In a town called Portsmouth, Ohio, a company called Yost Engineering (YEI) Technology has quietly been making motion sensing devices for military, aerospace, industrial, robotics, and other commercial motion capture uses, includingrotoscoping for the film/video industry. Now they want to bring this same technology to gaming. They tried a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, but only got a little less than 1/2 of their target amount pledged. They're going to do Kickstarter again, starting Feb. 14, 2014 -- and this time, they've been working on PR before asking for money. You can see what they're up to in gaming sensor development at www.priovr.com/. Or go to the main YEI Technology corporate site, which has a whole bunch of free downloads in addition to the usual product blurbs.
What better encapsulates the tranquility of games retail at the moment: that FIFA 14 is still top of the UK charts, now for the fourth week running and the seventh week in total, or that critical anti-darling Aliens: Colonial Marines is back in the top ten?
Minus a big leap back up to eighth for Killzone: Shadow Fall, there's not much else to say about this week's UK charts, really. Still, best to enjoy the downtime while it lasts, becauseFebruary and March ain't gonna be so quiet.
Top 10 UK Software Sales (All Formats); week ending January 11
Torture in videogames, runs one argument, is too casual. The rapid, sadistic hurting of a recalcitrant enemy in your average military shooter is the gory equivalent of pressing a button on a vending machine that dispenses information. Cumulatively, such scenes also reinforce the highly dubious view that torture works. So in order to make us think about torture properly, a game should oblige us to perform it in a really elaborate and disgusting way.Such, presumably, was part of Rockstar’s ethico-aesthetic justification when it was building what rapidly became known as ‘that’ torture scene in GTAV. It generated a lot of intelligent commentary, almost none in its defence. Using a videogame controller to extract a man’s teeth or smash his knees, people said, did not make them feel any more convinced than they already were that torture is wrong. Nor was it justified, they said, as a way to widen the emotional distance between player and protagonist. We already hated that guy, they said. Personally, I agree with them.Did I mention that I haven’t played GTAV? Well, I haven’t. I mean, not for a second. I’ve read what other people have written about it and watched YouTube clips. Does this render my opinion about the torture scene invalid? Not a bit. We should all talk more, and more confidently, about videogames we haven’t played.I take my lead here from the French critic Pierre Bayard’s wonderful text How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. It is not a cynical bluffer’s charter, but a serious argument about how books fit into our lives. There are, Bayard observes, Books You Don’t Know, Books You Have Skimmed, Books You Have Heard Of and Books You Have Forgotten. These categories map quite nicely onto videogames. GTAV is a Game I Have Heard Of, having read about it and watched clips. This is certainly enough to form a view about some aspects of it, given Bayard’s observation that: “Culture is above all a matter of orientation. Being cultivated is a matter not of having read any book in particular, but of being able to find your bearings within books as a system, which requires you to know that they form a system and to be able to locate each element in relation to the others.” I can locate GTAV within the ludic system, and so can you.
Sony’s console is currently sitting in 1.2 million more homes than its rival Xbox One. Here, we examine why.
4.2 million plays 3 million in the face off between PS4 and Xbox One. The global sales figures, accurate as of the end of 2013 and confirmed recently by each platform holder, could fit neatly into several different narratives. Some might attribute Sony’s lead to Microsoft’s pre-launch blundering or PlayStation’s effective targeting of dedicated players, but there are also rather simpler factors at play – PS4’s lower price and its availability in a far greater number of territories, for example.So it’s the combination of these influences – plus a few others – that have led us to this point, with Sony’s console now sitting in 1.2 million more homes than its rival. It’s a surprising turnaround for IHS Technology’s director and head of games Piers Harding-Rolls, who expected Xbox One to have the early lead.“I think this reflects that the UK consumer is very price sensitive at the moment and perhaps also that there was no Halo game at launch which helped establish the brand so strongly in the UK,” he tells us. “In addition, the clear cut lead that Xbox 360 had at launch in terms of Xbox Live has been slowly dismantled by the evolving PSN service during the life of the PS3. The advantages are less clear cut now, so pricing becomes more of a deciding factor.”Sony’s lead doesn’t surprise Games Investor’s Nick Gibson, but the volume of combined consoles sales has certainly exceeded his expectations. Colossal PS4 and Xbox One launch figures reflect “effective launch hype and pent-up demand following a very drawn out previous console generation,” says Gibson. He also references PS4’s price and the strength of its online services as a major factor in its lead, noting that some online services are “free to access on PS4 but locked behind a subscription on Xbox One.”Sony’s triumphant E3 gave PS4 a real sense of momentum, one which is reflected in its current lead over Xbox One.
