Thanks to the premium audio wizards at EPOS, to celebrate the launch of the EPOS B20 Streaming Microphone in Australia, AusGamers and The GAP Podcast have teamed. We have 2 x EPOS B20 Streaming Microphones to give away!
Great Content Starts with Pro Audio
With four pickup patterns to choose from, the B20 streaming microphone’s sublimely crisp audio can be optimized for any recording situation. Monitor your mix in real time using its built-in headphone jack, then make quick adjustments using its integrated controls.
Studio broadcast quality
The B20 captures audio at a sample rate of 48KHz – 48,000 measurements of the audio signal per second - which comfortably reproduces the entire frequency range audible to humans, using a resolution of 24-bits (16 million different values) rather than the more common 16-bit standard (65 thousand different values). This is 256 times as much precision, giving a dynamic, rich, clear audio signal in studio broadcast quality that captures every nuance of the human voice.
Battlefield 2042 is launching with three distinct multiplayer modes. All-Out Warfare from DICE presents spectacular near future 128-player action. With Battlefield Portal from Ripple Effect bringing together the past, present, and future.
Here's the trailer.
What is Battlefield Portal?
Battlefield Portal is being developed by Ripple Effect, the studio formerly known as DICE LA. And as a game mode, Portal is all about community and celebrating all things Battlefield. It brings together all seven maps from Battlefield 2042’s All-Out Warfare mode alongside six classic maps from Battlefields of yore into one awesome package.
Portal is all about community and celebrating all things Battlefield. It brings together all seven maps from Battlefield 2042’s All-Out Warfare mode alongside six classic maps from Battlefields of yore into one awesome package.
There’s so much Battlefield here it’s a little overwhelming, with two maps from Battlefield 1942, two from Battlefield Bad Company 2, and two more from Battlefield 3. Plus, all weapons, vehicles, classes, and factions from all three of these classic eras are coming along for the ride.
And with all of that players will be able to create their own custom games from a simple-to-use web browser interface. Battlefield 1942 factions going up against 2042’s Specialists in a near future setting? Not a problem. And with the Builder and in-depth Logic Editor players will also be able to drill down and customise everything from what gadgets appear to how weapons behave.
So many customisation options will be available that the community will be able to effectively create their own ultimate Battlefield experience. Or, go the opposite route and put 128-players on a small 32-player map.
You know, just to see what would happen.
Battlefield Portal will fully support cross-play and feature Official Experiences curated by the development team to recreate some of the greatest battles covering Conquest, Rush, and Team Deathmatch.
We've been champing for awhile now for EA to unleash the 'flickit' beast. "Where's a new skate.?" I hear people ask, with only tumbleweeds replying in metaphorical kind as they scrape slowly along the ground, motioned by empty gust.
Every year we all sit and hope a new skate. is coming our way, predicting that "it'll be at this EA Play" or, "revealed as part of this new tech demo". "Just you watch," I can be heard mumbling to myself. To no avail.
Well, cat's finally out of the bag, and EA has teased that which we've all been hoping for -- the next skate..
And there's a fair chunk of information embedded in this teaser, which only goes for a miserly 1:15:00, but if you listen carefully, EA has embedded not just the one carrot of the promise of it being worked on, but numerous carrots flavouring what exactly it is going to be. Here are five key takeaways from the teaser:
It's Early We won't see it this year. This is a fairly big apology up front, just to get the speculation out of the way as soon as they can in the small window they've provided. But the video is presented as a behind-the-scenes look into development, even if put together stylishly. It's a clever way of saying "we still cool, but first we have to get the nerd stuff done, so sit tight".
This Whole Open-World The first three games were connected sandboxes with not a lot to do in them but skate. Which is fine, and even as far back as the OG release, those sandboxes were still incredibly fun to play in. They still hold up, too. Just look at the likes of Skater XL which borrows heavily from the skate. foundation. But the term "open-world" isn't brandished loosely anymore when you consider the size and scale of most open-world games these days. So, we expect a coherent, biome-diverse large open-world filled with things to do based on the reactions in the video, stacked against the modern open-world landscape.
