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845 results for power
AMD sticks four two-GPU cards into gaming PC in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
AMD is working on eight-way GPU co-operative rendering, the chip maker has revealed.
In an escalation reminiscent of the way disposable-razor maker areforever upping the number of blades built into their products, AMDspinner Chris Hook told Indian site Techtree: "AMD has already built a computer that has four 4870 X2s in it. So it has eight GPUs."
What he said next isn't recorded, but we can imagine a 'beat that, you f*ckers!' followed by an air-punch.
Competitive willy-waving aside, the two-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2 boardwill go on sale in August, Hook said. It'll be made available in acouple of versions - sporting different clock speeds and/or memoryconfigurations, presumably - to allow AMD to hit different price points.

So will you be able to buy four of them and stick 'em in yourcomputer? You can try, but don't expect success: "Drivers will not besupporting eight GPUs at this point of time," said Hook.
Whether they will when the 4870 X2 goes on sale remains to be seen.And quite apart from a suitable driver, hooking up a quartet of 4870X2s is going to require some serious power supply technology, not tomention a very good cooler.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:23 pm
Gaming:The WTF World of Wikipedia - 15 unbelievable "tr in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
You. Your friends and family. Your classmates and coworkers. In thebrave new world of the internet, everybody has power. Information isinteractive, knowledge is collaborative and history is open source. Thenerdy kid next door has just as much influence as a high schoolteacher; the dorky dude at the comic book shop has just as much voiceas a college professor.
Problem is, the nerds and dorks tend to have a lot morefree time - and passion - than the teachers and professors. The endresult? A hilariously skewed, terrifyingly twisted view of the world inwhich all the wrong things are deemed "important" and worthy of seriousacademic discussion.
Here are 15 mind-boggling examples.

See what we mean? When the deadliest, costliest war in the history of mankind has been trumped by a videogame franchise about that war,you know something's off. One involved over 50 countries and took over70 million lives; the other involves button mashing and tea bagging.
On an encouraging note, we did have to add all the Call of Dutygames' individual pages together to reach the crazy number above. On adiscouraging note, we didn't have to add Call of Duty 4 and itsnon-WWII setting, which would have brought the total word count to aneven crazier 18,927.
Oh, and on a simply ridiculous note? Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare beats "modern warfare"... 5,858 to 2,873.
Also less important than Call of Duty!
American Revolutionary War = 8,078
American Civil War = 11,729
English Civil War = 8,030
Napoleonic Wars = 7,951
Hundred Years' War = 7,992
War on Terrorism = 10,674
War on Drugs = 7,628
Cold War = 10,117
• "War" = 9,233
While the magic menagerie of super-powered, frilly-maned, sparkly-eyed, rosy-cheeked wonder beasts might make for slightly more exciting cards than a Three of Spades, the emphasis here is still extremely wonky.
Poker has been around for longer than anyone can remember... the Pokemon Trading Card Game was invented in 1996. Poker has created millionaires and forced bankruptcy... the Pokemon Trading Card Game might have resulted in some lost lunch money and a temper tantrum or two.
Also less important than Pokemon Trading Cards!
Baseball cards = 4,686
Blackjack = 5,228
Roulette = 5,492
Checkers = 2,326
Pool (Billiards) = 621
Bowling = 407
Wheel of Fortune = 4,521
• "Trade" = 3,038
• "Games" = 2,830

Before you get the wrong impression, no, the Master Chief does not win in a Wikipedia matchup against George W. Bush... though his approval ratings are undoubtedly higher.
The truly astounding thing, however, is that he does emerge victorious against not one, not two, but TENof this country's past commanders in chief. Yes, 23% of the men whohelped make the United States the strongest nation on Earth are easilydefeated by a fictional and faceless videogame character who barelyknows how to speak and takes orders from a naked hologram. Go America!
The orange word count above is an average taken from the USPresidents beaten by the Master Chief. Here's the full, patheticbreakdown:
Leaders of the Free World less important than Master Chief!
James Monroe = 2,820
(5th President)
John Quincy Adams = 3,457
(6th President)
John Tyler = 3,431
(10th President)
Zachary Taylor = 2,235
(12th President)
Millard Fillmore = 3,631
(13th President)
Franklin Pierce = 4,203
(14th President)
James Buchanan = 3,888
(15th President)
Rutherford B. Hayes = 2,686
(19th President)
James A. Garfield = 3,915
(20th President)
Chester A. Arthur = 3,078
(21st President)
          
                   
     


In the future, when Captain Kirk is battling tribbles and Data islearning how to love, this lopsided comparison will make completesense. Why wouldn't the entries for the glorious Starship Enterprise dwarf that for a dusty museum piece like the automobile? We expect the pages for hoverboards, robot maids, personal time machines and giant laser death rays to do the same.

For the present, though, why does a make-believe spaceship deserve more words than the planet's principal mode oftransportation? Also, why does that make-believe space ship deserve noless than nine separate pages, including unique entries for six different models of the NCC-1701? Seriously?!

Also less important than the Starship Enterprise!

Planes = 5,132
Trains = 2,850
Boats = 1,884
Bicycles = 5,112
Motorcycles = 5,446
Shoes = 3,241
Lunar rovers = 1,844
Space shuttles = 6,217
Space stations = 1,830
Outer space = 3,000







You think Hideo Kojima's cut scenes are long? Try reading Leo Tolstoy's epic tome. War and Peace waspublished in four books over five years, covers nearly a decade ofhistory and includes more than 1,400 pages, more than 560,000 words andmore than 3 million characters. It's generally considered one of thelongest novels - hell, one of the longest things - of all time.

Somehow, though, the writers on Wikipedia managed to summarize thewhole plot in 1,922 words. Well done! Now we'd be really impressed ifyou guys could squeeze the plot of a single damn videogame - even therambling old man that is Metal Gear Solid 4 - into less than 2,548 words.

The top numbers (in orange) are for the entire entries.The numbers in the preceding paragraph, as well as the list below, arefor the subsections entitled "plot," "story," or "synopsis."

Also less important than Metal Gear Solid 4!
(by plot, story or synopsis)


Romeo and Juliet = 770
Hamlet = 780
Moby Dick = 845
Of Mice and Men = 288
A Tale of Two Cities = 1,341
Atlas Shrugged = 673
The Hobbit = 465
Citizen Kane = 430
Casablanca = 834
Chinatown = 854







We won't get jealous and play the competition card here. EGM isimportant, a veritable titan of the industry with a massive and devotedfollowing. Many of us here at GamesRadar include ourselves in that camp.

But come on... do the latest screenshots of Chun-Li'sthighs really carry more weight than the 2008 election? Do you reallyneed to know the review score for Turok more than you need to know thereasons for the recession? Is the dropping price of the PS3 morecritical than the rising price of gasoline?

Yes, Electronic Gaming Monthly - and any videogame publication - is totally worthy of 4,429 words. We just wish that Time and other vital news sources received the same attention.

Also less important than EGM!

Newsweek = 1,393
USA Today = 2,685
National Geographic = 1,949
The New Yorker = 3,874
The Washington Post = 2,449
CNN = 4,281
Fox News = 3,758
• "Magazines" = 842
• "Newspapers" = 3,537
GamesRadar = 201







We love, love, love the soundtracks to Final Fantasy... but someone put way, way, way too much effort into this Wikipedia page. The intro alone is nearly 700 words, lengthier than the entries for many singers, bands and genres. Rock and roll, the biggest genre of them all, doesn't stand a chance.

Of course, the vastness of the web was made to hold such exceedinglyniche minutiae, but even the fan who owns all of these compilationalbums probably agrees that they could have fit onto the page forgeneral Final Fantasy music. Unless that fan is the one who wrote this obsessive love letter to begin with...

Also less important than obscure Final Fantasy music!

Beethoven = 6,268
Mozart = 6,331
Frank Sinatra = 5,743
Kelly Clarkson = 5,849
Amy Winehouse = 7,269
Rihanna = 2,977
Kanye West = 4,713
Jay-Z = 6,658
Nirvana = 4,157
Radiohead = 6,495



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Jeffrey Dahmer was a cannibal, Charles Manson was a deranged cultleader and John Wayne Gacy, worst of all, dressed up like a friggin'clown. Yet the complete list of these horrible, horrible murderers -together with dozens of depraved others - is apparently about 3,000words less significant than the list of Maverick boss characters in the Mega Man X series.

And that's compared to the list of serial killers by country. Look up the list of serial killers by number of victims andthe difference grows to 6,000. Go ahead and add the two lists togetherif you want - at 8,000 words total, they still fall short of the sheerterror and infamy inspired by Cyber Peacock, Blizzard Buffalo,Overdrive Ostrich and Armored Armadillo. Ooh, we're getting chills justthinking about them!


