No Man’s Sky’s 17th free content update adds bustling, task-filled settlements

Your friendly settlement, complete with a friendly neighborhood robo-walker suit. [credit:
Hello Games ]

Can you believe it has been five years since the gaming Internet first lost its mind about No Man’s Sky? The ambitious game launched in 2016 with a seemingly infinite galaxy and clearly finite mechanical systems—a beautiful portal to interactive zen, yes, but arguably not what salivating fans had imagined in the hype-filled run-up.
But if you’ve booted the game in the years since, you may have noticed that it is a massively different gaming proposition than its August 2016 incarnation. With free update after free update, the game has grown to something beyond its initial pitches—and today, it grows further still with its… hold on, let me carry the one… seventeenth free content update.
18 quintillion planets, 17 updates
This 17th dump of content, dubbed No Man’s Sky: Frontiers, will arrive on


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1791044

Original article

It’s time for more undead shenanigans with What We Do in the Shadows S3

Human “familiar” Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) wants nothing more than to be a vampire someday. [credit:
YouTube/FX ]

It’s no secret that several Ars staffers are big fans of What We Do in the Shadows, FX’s Emmy-nominated supernatural comedy series; S2 even made our year’s best TV list last year. FX just dropped the official trailer for the eagerly awaited third season. Even better, the network has given the show an early S4 renewal, so we’ll be getting plenty more undead shenanigans from our favorite band of bumbling bloodsuckers.
(Some spoilers for first two seasons below.)
As I’ve written previously, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement wrote, directed, and starred in the original 2014 horror-comedy, playing vampire roommates Vladislav (Clement) and Viago (Waititi) in Wellington, New Zealand. Given their nocturnal nature, they and their vampire friends haven’t adapted to modern life particularly well, and their mishaps as


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1787188

Original article

Criterion announces support for 4K UHD Blu-ray, beginning with Citizen Kane

Enlarge / Coming soon in full 4K. (credit: Criterion)
The Criterion Collection, one of the most renowned distributors of home films on various formats, has long been dogged for not releasing movies on the latest high-resolution disc format, 4K UHD Blu-ray. That situation finally changes this week with the announcement of Criterion films coming to 4K discs later this year.
As it turns out, Criterion waited to secure the rights to a pivotal film—Citizen Kane—before making its 4K entrance. This film choice, coming to 4K Blu-ray in “November 2021,” is remarkable for a few reasons. But beyond its inclusion in typical best-films-ever lists, Criterion hasn’t been able to release a version of Citizen Kane since its 50th anniversary Laserdisc release in 1992.
That same month, five other films from Criterion will join Citizen Kane in 4K UHD Blu-ray format:Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1786419

Original article

Game engine, meet game streaming: Unity acquires Parsec for $320M

Enlarge / Unity unites with Parsec in a $320 million deal. (credit: Aurich Lawson)
The parent company of Unity, one of the most popular game development engines in the world, has made arguably its biggest acquisition of another gaming company yet. The deal, announced on Tuesday, sees Unity taking control of Parsec, a peer-to-peer game-streaming protocol. The acquisition is valued at $320 million.
In the years since Unity’s 2005 inception, its tools have been used to make games for pretty much every console, smartphone, and VR platform imaginable. It’s similar to other publicly available game engines like Unreal, as it revolves around a general toolset that can be used to build video games from scratch or expanded upon as developers see fit. Unity users can then nimbly port finished games across a variety of weaker and stronger platforms.
A recent stock market IPO by Unity Technologies infused the company with cash, which


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1786234

Original article

How one game’s delisting pokes a hole in the Xbox Game Pass promise

Enlarge / Another sim racer bites the dust—and this time without a new one in its place. (credit: Xbox Game Studios / Turn 10)
Microsoft has long boasted about the backward compatibility of its Xbox consoles, letting you play hundreds of past-gen games on newer systems like the Series X/S. But the game publisher and console maker is quieter about taking older games down from its digital storefronts—and this week’s latest casualty, coming from a popular first party, presents problems for Xbox’s recent sales pitches.
On paper, the basic announcement may look humdrum to savvy modern-gaming fans. Starting September 15, 2021, the sim racing game Forza Motorsport 7 will no longer be available on Xbox’s digital download shops. That date marks roughly four years past the game’s 2017 launch on Xbox One consoles, and “four years” is key. Since the Xbox Live download store has been in operation, other Forza games,


