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December 2011



SkyBoost Skyrim Performance Mod

30 December 2011


Last week I mentioned a TESV Acceleration Layer Mod for Skyrim which optimizes the game's code to run more efficiently, especially in CPU-limited areas in and around major cities. The initial bugs have been fixed and it has now been released in an improved and easy to install form as SkyBoost. Simply download the .zip file from the link above, copy the dinput8.dll and SkyBoost.asi files from it into your main Skyrim directory (typically \Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\), and launch the game as usual.



Game Patches

30 December 2011


  • Space Pirates and Zombies - Update via Steam


  • Windows Update

    30 December 2011


    Microsoft has released a Security Update which addresses critical vulnerabilities in the .NET Framework in Windows. It is available for download via Windows Update.



    Site Update

    29 December 2011


    Shortly a new year will be upon us. I want to take this opportunity to wish you well and thank you for your continued support of the site. I hope that my guides will be of use to you and many others in 2012.


    As I write this, it strikes me that 2012 will mark the tenth year that I've been writing "professionally" on the Internet. It's interesting to note that the major milestones in my online writing have all had to do with Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series. It was in mid-2002 that my Morrowind Tweak Guide was published on TweakTown, which kicked off my writing for a tech site. I launched my own site in 2004, but it wasn't until mid-2006 that it really gained prominence with the Oblivion Tweak Guide. In 2010 I began a new chapter by writing game guides for Nvidia, but it wasn't until the Skyrim Tweak Guide, published recently on GeForce.com, that most people took notice. Of course I've written many other guides and articles in between which have received more than their fair share of attention, but I always look back most fondly on the guides based on Bethesda's games. This gives me pause to wonder why exactly that is.


    Take Skyrim for example. Like many others, I've been playing countless hours of this addictive game, savoring its many aspects and wonders. Though not without fault, it truly is a spectacular achievement in terms of depth of gameplay. It doesn't have the absolute best graphics or sound or animation, and to be honest I'm not even a huge RPG fan. But the sheer scope and freedom allowed in Skyrim, the numerous stories and subtle details which are expertly woven together, are what makes it so unique and compelling in my opinion. Similarly, I have many great memories of playing Oblivion, Fallout 3, and most recently, the "Old World Blues" DLC for Fallout: New Vegas for much the same reasons. To me, these games have a style which harkens back to the golden days of my youth in the 80's, playing adventure games. I suppose the key word then is "adventure". Not just an RPG, not just an FPS, or RTS, or MMO. I don't like genre games with cliched and highly scripted stories, forcing you to play out a tightly pigeonholed role. To me, the best PC games are those which incorporate equal parts of action, exploration, and innovative storylines, and thus invoke a true sense of adventure and immersion.


    I hope we have more of these "adventure" games in 2012. The sad reality however is that mindless generic shooters are likely to dominate the gaming landscape. In 2011, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the poster child for cliched tightly-scripted games, set a new record by racking up more than $1 billion in revenue within its first two weeks. Gaming is big business these days, and quite logically, development resources are allocated first and foremost to the genres and platforms which have the highest returns. There's a positive aspect to this though, in that we get to shape the future of our entertainment by voting with our wallets. With the new year almost here, I'd like to see more gamers resolve to actually support innovative game developers by putting their money where their mouth is. Otherwise I fear in a few years' time we might all be playing Call of Duty 16: The Battle for Uranus.



    Game Patches

    24 December 2011


  • Might & Magic Heroes VI - 1.2 Patch
  • Stronghold 3 - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Team Fortress 2 - Update via Steam


  • Skyrim Optimization Mod

    23 December 2011


    A new TESV Acceleration Layer Mod for Skyrim is receiving a lot of attention, because it can apparently significantly improve performance in CPU-limited areas, such as near major cities. The mod author provides a more technical explanation of why it works here. Hopefully Bethesda can incorporate these optimizations into the next official patch.


