An anonymous reader writes "Last year, Jordan Mechner, the creator of the Prince of Persia video game franchise, released the long-thought-lost original Apple II source code for Prince of Persia. Today marks the release of version 2.0 of apoplexy, the free and open-source level editor of Prince of Persia for DOS. Roughly 5.5 years after its initial release, support has been added for editing Prince of Persia 2 levels in both GNU/Linux and Windows. The game has its 25th anniversary next year, but the original trilogy only has a (very) small fan community. Will old games such as this also interest future generations or will they gradually lose their appeal because of technological advances?"
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An anonymous reader writes "An article at The Verge got me thinking. Parents and those of you who plan to become parents: will you introduce your kids to the games you played when you were younger? Those of us who grew up playing Pong, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man have had a chance to see gaming software evolve into the enormously complex and graphically realistic beast it is today. I've begun to understand why my grandparents tried to get me to watch old movies. I'm also curious how you folks plan to teach your kids about computers and software in general. When teaching them Linux, do you just download the latest stable Mint or Ubuntu release and let them take it from there? Do you track down a 20-year-old version of Slackware and show them how things used to be? I can see how there would be value in that... the UIs we use every day have been abstracted so far away from their roots that we can't always expect new users to intuitively grasp the chain of logic. How do you think this should be handled?"
hypnosec writes "The Chinese government has officially banned Battlefield 4, stating that Electronic Arts has developed a game that not only threatens national security of the country, but is also a form of cultural invasion. The country's Ministry of Culture has issued a notice banning all material retailed to the game in any form, including the game itself, related downloads, demos, patches and even news reports. According to PCGames.com.cn [Chinese language], Battlefield 4 has been characterized as illegal game on the grounds that the game endangers national security and cultural aggression."
KentuckyFC writes "A curious thing about video games is that computers have never been very good at playing them like humans by simply looking at a monitor and judging actions accordingly. Sure, they're pretty good if they have direct access to the program itself, but 'hand-to-eye-co-ordination' has never been their thing. Now our superiority in this area is coming to an end. A team of AI specialists in London have created a neural network that learns to play games simply by looking at the RGB output from the console. They've tested it successfully on a number of games from the legendary Atari 2600 system from the 1980s. The method is relatively straightforward. To simplify the visual part of the problem, the system down-samples the Atari's 128-colour, 210x160 pixel image to create an 84x84 grayscale version. Then it simply practices repeatedly to learn what to do. That's time-consuming, but fairly simple since at any instant in time during a game, a player can choose from a finite set actions that the game allows: move to the left, move to the right, fire and so on. So the task for any player — human or otherwise — is to choose an action at each point in the game that maximizes the eventual score. The researchers say that after learning Atari classics such as Breakout and Pong, the neural net can then thrash expert human players. However, the neural net still struggles to match average human performance in games such as Seaquest, Q*bert and, most importantly, Space Invaders. So there's hope for us yet... just not for very much longer."
jones_supa writes "Gaming for Good, a charity established and fronted by celebrity gamer Bachir 'Athene' Boumaaza, has this week passed the significant milestone. At time of writing the group's tally stands at a tame $10 million. It works like this: game publishers donate games to the charity, without asking for profit. Regular folks buy points, which can then be exchanged to games on the website. Finally the money used to buy the points goes to charity. So in one way they're really just buying games, but instead of the money going to publishers, it's going to a good cause. Money raised is going to the international charity Save The Children, where it can be used on health programs in Malawi, Indonesia and Bangladesh."
An anonymous reader writes "With the release of SteamOS, developing video game engines for Linux is a subject with increasing interest. This article is an initiation guide on the tools used to develop games, and it discusses the pros and cons of Linux as a platform for developing game engines. It goes over OpenGL and drivers, CPU and GPU profiling, compilers, build systems, IDEs, debuggers, platform abstraction layers and other tools."
The Virtuix Omni "is an omnidirectional treadmill video game peripheral for virtual reality games currently in development by Virtuix," says Wikipedia. With this device and an Oculus Rift, Razer Hydra or a similar "immersive" headset, you can play games equipped to use these devices with your whole body moving in any direction you choose. If you think you saw this product on the Shark Tank TV show or a pitch for it at Kickstarter.com, you're right. You did. The Virtuix Omni people have been pushing their product hard, everywhere they can. Tim ran into their product manager, Colton Jacobs, at the recent AppsWorld conference in London. This video is Tim's record of their conversation.
