All posts by Tateru Nino

3D graphics performance is all about control

A desert tortoise with the caption "I used to race Achilles, then I took an arrow to the knee"

The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax’s upcoming MMOG take on the Elder Scrolls universe is going to have nowhere near the sort of graphical fidelity that you’re used to from, say, Skyrim. And there’s good reasons for that. Reasons that are applicable to pretty much every graphical title you’re likely to encounter, from IMVU and Second Life to … well, Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Leaving aside the individual hardware for just a moment, perhaps the single most important factors in graphical performance, is control.

The customer has 3D graphics hardware, and your software contains a tuned and optimised 3D graphics rendering engine and pipeline. That’s great.

However, the best 3D graphics engine on the best 3D graphics hardware can still run about as well as a wounded tortoise if you don’t exercise proper control.

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DayZ network compromised

Many, many zombies crest a hill, moving slowly towards a building

It seems a rather unpleasant person has gained access to a key email account, which in turn has allowed them to compromise the DayZ server network. Anyone who provided login credentials to the DayZ team should consider those credentials compromised. Likewise, a trojan was placed on the US mirror as dayz_auto_updater.exe, and this will have installed back-doors on systems that executed it.

Server admins, get someone to make coffee, because you’ve got a fair bit of work to do to see if you’re safe, or to fix things if you’re not. DayZ forum users, your forum passwords have been leaked. Change them.

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You are the controller. Again.

Front view of the Xbox Kinect accessory

E3 2012 seems to be a bit of a … well, mostly it seems to be … is there really a good word for the opposite of innovative announcements? That’s the vibe I’m largely feeling. Mostly E3 2012 is producing exactly the announcements and viewings that you’d expect it to, with little surprise.

One actually interesting thing is that Microsoft seems to largely be resigned to giving up, or at the very least heavily-downplaying, motion control through its Kinect product.

“You are the controller”, certainly, but it seems to be almost all focused around voice control rather than tracking the motion of players for input.

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The E3 event horizon

An overhead map of the South Hall of the E3 Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center

E3 has it’s own gravity-well, an “event” horizon (no pun intended) that pulls in game-development, and mangles development, PR and marketing schedules in its fierce, distorting grip.

Hastily cobbled together demonstrations, unrepresentative footage and more, all of which contrive to steal as much as a full quarter’s development time away from actually working on making genuine progress on the game. Perhaps the worst place to get news about games is E3 and the E3 floor. Better, more reliable, news and media mostly happen after E3 is done.

Even the trailers get tainted by E3’s peculiar distortions and gravitic homogeneity.

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Will Wright’s HiveMind tied up in “atrocity” and “genocide” legal battle

Jawad Ansari (left) and Will Wright holding a hammer (right)

Just to be clear, before we move on, there are two Hive Minds. There’s “HiveMind”, which is the idea of developers harvesting your mobile and social data extensively to create a game that is specifically targeted at an individual user, and there’s “Hive Mind”, the actual company formed to exploit that idea commercially.

Now the former HiveMind (the idea) seems to be now tied up indefinitely with litigation involving the ex-CEO of the latter Hive Mind (the company).

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38 Studios employees claim Governor torpedoed company deals, lined own pockets

A partial cover image of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, flanked by the logos of 38 Studios, and Big Huge Games.

Laid-off employees, whom you would think would have little reason to back their former employer, 38 Studios/Big Huge Games, are instead speaking out against Rhode Island Governor, claiming that governor Chafee spread misinformation that sabotaged the business’ funding sources, and even suggesting that he may have lined his own pockets, while using the high-profile games-developer as a political pawn in his re-election campaign.

Strong stuff. Read all about it at Gamasutra.

StarForge early alpha demo 0.1 [updated]

An image from the Starforge demo, showing a small valley filled with trees and surrounded by high rocks. One tree has been cut down.

Starforge is – so far as we know at this time – an entirely procedurally-generated first/third-person sci-fi survival/construction game. Yes, alright, I’m going to say “Minecraft in space”, though that’s a very loose sort of description.

This release (whose announcement was enough to take down the Web-servers for the game) shows off a little of this indie title in its earliest playable form.

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