Which games/hardware have made 2015 special for me?
I don’t tend to arrange games (or tech) I review into any sort of order and I am not about to start, however, I thought maybe I should write a short piece on the ones I think deserve a mention. They are all games that have either been released in 2015 or are still in active development as of December 31st 2015 and, in the case of hardware, some of my favourite pieces that I have been sent so far.
I have now been writing for Davechaos.co.uk for a little over 2 years and, during that time, I have had the opportunity to play a good number of fantastic games and test some wonderful hardware/tech. I thought it might be nice to see off 2015 (and the old website) with some notable mentions.
Despite the glitches, and various other issues, it is still a worthy addition to the Fallout franchise. Settlement building (albeit irritating) is a nice feature. Post-apocolyptic roleplaying has come a long way over the last 20 years or so, here’s to many more!
A very simple 2D-sidescrolling base management game that is incredibly addictive and has a significant learning curve. Essentially a casual game but with more depth than you first realise.
From The Depths:
Build a ship, sink it, build something bigger with more guns, add missiles.. You know what? Think block building with physics, buoyancy and even space.. Oh, guns too, lots of guns! It’s fun, honestly!
Colony building in the style of Prison Architect, huge amounts of content, consumes large amounts of time without you noticing and to top it off, despite being in early access, already has more mods than you can shake a stick at!
Killing Floor 2:
Kill increasingly numerous and nasty monsters for cash, spend cash for bigger guns, profit? Well, that depends on teamwork, something in short supply on the internet as we all know, still, a great, progressive FPS and fun to play.
Kerbal Space Program:
Failed the astro-navigation exam almost as many times as Rimmer? Don’t worry, now you can run your own space program, from craft design, to contracts, to dropping prefabs on another world. Still can’t fly straight? Mod it!
Naval broadside warfare in space, with a Firefly-esq soundtrack, big guns and a large amount of space to explore, even if it’s only on 2 axis. Lots of fun, although multiplayer would be a nice addition.
EVGA Torq X10 Carbon:
I was sent this mouse to review earlier in 2015 and even after testing I carried on using it, in fact, I still use it now. Both comfortable and functional with a good grip and adjustable back plate, extra buttons and an ambidextrous design. All of these make this a wonderful mouse and definitely my peripheral of the year.
Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma:
While it does have an issue with multiple profiles in the Synapse software it doesn’t detract from the device itself. Well designed and with thoughtful customisation options; including macro keys, media and lighting controls. A good all-round keyboard with enough functionality to keep most of us happy for a good long while!
I had been meaning to buy a new webcam for a very long time so when Dave said he had a space C920 from Logitech I was more than happy to take it. From picture quality to audio quality from the built-in mic; it has everything I could possibly need. A fantastic device that I am truly proud to own.
Cooler Master Master Case Pro 5:
After seeing this case at EGX 2015 at the NEC; I immediately knew I must have one (I’m still waiting to purchase it). Not only does it look brilliant but it holds the modular customisation that I have wanted from a case in as long as I have been building computers (13 years). A dream come true for me. I will write a full review once I get hold of one! I have high hopes for this!
So, which games or devices have made your year? It took all of my restraint not to add a fair few more to this list. Let us hope that 2016 brings us all that we desire and more!
VOID Wireless, USB, and Analog Gaming Headsets
Available in wireless, USB, or analog stereo models, the VOID gaming headset earcups are shaped to fit the human ear, providing the utmost comfort while delivering spectacular audio fidelity. The USB and wireless models incorporate innovative features like InfoMic status LEDs and a CUE Control dial, enabling users to control their gaming soundscape without hitting pause. These models also feature customizable RGB lighting, EQ, and Dolby 7.1 surround, allowing for a fully personalized audio experience. For those seeking a universal stereo solution, the VOID Stereo analog headsets feature a mobile-compatible connector and included Y-adaptor cable for compatibility with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, mobile devices, and all PC and Mac computers.
Over the years, the magic of Star Wars™ has always lived on screen and in our imaginations. Thanks to our advancements in technology, we’ve made it possible to bring a new part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens™ into your home.
