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The number of confirmed ray tracing games for [cms-block] and selected GTX graphics cards has just got a little bit longer. With E3 2019 in full swing, Nvidia have confirmed that both Watch Dogs Legion and the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will also be getting full ray tracing support, and in the case of Call of Duty, adaptive shading support as well.
That ray tracing games list is still pretty small, admittedly, and the number of games you can find it in right now> can almost be counted on a single hand. Indeed, a lot of confirmed RTX games are yet to receive their ray tracing and performance-boosting DLSS support, so the list below is more of a complete ‘this is how many games will have it eventually’ kind of thing than ‘these are all the games you can play with ray tracing right this very second’. Still, if you’re currently on the fence about buying one of Nvidia’s RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards as opposed to one of the new [cms-block] GPUs, this guide should hopefully help you decide whether ray tracing is something worth investing in. Here’s every confirmed ray tracing and DLSS game we know about so far.
This week: Rude swears! Writing about more interesting games than the ones you boring people keep buying! And battle advice to people who’ve been dead 1,800 years! It’s some Steam Charts.
PUBG's first map, Erangel, never looked like a prime holiday location, but after PUBG Corp has finished its visual update... it will still look pretty miserable. But maybe less miserable than before.
The developer has been working on the makeover since March, and there are more updates cooking away. They'll be released across themed seasons, introducing new features like the upcoming ledge grab, weapon balance changes and new vehicles, along with a new Survivor Pass. PUBG Season 4 will start this month.
PUBG's executive producer TS Jang teases some of what the team's been working on in the latest development update.
You'll be able to check out the Erangel changes soon, with PC test servers opening up at 8 pm PT this evening and running until June 11. The test will be split into two phases with different restrictions. Until June 8, only partner custom matches will be available and only official PUBG partners can create custom matches sessions, while all players can join the lobby. After 8 pm PT on June 8, public matches will be available, but you'll only be able to play in squads.
You can get a quick look at some of the changes in the trailer below.
They're pretty subtle, and having been on a break from PUBG for some time, I'm not sure if I would have noticed if it weren't for the before and after shots. The differences might be more obvious if I travel to some of my favourite haunts, though.
The goal's been to make Erangel more consistent with the newer maps, but PUBG Corp says it doesn't want to make the map unrecognisable. "Rest assured, we’ll make every effort to keep Erangel feeling like the map you fell in love with while bringing it in line with how players enjoy PUBG today."
Expect more Season 4 details soon.
If you just finished watching Chernobyl and are in the mood for grim Soviet-era concrete buildings, take a look at PUBG's Erangel map remake, which has been teased along with a fair bit of new content.
In a June update video, PUBG executive producer and head of development TS Jang explained the game's upcoming content will be "released through themed seasons moving forward". Along with a new version of the Survivor Pass (basically a paid battle pass) with each season, PUBG Corp will now debut new content and features "under the banner of one overall theme". Hopefully this will provide a more unified and straightforward update schedule.
The flagship feature of Season 4 (which begins this month) appears to be the Erangel map remake. Officially announced back in March following several leaks, this is the first real look we've had at the visual improvements. From watching the trailer, I can't say it's going to completely remove PUBG's asset-store vibes, but it's certainly giving the map a different look.
Good hello. Please, grab hold and sit, for this is some Steam Charts.
With the arrival of Nvidia’s new GTX ray tracing driver, the number of graphics cards that can now take advantage of the tech giant’s fancy new lighting tech has grown exponentially. In addition to the four new [cms-block] cards, everyone with a 6GB GTX 1060 and up can now get a taste of that ray tracing magic. Sort of.
Alas, the number of confirmed ray tracing games is still pretty small. There have been a couple of new, notable additions to the list in recent months, including Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, but even now the number of games you can find it in right now> can be counted on a single hand. The same goes for Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS tech, which is still only available on the RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. So I thought I’d do the hard work for you and put everything in a nice, big list, detailing every confirmed ray tracing and DLSS game we know about so far.
Hello person. This is the Steam Charts, the weekly round-up of the top-grossing PC games on the online store Steam. We write it cynically to collect your clicks, and then we take those clicks and we use them to poke innocent orphans in their stupid orphan eyes.
Before there was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, there were developer Brendan Greene’s battle royale-esque mods for games like ARMA 2. One of his most popular creations, DayZ: Battle Royale, was a mod built on top of another mod. His battle royale mode was a hit, but it didn't truly blow up until Korean developer Bluehole hired him to make PUBG, which set the record for the most simultaneous players on Steam with 3.2 million in January 2018. A long string of imitators followed, and now just a year or so later it's Fortnite, not PUBG, that dominates the news. PUBG's short reign already feels like a lifetime ago.
And yet it's still immensely popular. In December 2018, PUBG Corp. told The Verge that PUBG Mobile had more than 200 million users. For context, Fortnite, on all platforms, had the same number of users during that time. Despite Fortnite’s dominance in mainstream media, PUBG had been quietly keeping up, and even exceeding Fortnite’s player numbers. (And that number, according to The Verge, was excluding Chinese players, who have recently moved onto a PUBG dupe from Tencent called Game for Peace.) In June 2018, PUBG Corp said it had more than 400 million players, 227 million of which logged in monthly.
Despite those high numbers, the playerbase on PC has been declining consistently, according to SteamCharts. But it's still in the top three every day, right behind Dota 2 and CS:GO. From a population perspective, PUBG is still thriving.
“In the beginning, we spent all our time explaining what battle royale was,” PUBG Corp. studio director Brian Corrigan said. “It definitely hasn’t happened without some growing pains, but it’s been really amazing to see PUBG go from being the first major battle royale game to an established game in the market.”