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1783927

Original article

F1 2021 reviewed: Codemasters adds story, keeps the racing sim feeling fresh

As the name suggests, F1 2021 is this year’s official Formula 1 racing sim. [credit:
Electronic Arts
]

If you’re old enough to have started playing video games by the turn of the century, the words “EA releases a new Formula 1 game” might strike fear into your heart. After all, the gaming behemoth published some pretty bad F1-branded racing games between 2000-2003. But even though this year’s box art has the EA logo on it, F1 2021 still feels solidly like a Codemasters’ game through and through (EA bought the British studio earlier this year).
That’s good news, as Codemasters has been responsible for several extremely good F1 games over the past few years. As ever, the studio’s challenge is to make this year’s installment sufficiently different from last year’s version to get people to open their wallets. For F1 2021, the changes are


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1779557

Original article

30 under $25: A collection of good hidden gem games from Steam’s Summer Sale

Enlarge / Paper Beast. (credit: Pixel Reed, PID Games)
The latest rendition of Steam’s annual Summer Sale has been underway for about a week now, and, as usual, it’s discounted virtually everything on the PC games store. But while the Halos, Grand Theft Autos, and other mega-hits of the world may get the most front-page attention, the sheer breadth of the sale means that a truckload of lesser-known but more-than-worthwhile games have dropped to more approachable prices as well. To assist those who’d like to expand their interactive palate, I’ve rounded up a collection of recent under-the-radar games that are both worth your time and nicely discounted.
To be clear, this list isn’t comprehensive. There are several thousand games on sale, and, unfortunately, we can’t play everything. (As always, feel free to share your own recommendations below.) Definitions of “under-the-radar” may differ, but the vast majority of this list consists of games we haven’t covered


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1776268

Original article

DirectStorage on Windows 11: Next-gen gaming performance, with PC requirements

Enlarge / Xbox interface on Windows 11. (credit: Microsoft)
Like many of Microsoft’s PC-specific announcements over the years, Thursday’s sprawling Windows 11 unveiling included some gaming-specific elements—and at least one with major, next-gen performance in mind.
Arguably the biggest component is DirectStorage, a DirectX 12 Ultimate API previously announced (and then launched) as part of the Xbox Series X/S consoles. This API requires a higher-speed SSD drive, as it redirects I/O calls for 3D graphical assets directly to the GPU, leveraging the higher average throughput of PCI 3.0 speeds to do so at a rate that demanding software like games can take advantage of. This isn’t just a matter of faster loading times. Visual elements like draw distances, texture variety, and instant asset introduction become possible, letting us get away from 3D worlds being interrupted by narrow hallways, elevators, and other in-game trickery. With that boost, game makers can reimagine the scope


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1775968

Original article

No Man’s Sky gets the world’s first VR-DLSS performance boost—let’s test it

Enlarge / No Man’s Sky added a bunch of trippy stuff this week, including rideable mounts. We love mounts. But we also love frames, so hence, we’re analyzing the game’s newfound use of DLSS, specifically in its punishing VR mode. (credit: Hello Games)
Over the past few years, Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS) standard has largely delivered on its magical promise: smoother gaming performance and crisper imagery, all based off of zillions of machine-farm computations to predict 3D game visuals. (You can see comprehensive DLSS breakdowns in my reviews of the RTX 3060 and RTX 3080 Ti.) The catch remains that your computer needs a compatible Nvidia “RTX” GPU to tap into the proprietary standard, which has become an ever-tougher pill to swallow in a chip-shortage world.
Still, if you run a DLSS-compatible game on an Nvidia RTX GPU, the performance gains can range from a solid 25 percent to an astonishing 90


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1769190

Original article

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: