IslandGamers-Technology And Gaming Info

June 23, 2008

New Host

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ramajay @ 5:58 am

Hello , We’re trying out a new WordPress host, and the blog has moved to http://blog.islandgamers.com . This is mostly to try to support a few Adwords ads in the future.

June 27, 2007

Intel – Update for Intel Processors

Filed under: Intel, PC, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 3:23 pm

Microsoft has released a ‘microcode reliability’ update for intel processors for all it’s operating systems.

We have no idea what this update addresses at this time, but you should probably download and install it asap.

Get it here

June 20, 2007

PS3 – How To Kill Your Brand Video Satire

Filed under: Sony PS3 — Ramajay @ 1:47 pm

I found this totally hilarious, more so because of the truth behind this sarcastic take on Sony’s series of arrogant missteps with the PS3

Vista – Microsoft Alters Vista After Google Complaint

Filed under: Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 12:27 pm

Most readers would know that we jumped off the Vista bandwagon early on after experiencing driver issues and general instability with our typical computer use and devices such as mobile phones. Now don’t construe that as an indictment against the OS, it just didn’t fit our needs at the time.

One feature of Vista which we appreciated,though, was the integrated Search feature which allowed us to pull up files, emails, documents virtually any data store when searching for information. This feature was placed very neatly in the Windows Start Menu and we found it worked great.

Enter Google. Google also promotes an integrated search, Google Search, which syncs with Outlook and various web browsers. Apparently, when Google Search was installed on Vista machines, the machines slowed to a crawl since the processors (or processor, not everyone has dual core yet do they? ūüėČ ) had to handle the indexing routines of both the internal Vista search AND Google Search as well. I never encountered this particular problem with Vista, since I never thought to install Google Search given that I was satisfied with what was included with Vista. Apparently, though, Google had a big problem with this and filed a complaint!

Microsoft has now agreed as part of the settlement of this complaint to alter how Vista handles Indexing and to provide choices for the Search feature between the provided Vista search, Google Search, or some other Search provider.

Of course I haven’t seen the reason why a user could not simply disable the integrated Windows Search, I would assume that indexing etc. could be switched off just as it can be in Windows XP.

At any rate, Microsoft felt that it should make alterations rather than risk angering the States or the US DOJ!

Read more on the changes here

June 4, 2007

Xbox 360 – Forza Motorsports 2 Released!

Filed under: Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 8:19 am

That should be all we need to say on the matter, but I’ll expound a bit. Forza 2 is the racing title that most driving aficionados have been waiting anxiously for on the Xbox360. Everything that has come in-between has been just filler for the driving simulation which many have hailed as the most realistic and fun racing title created thus far. Forza 2 developers expressed a desire to put as much accuracy and realism as possible into the title, but wherever realism would impact on fun, fun wins. A fine example of this is the fact that you don’t have to pay out your nose to repair car damage between races and in online races damage is automatically repaired. Accurate? Considering the cost of car repairs probably not, but does it add to the fun: most certainly. After all, the game is about driving to the limits of your car’s performance against engaging AI or Real Life opponents, not about balancing your chequebook!

Forza 2 carries on the tradition of Forza providing an evolutionary upgrade to that solid racing foundation. Gameplay is more accessible and online multiplayer options are more robust and varied. Cars can be bought and sold via the Forza Motorsports website.There are automatic Tournaments and special tournaments that will be run on a regular basis.

Driving is, of course, excellent. The physics have been improved in Forza 2 and the cars feel incredible tearing around corners on the track. The game’s physics provide a true driving difference between each and every car in the game that the player will actually notice.

The usual driving assists are there as well as a new Suggested Line feature that only displays the suggested line on the corners.

Forza 2 now has an average review score of about 89% over at GameRankings where you can access several reviews from top gaming sites to make your own decision.

I strongly recommend Forza 2 as a Must Buy for any racing fan regardless of what platform you’re accustomed to. Gamers who are into racing, Forza 2 is a reason to buy an Xbox360.

Useful Links:

Forza Motorsport 2 Site

PC Games – User Stats, less than 2% DX10 Capable.

Filed under: PC, PC Games, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 7:54 am

I’ve taken an interest in the whole DirectX 10 phenomeneon which is supposed to usher in a new era of PC Gaming in the very near future. The games that we’ve seen previews of show graphical improvements over DirectX 9, but nothing thus far that is so incredible when put next to DX9 content as to make DX10 seem like a necessity. The differences between DX8 and DX9 were phenomenal, but DX9 and DX10’s differences seem to be incremental thus far at best. Additionally my understanding of early Windows Vista reviews suggested that the Unified Shader approach should allow for faster framerates as the GPUs will be used far more efficiently. Early benchmarks between DX9 and DX10 versions of demos on the market now have not shown this to be true. DX9 and DX10 framerates are comparable.

