Kojima Didn’t Show at Game Awards Thanks to Konami’s Lawyers

Kojima is the creative mind behind the metal gear solid series, based on stealth, action and giant robots, the series has become infamous amongst gamers for both its storyline and the cardboard box; the biggest question is regarding if he still works for Konami.

A month ago we published an article talking about the “leave” Kojima was taking. After a goodbye party, it appears as if he left work. Konami keeps reminding people though that he is just “on leave”. This has gone a step further this week with the Game Awards expecting an appearance from Kojima, only to find that he was stopped by lawyers from Konami.

The host, Geoff Keighley, described the situation as:

“Mr. Kojima had every intention of being with us tonight, but unfortunately he was informed by a lawyer representing Konami just recently that he would not be allowed to travel to tonight’s award ceremony to accept any awards. He’s still under an employment contract and it’s disappointing.”

That’s the second time that someone has had to appear to accept an award in Kojima’s place, with a PR representative from Konami accepting an award from Playstation awards earlier in the week and now Kiefer Sutherland, a voice actor for Metal Gear Solid V, accepted the award at the Game Awards on his behalf.

Is he gone or not? I guess we will await more news before we know for certain.

Disney Hacks a Smart-Watch and Your Body!

In everyday life, we come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands of items. Some we knowingly touch such as our phones or our computer peripherals, but what about that spoon that we compulsively pick up every time we go into the kitchen, no just me?

Most of the items we touch are insulated, but most give off a small electromagnetic ‘noise’ which our bodies can pick up because we are pretty impressive conductors. Disney has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University and has hacked together a proof-of-concept that can pick up the noise that travels through our bodies in real-time and displays the object on the display. The group calls this innovation “EM-Sense”.

Ars Technica reports the device has been created by essentially hacking a Samsung Galaxy Gear with a host of bulky tech such as a “software-defined radio receiver” to allow the watch to more accurately determine what is being used, with a current accuracy rating of just over 96%.

If you want to try your hand at this yourself, the researchers say that the setup is something “hobbyists can replication” and will cost “under $10” (assuming you already own a Galaxy Gear).

Personally I really like this idea, but this sort of technology could be manipulated and abused. In the future, the information stored could be sold/ used by the device manufacturer to display ad’s for products, or what if the device could be hacked and it knows when you go to an ATM and determine what buttons you press on the keypad for your pin number.

Do you think this technology would be too intrusive? Let us know in the comments.

Metal Gear Online Launches – No PC Version Until January

Once again, the PC gamers out there, myself included, will have to wait. The online component for Metal Gear is here at last, but alas it is only on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Of course, this isn’t bad news, as there are a lot of gamers out there who will be happy to get their hands on this new content! The good news is, the PC version will benefit from extra development time, bringing graphical improvements and more when it finally lands in January.

“All console version METAL GEAR ONLINE servers are now up and running, and a download patch for METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN is already available. The online component is visible from the main game’s menu, allowing users to experience multiplayer action within the main game’s stunning open world locations.” Said Konami

The squad-based competitive multiplayer mode is a welcome addition to this already spectacular blockbuster, and it’s certainly nice to see a developer focus on the single player component first, rather than sidelining it for a tacked-on multiplayer mode.

“The online element introduces Tactical Team Operations and features a ‘class system’ that more uniquely defines the strengths and abilities of player characters on the battlefield.”

As a bonus, the Collector’s Edition content codes are now available for use, giving access to the gold WU S, Pistol and AM MRS-4 weapons, an XP Boost and a Metal Gear Rex Helmet. Day One edition owners can also access their XP Boost content.

TteSports Commander Gaming Gear Combo Keyboard & Mouse Review

Introduction


PC gaming on a tight budget may seem difficult, but with Steam Sales and Humble Bundles being forever present, the cost of finding games to play often walks into pocket-money territory. The range of budget friendly graphics cards and more are also pretty incredible these days, offering some seriously affordable and worthy devices. Of course, to complete the puzzle, you’re also going to need some sturdy gaming peripherals to help you in the heat of battle. It doesn’t matter if you play Elder Scrolls or League of Legends, you’re going to need a keyboard and mouse for the mass majority of PC games, as well as for day-to-day desktop tasks.

The TteSports Commander Gaming Gear Combo offers up a full-size keyboard and an optical mouse for under £30; that’s value that is very hard to ignore! Is it going to blow us away with incredible performance? I doubt it, but I am eager to see just how much you can get for such a wallet-friendly price tag.

