Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Minecraft Windows 10 launching mod Marketplace

All right: who picked Minecraft in the pool for who’d try paid mods next? Come see me to collect your winnings. Mojang have announced the Minecraft Marketplace, a microtransaction store coming to sell skin and texture packs, adventure worlds, minigames, and more in the brick ’em up’s Windows 10 and pocket telephone version. Mojang say they’ll curate the store and only accept submissions from registered businesses, so it won’t be quite as much of a free-for-all as Steam and Skyrim’s crack at paid mods in 2015. And this is only in Microsoft’s rebuild of Minecraft, to be clear, not the original Java version. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Encarta’s MindMaze?

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

I was thinking of what else to include in this series and MindMaze bubbled up from the recesses of my brain like a sunken mafia victim, suddenly afloat. Bloated and warped with childhood memories. The details of this ancient trivia minigame come to me now like bits and pieces of an old dream. I know it was included in an Encarta 95 CD-ROM, and I know it was absolutely impossible to complete. You had to be some kind of genius to know the answer to these questions. Or, like, some kind of adult.
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Wot I Think: Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 [official site] is undeniably a console RTS – a rare, exotic bird that looks a bit weird and could only have evolved on an island split off from the rest of the world. Removing it from its natural habitat and introducing it to the PC ecosystem, where its evolutionary niche isn’t quite so niche, might seem a little cruel and ill-conceived. But while it’s certainly not a perfect fit, it’s striking and, more often than not, quite a lot of fun. Here’s wot I think.

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Interview: Windows 10’s new Game Mode explained

Just last week (and yet somehow an eternity ago, in terms of world events), Microsoft announced that they’d soon be adding something called ‘Game Mode’ to Windows 10 with the aim of improving games’ performance, but gave away few details about what this might involve. Are we talking real framerate gains, suppressing potentially bothersome background tasks or just freeing up a wee bit of RAM?

With the first iteration of Game Mode due to arrive as part of Windows 10’s optional early Insider builds due today, I had a chat with Kevin Gammill, Partner Group Program Manager, Xbox Platform, spokesperson for the group building Game Mode, to find out what this thing actually does, which games it will support and what kind of control users will have over it. Read the rest of this entry »

Halo Wars 2’s Blitz Mode could be its salvation

This is Atriox, your chief adversary. He leads a rogue Covenant faction, the banished – the remaining Covenant races are now at peace with humanity following the events of Halo 2. I know these things because I once had to write a 5000-word Halo timeline.

I was all set to thoroughly dismiss Halo Wars 2 [official site], before I joined Microsoft for a spot of top-down Warthog-baiting earlier in the month, and I’m still not completely convinced. Last year’s Xbox One beta suggested yet another Halo game intent on rebottling the lightning of a departed era – in this case, that fleeting, Quixotic period when the idea of RTS on console sounded like cash in the bank.

Much of what made the original Halo Wars work so well on Xbox 360 has been preserved – the snappy, colourful visual design, the stripped-down resource and research aspects, the adroit translation of Halo’s alien Covenant and human UNSC factions into the language of an Age of Empires spin-off. Startlingly little has been added or changed, whether you’re talking about new units or a fresh approach to the typically leaden business of storytelling in a strategy game. This is exactly what many fans are hoping for, I’m sure, but given Creative Assembly’s success with the Warhammer license and Alien: Isolation, it’s hard not to wish for a shade more, well, magic.

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Zoom-o: Windows 10 ‘Game Mode’ to boost performance

Windows 10 will add a ‘Game Mode’ to “improve the performance of your PC games”, Microsoft have announced. They don’t say much about what it actually is but hey, free performance boosts are always welcome. I’d also accept it changing my desktop wallpaper to some glowy tendril-y abstract art made in 1999 with a pirated copy of Photoshop following a tutorial, adding System Shock 2 noises as system sounds, pausing my Napster downloads, and setting my AOL Instant Messenger away status. That’s what I’d want from a Game Mode, at least. Read the rest of this entry »

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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