Sonder Customisable Keyboard Changes the Display of the Keys

The most used input device of a modern-day computer is the keyboard. Most of you out there use it on a daily basis and have become quite proficient with the QWERTY layout. Or maybe you prefer the Dvorak keyboard layout. This yet to be released keyboard from Sonder lets you customise your layout yourself. This includes not just letters, but emoji, shortcuts, icons for anything you want.

Customisable things are great, it means you can get them just the way that you want them. This is true for keyboards especially. Customising keyboard keys is usually having some dedicated macro keys that you can record your own key strokes and replay them whenever you want. This works fine, but most keyboards of this ilk are large and ungainly. This is where Sonder step in. 50 of its 78 keys are fully customisable, I don’t mean just what they do, but the way they look. The device is home to an e-ink screen which expands across all of the 50 customisable transparent keys.

This falls right in the ballpark of adolescent girls that only communicate with emoji. Each key could actually show the emoji on the key itself. However, this is a bit of a niche market, so what else could this be used for.

Well, imagine the myriad of short-cut combinations that programs like Photoshop use. You could switch the layout of the keyboard to display dedicated keys for all of your most used tools so you no longer have to remember every combination for every tool.

Now you have finished your day of productivity, you want to relax with a bit of gaming. Well, switch the keyboard over to display the controls for your favourite shooter. Instead of remembering your pistol is bound to the ‘3’ key, you can have a little picture of your weapon on the actual key.

Even though all these pictures show the command key of the Mac, the developers have said that they are working on a Windows version. This keyboard isn’t available yet, but you can pre-order one for $199 from the official website. The price if you don’t pre-order will be $299 upon release. The developers are planning to set up a Kickstarter campaign later this year to fund the project. It is unclear if the developers have the ability or money to put this into full production without the Kickstarter, so it may be beneficial to hold off on the pre-orders until more details are known.

Unity 5.1 adds Native Oculus Rift Support

Unity is one of the largest game engines around. The platform already supports a wide range of target technology, Windows and Linux PC’s, Macs, Android phones and tablets and iOS devices.

Virtual reality will never get off the ground without the availability of tools to make things with. Unity realised this too and one of their offerings from the newly released Unity 5.1 is native Oculus Rift support with optimized pipeline for virtual reality and augmented reality.

To further embrace the future of VR they will also be adding native support for other platforms in the near future, these include Microsoft Hololens and Gear VR. If you are interested in developing anything for these headsets there are third-party SDKs out there to help you get started.

Many games have already been developed for the Oculus Rift with Unity, this native support should see a lot more being developed in the future.

The improvements don’t just stop there though. Version 5.1 also adds the Unity Multiplayer Service. This makes building new multiplayer games a lot more simple. This new service adds Matchmaking and Relay servers which makes connection and firewall issues less common as the relay server sends traffic between the client and servers. These changes are only currently in the preview stage, but the full launch shouldn’t be too far off.

Personally I am expecting great things from Unity in the near future. They are only just getting their toes wet in the whole VR world at the moment, I expect they will be diving in much deeper over the next few updates.

Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited Sees Console Release

For all you console owning, Elder Scrolls fans out there, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited has been released for Ps4 and Xbox One.

After poor reception and player numbers a lot lower than expected, Bethesda dropped the monthly subscription to their MMORPG and released The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited for PC back in mid-March. Now the good news for all you current generation console owners, you can wreak as much havoc upon Tamriel as you want. After you have purchased TEO:TU there is no more fees to pay.

The console version has a new, controller friendly user interface as well as a custom voice chat system that makes meeting other players a lot easier. It is a shame that cross-platform play isn’t an option, if only Sony and Microsoft could work out their company policies and let everyone play nicely together. The only glimmer of hope for this is when Windows 10 goes live it should have the ability to play with Xbox One players, but if this was to happen things would have to be rebalanced as the PC controls would be a huge advantage over a controller.

If you are new to The Elder Scrolls franchise you may want to jump straight into this MMO, but if you feel like you want to be a little less social I still highly recommend Skyrim as a perfect introduction to the series. Even though it was released at the end of 2011, it is still up there as one of the best RPGs and with the myriad of mods available there will be no shortage of content.

If you are unaware of what this game is, then check out this new trailer below:

Fortnite Game Play Shown Off in New Trailer

I first came across Fortnite back towards the end of 2011 and thought the idea was a good one. At the time, the game market wasn’t as saturated with zombie-survival-building-crafting games as it is now. For some reason, until today this game had fell off my radar.

However, Epic Games have released a new trailer showing gameplay footage that has piqued my interest again. For those not aware of this game, think Team Fortress 2 where you can actually build your own fortress that you have to defend from monsters that appear from the mysterious darkness known as “the Storm”.

The game was originally developed for PC, but at the Apple’s recent World Wide Developer Conference it was shown running on Mac too. There is no news whether or not this will be a console title. It will be a free to play game and will be competing heavily with Team Fortress 2, let’s just hope this won’t be another pay-to-win title. But with TF2 having such a big following it is a large task for Fortnite to knock it off its pedestal.

This game is in alpha at the moment, with what seems like 90% of all other games. You can sign up for testing here but alpha keys seem to be like gold dust, so good luck!

Check out the video below as well as some juicy screenshots!

Trailer for Resident Evil 0 HD Released

We live in a world of zombies, they are the reanimation of old dead entities. Much like the long list of games that are being remastered, remade, enhanced, redone and fixed. There is no escape from them. I get the reason that publishers do this, money. They make more profit from ‘tarting’ up an already established game than creating one from scratch; easy money.

Although my statement above sounds negative and full of criticism, I am all for a good re-release of an old game. Even though I don’t believe that graphics is the be all and end all of a good video game, there are games I used to love that I cannot play anymore due to the poor visuals.

So as an ‘anything-zombie’ fan, I welcome another one of the Resident Evil franchise being remade. This time it’s a return to the origins of the series in an HD remaster of the 2002 original, Resident Evil 0.

Let us know if you will be enjoying the HD goodness of this when the game is released on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and PC sometime in early 2016.

Here are the new trailer and some gorgeously gloomy screenshots.


HTC Vive Virtual Reality Headsets Start to Ship to Devs

A while ago we took a brief look at the future of virtual reality and we mentioned about the HTC Vive VR headset. HTC joined forces with Valve to create the headset. A dev version of the VR equipment has begun to ship to a select few game development teams. The shipped equipment comes with the headset and two base stations.

The headset, which looks rather functional rather than appealing, is home to over 70 sensors of various kinds including an accelerometer, gyroscope and laser positional sensors. These positional sensors interact with the supplied “Lighthouse” base stations, of which, two are needed to counteract occlusion or blind spots. This positioning system is said to support multiple headsets in an area around a 15×15-foot area (that’s 4.5m x 4.5m for the metric users).

The Steam VR kit will also come with two controllers which are designed for use with the virtual reality headset and are tracked by the base stations. These controllers have taken the high-resolution trackpads from the new steam controller for a new way to move around virtual environments.

They are only shipping to a limited number of developers and according to Garry Newman, the creator of Garry’s Mod and the ever improving Rust, he is yet to get his.

Maybe he will have to wait like the rest of us for the retail release that is earmarked for some time before the year is out.

Final Fantasy Tactics Gets Its Turn on Android.

Square Enix finally release their compelling turn-based game, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on Android.

The original Final Fantasy Tactics was released in Japan back in 1997, then America in the following year. Even though it never reached the UK, I was lucky enough to have an American PlayStation and after Final Fantasy 8, Tactics was by far my favourite game in the franchise and easily in my top 10 favourite games on the original PlayStation. The Tactics game had an Advanced version for the GameBoy Advanced in 2003, which was the most played game in my collection back when I had a GameBoy Advanced and still when I upgraded to a DS, thank you Nintendo for backwards compatibility.

Way back in 2011, Square Enix released a port of the PSP title; Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, for iOS. Since I am not an Apple fan and I only ever owned a PSP for about a month, my fix of Tactics action has gone unfulfilled for nearly four years.

Thanks to Square Enix, this lack of Tactics is no longer a problem. They have finally released Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on Android!

This is all well and good. However, as with many of their titles, Square Enix have put a hefty price tag on the game. $13.99 USD and £10.49 GBP. That is a lot for what is essentially an old game. Even so, the reviews within the Google play store are mostly very positive.

So, is this game worth the high price? Well, that’s for you to decide. I may dig out my old DS instead of forking over the money for this. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Fallout 4 Official Trailer Released

Bethesda release trailer for the highly anticipated Fallout 4 which is going to be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

I never played the original Fallouts, back then I was a console gamer and never really touched PC games. So when Fallout 3 was announced nearly 11 years ago, I was excited and not one of those people that thought the game should never have been a Fallout title. In fact, when it was released over 4 years later, I was one of the lucky ones that got it a day early thanks to an online retailer. I originally got it for the Xbox 360 and on one save game alone, racked up 180 hours fairly quickly. I loved this game, I got all the achievements for the 360 and decided to go for the Games for Windows Live version too. I racked up many more hours and maxed the achievements again. This was the game that turned me into a PC gamer. Even though it was a slightly buggy port of the console version, it ran better and keyboard and mouse win over a controller with this type of game.

A couple of years later, Fallout New Vegas was released. It was not too bad, but I felt it could have just been a DLC for Fallout 3 instead of its own game. I played it a little; then played it a little more when high-resolution mods came out for the PC version. But deep inside, all I wanted was a brand new Fallout game.

Well, Bethesda have answered my prayers and have just released a trailer showing in-game footage. I’m not going to analyse the footage, I’m just going to let you take a look at it yourself. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Intel Announces New Xeon Processor E3-1200 v4 Product Family

Intel have introduced another new product family, the Xeon processor E3-1200 v4. This chip is aimed at data centres and servers that are heavy on graphics. This announcement came at today’s Computex 2015 event.

The internet as it is today is very graphical. Visual content is all around us and there will be no getting away from it. This demand is changing the workloads of data centres, with growing need to deliver video content and 3D applications to end devices.

This is where the new Xeon processor E3-1200 v4 comes into the picture. It has up to 1.8 times the overall graphics performance and 1.4 times more video trans-coding.

At the time of writing this, the E3-1200 v4 comes in 5 flavours, ranging from 1.8GHz to 3.5GHz. All of which are bases on 14 nm transistor technology of the Broadwell micro-architecture and performance optimised for graphics intensive workloads.

These new chips harness the power of Intel Iris Pro graphics P6300 which is also seen in many Broadwell based intel chips for laptops and it competes very well against Nvidia dedicated laptop GPU’s. The inclusion of this enables the better handling of graphical content and demand for remote workstation applications. Intel Graphics Virtualization Technologies (Intel GVT) enables dedicated or shared access to the Iris Pro.

No mention of price yet, but if they are reasonable I would bet there will be a few people investing for their home PC’s.

New SOMA Trailer From the People Who Gave Us Amnesia.

Frictional Games, the makers of the Amnesia and Penumbra series have just released a gameplay trailer for their upcoming Sci-Fi horror game, SOMA.

Despite the name, I remember everything about Amnesia: Dark Descent. It was a game of slightly clichéd flashbacks, ghosts and notes that led Daniel down the road of rediscovery. The game was well devised and it was enjoyable. The trend for good games continues with the sequel, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Which had darker undertones and was generally more gruesome.

The minds behind these games posted on their website:

“After almost five years of blood, sweat and tears we can finally make the following announcement: SOMA, our upcoming sci-fi horror game, will be released on the 22nd September this fall on PS4 and PC.”

The new trailer shows off some of the gameplay. You play the role of Simon and you are in what looks to be some sort of power station where the workers have been killed and their robot helpers all but destroyed. The game consists of some puzzle elements and if the creators past games are anything to go by, a few jump scares too.

According to the official website Simon is not an amnesiac, he knows who he is but isn’t sure on his situation. So no more looking for clues into his past like previous games. Take a look at the SOMA gameplay below, let us know what you think in the comments. The game is set to be released on the 22nd September 2015, don’t forget!

