Mad Catz Team up with Star Citizen for New Space Simulation Hardware

Mad Catz and their Saitek brand have reached out into new realms as of late and we’ve seen several interesting new things, ranging from music instruments for the new Rock Band game as well as exclusive farming simulation hardware geared towards, yes you guess it, Farm Simulator. That wasn’t enough for them and they’ve now announced dedicated Star Citizen Space Simulation Hardware. We have not yet been shown what that will look like, but I’m sure that it will get one or the other fan excited.

Mad Catz teamed up with Cloud Imperium Games to create a range of officially licensed simulation products for Star Citizen and its groundbreaking science fiction universe. The new range of hardware is expected to ship in 2016 and will be released under the Company’s Saitek simulation brand.

The game combines FPS combat with persistent MMO gameplay to create an amazing universe with almost unlimited gameplay experiences. Such a game also deserves some proper hardware and while Mad Catz already worked closely with the company that used the Saitek X52 in multiple videos and also made it perfectly compatible with the game. While the X52, and also X55 H.O.T.A.S. sticks are great, they are more aimed at earth-based simulation games.

It will be very interesting to see what the two companies come up with. The official web page already has a section for space simulation, but so far it only contains products from the current lineup.

Largest Plane on Earth Will Be Airborne as Early as Next Year

Meet Stratolaunch, the largest plane on Earth! Codenamed the “Roc” after the mythical bird of prey, this ‘beast’ looks to be a true king of the sky. In terms of size, it is said to be 65 feet wider than the “Spruce Goose” H-4 Hercules and 95 feet wider than the spaceship-carrying Soviet Antonov An-225, so you can imagine how small you may feel when next to it.

In addition to the size, the “Roc” boasts six Pratt & Whitney jet engines, 28 landing gear wheels and a 385 foot wingspan. But the plane was not made to enter the Guinness record book. Microsoft’s co-founderm Paul Allan, is the guy behind the project and he aims to make the “Roc” the next big alternative to launching rockets into space.

The plane is able to hold a three-stage rocket between its fuselages, as shown in the picture above, which can then be launched at extremely high altitude and detatch its payload into space. So why is this helpful? Well, think about weather conditions. Having to launch a satellite from the edge of Earth’s atmosphere takes away a lot of unwanted variables, so it makes it easier and somewhat safer to launch from up above the clouds.

This is why Stratolaunch was designed so big and massive, weighing in at 1.3 million pounds (including the rocket). But will it do what is expected of it? We won’t know until they do the test runs, which are said to begin as early as next year. If they prove to be a success, Stratolaunch’s first mission is said to be planned for 2018. Until then, here’s a simulation of how the plane and rocket launch should take place. Enjoy!

Thank you Yahoo! for providing us with this information

Prison Architect v1.0 Launch Date Revealed

Prison Architect is a game that has had a very long and public development phase that is about to come to an end thanks to the announcement of Prison Architect version 1.0 and its launch this October.

The two main people behind this simple yet extremely fascinating game are Mark Morris as Producer and Chris Delay as Designer. Every month like clockwork they’ve released a new alpha version for the ones that bought one of the early access packs. The game has been on sale quite a few times already and this has been going on for a little over 35 months now. There have been exceptions due to “family addition”, where the fans had to wait an extra month for the next version as well as a new video each time.

And while the game is great, I have to admit that I’ve almost enjoyed the 50 minute long videos even more. Mark and Chris do a voice over the video where they show the new features and what else they’ve done, or as they describe it themselves: “Our audience expect a and ready, badly edited, long rambling discussions and bulls##t – and the occasional new feature.”

For now Alpha 35 is the newest version and this game has already come a long way from the very basic sandbox building game without many features and lots of bugs. It has become a very challenging game that can keep you occupied for hours and hours on end and I personally can highly recommend it, that is if you like building games.

Design and build your own prison, manage the finances and rehabilitation as well as all the prisoners needs, such as food, sleep, and hygiene. Deal with riots and catch escaping prisoners as well as gangs. Hire personal and create a beautiful place, or not. The choice is really yours, but you’re also the one that has to deal with what the prisoners do as a result of their treatment.

