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Real Name Tom   
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Signed On May 21, 2000, 15:34
Total Comments 1214 (Pro)
User ID 4838
 
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News Comments > etc.
5. Re: etc. Sep 27, 2014, 16:10 Tom
 
You get what you pay for. A couple of years ago I faced a choice: keep buying cheap Saitek crap every few years, or invest in something that would perform well and keep on working for a long time. I picked up a Warthog in 2012 and it's been well worth it. Is it as perfect as this article paints it? No. But it's close enough. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.  
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News Comments > Wasteland 2 Earns $1.5M
49. Re: Wasteland 2 Earns $1.5M Sep 24, 2014, 18:29 Tom
 
Sho wrote on Sep 24, 2014, 18:13:
My 2 cents: Fallout 3 got the gameplay right, but Bethesda simply can't write dialog or create memorable characters to save their lives. New Vegas retained the gameplay and amped up the writing massively (which includes creates a gamespace with actually interesting social dynamics) and was a much better game for it overall. NV might just be my favorite Fallout, actually.
Yeah I think you're right on the money there. It's a shame too. Imagine how much better Oblivion and Skyrim could've been if they'd just had some decent writers.
 
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News Comments > Gauntlet Released
3. Re: Gauntlet Released Sep 23, 2014, 21:17 Tom
 
I know it's a classic, but I always thought the original sucked. Just not very fun and and not good value for the quarters you had to pump into it. It would be weird to play it without needing to pay...  
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News Comments > Morning Interviews
3. Re: Morning Interviews Sep 22, 2014, 18:29 Tom
 
The virtual meeting thing does seem pretty dumb. Who wants to be looking at a clumsy avatar version of the person they're talking to? Now, if they could convincingly reproduce mouth movement and facial expressions, that might be a different story, but that seems like a long way off. I'm not particularly interested in watching movies in VR either, although it could be nice in a reasonably calm, space-constrained environment like an airplane. I imagine early adopters would be rather conspicuous but I could see it becoming commonplace in the future.

The coolest non-gaming applications of VR I've seen so far are in architectural visualization and virtual tourism/recon. Giving people the opportunity to experience your idea/concept in VR is potentially far more compelling and enlightening than just showing pictures or video. You can let people wander around a place or examine an object that doesn't exist yet. Or if it does exist - like a rental property or home/office for sale - even better.

On the virtual tourism front, I've already spent hours exploring all kinds of places with Google Street View on the DK2. Even though it's not officially supported yet, what people have managed to hack together is really amazing. It's by far the best way to experience Street View. You actually feel like you're there. You can naturally look around in any direction and there's a real sense of depth and scale. That bus in the next lane over? Feels like it's right next to you. That tall building nearby? You have to look way up to see the top. I've toured both indoor and outdoor spaces with Street View and both work extremely well. Going back to looking at it on a monitor later on was a real let-down.
 
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News Comments > New Oculus VR Unit; Carmack's VR Talk
14. Re: New Oculus VR Unit; Carmack's VR Talk Sep 21, 2014, 19:39 Tom
 
DrSquick wrote on Sep 21, 2014, 18:56:
Silly question, but can computers handle that? You would need to be able to do 1440p at 120FPS to have 3d 1440p at 60Hz per eye, right?
The short answer is yes, computers can handle that.

The long answer is, it's complicated. Basically the scene has to be rendered twice, once for each eye, but this doesn't have the same cost as doubling the frame rate. There is certain overhead associated with each frame that doesn't have to be duplicated for each eye. Then there's resolution. The Oculus SDK documentation says that for the 1280x800 screen of the Oculus Rift DK1, the scene needed to be rendered at 2000x1056 (about 2x as many pixels) in order to get the center of the view to not be too blurry, because of the way the FOV and lens distortion works. This amount is a tweakable quality setting and will help you get to the frame rate you want, if necessary, although it's obviously not good to have to resort to this. It's up to developers how to set this and whether to expose it as a setting the user can control.