Above: The true face of evil







Let's be honest. Who doesn't love Gardulla the Hut? Who didn't havea poster of Cole Fardreamer or Elan Sleazebaggano hanging on theirbedroom wall as a kid? Who wouldn't beg their parents to buy them thatKlaatu action figure for the holidays?

Qwi Xux, Plo Koon, 2-1B, Chief Chirpa, Yarna D'al Gargan, BaronSoontir Fel, Meewalh, Oola, Commander Cody, Baron Soontir Fel, TraskUlgo, Gartogg, Wam "Blam" Lufba and, of course, little Windy... all ofthem are forever entwined in our dreams and imaginations.

Clearly, the list of minor characters in the Star Wars universe should be seven times as large as the page on the Founding Fathers of the United States. Clearly.

Also more important than the Founding Fathers!

Minor Star Wars droids = 10,105
Minor Star Wars villains = 9,648
Minor Star Wars bounty hunters = 5,236
Minor Sonic the Hedgehog characters = 12,595
Minor Mortal Kombat characters = 6,286
Minor StarCraft characters = 5,640
Minor One Piece characters = 17,446
Minor Sailor Moon characters = 7,251
Minor Gundam Wing mobile suits = 3,584
Minor recurring characters in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine = 5,097

Heed our warning - Wikipedia is only the beginning. Soon, textbookswill have entire chapters devoted to fairies and fishmen. Languagestudents will learn Goron instead of Greek. History class will forgothe Romans for the Rito, while anthropology discards the Spanish andSwedish for the Subrosians and Skull Kids.

Nonsense, you say? Tell that to the 730 million residents of Europe, whose deep and diverse ethnic backgrounds just got pwned by a bunch of elves, gnomes, talking twigs, golden frogs and mutant chickens.
Oh yeah, and Tingle.

Also more important than the population of Europe!

Elder Scroll races = 8,489
Pokemon types = 4,362
Final Fantasy monsters = 6,637
Halo aliens = 5,478
Middle-earth orcs = 4,845
Fictional cats = 10,248
Fictional dragons = 8,651
(there are non-fictional dragons?)





No surprises here. After all, Superman (10,641 words) has been known to survive a nuclear explosion... inside his own ass. And Batman (10,818 words) invented his own damn brand of shark repellent Bat spray!

Obviously, these guys are far superior to the rest of us. End of discussion.



Above: Holy sardine!






Both the fictional Umbrella Corporation and the real world National Human Genome Research Institute studythe mysteries of genetics. Both engage in the cutting edge field ofbiomedical engineering. Both are located in small towns. Both haveseemingly harmless, yet somehow creepy names. Both have seeminglyvague, yet somehow menacing logos.

Wait a second - are these two organizations actuallyone and the same?! Has Umbrella been a front all along, a clever ployto distract us from the true zombie overlords? We knew that tiny word count seemed suspicious...


Above: Oh shit.






According to Wikipedia, Kirby is "a small, pink, spherical creature with large red feet."

Exactly. Done. Enough said. Oh, if only that were the case...instead, that is merely the first sentence of a 1,512 word subsectionentitled Characteristics, which goes on to describe - in disturbinglydetailed sub-subsections - the Personality, Abilities and Species of Kirby. Yes, species.

The dog hasan overall longer page, sure, but the fact that Kirby's"characteristics" actually overcome those of man's best friend isabsolutely insane. They shouldn't even be close.








                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
                    
               
          
          
          
                   
            


As expected, Jesus whoops Mario byquite a large margin in total Wikipedia word count. In a miraculousturn of events, however, Mario's Legacy section is actually longer thanJesus' Legacy. Yes, you heard right - a pixelated plumber is consideredto have had a bigger impact on the world than the central figure ofChristianity and, to some, the physical embodiment of God. Wow.

Then again... Jesus can walk on water and heal the sick,but Mario can shoot fireballs out of his hands and turn into a raccoon.Jesus has an awesome beard, but Mario's got a super sweet mustache.Jesus ushered in much of modern religion, but Mario ushered in much ofmodern gaming. Both can come back from the dead, though to be fair,Jesus only did that once.

Dunno, seems like a tie to us





Also less important than Mario's legacy!


Albert Einstein's legacy = 153• John F. Kennedy's legacy = 436• Susan B. Anthony's legacy = 252• Princess Diana's legacy = 196• The Wright brothers' legacy = 175• Mother Teresa's influence in the world = 117






At last, we reach the ultimate showdown. In this corner, we have God, who Wikipedia describes as:

"... the principal or sole deity in religion..."
"...the creator and overseer of the universe..."
"... omnipotent and eternal..."
"... the source of all moral obligation, and the greatest conceivable being existent..."

His opponent? Knuckles of Sonic the Hedgehog fame, who Wikipedia describes as:

"... a red, teenage, anthropomorphic echidna..."
"... the fourth most popular character in the series..."
"... shy around girls..."

And, uh, yeah. How did this guy beat God by more than 4,000 words again? Well, to reach Knuckles' number, we did have to add two pages together, one for his game character and one for his comic character. To level the playing field, we should probably give God the Bible or something, right? Of course, we'll also have to give Knuckles his comic books and two videogames (Knuckles Chaotix and Sonic & Knuckles) to keep things even...




Damn! Sorry God - you lose again. Looks like we have a new omnipotentoverseer in the universe... or at least in the strange, silly, scaryand seriously skewed universe that is Wikipedia.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:21 pm
Build a DX10 rig for under £176 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
We like big explosions, the bigger the better, in fact.
Wealso like smoke effects, water ripples, dappled lighting filteringthrough jungle canopies and creeping up silently behind people, beforemurdering them with our bare hands. But enough about our weekendpastimes…
What we really like are the fantastic visuals that DX10 gaming offers.
If you listen to most people, they will tell you that you need a quad-core, DDR3, triple-SLI setup to play Crysis. The sort of setup that requires you to remortgage your house to own. These people are wrong, and we're going to show you why.
We'vepreviously demonstrated how to build a DX10 setup for just under £300,a not unreasonable amount that should be within the reach of mostpeople. But what if you just blew all your money on a sordid weekend inAmsterdam, and you've resorted to scrambling under the sofa for loosechange? Would you believe us if we told you that it's possible to builda DX10-capable rig for well under £200? Well, it's true.
Ofcourse you can't connect it to a 22-inch wide screen monitor withoutthe frame rates plummetting, but if you're on that tight a budget, abig monitor is probably the least of your concerns.
Wheneveryou work to such a tight budget, something has to give and this projectwill be no exception. We need to prioritise in certain areas, whileothers can be largely ignored.
Yes, a case is important to stopyour gear being an untidy heap of electronics on the floor, but reallyyou just need a metal box to screw things onto. Optical drives are dirtcheap, and with memory stick capacities being what they are, hardlyanyone burns DVDs, so we only need a DVD ROM.
It also means noquad-core and no SLI. But dual-core chips are surprisingly cheap, andwe'll see just how well a budget DX10 card performs. Don't forget thatif you have any parts available from an existing PC, such as cases anddrives, you can reuse them and put the money towards a higher-end CPUor graphics card.


