Here’s the second part of our exclusive QuakeCon interview with John Carmack. In the first part of our conversation, Carmack discussed his hopes for Quake Live and the id Software’s new gaming direction in Rage. This time around, he gets more into the heady technical stuff with his thoughts on Nvidia’s CUDA, physics accelerators, general purpose computing, and ATI’s rumored Fusion technology. Here’s a snippet:
John Carmack – I was well known as not being a supporter of the PhysX accelerators. It’s always felt like a gimmicky plan with people setting up a company to be acquired. For years, the tack has been what do you do with any time Intel delivers something more with processors and more cores? It’s never really proven out right and there’re a lot of reasons for it.
For one thing you can’t scale AI and physics in general with your gameplay, while with graphics, you could scale. Without scaling, you can’t design a game that requires fancy AI and then turn off the fancy AI for the low end systems because practically that’s not possible. Similarly for physics, if it’s anything other than eye candy, you also can’t scale. If the building is going to fall down you need to know whether you’re going to be able to get past it on the high end or the low end.
Gamers have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan to beat pesky end bosses and single-handedly defeat armies of mutant soldiers. Saving often gives gamers an endless advantage and cheat codes can help in a pinch, but neither of these tactics will do any good against an increasing amount of real-life threats the online gaming scene.
More than just an annoyance, time spend in virtual worlds like Second Life can translate into real currency and it's attracted the attention of organized criminal gangs. According to security software vendor ESET (best known for its NOD32 Antivirus products), "high volumes of malware intended to steal passwords for online gaming and virtual worlds" have been detected since 2007, resulting in a "dramatic upsurge."
The alarming news comes courtesy of ESET's mid-yearly Global Threat Report, which focuses on broad trends in malware over the past six months. In addition to an upsurge in attacks against gamers, ESET notes that malicious software that tries to use the Windows Autorun facility to self-install from removable media continues to flourish.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company reports email bound malware is in "dramatic decline," at least when it comes to dirty attachments. Malicious URLs passed through email messages have taken the place of attachments.
Further reading to keep yourself (and your virtual self) protected:
John Carmack may be the face of id Software, but he’s definitely not the only person working on Rage or the next Doom. We spoke with Robert Duffy, id’s Programming Director, and Matt Hooper, Rage’s Lead Designer, about their upcoming shooter. The conversation delves into topics ranging from art design to multiplayer modes, and touches on the challenges of developing on both console and PC hardware. Here’s a snippet:
MaxPC: With the combination of driving and fps gameplay, what’s fun and exciting that we should look forward to that we haven’t seen before in games? Matt Hooper: The thing you haven’t seen is really the mix. We’re still id software and we’re still making this intense, action shooter game. Those moment to moment, finely crafted action sequences – running around with the coolest weapons and shooting guys – that’s still there. We invented that and we’re still going to do that really well. Just around the office everyone likes a lot of cool games. What we did was pull in these different elements that don’t detract from the action but add this little bit of flavor, and the vehicles are a part of that. The vehicles are almost an extension of your FPS avatar – you’re “running” around with a vehicle. It has armor on it, it carries a cool weapon, you fire that weapon, and the other car blows up in a cool satisfying explosion. It’s not as far removed as you would probably initially think. It all feels really good together.
Matrox's TripleHead2Go Digital Edition, which enables you to drive up to three digital monitors from a single DVI port, has just received a significant upgrade.
We last encountered TripleHead2Go Digital Edition in our January 2008 review of the Hypersonic Sonic Boom OCX flight simulator PC. Hypersonic used it to drive three 1280x1024 digital monitors for a 3840x1024 panoramic view of the wild blue virtual yonder.
So, what's new with TripleHead2Go Digital Edition? Now, you can run up to three widescreen displays at 1680x1050 or 1440x900 resolutions. 3x1680x150 gives you an eye-popping 5040x1050 desktop, while 3x1440x900 provides a slightly less stunning 4320x900 desktop (and, it also supports WXGA's 1366x768 resolution).
And, the best news is that you don't need to buy a new version of the external box: if your graphics card has an ATI or NVIDIA DirectX 10 GPU with the latest graphics driver and a dual-link DVI connector running on Windows XP or Vista, all you need to do is:
Upgrade your TripleHead2Go Digital Edition's firmware to version 6.52 or later
Install the GXM software suite 2.03.02 or later
Choose your monitors' resolution from the display.
If you're not sure you're ready for the upgrade, the upgrade page also offers a link to the GXM System Compatibility Tool.
Like the sound of TripleHead2Go Digital Edition? Already using one? Your chance to sound off comes after the jump.
I find television show depictions of people playing games absolutely ridiculous. Actors, directed by people with no grasp of how gaming actually works, lean and rock like they're atop a mechanical bull. Those of us who actually game can vouch for how utterly false such depictions are. But while some of us may sit hunched over in our cushy chairs, mouths agape, displaying only the basest signs of life, a good many of us do express emotion while we play. Thing is, when the actor asks, "What's my motivation?" The director should fire back with a single word: "Pissed."
