what else can you find for this money? Some of the budget end MadCatz products, some older Logitech stuff and the Ozone Xenon and at a push the Mionix Saiph, none of these come close to the Saphira in terms of features and quality. None of the competitors offer weight customisation, but none offer a full range of custom macros via software, customisable lighting, or DPI, polling range and profile changes directly from the mouse its self.
I’m a firm believer that this is by far the best mouse you can buy for under £40, with performance and features that sit between the mice I’ve just mentioned and more mid range offerings such as the R.A.T.5, Sensei, M90 mice, but with a price tag below most companies budget models. I’m happy to award this with our Bang for Buck award for many obvious reasons. Its not just a good product because its cheap, its a great product and its cheap.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 looks set to take the smartphone market by storm as pre-orders for the phone soar and it is the talk of everyone smartphone buyers’ lips. Yet, the concept isn’t exactly revolutionary, is it? You’ve got a rectangular 5+ inch smartphone with a high resolution screen, some very powerful specs, running Android and it is thin and lightweight. Surely anyone can do that? Well LG certainly think they can as they’ve come out with a very similar smartphone in the LG Optimus GK.
The LG Optimus GK goes on sale in South Korea, LGs home nation, from May and there are no words on whether it will be expanded to outside Asia. That said, it is still an impressive phone which has the following specifications:
5.5 inch 1080 by 1920 IPS screen
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU
Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU
4G LTE Support
13MP Rear Camera
SD Card Support
Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, NFC
3100 mAh battery
There are a few differences to the Samsung Galaxy S4, but they are few and far between. For instance there is an extra 0.5 inches in screen diameter, a slightly older version of Android in 4.1.2 not 4.2.2 and there is a bigger battery – 3100 mAh compared to 2600 mAh. Apart from that everything else is nearly identical when comparing with the Qualcomm version of the S4. Obviously, the Exynos 5 based version would have a totally different CPU and GPU but we recently learned that very few markets would be getting the Exynos 5 version.
So there you have it, LG’s Galaxy 4 killer-come-imitation. What are your thoughts on it?
Last week saw the arrest of an individual that police have only identified as “SK”, a 35 year old Dutchman who was accused of committing one of the biggest ever internet attacks and he did this all from a custom “mobile computing office”.
The police said that the crimes he is being charged with are for “unprecedentedly serious attacks” against non-profit anti-spam watchdog Spamhaus. It took the combined efforts of Dutch, Spanish, German, British and US police forces to lead the investigation to the point of arrest.
What is so interesting about this case, other than the fact that it was on a grand scale and involved so many authorities to bring him down, was that he operated his attacks from the back of a van, where he used various antennas and scanning equipment to hack networks and computers. SK stated to police upon his arrest that he belonged to the “Telecommunications and Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Cyberbunker”, which is a highly secure web host service.
SK is said to have used DDoS attacks against Spamhaus in the region of 300Gbps and given that a typical level DDoS attack levels off at around 50Gbps, you can understand that SK had some seriously powerful tools at his disposal and why the authorities acting on such an international scale to bring him to justice.
Mark Cerny is one of the most knowledgable people in the industry when it comes to PlayStation hardware, especially the PS4 given his instrumental input into the hardware design for Sony’s next gen games console. He’s had a massive hand in creating many of the PlayStation brands biggest titles, with everything from Killzone to God of War, Spyro and Crash Bandicoot to his name!
Marc recently sat down with Gamasutra for an interview where he discussed many of the development aspects of Sony’s upcoming console, where he detailed why Sony had made a switch to using dedicated hardware units on the console for many of the systems basic functions.
“The reason we use dedicated units is it means the overhead as far as games are concerned is very low. It also establishes a baseline that we can use in our user experience.” Said Cerny
“For example, by having the hardware dedicated unit for audio, that means we can support audio chat without the games needing to dedicate any significant resources to them. The same thing for compression and decompression of video.” The audio unit also handles decompression of “a very large number” of MP3 streams for in-game audio” he continued.
Basically meaning that extra hardware is in place to deal with many of the systems basic OS features, rather than the software systems that are in place on current gen consoles.
