Square Enix has released an official benchmark for the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition which will be released on March 6th. The 4GB benchmark is not a playable section of the game but rather a series of pre-configured demo scenes that take about six minutes to run. FFXV: Windows Edition’s benchmark allows users to try out three different quality settings – Lite, Medium and High and three resolutions – 720p, 1080p and 4k. Users of the benchmark have pointed out that it does not offer 1440p resolution support, a common resolution between 1080p and true 4k.
Don’t have access to a gaming PC and want to know how it looks? I recorded the demo on my Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming Laptop with a Geforce 1050. On this modest medium range gaming setup I got a solid 30 FPS with very few dips (only noticeable during loading screens) on medium settings at 1080p. My gaming laptop ended up with a score of 3000 on the benchmark – which means that it is right around the recommended specs for the medium quality pre-set.
We previously reported on the minimum specs for each supported resolution. Here they are:
Recommended Specs for 1080p
• AMD 8350 or Intel i7 3770
• At least 100GB free
• GeForce 1060 6GB variant or Radeon 480 8GB variant
Recommended Specs for 4K
• Windows 10
• Intel 7700k or AMD Ryzen 1600x
• At least 150GB free
• GeForce 1080TI
Square Enix also released a neat little chart that outlines what certain scores mean for the final version of FFXV: Windows Version. It should be pointed out that this chart outs quality pre-sets that go well beyond the released benchmark. The pre-sets expected to be in the final version are: Extremely High, Very High, High, Fairly High, Standard, Slightly Low, Low and Insufficient (does not run the game).
Square also published a reference list about how a whole pile of GPUS should perform in the Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition benchmark under optimal circumstances. Here is a cross section of some of the most popular GPUs and how they should score on the Lite setting:
We’ve known about Rare’s Sea of Thieves for quite some time now but now we know approximately when it will come out – Spring 2017. Rare’s colorful pirate world comes to life in an 8-minute gameplay trailer showcasing a team of four searching an island for an epic treasure. Players will collect cryptic riddle maps that will the player & their friends find epic loot, should they be able to survive the encounter. Perhaps my favorite moment in the E3 2017 Sea of Thieves demonstration was when the player shot themselves out of a canon and absolutely wrecked another crew’s ship.
Sea of Thieves will be available in Spring 2018 for Windows 10 PC and Xbox One and supports the cross-play cross-buy Play Anywhere initiative.
Watch the full game play demonstration in the embedded player below:
Shown during Microsoft’s E3 live press conference it was confirmed that an enhanced version of 2016’s Lucky’s Tale will be coming to Windows 10 and Xbox consoles. Super Lucky’s Tale looks like a whimsical and charming platform adventure where players guide the titular Fox, Lucky and a bug companion through colorful worlds.
Lucky’s Tale minus the previously required VR headset looks like it could be a very fulfilling and enjoyable romp. It will be out this November, check out the debut trailer below.
North Californian developers Vector Unit has unleashed their latest fast-paced watercraft racing title Riptide GP: Renegade onto Windows 10 and Xbox One as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, allowing owners of the game to play the title on either Xbox One or Windows and take their save with them.
Featuring futuristic environments, improved water physics over other enhanced versions of the original Riptide GP, 12 courses, 3 modes and 7 vehicles – Riptide GP: Renegade might just fill the gap left behind with fans as other watercraft based franchises lack modern entries, like Nintendo’s neglected Wave Race series or Midway’s defunct Hydro Thunder series.
Speaking about the jump to Windows 10, co-founder of Vector Unit, Matt Small said:
“We really wanted to wait until we could take advantage of the Xbox Play Anywhere program and have the game be available across Microsoft platforms all at once. It’s been a labor of love getting Riptide GP: Renegadeout on all these different platforms and we’re excited to see the Xbox One and Windows 10 communities join the party.”
The Xbox One version of Riptide GP supports local multiplayer with up to 4 players at once, 2 – 4 player online multiplayer races and of course achievements. Riptide GP is also available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.