You Can Climb Further to the open-world exclamation, there are notes and slices of mo-cap footage that suggest getting off the board in this 'reboot' will be a key component of the game. How that works yet remains to be seen (natch), but in conjunction with the revelation below, one thing is abundantly clear -- they better get off-board movement animations and mechanics right, because fucking that shit up can be a straight-up deal-breaker.
It Reminds Me of Skate 2 This is maybe the most telling comment. But also cause for alarm. Skate 2 had good intention as far as "more content" is concerned, but it was delivered poorly in a product that didn't feel wholly finished. But it had direction where skate. didn't. So, what's it going to be? An open-world game with freeform skate options as dictated by the player in similar fashion to Skater XL? Or taking cues from the old nemesis Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? Or a combination of both?
Playing with all my Homies will be So Sick The obvious takeaway here is multiplayer, but what kind of multiplayer is the bigger question. Like, are we talking shared world ala Riders Republic, or something more akin to the jam sessions of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater remake(s)? What does this mean in the grans scheme of an open-world game? Will you own spots? Can you tag lines for friends? Are there head-to-head challenges? And can you ignore the social aspect of the game and just skate for yourself? Big questions with just the one answer -- you will have other people in your game, we just don't know yet in what capacity.
In addition to the above, we know the game is no longer in Black Box's hands, but rather with Vancouver-based Full Circle which is incidentally looking for a fair bit of help to join the skate. dev cause. So for now, all eyes are on what's revealed next.
This teaser might be just that ahead of a bigger reveal happening during EA Play 2021, or it might just act as a placeholder for the next little while until the team has more to share. Until then, check it out embedded below.
It's been a long time between drinks for the original Psychonauts and the forthcoming sequel from Double Fine, Psychonauts 2, which will officially be the studio's first release as a wholly-owned Microsoft studio.
But don't let that huge gap fool you, this sequel doesn't feel years apart, even if the visual sheen, scope and scale, and general polish is telling you different. From a narrative and storytelling foundation, it's like there's been no time at all.
We not only managed to play a fair chunk of the game, but also had time with the devs at Double Fine, including with Tim Schafer himself.
Here's a snippet:
The whole game is a “what if Jhonen Vasquez and Pixar had a baby?” delivery of top-notch design and art-direction. Though those influences are only really added here so people not familiar with Scott Campbell’s art that got the whole tone underway in the first place (he also worked on Brutal Legend), know what they’re in for. Those names can be mentioned because they create a point of visual reference, but it’s a disservice to the package as a whole to suggest they influenced the world of Psychonauts at all. This is a fully realised IP that could transcend games in a heartbeat -- something we actually asked Tim Schafer about.
“Various people over time have brought that idea to us; Hollywood has come callin’ a few times,” he enthuses. “But it’s never worked out for one reason or another [and] we always just really focus on the games. I think games are cooler than movies anyway, so that’s where it naturally belongs.”
Sitting down with Tony Tamasi, Senior Vice President of Tech Marketing at NVIDIA, to talk about DLSS, ray-tracing, AI, innovation, and where the future is headed. Pull up a chair, this is a big one!
“When we made that leap to ray-tracing, without DLSS it was impractical,” Tony Tamasi tells me. “There just wasn't enough performance to really do what people wanted. You could turn maybe a single ray-tracing effect on, but at that point it’s not that big of a difference. Whereas when you look at something like Control, when you turn everything on it looks radically different.”
“When we made that leap to ray-tracing, without DLSS it was impractical. There just wasn't enough performance to really do what people wanted."
That note about turning everything on was born from NVIDIA’s long-standing relationship with game developers -- it knew there was a desire for high-quality realistic in-game shadows, reflections, and things like Global Illumination (GI). All things that would make the interactive worlds we visit day-to-day feel more realistic and immersive. And it’s only when you combine multiple ray-tracing effects that the, well, effect begins to look like a true glimpse into the future.
Case in point, Cyberpunk 2077’s setting of Night City looks incredible with all RTX effects enabled.
“But, turning everything on means it all runs radically slower,” Tony Tamasi continues. “We needed another kind of generational leap, and that's what DLSS gives you. An architectural leap is oftentimes one and a half to two times the performance. DLSS brings another generation in terms of capability. It makes the impractical, practical. Without DLSS, I'm not sure that we'd have the momentum behind ray-tracing that we have today.”
