OCC TECH NEWS
September 25, 2014
Major League Gaming is planning to open the first eSports arena in the United States in late October in Columbus, Ohio. MLG has hosted a number of events in Columbus over the years and Adam Apicella of MLG described the location choice saying, "With 62 colleges in the Columbus region, hundreds of thousands of university and high school students in the 11-county area, and close proximity to our audience on the East Coast, Columbus is a great location for our MLG.tv Arena." Katie Goldberg of MLG gave a description of the planned layout of the arena which will have, "a main stage set up, sound proof booths, lights, video screens, bleachers, monitors, IT and video equipment to broadcast via MLG.tv." The first event to be hosted will be the Call of Duty: Ghosts pro league playoffs and according to Adam's Twitter account, there will be roughly 200 seats for spectators at the event.
Source: SB Nation and Twitter
The Dark Ages approach. A time of famine, disease and war, where refugees in their thousands flee from a sweeping tide of destruction and death. Desperate barbaric tribes rally against the ailing might of a dying and divided Roman empire; the light of civilization gutters and dims. In the great steppes of Scythia, a vast and terrifying force gathers, led by a warrior king whose thirst for conquest is utterly unequalled.
The Scourge of God, the very herald of the apocalypse, Attila the Hun.
That is how the press release for Creative Assembly's next game in the venerable Total War series begins, and it paints quite the picture. Total War: ATTILA starts in 395 AD, 367 years after the official end of Total War: Rome II's campaign. The Roman Empire has been split into two, with the Western Roman Empire on its last legs and the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire) rising to power. The unique landscape of the time allows Creative Assembly to introduce what it's calling a "legendary start position": "Playing as the Western Roman Empire you will begin with vast territories under your control, but weakened by political in-fighting and threatened on all sides by enemies, your dominance will quickly become a struggle to survive."
Aside from an all new play-style, some fan favorite features absent in Rome II will be returning. According to project lead Janos Gaspar, "We're reintroducing some features that fans have been asking for, such as family trees and skill trees, and improving many of the core aspects of Total War we know are important to them. But to really bring the period to life, we're building on these foundations with many new strategic features for them to consider, such as advanced street-fighting, civilians, complete settlement destruction and dynamic fire that can rage across a city as armies class."
Total War: ATTILA is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2015 for Windows PC and Mac, and will be running on a modified version of Rome II's Warscape engine; hopefully without all the technical issues that continue to plague that game.
Source: Press Release and Official Site
I am not actually sure about how many LEDs there are around me presently, but there are definitely many. While these light sources are all fairly efficient, compact, and have a long lifespan, they do have an emission problem. Most of the light an LED actually produces can be trapped inside of it, but researchers at Princeton University have recently developed a new LED design that lets the light out.
Believe it or not, but some simple LEDs only emit 2-4% of the light they create. The remainder of the light stays trapped within the LED, producing heat that will actually shorten the light's lifespan. By adding reflectors, lenses, and other structures, more of the light will be emitted, but a display using such LEDs could then reflect ambient light, reducing its contrast. The solution to that has been to add a light-absorbing material to the display, which cuts the brightness by as much as half. The Princeton researchers have a new design in mind though that uses a nanotechnology structure called plasmonic cavity with subwavelength hole-array (PlaCSH). This puts a metal mesh on top of the LED that guides photons out of the LED and to a viewer.
The researchers predict that this system, which will work with both organic and inorganic LEDs, could increase efficiency by 58% and display contrast by 400%, while also being flexible. Producing organic LEDs with the PlaCSH is also a simple affair with nanoimprint technology, which allows the structures to be produced like printing newspapers.
Source: Princeton University
While Triad Wars is getting all the buzz this week, it's not the only thing Square Enix and developer United Front Games have brewing. Back in August, the two announced Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One; a remastering of 2012's critically acclaimed third-person, open-world action game Sleeping Dogs. Besides new high resolution textures, increased traffic and pedestrian density, new lighting, ambient fog, and improved gameplay, the Definitive Edition also includes all 24 pieces of DLC integrated right into the game. Today, Square Enix and United Front released a brand new "101 Trailer" that details everything you need to know:
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition will be arriving October 10 in Europe and October 14 in North America. While the game is priced at $59.99 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the price for the PC version is a mere $29.99. No word on whether Steam will feature a loyalty discount like Square Enix did for Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut.
Source: Press Release
As we inch closer to Alien: Isolation's release date, it seems Creative Assembly is ramping up its #HowWillYouSurvive video series. If you haven't been paying attention, we've already had four such videos: "No Escape", "Don't Shoot", "In The Vents", and "Hear You Scream". Now we get two new entries in the series: "Misdirection" and "Nowhere is Safe". In the first video, we learn how to use a noisemaker, while in the second video, we learn that that Xenomorph is a lot smarter than your average enemy.
Alien: Isolation is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 7. You can check the PC system requirements at the official site. A Season Pass will also be available, featuring five Survivor Mode add-on packs.
Source: Press Release
For a handful of years or so, consumers have had access to OLED displays in some devices, and every year the number of devices grows. Now we can even find some OLED displays large enough to monitors and televisions that can be rolled up. As reported by the American Chemical Society, a new method of creating transistors has been developed that may help bring flexible electronics to more consumers in the coming years.
