The PC Weekend Warrior: computers and clouds, RA3 beta queues, little thoughts, and a can of whoop ass for Bethesda

The PC Weekend Warrior - Image 1Another week goes by, but we’ve been busy little bees, haven’t we? While many have taken to experimenting with beam cannons and their relationship with space debris, others have been wrestling with balancing issues in an alternate era where the Cold War never really died. Still, news never stopped churning for enthusiasts and gamers on the PC, and we’ll revisit what happened this week at this issue of the PC Weekend Warrior.

The PC Weekend Warrior: computers and clouds, RA3 beta queues, little thoughts, and a can of whoop ass for Bethesda - Image 1

Fresh up from seven days of beta testing with the folks from Electronic Arts and Ironclad Games, developments on our segment of the industry kept on rolling in for good or for worse. Today, we’re going to review what’s in store for the average PC gamer – especially the things we don’t hope to see unfold.

To begin this issue of PC Weekend Warrior, I’ll do us a favor and set the mood straight: I’ll take on all things good first and then work my way to the bottom basket to get to the rotten of the bunch.

Well, it’s not exactly rotten. But you’re sure to grit your teeth in anger for the purely half-stepped marketing stunt someone’s trying to pull just before release – and at the expense of your very good morning mood, as well.

A taste of the future? We are the future

Top of the bunch is Microsoft’s ultimate dream for the next generation operating system: a computing cloud of devices, resources, systems across interconnected networks, and the end users themselves. With a quick slap to take us out of stupor, they introduced Midori – the OS to end “Windows.”

The guys at Redmond even said that they’re willing to go the whole mile: the OS will contain componentialized micro-kernels that you might liken to add-on, independent modules.

Big ambition right there, but greater yet is it’s entire technology and architecture. Microsoft Research says Midori will completely run off managed code, exactly how the current Singularity OS prototypes have managed to do. Wicked sick? Totally.

Read: Microsoft Windows to end with Midori – a step to ‘cloud computing’

And how goes the research into photonics – you know, the control and manipulation of light particles for the operation of devices? We’ll tell you what: if the stuff scientists have been accomplishing at the University of Sydney are a sign of the times to come, then surfing, gaming and downloading at Terabit speeds may no longer be just a geek’s wet dreams.

Oh momma.

Read: Photonics to pave faster Internet speeds

The pace quickens. NVIDIA dealt a couple more cards to its favor in the mid-level graphics market, hoping to thwart the rave that AMD’s HD 4750 and 4780 have been making with the average consumer. The did pull the trigger half-cocked though, because of the two they managed to release, only one is really worth note.

Read: NVIDIA cashes in on mid-market – GeForce 9800 GT, 9500 GT released
Read: NVIDIA draws beta-fied ForceWare 177.79 Vista, XP drivers

There’s even love for PC gamers who favor the portable fix. Though it took a long time to get here, the GeForce 9M chips have finally arrived. As you can guess, the latest in entertainment and gaming laptops will slap those chips in for maximized visual performance.

Read: NVIDIA portable power: GeForce 9M line released for laptops

But we guess for the most part, gaming was all on our minds for the week, and luckily, the strategy-inclined of us even had a choice: sci-fi, or alternate history. I took both, but alternate history hasn’t included me into the big picture yet.

At least Gas Powered Games gave a little dose of action RPG to wither our worries, but not by much.

Read: Red Alert 3 Beta officially launched
Read: Have a look-see: Red Alert 3 Beta requirements revealed
Read: Space Siege demo on the loose

Too bad Battlefield Heroes wasn’t put into the mix It’s open beta was promised for this summer, but as it turns out, Electronic Arts put it on hold for at least until December 2008. Here’s to buzzing Spitfires, fancy dressed commandos, and a hunk of burning Panzers this Christmas.

Oh, and C&C-based shooter Tiberium was also pushed back to 2009. But at least EA had the decency to keep their fiscal reports from dampening the mood and announced that Spore was soon to reach mass-production status next week.