Without a doubt, most of us play games for fun, but when I'm winding languidly through Uncannily-Accurate-Sniper-Alley for the tenth time, you'd have to be Stephen Colbert to turn my frown upside-down. We're all human, so when things don't go our way, we get frustrated. We shout, we curse, we frighten small children. However, gaming is unique as a medium in that, unlike television, film, or music, it manages to evoke such fiery emotions. Good or bad, you have to admit that's kind of cool.
So, when you play games, do you let your emotions take control? Have you ever embedded a controller into your wall? A mouse? Have any stories you'd like to share?
Today's Roundup isn't intended to make you angry -- or even a little hot under the collar -- so take a load off and give it a read. Inside, you'll find an EA cash-grabbing scheme that's a tad different from the norm, Ubisoft taking piracy by the horns, hope for Crackdown 2, and much, much* more. Jump past the break and let the catharsis begin.
You knew it would happen sooner or later, and now it has; a Wii controller knockoff for the PC. Sort of. Asus has dubbed its new Wii remote lookalike as the Eee Stick, "an easy-to-sue use yet highly versatile Plug and Play wireless controller for the PC platform that translates users' physical hand motions into corresponding movements onscreen."
Interestingly Asus has no plans of selling the Eee Stick as a standalone peripheral and will instead bundle the motion controller exclusively with select models of the Eee PC and the Eee Box. Huh? We don't understand it either, but Asus justifies the move by saying the Eee Stick is "perfect for gaming on-the-go."
The vibration capable controller connects via a 2.4GHz RF dongle with a broadcast range of 10m. Two AA batteries are required to power the Eee Stick, which Asus claims will provide up to three days (72 hours) of continuous play.
Will the Eee Stick entice potential customers to pick up an Eee PC or Eee Box, or is Asus making a mistake by not offering the controller as a standalone device?
During my many years of Taekwondo training (no, really) I've seen a fair share of faux-martial artists come and go. Not all of them were masters of the ol' chop-socky, but that doesn't mean they weren't good company. One of those long-since retired combatants was big into games, so naturally, we hit it off. In between feasting on one another's punches and kicks, we talked about all of the latest releases -- mostly on the PC. But, in one major way, we were different: I purchased; he pirated.
Of course, he had a reason. PC games can sometimes be buggy and unreliable -- even going so far as to not run on certain PCs. He raked in torrents as "extended demos," and presumably purchased the games he liked. Even so, I'm not sure if I agreed with his methods. After all, isn't that what regular demos are for? Plus, I never really got the impression that he actually followed through with step two of his little plan.
So, question of the day: Do you pirate games?If so, what's your justification? Do you even call it "pirating"? Don't worry, I'm merely asking as a discussion question -- not to judge anyone.
Today's Roundup contains a few possible methods of diverting cash back into the pockets of those who create games, though I'd wager none of the wannabe saviors really have a concrete idea of how they're going to end the Yarr-ing menace once and for all. On one had, Microsoft sees downloads usurping retail's throne in the near future, which could create an iTunes-like situation for the gaming industry. On the other hand, Turner has decided to toss GameTap to the curb like a box of unwanted kittens (an $18 million box of kittens), so obviously not all is well in the realm of downloadable games. Read about all of that and more after the break.
Yesterday, I briefly heaped praise on the "new" Electronic Arts for its recent push towards creativity and employee practices that are actually legal. However, I know that many people chuck verbal darts at EA's target simply because they don't like big, "soulless" corporations. After all, each of us is the punchy underdog in our own lives, so rooting for the little guy only seems natural -- especially when the Man seems to be breathing down his neck.
But, as I'm sure you've all noticed, we're kind of running out of little guys to root for. "Consolidation" is one of those mean words we're not supposed to like, but in an industry that's expanding rapidly -- one where development costs regularly zip past $10 million -- consolidation is natural.
So, are you ready for our little hobby to become more like the big, bad movie industry, or are you of the opinion that we don't need "E" and "A" to spell BioWare?
This edition of the Roundup is gaming's "The Empire Strikes Back." Large independent devs are dropping like flies, and stalwart supporters are turning to the dark side. No Ewoks, though, so the Roundup isn't jumping the shark just yet. Jumping past the break, however, is highly encouraged.
We interviewed John Carmack back during this year's E3 when id first announced a partnership with EA to publish their next shooter, Rage. We had a chance to sit with Carmack again at this past weekend's Quakecon, where we followed up on our earlier discussion to squeeze more details out of the legendary game developer. Carmack dished out more details about their plans for Quake Live (including their high expenctations), the technology powering Rage and the next Doom, their cancelled Darkness project, and his thoughts about the current modding community.
Take a seat, grab a Mountain Dew, and click through for the full interview. You'll even find out which aspects of id Tech 5 may not be as powerful as id Tech 4!
Sporting almost the same configuration as the reference design we previewed last month, BFG’s GeForce GTX 280 delivers amazing performance with the second-generation DirectX 10 chipset from Nvidia. It soundly spanks ATI’s new 4870, as well as all but the dual-GPU graphics solutions from the previous generation—and even against those, the GTX 280 wins all but a few benchmarks. The real question we’re asking is, Do we need this much power?