       
Case and PSU
Ifyou want a well-designed case, with plenty of fans, numerous ports andplenty of upgradability, then it's easily possible to spend more thanour entire budget on such a beast.
Likewise, if you want a 1KwPSU that supports the likes of SLI, then it's going to cost a fairamount of cash. At the other end of the spectrum is the all-in-one caseand PSU deal. We found one for just £26, which includes a 400W PSU.
Thismay not sound like a lot of power, but it's more than enough to run oursetup. When spending such a small amount of money on a case, you'dexpect it to be quite horrific, but it's surprisingly well featured. Ithas a matt-black finish, which helps on the looks front, and the frontpanel has USB and audio ports.
Most of the internals can befitted without the need for a screwdriver, and it even has a lockingside panel. Sure, it isn't the best-looking or quietest case we've everseen, but for this sort of money, we're not complaining.
The result?
As the most basic DX10 card available from NVIDIA, it comes as no surprise that the performance of the 8400 is not the best.
However,at £20 it still does pretty well, as long as you keep the resolutionrealistic. Okay, not everyone wants to play at 800x600, or even1024x768, but then you shouldn't be so cheap, should you?
Surprisingly, Crysis gave some of the best results, although BioShock achieves the best framerates of all. Using the Optimal settings button, Crysisdid set all the detail level to low, but the results still lookedpretty good. However, if you're going to be realistic about playingDirectX10 games, then you are going to have to find a little more moneyin your budget.
Hooking the 9600GT up to our budget CPU workedabsolute miracles, and at around £70 extra is an absolute steal. Notonly could we turn the detail right up, but we could run a higherresolution and still get twice the frame rates of the 8400GS.
Surprisingly,adding a high-end quadcore CPU doesn't give much of an increase, witheither the 8400 or 9600GT. In conjunction with the 8400Gs, the Phemom9550 does give you some extra fps over the Athlon X2 4400+, but withwhen it comes to the 9600GT, the difference over the 4400+ setup ismarginal.
So, if you want the best performance, and can spend alittle extra, buying the 9600GT is the logical choice. You know itmakes sense.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:47 am
CrossfireX: 2560x1600 gameplay becomes a reality in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
“AMD ATI Radeon4850/4870 CrossfireX” review at Guru3D. Hilbert’s lost it again – high poweredgraphics have that effect on him... Anyway, what’s come to light, lately, isthe high power consumption of the 4800 series (now double-up on the cards andimagine), and the irregular driver performance. You can see a broad spectrum ofresults, but when Hilbert gets CrossfireX to work, it works great. But do putthings in perspective when reading: with the latest generation of graphics cardsworking in dual-GPU setups, you’ll be looking at buying a 30-inch LCD for2560x1600 gameplay.Readit here.
XS Reviews is cracking open the Zalman GS1000 computer case, targeted at justabout anyone who wants to build a supercomputer at home. It supports E-ATX andvery long PCI cards and has hot-swappable bays for HDDs. Lots of space inside,if you’re “just” using a standard ATX mobo, but the panels are a bit dodgy,thinks the author. Not a snip at £100, but if Zalman could swap out those panelswith something better, they’d have a winner.Readon.
A few years ago we were hack-napped off to a press conference abroad just tosee how Philips would conquer the world of mobile telephony. Some 18 monthslater, Philips withdrew from the market, unable to compete with the big namesand (our personal opinion) mostly due to their utterly rubbish user interface.Now Philips is reviving the brand (Xenium 9@9) in China with the brand new X800.ePrice in Taiwan has the review. The X800 is a full touchscreen design (no, youwon’t have nightmares about the old Xeniums) and it looks like something out ofHTC’s workshop, to be honest. Careful when reading the page, it didn’t play nicewithGooglenglish,but you’ll get the gist (and the photos).
Andrew at Tweak Town took some time to write a guide on how to replace theheatspreaders on your RAM. Naturally it’s one of the warranty-voiding themes,but if you’re in need of improving cooling, it’s a necessary evil. Andrewsoutlines three basic methods to do this (hot, cold, lukewarm), but it all comesdown to be REALLY careful with sharp metallic objects in close proximity of aPCB.Letloose the mad aussie scientist in you.
T-break had a party with the ECS P45T-A Black Edition. ECS isn’t really knownas a top grade mobo maker, but it doesn’t fall behind the competition featurewise with this one. The board supports Crossfire, but it’ll break down the lanesinto 2x8 as per the P45 specs, but when you try your hand at an overclock, Abbasthinks you’ll be left wanting. The “Black Edition” brings to mind ideas ofmodding, overclocking and serious tweaking. That isn’t the case, it seems. Goodprice, tho’.Readon.
Tosh has hit the Portégè brand with its shrink ray and launched the G810.It’s no longer a notebook, as it were, it’s a Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone witheverything touchscreen. It’s targeted at the same market as the HTC TouchCruise, but you really can’t avoid comparing the details with the iPhone. It’sHSDPA enabled and even includes GPS functionality. The only real thing goingagainst it is the slow speed of the image capture (slow flash, we guess). $550will buy you one.Readthe review here.
Hardware Zone is gobsmacked by Gigabyte’s most extreme P45 mobo – the aptlynamed GA-EP45T-EXTREME. This board has it all, it seems, even a waterblock onthe northbridge that runs liquid cooling to the southbridge and the rows ofcapacitors. It also allows you to stick in 3 ATI cards and is populated by abevy of LEDs that alert you about your overclocking misdeeds. It’s only apreview, butit’stasty.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:42 am
50 Skills that Every Gamer Should Master in Gaming
Just being able to play games is only the beginning. If you're goingto call yourself a proper gamer (as opposed to a casual pretender)there are a few requisite skills that you must master first. 50 skills,in fact. And they're all right here...
1. Give a game a review score without ever actually playing the game
A cursory glance from 20 paces of a grainy postage stamp-sized superlo-res scanned-in screenshot pinned to the ass-feathers of a headlesschicken in a sandstorm should be all you need to confidently attributean authoritative and infallible review score to any game. It's howprofessional reviewers have been doing it for years.
2. Be able to spot whether a game is running in 720p
Just by looking at it.
3. Survive with only four hours sleep (max) a night
We all abide by the 'one more go' mantra. It demands that we are strong in the face of severe sleep deprivation.

4. Play Wii without using the wrist strap
Or, master the art of gripping. Even newborn babies can do it.
5. Attack the weak point for massive damage
Look for the big red/yellow/orange thing. It's normally located on anenemy's back/ass/forehead. If a sustained assault yields unsatisfactoryresults, try attacking it with the last weapon you picked up. Thatnormally works a treat.
6. Be an expert in the work of one particular developer besides Miyamoto
Support the people that make the games you love. Pick a team. Find ahero. Whether it's an entire studio or just a single creative. Getexcited about the games they make. Know their history and what they'reabout. Hunt out their gameography. Get informed. We're sure Mr Shigstuff won't mind if some of the love gets spread around.
7. Beat a really bastard hard game on any tier of difficulty higher than Normal
Real men play on MASOCHIST!
8. Estimate remaining PSP battery life and calculate device's lastability on journey
If you've gone to all the trouble of uploading an extensive selectionof softcore pornography to your PSP in advance of a business trip, itcan be hugely upsetting to run out of juice before you've even had achance to make yourself tired in the airplane convenience.
9. Play driving games without 'steering' the controller
Unless you're a girl. Then you can't help it.

10. Become unhealthily obsessed with one particular game and play only that game for six months solid
Winners don't quit. They become addicts.
11. Instantly recognise any game being played on a TV show or in a movie
Computer Space in Jaws, Asteroid Deluxe in The Thing, Galaga in Trains,Planes and Automobiles, Centipede in Never Say Never Again, thesound-fx of Pac-Man in Ferris Bueller's Day Off... plenty more here.
12. Easily spot at least 5 differences between any PS3 and 360 comparison shots, that are invisible to the normal human eye
You're looking for things like lighting, texture resolution, draw distance, anything pink or slightly gay, lumps or growths etc.
13. Expertly pick the right game for the right moment
You might think your sozzled post-pub friends are having an absoluteparty huddled around your monitor watching you level up in World ofWarcraft. But they're not.
14. Be able to navigate to the 'Invert? Yes/No' option in under 5 seconds
Pause. Controller Options. Invert Yes/No. Unpause.
15. Be fluent in l337 5934k
Bµ7 Ð0n'7 b3 4 7w47 4nÐ 3v3r µ$3 17. H3r3'$ 4 h4nÐ¥ 7r4n$£470r, jµ$7 1n (4$3.

16. Instinctively know the location of all controller buttonsand their respective numerical, alphabetical or symbol-baseddenominations
When playing, a real gamer never has to look at the controller. Unless it's to check that it's not on fire.

17. Perfectly repackage console/PC snugly back in its box, complete with Styrofoam and cable ties
Put those ninja-honed Tetris skills to good use.
18. Make in-game moral choices quickly and without flinching
Stop being such a lightweight and kill the Little Sister already. We'repretty sure God doesn't take make-believe evil into account whendeciding who gets locked out.
19. Have a selection of "I only lost because..." excuses prepared and rehearsed in the event of defeat
Here's a few for free: "...I couldn't take my eyes off your lap"; ...Ihurt my fingers when your mum sat on them"; "...Satan told me to";"...I was a victim of sexism" and so on.
20. Own non-gaming friends at absolutely anything
You've never played the game before. The pad's missing buttons. You'vegot amoebic dysentery and you can feel a hairy-ass spider crawlingacross your face. So what? When you're up against a newbie there is noexcuse for anything less than comprehensive ownership.
21. Perform tea-bagging like a pro
Don't bang away like a demented pneumatic penis. Get rhythm. Tea-bagging is an art - as our own educational video reminds us.
22. Immediately know what to dump when your inventory is full
Don't know what to drop after the Goblin's Cleaver of Apathy made youover encumbumbered? Stop being a massive tool and just relinquish someof the unused crap you've been pointlessly clinging on to for the last30 hours.
23. Engage in the 'Are games art?' debate without sounding like a pretentious twat or a moronic dumbass
Find the middle-ground between this:

"I think you'll actually find that videogames are a post-modernexpression of individualism while simultaneously collectivising itsdigital form and manifesting as abstract interactive entertainment."
And this:
"Art is for pussies. I just want to kill make-believe people."

