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Rumor: Destiny 2 has been delayed, may not release in 2016

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 5:02 pm

Bungie's sequel to its lukewarm MMO-style shooter Destiny has reportedly been delayed, with further rumblings that the developers may not know what's coming in the pipeline.




Many gamers feel that Destiny is less of a game and more of a kind of psychological experiment. Bungie has caught a lot of flak over the game's lifetime due to overpriced, insubstantial content, and now the devs fail to properly communicate with their dwindling playerbase. Amid this transparency breakdown comes massive speculation, some of which appears to be right: Bungie's plans for Destiny aren't set in stone. Thus, Destiny 2 has likely been delayed past September, and may not release in 2016 at all.


At the same time, no one's sure what's going on with Destiny. That's basically the main problem. Bungie has this insanely ambitious idea, but things keep on moving around. First the Halo creators had a 10-year "Comet" roadmap for future content, but that plan ultimately evolved and shifted into a new microtransaction-funded model. Bungie promises that this new model will launch free, substantial new content, but there's been no announcements or reveals.

Continue reading 'Rumor: Destiny 2 has been delayed, may not release in 2016' (full post)

Elite: Dangerous switching support from Oculus Rift to SteamVR instead

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 4:32 pm

Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier Developments has always been one of the original supporters of VR as it became mainstream, and they're shifting focus to concentrate on the SteamVR platform while still supporting the Oculus Rift.




Speaking to Eurogamer, Frontier said that they've altered the course of their VR focus due to SteamVR having a more stable driver out much sooner than Oculus. That doesn't mean that they won't support Oculus' solution, just that their teams will are going to more actively pursue the SteamVR solution, as that makes more sense at the moment.

Continue reading 'Elite: Dangerous switching support from Oculus Rift to SteamVR instead' (full post)

Facebook encoding 360-degree videos using pyramid geometry for VR

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 4:12 pm

With Facebook owning Oculus, it should come as no surprise that the social networking giant is optimizing 360-degree video for VR experiences. Facebook engineers are now encoding videos using pyramid geometry, which reduces their file size by a huge 80%.




The pyramid geometry technique takes flat frames, turns them into spheres, and places them inside of a pyramid. From there, it uses the highest resolution image at the base of the pyramid, with the sides "gradually decrease in quality as you go up", reports Engadget. Each pyramid has 30 different views, with Facebook creating five streaming in various resolutions for each one. Facebook then saves all 150 versions of your video on its servers, streaming the one you're looking at - depending on the speed of your Internet connection.


Before using the pyramid geometry technique, Facebook used cube mapping which reduced file sizes by 25% - but a saving of 80% is a huge deal. The company has also replaced its video processing system with Streaming Video Engine (SVE), which splits files into multiple parts in order to upload and encode them separately, all at once. This method both speeds up the encoding process, and playback, by 10x.

Ex-Ubisoft dev reveals the grim reality of AAA games development

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 3:32 pm

Many people dream of a career in making huge games like Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, but an ex-Ubisoft developer dispels the fantasy and reveals the true reality of AAA games development, and it's not so pretty.




I've often wondered what it's like working with hundreds of other developers on massive projects. In a recent blog post, an ex-Ubisoft games architect known simply as Maxime answers many of these questions and shares why he left his cushy, well-paying job at one of the most renown studios in the world so he could go indie. The result is a truly eye-opening story about the inherently flawed nature of big-budget games development.


According to Maxime, big projects are inherently unfulfilling because no one feels like they're making an real impact on a game. When there's a huge team of people, the work itself is reduced to repetitive gruntwork, severely cutting off that personal pride you feel in your creations. There's also an incredible breakdown of communication, meaning most of your team members will be ignored, regardless if they have great ideas or not. Over time, motivation wanes and the roaring inferno of passion you once felt dies down do a flickering flame...until you quit, or come to terms with your reality. Maxime compares AAA games development to an assembly line on a factory: soulless, rote, and never-ending.

Continue reading 'Ex-Ubisoft dev reveals the grim reality of AAA games development' (full post)

Skype hides your IP address, to help you from yourself

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 3:06 pm

Skype has just made a big change to the way in which their omnipresent messaging app works, adding in a level of privacy that wasn't quite there before. Now your IP address is hidden by default, to help prevent an easy avenue for launching a DDoS from.




It seems that the gaming community is the reason for this change, because of how vindictive and angry players can get if they lose, or if someone says something they don't agree with. DDoS's are a real threat carried out on a variety of scales almost daily, and Skype has previously been an easy way to facilitate that. Just use a tool to backtrace a persons IP using their Skype ID. But now that won't work, because your IP address will be obfuscated by default, a great leap forward for privacy.


