Article note: It's set between 1 and 2, so no resolution of the HL2:E2 cliffhanger we've all been waiting 15 years for. I am excited to see if they've finally come up with something compelling to do with a VR set, because that hasn't happened yet.
The game, which Valve says is "set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2," has been "designed from the ground up for Virtual Reality" (i.e. you can stop hoping for a 2D monitor release). "Everyone at Valve is excited to be returning to the world of Half-Life," Valve founder Gabe Newell said in a statement. “VR has energized us."
"We’ve invested a lot of ourselves in the technology," Newell's statement continues. "But we're also game developers at heart, and to be devoting ourselves to a VR game this ambitious is just as exciting. For that to come in the form of Half-Life feels like the culmination of a lot of things we care a lot about: truly great games, cutting edge technology, and open platforms. We can’t wait for people to experience this."
Oddly, one of the most exciting things I’ve seen at SC19 is whitebox switch hardware. Innovium’s Teralynx Ethernet fabric silicon smells like the end of Broadcom’s near-monoply (and associated deep partnership with high-end switch vendors with their proprietary environments) in that space, and the coming of whitebox 100+ GBE (and frankly, even 40+GBE) switches. I chatted with some folks from Innovium and Cameo, who were hosted in the Gigabyte booth because apparently they’re partnering, where they were showing serious enterprise switches that are open to the bones running Open Network Linux booted from Coreboot instead of proprietary lock-in vendor OS. Even their baby product in the line, the ESCC600-32Q (PDF warning) is pretty damn exciting.
Right on the heels of burning the shit out of DOD's HPC spending with the collapse of the Phi stuff right after DOD jumped in at scale, DOE is trusting intel's absolutely-no-public-details unified GPU plan for Aurora. I really, really do hope it pans out (because GPUs are bullshit and Intel commodizing them and bringing decent drivers and toolchains would make the world better) but the degree to which they're being cagey at this stage is a cause for suspicion.
Even the press release can't make it look like something other than Khronos' SYCL C++ extensions with a bulky coat of paint. It could be uglier, and Intel with open washing might be enough to unseat CUDA, so ...OK?
Article note: Huh. I've been _deeply_ unimpressed by VR so far, but if anyone can make something compelling...
For a certain class of video game fan, no news could be bigger than today's: Half-Life is back. In VR. As an entirely new game from the series' creators at Valve.
We're here to connect the dots between what has been announced, what has been rumored, and what we've heard from well-placed sources. Rise and shine, Half-Life fans. We have a lot for you today.
Months of rumors, then a TGA leak
We should probably begin with the game's name, as revealed in a leaked Game Awards 2019 presentation and confirmed hours later by an official post from Valve. Half-Life: Alyx is a brand-new game in the Half-Life universe designed exclusively for PC virtual reality systems (Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality).
Article note: On one hand, this is an obviously absurd demand. On the other hand, I'm now worried that restaurants are going to contaminate their grills with coconut from the fake burgers, and I'm going to have a surprise allergic reaction.
Some vegans have filed a lawsuit against Burger King because they cook the Impossible Burger Whoppers on the same grill as their meat burgers. According to the suit, the Impossible Whopper is not a vegan option and the restaurant doesn't disclose the meat contamination on their menu. Of course, vegans and vegetarians have been quite vocal about this issue since the Impossible Whopper's introduction.
According to TMZ, plaintiff Philip Williams "not only wants damages ... he wants the judge to order Burger King to stop cooking Impossible Burgers and the OG burgers on the same grill. Read the rest
Article note: Getting a twofer today on "Intel processors get noticeably slower with each microcode update, as they are forced to disable sloppy bullshit that they shipped to win the numbers game."
Latest microcode turns off all the TSX Hardware Lock Elision features in all processors, plus turns off a (probably exploitable) fast path for all JCC (Jump Conditionals) that happen to end on or across a 32-bit boundary (see: https://twitter.com/damageboy/status/1194751035136450560 ).
Article note: I got a little look at the A64FX stuff at SC this year, and chatted with a Cray rep in front of a sample board; a year ago I was curious about Fujitsu's Post-K ARM plan announcement, now it's a goddamn impressive chip that is already here. A bunch of ARM cores with SVE (nice SWAR extensions) and memory interfaces that beat the pants off anything you can get in or out of accelerators has both serious performance potential and should be drastically easier to program to squeeze that performance out of than most current contenders.
It sounds like Cray has only very preliminary plans to put them on the fancier interconnects, but even still, after years of present but not really, this suddenly makes ARM HPC very credible.
A64FX: Big in Japan, big in the US, UK at this rate
Cray has said it will build a family of supercomputers for government research labs and universities. The kicker? The exascale machines will be powered by Arm-compatible microprocessors.…
Please, please, stop referring to yourselves as ‘consumers.’ OK? ‘Consumers’ are different than citizens. Consumers do not have obligations, responsibilities, and duties to their fellow human beings. And as long as you’re using that word ‘consumer’ in the public discussion, you will be degrading the quality of the discussion we’re having, and we’re gonna continue to be clueless going into this very difficult future that we face.