24. Always spot the 'hidden area'
Remember: nothing screams "HIDDEN AREA!" louder than a cracked wall.
25. Gather enough tech speak to make it sound like you know how to make games better than developers themselves
"Sure, they might have nailed the anisotropic and bilinearfiltering, but you can unzip me like a banana if the Cartesiancoordinates and phong shading aren't an absolute bucket of wank." Smartsounding development speak makes you superior. This site is a good place to start.
26. Memorise enemy/item spawn points
Want to know how tHE dEfec8or is always smoking your ass withthe rocket launcher? It's because he's all over the longitude andlatitude of those maps, and he's snorting up the coordinates of everyspawn point and he knows exactly what it'll spawn and he knows exactlywhen it'll spawn it. It's called dedication and that's why tHE dEfec8oris a winner.
27. Complete unlocking/defusing mini-games first time, every time
Should be like making Einstein recite his five times table.
28. To never be suckered by game store offers pimping crappy games and shitty third party peripherals
An Hour of Victory and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty bundle for 40notes with a TatTech controller thrown in for free is not a bargain,it's a piss-take.
29. Be condescending, patronising and impatient when playing with non-gamers
Alternatively, feign kindness and offer to show them "how to do it". Once you've got the controller, never give it back.
30. Be shit-faced drunk and still be able to rock at Guitar Hero or other popular party game
Preferably be able to keep getting more drunker while playing.

31. Bluff your way through a conversation about a retro game you never actually played
Don't ever admit to having not played some geriatric, incontinent pieceof gaming history that some rose-tinted retrosexual is eulogising. Justfudge your way through. It's not hard: "Geoff Spectacles and theSubatomic Android Invaders on the Vic-20? Of course I played it! Thatwas the one with the monochrome 2D graphics and beepy sound effectswasn't it?"
32. Instantly identify enemy types by the sound they make
Don't stop with enemies. Utilise your ears as nature intended andrecognise weapons, vehicles, power-ups, score multipliers... anythingat all with the amazing power of hearing.
33. Confidently guess what a developer's secret project/unannounced title is
If all else fails, predict Shenmue 3.
34. Passionately champion at least one obscure game that nobody has ever heard of and win it some new fans
Ever heard of Warriors of Elysia? It's the long overdue sequel to Bikini Karate Babes. We're sure it's going to be awesome.
35. Get the highest possible rank/medal/award in any tutorial level
Tutorial levels are weak and pathetic. An insult to proper gamers,they're a monumental mismatch on the same scale as a bare-knucklesbrawl to the death between Chuck Norris and Barbara Bush.
36. Know which elemental attack will be most effective against an enemy
Water>Fire. It's not exactly rocket surgery.
37. Master the art of reloading
Don't ever let your gun get caught with its pants down. It's humiliating.
38. To simultaneously perform other important life tasks while playing
Multi-tasking is the cornerstone of every real gamers' brain. Youshould be able to eat pizza, guzzle coffee, fill in a jobapplication, build a house of cards AND successfully evade a six-star wanted level in GTA IV all at the same time.

39. Skip every cut-scene and still understand what's going on
No matter how convoluted the machinations and exposition, when it boilsdown to it you're basically just trying to beat the baddies.
40. Identify boss battle attack patterns in under 20 seconds
Lunge. Lunge. Guard. Burrow into ground/disappear/become temporarilyinvincible. Emerge from ground/reappear/stop being invincible. Chargespecial attack. Release special attack. Expose weak spot in atactically foolish and totally unnecessary manner <Playerstrikes&gt; Repeat until dead.
41. To know everything about the game without ever having to consult instruction manuals
Apart from a few semantics and trivialities, once you've read one instruction manual, you've pretty much read them all.
42. Argue effectively in a gaming Internet forum
At the most basic level this entails typing "HAVE YOU ACTUALLYPLAYED THE GAME!?" over and over and over until the foul dealer ofscurrilous mistruths slinks away like the miserable dog that he is.
43. Well developed bladder control
You're not going to get to level 70 by taking a piss break every three hours.

44. Condense even the most convoluted control system into easy-to-manage verbal instructions
"Basically, move the sticks and press X"
45. Always know the best spots for camping
So you can root them out or dig in deep, depending on your mood.
46. Memorise important cheat codes for fast fingered employment at a moments notice
If you can't remember Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A then you weren't there.
47. Have at least one game that you are unbeatable at
Take the time to master a game. Play it with your eyes closed. Learnevery pattern, every combo, every counter, every weak-spot. But don'tbrag about it. Just casually lure people into your virtual domain. Toywith them. Give them false hope. Maybe even let them win a couple oftimes and say something all humble and wimpy like: "Gee, you really gotme. Well played." Then bring the real noise and let the shuntingcommence. Their humiliation will feel rudely satisfying.
48. Be like Rainman when converting Microsoft/Wii points
It's the ultimate geek party trick. If you can calculate that 190,608Microsoft points is $2,381.65 without even flinching then you will get chicks. Believe us. Mental arithmetic makes ladies hot.
49. Read the back-of-box blurb and decipher it into 'What It Actually Means'
"State-of-the-art 3D environments and characters" = "We done some graphics". More here.
50. Know when NOT to talk about gaming
"Sure, as maps go if you've got a competent team together thenCrossfire can be pretty badass, but Wetworks is off-the-hook whenyou're gunning solo. Oh yeah, sorry to hear about your entire familygetting killed with the bird flu. Must be a real bummer. So... youwanna play some COD?"
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:41 am
Rethinking Traditional Advertising Methods in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
You see, for all the talk of monthly periodicals' demise, SEO'simpending reign, the downfall of FM stations and television'sinevitable implosion, we, err, sort of forgot to mention one thing:essentially that, despite posting up ratings far from the halcyon daysof the pre-TMZ.com era, mass media outlets such as ABC, CBS, CNN andNBC; Time, Newsweek and USA Today;and even regional Cineplex chains still generate the kind of audiencenumbers most interactive entertainment execs would give their last USBcable to connect with. Tactics may be changing, with custom tradeshows,advertorials, movie-type trailers and cover wraps replacing simple pageads and product giveaways. But as an industry, we're far from preparedto divorce ourselves completely from traditional advertisingplacements, or shift marketing dollars exclusively onto the Internet.

"Something most gamemarketers miss about the broadcast space is the need to keep messagingpointed and simple" - Steven Roberts, DIRECTV

