2014 March

March 28, 2014

AMD, Crytek and the Mantle API

Another milestone for the Mantle graphics API has been reached with the addition of Crytek and its game development engine, CRYENGINE” www.amd.com

AMD and Crytek Collaboration

At this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco it was announced that Crytek and AMD had entered into a partnership that would add native Mantle graphics API support to CRYENGINE. CRYENGINE is an advanced game development solution with scalable computation and graphic technologies, effectively making it the fastest high-end renderer in the world. This is the latest iteration of the game engine that has powered Crytek game titles since 2004. Many game developers have chosen the all-inclusive CRYENGINE toolbox creating games including the Crytek titles Ryse: Son of Rome and Warface.

AMD’s Mantle API makes creating games for the PC more efficient than ever, this is done by streamlining communication between a gamer’s CPU and GPU. By alleviating communication bottlenecks and making the best use of existing PC hardware, Mantle helps to improve overall game performance. The GDC 2014 trailer shows the highlights of CRYENGINE-powered games from the industry:

Learn more about Crytek’s CRYENGINE®
Learn more about Mantle

March 20, 2014

Gaming in Stereo: An Awesome Tribute to Bubble Bobble

 

 

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I had a different set of songs picked out for this article this week, then I came across this song and things changed. Hands down, one of the best remixes, and one of the best songs I have heard in quite a while. “Bubble Dragon: A Bubble Bobble Tribute” by 7Bit Hero is a remix of the “Bonus theme” and “Main Theme” from Bubble Bobble, a game that was released in arcades (one of the many cabinets I have had the pleasure of playing) in 1986. 7Bit Hero, out of Brisbane, Australia, combines music with gaming to create something completely different. The original tunes married well with lyrics, one of the few times this actually works. The result is something that feels like a pop tune from the 80’s that feels fresh. The song is free for download either at OverClocked Remix or 7Bit Hero’s site. The music video is below and is incredibly well done as it is sad. I love the song so much I have added it to my weddings playlist. Enjoy this wonderful tune, and if you are interested in more from 7bit Hero, they have a free interactive app on Google Play and the Apple App Store as well as their albums “We Eat Loot” and “Hey You! a Flappy Bird Lament” are available for purchase.

 

March 19, 2014

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is Almost Here

The Prime Evil has been trapped within the Black Soulstone, but before the artifact can be sealed forever Malthael, the Angel of Death, returns to steal the Black Soulstone and use its power for his own ends.

Are you ready to face the Angel of Death? Check out the offical gameplay trailer for Reaper of Souls.

Go anywhere, slay anything. March 25th 2014.

Remember if you pre-order before the 25th you’ll get the following bonus items:

  • The Wings of Valor in Diablo III
  • Unlock Valla the Demon Hunter in Heroes of the Storm

 

For more information and to pre-order your copy of Reaper of Souls vist the Battle.net shop now.

March 15, 2014

WoW Lore Series: Draenor

Map of Outland

Many thousands of years ago there was a solitary planet in the universe unknown to Azeroth of which the Orcs were the native inhabitants. The Orcs lived simple lives, grouped into clans they held a belief in the elemental forces of nature and followed the path of the Shaman. The Orcs needed nothing more. However, fleeing from persuit, a group of aliens known as the Eredar came to the planet and set-up a colony. This group of Eredar called themselves the Draenei and they named the planet Draenor. Led by their prophet Velen, they were a splinter group from the rest of their race who would not serve Sargeras and the Burning Legion, hey had been mercilessly chased by Kil’jaeden, a powerful eredar demon lord, and finally believed that they had found a place where they would be safe. For the most part the Dranei and the Orcs kept a distance from each other, only sometimes meeting to trade in items that they needed. The Dranei, who were talented magic-wielders, kept their main city hidden and the two races co-existed peacefully on the planet.

However, that peace was not to last. Agents of the Burning Legion found Draenor and picked up the tell-tale signs of Draenei magic there, but when Kil’jaeden found out about the Orcs he immediately saw that they had the potential for destruction and wanted to add this race to his army. He cleverly deceived the Orcs into believing that the Draenei were plotting against them by disguising himself as the deceased mate of one of the elder Shamans, Ner’zhul, and so the Orcs fell into his trap, not only would he add them to his Burning Legion, he would use them to take care of Velen and his followers once and for all. Kil’jaeden gave the orcs dark magic, they had never seen such power and eagerly threw away their shamanistic ways, Shamans became Orc Warlocks. Ner’zhul finally realised what was happening, but it was too late, Kil’jaeden stripped him of the power he had bestowed upon him and instead allowed Ner’zhul’s eager apprentice, who craved power, to take his place as leader.Now that Gul’dan was in place, the Pit Lord Mannoroth was instructed to give his blood to the cheftains of the orc clans to drink to show their loyalty to the Burning Legion. Most Orc cheftains drank the blood which caused their minds to be altered and a strange bloodlust decended upon them, with their new power and lust for death and destruction the Orcs destroyed any Dranei in their path and their main city of Shattrath. Many Dranei were killed and many of those who did not fall to the Orcs bloodlust were infected by the fel energy of the new Orc warlocks and became corrupted.

