The newest version of the Oculus Rift headset is another major step toward the retail version promised for some point in 2014. It takes the existing HD headset we saw at E3 2013 and swaps an LED screen for OLED. It adds an external camera, and positional markers on the headset, to track your position depth-wise. Perhaps most importantly, it kills motion blur -- one of the biggest issues with previous versions of Oculus VR's incredible Rift headset.
The latest prototype, dubbed "Crystal Cove," is here at CES 2014, and we've just gotten out of an EVE Valkyrie cockpit to tell you all about how much of an improvement this new guy is over the previous model.
John Carmack is working on first party projects designed to showcase the capabilities of Oculus Rift.
Having joined Oculus VR as chief technology officer in August, Carmack is "working on a lot of exciting tech", Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe toldEngadget, "but, his heart and soul and history certainly lies in the game-development side." Showing off the capabilities of first party hardware is part of Carmack's philosophy, Iribe said. "That's always been Epic's philosophy. And it's what allowed them to make what they made. It's certainly been id's philosophy in the past. It's been John Carmack's philosophy -- you gotta eat your own dog food here, and develop internal content also."
Iribe said Oculus VR will reveal more details about its internal software development team throughout 2014.
In December, Oculus VR raised $75 million (£46m) in Series B funding which will be used to develop and bring to market a consumer version of its Oculus Rift.
Carmack said at the time: "The games industry is well past the point where more pixels, texels, flops, and frames displayed on the same fixed screens are really changing the experiences that players get.
"I could say the same about other digital experiences as well. What will revolutionize gaming, and interactive content in general, is putting people inside the digital world. That is our goal at Oculus, and this Series B will help us get there."
Telltale president and co-founder Kevin Bruner's dream project would be a James Bond game.Telltale's already made a poker game, so it's got that base covered.
"I'm a giant James Bond fan and I'm always frustrated by games that make him a mass murderer," he said in an interview with OXMin response to being asked what he'd like to work on if money and copyright law were no object."He's a super-spy, and that's a different skillset," Bruner noted. "The films make him less of a mass murderer, and there's not much killing in the books - more spying and intrigue."The OXM piece also noted that Telltale would like to make a Star Wars game, but then again, who wouldn't?And what about a new IP altogether? Telltale is cautious about this notion, but feels that it wouldn't risk this unless it was confident it could create not only a new game IP, but an IP strong enough to be cross media. "I think we're looking more at 'Can we engage some great storytelling mind to come in and work with us on something and make it not just a game franchise, but a full-on entertainment franchise with comics or a TV show and such and build it all together at once?'" CEO Dan Connors noted. "We really see that as the next thing that's gonna happen."As appealing as a Telltale James Bond game would be, the studio certainly has its hands full with The Walking Dead Season 2, The Wolf Among Us, Tales From the Borderlands, and Game of Thrones on the docket. But hey, maybe someone at MGM is listening and Telltale is a hot commodity right now. Mr. Bond hasn't starred in a good game in awhile with the superspy's latest title 007 Legends being a debacle, so maybe somewhere down the road license holder Activision will change its tack when Telltale has a more open schedule?
Virtual reality headset Oculus Rift has improved again, and now id Software legend John Carmark is fully on board, demonstration games for the headset are being made in-house."He's working on a lot of exciting tech, but his heart and soul and history certainly lies in the game-development side," Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said of John Carmack, talking to Engadget at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.Just as id Software showcased the id Tech engine with the Quake games, so Oculus VR will showcase Oculus Rift with bespoke games."... you gotta eat your own dog food here, and develop internal content also," said Iribe.Despite his roots in the Oculus Rift project, Carmack's full-time hire by Oculus VR was a shock, not least because it meant him leaving the company he co-founded, id Software.But he won't be the only game developer popping up at golden-child Oculus VR, which secured a whopping $75m funding in December."You'll see, over the next six to 12 months ... more and more game developers showing up," said Iribe.Oculus Rift, the Crystal Cove prototype, at CES, image courtesy of Endgadget.
Oculus VR was at CES showing off the latest Oculus Rift prototype headset, dubbed Crystal Cove, which almost eradicates motion blur, tracks positional depth with an external camera and packs a sharper, more responsive OLED screen.Engadget tried the new prototype and was very impressed, concluding that, "If 2013 was the year of proof-of-concept for Oculus Rift and modern virtual reality, 2014 seems poised to be the year when it comes into its own."Do note, however, that Crystal Cove is still a prototype and not indicative of features that will be in the consumer version of Oculus Rift, due this year.