Amazingly, both the keyboard and mouse are pretty well equipped. There’s a full-size keyboard, with multimedia shortcut keys, adjustable repeat rate, LED backlighting, plunger switches, anti-ghosting and more. The mouse has an optical sensor with four DPI settings, six buttons and an ergonomic right-hand design; not bad for this price range!

Hex Gear Launches Enthusiast Class R40 Chassis

Hex Gear are a completely brand new entry into the case market opting for stylish and reliable construction on a small form factor. The Hex Gear R40 is a mATX case featuring 4 extruded premium aluminium panels, 3 2.5″ Drive Bays, 2 3.5″ Drive Bays and 5 PCI expansion slots. Furthermore, the R40 offers huge watercooling capabilities via three separate compartments. The main chamber accommodates either a 360mm radiator or 240mm up to 40mm thickness while the top and bottom section manages to fit coolers at a maximum of 34mm. There are also 6 x 120mm fan mounts which provides stunning cooling options for such a compact chassis. Surprisingly, there is ample room for larger aftermarket heatsinks and it has a lot of flexibility compared to other mATX cases.

Retailing for £199, the R40 is built to an impeccable standard and only utilizes the highest grade materials. It is also a modder’s dream and requires assembly on delivery. Even the sheet metal adopts a flat structure which allows for a fantastic degree of customization. Here at eTeknix, we were absolutely thrilled with this case and thoroughly recommend it. While it is a considered purchase, the quality construction and subtle yet beautiful styling make it a perfect companion alongside a high-end compact build.

Tech Specs:

– Materials: Aluminium | Steel | Acrylic
– Colours Available: Black | White
– Dimensions(WxDxH): 241.5 x 483 x 415
– Motherboard form factor: mATX
– 3.5” Drives: 2
– 2.5” Drives: 3
– Cooling: 6 x 120mm (3 x top 1 x rear 2 x bottom)
– PCI Slots: 5
– Suitable for air or watercooling

CONTENTS

– Screws and fixings
– 1 x black vandal switch
– Motherboard standoffs
– Instruction manual
– Hex keys
– 90deg IEC adapter

The store is now officially open and you can buy your very own R40 chassis from them here.

On a personal note, myself and everyone at the eTeknix team would like to congratulate Hex Gear as they are personal friends of ours and we think they’ve done an amazing job.

The Best Selfie in World of Warcraft Will Get You to Blizzcon

If you are a World of Warcraft fan, chances are that you have been at Blizzcon at least once by now. If not, then there might be a chance for Blizzard to send you there this year. What you have to do is get your best World of Warcraft selfie face on.

I know it sounds a bit odd for a selfie in World of Warcraft, but hey, Blizzard are known for cropping up weird competitions and getting you involved in the process. It looks like this competition will follow how players can work on making the best selfie in a lot of spots Blizzard picks for you.

So what Blizzard does is pick a spot for you each week. Then, you can go when you want during that week to the latter spot and try to do the best selfie you can imagine. The grand prize will be two tickets to Blizzcon this November, but that’s not the only thing you can win.

Blizzard says that each submission is eligible for weekly prizes and goodies, such as Blizzard branded gear, Battle.net codes and even an iPhone 6 to help you with your selfie problem in real life. Just kidding. In order to take part, head on over to the WoW Selfiel Scavenger Hunt website where you can find more details.

Thank you PCGamesN for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Millenium.org

Ubisoft Franchises Are Scheduled to Get a Virtual Reality Upgrade Next Year

We haven’t seen a lot of big names associated with VR gear since virtual reality actually became a reality. Most developers willing to exploit the tech have been from indie companies trying to draw curious eyes to their titles. However, all of this is about to change early next year, as sources indicate.

Ubisoft stated that it is willing to take on the challenge and release an unconfirmed number of titles in early 2016, but it first needs to figure out how to get around the main downside found in the tech. If you don’t already know, using VR Gear for an extended period of time is confirmed to give the user nausea, sometimes even after just a quarter of an hour of using it.

However, not all VR technology out there has this downside. Valve’s HTC Vive seems to have fixed it as reported a couple of months ago and Ubisoft is keen on trying it out first. They also won’t forget about Oculus or Sony’s Project Morpheus, but the company stated that the headsets “would need to sell at least one million units to be viable for development.”

