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Fallout 76 Patch Adds FOV & DOF Sliders, Improves Camp Placements and Construction

After what seemed to be a series of never ending bad news concerning Bethesda's latest game, Fallout 76 received a major patch today that aims to improve the gaming experience in more ways than one. For PC users, a welcome addition comes in the form of the much-needed FOV (field of view) slider that has already helped tackle some complaints as seen online after launch. This comes along with a depth of field slider to allow further customization of the in-game view, which should also have a graphics performance effect depending on your hardware and DOF setting.

More importantly, Bethesda Game Studios has finally conceded that their current C.A.M.P system was far too broken. In particular, users were noticing their camp was lost entirely in between online sessions if someone else occupied the same space/location. This meant that a lot of resources were suddenly lost, and brought the online, multiplayer-only aspect of the game to be more similar to, say, State of Decay wherein players had to treat individual game sessions as possibly not having a point of resumption anymore. It added unnecessary frustration on top of what is frankly a bad video game by all records, and this is before we even get to the various bugs and monetary mishaps the game has seen since. Today's patch is a positive step, however, and hopefully this is one of many, many more that are needed before the game gets any real traction on the PC or console platforms alike. A full list of changes can be seen in the source linked in the full post.

Battlefield V Update: Tides of War, Chapter 1: Overture Was Delayed, Live Now

For Electronic Arts when it rains, it pours, as Battlefield V continues to experience a multitude of issues. The various controversies and problems that plagued the game leading up to its release were terrible enough. Now with numerous bugs such as audio issues to squash along with balancing of guns and gadgets, DICE remains unable to catch a break. They have now discovered yet another problem, this time resulting in the delay of their first Tides of War content update "Chapter 1: Overture." This particular update was to deliver the new Panzerstorm map, vehicle visual customization options, The Last Tiger War Story, and the practice range among other things. All this new content will still be released but when that is is currently unknown.

DICE expects the delay to be a short one, but no official date for the launch has been set.

Update (5th Dec, 10:00 UTC): The update is now live and distributing via Origin.

Update (5th Dec, 14:30 UTC): We have just posted a detailed performance review of this patch across all three RTX graphics cards, at three resolutions each. To summarize, the performance gains are big enough that the RTX 2080 Ti can comfortably handle 4K again, and RTX 2080 be capable of 4K with some riders.

Bethesda Continues to Struggle With Fallout 76, Refunds Now a Possibility

With the release of Fallout 76 a week ago, Bethesda continues the tradition of releasing buggy games that are full of glitches and issues. These problems are always expected to come from Bethesda; typically the game is still fun however unlike previous titles, Fallout 76 is has been universally panned by gamers and critics alike. At this point, some of the bugs, exploits, and problems are just hilariously bad. Tools such as Nukacrypt are already available online, using only a partial code it can decrypt the in-game nuclear launch codes drastically speeding up the overall process. Keeping with nuke theme, players working together were able to crash a Bethesda server by launching three nukes simultaneously. There are more glaring examples but when you add them to the laundry list of problems its begins to look pretty bad even for Bethesda.

Then there is Brogadyn on Reddit, who for a week now has been stuck in a semi-god mode. Usually that would be something to rejoice about but in this case, has caused many issues with the game's mechanics as the player is seen to have 0 HP. Worse yet, Bethesda has been dragging their feet when it comes to looking into the problem with Brogadyn speculating that they could reproduce the issue based on the circumstances in which the issue occurred. When you consider all this along with the general bugs, glitches, and problems that are typically a minor annoyance, you end up with a game that likely should have stayed in beta.

Bethesda Extends Fallout 76 Beta After "Spectacular" Bug Causes Download Deletes

Well, I suppose we were warned about bugs in the Fallout 76 Beta in advance but no one could have predicted it would be this.. freeing. So much so that a not insignificant fraction of participants in the Fallout 76 beta found their storage drives to be free of all 50 GB of downloaded files without notice. It got to a point where the Bethesda support account on Twitter put out a spectacular tweet saying "PC #Fallout76 B.E.T.A. players: We are aware of an issue with the client and are investigating. Do not click any buttons on the client for the time being." which has since been deleted. There were understandably upset people, including those on a metered or slow internet plan to whom downloading 50 GB again is a lot to ask for- even assuming they could do so and play again before the original beta period ended.

It must be noted that a beta test is for identifying issues such as this to begin with, and this is not the full game that one has paid for either. Although this bug not being caught until a public beta is still worrying, the public outcry to this bug has been a touch overblown and this is coming from the guy who gave Bethesda some unpleasant news and then some over their treatment of the latest addition to the Fallout game IP. To their credit, Bethesda have extended the beta session, as noted in the image below, to allow for a patch to the launcher client and that should hopefully fix this issue as well. Whether or not they did the right thing by not using Steam as a client is a matter for another discussion, relevant as it is now, and you are welcome to carry it out in the comments section.