Meet BB-8™ – the app-enabled Droid™ that’s as authentic as it is advanced. BB-8 has something unlike any other robot – an adaptive personality that changes as you play. Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands. Set it to patrol and watch your Droid explore autonomously, make up your own adventure and guide BB-8 yourself, or create and view holographic recordings.
It’s now possible to explore the galaxy with your own trusty Astromech Droid by your side. BB-8 is more than a toy – it’s your companion.
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What’s in the Box?
• Induction Charging Base
• Micro USB Cable
• Quick Start Guide
• Legal Guide
BB-8 ™ Tech Specs
• Top speed of 4.5 mph (7ft/s)
• Durable polycarbonate shell
• Bluetooth Smart BLE connection (100 foot range)
• Inductive charging (over 1 hour of play on a full charge)
• Free App: BB-8 App-Enabled Droid powered by Sphero available through iTunes or Google Play
• Height: 11.4 cm / Width: 7.3 cm / Weight ~200 g
Over the last couple of months I’ve been working with Cooler Master to create this build. Now, I’m no modder (tech reviewer and content creator actually..) but I took a stab at it here. I started with a MasterCase5, with all the optional accessories, then got some awesome parts from Asus, including a Z97 Formula board, and their Poseidon edition 980ti, and set to work. I also got some amazing watercooling kit from Aquatuning, and fan hub from OverclockersUK! In the series I have painted the case, build the system 3 or 4 times, hard pipe watercooled it all (and showed how), and am in the process of filling and finishing it all off! Let me know what you think of the project in the comments down below, and please note that I know I’m terrible at painting, modding and generally everything.
AMD reinvents the small-form-factor PC with its third “Fiji”-based GPU featuring High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) and next-generation DirectX® 12 gaming.
AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) continues to push the boundaries of graphics card design, today announcing its category-creating AMD Radeon™ R9 Nano, the fastest Mini ITX graphics card ever1, to enable 4K gaming in the living room through ultra-quiet, ultra-compact PC designs. First previewed to gamers around the world during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles in June 2015, the AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card is based on the graphics chip codenamed “Fiji”, and is the third “Fiji”-based product to launch this summer alongside the AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury and R9 Fury X graphics cards. The AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury graphics family, based on the “Fiji” chip, marks a turning point in PC gaming with the implementation of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) to deliver extreme energy efficiency and performance for ultra-high resolutions, unparalleled VR experiences, smoother gameplay, with the Radeon R9 Nano revolutionizing form-factors for enthusiasts everywhere.
With 30 percent more performance2 and 30 percent lower power3 than the previous generation AMD Radeon™ R9 290X card, the 175W AMD Radeon R9 Nano is the world’s most power efficient Mini ITX enthusiast graphics card. The six-inch long, air-cooled board represents a new class of graphics card, enabling gamers, PC modders, and system integrators to build compact, unique, ultra-small form factors that have never before been possible, opening the door to new, sleek PC designs that are no bigger than a home DVR or videogame console, and look every bit in place beside them.“With the Radeon™ R9 Nano graphics card, AMD is enabling 4K class gaming in your living room in an exceptionally quiet, ultra-small design built to excel in today’s games and on the latest APIs like DirectX® 12 and Vulkan™. There simply is nothing else like it,” said Matt Skynner, corporate VP and general manager, Product, Computing and Graphics Business Unit at AMD. “Our Radeon™ graphics line-up is ushering in a new era of PC gaming delivering remarkable performance, unmatched GPU designs and groundbreaking technologies. Today is a revolutionary moment for PC gaming, and we are proud to add this distinct product to our well-rounded AMD Radeon R9 graphics lineup.”The AMD Radeon R9 line of graphics cards offers a spectrum of products ranging in price from $199 – $649 SEP4. Delivering stunningly powerful graphics for unparalleled 4K gaming experiences in their class, the AMD Radeon R9 Series meets virtually every need and budget for anyone who demands a premium gaming experience.