"Starting with this update to Skype and moving forward, your IP address will be kept hidden from Skype users. This measure will help prevent individuals from obtaining a Skype ID and resolving to an IP address," the news update says. It's a great thing, because it was one of the easier avenues attack.

Sunset Overdrive invades Rocket League on the Xbox One

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 2:32 pm

Rocket League hasn't quite release on the Xbox One just yet, which means it might not be the success that developer Psyonix wants it to be. In order to attract as many new players as possible, they're bringing some exclusive Sunset Overdrive themed stuff into the game.




It might not be much, but they've added in an Overcharge boost which is surprisingly delightful sounding, and the Fizzie car topper, shown above. "In short, Rocket League would naturally fit with the world of Sunset Overdrive," says Marcus Smith, the creative director for Sunset Overdrive. One might be about a hipster zombie apocalypse and the other about vehicle-borne soccer (everyone not in NA), they're both whimsical and quite entertaining with their particular styles.


The Sunset Overdrive flair is the latest exclusive content to appear for the Xbox One, following on the footsteps of Halo and Gears of War themed exclusive in-game items.

OVERKILL's The Walking Dead VR game will launch in 2017

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 2:08 pm

If there's a game I want to try out, it would be OVERKILL's The Walking Dead. Starbreeze Studios has been showing off the VR shooter since E3 2015, but it has now confirmed it will be made available to gamers in 2017.




On top of this news, Starbreeze Studios announced it has received an investment from Smilegate, while securing an agreement for the release of the formers' upcoming titles in Asia, under the latters' guidance. This new partnership will see Starbreeze nab itself a 10-year right to develop, publish and distribute an all-new first-person, cooperative game based on Smilegate's CROSSFIRE franchise for Western markets, and distribution rights on the Smilegate platform.


The distribution rights are decent, as it'll allow Starbreeze to push out editions of PAYDAY 2 and OVERKILL's The Walking Dead into Asian markets, through the platform. In the press release, it notes: "OVERKILL's The Walking Dead will be expanded with more content where an Asian version will be developed for simultaneous launch with the western version. To maximize the new opportunities, Starbreeze, 505 Games and Skybound have decided to release the game in all markets during the second half of 2017. The partners are convinced this will pave the way to success, maximize revenues and cement it as a tent pole product for the next decade to come".


The one thing we don't know is whether OVERKILL's The Walking Dead will be made available on the Star VR headset - but we should hear about that in the coming months, hopefully.

Project CARS developer teases upgrades for the Oculus Rift launch

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 12:12 pm

Project CARS is still one of the best-looking games on the market, but it will get much better when VR support is delivered - with developer Slightly Mad Studios teasing it has a "whole bunch" of VR extras being prepared. The Oculus Rift launches on March 28, so we should expect VR support "as the CV1 goes live" according to Slightly Mad Studios.




SMS confirmed in a new thread on the Oculus subreddit that a new patch is being rolled out today, adding support for the public version of Oculus' v0.8 SDK. The team said: "We're rolling out a patch today that will bring the public version up to SDK 0.8. Internally we have been working for a few weeks now with the RC SDK, and as the final version will only be released when the CV1 hits the street, this means that any updates we've been working on will also roll out when that happens".


The team added: "So short term that means that you won't be getting any new features/fixes for Project CARS, but luckily it's only a very short time. As soon as the CV1 goes live, you'll be receiving a game update with a whole bunch of features, fixes, and optimizations".

Apple hires Virginia Tech professor, an expert in AR and VR technology

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 10:22 am

We're only weeks away from the launch of the Oculus Rift, with the month after seeing HTC launch its Vive headset. But now, Apple looks to finally be moving with its VR and AR plans, hiring Virginia Tech computer science professor Doug Bowman.




Bowman was listed as one of the grant winners of the HoloLens research projects, with his skills including creating 3D user interfaces for VR/AR experiences. Bowman has said that one of the ideas he's been working on for a while now is wearable displays, and full surround display prototypes. We should see Apple get into the AR game with its Titan car project, where 3D and gesture-controlled interfaces within the car would make perfect sense.

Google has made $31 billion in revenue since Android launched

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 8:28 am

Just how profitable has Android been for Google since it acquired the company? Thanks to Oracle's lawyer in their court proceedings against Google, Bloomberg reports that Android has generated $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profits since it launched.




Most of the money made has been from Google ads shown on Android phones, and from Play Store revenue. Oracle attorney Annette Hurst said: "Look at the extraordinary magnitude of commerciality here". Google, until now, has been keeping Android earnings a secret, has requested the judge to seal the transcript from that part of the hearing.


Google says the Oracle lawyer received her information from internal, confidential documents marked "Attorney's Eyes Only", and that they should never have been released. Google wrote in its request to the judge: "That non-public financial data is highly sensitive, and public disclosure could have significant negative effects on Google's business".

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