Friday, December 18, 2009

A Bleak Future for Competitive COD

After Infinity Ward effectively blind-sided the Call of Duty 4 competitive community with its No Dedicated Servers bombshell, we as a community were left in utter shock and turmoil. Call of Duty 4 was by far the most successful game of the series in terms of drawing in a large amount of players, sponsors, teams, tournaments, and LANs, and much of the community expected the same results with Modern Warfare 2 but on a much grander scale. We knew Modern Warfare 2 was going to be huge but it soon became abundantly clear that Modern Warfare 2 would meet no such expectations. Instead the community was left in limbo with an unplayable game directly in front of us, a stale 2 year old game behind us, and World at War in a far away corner where many of us didn't even want to look. Thus the question was raised. "What now?"

Many players advocated Modern Warfare 2 regardless stating that IWnet was indeed playable and all we had to do was simply wait for a patch to allow for the recording of demos, which is an absolute must for any competitive game. Others put forth World at War as a solution offering small positives such as a fresh game and how Treyarch had fixed many of the bugs and grievances we initially had with the game. Even more absurd was the movement to return to the "glory days" of Call of Duty 2. In short, the community was a madhouse until the CEVO|Tannehill announced the NZXT Holiday Tournament for Call of Duty 4 with a prize pot of $1500.

However this is nothing more than a small band-aid on a big wound. The NZXT Tournament only received 48 teams which pales in comparison to the previous season of CEVO which saw more than a hundred teams and a combined prize pot of $5000 between the amateur and professional division. Even right now community figureheads are attempting to keep the game alive by hosting another LAN in February 2010 for CoD4 called NERV 3 yet the team turnout is expected to be no more than 16.

Thus the future of the Call of Duty Competitive community is bleak at best. As teams become eliminated from the NZXT tournament what reason will they have to continue to play? There is an extremely small number of teams committed to NERV 3 but what comes after early February? There are other highly anticipated games which WILL offer dedicated servers and fresh gameplay which will definitely draw players towards it. One such game is Bad Company 2 which is slated for release in March of 2010. It is my belief that the Call of Duty 4 community will continue to be whittled away until there is simply nothing left. Players will continue to disappear in obscurity until there is nobody left to proclaim themselves as part of the Call of Duty community.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BenQ W500 Projector Information and Review

I recently purchased a BenQ W500 Home Theater Projector and decided to do a little write-up about it. The following is some general information regarding the projector as well as my own thoughts regarding the W500 projector.


The BenQ W500 projector is Home Theater projector operating at a native 1280x720 resolution, which is typically referred to as WXGA for computer resolutions or 720P for Home Theater purposes. The W500 is set to a native 16:9 aspect ratio, although 5 aspect ratios are user selectable. The W500 is rated as outputting 1100 ANSI Lumens of light at its maximum setting, although this is adjustable through the numerous settings in the user options. This projector has a 5000:1 contrast ratio, which measures the difference between the strongest whites and deepest blacks the projector can display. The lamp in the projector is rated at 140W and is estimated to last 2000 hours on default settings and 3000 hours in Economy Mode, which dials down the intensity to lengthen the life of the lamp bulb.

The technology behind the display is called 3LCD, which uses three LCD panels to show the image instead of the traditional LCD, which only features one. Some of the advantages touted by front and rear projector manufacturers are that 3LCD technology results in brighter pictures than LCD technology, even during high ambient lighting conditions, which may or may not be a factor depending on your home theater setup. 3LCD is also said to reproduce more natural colors than LCD technology.

The W500 supports a variety of resolutions and inputs. This projector can accept standard SD and HD input resolutions, all of which are processed through the Silicon Optix HQV processor in the projector. This processor is considered one of the best, especially at this projector's price point.

The W500's inputs include:

1 D-sub input (for use as a computer display)
1 HDMI input with HDCP support (required for playback of some High Definition content)
1 composite video input
1 S-video input
2 Component Video inputs

The W500 has a throw ratio of 100" at 10.8' at the default zoom setting, meaning the image size projected on a screen would be 100 inches at 10.8 feet. The manual zoom can be used to adjust the screen size in collaboration with proper projector placement. The W500 features a lens shift knob to horizontally and vertically adjust the lens, which allows users adjust the image placement in all directions.

BenQ's site even features a Projection Calculator to assist users with proper projector placement.

The W500 weighs 8.6lbs and its dimensions are 13.7" wide by 4.7" tall by 10.9" deep. The W500 features universal mounting holes on the bottom for use with a ceiling or wall mount. The W500 also includes an air filter and BenQ also included a timer to remind users to clean the air filter periodically.


First and foremost, I was slightly hesitant to get the W500 mainly because I have never previously owned a projector, nor did I know what to expect from it, especially compared to HDTV's. I didn't want to set up the projector and end up feeling underwhelmed due to a lack of brightness or clarity in the picture. However, all my initial fears were dispelled as soon as I turned it on.

Literally my entire wall became my TV and I threw in the Dark Knight to test it out. The picture was extremely crisp and smooth with no stuttering or bad picture quality at any point in the movie. Some of the bright scenes in that movie actually made me squint which showed how well the projector was able to contrast. The projector fan itself was really quite and at no point during the movie did I notice it.

Probably my favorite thing about this projector is the gigantic screen when I'm playing games. Normally when you play with other people on a split screen you both sacrifice your in-game view for the sake of being able to play with your buddies. With this projector that thought doesn't even come across my mind. The screen is big enough that we each have our own side of the wall to play on which provides a great experience.

