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This is a discussion on Game Tech News within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; There’s a long-standing, good-natured feud between the different gaming factions on the internet. The console people bicker over who has ...

      
   
  1. #711
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    Gaming PC With Built-In PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and Nintendo

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    There’s a long-standing, good-natured feud between the different gaming factions on the internet. The console people bicker over who has the best exclusives, but all of them can unite against the PC gamers. A new project from custom PC builder Origin could bring everyone together in awe — the Big O has all three current-gen consoles and a gaming PC in a single box. You can’t buy it, but it really is a thing to behold.

    The first step was figuring out if all the components would even fit. There is an almost endless assortment of custom PC components, but the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro are immutable — if they don’t fit in the case, the project isn’t happening. Origin liberated the Xbox and Playstation from their original cases, and lovingly integrated the guts in its custom full-tower Genesis chassis. To keep the consoles cool in the confined space, Origin turned to a hard-line liquid cooling setup from Cryogenic. The only major drawback to putting the consoles inside the case like this is that the optical drives had to go. That means the PS4 and Xbox are digital-only. That’s the way things are going anyway.

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    Classic Doom Games



    There are precious few first-person shooter franchises as iconic or beloved as Doom. With the series enjoying a resurgence of late, gamers are increasingly interested in going back to replay the classic games that got it all started. They can do that now on current-generation game consoles. However, these decades-old games include some very modern frustrations.

    The Doom games follow the exploits of the unnamed “Doomguy” as he does battle with the forces of Hell in the distant future. Doom’s unrelenting action and creepy visuals made it a massive success. Along with Wolfenstein 3D, Doom helped define first-person shooters with features like 3D graphics, multiplayer, and more.

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    Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo



    Loot boxes have been controversial since they were introduced. That controversy was turbo-charged back in 2017, when EA and DICE decided to make the entire economy of Star Wars Battlegrounds II entirely dependent on randomized loot box drops and insanely long grinds. That particular shameful cash grab may have exploded in the company’s face like the Death Star over Endor, but it kicked off an investigation into how loot boxes work across the globe. The FTC held a workshop on gaming loot boxes on Wednesday, August 7, to discuss issues surrounding this method of dispensing in-game loot. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo announced a new initiative at said workshop — one that will require all games published on their platforms to disclose the chance of receiving rewards.

    Publishers have similarly rallied to state they’ll support the initiative, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Bungie, EA, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., and Wizards of the Coast. All of these announcements and statements, however, apply to consoles — not PCs. Valve updated DOTA 2 to show loot box disclosure data last year, but it hasn’t made disclosing this information mandatory for games on its platform. Neither have smaller game stores like Epic or GoG, at least not yet.

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    Minecraft Will Receive Nvidia-Exclusive RTX Update

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    Last week, Mojang announced that the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack (SDGP) that Microsoft had promised back in 2017 was canceled, permanently. No additional information was offered on why the update was canceled, or what the team had been working on for the past two years before canceling it. As of today, Nvidia has announced that it will be developing an exclusive ray tracing pack for Minecraft for Nvidia GPU owners.

    Mojang’s announcement states: “It’ll be playable on Windows 10 with devices that are capable of DirectX R, such as with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU (and we plan to expand it to future platforms that support DirectX R raytracing).”

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    World of Warcraft Classic

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    When World of Warcraft Classic launched this week, no one was quite sure what the player response would be. The amount of interest in the launch has been massive, but how many people would show up to play?
    The answer: Tons. So many, that the question is now “How many will stick around for the long haul?”
    The game is mobbed, to put it politely. I managed to log on Monday for a few hours, probably because people weren’t aware that the official North American opening was on Monday, not Tuesday. Tuesday night, the queues were basically impossible — an attempted log in at 8 PM found me stuck in a 3-hour queue. Even at 10:30 PM — when sane people on the East Coast are headed for bed — I was looking at a half-hour login queue.

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    Facebook Is Building a Minecraft AI

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    It turns out that video games may be an excellent method of teaching skills to artificial intelligence assistants. That’s the theory of a group of researchers working for Facebook, who have focused on Minecraft as a potential teaching tool for building generalist AI — a so-called ‘virtual assistant.’ The research team isn’t trying to build an artificial intelligence that’s super-good at classifying images or other content — it wants to build a generalist AI that can perform a much larger number of tasks reasonably well.