Ubisoft believes that a lot of players will join the world of video games, drawn in by the beauty of what VR has to offer. They also revealed that the titles rolling out in early 2016 are just the start of VR-enabled games they plan on releasing. Should they be successful with the first roll-out, I think even more big name companies may join in and we will see an even larger number of VR-enabled titles hitting the stores by the end of next year.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Rifty Business

Facebook Teleportation Station Using Gear VR

One of the coolest features of the Facebook F8 event are their “Teleportation Stations.” These setups use a special 360 degree camera rigs that are dotted around the show floor, as well as areas that are equipped with Samsung Gear VR headsets. As many of you will know, Oculus provides a lot of the back-end for Gear VR and of course, Facebook owns Oculus, so this is a great way for them to show off the mobile VR hardware.

The booth work much like you would expect. You strap on the Gear VR headset and you can look around the other location as you move the camera with your headset. Seeing the show floor from another part of the show floor isn’t the most incredible thing ever, but it’s a technical demo and one that could see its way into other events in the near future. What if they put a camera on top of a skyscraper, or in an aquarium, at a concert and more?

Check out the rest of our F8 coverage here.


 

Virtual Reality Motion Sickness Solved by Valve

Oculus Rift and other VR technologies are known to cause motion sickness after just a few minutes of use, though it may vary depending on the individual using it and the type of game played. However, Valve has announced that it has solved this problem.

Companies such as Oculus are still struggling to eliminate the nausea effect caused by the technology by constantly making modifications to their gears. The current solutions range from encouraging developers to avoid creating virtual environments that cause the nausea effect, to explicitly labelling products in stores.

Though the process seems slow, the technology is still mostly accessible to developers, having only Samsung release a limited number of their Gear VR on the market late last year. But what makes Valve’s VR gear so special compared to the rest?

Gabe Newell told the press that “zero percent of people get motion sick” and that their SteamVR solves the problem by having a motion tracking system which uses lasers to accurately reproduce a person’s real-world movements in the virtual world.

One of the reporters at the demonstration said to have tested the SteamVR and reported no discomfort during the 15 minute demo, even when a colossal whale came very close to him. Gabe also said that Valve will offer the tracking system, named Lighthouse, for free to hardware manufacturers.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

Windows 95 Can be Installed on the Samsung Gear Smartwatch

Have you got your hands on the new Samsung Gear smart watch? If you’re board of the current Android Wear operating system, why not get your modding cap on and have a little fun with it; install Windows 95!

Corbin Davenport is already known to have hacked his Samsung Gear to play Minecraft, but installing a full OS is certainly a bigger achievement. While I admit that this is a little pointless, it’s also really cool and a welcome demonstration of what can be done with current smart watch technology.

Corbin states that this will not void your warranty, but it will be a little time-consuming and require quite a bit of tinkering with the software to get the OS into place. He’s been nice enough to publish a full guide for those who want to follow in his footsteps.

Will you be trying to install Windows 95 on your start watch? I’ll be honest, I’m pretty tempted to give it a go.

Thank you Corbin for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Corbin.

Samsung Gear VR Headset Pre-Orders Now Available

The Samsung Gear VR was revealed just a couple of days ago and already the device is available for pre-order! While it is still in development kit stage, known as the “Gear VR Innovator Edition”, you can pre-order one from a third-party retailer MobileFun for just $249 / £150, although availability has yet to be detailed.

The Gear VR is designed to work with the new Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, which will be used as the headset display, utilizing the Note 4’s 5.7″ QHD 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED panel.

The Gear VR is pretty cheap, but given that it needs the phone as well, the pair can quickly run up a significant bill. Of course you will still have the option of unplugging the smartphone and using it as you normally would, then when you want to play some VR software, just drop your phone in and you’re good to go.

Samsung have struck deals with Marvel, DreamWorks, Legendary Pictures, Harmonix and more to bring content to the Gear VR, but with Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus already generating significant amounts of content, I doubt it would take too much effort for developers to port their projects to the new Samsung device.

Thank you Gadgets for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gadgets.

Harmonix Music VR Coming to Samsung Gear VR

This week we revealed to you that Samsung had teamed up with Oculus VR to release their new Gear VR mobile headset, following that we found out that Rock Band developer Harmonix was working on the device. We now know that the music game loving team are working on music visualizer Harmonix Music VR.

“It uses Harmonix’s proprietary Music Analysis Engine to generate a song-specific, high-resolution event sequence that drives the reactive elements in your virtual world,” the developer stated in its recent announcement on the project.

So basically it’s a music player and some cool special effects, although exactly what it’ll look like is a complete mystery. Perhaps we could end up with something like AudioSurf or maybe just some cool stuff to see, either way it sounds more like the work of your average indie developer, as I was expecting Harmonix to be working a unique port of one of their main franchises.

