Postal Redux Dev “Microsoft Lacking in its Commitment to Gamers”

Prior to the Xbox One’s release, Microsoft managed to forge a huge player base and competed with Sony despite being the major underdog. While part of this is down to Sony’s mistakes with expensive hardware and the overly complicated Cell architecture, you have to give Microsoft credit for the Xbox 360’s superb library. Granted, they did lose a lot of respect with the Red Ring of Death fiasco. Although, it’s important to remember Sony consoles also experienced the Yellow Light of Death but this was to a lesser extent. Unfortunately, Microsoft reversed much of their hard work during the Xbox One’s launch and angered the core gaming demographic.

Reports about banning the use of pre-owned games, having to check in online every 24 hours and the focus on US sport shows didn’t sit well with Xbox 360 fans. Eventually, the company’s management realized this and appointed Phil Spencer to the leading role. Despite making numerous changes and showcasing Microsoft’s passion towards core games, it seems this viewpoint isn’t shared by everyone. In a recent interview with Gamingbolt, Running with Scissors’s CEO Vince Desi said:

“[Microsoft lack] a commitment to gamers,”

Running with Scissors is the development team behind Postal Redux and this is an extremely bold claim to make. While there have been some rumours circulating about Microsoft’s management being unhappy with the Xbox division, this is purely speculation. Furthermore, Microsoft have invested money into development studios and funded excellent games like Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive. It’s clear they are lingering behind in the console market and struggling to compete with Sony. It’s interesting to see their renewed focus on the PC platform and trying to bring PC gamers and console players together through a single ecosystem. At the moment, it’s not working out too well due to the UWP restrictions and the technical mess seen on a number of  games.

Do you think Microsoft is committed to gamers?

Spintires Removed From Steam

Ever felt like going off-road and bringing that large truck of yours into the wilderness to enjoy the outdoors? Spintires looked to do just that giving you the ability to enjoy an off-road driving experience based in Russia. The game may be no more though as it has now been pulled from Steam, with issues between the creator and the publisher, causing more than a few little bumps in its development.

The creator, Pavel Zagrebelnyj, came out last week and stated that he was still owed money by the publisher, the UK-based publisher company Oovee. Oovee state that while they are late their accounts are still filed, meaning that Zagrebelnyj would soon receive his money.

That may not be enough though as the game has experienced a recent slew of bugs and malfunctions. These have in fact been due to timebombs, certain pieces of code that go off after certain amounts of time or set dates. The time bombs were supposedly created by Zagrebelnyj, but have since been patched by a user with unofficial fixes.

Oovees are keen to deny any speculation that it may have been due to international sabotage, claiming to have been working with Pavel since the bugs were discovered.

With no option to buy the game on Steam, users may be disappointed as the signs point to development ending on this game and a sour relationship between the creator and publisher for what could have been an interesting game.

Developer “Guarantees Nintendo NX Won’t Have Third-Party Support”

Nintendo’s upcoming console codenamed, ‘NX’ is shrouded in secrecy, and no-one really knows what the latest device will entail. There are various rumours stemmed from patents which suggest the product will be a hybrid mobile/home console unit and create a brand new experience. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s previous effort, the Wii U, fared quite badly due to poor marketing and a lack of third-party support.

The Wii U branding confused consumers and made them believe it was an accessory for the original Wii. Furthermore, the console’s lacklustre power and strange launch date before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 alienated third-party developers. It didn’t take long for key publishers including Ubisoft to discount the system because of the small user-base and terrible sales. This has been a major problem in the past few generations for Nintendo, as they rely too much on first party titles. While their IPs are incredible, the company cannot ignore third-party support for a prolonged period.

Despite this, it appears Nintendo hasn’t learnt anything from their mistakes, and could struggle to entice third-party developers to support the platform according to The Ori and the Blind Forest director, Thomas Mahler:

“This is actually THE singlest most annoying thing for every dev out there. We also talked to Nintendo and got absolutely nothing – I’ll never understand that. And just to be clear, it’s not just Nintendo, every hardware manufacturer is treating their devkits and their unreleased consoles like they’re the second coming and are insanely secretive about it to a stupid degree in todays time. It’s not even that the hardware isn’t finished (duh), but you could at least give me the goddamn specs, so we’d know what to build s**t for!”

“What’s needed to sell hardware is goddamn good software. With Nintendo not having any devkits out there at this point and probably even wanting to sell it in 2016, I can already guarantee that they’ll just not have any software support, since nobody can just jumble games together in less than a year. I mean, you can, but it’ll be garbage.”

“The same is true for Engine Support – Get Unity and Epic to support these consoles WAAAAY ahead of release. By the time the console launches, it should be EASY for developers to develop games for these systems, things shouldn’t just only start at this point. I want the goddamn devkits or at least proper hardware specs ideally 2 years before release – Keep all the developers updated, start a forum where devs can chat and figure out all the problems everyone’s having, instead of everyone just having to deal with it. None of that’s happening anywhere and it’s just braindamaged.”

If this is the case, Nintendo really doesn’t understand the current market, and cannot rely on their first party games forever. There will be a point when dedicated Nintendo fans begrudge the lack of third-party games and need to purchase another console to access other titles. Clearly, this might not be true and an example of a developer venting frustrations online. However, it doesn’t look good, and raises questions about Nintendo’s management.

Lead Behind Apple Car Leaves Company

Its been on the cards for a while that Apple has been looking at making a car. They’ve even gone so far as to invoke the wrath of Elon Musk by taking in staff straight from Tesla. The Apple Car project hasnot been shown off to the public yet, but it’s already caught people’s attention, it would seem to be in trouble though with the lead behind the project leaving the company.

Steve Zadesky, an employee with an impressive 16 years at Apple, is said to have been running the secret project behind the companies exploration into vehicles for two years; Zadesky is departing from the company for personal reasons.

Zadesky started for Apple in 1999 and has worked on their first iPod’s and iPhones, meaning he has been there to see some of their greatest moments. With a recent expansion for the electric car project, offering to triple their staff from 600 to almost two thousand, the projects green light for 2019 looks to be getting closer and closer.

This latest revelation could be yet another to a long line of knocks that the project has taken, with reports coming in that they have not only had trouble laying out goals for the project but that they have been given “ambitious deadlines” which the teams involved feel might not be attainable.

People leaving companies can come for various reasons, personal or professional, but the biggest threat is that leaders of projects and experts in their areas leave when the project is at its most vulnerable. If the information is correct we wish Zadesky the best in the future and look forward to seeing Apple’s progress with this project.

Portugal’s Piracy Blocklist Censors US Indie Developer

Portuguese internet server providers currently have a voluntary agreement with anti-piracy groups and began blocking hundreds of websites which allegedly host links to copyrighted content. This allows copyright holders to easily add new pirate sites to the blocklist without requiring any jurisdiction from a court. More specifically, websites should contain a minimum of 500 links to infringing material to be flagged. Of course, ISPs prefer this scheme because it doesn’t cost them any money to become involved in expensive legal proceedings on behalf of their customers. However, blocklists have a propensity to wrongfully include certain websites with legitimate content.

For example, according to TorrentFreak, US indie developer, Carbon Games has for some bizarre reason been added to the blocklist. The issue was first reported by Revolução dos Bytes, and confirmed various ISPs including NOS, MEO and Vodafone had restricted access. This is quite an embarrassing turn of events, and showcases the pitfalls of content flagging via blacklists. I’m not entirely sure how Carbon Games’ website fell prey to the algorithm as it’s only meant to apply to websites with loads of illegitimate referrals.

Thankfully, the block is easily circumvented by accessing the website using a non-www address. Additionally, users can change their DNS to something that doesn’t rely on their ISP, such Google DNS or OpenDNS. Once again, this illustrates how pointless many blocklists are, because they can be expensive to implement and take seconds to circumvent. Perhaps, a more sensible approach would be to keep the internet’s open ideology and stop profit organizations from seeking control. In almost every circumstance, anti-piracy measures appear to make the situation worse for rightholders, or legitimate customers. I can’t see this changing anytime soon though, and if anything, anti-piracy groups are becoming more aggressive and a threat to the internet’s open roots.

I’d love to hear if you’ve experienced any problems accessing legitimate websites.

Raven’s Cry Developer Claims “Anything Above 30FPS Does Not Matter”

PC gaming has always been about choice and the freedom to select between extremely high image quality. smooth framerate or a balance of both with the appropriate hardware. As a result, PC players are accustomed to 60 frames-per-second gameplay and some users even play games at framerates in excess of 120FPS. In contrast to this, the majority of console games only run at 30 frames-per-second due to performance constraints and prioritize resolution over framerate. Evidently, 60 frames-per-second is superior and produces much smoother gameplay despite outlandish claims by Ubisoft that it creates a more “cinematic experience.”

According to a Steam post found by The Dark Side of Gaming, the developer of Raven’s Cry made a number of bizarre statements regarding the lack of optimization and suggesting SLI isn’t incorporated due to development costs:

“On the one hand it is quite understandable, that a customer who spent 600+ bucks on a high end card (e.g 980Ti) expects that a game runs faster than on a 2 years old (e.g.780 GTX) – on the other hand … if you put two or four engines in a car it will be probably not run faster than with one powerful engine. It will for sure be more heavy and bigger, consume more fuel and be very expensive. Please notice, that the developers of the well known Benchmarks receive any support, money and any hardware they want from the graphic card manufacturers … we received the last free graphic card 5 years ago, never ever any money and have to purchase graphic cards like an end user without any discount in retail.”

Not only that, he also went onto suggest that 30 frames-per-second creates the optimal experience:

“And I may add something: it was not our intention to create a graphic benchmark. VCR is a complex RPG with unique characters and story driven. Our focus is on interesting quest chains (which are very difficult to create) and not on frames per second. Beside this I thing that anything above 30 FPS does not matter for the gaming experience. And on my PC i7, GF 780GTX the game runs with 4K never below 30 FPS. No idea what it does on a GF980ti – I heard it is sometimes slower.”

The latest sentence is frankly unbelievable and demonstrates a reckless and unprofessional attitude towards game development. You cannot just overlook the requirements of the high-end market and dismiss them so easily. Furthermore, if the game runs worse on better hardware, then there’s something wrong with the level of optimization and the developer’s coding prowess. This entire line of thinking is laughable as 60 frames-per-second clearly makes such a substantial difference to the core experience barring a few casual titles which rely on text or a basic art style.

Apple TV Game Sales Are Woeful

Apple described the Apple TV 2015 edition during a press conference as “the future of television” and reports suggested the company was going to have a renewed focus on the gaming sector. Unfortunately, this never came to fruition and only a few games were demoed on the show floor. While Apple did increase their efforts to cater towards the gaming audience, it was much less than we anticipated. Part of the problem revolves around the remote control which offers a poor level of precision in various genres. According to TouchArcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp, who published an editorial, this is having a major impact on sales:

“I’ve been talking to many different developers who have released games or apps on the device, and the general vibe is that if things don’t turn around following Christmas, Apple is going to have a real problem on their hands,”  

“‘Successful’ apps are making $100 a day on a good day, with revenue continuing to trail off since launch.”

It’s absolutely absurd to see apps making $100 per day being described as “successful” and Apple has to rethink their strategy. Perhaps a controller add-on, or revamped interface with the remote control will encourage more people to purchase games via the Apple TV. Up to this point, it seems most people are using the Apple TV 2015 for media streaming and not gaming purposes. This makes it a fairly useless platform for developers considering the huge amount of alternatives including Android devices, PC, and consoles.

Unofficial Zelda Maker is Available on PC

Mario Maker on the Wii U has been described as “Nintendo’s Minecraft” and allows players to let their creativity flourish. The game features a number of advanced tools and user-creations are bound to test your reaction times. Unfortunately, as a Wii U exclusive, the PC will never be able to experience the joy in Mario Maker. However, an independent developer has created a fan-project for PC based around the Zelda universe. Here’s what the project entails:

“Zelda Maker (Temp) is a non-official project started by myself, which will allow players to create and share Legend of Zelda worlds of their own. Nintendo might cease and desist a project like this, so in time, when I’ve got the ability to change the sprites, I will do so, and I will also add things that Zelda games don’t have to make it a somewhat unique experience. Regardless, I won’t be acting like this isn’t going to be a Zelda (Maker?) clone, through and through. I’d just like to add some things that I think official Zelda games could use. This is a very early build of the game, and it does not represent what the final game will look like.”

As an unofficial creation, it’s likely Nintendo will demand its removal given their less-than-stellar track record. Although, the pixel art, and gameplay looks absolutely stunning! I wish Nintendo would support projects like this from fans who invest so much time and skill in honoring memories from their childhood.

Despite being in such an early stage of development, The Legend of Zelda Maker has loads of potential and I could easily spend hours creating dungeons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1OlEyY6e-A

You can download the Alpha release here, but I would be fairly quick as Nintendo lawyers will no doubt shut down the official links quite quickly.

Frostbite’s Senior Graphic Programmer Leaves DICE to Join Unity

Unity has been steadily gaining in popularity with developers, as it’s very easy to work with and from my own experiences pretty easy to learn too. It’s quite VR friendly, meaning a lot of new and existing developers have been tempted by what it offers, especially those toying around with tech demos for Oculus Rift and the plethora of VR devices that are soon to be released.

The latest incarnation, Unity 5, is putting up solid competition against the likes of Unreal Engine, Frostbite and many others, but the battle just took an interesting turn as Frostbite’s senior graphic programmer, Sébastien Lagarde, who has been with DICE for two years, is now leaving DICE behind to join Unity as their Director of Rendering Research.

This is bad news for DICE, who will now need to replace Lagarde, but it’s obviously very good news for Unity and no doubt good news, in the long term, for the who use Unity technology. Who know’s, maybe one day Unity will be even better than Frostbite, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Have you ever used Unity or Frostbite? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Famous YouTuber Asked For $22,000 to Cover Indie Game

The popularity of gaming channels on YouTube is astonishing and already surpassed the influence of many leading print-based websites. Also, the huge array of indie games on Steam means it’s very easy to be overlooked and requires marketing from a YouTube personality or website. Ideally, indie developers would like to engage in an advertising campaign but this isn’t possible given their limited budget. As YouTubers become more powerful, there is a greater chance of personalities having a sense self-importance and making outrageous demands.

According to a post on Reddit, this appears to be the case as Ben Tester from Wales Interactive claims a very famous, undisclosed YouTuber asked for $22,000 to cover an unknown title. The developer in question created Soul Axiom and initially offered to send a review code. Ben divulged the course-of-events and said:

“On one of my normal PR rounds I received an email from a very popular YouTuber with a few million subscribers offering to have one of our games featured on their YouTube channel for a rate of either $17,600 for 2-3 talking points or $22,000 for 2-3 talking points AND a description link,”

“An interesting Tweet I saw from SteamSpy this afternoon claims there doesn’t seem to be much of a correlation between number of Steam sales a game has after it’s been covered by a popular YTer,”

He also clarified that the YouTube channel is genuine and declined the monetary offer:

“I must stress that I emailed the YTer first to ask if they would like to receive a free code for our game to play for their channel. The YTer did NOT mention anything about making a ‘positive’ promotion nor was this a scam from a fake YTer. Finally I’d like to state that I refused the offer.”

The traditional gaming press has a terrible reputation with consumers and often seen as untrustworthy. This now appears to be plaguing at least one major YouTube channel and it’s unknown how widespread this problem is. Perhaps, it’s always best to be cautious and not idolize and kind of celebrity to prevent disappointment.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Has a 14-Year-Old Hacker Enabled iOS 4.2.1 on an Apple Watch?

Billy Ellis is a 14-year-old designer and iOS developer with a keen interest in hacking. His latest project shows an Apple Watch booting into iOS 4.2.1 and displays the signature main menu. At first glance, the video appears to be genuine but I’m pretty sceptical that an entire OS could be hacked onto the Apple Watch. Perhaps, he has created an App which emulates the iOS boot process when loaded. However, if the video is legit, then I cannot imagine how this was achieved.

By default, the Apple Watch operates on a custom version of iOS and almost seen as a supplementary device to existing Apple products. The concept of running the default iOS software is interesting, but I’m guessing the user-interface would scale horribly on such a tiny screen. Whatever the case, I have to commend a developer of such a young age for engaging in coding projects.

The Apple Watch is a very polarizing product and I honestly cannot see the appeal. Although, if the device can be modified to run custom software, it would become a more attractive proposition. Furthermore,  if any documentation arises about this particular hack, I would proceed with caution as it will undoubtedly void your warranty and might be a visual forgery. Wearable technology is becoming increasingly popular and it’s only a matter of time before we see a number of software hacks from developers.

https://twitter.com/bellis1000/status/634125587867660289

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Will DirectX 12 and Cloud Gaming Be Possible for VR Games?

There have undoubtedly been a lot of attempts in introducing Cloud Gaming in the past. The concept is great and it will really help reduce a lot of computing power on a user’s machine, but failed attempts so far don’t make it practical, so how about adding DirectX 12 and VR to the mix?

Elijah Freeman, Executive Producer at Crytek, told GamingBolt about some interesting ideas of combining all three technologies, and from what I understand, it might just work. Of course, VR requires low latency and high FPS to run the latest games, so optimizations for all titles using the technology should be on the developers’ minds all the time.

DirectX 12 already revealed its power of optimized draw calls and high FPS, so the API should be a must for developers looking to get a lot of ‘fancy’ stuff in their titles and get good frame rates at the end. This is why Crytek believes that combining the cloud, DirectX 12 and VR might just do the trick.

You can’t actually play a fully fledged VR game straight from the cloud, but Crytek believes that using it to simulate complex code which is not required on a user’s PC will greatly increase the performance and free up more resources. They presented such a concept when showing off a lot of explosions being simulated in Crackdown 3 without having a performance drop. You can view the title’s trailer below.

So what do you think? Is DirectX 12 and Cloud Gaming the future for complex VR games? Let us know!

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

Apple Watch Hack Allows You to Run Custom Watch Face

I know Apple is strict with its programming and customization, but the company did state it will allow developers to make a few tweaks here and there to the visuals of the watch face in watchOS 2. However, if you choose to push even beyond that, you could end up tweaking even more. A developer by the name of Hamza Sood went and did just that, having created a fully-fledged custom watch face.

The developer published his work in a tweet, along with steps on how to make your own custom watch face. I don’t really know why Apple won’t make at least some guidelines for developers to follow in creating Watch customizations because, to be fair, giving your own personal touch to an accessory is something people are looking forward to. Even so, if they give the thumbs up, more projects such as this one would crop up immediately.

You can also find Sood’s project over on GitHub, should you wish to try it out, but you must be aware that the tweak might void the Watch’s warranty, so do it at your own risk! Until we see more of these projects coming out, you can at least see how it looks like in the video below.

Thank you 9to5Mac for providing us with this information

Google Teases Android M Through The Medium Of Song

No, this is not Google adding “Music Videos” to their Alphabet, but rather an eye-catching advert which teases the possible names for Google’s Android M which is in the pipeline. On a sidenote, been a while since my last tangent escapade, I can just imagine in 10 years time a school teacher will be referring to these collections of letters as “Alphabet sponsored by Google” while teaching a class.

The codenamed Android M has been in the Developer Preview stage since late May but as yet is without an official name. This has not changed but has been teased with a music video which has been uploaded to YouTube as of Friday the 14th August 2015. The jingle is catcher than any X factor Simon Cowell creation and was created and performed by Google employees Nat and Lo. The video was filmed in the Android garden at Google’s headquarters, Mountain View, CA. It’s like George Orwell has pitched these names, an Android Garden in Mountain View.

The video then suggests possible names which begin with M, from Muffin to M&M, dododo. This certainly fits in with Google’s record of naming Android after tasty treats, from Android 2.2 which was Froyo to Android 4.0 which became known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The video ends with a scene of a man spray painting the bottom half of an Android statue white instead of the usual Android green colour. This has led many to speculate of a possible name of Marshmallow, for the new OS.

Android M is likely to be released nearer October or November of this year, although this has yet to be confirmed by Alphabet/Google or whatever they are now. The video is below; perhaps the one after M will be named D, for Diabetes owning to all these surgery snack names.

Thank you techworm for providing us with this information.

Witcher 3 Gets Mod Support With New Tool

Those of you who were eagerly awaiting to mod CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 should be interested in this. The developer has announced that it released a new tool, named ModKit, which grants you everything you need to mod the title as you see fit.

ModKit seems to come with a lot of options, from modding the appearance of in-game objects with texture import and export, to making your own scripts and fiddle with the gameplay mechanics. I haven’t modded anything in a long time, but the tools given here are almost everything you need to change the whole game. If we are to talk about something more complex than this, we are already talking about a fully fledged game engine development kit.

However, ModKit is not an actual mod editor or game engine, but a set of tools to get you started. But with all these options and features offered, I think more experienced modders will surprise us with their craftsmanship in no time. I personally can’t wait for the first one to be released!

You can download ModKit from here, but we also want to hear about what you think. Are you excited for the upcoming mods? Will you test your skills too? Let us know!

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

New Tool Challenges Windows 10 Privacy Issues

So far the brand spanking new Windows 10 OS has been a huge success compared to the mishmash that was Windows 8, which tried to do its best to annoy consumers with the deletion of the Start Menu in favour of Metro.  The default option for privacy on the other hand is far less forgiving, from stealing user’s bandwidth for updates to Webcam and Microphone access, Microsoft have shifted their position.

But users could in theory attempt to shift it back again with the development of a new free app by the name of “Do Not Spy 10” This enables the user to disable the grand total of 37 Windows privacy issues with a single click. The software has been designed by German developer pXc-coding, who have developed a centralized interface which allows for easy tinkering of settings.

There are noteworthy caveats with this software, this lies with your Antivirus product which may detect this tool as malicious in nature because it can modify Windows settings, which is to be expected. Also the developer is using an advertisement campaign within the software which is mentioned in its end-user licence agreement; this means that Anti-Virus vendors may flag this as an Adware or Pup.

A quick run through Virus Total generates a report of 10/55 services which class this exe file as suspicious, 9 class it as a pup while Symantec classifies it as a Trojan. Technically this software is not malware and you can uninstall after using it once, it’s better to use good judgement and if you have any doubts, give it a miss, also check out the below links which convey details of the product.

Thank you The Hacker News and pxc-coding and facebook

Angry Bird Consumers Irritated With In-App Purchases

Nothing looks after your credit card more than those Godfather birds within the image above, anyway, angry Birds 2 has been downloaded an astonishing 10 million times as of writing, if there was a formula for an App which tapped into consumerism as successfully as both this game and Candy Crush has, this would be it. But while consumers are busy chucking more feathered birds than a Bernard Matthews factory, there is an annoyance which has players up in arms.

This is the usual suspect of in App purchases which bombard users with “Relentless and Wearying” prompts to pay for content. According to one reviewer, this decision is, and I quote “Greedy isn’t the word, but there are words to describe this sort of thing: Foolish, baffling, and boneheaded.”

The developers Rovio, state that players who wish not to purchase add-ons will still be able to play a “fully formed game” for free. The first Angry Birds game was a huge hit when it was released in 2009, despite players being asked to pay to download the game.

I am impartial as I have never found myself flinging pixel birds everywhere; I can understand why consumers are irritated with this, yes it’s a free game, but considering Rovio made $70 million dollars from the Angry birds brand in 2011 alone, why not cut the in App purchases and ask consumers to pay to download it again, after all, it worked the first time.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information.

NVIDIA Working With Warner Bros. To Fix Arkham Knight on PC

Warner Bros. had a very disappointing release of Batman: Arkham Knight, having the title not playable on PC due to performance issues. The game has reportedly been withdrawn from the market, with retailers stating that it will start putting it back on shelves again once it is properly fixed.

As for NVIDIA, we know it had switched from selling their GeForce cards bundled with the latest Batman title to having the company now selling them bundled with Metal Gear Solid V. However, NVIDIA also plans to make up for it by helping Warner Bros. developers fix their game.

From what we know so far, Warner Bros. is working on a patch to address the performance issues that is due in August. In addition to that, Nvidia Gameworks engineer Tom Peterson said that their team is also focusing on helping the devs at Warner Bros. as a ‘goodwill gesture’.

“We have 200 to 300 engineers that are actually visual scientists,” Peterson stated. “They’re the very best out there. We’ve taken the strategy that says let’s record exactly what they’ve got in their minds, convert it to algorithms … test it and QA it, and then supply it as middleware effectively to game developers”

The question is, why didn’t they get on it before it was launched? If you are to bundle a game with graphics cards that promote gaming, don’t you have to first see how it runs before you actually launch or even think of bundling it? My thoughts are that NVIDIA is also partially guilty here and now they are trying to make up for their mistake. What do you think?

Thank you Big Noobs for providing us with this information

First Trailer for Indie First Person Game Fantasiam Released

We get a lot of emails from random people wanting to share their work with us, some we cover but most we throw away because it looks like something created in a 6th-grade computer class. Fantasiam is one that caught my eye right away and while this is very early footage, I like what I see.

Fantasiam is a first-person game built on Unreal Engine 4 and with a heavy involvement of puzzles and explorations. We already get a little glimpse at some of the puzzle types in the gameplay trailer below. The game will have a connection with Slavic mythology and as the author notes, that is still an unexplored area when it comes to games.

The man behind the game is Belmin Kozlić, an indie game developer from Bosnia-Herzegovina. He created the game and got help from the UK-based studio White Noise Wate for the in-game voices, sounds, and music. And that is possibly one of the things that might give this game an edge over other startups. The main actors character and voice is brilliantly made and brings a wit and sarcasm to the table. That is something that can make a game a lot more entertaining as we’ve seen in other games. A great example is Van Helsing’s partner Katarina that made the game hilarious with her dry wit.

The author has plans to hire more people as funding falls into place. He has applied for an Unreal Dev Grant and is also thinking about a possible Kickstarter campaign later on. I know I would back it.

The game is still in early phase and the author promised more info, trailers and screenshots in the future. I will be looking forward to it and I’m sure that I’m not the only one.

Here’s Why We Won’t See DirectX 12 in Action This Year

Thinking of upgrading your graphics card for the new Windows 10 and DirectX 12? Well, I think you should wait a bit longer. While everyone is hyped to see what devs can do with the latest DirectX version, we are forgetting the most important thing, which is the platform.

What this means is that DirectX 12 is locked to Windows 10 exclusively, which limits the platform and titles released for it. I mean sure, I am a PC gamer myself, but don’t expect everyone to switch to a PC or Xbox One just because there’s a new version of DirectX rolling out. Statistics also proved that most gamers are happy with their PlayStation 4 right now, so devs don’t really have a reason to switch their development and focus on DirectX 12, at least not until next year.

Also, another thing to take into account is that most people haven’t even upgraded to DirectX 12 compatible hardware, meaning that it will take some time until we see a lot of consumers ready for DirectX 12 games. But let’s see why it will take time to switch from the current version of DirectX to the new one, because I know most of you are wondering why it will take this long and maybe even argue that DirectX 11 was adopted faster.

When taking a look at DirectX 11, the main reason it was adopted so fast by consumers as well as developers is the next-gen platforms and native development tools. DirectX 11 got released in the same year as the Xbox One and PS4, while we also had Epic and other developers release Unreal Engine 4 with native DirectX 11 support. This meant that the tools and hardware have been out there for everyone, from big to small, to use and explore the new tech.

In contrast, DirectX 12 currently looks like the old DirectX 10. We see a new thing added, but there’s hardly enough support for it both for development as well as hardware to run it. This is why DirectX 10 failed to deliver such a hype in the gaming industry and why developers focused more on DirectX 9 back in the day. However, we won’t see the same fate bestowed on DirectX 12 as we saw for DirectX 10, but we will see the same slow movement towards the new tech.

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Hairworks 1.1 Brings More Power for Less Performance Cost

A lot of titles are taking advantage of fur or hair simulations. Whether its AMD’s TressFX or NVIDIA Hairworks, users still want to enjoy those simulated little things that bring life to a character inside the game.

However, NVIDIA might have taken the lead with their latest Hairworks version 1.1. The updated version seems to be able to simulate more hair strains at a lower performance cost than ever before. Don’t expect to see groups of characters with fully fledged ‘fluffy’ hair, but the test really is exciting.

In the video below, the NVIDIA Hairworks 1.1 demonstrates how it is able to simulate a High Quality human-like hair using around 500,000 hair strains. But want to know the best part about it? It seems to have been rendered on a single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. The video has been captured by Tarkan Samir using NVIDIA’s Shadowplay technology.

If you’ve played Far Cry 4, The Witcher 3 or other titles that boast NVIDIA’s Hairworks technology, then you know how cool it makes the game look like. However, the latest update seems to add even more kicks for less performance drawbacks. All we need now is wait and see how this new update is used and what developers can do with it to enhance their titles.

Thank you DSOGaming for providing us with this information

This Is Why New Software Comes With Old Flaws

You are probably wondering why we hear that legacy flaws are still present in new software. Well, the answer is simple. Developers have a habit of reusing old code for most of their projects and the code is not reviewed for all potential flaws, but rather the approach tends to be similar to the slang ‘if it works, then don’t try to fix it’.

This does not mean that developers are lazy. The approach is favourable even by top-notch programmers because of the tight deadlines they have to meet, so time will always be above everything else when shipping new software.

However, this comes at a hefty price. While we hear of many hacking incidents, only a few of them are complex enough to break even the most impenetrable systems. Most of them were done by exploiting the already ‘implanted’ flaws in all software products. Everything except the operating systems can be deemed ‘hackable’ by most people with some knowledge of hacking.

The flaws go so deep that even some government departments are at high risk. Security analyst found out that some software in government departments is still based on older programming languages. But is this the future of programming? Of course not.

Security analysts in the field say that the problems with legacy flaws may likely increase, but they don’t have to. The real problem is that, by focusing exclusively on shoving new software on the market, companies forget about security completely. A better approach here is to split project development into two major components, development and testing, which could work in parallel. This way, a lot of bugs could be fixed and major security bugs flagged before the software hits the market.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information

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Rise of the Tomb Raider Director Says to Expect ‘Stunning’ Graphics on Xbox One

Developers constantly try to push Microsoft’s Xbox One to its limits to deliver the best graphics in their titles. However, most games share a core platform in the engine that makes them have more or less the same performance. But Brian Horton, Game Director for Rise of the Tomb Raider, says that they can now push the Xbox One even further to deliver ‘stunning’ graphics.

Horton said that their insights from Tomb Raider Definitive Edition allowed them to get everything out of Microsoft’s console. Don’t think it was as easy at optimizing the old stuff though. Horton pointed out that they had to redo everything from scratch, meaning that everything we saw in the old Tomb Raider titles has been completely rewritten.

They apparently haven’t hit any problems with the Xbox One’s nightmarish eSRAM either. Horton told that they were working closely with the Microsoft team and were able to understand the console’s system. There have been a lot of problems in the past for most developers working on Xbox One titles and all of them said that the console’s eSRAM was the main issue.

The biggest news however comes when Horton announced that the title is targeting 1080p and 30fps. While a lot of developers announced them same thing but failed to deliver in the end, Microsoft’s latest Xbox One SKD and the success of titles which followed thereafter tends to bring some hope for full HD on the console.

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

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Valve Improves Dota 2 Reborn and You Can Play the Beta Now

The long wait for Valve’s latest Dota 2 title, Dota 2 Reborn, is now over. Despite the many bugs and features which are not fully functional just yet, fans and curious gamers can now play the beta version alongside Dota 2 on Steam.

Dota 2 Reborn brings a lot of features and improvements to its predecessor, including the Source 2 Engine. What this means is that Dota 2 will have a lot of rendering improvements, performance optimizations, higher fidelity content, and not to mention enhanced physics. Valve says that they will further improve cloth and simulation physics in the future too, but they are still awesome as they are now.

Other improvements can be seen in the UI, having Dota 2 Reborn come with a new and improved interface. Players area able to quickly and efficiently search for matches, stay in touch with their friends through newly added party and chat features, as well as see the what your friends (or enemies) are up to.

Now we all know how frustrating it is to have problems connecting or maintaining a connection to a server sometimes. This is why Valve worked hard to offer more reliable network connections through a new backbone and relay protocol. In addition to the latter, a lot of effort has been put into DDoS protection and we know that is a major problem nowadays.

Last but not least, Custom Games is also a nice addition to the series, having it come with better developer tools for modders. While regular users get to play other modes and maps made by fans, modders get the chance to expand their ideas a bit with new tools. The new Hammer Level Editor lets you quickly prep your map, while the Material, Model and Particle editors help shape it to look how you imagined it to be. Also, Valve now offers better debugging with their new Developer Console.

More details about the latest title can be found on their website here, or if you want to get straight into the action, you can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Install Dota 2 if you haven’t already
  2. Start up Dota 2
  3. Go to the Play tab and select Dota 2 Reborn Beta
  4. Click Install to begin your download

Deus Ex In-Game Footage Reveals What to Expect From Edios Dawn Engine

After confirming the latest Deus Ex: Manking Divided release and giving us a taste of what the story is all about, Edios now shows us what to expect once we play the title. The developer just revealed a new in-game footage of the game, but before that, let’s review the trailer first.

Edios revealed what the story is all about, its characters and some juicy action. But a trailer doesn’t really show what to expect when you are playing it. I mean the graphics are amazing in trailers, but what does your actual rig render when you play? Well, now we can see just that and how great its Dawn engine is.

If you are familiar with previous Deus Ex titles, then you pretty much know what to expect in terms of gameplay here too. However, Edios did mention it has improved some gameplay features that let you use stealth and combat more effectively. The developer has also confirmed that you can choose not to kill anyone throughout the story, which in turn may affect the outcome too.

As far as I know, stealth shooters do have moments when you have to kill someone at some point, but nobody at all? If they manage to pull this off, we may look at the most non-violent title we’ve seen so far.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Vigamus Magazine

More Characters in Twitter’s Direct Messages From Next Month

We all tried to explain some things to friends over Twitter, but it proved to be so difficult and frustrating. The social media giant still has its 140 character restriction and it’s just not enough when you type like a true writer. But that’s about to change, according to an announcement Twitter made on its Developer Forums.

Twitter is now officially dropping the character limit and encouraging developers to deal with the change before it goes live. And you know the best part of it? The limit will be dropped as soon as next month.

We’ve done a lot to improve Direct Messages over the past year and have much more exciting work on the horizon. One change coming in July that we want to make you aware of now (and first!) is the removal of the 140 character limit in Direct Messages.

Twitter also made some quick notes on what developers should take into account in the new API so it all goes smoothly from the start. Also, Twitter made it clear that nothing will change on the ‘tweets’ side, meaning that all tweets will still be 140 characters long.

Still, it’s better to send your friends an endless scroll message than have you scrolling down endlessly on the feed to get past that one tweet. But this does not mean Twitter will not be considering expanding the character limit of its tweets too. We might see that in the near future, but until we do, what do you think of the latest change? Do you like spending long DMs or are you scared you will be spammed? Let us know!

Facebook Messenger Gets its First Game

Facebook seems to be thinking of allowing games on its Messenger platform in the near future. The first one spotted on the platform is said to be Doodle Draw Game and although it’s nothing fancy, it still is the first one to pave the way for developers eyeing the platform’s potential for game development.

Doodle Draw is not the first third-party app that can be found on Facebook’s Messenger platform. The company allowed other developers to add apps that allow users to share GIFs and sound effects in the past, but the game addition really opened the market for the platform.

This is not necessarily good news for everyone and Facebook should tread carefully here too. We all are familiar with how game developers tend to spread the word and promote their games with inviting spams and automatic wall posts for achievements or other in-game activities. I don’t think users will enjoy the same marketing strategy on their Messenger too.

Still, this marks the beginning of a whole new market to both Facebook and other game developers out there. Although Facebook is not currently taking anything out of what developers earn from their apps on Facebook Messenger, they may be able to start making a small fortune in the future out of it. Let’s just hope people will still be using their platform and not run away from all the pesky marketing ads.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information