    Update: The original mod may cause quest issues and glitches in the game, so check this thread for updated versions of the mod which appear to resolve most of these issues. The safest approach is to wait for Bethesda to include these optimizations in an official patch, which is highly likely given the attention the mod has received.



    Game Patches

    23 December 2011


  • ARMA II - Update via Steam
  • ARMA II: British Armed Forces - Update via Steam
  • ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead - Update via Steam
  • ARMA II: Private Military Company - Update via Steam
  • Counter-Strike: Source / Day of Defeat: Source - Update via Steam
  • CrimeCraft Gangwars - Update via Steam
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening - Update via Steam
  • Dungeons of Dredmor - Update via Steam
  • Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction - Update via Steam
  • Serious Sam 3 - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • War Inc. Battlezone - Update via Steam


  • Firefox 9.0.1

    22 December 2011


    Mozilla has released Version 9.0.1 of the Firefox browser. The official release notes are identical to 9.0, so it's unclear what's been altered. It's highly likely to be a critical security or bug fix release.



    CCleaner 3.14.1616

    22 December 2011


    A new Version 3.14.1616 of the free CCleaner system cleaning utility has been released. This update adds support for new applications including Real Player, PerfectDisk and Windows Media Center, improves cleaning for several other applications and contains general improvements and bug fixes.



    DivX 8.2.1

    22 December 2011


    The DivX video software has been updated to Version 8.2.1.



    Game Patches

    22 December 2011


  • Dota 2 - Update via Steam
  • Grotesque Tactics 2 Dungeons and Donuts - Update via Steam
  • Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - Update via Steam
  • Space Pirates and Zombies - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Team Fortress 2 - Update via Steam
  • Waves - Update via Steam


  • Nvidia Beta Forceware 290.53

    21 December 2011


    Nvidia has released the Beta 290.53 driver for Windows XP, Vista and 7. This driver is for GeForce 6 and higher desktop cards. It improves performance for Skyrim as well as updating Skyrim's Ambient Occlusion support to a higher performance profile. It also provides updated SLI and 3D Vision profiles, and contains bug fixes. The driver package includes the 9.11.11.07 PhysX drivers.



    Firefox 9.0

    21 December 2011


    Mozilla has released Version 9.0 of the Firefox browser. The most significant changes are in the form of a major increase in JavaScript performance, as well as stability and bug fixes. The Firefox Tweak Guide has been updated but there are no notable changes.



    GPU-Z 0.5.7

    21 December 2011


    GPU-Z, a free graphics card information utility, has reached Version 0.5.7. Changes include support for new chipsets as well as bug fixes.



    Game Patches

    21 December 2011


  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Update via Steam
  • Space Pirates and Zombies - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Take on Helicopters - Update via Steam
  • Trine 2 - Update via Steam
  • World of Tanks - 0.7.0 Patch
  • X3: Albion Prelude - Update via Steam


  • Game Patches

    20 December 2011


  • Atom Zombie Smasher - Update via Steam
  • Bastion - Update via Steam
  • Civilization V - Update via Steam
  • Dino D-Day - Update via Steam
  • FIFA Manager 12 - Patch 3
  • Gothic 3 - Forsaken Gods Enhanced Edition - 2.1 Patch
  • L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition - Update via Steam
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - Update via Steam
  • Men of War: Assault Squad - 1.98.8 Patch
  • Team Fortress 2 - Update via Steam
  • Worms Reloaded - Update via Steam


  • Realtek HD Audio 2.67

    17 December 2011


    Realtek has released Version 2.67 of its HD Audio drivers. If you have problems with the link, click the 'High Definition Audio Codecs' link at the top then select 'Software'.



    Process Explorer 15.11

    17 December 2011


    Microsoft has released Version 15.11 of the free Process Explorer utility, which is a more detailed version of Task Manager. This version fixes several bugs.