To wit, column after news brief after investigative report may continueto bemoan the death of old-world media. However, as any marketingdirector can attest, its core vehicles still remain one of the bestways to rapidly generate mass awareness amongst PC- or console-owningaudiences. Hence, although blogs and video aggregators deliver greatbang for the buck and generate tremendous street-level buzz, theycontinue to be promotional outlets that most core publishers have yetto wholly embrace, let alone fully commit to. Thus the reign ofhigh-profile primetime spots for titles like Grand Theft Auto, Madden and Halo rolls on.
And so, just as I humble myself before my new daughter, who hasn't meta pair of slacks she hasn't enjoyed redecorating yet, I willinglyprostrate myself before the industry-at-large and beg forgiveness. Asthe following executives – representing the television, motion pictureand direct marketing industries, respectively – are quick to remind, weshould all think twice before acting so rashly and completely writingthese businesses off.
Suffice it to say that they may not generate the same kind of headlinesin 2008 as rich media providers, online networks or widget creators,but thanks to new technology, changing tastes and increasing audiencefragmentation, let's just say they're far from out of the game.
Steven Roberts
Vice President & General Manager, Games and StrategicInitiatives for DIRECTV, overseeing broadcast ventures like 24/7interactive games channel Game Lounge and the internationally televisedChampionship Gaming Series professional league.
"Broadcast TV is absolutely not dead – just changing. Popular as gamingis, you can't look at entertainment in a vacuum... you have to considerthe overall mass-market. There are 120 million television homes outthere, with millions of people who just want to be entertained in thesame way they have for the last 50 years. NFL football still puts uphuge ratings every Sunday, and millions still tune in to watch livemusic and sports – you don't see that on an Xbox 360 console.
"True, television has to evolve, and will become more interactive toengage subscribers... if that's what users want. But what we're reallylooking at here in the immediate is developers/publishers grapplingwith a question of increasing audience segmentation. Something mostgame marketers miss about the broadcast space is the need to keepmessaging pointed and simple. That doesn't mean downplaying keyelements or features that you want understood: Just presenting them ina straightforward, easily comprehensible way that speaks to a specificaudience. Implementing better virtual cameras into games would be awelcome start... For broadcasters, it's very difficult to showdifferent elements of a title in ways instantly conducive to helpingpeople understand what it's all about.
"It's also important to look beyond the 30-second spot. There's plentyof room for advertisers to tap into broadcast vehicles, whether throughtelevised competitions, interactive online program extensions orproduct integration. Placing games front and center by showing ahalf-hour of screens, video footage and people playing these titlesmakes sense. But what you really need for effective campaigns here isto build elements of user interaction into your advertising and pair itwith programming that's consistent with the demographics of the gameitself.
"It all comes back to basics. People won't skip an ad on a DVR or turnaway to get a glass of milk if it's compelling, the message is clearand it's telling you something that you want to hear. Creative doesn'tjust have to wow either: It also has to make sense for the audiencesegment. While marketing can be fun and have an edge to it, ultimately,for on-air placements, it's vital to make sure the message is verytargeted, specific and simple."
"For all the uproar surrounding the movie business lately, gamemarketers shouldn't underestimate in-cinema advertising's power. Mostmedia features a device (remote control, mouse click, radio dial, etc.)that lets audiences tune unwanted messaging out. But at the theater,you've paid to be there, are a captive audience and want to beentertained. This receptivity begets results if the creative is good:Recall scores average around 60%, with categories like gaming actuallysoaring into the 80-90% range.
"Definitely, the big screen's sexy. Via streaming media, you canliterally send ads for M-rated games to all R-rated movie screenings inany given city; appear alongside only specific types of films; ordeliver different messages to different geographic markets on-demand.But publishers need to look beyond the most obvious opportunities –lobbies can also be a marketing wonderland. Standees, banners,concession items... From 20-minute pre-shows packed with original,exclusive and entertaining content to game posters disguised to looklike cinematic counterparts, options for building brand equity areendless.
"Hollywood is far from dead. Are gamers going to see Shrek, The Matrix and Pirates of the Caribbean?Of course... it's common sense. Research also shows emotions aremagnified at the theater – and the same holds for audience reactions tocommercials as well as films. It's hard to argue with a dark room, agiant screen and a group of people who've willingly paid to be thereand want to see what's in store.
"Also note – 80% of tickets are sold on weekends, a time when peoplewant to go shopping, and theaters are generally located in shoppingdistricts. Stick a retail discount on a box office handout, and youdon't just achieve grassroots interaction, or present a clear call toaction. It's also conceivably the last message a consumer sees beforehaving to drive home past a Best Buy or Wal-Mart where your game'sconveniently stocked."

"People are more distracted than ever – advertisers need to cut throughthe clutter. You have to find ways to surprise and entertainaudiences... It's important to design options that let you really spendtime with consumers in a meaningful way.
"Consider core gamers. You can look at where they're hanging out – atfraternity houses, sports bars, military bases, wherever – thendiscover ways to be there. It's even possible to reach players atschool and weave gaming properties into an educational message. Theseinstitutions appreciate it when game companies can provide them withbranded book covers, locker calendars or workshops that incorporatethese titles to teach lessons, just to name a few possible choices.
"Basically, you have to create options that make sense for the contentand target demographic, then craft a vehicle that fits. This could be abranded video game tournament, for example, or involve catching fans ata sporting event and giving them things they can wear to the game.There are alternative ways to reach virtually any shopper.
"It's crucial for publishers to connect with fans on a one-on-onelevel, because as excited as TV/film imagery can make them, people wantto go hands-on and try your games. To do so, you have to interface withthem on the street. Demos at malls, movie theaters, health clubs, etc.are essential to building buzz: There's a direct link between samplersconverting into purchasers. Experience is everything, and consumers aregoing to be the strongest ambassadors for your brand – word-of-mouth isincredibly powerful in the enthusiast gaming community.
"A holistic strategy is important, though: Alternative marketing shouldjust be one part of a diversified tactical plan. If I can see an ad foryour game during Lost or American Idol, then it happens to be at a barwhere I can try it, it'll pique my interest... Suddenly, brand andbuyer are making a meaningful connection. Remember though, that theseplacements have to be unobtrusive. You can't invade someone's space –you have to make kiosks, stands, booths, etc. – something that adds to,not takes away from, the entertainment value of any activity or event."
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:40 am
European, Indian Markets to Get New PS2 in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Sony Computer Entertainment will be launching a redesigned PS2 inEuropean and Indian markets by late October, according to a new report.

Like the PS2 released in Japan in November 2007, the new model will feature an integrated power supply, according to the Economic Times.

Theupdated system will hit European and Indian markets before Diwali, anannual Indian and Nepalese festival this year taking place on October28, said SCE India manager Atindriya Bose.

As well asfeaturing an in-built AC adapter, the new model will be slimmer andsupposedly lighter due to the design overhaul. It will be priced at6,990 Indian Rupees ($162/€102), the same as the current model.

Quote:
“Wefeel PS2 has the potential to penetrate further into the Indian andRussian markets,” said Bose. “Console gaming is in its nascent stage inIndia. These are untapped markets and are new to the gaming world,hence we have no plans to phase out PS2 anytime soon."


SCE India will also be launching the PlayStation Network for PS3 in India by the end of the current fiscal year.

Next-Gen has contacted SCEE for comment about a new European PS2.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:02 am
11 Best 'God Games' Of All Time (Sims, Darwinia,Spore...) in Gaming
Whenit comes to video games, everyone talks about first person shooters andRPG's.  But don't forget about god games.  They differ greatly from theaction of those other genres, but their difficulty lies in how theyrequire skill in strategizing and dealing with real time challengeswhile utilizing only what resources are available.

11.)  Utopia (1982)

Utopia was released in 1982, and is probably the first god game of all time.  Unlike most games of this genre, Utopia isa two player game.  Players controlled their own island, and got pointsfor things like feeding the people and preventing violence from rebelactivity.  Players can also sabotage the other player by putting rebelsoldiers on their island in the hopes that they destroy somethingvaluable.  Alright, you wouldn't play this game today in favor ofsomething more modern, but in its day, Utopia was a great strategy game that allowed you to destroy something your friend had built.  Props for that.

10.)  Populous (1989)

Populous, which was released in 1989 by Bullfrog for the computer,is considered one of the earliest god games.  The user plays the roleof god, or some sort of deity, and is given a plot of land in which heor she has to create a civilization.  Your civilization has to protectitself from other civilizations.  The only way for a player to advancein the game is to accrue points through the statistics of theircivilization.  Depending on the amount of points, players can advancemultiple levels at once.

9.)  Black and White II (2005)

Released in 2005, Black and White 2 is the sequelto the game that enables the player to be a god that rules over avillage.  They can choose to be either a good god or an evil god, whichis obvious by the way the god conducts himself ie, protecting hisfollowers when in need, or just destroying their homes for no reason. In order to control the game, the player utilizes a hand that performstasks for the inhabitants of the village, tasks like miracles can onlybe performed with a certain amount of prayer power, that is, thefollowers must be asking for a miracle if you want to grant one.  Black and White 2 built on the potential of its predecessor, and made the series even better.

8.)  The Settlers (1994)

The Settlers is a pretty straightforward premise:  You'rehelping people who've moved onto a new land to create a community thatproperly feeds, shelters, and protects all its inhabitants.  In orderto import goods, you need to build roads, if you want protection, youneed knights, and if you want knights, you need a healthy supply ofgold or they'll bolt.  Send your knights to attack other lands, and beas ruthless as necessary.  The Settlers is your chance to be a cut-throat feudal lord.

7.)  Zeus: Master Of Olympus (2000)

Slightly different than most god games, Zeus: Master of Olympusgives the player the role of city builder, as opposed to being anactual god.  In fact, players can build temples to the gods forrewards.  Players are encouraged to gather raw materials like wood,bronze, and marble for buildings.  Players are encouraged to buildphilosophy and drama schools, as well as gymnasiums to train athletesto compete in the games that are held every four years. Land isrequired to grow crops like wine grapes, and olives.  Zeus: Master of Olympus is a fun way to live like the Greeks.

6.)  SimCity2000 (1993)

The sequal to SimCity, SimCity2000 gave playersmore control of their environments.  Players are able to build newfacilities, namely, sports stadiums, hospitals, schools, prisons, andzoos etc.  One of the coolest things the game allows the player tobuild is the arcology, a giant and futuristic structure meant to housemany people.  At one point in the game, if the player has built enougharcologies, all of them will take off in order to start newcivilizations on far away planets.