    This is, to-date, an under-studied area of research. The authors’ write:
    There has been measured progress in this setting as well, with the mainstreaming of virtual personal assistants. These are able to accomplish thousands of tasks communicated via natural language, using multi-turn dialogue for clarifications or further specification. The assistants are able to interact with other applications to get data or perform actions.
    Nevertheless, many difficult problems remain open. Automatic natural language understanding (NLU) is still rigid and limited to constrained scenarios. Methods for using dialogue or other natural language for rich supervision remain primitive. In addition, because they need to be able to reliably and predictably solve many simple tasks, their multi-modal inputs, and the constraints of their maintenance and deployment, assistants are modular systems, as opposed to monolithic ML models. Modular ML systems that can improve themselves from data while keeping well-defined interfaces are still not well studied.

    According to the team, they picked Minecraft because it offered a regular distribution of tasks with “hand-holds for NLU research,” as well as enjoyable opportunities for human-AI interaction, with plenty of opportunities for human-in-the-loop research. Minecraft, for those of you who haven’t played or heard of it, is a block-based crafting and exploration game in which players explore a 3D voxel grid universe populated with various types of materials, neutral characters, and enemies. The team’s goal is to build an AI virtual assistant that can be given instructions in natural language by a Minecraft player, and that can reliably complete some of the primary tasks that player might engage in, including gathering materials, building structures, fighting mobs, and crafting items.

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    EA Receives Guinness World Record

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    The Guinness Book of World Records has given EA a prestigious award in its annals of history. A sharp-eyed Redditor noticed the award, given to the video game publisher for one of its initial responses to the Star Wars Battlefront II loot crate controversy.

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    Civilization VI With Battle Royale Mode Now

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    You’d have to be living under a rock with no internet connection to be unaware of how popular battle royale-style games have become. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the first major success in this genre, but then there was Fortnite, which has gone on to be the most popular game in the world. Now, every game seems to have a Battle Royale mode, even games that don’t need them. Case in point: Civilization VI. The latest update to the game adds a new mode called Red Death, a 12-player battle royale.

    Civilization VI is the latest entry in the long-running strategy franchise, initially launched in 2016. Like past games in the series, Civilization VI puts you in the shoes of a great leader, guiding a civilization from ancient times into the modern era. Along the way, you have to battle barbarians, establish a culture, spread religion, and hold off the advances of hostile civilizations elsewhere on the map. This all takes place in the framework of a turn-based game, which makes the move to battle royale rather perplexing.

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    Sony Shares Fresh Details on PlayStation 5, Will Launch Holidays 2020

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    To date, Sony has kept pretty quiet about the PlayStation 5. Thanks to a new interview with PS5 system architect Mark Cerny, we can now confirm one detail — the machine will officially be known as the PlayStation 5. That’s not exactly unexpected, but given that companies occasionally like to toss a wrench in things, it’s nice to know. The launch date, as expected, is “Holidays 2020” — another expected-but-nice-to-have-confirmed data point.

    The interview with Cerny, published in Wired, touches on an array of details rather than being a deep technical discussion. He confirms that the PlayStation 5 has hardware-level support for ray tracing, not some kind of software-only solution. It’s not clear why people thought there wasn’t; AMD has confirmed that hardware ray tracing is baked into its upcoming 2020 GPUs, and the feature is expected for consoles in at least some form (it isn’t clear yet what kind of hardware solution this is).

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    Google’s Plan to Overcome Stadia Latency Issues

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    One of the problems facing Google Stadia — beyond Google’s habit of slaughtering every project that doesn’t become an instant, industry-dominating hit — is that there’s an intrinsic latency baked-in to using it. There’s simply no way to send data over hundreds to thousands of miles and not have intrinsic latency attached. This may not be a problem if you live near a Google Stadia datacenter, but it’ll definitely impact the experience to some degree for everyone who doesn’t.
    According to Google, it has a plan to beat this problem, an approach that will allow it to actually make games faster remotely than they can be locally. “Ultimately, we think in a year or two we’ll have games that are running faster and feel more responsive in the cloud than they do locally,” Google VP of engineering Madj Bakar told Edge Magazine, via PCGamesN, “regardless of how powerful the local machine is.”

    How will they achieve this? By using extensive machine prediction to model what players are going to do, and then doing it for them, before they actually start doing it. This “negative latency” will be governed using machine prediction. In some cases, the game might accelerate displayed FPS to reduce lag between button inputs and displayed outcomes. In others, it may predict button-presses before the player actually commits to them.

    It’s not clear if this technology is functional yet. Tests of Google Stadia have often identified latency as an issue, including this report from PC Gamer from back in March. But while this may help make Stadia successful, there are serious questions about whether this approach is suitable for every type of game.

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