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AMD Confirms Stadia Will Run on Intel CPUs

As one of the world's most pervasive cloud service providers, Google is in a better position to launch a successful game streaming platform than almost anyone. The hardware they choose to use for the launch of their "Stadia" streaming service will undoubtedly influence future game streaming efforts, hence AMD's stock price shot through the roof when Google announced they were using AMD GPUs. However, PCGamesN writer Dave James noticed that Google was conspicuously silent when it came to Stadia's CPUs. They were happy to share clock speeds, cache numbers and the fact that they're using "custom" x86 chips, but they refused to confirm the vendor of the platform's CPU. Eventually, AMD reached out and said that "the Stadia platform is using custom AMD Radeon datacentre GPUs, not AMD CPUs." Barring any surprise announcements from VIA, that more or less confirms that Stadia will run on some sort of Intel CPU platform, but just why Google refused to mention Chipzilla by name remains a mystery. The author suggested that Intel might not want to associate themself with what might be a "doomed" venture. Maybe Google plans to switch to EPYC CPUs or an unannounced Intel server platform sometime in the future, or maybe they just don't think it's particularly relevant. Whatever the reason may be, I also find the omission to be curious, and look forward to seeing what happens with Stadia's hardware in the future.

A switch to AMD's EPYC processors has been mooted as a potential future step for Stadia, and Google's Phil Harrison told us himself that "we're just talking about Gen 1 at the moment, but there will be iterations on that technology over time," so there is some potential for a changing of the processor guard either before or after launch. Whatever the truth of the matter is I still find it beyond strange that no-one involved is talking about the Intel CPUs being used for Google Stadia, even if they're not necessarily doing anything that special with regards the innovative streaming service. Certainly the multi-GPU features on offer with the Radeon graphics cards warranted mention, but just a note on the specs slide alone could have still done good things for Intel.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 11:20 AM (CDT)

BioWare Warns Hostile Replies Make Developers Less Likely to Engage

BioWare appears to be fed up with the pessimism surrounding Anthem and the antics of its players: in a lengthy post on r/AnthemTheGame offering insight on the company’s lack of communication, community manager Jesse Anderson admitted that many developers have made a conscious decision not to engage fans and answer their questions due to their increasing negativity, which has hit "an all-time high." Some believe BioWare deserves all the hate they can get for releasing a subpar product, while others are blaming gamers for being "entitled."

"Why would a dev team member take time away from working on the next update to post when they know it’s likely to be met with hostile replies, or they get flamed because [they] can’t answer other questions that players are asking? I don’t mind posting here when things aren’t so nice, but that’s because it’s my job. For the devs it isn’t their job, and I’d like to ask that people remember that when replying to them. When some people say ‘be nice or the devs will stop posting’ it’s 100% true."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 12:15 PM (CDT)

Valve Offers Developers Access to Its Network via Steamworks

Valve has updated the Steamworks SDK with new networking APIs. These APIs give Steam partners access to Valve's network, grants them protection from denial-of-service attacks, 100% reliable NAT traversal, and improved connectivity. Also included are tools for instantly estimating the ping between two arbitrary hosts without sending any packets and a high quality end-to-end encrypted reliable-over-UDP protocol. Valve says relaying traffic anonymizes it, protecting both gameservers and clients from denial-of-service attacks. For an attacker to disrupt gameplay, they must mount an attack large enough to overwhelm multiple data centers.

Finally, by relaying the traffic in software, we can often improve the ping time! How can a relayed route be faster than a direct route? The Internet is a packet-switched network; there is no such thing as a "direct" route. When a packet is sent "directly" to the remote host's IP address, it takes the route determined by standard IP routing protocols. This route is often not optimal! Our protocol puts the client in charge of routing decisions. The client considers each relay point-of-presence, and determines the end-to-end latency along this route. It then selects the route with the lowest latency.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 7:23 PM (CDT)

Supernova Buys Shadow Warrior Developer

Flying Wild Hog released Shadow Warrior 2 back in 2016, but we haven't heard much from the series' developer since then. However, the studio just announced that they were acquired by an investment firm. Game studios don't always fare well once they're bought out, but Supernova Capital was founded by members of Splash Damage, who worked on Dirty Bomb and the multiplayer components of Batman: Arkham Origins, Doom 3, and multiple Gears of War games. With their newly acquired pile of cash, the developer is opening a brand new studio in Poland, and given how crazy Shadowrun was, I can't wait to see what they come up with next. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