Write columns, blogs and articles like these for long enough and you’ll often feel misunderstood. Whether talking about the highs and lows of using free-to-play economics, the question of whether games will ever be any good at telling stories (no, nay never), or any one of a dozen other topics, some people will misread you. They’ll think you said something you didn’t, or that you were going somewhere with an argument you weren’t. They fill in imagined gaps and draw illusory connections. Most readers get your point, but they generally aren’t the ones who comment. So the discourse can seem a bit lensed.And if that’s true for written work (believe me, it is) then it’s doubly true for the games you make. Folks misunderstand them in all sorts of ways all across the spectrum. Take, for example, Gone Home. It’s great. Play it. Don’t worry so much about whether it’s a game or not. Just play it. You’ll probably like it if you give it a chance. You’ll probably find it interesting for its length and that it leaves you pondering – if you let it. But will you?Or will you be one of those people who immediately dismisses it as not-much-of-a or not-a-real game? Think about why you’d do that for a moment. Do games have a set shape in your mind, or is it more the case that you expect certain things from them? Is a firstperson game not a game to you without the shooting? Or is it more the subject matter that bothers?I hope you’re not one of those not-real types. That kind of close-mindedness makes the gaming community look like a bunch of dimwits. It makes us seem like those guys from Anvil: The Story Of Anvil, hanging on in there with their visions of a world built on heavy metal. It’s fine and all, but it feels very out of time in a sad old dude way.Debates often polarise around games like Gone Home when they do something different, or defy easy categorisation.
Conversely, are you one of those people who heard about Gone Home and its supposed significance to ‘the evolution of videogames’, and so judged it worthy before you ever played it? Because there’s plenty of those people, too. They’re the ones over-attributing significance where there is little.Just as the functionalist’s narrow-mindedness is a net negative, so too is the wavy-armed school of games, art and narrative critique. It’s not so much a critique as a theology, the belief that games
and stories will some day mix well, despite the mountains of evidence showing that they do not.Let’s get back to Gone Home. Forget the backing track of the plot and so on for just a second. What is it you actually do? Trawl through a house looking for keys that open doors. Put another way, Gone Home is essentially a Doom level without the shotguns. Everything else is, mechanically speaking, icing sugar.Pay attention to the setting, the culture and the ideas and what story is trying to come across and the gameness can seem weird. Why, asks the critic, must it still rely on the artifices of hunting and play? Why can’t it be purer still, just an ambient exploration? Why must it be sullied by the vestiges of fun? Both positions are just link- or quote-bait. They’re the sort of tagline that gets sidebarred in an article by a wily editor in search of emotion. But they’re each ludicrously short-sighted in their own way.Gone Home is one of those games that says a lot about the player rather than itself. It challenges them in a variety of subtle ways. It may not be the most mechanically dense game ever, but in the space left something interesting happens. The sense you are in that house searching somewhat urgently to find out what’s going on starts to feel real. It’s one of those games that crosses the barrie
Transformers director Michael Bay fluffed his lines then scuttled offstage mid-sentence during Samsung’s CES presentation.
Bay was there to help promote the firm’s new curved HD TVs. He started off talking about how his job as a director is that he gets to ‘dream for a living’. He then became flustered, attempted to ‘wing it’ for around 10 seconds before giving up and walking off the stage.
Bay has since posted on his official blog saying: “Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES.” Adding: “I guess live shows aren’t my thing.”
Epson has trained its sights on Enterprise users with its latest wearable tech reveal.
Unlike Google Glass’ peripheral display, the Moverio BT-200 smart glasses use two lenses to overlay a computer-like monitor screen in front of the user.
“These glasses are essentially two small LCD projectors,” said Anna Jen, director of new ventures at Epson.
The device is powered by smart glass software developer APX Labs’ Skylight operating system, and is designed for productivity, rather than fashion, said Brian Ballard, CEO of APX.
“The average use case for consumers to wear smart glasses out and about isn’t there yet,” he explained.
“You have to have a certain sex appeal.”
The Moverio BT-200 will launch in March for $699 (£426).
Intel is showing off its RealSense technology at this year’s CES, which the firm says will eliminate keyboards.
RealSense lets people use gestures and speech to interact with devices. The tech is made up of a 3D camera which can be integrated into a computer or tablet to provide a stereoscopic vision.
The idea is to let users communicate with computers more like they do with one another, using just eyesight and speech.
The stereoscopic vision gives the device the ability to recognise foreground and background so it can be controlled by a variety of hand gestures. It can also recognise expressions on the user's face.
As well as RealSense, Intel has also unveiled some wearable tech products.
