Category Archives: Random Thoughts

What does Virtual Reality Need to Succeed

For the past year Virtual Reality, or VR for short, has been a very hot topic within the gaming community.  It has been an especially popular topic for PC hardware providers such as AMD and Nvidia. VR headsets have to hit a frame rate of 90 frames per second minimum or the user can suffer from motion sickness and no one wants that. Great graphics at that frame rate can require serious hardware. A year ago, a VR computer could cost around $1000, not counting the six hundred to eight hundred dollar headset. In the past 3 months AMD and Nvidia have both released VR ready graphics cards that were cheap and promised high end card performance. AMD released the RX 480 that promised performance rivalling the R9 series  but for only $200 dollars.

In the community of VR, hardware is a topic that comes up often and is one of the bigger prerequisites for VR. However, the argument of this post is that VR will stay in the realm of enthusiasts until it is embraced by major studios. Steam has a section dedicated to VR games full of games that look like tons of fun. A majority of these games are small and based around the HTC Vive, which requires the player to move around a space. For VR to elevate from enthusiasts to a serious video game platform major studio needs to make their games compatible with VR. However, HTC Vive-”move around the room” style VR will not be the VR that takes off for the masses.



At E3 this year, Bethesda showed off Fallout 4 in VR. But these open world games would shine with an Oculus Rift-sit down style VR because they have large open world environments, walking around/teleporting around would get old and can be clunky for larger environments. Now would also be a good moment to mention that, like myself, not everyone has a 15ft by 15ft room laying around for a VR experience. VR is still a new technology for gamers and the stand up and move around experience is the most exciting for us right now, but the sit down VR is what will break into the main-stream for gamers.

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Canada Likes Video Games

Hello everyone! I had a 7:30AM final this morning… who schedules that on a Saturday!? So yeah, I’m a bit fried today. Let’s see if I still have enough brain function to write an article.

I was doing some research this week for The College Gamers Podcast and I noticed that two game developers, the Internets sweetheart Bethesda and Gearbox of Borderlands fame, have both opened new game studios in Canada?

Why Canada? I doubt game devs specifically love maple syrup and Canadian bacon THAT much.

So I did some digging and what I found was pretty interesting and I’m slightly jealous of Canada.

Mike, is there REALLY a large number of video game studios in Canada?

Would I lie to you dear reader? Yes. There is.

Before I dig into why Canada seems to be a popular spot for game developers lets talk about who is there already.

I’ll name a few that I recognize… here we go:

BioWare, CapCom, EA has THREE studios, RockStar has two studios, Disney and Warner Brothers both have studios, and Ubisoft has FOUR studios!

That’s just to name a few. In fact, Canada has a website dedicated to Canadian indie developers and there is a LOT of them!

On top of that Bethesda has announced that they are opening a new studio with a core team of 40 devs! (I’m hoping it’s an Elder Scrolls 6 team.)

While Gearbox’s website shows 16 open positions in their new Quebec studio! No word of the full team size.

Canada is one of the biggest video game industries in the world if not the fastest growing. Having over 329 game companies who employ over 16,500 people. For comparison, the United States has about 680 gaming companies but it is still nothing to sneeze at.

Okay Mike. I get it. So why is Canada so popular for game developers?

Canada has several incentives and support programs for game development start ups.

Ontario is one of the more popular cities to start a game company. In fact, through the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), game companies get back 35% to 40% of money the invest in devs, artists, and even marketing cost. Through the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) fund, the OMDC supports new game studios by providing grants that give new studios $150,000 that can cover up to 50% of development costs. That’s a sweet deal!

Would I build a new computer if someone offered to cover up to 50% of the cost? Hell yeah I would!

But wait, there’s more! Everything I’ve talked about up until now has only been though the city of Ontario. The Canadian federal government also gives incentives and support to game studios! Gosh Canada, i’m starting to really love you…

The Canadian government has the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and the Science Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED) who both offer new tech companies $50,000 to $5000,000 each year to supplement development costs. You have to admit, that’s a pretty sweet deal!

Canada also gives Quebec game studios a tax credit of 37.5% percent.

Forty percent of game companies within Canada are projecting a growth of at least 25% in the next two years.

So, it comes down to money huh?

The monetary incentives are a strong magnet for people. However, they are not the only reason why people like Canada so much.

Canada has several world famous engineering programs for several Universities including Toronto, Waterloo, Queens University and many more. Sheridan College is thought of as one of the top animation schools in the world!

So yeah, Canadians got the skills to pay the pills as the kids say.

Well, I think that covers everything?

You can find me every weekend behind my microphone on The College Gamers Podcast! Check it out sometime!

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Later people!


Bethesda’s new studio

New Gearbox Studio

Dig 1 

Dig 2

Linux Gaming

images Hello everyone! How’s everyone doin? Good? Great! So I recently dual-booted my laptop with Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04. I’m really liking Ubuntu so far! I was wondering the other day why don’t more developers port games to Linux? I have a few theories! First of all, there are so many distributions of Linux. Making a game work for all of them would be tough. A counter-point would be that many distributions are based off of other distributions. Many are based off of Fedora and Ubuntu. So if you make a version of your game work for those theoretically if should work for a distribution based on those. Just a theory. I’m not too familiar with the underlying workings of Linux, just a heads up, but it is something I want to learn!

Of course, Valve has developed a Steam OS that is a Linux distribution. Gabe Newell said that Linux is the future of gaming. And I can see his point. The control that Linux gives you would allow someone to design an operating system optimized for gaming. The issue with this is I imagine you would optimize it for specific hardware because gaming really relies on computer specs. (I’m sorry but your Compucolor 8001 probably won’t be able to play World of Warcraft with 32KB of RAM) I can see AMD and Nvidia having their own OS. But… oh no… if both companies have their own OS then I see explosives for, for example, the AMD OS. Which would be bad. Console exclusives are bad enough (I’m sad I can’t play Quantum Break, looks so awesome) but OS explosives on top of that!? Let’s hope it never comes to that.

Right now Windows is the favorite for playing video games. One thing Windows has over Linux is that Windows is unified! Linux has 100’s of versions. And I don’t see peope flooding to Linux to play games. Peope don’t want to maneuver a command terminal just to play Call of Duty. It would be an unnecessary barrier. Anyway, I was thinking about this and thought I would write something up. I don’t think this is everything. I tend to forget things as I write. I hope you enjoy this and if you have any input be sure to put it in the comments! Thanks!


Priest Joke

I found this image and thought it was hilarious!

I found this image and thought it was hilarious! -Cami

The College Gamers Podcast

Howdy everyone! This is (hopefully) the future home of The College Gamers Podcast. My name is Mike and I will be your consistent host for The College Gamers.  I will have a few different co-hosts throughout the duration.  My current co-host and companion is my dear friend, Taft.  It is a weekly podcast about any video game news ranging from hardware to software! We basically cover whatever we think is fun and interesting. The website is called Bluecow Radio because I hope this website will be a hub for all shows my friends and I do in the future. Enjoy!