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AMD's Radeon ExtravaLANza Event Coverage

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Last weekend AMD held the inaugural Radeon ExtravaLANza event out of their Markham, Ontario headquarters. It brought together gamers of all ages and walks of life into one area for some friendly competition. While there were plenty of opportunities to get involved in the event’s head to head gaming sessions within the Bring Your Own Computer LAN, AMD also put on a technology showcase that allowed the public to get up close and personal with the latest in PC technology.

As PC gaming once again increases in popularity we’re bound to see more and more of these community-based events supported by large manufacturers. NVIDIA held their GeForce LAN last year around this time and with AMD’s ExtravaLANza expansion in Canada, gamers on both sides of the border should be well served in the years to come.


With this being the first event of its kind held out of the Markham campus (previous editions were held in California, Texas, Asia and Europe under the Game Experience moniker) there were some questions about whether or not it would be a success but those doubts were quickly proven wrong as over 600 people showed up. This number was largely made up of the general public who visited the various exhibits.


Alongside some incredible triple monitor systems featuring the newest titles that include Eyefinity support, there were several stations set up where the public could sit down and play PC titles. There were literally miles of Ethernet cables to run and dozens of interesting displays

While the masses were able to get their hands into some gaming, behind the closed doors of AMD’s cafeteria, a private 24 hour LAN was being held.


Organized by Overclock.net, roughly 100 gamers participated in the BYOC (bring your own computer) LAN, where over $5000 worth of prizes were up for grabs courtesy of eSports Canada and AMD’s supporting partners. There were also a number of raffle draws so even gamers that didn’t win in the LAN had a chance to win something. Unfortunately, we didn’t stick around too long in this area as most of the participants were honed in on besting their opponents.


Gaming Evolved, First Hand


One of the main initiatives for AMD at the ExtravaLANza was to showcase the inroads made by their Gaming Evolved team. As we’ve already extensively reported, several new A-list games will come with advanced DX11 feature support courtesy of AMD’s involvement within their development process. This includes the new Tomb Raider title, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Bioshock Infinite. Many of these titles are included in AMD’s new holiday season gaming bundle which offers free games to purchasers of Radeon-branded graphics cards.

While we were at the ExtravaLANza, Hardware Canucks had the opportunity to talk discuss the event and the Gaming Evolved program with Darren McPhee and Peter Ross, two pivotal figures within AMD’s community-based initiatives:

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Hitman: Absolution is bound to be one of the most influential titles on the PC before the year is up and Nixxes software is in charge of adapting it for a PC gaming environment. We sat down with their president and founder Jurgen Katsman to discuss the PC version and how DX11 was leveraged to ensure an immersive gaming environment.


Hitman Absolution Technology Preview


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AMD has helped Nixxes integrate native Eyefinity and HD3D support into Hitman Absolution but the PC-specific features certainly don’t stop there. Real time global illumination, FXAA support (MSAA has be included as well), high resolution textures, ultra high definition shadow maps and character / environmental tessellation have all been included within the Glacier 2 engine in order to differentiate the PC version from scaled down console versions. We highly recommend you watch the full video above as it shows the amount of PC-specific features which Nixxes is building into this game.


The Partners


Not community event would be complete without a few board partners and retailers displaying their wares. ASUS, XFX, MSI and a few others were in attendance this year and we sat down with a few of them. The videos are below.

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Quick Wrap-Up


AMD’s ExtravaLANza was an unmitigated success, both for the PC gaming community and the Canadian eSports scene. As Darren mentioned in our interview, the ExtravaLANza may be AMD’s first large scale event in Canada but it certainly won’t be their last. It is always great to see these community outreach programs since they expand the scope of PC gaming and bring hundreds of like-minded individuals under the same roof. We can’t wait to see how it goes next year.
 
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