Prison Architect is truly a prime example on how early access should be handled. Create an almost working base and then continuously and regularly update with bug fixes and new features while you listen to your early backers and try to create the game that they really want. Well done guys, I for one can’t wait to get the “final” version to play.

Wing Commander 4 Intro with Remastered Orchestral Score Shown Off

Being a kid in the 90s allowed me to grow up along with some pretty amazing games and I was a huge fan of space simulation games. There were the X-Wing and Tie-Fighter games, but also the Wing Commander series that gave the space-fight and simulation fans a battleground to play on.

George Oldziey is the composer behind the music from three of the Wing Commander games and last year he launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter with the goal to record an orchestral version of the Wing Commander music, the way he had in mind when creating it. The fans weren’t shy to donate and the funding quickly raised over $40,000.

We can now get a first look into what that sounds like as he Oldziey uploaded a remix video with some of the recordings already done. The word remix is used as he didn’t have access to the original footage for this video, so the orchestral music is just put on top of the original video. This results in the music being a lot louder than the voice acting and it isn’t perfect. But it’s the music we want to hear here anyway, so that is okay and it sounds like it should. Somehow space and orchestral music just go great together, don’t; you think?

Thank You Cliqist for providing us with this information

F1 2015 Release Date Postponed

It seems there is a trend at the moment when it comes to game release dates being postponed. The latest in the row is Codemasters latest racing game, F1 2015. The game was originally scheduled for a June 12th release date, but that won’t stick.

A new and short 22 seconds trailer video was released recently and it features a release date set for the 21st of July instead. That would a delay for about 6 weeks. Contradicting the information in the video itself, the video description mentions a July 10th release date which only works out to about a four-week delay.

Steam seems to agree with the last date and also has a July 10th date set as release. It’s also worth mentioning that Steam has a 10% discount running for pre-orders.

Project Cars was released recently and that’s an amazing game, so you’ll just have to play that until the newest installment from Codemaster becomes available on July the 10th or 21st.

F1 2015 is built on a completely new engine that is said to bring you closer than ever before to the real F1 experience. Realistic physics and advanced graphics will take your skills to the limits, may it be in the Pro Season, online play or single player against the clock.

Mad Catz Partners for Retail Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition

Mad Catz has signed a deal with Dovetail Games for the exclusive retail distribution of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition. Mad Catz will distribute the boxed version of the game in America, Russia and the Asia Pacific area under its Saitek brand, and you get a nice coupon bonus along with the purchase.

“Our Saitek brand has long been recognized as the leader in simulation technology, and distributing FSX: Steam Edition allows consumers a one-stop-shop for their flight simulation software and hardware needs,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “Whether you’re an experienced pilot or just want to fly, FSX: Steam Edition provides a great experience.”

Microsoft Flight Simulator X is probably one of the best flight simulators for enthusiast all around with support for almost any kind of extra hardware. With the Steam Edition you get the updated game with better Windows 7 and 8 support, the Accelerated Expansions pack and the deluxe version of the base game.

But the real kick is that Saitek includes a 15% discount code for your first flight simulation equipment. The Saitek First Flight Bundle includes the Pro Flight Yoke, Throttle, and Rudder Pedals – the basic setup that any real pilot will need.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X features

  • 24 Precisely-Rendered Aircraft-Pilot everything from single-prop planes to helicopters, fighter jets, and ultralights
  • Over 80 Engaging Missions-Test your flight sim skills as you visit 24,000 of the world’s airports
  • Thrilling Air Races-Fly solo offline or compete against online rivals for intense multiplayer action
  • Explore the World of Aviation-Experience realistic flight conditions including weather effects, seasonal changes, and time of day
  • Easy to Learn-Gameplay tutorial gets you airborne quickly, empowering you to track and improve your skills

The new retail version will be released on June 16th and it can already be pre-ordered for $19.99.

BenQ Releases XR3501 Curved LCD Monitor for Racing Enthusiasts

Racing simulation fans are some of the most dedicated you’ll find, well that actually goes for most real-simulation genres, but this news is more for the racing fans. BenQ has launched their newest monitor and it’s a large on. The curved XR3501 LCD monitor spans 35-inch, sporting a 2560×1080 extra wide resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate for the best and most immersive racing experience.

