Seagate will have 14TB and 16TB hard drives in 18 months

Seagate said back in 2013 that it hoped to release a 20TB hard drive by 2020 using its then-new shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology. Fast forward to today and the biggest capacity HDD it offers is 10TB, though the company’s roadmap includes 14TB and 16TB HDDs within the next 18 months.

Company executives provided the capacity update during an earnings call this week, PCWorld reports. Seagate CEO Stephen Luczo said that 12TB HDDs based on helium technology are currently being tested, but that even more capacious solutions are not that far off.

Hard drives have been losing ground to solid state drives over the past several years, though HDDs are still in demand because they offer far more capacity for less money. Companies such as Seagate have also been able to sell premium priced HDDs at the upper end—a 10TB HDD runs north of $400, depending on the model.

While consumers are still interested in large capacity HDDs, Luczo says Seagate is seeing demand from other areas as well, such as surveillance setups. Seagate even has a line of HDDs dedicated to surveillance, its SkyHawk series, which is optimized for DVRs and NVRs with specialized firmware that is supposed to enable smooth, clear video streaming for always-on applications.

NAS (network-attached storage) is another area where large capacity HDDs are proving popular among consumers. And of course enterprise clients are drawn to capacious HDDs for servers and data centers.

Seagate raked in $2.9 billion in revenue during its second quarter for fiscal year 2017, which led to a profit of $297 million. Hard drive sales accounted for nearly $2.7 billion, with SSDs adding comparatively little to Seagate’s bottom line.

Windows 10 Game Mode goes live in latest Insider build

Windows Insiders who are subscribed to the Fast ring can begin testing out the much anticipated Game Mode in the latest Windows 10 preview build (15019). However, Microsoft warns that there are some unrelated bugs in the newest build that could impact the ability to play popular games. In fact, Microsoft debated the decision of whether or not to release this build in its current state.

“We recognize that this is painful for those wanting to try out the new gaming features announced this week. We deliberated a lot on whether to release this build to Insiders with these issues, however we decided to go ahead and release it as we need feedback from Insiders on other areas of the OS,” Microsoft stated in a blog post announcing the new build. “The team is working hard to get these platform bugs fixed and we plan to push the new gaming features again when we release a build that includes these fixes.”

The post specifies “Popular games… may experience crashes or black screens when trying to load due to a platform issue. When clicking on certain elements in desktop (Win32) games, the game minimizes and cannot be restored.”

In other words, don’t download this build for a peek at Game Mode unless you’re okay with some big issues—some stuff’s definitely going to be broken. We wouldn’t recommend this build for your primary PC, but if you have a secondary gaming system sitting around, go wild.

Microsoft’s new Game Mode is an optimization scheme that prioritizes resources and stifles some background tasks to boost performance in games. Users who want to test it out can navigate to Settings > Gaming and flip the Game Mode toggle on. Once that’s turned on, users can enable the feature in UWP and Win32 games by bringing up the Game bar (Windows + G) and clicking the Settings button.

Microsoft gave us the first details of how Game Mode will work in an interview earlier this week. The ultimate goal is to provide a performance boost by bumping up the average and peak framerates.

The newest preview build also enables built-in Beam streaming to broadcast gameplay for both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. This is another option that can be found by pulling up the Game bar.

In this newest build Microsoft added support for more than a dozen games in full-screen mode with Windows Game bar. They include Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 2 – Zombies, FIFA 14 and 17, FIFA Manager 14, Grim Dawn, Guild Wars 2, Left 4 Dead 2, MapleStory, Paragon, Payday 2, Rocket League, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Sims 4, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, and Warface.

The last bit of interest to gamers is a new Games section in Settings. This has been added to Windows 10’s Settings app in the latest build to make it easier to access the new gaming features. It’s not fully fleshed out yet, but will continue to receive more features as Microsoft makes available new preview builds.

