| 2 days ago
| 2 days ago
The latest Silicon Valley company to hop on the virtual reality bandwagon is AMD, this morning unveiling what it's calling "Liquid VR": a software development kit aimed at making VR easier for everyone. The announcement comes from a presentation at GDC 2015 in San Francisco, where virtual reality is dominating the news. What does Liquid VR do for developers and users? It essentially makes everything much easier. As one AMD rep put it during this morning's presentation, "You can plug an Oculus Rift into a computer and start 3D rendering directly to the headset, even without Oculus' SDK." In so many words, Liquid VR is yet another solution for making various VR headsets work easily on various devices; it also optimizes the use of that headset for that particular computer (no doubt powered by AMD's chips).
Microsoft has just launched a few new goodies for Xbox 360 owners after neglecting them following the Xbox One launch. First off, it's launching an Xbox 360 preview program, which "will work much like the Xbox One preview," according to Microsoft's Larry Hryb (Major Nelson). It will only be available to "select invitees" to start with, likely the most avid users. The first release will include a connectivity test to address "common network issues," with more changes coming later in the year. If you're in, you should see an email invitation soon.
Every year, in late winter, covering the game industry gives me a chance to leave New York City at its most miserable. It's with great pleasure that I tell you, yes, we're here in San Francisco -- where its 60 degrees and not 34 -- to bring all the news, hands-ons, interviews, videos, and combinations thereof, straight from the 2015 Game Developers Conference. From here on out, we're gonna make that name a bit simpler: GDC 2015. We've even got a page right here where you can keep up to date on all the aforementioned coverage. Head below for a brief rundown of the week to come.
After a lengthy hiatus, Mortal Kombat is coming back to the mobile world -- and it's giving you a few extra incentives to brutalize fighters while you're waiting for the bus. Mortal Kombat X will reach Android and iOS users on April 14th with not just the obligatory fatalities and other gory details, but a two-way reward system that encourages you to keep playing when you switch platforms. If you thrash enough suckers to unlock content on your phone, for example, you'll get some perks when you fire up your console at home. Something tells us the mobile MKX won't be as challenging as its full-size counterpart (swipe to finish someone off, really?), but look at it this way: it's not often that you get to break someone's jaw on your commute and feel good about it later.
So you want to play games on your Android TV set, but you'd rather not shell out for a gamepad? You might not have to in the near future. Google has revealed that an upcoming update to Google Play Services will let you use your Android mobile devices as controllers for Android TV games. If you want to start a four-way race or shooting match, you'll only have to ask friends to pull their phones out of their pockets. You'll have to wait for developers to use the technology before you can start playing, but that patience could pay off if it spares you from buying controllers that will likely spend most of their life gathering dust.
Don't miss out on all the latest from GDC 2015! Follow along at our events page right here.
Game development is expensive. It's not a question of the tools costing too much; game engines like Unity and GameMaker Studio offer free versions, and paid versions aren't far out of reach. That's a recent development, though. When the last generation of game consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii) ruled the roost, the Unreal Engine was both ubiquitous and costly. Its latest iteration, Unreal Engine 4, is widely used, but has taken a sideline to free offerings from the likes of Unity. The engine's maker, Epic Games, isn't sitting idly by and letting the competition take over, though: as of this morning, Unreal Engine 4 is free for all to use.
It's the day many, many virtual reality developers have been waiting for: Finally, a way to sell VR games to people with VR headsets. Namely, Oculus and Samsung's collaboration on the Gear VR headset is bearing digital fruit in the form of a digital store. In short: You can finally buy and sell games on Samsung's VR headset. That's a bigger deal than it sounds, as Gear VR's store has been riddled with little more than tech and game demos since its launch late last year. We've been anxious for deeper experiences, and many developers have been withholding those experiences for a time when they could actually make money on their work. Let the floodgates open!
It looks like 2015 could be a big year for competitive gaming in the UK. Just weeks after we found out where the UK's first eSports arena will be located, Britain's biggest video game retailer GAME has confirmed it's getting into the tournament business. The company announced today that it's spent £20 million to acquire Multiplay, a community-driven games company that focuses on live events, gaming services and eSports.
Ever since I experienced a live 3D virtual reality broadcast for the first time, I've been giving demos of the technology to anyone who will sit still long enough for me to put a Gear VR on their head. Across the board, the reactions have included at least two things: "This is amazing," and, "Can you move around like you're really there?" Now, NextVR says the answer to that question is yes, since it's adding "Light Field" (aka plenoptic) capture technology to existing rigs (like this 6K unit shown above) that will let viewers look around the scene with full six degrees of freedom. This is similar to the tech Lytro uses for its cameras that lets you change focus after a picture is taken -- and just got a $50 million investment to implement on VR. According to NextVR, its patented approach creates a 3D geometric model of the scene (shown after the break) ready for headsets like the Oculus Rift, Sony's Project Morpheus or even augmented reality units like Microsoft's HoloLens or Magic Leap's... whatever it is.