Archive - 2012/04/01

Razer Tiamat 7.1 Elite Headset Review

Razer made some serious waves with its virtual surround sound Megalodon 7.1 headset. Most gamers, however, were wondering when they would release a true 7.1 channel design. The wait is over as Razer has released its Tiamat 7.1 channel “elite” gaming headset. Featuring a total of 10 sound drivers, the Tiamat 7.1 is a technological marvel of headset design, featuring a hearty black plastic design with a very dense braided cable. Unlike the Psyko Carbon 5.1 gaming headset which, while providing excellent audio quality, is very heavy and uncomfortable after long periods of use, the Tiamat 7.1 features more drivers and is less weighty by quite a bit. The Tiamat 7.1 also features soft, leatherette ear cups which allow for the unit to be worn for long gaming sessions with little discomfort.

Setting up the Tiamat 7.1 is simple – plug in the five 3.5mm audio jacks to the various outputs on the back of your PC/sound card, and insert the USB cable into an available USB 2.0 port. While the audio comes in through the audio jacks, Razer chose to power the unit via USB. The Tiamat 7.1 is an analog headset, meaning you need to have actual audio outputs for each channel on the sound card you use.  If your sound card only supports 5.1 or 2.1 sound, you will not be able to utilize the Tiamat 7.1’s full range of sound channels. Adjusting the Tiamat 7.1’s volume and equalization is done through the included control unit. The control unit features a volume knob of considerable diameter, meaning you have a lot of minute control in just how much volume you want to pump into your ears. Furthermore, you can select individual channels as well as adjust the EQ settings right from the control unit. For those wishing to chat with team mates or friends, the Tiamat 7.1 has a retractable boom microphone which works very well and, as my team mates have reported, captures clear voice chat.

Using the Tiamat 7.1 is a pleasure. I had no issues with the unit whatsoever and did not encounter a “bass bug” which some reviewers are reporting. Razer has mentioned the fix for this issue in the product’s official FAQ. It is actually an issue with the Windows default sound driver, not the headset. I have been fortunate to use the Tiamat 7.1 in multiple gaming environments – from the mechanized combat of Wargaming.net’s World of Tanks to the zombie-killing goodness of Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2. While many games I played did not take full advantage of the Tiamat’s 7.1 channels, several did. Each of those that did proved to be illuminating experiences, and the positional audio coming through the headset’s earcups added an entirely new element to my gaming. It was actually off-putting to go back to lesser numbers of channels in my gaming afterwards. My hope is that this spurs developers to take more advantage of 7.1 channel audio in their game development. Time will tell…

Razer’s Tiamat 7.1 elite gaming headset represents a new generation of PC gaming audio. Sure, we have seen 7.1 desktop sound systems before, but never a TRUE 7.1 channel headset. The Razer Tiamat 7.1 is pricey but, if you are looking for the best 7.1 channel gaming experience possible without a desktop speaker system, you simply won’t find better at this time. In fact, the Tiamat 7.1 is, in some ways, better than a desktop sound system. The ear cups help block out ambient noises and, coupled with the channel separation, make for a more intimate gaming experience all around.

The unit has been plagued with some supply issues of late, due to the complexity of building the unit as well as the high demand from consumers. However, it looks like this is becoming a thing of the past as the company is beginning to get more in stock. So, if you want one, keep checking those online retailers!

Official Features

  • 7.1 Surround Sound from 10 discrete drivers
  • All-in-one volume control unit for multi-channel customization and toggling between headset and speakers
  • Comfortable, snug fit for extended play
  • Retractable, noise-filtering unidirectional mic
  • Interchangeable ear cup covers
  • Replaceable soft-touch leatherette ear cushions
  • Braided fibre cable

Headphones

10 discrete neodymium drivers:

Sub woofer:

  •  Drivers: 2 x 40mm Neodymium Magnets with Titanium Coated Diaphragm
  •  Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000 Hz
  •  Impedance: 16Ω
  •  Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 116 dB ± 3dB

Front:

  • Drivers: 2 x 30mm Neodymium Magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 123dB ± 3dB

Rear:

  • Drivers: 2 x 20mm Neodymium Magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 120dB ± 3dB

Center:

  • Drivers: 2 x 30mm Neodymium Magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 123dB ± 3dB

Side:

  • Drivers: 2 x 20mm Neodymium Magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 120dB ± 3dB

Microphone

  • Frequency Response: 50 – 16,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity @1kHz: -36 dB ± 2dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 50 dB
  • Pick-up Pattern: Unidirectional

Volume Control Unit
Master Volume, front speakers, centre speakers, sub-woofer speakers, side speakers, rear speakers, microphone volume, microphone mute, audio mute, 7.1 surround sound & 2.0 stereo mode toggle and speaker/headset toggle

  • Cable: 3 metres, braided fibre sheath
  • Micro-USB Audio-Out
  • Micro-USB Audio-In
  • PC Connector: Microphone-In, 4x Audio-Out
  • Speakers Connector: 4x Audio-Out, 1x Audio-In

Requirements

  • PC with built-in 3.5mm audio jacks & 1 USB port
  • 7.1 Surround Sound-enabled Sound Card (for 7.1 Mode)

Images

NZXT Announces Phantom Armor

From the creators of the popular Phantom series and Switch 810 chassis, NZXT is proud to expand their product lines by officially making gamer’s dreams come true with REAL crafted gaming armor, the Phantom Armor. The Phantom Armor is available for pre-order as of now.

Phantom Helm
• 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi + 4G LTE (700, 2100 MHz)3
• Bluetooth 4.0 Technology
• Battery life 280 Hours
• Full Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound to immerse yourself in the game
• Built-in microphone with volume control for audio and microphone
• Visor provides 4 different vision modes: 3D vision, night mode, heat sensor, digital filter
• Built-in 1080 HD Camera
• USB 3.0 Charge
• Rubberized grip handle for portability
• Mesh front and side for air flow

Phantom Gauntlet:
• 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi + 4G LTE (700, 2100 MHz)3
• Bluetooth 4.0 Technology
• Built-in AI SILI; activated by voice command that does everything but tell time
• Battery life 80 Hours
• USB 3.0 Charge
• Analog control panel
• Android 5.0 Pepper Mint
• Touch keypad
• Intuitive LED touchscreen
• Fan control for your wrist
• On/Off power button for PC
• Adjustable straps

“Our Phantom Armor is just what every hardcore gamer needs” said Johnny Hou, Founder of NZXT. “The lightweight suit will take you through endless battles and provide you the ultimate gaming experience.”

Game on with the Phantom set. Visit www.nzxt.com for full details of the Phantom Armor.

Firefly Announces Stronghold in Space

London, UK 1st April, 2012 – Firefly Studios, creators of the Stronghold series and free-to-play MMORTS Stronghold Kingdoms, are proud to announce the world’s first medieval game world set in space.

‘Moon 1’ will launch on 1st April to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle, in response to planet Earth becoming overrun with new Kingdoms players.

“After one of our daily, caffeine-infused power meeting here at Firefly we decided that it’s time for something fresh, something out of this world” said Nick Tannahill, Marketing Officer at Firefly Studios. “We asked ourselves – Where have all medieval games been too scared to go? That’s when it hit me. It’s space, it has always been space!”

New gameplay elements will include attacks that can drift off into space, rocket-powered Scouts and all-new Moon Wolves, specially trained for zero-g combat. Earthlings hoping to migrate spacewards will be able to do so via means of a giant trebuchet.

Firefly hopes Moon 1 won’t be the final frontier in 2012. Enjoy your star wars.

More information on Stronghold Kingdoms and Firefly Studios can be found at www.strongholdkingdoms.com and www.fireflyworlds.com. Kingdoms can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StrongholdKingdoms and on Twitter @shkingdoms. Alternatively you can follow @AskTheWolf to be insulted by a psychotic medieval warlord.