Stardock releases Galactic Civilizations 3 2.0 update

General pass on conversation weights such that the AI will talk more and offer more interesting tradesAI players who dislike you will charge you more in diplomacyChanged diplomacy attitude label from “allied” to “loves (they’re not allied)Changed diplomacy attitude from label “war” to “hates” (they’re not at war)AI should be better at focusing on a given weapon or defense tech rather than trying to research multiple pathsAIs will heavily weight their relations with other players based on who is at war with whom and whyAIs will tend to come to the aid of their friends even if the enemy is more powerfulAI now has the capability of explaining in detail why they rejected (or accepted) a trade offer (though will require translation of new strings)AI will use a redlining system of evaluating proposals such that each sub-AI routine will add marks to the proposal with potential veto powerAI now has the capability of explaining in detail why they rejected (or accepted) a trade offerBy default, the auto-generated military ships will have their categories folded for easier UI navigation

Balance

Home planet production points base increased from 1 to 10Significantly reduced starbase spacing radius to 2 tiles, allowing you cluster them closer togetherAI is substantially better at evaluating what ship to build, when and whereEarly game improvements made less expensiveLate game improvement benefits reduced slightlyResearch improvements have been rebalanced

UI Improvements / Bug Fixes

By default, the auto-generated military ships will have their categories folded for easier UI navigationWhen a player designs a ship, it will, by default, be added to the favoritesAdded the currency, morale, population, and turns information to the planet and shipyard windowChanged Terran and “space monster” fighters size from small to tiny, matching the sizes for other factions. This change prevents a crash in the ROT campaignMap Editor: Fixed a problem that prevented the Mini-map Preview from working.Replaced Diplomatic Specialization 3 to be “Efficient Administration” on all trees (Base Game and Campaigns)Fixed bad Matter Disruption Cost multiplier that was making Matter Disruption 2.6 times more expensive than it should have beenChanged the width of the asteroid tooltip window and “nearest owned planet” value so that the value can no longer overlapNegative Strategic resources are no longer shown in the trade options when they were negativeUpdated map lighting settings to decreased ambient light and increased key light to make the ships look less flatMercenaries: Ships that you can’t afford are greyed outFixed issue where Ancient Kinetic Augmenter had weapon FX even though it is a support moduleRemoved military ring Starbase range boost now that we have implemented AdministratorsFixed a problem that was causing rebellions in peaceful corners of the galaxy

Overclockers will happily sell you an 8Pack OrionX PC for £24,000

That is an insane amount of hardware, which presents the challenge of keeping everything cool. Overclocker UK’s solution was to run with three—yes, THREE—fully custom watercooling loops.

“Despite the amount of water cooling, the loops have been designed in such a way that each component is kept at the lowest possible temperatures. This is all thanks to the expertly designed passthrough plates which are fitted along the rear, front, and mid-plate panels of the chassis,” Overclockers UK says.

If you have the required coin and desire to own the baddest system on the block, you can go here to place your order. And hey, if you’re lucky enough to be on the fence, shipping is free.

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.

The Wild Eight comes to Steam Early Access in February

The Wild Eight, the cooperative survival sim about a plane crash in Alaska that leads to the discovery of something sinister and decidedly not the product of natural evolution, will launch on Steam Early Access on February 8. Publisher Hypetrain Digital announced the date today, saying that it expects the game to be in Early Access for just three months before it’s ready for full release.

B-weekly updates are planned following the initial launch, and along with the usual bug fixes and balance tweaks, the updates will add new side quests and objectives, a more advanced combat system (including shooting, which I guess won’t be present at first), a better UI and map, more languages, and support for Mac and Linux. Multiplayer will be available from the start.

Hypetrain also warned that much has changed from the pre-alpha demo that was released last year. The upgrade system has been completely redesigned, as has “the technical side of the multiplayer,” although that doesn’t sound like it will have any impact on game mechanics.

“One and a half years ago it was even hard to imagine the possibility of developing a game here in Yakutia that will attract so much attention all over the world. It’s already a big success for us and we want to thank everyone who believed in us during the Kickstarter campaign and everyone who is awaiting the release,” developer Ed Gotovtsev said. He also announced that his studio has changed its name from 8 Points to Fntastic (yes, “Fntastic,” no missing letters), which he said “stands for breaking the boundaries and art of imagination.”

Maybe that translates better in Russian. In any event, The Wild Eight will go for $20 at launch, with a “special cosmetic reward” for Early Access players. Find out more at thewildeight.com.