Newzoo CEO Peter Warman believes that PS4’s lower price isn’t as important as some may believe this early on in the console race, however. “I do not agree with Michael Pachter that price is the sole reason for lower sales,” Warman tells us. “Early adopters are not so price sensitive. Actually, a large share of the early adopters will want to have both consoles. In the UK for instance 35 per cent of PS3 owners also have an Xbox 360 at home.“Price becomes more important as a broader audience gets ready to transition from their curent-gen to a new machine. And that process will be slower than last time, especially for Microsoft as they continue to promote and sell their Xbox 360 contrary to their last transition where they practically killed the Xbox at launch of the 360.”That slower transition will be carefully managed, says Warman, because “the revenues generated by the previous generation will outscore PS4 and Xbox One for quite a while,” he says. “On full game sales, Xbox 360 sold almost seven times the number of games than Xbox One last week. PS3 game unit sales are six times higher than for PS4. This illustrates that, when evaluating Sony and Microsoft, we need to take a broader look than only next-gen.”In the cross-generation release of blockbusters like Destiny and Watch Dogs, we can see Activision and Ubisoft implicity acknowledging that the huge cost of developing these games will never be recouped by a next-gen exclusive. Better to continue to release them on 360 and PS3, as well as developing superior PS4 and Xbox One versions, until the newer consoles establish themselves as truly profitable platforms.Games like Watch Dogs and Destiny will straddle console generations, and are indicative of a more gradual transition.
The trick from here, then, is for Sony and Microsoft to offer truly compelling reasons to buy these new consoles. That 1.2 million lead suggests that Sony has done the better job so far, says Kantar Worldpanel retail analyst Andrew Saxton. “Although Xbox 360s can be found in more British households than the PS3 – 25 per cent versus 21 per cent – Sony has so far been more successful at convincing its existing users to upgrade,” he tells us. “By summer 2013, 17 per cent of existing PlayStation owners had pre-ordered a PS4, whereas just 14 per cent of Xbox 360 owners had pre-ordered the Xbox One. Engaging owners with the next generation consoles prior to their release was a key factor in driving Sony’s success over the period.”Sony’s consistent and effective messaging will have been helped, of course, by the unprecedented backlash against Xbox One’s policies and positioning we saw last summer.“Sony’s simple yet strong positioning in the months leading up to the launch, centred on the early adopter console gamer, has been a great success,” says Piers Harding-Rolls. “In contrast, Microsoft’s positioning and marketing message has been less clear and a little watered down. It’s difficult to quantify the exact impact, but I think the changes in policy will have interrupted some momentum in the months preceding launch.”GamesAnalytics CEO Chris Wright agrees. “Microsoft’s pre-launch challenges alienated hardcore early adopters,” he tells us. “What will be really interesting is how Sony takes advantage of its early lead. It has been more consistent, much more focused on the actual games and the early focus on free-to-play is likely to help it build customers, especially as the mass market starts to think about which console to buy. The PlayStation Now announcement is another positive step in the story.”Early hardware sales totals suggest Sony’s PS4 is the early adopters’ choice.
