Sunday, 26 April 2015

The VR verdict

The VR verdict

The HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus - the three of them are taking gaming towards virtual reality enlightenment. With the Samsung Gear protecting the mobile VR vanguard, the industry is ready to be taken into a virtual world.

We’ve just been skydiving. Except, we haven’t; we’ve been lying on our chest, over a chair, looking down, with an Oculus Rift strapped to our head. “You’ve got to step over the edge,” Patrick O’Luanaigh tells us, he’s the CEO of nDreams (more on that later) and used to be creative director at Eidos Interactive, and head of external development at Codemasters. He’s watching us on-screen, not that we know that, of course, since we’re very much embroiled in this terrifying virtual experience.



Breaking the mould

When you’re creating a game using stop-motion animation, you can’t afford to run at 60 frames per second. The standard rate for point-and-click games is a steady 30 frames; adhering to the new industry standard of 60 frames per second literally doubles the workload. But Armikrog actually looks better for running in 30 frames, because of the way it’s presented. Character animations seem stronger and more solid, and the hyper-realism of the tracking takes away from the more detached impressions videogames like Armikrog try to achieve.

Remembering... Windows NT 4.0

Windows NT 4.0

One of David Hayward's Microsoft operating systems gets a look in this week

Mention Windows Me, Vista, Windows 8 or whatever to most users of technology, and you'll probably get one of 'those looks', a kind of cross between don't remind me of that and utter disgust.

Granted, Microsoft has come up with a few duff operating systems in its time; although it's fair to say that once you've mastered Vista and 8.1, there's a good operating system hidden in there. Windows ME, on the other hand, well, we won't even go down that road.

Happy Birthday, Zzap!64


David Hayward pays homage to one of the greatest computer magazines of all time

Thirty years ago the UK enjoyed a golden age of computer magazines. Sinclair User, Your Sinclair, Personal Computer Games, What Micro, C&VG (Computer & Videogames) and (of course) Crash were the highlight of the month for many teenager who visited the newspaper shops.

These magazines were more than just words on paper, they were a part of our lives and we absorbed every page as if it were a religious text in front of us.
If then these publications were our religion, the high temple was that of Newsfield Ltd, located in sunny Ludlow. With its ever-impressive Crash selling in excess of 100,000 copies a month to eager Spectrum users - informing us, keeping us up to date and helping us get the best from our tiny rubber keyboard machines - it was inevitable that the Newsfield editorial team of Roger Kean, Oliver Frey and Franco Frey would turn their sights to the other great 8-bit machine of that time, the Commodore 64.

Replacing the cooler on your graphics card

Replacing the cooler on your graphics card

It's not as difficult as you might think, as James Hunt explains

Although it's common to want a more efficient cooler for your CPU or better extractor fans for your case, most people would never dream of taking their graphics card to bits to improve the cooling. Yet it's entirely possible to do just that.

In a way, it's understandable. Graphics cards are expensive and don't seem to be user-serviceable: unlike processors, the cooling systems come pre-attached. But like CPUs, if you improve the cooling on your graphics card, you might find that you get better performance out of the hardware. Overclocking a GPU is easier than overclocking a CPU, such that you can do it in software, and if anything goes wrong, it's easier to recover from as well. The performance hike you get will also be far more relevant to gaming than an overclocked CPU would be.

Recovering deleted files

Recovering deleted files

Aaron shows you how to resurrect lost files and data, saving a lot of headaches in the process

We've all been there, that moment when you realise a needed file or folder has mysteriously vanished. The last time you remember, it was there, waiting for you to peruse the file or folder contents, but when you come to actually look at it, it's gone. You could have accidentally deleted it, or it could have been removed by another means, such as a system clean. Either way, it was data you needed, and it's now gone. Is there anything that can be done? Can you get this data back, saving you a lot of time and effort, or is it gone forever?

With a little luck and the right tools and know-how, no, all is not lost. It is possible to recover data, and there are a number of ways you can go about it, ranging from the simple to the complex. Whatever method you need to employ, aside from the harshest of scenarios, there's usually a way to recover your lost data. So without further ado, let's take a look at some free options open to you.