Bethesda Warns Against "Spectacular" Bugs in Fallout 76 Beta

Okay, let it all out right now: "A Bethesda game with bugs? Color me shocked!". With that preemptively mentioned, the context here is a little different and worth mentioning. Bethesda took to Twitter via a letter to their fans earlier today, a letter that is trying to keep expectations low when trying out the Fallout 76 early access program, which they call the Break it Early Test Application (B.E.T.A, get it?). The letter goes on to bring up examples of other large games with massive in-game worlds, with Bethesda's own Elder Scrolls and Fallout series brought up as examples. To be more specific, the letter mentions "Given what we're doing with 76, we know we're opening everyone up to all new spectacular issues none of us have encountered. Some we're aware of, such as areas where performance needs to improve with lots of players. Others, we surely don't. We need your help finding them, and advice on what's important to fix."

There is a whole other discussion to be had on how private and public beta programs are now becoming glorified unpaid quality assurance work in the so-called AAA game industry today, and Bethesda in this venture does not do anything particular egregious either. But combined with all the other negative press Fallout 76 has been getting thanks to questionable choices made by the publisher, and also noting that only those who pre-ordered the game get to try out the beta beginning in a short while today, things are looking bleak for the participation numbers in said beta program. If you happened to be one of those participating, please do share your experiences in the comments section on this story.

NVIDIA Outs GeForce 398.98 Hotfix to Address "LA Noire VR" Bugs

NVIDIA late Monday rushed out the GeForce 398.98 Hotfix drivers to address glaring bugs with "LA Noire VR." Apparently the game notices crashes and stuttering with the latest GeForce 398.86 Beta drivers. The drivers also fix a stuttering issue noticed on some configurations trying to run "Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Beta." Hotfix releases lack WHQL certification, and are released to correct one or two major bugs that require NVIDIA's immediate attention. Unless you're playing the two games mentioned, you'd rather skip the driver update as the change-log lists no other updates.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 398.98 Hotfix

Five Years Too Late, Typo Fix Offers Improved AI in Aliens: Colonial Marines

It has been a long five years since Aliens: Colonial Marines launched as a hot mess. Being critically panned by gamers and critics alike. One of the reasons behind the negative reception was the game's poor AI. The Xenomorphs had a tendency to run straight into gunfire. Or worse yet, would stand around or group up making them easy targets. Suffice to say the Xenomorphs were far from scary. A typographical error has been discovered as the reason behind some of those issues.

As noted on the ResetERA forums, a post by jamesdickinson963 on the ACM Overhaul ModDB page traced the problem to a spelling error in a single line of code within the game's ini file. The code shown below has "teather" instead of the proper "tether". This simple mistake in theory, results in the "zone tether" failing to load the AI parameters attached to the broken bit of code.

Microsoft Rolling Out New "Speculative Execution" Bug Bounty Program

In a blog post, Microsoft has announced that it has decided to take the matter of finding critical bugs of similar nature to the Spectre/Meltdown flaws into its own hands - at least partially. Adding to its bug bounty programs, the company has now announced that a new pot of up to $250,000 is up for grabs until at least December 31st of this year.

The new bug bounty program is divided into four different severity/compensation tiers, with tier 1 flaws (New categories of speculative execution attacks) granting up to $250,000 in rewards for the "coordinated disclosure" of such vulnerabilities. The idea here is Microsoft is employing the knowledge and will of the capable masses that might find ways of exploiting vulnerabilities, and would choose to disclose them to Microsoft - getting the prize money, helping the tech industry in providing a timely, coordinated defense against these exploits, and saving vast amounts of funding (and time), by not having to do the bug bounty themselves.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Alpha Drivers

Making good on its post-New Year promise, AMD late Thursday released its first Radeon Software Adrenalin iteration for the year, version 18.1.1 Alpha. Being flagged "Alpha," these are very early drivers, the use of which are not backed by any warranties. They're not fully tested to work by AMD.

Version 18.1.1 Alpha addresses critical bugs that caused some of the older games to break following Adrenalin 17.12 release. The games, which are nearly a decade old, are AAA blockbusters which are based on the older DirectX 9 API. A number of older DirectX 9 games, such as EA's "Command & Conquer 3," "Command & Conquer 4" series, "Battle for Middle Earth 1-2," and "The Witcher Enhanced Edition" had simply refused to start following the 17.12 driver update. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Alpha

AMD Unlikely to Fix DX9 Games Bugged by Adrenalin Driver

AMD ended 2017 with its year-end mega driver release, the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition (17.12), which introduced a large number of new features. The drivers, incidentally, also inadvertently caused bugs with some 10-year old games running on the older DirectX 9 API. When AMD Radeon users took to Reddit, and other tech forums to report these issues, AMD responded on its official support forums that it is "unlikely to devote any valuable engineering resources to this issue."

