Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Steam Has Brought 1,600 Games To Linux In the Past Three Years (phoronix.com) 110

An anonymous reader writes: Today marks three years since Valve's Steam client went into beta on Linux. In that time over 1,600 games have become natively available for Linux. Going beyond having many new Linux games, Phoronix recaps, "we've seen Valve make significant investments into the open-source graphics stack and other areas of Linux (in part through their sponsorship of Collabora and LunarG). Valve developers are significantly pushing SDL2. We've seen more mainstream interest in Linux gaming, and Valve has been heavily involved in the creation of the Vulkan graphics API. They have given away their entire game collection to the Mesa/Ubuntu/Debian upstream developers, and much more." The three-year anniversary is coincidentally just days before the release of Steam Machines.

Jack McCauley's Next Challenge: the Perfect Head-Tracker For VR (ieee.org) 25

Tekla Perry writes: He used a webcam and LEDs to do position tracking for the Oculus DK2, but Jack McCauley, co-founder of Oculus and now working independently, says that's the wrong approach. He likes the laser scanning system of the HTC Vive better, but says it's just not fast enough. McCauley thinks he can do better, using a design approach borrowed from picoprojectors. Speaking at this week's MEMS Executive Congress, he said better tracking of head position will solve the problem of VR sickness, not more expensive screen technologies.

Sony PlayStation 4 Hits 500 Games Milestone (finder.com) 86

SlappingOysters writes: Finder is reporting that the catalogue of Sony PlayStation 4 games has just passed the 500 mark. The website has been tracking the install sizes of every PS4 game and in doing that, has been able to confirm that the mark had been reached. It's a significant catalogue advantage for the console, with the Xbox One currently offering 349 games, although the arrival of backwards compatibility on November 12 will change that dramatically. The site has also shown that the rate of releases is increasing over time.
Role Playing (Games)

Dungeons & Dragons and the Ethics of Imaginary Violence (hopesandfears.com) 321

An anonymous reader writes: Are people just naturally inclined to be destructive when there aren't any real consequences? Should we be worried about people who imagine such violence? Writer Clem Bastow spoke to D&D experts, psychologists and others to answer these questions. It turns out that playing out violent fantasies in D&D is not only healthy, but could even teach players how to be a better person. “Rather than playing an extension of who you or I are within the game, I see it more as playing a fantasy character who can do whatever they want, and who doesn’t feel inhibited by social anxiety or fear of punishment or rejection. It’s an exaggerated version of how [the player] would like to be, but can’t. The game is a safe way to be this other person,” says Clinical psychologist and games designer Dr. Owen Spear.

Reverse-Engineering GTA V (adriancourreges.com) 37

An anonymous reader writes: Software engineer Adrian Courrèges posted on his blog a breakdown of the rendering of a frame in Grand Theft Auto: V. Each rendering pass is explained in detail, with all the techniques and the tricks Rockstar used to make the game run on 8-year-old consoles. It's a fascinating trip through the making of a frame and reminds us of how far GPU computing power has come. Here's a brief snippet from the beginning: "As a first step, the game renders a cubemap of the environment. This cubemap is generated in realtime at each frame, its purpose is to help render realistic reflections later. This part is forward-rendered. How is such cubemap rendered? For those not familiar with the technique, this is just like you would do in the real world when taking a panoramic picture: put the camera on a tripod, imagine you’re standing right in the middle of a big cube and shoot at the 6 faces of the cube, one by one, rotating by 90 degrees each time. This is exactly how the game does: each face is rendered into a 128x128 HDR texture."

How Apple Is Preventing the Apple TV From Becoming a Console Rival (redbull.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's new set top box is on sale now, and has launched with several high profile games in the new tvOS App Store, including Guitar Hero Live and PS4 hit Transistor. However, as one writer points out, the Apple TV is still not an adequate console replacement, and it's not because of the graphics. Instead, several software issues and restrictions issued by Apple itself prevent developers from creating blockbuster exclusives for the platform, including the requirement that all games be playable using the bundled remote, lack of support for four players, and the 200MB initial app download limit. If these remain in place, can the Apple TV become a viable games platform, where the Ouya and PlayStation TV have failed before?

Activision Buys Candy Crush Developer For $5.9B (inquisitr.com) 132

ForgedArtificer writes: Activision Blizzard purchased Candy Crush Saga developer King Interactive Entertainment last night for a cool $5.9 billion USD; about 20% above market value. The move likely leaves them owning five of the top grossing franchises in the industry. "Candy Crush is one of the most lucrative games in the world, earning some $1.33 billion in revenue in 2014 alone according to a King financial statement. The studio, which operates Candy Crush and a number of similar games including Bubble Witch and Farm Heroes, grossed $529 million in the second quarter of 2015."

