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This is a discussion on Game Tech News within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; After the collapse of THQ in 2013, the fate of well-loved franchises like Darksiders was in peril. The company’s intellectual ...

          
   
  1. #681
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    Darksiders III

    After the collapse of THQ in 2013, the fate of well-loved franchises like Darksiders was in peril. The company’s intellectual properties scattered to the winds, devs moved to other endeavors, and fans were heartbroken. But all these years later, Darksiders is back from the dead right alongside the name of its former publisher.

    Vigil Games developed the first two Darksiders games under THQ, and much of that team ended up at Crytek after the bankruptcy. The rights to Darksiders went to Nordic Games though, so regardless of interest, the original devs couldn’t simply deliver a follow-up whenever they felt like it.

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    Nvidia AI in Unreal Engine 4



    Interest in artificial neural networks has skyrocketed over the years as companies like Google and Facebook have invested heavily in machines that can think like humans. Today, an AI can recognize objects in photos or help generate realistic computer speech, but Nvidia has successfully built a neural network that can create an entire virtual world with the help of a game engine. The researchers speculate this “hybrid” approach could one day make AI-generated games a reality.

    The system build by Nvidia engineers uses many of the same parts as other AI experiments, but they’re arranged in a slightly different way. To goal of the project was to create a simple driving simulator, but without using any humans to design the environment.

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    Epic Games Is Gunning for Steam



    Life is strange sometimes. Three days ago, I was openly wondering what gaming service might emerge to provide a better set of features and capabilities than Steam. This week, Epic Games announces that they’re coming out with their own service — and they’ve got at least one serious hook ready to land right between Gabe Newell’s eyes.
    This is a true store, not just a landing page for Epic’s own products, though obviously, it’ll take time to populate things. Where Steam takes a 30 percent cut of all developer earnings, Epic has slashed its own take, to just 12 percent. The company writes that developers will receive 88 percent of revenue, with no tiers or thresholds. Epic takes 12 percent, and if a developer uses Unreal Engine, Epic will cover the 5 percent engine royalty for sales on the Epic Games store out of Epic's 12 percent, the company said.

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    Epic Launches New PC Games Store

    Epic has, as promised, launched its new Store. While the service is obviously intended to take Steam on head-to-head, with a 12/88 revenue split for Epic and developers as opposed to Valve’s 30/70 split, gamers who are used to the literally thousands of titles available on Steam may be surprised to see just how few titles are currently available on Epic’s service. There are three, not counting Fortnite itself: Ashen, Hello Neighbor, and an exclusive game, Hades, built by Supergiant Games, which is also responsible for Bastion and Pyre.

    Darksiders III will join the service on December 14, with future games including Genesis Alpha One, Journey (a former PlayStation 3 exclusive), Maneater, Outer Wilds, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, Satisfactory, Super Meat Boy Forever, The Pathless, and World War Z. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more titles move to Epic, despite the currently anemic selection, for a very simple reason: discovery. One of Steam’s largest problems, and an issue that’s been identified by a number of current developers, is that the avalanche of titles on the service makes it extremely difficult to create any kind of buzz or consumer awareness of a new game unless you have access to a AAA game’s marketing budget. Granted, people aren’t going to fight to be on a platform that no one is using, but the sheer success of Fortnite means Epic has a vast potential audience of players already. Launching a store effort when its game is enjoying such phenomenal success is a shrewd move by the company.



    And hard as it is to remember, Steam itself launched with just a handful of titles, once upon a time. Granted, it had more than four — Valve didn’t launch Steam until Half-Life 2 was available, which means it also shipped out with Half-Life and its expansion pack, and various mods like Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat. At the very least, it’ll be interesting to see how the market responds to the availability of a new service intended to serve as a distribution point for multiple publishers rather than focusing on a single company the way uPlay or EA’s Origin do. As we’ve previously discussed, GOG is the closest competitor to Steam — and that company’s insistence on a DRM-free gaming experience, while laudable, also limits its ability to compete commercially with a service that does integrate DRM capabilities. Epic will allow games to use their own DRM solutions, as well as supporting games made with both Unreal Engine 4 and Unity.

