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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #1011

    Anandtech: Shadowgun Tegra Zone Game Preview

    Everytime NVIDIA asks me what type of games I'd like to see running on Android I always seem to answer the same way: I want good FPSes. I want mindless fun and FPSes are pretty good at delivering that, although admittedly I wouldn't mind having a Zelda or Skyrim-esque option on smartphones/tablets as well.
    Shadowgun is the latest attempt at bringing a modern first person shooter to the smartphone and tablet space. Already available on the iOS App Store, Shadowgun is headed to the Android Market as well as Tegra Zone next month. NVIDIA provided us with a preview build of the game, courtesy of developer Madfinger.
    The story is pretty simple. In the future megacorporations are the governments and dirty work is done by mercenaries. That's pretty much where the story ends and the shooting begins. There's not a whole lot of depth to the Shadowgun story but the gameplay is fun.
    Shadowgun takes a lot of cues from the Gears of War franchise. There is a cover system (simply approach any barrier to cover behind it), which makes combat much easier on a touchscreen. Some of the enemies are also very GoW-inspired, including something that's very much like a Ticker. Level design is mostly linear, but not uncommon for a FPS.
    There are three difficulty settings (easy, normal and hard). The normal difficulty setting provides enough of a challenging that you won't just breeze through the game (you actually have to take cover and pick enemies off one by one). The developer claims the single player campaign is good for around 5 - 6 hours of gameplay. There is no multiplayer support.
    Controls are surprisingly decent on a touchscreen. I've been playing Shadowgun on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, which actually ends up being a great form factor for this type of game. There's a virtual left thumbstick that can be activated almost anywhere on the left hand side of the screen, as well as a fixed position virtual right thumbstick for aiming (tap-to-shoot). The usual tap-to-reload and tap-to-activate gestures apply here as well. The cover system really helps avoid a lot of face-to-face combat, which in turn makes for less frustrating gameplay compared to your typical touchscreen FPS. While I'd still prefer a physical controller, I had no problems playing Shadowgun on a touchscreen.
    The sounds are decent. Nothing amazing but a step above what you'd expect from your run-of-the-mill smarpthone shooter.
    The game looks great and runs very smoothly on the Tegra 2. If I had to guess I'd say we're right around 30 fps, but not much higher if at all. Check out some screenshots in the gallery below. These are all in-game, I took them myself. Depending on the price, if I wanted some mindless shooting fun on my Android device, Shadowgun might just be a good option.
    Expect to find Shadowgun in Tegra Zone and the Android Market in October. NVIDIA tells us there's also a quad-core optimized version of Shadowgun coming for Kal-El.
    Gallery: Shadowgun





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    #1012

    Anandtech: Xbox Companion App Lets You Control Xbox 360 via Windows Phone

    Synergy between devices is one of the next major phases in the evolution of mobile computing. We've seen smartphone-as-a-remote apps for both Android and iOS, but today Microsoft announced the Xbox Companion App for Windows Phone 7. When it's released, the Companion App will let you browse for content on Xbox Live, select it and command your Xbox 360 to play it. The Companion App acts as a remote control for your Xbox 360, perhaps solving the issue of having to occasionally type a lot of info via a standard Xbox 360 controller or remote.
    No word yet on availability.



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    #1013

    Anandtech: AMD Demos 28nm GPU Again, No Update on Availability

    In order to address concerns of a difficult transition to 28nm, AMD demonstrated its next-generation 28nm GPU at IDF last month. The demo system featured a mobile variant of the next-gen GPU running DiRT 3. At the time, AMD told us to expect the GPU's release later this year.
    Since then there have been rumors of a delay until 2012, but no official update from AMD. I suspect we'll get something to that effect soon enough, but today AMD let us know that it ran another public demonstration of 28nm GPU silicon - this time in Taiwan. The demo was apparently pretty similar to last time: a mobile 28nm GPU running a game. In this case the game was Dragon Age 2, but obviously there are no performance or power details to accompany the announcement.
    AMD didn't provide any more info nor an update on the GPU's release timeframe. As with any major process transition, scaling to be able to produce mass quantities of chips on a new process can be extremely challenging. The move to 28nm is particularly rough because unlike 40nm, AMD didn't have a pipecleaner part to begin its process learnings on. How this impacted overall development remains to be seen.