Paradox Unveils Meta-MetaCritic to Rate Reviewers

NEW YORK — April 1, 2012 — Paradox Interactive today launched an all-new platform to objectively quantify the art of games journalism. The new site, MetaMetaCritic (http://www.meta-metacritic.net ), provides publishers, developers, and readers alike with a quick and easy way to understand the world’s overall opinion of popular game journalists, with each writer receiving an aggregated score based on reader reviews of the reviewers. This new system will provide game-enthusiast enthusiasts with a better overall concept of these writers, and allow them to make easy read/browse/troll decisions before spending their hard-earned unique pageviews.

MetaMetaCritic will provide a more accurate, balanced system for reviewer reviews,” said Lars Larsson at Paradox Interactive. “In a landscape with so many diverse scales for rating games journalists, it’s hard to get an idea who the best writers really are. We all have different criteria for what makes a good review. How do we measure value and re-read value? And some of us try to base our ratings on abstract concepts like tone, voice, or whether an article was ‘finished’ or not. I’ve seen a lot of reviews get criticized lately for releasing day-one counterpoints – and don’t get me started on the ending of the Mass Effect 3 review.” Larsson continued.

Select media groups have already cited MetaMetaCritic scores as providing a good guideline for journalists’ bonus pay. The site is live now at http://www.meta-metacritic.net

SteelSeries Announces 8-bit Peripherals

CHICAGO, March 30, 2012 – Kicking off the weekend, SteelSeries, the leading brand in all things related to being awesome and superior, today announced an entirely new line of products specifically designed for gamers living in an 8-BIT world. Inspired by retro-styled games such as Minecraft or FortressCraft, this revitalized family of SteelSeries ErgoRetro® peripherals has been ergonomically improved for the ultimate PC gaming comfort, control and overall domination.

“We are ecstatic to introduce these new peripheral designs and share with our community, the entirely new approach to ergonomics and design we are taking when it comes to our products, said SteelSeries CMO, Kim Rom.  We are re-evaluating the importance of high-performance, superior functionality, and comfort for what we believe is the regression of the peripherals industry. Instead of being the first to introduce the mechanical keyboard to gamers or bringing the worlds most customizable mouse to market, we are shifting it back to designs inspired by the first-type of gaming, pixelated 8-Bit style.”

SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Family of Peripherals

The classic and most recognized SteelSeries peripherals including the SteelSeries Sensei Mouse, SteelSeries 6Gv2 Keyboard and SteelSeries Siberia v2 Headset have all been re-designed to fit an ultra-new, ergonomically sound design.

SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Mouse

Taking out the relevant functionality to dominate your game, the SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Mouse has been ergonomically re-altered for extreme hand-sized users, increasing hand-cramp reaction times, and added weight technology for a block-like, retro feel. Features also include a new TrackBlock sensor, modeled after the track-ballwith an added 8-Bit flair.

SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Headset

Headsets are simple, make them look cool and the rest will follow. The new SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Headset embodies an oversized, block-like design for sort-of-superior sound and an incredibly limited amount of comfort. Weighing in at 8.6 lbs., users will never forgetwhat they’re wearing.

SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Keyboard

Modeled after the first mechanical gaming keyboard that was introduced in 2007 by SteelSeries, the new SteelSeries ErgoRetro® Keyboard supports the same tank-like, indestructible design, butwith new 8-Bit style improvements. The severe, pixel-block design and oversized keys takeaway the fast response time of its user and focuses the attention more on the way it looks than the way it works.

The SteelSeries 8-Bit ErgoRetro® peripherals will be available soon; pricing is still to be determined. Be sure to check out theSteelSeries Facebook page for giveaways of these new products throughout the weekend at http://facebook.com/steelseries.

About SteelSeries

SteelSeries is a leading manufacturer of gaming peripherals. For the past two thousand years, SteelSeries has been on the forefront of competitive gaming gear thanks to continued innovation and product development in cooperation with leading nerds, 8-Bit enthusiasts, and professional pranksters. SteelSeries also supports the growth of competitive gaming tournaments and unrealistic product announcements related to the nonsensical April Fools holiday. And we love MarketingHiiipe™. For more information, please visit http://steelseries.com.

