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Unreal Engine is Getting Destructable Environment Support

High-quality destructible environments seem like something that should be standard in 2019, but even today, it's a relatively rare thing to find in a game. It was a headlining feature Red Faction: Guerilla back in 2009, and a prominent feature in the recently released Crackdown 3, but detailed, destructible environments are still absent from most releases. However, at GDC this year, Epic announced that they're integrating a destruction system into Unreal Engine. Given how popular the engine is, and how competitors will probably try to achieve feature parity, I expect to see more games with destructible environments in the near future.

Revealed onstage at GDC 2019 during "State of Unreal," Chaos is Unreal Engine’s new high-performance physics and destruction system coming in early access to Unreal Engine 4.23. The real-time tech demo is set within the world of Robo Recall. With Chaos, users can achieve cinematic-quality visuals in real time in scenes with massive-scale levels of destruction, with unprecedented artist control over content creation.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 11:47 AM (CDT)

Intel Ice Lake Shows Up In EEC Database

Intel showed off a 10nm Ice Lake "client SoC" at CES this year, and revealed that it will use the "Sunny Cove" CPU architecture. While they gave a few details about the upcoming mobile chips and the core itself, we didn't hear much about Ice Lake in higher power parts. However, Twitter user and data-miner Komachi has once again found some unreleased hardware on the Eurasian Economic Commission's Online Portal. The first listing shows an "Idaville Ice Lake-D Pre-Alpha 85W Clear Linux Internal 32G Physical SDP," suggesting that Intel will brink the upcoming 10nm architecture to their (relatively) high power Xeon-D server chip lineup. Assuming the listing is accurate (as some other EEC listings have been,) this more or less confirms that Ice Lake won't be confined to the realm of low-power laptop chips.
Meanwhile, the next listing suggests that the low power "Ice Lake-Y" chips will have a "4+2" core config. Intel's current Amber Lake processors top out at 2 cores, so if I'm reading the listing right, it looks like ultra low power notebooks could get a core count boost next generation. There's also an Ice Lake-U "upgrade kit" listing with the same "4+2" core config. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 9:48 AM (CDT)

Real-Time Ray Tracing Support Comes to GeForce GTX GPUs and Game Engines

NVIDIA has announced that real-time ray tracing support is coming to GeForce GTX GPUs. This driver is scheduled to launch in April. GeForce GTX GPUs will execute ray traced effects on shader cores and support is extended to both Microsoft DXR and Vulkan APIs. NVIDIA reminds consumers that its GeForce RTX lineup of cards has dedicated ray tracing cores built directly into the GPU which deliver the ultimate ray tracing experience. GeForce RTX GPUs provide up to 2-3x faster ray tracing performance with a more visually immersive gaming environment than GPUs without dedicated ray tracing cores. NVIDIA GameWorks RTX is a comprehensive set of tools and rendering techniques that help game developers add ray tracing to games. Unreal Engine and Unity have announced that integrated real-time ray tracing support is being built into their engines.

Real-time ray tracing support from other first-party AAA game engines includes DICE/EA's Frostbite Engine, Remedy Entertainment's Northlight Engine and engines from Crystal Dynamics, Kingsoft, Netease and others. Quake II RTX -- uses ray tracing for all of the lighting in the game in a unified lighting algorithm called path tracing. The classic Quake II game was modified in the open source community to support ray tracing and NVIDIA's engineering team further enhanced it with improved graphics and physics. Quake II RTX is the first ray-traced game using NVIDIA VKRay, a Vulkan extension that allows any developer using Vulkan to add ray-traced effects to their games.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 10:09 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces Variable Rate Shading Support for DX12

Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is a powerful new API that gives the developers the ability to use GPUs more intelligently. Shaders are used to calculate the color of each pixel in a screen. Shading rate refers to the resolution at which these shaders are called (which is different from the overall screen resolution). A higher shading rate means better visual fidelity at the cost of using more GPU power. All pixels in a frame are affected by the game's shading rate. VSR allows developers to choose which areas of the frame are more important and increase the visual fidelity, or set parts of the frame to have lower fidelity and gain extra performance. Lowering the fidelity of parts of the scene can help low spec machines to run faster. There are two tiers of support for VRS. First of all the VRS API lets developers set the shading rate in 3 different ways: per draw, within a draw by using a screenspace image, or within a draw, per primitive. The hardware that can support per-draw VRS hardware are Tier 1. There's also a Tier 2, the hardware that can support both per-draw and within-draw variable rate shading. VRS support exists today on in-market NVIDIA hardware and on upcoming Intel hardware. AMD is rumored to be working on support for the feature.

