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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

The History of City-Building Games ( 67

An anonymous reader writes: If you ask most gamers, the first city-building game they played was SimCity, or some sequel thereof. Though SimCity ended up defining the genre for years, it was far from the first. This article goes through the history of city-building games. It began before man first landed on the moon: "While extremely limited in its simulation, Doug Dyment's The Sumer Game was the first computer game to concern itself with matters of city building and management. He coded The Sumer Game in 1968 on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 minicomputer, using the FOCAL programming language. David H. Ahl ported it to BASIC a few years later retitled as Hamurabi (with the second 'm' dropped in order to fit an eight-character naming limit). The Sumer Game, or Hamurabi, put you in charge of the ancient city-state of Sumer. You couldn't build anything, but you could buy and sell land, plant seeds, and feed (or starve) your people. The goal was to grow your economy so that your city could expand and support a larger population, but rats and the plague stood in your way. And if you were truly a terrible leader your people would rebel, casting you off from the throne."

How To Enable Cortana On the Xbox One Experience Preview ( 81

MojoKid writes: Part of Microsoft's strategy to unite different devices to a single ecosystem means offering the same services and features across the board. One of those features is Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, which is available on Windows 10. It will also be available for the Xbox One, though not until sometime next year, at least officially. Don't feel like waiting? You might not have to. Here's a quick and dirty guide on how to unlock Cortana on the Xbox One, provided you're running the latest Xbox One Experience Preview.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Open-Source Doom 3 Advances With EAX Audio, 64-bit ARM/x86 Support ( 37

An anonymous reader writes: Dhewm3, one of the leading implementations of the Doom 3 engine built off the open-source id Tech 4 engine, has released a new version of the GPL-licensed engine that takes Doom 3 far beyond where it was left off by id Software. The newest code has full SDL support, OpenAL + OpenAL EFX for audio, 64-bit x86/ARM support, better support for widescreen resolutions, and CMake build system support on Linux/Windows/OSX/FreeBSD. This new open-source code can be downloaded from Dhewm3 on GitHub but continues to depend upon the retail Doom 3 game assets.

eSports Now a Part of College Athletics 110

jyosim writes: The University of Cincinnati hosted what was possibly the largest-ever collegiate video-game tournament last weekend. At the university, the League of Legends club has become an official club sport, just like rugby or rowing. "What's happening with college e-sports right now is that we're seeing a formalization and institutionalization of what's always been present," said T.L. Taylor, a professor of comparative media studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Courts

A Broke Fan Owes $5,400 For Pokemon-Themed Party Posters 212

Jason Koebler writes: A fan has been ordered by a Washington judge to pay the Pokémon Company International $5,400 for copyright infringement after attempting to throw a Pokemon-themed party earlier this summer. Even though he canceled the free event, the Pokemon Company successfully sued Ramar Larkin Jones, for using an image of Pikachu to promote the Unofficial PAX Pokemon Kickoff Party.

UK Gamers Can Now Get Their Money Back For Publishers' Broken Promises 74

An anonymous reader writes: An amendment to the UK Consumer Rights Act regarding digital-only purchases seems to give British videogamers redress towards publishing houses which deliver buggy code or inveigle consumers to pre-order games based on trailers or betas that demonstrate features, characters or quality not delivered in the RTM release. But the legislation is so loosely worded as to be an invitation to litigation and interpretation, and does not address mis-delivery issues for consumer models such as cloud subscriptions.
The Internet

NVIDIA Launches GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service 55

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA has championed game streaming for a number of years now, whether it's from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC to one of its SHIELD devices or from its cloud-based GRID gaming beta service to a SHIELD. Today though, NVIDIA is kicking its game streaming business up a notch by launching a new service dubbed GeForce NOW. The service streams PC games from the cloud to SHIELD devices at up to full HD 1080p resolutions at 60 fps. It may be tempting to call GeForce NOW an official re-branding of its GRID game streaming beta but that is reportedly not the case. The GRID beta is going away with the launch of GeForce NOW (an update will replace the GRID app with GeForce NOW), but according to NVIDIA, GeForce NOW was re-architected from the ground up to provide a better overall experience. NVIDIA sees GeForce NOW as sort of a "Netflix for games." There is a monthly fee of $7.99 for a subscription, which gives customers access to a slew of games. There are too many to list but top notch titles like Batman: Arkham City, Ultra Street Fighter IV, GRID 2 and many others are included. In addition to the games included in the subscriptions price, NVIDIA will also be offering GeForce NOW users access to AAA-titles on the day of release, for a fee. The games will typically be sold at a regular retail prices but not only will users get to play those games via the GeForce NOW streaming service on SHIELD devices, they'll also receive a key for playing the game on a PC as well. To use GeForce NOW you'll need an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, SHIELD portable, or SHIELD tablet (with the latest software updates installed) and a SHIELD-approved 5GHz router. Your broadband connection must also offer download speeds of at least 12Mb/s. 20Mb/s is recommended for 720p / 60 FPS quality, and 50Mb/s is recommended for 1080p / 60 FPS.

Retro Roundup: Old Computers Emulated Right In Your Browser 78

An anonymous reader writes: If you ever wanted to program an Altair, an Apple I, or a COSMAC ELF you may think you either have to buy one (expensive now) or load and configure simulation software. However, there's a slew of browser-based emulators for everything from a PDP-11 to Windows 1.0 out there. Some use Java, but many use Javascript and many perform better on a modern PC then they did in their original. If you want to learn some history or just want to finally play with the computers you saw in the magazines 35 years ago, these are great fun and slightly addictive.

