Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Windows 10 Store Games Now Support Offline Play

I welcome Microsoft’s latest renewed interest in PC gaming, glad to see their big Xbone games on PC, but it’s a shame they started so sloppily. Between requiring Windows 10, only selling on the janky Windows Store, capping framerates… it seemed so half-arsed. But they have slowly (too slowly) been buffing out problems, and recently fixed another big problem: Windows 10 games can now be played while offline. How could Microsoft have predicted that anyone would ever want to do that? Sheesh. Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft 1.11 Brings Llamas & Magic Inventory Boxes

Everyone’s favourite block-based build-em-up contines to grow, like an unstoppable monster. A few months ago we saw polar bears introduced to Minecraft as well as underground fossils. Before that, the combat update brought skeleton riders and creepy block-mimicking creatures called Shulkers. Now Mojang has added the exploration update which adds llamas that can carry inventory and a very useful magic box.

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Custom Games Browser For Halo 5 Forge Post-Launch

Halo 5 might have skipped PC but the Forge creation tools arrive this week. The free release is coming to Windows 10 and contains Forge “along with a host of awesome new features, including mouse and keyboard support, 4k resolution display capability, a brand new content browser that makes showcasing and sharing your creations easier than ever before, and the ability play your creations with friends online”. PCGamesN spotted a NeoGAF post from Frank O’Connor, the Halo franchise director, in which he confirms a “custom games browser” post-launch.

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Halo 5’s Forge Coming To PC In September, And It’s Bringing 16-Player Custom Multiplayer With It

Halo 5 itself doesn’t seem to be coming to PC, but the developers have said they’d be bringing the sci-fi shooter’s sandbox editing mode, Forge, to Windows 10. Yesterday they announced the date: September 8. This mode will bring with it map editing and minigame-making using Halo’s bits and bobs, and has already been responsible for things like D-Days and mega beer pong on the Xbox Machine. But crucially, on the PC version, you will also be able to play 16-player custom multiplayer.

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Windows 10 Xbox Jazz Improved In Anniversary Update

If you’re using Windows 10, you’ll either have just download a hearty big Windows update or have it waiting for you. Perhaps you started work twenty minutes late today because of this ‘Windows 10 Anniversary Update’ installing. Maybe you’re even mentioning that on a website you know your colleagues read, to support your excuse. Once you do have the update installed, you’ll find a few updates and additions to its games hub, the Xbox app. It’s important to have a solid PC games centre included with Windows, so I welcome advancements. Microsoft still have a long way to go, mind.

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Your Final Final Reminder: Free Windows 10 Ends Today

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The Windows 10 icon of doom has entered the final stages of its apocalyptic countdown. You have mere hours left to install Microsoft’s latest operating system for free. After that, you will have to pay $119, says the computing behemoth. At the time of writing there are about 12 hours remaining. But you will have less because I have had to run the news post gauntlet to get this information to you. BUT WAIT, there are still some important things to consider before you hit the panic switch.

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Free Windows 10 Upgrades Will End Next Week

The war with the Windows 10 icon in the corner of everyone’s screen took a turn for the worse this week, when it began an apocalyptic countdown timer, administering one last threat to all remaining dissenters: join us now or be forever exiled to whatever version of Windows you were using before. With the resistance lacking any kind of coherent command structure, the icon seems to be upping its rhetoric. As we all know, the icon has been with us since before we can remember. We have always been at war with the icon.

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Ding Dongle! Xbox Controller Finally Adding Bluetooth

Oh aye, video game announcements are dandy with their noises and colours and all that, but what will you play them on? Hardware. So while it’s not the flashest of E3 news, it’s still worth mentioning that Microsoft have announced an updated Xbox One wireless controller. The important bit here is that it’ll come with Bluetooth support which means an end – FINALLY – to Microsoft charging ridiculous prices for dongles to use wireless Xbontrollers on PC. Twenty flipping quid they’ve charged!

Oh, and MS are starting an online shop letting folks customise Xbone controllers with all sorts of garish colour combinations – like some phones, sneakers etc. offer.

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Have You Played… Microsoft Flight Simulator 98?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The best thing about Microsoft Flight Simulator wasn’t that it let you fly planes. It was that it let you fly remote controlled planes.

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Read This Article About The Life And Death Of Lionhead

We had a little glimpse of what happened during Lionhead’s death earlier this morning, but our cousins at Eurogamer have just published a mammoth article about the company’s life. I’ll pick out some choice excerpts below, but you should go have a read.

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Windows 10 UWP Now Supports Uncapped Framerates

Whether the Universal Windows Platform is salvation or damnation, destroyer or redeemer, or something difficult-to-categorise and not-quite-as-much-hyperbolic-fun in the middle there, it is at least now a bit better for games. Microsoft this week issued a Windows 10 update giving UWP support for unlocked framerates and adaptive sync tech like Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s Freesync, which were pretty big absences. Not many games are built on UWP yet, mostly Microsoft-published stuff like Quantum Break and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, but if we’re to see more of UWP in the future… and that’s where the doomsaying comes in. Ah, I’ll explain that in a minute.

