Mafia III - October 7th

 

The third rendition of the Mafia series will be released in just a couple days from today. Hanger 13 and 2K will be bring us another action-filled, story-driven title. Mafia III has been of great anticipation for many who have played previous versions. Receiver of one of GameRant's Best of E3 awards we will be surely getting our money's worth for this singleplayer game. 

Mafia III will be set in 1968 after the Vietnam war and you will be playing as Lincoln Clay, war veteran and mafioso. When his street family is betrayed by the Italian Mafia, you will be sent out on a revenge mission that will include a brutal mix of shootouts, hand to hand combat and reckless driving. This will be an open world game and non-linear games will always have an exponential amount things to do. One of the new features is that you will be able to create your own crew from scratch and choose how you run it, who you keep and who has to sleep with the fishes. 

Personally I believe the Mafia II had one of the most immersive story lines in games such like these. It is really difficult nowadays for game developers to create a popular game and still have a good story line but this is something that he Mafia series has gotten down pretty well. This is certainly one game you do not want to miss out on. 

 

 

From what we know already this game will be really graphics intensive. Here are the minimum and recommend specs:

MINIMUM:
    • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
    • Processor: Intel I5-2500K, AMD FX-8120
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 2GB of Video Memory & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660, AMD Radeon HD7870
    • Storage: 50 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compliant Sound card
RECOMMENDED:
    • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
    • Processor: Intel I7-3770, AMD FX 8350 4.0 Ghz
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 4GB of Video Memory & NVIDIA Gefore GTX 780 or GeForce GTX 1060, AMD Radeon R9 290X
    • Storage: 50 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compliant Sound card

 

SpaceX Mars Mission Envisioned in a Video Game!

 

Last week SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk revealed his plan to make life multiplanetary. SpaceX intends to bring 1,000,000 people to Mars over the course of a few decades. If you have not heard of Elon Musk and his companies, he is deemed as the real-life Tony Stark and he's also a PC gamer!. Elon's goal is to bring humanity out of Earth and onto different planets, he states this is the only way our species will survive in the long run. At the International Astronautical Congress, Musk presented his plan that included an intricate render of the mission and it looked like a Sci-Fi movie trailer! Now what does this have to do with gaming? Well, in one of my first articles, I shared one of my favorite games with you guys and that is, Kerbal Space Program. Unlike most space games out there KSP is a game that is adored by NASA and Elon Musk. It is also one of the only games that is respected by real-life industries in the genre. 

In this tweet Elon shows his enthusiasm for KSP after Marcus House shares his rendition of how SpaceX's Mars transport mission would fold out. We will not being going too in depth about this Mars mission but in summary it is a large, reusable rocket with an estimated cost of $560 million USD. It has an estimated capacity of about 100-200 people. If you are interested in going, SpaceX is hoping to make tickets somewhere in the range of $150,000 to $200,000 per person, (about the cost of a small house in some places but you get to live on a different planet instead!) if you really think about it, it's somewhat a reasonable cost for residency on a different planet. For those of you who have a tendency for cold feet, this is not a one-way trip as the vessel will have to make its way back to Earth. For the pioneers however, Elon estimates that it will take roughly 40-100 years for Mars to be fully self-sustaining. SpaceX hopes to send the first people to Mars by 2024. If you are interested in seeing the presentation you can find it here. During the presentation we get a short video of how the mission is suppose to go, alongside it you can see the exact same mission played in Kerbal Space Program. 

Here is SpaceX's video:

 

Now here is the same mission simulated in KSP:

 

Now in KSP the situation is more controlled as there is substantially less variables that could cause failures but I'd like to think of it as a great way for the community to experience something of this stature in their own homes. Marcus House's video is a great representation of how the game should be played, just a enthusiast simulating space flight. The game is likely the best game out if you want a realistic experience with orbital flight and vessel launching. 

This is not the first brush that the video game industry has had with ground breaking technology. NASA uses VR along with Unreal Engine to create an environment for their astronauts to train in. Also, a couple months ago Nvidia's CEO provided a DGX-1 supercomputer to OpenAI (a non-profit AI research company) to assist in democratizing artificial intelligence technology. 

