Monthly Archives: October 2016

Revelation Online Announces Closed Beta Date

My.com announced today that the first closed beta event for the NA/EU Version of Revelation Online will run from October 25 until November 8th. Players that won a key via a giveaway will be able to play in this closed beta event, and players that purchased a founder’s pack also have access to the event.

Revelation in a Chinese MMORPG that is in the progress of being ported into North America and Europe. Revelation Online will feature battlegrounds, sieges, dungeons, raids, and open world bosses. Revelation combines some of the best features from successful MMOS, and does a little bit of everything.

Revelation brings back the excitement in leveling. Instead of being a boring, short process that acts as a gateway to endgame, leveling in Revelation is the endgame. After level 50, players need to complete high difficulty dungeons to gear up their character in order to stand a chance at higher level brackets. Players can’t simply just rush to the level cap, as it’s important to progress adequately and actually play the game as you progress. Revelation also includes limitations that help close the gap between players with differing amount of time available to play.

In the closed beta, players can play the story up until level 49, have access to 4 different dungeons with multiple difficulty levels, and participate in 10v10 battlegrounds. The publisher plans to gradually increase the amount of content available in each beta test.

Like most beta tests of online games, it’s important to remember that progress will be wiped before the game officially launches into early access.

 

 

Dolby Axon, A Surround Sound VOIP Program, Is Shutting Down This Year

 

dolby_axon_software

Dolby announced today that Axon, their surround sound voice chat software, is shutting down on December 5, 2016. All user data will be erased one week after the shut down. Users will not be able to use the software after the shut down, as it relies on their servers to operate.

Dolby Axon is a gimmicky surround sound voice chat program in which users select a physical location within a virtual room, and hear other users based on their location in the virtual room relative to their own. This provides some level of tactical advantage in certain types of games, where you might need a lot of people in the same chat room, but want certain users to hear each other more than others.(For example, a large raid in an MMORPG where players are split up into smaller groups)

The application did not find much widespread use among gamers, and as a result, it is being shut down. The program was confusing and difficult for new users to figure out. While there are some cases in which hardcore gamers could benefit from the program, the low rate of market adaption, as well as difficulty in setting it up deterred most gaming guilds/groups from choosing it as their VOIP solution.

Dolby Axon allowed users to form permanent communities for free, much like what Discord now provides. With Discord being very easy to use, not requiring a download, having a mobile app, and being completely free, Dolby Axon lost the appeal it had as a voice chat solution that allows users to create channels for free.

The Dolby team recommends using Curse or Discord as an alternative for existing users/communities.

Other Potential Uses?

While Dolby Axon is shutting down, it’s quite possible that Dolby may find other uses for it’s client-server, surround sound VOIP technology. Online games, especially those in Virtual Reality, could benefit immensely from a surround-sound voice chat system, if it includes API to allow the game to provide in game player locations to the software. Surround sound voice chat could add another layer of realism to VR games. Many small development studios might not want to spend the time and money creating a surround-sound, client-server based voice chat system, and could theoretically opt to license it from another company to save on costs involved with reinventing the wheel.

This is all speculation, but it does seem like a smart way to make use of what they’re scrapping. Dolby Axon failed due to its confusing interface and high level of setup required of users. If they can find a way to create an API in which they can integrate the software directly with online games, it could solve every single issue the software faced, and create a lot of value for small-medium sized development studios creating online games.

 

Oculus Reduces Minimum System Requirements

Thanks to a new technology called “asynchronous spacewarp”, Oculus has managed to reduce it’s minimum system requirements. Asynchronous spacewarp is a form of interpolation that enables a game rendered at 45 FPS to be smoothed out to a display rate of 90 fps on the headset. The device technology takes the 2 most recent frames, analyzes differences, and uses them along with head movement to calculate an additional frame to create a smoother experience.

A true 90 fps will still provide a more smooth and accurate gaming experience, but this technology will substantially improve the experience for those playing on a system that cannot achieve this framerate. It also will help users keep their current hardware for longer, as users that aren’t able to maintain 90 fps in newer games will be able to maintain a satisfactory experience through this new interpolation technique.

 

Old System Requirements

Intel i5 4690

NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290

8 GB RAM

Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

HDMI 1.3 video output

3 USB 3.0 ports and a 1 USB 2.0 port.

New System Requirements

Intel i3 6100 or AMD FX 4350

NVIDIA GTX 960

8 GB RAM

Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

HDMI 1.3 video output

3 USB 3.0 ports and a 1 USB 2.0 port.

What’s actually needed for VR?

While Oculus specifies a minimum hardware specification, to some extent it is based around future proofing. Most of the current VR games on the market have very simple graphics, and in theory should run well on systems below the minimum requirements if graphics are turned down. With that said, they have to provide a baseline minimum specification that developers are expected to target, in order to ensure that games are accessible to most owners of the device. Oculus doesn’t want their customers to be upset if a VR game they buy doesn’t run smoothly, as it reflects poorly on the device(even if they aren’t actually at fault). For this reason, they set the bar high to ensure performance.

With that said, if you’re in a position to spend $600 or more on a VR headset, it’s probably best to invest in a system that will be able to run games 2-3 years down the line. When new VR headsets come out and developers try to create VR games that push the limits of graphics, it would be best to have a system that can keep up with these advancements. While you might be able to run some VR games just fine on a system below minimum specifications, you’ll be locking yourself out of a lot of really fun games, therefore getting limited use out of the expensive $600 headset.

Currently, a 6 GB GTX 1060 provides roughly equivalent performance to a GTX 980, setting it well above even the minimum requirements. The AMD RX 480 also meets the minimum requirements, at a lower price than the r9 290.