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March 01, 2015

The Gaming Thread

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This week, you have two big conferences and a game show. During the week, you have the Game Developers Convention and the Mobile World Congress. And then next weekend you have Pax East, the first real gaming show of the year where devs get to show off what they're working on.

This morning, MWC started off with a bang as HTC was finally revealed as the first VR partner with Valve with the announcement of the HTC Vive (stupid name). Where Oculus is going for something that is price conscious and less bulky to get people to buy into, HTC and Valve is going in the opposite direction with 2 screens (Rift is using one) and instead of standard camera head tracking, they're going with inside-out tracking with cameras, gyros and IR blasters. With the added base sensors, it doesn't exactly sound like it's going to be marker less tracking (it's fully onboard tracking) which kinda sucks. Though theoretically, this headset should be better than what we know of that the Oculus is planning to launch with tech-wise, I'm really scratching my head in how this is going to be received. Will there be enough people to buy something that should be better but also going to cost quite a bit more while also being more bulky/heavy? It should make for an interesting GDC as that's where Valve will unveil the headset.

As for the rest of the MWC, I've been mainly interested in if anyone is going to announce stuff with Nvidia's K1 chips or Intel's Cherry Trial chips (though the leaked benches are disappointing to say the least). At least with the early goings on, it's all Snapdragon again this year. Don't get me wrong, Qualcomm makes some really nice stuff but as a consumer, it's blegh when the same 3 yearly chips power the majority of everything that isn't Apple.

The other missing puzzle for mobile and gaming is going to be announced at GDC.



At GDC, you've got two new graphics APIs being talked about. You've got the Knronos Group unveiling the evolution of OGL dubbed glNext, a low level API for non-Windows stuff. There isn't isn't anything known on what they're going to be unveiling. Though Microsoft is trying to angle DX12 for mobile that isn't Windows, glNext is the bigger look at where mobile is heading.

And speaking of DX12, Microsoft is going to finally unveil what the hell is in it other than the known CPU optimization and the ease of programming for Windows, mobile and XBox at the same time. Two main things I'm hoping for them to announce is built in hooks for cloud computing in your games and more robust support for tiled resources and deferred rendering. It's the way Microsoft been heading the last few years and I'm hoping it's included in DX12. Please give me real cloud computing in muh videgamez.

And like the announcement of the HTC Vive this morning, Valve has a stacked GDC this year. They're finally showing off the "final" design of the Steam controller. The prototypes they've released the last two years are eh, especially with the last one with it's candy buttons (I love The Duke but candy buttons suck). Give it a week and they'll probably unveil a new final final design of the controller.

Also new updates on SteamOS. The Big Picture mode is okay I guess. Not exactly something I personally want with my HTPC but I can see some usefulness in it for people who are scared of PCs. And though Unity has helped, even in the last 20 Years of Linux, it hasn't really amounted to much (be it being better support than it's ever had). That being said, I still really don't like the whole concept of SteamOS. It still amounts to Gabe spazzing out about walled gardens while continuing to create his own walled garden. Personally, I don't want PC gaming going the route of Android but whatever.

Also getting new info on the "second generation" of the Steam Machines. The first gen went as well as a fart in church. Out of all of them, the only one that was okay was Alienware X51 and that was overpriced. As a owner of a HTPC, I think the whole concept is rotten as it's still amounts to overcharging people for something they can build better. I personally think the way to go is just teaching people how to build their own PC. It's not that hard and it's a cheaper route.

Now the stream boxes or what ever you want to call it, that's a good endeavor. Barebones box or dongle to let you stream your games from your PC. It needs improvements from where it's at right now but it's a good path for people who already own a gaming rig.



Teaming up with Telltale for anything that needs to be timely sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Microsoft finally announced that Fable Legends will be free 2 play. Pay breakdown is straight League of Legends. Of course if they wanted a nice 1-2 punch, they also would have relaxed the NDA. Especially since a licensed game already got a jump on them a week & a half ago with the concept.

• No one cares about the story of the Mortal Kombat games (if I want to be real, I'd say no one cares about Mortal Kombat in general I digress) but this story trailer gives a look at the full cast

• Well, maybe we will finally get issue 10 of Battle Chasers now

• A movie game that might be good? Sure, it's a reskin of Forza Horizon 2 but still.

Magic Leap: Unlike our AR glasses, Microsoft's AR glasses are bad for you.

Think of the most Sony thing you can think off. Now throw that away and be amazed. You remember that they had that contest to win a chance of buying one of those PSX themed PS4s? Well, they "accidentally" erased the winners list and now want you to re-enter the contest and try again.

• So a W4K MOBA eh. Market is a little too crowded



Mediocre week in releases. Nothing you can instantly point to and say you're going to be buying it.

Helldivers (Vita, PS4) - It's a sci-fi verson of Magicka. I can't say I was a big fan of Magicka. Sure, it was fun for an hour in accidentally killing your friends. But as a game, it's pretty bad and frankly straight up boring (you can say the same with their Gauntlet reboot). Putting it in a sci-fi setting with guns just doesn't do anything for me other than that window of fun getting shorter.

Screamride (360, XBO) - While Frontier is working on a real Rollercoaster Tycoon on the PC, they're releasing something that harkens back to Crash Mode in the Burnout games. I think the demo was fun, it really does scratch the Crash Mode itch which is something we really haven't had in 10 years (Burnout Crash was garbage). That being said, I don't know if I would say it's worth the $30/$40 for it. Throw it as a $20 download game and I'd pick it up.

Mario VS Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS, Wii U) - I really like this Lemmings ripoff series. It's a fun little puzzler. But the last two games were not good. Mini-Land Mayhem was too easy and going 3D for Minis on the Move was a really bad idea for this type of game. I'm still curious on if they can recapture the fun of the earlier entries but I'll be waiting for some reviews before I pick this up.

White Night (PC, XBO, PS4) - Other than remembering it being in the b-roll ID@XBox trailer at last year's E3, have no idea about this game. It looks cool and I'm always game for a 3D adventure game, especially with a decent art style. Still comes down to story and I've got no clue in how this is going to shake out. Might be worth keeping your eye on it.

Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines (Vita) - This is a pretty good definition of a game being dumped on an audience. A month between western localization announcement and release with no promotion or much of anything. That being said, this standard RPG is supposed to be pretty good with a cool art style and a decent story. And it only costs $20 and it's not like we've had much really worth playing on the Vita lately.

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posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 03:20 PM

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