AMD To Retire Catalyst Control Center Drivers, Rolling Out New Crimson Platform (hothardware.com) 113

MojoKid writes: AMD has gone through significant changes as a company over the last few months. Recently, we've seen them enter into a joint venture with Nantong Fujitsu for final assembly and test operations. They've also formed the new Radeon Technologies Group, led by longtime graphics guru Raja Koduri. Today, AMD is announcing another big change, and this one affects a piece of software that you may have running on your systems right now, if there's a Radeon graphics card on board. AMD is ditching Catalyst Control Center in favor of software dubbed Radeon Settings, which is a critical part of what AMD is calling the Radeon Software Crimson Edition. Radeon Software Crimson Edition is completely re-architected and is claimed to offer new features, improvements to stability and responsiveness, and performance improvements as well. The update will include a new Game Manager, video quality presets, social media integration, simplified EF setup, a system notifications tab, and more. It looks as though the first version of the software will be out this month.
Emulation (Games)

Hacking Jules Coaxes Android Wear To Run Nintendo 64 and PSP Emulators (androidpolice.com) 37

Espectr0 writes: YouTube user Hacking Jules would like you to see his collection of game emulators running on Android Wear. He manages to play classic 3D Mario and Zelda games running in a Nintendo 64 emulator on the original LG G-Watch, while also running Monster Hunter on the PPSSPP emulator.As the linked article admits, this is a work of passion rather than practicality -- if you actually want to play those games enjoyably, don't trade your console or conventional emulator for a smart watch.

Studio Behind 'Little Big Planet' Confirms Next Title Coming To PlayStation VR (roadtovr.com) 12

An anonymous reader writes: As the company's first title, Little Big Planet was a breakout hit for the studio Media Molecule. The franchise saw three major games across the PS3 and PS4, two mobile versions (for PSP and PS Vita), and a number of spinoffs. But now Media Molecule hopes to make lightning strike twice with the forthcoming genre-eluding title, Dreams, which enables players to create and animate inside of the game world using the PlayStation Move. After several months of question dodging following the game's initial announcement, the studio has finally confirmed at Paris Games Week that Dreams will support PlayStation VR.

Harnessing EVE Online For Science (mmorpg.com) 49

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists and the developers of space MMORPG EVE Online are working on a project to harness the power of the game's huge playerbase to do useful scientific work. The Human Protein Atlas has 13 million images to map, and there's no way a small team of scientists can manage that task alone. CCP Games, the makers of EVE, will try to encourage contribution by creating a mini-game within EVE to train players and get them to do some cataloging. To start, "Project Discovery will feed about a 250,000 images of microscopic cells and tissue that players will then study to identify basic shapes and structures, categorizing the images in a way that will help scientists deduce a given protein's purpose." The developers are confident that the EVE community, which has already come together to support various charity endeavors, will rally behind this noble cause as well. To get players to participate, the devs reward players with loyalty points that have some sort of positive effect within EVE.

Batman Demands 12GB RAM For Windows 10 (steamcommunity.com) 309

An anonymous reader writes: Back in June, Warner Brothers removed Batman: Arkham Knight from sale after a lot of graphics and performance issues found on the PC version. Now, after spending five months trying to fix this mess, Rocksteady and Warner Bros re-released the game on Steam with some free Batman titles for those who acquired the launch edition. However, Warner Bros noted there are still a few caveats with Windows 10 users recommended to have 12GB of RAM to avoid paging issues: "For Windows 10 users, we've found that having at least 12GB of system RAM on a PC allows the game to operate without paging and provides a smoother gameplay experience." Some initial tests show no performance gains on the re-released version. Warner Bros claims that it's still working closely with its GPU partners in order to enable SLI/Crossfire for the game.

Open-Source GPU Drivers Show Less Than Ideal Experience For SteamOS/Linux Gaming (phoronix.com) 109

An anonymous reader writes: Phoronix's recent 22-Way SteamOS Graphics Card Comparison showed that NVIDIA wins across the board when it comes to closed-source OpenGL driver performance. However, when it comes to the open-source driver performance for Steam Linux gaming, no one is really the winner. A new article, "Are The Open-Source Graphics Drivers Good Enough For Steam Linux Gaming?" answers that question with "heck no" by its author. While AMD is generally regarded as having better open-source support, their newer graphics cards still can't run at their rated clock frequencies due to lack of power management support, the lack of enough OpenGL 4.x support means many AAA Linux games simply cannot run yet, not enough QA means regressions are common, and other issues were noted when it comes to testing a number of modern graphics cards on the open-source drivers.
Emulation (Games)

