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Square x Soft photo
Square x Soft

Final Fantasy XV dev put together this DirectX 12 tech demo for Microsoft

Square x Soft
May 01
// Steven Hansen
It's so weird how many computer companies and developers had or have the word "soft" in their names. Squaresoft, Microsoft, Ubisoft. It's like a menagerie of Pau Gasols out here am I right folks. I put together some words in...
Witcher beard photo
Witcher beard

Geralt will grow a beard while you play The Witcher 3

Mar 23
// Jordan Devore
Some would call beard growth in videogames insignificant -- a waste of time. They would be wrong. As spotted in the NeoGAF recap of German gaming magazine's factoid-filled coverage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, pro...
SteelSeries Sentry photo
SteelSeries Sentry

I couldn't trick the eye-tracking tech in Assassin's Creed Rogue

Say 'trick the eye-tracking tech' five times fast
Mar 06
// Brett Makedonski
Whenever I get my hands on new technology, my first inclination is to try to break it. Well, not the way Fred Durst likes to break stuff, but to see if I can expose any hiccups in the design. Going into a demo for the SteelSe...
A 4K Ouya photo
A 4K Ouya

New Nvidia Shield is a $200 Android console

A 4K Ouya
Mar 03
// Steven Hansen
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has announced the company's own sort of Ouya/Amazon Fire TV, the "world's first 4K Android TV console," the Tegra X1-powered Nvidia Shield. Not to be confused with Nvidia's recent Nvidia Shield. It i...
GDC news photo
GDC news

Sony's virtual reality hat Morpheus coming to PlayStation 4 in 2016

Slick new GDC prototype
Mar 03
// Steven Hansen
In the last month or so, invitations to various virtual reality headset demonstrations have made up a huge chunk of my inbox. GDC is into virtual reality.  I worry someone will pull some garish box out of their bag this ...
AC Rogue on PC photo
AC Rogue on PC

Assassin's Creed Rogue's PC port will be first triple-A game to use eye-tracking

Made possible by SteelSeries Sentry
Feb 05
// Brett Makedonski
When Assassin's Creed Rogue comes to PC later this spring, players will be able to take advantage of some optional tech that, in a sense, won't restrict their field of vision to the confines of their screen; in fact, it...
Crazy tech demo photo
Crazy tech demo

Unreal 4 can help make some ridiculously photo realistic apartments

Can I live here? It must still be cheaper than San Francisco
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
3D artist and level designer Benoît Dereau, who has previously worked on Dishonored, has made one of the most impressive Unreal Engine 4 tech demos I've seen, as far as photo realism goes. It makes PT lo...

You saw Microsoft's crazy hologram headset, right?

Jan 21 // Jordan Devore
[embed]286513:56976:0[/embed] It's unlikely that the end consumer product will exactly match the ambition of this concept video but, even if Microsoft gets partway there with HoloLens, we're one step closer to The Future as envisioned by Hollywood. One step closer to becoming Tony Stark. What a time to be alive. Other gaming-related announcements were made during the Windows 10 event: Microsoft is working on an Xbox app with Xbox Live-style social functionality and Achievements. Sure, why not? We'll be able to stream Xbox One games through our local network to a Windows 10 PC or tablet. "[M]any Xbox One accessories will work interchangeably on the console and PC (with more on the way)," says the company. Xbox One's recording/editing/sharing Game DVR software will be a part of Windows 10 "whether [you're] on Xbox Live, Steam, or other services." Fable Legends will release on Xbox One and Windows 10 simultaneously and the game supports cross-platform play. (Remember Shadowrun 2007?) This represents "just the first of the major game franchises from Microsoft Studios coming to Windows 10." DirectX 12 is a Windows 10 exclusive. My graphics card just got another wrinkle. Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users can upgrade to Windows 10 for free for the first year. And finally, Cortana -- she's here to stay as a personal assistant. Yay?
Holograms! photo
HoloLens, DirectX 12, and actual Microsoft Studios games on PC
Earlier today, Microsoft held a Windows 10 event. My stream kept dying, but I posted about the Battletoads shirt worn by head of Xbox Phil Spencer during his segment about gaming. Much of the event was uninteresting or irrele...

SpeedTree photo

Congrats on the Academy Award, SpeedTree

We were rooting for you
Jan 13
// Jordan Devore
Do you ever take a moment to stop and admire the scenery? Too often are we focused on mindlessly pushing forward to the next objective to notice the little details. Foliage, man. Take it in. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts...
Nvidia grass tech demo photo
Nvidia grass tech demo

Nvidia's new grass tech demo is pretty neat

Like watching grass grow
Oct 27
// Darren Nakamura
Okay, I mostly wanted to write this story because grass behavior is stereotypically one of the dullest things out there, right next to watching paint dry. But to be honest, the tech demo above is actually pretty cool. I can ...

