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PC Games (Games)

SimCity's Empire Has Fallen and Skylines Is Picking Up the Pieces 256

Posted by Soulskill
from the enough-missteps-eventually-lead-to-a-fall dept.
sarahnaomi writes: Colossal Order's SimCity-like game, Cities: Skylines, sold more than half a million copies in its first week. The first 250,000 of those were sold in the first 24 hours, making it the fastest-selling game its publisher, Paradox Interactive, has ever released. Only a week before Skylines was released, game publisher Electronic Arts announced that it was shutting down SimCity developer Maxis' studio in Emeryville, which it acquired in 1997.

"I feel so bad about Maxis closing down," Colossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikainen said. "The older SimCitys were really the inspiration for us to even consider making a city builder." At the same time, Hallikainen admits SimCity's mistakes were Colossal Order's opportunity. "If SimCity was a huge success, which is what we expected, I don't know if Skylines would have ever happened," she said, explaining that it would have been a harder pitch to sell to Paradox if the new SimCity dominated the market.
Displays

Valve's SteamVR: Solves Big Problems, Raises Bigger Questions 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-why-do-i-need-three-dimensions-of-candy-crush dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Valve debuted its SteamVR headset recently, it came as somewhat of a surprise — it certainly hasn't gotten the same level of hype as the Oculus Rift. But people who got to try out the new headset almost universally impressed with the quality of the hardware and software. Eurogamer has an article about the device expressing both astonishment at how far the technology has come in three short years, as well as skepticism that we'll find anything revolutionary to do with it. Quoting: "R demands a paradigm shift in the thinking of game designers and artists about how they build virtual space and how players should interact with it. We're only at the very beginning of this journey now. ... but this process will likely take years, and at the end of it the games won't resemble those we're currently used to. In short, they won't be Half-Life 3."

The author thinks simulation games — driving, piloting, and space combat — will be the core of the first wave, and other genres will probably have to wait for the lessons learned making sims good. He adds, "...the practical challenges are great, too — not least in persuading players to clear enough space in their homes to use this device properly, and the potential for social stigma to attach to the goofy-looking headsets and the players' withdrawal into entirely private experiences. I still think that these present major obstacles to the widespread adoption of VR, which even more practical and commercially realistic offerings like Morpheus will struggle against."
Programming

Rendering a Frame of Deus Ex: Human Revolution 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the break-it-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Video games are among the most computationally intensive applications. The amount of calculation achieved in a few milliseconds can sometimes be mind-blowing. This post about the breakdown of a frame rendering in Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes us through the different steps of the process. It explains in detail the rendering passes involved, the techniques as well as the algorithms processed by a computer — 60 times per second."
Security

New Crypto-Ransomware Encrypts Video Game Files 73

Posted by timothy
from the first-world-problems dept.
An anonymous reader writes A new piece of ransomware that (mis)uses the Cryptolocker "brand" has been analyzed by Bromium researchers, and they discovered that aside from the usual assortment of file types that ransomware usually targets, this variant also encrypts file types associated with video games and game related software. It targets files associated with single-user games Call of Duty, Star Craft 2, Diablo, Fallout 3, Minecraft, Half-Life 2, Dragon Age: Origins, The Elder Scrolls and specifically Skyrim-related files, Star Wars: The Knights Of The Old Republic, WarCraft 3, F.E.A.R, Saint Rows 2, Metro 2033, Assassin's Creed, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Resident Evil 4, Bioshock 2; and online games World of Warcraft, Day Z, League of Legends, World of Tanks, and Metin2. Here's the Bromium Labs report.
Hardware Hacking

Watch an Original NES Run Netflix 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-and-play dept.
sarahnaomi writes with this story about a NES running Netflix. I don't know how you get Netflix to play on an original Nintendo, but it's been blowing my mind for the last 18 hours or so. Netflix posted the video with painfully little explanation. I have tried in many ways to get in touch with the Netflix developers who did what you see above, but no one is getting back to me, so here are some wild speculations."
PC Games (Games)

Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-console dept.
An anonymous reader writes: This week the Steam Linux client has crossed the threshold of having more than 1,000 native Linux games available while Steam in total has just under 5,000 games. This news comes while the reported Steam Linux market-share is just about 1.0%, but Valve continues brewing big plans for Linux gaming. Is 2015 the year of the Linux gaming system?
Censorship

Turkish Ministry Recommends Banning Minecraft -- Over Violence 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the weapons-of-mass-construction dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Minecraft is known for a lot of things. It's a fantastic creative outlet and the digital sandbox of youngsters' dreams, for instance. The game has also been known to raise the ire of unrelated companies who somehow think all that creativity by gamers is something that can be sued over. It's known for amazing user-generated content, including games within games and replicas of entire cities. The nation of Turkey is known for very different things. It's a country that absolutely loves to censor stuff, for instance. And, thanks to recent developments, Turkey is also known as a great place to get a front-row look at the incredible violence done by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. But the Turkish government has a plan to keep its youngsters from witnessing too much violence: it is calling to ban Minecraft.
Graphics

Another Upscaled Console Game: Battlefield Hardline 225

Posted by timothy
from the just-extrapolate dept.
jones_supa writes Video game developer Visceral Games has confirmed the actual resolution that the coming Battlefield Hardline will run on when it is launched on the Xbox One and on the PlayStation 4. An official message from the Twitter account of the studio explains that gamers will get a 720p resolution on the Microsoft console and Sony platform gamers will get the game running in 900p. 60 frames per second is promised for both consoles, but many fans are still expressing their disappointment that neither of the two versions will be able to properly deliver the native 1080p resolution of the consoles. When development started, Visceral Games and publisher Electronic Arts said they were aiming to use the power of the modern consoles to push the game engine as far as it would go, but they clearly couldn't fit that target without cutting corners. This is similar to what happened with Titanfall, which renders into an 1408x792 framebuffer on Xbox One.
Math