Kids Prefer To Play Games On Mobile Devices Over Consoles 250

New submitter chloealsop writes: The NPD Group has published a report showing that more kids age 2-17 are playing games on phones and tablets than on consoles in the U.S.. 45 percent of kids use a home PC for gaming, a drop of 22 points since 2013. "The largest and most surprising shift in the 2015 gaming ecosystem was kids' move away from the computer," NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said in a press release. "In the past, the computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed now that mobile has moved into that position. This may be related to a change in the behavior of parents that are likely utilizing mobile devices for tasks that were once reserved for computers."

Fable Legends DX12 Benchmark Stressing High End GPUs 51

Vigile writes: In preparation for the release of the free-to-play Fable Legends game on both Xbox One and PC this winter, Microsoft and Lionhead Studios released a benchmark today that allows users to test performance of their PC hardware configuration with a DirectX 12 based game engine that pushes the boundaries of render quality. Based on a modified UE4 engine, Fable Legends includes support for asynchronous compute shaders, manual resource barrier tracking and explicit memory management, all new to the DX12 API. Unlike the previous DX12 benchmark, Ashes of the Singularity, which focused mainly on high draw call counts and mass quantities of on-screen units, Fable Legends takes a more standard approach, attempting to improve image quality and shadow reproduction with the new API. PC Perspective has done some performance analysis with the new benchmark and a range of graphics cards, finding that while NVIDIA still holds the lead at the top spot (GTX 980 Ti vs Fury X), the AMD Radeon mid-range products offer better performance (and better value) than the comparable GeForce parts.

Google DeepMind's AI Beats Humans At Even More Computer Games 96

An anonymous reader writes: Google DeepMind's learning algorithm has trumped human performance in an even greater range of games from the Atari 2600. The system's performance in classic games for the 80's games console has improved steadily since it was revealed in April last year (video) and a paper released yesterday shows it besting people in 31 titles.

Nintendo Joins Khronos Group 46

jones_supa writes: Gamasutra reports that Nintendo has quietly joined Khronos Group, the consortium managing the OpenGL and Vulkan graphics APIs. The news was brought to Gamasutra's attention by a NeoGaf post, which notes that Nintendo's name was added to the list of Khronos Group contributing members earlier this month. As a Khronos Group contributor Nintendo has full voting rights and is empowered to participate in the group's API development, but it doesn't have a seat on the Khronos Group board and can't participate in the final ratification process of new API specifications.

Pokemon Go: What Nintendo Needs To Learn From Ingress 61

An anonymous reader writes: Pokemon Go marks Nintendo's biggest move into mobile yet: the augmented reality mobile game makes use of your location as well as your phone's camera to let you interact with pocket monsters in the real world. It's an audacious idea — with an accompanying trailer — but as one writer points out it will have to nail a lot of different systems to build up an active community in the same that developer Niantic has done for its previous game, Ingress. The author looks at Ingress to see where Nintendo and Niantic may draw inspiration, pointing out that the game's portal modding system could prove a great mechanism for allowing Pokemon evolutions. Expect plenty more Pokemon amiibo to interact with the upcoming wristband, too.

Nintendo Nixes YouTube Videos of Super Mario Speedruns 151

The Boston Globe reports (based on Kotaku's story earlier this month) that Nintendo is cracking down on YouTube videos which show speedruns of its games -- computer-guided play that skips completely human hands pressing buttons on a controller. Why? The article notes that these play-throughs "require the use of ROMs, digital backup files of the original game that can be freely passed from computer to computer, or downloaded from well-known websites. Therefore, Nintendo reasons — and YouTube is clearly sympathetic to this reasoning — there are copyright issues at play, since players aren’t using the (ancient) original game cartridges, or newer copies sold directly online by Nintendo." Legally justifiable or not, this seems unlikely to build goodwill with some of Nintendo's most nostalgic fans.
Linux Business

Thanks To Valve, More Than 1,500 Games Are Now On Linux 281

An anonymous reader writes: The Steam Store crossed the threshold this morning of having 1,500 games natively available for Linux. Timberman, a 0.99$ video game was the 1,500th title, but while there are a lot of indie games available for Linux, in the past three years have been a number of high profile AAA Linux games too. What games (old or new, free or paid) would you like to see available for Linux systems?

What's In Your Hand? This Malware Knows 68

An anonymous reader writes with the story that ESET researchers have uncovered spyware targeting online poker players, called Odlanor, which works by sending screenshots of a player's game (along with that player's in-game identity) to the attacker; the attacker can then search for the player with that ID, and enjoy an unfair advantage. (Also at The Inquirer.) From the ESET report: In newer versions of the malware, general-purpose data-stealing functionality was added by running a version of NirSoft WebBrowserPassView, embedded in the Oldanor trojan. This tool, detected by ESET as Win32/PSWTool.WebBrowserPassView.B, is a legitimate, albeit potentially unsafe application, capable of extracting passwords from various web browsers. ... The trojan communicates with its C&C, the address of which is hardcoded in the binary, via HTTP. Part of the exfiltrated information, such as the malware version and information identifying the computer, are sent in the URL parameters. The rest of the collected information, including an archive with any screenshots or stolen passwords, is sent in the POST request data.