This first Christmas at retail showed that Sony’s console was the choice for early adopters, but let’s not forget that Sony’s more substantial distribution network has also helped push it ahead of Microsoft. PS4 is available in more territories, and is naturally dominant in those that Xbox One has yet to reach. “This is the main reason why PS3 is now ahead of 360 in global sales despite 360’s one year head start and PS3′s various and well documented problems over the years,” says Gibson.Harding-Rolls concurs. “It would be easy to underestimate the importance and challenge of efficiently distributing stock across a wide number of territories – Sony have done a great job here, aided by what is clearly an easier device to manufacture compared to the early days of the PS3.”When Xbox One launches in more territories, we’ll see a fairer fight. And after that first flurry of pre-Christmas sales, most early adopters will have made their choice – where Sony has edged ahead in that regard, longterm the pivotal battle will be over the more mainstream player; the ones who’ve never heard of Resogun or Contrast, but buy FIFA and Call Of Duty every year.“The truth is that the majority of future Xbox One and PS4 buyers will either be oblivious to the reputational ‘gaffes’ and ‘victories’ of 2013 or simply not care about them,” says Nick Gibson. “Just as crucial but far more difficult will be for Microsoft to replicate its phenomenal North American and UK market performance in other territories. Already PS4 is available in many more territories than Xbox One and Microsoft will need to up its distribution reach and strength if it wants to challenge Sony in the long run.”
Two and a half years after he was arrested at his New York apartment by the FBI, LulzSEc member-turned-FBI informant Hector Monsegur (aka Sabu) is set to be sentenced in the South District of New York court at 4pm local time on Monday where he could face up to 124 years in jail. However, following his cooperation with the US authorities, Monsegur is likely to get a much reduced sentence and could avoid jail completely. His sentencing has been adjourned numerous times for unknown reasons, and if the FBI have any more use for him, then we could see it delayed again.
China has begun drawing up plans to police games released in the country following its decision to lift a 14-year ban on foreign console sales.
The reversal was described last week as only a temporary measure - a cautionary step, perhaps, ahead of a more permanent decision - and certainly the Chinese government will retain a firm hold on game releases.A full list of rules will be written up by China's Ministry of Culture head Cai Wu, who explained in a recent press conference that anything which did not "conform with the outlook of China's government" would never see light of day."Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China's government, won't be allowed," he explained, as reported by Bloomberg. "We want to open the window a crack to get some fresh air, but we still need a screen to block the flies and mosquitoes."The increasing ease of which smartphones and other internet-enabled devices can be used for gaming has meant that a block on consoles now has far less impact than it once did.More important for the Chinese government, however, will be the lure of the $10 billion annual revenue to be gained by the video games market in 2015. China is now the third largest market for gaming in the world, behind the US and Japan.
Happy New Year! I decided to start a new blog page now that the year has changed, so that the single blog page does not grow too big. You can find the previous blog entries using the link at the bottom of this page.
This version has mostly game-specific fixes, but also a new somewhat experimental -f2 filtering option which may improve performance in some games. Here are the details of the fixes:
1. Fixed Crystal Caves hang on title screen
I got a test report asking if the Crystal Caves hang could be fixed, and I was somewhat surprised to hear that rpix86 had such a problem. This game has been working in DSx86 for ages, so it should work fine in rpix86 as well. I began to debug the problem, and noticed that indeed it hangs completely on the title screen. After some digging I found out that the reason it hangs is that the Interrupt Enable CPU flag is not set while the game waits for either timer interrupt or keyboard interrupt. So it never gets either of those interrupts and thus hangs.
The question was then to find out what code clears the Interrupt Enable flag. I added some debug logging to all the code that clears the flag, but that produced tons of output as every interrupt clears the flag for the duration of handling the interrupt. In the end I almost accidentally noticed that the game uses INT 03 (opcode 0xCC) which is a debugger breakpoint interrupt. This has some special handling in my code, and when looking at that code (and comparing it with older code from DSx86) I finally found the problem. In my rpix86 code I pushed the CPU flags with the interrupt flag already cleared, while I should have pushed the flags BEFORE clearing the interrupt flag. Fixing that bug allowed Crystal Caves to run normally. It uses similar code to Commander Keen 1 for horizontal smooth scrolling, though, so the scrolling may be somewhat jittery.
