Electric Dreams, Part 1: The Lost Future Of AI

By Michael Cook on February 13th, 2015.

In 2001 two scientific researchers, John Laird and Michael van Lent, wrote an article for AI Magazine titled ‘Human-Level AI’s Killer Application – Interactive Computer Games’. The magazine, published and distributed by the stern and serious American Association for Artificial Intelligence, went out to universities and laboratories around the world. In their piece, Laird and van Lent described a future for the games industry where cutting-edge artificial intelligence was the selling point for games. “The graphics race seems to have run its course,” they declared. As they saw it, “better AI [is] becoming the point of comparison” for modern games. This didn’t quite work out.

This is a series of posts about artificial intelligence and videogames. It’s also about science, society, the future, the past, YouTube, Elon Musk, and how all of these things can hurt and help the future of the games that we play and love. It’s about how Laird and van Lent’s dream never came true, and probably never will – but it’s also about a new hope that I have for science, research and games, and one that you can be a part of. In a sense, I’m going to claim the same thing that Laird and van Lent did fourteen years ago – that the games industry might be on the brink of major change. It’ll be up to you to decide if I’m repeating the same old failed predictions, or if something is different this time. In this first part, we’re going to look back and ask why nothing happened fourteen years ago, and examine our relationship with better AI in modern games.

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Gearbox On Remastering Homeworld, Mods & Multiplayer

By Alec Meer on February 13th, 2015.

Just before I got hold of some early code for Gearbox’s upcoming remastering of unbelievably beloved space RTS Homeworld (which I made some stupidly oversized and stupidly pretty screenshots and video of yesterday), I had a chat with the studio’s Chief Creative Officer Brian Martell, plus Community Manager Chris Faylor about the new version of Relic’s game. Why do this rather than make their own space RTS? How was melding Homeworld 1 and Homeworld 2’s multipalyer going to work? What about mod support, past and future? And did they feel having something as respected as Homeworld in their stable would help with Gearbox’s… chequered reputation?
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The Flare Path: Dave Does Dovetail

By Tim Stone on February 13th, 2015.

A Crown Copyright image Private Eyed with the help of www.superlame.com

Six Sure Signs That Your Sim Studio is a Spectacular Success:

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Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more”

By John Walker on February 13th, 2015.

When Peter Molyneux agreed to speak to me, I knew the interview was going to be tense. I knew that an article we’d posted on Monday, asking what was going on with the development of Godus, had kicked up an enormous storm for 22cans and its boss, with the rest of the gaming press picking up and running with it. So I assumed, when he agreed to chat, he knew that it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride. I wanted to get to the root of so much that now seems to form the reputation of the developer, the outlandish promises that so often aren’t kept, the ridiculous time-frames claimed, and the often disappointing or lacklustre results. I especially wanted to do this now that the people funding such things aren’t deep-pocketed publishers, but the players themselves. I wasn’t expecting it to take us in the direction of Molyneux’s declaring that I was “driving him out of the games industry”.

We spoke on the phone on Wednesday evening, Molyneux speaking from the Guildford offices of his studio, 22cans. Sounding stressed, but composed, Molyneux asked how I’d like to begin, whether I had questions, or should I just let him talk. I told him I had questions, many questions, and so we began.

RPS: Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?

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Why You Need A High-Refresh / 120Hz-plus Monitor

By Jeremy Laird on February 12th, 2015.

Did somebody say something about IPS and high refresh?

Last week we rolled out the first in a new series of why-you-need-stuff posts. The idea being, assumptions about what is good and why come a little too easily with the ongoing churn of PC hardware news and product launches. So, let’s go back to basics with these assumed goodnesses. I kicked off with IPS monitor technology and while healthy discussion of the pros and cons of IPS ensued, so did some wailing and gnashing of teeth that a gaming website had appeared to be dismissive of high refresh rates and glossed over 120/144Hz.

This was because high refresh rates are a separate issue from panel type. Something worthy of a post of its own. This post, in fact. Is faster really better when it comes to screens?
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SUPERHOT: A Chat With Alice And Pip

By Philippa Warr on February 12th, 2015.

SUPER. HOT.

Alice and Pip are talking about Superhot. It’s one of Pip’s most anticipated games of the year and Alice is pretty amped about anything which makes her look even more cool as she roams the land taking dudes down…

Pip: ALICE

Alice: Oh no.

Pip: What do you mean “Oh no.” You don’t even know what I’m going to say yet. I could be about to tell you of an exciting new pond for you to go swimming in.

Alice: I know you find my ponding more worrying than exciting, so this is cruel teasing for the sake of intro banter. Tell me what we’re talking about.