Apple announces the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Sep 09
// Dale North
Tim Cook called it the "biggest advancement in iPhone." We called it the worst of their long history of poorly kept secrets.  Two sizes: both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus were announced this morning at Apple's pres...
Samsung photo

Here's the more expensive version of Google Cardboard from Samsung

Samsung's new VR headset will be a lot pricier than cardboard
Aug 14
// Brittany Vincent
Samsung has announced that it will be showing its rumored virtual reality headset, codenamed "Project Moonlight," at its upcoming product event show in early September where it is widely expected to also announce the Galaxy N...
Epic Games UK photo
Epic Games UK

Epic Games UK set up to work on Unreal Engine 4

Formerly Pitbull Studio
Aug 05
// Jordan Devore
Most of us won't recognize Pitbull Studio by name, but the company has worked with Epic Games in the past on Gears of War: Judgment and, most notably, Unreal Engine 4. Now, the two are further extending their partnership as P...

CES expands to Asia with a new tradeshow in Shanghai

Launching May 2015
Jul 17
// Dale North
The Consumer Electronic Show is one of my favorite events. It was Destructoid's very first trade show, and we've been back every year we've been in business. While not necessarily a videogame trade show, it still brings us bi...

Microsoft layoffs cut 18,000 workers

Nokia division hit hard
Jul 17
// Dale North
Microsoft says that they're working to realign their workforce, with the first step being a large scale workforce reduction of up to 18,000 jobs. They say that the vast majority of the jobs that will be eliminated will happen...
Samsung photo

Here's Samsung's bid at entering the VR market

It's all red
Jul 09
// Brittany Vincent
A new leaked image of Samsung's entry into the VR headset arena is making its rounds on the internet today. Known as Gear VR, it's poised to implement software co-developed by Rift creator Oculus, with screens and additional ...

Razer micro console powered by Android TV revealed at Google I/O

Gaming focused, affordable
Jun 25
// Dale North
A new product, a Razer "micro-console" powered by Android TV, was shown as part of the keynote at Google I/O today. This is a device that will stream games and other content to televisions. Razer says that it will be priced t...

Microsoft acquires cloud-computing company GreenButton

High-performance cloud tech
May 02
// Dale North
Microsoft has acquired a high-performance cloud-computing company named GreenButton today. The two companies have worked together in the past, with GreenButton also providing services to HP, Amazon, and others. But TechCrunch...
ZeniMax vs. Oculus VR photo
ZeniMax vs. Oculus VR

ZeniMax seeking compensation over the Oculus Rift

Asserts Carmack worked on IP while at id that went into the headset
May 01
// Jordan Devore
id Software parent company ZeniMax Media has sent a "formal notice of its legal rights" to Oculus VR and Facebook over intellectual property worked on by chief technology officer John Carmack while he was still at id that Zen...
Windows photo

Windows Start Menu slated to return in the near future

Just like starting over
Apr 24
// Brittany Vincent
In a marked change of pace for typical Windows releases, Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s Windows and Xbox software division, demonstrated a prototype build of a hybridized Start Menu. Combining the classic function ...

Grush, the gaming toothbrush

This is a thing
Apr 23
// Dale North
I have this thing about breath. I'm not so concerned about those that just had coffee or ate roasted garlic. It's more about the people with the breath that lets you know that they just don't bother to brush. That breath. Th...

Sony's Project Morpheus: An impressive first showing

Mar 20 // Dale North
Headset impressions We admired the headset before strapping it onto our heads. Sony's version of VR looks bigger and heavier than Rift, but it certainly doesn't feel heavy when wearing it. Trying out Oculus' second development kit this week, I thought that it felt a little heavy on my face and nose. Sony has engineered a solution that has a couple of straps letting the back of the head do the holding, keeping the weight off the nose and cheekbones. An elastic band gets you started, but a secondary plastic band with clickable tightening points does most of the work. It's pretty comfortable, and removing it doesn't mess up your hair as much as Rift does. Morpheus looks pretty slick with its glossy white finish and black matte trim. The colored lights that it uses for tracking are also attractive. But for as slick as it looks off, I can't say that it looks cool on anyone I've seen wearing it. And, of course, you won't see any of the design or trim work when you're using it. The Deep Sony's London Studios have built a really impressive demo that has users deep diving the ocean in a shark cage. My nervous giggles and head darts turned into full-on uncomfortable blurts of laughter as a large shark circled around my cage, breaking it down piece by piece with its terrifying mouth. After the first few shark attacks, looking down and to my left, I noticed that my character had started bleeding a bit, with clouds of red starting to seep up from my body. It was fun, and not unlike a theme park experience. Though The Deep was limited on the interactivity front, it's easily the most visually impressive VR demo I've experienced. The clarity of the 3D effect, the quality of the demo assets, and the level of immersion were all very high. It looked less like a demo and more like a full-on VR game. The Deep was also one of the most immersive VR demos I've tried. Having to sit and wait as the cage descended kept me tense, and knowing that I only had a flare gun to defend myself made it that much worse. A DualShock 4 controller held in one hand let me freely aim and fire the flare gun, and its tracking of my movements with it was spot-on. Excellent head and body tracking tech also let me turn my head in any direction and even turn fully around to follow the shark as he circled my cage. I drew back in fear at the shark's final attack, and I could see and feel my avatar's body drawing back with me.  The Castle While The Deep was limited in control, The Castle let me go all-out with two PlayStation Move controllers. Situated in front of a knight dummy, I was able to use my virtual hands to punch, push, pull, and otherwise manipulate it through the Move controllers, with completely accurate 1:1 control. Later, I was able to draw a sword from my side to cut at it. I tried grabbing the dummy's head with one hand (by gripping the Move's trigger) and lopping it off with the other using a sword, and liked it so much that I dismembered several more dummies before continuing. Just being in this virtual world and looking around was quite the experience. Even simple parts of it, like trying to pick up a sword, just missing, and then trying to catch it as it falls, feels impressively immersive. I saw that I was standing on a grate in front of a castle, and I tried walking forward a few steps to get a better look. I looked down and saw the moat that lied below that grate and felt a real sense of vertigo, and I felt my knees catching. This looked and felt very realistic! As the demo continued, I was able to take hold of a crossbow and shoot at dummies and other targets in the world. By holding up a PS Move controller and squeezing the trigger, I easily took targets out. I found it interesting that I could draw the controller close to my face and close one eye to get a better look through the crossbow's crosshairs.  The demo wrapped up with one of my shots aggravating what I thought was a statue of a huge dragon. It came alive and devoured me. Seeing my virtual head going into its massive mouth was pretty freaky. EVE: Valkyrie While we've seen CCP's EVE: Valkyrie before, the Project Morpheus build is easily the best version we've seen. It looks more fleshed out visually, and there's much more polish in its interfaces and assets. It also feels more like a game now than it ever has. Flying around space requires more work, and taking down enemy ships requires more hits. Enemies have hit points, and they're more than happy to dodge your missiles and come back at you while you're trying to avoid asteroid collisions. Even in its unfinished state, running on this non-final prototype kit, I'd happily buy Project Morpheus as is to play more of EVE: Valkyrie.  Impressions: Sony has had a very strong first showing for their Project Morpheus VR platform. It's clear that they've been working behind the scenes for some time now, and that this offering isn't just a me-too product. Overall, I've been more impressed with what I've seen right out of the gate than I have with any of the numerous Oculus Rift showings I've attended. The device looks better, fits better, and seems to have more immersive and higher-quality demos to share.  Oculus Rift still wins on resolution, and there is less motion blur in their latest kit, though. And they have what seems like all the brain power in the world at their disposal to figure out any issues that might come up otherwise. But both companies still have a long way to go before they have a final product. They have to build the final kit, come up with compelling experiences, and meet a price point that gamers can accept before VR will become a reality.
Sony VR hands-on photo
First hands-on at GDC
Sony choose GDC as its coming out party for its virtual reality platform, Project Morpheus. The goal was to build interest at a show where just about every developer in the industry is in attendance. And from the look of the ...