Right now, on the DK2 with its 1080p screen, a single GTX 780 is enough to easily get a solid 75 fps in most things that were designed for VR. For things that were not designed specifically for VR, it varies - some require vast decreases in quality settings and still run choppy (DCS, Elite: Dangerous), while others can run at full frame rate with high or max quality settings (LFS, Bioshock Infinite). I expect that the new stuff from NVIDIA will go a long way towards handling the demands of VR on a 1440p screen, particularly the SLI work. Proper SLI support with each card working on the rendering of one eye should be great.

By the way, I was getting 60 fps at 1440p on a 2D monitor with a 570. Sometimes I could even get nice antialiasing. A 770 should easily be able to get 60 fps at 1440p on a 2D monitor. Will it be enough for VR at 1440p? Probably, but maybe at lower quality settings than you might like. Keep in mind the Samsung Gear lets you use a Galaxy Note 4 with its 1440p display as a VR display, and they have games running on that. Your 770 is way more powerful than the GPU in even the best brand new phone, don't you think?

If you're the type that absolutely must crank every quality setting to the max, you're going to need a very beefy computer to do that with a 1440p VR headset. But if you're ok with some medium settings, you may be surprised at what is possible on mid to upper mid range hardware. And forget about low end crap like Intel graphics, of course.

It will be a big challenge for developers to make their software efficient and scalable but it's not all that different from the challenge they've always faced on the PC. One of the defining characteristics of the platform. Although with VR, the penalty for a drop in framerate is far more severe right now than on a 2D monitor - you get terribly uncomfortable stuttering when turning your head if the framerate falls below the refresh rate of the display (75Hz for the DK2). This problem should be lessened for those developers that implement asynchronous timewarp properly. (NVIDIA says they're trying to help with this as well with what they call "asynchronous warp").
 
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News Comments > Sunday Safety Dance
3. Re: Sunday Safety Dance Sep 21, 2014, 18:10 Tom
 
Yeah well, it wouldn't hurt for them to be a little more proactive too. "We sell hammers." Great excuse...  
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News Comments > Elite: Dangerous Launch Pricing and Preorder Bonus
57. Re: Elite: Dangerous Launch Pricing and Preorder Bonus Sep 13, 2014, 11:22 Tom
 
HorrorScope wrote on Sep 13, 2014, 10:45:
Sounds like spaces version of taking one to the knee.
Not really. Not being able to afford the insurance is completely avoidable with just the slightest bit of sense. That so many people get caught in this situation in Elite: Dangerous is a sad reflection of our society.
 
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News Comments > Elite: Dangerous Launch Pricing and Preorder Bonus
46. Re: Elite: Dangerous Launch Pricing and Preorder Bonus Sep 12, 2014, 19:34 Tom
 
DangerDog wrote on Sep 12, 2014, 18:54:
Microsoft can buy them up, because they like to buy up everybody.
No.

ForgedReality wrote on Sep 12, 2014, 16:57:
Now if they could only make some ships that didn't look like fucking cheese wedges...
No one has as many friends as the man with many cheeses.

Wildone wrote on Sep 12, 2014, 18:24:
No but the joystick was developed as the best method for controlling a vehicle in the air and space in this case as they are modeled like jet fighters in a lot of ways. You can't circle strafe anyone in this so its a bit of a waste using a M&K
When it comes to games, the effectiveness of a particular type of input device is directly proportionate to how the developer has designed and implemented support for said device. Real-world factors are secondary.
 
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News Comments > Saturday Interviews
10. Re: Saturday Interviews Sep 7, 2014, 14:17 Tom
 
Um yeah, vsync does cap framerates. Let's start with the basics. Vsync stands for vertical synchronization, which means synchronizing the updating of the framebuffer of a graphics card with the vertical blanking interval of a CRT. A CRT contains an electron gun which is sweeping over the display to refresh the phosphors that maintain the image on the screen. During the vertical blanking interval, the framebuffer can safely be updated without causing tearing. Tearing happens when you see part of an old frame along with part of a new frame because the framebuffer got updated while the monitor was in the middle of refreshing the visible contents of the screen.

