The new year started with the release of updated versions for two “small” 3D emulators, projects essentially managed in a personal way by developers used to take all the time that’s needed - and often more so - to cook the code and publish the resulting executable builds. And as for procrastination no one is better than ElSemi, a long-time mamedev that doesn’t fear reverse engineering on complex platforms the likes of Capcom’s CPS3 and Sega’s Model 2.
Followers of the VOGONS board and DOSBox official forum are already aware of this: one of the forthcoming versions of the best PC-with-DOS emulator out there should include a very important architectural novelty, ie the software implementation of the historical Voodoo Graphics chipset created by 3dfx Interactive in the Nineties. “Kekko”, the programmer working on the project with the aid of the DOSBox crew and the coding-capable VOGONS users, says that his aim is the complete and faithful emulation of SST-1, the first Voodoo chipset marketed in 1996 inside the first 3D graphics accelerated cards on the PC.
UPDATE: After a few months the CPU upgrade turned to be a remarkable failure. I advise anyone against this kind of practice and I invite you to read the post regarding my useless troubleshooting efforts.
I purchased my latest computer in absolute emergency conditions, and except for an annoying, sound-related issue when I extensively use the network (a fact for which I would be inclined to blame and damn Vista SP1) I’m satisfied with it until now. But being obliged to spend a limited budget obviously didn’t hinder me to upgrade the system main component, the CPU, overlapping to satisfaction the pleasure of having a fairly recent setup to let me use it in scenarios that are a little less retrograde than the ones I’m usually accustomed to.
As it always did in the past few years, on August 21 and 22 developer Blizzard gathered players and reporters around BlizzCon, the event held at the Anaheim Convention Center during which the lucky attenders have had the opportunity to see in action (and try with their hands) the novelties from the three major franchises of the company. Regarding Diablo III, the new and long awaited chapter of the hack’n slash saga par excellence, Blizzard showed the forth of the five character classes available to the player, the Monk.
As already occurred during the past year, Disney has chosen the San Diego Comic-Con International to present its new sci-fi project. The sequel to Tron, the classic movie from 1982 dealing with videogames, virtual reality and 3D graphics when none of these three things was widely popular, has got an official title and synopsis now while the major has released (and this time without silly censorship) the very first trailer from the movie together with some concept art and the teaser poster.
Parallel computing and GPGPU, the super-PC genesis between universal libraries and proprietary platforms
Far from slowing down because of the worldwide economic crisis, PC technology evolution (and particularly the videogaming peripherals one) continues to break records and Gigaflops, opening usage scenarios that was solely related to super-computers just a few years ago. Such scenarios are currently colliding with the opposite development of standards and API competing with each other, resulted from the desire of market supremacy or from the need to reach an agreement on a common computing platform.
Blizzard hasn’t yet announced the time within which works on Diablo III will be completed, but one can be sure about the fact that the software house is pretty busy into giving shape and substance to the game. The indiscretions coming from an unknown internal source talk about development resources almost entirely devoted to DIII in detriment of other important projects (Starcraft 2), while new screenshots appear on-line to catch and catalyze the fans’ eye.
Is Diablo III better with the vivid colors shown by Blizzard or as wished by the saga hardcore fans, that is dark as tar and with a very little fancy within the choice of chromatic variations mostly in the dungeons? The software house has already given its reply, stating that the graphic style remains the same though the game art director Brian Morrisroe has left his job to devote himself to other things, but the fans do not want to face the facts and continue to speculate on how in their estimation the third chapter of the Lord of Terror saga should be represented on the screen.
The last week of August has been the opportunity for NVIDIA to invite public and press to attend NVISION, a convention devoted to the technological vision of the historic GPU and discrete graphics cards manufacturer held in San Jose. No new products were showed at the expo, but the statements against the competitors have been clear: NVIDIA will continue to keep the performance leadership in the future too.
Summertime, a lounge for the most vacationer populations but also an occasion for big preparations by the PC videogaming hardware companies, that sharpen their weapons and introduce innovations waiting to run for the users wallets during the incoming fall, the Christmas holidays and beyond. The future of the marked, in fact, foresees substantial news spread on a relatively long period of time, with the entrance in the conflict of a new protagonist and sceneries of unprecedented technological evolutions.