Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Blizzard and Google betray humanity with StarCraft 2 tools to train artificial intelligences

When the robots come for us, bad sci-fi has taught me, it’ll be teenage whizzes who save the world. In light of that, I believe that Blizzard and Google’s DeepMind Lab are taking the audacious and treasonous step of pre-emptively toadying to our future robot overlords. They’ve teamed up to release a machine learning API and toolkit to use StarCraft II [official site] as a testbed for artificial intelligences. In short, they’re trying to teach robots how to outthink and outmaneuver twitchy teenagers in war.

Congratulations, you’ve sold the human race out for… what? Smarter surveillance tools? Better self-driving cars? When those spy drones hunt us and your car transforms into a bipedal robot with you still inside, you won’t find it so exciting. Read the rest of this entry »

Google makes games to help teach internet sense, safety and positivity to kids

Interland

Google has announced Be Internet Awesome; a collaborative project focused around teaching children how to be safe online. There are a bunch of teaching resources for parents and schools but I’m posting about it because the Interland section [official site] is a suite of four colourful games each focusing on a different aspect of safety. Read the rest of this entry »

Tilt Brush adds Sketches for non-VR browsing

Tilt Brush

Tilt Brush [official site] was, hands down, one of the best things in VR last year, but given the VR platform means a smaller potential player-base it’s got that challenge of “How do I share any of this cool stuff with people not wearing VR headsets?” That’s where the new Sketches gallery comes in, letting you peer at people’s creations using a regular browser. Read the rest of this entry »

Google teams up with MMO cloud platform SpatialOS

Today, on Tech That Sounds Kinda Cool But TBH What Really Matters Is Whether Games Using It Are Good But Hey Y’Like Tech Doncha Ya Funny Little Thing, comes news about SpatialOS [official site]. It’s a server platform which boasts about using the mystical powers of clouds to host thousands of players in super complex simulations, and which is supposedly dead simple to build games with. Improbable, the gang behind SpatialOS, aren’t the only folks with drifting servers but they have just announced a partnership with disruptive meteorologists Google and launched an alpha. Read the rest of this entry »

The RPS 2016 Advent Calendar, Dec 5th –Tilt Brush

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were both released in 2016, but what was the best VR experience of the year? The RPS Advent Calendar highlights our favourite games of the year, daily, and behind today’s door is…

Virtual artistry tool Tilt Brush.

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Quick, Draw! And have a neural net guess what it is

I’ve lost entire afternoon’s to GeoGuessr, hitting the button again and again to teleport to a random place in the world in Google Streetview and then try to work out where I am from the scenery. Now I’ve spent a similarly long afternoon making Google do the guessing. Quick, Draw![ official site] is a sort-of game, sort-of web tool in which you doodle images upon request and a neural network tries to guess what it is you’re drawing. Come, play, abandon productivity. Read the rest of this entry »

Tilt Brush: A Closer Look At The Birds And The Trees

Over the weekend I decided it was time to dive back into Google’s VR art project, Tilt Brush [official site]. I hadn’t played it since a brief demo out in Seattle but I had an afternoon of waiting for a Sainsbury’s delivery* ahead of me and access to an RPS Vive. That header image isn’t mine, by the way – it’s by Tristan Reidford! I’m more about trying to master the basics right now.

Something I was fiddling with initially was the background. You get to sort of set the skybox to different things as a backdrop for your work – black or white offer you a plain background but I wanted to do something foresty so I picked the night sky with all the stars overhead.

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Autocomplete This: Guess What Everyone’s Googling

Google search’s autocomplete suggestions offer strange and wonderful glimpses into what the rest of the world wants to know. It’s trying to help us by guessing what we’re after, but we’re left with a giddy voyeuristic thrill wondering “Who is asking this and why?” Now there’s a game based on those autocomplete oddities.

idiots.win [official site] is a free browser game which starts asking Google incomplete questions then shows you five of the top ten autocomplete results – can you guess which is #1? It’s a big of a giggle, yeah?

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YouTube Announce Ads-Free Subscription Service

YouTube have announced a subscription service called YouTube Red. We’ve known it was on the way for a long time, but now it’s official. In return for a monthly fee, you can watch YouTube videos without ads, save them offline, and gain access to a bunch of original content being produced by YouTube themselves in partnership with some folks you’ll have heard of, including popular game-player/millionaire/generational hot take topic, PewDiePie.

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YouTube Gaming Announced, Launching This Summer

Yep, that's a livestream. Now in moody grey!

When all the websites got together for their spring barbecue last month, so I’m told, YouTube had a little too much to drink and caused a scene. “Who’s beer is that?” the website would ask, teetering over the booze table. “BIG DADDY VIDEO’S BEER!” It claimed everything it saw – the barbecue, the grass, the jazz quartet – and even kicked Buzzfeed out the paddling pool. Except. When it claimed dominion over a gaming PC in the lounge, Twitch stared it down. “Don’t you know who I am?” roared Big Daddy Video and Twitch twatted it. Out cold. One punch. So I’m told.