For example, foveated rendering, rendering the most detail in the area where the user is paying attention, and gradually decreasing the shading rate outside this area to save on performance. In a first-person shooter, the user is likely paying most attention to their crosshairs, and not much attention to the far edges of the screen, making FPS games an ideal candidate for this technique. Another use case for a screenspace image is using an edge detection filter to determine the areas that need a higher shading rate, since edges are where aliasing happens. Once the locations of the edges are known, a developer can set the screenspace image based on that, shading the areas where the edges are with high detail, and reducing the shading rate in other areas of the screen.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 7:07 PM (CDT)

Intel Delivers First Exascale Supercomputer to Argonne National Laboratory

Intel Corporation and Cray Inc. have announced that a Cray "Shasta" system will be the first U.S. exascale supercomputer. This $500 million Aurora supercomputer will be coming to the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in 2021 and will have a performance of one exaFLOP - a quintillion floating point operations per second. In addition, this system is designed to enable the convergence of traditional HPC, data analytics, and artificial intelligence -- at exascale. The program contract is valued at more than $100 million for Cray, one of the largest contracts in the company's history. The design of the Aurora system calls for 200 Shasta cabinets, Cray's software stack optimized for Intel architectures, Cray Slingshot interconnect, as well as next generation Intel technology innovations in compute processor, memory and storage technologies. Intel's Rajeeb Hazra detailed some of the futuristic technology coming to Aurora including a future generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the recently announced Intel Xe compute architecture, and Intel Optane DC persistent memory. "Today is an important day not only for the team of technologists and scientists who have come together to build our first exascale computer -- but also for all of us who are committed to American innovation and manufacturing," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "The convergence of AI and high-performance computing is an enormous opportunity to address some of the world's biggest challenges and an important catalyst for economic opportunity."

The Aurora system's exaFLOP of performance -- equal to a "quintillion" floating point computations per second -- combined with an ability to handle both traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale. These breakthrough research projects range from developing extreme-scale cosmological simulations, discovering new approaches for drug response prediction and discovering materials for the creation of more efficient organic solar cells. The Aurora system will foster new scientific innovation and usher in new technological capabilities, furthering the United States' scientific leadership position globally.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

Obsidian Employee is Remaking Star Wars Dark Forces

Jason Lewis, a professional senior environment artist at Obsidian, is reportedly porting the environments of Star Wars Dark Forces to Unreal Engine 4 as a passion project. While port looks significantly better than the 1995 FPS, to say the last, it doesn't feature any shootable enemies yet. If you want to try it out, you should get it while the download link is still up, as Disney has a history of taking down similiar projects (like the KOTOR port to Unreal Engine 4) .

Download the project here before Disney makes it disappear... Thanks so much for watching everyone, and I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 11:05 AM (CDT)

What Happens When You Water Cool an Air Cooler?

What happens when you try to water cool and air cooling tower? One YouTuber decided decided to find out, as he sealed the upper part of a Hyper 212 EVO inside a closed ice loop. The setup managed to keep and overclocked 2500k at a stable 44C under load, but just how practical such a setup would be long-term remains to be seen. Check out the experiment below:

Ever since I can remember, when it comes to CPU cooling there are two main options, water cooling or air cooling. That got me thinking, why cant you do both. I took my Hyper 212 EVO and set out to water cool it, I thought it would be cool But I had not idea it would work this well.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 9:09 AM (CDT)

Halo Insider Program: Sign Up for Early Access to Halo: The Master Chief Collection

While there is still no release date in sight, 343 Industries has announced an early-access program that should not only make the wait for Halo: The Master Chief Collection easier but improve the much-anticipated PC port in the process. Eager Spartans can visit the Halo Waypoint site to sign up for the "Halo Insider Program," which queues them for beta testing on console and PC.

The Halo Insider Program is the new way Halo fans and community members can partner with 343 Industries to improve our games, products, and services. As a Halo Insider, you’ll have the opportunity to regularly provide feedback and insights that help shape and inform current franchise initiatives and the future of Halo. You will also be given exclusive opportunities to participate in public flights of in-progress Halo game releases and provide feedback to the development teams.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 5:35 PM (CDT)

Valve Addresses Review Bombing on Steam by Removing Them from Review Scores

To mitigate the effects of review bombing, Valve announced Friday it has a built a tool that would identify and alert the moderation team of any game with "anomalous review activity." After a case of review bombing is confirmed, the reviews submitted under this time period would then be removed from the review score calculation. Gamers can opt out of this change, however, and "off-topic review bombs" will remain on the site for anyone curious enough to read them.

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Microsoft Will Pester Windows 7 Users to Upgrade to W10 with Pop-Up Notifications

Microsoft has come up with another way to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10: corporate vice president Matt Barlow explained in a blog post this week Windows 7 users would be subjected to regular pop-up messages urging them to update to the latest version of the OS. That may not be the worst idea, as support for W7 officially ends January 14, 2020.

This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you'll be able to select an option for "do not notify me again", and we will not send you any further reminders. Just as software has changed over the years, so has hardware.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 5:00 PM (CDT)

File Abnormality Causes Duplicate Tax Refunds

66,000 Louisiana residents are collectively $26 million richer as a file ran "abnormally," causing duplicate tax refunds on Wednesday, March 13. Many of these "double refunds" were direct deposited and banks are being notified of the overages. Refunds sent to debit cards are being "backed out." Division of Administration spokesman, Jacques Berry "urges anyone who received a larger refund than what they are actually due to not spend the money."

"It was a file abnormality," Berry said. "The file ran twice when it was only supposed to run once." "Hopefully we'll recover the vast majority of it before anyone mistakenly spends it," he said. "We appreciate taxpayers' cooperation while we recoup the overpayments," Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said in a statement.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 2:00 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)