Sony's eye tracking technology will be a game changer

Mar 20 // Dale North
In an after hours demonstration last night, I sat down with Sony Computer Entertainment software engineer Eric Larsen to check out eye tracking, not knowing what to expect. I wondered what the big deal was about a game tracking my eyeballs. Why would a game need to look at me when I'm looking at it? Larsen had me sit in front of an infrared sensor and look at a screen to see a really creepy shot infrared of my own eyes, and then he had me follow a marker that moved around the screen to finish calibration. And that's all it took.  From there, I was able to try out a demo stage of Infamous: Second Son that had been modified for eye tracking input. It looked exactly the same as the current PS4 release, but I noticed that when I looked around the screen, the camera followed. As you can imagine, this took a bit of getting used to. Having my eyes scanning the game's setting had the camera shifting left and right. It wasn't fast enough to be disorienting, but it was like someone had their thumb on the right analog stick, pushing it slightly to mess with me. It only took a few seconds to get used to, and using the analog stick to compliment eye camera control became natural quickly.  But when I turned the corner out of an alley, I immediately found myself under fire, and I had to quickly get used to aiming with my eyeballs. Again, scanning the screen to try to keep an eye on all the action wasn't helping, but as soon as I learned to focus my attention on one object on the screen, I only had to mash R2 on the controller to take anything out. Once it clicked, the feeling of power was overwhelming. After blowing away my first few enemies I was so excited by this ability that I almost jumped out of my seat! I imagined that aiming and controlling the camera with my eyes would be tiring, but it felt completely natural. Just look and shoot. It almost felt like a mind power being able to focus on one object on the screen and have all my fire direct exactly on it. Picking off targets in the distance became really easy for me after a couple of minutes. But it wasn't too easy; the concentration required to target properly still had this control scheme feeling like a game, and as soon as that concentration broke, my aim faltered. Larsen explained that this demonstration used currently available technology, and that their software was doing most of the heavy lifting. He said that one day they might be able to combine this eye tracking technology with their virtual reality technology to make for an even more immersive experience.  Imagine being able to use eye tracking in a sports game. You could look at another player before passing the ball instead of having to choose a player with a controller button. A survival horror game could have you training a flashlight in the dark with your eyes. We came up with several great ideas like these during our chat. For someone that plays games professionally, I'm a terrible aim. I'd love to see this come to market for this point alone!  Let's hope that Sony continues to move forward with this exciting technology.
Sony eye tracking tech photo
The coolest thing I've seen at GDC so far
Imagine never having to use the right analog stick to move a game's camera or reticle. Instead, you'd use your eyeballs to aim or move the camera -- simply look at what you want to shoot at or move to.   This sounds like...


Oculus on virtual reality competition: 'We're excited'

Oculus welcomes the 'titans'
Mar 19
// Dale North
When we met with them yesterday morning, the people at Oculus VR were not surprised to hear my questioning on what they thought of the rumors of a potential Sony VR headset announcement at GDC. We spoke with them just hours b...

Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 pre-orders open today, priced at $350

Mar 19 // Dale North
The new dev kit looks much more tidy than the Crystal Cove prototype we last saw. I was surprised at just how clean and tidy it looked at first glance, and was even more surprised at just how light it is in its final form. The external interface box and processing has now been worked into the headset, though it doesn't seem to have added any noticeable weight. The little white infrared bits we saw on the Crystal Cove prototype are now hidden behind the DK2's black plastic face, though the new near infrared CMOS tracking sensor sees them perfectly fine.  DK2 is also cleaner on the connection side, with its single thin cable that runs from the set. At its end it splits into HDMI, USB, and sync plugs. The top of the unit has a couple more ports (USB and sync), giving developers more connectivity to play with.  I was able to revisit older kit for a bit for comparison's sake in a demo that gives the user a first-person view of Italian countryside from a porch. It's nice to look at on the older kit, the but difference was pretty surprising seeing the same demo on DK2. The first thing I noticed was that the increased resolution made a huge difference. But, in looking around the virtual world, the improved tracking made the biggest difference. Looking around feels totally natural, with no apparent lag to speak of. They've all but closed the door on motion sickness with this upgrade. The best demo I saw was called Couch Knights, created in cooperation with Epic Games. The game takes place in a virtual living room, where two players sit opposite of each other. Through Rift's positional tracking, the players are able to lean in any direction and the field of view change appropriately and realistically. This tracking also has the other player's avatar moving appropriately with their leans.  When Couch Knights starts, small knights are summoned onto the virtual living room's coffee table to fight. Armed with a sword and shield, both characters are free to run around this living room, hiding behind couches, knocking objects over, and even fighting from avatar's laps. The demo was a pretty simple one, but imagine if this concept were applied to a party brawler like Super Smash Bros. How neat would that be! All that Oculus were able to achieve with their Crystal Cove prototype and beyond is now ready for use in development kit 2. This gets us one step closer to Oculus' final retail release, and will hopefully give game makers the tools they need to build experiences for it as it has the core functionality that the final will feature. These are exciting times.
Oculus Rift DK2 announced photo
First hands-on with the new kit
As of this morning at 8 a.m. PST, pre-orders are open for the Oculus Rift development kit 2 (DK2). They're priced at $350, and will ship beginning in July of this year. Oculus tells Destructoid that the kits will be shipped o...