Pip: It’s only worrying because you can’t feel some of your limbs and appendages nowadays. Also you might get eaten by savage PIKE.

We’re talking about SUPERHOT, by the way.

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See Homeworld Remastered At 5K Resolution

By Alec Meer on February 12th, 2015.

They should have sent – hey, no, don’t interrupt me with your obvious, tired pop culture quote. I was going to say they should have sent someone with a triple SLI setup and a 4K monitor. Instead they sent me, with a single graphics card and a 1440p monitor. Even so, I was able to get a preview build of the Homeworld Collection Remastered [official site] running at a preposterous beyond-4K 5120×2880 resolution, via the dynamic super resolution stuff in drivers*. Take a below. It is… well, yeah, maybe I do need that poet after all.

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Foolish Fancy: Judge Dredd Games

By Alec Meer on February 12th, 2015.

I’ll probably end up doing one of these for every geeky thing I loved as a kid. Last time it was Transformers, but currently I’m deep in a Judge Dredd phase (mostly thanks to this lovely new collection. I’ve subscribed, but every time I think about how much it’s going to cost me if I go the distance I curl into a ball and start weeping uncontrollably). I’m still bitter about how underwhelming Dredd vs Death was, so I’ll try to salve the wound by imaging how games could get Mega-City One’s finest right.
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Dote Night: A Beginner’s Glossary For Dota 2

By Philippa Warr on February 11th, 2015.

Creeps

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

I talk a lot about different MOBAs in this column and a lot of that necessitates a bit of insider vocabulary. I often have to assume a basic familiarity with the genre otherwise every article would use half the word count on explanations of niche terms.

This week I’m going to go into those terms with a glossary of sorts. It will focus on Dota but I’m considering doing the same thing for LoL and Smite. If there’s any terminology not covered here that you’ve heard and been confused by just add it in the comments and I’ll do my best to explain or to add it in to the list below!

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The Making Of Warhammer: Total War (THE MOD)

By Rob Zacny on February 11th, 2015.

Until Total War: Warhammer comes along from Creative Assembly, the most ambitious and comprehensive Warhammer fantasy strategy game is a colossal mod for Rome: Total War called Warhammer: Total War – A Call to Arms. Over the course of five years, a high school student and a handful of volunteers tortured and twisted the aging Rome: Total War engine into becoming a full-fledged Warhammer game.

Powered by an obsolete engine even when the final version was released a couple years back, and soon overshadowed by the news the Sega had acquired the rights to make a Warhammer fantasy game on PC, A Call to Arms could be seen as a classically quixotic modding effort. But if you look past the dated graphics, you’ll find that A Call to Arms might just be the most faithful adaptation Warhammer fantasy will ever receive on PC. It is a sprawling, ambitious, and scarcely-coherent effort to bring every ounce of Warhammer fantasy lore to life as a Total War game – and in doing so it captures the spirit of the old Warhammer fantasy universe better than official games might ever dare.

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Evolve Wot I Think-In-Progress, Part 2: Puny Humans

By Alec Meer on February 11th, 2015.

Editor’s note – we only received review code for Evolve [official site] yesterday. Rather than now wait a week or so to run a review, I’m posting a very short series of my thoughts as I think ‘em, in the hope of providing more timely information to those who want it. Here’s part 1 ICYMI.

I’m into the swing of things now, having tried out all the classes in PvP matches with randoms, and unlocked a couple of new characters. Before I get into that stuff though, let me tackle the singleplayer mode, such as it is, in case anyone online-phobic has been curious about that side of things.
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Loss Of Faith: Will Godus Ever Have A God Of Gods?

By John Walker on February 11th, 2015.

Eurogamer have published a really superb article in which they speak to Bryan Henderson, the “winner” of Curiosity, who was promised a life-changing prize. That prize turned out to be the role of “God of Gods” in the multiplayer version of Godus, and a share of the money made by the game. Well, a share of the money made by the multiplayer bit of the game, which was always supposed to be part of the game. But apparently, because it’s still not in there two years on, means he doesn’t get anything. Nothing at all. Not even emails for month after month, according to Wesley Yin-Poole’s heartbreaking interview with the 21 year old.

They then go on to put this to Molyneux himself, hours after we’d published our article that revealed the depth of mess that Godus is currently in. Along with the predictable gush of apologies, Molyneux also makes some odd claims that entirely contradict a video he’d recorded the same day.

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Have You Played… Lego Harry Potter?

By John Walker on February 11th, 2015.

I find the Harry Potter books about as entertaining as the side of a shampoo bottle, and slightly more poorly written. I couldn’t get through the first book for wanting to mark it with a red pen. It is fair to say that I am not a Harry Potter fan. But the Lego Harry Potter games are sublime.

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