Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

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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“Microsoft Is Moving Against The Entire PC Industry”, Says Epic Founder

Tim Sweeney, programmer and co-founder of Epic Games, says that “we must fight” Microsoft and their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) initiative, which makes certain Windows 10 features only available to developers who agree to sell their game via the official Windows Store.

This is from an op-ed in The Guardian where Sweeney outlines his objections, arguing that “this is the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made” and that “Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games.”

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$3,000 HoloLens Development Edition Due In March

While virtual reality will soon be in the hands and eyes of folks at home – pre-orders just opened for the HTC Vive, to ship in April, and the Oculus Rift launches at the end of this month – augmented reality goggles are a bit further out. While VR replaces your vision with a computer-generated world, AR is more of an overlay, making computer graphics appear in our world. Microsoft are preparing to launch the first version of their ‘HoloLens’ AR glasses to developers for $3,000, shipping on March 30th, and have shown off the games and software coming with that.

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