Monthly Archives: June 2020

Windows has added a tiny setting that might improve your gaming performance

Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is here as of the Windows 10 May Update, and it promises a modest boost to your graphics card’s performance – though the jury is still out on how much that performance boost actually matters. Both AMD and Nvidia have recently released drivers that support the feature, so here’s what you need to know.

If you’re running a supported GPU and driver, you can head to Settings, System, Display, and then Graphics Settings toward the bottom of the list in order to access the hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling toggle. The feature is supported, as PC Gamer notes, on a wide swath of Nvidia GPUs as of the 451.48 driver, and on RX 5600 and 5700 GPUs with the 20.5.1 Adrenalin beta.

Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling offloads the burden of video card memory management directly onto the GPU itself. This should, in theory, offer some reduction in latency and improve performance, tough early benchmarks from outlets like Tom’s Hardware have shown mixed results.

Discord rebrands because it isn’t “just about videogames anymore”

If you play online multiplayer games with your friends, there’s a pretty good chance you use Discord for communication. There’s also a pretty good chance you use it for chatting outside of games, and the company is now making efforts to shift its brand beyond gaming. That includes a simpler experience for new users, increased initiatives to make the platform friendly to more diverse groups, and fewer dumb videogame jokes in the client.

“In asking you what you want Discord to be,” CEO Jason Citron says in a blog post, “we heard that you want Discord to be more welcoming, more inclusive, and more trustworthy so more kinds of communities can find a home here. Many of you told us that the biggest misconception you hear about Discord is that it’s ‘only for gaming,’ but you feel Discord’s for ‘literally everyone’ and ‘for anyone who likes to talk.'”

In an effort to embrace the platform’s role in more than just gaming, Discord is undergoing a gentle rebrand. This effort includes recent changes like a streamlined experience for new users, expanded voice and video capacity, and a general reduction of gaming-specific jokes in the client.

“There are no microtransactions in Crash Bandicoot 4”

Toys for Bob, the studio behind Spyro Reignited Trilogy and now the latest Crash Bandicoot have a simple message for you: there are no microtransactions in Crash Bandicoot 4. A store listing for the game hinted that it would have “in-game purchases” – and the questionable rollout of real money currency in Crash Team Racing has left fans skittish – but the devs insist there’s no reason to worry.

“We’re seeing confusion about MTX in Crash Bandicoot 4,” Toys for Bob says on Twitter, “and want to be crystal clear: There are NO MICROTRANSACTIONS in Crash 4. As a bonus, the Totally Tubular skins are included in all digital versions of the game.” Those skins offer up retro-style looks for Crash and Coco, and seemed to be hinting that the game would feature purchasable skins.

This statement comes after a number of players noticed that the Crash 4 listing on the Microsoft Store includes the warning that the game “offers in-app purchases”. Unfortunately, that label has come to be a generic catch-all for games which offer any additional content, including DLC – The Witcher 3, for example, has the same warning.

Crucible is moving to closed beta to “continue to make the game better”

Crucible, which launched and began its inaugural ‘pre-season’ May 20, is taking the unusual step of “unreleasing” and moving to a closed beta status. Amazon’s free-to-play team shooter will enter closed beta July 1 as the developers focus on collecting player feedback and refocusing their efforts.

The news comes a few weeks after Crucible announced it was removing two of its three game modes, leaving only the most popular, Heart of the Hives. That move did little to staunch the flow of players leaving the game, unfortunately: after an initial peak of more than 25,000, Crucible’s peak concurrent player count has dwindled over the course of June down to only a couple hundred per day.

“We’ll continue following the roadmap we laid out previous and working on map, combat, and system changes to improve the Heart of the Hives experience as well as implementing other improvements based on your feedback and what we think the game needs in order to thrive,” writes Crucible franchise lead Colin Johanson in a blog post explaining the move to closed beta.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare patch buffs a bunch of sniper rifles, DMRs; nerfs Grau, MP5

Hot on the heels of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 4 Reloaded announcement, the FPS game’s developer Infinity Ward has posted the meaty new batch of patch notes for the update, ready for us to delve into. In addition to its spin-off battle royale game’s new 200-player quads mode, there’s a whole bunch of tweaks for both Modern Warfare and Warzone, including some big Gulag changes, a raft of weapon balance adjustments, some sweet quality of life updates, and more.

The weapon balance tweaks are probably the headline of the new patch notes, with a raft of changes to weapons’ effectiveness and gameplay. For example, stopping power now applies to head shots, and only some weapons  – such as the FAL and Oden – can “go from a two-shot to a one-shot head shot”. In addition, the dev’s made changes to the starting ammo for several guns, and the M4’s got a fix relating to how it reloads while the 50-round magazine attachment’s equipped.