5.)  Roller Coaster Tycoon (1999)

Who doesn't want to design and build rollercoasters?  Roller Coaster Tycoonfrom Frontier Developments gave players the chance to do just that withthis 1999 release, and it didn't disappoint.  Players were able tocreate their own amusement parks from scratch, all the while dealingwith financial and landscape restrictions.  In order to have asuccessful park, it's important to maintain a level of customerhappiness, enough employees to entertain guests and repair rides, witha wide array of both intense and low-intensity rides to appeal to allpossible guests preferences.  Don't forget to hire a cleaning crew,guests will vomit if they go on intense rides.

4.)  The Sims (2000)

The Sims is the best selling video game for the PC ever.  It passed Myst and has sold over 6 million copies.  The Sims doesnot have an ultimate goal or ending of any sort.  Goals are to simplycontrol a sim and have them lead a good life, and accomplish personalgoals.  This can be done by getting a good job, having a nice house,interacting with other sims and forming relationships, among otherthings.  It is possible to fail however, and this occurs when theplayer's sim dies.  Death can happen due to starvation, accidents (likedrowning or electrocution), or disease.  Sims can have a limited amountof personal freedom in the game, but any action they perform isoverwritten by the player's commands.  The Sims offersplayers the chance to control another person's life, which isimportant, especially if you're trying to escape the shittiness of yourown.

3.)  Evil Genius (2004)

Give into your destructive urges with Evil Genius.  Thegame parodies many of the classic evil genius cliches; secret lair onan island, a giant map of the world, evil henchmen, and secret agentssent to destroy you.  The player is given the chance to choose one ofthree characters to run their evil organization.  From there, you needto research weapons, enlist the help of evil minions, and devise plansfor the destruction of the world.  When you've reached the point ofworld domination, you can launch a powerful and destructive weapon thatwill bring the world to its knees, with you as its leader.

1.)  Darwinia

While not specifically a god game, Darwinia employs a lotof god game like elements in order for the player to completeobjectives.  The storyline revolves around Dr. Sulpaveda, a mysteriousman who invented a digital theme world that is currently beingdestroyed by a virus.  Dr. Sulpaveda enlists the players help indestroying the virus so that he can protect the years of research he'sput into the digital world.  It's very unique in that the player isdefending a world that doesn't exist except as a digital place on acomputer.

1.)  (Possibly Upon Release) Spore (2008)

We admit, this game hasn't even been released yet, but by the looks of it, and the hype surrounding it, Sporecould be the best god game of all time.  The ideo of the game is tocreate an entire species beginning with the creation of a single celledorganism.  Your cell eats weaker cells and plants, gaining "DNA points"which allow you to buy upgrades.  You continue to grow the cell untilit grows into a social animal, where it can finally ascend into spaceto interact with other complex beings.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:56 am
AMD with three new Phenom CPUs at opposite ends of market in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The raw specs are 140W TDP for the 9950 at 2.6GHz and 65W for the 9350e at2.0GHz and 9150e at 1.8GHz. The prices are $235, $195 and $175 respectively, andthe sharp-eyed among you will notice that the 9950 costs exactly what the 9850does. That is because in a week, on July 7, the 9850 will drop to $205. Bothwill remain 'Black', but the 9950 will be blacker because, before the end of theyear, the 9850 will fade from black, and go back to a locked part.
You have to wonder why AMD is bothering to lock Phenoms at all, with theBlack parts selling at effectively no premium, why not just let people have fun.Anything AMD can do to foster the enthusiast market at this point is probably agood thing, and if you don't have the raw speed, play up the features.
In any case, the interesting part of the bunch is the 9350e. It isn't a barnburner, but for media center boxes, coupled with a 780G board, or better yet a790GX, it could be a pretty solid media/casual gaming rig. This part fills ahole in the market, there aren't any sub 95W Intel quads out there formainstream consumer use, but there could be quite easily if the 9350e is a hit.
In any case, hardcore gamers will probably turn up their noses at the lowclock speeds in the -e parts, but as long as you are not trying to eke out thelast FPS, these parts would make a dandy low-noise desktop.
So, how did they do? Using the same exact setup as the we did with theoriginal780G review, the numbers lined up quite well. To recap, that is a GigabyteGA-MA78GM-2SH mobo, Corsair DDR2 1066 memory and a PC Power and Cooling/OCZSilencer 750W PSU. Power draw was measured at the wall with an Extech True RMSPower Analyser. The same caveat as last time needs to be said, the PSU isunderworked and far less efficient that it would be if we were pulling 500+ W,so knock about 20+ per cent off the wall power to get power used by the boarditself.
We ran our usual power draw test, 3DMark06 under XP SP3 patched to current asof June 28. Just for fun, we threw in the 4850e and the X4 9600 from the lasttest, as well as the 8750 X3. So now you can compare a K8, X3, X4 B2 and a X4 -ein terms of power. It looks like this.

The raw numbers
The lowest idle number is of course the 4850e, and it beats the quads byalmost 20W, the really odd part is the greater than 20W gap from there to the8750 X3. Lose one core, gain 20W? Binning problem, or binning opportunity? Thedual core 4850e also takes the bottom of the loaded power charts, and there is abig 33W gap to the 9350e. From there, the 8750 and 9600 are almost on top ofeach other.
Performance is about where you would expect it to be, the 4850e taking up thebottom with sub-1200 scores, and the others right on top of each other at1540+/-2. A quick overclock of the 9600 to 2.8GHz barely moved the score, so3DMark06 looks pretty GPU bound here.
In the end, with the new parts are priced pretty low, but won't challengeIntel for supremacy. For the high end 9950, you gain 100MHz for a few watts somake sure your mobo can handle the extra. In a week, it will not cost you anymore than a 9850, so you might want to hold off for a few days.
The 9350e and the 9150e look to be solid and inexpensive workhorses for theHTPC/SFF/quiet office PC set. You give up 200MHz for 30W, not a bad trade. Theyare solidly mid-range parts that won't stun any gamers, but they plug gaps inthe market, and do so quite nicely.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:15 am
Neopets Ambitious New MMO in Gaming
It's so early in development that it doesn'thave a name yet, but I'm already quite intrigued by the new MMO fromthe creators of Neopets.
Adam Powell and Donna Williams struck it rich with Neopets,an online virtual-pet site that grew so popular with kids and femalegamers that the pair sold their creation to Viacom in 2005 for $160million. Now, as founders of a startup called Meteor Games,they're working on something markedly different for an encore: A newMMO game that blurs the lines between traditional massively-multiplayergames, social networking, and casual gaming.
"We're World of Warcraft players ourselves," says Powell, "and wewouldn't want to compete with them. The game is really more casual --we want players to be able to play it for five, ten minutes at a time."
Imagine sitting down for a game of chess inside the 3-D virtualworld of the MMO. Your opponent is a real live person, but they'replaying the game in a simple Flash browser window, without all of thefluff around it. Or imagine playing a version of the classic cell phonegame Snake, but at the end of the game, the snake comes to life in theMMO and starts attacking enemies for you.
                                                      
