Which is Unknown Worlds poking a bit of fun at themselves, but performance on Xbox One has been an issue since release, however, 126.96.36.199 will also help the game run faster while also making it more stable, among other things.
In particular, the game-world streams in more quickly which is good news and the team have promised "you won’t fall through the world as often". They also fixed the Seamoth docking with the Moonpool. Here's the full list of fixes and changes we received:
Improved world streaming performance
Fixed a crash that occurred during gameplay
Fixed an issue with Seamoth not being able to dock in the Moonpool
Fixed an issue where several plants and coral would spawn on top of each other at water surface
Fixed an issue with objects falling through the ground
Fixed an issues with missing geometry in alien bases
Changed actions to occur on button press, rather than on button release
Improved accuracy for propulsion cannon physics
Optimised power system for vehicles and player bases
When NVIDIA unveiled its new RTX line of graphics cards last year, many were taken aback by some of the wild, futuristic features. Real-time ray-tracing. AI-powered rendering. Stuff, that to be honest we're still waiting to see crop up in a number of titles. But, with Battlefield V's real-time ray-traced reflections - the NVIDIA's GeForce RTX line is all set to impress in 2019.
Here's a snippet form our in-depth look at the technology, and its impact on games.
In terms of the computational power required to simulate these light rays in a digital scene, the cost is so great that it’s one of the main reasons highly detailed computer animation can take several hours to render a few frames. Getting the realistic effect to run in real-time, in the fast-moving ever-changing environment of a game? Well, until the launch of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX – something that was mostly thought of as future tech. A segment on a modern-day version of early 1990s television series, Beyond 2000. Even NVIDIA, who first demoed its research and development into the field of real-time racing, mere months before the RTX reveal - did so via its most advanced non-everyday consumer-based cards.
At this point it should be made clear that visual effects in games, specifically in relation to lighting effects, have grown leaps in bounds over the past few years. Screen-space reflections can accurately reflect objects, shadows can grow and bend and diffuse based on various light sources, and the luminance that comes from say a lighter in a darkened room or a fire can appear to flicker and act like the real thing. A torchlight cutting through thick fog, the glow of a red light changing the appearance and look of someone’s skin. The only real drawback however is that all the above is mostly kept well within the realm of trickery, presenting a real-world effect in the most cost-effective and realistic way possible – limited only by hardware and computational power. And often, the limitations of the, for lack of a better term, impersonation – can be broken.
Yeah, this one is a bit belated, but as Ashen from A44 Games dropped just before the Holiday period, we'll chalk up our tardiness to that, and nothing more (like me being too lost in the game to get up off the couch and actually write about it).
You may have already seen that Ashen made our Top 10 Best Games of 2018 list, but for the purpose of critical analysis, we've also finally put together an in-depth review. Here's a snippet:
Much of that probably sounds negative, and if you’re not the sort of person who can deal with grinding in games, Ashen might be a large ask. But its upsides are huge. As mentioned before, it’s gorgeous. The pacing is very good and combat, while relatively simple is built around a combination of stamina, timing and frame-data management. So if you’re a Souls player, this game is definitely up your alley. Moreover, progression here isn’t tracked by XP, rather successful completion of missions helps your village grow. Growing your village and helping people brings them into the camp and as crafting and items gradually unlock, you’ll be able to manage most of that from your home base. It’s also just awesome to see the village slowly build and eventually come alive. More games would do well to look at this system of reward.
Releasing late last year, the HyperX Pulsefire Core offers a budget-oriented RGB gaming mouse to gamers that once unpacked and plugged in performs in a lot of ways like its more premium brethren.
A snippet from our review.
From our own past experience and testing here, the Pixart 3327 sensor used performs great and on par for regular usage and day-to-day less-intensive gaming than some of the more higher end gaming mice. In fact the click feel is almost identical to HyperX’s more premium mice too, with Omron switches that feel natural to the touch. Throw in the braided cable it’s clear that HyperX has created a pretty impressive and affordable gaming mouse. One that doesn’t sacrifice performance for a lower price-point. Something that if mishandled, could potentially tarnish the brand.
And no, that's not because of Bandersnatch and Netflix now thinking they're a game developer and publisher, rather it's about screen time and how the continued success of Fortnite threatens the streaming giant for 'eyes on screen', even more so than its other major direct competitor: HBO.
And with no signs of slowing down (yet), Netflix, HBO, Amazon and more could all be looking to Epic's success with Fortnite in equal parts admiration and fear.
In a report over at Gamesindustry.biz, Netflix's most recent earnings report as relayed to investors suggests that the company "[competes] with (and [loses] to) Fortnite more than HBO". Adding that "there are thousands of competitors in this highly fragmented market vying to entertain consumers".
Fortnite's 2018 annual earnings as estimated by SuperData Research (thanks again, Gamesindustry.biz) was $2.4 billion which the firm says is the highest in the history of gaming.