2. Removed unnecessary delay loop from default BIOS keyboard IRQ handler
While debugging Crystal Caves, I noticed that it overrides the BIOS INT 9 keyboard interrupt and checks for the pressed key using input from port 0x60 (the Keyboard Data Port). Input from that port clears the Output Buffer Full bit in the Keyboard Status Port 0x64. However, the game then calls the original BIOS INT 9 handler, which first loops up to 65536 times waiting for the Keyboard Status Port to report that the keyboard buffer is full, before proceding to read the key from port 0x60. This code is based on the actual BIOS of a PC clone, and I hadn't bothered to change that behaviour. (As a curious side note, one of my first PC clones (from around 1985 or so) contained the full printed BIOS source code as an appendix of its manual. That was quite helpful when I coded my own emulated BIOS routines originally for DSx86.)
This waiting for the keyboard status meant that when playing Crystal Caves (and possibly other similar games) there was an unnecessary delay loop of 65536 cycles that happened after every key press. Since I know that the keyboard interrupt in rpix86 only happens after a key is pressed, I removed that delay loop from my emulated BIOS routines.
3. Added experimental -f2 filtering option, for hardware dispmanx scaling
Next I looked into a strange problem in Lemmings where the game runs at more or less normal speed when I run it in a 640x480 window (which I usually do when debugging games in rpix86), but has bad stuttering when it is run full-screen (on my full-HD display). Since nothing in my code except the OpenGL ES drawing routines behave in any way differently depending on the screen size, this seemed quite strange. The OpenGL ES routines should handle all scaling in hardware (or so I thought), but just to be sure I added some timing code around the glTexSubImage2D() call I use to copy the emulated graphics memory to an OpenGL texture. This was the result:
Screen size and filtering Time Max theoretical framerate
640x400 -f0 1.5 ms 667 fps
640x400 -f1 1.5 ms 667 fps
1920x1080 -f0 15 ms 66 fps
1920x1080 -f1 25 ms 40 fps
To my big surprise, this single call took a lot more time when the screen size increased! With texture filtering on (-f1 parameter) it caused rpix86 to not even reach 60fps emulation speed, and even with no texture filtering (-f0) it only left very little time for the actual CPU emulation!
So, it occurred to me that perhaps I should check what happens if I do the size scaling using the dispmanx call instead of OpenGL ES, so that OpenGL can always draw into 640x480 (the maximum VGA resolution that rpix86 supports) screen size. This produced the following timings, so I decided to include this feature as a -f2 filtering mode. Feel free to experiment with this parameter, it may help performance in some situations. The scaling is not as smooth as with the -f1 parameter, though.
Screen size and filtering Time Max theoretical framerate
640x400 -f0 1.5 ms 667 fps
640x400 -f1 1.5 ms 667 fps
640x400 -f2 1.6 ms 625 fps
1920x1080 -f0 15 ms 66 fps
1920x1080 -f1 25 ms 40 fps
1920x1080 -f2 1.6 ms 625 fps
4. Implemented missing CD-ROM call INT2F AH=1501 (X-Wing INSTALL.EXE)
Next I checked why the INSTALL.EXE of X-Wing caused a soft crash in rpix86. I noticed that the game uses a CD-ROM detection method that I had not implemented yet, so I added that code (as a dummy routine, so that the game sees there is no CD-ROM device). This allowed the INSTALL.EXE to show the main selection screen.