Neopets,Williams and Powell readily admit, is often seen now as a child'spastime. But that game's original target audience was an older set --teens and young adults. But after the pair launched Neopetsin 1999, the game took on a life of its own and became so popular withthe younger audience that the twosome didn't want to sacrifice theintensely lucrative younger market.
The goal of their unnamed new project is to capture the traditionalgamers. The art style is going to be cartoonish, certainly, but unlike Neopets,it won't trade realism for saccharine sweetness. Instead, Williams andPowell are drawing inspiration from a litany of sources near and dearto children of the 1980's.
"It's sort of traditional high fantasy with a little bit of sci-fi,"says Powell. "It's like a lot of 80's films that we love, like Labyrinth or Legend."
"Or The Dark Crystal," adds Williams.
So then, is this game merely lifting ideas from the lucrative well of collective nostalgia to compete with World of Warcraft?Apparently not. The game itself seeks to target a demographic somewherein between the hardcore MMO fan and his 7-year-old younger sister. Theword "tween" was mentioned, though I picked up on an obvious distastefor the term.
Key to attracting this audience, say the designers, is the game'sreliance on a hybrid financing plan. Players will be required to payfor a subscription, though Powell was very quick to point out that itwon't be nearly as expensive as those of traditional MMOs, whichgenerally run in the neighborhood of $15 per month.
Instead, the stated goal is to offer players a monthly fee of under$10, making up the difference and more with the ability to buy in-gameitems with small microtransactions. But kids with more pocket moneywon't be able to power up for cash.
"We are strongly against letting players buy an advantage," saysPowell. All of the microtransactions, he says, will augment theplayer's looks, not powers: New houses, new clothes, new pets.
And yet neither subscriptions nor microtransactions are anything newin the world of online gaming, so what sets this unnamed MMO apart fromthe rest of the pack? Synergy. Don't worry, they didn't actually dropthat buzzword during our conversation, but after describing the way thegame would span several different platforms in real time, there simplyisn't a better word for it.
As an example, Powell detailed one possibility, involving a simplegame of chess. At launch, the game itself will span both a traditionalMMO client as well as a social-networking website, and that simple gameof chess can be accessed through either, he explained.
Let's say one player is sitting inside the MMO. He's at a table inhis own fully 3-D virtual house and in front of him is a chessboard. Hemoves a pawn, waits, and the opposing side moves against him. Onlyinstead of challenging another player within the MMO, he's playingagainst someone who is playing chess via a simple Flash applicationembedded into the website. Each of their moves is relayed to oneanother in real-time, and both receive certain levels of virtual rewardfor the activity.
To explain how the reward system would work for someone interactingwith the MMO from the outside, Powell offered another example the grouphas planned for the title.
Remember Snake? That game where you maneuver a squigglyline around a board to collect pellets in the hopes of extending yourline's length? If you don't recall, check your cell phone. I guaranteeit's on there. The new MMO's website will have a Flash game similar to Snakebuilt into it. Instead of simply hoping for a high score, playersmaneuver the snake around the board in a hunt for pellets with theultimate goal of making the snake come to life.
Once you've collected enough points in the Flash game, your snakewould spawn within the 3-D MMO world and start attacking foes on yourbehalf, earning experience points for you whenever it successfullykills something.
Besides the basic versions of the mini-games, the social networkingsite will also contain your standard sort of Facebook-styled features.It's unclear how in-depth the system will be, but expect messaging,friends lists and everything you've come to love and/or loathe from theMySpaces of the world.
At launch the game's technology blending will only stretch as far asthe MMO itself and its official site, but the duo also plans toeventually roll out cell phone software that works with the system.Powell and Williams said that they have not yet decided how the phoneswould be implemented into the overall world, but giving players thechance to interact with the game while away from a computer is the sortof idea that could result in unforeseen levels of MMO addiction anddevotion.
Normally I'd be very cynical about a game relying so heavily on thissort of technological confluence -- particularly given thehyper-adorable, kid-centric current state of Neopets -- but assuming that these creators can actually deliver on the ideas they have for this game, it could be huge.
Of course, since the game is extremely early in development, no oneoutside of the 40 people on the development team will be playing it anytime soon. Powell and Williams say that they hope to publicly demo thetitle for the first time at Penny Arcade Expoin Seattle this August. If things go well, they plan on releasingsomething playable, whether it be the final game or a public beta, inearly 2009.




Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:14 am
Top 10 most vital people-powered technologies - FEATURE in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Linux
Thedaddy of people power, this open source operating system owes prettymuch everything to the massive community of users and developers who'vebuilt it, broken it, put it back together again and added all sorts ofgoodies.
The penguin logo unites a truly incredible group oftalented people, from driver developers to desktop designers, advocatesto application builders.
Firefox
Even people who think that Linux is a character in the Peanutscartoon know about Firefox. What makes it special isn't the open sourcecommunity that created and maintain it, however; It's the efforts ofthe developer community whose extensions make Firefox the Swiss ArmyKnife of the internet.
Whether you want to block annoying ads,keep track of interesting sites or just stay up to date with footieresults from around the world, if you can imagine it, there's almostcertainly an extension that does it.
Half-Life 2
This month we've mostly been playing Minerva, Adam Foster's excellent mod for Half-Life 2 (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/MINERVA). Modders have been creating new stories since the days of Doom, and a quick look around Moddb (www.moddb.com) uncovers stacks of mods for your favourite PC games.
Smartdevelopers - such as Half-Life's Valve - know that mods make theirgames even more attractive, so the firms make modding as easy andaccessible as possible.
Xbox
Is your original Xbox gathering dust in the loft? Why not dust it down and turn it into a fully-fledged media centre?
While Microsoft blabs about the 360's multimedia features, the talented team at the Xbox Media Center project (www.xboxmediacenter.com)can turn an ageing original Xbox into a multimedia marvel (although ifyou don't fancy modding your console, steer clear - XBMC only works onhacked machines).
Job done, they're turning their attention to other platforms: a Linux version of the software is in development.
TiVo
Thecommunity that's sprung up around the TiVo digital video recorder(www.tivocommunity.com) is a thing of wonder, with users offering eachother advice, commenting on the company and fiddling with its products- often in ways that would give film and TV studios heart attacks.


       
While TiVo claims not to encourageor discourage the hacking community, it's pretty obvious that thehacking community makes the product even more attractive to tech-heads- and hackers' ideas often turn up in the official product, such aswhen the community found and fixed a date problem in older TiVo boxes.
iPhone
iPhonehackers aren't just trying to free the phone for use on any network.They've found ways to turn your existing tunes into ringtones withoutpaying for them all over again, created all kinds of add-onapplications and best of all, found a way to change the truly horriblefont on the Notes screen.
PlayStation Portable
Sonydoesn't like it - recent firmware updates mean that unless you've gotan older PSP, your options are limited - but thanks to Homebrew (www.psp-homebrew.eu)you can add all kinds of goodies to the device. There are loads,including customisers, emulators, chat programs and GPS software.
Overclocking
Changingchips' clock speeds and hoping they wouldn't set your house on fireused to be a shadowy pursuit that tech firms frowned upon. Thenhardware firms realised that overclockers had money as well as PCs toburn.
Now, motherboard makers often provide everything a speeddemon needs, either in the motherboard BIOS or on the driver CD, andgraphics card firms are keen too. For example, ATI actively encouragesoverclockers to ramp up their Radeons.
Windows Media Center
Microsoft'smedia system is pretty nifty, but it's niftier still when you tweak ituntil it squeaks. Microsoft knows this, which is why it happily linksto two independent community sites: the Media Center-specific GreenButton (thegreenbutton.com), and the general audio-visual AVS Forum(www.avsforum.com/avs-vb).
The software giant also has its own community site (www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/communities/mediacenter.mspx), where media center experts share their top tips.
Web apps
Firms who make it easy to interact with their online apps have createda massive community of developers. Google Maps has been adapted toprovide maps of speed cameras (http://spod.cx/speedcameras.shtml) and to create flight simulators (http://www.isoma.net/games/goggles.html), while keen developers have created software for apps such as Google Mail and Flickr.
You'll also find useful and useless apps alike on social networks such as Facebook.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:31 am
Samsung confirms Spinpoint drives in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
This seems really nice but I'd like to know more about power consumption and heat production.  Cheap laptop HDDs can run up to 45C, which is pretty hot.  I'm guessing they're about the same RPM.  I don't think that SOC thing is going to help much.  I'm guessing these HDDs are only good in external enclosures but I would never put one in a laptop until I hear its efficiency.  Laptops have enough heat and power problems.
Posted by schmidtbag Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:16 pm
Samsung confirms Spinpoint drives in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Samsung has finally confirmed the rumours that it is putting their laptop HDDs Spinpoint M6 and M2 into mass production.
TheM2 – which Samsung call 'one of the world's fastest laptop hard drives'– is a 250GB 2.5in hard drive which operates at a 7200rpm rotationspeed, the MP2 which would appear to be well-suited to desktopreplacement laptops and gaming laptops.
The Spinpoint M6, a500GB drive, is built for the expanding data storage needs of modernlaptops and features a 5400rpm spindle speed, a 8MB cache, and 3.0GbpsSATA interface.
Stick it in your notebook
"TheSpinpoint M6 is ideal for notebook power users who require vast amountsof storage space for their data, video and music files," said HubbertSmith, Director of Storage, Samsung Semiconductor.
"The MP2 hasspeed, features and capacity similar to a 3.5in hard drive and isperfect for users who require a smaller form factor with advanced datastorage needs."
F1 racing
Meanwhile,Samsung has confirmed that its new Spinpoint F1 RAID Class SATA 1TBcapacity HD has gone into mass production and will be available soon.
Featuringa 334GB per-platter capacity, a 7200RPM spindle speed and a 32MB cache– Samsung has also included its rotational vibration controller and anoptimised system-on-chip (SOC) that lowers power consumption.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:44 pm
nVidia turning it's GPU's into 'PhysX Physics Processors' in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
3D card manufacturers shouldn't take this the wrong way, but ittakes a lot to make us crawl out of the communal Eurogamer bed (yes,all the Eurogamer writers share a single large bed - we do it forfrugality and communality, which remain our watchwords) and go to ahardware presentation. There's a nagging fear someone may talk maths atus and we'd come home clutching the local equivalent of magic beans.And then we'll be laughed at by our fellow writers and made to sleep inthe chilly end where the covers are thin and Tom left dubious stains.That's no fun at all.
Then again, there's some things you can'thelp but go and have a gawk at. So when an invite claims, "All toooften new hardware brings with it a small performance increase - maybea 5-10 percent over the previous fastest thing. Wouldn't it be far moreexciting to see a speed increase of x20 or even x100... well, we'll behappy to show just that on Friday," you have wander along. Even thoughyou suspect it may be a trap and they're going to attack you withill-shaped blades, you have to find out what on earth they're talkingabout.
As we suspected, it wasn't quite what we were hoping for.Sure, there are programs which gain a x100 increase via the methodsNVIDIA talks about on this particular Friday, but unless you're workingin economics or astrophysics modelling, it's not exactly that relevant.However, something more quietly astounding was explained. Mainly, thatdespite the fact that no-one you know bought a PhysX card, if you're aPC gamer with a relatively recent NVIDIA card, you've already got one.Or, at least, you will soon. Spooks.