Flying Wild Hog is thrilled to announce an opening of a third studio in Rzeszow, Poland. We welcome on board a team of almost 30 veteran developers, who had worked on such titles as: Sniper: Ghost Warrior, Enemy Front, Lords of the Fallen, along with award-winning VR titles. We are sure this tight-knit team will enhance our upcoming projects with hard-earned expertise and fresh perspective. Marcin Kryszpin, Head of the FWH branch in Rzeszow, is excited to join Flying Wild Hog in such a crucial moment: Rzeszow's team built their renown working on dynamic, action-packed projects and we quickly have found a common ground with Hogs, who pride themselves with an unparalleled enthusiasm towards action games. We are sure that what we bring to the table will excite gamers. - he adds.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 12:26 PM (CDT)

Developers Install Windows 10 on an Nintendo Switch

A developer and hacker who goes by "Ben" on Twitter has allegedly shoehorned Windows 10 for ARM into an Nintendo Switch. This is reportedly the same hacker who helped get Windows 10 running on the Lumia 950 and the Raspberry Pi 3, but the Switch doesn't appear to be quite as functional as those devices yet.
Qualcomm is behind a push to bring ARM-powered Windows devices to the market, but this is the first time I've seen Windows 10 for ARM running on a Nvidia Tegra-based device. Ben recently mentioned that there's still "some more work to do," and that he's currently working on SD/MMC support, but I'm eager to see a public release of this effort some day. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 10:40 AM (CST)

PEGI Rating Confirms Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Remaster

A listing for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered" briefly appeared on the official PEGI website yesterday before quickly being taken down. Fortunately, media outlets like Charlie Intel managed to capture screenshots before PEGI killed the seemingly erroneous listing, which had a release date of "28/02/2019." While technically not an official conformation, a PEGI listing more or less confirms that the remastered CoD campaign is coming soon, though info about it started leaking out in March 2018. Thanks to PCGamesN for the tip.

This is the very first time that a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered has been rated on any board or mentioned on any type of an official site. US ratings board ESRB has not rated the product. Activision has not announced any details on a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered. When the leaks did occur in 2018, Activision did not issue any comment or provide any update on if its real or what was happening.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 01, 2019 10:39 AM (CST)

Phil Spencer Comments on Developer Acquisitions and PC Gaming Plans

Microsoft recently acquired the long-running RPG developers Obsidian and inXile, and, given Microsoft's track record with acquisitions and PC titles in general, many fans were justifiably worried about what that means for either studio. But, in a recent interview with PC Gamer, Microsoft's Phil Spencer not only seemed cognizant of these concerns, but did his best to quell them. He said that it's "up to the studios to decide what platforms to make games for," and that he doesn't expect either developer to shift their focus away from PCs. Overall, it looks like both developers have plenty of leeway to make whatever they want, which mirriors what both studios have been loudly telling the public ever since they were acquired by Microsoft. Additionally, PC Gamer asked if gamers can expect Xbox games to show up on Windows, or if Microsoft Store games will ever show up on Steam. He said "It's a good question and something we've spent a lot of time thinking through. I expect us to share more details on our plans here soon." As they often have in the past, Microsoft repeatedly promised to do right by PC gamers this time around, but only time will tell if they follow up on that promise.

"While we are proud of our PC gaming heritage, we've made some mistakes along our journey. We know we have to move forward, informed by our past, with the unique wants, needs and challenges of the PC player at the center of decisions we make. I know we've talked quite a bit over time about what we want to deliver for the player on PC, but at E3 this year, and throughout 2019, you'll begin to see where we've been investing to deliver across Store, services, in Windows and in great games. It's just the beginning."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 9:52 AM (CST)

Mysterious Bethesda Placeholder Appears on Amazon with Fallout Countdown Timer

Bethesda may already be readying a new post-apocalyptic title to wash the bad taste of Fallout 76 away: PC, Xbox One, and PS4 listings accompanied by a vintage film countdown timer, which alludes to the franchise, have been listed on Amazon. Fans say it could be a remaster of Fallout 3 and/or New Vegas.

It’s the theory that makes the most sense, especially when you consider the number of re-releases we’ve seen for Skyrim in the past several years. Fallout 3 is a few years older than Bethesda’s last big single-player Elder Scrolls game, and it could probably do with a fresh coat of paint – that is, if you haven’t already tried modding it yourself.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 11:35 AM (CST)

"World War Z" Studio: Epic Exclusivity Is "the Best Deal for Players and Developers"

Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch wants gamers to stop whining about World War Z being an Epic Games Store exclusive. In his latest blog post, Karch explains how the decision has allowed the studio to both "invest more" into the title and price the zombie adaptation cheaper: reaping 88% of the proceeds instead of just 70% has allowed Saber to not only polish up the game better, but price the co-op action title at $34.99 instead of $39.99.