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    #1014

    Anandtech: Flash 11 Supports Unreal Engine 3

    Not long after Epic announced OS X support for its Unreal Engine game middleware, the company has another announcement to make: Using the just-released Flash Player 11, UE3 is now coming to web browsers, further cementing the browser's position as the most important thing installed to your computer.
    According to Epic's press release, the Unreal Engine will leverage the new Flash Player's Stage 3D APIs to enable browser games with graphics previously seen only on locally installed games. If it can pick up traction, I would expect it to eventually lead to Quake Live-esque browser games that look a bit less like PC games from a decade ago. This could also be great for game demos, which could now in theory be played in a window on the developer's website instead of downloaded to your hard drive.
    This announcement should be welcomed for game developers already using Unreal Engine 3, since they'll be able to port their software to browsers without having to rebuild their games from the ground up. Expect to see prettier browser-based games as Flash 11 is more widely adopted.
    Source: Epic



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    #1015

    Anandtech: Syabas Launches Popcorn Hour A-300

    Syabas launched the next generation member of their immensely popular Popcorn Hour A-series today.
    The previous version were all based on Sigma's chipsets, and the A-300 is no different. It uses the SMP 8647 SoC with a 800 MHz MIPS CPU at the core. We finally get true GbE (part of the core SoC package) in a media streamer. The A-300 has an aluminium body and is also fanless, ensuring quiet operation. Best of all, Sigma is finally supporting Real Media decode in the 8647, and A-300 now gets the same codec compatibility as the countless other Realtek based media streamers. Like every other media streamer today, we also have an apps market for premium video services. Note that we still don't get HDMI 1.4 or 3D Blu-ray ISO because the SMP 8647 doesn't support it.

    The A-300 is expected to ship on Oct 18th, 2011. Head on over to the source link for more information and videos of the UI in action.
    Source: Networked Media Tank Forum



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    #1016

    Anandtech: Steve Jobs Passes Away At 56 Years Old

    Word comes that Steve Jobs - Apple's famous former CEO and sitting chairmain of the board - has passed away. We've known that Steve has been ill for some time, culminating in his stepping down from Apple's CEO, but you never really know when to expect the worst. Not a single AnandTech editor went through their childhood without working with an Apple II at least once, and numerous other Apple devices years later; the story of the coming of age of the personal computer and the story of Steve Jobs are often one in the same.
    R.I.P. Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
    Source: Apple



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    #1017

    Anandtech: L.A. Noire Developer Team Bondi Shuttered

    Should a sequel to Rockstar Games’ latest offering ever appear, it won’t come from the original developer. Team Bondi, the studio that labored on L.A. Noire since 2005, has been liquidated, according to documents filed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
    Team Bondi went into administration on August 30, after the Sydney-based studio filed a notification of discharge. This move followed months of swelling controversy surrounding L.A. Noire’s development. In June, former Team Bondi employees claimed that at least 100 employees had been left off the game’s credit roll. Developers who worked on the game then spoke up, saying they had worked 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week, in “praise-free” conditions.
    Develop reports that some Team Bondi assets and staff will be transferred to another Sydney production studio, Kennedy Miller Mitchell.
    L.A. Noire was released in May to critical acclaim and solid sales. It is scheduled to be released on PC next month. Anandtech has contacted Rockstar regarding their plans to support L.A. Noire following Team Bondi’s dissolution.
    Sources: Develop, Gamasutra




