Project Alpha 31 – The Video Game Made Without A Programmer

When it comes to making things on computers many will tell you that if you don’t know a programming language like the back of your hand, you will struggle. These day’s that isn’t always true as Adrian Lazar found out when he was making Planet Alpha 31, a video game that was made without a programmer.

Lazar isn’t new to the video game market having been a professional game artist at AAA studios for a while but wanted to try making something a little different. Back in 2013, he started using Unity to make what would eventually become Planet Alpha 31, but his lack of experience with programming meant the game went on a hiatus. That was until he learned about Unreal Engine 4’s Blueprint visual scripting system. The system allows you to set up gameplay using nodes, connecting them together to create game rules, camera settings and even the very weapons and environmental effects that change the games very world.

The end result was Planet Alpha 31 becoming a full-time project, rather than a side project. Designed as a 2.5D game, played on a 2D plane but with 3D graphics, the graphical style of the game is like that of clay, with smooth dough looking graphics covering the landscape.

While the game may seem simple, it features rich and graphically diverse effects, with dynamic lighting really shown off when lasers rip across the screen. The game is set for release in 2017 on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC and I for one cannot wait to try it out.

https://youtu.be/Y9fpvjOJbJc

Have a Look at the New “Adam” Unity Tech Demo!

Cross-platform game engine Unity was developed by Unity Technologies and was released for the first time in 2005. It eventually became one of the most versatile products of its kind, and on  February 23, 2016, it was released in its final 5.3.3 version. Even though the engine was used by numerous developers over the years, the tech demo recently released by the Unity team finally managed to show us exactly what it is capable of. The demo is a part of a real-time rendered short film named “Adam,” which will be released in its complete version during the Unite Europe 2016 event set to take place in Amsterdam.

The demo looks amazing, at least in my opinion, and even though it’s not likely that any new title will end up sporting these graphics, it’s still incredible to see what gaming might look like in the future, when mainstream hardware will be able to handle such detail levels. As for the film itself, it starts off by showing us a cyborg that’s trying to figure out what he has become. Judging by the fact that a display installed on its chest shows off a felony code and a faded mugshot, I suspect that we might be looking at a unique form of sentencing that forces lawbreakers to live the rest of their days as cyborgs. It’s an interesting concept, and we’ll definitely find out the official story soon enough, but until then we’ll just have to settle for the following video.

Assassin’s Creed Franchise Taking a Breather

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen its share of bad publicity with the last couple of games released. Assassin’s Creed Unity was a fiasco of magnitudes and while Syndicate did better, it failed to reach the same sales records as previous games. Both Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed have gotten a bad name and it looks like they’re pulling the breaks in order to take a breather and get the series back on track.

According to multiple anonymous sources which have provided credible leaks in this franchise before, we won’t see any new game in this series in 2016 at all. The next Assassin’s Creed game will instead come in 2017, giving the developing studio a little more time to come up with a fix for a broken game.

Now when I say broken game, I don’t refer to the trouble with Unity, but rather the whole concept. Assassin’s Creed is caught between the casual and hardcore gamers and with a product that doesn’t satisfy either one in the end. The original stealth approach has been replaced with a more straight on slaughter mode and the introduction of more and more firearms also disgruntled a lot of users. Not to mention the ship battles in Blag Flag, that while cool seemed totally out of place in the game.

One of the anonymous sources also leaked some information on the new games location and setup, but that wasn’t confirmed by any of the other sources. But according to this source, the new Assassin’s Creed game coming out in 2017 will be set in Ancient Egypt with the protagonist being a (former) slave. The project is codenamed Empire, but that will most likely not be the official name. The new game is said to

The new game is said to get a Witcher 3 feel with player progression and a freeform combat system. The environment is described as extremely colourful and with very little parkour. Both of these things might be something that will leave the hardcore fans disappointed. There will be horses and ships to travel, but no naval combat, oh and you’ll get a pet eagle like the one known from the Far Cry franchise.

While I think that it is great that Ubisoft is taking a breather to rebuild a damaged and what used to be one of my favourite game series, I’m not convinced that what has been leaked so far will change much. It’s just not the same game anymore.

As bonus information, I can add that it looks like Ubisoft will use the opening created by this to release Watch Dogs 2 instead, but that’s just another rumour so far.

Assassin’s Creed Unity And Syndicate PlayStation 4 Graphics Compared

Assassin’s Creed Unity’s technical shortcomings caused a great deal of embarrassment for Ubisoft and memes mocking the bugs were scattered across various forums. The game’s vast population density proved to be overly taxing on the current crop of consoles and ran poorly on PC due to shoddy optimization. Given this difficult lesson, Ubisoft has decided to scale back the number of NPCs to improve Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s performance. Now the game is finally out, YouTube channel Candyland decided to compare the graphics from the PlayStation 4 versions:

“We compare the graphics of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Unity on PS4. Syndicate runs much smoother than Assassin’s Creed Unity and seems to achieve a stable framerate by reducing some graphics options such as lower texture resolution, lower draw and detail distance as well as texture filtering, lower details overall, lower population density and variety. That sounds like a total downgrade, but it is not. The game still looks awesome and transports a lot of atmosphere.”

