Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wii 2 Details Revealed - Round Up

The idea behind remote gaming isn't a new one. While OnLive attempt to bring the concept to the forefront on a grand scale (cloud computing), companies like Sony have dabbled in similar ventures on a much smaller level. With the PS3 for example, you could directly stream videogame content from the unit to the PSP, thus using the handheld device as a portable PS3 controller while also being able to play select games on it as a result. This was a headlining feature touted by Factor 5's Lair, although it goes unused by most developers.

Now a similar concept is said to be behind the very heart of the Wii 2. Nintendo's latest machine will apparently feature a 6" LCD screen directly on the controller - much like the Sega Dreamcast and its VMU display - in which users of Nintendo's new console will be able to wirelessly stream their games directly from the Wii 2 to the system's controller for portable play.

So far, from what we gather this appears to be just for local wireless play at present, although there's no stopping Nintendo from expanding this concept online via a broadband connection. At this point, it should be noted that the PS3 (with Lair) managed to achieve game streaming over wireless broadband regardless of your location. The quality and speed of both your connection and the remote wireless network dictated how laggy an experience you got, with fast connections obviously allowing for far less input latency.

Additionally, Nintendo's controller for their next machine will reportedly feature the standard dual analogue stick, four buttons and a d-pad approach missing on the Wii's Remote and Nunchuck set-up. Other interesting tidbits include backwards compatibility with the Wii (emulation in HD perhaps) and that the new controller's LCD display actually has touch screen functionality. This LCD screen is also considered to be 'HD'. However that doesn't simply imply a native 720p resolution, as the NGP and iPhone 4 has shown.

The company is also said to be targeting the hardcore gaming audience with the Wii 2 after languishing behind in this area with the current Wii and NDS consoles, thus the return to traditional controllers.

As a result sources have been told to expect HD graphics from the console (a given really), and a system that exceeds the capabilities of the PS3. It has been indicated that Nintendo could be using a custom, three core IBM PowerPC CPU, and a ATI R700 family GPU with shader model 4.1 extensions. Curiously, the inclusion of a mere 512MB of RAM seems a little low. We expect that 1GB is far more reasonable for a 2012 release machine. But this is all hearsay and conjecture at the moment.

One thing we do know, is that Nintendo is planning to fully unveil the machine, along with both first and third-party software for the system at this year's E3, with an announcement to be forthcoming ahead of the show.

Sources sighted: GameInformer, Develop, and CVG.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Crysis 2 Gets Custom Graphics Settings

Crytek raised a few eyebrows when they revealed that Crysis 2 would feature 'fixed' graphics modes rather than the option to individually customise certain visual elements of the title. Instead of users having the ability of set levels of anti-aliasing, shadow quality, along with enabling and disabling of various effects (SSAO, colour grading, etc), there are simply three distinct options in place of those - modes outlined as 'high', 'very high', and 'extreme', each featuring a few additional upgrades in certain areas.

However, it is possible to tailor the various graphical components of the game via the internal config file, and for some users that also meant a patch could be developed allowing easy access to all those settings. And that is exactly what has happened.

Wasdie, a member of the MyCrysis forums has developed a GUI that enables the end user to set a wide range of parameters for the game's graphical outlay. These include everything from shader quality to the giving the choice of what kind of anti-aliasing you'd like the to use.

This GUI is installed and then run before the user loads up Crysis 2, and easily labels each of the various settings with the same naming conventions given to the title's three standard graphical modes. In addition it is possible to downgrade the game further still, with access to 'Low' and 'Mid-spec' settings only present in the leaked build of the game.

The most compelling part, is that the ability to now use MSAA with the option checked in the GUI (and edge-AA set to off) further increases the gap between consoles and the PC, with just 4xMSAA delivering a noticeable boost in image quality over Crytek's own temporal anti-aliasing solution. While we're not sure how much this affects overall performance, we do know that Crysis 2's temporal AA solution was relatively light in using up system resources in comparison. And this is definitely something we'll be aiming to test out as soon as we get the time.

Seeing as the range of configurations have now dramatically increased, and that visibly higher IQ is now available for those wanting to 'max out' the game as usually intended on high-end gaming rigs, we shall hopefully be taking a closer look at this recent mod in a future update here at IQGamer. Until then updates on this site might be a little quiet as I'm currently working on the next Face-Off for Digital Foundry. But please, do keep an eye out.