We just got our hands on some gritty new screenshots from the next Wolfenstein game, which is being shown at this year's QuakeCon. Published by Activision and developed by Raven Software, Wolfenstein once again sends soldier BJ Blazkowicz to fight Nazis and supernatural demons in an alternate World War II. The screens show Nazi troops assembled in the dark, resistance fighters huddled in demolished buildings, and most interestingly, new map locations that have been transformed with a supernatural green tint of destruction. We don't know how these environmental shifts will occur, or how it ties with the story, but it sure looks cool!
Click through for our full gallery of full-resolution screens.
If Apple has a giant target on its back, it's Dell that keeps taking aim. Earlier this week Dell launched its Studio Hybrid desktop, a hip looking miniature sized PC that will do battle with Apple's Mac Mini, and now the company wants to wage a war in the portable music player market too.
According to the Wall Street Journal, several Dell officials have indicated the OEM has been testing a digital music player for the past several months and that it could see the light of day by September, the same time millions of kids will be seen lugging their iPods back to school as dozens of those less fortunate look on in envy with their Zunes. But it's not exactly unchartered territory for Dell, who half a decade ago launched its Dell DJ line, a now defunct music player that never even had a chance to take on the iPod. Now Dell will get that chance.
Dell's new music player will purportedly feature a small navigation screen with basic button scrolls, and will sport a WiFi connection for linking up with online music services. Most surprisingly, the new player is said to be priced at less than $100.
Does Dell have a shot at slicing into Apple's market share with a budget MP3 player, or will it ultimately join the DJ in the gadget graveyard?
The Mashable social networking blog reports that the creators of the now-offline Scrabble clone Scrabulous, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, have now launched Wordscraper. Wordscraper, like its now-vanished sibling, is for Facebook users only.
Wordscraper doesn't look like Scrabble, as it uses circles instead of squares for letter placement. Although Wordscraper uses multiple letter and word scores like Scrabble, it implements them with different-colored circles, and the default board uses a much different layout than Scrabble.
To learn more about what makes Wordscraper different, and maybe better, than its predecessor, join us after the jump.
Intel can not only lay claim as the current king of chip technology, but its upcoming Nehalem microarchitecture looks poised to keep the silicon studs on top of the competition well into 2009. AMD has yet to threaten Intel's position ever since Conroe, and while the company remains confident under Dirk Meyer as the new head honcho, it's still playing catch up to Intel's 45nm technology.
The situation gets a little more competitive when switching from CPUs to GPUs, and according to Tomshardware, sources at both ATI and Nvidia are saying they will each have a 40nm GPU manufacturing process by the first half of 2009, possibly to be unveiled at next year's CeBit.
Assuming either company meets their target, the accomplishment will unseat Intel as the technological leader in terms of the smallest chip structures, even if only for a short time. The road won't stop at Nehalem and Intel is already busy developing 32nm CPUs, which many expect to be shown off in prototype form at the company's spring development forum in H1 2009. Volume shipments could come as early as Q3 next year.
Even so, if 40nm GPUs materialize as reported, it will mark the first time GPUs will overtake CPUS in terms of production nodes. That won't necessarily make it a better chip, but you can expect plenty of fanfare should Nvidia and/or ATI dethrone the silicon king.
Here's some shocking news just breaking from the Quakecon Keynote: Rage and Doom 4 will not be sold online via digital distribution. Rage, being published by EA, would be an obvious choice for EA's Downloader service, but apparently that won't be the case. The only way to buy the two games whenever they come out is in stores with boxed copies.
Additionally, Rage will most likely ship on multiple game discs for the Xbox 360. The DVD-only format for the Xbox 360 is its biggest limiting factor, since the Xbox 360-formatted discs actually hold 1GB less than standard 4.7GB DVDs (multiplied by two when dual-layered). And since the royalty charge per disc is actually surprisingly high, id hopes that Microsoft will make a concession for Rage, or else the company may actually have to sacrifice texture and asset quality to get the game to fit on fewer than THREE discs. The cost of the 3rd DVD alone would cost millions of dollars with the current royalty rate, says John Carmack.
When comparing the Xbox 360 to the PS3, the more spacious Blu-ray format is the only thing Carmack likes more about Sony's console. Everything else is better on the 360, he says.