Thank you for providing us with this information.

Advent Sci-Fi Game Teased by 2K.

2K, the people behind Bioshock, have tweeted an obscure reveal of what looks to be a new game. Of course at this point it could be anything, but the safe money is on it being a game.

So what is this Advent? From the look of the images that have been released and the quite informative in-world website, it looks to be a futuristic city. One that you wouldn’t be shocked to see Rick Deckard running amok in.

On the website there is a pamphlet that details the Advent gene therapy that apparently has saved millions, boasting a world without illness or pain. So what else could it be other than a George Orwell inspired, too good to be true, futuristic dystopia.

The website, tweet and pamphlet all leave a lot to the imagination, but there are theories out there that this could be the new X-COM game. Or more probable, the universe that follows on from Rapture and Columbia in the Bioshock series. This could all be wrong, as internet theories usually are, and be a new IP for 2K. What look to be a screen shot of the in game world don’t look to me as sequels to either of the aforementioned games, it looks more like a Sim City style game. All this is conjecture, it’s only one little glimpse of an otherwise mysterious thing. I’m sure the internet will be rife with more theories about what this new game is, but the only true way is to wait and see what 2K has in store for us.

Guild Wars 2 Beta Testing New Expansion

Many games have DLC and expansions. Some of these are made even before the game has been released and they are just left to be unlocked after a certain time. Guild Wars 2, on the other hand, has been around for nearly 3 years now and is yet to see any expansions. However, on the 26th of May, closed beta testing of “Heart of Thorns” begins.

Guild Wars 2 has seen updates that add new areas and tweak gameplay, but it has yet to see a true expansion. Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns isn’t going to up the level cap of 80 for your characters, but instead introducing a Mastery System. This offers master abilities such as hang-gliding and new collections that can earn legendary weapons.

The new adventure will take place in the Maguuma Jungle, it will include a new storyline and events along with new challenging boss battles. To aid you in the quest to conquer the jungle, there is a new profession being added with the expansion. The Revenant, which is heavily armoured and equipped to channel legendary powers of the Mists.

If this doesn’t tempt you into starting a new character, there are specialisations for your already matured character which allows you to unlock weapons that were previously unavailable, as well as new skills, traits and unique mechanics which will give your characters profession a new feel.

Another addition that Heart of Thorns brings, is that of a new game mode. Called Stronghold, in this PvP game mode offers a new way to play, you gather supplies and battle for control of heroes in an attempt to defeat the guild lord.

There are additions that allow you and fellow guild members to build a guild hall in the jungle of Maguuma. A new WvW map called Borderland.

To get in on the beta testing action there are a few hoops you have to jump through, but I’m sure there will be plenty of streamers out there ready to show off the new content. The beta is to specifically test the stability of the new PvE event structure along with using the new Revenant profession.

Testing is scheduled as follows:
– 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7)
– 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7)
– 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) to 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7)
So look out at those times for the live streams, or if you are one of the lucky ones that got to beta test, make sure you are free!

Witcher 3 for PC Gets Another Graphics Patch (v1.04).

When you install a game and it takes around 35 Gigabytes of room on your hard drive, you expect it to be pretty good. In the case of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this was not the case. The graphics were not as CD Projekt Red had promised us.

The Witcher 3 was released on the 18th May with pre-order sales around the 1.5 million mark. It is the top seller on Steam and has seen some very good reviews. However, the graphics for the PC has had a bad press from its release, it wasn’t as good as we had been led to believe, but to the credit of CD Project Red, the games developer and publisher, they are not just sitting back and watching the money roll in. They have been actively trying to give us what they set out to in the beginning.

The new patch that has just been relesed, v1.04, sees a multitude of changes (see release notes at the end of the post). I myself am a Witcher 3 player, and slightly eerily the spec of my machine is that of the recommended specs of the game, exactly, and from the changes that were made from 1.01 to 1.03, I saw a drastic drop in the frame rate. It was a drop of around 20fps. The game did look slightly better I must admit, but not enough to sacrifice that many frames per second. So I am hoping, along with the rest of the players, that this patch will cure-all the problems. If it doesn’t, at least we can rebind keys now!

Please find the list of changes below:

  • Rebinding of all keys is now available after switching on the ‘Unlock Bindings’ option in the Options\Key Bindings submenu.
  • Corrects an issue in the dialogue system that might have caused dialogue looping in certain scenes.
  • Fixes an issue with incorrect behavior of Wild Hunt warriors after they were affected by the Axii Sign.
  • Corrects a bug that caused spontaneous combustion of gas clouds.
  • 1280 x 720 resolution is now properly displayed as a valid resolution option.
  • Fixes boat stuttering in cutscenes.
  • Texture rendering quality for the high and ultra presets has been improved.
  • Further improvements made in NVIDIA Hairworks performance.
  • A few additional gwent cards are now available in the Prologue area.
  • Fixes an issue where users with usernames incorporating non-Latin characters were unable to import saves from The Witcher 2.
  • Includes a series of overall stability and performance improvements.
  • Fixes issues related to alt + tabbing and minimizing the game window.
  • Updates the game icon.
  • Enlarges the loot pop-up window in the UI.
  • Fixes an issue where, in certain circumstances, the comparison window could extend beyond the game borders in the UI.
  • Upgrading items included in gear sets no longer destroys rune sockets on said items.
  • Introduces small tweaks in the UI for gwent.
  • Corrects some missing translations in localized versions.

Google Developing New Internet of Things OS

Many everyday objects are now ‘smart’ and connected to the internet. If you feel the need to have everything automated or you want to check your email using a toaster, then you might be in luck. Google are working on a new operating system, ‘Brillo’, for low powered devices that could run on as little as 32 megabytes of RAM.

To bolster Google’s attempt to have a finger in every pie, the global giant are looking to make a new OS that would run on low amounts of RAM and power. Their aim is to develop software that can power any electronic device that can connect to the internet, even if it doesn’t have a digital screen. To put things in perspective, the aim is to have the software run on 32 megabytes of random-access memory, but at the moment its fully fledged older brother, Lollipop, is aiming at phones with a minimum of 512MB RAM. So there is quite a step down from its sibling, but this could be good news for embedded devices like the Arduino and other embedded tech.

The team developing the OS are linked to the company’s Android unit, so it isn’t a giant leap to think that it will be released with the Android brand. However, for now they are calling the software ‘Brillo’.

Google aren’t the first to get into the Internet of things market, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 IoT core, Huawei announced recently an OS for IoT gadgets that is only 10kb in size and Samsung have announced a series of chips designed for IoT devices. So with all these large companies jumping on the bandwagon, it’s safe to assume that the Internet of Things is just around the corner and our truly connected lives are about to begin.

Thank you theinformation for providing us with this information.

Windows 10 on the Xbox One Sometime After Summer

Microsoft Windows is very popular. Whether you are a fan of the operating system or not, you have probably used some version of Windows. In fact, a lot of you will be using it to read this article right now. From some time after summer you will be able to run your Xbox One on Windows 10.

Microsoft’s vision for Windows 10 has always been one of many devices with one operating system.  They scrapped Windows Phone and Windows RT and are now just having Windows 10 replace them all. Windows is used on the Xbox One as we speak, it’s what runs the app environment, but next the plan is to have your Xbox One upgrade to Windows 10.

For a while now Microsoft has made available an Xbox app for Windows. Allowing you to chat with your Xbox friends, connect with your console and of course, checking that you still have more gamerscore than your 10 year old nephew.

With Windows 10 still in development for all the platforms, the Xbox version will be no different and be introduced as a beta. It was tweeted by Xbox boss Phil Spencer that this was coming “post-summer.”

Of course, this is quite vague, but I am sure there will be more news at E3 in June.  Details are still vague at what changes this will make to the Xbox One, but with the PC version of Fable Legends’ players being able to play against Xbox One players, the introduction of Windows 10 could only be good news for cross platform rivalry.

Thank you Microsoft News  for providing us with this information.

