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Member Since 20 Nov 2009
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Mafia Triple Pack Released on Steam

22 November 2017 - 01:28 PM

If you have not yet added any of the Mafia games to your Steam library, and thought the current Steam Autumn Sale would be a good time to pick them up, you might want to take a look at this. The series' publisher, 2K, has put up the Mafia Triple Pack that includes all three games at a discount from the total cost if bought separately. With the current sale going on, you can get all three games for just $30, or less if you already have one (at least this is the case for me, as I already own Mafia II).

Also, this year marks the 15th anniversary of the release of the original Mafia, and you can watch a recap of the story across all three games in the video below.



Source: Steam Store Page

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Multiple Vulnerabilities Found in Intel Security Firmware

22 November 2017 - 09:23 AM

Modern processors do far more than just run the programs we ask them to, and one example of the extra work they do is to run security checks, making sure only the code the user wants is being executed. Intel has multiple systems built into its CPUs to that end, including the Management Engine, Trusted Execution Engine, and Server Platform Services, all of which the company has now acknowledged have flaws. These flaws could allow successful attackers to impersonate these systems, and as these systems exist as within the CPU as separate processors and firmware, arbitrary code could be executed without either the user or the operating system being aware. These flaws have earned a severity rating from Intel of Important, which is only surpassed by Critical that indicates the remote execution of malicious code without user action. At least this would suggest these flaws cannot be exploited remotely.

These flaws have been found following an internal audit of these technologies after external researchers discovered one of them in the Intel Management Engine (IME) firmware. As ZDNet points out, IME has been such a concern, as its firmware cannot be inspected by any outside of Intel, that Google built its own system called the Non-Extensible Reduced Firmware (NERF) to manage Chromebooks. NERF uses a different operating system (Linux instead of MINIX) and removes various elements from IME, such as its web server, IP stack, EUFI drivers, and its ability for IME and EUFI to self-reflash firmware.

Affected products include 6th, 7th, and 8th generation Core processors, the Xeon E3-1200 v5 and v6 family, Xeon Scalable family, Xeon W family, Atom C3000 family, the Apollo Lake Atom E3900 series, Apollo Lake Pentium, and Celeron N and J series processors. New firmware is being created and deployed by system manufacturers to fix these flaws, and Intel has released a detection tool for Windows and Linux to identify these vulnerabilities. You can find the tool and links to manufacturer support pages through the Intel source.

Source: Intel and ZDNet

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Surface Book 2 Charger Cannot Keep Up with All Games and Settings

22 November 2017 - 08:45 AM

If you are considering a Surface Book 2 and want to game on it, you may want to do some investigating first. Over at The Verge it was discovered that the Surface Book 2 when playing some games at high settings, the battery can still drain even when plugged in. Now Microsoft has confirmed that when the Power Mode Slider is pushed up to 'best performance' on the laptop, intense and prolonged gaming sessions can result in the battery discharging. The statement from Microsoft also states that the power management design will not allow the battery to drain entirely, which The Verge points out means the GPU at least will be throttled down as needed. This was observed at any of the lower power mode options and could be experienced in some games as the frame rate would drop from 60 to 30.

As The Verge does point out though, not all gaming experience will suffer from such a performance drop, and tweaking graphical settings to reduce load can also help. Basically, the Surface Book 2 is not a gaming laptop and some of the trade-offs Microsoft made when designing it can be revealed under gaming loads.

Source: The Verge

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Rainbow Six Siege Getting Third Year of Support and Content

21 November 2017 - 01:57 PM

It was released back in 2015, but Ubisoft has announced Rainbow Six Siege is going to continue to receive new content and support. This third year will have four seasons with eight new operators, two new maps, and one current map will receive a makeover with new level design and art direction. The first season of the third year will be Operation Chimera and its two operators are specialists in biohazard situations. Beyond being part of the adversarial multiple, these operators will have a role in the game's first co-op event, Outbreak, which will run for four weeks. There will be exclusive cosmetics to this event and both it and Operation Chimera will get their full reveals at the Six Invitational 2018 even, taking place in Montreal.

The Year 3 Pass will be available for sale on December 12, and until then players will still be able to purchase the Year 2 season pass, with all of its operators and exclusive customization items. After December 11, these items will be unavailable for purchase.

Source: Ubisoft

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Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition Announced

21 November 2017 - 12:41 PM

I am not sure if I should admit this, but I have yet to play the game Neverwinter Nights. I do have a copy, but it has not yet graced my computer. If you are like me, or a long-time fan, maybe you do not want to install it now as Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition has been announced by developer Beamdog.

The reveal came on Twitter (and there is a Twitch stream going on as I write this) and there is now a product page up on Beamdog's website with much more information. The enhanced features will include improved display support, including the ability to scale the UI for 1080 and 4K resolutions and much improved graphics options, though the original art-style will be maintained. Very importantly, the Enhanced Edition will work with the original game's saves, modules, and mods so all of the content from the original game will remain viable. New graphics mods should also be possible as the engine is being transitioned to shader-based from its original implementation. This may result in worse performance on GPUs from the game's original released, but is going to allow for better support of modern hardware and graphical shaders.

It does not say it on the product page, but I believe I heard the developers say on the stream there will be native Mac and Linux versions. The toolset are going to be Windows limited though, as apparently they are made with a system that does not support Linux.

I do not see a release date yet, but the game is already up for pre-order at $19.99 and $39.99 for the Digital Deluxe version. The Digital Deluxe version includes the original premium modules from Bioware and the soundtracks. There is an early access/Head Start program pre-ordering fans can be selected for.



Source: Beamdog on Twitter, Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition – Digital Deluxe Product Page, and Beamdog Blog

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