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Usernames Reveal the Age and Psychology of Game Players ( 262

limbicsystem writes: Your online name can reveal a lot about you. Researchers from the University of York and Riot Games have shown that information harvested from the usernames of players who signed up to 'League of Legends' can sometime reveal both their ages and how they behave online. And the short story is that both younger players and players with obnoxious names are more likely to exhibit toxic online behavior.

Interactive Fiction Competition Enters Its Third Decade ( 30

An anonymous reader writes: Voting is concluding this week for the 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. All the games are available free online, and on November 15th the contest's organizers will announce the game that's received the highest average ratings. "This year's contestants entered 55 original text adventures – a new record," notes one technology blog, which argues that the annual competition provides a link to the history of both gaming and computers. New game-creating tools have "democratized" the field, and the contest may also ultimately lead game creators to explore even more forms of digital media.

Sony PlayStation 4 Hits 500 Games Milestone ( 86

SlappingOysters writes: Finder is reporting that the catalogue of Sony PlayStation 4 games has just passed the 500 mark. The website has been tracking the install sizes of every PS4 game and in doing that, has been able to confirm that the mark had been reached. It's a significant catalogue advantage for the console, with the Xbox One currently offering 349 games, although the arrival of backwards compatibility on November 12 will change that dramatically. The site has also shown that the rate of releases is increasing over time.

PSP Oculus Rift Emulator Puts Players Inside of Virtual Reality PSP Games ( 18

An anonymous reader writes: PPSSPP VR is an emulator that specifically adapts PSP games for use in the Oculus Rift VR headset. Going beyond merely showing a large screen view of the game in a virtual environment, PPSSPP actually puts you inside of the game with a full field of view, just like made-for-VR titles, including headtracking and true stereoscopic 3D. The emulator comes from the same author as Dolphin VR, the Wii & Gamecube emulator with VR support.

Valve's "Room Scale VR Survey" Finds a Lot of People Play In Their Bedrooms ( 137

itwbennett writes: Earlier this week Valve published the results of a "Room Scale VR Survey" completed by 2008 members of its VR Community. The findings: 860 (~43%) of respondents said their gaming PC was in their bedroom and 1,393 (~69%) said they were not willing to move their PC to accommodate a VR experience. The average space respondents feel they can devote to VR is about 8.5'x 9'. Why does this matter? Well, last March, Valve and HTC debuted the HTV Vive virtual reality system consisting of a VR visor, a couple of custom controllers and a tracking system the allows the user to wander around a 15'x15' area. 'While the Vive system certainly sounds impressive I've had questions about how practical it'll be,' writes Peter Smith. 'How many people have a 15'x15' clear area in front of their PC? Turns out, not many.' 'According to this survey at least, using all of the 15'x15' space the system can track is going to leave most users frustrated,' adds Smith.

"Are Games Art?" and the Intellectual Value of Design ( 153

itwbennett writes: Tim Conkling is an independent game developer whose current project, Antihero, is a strategy game about running a thieves' guild in a Dickens-inspired Victorian city. Recently he had the opportunity to talk to (i.e., was held captive by) an elderly and 'accomplished playwright, set designer, and painter' who quickly dismissed game design as 'not art.' The question of games being art or not isn't a new one. Roger Ebert was on the 'games are not art' bandwagon in 2010. More important to Conkling, who wrote about this interaction in a recent blog post, is the notion that any 'intentionally designed' piece is worthy of intellectual respect. "Nobody would ever seriously write off, for example, an Eames chair or a Gehry building; whether these objects fit some random definition of 'art' is inconsequential to their perceived cultural value." writes Conkling.

The History of City-Building Games ( 67

An anonymous reader writes: If you ask most gamers, the first city-building game they played was SimCity, or some sequel thereof. Though SimCity ended up defining the genre for years, it was far from the first. This article goes through the history of city-building games. It began before man first landed on the moon: "While extremely limited in its simulation, Doug Dyment's The Sumer Game was the first computer game to concern itself with matters of city building and management. He coded The Sumer Game in 1968 on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 minicomputer, using the FOCAL programming language. David H. Ahl ported it to BASIC a few years later retitled as Hamurabi (with the second 'm' dropped in order to fit an eight-character naming limit). The Sumer Game, or Hamurabi, put you in charge of the ancient city-state of Sumer. You couldn't build anything, but you could buy and sell land, plant seeds, and feed (or starve) your people. The goal was to grow your economy so that your city could expand and support a larger population, but rats and the plague stood in your way. And if you were truly a terrible leader your people would rebel, casting you off from the throne."
The Internet