PlayGo is a feature that allows you to download part of your game purchase and start playing before the download has completed, much like can be done with titles such as Diablo III on the PC. Combined with some new data compression techniques that have been applied to the blu-ray drive and storage media, Sony aim to make next-gen games load quicker not to mention spend less time waiting to play your games and actually just get on and play them!
“So, what we do as the game accesses the Blu-ray disc, is we take any data that was accessed and we put it on the hard drive. And if then if there is idle time, we go ahead and copy the remaining data to the hard drive. And what that means is after an hour or two, the game is on the hard drive, and you have access, you have dramatically quicker loading… And you have the ability to do some truly high-speed streaming.”
Another big benefit that Cerny spoke about was the addition of a low powered custom chip, designed to operate in low power states that can run the important functions of the base hardware, allowing for downloads and updates while the hardware is essentially in sleep mode, essentially allowing you to not only update your games on the fly, but also turn your console off mid-game and return to it later much like you can on many Android and iOS titles with a “save state” function.
“When I pitched Sony originally on the idea that I would be lead system architect in late 2007, I had the idea that I’d be mostly doing hardware but still keep doing a bit of software at the time, and then I got busy with the hardware.” I ended up having a conversation with Akira Sato, who was the chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment for many years. And his strong advice was, ‘Don’t give up the software, because your value is so much higher to the process, whatever it is — whether it’s hardware design, the development environment, or the tool chain as long as you’re making a game.'”
PlayStation 4 is due to launch this year, most likely in November and love it or hate it there is no doubt that this is a big product launch for both the gaming and technology industries, either way its clear to me that Mark Cerny has put his hearts and soul into the development of the console and given his history in the industry, that can only mean good things.
You can read the full interview between Mark and Gamasutra here.
Rumors are spreading quickly on what features and functions the next generation of Microsofts Xbox will bring us. One of the things that I found, is that Xbox is likely to require the user to provide a constant internet connection to the device. Though we really will not know for sure until Microsoft lets us know on May 21st. If you do not have an internet connection you will likely either not have some of the features that are available, in a worst case scenario, you wouldn’t be able to use your Xbox at all.
Now I know that not everyone has a fast internet connection, and having a device such as an Xbox hooked up could easily hog all of your bandwidth. Though in most places you’re able to get awesome internet speeds, some folks in more rural areas are still stuck with slow internet speeds, at times as low as 768 Kbps.
If you’re a gamer, you likely have not forgotten about Diablo 3 or much more recently EAs SimCity. Both companies decided to force Always-Online and this has prevented thousands of users from being able to play a game that they have purchased. Though the servers are having minimal issues now, if every game was Always-Online we could potentially have this issue every week when new games are released.
Two years ago Lulzsec took out Playstation, forcing Sony to take down all of their servers and preventing access to the Playstation network. Users were not able to use their Playstations for any Online games for over 3 weeks. If something were to happen to Xboxs servers this same issue could happen to their user base, preventing hundreds of thousands of users worldwide from being able to play their games online, perhaps from even using their console at all.
Of course there will probably be some way to jailbreak your system, but risking terminating your warranty, really probably not worth it. Unless you are a die hard Xbox fan, you might want to go with a PS4, a company who knows better than to make users provide a constant internet connection to their gaming device.
Are you planning on purchasing a Xbox? Do you think that Xbox should force users to be Always-Online?
After a very successful Steam beta period, the hugely anticipated indie production “StarDrive” is now live on Steam. StarDrive, developed by Zero Sum Games and published by Iceberg Interactive, is being hailed by critics as the new benchmark in the ‘4x space strategy’ genre, with strong emphasis on ship design and combat, and exceeds all expectations a player might have for a 4x strategy game (even pausing to make it turn-based).
Iceberg Interactive CEO Erik Schreuder says: “We have been overwhelmed by the volume of pre-orders and buzz around the beta release, which goes to show how much 4x fans have been craving a title such as StarDrive to fulfil their ultimate 4x dream. After many months of developer dedication, QA and community input, we are now extremely happy to deliver the final product to market. StarDrive is going to be a living thing, that we are committed to keep fuelling with support, updates and upgrades.”
