Quantenna’s existing MU-MIMO chipset can be found in Asus’ newest router, but its success next year promises up to 10Gb/s of bandwidth via 802.11ac’s MU-MIMO technology.
Wireless communications specialist Quantenna has announced the development of a Wi-Fi chipset capable of ten gigabit per second (10Gb/s) throughput, with plans to release it commercially next year.
Perhaps the biggest complaint regarding Wi-Fi – aside from alleged health implications, disproved by scientific rigour – is that its performance can lag behind that of a wired connection. Even if you’re right next to an access point, the actual throughput of a 1.3Gb/s 802.11n Wi-Fi link is usually well below that of a 1Gb/s wired Ethernet connection – and the further away you travel from the access point, the slower it gets. Said bandwidth is also shared between all users; if you’re on a heavily-congested access point, you can expect the performance of your connection to drop significantly.
Quantenna is hoping to resolve this problem by giving wireless connections significantly more headroom, starting with a 10Gb/s chipset based on the 802.11ac standard which improves support for Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) connectivity. Extending the existing MIMO technology, which uses multiple antennas to isolate signals and reject noise, MU-MIMO allows for multiple connections to individual client devices which are no longer competing for the same bandwidth. The result: significantly improved performance and reliability.
‘Quantenna’s 8×8 architecture with adaptive beamforming demonstrates that the ‘massive MIMO’ promise of significantly higher throughput, robustness, and reduced interference can be realised in practice,‘ claimed Andrea Goldsmith, Stephen Harris Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, in support of the company’s work. ‘This architecture will also significantly enhance the capabilities of MU-MIMO, allowing it to support interference-free transmission to many more devices simultaneously. These technology advances will transform the landscape of applications and devices that Wi-Fi can support.‘
Quantenna’s MU-MIMO chipset is already used in Asus’ latest Wi-Fi router, but the version due for release in 2015 will be considerably improved. ‘Wi-Fi is no longer a convenience,‘ claimed Quantenna chief executive Sam Heidari at the announcement. ‘People expect it to ‘just work’ even with demanding applications like HD video streaming. With Quantenna’s 10G Wi-Fi, they’ll always get the performance they expect—even as their expectations continue to rise.‘
The company’s existing chipset, which supports 4×4 MU-MIMO antenna configurations, will be extended in 2015 to support 8×8 MU-MIMO setups offering a total aggregate throughput of 10Gb/s. How much such a feature will add on to the cost of commercially available routers and access points that choose to implement it, however, has not been announced.
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Ben Heck’s footpedals, built in response to a viewer request, are designed to replace the traditional WASD control scheme in PC gaming.
Noted hacker and maker Ben ‘Heck’ Heckendorn has published details of his latest creation under Element14′s auspice: footpedals designed to ‘replace’ WASD gaming controls after their 32 year run.
The WASD control system, which uses the aforementioned letter keys in place of the traditional cursor keys, was first seen in the 1982 game Mazogs where it served to make up for the Sinclair ZX81′s lack of sensible keyboard layout. It caught on in the era of first-person shooters when mouse-look became the norm, allowing the left hand to sit at a more comfortable distance from the mouse-controlling right – unless you’re a sinister lefty, of course – while also providing easy reach to other keys that could be mapped to weapon changes, jumping, object usage or leaning.
WASD as a control layout has become so normalised that gaming keyboards typically come with replacement keycaps for those specific letters in eye-catching colours or with a deeply scooped design. Now, though, its days may be numbered – at least, if Ben Heck has his way.
Known for his innovative controller designs and homebrew laptops, including one based on a Commodore 64 and another on an Xbox 360, Heck is now the resident hacker at electronics giant Farnell/Element14 where he has created one possible successor to the WASD layout: footpedals.
A viewer of the Ben Heck Show, dissatisfied with the ‘finger-twister’ training required to excel at modern games, suggested the creation and Heck obliged. A pair of foot pedals provide mapping to four keys by responding to two levels of motion: a partial press activates one mode, while a heavier press activates the second. The result, Heck claims, is a natural-feeling control system that allows for forward, backward and strafing motion without the need to lock the left hand to the WASD cluster.
