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Comment: Re:Musashi (Score 4, Insightful) 114

It's likely not an issue of finding the bits of metal. As you say, the water isn't particularly deep. It's more a question of identification.

A lot of ships were sunk at Leyte Gulf, as well as general merchantman losses in the area during WW2. Remember that when these ships sink, they don't tend to go down in one neat piece. In particular, with warships like Musashi, it's quite common for one or more of the magazines to blow before the ship sinks. That creates a huge explosion and tends to break the wreck into a lot of small pieces.

Conclusively identifying which piece belongs to which ship has probably required the bulk of the effort here.

Comment: Fascinating ship (Score 5, Informative) 114

Ah... the Yamato-class. Largest battleships ever built, but largely obsolete before they ever went out to sea.

For those unfamiliar with the history of the class, the Yamato-class vessels were Japan's final generation of large battleships, which entered service from 1941 onwards. Their 18-inch guns were the largest to be mounted on any battleship during WW2. Four ships were commissioned, but only two - Yamato and Musashi - were completed as battleships. A third, the Shinano, was converted into a carrier, while the fourth was cancelled.

The two ships that were completed as battleships (Yamato in particular) were of immense symbolic value in Japan during WW2. In addition to this, they consumed vast quantities of fuel and required specialised ammunition that was rarely available in sufficient quantities. For the above reasons, both Yamato and Musashi were held back from the major Pacific Theatre battles until late 1944 (by which time it was probably too late for them to have any impact anyway).

They were, in essence, the best WW1 warships ever made... except that they were deployed during WW2. The age of the dreadnought-style battleship was on its way out by this point and the era of aircraft carrier dominance had begun. Even if Musashi and Yamato had been deployed for key battles such as Midway and Guadalcanal, it's unlilkely they would have made much difference.

But they are, nevertheless, spectacular ships. In visual terms, they epitomize the classic battleship profile - long, low and dangerous, with very large guns. Their symbolic value has lasted long beyond the war; the Yamato remains something of a national symbol (albeit a controversial one, with links to the far-right) in Japan and has lived on in popular culture through the sci-fi franchise Space Battleship Yamato (adapted as Starblazers in the US).

And as for the specifics of this story; there's not much detail given, but I suspect that the challenge was not so much finding the wreck as conclusively identifying it. There are no shortage of Japanese WW2 wrecks in that part of the Pacific; the problem is sorting out which is which in the face of scant records.

Comment: Re:Won't make it to 50 (Score 3, Interesting) 64

by RogueyWon (#49169707) Attached to: Games Workshop At 40: How They Brought D&D To Britain

It's also been hilarious to watch their long-term relationship with the video games industry. They worked out ages ago that there's money to be made from video games and that they'd like some of it. But how they've gone about it defies belief.

Because the problem is that if the video games are too good, they might make people feel that they don't need the miniatures. So their history with the video-gaming industry is mostly one of third-party titles that were deliberately specced to be mediocre, a horribly misguided cockteasing of Blizzard (whose long term commercial consequences for Games Workshop almost stand up there with those for Nintendo after they played too hard with Sony over the SNES-CD) and... the Relic games (the Dawn of War series, plus Space Marine), which were actually dangerously good.

Since Relic folded, it's clear that GW aren't going to let anybody else that talented near the cash-cow WH40k franchise - all that's produced these days are mobile-style deliberately-inferior ports of GW's oldest board-games.

Comment: Re:Razer Forge TV (Score 1) 199

by RogueyWon (#49142497) Attached to: The State of Linux Gaming In the SteamOS Era

Sorry, input lag is a huge issue for me, even on a controller. I've returned two games to the store for refunds because of it: Shift 2 on the 360 and The Last of Us on the PS3 (though the PS4 version is much more playable).

If you aren't finding input lag a problem, then you are either playing games where it matters less (RPGs etc) or else you aren't playing at the kind of level where fine control matters. For me, playing a game with heavy input lag (which includes almost any PC game with vsync enabled) feels like playing while wearing oven mitts.

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 1, Interesting) 468

The funny thing is that there are other cases in which buying a key for cheaper than you can get it on the official Ubisoft store is absolutely fine.

For example, just before Christmas, Far Cry 4 was £45 in the UK via the uPlay store. Alternatively, you could walk into Game (the UK's largest high street games retailer) and pick up a boxed copy of the game for £30. If you do that, you still need to register the code in the box with uPlay and run the game via uPlay, though you do get the option of doing the initial install from a physical disc (useful if you have a slow net connection). But that appears to have been absolutely fine.

