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Studio Behind 'Little Big Planet' Confirms Next Title Coming To PlayStation VR ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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.
Portables (Games)

Nintendo's New System Likely a Console/Portable Hybrid ( 77

An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled) that Nintendo has begun issuing software development kits for its new console, codenamed NX. The company hasn't provided any details publicly about how the console will work, but people who have gotten access to the SDK say it will likely include both a console and some kind of portable/mobile hardware. The intent is to be able to take some aspects of gaming with you when you leave the living room. Nintendo is also looking to step up its hardware efforts in response to criticism that the Wii U's capabilities were notably lower than those of the PS4 and Xbox One. In what ways do you think a console should be partially portable?

Valve's "Room Scale VR Survey" Finds a Lot of People Play In Their Bedrooms ( 137

itwbennett writes: Earlier this week Valve published the results of a "Room Scale VR Survey" completed by 2008 members of its VR Community. The findings: 860 (~43%) of respondents said their gaming PC was in their bedroom and 1,393 (~69%) said they were not willing to move their PC to accommodate a VR experience. The average space respondents feel they can devote to VR is about 8.5'x 9'. Why does this matter? Well, last March, Valve and HTC debuted the HTV Vive virtual reality system consisting of a VR visor, a couple of custom controllers and a tracking system the allows the user to wander around a 15'x15' area. 'While the Vive system certainly sounds impressive I've had questions about how practical it'll be,' writes Peter Smith. 'How many people have a 15'x15' clear area in front of their PC? Turns out, not many.' 'According to this survey at least, using all of the 15'x15' space the system can track is going to leave most users frustrated,' adds Smith.

"Are Games Art?" and the Intellectual Value of Design ( 153

itwbennett writes: Tim Conkling is an independent game developer whose current project, Antihero, is a strategy game about running a thieves' guild in a Dickens-inspired Victorian city. Recently he had the opportunity to talk to (i.e., was held captive by) an elderly and 'accomplished playwright, set designer, and painter' who quickly dismissed game design as 'not art.' The question of games being art or not isn't a new one. Roger Ebert was on the 'games are not art' bandwagon in 2010. More important to Conkling, who wrote about this interaction in a recent blog post, is the notion that any 'intentionally designed' piece is worthy of intellectual respect. "Nobody would ever seriously write off, for example, an Eames chair or a Gehry building; whether these objects fit some random definition of 'art' is inconsequential to their perceived cultural value." writes Conkling.

Video Game Music Is Saving the Symphony Orchestra ( 111

An anonymous reader writes: As music distribution has flourished, the popularity of live performances in certain genres has begun to wane. Symphony orchestra attendance has been dropping for years. A new report says ticket sales have dropped by 2.8% annually for the past decade. The downward trend has caused many performing groups to experiment with ways to appeal more to modern audiences. One way they're finding success is by including music from video games. "Orchestral videogame concerts first gained a following in Japan in the mid-1980s and spread to parts of Europe in the early 2000s. They began appearing regularly in pops repertoires in the U.S. about a decade ago as orchestras sought younger, more diverse audiences. Unlike classical-music performances, videogame shows feature arrangements that blend looping tracks of music designed to match various moments in a game, such as a slow, eerie medley of piano, percussion and string as the videogame character navigates a castle dungeon. ... The story of The Legend of Zelda isn't a far cry from such classics as Mozart's The Magic Flute. Both tales involve a brave fellow in a quest to rescue a damsel from a villain's clutches