NVIDIA Launches GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service 55

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA has championed game streaming for a number of years now, whether it's from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC to one of its SHIELD devices or from its cloud-based GRID gaming beta service to a SHIELD. Today though, NVIDIA is kicking its game streaming business up a notch by launching a new service dubbed GeForce NOW. The service streams PC games from the cloud to SHIELD devices at up to full HD 1080p resolutions at 60 fps. It may be tempting to call GeForce NOW an official re-branding of its GRID game streaming beta but that is reportedly not the case. The GRID beta is going away with the launch of GeForce NOW (an update will replace the GRID app with GeForce NOW), but according to NVIDIA, GeForce NOW was re-architected from the ground up to provide a better overall experience. NVIDIA sees GeForce NOW as sort of a "Netflix for games." There is a monthly fee of $7.99 for a subscription, which gives customers access to a slew of games. There are too many to list but top notch titles like Batman: Arkham City, Ultra Street Fighter IV, GRID 2 and many others are included. In addition to the games included in the subscriptions price, NVIDIA will also be offering GeForce NOW users access to AAA-titles on the day of release, for a fee. The games will typically be sold at a regular retail prices but not only will users get to play those games via the GeForce NOW streaming service on SHIELD devices, they'll also receive a key for playing the game on a PC as well. To use GeForce NOW you'll need an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, SHIELD portable, or SHIELD tablet (with the latest software updates installed) and a SHIELD-approved 5GHz router. Your broadband connection must also offer download speeds of at least 12Mb/s. 20Mb/s is recommended for 720p / 60 FPS quality, and 50Mb/s is recommended for 1080p / 60 FPS.

Kids Prefer To Play Games On Mobile Devices Over Consoles 250

New submitter chloealsop writes: The NPD Group has published a report showing that more kids age 2-17 are playing games on phones and tablets than on consoles in the U.S.. 45 percent of kids use a home PC for gaming, a drop of 22 points since 2013. "The largest and most surprising shift in the 2015 gaming ecosystem was kids' move away from the computer," NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said in a press release. "In the past, the computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed now that mobile has moved into that position. This may be related to a change in the behavior of parents that are likely utilizing mobile devices for tasks that were once reserved for computers."

Google DeepMind's AI Beats Humans At Even More Computer Games 96

An anonymous reader writes: Google DeepMind's learning algorithm has trumped human performance in an even greater range of games from the Atari 2600. The system's performance in classic games for the 80's games console has improved steadily since it was revealed in April last year (video) and a paper released yesterday shows it besting people in 31 titles.

Nintendo Joins Khronos Group 46

jones_supa writes: Gamasutra reports that Nintendo has quietly joined Khronos Group, the consortium managing the OpenGL and Vulkan graphics APIs. The news was brought to Gamasutra's attention by a NeoGaf post, which notes that Nintendo's name was added to the list of Khronos Group contributing members earlier this month. As a Khronos Group contributor Nintendo has full voting rights and is empowered to participate in the group's API development, but it doesn't have a seat on the Khronos Group board and can't participate in the final ratification process of new API specifications.
The Almighty Buck

America's First Video Game Museum Is Trying To Level Up 51

martiniturbide writes: Did you ever dreamed of a Museum where you can take your kid and show him/her what you used to play when young? This museum exists and it is called "The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE)" in Oakland, California. This is non-profit videogame museum that preserves old games, has playable exhibitions, give free classes to learn to code using Scratch and host several kinds of gaming events. This museum has over 5,000 games and over 100 consoles and computers and hosted free classes for more than 400 students. Now they are launching a Kickstarter campaign because they need a bigger space.

Neural Network Chess Computer Abandons Brute Force For "Human" Approach 95

An anonymous reader writes: A new chess AI utilizes a neural network to approach the millions of possible moves in the game without just throwing compute cycles at the problem the way that most chess engines have done since Von Neumann. 'Giraffe' returns to the practical problems which defeated chess researchers who tried to create less 'systematic' opponents in the mid-1990s, and came up against the (still present) issues of latency and branch resolution in search. Invented by an MSc student at Imperial College London, Giraffe taught itself chess and reached FIDE International Master level on a modern mainstream PC within three days.

Video GameStart Uses Minecraft to Teach Kids Programming (Video 2) 18

As we said last week, "You can't teach all programming by using Minecraft to keep kids interested, but you can use Minecraft, Java, and Eclipse to give them a good start." That's what Tyler Kilgore and his colleagues at GameStart are doing. Watch today's video (number 2), go back to last week's video (number 1) if you missed it, and read both days' transcripts for the full scoop.
XBox (Games)

Xbox One Launch Woes Were Preventable, Next Console Likely Digital Download Only 230

MojoKid writes: Microsoft's Xbox One launch didn't go off exactly as planned in late 2013. Before the console's release, the company was dogged over DRM restrictions with the console and concerns over its high price tag compared to its counterpart, the Sony PlayStation 4. Microsoft would attribute the higher price tag to the included Kinect camera — a peripheral that many gamers didn't particularly care for. Former Xbox Chief Robbie Bach offered his two cents recently on the Xbox One — a console that launched years after he announced he retired from the company in 2010. Bach noted, regarding the Xbox One's rocky launch, "...gosh, I think some of that was predictable and preventable." As for the future of physical game media, Bach doesn't think that the future will be so bright when it comes to DRM and always-connected requirements in the next generation of gaming consoles. He said that the next Xbox would "probably not" have physical media to speak of, with consoles adopting digital-only distribution.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.