ATI released their newest set of Catalyst drivers, which brings the improvements listed below. You can read through the entire changelog (PDF) if you want more in-depth information. Also, be aware that there is a hotfix released for the HD2000 and HD3000 series, which you can download along with the drivers below.
- Crysis DirectX 10 performance gain up to 20%
- Crysis Warhead DirectX 10 performance gain up to 20%
- World in Conflict gains up to 5%
- There are also multiple bugs resolved, both in the CCC (Catalyst Control Center) and in various games like Call of Duty 4.
Download: ATI Catalyst 9.2 drivers
nVidia released their latest set of drivers, 182.06, which come packed with improvements in many games and full OpenGL 3.0 support. These drivers work with GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, and 200-series cards. Here’s what comes with the download:
- Recommended for the best experience in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
- Boosts performance in several 3D applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with Release 182.06 WHQL drivers vs. Release 181.22 WHQL drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
- Up to 8% performance increase in Fallout 3 at high resolution and AA.
- Up to 10% performance increase in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
- Up to 9% performance increase in Half-Life 2 at high resolution with AA.
- Up to 11% performance increase in Left 4 Dead at high resolution with AA.
- Up to 10% performance increase in Race Driver: GRID at high resolution and AA
- Includes full support for OpenGL 3.0 on GeForce 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series GPUs.
- Automatically installs the new PhysX System Software version 9.09.0203.
Crayon Physics Deluxe is a unique game that has garnered a lot of attention in the past year. It began as another humble game posted on the Kloonigames blog, and from there it grew into the best game of the year at the Independent Games Festival (also on display were games like World of Goo and Desktop Tower Defense).
In CPD, you can play about 80 levels in singleplayer, most of which are really fun and open to a wide variety of solutions. In fact, it’s the openness of the game that really strikes me. While someone might solve a level by drawing random stuff, someone else might draw a weird drawbridge. The game’s replayability is what makes it so great. Also included in the game is a level editor, which will further promote the sandbox style of gameplay that abounds in this game. The demo will draw people in, and the low $19.95 price tag will attract customers without a big budget looking for a great game.
This game was just the step up from NFS: Carbon that the public was looking for. If you are sitting at your computer and asking, “Why is the public looking for something similar to Carbon?” then you obviously are not part of the public trend that is the Need For Speed series.
From high speed pursuit to high speed racing, NFS: Undercover is the high speed thrill ride it should be. The one advance from NFS: Prostreet is the return of Free Roam. If you are asking what free roam is, you probably should go play one of these games. Free Roam is one of the greatest racing game inventions since the taco car from Top Gear Overdrive for the N64.
The basic idea of Free Roam is you get into a really fast car. That car is unable to be destroyed. You are now unleashed on a city. Sounds fun, right? Prostreet lacked this very intuitive feature from Carbon which has been upgraded in Undercover. The main upgrade is the three cities connected by highway. Although the cities are small, the tri-city of Undercover gives a feel of a realistic city.
The graphics of Undercover aren’t bad, but aren’t the greatest either. The main problem isn’t how good the cars look, its the physics behind those cars. If your car hits something, that something goes flying, and you do nothing. However, there are certain things that, if you hit them, you stop instantly and they do nothing. I suppose there can be some serious drawbacks to playing the Wii version of the game as opposed to the 360 or PS3 versions.
Overall, I would rate Undercover quite highly, with a good ending and reasonable plot line to keep me entertained for the 10-some-odd hours it took me to complete the game.
Final Fantasy Crisis Core is a PSP game that shines out around the others. The PSP is notorious for short games that don’t seem to stand up to the PS2 as they were supposed to do. Crisis Core is an exception to that rule.
The basic storyline of Crisis Core is to show where the characters Zack, Cloud, Sephiroth, and some others, originated from. Many characters recognized even by gamers who don’t enjoy RPG’s include Cloud and Yuffie as they were both featured in popular Final Fantasy franchises and even games not related directly to the Final Fantasy line.
Crisis Core is the story of Soldier Class 2 Zach, who eventually grows to Soldier Class 1. A Class 1 Soldier deserts the Soldier company and many follow him, including Zach’s mentor, Angeal. Zach is pulled into the conflict quickly, as Soldier’s ranks are diminishing and you are put in control of the character.
The battle style of the game is different from traditional Final Fantasy games. You are put into the action. Though you still choose what attack to do, you are pressured to make that attack quickly as action is the method of choice for fighting. You fight using a sword and have magical proporties as well as an ability to use special sword techinques. This fighting style is much more silimar to the Kingdom Hearts style of battle. The woman who says “Activating Combat Mode” at the beginning of every battle is very annoying though.
