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Hunt Showdown is On Sale at The Humble Store

As we've noted before, Hunt Showdown is one of the best looking, and best playing, multiplayer shooters around, and it gets better with every update. While it normally goes for $30 (and will likely be even more expensive once it leaves early access), the Humble Store has the Cryengine-based co-op shooter on sale for $21.

Hunt's competitive, match-based gameplay mixes PvP and PvE elements to create a uniquely tense experience where your life, your character, and your gear are always on the line. At the beginning of each match, up to five teams of two set out to track their monstrous targets. Once they've found and defeated one of these they will receive a bounty-and instantly become a target for every other Hunter left on the map. If you don't watch your back, you'll find a knife in it, and your last memory will be of another team of Hunters walking away with your prize. The higher the risk, the higher the reward-but a single mistake could cost you everything.

Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 11:57 AM (CDT)

Facebook and Instagram Are down

Facebook and Instagram are reportedly down. This probably means that your personal information will have to wait until both services are back up before it is harvested (sarcasm.) Facebook acknowledged the connection troubles on Twitter since it couldn't announce it on its own social media platform. Maybe this is part of Mark Zuckerberg's plan to shift Facebook to a "privacy-focused" platform?

We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 2:31 PM (CDT)

Update 5.0 for Hunt Showdown is Out

Hunt Showdown's 5.0 Update is out, and among other things, it seems to make make the already visually stunning game look even better. The developers have added times of day to the Lawson Delta and Stillwater Bayou Maps, meaning you can now hunt in "Daylight, Nighttime, Golden, and Foggy" conditions. The developers also made a number of performance optimizations, added the Immolator AI, introduced a new pistol, and re-balanced shotguns. You can read the lengthy patch notes on the Steam announcement page. As we noted yesterday, the developers announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to the Xbox One "this spring," but as far as I can tell, no-one knows if the game will support crossplay with PC. Some company representatives allegedly gave ambiguous answers to the question on the forums and the official Discord, and one staff member said "We will announce more information in the near future!"

With 5.0 we are finally able to take another look at how shotguns work in Hunt. We've never really been happy with the RNG gameplay their current implementation caused, spreading the individual shot pellets randomly within the spread cone defined by the crosshair. The changes we have done allow us to do two things: Make sure a certain number of pellets are more likely to hit closer to the center of the crosshair to help normalize damage between shots. And on the other hand, allow us to push shotgun gameplay closer to how real shotguns work. In video games, shotguns are often seen as room sweepers that pepper large areas, while in reality, the choke is actually quite narrow, requiring some aiming to be effective and being lethal at quite impressive distances still. Shotguns in HUNT will feel a bit different now, allowing players to reach out further with them, but also require more precise aiming to score hits. We also tried to make shotguns feel different now, with the Romero and its Handcannon variant having more range and a tighter spread pattern than the other shotguns to give them a meaningful place in the arsenal. Please spend some time playing with shotguns and also play AGAINST shotguns using other weapons to get a feeling for these changes and let us know how you feel about them. We plan on doing additional tweaks based on your feedback over the next weeks!

Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 9:59 AM (CDT)

Hunt: Showdown Is Coming to Xbox Game Preview

Crytek has announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to Xbox Game Preview this Spring. Game Preview allows Xbox users to support and play games that are still in development. Follow the game's development on social media to find out when the game is released.

It is official: Hunt: Showdown will be coming to Xbox Game Preview this Spring! Game Preview gives Xbox players the chance to support and play games--like Hunt: Showdown--that are still in development. Here's our sweet new teaser to celebrate the announcement--and a clip from a new song written exclusively for the game. Check it out, and tell all your Xbox-loving friends! We'll be announcing the exact date on all of our social media channels, so follow us on Discord, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 6:22 PM (CDT)

Cryptocurrency Mining Slowdown Could Lead to GPU Price Cuts

Industry analysts recently claimed that AMD, Nvidia, and their manufacturing and retail partners are sitting on tons of unsold GPUs they made during the cryptocurrency mining craze, and now, Digitimes' industry sources say that they've begun cutting prices to get rid of them. More specifically, the sources claim that the RX 580, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060 are getting significant price drops, which may adversely impact the profit margins of GPU makers and sellers in the coming months.

The inventory digestion process may not end until mid- to late-2019, the sources noted... Taiwan-based first-tier players have mostly seen losses from their graphics card businesses for the past two months. Although Nvidia has been planning new products for the entry-level to mid-range segments including GeForce RTX 2060, GTX 1660Ti, and the upcoming GTX 1660 and GTX 1650, to maintain its profitability, graphics card players are only expected to earn little from the new cards. With Nvidia releasing new cards and cutting prices to clear out its previous-generation inventory, AMD is currently under heavy pressure to lower its quotes, while players selling AMD-based cards are also facing strong competition from Nvidia-based ones.

Posted by alphaatlas March 06, 2019 9:46 AM (CST)

Windows 10 Update Mitigates Spectre Related Performance Slowdown

A big Linux release over the weekend added the "Retpoline" Spectre mitigation to the Linux kernel, but BleepingComputer reports that Windows got the same treatment. Google shared the Retpoline software mitigation technique last year, shortly after they publicly revealed Spectre and Meltdown, which Microsoft says "works by replacing all indirect call or jumps in kernel-mode binaries with an indirect branch sequence that has safe speculation behavior." Microsoft claims the update that brings the mitigations is enabled by default in Windows Insider Fast Builds, but if you want to verify the Spectre protection status yourself, they posted a fairly straightforward Powershell tutorial. In a nutshell, just download the SpeculationControl module from a link in the guide, unzip it, open a powershell console via the start menu, and copy the commands into the console. Note that I couldn't get the script working without changing "Import-Module.\SpeculationControl.psd1" to "Import-Module SpeculationControl.psd1".