 

 

Gone are the days of people saying that video games are counter-productive, now this does not apply if you play Call of Duty all day (unless you're going to 360 no scope your way to enlisting). The real-world application of these "gaming companies" is now increasingly productive. It's amazing that the same technology we use to play video games is used for the research and development in advancing our civilization.

 

Amazon Game Studios' New Titles

 

There have been many new announcements lately and a weird turn of events for companies. Nvidia is doing big things in the automotive industry, Blackberry is no longer manufacturing phones and now Amazon is developing their own games. Recently Amazon has been hiring people for their Amazon Game Studios located in Irvine, California (the same city as Blizzard HQ and UCI, the best gaming college). Detroit is known for cars, Manhattan for finance and Silicone Valley for technology. Will Irvine be the new mecca for the gaming industry? There are dozens of companies in the gaming industry for software and hardware, all over Southern California including us!

For a company as well backed as Amazon, it is hard to expect them to flop. They announced 3 games recently and these 3 games are the perfect entry games. Amazon will be tackling three popular genres: MOBAs, MMORPG and Survival. Let's take a brief look at what is coming.

 

 

Breakaway will be Amazon's take on an arena-style MOBA. It is a 4 on 4 action-packed battle featuring featuring warriors of old, myth and legend. If they have done their homework on MOBAs, they will know that it is a hard genre to compete in. Even Blizzard, who is technically the godfather of MOBAs had a rough time with Heroes of the Storm. A unique feature is that they state this game is built for live-streaming. My concern here is that many games have tried implementing built in streaming and have not been too successful. The only way for a game to be successful in live-streaming is if people actually want to watch your content. I am eager to see what kind of new features they will be implementing in conjunction with Twitch. 

 

 

This title will be of huge interest to MMO fans, not often do we get something new and exciting, trust me, everyone is always hoping and searching for the next "WoW-Killer". New World is an open world sand box MMO meaning you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. These games are great since there are no set goals/quests. Based on the picture of the game it seems a little dark which is great, many MMOs nowadays feel slightly too cartoon-y. In New World you can band together with friends to build civilizations or reclaim lands. On the other hand you can set out on your own and create your story. I am definitely looking forward to more news regarding New World. Again, they boast rich social feature and Twitch integration that allow broadcasters to lead their own events and give rewards. 

 

 

Crucible will be a battle royale style fight to be the last survivor on an alien world. Actually, this game will be more like hunger game due to the fact that there will be another player that can control the environment. I'm guessing Amazon is planning on going head to head with H1Z1's King of the Kill and games such as The Culling. The main difference here is that the game will be on an alien planet and will have futuristic weapons. Personally, I would like to hope this game is H1Z1 KotK but with Overwatch-style weapons and characters. 

 

There are no release dates announced for any of the 3 games but I expect that we will see many new videos including gameplay in the near future. As a long-time Prime Member, I am truly excited to see how Amazon's new venture will fold out. Maybe these games will be free for Prime Members.. who knows?

Let us know what you guys think about these games! Which one are you most excited about? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

 

GTA Online: Bikers Release Date Announced

 

The newest DLC for Grand Theft Auto V will be released on October 4th. There has been a surprising amount of content and updates for this latest rendition of GTA. Rockstar is definitely doing their best to keep this game alive and they are doing well. GTA V: Bikers will be available as a free automatic update for PC, Xbox One and PS4. 

The Los Santos and Blaine County will be now have underground motorcycle clubs and a ton of new content. There will be new vehicles, weapons and missions. We will now also be able to use melee attacks on bikes.

 

 

See you guys on the road!

 

Urien Street Fighter V Update !