The entire project has been created from scratch, using a 3D printer for the pedal parts and the popular Teensy microcontroller – chosen for the ease at which it can be turned into a joystick, keyboard or mouse Human Interface Device controller – for interfacing with the PC.
If you’re curious how it was made, or how it works, Heck’s video on the project is reproduced below.
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There has never been an official confirmation that the landfill site is where the better part of 3.5 million unsold E.T cartridges were buried.
The impending excavation of the landfill where Atari was rumoured to have crushed and buried millions of unsold E.T. game cartridges has been opened up to the public.
The event is set to become part of a documentary backed by Xbox Entertainment Studios and produced by Fuel Entertainment. The dig was given the green light last week and now Microsoft has extended the invitation to attend to everyone.
Attendees might even be interviewed for the documentaries alongside E.T the Extra-Terrestrial video game designer Howard Scott Warshaw, the team of archaeologists and other people connected to the project.
Work on unearthing the dumped cartridges will begin on April 26 and 9:30 AM and run through until 7:30 PM at the Alamogordo landfill site in New Mexico. Xbox Entertainment Studios will be publishing the finished film as part of a documentary series.
Plans to unearth the abandoned cartridges were first announced in June 2013 and the project was briefly put on hold last week as the team was required to obtain special permission before any digging could take place.
The landfill site is purportedly the final resting place of the bulk of approximately 3.5 million unsold cartridges of 1983′s E.T video game from Atari, a title often name-checked as one of the worst video games in the industry’s history and a commercial failure that is credited as almost killing off video games as a business entirely.
Whether or not the burial site does in fact inter these cartridges has never been officially confirmed, and official statements claim that only broken and returned materials were dumped.
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Warhammer 40,000 has featured in turn-based and real-time strategy series and also third and first person shooters, but never a 2D side-scroller before.
Games Workshop’s grim science fiction miniatures property Warhammer 40,000 is heading to iOS in the form of a side-scrolling action RPG.
Warhammer 40,000 Carnage will pit players in the role of a space marine churning through a horde of green-skinned orks, giving them the option to unlock further equipment that will be familiar to fans of the series, including chainswords, bolt guns and thunder hammers.
’We’ve taken the best of the Warhammer 40,000 universe and built a game that will appeal to seasoned 40k fans and more casual gamers alike,’ said developer Roadhouse Interactive president Tarrnie Williams. ’The game is full of explosive, adrenaline-fueled action, in stunning environments that will be familiar to many.’
The plot revolves around investigating a planet which has been consumed by collective insanity and violence, a plot device that will also be ‘familiar to many’ who have encountered the Warhammer 40,000 series before.
Best known as a tabletop wargaming franchise, Warhammer 40,000 has found its way into several video games over recent years, including 2011′s Space Marine, developed by Relic Entertainment, which also featured space marines cutting their way through hordes of orks.
Relic Entertainment, under the guidance of publisher THQ, also had a long stewardship over the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property through its Dawn of War real time strategy series, but following the dissolution of THQ the license was reported to have ended up at Slitherine, a smaller developer and publisher specialising in historical strategy games.
Another smaller studio, Zattikka, was also granted a Warhammer 40,000 license and planned to develop a 3D isometric free-to-play game using the setting, but the company went into administration in August last year before it could release anything.
Will you be checking out Warhammer 40,000 Carnage? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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Microsoft’s new Xbox division head Phil Spencer has admitted that ‘the wrong decisions’ were made prior to the launch of the Xbox One.
Microsoft’s Xbox division has a new head, former Microsoft Game Studios leader Phil Spencer, and he’s determined to get gamers back on-side following the competitively weaker launch of the Xbox One.
When Microsoft first showed off its next-generation console, many felt it had forgotten about its core demographic. Much fuss was made over the ability to watch TV through the console’s HDMI input, while concerns about its requirement for an always-on internet connection to play even offline single-player games were dismissed. The public spoke, and Microsoft was forced to dramatically alter its plans with the dropping of the always-on requirement and the decision that the bundled Kinect sensor platform could be left disconnected from the console with no ill-effect.