Among the games affected, old as they may seem, are AAA blockbusters, including "C&C3 Tiberium Wars," "C&C3 Kane's Wrath," "C&C Red Alert 3," "C&C Red Alert 3 Upising," "C&C4 Tiberian Twilight," "Battle for Middle Earth 1-2," and "The Witcher Enhanced Edition." AMD blames its inability to fix these issues to outdated API models. The company's full statement reads "This title is from 2007, so we are unlikely to devote any valuable engineering resources to this issue, which is most likely caused by outdated API modules."

Bioware Commits to Mass Effect: Andromeda Support; Will Act on Feedback

Mass Effect Andromeda was one of the most awaited launches of 2017, though an argument can be made that the game is currently in beta. The Mass Effect trilogy was one of the best-realized trilogies in gaming - let down, in the eyes of some users, by its ending; but if the indoctrination theory has something to go for it, I think it's one of the best endings that ever took form in this media. The original trilogy really went to show how a universe steeped in narrative, with an overarching plan already aligned for its trio of games, could deliver an intense, high-quality sci-fi experience.

Taking on a whole new galaxy should have been a time to improve and rebuild old systems, not breaking what was so very well done before. Even if the game is a looker, with the Frostbite 3 engine bringing graphics to the forefront, some things have taken a turn for the worst in a bid to save development time and resources. Mass Effect: Andromeda came out in what is an almost universally agreed unfinished state, with facial animations and overall writing suffering in quality compared to the previous installments, and a plethora of bugs fitter to an early access release than a AAA game. Now, Bioware has come forward, committing to act on fans' feedback and making up for the deficits that have no place in a Bioware game.

AMD Preparing BIOS Update to Fix FMA3 Freezes on Ryzen CPU Family

AMD has acknowledged an issue in which applications utilizing FMA3 code (basically compute and floating point heavy applications) can freeze Ryzen-based desktops. According to AMD, a fix is already on the way in the form of a basic bios update that will be issued to motherboard vendors, who will then most assuredly update their boards with the fix. If you want to be sure your Ryzen based system is not affected by this or numerous other teething issues, making sure you are running the latest BIOS will go a long way towards easing your experience with your new platform.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.12 WHQL

AMD released the WHQL-signed version of Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.11.1 as the new 15.12 WHQL. It addresses a variety of game-specific issues, including rendering errors on Star Wars: Battlefront; bugs on Fallout 4; texture-compression issues with Just Cause 3; poor CrossFire performance with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. It also addresses a critical issue in which the driver would either spool fan-speeds all the way up to 100% on load, or lock them down at 30%, causing certain GPUs to overheat. A variety of bugs specific to the Radeon Settings app were also addressed.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.12 WHQL for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

HP's Hackable Printers: The Lawsuit

Three days ago, we brought you news of how researchers have made proof-of-concept attacks on HP printers by reprogramming their firmware. Among other things, these attacks could deliberately cause the fuser in a printer to overheat and singe the paper, until shut down by a built-in unoverridable thermal switch, preventing a fire. Now, in light of this, a lawsuit has been filed by David Goldblatt of New York, seeking damages for fraudulent and deceptive business practices and is looking for class action status: "As a result of HP's failure to require the use of digital signatures to authenticate software upgrades, hackers are able to reprogram the HP Printers' software with malicious software without detection," the suit says. "Once the HP printers' software is maliciously reprogrammed, the HP printers can be remotely controlled by computer hackers over the Internet, who can then steal personal information, attack otherwise secure networks, and even cause physical damage to the HP printers, themselves." Note that HP has used digital signatures since 2009 to authenticate the firmware updates, helping to mitigate this potential problem in recent models.

Despite this though, HP still intends to patch the firmware to eliminate threats from this hack, which exploits bugs in the firmware. As these attacks have only actually been demonstrated in the lab and no actual losses have been incurred by Goldblatt, it makes one wonder if he is just using the prevailing American "victim culture" to try and make a quick buck off HP. HP are the top printer brand, mainly because their products are excellent, performing well and lasting a long time, plus other companies' printers and embedded devices have the same problems, so it seems unlikely that he would really not have bought HP printers.

NVIDIA Investigates TDR Issues, Requests Sample Cards

Guru3D reports on a post from NVIDIA tech support on NVIDIA's forums regarding TDR issues (Timeout Detection & Recovery problem (display stopped responding but has successfully recovered)). These problems centre around Battlefield 3 and Windows Media Centre, which NVIDIA can't reproduce, so it looks like the problems may be with specific card models. NVIDIA rep ManuelG posted:
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