Traditionally transistors are produced using a multi-step photolithography process that etches a pattern into a wafer using light and some rather toxic materials. Metal oxide semiconductors have been attracting attention of late, but do lack certain properties, such as flexibility. The new method described in ACS Nano however uses new inks that can create patterns on ultrathin, transparent devices using light. This avoids the use of the toxic materials and high temperatures with the direct light sensitivity. It also allows for a simpler manufacturing process, and that could drastically help with bringing flexible electronics to more people.
Source: American Chemical Society
This week is drawing to a close, but not before some more reviews find their way in. We have a look at the MSI Nightblade Z97, a barebones system that features the Z97i Gaming AC motherboard, a slim DVD drive, and a 600 watt power supply. The rest of the parts are up to you, so be sure to check it out to see how it holds up. There's also a review on the Thermaltake Water 3.0 UIltimate Water Cooling System, which has a triple 120 radiator to hopefully offer some impressive cooling potential. For those needing a new monitor, the Acer XB280HK 28-inch 4K monitor could be the one, as it not only features a 4K resolution, but NVIDIA G-SYNC. Finally there's a look at using Gmail to unify your email inboxes and fight spam.
MSI Nightblade Z97 @ LanOC Reviews
Thermaltake Water 3.0 UIltimate Water Cooling System @ ThinkComputers
Acer XB280HK 28-inch 4K G-SYNC @ PC Perspective
Switching Away from Outlook or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Gmail @ TechSpot
Tt eSPORTS, the leading expert in professional e-Sports gaming peripherals, has announced the latest device to enter the CHALLENGER series of membrane gaming keyboards, the CHALLENGER Prime. The latest gaming keyboard from Tt eSPORTS offers gamers with not only aggressive styling but also maximum customizability. Some of the features that are integrated into the CHALLENGER Prime include an adjustable repeat rate, adjustable polling rate, key mapping, macros, multimedia keys, onboard memory for profiles storage, and shortcut keys. The dial, which is found out the top of the CHALLENGER Prime, allows for the brightness of the blue, red, and purple backlighting colors to be adjusted, while the built-in onboard memory is capable of storing macros, lighting mode, and lighting color for each of the three profiles. Anti-spill technology is found on the CHALLENGER Prime as well, with spills able to pass through drainage holes found in the keyboard frame.
The Tt eSPORTS CHALLENGER Prime gaming keyboard represents quite a value, as it carries an MSRP of $29.99. While the keyboard is set to be released on October 20, 2014, consumers can preorder it from Newegg immediately.
Source: Press Release
September 24, 2014
Action-RPG The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II hit Steam on May 22, and now roughly four months later, a Complete Pack has been released. The Van Helsing II: Complete Pack contains the base game, the original soundtrack, the Ink Hunt DLC, and just-released Pigasus DLC, all for $19.99 compared to $14.99 for just the base game. With the new DLC, "you can summon a new creature by spending Essence and you can purchase powerful items in your Lair from the Pigasus."
Along with the Pigasus DLC and Complete Pack, Van Helsing II now also supports Mac as of today.
Source: Press Release and Neocore Dev Blog
Inno3D has announced a new cooler targeted at the latest high powered GPUs, the iChill Herculez X4 Air Boss. The cooler is based on a large copper base with two high heat flux heatpipes on each side. A total of three fans with 15 fins each provide the cooling power with a 50mm fan helping to provide some additional heat dissipation. The metal casing that holds everything together can be detached for easy cleaning. In addition to the standalone cooler, Inno3D is also offering custom versions of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 and 980. The cards should provide improved cooling over stock cards due to the improved heatsink design.
Source: Press Release
The flagship mouse from Razer, the DeathAdder, will now join the BlackWidow and Kraken as products to use the new Chroma feature. Chroma allows devices to "sync lighting colors and patterns and comes with an open SDK that enables game developers to integrate advanced lighting effects based on in-game events such as a base being under attack and much more." The mouse itself uses the same ergonomic design as previous iterations of the DeathAdder and also boasts a 10,000 DPI optical sensor that can be adjusted on the fly. Also included are five programmable buttons and 1000 Hz Ultrapolling. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said, "Our Synapse software continues to add value to our hardware products, and this is the latest example of that. Validated by professional eSports athletes, the iconic ergonomic design and the ability for gamers to hone their accuracy make the Razer DeathAdder Chroma the perfect mouse for any play style." The DeathAdder Chroma is available immediately at an MSRP of $69.99, and the Chroma SDK will be available later this year.
Source: Press Release
The Sun can pour an unbelievable amount of energy onto Earth, which is why so many systems exist to capture and use that energy. The catch is that our energy use patters do not always align with production times. Storage systems help with this, and researchers at the University of Basque Country have recently developed an improved version of one system, that could lead to its increased use.
As their name suggests, solar thermal panels can collect the thermal energy of Sunlight. Often those panels are connected to tanks of water, which store the heat. For optimal performance, these tanks are tall and thin cylinders, but optimal performance is not necessarily optimal convenience. The Basque Country researchers have changed that though by adding a phase change material to the design. Specifically a commercial paraffin was added by encapsulating it in aluminum plates, and arranging the plates to have channels water can flow through. The paraffin will melt at 60 ºC, absorbing heat from the water in the process, and when the water is colder, the paraffin will solidify and transfer heat back to the water.
This design is more compact and even modular, unlike water tanks, which opens up the possibility of it being used in a variety of new places. The researchers are now working on a full-scale prototype to be tested in an experimental facility.
Source: University of the Basque Country