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John Romero Creates New Doom Level (gamasutra.com) 104

jones_supa writes: Legendary game developer John Romero took to Twitter to spread the word that he has made a comeback to the world of Doom by designing an all new level. Romero's return to the game that jumpstarted his career in game development is a fun little Friday surprise for developers, especially Doom enthusiasts, some of whom are thanked in the readme file accompanying the level. The new level, E1M8B (ZIP), is described simply as "My Boss level replacement for e1m8...22 years later." E1M8 is, incidentally, the final level of Doom's first episode, Knee-Deep in the Dead.
DRM

Pirates Finding It Harder To Crack New PC Games (engadget.com) 364

schnell writes: Engadget reports that a few recent top-tier video game releases using updated DRM technology have gone uncracked for more than a month and left DRM hackers stymied thus far. The games FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3, using an updated DRM system called Denuvo, have thus far frustrated experienced Chinese crackers' best efforts far longer than the usual 1-2 weeks it takes for most games to be cracked. Although the article is light on technical details about what makes the new DRM system harder to defeat, it does note that "Based on the current pace of encryption tech, 'in two years time I'm afraid there will be no free games to play in the world,' said one forlorn pirate."
The Almighty Buck

Kid Racks Up $5,900 Bill Playing Jurassic World On Dad's iPad (pcmag.com) 540

theodp writes: For Mohamed Shugaa, the scariest Jurassic World creature is perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook, not the Indominus Rex. That's because Shugaa discovered his 7-year-old son had managed to rack up a $5,900 bill playing the Jurassic World game on his iPad in six days. "Why would Apple think I would be spending thousands of pounds on buying dinosaurs and upgrading a game," Shugaa told The Metro. "Why didn't they email me to check I knew these payments were being made? I got nothing from them. How much longer would it have gone on for?" Shugaa discovered his son's 65 in-app purchases when a payment he tried to make to a business supplier was declined. His son had upgraded dinosaurs using the game currency 'Dino Bucks' without realizing it was charging his Dad in real money. The good news is that Apple has decided to refund the money, so the kid doesn't have to worry about Apple making him work 8,500 hours for $5,980 to settle the debt. Btw, before you developers get too excited about the possibility of using In-App Purchase to take kids to the cleaners at $6,000-a-pop, remember that Apple call dibs on the first $1,800!
Businesses

Oculus To Ship "Lucky's Tale" Game With Rift (oculus.com) 39

An anonymous reader writes: Oculus has announced that a second game, Lucky's Tale, will come bundled with their virtual reality headset. The system will also come with another free virtual reality game: EVE: Valkyrie from CCP Games. An announcement reads: "Today, we're excited to announce that Lucky's Tale, the incredible made-for-VR platformer by Playful, will be included free with every Oculus Rift! Lucky's Tale, an Oculus Studios title, takes you on an adventure of a lifetime with Lucky, the fun-loving fox. The game takes you to a charming new world, with dozens of locales and lush environments."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Rail Gun Controller Lets You Pack the Heat of Your Air Soft Gun In Any FPS Game (hothardware.com) 44

MojoKid writes: The cool thing about playing Duck Hunt on the NES back in the day, was that you got to point a plastic gun at the television and shoot directly at fowl or clay discs. It offered a deeper level of immersion than what would have been possible with a standard controller. Such is the pitch for a new Kickstarter project called Rail Gun. Rail Gun is a series of attachments designed to work with your existing Air Soft gun. The pieces attach to any standard Air Soft gun to give you a "truly realistic and immersive experience for FPS games." There are five units that comprise the Rail Gun. The Main Unit houses the power and sensitivity buttons; the Jog Unit has an analog stick, special action button, and a few other components; the Weapon Unit lets you cycle through weapons, walk, drop items, and so forth; the Trigger Unit features the trigger and buttons for jumping, zooming, reloading, and crouching; and the USB Unit is what plugs into your PC or console. The Rail Gun uses fast rotation technology to track your vision based on where you're pointing your Air Soft gun. It also uses an algorithm to enhance aiming by detecting minor hand trembles, and you can adjust the sensitivity of this to your liking.
Graphics

Super Mario Inspired SuperTux Issues Its First Official Release In 10 Years (phoronix.com) 116

An anonymous reader writes: SuperTux, the free software game inspired by Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers, has put out its first stable release in a decade. SuperTux 0.4 rewrites the game engine to make use of OpenGL, SDL2, and other modern open-source game tech. SuperTux 0.4 additionally features a lot of new in-game content, an in-game download manager, and support for translations. SuperTux 0.4 can be downloaded for Linux, Windows and Mac via GitHub.
Businesses

Mobile Gaming Giant Calls For Longer Product Life Cycles 30

An anonymous reader writes: South Korean gaming firm Nexon has vowed to release mobile games with longer life cycles, focusing on attracting users for at least 10 years rather than relying on fad sales. The company argued that developing a sustainable ecosystem in the mobile gaming industry was more important than generating immediate sales. While Nexon is the region's largest PC gaming business, it has been comparatively laggard in its attempt to break into the mobile world. Following its announcement last year that it would initiate a strategic push into the mobile sector, Nexon has built a dedicated mobile business unit, as well as global teams looking at international markets.
Verizon

Verizon Creates Minecraft Mod To Let Players Video Chat On an In-Game Smartphone 36

Deathspawner writes: There's never a lack of stuff to be impressed by in Minecraft, but rarely does that impressive stuff involve a corporation. Recently, Verizon teamed up with some prolific Minecraft streamers to design a mod that takes interactivity to a new level. After building an in-game smartphone and cellular tower, the gamer is not only able to browse the Web on the device, but also video call, all in a humorously low resolution. Verizon has created a GitHub page to explain how the magic is done.
Games

Usernames Reveal the Age and Psychology of Game Players (sciencedirect.com) 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.
Games

Interactive Fiction Competition Enters Its Third Decade (thenewstack.io) 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

Sony PlayStation 4 Hits 500 Games Milestone (finder.com) 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.
Sony

PSP Oculus Rift Emulator Puts Players Inside of Virtual Reality PSP Games (roadtovr.com) 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.
Games

Valve's "Room Scale VR Survey" Finds a Lot of People Play In Their Bedrooms (itworld.com) 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.
Programming

"Are Games Art?" and the Intellectual Value of Design (timconkling.com) 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.
Games

The History of City-Building Games (arstechnica.com) 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."

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