After several months (years even) of rumours surrounding Valve creating some sort of portable device we've now got the full reveal. The Steam Deck, a portable device that "brings the Steam games and features you love to a powerful and convenient form factor that you can take wherever you go". Yeah, and it's powerful enough to run even the most demanding titles in your library.
On that front, as per an exclusive hands-on over at IGN, running games like DOOM Eternal or Death Stranding is possible thanks to the 720p display and the custom APU developed in partnership with AMD.
IGN's Tom Marks writes.
All-in-all, I’m extremely impressed with what I’ve seen of the Steam Deck. $399 for the entry-level model is a very attractive price point for folks who are either new to the PC space, or are looking for a more powerful alternative to the Nintendo Switch. And for PC veterans, the higher-end models offer the storage space needed to tote around a handful of triple-A games in their backpack – at a price point that’s actually quite compelling compared to a cheap gaming laptop, let alone a full desktop PC build.
With its 720p display the Steam Deck includes full controls in addition to track-pads for mouse-like movement for games that require that input. No doubt Valve have packed this thing with just about everything, and the Steam Deck is set to launch with three models, each upping the storage -- starting at the consumer friendly price of $399 USD.
Here are the full specs.
CPU: (AMD APU) Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0 (support for controllers, accessories and audio)
Wi-Fi: Dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Channels: Stereo with embedded DSP for an immersive listening experience
Microphones: Dual microphone array
Headphone / mic jack: 3.5mm stereo headphone / headset jack
Digital: Multichannel audio via DisplayPort over USB-C, standard USB-C, or Bluetooth 5.0
Input: 45W USB Type-C PD3.0 power supply
Battery: 40Whr battery. 2 - 8 hours of gameplay
microSD: UHS-I supports SD, SDXC and SDHC
External connectivity for controllers & displays: USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2
Size and Weight
Size: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm
Weight: Approx. 669 grams
Operating System: SteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)
Desktop: KDE Plasma
And in keeping the theme of Nintendo Switch but Steam, Valve will be releasing an official dock to allow the Steam deck to connect to a display and additional peripherals, meaning it doubles as a full-blown PC too.
Just taking a look at your Steam Library there's no doubt this will be a huge hit for Valve, full Steam functionality including chat, cloud saves, the store, remote play, and more. The OS will feature quick access to everything too, and will be able to boot right into the Steam interface making it act for all intents and purposes like a console.
The Steam Deck is on track for a December 2021 release for the United States, Canada, European Union, and the United Kingdom - with other regions to follow.
4X strategy is no joke. And any development endeavour down a path of 4X where new ideas and new IP is concerned, is likely one of the most daunting in all of game development. Get it wrong and the die-hard community will lynch you. Get it right and their expectations amplify to loftier heights. And if you've come from tested stock to branch out on your own... well, all eyes are going to be on you. As is the case with Old World from ex-Civ alumn, Soren Johnson and his studio, Mohawk Games.
Here's a snippet from our in-depth review of Old World via one David Wildgoose.
Old World is a turn-based 4X strategy game from Mohawk Games, the small studio founded by Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson, and it has just emerged from Early Access on the Epic Games Store, hitting version 1.0 on July 1. The imprint of Sid Meier's Civilization series is indelible upon Old World's hex-grid map, but Mohawk adds colour and detail with a layer of character interaction and development -- of courtly politics, sibling rivalry, familial favours, and simian espionage -- that borrows heavily from Crusader Kings. The result is a deep, complex and story-driven Civ-style game that succeeds at capturing at least some of what it must have been like to actually rule a Mediterranean empire a few thousand years ago.
You do many of the usual Civ things in Old World. You produce settlers to found new cities and workers to exploit the land. You train spearmen to defend your homeland and siege units to conquer your neighbours. You build barracks and shrines, theatres and libraries. You research new technologies and introduce new laws. And you erect ancient wonders like the Pyramids. If you've played a Civ game, and particularly the hex-based, one-unit-per-tile mode of the most recent series entries, then the early turns of Old World will feel very familiar.