“Harmonix has always been interested in creating fundamentally new ways for people to interact with music,” said studio CEO Steve Janiak. “There’s an incredible amount of potential for this with virtual reality, and Harmonix Music VR is just one way we can deliver on these types of innovative experiences. We can’t wait to hear what people think about this new way to experience the music they love.”

The new project isn’t what I was expecting from Harmonix, given that a unique Rock Band release would be infinitely cooler, but I’m still eager to see how it turns out.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Eurogamer.

Harmonix Developing for Samsung Gear VR

Harmonix are well known for their work on the Rock Band and Dance Central series, and now it looks like the team are working on the newly revealed Samsung Gear VR headset, which has been created in collaboration with Oculus VR.

“Harmonix is developing software for Samsung’s Gear VR,” wrote the studio’s community man Nick Chester on Twitter. “More info soon!”

“I can’t wait for folks to see the crazy project I’ve been on at Harmonix for Samsung’s Gear VR,” added Harmonix lighting specialist Dawn Rivers.

What Harmonix are working on is still a mystery, but they’re the first game developer we’ve heard make any kind of announcement of the Gear VR. While I wouldn’t rule out their Rock Band and Dance Central franchises for the new device, the team are currently working on a range of new titles; A City Sleeps, Fantasia: Music Evolved, Amplitude HD, MIA Chroma and not forgetting Dance Central: Spotlight which launched this week. So one or more of these titles could easily be on their way to the device.

For more information on the Samsung Gear VR, check out our coverage of the device here.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VRFocus.

Nvidia Researcher Discovers a Way to Quadruple Future VR Headset Resolution

A researcher from NVIDIA has apparently discovered a new manufacturing technique which could quadruple the perceived resolution of virtual reality gear in the future. The technique in question is called ‘display cascading’ and uses cascade displays (of course).

Nvidia is said to already have produced a prototype of a headset using the above mentioned technique. A report from MIT is said that the new technique improves the perceived resolution of virtual reality displays. Senior director of research in visual computing at NVIDIA, David Luebke, is said to be the man behind the new technology. He has been stated to use a cascaded display system made up of two modified ‘off-the-shelf’ liquid crystal display panels.

A layer of tiny shutters (one per pixel) which can block off or allow light through, called the spatial light modulation panel, is said to be removed from one LCD and placed over a second panel, offset from its own. This method is said to split each pixels into four individually addressed areas, thus quadrupling the effective resolution at a cost of a decrease in brightness.

Luebke states that along with some driver optimizations, a cascade display should provide both improved resolution and a double perceived framerate, achievable by having both panels run in perfect synchronization. Also, the NVIDIA researcher stated he will unveil the manufacturing technique at a conference in August. For those interested, the research is currently available over at NVIDIA’s website.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information

Oculus SDK 0.4.0 Beta Released, Includes Display Option that Reduces Latency

After delaying its firs batch of Oculus Rift DK2 in order to fix some last-minute bugs, the Oculus VR team has now released the new Oculus SDK 0.4.0 beta, bundled with positional tracking support, Runtime package and other significant features.

Oculus VR is said to have released a few preview SDK builds for their new VR headset up until now. However, the improvements added to the preview builds did not include support for the Rift DK2 tracking feature. The new Oculus SDK 0.4.0 is the first build to support a ‘beta’ tag for the feature, giving developers the ability to start playing around and updating their games and software for all features offered by the DK2.

The Oculus SDK 0.4.0 patch highlights are as following:

  • Added DK2 Positional Tracking support.
  • Introduced Oculus Runtime that is installed separately from the SDK. Runtime package includes the Oculus Config Utility, service and drivers.
  • Introduced Oculus Display Driver under Windows that routes rendering output directly to the headset, with an option of mirroring it in a window.
  • Added Health and Safety Warning screen that should be displayed on application start-up.

For developers who want to read more about what the new version bring, the full patch notes can be found over at the Oculus Rift Developer Center. It is said that the new SDK is only available for Windows-based systems, having Unity as the only game engine integrated with the new build. Epic Games is not far behind, having the company currently building Oculus integration directly into their Unreal Engine 4.

Macintosh and Linux users are said to still be waiting on the ‘coming soon’ bench, as the sections listed in the Developer Guide state. In addition, Oculus seems to have updated their Best Practice Guide, Oculus User Guide and Health and Safety Warning with a new section on positional tracking. Also, Andres Hernandez, Oculus VR’s Community Manager, states that the new SDK includes a new display option which reportedly reduces latency.