Now, Spencer is eager to convince gamers that under his auspice lessons will be learned. ‘There is a lot of learning that I did as a leader in the organisation,‘ he explained in a video interview with Microsoft’s Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb, ‘when I just heard how our message resonated with people and some of the decisions that we made, that I think were actually the wrong decisions, and we had to revisit those decisions.‘
Describing the anger that gamers showed towards Microsoft at that time as being personally hurtful, Spencer has vowed that the division won’t be making the same mistakes again. Calling the current sales of the Xbox One ‘great‘ – despite Sony’s PS4 considerably outselling its more expensive rival – Spencer described a future in which Xbox will be the key driver in Microsoft’s rebirth ‘as a consumer[-oriented] company.’
Missing from Spencer’s interview responses were any reference to the company’s plans for supporting PC gaming on its Windows platform. If you’re curious as to how the new Xbox boss comes across on camera, the interview is embedded below.
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Satya Nadella is continuing to make fundamental changes to Microsoft’s executive appointments, announcing new roles for Stephen Elop, Phil Spencer and Scott Guthrie.
Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is continuing to shake up the company’s executive line-up, announcing new and expanded roles for Stephen Elop, Phil Spencer and Scott Guthrie.
Taking over from Ballmer, who remains on Microsoft’s board of directors, Nadella has been attempting to revitalise the company with a new-broom approach – and, with Microsoft stock hitting a 14-year high, shareholders certainly seem to appreciate his efforts. Previous changes at the top include the departures of Tony Bates and Tami Reller, with Nadella’s hand also being heavily implicated in Antoine Leblond’s exit earlier this week.
Nadella’s latest changes see Stephen Elop, who left Microsoft to run Nokia only to return to the fold when the company was acquired by his former paymaster, appointed executive vice-president of the Microsoft Devices Group. Reporting directly to Nadella, Elop will oversee the integration of Nokia’s devices and services division into Microsoft, as well as partnering with the Xbox division on combined gaming efforts.
On the latter topic, Phil Spencer has been given the role of leading a new division combining the previous Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios software publishing arm. Reporting to Terry Myerson, Spencer is to lead the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios teams. ‘Our community is at the heart of what we do at Xbox,‘ Spencer claimed in the announcement of his new role. ‘Whether it is meeting thousands of fans at the launch of Xbox One, talking at industry events or hearing from gamers on Twitter and Xbox Live, I am actively listening and I am motivated to do what’s right for fans who’ve invested their time, hearts and money in the products we build.‘
Finally, Nadella has announced that Scott Guthrie, a Microsoft employee since 1997 and driving force behind the .NET project, has been promoted to the role of executive vice president for the company’s cloud and enterprise arm.
‘Recently, I’ve discussed with the Microsoft leadership team the need to zero in on what truly makes Microsoft unique,‘ Nadella told staff in an all-employees email announcing the appointments. ‘As I said on my first day, we need to do everything possible to thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. The announcements last week, our news this week, the Nokia acquisition closing soon, and the leaders and teams we are putting in place are all great first steps in making this happen.‘
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Intel’s MinnowBoard Max is a worthy successor to the original, boasting a far more powerful 64-bit chip and an entry price half that of its predecessor.
Intel has announced new entries in its MinnowBoard family of hobbyist-oriented development boards, adding a range of more powerful 64-bit processors with the promise of still more to come.
Intel’s MinnowBoard, the company’s precursor to the far more affordable Arduino-compatible Galileo, was announced as a response to the growing popularity of the ARM-based Raspberry Pi and AMD’s overtures into the market with the APU-powered Gizmo. A high price and a relatively underpowered 32-bit Atom processor meant it was not, however, a particular success for the company – despite an open hardware design which left hobbyists free to peruse the firmware and board design to their hearts content.