Overall, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is lacking in detail, and the entire world looks quite empty. However, the frame-rate has been improved by this and texture pop-in isn’t as noticeable. Additionally, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate introduces a dynamic day/night cycle while Unity only offered dynamic weather. While there are improvements, initial impressions show Assassin’s Creed Syndicate struggling to maintain a solid 30 frames-per-second. On this note, I’m interested to see the PC performance which will give a better indication of Ubisoft’s optimization compared to Unity.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Early PlayStation 4 Performance Revealed

Assassin’s Creed Unity suffered from a plethora of technical issues across all platforms and often dipped around the 20 frames-per-second mark on consoles. Given the huge amount of bugs, and negative publicity, Ubisoft promised to improve the optimization of future titles. However, according to footage analyzing the latest Assassin’s Creed game, it appears the frame-rate is still well below par.

The video showcases version 1.00 running on the PlayStation 4 and struggles to maintain a solid 30 frames-per-second. The frame-rate dips below 30 on a regular basis and even manages to reach lows of 25. The game also utilizes a resolution of 900p which makes the performance even more disappointing. While patches could improve things, the launch performance looks quite buggy. On the other hand, the current crop of consoles have struggled to maintain 1080p 30fps in a variety of graphically diverse titles. If this is the case, Ubisoft should have reduced the game’s resolution to make for a smoother experience.

It will be interesting to see how the PC version performs and that will give an indication about Ubisoft’s skill level in optimizing the game. Some critics argued, the release schedule of Assassin’s Creed should be prolonged to 2 years which could help improve the game’s technical performance. However, this doesn’t seem likely as Ubisoft opts for a yearly cycle to make the series more profitable.

Frostbite’s Senior Graphic Programmer Leaves DICE to Join Unity

Unity has been steadily gaining in popularity with developers, as it’s very easy to work with and from my own experiences pretty easy to learn too. It’s quite VR friendly, meaning a lot of new and existing developers have been tempted by what it offers, especially those toying around with tech demos for Oculus Rift and the plethora of VR devices that are soon to be released.

The latest incarnation, Unity 5, is putting up solid competition against the likes of Unreal Engine, Frostbite and many others, but the battle just took an interesting turn as Frostbite’s senior graphic programmer, Sébastien Lagarde, who has been with DICE for two years, is now leaving DICE behind to join Unity as their Director of Rendering Research.

This is bad news for DICE, who will now need to replace Lagarde, but it’s obviously very good news for Unity and no doubt good news, in the long term, for the who use Unity technology. Who know’s, maybe one day Unity will be even better than Frostbite, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Have you ever used Unity or Frostbite? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Unity 5.1 adds Native Oculus Rift Support

Unity is one of the largest game engines around. The platform already supports a wide range of target technology, Windows and Linux PC’s, Macs, Android phones and tablets and iOS devices.

Virtual reality will never get off the ground without the availability of tools to make things with. Unity realised this too and one of their offerings from the newly released Unity 5.1 is native Oculus Rift support with optimized pipeline for virtual reality and augmented reality.

To further embrace the future of VR they will also be adding native support for other platforms in the near future, these include Microsoft Hololens and Gear VR. If you are interested in developing anything for these headsets there are third-party SDKs out there to help you get started.

Many games have already been developed for the Oculus Rift with Unity, this native support should see a lot more being developed in the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLX2vGYjWbI0S7YMIXT44gD4txxfA6F_ng&w=560&h=315

The improvements don’t just stop there though. Version 5.1 also adds the Unity Multiplayer Service. This makes building new multiplayer games a lot more simple. This new service adds Matchmaking and Relay servers which makes connection and firewall issues less common as the relay server sends traffic between the client and servers. These changes are only currently in the preview stage, but the full launch shouldn’t be too far off.

Personally I am expecting great things from Unity in the near future. They are only just getting their toes wet in the whole VR world at the moment, I expect they will be diving in much deeper over the next few updates.

Apple Moves Closer to the Gaming Market

We know that Apple’s hardware, especially its OS X operating system, was not designed with gaming in mind. This is why gamers and developers alike chose Windows and its DirectX when it comes to graphics, but Apple seems to want a piece of the gaming market too and this was clearly shown today at their Worldwide Developer Conference.

If you are familiar with last year’s WWDC, then you know all about the company’s Metal API. If you don’t, then you should know that the latter is Apple’s gaming platform previously announced for their iOS devices. However, this year the company wants to integrate it into their latest OS X too.

