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This is a discussion on Game Tech News within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; Great news for fans of old PC games: The venerable Internet Archive has made an additional 2,500 MS-DOS games playable ...

      
   
  1. #721
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    Internet Archive Adds 2,500 Playable MS-DOS Games

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    Great news for fans of old PC games: The venerable Internet Archive has made an additional 2,500 MS-DOS games playable online in a browser, and in most cases with accompanying manuals. We’ve already seen playable games from a variety of vintage software platforms appear over the past several years, many via the Internet Archive itself. But this latest batch was a tougher project to execute.

    The trick with MS-DOS, in general, is that it’s not like emulating fixed console hardware or an old 8-bit computer like the Atari 800 or Commodore 64. There have been different versions of MS-DOS throughout the years, some of which supported specific hardware. Certain titles had special configurations you had to set up in CONFIG.SYS using memory managers in order to play; sometimes it was tricky to get this right even back when they were brand new, much less today. Archive curator Jason Scott wrote that the latest batch came from a project called eXoDOS that’s dedicated to preserving the ability to play old PC-compatible games.

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    Jedi: Fallen Order Might Be the Jedi Knight Successor You Are Looking for



    Long ago, in a gaming ecosystem far, far removed from the one we currently occupy, there were a solid handful of great Star Wars games. While they weren’t all produced by the same developer, they shared one common trait: They were principally single-player titles, though some of the FPS games did include multi-player game modes. The entire Jedi Knight series (Dark Forces, Dark Forces II, Jedi Outcast, Jedi Academy) and titles like Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 are great Star Wars games, though KOTOR 2 plays much better if you install fan-made patches and mods.

    And then, it all ended. After KOTOR 2 in 2005, only the mediocre Force Unleashed and Force Unleashed 2 remained as far as robust single-player content was concerned. The most recent edition of Battlefront II was hailed for having a single-player campaign at all, which sort of tells you how far things have fallen. Games like Bioware’s The Old Republic may have attempted to fuse single-player storytelling with multi-player MMO gaming, but we haven’t had a Star Wars game that put the single-player front and center for a long time. Now, finally, it looks like that might be changing.

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    Mobile Game Publisher Created AI to Identify Big Spenders

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    The era of mobile gaming started off great with cute little time-wasters like Angry Birds, but then in-app purchases happened. Today’s top mobile games are mostly “free-to-play,” which is a nice way of saying everything you do seems to cost money. Some players are willing to pay, and one publisher has developed an AI that can identify the so-called “whales” who will spend the most. And you thought Oblivion Horse Armor was bad.

    Developer and publisher Yodo1 is behind some highly popular mobile games like Crossy Road and Rodeo Stampede. It’s not uncommon for top players in these games to spend a few hundred dollars on power-ups, cosmetic items, and in-game currency. Yodo1 CEO Henry Fong recently revealed that Transformers: Earth Wars, a title published by Yodo1, has been much more successful in luring in whales. One player in that game spent a whopping $150,000. At Game Connect Asia Pacific, Fong talked about how Yodo1 uses AI to keep whales coming back.

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    Bethesda’s ‘Fallout 1st’ Paid Server Launch Has Become a Disaster

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    This week, Bethesda launched private servers for its struggling multiplayer game, Fallout 76. While this feature has been requested since before the game even launched, the company didn’t make it a free update. If you want a private Fallout 76 server, you’ll have to agree to pay $12.99 per month for it or $99 ($8.25 per month equivalent) for a year. Subscribers also get a handful of additional perks, including free currency to spend in the in-game store. If you want to avoid the endless inventory shuffling that FO76 is known for by purchasing unlimited player storage, the only way to currently get it is to pony up $12.99 per month for a private server.

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    EA Games Are Returning to Steam

    Electronic Arts (EA) famously bailed on Valve’s popular Steam platform years ago in favor of its own Origin digital storefront. At the time, EA had some of the most popular gaming franchises like Call of Duty and Mass Effect to lure people over to Origin. Today, EA has given up on keeping its walled garden exclusive and will begin launching games on Steam once again. It starts next month with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

    EA has started promoting pre-orders for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but it’s directing gamers to Steam. That’s quite a change after funneling customers to Origin for the better part of a decade. This is the first major Star Wars release for EA since Battlefront II, which attracted widespread criticism due to its use of loot boxes. Fallen Order is a single-player game, so there are fewer opportunities for EA to nickel and dime players. Although, there are still pre-order bonuses and a “deluxe” edition of the game.