It has been a few months since we last heard from Microsoft’s Virtual Reality initiative set to launch later this year with the Windows 10 Creator’s Update. In the Fall the operating system developer promised to deliver several Virtual Reality focused improvements to Windows 10 – including a 3D version of paint, support for the company’s “mixed reality” and the implementation of Windows Holographic (which powers HoloLens) into the main branch of Windows 10.
Now that the Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing technology focused site NeoWin got an up-close look at some of the consumer focused VR headsets that will launch alongside the Creator’s Update later this spring. These include headsets from Dell, HP, Lenovo and ACER – as was previously announced.
Here are the up-close shots of said headsets from CES:
Microsoft previously also unveiled the minimum specifications required to run these headsets – for basic operations they should work on even the most modest modern laptop with 4GB of an integrated graphics card from the past couple of years. One major difference between these headsets and the higher end competition like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (aside from price, these Windows Holographic headsets will start at $200 USD) is the refresh rate. The HTC Vive and Oculus rift can support up to 120hz, meaning that interactive experiences with frame rates ranging up to 120 FPS can be enjoyed for full immersion. These cheaper headsets will be capped at 60hz or 60 frames per second, and depending on your tolerance for motion sickness and lag, these cheaper headsets may not be ideal for gaming.
Here’s hoping we’ll see some real-world tests with these headsets in the future.
At their New York technology showcase Microsoft announced that they will be supported VR in a huge way with the upcoming Windows 10 Creator’s Update (previously known as “Red Stone 2”) due to roll out sometime next spring. Not only will MS be bringing brand new Virtual Reality & 3D enabled versions of classic Windows applications but also partnering with popular hardware manufacturers to bring a new line of VR headsets to market.
This new line of headsets will be manufactured by companies like HP, Acer, Lenovo, Asus and Dell during the first half of 2017. Best of, according to Microsoft, they will be available for as little as $299 USD – which is half of the price of the Oculus Rift ($599 USD) and a paltry sum compared to the near one grand investment for the HTC Vive ($799 USD). These headsets will be simple “plug and play” devices, in the graphics displayed during the conference a headset was shown connected with a single wire connected to a laptop. No need for complicated room sensors or extra camera either – all of the sensor equipment is built right into the device.
On the software side of things crudely drawn art staple MS Paint will be receiving an update allowing artists to import 2D images, scan real life objects using 3D Builder or by drawing directly on the screen using Windows Ink. 3D images displayed via Windows 10 Holographic (Hololens) or VR headsets will also be supported – during the demonstration MS showed off a PowerPoint slide that had a three dimensional tree that could jump to life. Other enhancements in the Windows 10 Creator’s update include the ability to stream games running on to other Windows 10 devices – yes including the Xbox One and built in support for tournaments. If you need a quick fix for all of the updates coming to Windows 10 check out Wired’s awesome feature.
We don’t have the technical specs for these new VR headsets, just the manufacturer’s and the price point. In fact, MS didn’t really focus on games at all when announcing them so we don’t know if they’ll be compatible with Steam VR, Oculus Home or other VR experiences. We also don’t know if they’ll support the same resolution as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Razer HDK2 or if they’ll be more comparable to the Oculus DK2 / HDK1 at 1080P.
We will post more information as it becomes available.
Microsoft is about to make good on its promise to bring Halo 5: Guardians’ world building Forge Mode to Windows 10 PC on September 8th. Skybox Labs helped MS & 343 bring this previously Xbox One exclusive mode to the PC with the full toolset available across both platforms. Alongside existing content this latest update brings new weapons, new maps and new map attachments.
Forge creators on Windows 10 can use keyboard and mouse to ensure that their creations are accurate, something that can be difficult when using a controller. This isn’the only addition that Windows creators will get to enjoy but also full multiplayer matches with up to 16 friends and a content browser that pulls content from both platforms.
Here is how Microsoft described the additions in Halo 5: Guardians Forge mode for Windows 10:
“with support for mouse and keyboard for highly refined object placement and manipulation, higher-resolution displays (including 4k) for stunning graphic fidelity, the ability to host and play custom matches for up to 16 players, and a new content browser that spans platforms. Creators will be able to download levels from the Forge community created on both Windows 10 PC and Xbox One.”