When the battle royale genre was new, players didn’t know what to expect. The early access banner helped quell expectations, but that’s changed now. Player expectations are higher, Corrigan said—instead of PUBG Corp. explaining what a battle royale is, players are telling the developer what they want in the game. And what everyone wants is often different.
Streamers and content creators want a game that’ll guarantee entertaining footage. “We currently have four major areas to explore, lots of different vehicles and weapons to play with, and a custom match mode that lets streamers [and] content creators get up to all kinds of mischief and mayhem,” Corrigan added.
Competitive players in one of PUBG’s official leagues want a game that’s balanced, focused on skill rather than pure, random chaos. PUBG Corp. has to figure out how to adjust the game to meet everyone’s needs.
Generally, players on Reddit are pretty happy with Battlegrounds—and honestly, that’s shocking given the complaining you'll find on a typical subreddit.
Thread after thread on the PUBG subreddit questions the state of PUBG, to largely positive responses. Just last week, I saw replies that the game is in its “best shape,” with a Reddit user reporting that “a lot of streamers share this thought, too.” (PUBG is the second-most watched battle royale game on Twitch right now, hovering at 23,000 viewers at the time of writing. Fortnite, naturally, is in the top slot with 163,000 viewers.)
PUBG has seen some dramatic changes in the past year to get where it is now. Last year it introduced the Survivor Pass (previously called the Event Pass) as PUBG’s progression system. Like with Fortnite’s Battle Pass, the Survivor Pass rewards players for completing missions and reaching milestones.
Others on Reddit cite PUBG’s stability as Apex Legends’ popularity wanes. “Apex has its own five minutes. Same thing was with [Call of Duty: Blackout] and where is it now? Fortnite is already back on top while PUBG stays untouched,” another user wrote. “[They’re] different types of games.” People are drawn to PUBG for its more realistic and tactical gunplay. It's not as fast as Apex or as wild as Fortnite, but that's the whole point.
“PUBG is a completely new game from when we first played it,” said Richard Simms, PUBG caster and ESL’s head of talent. “While not to everyone’s taste, the new maps and Survivor Passes add a nice mix of fun and casual grinding to the game away from the hardcore competitive nature of PUBG. It’s just not the same game, and for all the right reasons.”
Indeed, there are multiple new maps in PUBG, for a total of four: Erangel, Miramar, Vikendi, and Sanhok. All of the new maps add something different, but Sanhok really changes things. It’s really small, half the size of the other maps. It also uses a “dynamic circle,” which can analyze how many players are left alive and taper its movement to that. If a bunch of players have been killed in the early game, the blue zone will speed up, removing some of the lag time that can happen in battle royale. Instead of just being reskinned versions of the same experience, the maps can determine how a game will play.
“Our experience is really unique and we’re OK with that,” Corrigan said. “Being good at PUBG requires a unique combination of technical skills, situational experience, and dogged persistence. There are a lot of ways we could change the game to make it more approachable, but that’s not the story we want to tell and it’s just not the soul of the game. We look at PUBG as sometimes unforgiving, hard but not hardcore, with a weird mix of silly and strange things thrown in to keep it interesting.”
The thing that PUBG Corp. is still struggling with is cheating. A reported 13 million PUBG accounts have been banned since mid-2017. Fifteen people were arrested in April 2018 for creating cheating programs. And earlier this year, ahead of the launch of the new PUBG leagues, a bunch of competitive players had their accounts suspended and were banned from event participation for cheating during qualification matches. Bold.
Corrigan declined to share PUBG’s daily active numbers, but he said the game is maintaining a healthy player base that’s still growing. “The market is more mature now, so we’re obviously not expecting to experience the meteoric rise we saw in 2017,” he said.
A large part of PUBG’s sustainability can be tied to its competitive structure, which launched in full in 2019. PUBG esports span a number of different pro-level events across nine regions, including North America, which hosts the National PUBG League from a specially-built studio in California. Director of esports Jake Sin said that the 10-month competitive period is designed for consistency and stability.
That requires keeping players and the audience invested in the future of PUBG. With the nine leagues, fans have a consistent schedule of games to watch. “The league system is easier for the fans to follow and understand, as opposed to a series of short-term tournaments,” Sin said. “Local leagues can foster the growth of local fandom and loyalty for their own leagues and heroes.”
The big thing here is that PUBG Corp. is invested in its teams with a revenue sharing program. This makes PUBG a little more stable for participating teams, but only for some of them; teams in the North American PUBG League and the PUBG Europe League benefit from the program, but the other leagues haven’t been added yet. Twenty-five percent of sales of league-branded items go to the league teams, and PUBG Corp. also helps teams pay for travel and housing, if needed.
“The biggest journey PUBG has had to undergo is finding out how to tackle [battle royale] as an esport,” Simms said. “By nature, [battle royales] have a heavy element of random influence… but PUBG has introduced rulesets and settings which mitigate a certain amount of RNG and make it more manageable. That, alongside learning how to best present to an audience a 64-player game by the use of a map stream and new observation tools, the [battle royale] genre isn’t a simple team vs. team show. It’s a story.”
In the era of games-as-a-service, players and fans are expecting games and leagues to evolve on the fly, and that pressure can be relentless. PUBG Corp. knows this, and Corrigan said the team has added a lot of support staff to scale up for the game’s popularity. Last year was “hiring mode” for the developer, and this year players are beginning to see the fruits of that labor. PUBG's designers certainly aren't sitting still.
Corrigan said PUBG’s progression system, weapon mastery, which was added this year, will continue to change and evolve in 2019. “Looking further ahead, players are going to see more content, changes to current systems, and more support for our esports and competitive players,” Corrigan added. “On top of that, we’re continuing to make changes to our core engine and working to make the experience smoother.”