KentuckyFC writes "Spin glasses may be esoteric but they are also one of the more fascinating phenomena in physics. They are disordered magnets in which the atoms interact with each other to create conflicting configurations that compete for stability. That makes spin glasses metastable. They can seem firm and constant but a small change to the configuration in one part of the lattice can ripple through the magnet like wildfire. Now a German physicist has created 'Spin Glasses: The Game,' a two person board game that reproduces all the complexity and excitement of...err... spin glasses. The players compete to configure their atoms in a way that dominates the lattice when the game ends. The board game is available in German or as a free downloadable cut out version in English. Is this the geekiest game ever made?"
itwbennett writes "One of the new features that both Sony and Microsoft touted for their next-gen gaming consoles was easy sharing of gameplay videos. Peter Smith has put sharing to the test on both consoles, and (spoiler alert), found that both have plenty of room for improvement. There are pros and cons to each, but ultimately, which console does sharing best comes down to personal preference: 'I really hate that the Playstation 4 is limited to sharing on Facebook and I really like that the Xbox One saves to my Skydrive,' says Smith. 'But I hate having to wait for that upload to happen before I can go back to gaming.'"
jones_supa writes "SteamOS has been further inspected to see what kind of technical solutions it uses. The Debian-based OS uses Linux 3.10, shipping with a heap of patches applied, with the most focus being on real-time-like features. The kernel is also using aufs and they seem to be sitting on some bug fixes for upstream on top of that. The kernel is not using the new Intel P-State driver, with the reported reason being, 'it causes issues with sound being choppy during BigPicture trailer video playback.' SteamOS is using SysVinit as its init system. The desktop is backed by X.Org server 1.12.4 and a custom desktop compositor which seems to be a 4,200-line patch on xcompmgr. Catalyst and Mesa components can be found on the system, but so far only NVIDIA is officially supported. The system boots into Big Picture Mode, but the user can drop into a GNOME desktop. Responsible for a great deal of the kernel changes, SteamOS compositor work, and other SteamOS code is Pierre-Loup A. Griffais, a.k.a. 'Plagman'. He was a NVIDIA employee dealing with their Linux support. Another Valve employee doing lots of the SteamOS system-level work is John Vert, who up until last year was a Microsoft employee since 1991. There's also other former Microsoft employees on Valve's Linux team, like Mike Sartain."
An anonymous reader writes that, as promised, "Valve has put out their first SteamOS Linux operating system beta. SteamOS 1.0 'Alchemist' Beta is forked from Debian Wheezy and features its own graphics compositor along with other changes. Right now SteamOS 1.0 is only compatible with NVIDIA graphics cards and uses NVIDIA's closed-source Linux driver. SteamOS can be downloaded from here, but the server seems to be offline under the pressure."
An anonymous reader writes "The company making the VR headset that has John Carmack and many others in the gaming industry excited has just received another $75 million in funding to make it happen. Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is joining the company's board, along with fellow investor Chris Dixon. Dixon had seen a prototype earlier this year, but it wasn't good enough to spark his interest. After recently seeing how the device has progressed since then, he was blown away, comparing it to early demos of the iPhone. 'The dimensions where you need to improve this kind of VR are latency, resolution and head tracking, and they have really nailed those things.' Now that the device is in good shape, Oculus is going to work on turning it into a product they can produce and ship for gamers."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Ever since Chien won the inaugural Kong Off at Richie Knucklez Arcade Games in Flemington, NJ back in 2011, Lemay has been nipping at Chien's heels. His guiding mission in life now, other than getting Hulked out at the gym, is annihilating Hank Chien at Donkey Kong. Last month, Motherboard traveled to Denver, Colorado, to attend The Kong Off 3, the highly anticipated and near-capacity Donkey Kong world championship, held at the 1UP arcade and bar. During four loopy days of shooting inside a subterranean cave of amusement, which assaulted our senses with flashing lights, blippity bloops, and killscreens, we witnessed first-hand the drama of a showdown between a video game's top contenders."
Collectible card games have been a prominent part of nerd gaming culture since the early '90s. Magic: the Gathering forged a compelling genre and dozens of games have followed in its footsteps. But the past two decades have been a time of technology, and Magic is a decidedly low-tech game. Like chess, it's been moved online in only the strictest emulation of real-world play. The game itself hasn't actually evolved to make use of technology. Enter Blizzard. Many of the developers at Blizzard grew up playing Magic and other CCGs, and it seemed natural that they'd want to design one of their own. But Blizzard is video game company; managing cardboard print runs and scheduling tournaments isn't exactly in their wheelhouse. Thus, we get Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, an entirely digital CCG. It's currently in closed beta test, but open beta is supposedly just around the corner. In this video (with transcript) we take a look at how the game is shaping up.