Kotaku





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Among amateur rocket-launching circles, there's a bounty called "The Carmack Prize". It's named for id boss, Doom co-creator and budding rocket scientist John Carmack, and will reward anyone who can get a home-made rocket 100,000 feet into space and capture some GPS data from it.



The first people to claim the prize will pick up $10,000 from Carmack. Nobody has managed the feat yet, but late last month a team got awful close.



On September 30, Derek Deville made a rocket, named it Qu8k (pronounced "Quake", and using the classic id shooter's logo), stuck a camera and some GPS gear to it and shot it off a launch pad in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.



Sadly, he wasn't able to get a GPS reading from the rocket, but as you'll see from the footage above, he at least got the 100,000 feet part under his belt. While the beginning of the clip focuses on Qu8k's launch, eventually you'll get to some amazing scenes from a camera attached to the rocket's casing, which shows...well, what the Earth looks like to a home-made rocket that's just been shot 121,000 feet into space.



If you're wondering why Carmack has his name attached to the prize, he's a budding rocketeer himself, with one of the leading entries in a NASA competition to build a home-made lunar lander.



Glorious 121,000′ Amateur Rocket Flight [MAKE]





You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.
Kotaku

RAGE's PC Version has Been Updated, Might be Better nowThe PC launch of id's anticipated shooter RAGE has been, well, a "Cluster!@#$". And that's in the developer's words. Does a massive update released over the weekend help things?



It certainly helps help things. The update, which is out now, adds many of the hardware configuration options people were mystified weren't there in the first place, like in-game settings for VSync and anisotropic filtering, along with the option to adjust the game's use of a texture cache, which might alleviate the PC version's biggest problem of textures popping in all the time.



I say might because even with this adjusted, I still got some pop-in, especially in the towns. The anisotropic options are nice though, since the game (like it has for just about everybody) underestimated my PC's grunt and slid everything too low.



Sadly, my biggest technical problem with the game - the strange gulf in mouse sensitivity between the main game and the menu screens - hasn't been fixed.



Rage Updated [Steam]





You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.
Kotaku





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Appropriately enough, the season four finale of Breaking Bad is on AMC tomorrow night. You may recall that, in late August, Rage made a strange cameo in the meth-slinging drama, in which someone plays the game with a light gun. Well, Rage has returned the favor with a Breaking Bad prop cameo of its own.



No real spoilers that I can see here, although the item in question is not impossible to find and you may stumble across it yourself. The instructions are in that video above, which also shows the light gun outtake in question.



Easter Eggs—Rage Wiki [WikiGameGuides via Joystiq. h/t Commenter]


Kotaku

Why Was The PC Launch of Rage Such A "Cluster!@#$"? The idea from the start was a game that blurred the lines between how games looked on console and PC.



id Software's most famous games, actually all of its major games, were titles built on the computer first, then brought to consoles later.




But not with Rage. id Software's big genre-blending shooter was created using the company's new id Tech 5 technology, an engine designed to run across all platforms, console or PC, with the same assets.



But somehow the end result wasn't just a game that looked worse on one platform, it was a game that, at least for some, looked worse on the one platform id had for so long embraced: The computer.



***

The chief issue with the current state of Rage on the computer, id says, is mostly one caused by the drivers that help the game interface with graphics cards made by Nvidia and ATI, something very frustrating for the perfectionists at id.



While Rage was built on technology meant to make the game the same on all platforms, it was still built using computer. Specifically, Rage creative director Tim Willits, told me the studio's internal development tools run on 64-bit PC systems, but when the game is submitted to the "build system," all platforms are created.



That's when the game is tested, rigorously.



"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games. That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions will have larger audiences than the PC version." - John Carmack

"This system has led to incredibly solid and bug-free 360 and PS3 versions," Willits said. "Unfortunately, we have had video driver issues that have caused problems and frustrations with our PC fans. Everyone at id Software is very upset by these issues which are mostly out of our control. We are working with both AMD/ATI and Nvidia to help them identify and fix the issues with their drivers. We've had assurances that these problems are being addressed and new drivers will be available soon."



***

The issues were so severe that it drove the normally soft-spoken Carmack to cuss. Well, nearly cuss. In a response to Kotaku about the launch problems, Carmack censored himself, but the anger was still there.



"The driver issues at launch have been a real cluster !@#$," he wrote. "We were quite happy with the performance improvements that we had made on AMD hardware in the months before launch; we had made significant internal changes to cater to what AMD engineers said would allow the highest performance with their driver and hardware architectures, and we went back and forth with custom extensions and driver versions."



"We knew that all older AMD drivers, and some Nvidia drivers would have problems with the game, but we were running well in-house on all of our test systems. When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn't work. The fact that the working driver has incompatibilities with other titles doesn't help either. Issues with older / lower end /exotic setups are to be expected on a PC release, but we were not happy with the experience on what should be prime platforms."