Now hungry for more, Gul’dan with the help of Medivh of Azeroth, who was possessed by Sargeras at the time, opened the Dark Portal linking Draenor and Azeroth. Gul’dan saw a whole new world for the taking and this was exactly what Sargaras wanted. The Orcs went through the Dark Portal and destroyed anything in their path including leaving Stormwind in ruins. This was the first war and the Orcs had triumphed. But their victory was short-lived, the races of Azeroth rallied, the humans, elves and dwarves formed the Alliance of Lordaeron and thus began the second war. In the second war the Alliance pushed back the Burning Legion and attempted to close the Dark Portal, through the efforts of the Alliance it looked like the Portal had been destroyed, however a small tear between the worlds remained that could not be closed.

On the other side of the Dark Portal, now cut off from Azeroth, the clans fought against each other, unable to quell the bloodlust and with no enemies to fight – something had to be done. Ner’zhul, who had been injured during the destruction of the Dark Portal, was visited by the Orc deathknight Teron Gorefiend. Gorefiend had a plan to open more portals on Draenor to other worlds, but he needed two things: Ner’zhul to lead the horde once more and some rare artifacts – from Azeroth. Ner’zhul agreed to the plan and recovered the artifacts, but he was followed back to Draenor by the Alliance who sought to retrieve them, unfortunately the party from the Alliance were too late and Ner’zhul had already started to open portals to other worlds and by doing this Ner’zhul was destroying Draenor, the planet was literally ripping itself apart under the strain. The Alliance could only do one thing, they needed to break the link between Draenor and Azeroth before it was too late and both planets were destroyed. Ner’zhul quickly abandoned the horde and escaped through one of the portals just before the planet was ripped apart sending pieces of the shattered planet to float in the Twisting Nether, the Alliance party sent through the Dark Portal were presumed dead. The bits of Draenor that remained became Outland and though many perished in the destruction, those that survived lived on.

Years later, the Dark Portal between Azeroth and Outland was re-opened, but there was little for anyone in Outland anymore and the draenei were happy to remain on Azeroth with their newfound Alliance allies.

March 14, 2014

Join us Tonight on Twitch for Titanfall

 

I am going to dip into the realm of streaming with our first ever Twitch broadcast, well at least for me. I will be playing Titanfall, the first release from Respawn Entertainment, on the Xbox One. I will be chatting with anyone that is watching, and if you have any questions (please make then intelligent) I would be happy to answer them. I have been playing this quite a bit since its launch Monday night and I am starting to really dig into the ins and outs of the game. Joining me at some point though out the night will be friends and family, Joe “ScrotusKilmystr” who writes for the site maybe on as well. I am under the gamer tag CABXYZ so if I do bad you know who to make fun of, though I have been pretty solid so far. If you are wondering why I am using certain load outs all the time, I hit my second generation already (for Call of Duty people this is like hitting a new prestige level) and I am trying to unlock all the weapon attachments and mods for both the pilot and titan. We also strictly play the Hardpoint game mode. I feel this game mode shows the best of what Titanfall has to offer.  The game is full of fun moments and the parkour is filling the Mirror’s Edge itch until DICE finishes Mirror’s Edge 2. You can watch the stream below or go to my Twitch channel at CABXYZ_TheGamersBlog. We will be streaming tonight starting between 8 pm and 9 pm CST, so between 9 pm and 10 pm on the east coast, EST. Since it is the weekend will be continue streaming until we tire so feel free to jump in and watch at any time. Sit back, relax, check your fan boy comments at the door, and prepare for Titanfall!

 

Editors Note: I will be using the new Microsoft Stereo Headset during the stream, if you have any questions on those as well, I would be happy to answer.

Watch live video from Cabxyz_thegamersblog on www.twitch.tv

March 12, 2014

Pre-purchase Warlords of Draenor Now and get a Level-90 Character Boost

Warlords of Draenor graphic from battle.net

You know you are going to upgrade to the next World of Warcraft expansion, so why not take advantage of the free character boost now – usually £40.00/$60.00 from the battle.net shop. Be one of the first to play through levels 91-100 and get the added bonus of upgrading all your professions to 600 if you choose to boost a character that is level 60 or higher. The standard edition is priced at £34.99/$49.99 and the digital deluxe edition at £49.99/$69.99

  • Drop into the action at level 90
  • Build and customize your own Garrison
  • All-new character models and animations
  • Unleash powerful new abilities
  • Brave the untamed orc home world of Draenor

 
Upgrade to the Digital Deluxe edition and enhance your adventures in Draenor with epic in-game items including the Dread Raven mount, StarCraft II portraits of Grommash Hellscream and Blackhand and a Diablo III Warsong Pennant.