Perhaps in retaliation, YouTube yesterday announced YouTube Gaming to shore up and bring together gaming videos and livestreams and whatnot. Streaming might be less awful, for starters.

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Google Chrome Browser Update Disables Unity Plugin

If you use Google’s web browser Chrome, you might notice that Unity games embedded in web pages no longer work as of the latest update. As they’ve planned to since 2013, Google have disabled support for the way the Unity plugin works. Unity 5 does support WebGL, which works without plugins, but for now that’ll leave a whole load of browser games not working. You can re-enable support temporarily, if you don’t mind digging in settings, or simply use a different browser.

It’s been a while since I had to fire up another browser to visit certain websites that wouldn’t work properly in mine. It’s like the browser wars all over again!

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Dream Stream: $1bn Google Bid For Twitch Rumoured

Streaming is big business. During peak usage times in the US of A, Netflix and Twitch.tv are two of the largest sources of internet traffic, as people across the country watch films, TV shows (or are they just ‘shows’ now, without the ‘TV’?), live esports and other game streams. Little wonder then that Twitch is the target of a takeover, with multiple suitors, including Microsoft, already rebuffed according to sources who have spoken to The Verge and Variety. Numerous reports place Google in pole position, with a billion dollars on the table.

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Doctor Whoodle

Doctor Who games have historically been far more Colin than Tom Baker, as assorted game-makers struggle to reinterpret a bloke with a fancy screwdriver and a silly outfit as something interactive. The trouble is they’ve always pursued stories and action and companions over the two fundamentals of the cosmic hobo: he can travel in time, and he can regenerate into a new body if killed.

Someone really needs to do a Batman Arkham with the old Time Lord, and get the essences of the character right before worrying about anything else. I didn’t quite expect that someone to be Google.

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Google Logo Is The Best One Yet, Gamey


This isn’t PC gaming news so much as general internet nerding, but it’s a lovely thing nonetheless. I have to admit that I haven’t seen the Google homepage in months, so I wouldn’t have realised that the current logo is an extraordinary interactive Google doodle game thing, had John not alerted me. How did he know? Well, there are a lot of tubes from all round the world leading to his office. He was probably peering down them. [Actually my wife told me – John] Anyway, the new doodle is the tale of a meeting of robots, and has been put up in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first publication by brilliant sci-fi author, Stanislaw Lem. Lem is best know for Solaris, which was made into movies by Tarkovsky and Soderburgh, but his influence on sf generally has been enormous, thanks to his prolific and insightful writing and amazing short stories. You should definitely have a read of some of his stuff, if you haven’t already. (The art in the logo is inspired by Lem illustrator, Daniel Mrózh, who illustrated a version of The Cyberiad. Which now, I learn, was even turned into an opera!)

NaClBox: Play Monkey Island In A Browser

This is a picture of Monkey Island in a browser.

That’s my slightly sensationalist tabloid headline, but it’s entirely true. So long as you own the game, etc. And via the burgeoning magic that is NaClBox. Which really does let you play Monkey Island, or indeed any other DOS game playable in DOSBox, in a web browser. If that web browser is Google’s Chrome. I know it’s true – I did it.

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Here: Google Chrome Web Store

I can’t tell you how often we hear the same plea: “Dear RPS, please can you fix it for me to be even more bewildered than I already am by the vast array of different ways to digitally purchase PC games?” Your prayers have been answered. Added to your DirectToGoodOldSteamGetGates today is Chrome Web Store – Google’s browser-based plan to muscle in on PC gaming (and apps too, but let’s face it: games).

Snark aside, it’s a markedly different prospect to the existing stores.
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Google + Zynga + $200m = Google Games?


TechCrunch has some news about Google investing in Farmville developers Zynga. If TC’s “multiple sources” are correct, then the secret deal is intended to furnish a new Google Games project:

Google has quietly (secretly, one might say) invested somewhere between $100 million and $200 million in social gaming behemoth Zynga, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources… Not only will Zynga’s games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal’s biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant.

This is backed up with some project lead job ads for games from Google itself. Which is interesting.

Wiki Races: Chrome Fastball

Do not question the way my mind works.

Is it advert, is it game, is it video, is it brainteaser? Chrome Fastball is all those things. It’s a promotional web-toy created by a little company known as Google, intended to convince us all to use the Chrome browser. Why, whoever would want to do that? We’re all so happy with Microsoft Internet Explorer whatever-the-hell-number-that-carcrash-is-on-now.

Yeah, it’s an advert. But it’s also a test of how well you know the internet: both its mechanics and its concept.
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