A question of prime platforms elicited another surprising response from Carmack, one he says he knows won't make people happy.



I've noticed that among those people who aren't enjoying the PC experience, I wrote to the developers, the underlying issue seems to be one driven by expectations. People seemed to have been hoping that this would be a game that proved the value of owning a PC over a console. But instead they got a game that they feel cut some corners to level the experience between console and PC. Do you think that is a fair assessment? Does id still see the PC as the leading platform to make games for?



"You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements," Carmack replied. "We chose the latter."



Why Was The PC Launch of Rage Such A "Cluster!@#$"?



The fact that id had already decided that they wanted Rage to run at 60 frames per second already removed one of the major things PC gamers look for in a title, he continued. That only left resolution, anti-aliasing, and texture streaming as things that a computer gamer might want to see look better than on a console.



"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games," Carmack added. "That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions will have larger audiences than the PC version. A high end PC is nearly 10 times as powerful as a console, and we could unquestionably provide a better experience if we chose that as our design point and we were able to expend the same amount of resources on it. Nowadays most of the quality of a game comes from the development effort put into it, not the technology it runs on. A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases."



[Pic via Reddit]





You can contact Brian Crecente, the author of this post, at brian@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.



See Also


Why Was The PC Launch of Rage Such A "Cluster!@#$"?



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Why Was The PC Launch of Rage Such A "Cluster!@#$"?



Taking the Taboo Out of Mature Gaming


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It's a mix of things that draws Tristan to these games that he knows I don't let him play. More »





Kotaku

id Explains How to Tweak the Most Out of PC Rage, More Official Settings Coming Soon The PC version of Rage will soon have a bevy of new ways for gamers to tweak the way the game behaves and looks on their system, id Software tells Kotaku.



"Rage has fewer tunable settings than games we've released in the past," Robert Duffy, Rage programming director, told Kotaku. "We've added a few more video options in the update that will be available soon and these will provide gamers more flexibility in tuning the game for performance and quality. Additionally we've defaulted several things differently based on CPU/GPU combinations, so that will also help with the overall experience."



"We are still evaluating which options to surface in the update but currently we've added:"

1. Texture Cache [ Small | Large ] which alternates between 4k and 8k pages

2. Texture Anisotropy [ Low | High ]

3. VSYNC [ Off | On | Smart ] "Smart" will only be available once future drivers come out that supports the extension so Off and On are the only options when the patch initially hits.



John Carmack, Rage's technical director, said he was a "bit surprised at the intensity of the reaction" to the low number of video options.



"We are providing a few more options in an update, and we will probably document some of the more obscure tuning options that can be done manually," he said.



We asked Duffy for a quick run down of what gamers can do now, if they want to much about in the game's console or Steam settings. Here's what he told us:



Here are several ways to change settings but the easiest is through the Steam launch options for the game which are accessible by right clicking on RAGE in the Steam Library, choose Properties, and then Set Launch Options. Depending on your setup the following can boost performance and/or quality.



If you have a high end GPU with at least 1GB+ of dedicated video ram you can use what we refer to as 8K Pages. These pages are effectively the GPU-based texture cache and if the video ram is available can greatly reduce texture page-in. Please note that if enough video ram is not available, setting this can drastically reduce performance and this does not always play nice on a 32bit OS. The following command line can be used to enable 8K textures. (Current valid settings are 4096 or 8192.)



+vt_pageImageSizeUnique 8192 +vt_pageImageSizeUniqueDiffuseOnly8192 +vt_pageImageSizeUniqueDiffuseOnly2 8192



Another setting that will prove beneficial to gamers with 4 or less cores is to try different values for vt_maxppf. This particular setting changes how many texture pages are transcoded per frame. On systems with fewer cores reducing it from the default of 128 can greatly enhance performance and limit texture page-in artifacts. A value of 16 appears to be the best option in cases where the CPU is getting hammered because of fewer cores. The patch defaults this value based on the number of cores present but in the meantime gamers can use the following command line to see if it helps with any issues they may be seeing. (Valid settings for vt_maxppf are 8, 16, 32, 64, 128)



+vt_maxppf 16



Let us know in comments what you find works best for your system. Also, what other settings you'd like to seen built into the options menu for the PC.



[Pic]





You can contact Brian Crecente, the author of this post, at brian@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.
Kotaku

How To Get Rage To Run On Your PC, An id Software Guide The computer version of Rage hasn't exactly been trouble free for some folks trying to play id Software's latest creation. I haven't run into any over issues, but I've got a high-end tower that I just ran through a massive driver update. That's not the norm.



Here's publisher Bethesda's latest take on the solutions PC gamers can try to get the game up and running on their rig without hitting screen tearing and texture issues:



AMD users need to update to the most recent RAGE Catalyst driver. Grab it here!