5. Fixed DOS Get STDIN Status call to handle enhanced keyboard correctly
However, after getting the INSTALL.EXE main selection screen to show, I could not actually change the selection, as the cursor keys did not seem to work! This also needed some more debugging, until I found out that the game uses the DOS INT21 AH=0B GET STDIN STATUS call to check if a key is available. I had support for that call, but looking at that description I realized that I did not handle the enhanced keys properly. I originally emulated the old 83-key cursor keys in DSx86, and only later switched to enhanced 101/102-key DOS keyboard emulation. At that point I did not fix that DOS call to also handle enhanced key codes correctly. The fix was quite minor, and it made the INSTALL.EXE work properly.
6. Implemented several missing Mode-X opcodes (Aces Over Europe)
Next I tested Aces Over Europe, which had a soft crash when the actual flying should start. There were several VGA Mode-X opcodes that this game uses that have not been used by any other game. It looks like the game actually stores data (like pointers and such) into the VGA graphics memory, and then uses those later when drawing the screen. This is probably some sort of a speed trick, although it actually only slows things down in rpix86 as the graphics memory is slower to handle than normal RAM. In any case, after adding several such new Mode-X opcode handlers the game progressed to the actual flying quite fine.
7. Fixed writing to non-mapped EMS page (bug in Aces Over Europe)
However, after exiting the game back to 4DOS prompt, giving any command in 4DOS caused a soft crash. Obviously something in Aces Over Europe had corrupted memory that belonged to 4DOS.
I used my inbuilt memory watch routine to detect when the 4DOS memory gets corrupt, and noticed that the memory is already corrupt when 4DOS loads the code back from EMS memory. So, I changed the watch address to be inside the physical memory that 4DOS maps into EMS, and then caught the code in Aces Over Europe that writes to this memory. I confirmed in DOSBox that this seems to be a bug in the game, it writes into unmapped EMS memory page. I had been lazy in rpix86 and left unmapped EMS pages to point to the beginning of my EMS memory area, and in this case it meant that the game wrote to memory that belonged to 4DOS.
I did a quick fix to this problem by reserving one EMS page to be the "unmapped" page, so that any game that tries to write to an unmapped page writes safely to this reserved area. This fixed the crash in 4DOS after exiting Aces Over Europe.
Thanks again for your interest in rpix86, let me know of any new bugs you find in this version!
Virtual reality has captured the imagination of developers, consumers and businesses for decades, but most VR headsets produced so far have been notable more for their limitations than their capabilities. With its latest prototype, code-named "Crystal Cove," Oculus VR has taken a massive leap forward, eliminating the stomach-churning motion blur that has plagued previous generations of VR headsets, and adding sensors and a camera to track the position of both your head and body and provide more accurate simulated movement. With the latest Rift, Oculus has created a device that may usher in an era of truly immersive gaming and entertainment, and even create new opportunities for businesses to use virtual reality in everything from manufacturing to medical environments. Of all the exciting, innovative products we've seen at CES this year, the Oculus Rift "Crystal Cove" prototype is unquestionably the best of the best.
Yeah, I went through the whole "not another wearable" thing when the folks from the Meta team showed up sporting an early prototype of a device tethered to a small animal-style backpack. But one rep started namedropping some of the parties involved in the AR glasses -- names like Steve Mann. The wearables pioneer now sports a "chief scientist" designation on the company's site. And while we would have preferred to have been first on the demo list, it's hard to complain when the ones ahead of you are people like Paul Allen and Steve Wozniak. In fact, as they set up the demo in the green room behind our CES stage, one employee pulled out a small, translucent vase, measuring an inch or so tall. "Paul Allen made that one," he said, handing it to me.
For anyone who's ever spent time around a desktop 3D printer, it wasn't a particularly impressive artifact, more the sort of thing someone learning CAD might design in week two. What's impressive, of course, is how Allen designed it. The demo is really just a proof of concept for the technology, but it really drives home the connection between the real and the virtual that the device is bridging. A quick note about the hardware above, before we go any further: These being prototypes, they'll naturally look a fair bit slicker down the road than what you see. In fact, we're told that the final version of the MetaPro will look like a set of aviator glasses, with a little extra (including some wings on the side to help obscure some of the sensors. In fact, we've included a rendering of what that'll look like below.