Two new weapons will be available on both Xbox One and Windows PC – “Mercy” and “Temple”. The first map is aimed at the competitive arena scene while the second is an expansion on the Warzone Assault concept.
As Microsoft wrote in their press release:
“With the addition of “Mercy”, a new battleground is open for competitive Arena players, while “Temple” brings the desert environment of Sanghelios to Warzone Assault modes.”
Several screenshots of Forge for Windows 10 were released alongside the September 8th date. Will you be trying out Forge on Windows 10? Let us know in the comments!
Virtual Reality has been available to consumers on PC after years in development. While the system requirements can be a little daunting, new mainstream video cards like the Radeon RX480 and upcoming Geforce 1060 are helping to ease the pain on both owner’s wallets and their system’s power supplies. When it comes to the choice of headsets potential VR early adaptors have quite a few options – there are the rather expense HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, probably the two biggest names in Head Mounted Displays, but other alternatives also exist. You can get a comparable experience out of mid-tier headsets like the Razer HDK and other Open Source VR-compliant devices that will be just as immersive without handing over an entire month’s rent.
The HDK Versus The Competition
From a technical standpoint Razer’s current Hacker Development Kit (HDK) V1.4 won’t go blow for blow with the hardware on offer from the big names in the VR space but what it does provide is a stable and enjoyable VR experience complete with 3-Dimensional positional tracking at almost half of the price of other VR solutions. It should be noted that the HDK, as it’s name implies, is aimed primarily at developers & hardware hackers who are comfortable getting a little dirty with the small parts that make the device work.
Razer HDK V1.4
Oculus Rift CV1
1920 x 1080 (960×540 per eye)
2160 x 1200(1080×1200 per eye)
2160 x 1200 (1080×1200 per eye)
Screen Refresh Rate
Yes – via Lighthouse modules
Open Source Drivers
No – Closedcommercialdrivers
No – Closedcommercialdrivers
Steam VR Support
Yes * With additional software download
Yes – out of the box support forSteamVR
Yes – out of the box support forSteamVR
Setting Up Your HDK Step 1: Getting The Core Drivers
Using the OSVR HDK isn’t as easy as simply plugging the headset into your computer and expecting it to work. You are going to need one of two packages in order to make use of your OSVR – either the “OSVR Core” package which includes the server software needed to connect the headset to your PC or the “OSVR Runtime Package” which includes the aforementioned OSVR server but also drivers, an IR tracking program designed to test the infra-red camera and “Direct 3D demo” which is an interactive simple demonstration program designed to make sure the headset is working correctly.
Snag either the full runtime package or core builds right here.
Setting Up Your HDK Step 2: Steam VR Integration
SteamVR integration, that is playing games on the OSVR headset using Valve’s open API approach to VR isn’t as easy as downloading the SteamVR package, but it is pretty painless if you can follow some simple steps.
Make sure your Steam install is up-to-date and that you are logged in.
Go to Library and then select “Tools” and search for SteamVR.
Install the standard version of SteamVR package – which is a 1100 MB download.
Within the directory structure of the OSVR SteamVR plugin zip file find the SteamVR-OSVR/lib/openvr folder
Extract the OSVR folder to %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Steam\steamapps\common\SteamVR\drivers\osvr\bin \win32″ if you are using the default Steam file structure.
Hook-up your VR headset, Run the OSVR server and get ready to enjoy some great VR content.
Optional Step 3: Headtracking and SBS (Side-By-Side) For Non-VR Games
If you are looking to experience some of your favorite titles in Virtual Reality but they don’t natively support OSVR/SteamVR you have a few choices to make your game of choice playable on your headset. Essentially there are two components that go into this: ensuring your content is displayed on the headset correctly and adding in optional head tracking to the game so that your view moves with your headset in first person games, for example.