John Carmack gave QuakeCon attendees a glimpse into his thoughts about the next-generation of gaming graphics. id Tech 6, for example, probably won't be coded in Java or any protected language. It also will be designed for hardware that doesn't excist right now. With new discrete graphics players entering the field (Larrabee, Fusion, etc), Carmack knows that the PC space is relavent, and that's where he'll be looking when thinking about coding his next engine.
When considering console technology and the next-generation of consoles (whether it's PS4 or Xbox 720), Carmack actually hopes that the console generation will last twice as long as the previous ones -- though he doesn't think it'll be a reality, as console makers will want to one-up competitors with early releases. Doom 4 will come out for this generation of hardware, but anything after that is up in the air. But one thing he's certain of: the practical approach for people who want to code games that look like today's games but better will be polygon-based.
With CUDA and General Purpose Computing, Carmack says he thinks it's interesting, but he's still waiting to see if there will be other real-application standards to drive graphics. There's no solid background for these new technologies like there was with OpenGL and Direct3D. He sees these technologies as toy research products, and not real applications. It's just like the mid 90s, when graphics were in a period of flux. Billions of dollars are being spent to make bets on the next big thing, but he's worried about years being wasted on speculative architectures.
More frag-related news coming out of QuakeCon's annual keynote. On the topic of Quake Live, John Carmark revealed that the project had to change its name from Quake Zero because of an enterprising domain squatter who bought up the related URLs immediately after the project's announcement last year. But since the game was still very early in development, the team had no problem changing the name to Quake Live.
We prodded Carmack during our E3 interview about mod support, and we finally have an answer. Because the game is web-browser based, with minimal installation, it will not officially support any in-game modifications. Instead, id is taking advice from gamers who've played Quake 3 for the past 9 years and trying to incorporate as many features into the release as possible. There will be no Quake Live SDK -- the free game is supposed to just be a gateway for gamers to enter the deathmatch scene. Id will, however, continue to integrate improvements with regular updates after the game is released. Officially approved user-generated maps that run on official servers is definitely a possibility, said Carmack.
Even though Quake Live is only being worked on by a team of 8 people, it sounds like id really wants and needs this experiment to succeed. For anyone who wants to see a true sequel to Quake III Arena (or as Carmack calls it, Quake Arena), that title will probably never be created if the Quake Live project doesn't pay off.
In other Rage and Doom 4 related news, Rage will be a fixed 60Hz game and Doom 4 will be 30 Hz (with 3 times the graphical horsepower of Rage) on consoles. On PCs, however, Carmack believes Doom 4 will be able to run at 60Hz if you have state of art hardware (who knows what that could mean by the time the game is released). Rage will definitely be out by the QuakeCon after next year.
One of the big themes to this year's QuakeCon is the idea that id Software wants to put a new emphasis on making games that are fun. The creaters of Quake and Doom are well-known for the technical prowess and graphical achivement in their games, but it sounds like they realized that a few of their most recent games were missing a key ingredient: Fun.
At this year's keynote, John Carmack used the "F" word (fun, of course) when describing id Software's upcoming projects: Quake Live, Rage, and Doom 2 RPG. For Quake Live, they are tweaking the matchmaking to ensure that players of all skill levels can have fun. With Rage, the only word they'll give about a release date is that it'll ship "when it's fun and when it's done."
In his QuakeCon 2008 keynote today, John Carmack stated that he thinks the iPhone developer's kit is much better than the ones for Java or Brew-based phones. In terms of pure graphics, the iPhone is roughly the equivalent of a Dreamcast, said Carmack. It's feature set and horsepower can deliver what gamers saw on the PS2 or original Xbox, especially since it has a lot of RAM.
Originally, Carmack contemplated porting Orcs and Elves for the iPhone, but he didn't want to devote 3 man-months to make it happen, when he wasn't sure the company could make the money back (Carmack estimated that only about 15% of the QuakeCon audience had iPhones). Instead, id has plans for two new iPhone games. One will be an RPG syle game, and the other a "graphical tour de force." This second game will be beyond anything you've seen on the PSP or Nintendo DS. No release date was announced for these tiles, only that they were in early development.
Carmack's enthusiasm for for mobile gaming was readily apparent in his keynote. He's excited by the success of iPhone game sales, and hopes that the iPhone will drive other providers into making better hardware.
With the help of LG, Netflix just took another giant step into your living room. With the production of the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Player, Netflix users will now be able to stream Netflix videos directly to their TV. But does this come at an additional cost? And what about high definition streaming?