Retpoline has significantly improved the performance of the Spectre variant 2 mitigations on Windows. When all relevant kernel-mode binaries are compiled with retpoline, we've measured ~25% speedup in Office app launch times and up to 1.5-2x improved throughput in the Diskspd (storage) and NTttcp (networking) benchmarks on Broadwell CPUs in our lab. It is enabled by default in the latest Windows Client Insider Fast builds (for builds 18272 and higher on machines exposing compatible speculation control capabilities) and is targeted to ship with 19H1.

Posted by alphaatlas March 04, 2019 10:15 AM (CST)

Samurai Shodown Added to Evo 2019 Main Stage

Samurai Shodown has been added to the main stage of the Evolution Championship Series (Evo). The remake of the classic fighting game has an early-summer 2019 release date. Main stage games unveiled during the Evo 2019 reveal livestream include: Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, SoulCalibur VI, Mortal Kombat 11, and Samurai Shodown.

While some games are heavily-expected returns (like Street Fighter V and Tekken 7), a notable few are welcome newcomers, such as the upcoming Samurai Shodown and the much-loved Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]. Mr. Wizard and MarkMan have also pledged that side events will receive even more spotlight at Evo 2019, continuing the trend from last year in giving other communities more spotlight, even if their favorite game isn't on the main stage. Evo 2019 will take place on August 2-4 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Posted by cageymaru February 27, 2019 7:58 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.

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

EA Denies That It Demanded Takedown of Negative "Anthem" Review

YouTuber Gggmanlives claims he was blacklisted from EA’s Game Changer Network (a community partnership program enabling collaborative feedback) after he posted a negative review of Anthem. EA allegedly paid him for the review but asked him to take it down and remove the company’s watermarks after they realized it wasn’t in the game’s favor.

"I basically wasn’t allowed to say anything negative about the game if I also had the watermark in because the watermark means EA endorses it and shares it through the Game Changers network or something," Gggmanlives told VG247 via Twitter direct message. "I really don’t know what it all means. I was just told it was to be pulled down and was basically a breach of contract or something along those lines."

Posted by Megalith February 23, 2019 11:30 AM (CST)

ASUS Maximus XI Apex Motherboard Broken Down

Actually Hardcore Overclocking just posted a detailed analysis of an ASUS Maximus XI Apex LGA 1151 motherboard, and overall, it looks like great board. In the YouTuber's own words, the motherboard's VRM setup is "overkill," yet it's significantly cheaper than other LGA 1151 motherboards from Asus with inferior VRM setups. This particular board has several features designed exclusively for LN2 runs, but also has other features water or air overclockers would appreciate, like a dual BIOS setup and only 2 DDR4 DIMM slots for maximum memory overclocking performance. Check out the analysis below:
Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 12:33 PM (CST)

Digital Foundry Analyzes Crackdown 3's Cloud Based Destruction

Fully destructible environments have long been a holy grail of game physics engines. I remember Red Faction: Guerrilla generating quite a bit of buzz when it came out, and according to Digital Foundry, the Crackdown devs have been working on an even more ambitious system that leverages the power of Microsoft's cloud servers. Crackdown 3 is the culmination of those efforts, and while it does have destructible environments that seem to be synced across multiplayer instances, the game itself feels rushed and somewhat underwhelming. The competitive "wrecking zone" mode, for example, has conspicuously small arenas and doesn't even have a party system, while the co-op mode still falls short of the 2015 tech demo. Check out the analysis in the video below:

What Wrecking Zone delivers is still impressive in many respects, but is definitely a simplification of the original demo - a situation which looks like a combination of both technological limitations and gameplay considerations. To begin with, the cityscape of the original demo becomes a series of enclosed holodeck-esque arenas - high on verticality, but small in terms of their overall footprint. What's clear from the 2015 demo is that it's exactly that - a demonstration, with no real gameplay as such. Limiting the scale of the play space means that players can actually find one another, which definitely helps, but there's still the sense that there's not much to actually do. The destruction can look wonderful, but little of the gameplay is actually built around the concept. Technologically, the cutbacks are legion. Micro-scale chip damage is completely absent, while destruction generally is far less granular, with buildings and statues breaking apart into more simplistic polygonal chunks. It's interesting to stack up Wrecking Zone with Red Faction Guerrilla Remastered - a game we sorely regret not covering at the time of its launch. Originally a last-gen Xbox 360 title, it does many of the same things as Wrecking Zone - on a smaller scale definitely, but with more granularity and detail. And this raises the question of whether the cloud would actually be necessary at all for Wrecking Zone.

Posted by alphaatlas February 20, 2019 8:21 AM (CST)

Razer Shutting Its Digital Game Store This Month, Less than a Year after It Opened

That didn’t last long: Razer has announced its game store would "cease operations on February 28, 2019 at 0100hrs Pacific Time as part of the company’s realignment plans." The store originally opened in April 2018, less than a year ago. Games will still be offered through the company’s virtual credits and loyalty rewards system, Razer Gold and Silver.

"It has been a privilege for us to recommend and deliver great digital game deals to you," it said. "We have been extremely fortunate to have you as part of our awesome community. Thank you for the support and making all this possible." Razer will still fulfill any pre-orders made through the store, and any games you've already bought will work as long as you retrieve the keys -- either Steam or Uplay -- before February 28.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 10:05 AM (CST)