Valve has released their own recent statistics which show that actually just over 1% of gamers that play Steam titles  (about 325,386 gamers in all) are Direct X 10 compatible. In fact the majority of Steam gamers are running on Geforce 6600 and 7600 graphics cards, which represents the midrange to lowend of the graphics card market.

Among gamers only about 5% of Steam users have made the Vista upgrade. The fact that not only are there not many DX10 card owners, but not many people seem to own the OS that enables DX10 either raises a question mark as to how this technology is really going to revolutionise the PC Gaming sector as advertised.

Admittedly,¬†it¬†is¬†still¬†quite¬†early¬†in¬†Vista’s¬†lifecycle,¬†and¬†Nvidia’s¬†DX10¬†capable¬†cards¬†have¬†been¬†on¬†the¬†market¬†for¬†just about¬†6¬†months¬†so¬†far. Valve’s statistics are interesting though, for developers who choose to release ‘Vista Only’ titles or who consider chopping the lowend to midrange from their playable specs in future titles.

Check the full Valve statistics here 

June 1, 2007

PC Games – First DirectX 10 Title is Company of Heroes patch 1.7

Filed under: PC Games, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 12:34 pm

Company of Heroes has released a patch that updates the game to take advantage of DirectX 10.

So what can gamers expect of the ‘new’ DirectX 10 update?

Not much:

DX10 Features

  • Edges of particles are softened where intersecting 3D objects.
  • Thousands of additional ‚Äėlitter‚Äô objects in the world.
  • Improved user control over anti aliasing settings.
  • Alpha to coverage anti aliasing to improve quality of alpha test objects such as shrubs.
  • Lighting quality has improved by moving all calculations per pixel.
  • More precise point light calculations.
  • Point lights can now cast shadows.
  • 3D short grass on the terrain.
  • Vertical refresh synchronization is enabled by default to improve visual quality by preventing tearing of the display image, use ‘-novsync’ to disable.
  • Hardware PCF for improved shadow quality.”

Whee. So we get better eyecandy. And more ‘litter’ objects. No notes about improved framerate though. We hope to get some reviews that show comparisons between the versions, as well as benchmarks from the DX9 and DX10 versions soon.

PC Games – No Starcraft 2 in 2007.

Filed under: PC Games — Ramajay @ 11:32 am

Blizzard’s Rob Pardo mentioned to MSNBC news that Starcraft won’t debut in 2007. Those that saw the demo thought the game was in such an advanced state of development that it could possibly see a 2007 release. Oh well.

“The only thing I can give you [that‚Äôs] concrete is it‚Äôs not going to be this year. Some people were hoping, because of how advanced the game looks, that we‚Äôd have it out by Christmas, but that‚Äôs definitely not happening.”

Blizzard is putting a lot of effort into online matchmaking, and intends to distinguish itself from Supreme Commander, Company of Heroes and others by offering an excellent Online competitive experience.

The interview also notes that there is not going to be a fourth race added to the game. Starcraft 2 will feature the same tried and true formula of Terran,Protoss and Zerg. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

More of our Starcraft 2 Posts 

link: ars technica

May 25, 2007

PC Games – Dungeon Runners Launches!

Filed under: PC Games — Ramajay @ 7:21 am

Dungeon Runners is a Diablo-esque full 3D MMORPG type game by NCSoft. Players can download the client for free, and play for free but have the option to pay US$4.99 a month for additional features.

Gamers are asked to download a small client file of about 375k which in turn downloads the full game client which is about 420MB. Graphics are acceptable, reminding me of Warcraft 3 or Heroes of Might and Magic with some better effects. The game seems to be pure hack and slash Action RPG fare, which isn’t a bad thing.

Give it a whirl, after all it’s free. ūüôā

ATI- Catalyst 6.11 Drivers released

Filed under: ATI — Ramajay @ 7:11 am

The big feature in this release is full Crossfire in Software support for the range of X1900 graphics cards. This is Crossfire without the requirement for that huge external dongle.

“Performance improvements:
As with most Catalyst¬ģ releases, performance has increased in various situations. In this release of Catalyst¬ģ Call of Duty 2 performance improves as much as 12.5% at 1920×1200 settings and as much as 10.5% at 1280×1024 settings on X1900 Software Crossfire configurations. Largest gains are seen with 4x Anti-Aliasing enabled.

New Features
Software Crossfire‚ĄĘ Support for the Radeon X1900/X1950 Series of Products
Catalyst 6.11 introduces software CrossFire‚ĄĘ support for any combination of ATI Radeon X1900 and ATI Radeon X1950 installed in a system running either Windows XP or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition operating system Note: The ATI Radeon X1950 PRO is not supported in software Crossfire mode and can only be used with another ATI Radeon X1950 PRO in Hardware Crossfire mode “

Grab the drivers here

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