The Jarvis is a smart earpiece which listens to voice commands and can act as your own PA. Users can make calendar appointments, check messages and set reminders.
Intel has a smart bracelet too. The company is partnering with Opening Ceremony on the product and is currently keeping tight-lipped on whether it will be a smartwatch or fitness device.
Pad-based viewing overtakes PC for the first time. BBC made mobile central to its business last year by introducing numerous apps and services for children and adult viewers alike.
Seemingly it's all paying off quite nicely as the broadcaster says the copious amount of gadgets given as Christmas gifts meant lots of new devices using BBC iPlayer.
Head of BBC iPlayer, Dan Taylor, said: "2013 truly proved to be the year of the tablet and after they were all unwrapped, Boxing Day saw tablet viewing overtake computer viewing for the first time in iPlayer history."
Meanwhile, 941,000 people downloaded the iPlayer mobile apps between December 21st and New Year's Day, building on the 20 million milestone, whichwas reached in October. Dr Who – The Time of the Doctor was the most popular programme, followed byEastenders and Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special. http://www.mobile-ent.biz/entertainm...-tablet/042629
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Worried they'll look like a Google Arse in public. Google Glass was revealed well over 18 months ago and the tech still isn't in stores, although it's expected to finally land this spring.
However, the jury is out on how successful the technology will be. The porn industry is all for using the accessory, but police, casinos and bars believe it's unsafe and have promised bans and ass-kickings for users.
Given all of this, LoveMyVouchers.co.uk has found 68 per cent of Brits are too embarrassed to wear the digital spectacles in public and 64 per cent said they wouldn't feel comfortable talking to someone wearing them.
No official price has been confirmed, but 53 per cent of respondents think the rumoured $600 cost is too expensive, while 61 per cent think they'll have no use for Google Glass technology.
Additionally, a hug 70 per cent are worried about privacy issues and 58 per cent safety issues.
That said, 42 per cent believe wearable tech will interest them in the future, ahead of 32 per cent for no and 26 per cent for maybe.
China is allowing foreign firms to make game consoles in Shanghai's free trade zone and then sell them in the country, after the government temporarily suspended its 14-year-ban on foreign console sales. Both the BBC and Reutersreport that the Chinese government issued a statement on Monday, noting it didn't say how long the suspension will last.
China enacted the console ban in 2000, citing adverse effects on children and young people, but the government began laying out plans last year to revoke it. Although it's temporary, the lifting of the ban opens up a huge market for the platform holders to be directly involved in; before the ban, consoles were generally acquired in China as grey market imports, with a third party unaffiliated with the manufacturer selling them.
As GI.biz notes, China's gaming market is thriving. 2013 saw tracked industry revenues of $13.75 billion in the country, with just $10 million generated by console game sales.
"Over the past few years, short game writing 'jams' have become a popular way to bring developers together in a conference with a single overarching theme. These competitions are typically 24-48 hours long and involve a great deal of caffeine, frantic coding, and creative design. The 28th Ludum Dare conference held from December 13 — 16 of this past year was one such game jam — but in this case, it had an unusual participant: Angelina. Angelina is a computer AI designed by Mike Cook of Goldsmiths, London University. His long-term goal is to discover whether an AI can complete tasks that are generally perceived as creative. The long-term goal is to create an AI that can 'design meaningful, intelligent and enjoyable games completely autonomously.' Angelina's entry into Ludum Dare, dubbed 'To That Sect'" is a simple 3D title that looks like it hails from the Wolfenstein era. Angelina's initial game is simple, but in reality Angelina is an AI that can understand the use of metaphor and build thematically appropriate content, which is pretty impressive. As future versions of the AI improve, the end result could be an artificial intelligence that 'understands' human storytelling in a way no species on Earth can match.
At CES 2014 in Las Vegas today, Mozilla announced its plans for Firefox OS this year. Having launched Firefox OS for smartphones in 2013, the company has now partnered with Panasonic to bring its operating system to TVs, and also detailed the progress that has been made around the tablet and desktop versions
The firm behind a motion-tracking body suit has partnered with Oculus Rift to provide more immersive control to gamers.
YEI Technology previously attempted to fund the PrioVR, which uses a combination of sensors to track limb and body movement, through a Kickstarter campaign in September. Despite raising over $110,000, the company fell short of its $225,000.
However, with the backing of Oculus, which is also present at CES, the exoskeleton is to attempt another funding run in February, claiming to have learnt from its past mistakes.
"We learned from the gaming community, who are brutally honest, what they expected to see and what they wanted," said Paul Yost, YEI's chief of research and development.