Boosting a character couldn’t be easier and Blizzard have put together a quick video to show you how:

Warlords of Draenor is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014.

March 12, 2014

Diablo III patch 2.0.3 is now live in Europe

D3 patch graphic from battle.net

Diablo III patch 2.0.3 is now live in Europe. Check out the patch notes below for the latest changes.
Source: battle.net

GENERAL

  • The area of effect for the Fire Trenches in the Halls of Agony now better match their animations
    • There is now a short delay before Fire Trench damage is dealt
  • Followers
    • Enchantress
      • Bug Fix: Fixed an issue where Erosion was causing Electrified to proc too frequently

BOSSES

  • Act Bosses now always drop a rare quality item
  • The Skeleton King no longer drops a Legendary item after using the “Reset Quests” button for level 60 characters
    • This bonus has been moved to Diablo for level 60 characters

CLASSES

  • Wizard
    • Active Skills
      • Hydra
        • Bug Fix: Hydras should now properly dissipate when the owner dies or leaves the game
      • Familiar
        • Increased the internal cooldown attack rate to roughly match the player’s attack speed to a maximum of approximately 2 attacks per second.
      • Magic Weapon
        • Skill Rune – Deflection
          • Added an internal cooldown to the proc rate to be roughly once per attack

CRAFTING

  • Blacksmithing
    • Level 1-60 crafted Legendary and Set pieces now require 2 Fiery Brimstones to craft
    • All low level crafted Legendary and Set pieces now require at least 1 Demonic Essence to craft
    • Bug Fix: Fixed an issue where Legendary crafting recipes were rolling Rare level stats
      • In addition, a pass was made to ensure all Legendary crafted items are rolling with 6 total affixes

ITEMS

  • New Affix: +Max Spirit for Monks
    • This affix rolls on Fist Weapons, Spirit Stones, and Combat Staves

March 10, 2014

Prepare for Titanfall!

 

Two giant games release when the bells toll at 12 tonight. Respawn Entertainment will debut their next gen FPS that blurs the lines of competitive shooter and cinematic story telling. I got my hands on the beta a few weeks back and have been itching to dive back into Titanfall’s symphony of mechs and free running. Titanfall will release at midnight tonight both in digital and physical formats on the Xbox One and PC. Also releasing tonight is From Software’s next test in gamers patience, Dark Souls II. The Souls series is something I came late too, finally diving into Demon’s Souls right before the tentative server cut off date. I played Dark Souls on the 360 shortly after its release and loved it, thought the titles are not for everyone. The games are a bit clunky and it takes time to learn the combat and nuances. You must also accept the fact that you will die, a lot. If you can be patient, the game is very rewarding giving that great difficulty feel from the NES days. Dark Souls II hits the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 tonight and the PC on April 25th. I will be at my local Best Buy tonight picking up Titanfall. I enjoy midnight releases, meeting fellow gamers, and the excitement in the air as the countdown to midnight approaches. A bit of warning if you are picking up the Xbox One version of Titanfall, the game will require a 800 MB update as well as the install, so expect a small wait once you pop the disc in. The PC version of Titanfall is available for preload over at Origin, the download is roughly 50GB, about 30GB is uncompressed audio files. Is anyone planning on picking up either title? I should be on Titanfall on the Xbox One for a bit, if you would like to join, send an invite to CABXYZ, new people are always welcome.

 

March 7, 2014

After 19 Years Jack Tretton is Leaving Sony

 

As of March 31st, Jack Trenton, the Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO is stepping down. This was a mutual decision by Tretton and SCEA to not renew his contract after 19 years at SCEA. Jack Tretton has seen four PlayStation consoles launch with his time at Sony, and with this past E3, became the gamers CEO, closing the Sony event to massive applause. He has taken his fair share of criticism, especially during the early life of the PlayStation 3, but has always had this humble appeal. I have always had a liking for Jack and his interest in gaming and the PlayStation brand. There are some CEO’s in this industry that come from the outside and lack the qualities Jack has displayed over the years. He will be missed in the indusry and we here, wish him the best of luck on any future endeavors. Current COO of SCEA, Shawn Layden will be moving to the CEO vacancy. Layden is a 15 year veteran at PlayStation. He will assume the roll on April 1st.

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