Technology has moved on since the days of CRTs but vsync still means syncing framebuffer updates with the refresh rate of the display device. If you're performing such synchronization, you aren't updating the framebuffer more frequently than that. Hence the refresh rate serves as a limiting factor (cap) on the rate at which frames are rendered and presented to the user.

Of course, there are plenty of ways for a programmer to be an idiot and screw this up, but really - what sense is there in asking the GPU to render more frames than the display will pass along to the user? It's just wasteful and stupid.

You are correct in that a frame limiter is different from vsync. A frame limiter simply caps the framerate with no attempt at synchronizing to the rate of something else such as the display's refresh process. This is why you get tearing if you use a frame limiter set to your monitor's refresh rate and don't use vsync. There is no synchronization.
 
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News Comments > Saturday Interviews
8. Re: Saturday Interviews Sep 7, 2014, 11:22 Tom
 
The overheating thing shouldn't really be surprising to anyone who has gamed on a non-entry-level smartphone before. These things can get seriously toasty. And you can kiss your battery goodbye.

The good news is that as mobile processors continue to get more powerful, they should get more useful at lower levels of utilization. We can see this effect with desktop GPUs. If I lower the temperature target on my 780s to 70C, I can get nice cool and quiet performance even when inept game developers have irresponsibly programmed their games to waste all available resources no matter what. It's sad that they manage to do this even when the framerate is capped by vsync.
 
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News Comments > Evening Legal Briefs
4. Re: Evening Legal Briefs Sep 5, 2014, 23:18 Tom
 
Yeah, and putting it all into housing costs. No thanks.  
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News Comments > Sunday Tech Bits
6. Re: Sunday Tech Bits Aug 31, 2014, 15:56 Tom
 
So long and thanks for all the analysis, Anand. The hardware world won't be the same without you.

Don't get any ideas, Blue.
 
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News Comments > Last Chance at Some GOG.com Games
19. Re: Last Chance at Some GOG.com Games Aug 28, 2014, 18:11 Tom
 
Maybe you should try creating a software product and selling it around the world, since you obviously have it all figured out.  
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News Comments > etc., etc.
10. Re: etc., etc. Aug 26, 2014, 01:02 Tom
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Aug 25, 2014, 21:22:
*EDIT* What the shit? The beta is $75.00 ? I assume the retail price will be less, and this is to discourage people or something?

Yes, it's a phased rollout with price as a barrier. Alpha access was $300, you know. And they still had plenty of takers.

Also, part of the reason for the pricing is because they did a Kickstarter with alpha/beta access as rewards for higher tiers, and they want to do right by those backers by not undercutting that pricing later on.
 
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News Comments > Amazon Buys Twitch
15. Re: Amazon Buys Twitch Aug 25, 2014, 19:04 Tom
 
Fion wrote on Aug 25, 2014, 18:30:
If they were going to be bought by someone (and they were to big NOT to have)

Interesting logic there. Why exactly were they "too big NOT to have [been bought]"?

8 years ago, Facebook was pretty big. Big enough to be offered upwards of $1B by Yahoo, Google, and others. And $1B was a lot of money back then. But Zuck and company wanted $2B+. They chose not to sell. Today their market cap is almost $200B. They can blow $2B on Oculus like it's nothing, and $19B on Whatsapp.
 
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News Comments > Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video
30. Re: Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video Aug 25, 2014, 08:13 Tom
 
At the same time, hopefully VR won't be held back too much by the drive to keep costs as low as possible. Enthusiasts will be throwing thousands of dollars at computing power to handle certain applications in VR. There will undoubtedly be a market for an upscale VR headset that delivers higher quality.  
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News Comments > Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video
28. Re: Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video Aug 25, 2014, 00:16 Tom
 
HorrorScope wrote on Aug 24, 2014, 23:14:
So you felt that was pretty good and doable? Would you say it is better than just a flat monitor in that kind of setup?