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Microsoft Will Stop Pestering You About Win 10 Soon

Microsoft’s increasingly underhand attempts to make the entire world upgrade to Windows 10 whether it wants to or not are, in theory, coming to an end this Summer. From regular, irritating nagging to quietly dumping several gigabytes’ worth of speculative install files onto your hard drive to even performing the upgrade unbidden if you don’t intervene in time, MS’s determination to have a huge installbase number to wave around have pissed off a great many people. Come July 29th, though, they should be finally giving up.

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Lionhead Studios Closed Today

Lionhead Studios, The English developer behind Fable, The Movies, and Black & White, closed down today. Peter Molyneux and other former members of Bullfrog Productions founded Lionhead in 1996, and Microsoft bought it in 2006. Molyneux himself left in 2012 to start new studio 22cans. Microsoft still haven’t really explained why they’re closing Lionhead. But they publicly announced in March that they were “in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios”, and there aren’t many ways back to safe ground from that point. Alas, today was the final day for Lionhead. Godspeed, you cow-tickling, guff-blasting chicken-chasers.

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The Lionhead Closure / Fable Legends Axe: An Update

Last month, the British game development family tree had one of its most venerable branches lopped off, when Microsoft announced the probable closure of Lionhead Studios. Though best known for the Fable series, the Guildford outfit once headed by Peter Molyneux also has Black & White and The Movies to its name, and many of its original key staff were the guiding forces behind Bullfrog greats such as Syndicate and Dungeon Keeper. Whatever one might feel about their status as a Fable factory following a Microsoft buy-out, there’s serious heritage there.

Recent murmurs and rumours suggest that, while a closure for Lionhead as we knew it is still on the cards, the exact nature of how it will happen and what will become both of staff and the well-into-development and free-to-play Fable Legends is still in flux. There may even be a future for the cancelled Fable Legends after all.
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Vulkan API: It’s Gaming, Jim, But Not As We Know It

One API to rule them all. Wrong fantasy franchise, perhaps, but that’s the idea behind Vulkan, the snazzy open-source successor to OpenGL, alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX and something that might shake up gaming on everything from PCs to phones. But what’s an API? And why should you care? We’ll come to that. For now, if Vulkan is everything it’s cracked up to be, it’ll make games run faster and look better on your existing PC. It might make that SteamOS thing a goer, too. Anyway, version 1.0 is out, so the chattering weberati will be casually trading Vulkan references to prove their PC gaming prowess. Time to bone up. Plus I’ve just sat through a five-hour keynote stream on Vulkan from GDC 2016. So humour me. This stuff is actually quite interesting.

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Warning: Windows 10 May Auto-Install On Your PC

Email subject line: “Windows 10.” From my father. ‘Should I upgrade?’ he wanted to know, a question surely posed by a hundred thousand parents to a hundred thousand adult offspring across the land. I didn’t know what to tell him. I like Windows 10 well enough; I even think it’s the best operating Microsoft have ever made. There’s nothing about it I could say anyone on Windows 7 really needs, however, and when it’s a case of someone with only rudimentary technical skills running the OS upgrade gauntlet, I wouldn’t say it’s worth the risk.

Before too long, though, the decision may be taken out of his and my hands – I may end up fielding the post-disaster support phone call regardless, as it seems Microsoft are stepping up their attempts to waft Windows 10 on as many PCs as possible. Even to the extent that the OS is seemingly now automatically installing itself.

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Rocket League In Line For Xbox One Cross-Network Play

Rocket League cross-network

Microsoft have announced a new cross-network feature that’ll be championed by Psyonix’s cage-ball-goal ’em up Rocket League [official site] in the coming months. Although at the discretion of developers, the new initiative means, in theory, Xbox Live users will be able join other players in the same games but on different networks, such as, say, PSN or Steam.

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Minecraft Now An Artificial Intelligence Workshop

Minecraft AI

While Minecraft [official site] is no stranger to the classroom, computer scientists are now using Mojang and Microsoft’s famous build ’em up to improve artificial intelligence. For now, it’s in the hands of a small group of researchers/super smart boffin types by way of a private beta, however it’s going open-source come July. Find out more after the drop.

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A Black & White Day: Microsoft Set To Close Lionhead

Sad news, mostly because a studio with some serious heritage looks set to be closed down, but partly because said studio never had a chance to set out its own identity following the departure of founder Peter Molyneux. Lionhead was what the co-creator of Populous, Theme Park, Syndicate and Dungeon Keeper did after Bullfrog (with the help of dozens of talented colleagues), and while it was always a divisive studio the ambition and exuberance it showed in the Black & White and Fable games will be sorely missed.

Microsoft today announced the studio’s next (and first post-Molyneux) title, Fable Legends, has been cancelled, and that it is “in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios in the UK.”
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