[Michael Castor] wanted a tablet, but not just any tablet. He wanted an all-in-one system running Linux, and he wanted it to look good. So he made himself a wooden PiPad.
He started the project at the beginning of 2013, and like many of our projects, it took a little while to get some momentum going. He bought most of the components early on but then it got pushed to the back burner. Two weeks before the Maker Faire Bay Area 2013, [Michael] decided he wanted to show it off, and thus began the mad dash to finish it in time.
The build consists of a very nice piece of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood which was cut to shape using a CNC router. A scrap piece of carbon fiber makes for a stylish but not too flashy back cover — He even managed to get [Eben Upton] to sign it! Inside is a 10,000mAh lithium ion battery, a Raspberry Pi, a cellphone battery charging system and a capacitive touchscreen LCD. Almost all touchscreens run off 12V, but [Michael] managed to find a 5V HDMI to LVDS converter, which works perfectly. The device gets about 6 hours of battery life, which is more than enough for [Michael]. The device looks great, and he’s even made it through airport security with it!
We love seeing unique projects like this — don’t forget to submit your own projects through our Tip line!
Gaming accessory manufacturer Mad Catz has announced development of the R.A.T. Tournament Edition, a mouse designed for the eSports-minded player. The R.A.T. TE features tracking speeds up to 8200 DPI, decreased weight, dynamic surface detection, lift-off height calibration, programmable button mapping and is designed for Mac as well as PC.
We stress that the R.A.T. TE is not to be confused with a tournament edition rat. Rats do not have configurable buttons. And if your rat does, please do not bring your cyborg rat to a gaming tournament. You may, however, bring your R.A.T. TE after it releases in early 2014.
Recent stories about virtual reality headsets, gaming PCs for living rooms andpizza-ordering apps that minimize human interaction all share an origin: CES 2014, a convention dedicated to showcasing advancements in technology that might become as commonplace as smartphones, or as muted in success as the Betamax. It's fun to try and predict future trends, but Gallup's recent poll of Americans concerning their household tech might help to keep our expectations grounded.
Yeah, the perfect-for-Blu-ray 4K TVs are closing in on feasible price points. That's potentially attractive to the 80 percent of respondents with DVD or Blu-Ray players, but how quickly will the 58 percent of households that still own VCRs upgrade? Millions of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles have foundnew homes across the globe, but only 41 percent of respondents have any form of gaming console underneath their TVs.
Valve and its business partners hope to find a market for Steam Machines, but just 57 percent of respondents reported desktop computers in their homes. With 38 percent noting ownership of tablets and the increased presence of laptops from 30 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2013, finding consumers willing to buy a gaming-oriented PC for their living rooms might be tough.
We're hoping Gallup conducts another poll in 2015, in which 100 percent of responders will confirm the presence of and flying cars in their selection of vehicles.
UK online retailer ShopTo says it is enjoying its most successful year on record.
The firm told MCV that it has already matched the turnover achieved in its previous financial year in just five months. It said that Chart-Track figures show it has tripled its console market share and almost doubled its share of the software sector over the last year, too.
The firm benefitted from Xbox One and PS4 sales at the end of 2013, as well as strong Nintendo sales.
“We had fantastic support from the format holders, which allowed us to break all our previous records,” said purchasing director James Rowson.
“We have achieved last year's turnover in five months of this financial year, which is a measure of the growth we have never seen.
“Demand is still high for PS4, Xbox One and their games. And pre-orders are huge for the amazingly strong looking triple-A titles in 2014.”
Analysts have dismissed wearable tech as unlikely to hit its stride during this year. Speaking to Reuters, several of the industry experts said that while wearable technology such as smartwatches and smartglasses could blossom in the future, 2014 was likely to be a year of experimentation necessary for the advancement of the sector.
"2014 will be more a year of attempts than of successful products,” said Carolina Milanesi, a consumer tech analyst at Kantar Worldpanel.