As for more specific balance adjustments, there are various buffs for the AX-50, HDR, Kar98k, MK2 Carbine, Dragonuv, AK-47, and shotgun slugs, but nerfs for the MP5 and Grau 5.56.

Rainbow Six Siege Y5S2.1 update nerfs Melusi, Ace, and Hibana – and adds a cool new feature

Ubisoft is in the process of rolling out a new Rainbow Six Siege update, the biggest since the release of Operation Steel Wave a couple of weeks ago. The Y5S2.1 patch will nerf Hibana, Ace, and Melusi, and it will be live later today, June 30.

In addition, the update introduces a cool new feature named match cancellation. This allows an incomplete team to vote to abandon ranked matches, absolving them of an abandon penalty and meaning they will see no impact on their matchmaking ranking. However, Ubisoft warns this option will only be available in matches that begin with uneven teams, and that if you leave before the vote has passed, you’ll still be hit with abandon sanctions.

Melusi’s nerf is the most significant in the Y5S2.1 patch: her Banshee device now slows enemies from a shorter range than before and makes a slightly quieter sound, reducing its effectiveness.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Title Update 4 release date confirmed for next week

Good news, Monster Hunter: World fans – developer Capcom’s now unveiled a release date for the much-anticipated Title Update 4. The major new content drop – along with the action-RPG game’s roadmap for the months ahead – was postponed earlier this year due to impacts on its production caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.  However, the studio’s now revealed it’s on the way, and soon – on July 9, in fact.

“Prepare yourselves, hunters: Title Update 4 finally has a release date!” Capcom announces on its site, revealing it’s got a “spicy” new teaser trailer to share with eager players to celebrate the now-set release date. We’ve included that for you below – and you’ll want to get a look, as there’s a handful of gameplay shots to ogle, including of the brand-new elder dragon on the way, Alatreon.

Based on details shared earlier this year, we know Alatreon’s going to be a tricky customer to chase down and fell. He’s got plenty of tricks up his, er, scales, with the ability to one minute scorch you with blasts of fire, and rain down shards of super sharp ice on you the next.

Mysterious new Nvidia GTX 1650 Ultra uses the same GPU as RTX 2060/2070

This generation of the best graphics cards from both Nvidia and AMD has seen plenty of options at the budget end to the middle of the range. From the GTX 1650 to the GTX 1660 Super, from the RX 5500 XT to the 5600 XT, and all the variations in between, there’s been no shortage of graphics cards for entry-level and mid-range builds. Now, another entry-level graphics card has been spotted, this one called the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ultra.

This new graphics card was listed on GALAXY (via Twitter user momomo_us), and appears to show a GTX 1650 that is (perhaps paradoxically) both incredibly similar to previous models, and also entirely different. Before getting into the specs, the long story short is that its specs are in-line with already existing GDDR6 refreshed versions of GTX 1650, but it uses an entirely different GPU.

It should be noted that the specification sheet lists the model as a “GALAXY GTX 1660 Ultra”, but the consensus seems to be that this is probably a typo since all its specs are consistent with the GTX 1650.

Age of Mythology has a new update with tons of balance changes and a new map

Age of Mythology has a new major patch out today. Update 2.8 brings with it a huge list of fixes and balancing changes, a new map, new cheat codes, and tons more. Not bad for an Age of Empires spin-off that’s now arguably almost 18 years old.

The last big update for Myth landed in December, and it was at the time “the only planned update for the game.” Nevertheless, the Age of Empires team has continued to work on improvements, bug fixes, and civilisation balance changes through this year. The changes range from adjusting Greek Myrmidons’ health from 110 to 120 all the way up to adding a new Wrath of Cyclone cheat that turns all of your units into titans.

There are four more new cheat codes, while we’re on the topic: Powers from Diyu grants four fandom god powers, Bless Me Fu Xi spawns all the heroes from the Tale of the Dragon expansion in your town center, Titanic allows titans to walk in water, and Wololo (classic Age of Empires callback) makes Chinese monks “wololo in joy when they convert enemy units,” according to the patch notes.

Fortnite has made shooter cross-play “terrifying”, but the Rogue Company dev has a fix

Cross-play – the ability to play multiplayer games with people on different platforms – continues to grow as a trend in the games industry, but many games struggle to implement it well. Because PC, console, and mobile players each have such wildly different input methods, it isn’t easy to make it a fair match-up.

However, Rogue Company developer First Watch thinks it has found a set of solutions. Speaking to our sister site The Loadout, the studio’s brand director, Bart Koenigsberg, says there’s only one way to do cross-play: “Try to make the most equal playing field you possibly can.”

He continues: “When it comes to console players, there is a hierarchy of inputs – you let people opt up if they want, but you don’t let people opt out. So if you’re on a console, you are allowed to play in the PC queue if you so choose by opting in. But if you’re on a PC, you can’t go and play in the Xbox or PlayStation queue exclusively.

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