For Viewing Content:
Steam packs in a free “Steam Theatre” mode that you can activate with any non-SteamVR game by left clicking on the game in your library and selecting “Play In SteamVR”. The SteamVR theatre essentially makes it appear as if your content is being displayed on a large screen in front of you.
Use a paid program like Tridef Ignition to split the image into two distinct halves. As of the writing of this guide Tridef does not support “direct mode” rendering – that is sending the image directly to your headset, you’ll have to display content in “extended mode”. Tridef also does not support lens distortion so your image may be cut off when viewed through the OSVR without some sort of barrel distortion add-on like SweetFX running on top of Tridef.
Use a free program on the Steam Store like Big Screen Beta to display the content of your monitor (or Monitors if in Extended) in a virtual environment. Like Steam Theatre mode this won’t support all titles and may have some lag.
I highly recommend FreePIE for your head tracking needs, it is an open source fork of GlovePIE and allows your computer to take one form of input and translate it into another. The most common use of this software is to translate the head tracking movement from the OSVR headset and map it to the mouse for use in games like Fallout 4, Skyrim and other first person titles.
Below is the headtracking script that I personally use for non VR titles – more scripts, including one that uses a Wiimote for headtracking, check out this forum thread:
## change z or x to any key board key you want.
toggle = keyboard.getPressed(Key.Z)
toggleoff = keyboard.getPressed(Key.X)
## you can bind this key to a mouse button by changing this to
## toggle = mouse.middleButton
## or you can just bind z to a mouse key useing your mouse key software
## please change this script to how ever you like.
enabled = not enabled
off = 0
off = not off
The Future For VR Hardware?
To say that Virtual Reality is in its infancy would be an understatement – none of the headsets listed in this article, even the OSVR have been on the market for six months. VR is an evolving experience that manufacturers and developers are still exploring – some headsets offer resolutions beyond Full HD, while others limited room sensing which enables players to walk around a physical environment. A VR experience in 2016 may feel nothing like the VR experiences of 2018 or even sooner, before making the leap into VR potential owners should be well aware that regardless of your choice in hardware there is a chance within the next 24 months that new expensive headset could be outclassed by the competition or even replaced with a newer model. Oculus has gone on record stating that it could be a while before we see the second generation headsets from them however.
Razer has already announced the OSVR HDK 2 – a fully upgraded headset that features a higher resolution screen among other enhancements. The display resolution of OSVR2 is exactly the same as the Oculus Rift & HTC Vive – 2160 x 1200 – providing an impressive 441 PPI and optimized for 90hz. The HDK2’s impressive display does come at a financial cost – it is priced at $399 USD – $100 more than the 1.4 and as of the writing of this article is currently on back-order.
Useful Community Resources
The OSVR community is alive and well and if you’re new to the community you might wonder where you can get some help with your headset or just catch up on the latest developments within the Open Source Virtual Reality movement. Below are a few of the key sites that I feel every OSVR HDK owner should check out, regardless if they are a developer or not. Thanks for reading my guide to the OSVR Headset, please look forward to more videos and instructional guides surrounding VR in the coming weeks.
Microsoft held a behind closed doors press event last week to showcase upcoming games & technologies coming to Windows PC and Xbox One. Among the announcements, set to be unveiled later today at 9PM EST, is the fact that a free version of last year’s Forza: Motorsport 6 will be coming to Windows 10 for free.
In a now removed Seattle Times article which was accidently posted before the event’s embargo reporter Matt Day summarizes Forza Motorsport 6: Apex as a “a slimmed down version of its Xbox cousin, will be released free to users of Windows 10 this spring.” Day continues that Microsoft hopes that Forza Motorsport 6: Apex will be a showcase for what Windows 10 powered gaming rigs can do.
Forza isn’t the only previously Xbox One exclusive franchise to make the jump to Microsoft’s longest running product. Killer Instinct season 3, the third batch of add-on content for the 2013 Xbox One brawler, will make the leap later this month. Developer Iron Galaxy Studios recently unveiled that Halo’s The Arbiter will be playable once Season 3 releases.
Expect more news from the Microsoft press event when the embargo drops in a few short hours.