Thank you Road to VR for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Road to VR

Samsungs VR Software Leaks, Apps and See-Through Feature Revealed

The rumour that Samsung have been working with Oculus VR to create their own headset seem to be true as the pre-release version of the Samsung VR software founds its way online. The head-mounted display they’re working on will in fact be a holder for a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, which will be held in front of your face to create a display like that of the Oculus Rift, although technically it has more in common with Google Cardboard.

The software included the downloads for apps called VR Panorama and VR Cinema, no doubt for viewing of 3D images and videos on your device, which will complement some of the 3D apps already available on the Android market place for Google Cardboard. Gear VR will have a touchpad and a back button on its surface, allowing you a level of control since your phones touch screen will be inaccessible.

One of the cooler features, and something that is lacking on Oculus Rift is a pass-through mode. This will allow you to switch from VR to a view of the world around you, this will be achieved by using the camera on the back of your phone, which will then feed the video to the screen. The real view could add some interesting augmented reality features to the setup.

It’s a bit of a gimmick and likely won’t work as well as a dedicated Oculus setup, but since Oculus requires you to be sat at your desk and the Gear VR mobile, they’ll both have different roles in the VR market.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch.

Sony Announces Specs for Project Morpheus VR Headset

With all the buzz regarding Virtual Reality gear, Oculus Rift seems to take the prime stag, having released a lot of information, plans and what consumers would expect from it once it will be released as a final product. However, there is still Sony’s Project Morpheus to take into account, but given that nothing but rumours were heard about it, focus was still on the Oculus Rift. That is, up until now.

Sony apparently has officially announced some of its VR headset specs, teasing fans with what should they expect when the manufacturer’s headset finally hits the market. The manufacturer apparently points to a 5″ panel, boasting a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, 60 frames per second and a field of view of up to 100°, though most likely it will be 90° as a start.

However, considering that the headset will most likely be used for the PlayStation 4, things don’t quite add up. The majority of games for the next-gen consoles are not even playable on full HD, yet alone at a frequency as high as 60 Hz. Not to mention the FOV, which most likely will require a lot of processing power in order to render.

Anton Mikhailov, an engineer from the Magic Lab in the PlayStation R&D could shed some light on this problem with the following statement:

“Frame rate and latency should have really high priority, much more so than […] now when you make a game, you can sort of say, ‘Oh, I’m going to choose to do a 30fps game because it’s more cinematic,’ or whatever, or, ‘I’m going to cram more graphics into it. In VR, it’s not really a choice. You have to go at least 60, preferably higher. It’s kind of a new bar. There are new rules you should obey as a developer. Frame rate and latency are really, really important. […] There is definitely a graphical limit that you can’t go lower than”.

From the following statement, it seems that game developers are required to focus more on frame rate and smooth gameplay rather than detail. The question is whether virtual reality at the expense of stunning detail would really be worth it.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown

Leaked Images Reveal Upcoming Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo Smartwatches

Having MWC right at our doorstep, a lot of rumors coming from Samsung are mainly focused on the Galaxy S5 handset. Even so, it looks like @evleaks shifts the focus to a more wearable trend, the Galaxy Gear.

Two leaked images have been posted by @evleaks which appear to represent the upcoming ‘Gear 2’ and ‘Gear 2 Neo’, having posted later on some information about the smartwatches dropping the Galaxy brand.

There have been some changes made to the smartwatch design, having an additional button on the front and changing the camera position slightly upwards compared to the original Galaxy Gear. However, the design still looks like Samsung’s near-universal phone and tablet layout.

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo have slight differences as well, noticeable in the screen frame and camera. Other than that, both appear to have the same similar functional sense. The leaked images present only two versions, in copper-gold and black, however there are bound to be more diversity in terms of colors before they will hit the market.

Looking at the notifications, the UI seems slightly different from its predecessor, both displaying shortcut notifications on the home screen. What is interesting though is the fact that the Gear 2 displays a camera notification icon while the Gear 2 Neo displays only a general notification icon, despite both having cameras at the top of their screen.

If we are to consider that the leaked images are true, the Gear 2 Neo is said to be a cheaper option for customers, presumably due to lower specs and/or feature variety. Looking at the date on their screen, 24th of February, clearly states an official announcement is taking place at the Unpacked 5 event on Monday, having expecting the Galaxy S5 handset to be there as well.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of @evleaks