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All that the team at Playtonic Games had to say was, "It's a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie," and their project probably would have reached its £175,000 funding goal on Kickstarter. But Playtonic -- a studio composed of former Rare developers -- instead revealed gameplay videos, pretty 3D screenshots, a colorful world and a few songs from their new game, and then they promised it was a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie. That said, Yooka-Laylee blasted past its Kickstarter goal in less than 40 minutes and the numbers just keep on climbing. Andy Robinson, Playtonic's writer and only non-Rare veteran, calls the quick success "incredible."
Square Enix, the studio responsible for the famously pretty Final Fantasy series, routinely creates tech demos for the latest and greatest gaming systems, and this week it added one more to that repertoire. During Microsoft's BUILD dev conference, Square Enix showed off a real-time DirectX 12 tech demo called WITCH: Chapter 0 [cry]. True to its name, this demo includes a crying woman -- Agni from previous Square Enix tech demos -- and all of the wonky facial animations that come with such an activity. WITCH features 63 million polygons per scene, "six to 12 times more" than what was possible with DirectX 11, Microsoft says. Check out the real-time demo below and note that while the animations certainly are pretty, there isn't much going on in these scenes in terms of AI or NPC population.
Do something enough and it becomes second nature: muscle memory and instinct kicks in. But does that hold for the high-twitch dynamics of pro gaming-level Street Fighter 4? Japanese gaming site 4Gamer rigged up a gaming PC with SteelSeries' Sentry Gaming Eye Tracker, watching the gaze of Street Fighter pro-gamer Sako as he indulged in a few rounds. Rather than focus on his own player, or the opponent, his view typically rests somewhere between the two; the pro-gamer likely be trying to gauge incoming attacks and connect distance for their own. As the Japanese site notes, it wasn't exactly a high stakes bout, but the video suggests, at least, that it's not where your character is, but where it's going that's important. Which is also this editor's life philosophy, coincidentally. See where the pros are looking, right after the break.
It turns out that support for bigger external hard drives isn't all that the latest Xbox 360 preview's packing. The surprise features aren't huge by any means but they're pretty self explanatory and as of now should make using the console a bit easier, regardless. Let's dig in. First up we have a view for recent purchases followed by a password reset function, network statistics information and the ability to see your Microsoft account balance right from the system dashboard. Like I said, nothing earth-shattering on a piece-by-piece basis, but taken as a whole they offer a pretty clear explanation for why Redmond is updating the console in the first place: making it easier to go from discs to downloadable gaming. As a reminder, Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb says that if you have any other feature suggestions for the almost decade-old console be sure to hit the Xbox feedback website.
For those with long-ish memories, Sony's HMZ series of head-mounted displays were a very rudimentary way to catch movies on a "750-inch screen." Of course, strapping one to your face wasn't a very social way to spend an evening, so you can understand that the device's appeal was a bit limited. So limited, in fact, that the company is now sending the project down the Shinano river on a longboat piled high with firewood. According to Japanese news outfit AV Watch, Sony bosses have decided to devote all of its resources to improving Morpheus, the PlayStation-branded virtual reality headset, as well as the company's take on Google Glass.
Microsoft surprised many when it announced it had acquired Mojang, maker of the hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion. What could a company specializing in operating systems, business software and consoles do with an already popular sandbox game primarily enjoyed by children? The game's creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, certainly helped expedite the sale, but Microsoft had something else in its arsenal that was also perfectly suited to the game: HoloLens.
With the release of Windows 10, Sony won't be the only company to offer game streaming from its consoles. Today we finally got our hands on Windows 10's Xbox One game streaming feature, which lets you bring your entire Xbox gaming experience to any PC running the new OS. And even in its early state, it looks like it will satisfy even the most demanding gamers. Microsoft made a risky bet by demoing the feature with Sunset Overdrive, a fast-paced game where you'd notice the slightest hint of slowdown. And as you can see in the video below, it's virtually indistinguishable from the native Xbox One experience while running on a Surface Pro 3.
You're home alone. It's the dead of night and all of the lights are off; you creep down the hallway with one hand dragging along the wall, your phone serving as a makeshift flashlight. You hear a young girl's voice whisper from the bedroom in front of you and the hair on the back of your neck stands up straight. You pause. Your heart pounds. A dull ringing assaults your ears. You creep forward, holding the phone higher, when suddenly -- a high-pitched shriek as your phone's light starts rapidly flashing and a deformed, undead monster barrels down the hallway directly toward you. You drop your phone. Game over.
Eager to build a game or 3D modelling tool that takes advantage of HTC's Vive and other SteamVR-friendly virtual reality headsets? It's time to get cracking. Valve has released a software development kit that lets apps use SteamVR hardware, including Valve's controller and room-scale Lighthouse tracking. On top of that, the platform now works nicely with both the Unity game engine (through a plugin) and Unreal Engine 4. It'll be a long while before you can actually run programs built on this code -- the VR devices have yet to reach many developers, let alone the public -- but this at least gets the ball rolling.