Dubbed El Capitan, Apple’s latest OS X 10.11 seems to move closer than ever to the gaming market, bringing 10x rendering performance compared to their previous OS X. To demonstrate El Capitan’s potential, they brought Epic Games to show everyone how gaming can be made possible on low-level graphics performance.

Also, Epic Games is not the only company to back Apple’s decision. Metal seems to be endorsed by other big name gaming companies such as 2K Games, Blizzard, and Unity. The companies have announced that they will be integrating Apple’s Metal API into their engines, which means we can look forward to more titles coming to Apple’s OS next year.

Than you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of iC

Unity Plug-In Leaves Millions of PCs Vulnerable to Data Theft

Jouko Pynnönen, a security researcher from Finland, has uncovered a security flaw within the Unity Web Player plug-in that could make hundreds of millions of gamers vulnerable to having their data stolen from any website they happen to logged into at the time, including webmail and social media accounts.

The Unity Web Player plug-in is designed to allow browsers to display and run game content in web applications; a popular choice, thanks to its flexible compatibility across domains, and is even endorsed by Facebook, which has its own software development kit for Unity-based games within the social networking site.

According to Unity Technologies, over 200 million people have Unity Web Player installed on their computers, and is used by over 700,000 active developers on a monthly basis, leaving a huge chunk of the world’s population at risk of having their details stolen.

Pynnönen built a Unity app to test the plug-in’s integrity. When the app was loaded up by the plug-in, it could access the Gmail account that was open in the browser, and was even able to forward e-mails to another account through the plug-in.

Thankfully, Chrome users running version 42 of the browser are protected from the vulnerability. Users of other browsers are advised to either use Chrome version 42 or uninstall the Unity Web Player until the problem is patched.

Thank you Lifars for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PC World.

Nintendo Takes Down Super Mario 64 Unity Remake

In a move that will shock no one, Nintendo has issued a copyright infringement notice against the remake of Super Mario 64 built by a fan using the Unity game engine. The remake, which was playable within an internet browser, was only one level and available for free, but Nintendo obviously don’t like being shown up.

Nintendo’s lawyers send the copyright notice to Cloudflare, which had been hosting the game. The notice reads:

“The copyrighted work at issue is Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 video game (U.S. Copyright Reg. No. PA0000788138), including but not limited to the audiovisual work, computer program, music, and fictional character depictions. The web site at http://mario64-erik.u85.net/Web.html displays, and allows users to play, an electronic game that makes unauthorized use of copyright-protected features of Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 video game. Nintendo requests that CloudFlare, Inc. immediately disable public access to http://mario64-erik.u85.net/Web.”

Though Cloudflare has pulled the game, it seems that, with a bit of searching, it can still be found for download from “other providers”, as is the enhanced version we reported on a few days ago.

Source: The Next Web

Remember Super Mario 64 Unity? Someone’s Made it Even Better!

A few days ago, we brought you news that someone had recreated the first level of Mario 64 in unity, which you can play in your browser! Just three days later and the game is back yet again and it’s better than ever!

Redditor ‘verietygamer’ has been playing with the source code for the game and has released an overhauled version of it.

The new release offers up improved lighting and shadows, HDR, Depth of Field, Edge Shading, Volumetric Clouds, Specular Bump Mapping and improved textures; impressive!

  • Improved lighting and shadows
  • Dynamic Sky Box/Volumetric clouds
  • Ground clutter wind simulation
  • HDR + Depth of Field + Edge Shading + other
  • Added some fauna (Birds/Butterflies)
  • Hi-Res landscape textures
  • Specular Bump mapping on most textures
  • Trees (Can’t climb)
  • Distance landscape

You can download and play the new version right here.

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Super Mario 64 Recreated in Unity, Playable in Your Browser!

Super Mario 64, one of the most, if no THE most iconic 3D platform game ever created, is still as popular now as it ever was. Roystan Ross has recreated the first level from the legendary game using Unity Engine, which is impressive in its self, but what’s even cooler is that you can play it, right now!

The level is playable in your browser thanks to Unity, although you can still download a desktop version if you so desire. There’s no plans to make any more levels of the game, as this was more a technical demonstration and personal project from Roystan to show what he through a HD remake could look like.

“I currently do not have any plans to develop this any further or to resolve any bugs, unless they’re horrendously gamebreaking and horrendously simple to fix. This project is provided as-is, and you are free to use it for any purposes you like, with the exception of selling it for profit. “

Check out some gameplay in the video below, or get right into the action and play it yourself on Roystan’s blog!

https://youtu.be/e8-2TF3Okyw

Atari Rushes to Fix Horrible Graphics in Upcoming RollerCoaster Tycoon

The latest trailer release for RolleCoaster Tycoon World displayed some unimpressive graphics, which is a worrying indicator to the effort went into making the game. This is why Atari plans on fixing its mistake with a new graphical overhaul.