Zero Sum Games CEO, creator and project lead Daniel DiCicco says: “Creating StarDrive has been an incredible journey for me. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project and to the community who has supported it so well. The release of StarDrive does not mark the end of development. Rather, it marks a new beginning. StarDrive is a living product and we intend to support and expand this game for many years to come. Have fun!”
• Real time gameplay with a seamless zoom from a grand strategic view to close-up action
• Choose from 8 beautifully rendered alien races or design your own to lead into the stars; interact, negotiate and forge allegiances on your way to victory
• Expand your empire and colonise all kinds of planets, terraform and populate them and
build them into specialised centres of trade or industry
• Explore the rich universe that comes alive with random events, remnant elements, hidden treasures, deep space terrors and late-game threats
• Create custom fleet formations and set rules of engagement in the easy-to-use fleet editor
• Research and unlock an array of new technologies to improve your military and industrial technology
• Control your ships with classic real time strategy commands or jump into the fray by taking direct ‘arcade’ control of any ship in your empire
• Create your unique ship designs with the modular ship design system and determine your own fate in battle
• Deploy ground troops from orbit to defeat the enemies’ last planetary defences in ground combat
The global digital release of StarDrive on all other portals will follow on April 29th. The boxed version of StarDrive will have its release in European retail stores on May 24th. For more information please visit www.stardrivegame.com or visit the official forums.
Indie developer NeocoreGames revealed today the trailer for Lady Katarina, a ghostly follower to the son of Van Helsing, for its gothic-noir steampunk action-RPG, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. Set to release on PC in late May 2013, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing will be made available for $14.99 on Steam.
Lady Katarina is a ghost with snappy wit that comes to the support of Van Helsing on his supernatural hunt to uncover the mystery of a new scientific scourge in the land of Borgovia. Katarina is of great aid to Van Helsing as she comes with her own abilities and behaviors to boost the hunter’s hit points, mana, damage, and much more. Having her own skill tree, three different forms, magical tricks, and the capability to travel to the nearest town to buy and sell items, Katarina is essential for Van Helsing’s adventure. Whether it is freezing enemies in place or summoning a brutal bolt of energy, her assistance is highly valued when it comes to ferocious battles in the wilderness.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is now available for pre-order on PC. To pre-purchase the game, head to devblog.neocoregames.com/order and choose an option to back this indie developer. As a bonus for all pre-purchases of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, early adopters will receive instant access to the closed Beta.
Enter a memorable gothic-noir universe filled with monsters, magic and weird science.
Play through a refreshingly unique story, spiced up with wry humor and snappy dialogue.
Fight fierce battles against supernatural foes with diverse skills and abilities.
Use the special abilities and tailor the skills of your remarkable follower.
Customize your character through a detailed level-up system where you decide which skills and abilities you’ll need for the hunt.
Modify your skills on the spot with a unique power-up system.
Learn the secrets of mystical alchemy and forge powerful items.
Build and develop your hideout and place traps to defend it from waves of terrible monsters.
Gather the members of the Resistance and decorate the hunter’s lair with valuable trophies.
Become the greatest monster slayer of all time while playing a cooperative multiplayer monster hunt up to four players.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have released two new Champion Profile videos thanks week for upcoming title “Infinite Crisis”. The new videos give fans an in-depth look at Gaslight Batman and Doomsday.
Living in the Age of Invention, Gaslight Batman uses his amazing sonic weapons to strike from the shadows in his never ending war on crime. Relying primarily on his trusty sonic pistols to deal the majority of his damage, his powers still pack a punch as well as offer utility to catch or escape his opponents. Doomsday is a living weapon of adaptable mass destruction whose play style focuses on getting him into an opponent’s face and staying there until one of them dies.
2008, 2009 and 2010 were relatively crappy years for sales of integrated chips. 2011 saw tentative improvements and according to the latest figures 2012 continued that trend of improvements. The market for Integrated Circuits (ICs) rose by 16% in 2012 when comparing to the previous year 2011.