Image Gallery

inXile Collaborating with Obsidian on Wasteland 2

Newport Beach, CA – March 30, 2012 – inXile entertainment confirmed today that they have reached an agreement with award-winning RPG developer Obsidian Entertainment to collaborate on the game design and writing for their Wasteland 2 project if the funding level reaches $2,100,000. Obsidian’s Chief Creative Officer Chris Avellone will be working directly with the design team at inXile to help bring the world of Wasteland together. Avellone stated, “Wasteland is one of my favorite RPGs of all time, and when Brian asked if I wanted to work on the sequel, I jumped at the chance. While I’ve worked on Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, getting the chance to work on the spiritual predecessor to the Fallout franchise is a honor.” Brian Fargo added, “I have a history with the guys at Obsidian that dates back to the days of Interplay’s Black Isle studios. Together we created some of the greatest RPG’s of all time, from Fallout 1 & 2 to titles like Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment. It is great that we now have a chance to reunite on a project like Wasteland 2.”

In addition to Chris Avellone’s help, Obsidian will be lending the experience they have in the development of RPG games and tools to inXile. Fargo believes this collaboration will allow him to focus more energy on the game, “Obsidian has an incredible library of story, dialog and design tools that they have used to create hits like Neverwinter Nights 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and of course, Fallout: New Vegas. Regardless of the tech we use to develop the game, experience with these tools will help us efficiently design the game without wasting time and resources on the tools needed for development.”

Wasteland still has 17 days remaining until the Kickstarter funding ends. At this time the project has around 33,000 backers and has raised more than $1,650,000. In addition to the PC version, inXile has officially announced Mac OS X and Linux versions of Wasteland 2.

InXile is also announcing a solution for everyone who wants to back the project, but who live in a country where backing it on Kickstarter is just not possible. Fargo reports, “We want to let everyone know that we are now accepting PayPal pledges directly though the Wasteland web portal. Some of our biggest fans come from Germany and Eastern Europe, yet they have been unable to support us through the Kickstarter/Amazon pay system. We now have an alternative PayPal site set up for such gamers at http://wasteland.inxile-entertainment.com.”

Details can be found on the Kickstarter site at:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2
or at:
http://wasteland.inxile-entertainment.com

Razer Announces Left-Handed Naga

Carlsbad, Calif. – March 30th, 2012 – Razer™, the world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, is receiving an overwhelming response from its devoted community, and has decided to move forward with plans to release a left-handed version of its award-winning Naga MMO gaming mouse.

Razer CEO and Chief Gamer Min-Liang Tan promised left-handed users that the company would make a left-handed Naga if his post on Facebook reached 10,000 “Likes” before April 21. The community responded by hitting that lofty total in less than one week on March 29, more than three weeks before the deadline.

“That Facebook post generated more buzz than we could’ve ever imagined, which proves that there have been a number of gamers that have had their needs ignored for some time,” said Tan. “We pride ourselves on being gamers ourselves, and we all know that there is no substitute for gaming with your dominant hand.”

Razer became the first company to offer a left-handed gaming mouse two years ago, when the company announced its DeathAdder Left-Hand Edition. Proving that it’s still serious about serving the need of its legions of left-handed users, Razer’s latest Naga is only the second professional-grade gaming mouse designed specifically for left-handed users – and Razer makes both of them.

The community is a huge part of Razer, and that’s why we have a dedicated team of community specialists that monitor and interact with fans all over the world. Razer encourages any and all of its fans to connect with the company via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/razer) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/cultofrazer), and share their ideas on what could be the next big announcement. We’re always listening.

17 MMO-optimized buttons
Program up to thousands of different in-game commands.

Maximum Comfort for Long Gaming Sessions
Game for days with the Razer Naga’s ergonomic design, optimized for easy access to every button.

Custom Interface AddOns for MMO Games
Organize your skills and eliminate visual clutter with the Razer Naga’s in-game custom interface AddOns (available for World of WarcraftTM and Warhammer Online: Age of ReckoningTM, and more).