AMD Radeon™ R9 Nano Graphics Card:
|Virtual Super Resolution (VSR)||Yes|
|Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC)||Yes|
|High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM)||Yes|
|AMD FreeSyncTM Technology||Yes|
|AMD LiquidVR™ Technology||Yes|
|4K Resolution Support||Yes|
|AMD Eyefinity Support||Yes|
|AMD CrossFire™ Support||Yes|
|Engine Clock||Up to 1000 MHz|
|Compute Performance||8.19 TFLOPS|
|Texture Fill-Rate||256 GT/s|
|Pixel Fill-Rate||64 GP/s|
|Memory Configuration||4GB HBM|
|Memory Interface||4096-bit HBM|
|Memory Speed / Data Rate||500MHz / 1.0Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||512 GB/s|
|Power Connectors||1 x 8-pin|
|Typical Board Power||175 W|
|PCIe® Standard||PCI-E 3.0|
|API Support||DirectX® 12, Vulkan™, OpenGL® 4.5, Mantle|
In this video review we have a look at the new Ricoh Theta S 360° Camera.
Fully Spherical Portable Camera: RICOH THETA S Featuring faster lenses, enlarged image sensor and full HD video capabilities
LONDON, September 3, 2015 — Ricoh today announced the release of the RICOH THETA S, the newest model in the RICOH THETA series of spherical cameras that capture360-degree scenes. Unveiled today in Berlin at IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics show, the camera features extra-high resolution, fully spherical photos and videos captured in one simple shot, a live preview function and even greater compatibility with social media platforms.
The RICOH THETA S, matches the lightweight portability of the current model – the RICOH THETA m15 – and captures high-resolution spherical images of up to nearly 14 megapixels. It can also record spherical video in full HD (1920 x 1080*1 pixels at 30fps) with a maximum recording time of 25 minutes. These enhanced quality images are achieved by an enlarged image sensor and fast F2.0 lenses which allow more light through Ricoh’s proprietary ultra-small twin-lens folded-optical system. Superior image processing technology and bulb mode for long exposures produce spherical still images with less visual static, even in low-light situations.
Spherical images can be uploaded to theta360.com, shared via Facebook™, Twitter™ and Tumblr, and posted to Google Maps™, Google+™ and YouTube™360°Channel. The application program interface (API) for RICOH THETA S is based on the Google-supported Open Spherical Camera API for compatibility with Google’s services.
Coinciding with the launch of the RICOH THETA S, Google Maps today introduced a new Google Street View™ app that allows you to capture and publish your photo spheres instantly to Google Maps for people all over the world to explore. The app also offers the ability to shoot photo spheres and to connect to spherical cameras. This new capability to connect to spherical cameras makes it easier than ever to create Google Street View experiences.
The new RICOH THETA S app for smartphones and tablets can be used to configure settings and instantly view spherical photos and video via wirelessly connected devices. An improved Wi-Fi® module now transfers data four times faster than the current RICOH THETA model.
The RICOH THETA S also boasts an updated design and user interface. Usability has been improved with an elegant but practical sure-grip black rubber coating and handy face-mounted LED mode indicator. Internal memory has been increased to 8GB.
The original RICOH THETA was launched in 2013 as the world’s first mass-produced camera to capture fully spherical images. Since then, the series has inspired a unique genre of visual creativity for capturing everyday scenes from an all-new perspective.
*1. 1920 x 960 when playing back
Quotes from Ricoh, Ricoh Imaging and Google Maps
Wataru Ohtani, Ricoh’s Corporate Associate Vice President and General Manager of the New Business and Platform Development Center, said: “Ricoh pioneered the sphericalcamera market and thereby revolutionized how people view the world. This new model offers even higher image quality than before to satisfy both early adopters and people who enjoy communicating creatively through social media.”
Noboru Akahane, Ricoh Imaging’s President and CEO, said: “We are delighted to offer users increased value and richer 360-degree experiences with our new RICOH THETA S. The model’s enhanced image quality and other exciting new features are sure to expand the scope of RICOH THETA fans in all-new fields.”
Charles Armstrong, Google Maps Product Manager, said: “The Street View app allows people all over the world to explore user contributions, Google’s own imagery, and their own published photo spheres through a seamless world map of landscapes, landmarks, business interiors and more. The RICOH THETA S is a great tool to create this imagery, and we hope it inspires people to contribute to the map.”