With a little help (and a lot of cash) from nostalgiac gamers, Lord British will hop back into the RPG saddle.
It's been a long time since I played an Ultima game. In fact, Ultima VI: The False Prophet was the last in the franchise that I logged any significant time with (anyone remember typing in "spam spam spam humbug" to access the cheat menu?), though there have been several follow-up titles since then. A series of events led Ultima creator Richard Garriott to sell the rights of the franchise to Electronic Arts and ultimately separate himself from the company, though not from the world of RPGs. Provided his Kickstarter campaign can raise $1 million -- and it likely will -- the man known as Lord British will again look to shake up the RPG universe.
Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung takes you behind the scenes of Dream Machine 2012
As regular readers of Maximum PC know, Dream Machine is our annual revelry of Pure PC Power. This rig is a VIP lounge for cutting-edge parts and balls-out performance, and any attempts at prudence or moderation get bounced. This year, we’ve enhanced our usual telling of the Dream Machine story with a video tour of the PC itself and videos of each individual component—all narrated by Dream Machine arbiter and deputy editor Gordon Mah Ung. Check out the videos here and click through to each component to hear Gordon do what he does best - talk about hardware.
Click through to let us know what you think in the comments!
Microsoft announced today via its Windows Blog that it has released the final version Windows XP Mode to manufacturing, and it should be available for download on October 22nd, the day of the Windows 7 launch. Presumably the new version of Virtual PC is included in this RTM, curiously however, no mention of this was made. Microsoft has also not indicated if this would be available early for MSDN or TechNet subscribers, but let’s face it, October 22nd isn’t as far away as it used to be.
For those who haven’t yet hard about Windows XP mode, it’s a way for Windows 7 users to run applications within a virtualized Windows XP shell for compatibility reasons. Windows 7 RC users who want to give the beta version a test drive can still download the technical preview at the Microsoft Download Center up until the new version is released on launch day.
Want to learn more about Windows XP Mode? Check out our feature focus series which helps you make sense of all the new features.
Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.
Microsoft's reduced pre-order pricing for upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional remains in effect until July 11th, but you might be wondering, 'Am I better off picking up a copy of Ultimate?' At $219 for the upgrade disc and $319 for the full version, compared to as little as $50 for Premium (pre-order Upgrade), that becomes a big (or at least costly) decision. We won't tell you which copy to get, but while Microsoft peddles Windows 7 Ultimate to enthusiasts, let's look at what the extra Benjamin(s)+ buys you.
Windows 7 Ultimate brings to the table several features not found in the Premium and Professional versions, at least eight of them that we know about. Three of them include BranchCache, Enterprise Search, and DirectAccess, all of which are of much more interest to Enterprise environments than for a typical home user. For the latter group, the full language pack, Bitlocker, and AppLocker might hold a bit more appeal.
That leaves Virtual Desktop Interface and Virtual Hard Drive Booting as the two remaining known features that only Ultimate users will have access to, plus whatever "Unspecified Features" Microsoft has on tap.
"There is a small set of customers who want everything Windows 7 has to offer. So, we will continue to have Windows 7 Ultimate Edition to meet that specialized need," Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra stated in a Microsoft PressPass interview describing Ultimate as the OS for "enthusiasts."
Is it enough to justify the price premium? Hit the jump and tell us which edition you're gunning for.
If you were frustrated by trying to figure out which edition of Windows Vista was the right choice ("hmm...If I use Vista Business, I don't get Windows Media Center, but if I use Vista Home Premium, I don't get image backup..."), Microsoft has done us all a favor by rethinking the feature sets for Windows 7.
Yes, there are still multiple SKUs to consider, but this time, you no longer need to worry about what's left out if you move up from one edition to another. To find out how the different US editions of Windows 7 compare in features, what Microsoft is doing to satisfy EU regulators, and what it will cost you to pre-order a Windows 7 upgrade now compared to waiting until it ships, join us after the jump.
Microsoft’s Windows Vista Ultimate was supposed to be a fun-filled version packed full of extras, but as anyone with the OS knows, this is a promise that Microsoft didn’t exactly make good on. So, on that note, Microsoft has decided to announce that Windows 7 Ultimate will feature absolutely no extras whatsoever.
“Our new approach to planning and building Windows doesn't have the capacity to continue to deliver features outside the regular release cycle. While our core development team is focused on building the next release, our sustained engineering team is focused on updates to existing features. As a result we don't plan to create Ultimate Extras,” Microsoft stated in a recent bit of Windows 7 SKU news.
Windows 7 Ultimate won’t be available on a retail level, but instead will be offered during promotional periods. It has been speculated that it will be $80 cheaper than Vista’s Ultimate, making it $320.
Depending on who you ask, that's probably two or three versions too many. Unfortunately, unless Redmond changes its mind between now and Windows 7 release, it looks likely that the same "too many versions" problem that haunted Windows Vista will be back for Windows 7. There's one bit of good news, though. It looks as if an easy-to-use version of Windows Anytime Upgrade will be included in non-Ultimate releases so you can move up.
There's never been a better time to be in the market for a keyboard. On the lower end of the pricing spectrum, OCZ recently announced its Elixir, an über affordable keyboard as part of the company's Alchemy line aimed at gamers on a budget. And for those running out of Swish bank accounts to store obscene amounts of of cash, Art Lebedev Studios' OLED Optimus Maximus has finally emerged from the depths of vaporware to become a shipping product.
In between both extremes, many still consider Metadot Corporation's Das Keyboard the tour de force of keyboard construction, which Maximum PC awarded a 9/Kick Ass verdict back in 2005. The original plank broke the mold by blanking out the keys rather than saddling them with peksy labels, and now three years later, Metadot looks to jump back in the peripheral market with a pair of updated models.
Click the jump to learn more about the Das Ultimate and Das Professional, and how they compare to the original.