Product Features:

  • 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling™ / 1ms response time
  • 200 inches per second max tracking speed
  • Zero-acoustic Ultraslick™ mouse feet
  • 17 MMO-optimized buttons (including 12 button thumb grid)
  • Optional MMO-specific software AddOns
  • Unlimited character profiles with AddOns
  • Approximate Size : 116 mm / 4.57” (Length) x 70 mm / 2.76” (Width) x 46 mm / 1.81” (Height)
  • Approximate Weight: 134 g / 0.30 lbs

About the Razer Group:
Razer is the world leader in high performance gaming hardware. Founded in 1998, with its headquarters in Carlsbad, California, the company has offices in nine cities around the globe.  Used by the most demanding professional gamers who compete in global tournaments, Razer provides gamers with the unfair advantage of cutting-edge technology and award-winning design. We live by our motto: For Gamers. By Gamers.™

Crusader Kings II DLC Announced

NEW YORK, March 30th, 2011 – The past is littered with the names of fallen monarchs, mad kings and usurped rulers. Ignominy is their legacy. Now is the time to create history’s greatest ruler in your own image as Paradox Interactive have today announced a brand new DLC for their hit strategy game Crusader Kings II allowing you to create and customize the most loved or most feared king or queen the world has ever known!

Who do you want to be today in Crusader Kings II? It is the question that every player faces; still finding that perfect character to play is always the challenge. You may have found the perfect place but well the man who has it just isn’t quite right. A stat is a little too low, that trait is a little annoying, he could really do with an heir, the less said about the nose the better, and why does he have such a stupid name?
With the new Crusader Kings II: Ruler Designer DLC all these are in your hands. Customize your character your way. Tweak and change any aspect of the character or even create an all new character and dynasty to play with. Create your portrait, change the name and dynasty and even customize your coat of arms. Change traits and stats at will and decide the size of the immediate family. The game that lets you choose your goals will now let you choose your character.

Crusader Kings II: Ruler Designer DLC will be released on the 17th of April to a suggested retail price of 4,99 USD.

The strategy/RPG Crusader Kings II is available via all major distribution platforms and selected retails outlets with a suggested retail price of $39.99.

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium MMO No More

AGOURA HILLS, Calif.–(THQ Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI) today announced that it has refocused Warhammer® 40,000®: Dark Millennium™ from a Massively Multiplayer Online game to an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features. Further product details, platforms and release timing will be announced at a later date.

“As previously announced, we have been actively looking for a business partner for the game as an MMO. However, based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO, we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay, robust digital content and community features,” said Brian Farrell, President and CEO of THQ Inc. “Because we believe strongly in the high-quality and vast creative work that is in production, this is the right decision for both our portfolio and for gamers devoted to this powerful property.”

“We are genuinely excited about the new direction that THQ is taking with Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, and we are sure that this will be a great addition to the ever growing stable of authentic and engaging Warhammer 40,000 video games,” said Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing for Games Workshop.

As a result of this change, team sizes at two THQ internal studios will be reduced by 79 full-time employees at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas, and 39 employees at Relic Entertainment in Vancouver, B.C.

Vigil Games will continue to focus on both this game and the critically-acclaimed new title, Darksiders® II, scheduled for release this summer. Relic Entertainment continues to focus its development expertise on THQ’s franchises including Company of Heroes® and Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War®.

World of Warplanes to Include Dragons

30th March, 2012 — Wargaming.net, the award-winning online game developer and publisher, is proud to announce the next faction to join the current set of nations in the highly-anticipated flight combat action MMO World of Warplanes: dragons! The all-new line of majestic creatures will set the sky on fire when the game enters its beta stage later this year.

The initial tech tree will include 12 dragons and will eventually expand to more than 60 creatures. Each mystical animal will have its own peculiarities and strategic employment. Players can upgrade several key characteristics including fire intensity level, color, number of claws, horns, wingspan and skin thickness.

The addition of these fire-breathing beasts will add more diversity to the gameplay since a dragons’ behavior requires a different approach in terms of controls and tactics.

“Adding dragons into World of Warplanes has been one of the most challenging aspects of game development so far,” said Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi. “Dragons are so different from planes; they are much more edgy and self-willed, but if you put in just a little more effort, they will serve you well. I’m happy we’ve finally announced them!”

Screenshots