Second case, the launch of Assassin's Creed: Unity was delayed on Steam in many parts of the world (so for a while, the only way to buy a digital-only copy was uPlay). But it did launch just before Christmas. During the Steam Christmas Sale, there were days when the game was £45 on uPlay and half that amount on Steam. Again, this is absolutely fine with Ubisoft.

So if what people on forums are saying is true (and we do always have to be a bit cautious here), then it would appear that the old adage that "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is" doesn't necessarily hold true. After all, if the same kinds of discounts are available from multiple retailers, some of which are mystically "Ubisoft approved" and others aren't (though no list of the former is published), then the end-consumer might justifiably confused as to which is which.

+ - Ubisoft revokes digital keys for games purchased via unauthorised retailers->

Submitted by RogueyWon
RogueyWon (735973) writes "For the last several days, some users of Ubisoft's uPlay system have been complaining that copies of games they purchased have been revoked from their libraries. According to a statement issued to a number of gaming websites, Ubisoft believes that the digital keys revoked have been "fraudulently obtained". What this means in practice is unclear; while some of the keys may have been obtained using stolen credit card details, others appear to have been purchased from unofficial third-party resellers, who often undercut official stores by purchasing cheaper boxed retail copies of games and selling their key-codes online, or by exploiting regional price differences, buying codes in regions where games are cheaper to sell them elsewhere in the world. The latest round of revocations appears to have triggered an overdue debate into the fragility of customer rights in respect of digital games stores."
Link to Original Source

+ - NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Over the weekend NVIDIA sent out its first official response to the claims of hampered performance on the GTX 970 and a potential lack of access to 1/8th of the on-board memory. Today NVIDIA has clarified the situation again, this time with some important changes to the specifications of the GPU. First, the ROP count and L2 cache capacity of the GTX 970 were incorrectly reported at launch (last September). The GTX 970 has 52 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2 cache compared to the GTX 980 that has 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache; previously both GPUs claimed to have identical specs. Because of this change, one of the 32-bit memory channels is accessed differently, forcing NVIDIA to create 3.5GB and 0.5GB pools of memory to improve overall performance for the majority of use cases. The smaller, 500MB pool operates at 1/7th the speed of the 3.5GB pool and thus will lower total graphics system performance by 4-6% when added into the memory system. That occurs when games request MORE than 3.5GB of memory allocation though, which happens only in extreme cases and combinations of resolution and anti-aliasing. Still, the jury is out on whether NVIDIA has answered enough questions to temper the fire from consumers."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Might want to wait a few months... (Score 0) 114

says the guy who bought a 980 just before Christmas. Yeah... hypocrisy much.

However, be aware that minimum specs for games are in a bit of a state of flux at the moment. In some senses, it's not before time; they've only risen very slowly for many years, as development of most games was targeted first and foremost at the Xbox 360 and PS3, with PC versions usually not receiving much more than a few cosmetic upgrades. For quite a few years now, a reasonably recent i3/middle-aged i5 (or AMD equivalent) and a sensible Nvidia 400-series (or AMD equivalent) would have done you fine.

Since the summer of 2014, we've seen a rise in the number of games developed primarily for the PS4 and Xbox One and then scaled up for PC, or indeed, developed for PC and then scaled down for the consoles (Alien: Isolation a fairly clear example of the latter). And as this has happened, there's been a trend for rapidly rising specs.

Shadow of Mordor, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition have all needed substantially higher specs to run sensibly than was the norm a year ago. CPU, GPU, RAM and, frankly, even hard drive speed have all been pushed quite hard by the games above - you're now talking about wanting at least a recent i5 and a 780 if you like 1080p max settings. It might be that things will level out again soon. Or it might be that the increase will rise for a bit further yet. It will level out, when developers find a sweet spot that makes it easy to cross-develop between current-gen consoles and PC. But it might be worth waiting for performance analysis of how The Witcher 3's final build works before committing to a hardware upgrade - that's looking like the most technically demanding game on the horizon.

Comment: Re:Kinect (Score 2) 171

by RogueyWon (#48876059) Attached to: Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

That was certainly true for the Wii and Wii-U, but I'm not sure it holds up for Nintendo's other consoles. The Gamecube hardware was, by all accounts, good. Better than the PS2's and not far short of the Xbox's. It's still slightly amazing that the PS2 did as well as it did, given it was both underpowered and a complete dog to develop for.