Foundry customers went through a period of massive restocking last year as surging demand for tablets and smartphones drove a simultaneous rise in demand for IC components that are needed to construct them. This trend of rising demand for ICs is probably one that will continue through 2013 as smartphones and tablets certainly show no signs of slowing down, at the expensive of the notebook and desktop markets.
Gartner Analysts believe that in 2012 the value of global IC shipments was up by 16.2% over the year 2012 to a total of $34.6 billion / €25.5 billion. According to Gartner 28nm and 40nm process based manufacturing were by far the biggest earning market for ICs.
It is also revealed that for the first time, EVER, the amount of revenue generated from semiconductors for mobile devices exceeded that generated for PCs and notebooks.
“2012 was the first year that the semiconductor revenue for mobile devices surpassed that of PCs and notebooks, It also marked the first year that advanced technology for mobile applications drove the foundry revenue. Furthermore, 2012 saw not only major foundries improve the yield of 28nm technology, but also many foundries fine-tuned the device performance of legacy nodes.” said Samuel Wang. research VP at Gartner.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you sad to see the mobile IC market finally become more profitable than the desktop/notebook equivalent? Or is this just a sign of the times?
Recently it emerged that Nintendo would not be holding a press event at the massive E3 gaming event this year. Now apparently it appears that Valve will not be holding a press event at this year’s E3 event either.
According to an email sent by Doug Lombardi, Valve’s Vice President of Marketing, Valve will not be exhibiting at this year’s E3 event. While Doug Lombardi kept things very simple, without elaborating on the reasons why they aren’t exhibiting, it is easy to conjur up some potentially significant implications of this.
The main point of intrigue surrounds the highly speculated “Steam Box” console. Valve were believed to be working on this with Xi3 but if you believed any of the recent speculation then this partnership fell through despite Xi3 releasing a press release to suggest the project was still continuing. Valve are still working on the Steam Box it just appears to be even more under wraps than before and judging by the lack of E3 exhibitionism it would suggest that Valve will not have the Steam box ready for 2013, which is quite sad news indeed.
Although, that said if you speculate one option you might as well speculate them all. E3 is only around the corner, that is June 11th to June 13th, and the next generation of consoles aren’t set to arrive until late 2013 – October-December. Maybe, Valve will have the Steam Box ready for then but they just won’t be ready in time for E3? In which case we may see a dedicated press event from Valve later this year.
Anyway, enough speculation from me. What are your thoughts on Valve not exhibiting at E3 this year? What do you think this means [for the Steam Box]?
We know Intel’s Haswell is coming within the month or so, June the 4th to be precise, just in time for the Computex 2013 event. One of the main features you may have seen recurring from all the leaks and promotional material is that Haswell will maximise battery left better than Ivy bridge. This mainly refers to idle power consumption as load is going to be similar to Ivy Bridge. These improvements were mainly constructed and implemented for the mobile market to maximise Ultrabook battery life however they will also carry over to the PC platform.
To achieve massive savings in battery life, or power consumption for desktops, the Haswell CPUs are introducing two new idle states – C6 and C7. C6 and C7 allow Haswell to reduce power consumption by a significant amount more than Ivy Bridge. In fact it can drop its current to just 0.05 amps compared to 0.5 amps on Ivy Bridge, this means 10X lower power consumption at idle.
Now where does the power supply compatibility issue come into this? Well if your power supply is old, or cheap, then it may not be able to provide amps as low as 0.05 on the 12 volt rail. This is because entering those C6/C7 states could cause Under Voltage Protection (UVP) to be triggered or the power supply just might not be capable of delivering such a low amount of amps in a clean and stable way. On top of all this current power supply manufacturers don’t report minimum supported amps, only maximum, so it is impossible to tell whose power supplies will support what.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom because Intel have instructed motherboard vendors to provide a disable C6 and C7 state function in the BIOS so if you do have issues with running those idle states, then you can just disable them and the problem is fixed. Sure you won’t be able to use the extra power savings if you disable C6 and C7 but you will still be able to use your PC in a normal way.