Nvidia users should try updating RAGE to the current beta driver. When this driver is updated, we'll let everyone know.



Visit our forums for solutions that can improve reported issues with screen tearing, blurry textures, and texture pop up.



We're currently working on an update that will allow you to more easily make configuration changes… should have more details on that shortly.



It's terrible when a PC game launches to such mixed issues and bugs, but I've got to wonder if deep down these sort of problems push once computer-centric developers further and further toward console development. Yes, even id.



Playing RAGE on PC? (Updated on 10/6)





You can contact Brian Crecente, the author of this post, at brian@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.
Kotaku





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The post-apocalyptic world of Rage was created by an asteroid impact in the year 2029. You'd have to assume the lucky survivors would rather not see objects plummet from the sky, right?



Imagine their surprise then, and that of the player, when they see a vehicle launch skywards and, after a brief spell up there, come crashing back down.



Implausible, you say? Well, that's exactly what happens in this glitch, courtesy of solo77!



Watch as this buggy drops towards the surface, sticks in the ground, then spins itself into the air again, eventually resulting in a crashed heap of metal and fire. Quick word of caution about a small use of inappropriate language in the video.



Of note is that the player lives, surviving the second major impact of his lifetime. Survivor indeed.


Kotaku

When Nvidia was in the Kotaku offices the other day showing off, well, something we can't quite talk about yet, they noticed we didn't have a dedicated gaming PC. (All of Kotaku's gaming rigs are in the homes of our writers, including mine.) So they had Falcon Northwest cook up a nice little rig—Intel i7 2600K (with a splash of overclocking), 4GB o'RAM, and a couple of GTX580 cards with a grand-and-a-half of onboard RAM in SLI—and let us use it for a while.



Oh, and they threw in three 1080p 3D monitors from Asus.



Ostensibly we're supposed to be testing 3D Vision performance in Battlefield 3, but since the beta doesn't support 3D vision yet, we've been using the rig for other games. Like RAGE (which doesn't support 3D Vision either! Argh!).



While the Battlefield 3 beta is a little too hardware-intense for native 1:1 pixel performance on all three monitors, RAGE is doing juuuusst fine on this beastly rig, even at 2x anti-aliasing. And I haven't even installed the latest Nvidia drivers, so I'm hoping to squeeze out a little more juice before I'm done tinkering.



I know some of y'all think I have a grudge against PC gaming. I totally don't, even though I think PC gaming is going to change a lot and soon.



Whatever you think, though, I'm not ashamed at all to say that when PC gaming works right—and "right" is pretty relative, as even though this machine came from Falcon with Windows 7 installed and configured I still had to do some tweaking to get everything running right—it really does make a person feel like they're sitting right on the cusp of what gaming experiences are possible.



Plus PC gaming hardware gives you something that console gaming rarely offers: the chance to really brag.


Kotaku

When Nvidia was in the Kotaku offices the other day showing off, well, something we can't quite talk about yet, they noticed we didn't have a dedicated gaming PC. (All of Kotaku's gaming rigs are in the homes of our writers, including mine.) So they had Falcon Northwest cook up a nice little rig—Intel i7 2600K (with a splash of overclocking), 4GB o'RAM, and a couple of GTX580 cards with a grand-and-a-half of onboard RAM in SLI—and let us use it for a while.



Oh, and they threw in three 1080p 3D monitors from Asus.



Ostensibly we're supposed to be testing 3D Vision performance in Battlefield 3, but since the beta doesn't support 3D vision yet, we've been using the rig for other games. Like RAGE (which doesn't support 3D Vision either! Argh!).



While the Battlefield 3 beta is a little too hardware-intense for native 1:1 pixel performance on all three monitors, RAGE is doing juuuusst fine on this beastly rig, even at 2x anti-aliasing. And I haven't even installed the latest Nvidia drivers, so I'm hoping to squeeze out a little more juice before I'm done tinkering.



I know some of y'all think I have a grudge against PC gaming. I totally don't, even though I think PC gaming is going to change a lot and soon.



Whatever you think, though, I'm not ashamed at all to say that when PC gaming works right—and "right" is pretty relative, as even though this machine came from Falcon with Windows 7 installed and configured I still had to do some tweaking to get everything running right—it really does make a person feel like they're sitting right on the cusp of what gaming experiences are possible.



Plus PC gaming hardware gives you something that console gaming rarely offers: the chance to really brag.


Kotaku





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There are plenty of Doom coffee mugs laying around in the world of Rage. But that's not the little bit of Doom I'm talking about, I'm talking about some retro gameplay.



We've shown you how you can find Wolfenstein in Rage and how you can find Quake in the game, this tutorial on how to find the Doom Easter egg completes id's trifecta.



I love this sorta thing.





You can contact Brian Crecente, the author of this post, at brian@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.
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