It's not as if we're going to be starved of quality content for 2021 and even into 2022, especially from some of the bigger name devs and publishers out there, but it's often important for us to look at some of the seemingly 'smaller' offerings out there, that are anything but small in stature or vision. Case in point: Death's Door by developer Acid Nerve.
We took the game through its preview paces in hands-on form recently, and put together both a written preview, and a video preview for your reading or viewing convenience. But if you need a shiny few lines of enticement, here you go:
Except you won’t take flight, as our little crow whom we’ll come to know as Beakface later, instead walks, runs and rolls about the meticulously-crafted game-world, swinging their sword, and firing off their arrows in what is largely a Zelda-inspired action-adventure title you could thoroughly have been forgiven for thinking is actually a roguelike or lite. Thankfully, however, it isn’t and harkens back to a more tried and tested genre in the aforementioned Nintendo favourite.
And I say “thankfully”, because while that genre is full of fantastic entrants, from the outset Death’s Door -- absolutely a game of character progression -- feels like something less grindy and random, and more permanent; artfully-designed worlds that belie the need for modular, procedural levels and random monster placements. There’s also no permadeath loop here given the contextual nature of the narrative, which in turn keeps the game on an ever-moving arc, albeit one fixed in place.
Ubisoft has unveiled a new future where development of its flagship open-world single-player series Assassin's Creed is concerned, which now involves the merging of respective custodians Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Quebec, into a cross-team single release effort. Which is to say they'll no longer be leapfrogging entries in turn, but rather collaborating as a cohesive development team on each new release in the franchise going forward.
... we wanted to share some key updates on the talented and creative minds that will now be working in a collaborative, cross-studio structure between Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Quebec that will guide, grow, evolve, and define the overall future of Assassin’s Creed that includes an important upcoming, early-in-development project codenamed Assassin’s Creed Infinity.
The new cross-studio, collaborative structure will be led by Marc-Alexis Côté, who will serve as executive producer of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. One of the founding members of Ubisoft Quebec, Côté began his Assassin’s Creed career working on Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood before becoming creative director on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and most recently senior producer on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Côté will be joined by Ubisoft Montreal’s Étienne Allonier, brand director for Assassin’s Creed for the last 10 years, and their respective teams in ensuring the Assassin’s Creed franchise continues to exceed the expectations of fans who have been asking for a more cohesive approach to its development over the past several years.
Joint production efforts on Assassin’s Creed Infinity will be headed up by Ubisoft Montreal’s Julien Laferrière who has been named senior producer, overseeing production at both studios. Laferrière brings along extensive experience with the franchise, having worked on Assassin’s Creed since 2007 before most recently becoming producer on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
This cross-studio collaborative initiative seems like a good idea, though you could argue the series will lose a level of 1Up-personship where each studio tries to outdo the other in the features and evolution department. But a homogeneous direction with series veterans leading the charge might help with design consistency as well as better incubation of new ideas normally segregated between installments, and within smaller teams (by comparison to the unified two teams).
This approach is something I've personally thought Activision needs to do with the Call of Duty series, as releases in that franchise tend to peak and trough and so would better benefit from a chorus of development voices with a single vision. But that also serves as a bit of a segue into an area we're a bit unsure of, which is how Ubisoft recently suggested it would have a bigger focus on live service games, and if that could relegate this new collaborative directive into an ongoing Assassin's Creed experience. Whether this would look like a Destiny or Anthem-type of service or not would remain to be seen, if it existed in such a framework at all, but there are plenty of questions around what all of this means, especially when the gaming giant has made statements around focus shifts and more in recent times.
If it were to go to a live service offering, the publisher-developer's learnings and understandings from the success of The Division, as well as the failings of the more recent Ghost Recon would go a long way to providing a solid benchmark. And you need only to look at GTA Online and Red Dead Online to see how pre-existing open-worlds can offer up a directed experience to players in a multiplayer/co-operative setting.
Of course it could be an entirely new kind of live service that is wholly single-player, which would be unique, though how doled out content would work there would also a "remain to be seen" situation.
Whatever the outcome, big things are happening in Assassin's Creed land, and we can only hope the positive trajectory of the reinvigorated series Origins onward is at the fore.