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    Starfield’s missing Nvidia DLSS support has been added by a free mod / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 September - 19:22 · 1 minute

A video from modder PureDark shows off the performance benefits of DLSS3 in the Patreon-only version of his mod.

Nvidia graphics card owners can rest easy; Starfield modders have already added support for Nvidia's Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS) technology (alongside the game's official support for AMD's FSR2 upscaling). But unlocking the full power of that mod will require either paying for a Patreon subscription or using cracks to get around some controversial DRM protecting the most full-featured version of the mod.

Since its initial release on Friday, the "Starfield Upscaler" is currently the most popular Starfield mod listed on clearinghouse NexusMods. That should be welcome news to a significant portion of the PC gaming community running a newer Nvidia GPU that supports the frame-rate-enhancing upscaling technology. That's especially true for the Nvidia owners who were outraged when Bethesda announced an official Starfield partnership with AMD this summer.

In practice, though, the practical effect of that DLSS support might be hard to notice for many players. In Ars' testing on a GTX 2080 Ti gaming rig (running at 2560×1440 resolution, Ultra quality, and 50 percent render resolution), we were able to hit 35 frames per second using both the DLSS mod and the game's built-in AMD FSR2 support (which also works on Nvidia cards). Neither upscaling technology had an apparent performance edge, even as both improved significantly on the ~25 fps frame rate when running at full resolution without any upscaling (and even as DLSS has shown superior visual quality in other tests ).

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    Bethesda’s “Starfield Direct” shows off a massive, galactic-scale space RPG / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 11 June - 20:33


Enlarge / Engage! (credit: Bethesda)

It's been about a year now since we got our first glimpse at Starfield 's "No Man's Skyrim " gameplay . Today, ahead of the game's planned Sept. 6 launch , Bethesda's 45-minute Starfield Direct presentation offered a deep dive into the game's galactic scale and many of the systems that will power exploration on and between "over 1,000 planets."

The presentation began with game director Todd Howard talking up Bethesda's first completely new universe in 25 years. Howard said Bethesda wanted to keep the company's trademark "feeling of being who you want to be and exploring a new world," but take it into space.

Art Director Istvan Pely was on hand to talk about how the game's "NASA punk" aesthetic, which he said was intended to evoke "the romance of the golden age of early space flight." That means a sort of retro-analog touch to the ships where everything feels used, worn, and "lived in."

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    AI voice generation helps mod Fallout 4’s narrow dialogue choices / ArsTechnica · Friday, 24 March, 2023 - 22:29 · 1 minute

Image of Fallout 4 default protagonist with voice options, including

Enlarge / Just because you're still alive in a retro-futuristic-post-apocalyptic Commonwealth doesn't mean you're necessarily witty. (credit: Bethesda / ProfMajowski)

Modders can change many things inside their favorite games, but dialogue from professionally voiced characters hasn't been one of those things—at least until recently. AI voice generation could open up new modding avenues for some games, as it has already done with one Fallout 4 mod package.

Roleplayer's Expanded Dialogue (RED) is listed in the NexusMods catalog as a "Massive expansion of vanilla dialogue," adding more than 300 entirely new lines of dialogue to the game. Those lines aim to solve an issue near to the hearts of fans of Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas: role-playing. If you're playing as a ruthless jerk, a brilliant nuclear scientist, or a strong but dimwitted dolt, you'll see more dialogue options that reflect this. Mechanically, the roll-the-dice speech "checks," which are based solely on your charisma level in the default game, can now be unlocked using related traits or skills.

They're not just new labels on existing dialogue, either. RED, created by NexusMods user ProfMajowski (and first seen by us at PCGamesN ), says it used ElevenLabs voice AI to generate its more in-character lines. The results can sometimes "sound a little 'emotionless,'" the creator writes, but "otherwise they basically sound like the real thing." Nothing your character can newly say now will change the game's mechanics or reactions, but it should sound a bit more in character.

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    Redfall offers a compelling mix of Dishonored, Borderlands, and Buffy / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 22 March, 2023 - 14:00 · 1 minute

Whoa-oh... purple is the color of my energy...

Enlarge / Whoa-oh... purple is the color of my energy... (credit: Arkane / Bethesda)

When people think of the acclaimed developer Arkane Studios, stealth-action adventures like Dishonored or Deathloop probably come to mind. These kinds of "immersive sims" are known for letting players maneuver through a "clockwork world" where characters go about their daily lives and players complete larger, open-ended objectives. So it's a bit of a surprise to see the developers shifting to a more direct kind of looting and grinding-action RPG with the horror fantasy of Redfall .