    Game Patches

    17 December 2011


  • CrimeCraft Gangwars - Update via Steam
  • Garry's Mod - Update via Steam
  • Grotesque Tactics 2 Dungeons and Donuts - Update via Steam
  • Left 4 Dead 2 - Update via Steam
  • Post Apocalyptic Mayhem - Update via Steam
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 - 1.03 Patch
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Team Fortress 2 - Update via Steam
  • The Sims 3 - 1.29.55 Patch
  • World of Tanks - 0.7.0 Patch


  • AMD Bulldozer Windows Hotfix

    16 December 2011


    Microsoft has released a Hotfix to improve the performance of AMD Bulldozer CPUs on Windows 7.



    Game Patches

    16 December 2011


  • Dungeon Defenders - Update via Steam
  • Nuclear Dawn - Update via Steam
  • Payday: The Heist - Update via Steam
  • Renegade Ops - Update via Steam
  • Rock of Ages - Update via Steam
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution - Update via Steam
  • Strategic Command WWII Global Conflict - 1.07 Patch
  • Team Fortress 2 / Counter-Strike: Source / Day of Defeat: Source / HL2 Deathmatch - Update via Steam
  • Terraria - Update via Steam
  • Trine 2 - Update via Steam


  • 3DMark 11 1.03

    15 December 2011


    Futuremark has released a 1.03 Patch for the 3DMark 11 benchmark. The patch updates the bullet physics library and SystemInfo component, adds a manual GPU selection option, and the Pro Edition now requires online key verification.



    Game Patches

    15 December 2011


  • Anno 2070 - Update via Steam
  • Arcadia - Update via Steam
  • Bastion - Update via Steam
  • Gary Grigsby's War in the East - 1.05.45 Patch
  • The Haunted: Hells Reach - Update via Steam
  • Trine 2 - Update via Steam


  • Microsoft Security Updates

    14 December 2011


    Microsoft has released its monthly set of Windows security updates which you can get through Windows Update.



    AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview

    14 December 2011


    AMD has released the Catalyst 12.1 Preview graphics driver for Windows 7, Vista and XP. This driver provides support for HD3D in conjunction with CrossFireX, adds a new Stereo 3D mode, has Catalyst Control Center enhancements including the introduction of Application Profiles, and contains performance improvements and bug fixes.



    AMD Catalyst 11.12

    14 December 2011


    AMD has released the official Catalyst 11.12 graphics driver for the HD 2000 series and above. The changes in this WHQL certified driver include official support for OpenGL 4.2, Eyefinity and AMD Vision Engine Control Center enhancements, as well as a range of bug fixes.



    Chrome 16.0.912.63

    14 December 2011


    Google has released Version 16.0.912.63 of the Chrome browser. This version contains improvements to Sync, as well as the ability to create multiple profiles, along with security and bug fixes.



    Game Patches

    14 December 2011


  • Borderlands - Update via Steam
  • Supreme Ruler Cold War - Update via Steam


  • iTunes 10.5.2

    13 December 2011


    Apple has released a new Version 10.5.2 of the iTunes software. This update has several improvements for iTunes Match and fixes an audio distortion bug.



    Java Runtime Environment 7.02

    13 December 2011


    Oracle has released an Update 2 to the Java Runtime Environment 7.



    Game Patches

    13 December 2011


  • Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge - 4.2.248 Patch
  • Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris - 1.04i Patch
  • Distant Worlds: Legends - 1.7.0.6 Patch
  • Saints Row The Third - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Trine 2 - Update via Steam


  • Game Patches

    11 December 2011


  • Xotic - Update via Steam


  • Winamp 5.623

    11 December 2011


    The free Winamp media player has been updated to Version 5.623. This version updates an encoder and has a range of bug fixes.



    Silverlight 5.0

    10 December 2011


    Microsoft has released an update to the Silverlight multimedia plugin, bringing it up to Version 5.0.



