Classic Games (Games)

The Rebirth of Arcade Racers -- On Kickstarter 79

An anonymous reader writes: While big budget racers like The Crew and Forza chase realism, in recent years we've also seen a return to the racers of old with checkpoints, a ticking countdown, little in the way of AI and banging chiptune soundtracks. As a new article points out though, they're not in the arcades any more though — they're on Kickstarter. The author tracks down the creators of three indie games that look to Daytona rather than Gran Turismo for inspiration, and find out why we're seeing a resurgence in power sliding.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Announces Customizable Xbox Elite Wireless Controller 99

MojoKid writes: Today, Microsoft announced that later this year, it will be releasing what could be the "ultimate" Xbox and Windows game controller. Called Xbox Elite Wireless, this gamepad has a dramatically overhauled D-pad and four paddles underneath. Other features that make this gamepad special: there are trigger locks, the ability to customize thumbstick sensitivity, along with the level of travel for the top triggers. In addition, it also sports swappable components, like the paddles, etc. Pricing has been announced at $149 and given just how advanced this gamepad is over the original, it's understandable but still pretty steep.
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Announces Xbox One Backward Compatibility 193

dotarray writes: Mike Ybarra is head of Platform Engineering at Xbox, and today he told the gaming world all about one of Microsoft's best-kept secrets — after more than a year of saying it couldn't be done, the Xbox One really is backwards compatible, so you can play all your Xbox 360 games on your next-gen console.
E3

Bethesda Unveils New Doom Game, Announces Dishonored 2 113

An anonymous reader writes: Bethesda kicked off this year's E3 expo by unveiling the new Doom game they've been working on and announcing a sequel to the popular fantasy action-adventure game Dishonored. They've posted a gory trailer (YouTube) for Doom, and shared several minutes of gameplay footage as well. The game is due out in Spring 2016 for Xbox One, PS4, and PCs, and it will include an editor that will let players make new maps and gameplay modes. Dishonored 2 has a trailer as well, though fewer details have been shared about the game. Bethesda also added details to their recent announcement of Fallout 4. It's been given a release date of November 10th (2015), and they did a live demo on stage at E3 (YouTube) with a bunch of game footage.
Microsoft

Sony and Microsoft's Failed Releases Since E3 2014 26

SlappingOysters writes: Ahead of E3 2015, which begins next week, Grab It has undertaken an analysis of the games announced at the big E3 press conferences for Sony and Microsoft last year, and reveals — amongst other data — that 60% of Microsoft's announced titles remain unreleased a year later, and 50% of Sony's announced titles remain unreleased. The article then debates whether this is good enough for both companies as they fight for market share.
Graphics

What Source 2 Means For Valve's ESports 46

An anonymous reader writes: Valve's new game engine is looming, and it doesn't just mean changes to the company's most popular games for all players, but also two of the most popular eSports in the world right now, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As a new article points out, Source 2's ability to process more on screen at once, even on feeble laptops with integrated graphics, could have a surprising benefit for top tier play and both games as a spectator sport. After all, if more players all over the developing world can access these games, we could see an uplift in the quality of play at the highest tournament level sometime down the line.
Input Devices

Logitech Introduces G29, G920 Racing Wheels For PS3, PS4, Xbox One and PC 67

MojoKid writes: If you're an ardent PC racing fiend, chances are that you either own or have heard of Logitech's G27. The G27 has been a popular gaming peripheral (it supports the PC, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3) that not only includes a steering wheel and three pedals (accelerator, brake, clutch), but also a six-speed "H" pattern gearbox. Today, Logitech is finally introducing successors, the G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel and the G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel for PS3 and PS4, as well as PC and Xbox One racers, respectively. Both wheels are equipped with dual-motor force feedback, 900-degree (2.5 turns to lock) steering, helical gearing, and anti-backlash hardware. Logitech is also hoping to impart a premium feel to its new controllers courtesy of a hand-stitched leather wheel, stainless steel paddle shifters, and steel ball bearings to stand up to abuse. Like its predecessor, the G29 and G920 both come with a separate, floor-mounted three-pedal unit to keep your feet busy when blasting around the Nürburgring. Unfortunately, the six-speed shifter unit that used to come standard in the box with the G27 is now an optional accessory. The G29 will be available this July, while the G920 won't arrive at retailers until October.
Youtube

Google Announces YouTube Gaming 50

An anonymous reader writes: Today Google announced a major new rival to Twitch.tv: YouTube Gaming. In addition to providing structure for the gaming content YouTube already serves (like walkthroughs, reviews, "Let's Plays," speed runs, etc), it'll also be a livestreaming hub for those who like broadcasting their games or watching other people play. Each video game will have its own dedicated page, and users will be able to add games to their "collection" to see other users's videos relating to those games. YouTube Gaming will have its own dedicated app, as well as being a part of the YouTube website. Google is also touting a recommendation engine that will help gamers find more content to watch.
AI

An AI Learned Magic: the Gathering, Now Creates Thousands of New Cards 104

merbs writes: Reed Milewicz, a computer science researcher, wowed a major online Magic: The Gathering forum when he posted the results of an experiment to "teach" a weak AI to auto-generate Magic cards. Milewicz had trained a deep, recurrent neural network—a kind of statistical machine learning model designed to emulate the neural networks of animal brains—to "learn" the text of every Magic card currently in existence. Then he had it generate thousands of its own.

He shared a number of the bizarre "cards" his program had come up with, replete with their properly fantastical names ("Shring the Artist," "Mided Hied Parira's Scepter") and freshly invented abilities ("fuseback"). Players devoured—and cheered—the results.
Microsoft

Oculus Announces Partnership With Microsoft 105

An anonymous reader writes: At its pre-E3 press conference today, Oculus announced a partnership with Microsoft. The company plans to launch a new Rift headset early next year that will be packaged with a wireless Xbox One controller. Oculus will ship the controllers with the recently announced Xbox wireless adapter. Xbox chief Phil Spencer said. "We believe we'll be able to create state of the art virtual reality experiences with the Oculus Rift on top of Windows."
Businesses

Stress Is Driving Developers From the Video Game Industry 336

Nerval's Lobster writes: For video game developers, life can be tough. The working hours are long, with vicious bursts of so-called "crunch time," in which developers may pull consecutive all-nighters in order to finish a project—all without overtime pay. According to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Developer Satisfaction Survey (PDF), many developers aren't enduring those work conditions for the money: Nearly 50 percent of respondents earned less than $50,000 annually. Faced with what many perceive as draconian working conditions, many developers are taking their skills and leaving video games for another technology sector. The hard and soft skills that go into producing video games—from knowledge of programming languages to aptitude for handling irate managers—will work just as well in many aspects of conventional software-building. Fortunately, leaving the video-game industry doesn't have to be a permanent exile; many developers find themselves pulled back in at some point, out of simple passion for the craft.
Games

Fallout 4 Will Be Skipping Xbox 360 and PS3 204

An anonymous reader writes: There's some sad news for those of you looking forward to playing Fallout 4 on your Xbox 360 or your PS3. Bethesda has announced that Fallout 4 will be a current-gen and PC exclusive game and that there will be no last-gen releases in the future. Bethesda global community manager Matt Grandstaff says of the old consoles, "the stuff we're doing will never work there."
Classic Games (Games)

First Games Inducted Into the World Video Game Hall of Fame 277

An anonymous reader writes: From 15 finalists, the first inductees to the World Video Game Hall of Fame were picked for 2015. Only one of the titles added to the list of legends was launched in the last 15 years. The six games inducted this year are: Pong, Pac-Man, Tetris, Super Mario Bros, Doom, and World of Warcraft. The World Video Game Hall of Fame says it recognizes games across all platforms, and all have the possibility of being included.
PC Games (Games)

The Real Scars of Korean Gaming 126

An anonymous reader writes: Professional e-sports have been slowly but steadily gaining a following in the U.S. over the past couple of decades, but in South Korea, it's already arrived as a popular form of entertainment. An article at the BBC takes a look at the e-sports scene there, which is generating huge salaries for the top players, but also injuries and insular lifestyles. It's growing more similar to traditional pro sports all the time. From the article: "A scar, half an inch wide, stretched from just above the elbow and up over his shoulder. 'Our company paid for full medical expenses, so he had an operation,' explained his coach, Kang Doh Kyung. [He] is the best player in StarCraft and has won everything in this field and is still going strong.' Repetitive strain had injured Mr Lee's muscles, deforming them and making surgery the only option to save his illustrious career."
PC Games (Games)

Amazon Hiring Devs For Its First PC Game 46

An anonymous reader writes: Several outlets are reporting that Amazon is preparing to dip its toes in yet another market: PC video games. They're specifically hiring for this purpose now, though they seem to have had plans for some time: "In addition to acquiring Killer Instinct developer Double Helix last year, Amazon has also hired notable developers like Kim Swift, designer of Portal, as well as Clint Hocking, who previously worked on franchises like Far Cry and Splinter Cell. Meanwhile, according to a report from Kotaku, Amazon has spent a lot of cash licensing the CryEngine, the same one used to make high-end PC games like Crysis 3. Outside of development, Amazon also acquired game streaming service Twitch last August for $970 million, and made gaming a big focus for its Fire TV media box."
Open Source

Open Source Haxe/OpenFL Platform Will Support Home Game Consoles 20

lars_doucet writes: At last week's World Wide Haxe conference, a coalition of game developers announced that the open source platform Haxe/OpenFL is coming soon to home game consoles. The first three games that will ship using the technology are Yummy Circus, Defender's Quest (HD edition), and the award-winning Papers, Please. Haxe is a programming language that compiles to other programming languages (everything from C++ to Javascript to Python), has been around for about 10 years and is quite powerful. OpenFL is a hardware-accelerated cross-platform reimplementation of the Flash API, built on top of Haxe (but does not have the Flash player's performance and security limitations and has nothing to do with Adobe), and is built on a low-level cross-platform layer called Lime, which can be used separately for those who have no need for a Flash-like API. This could eventually lead to console compatibility for engines that are built on top of Haxe/OpenFL, such as Away3D, Stencyl, HaxeFlixel, and HaxePunk.

Six console targets are planned: Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita, 3DS, and PS3; footage of demos running on the Wii U was presented at the talk and are included in the linked article.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Fallout 4 Announced 229

An anonymous reader writes: After teasing gamers with a countdown timer yesterday, Bethesda has now announced Fallout 4 for PCs, the Xbox One, and the PS4. They've also released an official trailer (YouTube video). The game will be set in post-apocalyptic Boston, and the player character will apparently be accompanied on his adventures by a dog. The Guardian has a post cataloging the features they're hoping will be improved from previous games in the series: "The combat system in the last two Fallout games was not universally adored. It often felt you were shooting wildly and blindly, biding time before you could use the the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VAT) system, which allows players to focus in on specific parts of enemies with a percentage chance of hitting them. ... Well-written, hand-crafted quests are going to be vitally important. The Radiant Quest system used in Skyrim sounds brilliant on paper: infinite quests, randomly generated and a little different each time. But the reality was a lot of fetch quests in similar looking caves. Bethesda may be tempted to bring that system across to Fallout 4, but there's an argument for abandoning dynamic quests altogether and opting for a smaller range of authored challenges."
Businesses

Valve Introduces Steam Refunds In Advance of Summer Sale 126

Deathspawner writes: Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria for granting a refund, no questions asked: if you've bought the game within the past two weeks and played it for two hours or less, your refund is guaranteed. The changes are being welcomed by most, but not all: some developers of smaller games that take less time to play through are worried that this will lead to abuse, and the system may enable more risk-free review-bombing as well.
Games

LEGO Launches a Minecraft Competitor On Steam 108

An anonymous reader writes: There's been plenty of rumors that LEGO was developing a competitor to Minecraft, and today they released it on Steam. "Lego Worlds enables you to populate your worlds with many weird and wonderful characters, creatures, models, and driveable vehicles, and then play out your own unique adventures," the game's Steam page explains. Unlike "Minecraft," LEGO's new game won't have multiplayer gameplay yet.
Classic Games (Games)

1-Pixel Pac-Man 41

szczys writes: Retro games just aren't the same since the display technology resolution has exploded. I went the opposite direction and chose a display with less resolution than the original. This reinvention of Pac-Man uses a 32x32 RGB LED module which are made for LED billboards. This makes the player just one pixel. Add in an Atari joystick and we have a winner.This is a great programming challenge. If you've never looked at Pac-Man AI before, it's fascinating and worth your time!