 

A big, bad character was released recently for Street Fighter V. Urien is the leader of the Illumati in game, he is one of the strongest characters in the story line. It's been a fair while since we have been able to use him in one of the Street Fighter games. His last appearance was in Street Fighter III: Third Strike. Check out how the game used to look:

 

Along with this new patch we will also be getting new skins and a new way of getting Fight Money. There will now be daily quests that you can complete for additional points to unlock cosmetics. This is something that has been requested by the community for quite a bit. Street Fighter V started off pretty rough and felt a little bare at first but it seems like they are working fairly consistently to improve this rendition and I am happy to see that Capcom is actually putting in the effort to maintain their reputation.

Here is Capcom's official trailer for the release of Urien!

 

Time to hit the lab with Urien and get some experience! 

 

Samsung Takes it Up a Notch with the New 960 Pro and 960 Evo SSDs

 

Samsung just announced their new 960 NVMe SSDs. The 950 and 850 series were hugely popular with system builders for their reliability and performance. These newer cards will be substantially faster and will include 1TB and 2TB versions. The 960 EVO will cap at 1TB and the 960 Pro will be at a whopping 2TB. These drives will be a must have for many system builders. The sequential read speed for the 960 Pro peaks at 3,500 MB/s and the write speed will peak at 2,100 MB/s. The 960 EVO, slightly tuned down, will have a max sequential read of 3,200 MB/s and max sequential write of 1,900 Mb/s. This is a great increase from the previous model.

 

 

Now many new motherboards will support these drives. One thing you need to look out for if you are planning on upgrading is whether your motherboard supports this. You will want to make sure the the M.2 slot on your mother board is PCI-E interface. The 960 Pro is the consumer version of the SM961 and the 960 Evo will be the consumer version of the PM961. If you are interested in how the new drive compares to the previous versions please see the chart below.

 

 

Here are the MSRPs of the new models:

  • 960 Pro 2TB: $1,299
  • 960 Pro 1TB: $629
  • 960 Pro 512GB: $329
  • 960 Evo 1TB: 479
  • 960 Evo 500GB: $249
  • 960 Evo 250GB: $129

Samsung is expected to release these around October. I am definitely excited for the release of these new drives and they are certainly on my upgrade wishlist. 

 

Nvidia's Approach to Self-Driving Cars

 

As gamers we mostly look at Nvidia as a enormous company that makes graphics cards. Although throughout the years, Nvidia has been developing advanced technologies to improve society. Just recently they announced their partnership with Baidu to create a cloud to car autonomous platform. The two companies will pool together their technologies, Baidu's cloud platform and mapping technology alongside Nvidia's autonomous vehicle control and parking will be making a large impact in the automotive industry. 

 

“We’re going to bring together the technical capabilities and the expertise in AI and the scale of two world-class AI companies to build the self-driving car architecture from end-to-end, from top-to-bottom, from the cloud to the car,”  - Nvidia's CEO Jen Hsun Huang.

 

This is not Nvidia's debut to the automotive scene, their technology has been used in cars that we know today. Honda had Nvidia processors in their in-car audio and information system and Honda Connect was powered by Tegra. Since then they have partnered with other car companies such as Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Without much competition so far, Nvidia has the opportunity to fully develop as a primary contributor to the self-driving car movement. I for one cannot wait to own a car with this technology. 

 

 

On Monday, September 12 Nvidia unveiled their DRIVE PX 2. This is a palm-sized device that only uses 10 watts of power. This will be initially used for Baidu's cloud computing car. "More than 80 automakers, tier 1 suppliers, startups and research institutions developing autonomous vehicle solutions are using DRIVE PX", the original processor made by Nvidia. 

 

It's amazing how much a company which stems from computer hardware can accomplish, Nvidia will no longer be known as a video card company but they will now be known as a company who is innovating technology. There is a lot of room for the expansion of the automotive industry now that AI technology is involved. If one day all cars were autonomous, there would be no traffic and no accidents. Imagine a freeway where everyone is going the same speed and not a single person is slamming on their brakes. Personally I cannot wait to see how this technology develops. Here's Nvidia's car during testing.

 

 "Look ma' no hands!" - That guy.

 

What are your thoughts on Nvidia's expansion into the automotive industry and would you personally sit in their car?