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    The Top 5 Games We Played in 2018



    After the knockout 2017 release schedule, many of us thought 2018 would be a quiet year of recovery. Instead, it was stuffed with far too many excellent games for any one person to play. Some games stood head and shoulders above the competition though, and we want to take a moment to praise our most beloved titles.
    This year, we’re featuring top five lists from Ryan Whitwam, David Cardnal, and Grant Brunner. Not everyone here prioritizes the newest releases, but these lists will give you a good idea of which games meant something to us in 2018.
    If you enjoyed a game that didn’t make our lists, feel free to give it some love in the comments below. After all, 15 slots aren’t nearly enough to cover all of this year’s superb releases.

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    PlayStation Classic received a $40 price cut online



    The PlayStation Classic clearly didn’t turn out to be the must-have hit for Sony that the NES and SNES Classic were for Nintendo. As we wrote at the time, both of those consoles hit the market and became collector’s items, practically impossible to find, almost at once. The situation was worse for the NES Classic, but neither platform was plentiful on or after launch day.

    The PlayStation Classic, in contrast, has just received a $40 price cut online in all its territories. One could draw conclusions about how the NES and SNES have larger fan bases, but the more likely theory is that Sony shipped a half-baked offer and was rewarded with an entirely proportional level of sales.

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    The 10 Most Technically Impressive Games of 2018



    As the new year begins to sink in, let’s pump the brakes, and highlight a few standout games from 2018. We were pleasantly surprised to have yet another year squeezed full of sensational games, so trimming down the list to 10 technically impressive games was a true challenge.

    We’ve done this style of list in years past, but it’s always worth having a refresher here for new readers. This list isn’t primarily focused on the use of raw GPU horsepower or the most innovative mechanics – it’s a celebration of technical achievement in every conceivable way.

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    Fortnite Left Players Open to Account Hijacking, Voice Chat Eavesdropping



    Now that it’s the most popular game in the world, Fortnite has become a target for both lawsuits and hackers. Security firm Check Point Software says Fortnite developer Epic Games had a major vulnerability in its system that could have allowed an attacker to play as the victim, purchase items, and even listen to the player’s microphone.

    The vulnerability, which Epic Games confirms it has fixed, is part of its website rather than the game client itself. Like many hacks, it begins with getting the target to click on a malicious link. The attacker’s site doesn’t have to deposit any malware on the system, though. All it has to do is copy the Fortnite login token.

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    DeepMind AI Challenges Pro StarCraft II Players


    Humans tend to think we’re adept at the games we create, but computers have proven time and time again that we’re just not fast enough to stay on top. Machines have defeated us in chess, Jeopardy!, and even the deviously complex board game Go. Google-owned DeepMind gets credit for that last one, and now it’s dominating another game: StarCraft II. After just 18 months, DeepMind has an AI that beats the world’s best StarCraft II players, and it’s not even close.

    DeepMind called its Go-dominating AI “AlphaGo,” and the StarCraft-playing bot got a similar moniker. It’s called AlphaStar, and it has more than 200 years of practice under its belt. Back at Blizzcon in November, DeepMind said its machine learning platform had managed to beat the “Insane” difficulty in-game AI about half the time. Well, it’s gotten much better since then.

    AlphaStar is a convolutional neural network. The team started with replays of pro matches, giving AlphaStar a starting point to begin playing the game. Through intensive training with competing models, DeepMind was able to teach AlphaStar how to play the game as well as the best human players. Over time, it whittled the AI down to the five best “agents,” and that’s what it deployed against some of the most skilled StarCraft II players in the world.

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    Ace Combat 7 Is Fun



    Bandai Namco hasn’t exactly been the best steward of the Ace Combat series. After the somewhat controversial mainline installment early in the Xbox 360’s lifespan, we’ve only had spin-offs and experiments to tide us over. But after a decade of thumb-twiddling, arcade flight enthusiasts finally have something to crow about with Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.

    The Digital Foundry team analyzed Ace Combat 7, and the results are mostly good news. The developers opted for the tried-and-true Unreal Engine 4 to create an undeniably attractive world, and they’re targeting 60fps to live up to the PS2-era legacy. Fantastic, right? Right?!

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