Read: Electronic Arts delays Battlefield Heroes and Tiberium
Read: Spore goes gold next week; EA hints possible DLC and microtransactions

Also from EA’s front was news about their published Mass Effect for the PC, which despite DRM woes still continued to get full support from the men and women at BioWare. Luckily, PC fans get their support free, courtesy of BioWare’s new direction for rewarding valuable, legitimate customers.

Read: Mass Effect PC’s Bring Down the Sky DLC now available

And while we’re in the topic of updates, Valve Software tossed a few our way via Steam, if only to correct defrag and caching issues with their digital distribution client. But yeah, you’re probably happier about the faster load times and the update for Team Fortress 2. Or are you?

Read: Steam gets a fixer-upper, Garry’s Mod loading sped up
Read: Valve updates Team Fortress 2, Backburner loses health bonus

I do know one thing for sure: most of us are not going to be happy if Blizzard takes a pay-to-play stance for The good news? It’s still a rumor. The bad news? They’ve already accomplished this method with World of Warcraft, and so it’s very plausible.

Oh well, you could say it’s just one more reason to shun Gamers in the east have it good – I hear cafes are bound to stock Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 as soon as they pop out of Blizzard’s oven. LAN gaming – gotta love it.

Read: rumors speak of pay-to-play, Diablo 3 is WoW-based

But here’s one to sour the mood. Pete Hines of (wouldn’t you know it) Bethesda Softworks seemed cheery enough this week to (shamelessly, some have said) plug the Xbox 360 out in the media using (of all things) Fallout 3.

The marketing vice president said that the Xbox 360 was Bethesda’s choice for a native development platform, saying that it was the platform they’ve been developing on longest. El. Oh. El.

A load of bovine droppings? Well, can you expect anything else from a man who was never a part of Bethesda since The Elder Scrolls: Arena?

Yes, neither do I. Although that really strikes a note: maybe that’s how Bethesda intentionally screwed up Oblivion. I wonder what they’ve got next for Oblivion with guns?

Read: Bethesda prefers Xbox 360 as native dev platform, hints Fallout 4

One side-order of post-apocalypse Kung Fu coming up, Beth

Wow. No kidding, Pete. The Xbox was your longest running native dev platform? Funny how you’re most familiar with a platform that came in late 2005 (late 2001 if you take the family as a whole).

Because as we former fans know, you started out with the Atari and Commodore first. And if memory serves us right, you continued on to the PC from 1992 onwards to the present.

Simple mathematics dictate that the PC has had an 8 year lead over anything Xbox-based. So how about it Pete? We know everyone in Bethesda expects not to sell well on the PC, thanks to your ability to ban, delete, ignore, and outright shun the fanbase from the game.

Hurrah? - Image 1 

Right now, we’re getting the impression that you’re looking for another crowd instead to adopt Fallout 3 before it trips over a 50-megaton warhead. And frankly, we won’t surprised that you’d release it packaged with a game-breaking bug, ala Shivering Isles.

We were expecting outright mass-production of media stills on the Xbox 360 (plus the demonstrations of Fallout 3 on the Xbox 360 as you have done recently), but this is refreshingly new.

Methinks someone’s getting a little desperate for a decent launch. Too bad piracy is also unhindered on the Xbox 360.

But don’t get me wrong: Fallout 3 may have the potential to be a fun game, but it’s just that: a game. And as many people would have it, it’s not a true Fallout successor, but a good game trying to get to market with the words Fallout plastered all over it.

You might say we won’t be surprised to see more love fall for the Fallout MMO than on Fallout 3 or 4, seeing as it’s made by the people who created the series in the first place. Here’s to Interplay, the people who revolutionized gaming in many genres back in their heyday.

Now let’s get busy!

This week, we’re going to stray a bit from just news, as culminations of certain projects have finally arrived with gratifying results. There’s lots to share after the developments that are bound to happen in the first week of August, and we could have an even busier week ahead of us.

All things PC, Mac, and more as the days stroll by. Stay tuned.

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