Category Archives: PC

Antichamber/The Witness

Well, Jon Blow’s The Witness is going to be released exclusively on the PS4. That is in terms of its availability in the guise of a console game, however. Those seeking the game on the PC or through an iOS device won’t be presented with a sweaty dilemma.

the witness undertreeI’ve always been magpie-like in my choice of console, and have usually arrived at the conclusion after some time that my original choice was pretty much outright wrong. This bit of experience, combined with the fact that my respect for Blow and his ethics, as well as his design philosophy, makes me want to pick up The Witness as early as I can, makes me question my initial disappointment that Blow didn’t choose to make a Wii U release a priority.

Well, never mind that for now. Blow featured Antichamber on The Witness‘s blog, a very different kind of first-person puzzle game. Take a look at its teaser trailer:

After watching part of this walkthrough/let’s play, it becomes obvious that the fundamental concept that drives this game has borrowed from quantum physics–the observer effect. It’s fantastic!

The reader can find its Steam page here (digital copies for $20, not unreasonable for an independently developed game), and its website here.

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Ten Best Free Platformers of 2012

yhtwtg_2-1024x768[1]This is basically a reblog of Kotaku and Indiegames (nothing wrong with that, right??), about ten brilliant freeware indie platformers that have percolated into the popular attention since their release in 2012.

While I haven’t tried any of them yet, some of them look really, really fun.

Multithreading and Singlethreading

Because I’ve been toying with the idea of starting up a YouTube channel (to further inflate my own ego), I’ve been investigating the possibility of putting together a budget video-editing computer. What I’ve discovered is that not only is it possible to put together a computer for video-editing for fairly cheap (around $AUD400, excluding certain things), but one need not throw away lots of money on constructing a computer for playing video games, either.

The websites I’ve been collecting data from include the Perth-based computer component suppliers VTech, Netplus and (the much maligned) Austin Computers; and the benchmarking website Passmark. I’m sure there are plenty more other such websites, but I haven’t had the time to look further.

One of the important tasks in building a video-editing PC was to choose a CPU that was well suited for such a job. The difference between a gaming PC and the one I wanted to make was that the CPU, in video-editing, would primarily be used to crunch rendering data, and not used for displaying graphics on the fly. This is what lead me to multithreading.

This article lead me to the concept of multithreading, and was the motivation behind this post. It provides an insightful analysis of the new AMD CPUs that I had, before reading, become convinced were suitable for my purpose. The important piece of information that it highlighted (with a single sentence) was that PC gaming is dominated by singlethreaded CPU processes. For the reader’s information, ‘threads’ are the smallest unit of computer instruction that an operating system can manipulate, and are the chief building block of the computer science concept of ‘multitasking’. The article plainly demonstrates that the new AMD processors are fantastic at multithreading computer instructions (highly suited to video-editing), but are lacklustre in comparison to the new Intel Ivy Bridge technology in terms of their ability to process singlethreaded (linear sets of instructions) information.

What also interested me was the fact that the article alluded to the ways in which the different political-economic factors that underlie the production of either of the two companies’ CPU ranges impact on the products that they end up making. AMD is tied to another company with respect to some of its research and development, and this hampers its ability to reduce the size of the circuitry in its processors, amongst other things.

The outcome of all of this research is that if you’ve got your heart set on gaming and you want to spend modestly, I recommend buying an Intel i5 3470, 3570 or 3570K. Pursuant to the excel spreadsheet that I compiled below, you can purchase any one of these CPUs online, in Perth, for about $AUD200 each. However, if you are strapped for cash, or you have very little interest in the whizz-bang-pop-shazam-look-at-me-I’m-Bethezda-I’ve-been-making-the-same-game-for-decades-and-my-logo-sucks and you just want to edit videos and/or render 3D models, any of the well-performing AMD CPUs are more than capable of the job. It’s worth reiterating that the sheer pricetag of these AMD chips does much to commend themselves to the impecunious gamer.

This data about the different CPUs under $200 (inclusive) available in Perth might also interest the reader. On Sheet 2 can be found graphical representations of the relationship between the processors’ price, and aggregated processing power.

Spelunky

Read this fantastic review about the brilliant game Spelunky. I reckon the substance of the article hits the right tone so well that I think you should direct yourself to the author’s profile, where you’ll find a list of the articles she’s written for the website Eurogamer.net.

Another Bundle

Seems like there are a couple more of these bundles around than it seems.

Sonic Dimensions

There’s been a bit of noice over at retrocollect about the new Sonic Adventure-esque fan-made game Sonic Dimensions. The gameplay is more or less exactly the same as the old Adventure series, but it builds on the old platform, adding in a few more mechanics.

Scrumble Ship

A recent indie game bundle sale (where you contribute whatever amount of economic value you see fit) put me onto quite an interesting indie project called Scrumble Ship. The idea behind the game is that it simulates the most realistic space combat possible. It has a kickstarter profile here, and a facebook profile here.

The concept is intriguing! For most purposes it seems like Minecraft set in space, but perhaps it could make use of some Star Trek-esque mechanics?

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Yet Another (Really Good) Half-Life Mod

This mod has copped a bit of criticism for still being a little ‘unpolished’, but from what I’ve seen of Cry of Fear, not only is the Half-Life engine still freaking awesome, but it goes to show that you don’t have to be a huge-arse game corporation to develop an incredibly immersive and engaging video game.

I might go and pull up a list of good Half-Life mods that have been handed down throughout the ages.