Is there a ceiling on just how big Fortnite can get? And now with the Epic Games Store, are we potentially seeing the birth of the next Steam, vis a vie Valve, Dota and Steam Engine? The parallels are certainly there when you look at Unreal Engine and Fortnite.
Called Q2VKPT, this rebuild of the Quake II engine adds thousands of lines of new custom code for new rendering and ray-traced lighting. It comes from talented Ph.D. student Christoph Schied, and is described as "the first playable game that is entirely ray-traced" taking full advantage of the advanced feature of NVIDIA's new RTX line of graphics cards. Yeah, this is the most impressive Quake II you're likely to ever see.
In that all of the lighting is built off similar path tracing techniques seen in movies, with the mod's creator likening the implementation to a Disney film. The results are pretty impressive, with explosions looking incredible for, well, Quake II. Which is pretty old.
Here's some of our own capture taken from checking out the mod at 1440p with our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
Due to the high-end hardware required, the mod is really only playable with an RTX card. Installation is easy though, as per all Quake II visual overhaul mods, as all you need to do is copy the official Quake II .pak files into the directory once unpacked. For more on the mod and links to download - head here.
And that last part of the headline is interesting, because it turns out more players finished the story side of Tom Clancy's The Division than any other Ubisoft title. Also, the anti-hacking measure should mean less griefing and a far better Dark Zone(s) experience than previously.
And we know this first-hand because we were invited out to the developer to ask the hard questions, duties of which we handed over to seasoned-veteran and AusGamers alumn, Adam 'Griz' Mathew"
On the topic of promises, I hear the correct collection of words that'll guarantee my day one attendance. What drove me away from The Division, after roughly a year of OCD grinding, was the presence of experience-destroying hackers in the Dark Zone. “We've reworked the client server architecture,” assures Gerighty. “[The Division 2] puts much more on the server side of things -- and the server count will be increasing, too. We're also including anti-cheat capabilities with an internal and external system...
"The Division's narrative lasted 40 hours and, surprisingly, Gerighty notes that more players finished it than any other story-based Ubisoft title."
It's been a while since we've had a No More Heroes game, almost a decade in fact. Which in the world of videogames is roughly two generations. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, presents a more modest take on the series. A co-op brawler presented as a series of fake games Travis gets sucked into for a fake and mysterious console called the Death Drive Mk II.
Fun premise sure, the end result though - not that at all.
For as in-spirit with the No More Heroes series and entertaining as some of the non-player-controlled moments can be, Travis Strikes Again is boring. Even when played co-op. Each Death Ball is padded to the point of madness, as you move forward only having to clear yet another group of enemies to lower yet another barrier. With level design that that would look bland next to an image of a straight line. Okay, so technically there is some variety to be found. You can level up and equip different skills that can perform different special attacks or defensive manoeuvres – like say stunning enemies or sending them flying with a projectile attack – but the flow itself barely changes.
Like many people around the world, we're still playing the excellent Warframe. A game that we decided to jump into about a year ago just to see what the fuss was all about. If you're still on the fence about jumping in, be sure to check out our in-depth primer. For the rest of you Tenno, there's our hands-on impressions of the new open-world Fortuna expansion.
Spoiler alert, it's great. As our own Adrian Haas found out over the break.
With Fortuna, the first thing that becomes immediately apparent is that developer Digital Extremes learnt a lot from the first open-world Warframe expansion The Plains of Eidolon. And it shows throughout this glorious update. The city of Cetus, Fortuna's Earth-based Eidolon predecessor, was mostly a confusing, jumbled, and unnecessarily large mess. Fortuna is eminently more compact and user friendly. The merchants and NPCs are easily locatable thanks to the logical and austere city layout. The transition from city to open-world exploration is accomplished by a simple box elevator, instead of the overly long tunnel leading from Cetus to the Plains.
I'm giving myself a pat on the back for that headline, but to the actual details behind it: the real Pinkerton agency, now a subsidiary of Securitas AB and also now known as Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, is incensed that Take-Two and Rockstar have made so much money off the success of Red Dead Redemption 2, and seemingly want a piece of that pie because they 'appear' in the game.
To be fair, the agency does appear in the game and has a substantial role to play in its story, but they're also a part of US history -- specifically around the era in which the game is set. The Pinkertons, as a result of, you know, being a part of US history have also appeared in popular movies and TV series based on the Wild West, such as their consistent mentions and appearances in Dead Wood.
Now, thanks to a report over at The Verge, we've learnt that the Pinkertons have sent a cease-and-desist order to Take-Two in regards to Red Dead Redemption 2 and their inclusion in the game, while also demanding either a cash settlement or continued royalties. Take-Two, however, is having none of this, filing their own lawsuit against the Pinkerton agency, suing them for attempting to profit off the success of the game, while citing the aforementioned inclusion of the agency in other forms of media. Their suit claims this is a violation of their First Amendments rights saying:
Historical fiction— television, movies, plays, books, and games — would suffer greatly if trademark claims like [Pinkerton’s] could even possibly succeed. [Pinkerton] cannot use trademark law to own the past.