The BenQ XR3501 features a 2000R curvature, the most of any LCD monitor. That with the 21:9 aspect ratio puts you right into the drivers seat for an optimal racing experience that includes every tiny detail. The 144Hz refresh rate removes any kind of stutter that might take you out of the moment while you slide through the tight corners while the crowd cheers you on.

The XR3501’s Color Vibrance feature allows you to easily adjust color and detail settings based on your personal preferences. Lighting changes can hide critical details such as opponent cars that seem to vanish in the darkness of a tunnel. BenQ’s eQualizer helps boosting the brightness of darker regions of the screen without blowing out the well-lit areas, allowing you to see every detail without sacrificing image quality.

BenQ had to tease with three of these amazing looking monitors next to each other, as if one of them wouldn’t already be cool to have. But then again, why settle for one when you can have three and enjoy a 7680-pixel wide image for the most immersive gaming experience. The XR3501curved LCD gaming monitor is expected to retail in the second quarter of 2015, but no word on pricing or further details yet.

Players Want to Make ArmA III Even More Realistic with Latest ACE3 Mod

If you are looking for the ultimate military warfare simulation game, then ArmA III is for you. Yet with all its realism, modders apparently tweaked a lot of its features and added even more realism as they saw fit.

The modders come from three communities, namely the modders behind ACE2, AGM and CSE, who have joined their forces to release ACE3. The modders are said to have spent months on tweaking and polishing their project in order to get what they call “the most comprehensive and realistic gameplay experience for Arma III.”

Core Features

  • Completely new 3D Interaction/Action System
  • Performance and reliability framework
  • Focus on modularity and customisation
  • New flexible client and server settings & configuration
  • Improved medical system with various levels (Basic/Advanced) focus on gameplay/realism
  • Proper & consistent network synced weather
  • Wind and Weather Advanced Ballistics
  • Captivity System
  • Explosives System including different trigger types
  • Map screen improvements, marker placement and map tools
  • Advanced missile guidance and laser designation

Additional Features

  • Carrying and dragging
  • Realistic names for vehicles and weapons
  • Realistic ballistics/FCS calculated in C/C++ extensions
  • Backblast and overpressure simulation
  • A fire control system for armoured vehicles and helicopters
  • Disposable launchers
  • Realistic G-forces
  • Vehicle Locking
  • Realistic Night and Thermal vision modes
  • Magazine repacking
  • Realistic weapon heating
  • Combat deafness simulation
  • Improved Ragdoll Physics
  • Improved interactions for AARs and ammo bearers
  • Adjustable sniper scopes
  • No Idle Animation with lowered weapon
  • No talking player Avatar
  • Jumping over obstacles, climbing over walls and cutting down fences
  • Vector, MicroDAGR and Kestrel devices

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information.

Scientists Create The Most Detailed Simulation Of Our Universe Ever

Teams of scientists from MIT, Harvard and many other great institutions have created what is now the best simulation of the universe ever created, it’s not perfect, but it’s a big step towards understanding the cosmos and our place within it. Using a vast network of supercomputers they created a “universe in a cube” simulation, while that might sound like a silly little box, it actually measured almost 350 million light years across, which should give you some indication of the sheer scale of this simulation.

The scale may not be as big as the universe, in fact it’s freaking tiny compared to the scale of the visible universe, but it’s more than enough to give us a good indication of how things work on a large scale. Not only can the team simulate such a vast area, but they can also “zoom in” on their work to check individual galaxies to a scale of 1000 light years across.

With over 100,000 lines of code simulating the laws of physics, our knowledge on ordinary matter, dark matter, dark energy and more. They then plugged in the spec for an early universe and hit the fast forward button until the simulation was 13 billion years old. You think it’s bad trying to render 1080p video, just imagine how much computer power this must have taken! I’m told my own high-end desktop would have taken many thousands of years to get through such a task.

In the video below is the actual simulation running, the formation of virtual galaxies around dark matter, black holes doing their thing and more. In total the simulation turned up 41,416 galaxies and this is the first simulation that successfully produced its own spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/NjSFR40SY58[/youtube]

 

TressFX 2.0 To Simulate Hair, Fur And Grass Physics At A Less Performance Cost

If you played the latest Tomb Raider, then you probably know about TressFX. If not, then you should know that it is the technology used to simulate Lara Croft’s realistic-like hair inside the game.