Get him!

The primary idea NVIDIA was trying to push was Optimised PC - the approach discussed in Rob Fahey's interview with Roy Taylorthe other day. The idea being that the traditional PC approach whereyou buy the fastest PC processor you can doesn't actually lend the bestresults, at least in most situations. If you spent more on -predictably - a GPU-driven 3D card, for an increasing number of areas,you're going to get much higher performance. If the program is usingthe GPU in a meaningful way, anyway. NVIDIA highlights areas likeimage-processing and HD video-encoding, as well as - natch! - games.You lose in single-threaded activities - like, say, just booting up aprogram - but they argue a small loss in opening a Word Document isless noticeable than frames in games or similar.
Where it startsgetting interesting is NVIDIA's development language, CUDA. The problemwith all the threading programming methods is that it's radicallydifferent to single-threading (and, yes, we're getting into, "Why wouldanyone care about this but a programmer?" territory, but its backgroundfor the key point later). It's hard to do, and CUDA is basically a wayto make things more accessible.
NVIDIA claims anyone experiencedin C or C++ will be able to get a grip on it (i.e. not us, but theaforementioned programmers). This means that anyone who codes in CUDAcan program the GPU to do pretty much whatever they like; it's byturning the 3D card into a bank of processors that the financialanalysts and the astrophysics guys are getting such impressive results.And impressive savings, as it's a lot cheaper to do it this way.

Now, NVIDIA claims that the fact GPU solutions are cheaper is goingto push better GPUs into more business machines. This will help pushthe idea that an okay CPU/good GPU machine gives better performancethan a good CPU/okay GPU, leading to more machines with better GPUs...and so, making more PCs abstractly available for gaming. Or, at least,raising the bottom level of hardware that you can expect people to have.
Interms of a more general use, transcoding video can take hours. Later inJuly, all GeForce 8000+ cards will ship with Elemental HD, a programwhich manages to perform the odious task - in the words of NVIDIA - "ina matter of minutes". The software will also be available for people todownload online, probably with a small fee ala Quicksave if theyalready have a GeForce card.
Point being: this CUDA malarkeyisn't something that's just for future NVIDIA technology. It'ssomething that allows the hardware many PC gamers already have to berepurposed.
For example, PhysX. NVIDIA's Physics 3D Card systemwas only supported in a minor fashion, as no-one would buy a card justto make explosions fancier, but with CUDA it can run on one of theother GPUs. A proportion of the 3D card's power can be given over torunning physics, giving those fancy PhysX-style interactions withoutactually having a specific card for it. CUDA's porting to PhysX willbecome available to the public in July, but developers already have thetools.

The Euphoria engine of Natual Motion. It's hard to illustrate this sort of thing.

You'llbe able to - for example - manually, up front, decide to devote aproportion of your 3D card's power to PhysX. Alternatively, developerscan commandeer it and do exactly the same thing. The new generation ofcards which are about to be announced are able to deal with pretty muchanything that exists on the highest setting with power left over, sothat power can be given over to acting like a 3D card would.
Andit goes further. Where previously you'd have just thrown out your old3D card when you upgraded your PC to a new one, if you have a G8000+ 3Dcard already, you can keep it, and just set it to concentrate solely ondoing PhysX tasks. This isn't a SLI situation where you need two of thesame cards working in tandem - any post-8880 card, rather than beingput out to digital pasture, can be given a job of deciding how bits ofglass bounce off a skyscraper, or similar. NVIDIA claims it's talkingto ATI to try and get them to use CUDA too, which.... well, we'll seethere, eh?
The potential is interesting. Demos shown include Natural Motion, whose Euphoria engineis heavily physics-dependent, allowing unique, convincing moments ingames. A straight collision isn't enough, as straight ragdolls areludicrous - the system involving AI (so the hit object will try andmove limbs to protect self and similar) leads to impressivelynaturalistic results. The first sign of this publicly was in GrandTheft Auto IV, but Natural Motion's own American football game, Backbreaker,is a fascinating example of what a physics-heavier approach tocollisions can give games. And, with CUDA-esque use of GPUs to do thisstuff, the PhysX related boon is accessible to even more of us.
So they did talk some maths, then, but we survived.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:11 pm
AMD CPU shoot-out: Phenom X3 and X4 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The birth of AMD’s quad-core Phenom processor was plagued withproblems. After a gestation period more akin to an elephant than a CPU,the new silicon popped out puking and bawling but was clearly a bit ofa runt.
The problem was the now-infamous TLB error that crippled performanceand reduced clock speed with the result that the B2 stepping of Phenomwas only available in two models.

AMD's Phenoms: (clockwise from top left) 9600, X3 8750, X4 9750, X4 9850

Neither the 2.2GHz Phenom 9500 nor the 2.3GHz 9600 delivered enoughperformance to trouble Intel's Core 2 Quad Q6600, which was a directcompetitor at the same price. As an added kick in the teeth, Phenomwould barely overclock while the Intel processor could manage a clockspeed of 3GHz without breaking a sweat.
AMD fixed the TLB problem with its B3 stepping and also got a bitcreative with the model codes that it used. Phenom X4 9x50 denotes aquad-core B3 that effectively replaces the original Phenom. The PhenomX3 8x50 is also a B3 but is unusual in that it's a tri-core processor.Phenom is similar to Core 2 Quad in many respects but there is onesignificant difference as Phenom is a native quad-core design with allfour cores on the same die. By contrast Core 2 Quad is a dual-coredesign, so Intel uses two processor dice to cobble together itsfour-core CPUs.
Naturally, AMD touts this difference as a major advantage for Phenomas it allows HyperTransport to strut its stuff, while Core 2 istheoretically crippled by a lousy communication path through thefrontside bus and then off to the northbridge of the chipset to thememory controller.

It was time for the Phenom X4 9850, and we weren’t surprised to seethat performance was a distinct improvement on the X3 8750 in everyrespect with the exception of pure graphics tests that only stress thegraphics card. The X4 draws 40W more than the X3 which makes it fairlyeasy to deduce how much power each core in a Phenom requires. Thequad-core overclocked slightly better than the tri-core but neither wasimpressive in that department.
The thing that caused us some surprise, however, is the similarityin price. You only pay £10 more for the X4 so why on Earth would youchoose the X3?

Finally, we come to the Phenom X4 9850, which only runs 100MHzfaster than the X4 9750 - 2.5GHz - but there are a couple of otherchanges. The X4 9750 has a TDP of 95W and HyperTransport speed of1.8GHz while the X4 9850 has a TDP of 125W and a HyperTransport speedof 2GHz which rather suggests that the X4 9850 is buzzing along at thelimits of the B3 architecture.
We had heard great things of the X4 9850, with at least one reviewerclaiming a clock speed of more than 3GHz. However, we had nothing likethat degree of success. With the 200MHz clock raised to 225MHz weimmediately suffered a blue screen after Windows had loaded, and thatwas with a clock speed just over 2.8GHz.
The system was pretty much OK with a clock speed of 220MHz (2.75GHzCPU speed) although 3DMark Vantage refused to run however the X4 9850required more cooling than the other Phenoms. Indeed we had to removethe add-in fan controller from the CPU cooler to get the fan speed highenough to cool the CPU properly.

That’s all well and good but just take a look at our test resultsfor Core 2 Quad Q6600. On its stock speed of 2.4GHz it wiped the floorwith Phenom and when we overclocked it to 3.0GHz it made the AMDsilicon look rather limp.
VerdictThe B3 stepping of Phenom is a distinct improvement over theoriginal B2 but that’s not saying much. Intel has cut the price of Core2 to such an extent that there is no compelling reason to buy a Phenombeyond the fact that you might not like Intel very much. Fair enough,we'd say, but for everyone else, Intel has grabbed the initiative. Overto you, AMD.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:54 pm
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