AMD's Derek Whiteman joins Frostbite team
Derek Whiteman worked in AMD's Graphics Architecture Group and on its tools team from 2003 through 2012, and before that in other technical capacities at Sony CEE and the UK Ministry of Defence.
It's a boon then the Frostbite team has acquired him this week, naturally to work on the advanced Frostbite engine originally created by developer DICE (though tied to DICE, the Frostbite team now works independently in its own studio).
Other new team members this week include Alex Fry and Sebastian Hillaire, both from Criterion and boasting equally impressive resumes.
Thief PC features include Mantle and multi-monitor support, FOV slider, lots more
Eidos Montreal has been talking up the PC features of forthcoming stealth game Thief to DSOGaming, from which a lot of information has come forward. For those interested, you can expect lots of goodies, so many it's easier just to list them:
Thief launches February 25.
Snowdrop Engine video shows off tech behind The Division
Ubisoft's upcoming online shooter The Division is looking better than ever in the video below, which shows off the new Snowdrop engine powering it.
As you'll see, Snowdrop features all kinds of advanced rendering techniques, the most impressive of which include dynamic global illumination for more immersive lighting, realistic, precise destruction, and shaders which vary drastically and believably depending on the weather.
The Division launches late next year.
Battlefield 4 PC patch 3 improves stability, fixes "shot behind cover" issue
Quicker than expected, a new update has been released for the PC version of Battlefield 4.
This one further improves stability (it's unclear if the popular audio loop crash is included in this or not) and also fixes the "shot behind cover" issue, which is explained below.
DICE investigating FOV, memory leak issues in Battlefield 4
Two of the lesser known but important issues in Battlefield 4 are being investigated by developer DICE.
The first is a flawed field of view (FOV) design, which subtly gives an advantage to lower FOV players by only switching to a low FOV when aiming down sights (ADS) for them and not so for higher FOV players. Likely, it's intended to switch for both, as we saw in Battlefield 3 (see comparison below). With the old method, players have an easier time of being highly accurate while ADS.
The second is a memory leak, during which the game can cause your system to use many extra gigs of memory for no intended reason. This continues until you reboot your machine. The issue is reported to occur on Windows 8 systems using Radeon 5xxx or 6xxx series cards, though some say it applies to NVIDIA users, too.
DICE has responded to the issues on the Battlelog and EA forums and indicated they're looking into them (the latter issue they've reached out to AMD on). In the meantime, for the FOV issue, you may want to consider a lower value until this is fixed (will likely be longer than the other fix, as stability is higher priority for DICE right now); for the memory leak, you can try the suggestions below (taken from an extensive EA forum thread user investigation into the issue).
Steam update makes beta changes public
Steam has released a large new update which makes all the big, recent changes public.
Of particular note is the option to let games download while another game is running (unfortunately you have to set it per game, which doesn't really save time versus the old method), the delay of client updates until no games are running (ensuring online play isn't impacted), improved download speeds in certain circumstances, better in-game overlay compatibility for some DirectX 10/11 games on Windows 8.1, and various Big Picture tweaks.
Hit the source if you want the full notes; boot Steam now to grab the update.
Catalyst 13.11 beta 9.5 driver includes 200 series fixes, more
AMD has released its Catalyst 13.11 beta 9.5 driver today. This one resolves the missing Overdrive on the 290 series as well as flickering on the 270x series, and "graphics corruption" in Starcraft (you know your game is great when it's getting driver love 15 years later).
Aside from fixes, if you're one of the rare people playing Hitman Absolution and/or Total War Rome 2 on a Quad Crossfire config, you'll now observe frame pacing improvements (smoother gameplay).
Hit the source to grab the driver.
Toshiba and OCZ reach purchase agreement
Following OCZ's recent bankruptcy filing, the company has reached an agreement with Toshiba to whom it will sell its solid state drive (SSD) business, as expected. The price: $35 million.
The deal -- which should close within 60 days -- is still subject to an "auction and approval by the bankruptcy court"; until everything is settled, OCZ will "continue to operate and serve existing and future customers".
