Microsoft announces DirectX 12:
The Xbox maker talked a lot about their “renewed focus on PC Gaming” at GDC last week. The PC market has been more or less an after-thought to Microsoft even though two pieces of their software, Windows and DirectX, are major elements of most games. But now the company has promised to do more for PC gaming and has started by releasing a new version of the popular DirectX graphics API (you know, that thing that installs whenever you play most games for the first time?). Being that DirectX 12 was announced at the Game Developers Conference, the reveal was focused on software and hardware developers that use DirectX and not really intended to show us consumers what to expect from it in future games. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of numbers and graphs and demo shots for us geeks to get happy over. The major improvements in DirectX 12 are a greater handling (by 50%) of multi-threaded CPU performance, a greatly streamlined method of GPU tasking, and overall increased visual quality and capability with less overhead. Better yet, nearly all Nvidia and AMD graphics cards that support DirectX 11 will be made compatible with DirectX 12 via a driver/software update. Only problem is, you won’t be able to enjoy all the goodness until late 2015, as that is the current release window.
BulletStorm suddenly disappears from Steam:
Another game on Steam has been pulled for seemingly no reason what so ever. This time, it was Bulletstorm and no amount of reaching out by every media site on the internet has elicited a response as to the reason why. BulletStorm is in kind of a weird position in that it was developed by People Can Fly which is now part of Epic Games, is published by EA which most commonly pulls games, and uses the Games For Windows LIVE DRM system that is expected to be shut down in a few months. That last point is the most commonly believed theory for the games disappearance as it will suddenly be unplayable when GFWL goes away. But what’s even more strange is that BulletStorm is still available on Origin. Maybe EA just doesn’t care about the impending demise of all support for the game, or maybe there’s something bigger going on here. If my theories are to believed and Microsoft is preparing to publish GFWL titles onto Steam or convert pre-existing ones, then Bulletstorm could either be in a transitional period of ownership or simply a casualty for the cause and now relegated solely to Origin. Unfortunately, all we can do is guess as every company involved is being strangely quiet.
No more duplicate items in DOTA 2 treasure chests:
This sounds like one of those things that will make veteran DOTA 2 players say to newbie players “you young whippersnappers got it too good these days”.
According to Valve, effective immediately “you will no longer have a chance to receive a duplicate item” from treasure chests and “each time you unseal a treasure, you will find a different item”. Additionally, Valve has added “a chance to obtain bonus rewards” with each chest unlocked, resulting in a possibility of receiving “two or more items each time you open a treasure”. This will certainly make chests a more sought after commodity on the Steam marketplace, but also less common as more players will likely open them for themselves.