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January 25, 2015

Gaming Thread in AR

John Hill, father of the modern wargame passed away on the 12th. So many games can be traced back to his hit Squad Leader. Without him, the wargaming genre would be in worst shape.



So Microsoft has finally showed off their Forteleza Project last week and it's a lot different than what everyone was expecting. The original idea was a pair of glasses that paired with a phone or Xbox One but under it's new working name, HoloLens, it's now more akin to an HMD.

I'm actually okay with this as though it's not going to be something wear outside, it's a nice stop gap till it can be shrunk down to an actual pair of glasses while actually being able to do Augmented Reality properly (unlike Google Glass). And the bulk lets everything sit behind the glasses instead outside like everyone else's design which is something I think needs to be done to get wide appeal. Also think that making it be able to be a stand alone item with it's own built in cpu, gpu and a specialized chip to handle all the movement and voice data and whatnot (I'm kinda expecting an iteration of what is in the Kinect).

Now that name, HoloLens, I can't say I like that name. Should have gone with HaloLens :D but I can understand why they might shy away from it after Google kinda let people down with AR. And though calling it holograms is cooler, it's not correct as it's not holograms (which personally I think is an outdated concept), it's just AR even if they're calling it Mixed Reality, a combination of AR and VR.

I do wish they weren't so tight lipped on what was in the innards though. Only thing that has come out is that it's the first known product to contain Intel's new Cherry Trail chip. I do like they've built in FOV rendering as it tracks your eyes in what to render and it also includes their wedge tech which bounces light all around till it hits your eyes.

Of course, it still comes down on if it will work or not. The hands on impressions after the presser have been glowing but it will be interesting if it will work outside of a closely watched hands-on. It's always thought that we're about 6-8 years away from AR being a reality but if they showed wasn't smoke and mirrors, this cuts that assumption down to a year or two. And if it does work, I'm curious in how the stop gap that is VR is going to fare.

If there is one thing to say about Satya Nadella, unlike Gates and Ballmer, he doesn't seem to be timid when it comes to actually announcing the future stuff that Microsoft makes in their research labs.

Going to make GDC and Build very interesting in what comes out of it.


Other Microsoft Stuff

At the conference, they also announced a new version of the XBox app for Windows 10. It's in the preview version of Windows and it's for the most part a mash of the Windows 8 app and Smartglass mobile app. It's cool they added a built in recording program but I'm curious in how many people are actually going to use it over the known programs like FRAPS or even Nvidia's ShadowPlay.

They also announced that they're going to take another stab at cross-play between the PC and Xbox One. They've tried it a few times before in the past and it's been a horrible experience (gamepads make you cannon fodder, who knew?). From their initial statements, I don't think limiting PC players to only using a pad is a good or the right fix though.

Being able to stream your Xbox One games to your PC and Tablets is okay I guess. Sticking with it being only on wireless LAN not so much. Though it doesn't really work that well on the PS4, being able to stream your games over the net would be a nice feature to include.

On the DX12 front, they didn't say anything new. Just the same statements that it gives you more command queues between your GPU and CPU. The cool stuff is going to be announced at GDC and Build.

They didn't say anything about cloud computing which sucks. Hopefully they fully unwrap that stuff at Build.



So 3 million suckers have bought into the early access of the DayZ stand alone game. Feel bad for those people.

• UbiSoft announced a new game called Grown Home and it looks like a lot of fun.

• Throw away all your bad thoughts about a straight to VOD Dead Rising movie and think lower. Sad seeing Meghan Ory and Dennis Haysbert in this.


Can't make up my mind in what is the least surprising news of the week

CEO of Apex which runs THE Smash Brothers tournament stepping down because he likes girls, girls that are barely teenagers.


Elder Scrolls Online is dropping subs and going to a Buy To Play setup.


• New trailer for the upcoming Star Wars Battle Pod game and Arcade Heroes did an awesome interview with the Lead Producer on the project

So Riot announced that this year's League of Champions World Championship is going to be in Europe. Kinda surprised they're not having it in South Korea so they can have players roll out of their beds at home and into the arena.

It was supposed to start last month but that Powers TV show is coming to the PS4 on March 10th. This is gonna be so bad.

&bull You knew it was coming but GearBox and Take-Two finally announced the release of the Pre-Sequel for current gen. Also coming with Borderlands 2 (with DLC).

• New trailer for the upcoming Project Cars

Been a few years since Sid Meier's worked on a game (the two Ace Patrol games being the last ones in 2013) so it's time for another game he's worked on at Firaxis. This one is called Sid Meier's Starships, a new space 4X. From the press release, it sure sounds a lot like Sins of the Solar Empire.



Dying Light (PC, PS4, 360, XBO) - Techland (Dead Island) going back to the zombie well with the added bonus of parkour. You can find tons of footage of it on youtube, it doesn't look bad. That being said, it's a Techland game and it has a release date review embargo. Those two things should send a shiver down anyone's spine if you know of the woes of pretty much any of their games releases (only Call of Juarez: Gunslinger wasn't broken at launch). I can't say I would touch this game this week.

Grim Fandango: Remastered (PC, PS4, Vita) - Not really a remaster (new lighting) and not really a remake (most of stuff is up-rezzed). Double Fine needs money, they're hoping dusting off this classic P&C will help. I know this is a major want but I've personally don't have fond recollection of this game. For a swan song of the LucasArts point and click era (Full Throttle was the swan song for me), I remember being quite disappointed in it. The puzzles weren't interesting or complete and it was a huge tryhard in it's writing and atmosphere which lead to one of the biggest disappointments when it comes to an ending. For something being better with rose tinted glasses, this is very much one.

Life Is Strange (PC, PS4, PS3, 360, XBO) - Dontnod's first game was the cool concept but horrible game Remember Me and they're back with an episodic game (containing 5 episodes) called Life Is Strange which deals with a young girl who can manipulate time and it's full butterfly effect. If you've been paying attention to all who have tried doing episodic content, it's never been done well before (not even Telltale has been able to do it right). They're trying to release an episode every 6 weeks but I'll be surprised if they actually make that. Though I may be skeptical, the trailers does make it look really cool.

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posted by Gang of Gaming Morons! at 03:25 PM

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