The N64 was more complicated; most of its hardware was pretty decent, but the decision to stick with cartridges rather than move to a CD format for games doomed it in the race with the Playstation. That was probably the most significant point in console-history (I'd rank it above even the Atari-crash, which was strictly a US phenomenon) - the moment Nintendo decided, on the basis of piracy fears, to part way with almost all of its significant third party developers (and also to massively annoy Sony, who had done a load of development work in partnership with Nintendo on CD-based console technology). If the N64 had used CDs, chances are the industry would look completely different today.

Comment: Re:Kinect (Score 1) 171

by RogueyWon (#48875905) Attached to: Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

In the early days of the 360, MS spent a lot of time and money love-bombing Japanese developers to get them to make games primarily for the Japanese market (though many of them got exported to the West). Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey - the two best Japanese RPGs of the first few years of the last generation - were funded by MS, developed in Japan with Japanese as the primary language and English translations provided later. So language was no issue for those. Similarly, MS pumped a lot of money into Cave, making sure that the 360 got ports of a lot of their most notable arcade machines.

All of which did next to nothing. I'm tempted to say MS did absolutely everything it reasonably could to break into Japan. It still didn't work. I wasn't surprised therefore that they've barely even bothered to try this time around with the Xbox One. The Japanese home console market is in a bad way anyway, so it probably doesn't matter anything like as much as it did a decade ago.

Comment: Re:Microsoft's 14 Year Xbox Fiasco (Score 1) 171

by RogueyWon (#48873955) Attached to: Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles
They were talking about Kinect - not the Xbox. And "fastest selling entertainment device" is a flexible term - as you can define whatever period you want to base your judgement on.

Going off this it seems to have managed 8 million sales in 2 months. That's certainly got to be a contender for "fastest selling over 2 months". The PS2, Wii and PS4 all might have been able to manage faster, as might some of Apple's portable devices, if they hadn't been constrained by supply shortages.

Of course, Kinect sales flatlined after the first few months, nobody's disputing that. But there is certainly a defined period over which it seems to be "fastest selling".

Comment: Re:Microsoft's 14 Year Xbox Fiasco (Score 4, Interesting) 171

by RogueyWon (#48873555) Attached to: Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

Wow, bitter much...

Kinda guessing you're not a fan of the Xbox. Possibly even that you're a bit of a fan of one of its rivals? Remember that blind brand loyalty (or blind hatred of a brand) is self-defeating on the part of the consumer.

Microsoft does not love you and does not have your best interests at heart.

Sony does not love you and does not have your best interests at heart.

Nintendo does not love you and does not have your best interests at heart.

Valve does not love you and does not have your best interests at heart.

The fanboy-arguments between the various sides in the console war are more bitter this time around than I've ever seen them before. Which is ironic, really, given that the actual practical differences between the PS4 and Xbox One are vanishingly small and only really apparent to hardcore enthusiasts.

Comment: Re:Kinect (Score 2) 171

by RogueyWon (#48873509) Attached to: Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

What you say is technically correct for a very narrow span of time, but also one of the most pernicious myths about the finances of the gaming industry.

The article you link is from when the 360 first went on sale in 2005. The 360 remained MS's "main" console until late 2013. Production costs fall wildly over that time. Indeed, in the traditional MS/Sony model of selling consoles, you sell at a loss for about the first 12-18 months, then as unit cost reductions and economies of scale start to work in your favour, you keep the console selling at a more or less neutral level for the rest of its life-span, reducing the retail price as costs fall further.

Where do they make the money from? Xbox Live subscriptions, first party games etc are a small part of it, but only a small part. Most of the money - and it is a lot of money - comes from third party game fees.

See, when you buy a console game as "new" (rather than pre-owned), a large chunk of the sale price goes directly to Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo. On a full-priced game, this tends to be in the $10-15 range. Historically, this has explained the price differential between console and PC games - though with Valve now taking a similar cut of most PC game sales, who knows how long that will last.

The platform owner has spent next to nothing on those third party games; in most cases, it only gets involved at the certification stage. So it is, for the most part, "free money". And with series like Call of Duty, FIFA, Madden etc racking up the sales they do, it is a lot of free money.

So the trick is attracting third parties to the console. To do this, you need to have either a large current installed base, or the promise of a large installed base to come. This is why console manufacturers are happy to sell at a loss for the first year and often to take a loss (or at least a risk) on funding first party or platform-exclusive third party games - the Halos, Gears of War, Killzones and Gran Turismos of the world. Those are the bait to lure in the early adopters to get the installed base growing to get the third party developers on board.

The other business model is the one that was previously (but not currently) used by Nintendo. In the SNES, N64, Gamecube and Wii generations, as well as with its handhelds up to and including the DS, Nintendo sold platforms at a profit from day 1 and focussed much more on first party games development. This actually worked pretty well for a long time; they made megabucks on the SNES (which also had a lot of third party support, so win-win there) and even when the Gamecube ended up with poor sales, they were still able to turn a profit on it.

