Hey everyone. It's more of a normal weekend for me so far and hopefully you're all enjoying yours. I've got a couple of things to talk about this time so let's check it out.
Windows 11. Yeah, oh boy we're getting another one. It seems Microsoft have decided that we all need a little more Xbox in our lives and is really pushing a new build of Windows with Xbox features to PC and Surface Tablets fairly soon. Gamepass will be right there in your start menu so you can browse games and spend money right there. There's also supposed to be a pretty big update to the Windows Store (thank goodness guys, am I right?) so you can install and run your Android apps right from the convenient location of your desktop or laptop. I means who needs a mobile phone and it's infinitely better portability anyway? I mean I guess it's fine, but do we really need that? Maybe the plan is a new Windows Phone at some point? All we can hope is, no.
There was a "leaked" version of Windows 11 that some folks downloaded and installed to see what was up and it kind of resembles a version of Apple's OSx with it's centered Task bar and rounded panel corners among many other aesthetics. Officially you will need a Microsoft account and an always online connection to install and register Windows 11 for the first time. Resources that the new OS will eat up are as follows: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage for the base install, and at least two CPU cores to run. Windows 10 was supposed to be - "The last Version of Windows" -Microsoft - and I have to admit that after I was initially skeptical, I've grown to like Windows 10 well enough. Maybe that will happen with Windows 11? I don't know.
What about pricing? So far that's speculative. I would guess it's free for Windows 10 users to upgrade to and probably as usual, standalone copies will cost around $100 US. But there's nothing official about that yet. I'll toss a couple of links in here so you can see some info for yourself. One from Kotaku here and one from IGN here
In gaming, AMD has released FSR [Fidelity FX Super Resolution] as an answer to Nvidia's DLSS. Except that it doesn't work at all like DLSS as there is no AI involvement. Instead FSR functions much closer to Temporal Upscaling. Each frame rendered is first desaturated of about half of it's pixel count effectively lowering the resolution. This desaturation increases the further down the quality preset list you choose. Then the frame is re-rendered and upscaled to match the desired resolution hopefully without losing much detail while simultaneously vastly improving performance. This happens frame to frame in real time and I have to say it works pretty well. FSR is free to use for everyone and is GPU agnostic thereby working for GPU's and APU's of all brands and ages. The code is simple to implement into games, taking a relatively short two hours for any experienced coder to toss into literally any game engine. AMD even claims that modders could do it themselves, though without some testing it's possible that it may not perform properly and of course they don't recommend doing that.
It's worth noting that there are several other solutions out there that work similarly. EPIC's TAAU [Temporal Anti Aliasing Upscaling] for instance works even better. But TAAU is still walled into Unreal Engine and you need a license to use it while FSR is completely free, so there are advantages to be marked. Currently there are only a handfull of titles that use FSR but as easy as it is to add to software it's probably not a huge stretch to think it could be widely used in a fairly short time. One title that uses FSR is The Riftbreaker, which is still in beta, due to be released in the fall, but I downloaded the demo and tried it out. 1440p at full settings, the game runs just fine on my old Vega 64 at a frame rate of about 100 FPS once I've done some base building. With FSR on at it's highest quality setting the image quality is ever so slightly worsened, but it's hardly a noticeable loss to detail while the frame rate jumps up to around 135 FPS. I set FSR to it's lowest quality mode, Performance mode, and the image was noticeably blurred and honestly kind of bad, but still playable ultimately. Frame Rate in performance mode went up to 185 FPS. There are settings in between Ultra Quality and Performance but the idea is that using FSR will help a lot in almost every case. I'll drop some screenshots I took below so you can see for yourself from my own game play.
Smaller details kind of get aliased out, most noticeably in the foliage there. But overall things look well enough to be playable even at the lowest quality mode. For users of old hardware this could really bring some new life to your machine while we all wait for GPU stocks to recuperate and prices to go back to a level that don't require second mortgages. Quality is higher of course based on the resolutions you're running so 4k resolution is the best case for FSR as no matter how you use it the image quality will suffer. But at FSR's highest quality mode the difference is really minor even at 1440p. I would say that at 1080p the quality settings shouldn't go much below Ultra or Quality as the image quality drops below full HD to render. But hey, if you're looking at not being able to play a game that you'd like to play versus turning on FSR and losing a little quality to enable you to play it, then it's working for you.
What are we playing?
AJ: Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX and Mario Golf: Super Rush.
Yoda: Oh man. Where to begin. Oh, BDO.Gnna throw on my Walter White hat and start cooking again as well, wanna make the big bucks and put my hot peppers to good use.Killer of Dragons by day, Meat Croquette chef by night.
Greywolfe: the awful queue for magic turned on again, so i get to hate myself and that game for two weeks. i think this is the last time that queue's on, though, so in two weeks, i'll be free! [until i see a set where collecting a lot of it matters a ton, again.] that and also biomutant. biomutant is a great little game if you are ok with modern open world games. it's a game that has a cohesive world and that's more than you can say for most of that style of experience in the modern era, so i'm liking it a ton.
Scrooloose: I've been playing Terra Nil, a nice zen feeling "reverse city builder". It's just a demo but it's a good experience. I've also played through The Riftbreaker demo a few times. That seems like it's going to be a pretty fun title once it's fully released. Finally, I've been playing Necrumunda Hired Gun quite a bit. And you know what? It's fine. It's not incredible, but it's got some cool level building and the feeling of being in the undercity of Necromunda is definitely felt.