Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Unreal worlds. Beyond level design

Mind: Path to Thalamus

Rick Lane steps into some surreal game worlds that attempt to go beyond the usual fantasy and sci-fi escapism.

The aim of so many popular games is to provide escapism, a way to escape to a fantasy land or science-fiction universe that often looks and acts in a very realistic way. Achieving that realism an understandable ambition, but it's also a limiting one. After all, games can also symbolically depict our own world, visually realising abstract ideas and concepts that our own world and civilisation generate.

Moreover, when level design is decoupled from escapism, it can be used to create worlds that are truly alien, going beyond the logical constraints of realism. In this article, we’ll explore a couple of games that challenge the notion of environmental design and how it’s used.

Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury

Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury

Logitech's latest gaming mouse is a pure, focusedeffort intended to provide the best performance per buck. It eschews extras such as weight systems or adjustable bodywork and focuses entirely on a top-spec tracking system and good ergonomics, and that's precisely what makes it so good.

Its flagship feature is what Logitech calls its Fusion Engine, which combines an accelerometer and gyroscope with a conventional laser sensor to help improve tracking accuracy when the mouse is moving at speed. This enables Logitech to claim a tracing speed of over 500 in/sec. compared to around 100-150 in/sec for just the sensor alone. The Fusion Engine also necessitates the mouse's other headline feature, the 32-bit ARM processor. This CPU is used to do all the necessary number crunching before sending the results to yourcomputer.

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB

Corsair Caming is a new division within the company, solely responsible for its nigh-end performance peripherals. It also aims to give Corsair a bigger presence at gaming and eSports events worldwide, and within online gaming communities generally. One of Corsair Gaming's first products, the K70 RGB, has been a tong time in the making. It's an upgrade to the Vengeance K70, but boasts the major feature of Cherry MX RGB (referring to the LEDs) mechanical switches, on which Corsair has a time-limited exclusivity deal.

Other than the new logo, the design is almost identical to the original K70 As such, the anodised, brushed aluminium front plate has outstanding build quality and looks fantastic, and the raised keycaps are likewise striking and also make the keyboard easy to clean. Prior Cherry MX switches only had space fora 3mm LED, but RGB LEDs (which can light up in red, green or blue colours) measure 5mm across. The solution is to surface mount the RGB LEDs onto the switch's PCB, which also improves reliability by reducing the chance of static discharge. Accordingly, Ihekeyboardliasa Iwo-year warranty, and a single LED failure entitles you to a replacement.