Overdrive Mode

Cyberpunk 2077 launched in December 2020 with three options for enhanced graphics with ray tracing: reflections, sun shadows, and lighting – but only on PCs with Nvidia RTX GPU. Patch 1.3 in March 2021 enabled ray tracing for PCs with AMD Radeon GPU. Patch 1.5 in February 2022 added a new ray tracing option local shadows which joined the existing options on PC, and became the first and only ray tracing available for this game on consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X only).

Now patch 1.62 in April 2023 adds a new ray tracing option for PC called Overdrive Mode. This replaces all previous ray tracing options with a single unified solution that applies physically-modeled lighting, shadow, and reflections to every surface in the game.

The screenshots below were taken on a laptop with Nvidia RTX 3070 Max-P 8GB. It looks great standing still at 1080p but doesn’t run smoothly due to the game requiring around 10GB VRAM with ray tracing enabled, even at the lowest possible settings. DLSS is unable to solve that problem. On my desktop PC with AMD Radeon RX 6800 16GB it runs smooth but looks terrible upscaled from 960×540 with FSR2.

Ultra graphics preset without ray tracing. The red light is reflected on the metal wall by a technique called Screen Space Reflections (SSR).
Ultra Ray Tracing preset combines SSR with physically-modeled reflections, lighting, and shadows. The reflection of the red light is now also reflected on the floor. Reflections are visible on the car, and it has a shadow underneath now. The tree and building outisde are brighter but the tree is too bright with no shadow.
Ray Tracing Overdrive Mode replaces the old ray tracing system by simulating the bounces of light throughout the entire scene from every light source. The entire alley is darker due to more accurate lighting and shadows. The white light above the red light is brighter and also casts light now, and the tree outside is correctly shadowed.

TrueNAS Scale with WiFi

Files that only exist on a single storage device might as well be considered temporary. The data will be lost when the storage device eventually fails, or when the computer is damaged, lost, or stolen. Ransomware or other malicious attacks can delete files or lock you out of accessing them until you pay a ransom fee. Silent data corruption (bit rot) can make important files partially or entirely unreadable and you won’t find out until you try to view the file later.

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Build a game console with Ryzen 5600G

In 2012 Valve released “Big Picture Mode” for their Steam game distribution platform. This new user interface mode was intended for use on home TVs with a wireless game controller, essentially bringing a console-style living room gaming experience to PC.

In 2015 Valve collaborated with PC manufacturers to launch a range of home game consoles running their “SteamOS” Linux operating system. This “Steam Machine” initiative was a failure due to the low number of Steam games with native Linux support at the time.

In 2018 Valve added “Proton” to Steam to enable running Windows games on Linux without native support. Then in 2022 Valve launched their own “Steam Deck” handheld gaming PC with a new version of SteamOS and improved Proton, this time finding commercial success with a vastly improved library of games supported.

I tried SteamOS and Proton in 2019 with poor results. Many of the Windows games I tested either didn’t run, or had obvious graphical issues, or ran significantly slower than on Windows.

This is my experiment to answer the questions: Has Linux gaming with Steam improved in 2022? Is the integrated GPU in AMD’s Ryzen 5600G powerful enough to be a game console? Is 8GB RAM sufficient? Is it possible to set this up without typing strange commands into the Linux terminal?

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Cyberpunk 2077 on Surface Go 2: RTX Online

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a combination of low-life and high tech. Notable examples include novels Neuromancer (1984) and Snow Crash (1992), movies Blade Runner (1982), Ghost in the Shell (1995), The Matrix (1999), and the computer game Deus Ex (2000).

The tabletop role playing game Cyberpunk was written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988, followed by the sequels Cyberpunk 2020 in 1990, Cyberpunk V3.0 in 2005, and Cyberpunk Red in 2020.

The computer game Cyberpunk 2077, based on the tabletop game, was announced in May 2012 by developer and publisher CD Projekt Red. Trailers for the game were released in January 2013, at E3 2018, and at E3 2019 where an initial release date of 16 April 2020 was announced. The game was delayed to 17 September, then 19 November, and finally 10 December.

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The War on Privacy

Last week the Australian Government passed the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, which allows certain government agencies to issue secret notices compelling Australian IT workers and software developers to insert secret malicious code into any software or computer systems, for the purpose of gaining access to the content of encrypted messages on the computers and smartphones of their users. This law is in effect right now. The next time you download an update for the banking app on your smartphone, or operating system updates for Windows and MacOS, or a firmware update for your modem/router, or a game update on your Playstation, your device might also be implanted with a secret backdoor enabling remote access and monitoring. I could be forced to add malicious code to this blog and it would be illegal for me to refuse, or to warn you about it. You can no longer trust any computer hardware or software that is created, configured, or sold by someone living under the legal jurisdiction of Australia. This is kind of a big deal.

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Accelerated R with CUDA on Linux

The R programming language uses Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms (BLAS) for performing common linear algebra operations such as vector addition, scalar multiplication, dot products, linear combinations, and matrix multiplication. R includes Netlib BLAS by default. Significant performance gains can be achieved by replacing that with a different BLAS library such as OpenBLAS or ATLAS.

Further gains are possible by intercepting certain calls to BLAS with NVIDIA’s NVBLAS. Operations that can benefit from running on a GPU will be automatically redirected to cuBLAS without any modification to your R code.

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Visualising OCO-2 XCO2 in R with DeltaRho

NASA JPL’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) was launched into sun-synchronous orbit around the Earth on July 2, 2014. It carries 3 grated spectrometers for measuring the spectrum of sunlight reflected off the surface of the earth, which is used to calculate the average concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the column of atmosphere beneath the satellite (XCO2). It takes 16 days to provide full coverage of the Earth’s surface.

I am using the R packages datadr and Trelliscope from the DeltaRho project (formerly called Tessera.io) to explore and visualise the XCO2 observations from the OCO-2 Level 2 Lite version 7R data product.

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