The most simplistic iteration of the suit uses sensors on the user’s head, elbows and wrists, with a more complex version adding trackers to shoulders, waist and legs.
"That allows you to drop on the ground, roll around, shoot under your leg, curl up into a fetal position," explained Yost.
“We have this collection of inertial sensors that combines with a software that ties all that together into this skeletal model. All that happens on the system itself, so there's no computational load on the PC other than the communication."
Yost added that he was sure the PrioVR would be in mass production by August. The consumer version of the Oculus Rift is also due for release this year, although whether gamers will have to wait until Winter for total immersion into games is yet to be seen.
Whilst the holiday sales news has largely been focused on Sony and Microsoft in the US and Europe, Nintendo continues to completely dominate the retail market in its home territory, occupying an incredible 80 percent of the top ten for the last week of 2013.
The platform holder is also very much in charge of hardware sales, with the 3DS and Wii U pushing ahead of a field of competitors which has yet to include either the Xbox One or the PS4.
All sales data is courtesy of Famitsu.
Japanese software chart, December 23-29, 2013.
01 (NEW) - The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) - 225,418
A year after Newtown, the industry is getting all the defense it needs from games it never wanted to make in the first place
The great American debate over violent video games is over. Like cigarettes being good for you, pro wrestling being real, or 9/11 being an inside job, the idea that a few hours of Grand Theft Auto can turn well-adjusted kids into middle school Manchurian Candidate killers is being clung to by a vanishingly small portion of the population.
I bring this up because this week marks the anniversary of game industry figureheads meeting with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss what can be done to prevent mass shootings like the one that took place in Newtown, CT, the previous month. As with any unspeakable tragedy, there was tremendous pressure put on politicians to make sense of something senseless, to assign blame and pass laws to ensure such horrors could never happen again. In the wake of Newtown, the spotlight shone on three potential culprits: guns, the mental health system, and violent video games. "The debate has been won on the legislative front. It exists now only in the cultural arena, and even there only for a small window longer."
While I didn't expect Obama and Biden to believe games were anywhere close to the root of the problem that the other two subjects represent, they did seem like the easiest scapegoat. After all, opponents of gun control in the US wield an incredible amount of political influence (more states responded to Newtown by loosening firearm restrictions than tightening them) and reforming mental health care in the US carries all the logistical headaches of reforming general health care (see the agony surrounding Obamacare), and combines it with the challenge of eradicating profoundly entrenched cultural stigmas. Given that, I was legitimately concerned that throwing games under the bus would be the most politically expedient course of action for the administration.
I can't say how seriously Biden and President Obama were considering pushing for laws regulating violent games, and how much their calling of game execs to the principal's office was just to appear open to options beyond gun control. But I hope I am accurate in saying that was the last moment in my life I would ever feel legitimate concern that wrong-headed legislators would constitutionally quarantine games from the rest of the creative arts. Video games, circa 2014
It was a brief moment of panic, a fleeting worry that a groundswell of public support would overrule the 2011 US Supreme Court verdict ensuring games would have the same constitutional free speech protections as any other creative art form. But that moment has passed. President Obama instead called for more research into the effects of game violence on kids, the findings of which would have almost no chance of spurring legislation, barring some sort of smoking gun. (Then again, the NRA has shown that even with a literal smoking gun, these sorts of laws are not always easy to pass.)
So the debate has been won on the legislative front. It exists now only in the cultural arena, and even there only for a small window longer. What remains now is the final push to take the impact of violent games on mass shootings from "different angle on a tragedy that may help fill time on a 24-7 cable news network" to "even Fox News wouldn't suggest this with a straight face." I believe we've actually crossed that threshold now, and can only hope I never have an opportunity to be proven right. And as much as I might congratulate the Entertainment Software Association on this development, it would be for good fortune as much as good planning. "What will finally inoculate the major players the industry from this sweeping criticism is the rise of games they would never have published..."
After decades of dealing with this issue, the tipping point was not a refinement of the ESRB rating system, a PSA campaign with cherished professional athletes, or a fundraiser to support the creation of educational games. Those are all fine and good, but they've been done plenty of times, and they haven't clinched the debate. What will finally inoculate the major players the industry from this sweeping criticism is the rise of games they would never have published, games with introspective stories about straining family ties, exploring the difficulty of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, or coping with a child's terminal cancer.