“For a lot of manufacturers it will be a matter of waiting to see what Apple does."
"For wearables to finally match up with the hype, [they have] to be a true solution, where it isn't about the technology - it's about what the technology enables you to do, something you couldn't do before," said Mike Bell, a senior executive at Intel.
Intel itself announced a concept for ‘Jarvis’, a smart voice-activated earpiece which operates like a personal assistant, and a smart bracelet, which had no further details revealed.
The expansion and experimentation of wearable tech during 2014 is vital if devices hope to excite customers, rather than becoming a monotonous clump of identical products, some observers said.
"I have 20 different photos [of wearable devices], but if I look at the pictures I couldn't tell you which product is from which vendor. They all look the same," said Stacy Rasgon, semiconductor analyst at Bernstein, who photographed every wearable device she saw at CES 2014.
"[However,] wearables sound like a great idea and there's going to be a lot of experimentation. People are throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks."
PS4 was the UK's top-selling home game console of 2013.
As previously revealed by retail monitor Chart-Track, UK PS4 sales surpassed 530,000 units in 30 days. In doing so, sales of Sony's new console topped annual Xbox 360 sales by just a couple of thousand units, MCV reports.
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PlayStation UK boss Fergal Gara said: "We are delighted with the very strong sales of PS4 to date. Since we unveiled the console, gamers have shown huge interest in the PS4. Our focus now is rebuilding stock levels so those have not been able to get a PS4 can finally experience the next-gen. I'd like to thank the gamers, our retail and publishing partners who played a big part in making this success possible."
Worldwide PS4 sales topped 4.2 million units as of December 28, Sony claimed on Tuesday.
Microsoft said on Monday that Xbox One sales hit three million globally by the end of 2013.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has, unsurprisingly, entered the Japanese software charts at number 1, fending off competition from the only other new entries in the top ten, the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster.
[3DS] The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - 224,143 (New entry)
[Jeremy Blum] converted his 2013 Open Hardware Summit badge, also known as the BADGEr, into an ePaper weather station. We’ve looked at the 2013 OHS badge in the past, and the included open source RePaper display makes it an interesting platform to hack.
To fetch weather data, the badge is connected to a Raspberry Pi using an FTDI cable. A Python script uses the Python Weather API to poll for weather data. It then sends a series of commands to the BADGEr using pySerial which selects the correct image, and inserts the current weather data. Finally, a cronjob is used to run the script periodically, providing regular weather updates.
If you happen to have one of the badges, [Jeremy] has provided all of the files you’ll need to build your own weather station on Github. Otherwise, you can take a look at the RePaper project and WyoLum’s eReader Arduino Library to build your own ePaper project
Something as roundly admirable as the Humble Bundle is hard to make fun of. One of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse of the online gaming marketplace, it delivers well-curated collections of new titles and underexposed gems, DRM-free and for multiple platforms. Users set their own mercilessly exploitative prices, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Indie devs gain invaluable publicity and profits through sheer volume, forestalling suicide or starvation for a while longer. Rumour even has it that for every Humble Bundle sold, Jeff Rosen spends a minute singing Christmas carols to orphans in a soup kitchen. So, yeah, it’s hard to fault. But You’re Playing It Wrong loves a good challenge.Turning a gimlet eye on the Humble Bundle, you might notice that its days as an anarchic creative platform for unknown developers are on the wane. Not for nothing did it drop the ‘Indie’ from its name. Recent times have seen a bundle of games by THQ, a company that finds common ground with indie developers only in its intimate familiarity with bankruptcy procedures; a decidedly un-humble bundle of EA games via Origin; and a Warner Bros Bundle that featured a pair of Batman games everyone had already played. As the overall scope of the Humble Bundles has grown, their contents have become more specialised, the genres more hidebound, and the retro-fondling more blatant. Must we endure five tower defence games for every Hotline Miami? If you think I’m exaggerating, let’s examine some recent Humble Bundles.First there was the Humble Platform-Shooter That Is Nothing Like Contra Bundle. It included eight games of eight-directional-shooting, pit-jumping, giant-boss-fighting awesomeness that all totally distinguish themselves from a certain ’80s exemplar. In Shadowplex, you run and gun through a nightmarish dystopia of grey turrets and brown boxes. In Cybershank, you gun and run through a dystopian nightmare of brown sludge and grey girders. Shadowplex 2 and Cybershank 2 add fourplayer online co-op and stealth missions to the mix, while Shadowshank and Cyberplex… Oh, screw it. They’re all just Contra, all right? They’re Contra with cel-shading, mission trees and ragdoll physics. You know you’ll play them.