Project Morpheus photo
Project Morpheus

The technical details of Sony's Project Morpheus virtual reality

Specs of first dev kit revealed
Mar 18
// Dale North
After tonight's reveal, Sony spent some time at their GDC talk to discuss some details on the technical goals for their new VR headset, codenamed Project Morpheus.  Project Morpheus calls on Sony's electronics divisions ...

Two new Razer laptops offer power and profile at a premium

Mar 12 // Steven Hansen
Razer Blade Pro (17") The Razer Blade Pro is in an iterative year. Of course there has been an obsessive attention to making the laptop more powerful, abetted by Nvidia's Maxwell generation Geforce GTX 860M. With what is seen as the fastest mobile GPU, the Pro has seen 46 percent higher benchmark performance.  With the 860M comes a host of Nvidia Geforce features. ShadowPlay allows for easy live streaming to Twitch and ten-minute buffered game capture without performance issues while GameStream allows streaming from the Pro to a remote display. Nvidia's Battery Boost, meanwhile, can reportedly double battery life. Locking the frame rate to 30 will help with that as well. Doubled RAM (now 16GB) and a fourth-generation Intel i7 have all been jammed into the Pro's consistent form factor. Razer is also pushing its Switchblade UI. The touch pad on the Pro is also a screen, which you can use to browse Twitter or watch YouTube -- even while you're playing a game. It's all customizable and Razer has more partnerships in the works with applications. A new Twitch app lets you watch streams on the little screen and even chat while the Windows 8 Charm app tries to pare down the new OS. Razer even co-developed a DJ app with electronic/dance artist Afrojack.  It starts at $2,299. Razer Blade (14") Here's where things get crazier. The (relatively) cheaper 14" Razer Blade started at $400 less last year. We expect technology to go down in price. I think we still do. I still do, anyway. But an edge-to-edge glass 3200 x 1800 10-point capacitive multi-touch display doesn't come cheap. And it looks incredible, thanks also to a 250 percent improved contrast ratio and 160-degree viewing angle on both axes. In his review, Dale was disappointed with the Blade's lack of vibrancy and color in its display, particularly, "compared with Apple's MacBook Pro Retina." Razer clearly took that criticism to heart, delivering the highest resolution 14" laptop display there is. Somehow Razer managed to squeeze that ludicrous touch display -- does that really make Windows 8 that much more usable? -- into its flagship gaming laptop without sacrificing its claims of being the thinnest and lightest in its field. ".7 inches thin," Razer explains in the same way my mother talks about how many "years young" she is. Sei vecchio, va bene. The new Blade uses Nvidia's GTX 870M, a fourth-generation Intel i7, and a bunch of other computer parts (specs are on site, naturally) to deliver around 65 percent benchmark improvements. Which means when Battlefield 4 crashed, it wasn't the computer's fault, and Sleeping Dogs looked more vivid than ever and all I want to do now is play it more. The average FPS at 3200 x 1800 during its benchmark was over 50. You could probably run that on the battery for longer than my laptop will play a movie with the display turned off (critical warnings before one True Detective episode finished).  It starts at $2,199.
Razer's new laptops photo
Razer? I hardly even know her!
Every time I see a razor blade in person I have to pick it up. Those things are dangerous and shouldn't be left lying about. Kids could put them in their mouth or pigeons could weaponize them. Maybe mobsters will smuggle them...

Oculus VR photo
Oculus VR

Carmack couldn't work on VR at id Software, so he left

Doom 4 with a virtual-reality headset 'would have been a huge win'
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
As much as I want John Carmack to do good work at Oculus VR, it was sad to see him depart from id Software. In an interview with USA Today, he elaborated on why he chose to leave instead of working at multiple companies simul...
Technology photo

Neat idea: A headset that can help stop gamer rage

Put this tech into something more viable and I'm in
Jan 20
// Jordan Devore
I don't know anyone who hasn't at one point in the life or another gotten upset at a videogame, whether that be due to bad design, an inability to play well enough, or something else entirely. Sam Matson has a novel solution ...
Fancy new RTS engine photo
Fancy new RTS engine

This engine could mean massive new strategy games

Oxide Games uses AMD's Mantle for its new engine
Jan 14
// Jordan Devore
Leveraging AMD's Mantle technology, Oxide Games has come up with a new game engine intended for real-time strategy titles on PC and consoles called Nitrous that can handle up to 5,000 AI- or physics-driven objects (like laser...

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