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    DeepMind’s StarCraft II AI Can Now Defeat 99.8 Percent of Human Players

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    Google’s DeepMind AI lab has contributed to some of the company’s most impressive AI feats in recent years such as the Wavenet voice engine and object recognition in Google Photos. DeepMind has also shown off its AI prowess by beating humans at games we never thought machines would be able to play. It started by besting the world’s best Go players, and then moved on to StarCraft II. The “AlphaStar” AI beat some of the world’s top players in early 2019, and now it’s playing online and crushing almost all challengers. DeepMind says AlphaStar is now the first AI to reach Grandmaster status in StarCraft II.

    In January, DeepMind streamed matches between elite human players and the AlphaStar AI. During those matches, AlphaStar showed an incredible understanding of the game, rotating damaged units out of harm’s way, baiting enemies on ramps, and utilizing special abilities to cut enemy formations in half. AlphaStar beat almost all of its human opponents that day, and DeepMind has continued improving the AI in the months since.

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    Nintendo’s Switch Lite Is Selling Like Crazy, JoyCon Drift Be Damned



    The Switch Lite is selling incredibly well for Nintendo. The company revealed during its last quarterly report that it shipped 1.95 million Switch Lite consoles in the first ten days it was available. That compares well even against the Switch, which sold 2.74 million units in its first month on shelves when it launched in April 2017.

    The Switch Lite’s performance is a bit surprising for two reasons: It’s a less expensive version of a new console, not a brand-new system, and the price difference between the two is not as large as some of the other consoles on the market. At $199, the Switch Lite is definitely cheaper than a $299 Switch, but it’s not an enormous difference. It’s also got a significant negative stacked up against it — JoyCon drift. JoyCon drift is a problem where JoyCon controllers begin to register ghost “input” that occurs with no one actually touching the controller. It’s completely separate from any calibration problem, and we know the Switch Lite suffers from it — reports of JoyCon drift on the Switch Lite began to surface almost as soon as the console launched.

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    Diablo 4 Is Coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 Soon



    Fresh off the PR firestorm surrounding its suspension of a Hearthstone player for supporting the Hong Kong protests, Blizzard has finally announced the long-awaited Diablo 4 at Blizzcon 2019. We don’t have many details on the game, but the 9-minute cinematic trailer should get Diablo fans sufficiently hyped.

    The Diablo franchise stretches all the way back to 1996 when the original game marked a significant advance in the hack-and-slash RPG genre. Diablo pioneered many elements of the modern RPG that we take for granted, and both sequels have proved to be major successes in their own rights.

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    Google Reveals Stadia Launch Lineup of 12 Games

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    Rumors began circulating about Google’s game streaming service more than a year ago, and the company began actively testing its technology publicly with Project Stream in late 2018. Project Stream became Stadia earlier this year, and it’s finally set to launch. Google has been talking about games that will come to Stadia at some point, but now we have the full launch lineup. It’ll be just 12 games.

    Stadia is similar to GeForce Now and Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud service. Instead of downloading a game or buying a physical copy, Stadia renders the games on a Google server and streams the video down to your devices. Companies have been trying to figure this out for almost a decade, ever since OnLive began offering cloud gaming services in 2010.

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    Review: Google Stadia Might Be the Future of Gaming

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    One company or another has been trying to sell consumers on cloud gaming for the last few years, but no one has made it stick. Not only do you need the clout to get game publishers on board, but you also need the network infrastructure to make the experience reliable for people all over the world. Google might have all the pieces in place to make Stadia work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should start buying your games on Stadia right now. You need a lot of bandwidth for the best Stadia experience, and hardware support will be skimpy at launch. Stadia has potential, but that’s what we’ve been saying about game streaming for nigh on a decade at this point.

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