First Look at the New DOOM Game, All 3 Seconds of it.

Gamers of a certain generation will have fond memories of the original DOOM game. It introduced another reason to have a PC other than mundane office tasks. After that, multiple sequels and remakes keep the DOOM name alive today.

In December of 1993, the original was released and millions of players enjoyed traversing the corridors killing 2D monsters in a 3D world.  Things progressed nicely, the visuals improved over time and the games stayed popular. The last iteration of DOOM that was released was DOOM 3 BFG Edition.  This was a remake of DOOM 3 with the addition of enhanced graphics, improved sound and more gory horror effects.  This version also included a checkpoint style save system that was a welcomed addition.

All this was back in October of 2012 and nothing much has been seen since. Until now. The new game will be unveiled at Bethesda’s E3 showcase on the 14th of June.  The game was first announced in 2008 with a multitude of ups and downs, not to mention a change of publisher and bouncing back from being scrapped. This time maybe it will actually get released.

To keep all you DOOM fan’s interests piqued, here is a whole 3 seconds of gameplay from the upcoming game.


Facebook Messenger Games on their Way?

Facebook’s attempt to make their social network and instant messenger separate entities has had mixed opinions. This divergence looks like it is about to be bolstered with the addition of games to the Messenger platform.

The Messenger has seen improvements such as emojis, gifs and sound-clips since the launch of the platform 2 months ago. Even though the introduction of games doesn’t have a definitive date, the additions could increase revenue quite significantly and draw more people to the platform. However, the more people that get drawn to playing games on the Messenger platform could take away from the Facebook games that are already popular and we could see a bizarre phenomenon of Messenger becoming the new Facebook.

Facebook’s executive Ilya Sukhar, the one in charge of Facebook Messenger, has confirmed that they are in talks with games developers for the platform, but has said nothing more about the matter.

There is also no word on whether or not the games will be downloadable by the Messenger app or just use it as communication between players.

Facebook opened up their Messenger service to third-parties back in march, and with developers slow to take advantage of this, the introduction of games may not gain traction, or even materialise in the first place.

Would you play games through Facebook Messenger? Or would more Saga’s just be too much to handle. Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Will 2016 Be the Year of Virtual Reality?

With quite a few announcements reaching us about VR hardware and software, 2016 is shaping up to be the year of virtual reality. Promises of retail units of headsets from Oculus, Sony, HTC and others, not to mention software from studios such as Ubisoft; your virtual reality dreams may be about to come true.

The Oculus Rift may have let the world know that virtual reality could be a mainstream technology, but nearly 3 years after its announcement and a change of ownership, the Rift is not the only runner in this VR race. Facebook owned Oculus say that their retail version will hit stores in Q1 of 2016, but will this be too late? The HTC Vive is said to be being released by the end of 2015 and that isn’t the only VR offering that will be around next year.

Sony’s Project Morpheus also has a slated release date of 2016 and will go up against the Rift with similar spec and predicted price point. The main thing separating the two headsets would be the aesthetics. I think that most of you will agree that Sony’s offering will be the one taking home the beauty pageant ribbons, but as the saying goes; beauty is only skin deep.

Other potential rivals in the VR marketplace include the Samsung Gear VR, which uses Oculus Rift technology, Microsoft HoloLens and probably everyone first steps in the virtual reality, the Google Cardboard.

But what is the use of all this new technology if there isn’t anything that uses it? Apart from the slew of indie studios that adapt their creations to work with VR headsets, in an attempt to create a unique selling point for their otherwise empty games, there hasn’t been many big studios willing to jump on the virtual bandwagon, at least until Ubisoft announced that they will release a number of titles in 2016.  Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to induce vertigo with a virtual reality fuelled leap of faith?

Image courtesy of Overclock3D

So, with the gaming side of things taken care of by Ubisoft, not to mention the other big studios that will surely follow in their footsteps, there is still room in the entertainment schedule for more. This has been realised first by Discovery Channel, according to they are already filming a number of shows in VR, including Mythbusters. Adam will be rejecting your reality and substituting it with his own for real now.

Image courtesy of Discovery UK