The full story over at The Verge features comments from the Pinkertons in response to Take-Two's suit, as well as the publisher's full filing as submitted, for those of you versed in legalese.
Do you think they're entitled to any form of restitution for their inclusion in the fiction?
In the 1980s the CGA monitor was a display device that you often saw listed when setting up a new PC game to play in MS-DOS. Offering up four-colors alongside a very limited resolution, it should come as no surprise that very few modern titles with retro-ambition opt for this primitive display method. The Eternal Castle, a new game in the style of Prince of Persia or Another World, does. With plenty of style to spare.
The Eternal Castle is an interesting proposition, a remastered release of a seemingly long-lost relic from the early days of PC-games. A time when monitors were defined by how many colours they could display at once – with CGA offering up four, and EGA 16. The Eternal Castle [Remastered] retains the four-colour CGA presentation of the original 1987 release, with more modern mechanics and features added to ensure it can still resonate today. Although primitive compared to the capability of modern hardware, The Eternal Castle is further proof of the idea that limitation breeds creativity.
The idea of a smartphone designed for high-end gaming is beginning to crop up more and more these, but compared say to a desktop PC built for the same purpose - the difference is night and day. Not simply in the available power and overall size of each device but also when it comes to other usage.
For a smartphone that means everyday app use across both text and media -- which thankfully plays into the Razer Phone 2's excellent 120 Hz display.
One of the main drawcards for the new Razer Phone 2 no doubt is its 120Hz display, where alongside the increased brightness over last year’s model also delivers a high-quality HDR image across various lighting conditions. A feature that comes into play mainly in photos and videos, as opposed to gaming. As an LCD panel the contrast can lead so some noticeable washed out blacks compared to an AMOLED display, but this quickly fades into the background thanks to the overall performance. Performance that makes ample use of the increased refresh rate.
Across Razer’s own suite of apps, and regular everyday ones that we all use, the power and performance of the Razer Phone 2 results in perhaps the smoothest day-to-day smartphone experience we’ve ever encountered.
Last week we wrapped up our on-going Top 10 Best Games of 2018 feature - which is well worth checking out. What took us by surprise is that overall, we had exactly 20 games total in the final list. And once we cut that down to 10, we were taken aback by just how many great games missed out. Which is why we're bringing you these 'Honourable Mentions' - great games that also came out in 2018.
With everything from a modern-day old-school first-person shooter to an underwater survival game set on an alien planet. Our secondary list is as varied and eclectic as our original Top 10 Best Games of 2018.
So after 10 days of counting down the Top 10 Best Games of 2018, we're finally at Number 1. And who'd have thunk it? Well, all of y'all, we reckon.
Which is to say we're about 100% confident that after we revealed which game came in at Number 2, you all probably properly guessed which game came in as our AusGamers Game of the Year for 2018 in position number one. But, let us follow through with tradition.
Previously on AusGamers' Top 10 Best Games of 2018...
10. Forza Horizon 4 -- A weather-infused, speed-laced, car-addled off-road jaunt through lush British countryside and cobble-stoned towns and villages. And with seasonal changes, to boot.
9. Ashen -- A faceless, alt-fantasy action-adventure Souls-like sandbox experience that touches and challenges in equal measure. A perfect Indie darling.
8. Assassin's Creed Odyssey -- A Mediterranean feast full of exploration, fantastical history and violent wonder. Spartan kicked its way onto our list, with gusto.
7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate -- An interactive Nintendo and videogame museum, if the exhibits were alive and disliked each other so much, they literally needed to smash one another. Absolutely filled to the brim with playable content.
6. Unavowed -- A point-and click adventure and classic BioWare RPG all wrapped up in an engrossing, dark, and emotional supernatural tale set in modern day New York. Pixel-perfect.
5. Frostpunk -- Survival in the post-apocalypse still means building. Or rather, rebuilding. Civilisation needs order and the only person who can do that, and make the tough decisions for the betterment of those still alive, is you. Frostpunk is both deep and depressing, yet still carries with it a sense of hope. A unique city builder that grips you unlike anything else.
4. Yoku's Island Express -- A side-scrolling, pinball physics-based action-adventure starring a dung beetle who's taken up a job on a remote island as its new mailman. If that description doesn't excite you, you don't deserve to play it. One of the year's best Indie releases.
3. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire -- Taking the Pillars series into new waters, specifically, pirate-infested waters, gave it more a refreshing taste than anything salty. We're now heavily invested in seeing what they do as a wholly bought Microsoft Game Studios studio.
2. God of War -- Boy!, what a story this is. We mean, Boy! this tale of a father and his Boy! going on a Boy!hood-like adventure really brings out the Boy! in all of us. Unless you're not a Boy! at which point we still say it'll bring something out in you. Boy!