After spending time with a single-player preview build of Redfall , I could still make out some hints of Arkane’s signature open-ended style amid the vampire slaying. But it's still a noticeable shift from the bleak worlds of Prey and Dishonored , with a team of charismatic vampire hunters that bring the vibe of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer to the gameplay of Borderlands .

Welcome to Redfall

The titular town of Redfall has come down with a bad case of vampires and human cultists. Together, these forces have created a supernatural eclipse that blocks out the sun, allowing the forces of the night to retain control of the town at all hours. Armed with tricked-out guns and makeshift vampire-killing weapons, your ragtag crew of supernatural experts has been sent in to retake the town while also uncovering the town’s mysterious history.

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    Why Sony says it can’t trust Microsoft’s Call of Duty offer? One word: Bethesda / ArsTechnica · Monday, 13 March, 2023 - 15:42

No one really expects any of these Microsoft-owned Bethesda characters to have much of a presence on PlayStation going forward...

Enlarge / No one really expects any of these Microsoft-owned Bethesda characters to have much of a presence on PlayStation going forward...

For months now, Microsoft has sworn up and down that it doesn't want to take the Call of Duty franchise away from PlayStation if and when it finalizes its proposed acquisition of Activision . But Sony is citing the history of Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax as a primary reason why it doesn't exactly trust Microsoft on this matter.

In a filing with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published last week, Sony pointed to the European Commission's decision to allow Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax in 2021. In that decision, the EC cited Microsoft's planned business strategy in concluding that "the combined entity would not have the incentive to foreclose rival console video game distributors by engaging in a total or partial input foreclosure strategy [emphasis added]."

In other words, the European Commission said it felt Microsoft would have no reason to withhold future Bethesda games from rival platforms like PlayStation. Shortly after the deal was approved, though, Microsoft seems to have found that "incentive" quite easily.

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    Bethesda’s Starfield pushed back to Sept. 6 launch date / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 8 March, 2023 - 15:59

Bethesda's highly anticipated space exploration game Starfield is now due to release on September 6, the publisher announced in a new trailer video Wednesday morning .

The newest release date target for the game comes after the previous promise of a November 11, 2022, release was eventually pushed back to an amorphous "first half of 2023" window . Starfield 's development was first announced way back in 2018 , but we had to wait until last June before we finally saw our first slice of "No Man's Skyrim"-style gameplay .

The new launch date announcement trailer intercuts shots of space stations and massive castle-like spires on barren planets. An unseen narrator talks of "another one of those big anomalies" and encourages the player to "uncover the source of it all."

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    Run over Nazis in this cathartic, free Wolf 3D/Monkey Ball mashup / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 12 January, 2021 - 20:03

Back in 1992, id Software proved that it can be a lot of fun to shot virtual Nazis on your computer with Wolfenstein 3D . Back in 2001, Amusement Vision proved it can be a lot of fun to roll around in a sphere collecting bananas with Super Monkey Ball .

This week, game maker Nickireda proved that both of these concepts somehow fit perfectly together with Return to Castle Monkey Ball , a free fangame that you can play in an HTML5-compatible Web browser.

Yes, famed one-man-army B.J. Blazkowicz has somehow found himself trapped in a translucent sphere and without his usual arsenal of weaponry. Thus, you have to help BJ by tilting the entire world to guide his ball through Nazi-infested corridors, picking up bananas and looted treasures along the way for a high score.

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    Bethesda games will likely be “first or better” (not “only”) on Xbox / ArsTechnica · Monday, 16 November, 2020 - 20:15

Following Microsoft's $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda in September , gamers and industry watchers were left to speculate over whether you'd need a Microsoft platform (i.e., an Xbox, a Windows PC, or xCloud streaming ) to play future games in franchises like Doom , The Elder Scrolls , Fallout , Dishonored , and The Evil Within .

Now, Microsoft Xbox CFO Tim Stuart has given the clearest indication yet that future Bethesda Softworks games likely won't be exclusive to Microsoft platforms. Instead, Stuart says he suspects Microsoft will shift to "a first or better or best approach on our platforms" for these kinds of games.

Speaking at the Jeffries Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last Friday (as transcribed by SeekingAlpha ), Stuart said directly that "in the long run... we don't have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. But what we want is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms."

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