Number of Legal 18x18 Go Positions Computed; 19x19 On the Horizon 186

Posted by timothy
from the now-we'll-call-it-gone dept.
johntromp writes It took about 50,000 CPU hours and 4PB of disk IO, but now we know the exact number of legal 18x18 Go positions. Seeking computing power for the ultimate 19x19 count. And it's not a heat-death-of-the-universe kind of question, either, they say: "Thanks to the Chinese Remainder Theorem, the work of computing L(19,19) can be split up into 9 jobs that each compute 64 bits of the 566-bit result. Allowing for some redundancy, we need from 10 to 13 servers, each with at least 8 cores, 512GB RAM, and ample disk space (10-15TB), running for about 5-9 months."
Graphics

In the Age of Free AAA Game Engines, Where Does Our Open Source Engine Stand? 184

Posted by timothy
from the loyal-opposition dept.
New submitter erlend_sh writes The game development industry just got hit by a tidalwave of free: Unity 5, Unreal Engine 4 and Source 2 all give away their flagship product for free now. They're all different brands of 'free,' but who cares? The average game developer certainly won't. Which left us wondering: Are hobbyist-run open source game engines like jMonkeyEngine still relevant? From the linked article: This just in: Physically Based Rendering isn’t dark magic, cross platform publishing is not the thing of fairy tales, and a solid asset pipeline is not exclusive to a million dollar budget. They’re not easy; faaar from it. But as long as we can show that these things can be accomplished by a part-time hobbyist just for the heck of it, the end user gets a fair price (i.e. free!), and our fellow hardcore misfits will continue trying to solve the most difficult problems the industry has to offer. ... If this exciting new thing called “free” keeps going in the right direction, everyone still in the race gets a leg up.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Closes Gap Between Windows 10 and Xbox One With "Crossplay" Plans 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-in-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes In its attempt to make console gaming more accessible, Microsoft has announced that it will be developing universal apps which can run across Xbox One and Windows 10, as well as smartphones and other mobile devices using the upcoming OS. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's video games branch, said that the end-goal was to allow people to play games wherever they are over whichever platform they wish to use. Microsoft also announced that an adapter was currently being developed to hook up wireless Xbox One controllers to PCs. This latest move from the tech giant shows its push to grapple back its position in the mobile computing revolution, as the booming smartphone and tablet market shadows its longstanding desktop and laptop business.
Graphics

Source 2 Will Also Be Free 74

Posted by timothy
from the second-one's-free dept.
jones_supa writes Valve is officially debuting its Source 2 engine at GDC this week alongside a host of other new technologies, and it's expected to launch at a competitive price: free. The news of its release coincides with Epic making Unreal Engine 4 free-to-download and Unity announcing a full-featured free version of Unity 5. Valve is making a show of marketing Source 2 not just to developers, but game creators of all stripes — including Steam Workshop creators. "With Source 2, our focus is on increasing creator productivity," stated Valve engineer Jay Stelly in a press release confirming the launch. "Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games." It's worth noting that Valve also plans to release a version of Source 2 that's compatible with Vulkan, the open-standard graphics API that's considered heir apparent to OpenGL.
Medicine

Ubisoft Has New Video Game Designed To Treat Lazy Eye 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the setting-things-straight dept.
wired_parrot writes Ubisoft, in partnership with McGill university, has developed a game designed to treat lazy eye. The game works as a treatment by training both eyes using different levels of contrast of red and blue that the patient sees through stereoscopic glasses. It is hopeful that the new treatment will bring a more effective way of addressing a condition that affects 1-5% of the population.
Games

New Wolfenstein Game Announced: The Old Blood 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the mein-leben dept.
jones_supa writes Last year, Wolfenstein: The New Order was well received, and showed that old school shooters still can do extremely well in the current market and actually be a lot of fun. Now, Bethesda Softworks is already announcing a standalone prequel to The New Order, called Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. It's back to the roots for B.J. Blazkowicz, and you embark on a perilous journey "deep within Bavaria", with the goal of infiltrating the Castle Wolfenstein. Just like last years' game, The Old Blood has been developed by Swedish company MachineGames on the same platform including id Tech 5 engine. The release date is May 5th and the game will be available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Android

NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-challenger-appears dept.
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA held an event in San Francisco last night at GDC, where the company unveiled a new Android TV streamer, game console, and supercomputer, as NVIDIA's Jen Hsun Huang calls it, all wrapped up in a single, ultra-slim device called NVIDIA SHIELD. The SHIELD console is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Gig-E and 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO WiFi. It's also 4K Ultra-HD Ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264) with encode/decode with full hardware processing. The company claims the console provides twice the performance of an Xbox 360. NVIDIA demo'ed the device with Android TV, streaming music and HD movies and browsing social media. The device can stream games from a GeForce powered PC to your television or from NVIDIA's GRID cloud gaming service, just like previous NVIDIA SHIELD devices. Native Android games will also run on the SHIELD console. NVIDIA's plan is to offer a wide array of native Android titles in the SHIELD store, as well as leverage the company's relationships with game developers to bring top titles to GRID. The device was shown playing Gearbox's Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, Doom 3 BFG Edition, Metal Gear Solid V, the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demo and yes, even Crysis 3.