“We have heard you and we concur; the trailer did not show the final game and the game everyone should expect from the RCT franchise,” reads the Atari blog post from late last week.

The title is still in pre-alpha stages and Atari states that the features and graphical fidelity will improve before the game is released. The company states that developer Area 52 will be updating the version of Unity, the engine in which the game is built on, from version four to five.

Atari also states that RCTW will benefit from more “realistic” art style, that will make the rides “feel like they can be found in real life. This means that there are more than just a few tweaks and improvements being made to the title.

However, the improvements may also cause a push-back on the release date for the game, having Atari stating that it will release RCTW when it knows that it’s ready.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

Source 2: Valve’s First New Game Engine in 11 Years!

Valve has unveiled its new game engine at GDC 2015, its first for 11 years. Source 2 is the successor to the original Source engine, released in 2004 with the launch of first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Source (above).

Jay Stelly, Software Developer at Valve, said in a press release that “with Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity. Given how important user-generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games.”

Like the latest versions of Unreal Engine and Unity, Source 2 will be made available to “content developers” free-of-charge. Though, what constitutes a content developer, or whether “free” includes a royalty percentage deal, à la Unreal, is as yet unclear.

Though details of the new engine are scant, Valve promises that Source 2 will have a special version compatible with low-overhead API Vulkan. There was no mention of a release date, but the announcement itself suggests that Source 2 will get an official launch soon.

Source: TechSpot

Unity 5 Released, Including Fully Featured Free Version!

Unity 5 is finally here! This has proven to be a quick response to Epic’s shocking shift in making Unreal Engine 4 free last weekend. Unity 5 brings “over a thousand” improvements, including making the engine 64-bit and adding support for 21 platforms.

In terms of more detailed improvements, the team at Unity call the new engine a “graphical powerhouse”. What they mean by this is that there have been a lot of changes in terms of rendering:

  • Physically-based Standard Shader
    • The new Standard Shader will make your materials look consistent in any lighting environment, across mobile, high-end desktop, and consoles. Apply it across 95% of the materials in your game, such as metal, plastics, wood, ceramics and cloth. Use it together with the new HDR Skybox, Reflection Probes and Global Illumination System to create stunning visuals.
  • Real-time Global Illumination
    • Animate lighting with Real-time Global Illumination built on Geomerics Enlighten technology. Achieve dynamic lighting treatments on high-end mobile, desktop and consoles, and for lower-end devices, create beautifully detailed results with baked artwork.
  • HDR Reflection Probes
    • Enhance visual fidelity with our new HDR Reflection Probes. Add richer detail by having any object realistically reflect its surroundings. Reflection Probes are easy to implement—just place a probe at any location in your scene to sample reflections for its surrounding objects.

Moving further under the hood, we see some major changes in the Editor as well, having added a new audio mixer, enhanced animation workflows and PhysX 3.3:

  • The Audio Mixer
    • Now anyone can massively improve the audio in their game! Our new Audio Mixer brings nested mixing workflows, with snapshots to capture mixes in different areas of your project, plus industry-standard effects to add immersive new depths.
  • New Physics Engine
    • PhysX 3.3 brings massive performance improvements to 3D physics in Unity 5. New multithreaded simulation is available for platforms that support it, and there’s a new cloth component for character clothing. New wheel colliders bring better support for suspension and tire force simulation. Collision detection is improved and bake-free scaled MeshCollider support is added.
  • A more powerful Animator
    • We added more flexibility to the animation system. Add State Machine Behaviours to states to give precise control of script functions during animation. Anything in your game that requires some kind of State Machine-like logic can now use our visual editor live feedback. A new Asset Creation API is now exposed so animators can now create all sorts of tools to create and edit animation assets.

Other improvements include WebGL Preview, which is a preview of the deployment support for advanced 3D and 2D content in modern browsers. It aims at enhancing support for HTML5 and WebGL applications through Unity Web Player, stating that the new improvements will “deliver performance at native speeds”. Aside from WebGL, Unity 5 now supports iOS Metal Rendering, taking full advantage of iOS hardware in order to achieve greater detail, smoother performance and interactivity in games at a lower CPU usage cost.

Also, Unity 5 along with Oculus are working to “further boost the exceptional frame rates achievable with Unity on the Oculus”. This means we are going to see a lot of developers taking an interest in VR technology and in return, we should expect a lot of titles supporting the technology in the future.