    Game Patches

    10 December 2011


  • Eve Online - 323364 Patch
  • Men of War: Assault Squad - Update via Steam
  • Nuclear Dawn - Update via Steam
  • Payday: The Heist - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Trine 2 - Update via Steam


  • Game Patches

    9 December 2011


  • America's Army 3 - Update via Steam
  • Red Orchestra 2 - Update via Steam
  • Serious Sam 3 - Update via Steam


  • Game Patches

    8 December 2011


  • Batman: Arkham City - Update via Steam
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Update via Steam
  • Killing Floor - Update via Steam
  • Panzer Corps - 1.05 Patch
  • Rise of Immortals - Update via Steam
  • Steam Client - Update via Steam
  • War Inc. Battlezone - Update via Steam


  • Foxit Reader 5.1.3

    8 December 2011


    The free Foxit PDF Reader has been updated to Version 5.1.3.1201. This update contains several bug fixes.



    Skyrim Tweak Guide

    7 December 2011


    My Skyrim Tweak Guide has finally been officially released at GeForce.com. It provides all the setting descriptions, performance charts and key advanced tweaks in one location. There's also a new feature in the form of interactive and animated screenshot comparisons to better highlight image quality differences.


    Update: It appears the site is still glitching for some people. I have informed Nvidia about this as it is outside my direct control. Please be patient and it should hopefully be fixed shortly. I have made it clear to Nvidia that I will not be doing any further guides until the delays and site issues are addressed.


    Update 2: The issues should now be resolved and the guide is accessible to everyone.



    Game Patches

    7 December 2011


  • Battlefield 3 - Patch 3
  • Renegade Ops - Update via Steam
  • War Inc. Battlezone - Update via Steam


  • Autoruns 11.2

    6 December 2011


    Microsoft has released Autoruns 11.2, updating this free startup software identification utility. This version fixes a jump-to-folder bug.



    Process Explorer 15.1

    6 December 2011


    Microsoft has released Version 15.1 of the free Process Explorer utility, which is a more detailed version of Task Manager. This version adds support for Windows 8, and adds more details including GPU memory counters.



    Opera 11.60

    6 December 2011


    The Opera browser has been updated to Version 11.60. This version contains new features including a redesigned Opera Mail interface, star menu, enhanced support for HTML5 and CSS, along with bug fixes, security and stability enhancements.



    Game Patches

    6 December 2011


  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam


  • Game Patches

    3 December 2011


  • Real Warfare 2: Northern Crusades - Update via Steam
  • Stronghold 3 - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Team Fortress 2 - Update via Steam


  • Site Update

    2 December 2011


    I want to apologize for the delays in releasing the Skyrim Tweak Guide. I'm very disappointed that things have turned out this way, but at the moment it is beyond my control. The guide should hopefully be out shortly. For those of you having problems with Skyrim right now and expecting some sort of fix to be in the guide, please remember that many issues can only be fixed via patches.


    Update: On a positive note, the delay has allowed me to add a couple more tweaks to the guide and refine it a bit more, so it hasn't been all bad.


    Update 2: Some people are able to intermittently access the guide right now, however it has not been officially released yet by Nvidia. Once the guide is truly live I will announce it here.



    AMD Catalyst 11.11c

    2 December 2011


    AMD has released a Catalyst 11.11c Performance Driver for Windows 7, Vista and XP. This driver provides proper CrossfireX scaling for Skyrim on the HD 5000 series, as well as the changes introduced in Catalyst 11.11a and 11.11b.



    Game Patches

    2 December 2011


  • Assassin's Creed Revelations - 1.01 Patch
  • Dungeon Defenders - Update via Steam
  • Garry's Mod - Update via Steam
  • Serious Sam 3 - Update via Steam
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter - Update via Steam
  • Team Fortress 2 - Update via Steam
  • Terraria - Update via Steam


  • Game Patches

    1 December 2011


  • Iron Grip: Marauders - Update via Steam
  • FIFA Manager 12 - Patch 2
  • Magicka - Update via Steam
  • Team Fortress 2 / Day of Defeat: Source / HL2 Deathmatch - Update via Steam
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Update via Steam
  • Total War: Shogun 2 - Update via Steam
  • World of Warcraft - 4.3.0 Patch


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