A cancelled Fallout 3 project is responsible for Icewind Dale, says Obsidian CEO

Back when Interplay and Black Isle Studios were still making Fallout games—prior to Bethesda’s acquisition of the series—”Van Buren” was the codename given to an ill-fated unreleased turn-based version of Fallout 3 that long predated the three-dimensional open-world game launched in 2008. What you may not know is that 2000’s D&D-inspired role-player Icewind Dale also began life as a 3D take on the post-apocalyptic wasteland in a bid to serve as a counterpoint to Baldur’s Gate.

That’s according to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, who, in conversation with IGN, explains that prior to working on Van Buren Black Isle Studios also worked on a different version of Fallout 3—immediately following Fallout 2, while Planescape: Torment was still in the works.

“It was actually the second Fallout 3,” says Urquhart of Van Buren, suggesting that the decision to make Fallout 3 three-dimensional wasn’t necessarily first thought of years later. “Now 3D was the cool stuff. So we were going to move from being a 2D engine and be a 3D engine, and so we actually started working with this 3D technology called NDL.”

Interplay’s well-documented financial bother ultimately led the Californian publisher to capitalise on Baldur’s Gate’s popularity, as it changed the direction of the proposed Fallout 2 follow-up and instead began crafting a dungeon-crawling RPG. “The Fallout 3 team became the Icewind Dale team,” adds Urquhart.

And the rest is history, so goes the well-worn cliche. Interestingly, Urquhart says the aforementioned NDL technology was purchased by Gamebryo, who ultimately powered Betheda’s version of Fallout 3 years later.

Battlefield 1 is getting a Community Test Environment

DICE announced today that it’s launching a Community Test Environment for Battlefield 1, where upcoming and experimental patches will be made available for intrepid players who want to try them first and offer feedback.

For now, the CTE will be used to test the next big update, but down the line DICE says it will include “new features, improved/changed content, and experiments that aren’t yet (and may never be) ready for public release.”

“Select members in the community” and “Battlefield veterans” will be the first allowed into the CTE, and are being sent codes directly. The rest of us will have to sign up using the Battlefield 1 Companion App on iOS, Android, or Windows 10 Mobile. CTE access isn’t guaranteed (though the instructions don’t make it sound super exclusive) and requires ownership of the Battlefield Premium Pass, which includes all the upcoming DLC.

I’ve downloaded the app, but so far the signup hasn’t appeared. Further investigation reveals it likely won’t appear until tomorrow at the earliest.

But we at least know what we’re looking forward to. On the new battlefield_live subreddit, DICE has laid out what’ll be in the first CTE patch. It’s a big update, with a ton of bug fixes and weapon tweaks. Many will probably be happy to see that gas grenade duration has been decreased, but I’ll be sad to see my noxious, irritating friends get nerfed.

The CTE will be totally separate from the regular game, so ranking and unlocks won’t carry over—we’ll be starting from scratch. As a little bonus, aside from testing new patches, DICE says CTE players will be treated to “exclusive events and what we like to refer to as CTE fun.” I’ll update this story when the signup process on the mobile app is up and running.

Civilization 6 mod tools and Steam Workshop support are still in the works

Official Civilization 6 mod tools and Steam Workshop integration aren’t ready yet, but they are still on their way. Firaxis’s Pete Murray reconfirmed during a multiplayer livestream today that “the team is working on those, and when we have more information to share with you, we will be sure to do so.” You can watch the statement in the Twitch clip above, posted to Reddit by user ConsiderableNames.

Murray also included multiplayer teams in that list, which is another hotly requested item among the multiplayer community. We had previously heard these features were coming, but Firaxis hadn’t given too much information recently about the status of them. So in this case, no news is good news as it means nothing was canceled.

Of course, the lack of official mod support hasn’t stopped people from making great Civilization 6 mods, but the community hasn’t grown in the way Firaxis’s other hit XCOM 2’s mod scene did by having mod and workshop support at launch. Obviously they are different teams working on the two games, but given the lush history of Civilization 5 mods one would think support would have arrived sooner. Still, it’s always nice to see big developers support the mod community at all.