In terms of new features, Unity 5 apparently is heading “to the clouds”. The team has prepared a new feature for developers, namely Unity Cloud Build, along with a set of game performance reporting tools and analytics:

  • Unity Cloud Build
    • Unity Cloud Build brings the magic of build automation to all Unity developers. Unity Cloud Build automates the creation and distribution of builds, by monitoring your team’s source control, and when changes are detected, it builds your project for multiple platforms in the cloud. Your whole team is kept updated with email notifications, making it easy for them to install builds on their devices with the tap of a button.
  • Game Performance Reporting
    • Game Performance Reporting is a new cloud service for Unity Professional customers that provides developers with new tools for improving game performance, starting with a preview of exception logging. Exception Logging captures exceptions in editor, development and release builds, and delivers detailed reports that can be read via a web dashboard.
  • Unity Analytics
    • Our new cloud-based analytics tool is currently in open beta. Unity Analytics provides you with powerful yet simple-to-understand tools that will help you understand your audience and get actionable insights into your players’ behavior. With that knowledge in hand, you can then improve your players’ gaming experience to boost retention, engagement and monetization.

Other improvements and additions are as following:

  • A 64-bit Editor to handle large projects
  • iOS 64-bit support
  • New Deferred Rendering
  • Graphics Command Buffers
  • Improved Linear lighting, HDR, Skybox and Cubemap workflows
  • Improved job scheduling system, plus a new CPU Timeline Profiler lets you see and investigate multicore usage
  • Improved NavMesh pathfinding system
  • Integrated SpeedTree support to create lush, rich and dynamic vegetation
  • New Frame Debugger to track down graphical issues in your projects
  • Improved Project Wizard
  • Updated Standard Assets
  • New UI and scripting APIs for AssetBundle Build system

Lastly, Unity 5 not only brings a lot of changes in terms of features, performance and improvements, but in terms of pricing as well. The team seems to be working with having two “goals” in mind:

Goal #1 — One of the founding principles of Unity is the idea that we work hard to solve very hard technical problems so our developers / users won’t have to. For this to be at all relevant, our best tools need to be a great value.

Goal #2 — Deep in Unity’s culture is the principle of Democracy. The goal is to price in such a way as to reflect our principles. Democracy is the principle we were founded on, and it means we do our best to put Unity in the hands of developers, Indies or Pros, that may not have the resources to pay for it. It’s about enabling most everyone to create with the best tools we can make. I won’t get too soppy in this post — but is an honor for me to work in a company so mission driven and principled.
Unity 5 Personal can be downloaded for free over at Unity’s website.

This is reflected in Unity 5’s pricing. This is why the Personal edition can be downloaded for free over at Unity’s website. However, the free version does not include the analytics, cloud, performance reporting and some other features. This is why the Professional edition comes with a subscription fee of $75/month.

However, the subscription fee mentioned above is just for Indie companies. There are three more subscription options, which include Enterprise, Education and Industry Solutions which are offered to bring the best subscription package for the job at hand. The pricing and more detail about the subscription packages can also be found on Unity’s website.

Sources: Unity Blog, Unity 5

Better Visuals and Modding Tools Promised in Latest Wasteland 2 Engine Update

Unity’s latest release, Unity 5, is nearly here and since more and more games are being developed with its Game Engine, a lot of developers will receive new and improved tools to tweak their games. The release promises more flexibility and power, as well as a more simplified process of developing games for a variety of platforms.

inXile Entertainment is one of the companies which are already keen on using Unity 5’s power and is currently planning on ways to upgrade its Wasteland 2 title. Chris Keenan, the project lead for Wasteland 2, posted what to expect in the near future from the title, having significant “visual improvements” and “better tools for modders” as a result of the new changes.

“…one task we’re working on right now is migrating the Wasteland 2 codebase from the Unity 4.5 engine to Unity 5, which will enable some new possibilities for us. A major benefit of moving to Unity 5 is that 5 will include many of the tools from Unity 4.x Pro. We relied on many of these tools during our development (like creating and building navigation meshes), and they will be available to modders without having to pay thousands of dollars for a Pro Unity license … Unity 5 offers physically based shading, which is already starting to look amazing in the scenes we’ve touched up.”

inXile stated that it has a few unique features planned as well, but it isn’t ready to reveal them. However, since modding and better visuals are the main topic, it’s hard to imagine the ‘unmentioned’ features being a disappointment.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Assassin’s Creed Unity PC Patch Breaking SLI and More… Obviously

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is somehow still broken! Yet another patch has been released on PC in the last couple of days and while it fixes some performance issues, it welcomes in a wave of new problems that are ruining the game for some players.

The fourth update for the PC release of the game breaks the Nvidia SLI compatibility, so that money you spent on a second graphics card for extra performance isn’t going to do you much good right now; at least not on this game.

When you do enable SLI you end up with diabolical flickering of the lighting and textures that are more likely to give you a seizure than anything else.

The endless saga of failures continues…

Assassin’s Creed Unity Left With 39GB Patch?!?