I currently have the W500 set up approximately 15 feet from the wall I project on with my couch approximately 10 feet from the wall. The screen itself is about 96 inches across. The only downside to the projector that I've encountered so far is the picture is hard to see if there is ambient light in the room say from a light fixture or a window. This probably wouldn't be as big of an issue but I have the projector set on Economy Mode so the bulb isn't as bright. All in all I would recommend this projector to somebody that has never owned one before, but I'm sure any projector enthusiast would find many flaws in this model that aren't as apparent to me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rumor: Google to launch Chrome OS Next Week?

Google Chrome OSAccording to recent rumors, Google's much anticipated operating system, Chrome OS, will be available for download next week. Although this is the second rumor hinting at Chrome's eminent release, this time it comes from TechCrunch who cites that the information comes from a "reliable source". This of course coincides with previous statements from Google saying that early builds will be available "later this year". However Google has also said that netbooks running Chrome OS will not be available for consumers until the second half of 2010.

So what can we expect? It's likely that Google will make good on its word to release the source code to developers, but if you're expecting a fully operation build you shouldn't hold your breath. Driver support will likely be a weak point and expect only a few devices to be green lit for installation. Google has previously said they are working with Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba on the Chrome OS project. In short, don’t expect to be able to install it on whatever laptop or desktop machine you have until later in 2010.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pure Gaming Attending Cod4 European Lans in Summer 2009

Pure Gaming will be representing North America this summer as the only team to cross the Atlantic for the 2009 European Lan season. Pure will be attending two events, Outpost On Fire and The-eXperience for a total of 16,000 € and additional hardware on the line. The first event, Outpost On Fire, is located in Antwerp, Belgium and will take place on July 24-26 against some of Europes finest. Currently there are 28 teams pre-payed as of now and a cash purse of 6,000 €, but if the number of teams reaches 32 then the cash pot will be raised to 8,000 €.

The next event, known as The-eXperience, is the bigger of the two and is possibly one of the most anticipated European events of the summer. On the 29th of July "the eXperience" will start the cod4 tournament in Roskilde, Denmark. So far, over 28 teams from all over the world have signed up and paid for the event. On the site you can see all the teams planning to attend with only pureEsports coming from the USA. With over 10,000 € and hardware riding on this event alone, you will be sure to see some of the best cod4 teams from around the world attending this event and giving it their all.

The current pureEsports roster is as follows:

Josh “Glad” Adams
Eric "Snatch" Brinkley
Alexander "Malex" Solis
Taylor "Taylor" Sheridan
Alex "flak" Lasselle

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Starcraft 2 Death Animations

Starcraft II will be featuring multiple death animations for each unit in the game. In an effort to make the game become more alive the animation team at Blizzard has put in some time to animate some of the finer aspects of the game. In this Starcraft 2 Death Animations Video, which demonstrates some of the death animations, features a protoss carrier being shot out of the sky, several zerg units dying, and even what a skirmish might look like.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Duke Nukem Forever Developer 3D Realms Shuts Down

Many people have been anticipating the next installment of Duke Nukem 3D since its original release in 1996. Now it seems that these people may never see that wish come true. 3D Realms, the creator of several popular games such as Wolfenstien 3D and most notably Duke Nukem, has finally closed its doors after due to lack of funding. The fate of Duke Nukem Forever, which has been in development for over 12 years, is still uncertain but many believe the closing of 3D Realms may be the final nail in the coffin.

Read the full story of 3D Realms and Duke Nukem Forever here at the PC Game Tech blog.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Final Fantasy XIII Videos

With Final Fantasy XIII being one of the most anticipated games for the PS3 in 2009, there has been tons of buzz and speculation on the game. Just last week there have been several gameplay movies released to give fans a little taste of what to expect including a boss fight.

Heres a link to the Final Fantasy XIII Gameplay Videos and let me just say this game looks amazing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tritton AX Pro Gaming Headphones - 5.1 Surround Sound

AX Pro Gaming HeadphonesSo I'm currently in the market for some new gaming headphones and particularly those that employ surround sound as well as have a great sound quality. I've noticed many popular gaming headphones currently on the market claim surround sound but only use two speakers. After some looking around I've come across the Tritton AX Pro Gaming Headphones which employ Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound through the use of 8 different speakers, 4 in each earpiece.

From the look of the Tritton AX Pro Headphones Package Contents, they don't seem very travel friendly but I have no qualms with that seeing as a LAN environment are always extremely noisy and my current headphones will suffice. The fact that each earpiece needs its own power adapter and connects to a audio decoder box seems to indicate the quality of sound that I should expect from these headphones. I've also read that each audio channel is customizable so I can custom set the volume of my game as well as my ventrilo as well as set which speakers they come out of. I'll probably be ordering these within the few coming weeks and Ill post back again with my review of these headphones.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Matt Cutts Plays Portal

For those of you who don't know, Matt Cutts is the Head of the webspam team at Google and is extremely well known within the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) community. Since I myself work as an SEO technician in a web department, he is very related to what I do at work.

While reading an article on his blog about Google Chrome Privacy Options, I happened to come across his twitter in which the latest post was " I'm stalled on level 18 of Portal and need to spend some time on my todo list. :)". It gave me a little laugh that somebody as important as him seemed to be regretting not being able to play a video game but instead had to finish his work. It sounded a little bit like myself when I have an organic chemistry lab due the next morning.