It's no coincidence that games like Gone Home, The Novelist, and That Dragon, Cancer are emerging from outside the framework of the traditional gaming industry. From the way they're made to the way they're marketed, these games run counter to everything mainstream gaming has been doing for decades. They are the products of extremely small teams, with similarly tiny budgets. They are digitally distributed, avoiding all the expenses related to getting a game in a box on Walmart's shelves. They aren't planned for traditional consoles (at least not yet), where games must pay to go through the ratings process. In the case of Gone Home and The Novelist, the creators are selling their games directly to consumers (although those who prefer can grab them off Steam). The industry will benefit greatly from efforts like The Novelist simply existing.
Despite their outsider status, these games represent the industry's best chance of making the mainstream reassess what games are and the respect they should be afforded. Until now, the non-gaming masses have split games into two general categories: colorful toys for children and ultraviolent toys for manchildren.
Did that last statement make you pause? Are you thinking of counter arguments, games that don't fit into either category in any way? If so, it's probably because you understand the industry well enough to see the nuance, to spot that oversimplification. Lots of non-gamers don't. So when they hear the game industry described as "a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against own people," they compare it to what little they know of the industry. And every holiday season, the industry spends a whole lot of money to make people think it exists solely of Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto, and other nasty-sounding titles.
Fortunately, this new breed of higher profile narrative-driven games, commercially viable titles that would rather explore a collapsing relationship instead of collapsing skyscrapers, give the industry clear counterpoints to its critics. And once people accept that the medium is not a monolithic entity, that just as with film and books and music, the best-sellers don't come close to encompassing all that is possible with the art form, then the argument shifts. At that point, the object of the outcry transitions from the medium to specific entries therein. There will always be button-pushers, headline-grabbers, experimental works that attempt to shock the conscience. But winning this debate means that from this point forward, the onus of answering for these potentially offensive works will fall more squarely where it belongs, on the people who create them instead of the medium as a whole.
And we're back. This year's UK charts have begun exactly as last year ended - with FIFA 14 sat firmly on top.In a week of no new releases, Call of Duty: Ghosts remained second, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag third and Grand Theft Auto 5 fourth.GTA5, by the way, is now the fourth biggest-selling game of all time in the UK. Numbers company Chart-Track reckons it will become the biggest-selling game ever within the next three months.EA's footy favourite has now been number one for six weeks total (yawn).Still watching Sherlock?
Digital photo frames aren’t very interesting on their own these days, but building one with a Raspberry Pi and strapping it with a bunch of useful features just might motivate you to check out this tutorial on building a ‘living’ digital photo frame.
This is [Samuel’s] first project with the Raspberry Pi, so he decided to build a digital photo frame that has the ability to download random pictures from his Flicker account and display them in a slideshow format. With all that extra IO on the Raspi, it was easy to incorporate a status LED and PIR sensor. When motion is detected by the PIR sensor, the photo frame is enabled; after 60 seconds of no movement, the photo frame is disabled by turning off the monitor port.
We love finding detailed write-ups like this because there is so much useful information in here like using the Flicker API, GPIO control, image handling, how to configure scripts to run on boot-up, and even some great troubleshooting code. If you’d rather ditch the Raspi altogether and take things down a few levels, check out this PIC based 100% DIY digital picture frame.
If you go to buy a sofa these days you’ll not only be greeted with the option of one or more reclining positions, but a fully modern unit comes with motorized reclining. That simply wasn’t convenient enough for [Nicki] and [Kevin] who wanted to control the feature from a smartphone rather than a physical interface (buttons) on the side of the furniture. What resulted is the PiSofa, a Raspberry Pi connected to the furniture’s electronics with the help of a relay board.
This is most certainly a hack, but no doubt one with a lot of finesse. Check out that white PCB. That’s right, it’s a factory spun board to keep things nice and neat. They went with one of our favorite tricks by housing everything inside of a food storage container. After some Ruby coding the Pi now has complete control of the sofa. We’re not overstating this. It literally is the only way to control it because the original buttons no longer work. But that’s okay, turns out not only does it work with their smartphones, but with a [Kevin's] Pebble watch as well.
We can’t think of any past hacks that specifically targeted the couch. But here’s a hammock that you can drive down the street.
Tired of reaching into your pocket just to lock your car's doors? You won't have to when Hyundai rolls out the 2015 Genesis sedan next year. The automaker plans to launch a Blue Link app for Google Glass that offers Genesis owners the same remote services they'd get through a smartphone, including basic remote control, maintenance updates and the option of sending Google Maps directions to the car. Drivers won't be stuck using Google's eyewear, as Hyundai promises Blue Link support for other wearables. Convenience won't be cheap when you'll need to buy both the car and at least one piece of exotic technology, but the solution will certainly be more affordable than its unofficial Tesla equivalent.
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