[h=1]“As the overall scope of the Humble Bundles has grown, their contents have become more specialised, the genres more hidebound, and the retro-fondling more blatant”[/h]
Next came the Humble Déjà Vu Bundle. Indie devs are always breaking ground, even if it’s the same ground over and over again. Trine 5 features new character classes in the Fishwife, the Courtesan and the Homunculus, all buxomly designed by the art director of Dragon’s Crown. Eets: In Space! adds baffling wormholes and antigravity mechanics to a simple, addictive Lemmings-like core. Bastion 3 is virtually indistinguishable from the first two, but with an expensive score by John Williams and narration by James Earl Jones. You also get Cave Story+++, which sounds like a programming language, but plays more like Metroid than ever, and More Gratuitous Space Battles – now 300 per cent more gratuitous.After that, things got worse. Take the Humble Arty Experimental Game Where ‘Deep Philosophical Allegory’ Just Means Some Dude’s Broken Heart Bundle. You’d already pondered the metaphysics of Braid, mulled over Limbo, contemplated Dear Esther, and mused upon The Binding Of Isaac. You’d experienced rising excitement as their various mysteries accrue and creeping disappointment when they turned out to be about some lost, generic princess or mother figure – with a stealth misogyny bonus if she’s dead or there are overtones of vague religiosity. Well, the HAEGWDPAJMSDBHB let you relive that bell curve all over again in a trio of titles that set new benchmarks for games as art. The Swallowing Of Jonah is a roguelike-lite where your beloved primary school teacher tries to murder you in the belly of a whale. In Salutations, Agnes, you wander around a featureless desert writing letters to your dead mother (“impeccably depressing,” critics rave). And in Blanko, with its revolutionary white-on-white art, you travel by sound alone until the world begins to blur into focus as you approach something – or someone. Oh, it’s a girl.
That takes the total amount of dosh pledged via Kickstarter since its inception to $939 million - nearly a cool billion - accumulated from almost 13 million pledges. The games category still represents the largest chunk of that pie, with $202 million pledged across just over 8000 projects, and $186 million of that collected by successfully-funded projects.
There are no game-specific stats in this year's Kickstarter rundown, unfortunately. For an in-depth look at Kickstarter and Indiegogo games funding over the last seven months or so (that's how long it's been going!), check in with the always supertastic Crowdfund Bookie.
Valve is reportedly "days away" from launching a virtual reality software development kit. The news comes from Valve designer Brian Coomer, who toldBBC that the dev kit would give software developers a standard means of providing an interface for virtual reality headsets, like the Oculus Rift.
The report says the kit will launch during Valve's Steam Developer Days conference, which begins on January 15 in Seattle. Coomer added that "there's also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design," and that Valve is "working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements."
Valve has some internal experience with virtual and augmented reality headsets in the past, as former Valve engineers Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson were granted permission to take the Cast AR glasses project with them when they left the company in February 2013. The now-independent Cast AR augmented reality headset went to Kickstarter in October, and earned $1,052,110 from backers in a month. Additionally, Valve added a virtual reality support category to Steam for the Oculus Rift in December. Oculus VR has received more support from Valve these days, as seen in the headset manufacturer's latest model, which we took for a test drive at CES 2014 this week.
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