Console users woke up to a frightening update for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, clocking in a staggering 39GB, which is what I can only summarize as the digital equivalent of a product recall. This isn’t a patch, this is a complete replacement of the game install, it’s a HUGE download, especially when you think that the Blu-Ray discs these games ship on have a maximum capacity of 50GB.

On a good quality 10mbps connection, you’re still looking at almost 9 hours of download time at full speed; which is outrageous. Not so bad if you’re on fiber broadband, but I myself only manage a steady 6.5mbps download rate, leaving me with half a day of patching a game! PC users are still to get the update, but it doesn’t look promising.

How long will it take you to download this patch? You can use this calculator to get your answer.

Ubisoft Says Sorry With Free Assassin’s Creed Unity DLC

Breaking news: Assassin’s Creed: Unity launched full of bugs! OK, that’s not exactly breaking news. Unless you’ve been on another planet for the last few weeks, it’s been hard to miss the constant wave of news surrounding this game and Ubisoft.

As a way of saying sorry for the games shortfalls, which the developer promises they’re still working hard on fixing, they’ll also be offering a free DLC release.

The upcoming Dead Kings DLC will be free for everyone, while season pass holders will be treated to an additional game from a selection of Ubisoft titles for free. This is a good will gesture and obviously not intended to fix the whole issue. However, Ubisoft have said that Patch 3.0 will land very soon.

Check out the full letter of apology from Ubisoft Montreal & Toronto CEO, Yannis Mallat, here.

Windows 10 Build 9897 ISO Images Creep Online

A few weeks ago, Microsoft released a newly compiled version of their upcoming Operating System – Windows 10. However, some tech savvy enthusiasts have cleaned it up a little and re-released it for illegal download.

Obviously we’re not going to link the download instructions here, as we said it’s illegal. But it’s interesting to point out that in this day and age, pirated copies for all kinds of software are generally expected to appear just mere hours or days after the original release. Recently we reported on Ubisoft’s gloat, claiming that all those who had pirated their latest Assassins Creed: Unity game, were met with the inability to change their FOV settings. Just a few hours later, well-known game cracking group Skidrow released an update to their version, allowing consumers to change their FOV as they like. Making their mark and claiming that they weren’t to be messed with.

Back to Windows – this download provides the user with the ability to skip all automatic updates, giving you the complete latest package in one download file.

What are your thoughts on Windows 10 so far? Since the release of Windows 7, we’ve seen many users claim that there is simply no need to upgrade their Operating System, saying that Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 offer no real advancements in software technology to entice them to take the plunge.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Workaround Provided For Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity Main Menu Problems

Gamers are reporting problems with Ubisoft’s Assassin Creed Unity, saying the game is crashing on the main menu screen.

Game crashes have hit PC gamers, Sony PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Xbox One console owners, keeping players from using the game title’s social features. It’s an absolutely atrocious problem gamers have endured, with Ubisoft trying to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Here is what Ubisoft said in a statement:

“We have discovered one of the issues that may cause the game to crash at the main menu after pressing the CONTINUE button. The issue affects all platforms. The team is working hard on a fix for those players that have been affected by this. However, for players who haven’t experienced this issue, we highly recommend you take the following steps to prevent a crash.”

Ubisoft recommends not adding in-game recent players as a game contact, and if you already have, then remove them (My Brotherhood > My Contacts > Game Contacts (using RB/R1) > Focus on a Contact (LS) > More Actions (Y/Triangle) > Remove from contacts. Gamers still having problems can submit a support ticket on the Ubisoft website.

Ubisoft has endured a rough couple of weeks, with France upset at the game studio – as Ubisoft blames AMD for poor performance of Assassin’s Creed Unity.

(Thank you to IGN for providing us with this information. Image courtesy of Ubisoft.)

France Unhappy with Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s Storyline

Ubisoft has been copping quite a lot of flack recently. If I were to link to you all of the articles that only just eTeknix has written over the last two months, it would take me all day. But if you’re interested in what started the original ‘witch-hunt’, look no further than Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed: Unity developers claiming that 60 FPS ‘looks weird’, further stating that 30 FPS provides a much more ‘cinematic’ experience.

Former Minister and Presidential Candidate of France, Jean-Lux Mélenchon, has publicly slated Assassins Creed: Unity and it’s developing company – Ubisoft. Thanks to Polygon and TweakTown, we’ve learned that Mélenchon has stated that Unity is nothing more than “propaganda” and “favors the narrative of France’s ruling elite over the revolutionaries”.

It doesn’t stop there. Through an interview conducted on French radio and translated by the Daily Telegraph, Mélenchon’s words only got stronger. He proudly stated that “[Unity] presents an image of hatred of the Revolution, hatred of the people, hatred of the republic which is rampant in the far-right milieu” damning Ubisoft’s representation of Marie-Antionette as she is a “poor little rich girl” and a “cretin”.