...we're passing along much of the savings to you as gamers. The price of World War Z on the Epic Games store is being dropped to $34.99 starting now and continuing through our April 16 launch and beyond. Any players who have already pre-purchased the game for $39.99 will get the $5 refunded back to them. We are thrilled to be able to share the developer-friendly benefits of the Epic Games store with you all, and can’t wait for you to play our game.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 23, 2019 1:25 PM (CST)

Intel Confirms that FinFET MRAM is Production Ready

Late last year, EE Times published a report claiming that Intel was already shipping MRAM products to undisclosed customers. At the time, Intel only confirmed that their MRAM was "production ready" and didn't elaborate any further. But now, the news outlet says that Intel presented a paper on their embedded MRAM at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. The fast, non-volatile 7Mb memory arrays reportedly achieve "10-year retention at 200C" and have "demonstrated write endurance of more than 1E06 cycles and read disturb error rate of more than 1E12 cycles." While EE Times calls the 22FFL process the MRAM arrays are built on a "22nm" process, semantics in the world of semiconductors are fuzzy, and Wikichip believes that 22FFL actually has more in common with Intel's 14nm processes. "Analysts" still believe that Intel is shipping products with MRAM, but the chip company hasn't elaborated on any of them yet.

According to Intel's ISSCC paper, each 0.0486-um2 transistor to one magnetic tunnel junction (1T1MTJ) MRAM bit cell is 216 x 225 nm2, with two polysilicon word lines. The tunnel-magneto-resistance ratio of the MTJs is 180% at 25C, with a target device-critical dimension between 60 nm and 80 nm. Wei said that the eMRAM design is also tolerant of wide variations in supply voltage. The design achieves a 4-ns read sensing time at 0.9 V but is also capable of 8-ns read sensing time at 0.8 V, she said... In a separate ISSCC paper presented Tuesday, Intel also described the development of resistive RAM (ReRAM) as a low-cost option for embedded non-volatile memory for SoCs used in IoT and automotive. The embedded ReRAM technology - also implemented in a 22-nm FinFET process - demonstrate what the company says is the smallest and highest-density ReRAM subarray and material innovations to allow low-voltage switching without impact to transistor reliability.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 11:36 AM (CST)

Star Citizen Developer Calls Real-Time Ray Tracing "A Massive Headache"

Will Star Citizen support ray tracing? The answer is an unsurprising "no." Cloud Imperium developer Ben Parry suggests implementing the technology would be a "massive headache and time sink," as it would break the game in its current form and call for substantial redesign of existing elements. Another problem is visual parity: the team wants the game to look similar even on different configurations, so they would have to develop alternatives to ray-tracing effects for those on lower-ended cards. Most backers agree the team should merely focus on completing the game.

Parry admitted that he’d love to use real-time ray tracing in order to enhance the game’s shadows. Parry also admitted that real-time ray tracing is currently – and for the foreseeable future – the only technique via which game developers can offer correct reflections in their games, however that’s also something that will need additional workload. "The "headache" part is writing all the management code that will be needed, eg. to calculate lighting/shadowing on objects that aren’t on screen."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 16, 2019 4:50 PM (CST)

Bethesda Purges Duped Items from Fallout 76

Bethesda has been dealing with dev room glitches, item duplication bugs, and other exploits ever since Fallout 76's launch, but the developer just announced that they've completed some "'Spring cleaning' to rid the Wasteland of many items that were created through the abuse of duplication exploits." Bethesda says the duplication bugs were "highly focused" towards about 400 specific weapon and armor items, and that players who had multiple copy of this items will now log in to find that the extra copies are gone. According to Eurogamer's Emma Kent, who is keeping an eye on some of the shadier Fallout 76 Discord channels, it appears that the "Spring Cleaning" was successful. In related Fallout 76 news, Bethesda also posted some more changes that are coming in Patch 6, including a stash limit increase to 800 and bug fixes for grenade launchers and quest containers

Power Armor was exempt from today's item removals, but we are actively discussing another wave of action to target these items in the future. Additionally, if a player had multiple copies of duped items removed as part of today's actions, we also performed a follow-up search of their account for very large amounts of Nuka-Cola and removed those, as well. Finally, during our investigation leading up to these actions, we determined that less than 1% of all Fallout 76 accounts combined across all three platforms needed to have duped items removed. This means the vast majority of players did not possess multiple copies of these duped items, and have had zero items removed from their characters today.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 15, 2019 10:25 AM (CST)