I was thinking at first that was the next step, just getting a more immersive monitor using the same ole, but I see they are going full on. I just know a lot of these 3d style devices, it isn't easy to handle in most cases and it will be a large entry barrier for many. I'm glad the system can be just basic or be full on and probably many variations in-between, that just gives us more ways to play when we feel like something different.

It seemed pretty good, but I need to spend more time with it to know for sure if I'd rather play an FPS this way or just use a monitor. I think I'm going to try to do my initial playthrough of Bioshock: Infinite entirely in the Rift as a test.

The 3D and increased FOV make for greater immersion, and of course the headset is blocking out the rest of your surroundings in the real world. You see only the game world. You get a lot of the "you are there" feeling that VR brings to the table even if you don't make use of the headtracking, although the headtracking does add a LOT to that feeling.

The main downsides to gaming with the Rift right now are the limited resolution, significantly increased computing power needed, roughness of supporting software, motion sickness, and it's a bit clunky to get in/out of the setup with headset+headphones and possibly tangling cords. You will also have some serious marks on your face after a while.

Regarding the motion sickness, it seems to vary drastically from person to person from what I've read. An FPS game where you start and stop all the time and turn your view without turning your real head can cause motion sickness. But, it's not been as bad for me as I expected. I had a bit of nausea with my first VR FPS experience (HL2) but it never got serious. I also seem to be handling it better with practice, although it's still too soon to know for sure. It's still a little troublesome to run around very quickly while also turning all over the place, and cutscenes where they take control of the camera are uncomfortable but tolerable.

Need to give it some more time.
 
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News Comments > Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video
25. Re: Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video Aug 24, 2014, 22:50 Tom
 
HorrorScope wrote on Aug 24, 2014, 22:27:
What if you just use the Rift as a display device? Enclosed, large FOV and 3d. Turn off head tracking and then play with a K/M. To me it seems like a more awesome monitor in that way. What could be cool is you could go full VR with new style of games, but you could also play the older one's with k/m and simply be more immersed.

I experimented with doing exactly this yesterday and today with the DK2. I played HL2, Skyrim, and Bioshock Infinite (the latter two via vorpX). It's possible to look around with the headtracking, and that works fairly well, but I usually find myself just looking straight ahead and using the KB/mouse as I would with a monitor. At slower points in the game when there's interesting stuff to look at, it makes more sense to use the headtracking. It is pretty cool.

Of course, DCS and Elite: Dangerous are really far better uses of the Rift right now. DCS especially. Once I [mostly] got rid of the stuttering on head turning, got the mouse working for interacting with cockpit controls, and learned that the view can be re-centered with numpad 5, it turned out to be even better than I'd hoped. I actually felt like I was going to fall out once when I was leaning out the side of the airplane while flying the Mustang with the canopy popped...
 
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News Comments > Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video
17. Re: Half-Life 2 Oculus Rift Video Aug 24, 2014, 18:30 Tom
 
Geez, and here I thought just plain old HL2 in VR with KB/mouse was pretty cool. Guess it's time to dust off the ol' Hydra. This looks too fun to play around with.  
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News Comments > Star Citizen Gamescom Video; Funding to be Deemphasized
19. Re: Star Citizen Gamescom Video; Funding to be Deemphasized Aug 20, 2014, 20:48 Tom
 
Elite is totally awesome and is kicking Star Citizen's butt at the moment, but I think it's a gross exaggeration to say it has a "fully living universe" right now. It is, however, well on its way.

Regarding the flicker in SC, you don't have to kill SLI system-wide. Just add an exception for SC in the driver settings (SLI mode = single GPU or whatever). It's still flaky but it generally works. I'm guessing they have problems with CryEngine and the only guy in the world who knows how to fix it probably rage quit Crytek by now. Maybe they can solve it when they switch to UE4 in another year or two, haha!
 
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1214 Comments. 61 pages. Viewing page 4.
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