There’s no doubting that many proud French citizens are quite passionate about their long history, this is the first time that we’ve seen it transfer across to hatred for a game. Mélenchon was also quite disgruntled about the representation of his people during 1789 – which is the time period that AC: unity is set in, stating:

“The man who was our liberator at a certain moment of the Revolution, because the Revolution lasted a long time, Robespierre, is presented as a monster. It is propaganda against the people, the people who are [portrayed as] barbarians, bloodthirsty savages. In 1789 there were the poor aristocrats, and they are presented as fine upstanding people”.

You know that you’ve done something very right, or very wrong when you start insulting those who would have never heard of your computer game otherwise – especially those who are diplomats. I wonder what American politicians think of Call of Duty?

We will continue to report as the story develops here at eTeknix.

Image courtesy of eTeknix

AMD Catalyst 14.11.1 Beta Drivers Now Available

The latest AMD Catalyst beta drivers are finally here. The updated software suite brings a small wave of features that update your system for two of the biggest game releases of the season; Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Neither the new Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed come with support for less than 4GB of system memory, or Windows XP. In fact, this update itself on supports those with 64-bit Windows 8.1 (update 1), Windows 7 and Windows Vista based systems. This is generally the majority of users these days, but there has certainly been a bigger shift recently at pushing out support for older systems.

Performance Improvements

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare performance optimizations
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity performance optimizations

Known Issues

  • Occasional stuttering in Assassin’s Creed Unity in CrossFire mode under specific game settings
  • Small chance of intermittent screen tearing or corruption in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on high settings 4K resolution in AMD CrossFire mode
  • Quad CrossFire AMD Radeon R9 295X2 may sometimes black screen when loading a game in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • AMD Radeon R9 280X/280 may experience a crash when playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and a video at the same time. If you experience this issue a work around is turning off the video while playing the game.
  • CrossFire users may experience intermittent flickering in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare menus. As a work around if this issue is seen restarting the game may cause the issue to disappear.

Important Notes

AMD is currently working with Activision to resolve the following issues in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare:

  • Users in AMD CrossFire mode sometimes experience texture corruption
  • Negative scaling sometimes being observed at specific resolutions with AMD CrossFire

If you want the best performance currently available from either of these games and you’re running AMD hardware. Then you’ll certainly want to update your drivers.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Ubisoft Pushing Uplay & Pulling Games From Steam

Ubisoft need to stop what they’re doing, get up from their desks, take a walk outside and just stay there for a few weeks. It seems not a day goes by where I don’t get an email with “You’ll never guess what Ubisoft has done” in the title. Today we have heard news that Assassin’s Creed Unity will not be available on Steam in the UK, but it now looks like it runs a lot deeper than that.

“We’ve been in discussions with Valve about Assassin’s Creed Unity but for the time being the game is not available via Steam in the UK,” a Ubisoft representative told PCGamesN.

However, it now also looks like Far Cry 4 and The Crew will be joining Unity as the listings for all three games have been pulled from the Steam service entirely.

This means that if you want to purchase these games digitally, you’re going to have to download the UPlay service to play them.  The general consensus on Twitter is that no one likes Ubisoft (but that’s hardly breaking news). It also means these games won’t be cropping up in any of the popular Steam Sales we all love so much.

https://twitter.com/shadowzack/status/530569514057216000

Thank you PC Gamer for providing us with this information.

Ubisoft Claim 30 FPS is Being Pressured by Console Manufacturers

Remember last week when Ubisoft told us that 60 FPS looks weird and claimed that 30 FPS is more than suitable for all gamers? This was all uncovered during a visit to a school where the students asked some hard questions, including “What the hell happened with Watch Dogs”. How did Ubisoft respond after the 30 FPS fact? Interestingly is the answer.

Well, they’ve kind of passed the blame along – claiming that console manufacturers are pressuring them into the 30 FPS game play, not by their own choice. Apparently a Ubisoft Game Architect was quoted stating that 60 FPS is the companies aim, but “limitations” have been seeing them settle for a 30 FPS benchmark. This representative went on to state that console manufacturers are pressuring them to replicate the same 30 FPS limitations on their finished PC products. He also made a mention that Ubisoft liked to reuse as much code as possible (most likely due to time and money savings), which is why many of their games have certain similarities.

Another hard-hitting student queried if Ubisoft was “aware of the negative responses of the recent decision to lock your games into 30FPS. If so, what do you think about that?”. They replied that due to console hardware limitations, they’ve been forced to choose between graphic quality and smoothness (frame rate).

Reddit user ‘timois’ was the original creator of this information thread, who also made sure to point out that Ubisoft implied that Microsoft is making them lock the frame rate on PC too.