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    #1018

    Anandtech: ASUS G74SX: Noteworthy Updates to ASUS' G7 Series

    Marking the fourth time we’ve taken ASUS’ G7 gaming series for a spin, the G74SX actually changes up the formula from the last-iteration G73Sw in some meaningful ways. Superficially, the two notebooks look the same, but when you crack open the spec sheet and take a closer look you’ll find some nice updates. It’s pretty easy to list what exactly has changed: the keyboard layout is better—nearly perfect in my opinion—and ASUS has finally decided to ship a high-end notebook with an SSD + HDD storage combination. ASUS also bumps the GPU up to the GTX 560M from the GTX 460M, and memory in our test unit checks in at a heft 16GB (4x4GB).
    There’s one remaining update we expected to see that’s still missing, however: NVIDIA’s Optimus Technology. This tends to be a polarizing technology, and while the best-case solution would be a GPU that can run as fast as the GTX 560M when needed but drop down to HD 3000 power use levels when it’s not, for the time being such a solution doesn’t exist. ASUS has taken the “safe” approach of using only the discrete GTX 560M GPU, which means you sacrifice battery life and Intel’s Quick Sync technology, but you gain some simplicity at the same time. Is the end result worth your hard earned pennies? Read on.


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    Anandtech: Western Digital Introduces New WD TV Live Streaming Media Player with Spot

    Western Digital jumped on to the local media streaming bandwagon quite early in the game. With better codec compatibility and a more stable platform compared to other vendors, the WDTV lineup caught the imagination of the consumers. Over the last few years (coinciding with the rise of Netflix), US consumers have tended to prefer over the top streaming solutions. Recognizing this trend, Western Digital has been strengthening their media streamers portfolio with the appropriate features.
    Today, Western Digital is introducing the latest addition to their WDTV lineup, the new WD TV Live Streaming Media Player. Its roots (in terms of both hardware and firmware) seem to lie in the WDTV Live Hub which received praise from us last year. The industrial design has been updated, and the main hardware addition seems to be the integrated wireless network capability. The internal hard drive has been removed. Local media streaming compatibility seems to be retained.

    Like the Roku 2 XS, the new WD TV Live has support for single band (2.4 GHz) 802.11n wireless only. However, the network port is Gigabit. Also, Western Digital PR claims that the new WD TV Live (as well as the WDTV Live Hub) supports 1080p video along with Dolby Digital Plus audio for selected Netflix titles. This is something we hope to evaluate and report back soon.

    The new premium service making an appearance in the WD TV Live (as well as the Hub) is Spotify. As the PR reproduced below shows, the unit offers the full Spotify experience including account management and the social features (such as sending songs to your friend's inbox). In addition to YouTube, the new media player (as well as the WDTV Live Hub) gains access to DailyMotion, a service quite popular in Europe. The last few firmware releases for the WDTV Live Hub have also brought some simple games like Sudoku and Texas Hold'Em.

    Priced at $99.99, this unit seems to cover all the media streaming aspects missed by the Roku 2 XS. It probably doesn't have the fan following of the Roku or the developer support that Roku provides. We also don't have much hope of it solving the DTS-HD MA bitstreaming issue. However, for the general consumer, Western Digital seems to have lined up a winner at a sweet price point (they could have chosen a better name, considering that the WD TV Live was the name given to the second generation player in the WDTV family). Stay tuned for our review of the new WD TV Live Streaming Media Player.


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    #1020

    Anandtech: Indie Platformer VVVVVV to Appear on Nintendo 3DS

    Terry Cavanagh’s gravity-bending platformer VVVVVV will be coming to Nintendo’s 3D handheld, thanks to a recent publishing deal with Nicalis.
    VVVVVV was released last September and quickly garnered attention for its cute retro graphics and incredible difficulty. You control a lost space captain out to rescue his missing crew. The game’s selling point is its simple control scheme. There’s no jumping, just a single button for reversing gravity. Frequent and forgiving checkpoints make each dastardly platforming challenge a one-time-only affair, but I'm still certain I wound up with a few gray hairs after my harrowing journey through VVVVVV.
    The 3DS version, which will feature a 3D perspective mode and a real-time map on the second screen, will be distributed digitally by Nicalis. This isn’t the first indie gem Nicalis has brought to a Nintendo console. They’re also responsible for several iterations of Cave Story and the WiiWare version of NightSky.
    No word yet on price or release date, but a demo of the original VVVVVV is available on Steam. You can also purchase the full game for a mere $4.99. I strongly suggest you give it a try.
    Source: Distractionware



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