The MinnowBoard Max, a direct successor to the original MinnowBoard, is Intel’s attempt to learn from the past. The 32-bit Atom chip has been replaced by a 64-bit Atom E38xx Bay Trail Series system-on-chip processor, with Atom E3815 and E3825 single-core and dual-core models confirmed for launch and hints of a quad-core variant in the works. Users have access to 1GB or 2GB of DDR3 memory respectively, depending on model chosen.
Designed as a development platform rather than a general-use computer, the new MinnowBoard Max features micro-HDMI video output, single USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, a SATA 3.0Gb/s connector, and a gigabit Ethernet port, along with the promise of general-purpose input-output (GPIO) capability that shines: as well as eight buffered pins for easy experimentation, the MinnowBoard Max includes a low-speed expansion port offering SPI, I2C, I2S, UART, eight more GPIO pins, and power, and a high-speed port offering a PCI Express Gen. 2 lane, a further SATA 3.0Gb/s channel, a USB 2.0 port, I2C, JTAG debugging support and yet more GPIO pins.
All these features come in a cut-down footprint of 99mm x 74mm, but it’s the trimming Intel’s done elsewhere that is really eye-catching: the MinnowBoard Max is to launch in the US at $99 for the single-core or $129 for the dual-core variants (around £59 and £77 respectively, excluding taxes), meaning a starting price of around half that demanded by the original MinnowBoard.
Sadly for those salivating over the potential of the board, the MinnowBoard Max isn’t quite ready for release with Intel expecting to have the first models on shop shelves by June.
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Guest star Predator was teased last week in an Instagram video but rumours have been confirmed by the DLC’s launch trailer.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is soon to include Predator from the film of the same name as of a new piece of downloadable content launching this week.
The new DLC pack, Devastation, will feature an appearance by the methodical alien hunter in a jungle-based multiplayer map set in a ruined Mayan temple. The Predator’s inclusion was first teased by developer Infinity Ward last week over Instagram.
Predator’s cameo is only a small part of the Devastation pack which will also include four new multiplayer maps and part two of the four-player co-op story mode Extinction. The second part is called Mayday and will include a gargantuan Kraken for players to fight against.
A new small machine gun, the Ripper, will also be introduced to the game which Ghosts season pass holders already got their hands on earlier in March.
Devastation launches on April 3 on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The DLC is currently part of an exclusivity deal with Microsoft and it is unclear when the time limit on this expires, allowing release on other platforms.
Call of Duty: Ghosts launched in November 2013 and was one of the launch titles for both the Xbox One and the Playstation 4. Hype building up to the game’s release often focused around Infinity Ward’s decision to finally put female playable characters into the multiplayer and the inclusion of a dog in the single player campaign. Ghosts was generally well received critically bu with a few comments that the single player was tedious and derivative.
At present, Ghosts has seen its first piece of DLC, Onslaught, which was released in January. After Devastation, a further two DLC packs are planned for the title.
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Playable races include all of the basic races featured in the original Mordheim.
Games Workshop’s cult classic specialist game Mordheim is getting its own digital version with Mordheim: City of the Damned.
The game will be a turn-based strategy game where players lead small bands of warriors into skirmishes in a blend of RPG and tactical combat gameplay.
The miniatures-based war game Mordheim is based on Games Workshop’s highly successful Warhammer franchise. Instead of fielding large armies, players would build small gangs that would then level up and grow depending on their performance in battle.
Mordheim: City of the Damned sounds to be faithful to the game’s setting with warbands squabbling over Wyrdstone fragments in the ruins of the ruined city in the same way as the tabletop game.
The digital version will include playable gangs from the Skaven, the Empire, the Possessed and the Sisters of Sigmar with more factions to follow.
The game is being published by Focus Home Interactive, the independent French studio that was also behind the digital rendition of Games Workshop’s fantasy football game Blood Bowl. The company also has Cities XL, TrackMania and Farming Simulator in its portfolio.
Mordheim: City of the Damned is scheduled for a late 2014 release.
Several games in Games Workshop’s back-catalogue have made the transition to video games in recent years. Space Hulk, Warhammer Quest, Talisman and the aforementioned Blood Bowl have all seen a digital release on various platforms.
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