TressFX is AMD’s realistic hair rendering technology used to render and simulate numerous individual strands of hair. Now AMD has revealed the next version of TressFX, having better performance and easier integration into games. In addition to hair simulation, TressFX is now in development to simulate other things like grass and fur.

“TressFX is AMD’s realistic hair rendering technology which renders and simulates the physics of thousands of individual strands of hair. It was first used in Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider, released earlier this year. Now AMD is introducing TressFX 2.0, a newer version of TressFX with better performance and easier integration into games. Additionally research is now being done to use TressFX for other things besides hair, like grass and fur. In this talk we will cover how TressFX rendering and physics works, the improvements made in TressFX 2.0, and the research which will be used in future products.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAWJAe8k8sQ[/youtube]

Tress FX 2.0 is said to have better integration into games and less performance drops, where we should expect the same effects generated in the first version of TressFX, but at a lower performance cost.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

Mad Catz Announces Saitek X-55 RHINO H.O.T.A.S. System for PC

Mad Catz have announced today that the Saitek X-55 RHINO H.O.T.A.S. (Hands On Throttle and Stick), a product designed and developed to give flight simulation enthusiasts the most realistic flight experience at an affordable price, and it is expected to ship to consumers in early 2014.

The X-55 RHINO is styled after modern fighter jet control systems and was built from the ground up to deliver a multitude of customizable options never before seen in an H.O.T.A.S. system. Whether flying a modern fighter, single- or multi-engine aircraft, or even a retro single-seat plane, the X-55 RHINO supplies all the control surface options required to achieve the exact level of aerial performance aspiring pilots demand. The X-55 RHINO features enhanced 16-bit hall-effect sensors in the axes, four swappable springs for the joystick so you can dial in your preferred stick tension, and twin lockable throttles with a friction adjustment knob that can be set on the fly.

“Our Saitek brand strives to replicate reality and deliver a great experience to the flight simulation community,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “We believe the X-55 RHINO accomplishes these goals and is another example of our ability to deliver outstanding products to passionate consumers.”

Given that Mad Catz and of course Saitek are world renowned for creating some of the greatest flight stick and gaming controllers in the world, I really can’t wait to see this one in action. From a light cruise in MS Flight, to a chaotic game in World of Warplanes, this controller could be a lot of fun.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/5HkR7Z6Qvhs[/youtube]

Thank you Saitek for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Saitek.

OpenWheel Launches Kickstarter Page For Unique PS3 Racing Experience

Brain in a Jar, the independent racing game developer has announced that its Kickstarter project for OpenWheel, a multiplayer online racing simulation, will now include Playstation 3 via the Playstation Network.

OpenWheel is a genuine change of pace for online racing on PS3. Offering immediate multiplayer action, OpenWheel uses Brain in a Jar’s accurate racing simulation engine, but with an added twist of car construction, driver customisation, team creation and championship management, allowing players to build real identities for themselves on the track. Up to 32 players can compete in a single race across OpenWheel’s 12 track layouts, with a drop-in play system removing all the roadblocks to getting into the thick of it. Players can join a race at any point, including races already underway – because the lifeblood of racing is wheel-to-wheel dicing with the opposition, whatever your position in the race.

  • No lobbies
  • Drop-in racing
  • Up to 32 racers on track
  • Create and run online championships
  • Create and manage racing teams
  • Create your cars
  • Customise your driver
  • Fill the grid with ai drivers to keep the race full
  • Hot seat into ai cars and take over when joining a race
  • Leaderboards and telemetry data
  • On-car achievement badges
  • On-track celebrations
  • Physical and mechanical damage
  • Tyre wear and fuel use
  • Oculus rift support!

OpenWheel supports a host of community functionality with the ability to create race teams with other players and define online championship seasons for the world to compete in. Players are able to configure and personalise every aspect of their car, driver and team.

Carl Dalton, founder, Brain in a Jar comments “We want OpenWheel to be a hub for fast paced racing action, where players can make a real name for themselves, where teams can build admiration and recognition and where the thrill of racing is easy to get into and fun to be part of.”

For more information or to pledge head over to the official Kickstarter Page.

Images courtesy of Brain In A Jar.