MAME Emulating a Sonic the Hedgehog Popcorn Machine (polygon.com) 33

New submitter AmericaCounterweight writes: Polygon is reporting that the MAME development team has unearthed and emulated one of the most obscure pieces of Sonic heritage: a popcorn machine. MAME developer David Haywood reports that contributors "purchased the PCB for another novelty Sonic item, this time a SegaSonic Popcorn Shop, a popcorn dispenser machine with a video display. It runs on the Sega C2 board (Genesis type hardware)." This follows news from earlier this year that the MAME team would be switching to a true Open Source license for the project and concentrating on more than just arcade games. MAME project coordinator Miodrag Milanovic also recently appeared at the BalCCon2k15 event to speak about MAME, the current direction of the project, and software preservation.
The Internet

SXSW Cancels Panels On Harassment Due To Harassment (sxsw.com) 618

New submitter rMortyH writes: Two panels on online harassment in gaming scheduled for the upcoming South by Southwest festival have been cancelled due to online harassment and threats. According to a statement from SXSW Director Hugh Forrest, "... in the seven days since announcing these two sessions, SXSW has received numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming. ... If people can not agree, disagree and embrace new ways of thinking in a safe and secure place that is free of online and offline harassment, then this marketplace of ideas is inevitably compromised."
PC Games (Games)

eSports and Livestreaming Buoy PC Gaming (hopesandfears.com) 74

An anonymous reader writes: PC gaming seems to have fended off the threat from consoles, and it's due in no small part to livestreaming services and eSports. The PC gaming hardware industry is undergoing a resurgence, contrary to the predictions of even five years ago. The community that has sprung up around livestreaming self-promotes far better than any individual gaming company could hope. It's gotten to the point where developers are starting to think about the "streamability" of their game as they're building it. "There are plenty of things to avoid when building a game for livestreaming as well—specifically, anything that slows down the action. ... A good streaming game can't waste too much time in confusing menus or with difficult setup, either." One of the big questions now is whether VR technology will fit into this growing niche. A spectator mode that uses VR could be as much of a killer app as a great VR game.

22-Way SteamOS Graphics Card Comparison: NVIDIA Wins Across the Board (phoronix.com) 98

An anonymous reader writes: A 22-way AMD Radeon vs. NVIDIA GeForce graphics card comparison on SteamOS 2.0 "Brewmaster" was carried out with one month to go until Steam Machines begin to ship. The article looks at the OpenGL performance of this Debian-based Linux distribution as well as the power/performance efficiency, thermal efficiency, and value of the entire line-up. The results make it pretty clear why the current range of Steam Machines with SteamOS all ship with NVIDIA graphics.

Square Enix To Concentrate On Remaking Their Back Catalog 171

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember that at E3, the major announcement from Square Enix and Sony wasn't a new game, but rather that Square Enix would be remaking Final Fantasy VII in HD and releasing it for PS4 first. Square Enix's recent annual report indicates that they intend to make more HD remakes of old titles. Like many Japanese developers, they indicate in the report that they also intend to focus more on mobile platforms, including porting more of their back catalog to mobile devices. With the impending release of Final Fantasy XV, Square Enix knows a thing or two about rehashing old content, but Square Enix also owns the Dragon Quest, Deus Ex, and Tomb Raider series, giving them a fairly large library to give the HD treatment to.

PSP Oculus Rift Emulator Puts Players Inside of Virtual Reality PSP Games (roadtovr.com) 18

An anonymous reader writes: PPSSPP VR is an emulator that specifically adapts PSP games for use in the Oculus Rift VR headset. Going beyond merely showing a large screen view of the game in a virtual environment, PPSSPP actually puts you inside of the game with a full field of view, just like made-for-VR titles, including headtracking and true stereoscopic 3D. The emulator comes from the same author as Dolphin VR, the Wii & Gamecube emulator with VR support.

Another 'StarCraft' Cheating Scandal Rocks Korea (playerattack.com) 95

dotarray writes: "Five years ago, the professional StarCraft community was rocked by a massive cheating scandal – now it looks like history is repeating, as twelve StarCraft II gamers have been arrested in South Korea over charges of match-fixing and illegal betting." From the article: Those arrested include Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik), head coach of pro gaming team PRIME, and one of his team members, YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon). ... The games in question, according to the prosecutor's investigation, include five professional-level StarCraft II matches, which were played between January and June 2015 including as part of the GSL Season 1 and SKT Proleague Season 1. Pro-gamer YoDa has been accused of receiving money to deliberately lose matches, while Gerrard stands charged with receiving money from brokers, connecting players to brokers, and suggesting to players that they might like to lose a game or two and get paid.