The shiny, new hatchback you nudge in a street race dents slightly on the driver’s side door. Although you’re playing a PC game, created with beaucoup equations, the bend looks almost real. The 3D renderer sculpts all those numbers into images, with help from the video API (application program interface). However, several completely different rendering techniques can be the source of those images. Currently, the hardware and software industries are debating how to best utilize two graphics-rendering techniques: ray tracing and rasterization.
Hit the jump to see how 3D game rendering is changing with hardware advancements.
We've given you the gear. Now take a trip into the Maximum PC Lab with an exclusive Web-only look at how we constructed this year's Dream Machine 2008--the fastest PC you can buy, hands-down. Be there for all the heart-wrenching fluid leaks! The painstaking storage decisions! The bits and pieces we had to break just to achieve our Dream Machine...dreams!
If you have yet to check out what we packed into this rig, be sure to catch up on our first, second, and third looks at the parts of this over-customized rig. But if you're ready, then pop open the Lab door by clicking that little "Read More" link and take a look at how Maximum PC master-builders brought forth this year's PC powerhouse!
Face it, pirates and ninjas are out and zombies are in. And we have no doubt that one of our most high-anticipated games of this year is Left4Dead, Valve’s post-apocalyptic survival horror shooter. Our initial playtest sent chills down our spine when we first saw it at last year’s Showdown LAN, and the game looked much more refined and polished when we played it at this year’s E3. A revamped visual style and new character designs suit the cinematic direction -- the levels looked grittier and the zombies were definitely more terrifying (if that’s even possible). We spoke with Michael Booth, the designer of Left4Dead, to find out what other changes have been made to the game since Valve bought up his development team.
Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but anybody who uses it extensively knows the pain of having friends spread out over different services. Ever install a bulky and bloated IM client for just one friend? Or wished you could instant message all your groupies without running 5 different chat clients in the system tray? Well IM providers and a handful of crafty open source programmers have listened to our cries. Free browser-based alternatives exist for all the major platforms, and all in one desktop clients are finally able to bring the competing services together.
As you probably know, one of the new features in the iPhone 3G is the built-in GPS radio, which lets you pinpoint your location for hipster-loving social networking apps like twitter and loopt. In Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote, he showed off the GPS functionality with a video of the Maps application tracking a car as it drove down Lombard Street in San Francisco. The blinking blue dot followed the car as to passed each block, updating at a short enough intervals to move fluidly. While that’s cool and practical, we wanted to push the iPhone’s GPS to its limits. And the best way we could think of to stress test vehicle tracking was to try it on a moving airplane.
Read on to see how the iPhone performed at 200 miles per hour – in the air.
Just call us licky. We mean, lucky. You've seen the official super-hot photos of the Voodoo PC's Envy laptop, but we got our hands on one and were able to take tons of close-up photos of the as well as try out the highly touted instant-on feature. Our initial impressions: the laptop is really light. HP claims the laptop (it was the SSD version) weighs three and a half pounds, and even though we didn’t have a scale in our messenger bags, it sure felt about the same weight as the Macbook air, power supply notwithstanding. Stacking the Envy against a Macbook Pro and Thinkpad X300, Voodoo’s pricey portable was both smaller and slimmer, though it sports a 13” screen.
Click the jump for more impressions and all the photos, including the instant-on Linux interface, laptop size comparisons, and gross licking details.
We had an opportunity to speak with id co-founder John Carmack after the big EA press conference yesterday (where id surprisingly announced a partnership with EA to publish Rage). We grilled the legendary game developer (and part-time rocket scientist) about id's post-apocalyptic shooter, the state of gaming graphics, and what his plans are after id Tech 5. Rage looks be a drastic departure from the traditional id FPS, not only in gameplay style (open worlds with vehicles vs. claustrophobic indoor environments) but also in the way Carmack has designed the code-base. id has already announced that Doom 4 is in development (no publisher has yet been annonced), and Carmack confirmed that it'll run at 30Hz and run with several times the graphics power as Rage, a 60Hz game.
Click through to read our extensive interview and find out what John Carmack thinks about DirectX 10!
We just arrived at the EA press conference at the Orpheum theater. Lots of news being released, including the announcement of Sims 3, coming out in 2009. EA demos Dead Space, Spore, Mirror's Edge, NBA Live 09, Dragon Age: Origins, Left4Dead (characters redesiged), and id's Rage! Click through for our liveblog!
And thus, the grand story of the Dream Machine 2008 comes to its final edition. And do we have a reveal for you! We're going to show you the ultra-secret case that encloses the mighty guts of our speedy Skulltrail machine. We're also giving you a first-look at the not-quite-as-secret videocards powering the graphics of this hefty rig. Before it catches ablaze, we'll also show you the cooling setup and what we used to rock out whilst checking the cooler for leaks.
That's right. Today, you're getting the case, the graphics, the cooling and the sound--an epic conclusion to the most powerful rig we've ever built. If you're just joining us, you'll want to check out the beginning of the story as well as the second edition of the Dream Machine saga, where we officially showed off this machine's spankin'-fast processors.
But enough small-talk. Click that little "read more" link and prepare thyself for greatness.
Let's get the obvious out the way: yes, I bought the new iPhone 3G. Max PC's ex-podcast producer Jeremy Williams and I waited outside the Stonestown Galleria mall in San Francisco for three hours this afternoon to get ahold of Steve Job's latest shiny gadget. Both of us were existing iPhone owners and have no shame about it.
The wait was about three hours long, and we had to do most of the waiting outside the mall to prevent clogging up foot traffic in front of the Apple store. Every half an hour, 10 to 15 people would be led inside to stand in another line before finally making it inside the store to make their purchase. Maybe it was because I was wearing an ironed buttoned-down shirt and carrying a laptop, but many people passing by stopped to ask me what the line was for. More than a few of them had no idea that a new iPhone had been released when I told them, which was pretty shocking for me to hear. Even my tech-phobic parents who couldn't send email if their lives depended on it knew about the iPhone; I genuinely could not imagine being so out of the tech-news loop. Then I decided to just start lying.
Click through the jump to see what I told the next ten clueless bystanders.