But around 5 years ago, this model started to break. The Wii was essentially dead by 2010; console sales were slowing to a trickle (after a few phenomenal years) and despite the huge installed base, most Wii owners (a different demographic to that on other platforms) did not buy many games, so third party developers abandoned it. Then came the 3DS launch.

The 3DS is doing ok now. Well in Japan, so-so in the US and Europe. It's on course to be a kind of PSP-level success, which is ok (the PSP actually did much better than is generally realised, largely on the strength of Japan). But the 3DS's launch was actually a bit of a disaster. For months after launch, the damned thing just wouldn't sell - and price was a big part of it. So Nintendo reversed historic policy and slashed the price; for the first time in its history, selling console hardware at a loss. It didn't remain at a loss for long; only 6 months or so until it got onto a neutral footing - but it was enough to bury Nintendo's historic strategy. Console sales improved, third parties moved in (particularly Japanese developers, many of who shy away from the high cost of developing for home consoles) and Nintendo's losses (the first in the company's history) were reduced. When the Wii-U was launched, it was launched with a traditional Sony/MS style pricing strategy; sold at a loss at first, before moving to neutral pricing after a year or so. In the Wii-U's case, for a variety of reasons, that failed to get it a good installed base and Nintendo now has an outright disaster on its hands - the hardware isn't profitable, third parties have left and the only business left is selling first party games to a relatively small user base.

The fun thing about this cycle is that following the poor launch of the 3DS and the disaster-launches of the Vita and Wii-U, some developers bet against the PS4 and Xbox One succeeding. 2k, in particular, committed itself to a strategy of ignoring the new consoles, while focussing development on 360, PS3 and PC. That's cost them a lot of money, with their sales significantly down on a few years ago. Borderland: The Pre-Sequel in particular has been a bit of a sales disaster, with a belated port to the new consoles jsut announced.

What 2k (and others) forgot is that installed base is important, but so is the propensity of that installed base to buy games; and early adopters of new hardware tend to buy a lot of games.

But yeah, in the big picture, installed base is critical and the fact that console manufacturer's take a loss for the first 12 months or so isn't particularly relevant.

Comment: Re:Kinect (Score 3, Informative) 171

by RogueyWon (#48873215) Attached to: Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

Not bullshit at all. Kinect's first couple of months on sale were extremely successful. In fact, MS made a very nice slug of money from it; unusually for the console business, there was a hefty chunk of profit margin on each unit sold. And it sold a lot of units very fast, because it was never supply constrained; unlike many new console launches, if you wanted one, you could walk into a shop and buy one (supply shortages have limited early sales of the PS2, Wii and PS4 to a large extent, early sales of other consoles to a lesser extent).

Of course, the Kinect basically went on to traverse (on a slightly smaller scale) the same kind of curve of the Wii. Lots and lots of early sales, but faltering when people started to realise that the only games you could practically play on it were short-lived party-games. So after the first few months on sale, sales fell of a brick and games releases dried up. But MS had a lot of sales and made a lot of money in the window before that.

And in what the hell sense is the Xbox brand a dismal failure? Ok, it's never taken off in Japan (basically because Japanese consumers are highly protectionist), but it's generally been a surprising success. The original Xbox managed just over 24 million sales. That's a long way behind the PS2's 150+ million, but ahead of Nintendo's 22 million, despite Nintendo being an established brand at the time and essentially being able to sell in 3 major markets (US, EU, JP) rather than Microsoft's 2 (US, EU).

The Xbox 360 managed 83 million sales until the point where MS stopped reporting sales (the unit is actually still selling). By comparison, the PS3 managed 80 million and the Wii just over 100 million (though the Wii got most of those early in the cycle - both console and game sales dried up in the second half).

And this time around - despite the "disaster for MS" narrative, the Xbox One isn't doing too badly. Sales data is a little hard to compare at the moment, but it looks like the PS4 managed 20 million in a year on sale, the Xbox One 10 million in the same time and the Wii-U around 8 million over two years. The Xbox One is in second place, but set against previous generations, it has sold fast in its first year (remember that console sales tend to accelerate in their second and third years, as prices come down and more games become available).

So MS has a successful console brand on its hands. What it doesn't have is the kind of "single device living room dominator" that Ballmer hoped the Xbox One would be. The new management seems content to settle for "successful games console", though there's a real question as to whether MS will want to be in that space in the long term.

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