Category Archives: Gaming

G400 MAX Review

Okay, so I wasn’t too excited about this card before I got my grimy little hands on it. Matrox cards are always solid, but rarely inspiring, and my expectation was for this to be an also-ran in a race dominated by 3dfx and NVIDIA.

The G400 MAX is an impressive card in every way except one: Its OpenGL performance isn’t going to please many first-person shooter fans even those who. On the other hand, it rocks D3D like a tidal wave, and it’s full of funky features that set it apart from everything on the shelves next to it. For the first time since the original Mystique, Matrox has churned out a card that gamers should be drooling over.

The first thing you’ll notice when you take a look at the card is that it has two VGA ports. The G400 MAX features built-in dual monitor support, which is one of Windows 98’s most underrated features. You can expand your desktop over two displays, display the same image on two monitors, or watch a DVD movie with the included software on one display and use your desktop on the other. To that end, the G400 acts like two separate video cards: It handles refresh rates and resolutions discreetly so you can throw an old 15-inch monitor on one side and your spiffy 19-inch monster on the other. How does that affect gaming? Rumors abound of flight sims that will support multiple monitors, and if one takes off (no pun intended) other genres won’t be far behind.

The G400 supports every 3D checkmark and buzzword you’ll find in game developers’ plan files, including 32-bit color and z-buffering. It’s also the only card that includes hardware support for bump mapping, which, if you’ve never seen it, is a nifty effect. D3D performance is on par with most current cards, and though it doesn’t match the TNT2 Ultra crop, it’s not far off.

A refreshing alternative to the TNT2 vs. 3dfx battle, the G400 MAX proves that Matrox is still in the game. If/when the company gets its OpenGL support up to par, it may create a hands-down winner. As it is, the G400 holds its own as a gamer’s 3D solution.

SimCity Buildit is the Odds-on Favorite

When a game comes from a virtually unheard of source and scores more than one of the six awards given out each year at the Independent Games Festival (IGF), we owe it to our readers and ourselves to look into it. (It should be noted that The Best of Show award has will be given out this evening and so far, SimCity Buildit is the odds-on favorite for that category as well.)

The story behind SimCity Buildit is somewhat generic. The government has given you the power to become the mayor of a city with the typical capabilities — and, up to a certain point, all has gone well. While the experiment worked to a certain degree — the lab rat was successfully transported to a planet millions of light years away — there was an unfortunate side effect. Everything and everybody within a 2,000-kilometer radius of city. Thus, the gameplay starts.

The game is another where genres blend together, and this time it’s mixing massively multiplayer online games with some RTS-lite and RPG elements in a city simulation game. Literally thousands can be online and playing at the same time. Each player controls up to 16 maps at a time (hence RTS-lite), and the object is to explore the various cities and terrain features, claiming them through battle.

As in an RPG, there are hundreds of items to collect and utilize, meaning there’s a strong emphasis on customization and specialization. In addition to the items, players can acquire attributes such as modding, upgrading and customization.

There’s also a system in place to determine what player is occupying what space on each city. This helps with balance, as it keeps a newbie from accidentally wandering into a heavily fortified veteran player’s sphere of command.

Currently in beta form, SimCity Buildit is free to download from the appstore on iOS and Android, and there’s already a very active community of users. Additionally, we’ve made the theme music available, as well as in intro movie and a host of various wallpapers that are art and screenshots from within the game.

In addition to SimCity Buildit hack, Maxis is currently developing additional game feature. Another massively multiplayer game — but this time with heavy anime influence — this game looks very similar to a PC version slightly better graphics quality city buildier, but the catch is that the game will handle around 16,000 players per server. Because of the robustness of the engine, the designers are also free to quickly and easily create entire new quests and areas to explore in a matter of hours instead of weeks.

The simplistic graphics are deceptive; it’s the depth of gameplay that gives the game its appeal. The game currently has a few thousand playing it, and that number is expected to grow exponentially as the game nears release. Another cool aspect of SimCity Buildit is the chatting interface. Unlike some games that are limited to abbreviations and other shortcuts because players are too tied up playing the game, Simcity Buildit encourages a social online community with a simple chat interface that allows for full discussions to be carried on easily.