OCZ CEO Ralph Schmitt offered a surprisingly frank statement on the matter, while Mr. Seiichi Mori, Vice President of Toshiba's Semiconductor and Storage Company and Corporate Vice President of Toshiba (say that five times fast) expressed his gratitude for the opportunity.
Battlefield 4 PC patch 2 released, fixes some key issues
The aforementioned Battlefield 4 PC patch is now live on Origin. If you need a refresher, it fixes the audio drop bug, the "one hit kill" bug, and removes the occasional blur effect. Also included is further improvements to the network and computer performance screen.
Boot Origin now to download the 885MB patch; you may have to right click the game and select 'Check for updates' for it to work.
Also note the China Rising DLC launches in about an hour for Premium members.
OCZ filing for bankruptcy, Toshbia makes offer
SSD maker OCZ is filing for bankruptcy, due to violations of "operating ratios and covenants" in its loan agreement with Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.
Toshiba has made an offer on OCZ, in an attempt to acquire "subtantially all" of OCZ's assets. From the sounds of it, the deal will go through, though it's not guaranteed as of yet.
If it does, the "preservation of the value of the business, including the retention of employees, the negotiation and execution of definitive documentation" are part of the agreement. It it doesn't, OCZ's assets will be liquidated.
Windows 8.1 offers significant frame time latency improvements for Battlefield 4
HardOCP this week published a performance review of Battlefield 4, in it comparing how the game plays out on Windows 7 versus Windows 8.1.
Though while in beta, Windows 8.1 offered major framerate improvements in the game over Windows 7, it would appear this was because Windows 8.1 took priority at the time for optimizations, as now the differences are much more minor (3-6%).
However, though no raw testing was done, HardOCP notes the occasional choppiness they experienced in their Windows 7 testing was completely eliminated with 8.1, indicating major frame time latency improvements.
How many games this applies to remains to be seen, but if you're curious on whether to upgrade your OS or not and/or when, this could be reason enough to do it, and sooner than later.
Battlefield 4 PC patch 2 detailed, fixes blur effect, audio drops, one hit kill bug
Developer DICE is working to get the second client-side PC patch for Battlefield 4 next week. Delays are possible, but it seems reasonable to say it likely will hit then.
In the meantime, the patch notes have been detailed, and while they're short, they include fixes for several key issues: the blur effect introduced with the last patch, the audio drops (particularly on Golmud Railway and Hainan Resort), and the "one hit kill bug" I reported on recently. There's also a single player crash fix and further accuracy improvements to the network and computer performance screen.
Geforce 331.93 beta driver fixes Assassin's Creed 4 texture issue, updates SLI
NVIDIA has released its Geforce 331.93 beta driver. This time you'll see an SLI update for Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag as well as a fix for texture issues in multiplayer, and the elimination of "browser-related stability issues seen on some Fermi-based GeForce GTX 400 and 500 Series GPUs".
Head here or access Geforce Experience to download the driver.
How to enable 60fps in Need for Speed Rivals
The PC version of Need for Speed Rivals is locked to 30 frames per second (fps), but you can enable 60, albeit with potential issues.
To do it, right click the game in Origin, click Game Properties, and add "-GameTime.MaxSimFps 60 -GameTime.ForceSimRate 60.0" (without quotes) to the Command Line Arguments field, then hit Apply. Because the game speed and framerate are tied to each other directly in game, these values are made the same to facilitate intended gameplay.
The downside is dropping below 60fps at any time may result in weird issues, like the gameplay suddenly moving more slowly (again, because the framerate is tied to game speed). So, use it at your own risk. If you have a formidable setup, this might not prove a bother at all, but either way, know what you're getting into.
Call of Duty Ghosts PC update improves performance, adds PhysX
A new patch has gone live for the PC version of Call of Duty Ghosts. This time around you'll see improved performance in-game and while loading, including better frame time latency on AMD cards. For NVIDIA users, PhysX has been re-enabled, which affects fur and smoke.
Besides all that, there are some stability improvements, plus various bug fixes.
Hit the source if you want all the details, and boot Steam to grab the update.
Source: Call of Duty
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