Coming from a personal PC gamer standpoint, it’s pretty eye-bleedingly obvious when your gaming is running as low as 30 Frames Per Second. So much so that it generally incites a PC restart from myself and constant pondering if my system is trying to overheat itself again. It’s also made more obvious through shooter type games, like CS:GO which I’ve been dabbling in lately running at 200+ FPS and 144hz. What’s Ubisoft’s response to this question however? – “60FPS looks weird”.

I’m not here to preach the “PC Gaming Master Race” stereotype that is seen across social media ever so often in this day and age, but if the consoles are limited to 30 FPS and the consumers are happy – let them be. But please, don’t subject me to the same limitations.

To their credit, Ubisoft has made and will make some incredible games – but we’d love for them to look incredible too. Otherwise, we’re going to see a progression similar to this.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEzhxP-pdos[/youtube]

Image courtesy of eTeknix

Ubisoft Must Think We’re Idiots With Their Latest 30FPS Claims

I’m absolutely raging this week and it’s all because of Ubisoft, who are once again talking utter nonsense to try pull the wool over the eyes of the average consumer, but they’re not fooling me! The developer confirmed this week that their new title Assassin’s Creed Unity will be running at 900P on both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, which is fine, I’m sure the game will look very nice and play well enough to keep us all happy; to a certain degree, because graphics aren’t everything.

Now for the bit that has wound me up, Nicolas Guérin, World Level Design Director on Unity said that AC: Unity was locked at 30FPS to give the game “a more cinematic feel”, what a load of nonsense, this is a thin excuse for their game engine not being able to push above 30FPS, not a technical decision to aim for 30FPS.

“At Ubisoft for a long time we wanted to push 60 fps. I don’t think it was a good idea because you don’t gain that much from 60 fps and it doesn’t look like the real thing. It’s a bit like The Hobbit movie, it looked really weird”. He continued: “And in other games it’s the same – like the Rachet and Clank series [where it was dropped]. So I think collectively in the video game industry we’re dropping that standard because it’s hard to achieve, it’s twice as hard as 30fps, and its not really that great in terms of rendering quality of the picture and the image”. said Nicolas

So which is it Nic, you aimed for 30FPS because you think it’s more cinimatic, or you had to settle for 30FPS because 60FPS was “hard to achieve.” Saying it’s not really that great in terms of rendering quality is completely contradictory, higher FPS is EXACTLY great in terms of rendering quality, it’s as simple as that.

AC: unity Creative Director Alex Amancio made matters even worse by saying that 30FPS feels better, a matter that I’m sure is subjective, but looks and feels are two different things and he’s really just wiggling around the issue at hand. If anyone here has played The Last of Us on PlayStation 4, you’ll find that it’s set at 60FPS and it looks gorgeous! But you can also set it to a more “cinematic” 30FPS in the pause menu and I love the developers for doing this, as it’s a perfect example of how quickly people switch back to 60FPS once they realise that 60FPS is king for this game, which I would now like to point out is an action adventure title…

“30 was our goal, it feels more cinematic. 60 is really good for a shooter, action adventure not so much. It actually feels better for people when it’s at that 30fps. It also lets us push the limits of everything to the maximum. It’s like when people start asking about resolution. Is it the number of the quality of the pixels that you want? If the game looks gorgeous, who cares about the number?” said Alex.

What really annoys me, other than literally everything these idiots are saying is that people will believe them! Your average consumer will think “oooh cinematic, that sounds great”, but the reality is they’re just sugar coating a half-baked game engine. So Ubisoft, you show me a 30FPS locked demo and a 60FPS locked demo and we’ll hold a vote on which is better.

Stop lying to consumers, you settled for 30FPS because it was an easy target, you didn’t want to drop the graphical quality on the console editions any further in favour of higher FPS. The reality is that 30FPS is not the visually better of the two and it will have to do. Let’s hope the PC version isn’t locked at the same level.

Enjoy these technical demos that show you the difference in FPS. Gotta love that cinematic judder.

 

Assassin’s Creed Unity Launch Delayed

The newest addition to the Assassin’s Creed series, Unity, should have been released in October, but has now been postponed. It is however not as bad as we’ve seen it in the past from Ubisoft titles *cough Watch_Dogs cough*.

Assassin’s Creed Unity has been delayed 2 weeks to allow the developers to fix the last small bugs and put the last finishes on the game. So about the same thing we hear every time a game is delayed. The new date is now November 11. in the United States and November 13 in Europe. The news came from a blog post made by Ubisoft.

Now that the team has a near-finished game, those extra two weeks will allow them to focus on those minor adjustments that can make a big difference – and ultimately help Ubisoft deliver on the promise of the game. “We’re very confident in the game we’re making,” Pontbriand says.

The second new game in the series, Assassin’s Creed Rogue will be released on the same day. That however is sadly a console exclusive from the looks of it, at least for now, coming to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Thank you Ubisoft for providing us with these information.

Image courtesy of Ubisoft.