The game is lacking one major element; however, this element has been lacking in nearly every Final Fantasy game: Multiplayer. This game would pull off multiplayer more effectivly than others due to its action battle style. One nice feature that continues to reappear in RPG games is the option to start over with continued stats. The game is also very long, taking me about 16 hours to complete, a very long running time for a PSP game.
Bottom line, this is an excellent game, if you have a PSP I highly recommend checking it out.
Microsoft put out the newest version of DirectX, the newest release since August 2008. DirectX, for those of you who don’t know, is what developers use to help power games on Windows-based computers. DirectX 10.1, which is the latest version on the market, allows things in-game like motion blur, god rays, and other sweet effects. If you are currently having any problems with your games or would just like a little speed boost in-game, upgrading to the latest version of DirectX is always a good way to try and fix it.
DirectX Runtime Download (this download installs any versions of DirectX you may not have)
November 2008 Only Download (just get the latest version)
Harmonix announced on October 21st that they would be giving 20 free songs away to everyone who had purchased new copies of Rock Band 2 (on any platform), and now today they have released the songs for everyone to enjoy. To get the songs, you must register your code found in the game manual, and another code will be emailed to you with that will allow you to download the songs. Have fun with your new free songs!
* The 88 – “Sons And Daughters”
* Authority Zero - “No Regrets”
* Between the Buried and Me - “Prequel To The Sequel”
* The Cab - “Bounce”
* The Chevelles - “Get It On”
* The Cocktail Slippers - “Give It To Me”
* Dealership - “Database Corrupted”
* Endeverafter - “I Wanna Be Your Man”
* The Ghost Hounds - “Ashes To Fire”
* Hollywood Undead - “Young”
* Kutless - “The Feeling”
* The Len Price 3 - “If I Ain’t Got You”(Please Drink Responsibly)
* Lesley Roy - “I’m Gone, I’m Going”
* Opiate for the Masses - “Burn You Down”
* Semi-Precious Weapons - “Magnetic Baby”
* Shaimus - “Like a Fool”
* Thenewno2″ - “Crazy Tuesday”
* Tickle Me Pink - “The Time Is Wrong”
* Underoath - “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”
* X Japan - “I.V.”
Bob’s game is a new game to come out for the Nintendo DS sometime in the next year hopefully. Robert Pellini has spent 15,000 hours on his game, all done on his home computer with C++. He plans to find a publisher and send the game through to stores near you sometime in 2009 if a publisher can be found.
The basic concept behind the game is “Who Is Yuu?” Yuu is your character. You control the sprite and do different puzzles and other interactions around a fairly large city.
Robert explains the game on his site, quoted below:
My name is Bob, age 25.
This is my game for Nintendo DS, a 20-hour-long retail-size,
retail-quality adventure title by a single human being-
the largest game ever made by one person.
“bob’s game” is a simple 2D adventure game, with focus on
story, puzzles, item collection, and communication instead
of repetitive battles with palette-swapped enemies.
Many characters (over 200 completely unique characters!)
have deep personalities that evolve, and many things
depend on the in-game time, day and weather.
It’s the game I wanted to play when I was younger,
a vision I’ve been following since then.
As Portal comes to its first anniversary today, the one of the first full mods for the game releases in its full glory. Portal: Prelude puts players into the pre-GlaDOS era of Aperture Science where real scientists did the dirty work, not that cake-promising machine. This story has great potential, so great in fact the Valve announced back in June 2008 that they were working on a prelude to Portal themselves, but the man behind the mod, Nicolas “NykO18″ Grevet, continued to create and now release his vision of the game.
FilePlanet managed to get 24-hour exclusivity rights from Grevet (a bad decision in my opinion, mods should be free to everyone at all times), and the mod is set for release to the general public tomorrow. You can watch the trailer below for the mod while the 775 MB gets onto your computer. If you are unsure of how to get a mod properly working on Steam, Planet Half-Life has a tutorial on installing mods.
Left 4 Dead, Valve’s next big game, is coming on November 18 with the demo infecting players on sometime before the release. HalfLife2.net got ahold of the system requirements from Doug Lombardi, the Valve marketing man.
- OS: Windows Vista, XP or 2000
- CPU: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 or AMD64X2 (or higher)
- RAM: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
- Disc drive: DVD-ROM Drive
- Hard drive: At least 7.5 GB of free space
- Video: Direct X 9 compatible video card (Video card must be 256 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for pixel shader 2.0)
- Sound: Direct X9.0c compatible sound card
The only potential worry is the need for a 256 MB video card, as many people still run games with a 128 MB card, although you really should have upgraded to something better by now.