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Vulkan driver optimizations can now be applied at the game engine level for common bugs

16 Sep 2019

Posted by Falkes in Community News

It's no secret that optimizing drivers for games can be quite a chore. Every time a new AMD, Nvidia, or Intel driver releases, there's a heap of fixes plus a long list of known issues. This latest development, however, should lessen the time and effort needed to optimize for common bugs, like those found at game engine level.

An update to Vulkan's DRIconf framework has been added by Intel today that will now enable the company's ANV and AMD's Radeon RADV Vulkan drivers to use game engine details for a common workaround in case of a broad game engine defect. Such details - like application name, application version, engine name, and engine version - are available thanks to VkInstance and VkApplicationInfo. A move like this was probably on the cards, since just a week prior, Intel enabled its ANV Vulkan driver to work with DRIconf.

For those unaware, DRIconf allows you to configure, store, and load visual quality settings of OpenGL/Vulkan drivers at per-application/game level.

Some progress has been made since then, as a fix dubbed "VK_X11_strict_image_count behavior" for an Unreal Engine 4 bug has been added. This bug prevented a UE4-based game from starting on Vulkan drivers.

AMD has also been making some decent progress when it comes to Vulkan enablement. The company recently introduced a driver specifically to further extend Vulkan support.

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DiRT Rally is free to claim on Steam this time

16 Sep 2019

Posted by Falkes in Community News



It was only a couple of weeks ago when the Humble Store began a giveaway for DiRT Rally, and now, the promotion is having a repeat, with the Steam store taking over the duties this weekend. This is certainly turning out to be a pattern.

Released back in 2015, DiRT Rally arrives out of Codemasters' coffers, and it is still regarded as one of the best rally racing experiences available. The game ships with over 40 rally cars which can be driven on six official rallies housing more than 70 stages. Players can also tune and upgrade their vehicles and even manage car crews to improve repair times in this challenging racer.

DiRT Rally normally comes in at $39.99, but until 10AM PT on September 16 it can be had for the low, low price of free through its Steam store page. It is playable on Windows, Linux, as well as macOS systems, and full VR support is also included. Unlike the Humble giveaway, the promotion doesn't seem to have a limit on the free keys available.

Codemasters has also put some of its other racing games on sale alongside the freebie today, with discounts appearing on the sequel DiRT Rally 2.0, DiRT 4, and F1 2019, among others.

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Wi-Fi Alliance announces Wi-Fi 6 certification program

16 Sep 2019

Posted by Falkes in Community News


It's been some time coming, but the Wi-Fi Alliance has officially launched the certification program for Wi-Fi 6 devices. Wi-Fi 6 is based on the 802.11ax standard, and it's actually been in a number of devices in the past few months and years, but official certification has only been announced today.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6, the official name of the certification, promises four times the capacity of Wi-Fi 5, leveraging high speeds, low latency, and improved power efficiency. Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, said:

“Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 is ushering in a new era of Wi-Fi, building on Wi-Fi’s core characteristics to provide better performance in every environment for users, greater network capacity for service providers to improve coverage for their customers, and new opportunities for advanced applications (...). Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 will deliver improvements in connectivity, including in high density locations and IoT environments.”

In addition to increased speeds and overall performance, Wi-Fi 6 promises more security. Wi-FI CERTIFIED 6 certification also requires certification for WPA3, the latest generation of the Wi-Fi security protocol. It was first launched last year, and support for it has already been added to Windows 10, for example.

Wi-Fi 6 makes use of a number of technologies that enable greater capabilities and more efficiency. These include Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), MU-MIMO, 160 MHz channels, and more:

Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA): effectively shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latency for both uplink and downlink traffic in high demand environments
Multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO): allows more downlink data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to transmit data to a larger number of devices concurrently
160 MHz channels: increases bandwidth to deliver greater performance with low latency
Target wake time (TWT): significantly improves battery life in Wi-Fi devices, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices
1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM): increases throughput in Wi-Fi devices by encoding more data in the same amount of spectrum
Transmit beamforming: enables higher data rates at a given range resulting in greater network capacity

Despite many devices technically supporting 802.11ax, the first Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy Note10, though more are likely to follow in the coming months. Hopefully, Wi-Fi 6 support will become widespread quickly so that its benefits can get to more users.

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Discord's new 'Go Live' feature lets gamers live-stream to up to 10 friends

12 Aug 2019

Posted by Falkes in Community News

Discord, the famed cross-platform voice and text chat app for gamers, is introducing a new feature called 'Go Live' that strikes the balance between streaming to the general public and gaming with friends on a couch (via Gamasutra).

Essentially, with Go Live, gamers will now be able to live-stream their game to up to 10 friends (including the host) with Discord's desktop app or via the website through the browser with minimal impact on the performance of the host machine. In the official press release, Discord claimed that:

Friends can view your stream from anywhere using the desktop app or by browser (mobile spectating coming by end of year). Plus, Go Live is hardware optimized so you can stream with minimal impact to your game performance. Go Live delivers a virtual couch gaming experience, making any game more social by inviting friends to watch and chat along with you.

It is important to note that Go Live is different from the current screen-sharing feature available in Discord as the new feature will employ game-detection to identify whether or not a game is running on the host machine. If a game is detected, only then will Go Live activate and no part of the screen other than the game will be shown to the viewers.

Go Live will be available to the general public starting August 15th. Mac and Linux users will not be able to live-stream their games through the service. However, they will have the option to join an existing live-stream and view it. Moreover, live-streaming will start by default at 720p for free users. Paid subscribers at Discordwill have more options, with Discord Nitro Classic users having the ability to host 1080p streams at up to 60 frames per second while Discord Nitro users having the exclusive option to stream in 4K.
We can follow you here

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