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VRoamer Generates On-The-Fly VR Experiences While Walking Through Buildings

VRoamer is a new Microsoft Research project that generates VR worlds on-the-fly while users walk through unknown building environments. Players can wear their HMD and no longer have to rely on artificial locomotion techniques such as teleportation. They simply walk through their environment and the game is built around them. This is possible through the use of a wearable tech camera that scans the environment in front of the user and visualizes a playable virtual world. The system paints its virtual environment over real world objects such as doors. The system keeps the user safe from objects in the real world, even though those objects are hidden to the user. Transitions are done through corridors that are constructed to the available space in the user's environment. Players can open real doors to progress the game and the corridors may contain weapons, enemies, keys, etc. Objects that suddenly appear in a user's environment such as other people may become skeletons or traps.

In this paper, we present VRoamer, which enables users to walk unseen physical spaces for which VRoamer procedurally generates a virtual scene on-the-fly. Scaling to the size of office buildings, VRoamer extracts walkable areas and detects physical obstacles in real time using inside-out tracking, instantiates pre-authored virtual rooms if their sizes fit physically walkable areas or otherwise generates virtual corridors and doors that lead to undiscovered physical areas. The use of these virtual structures that connect pre-authored scenes on-the-fly allow VRoamer to (1) temporarily block users' passage, thus slowing them down while increasing VRoamer's insight into newly discovered physical areas, (2) prevent users from seeing changes beyond the current virtual scene, and (3) obfuscate the appearance of physical environments. VRoamer animates virtual objects to reflect dynamically discovered changes of the physical environment, such as people walking by or obstacles that become apparent only with closer proximity.

Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 4:47 PM (CDT)

Core Fighters: Free-to-Play Version of Dead or Alive 6 Now Available on Steam

Koei Tecmo Games has released Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters, a free-to-play version of the recently released 3D fighter. This is an ideal way to experience the game for those who quickly grow tired of fighters or merely want to see how good a fighting game can look on modern hardware. It’s also a way to spite the publisher for releasing a game with a $93 Season Pass.

DEAD OR ALIVE 6 is fast-paced 3D fighting game, produced by Koei Tecmo Games, featuring stunning graphics and multi-tiered stages that create a truly entertaining competitive experience. With the help of a new graphics engine, DOA6 aims to bring visual entertainment of fighting games to an entirely new level. The graphics are made to be both enticingly beautiful and realistic, bringing out enhanced facial expressions, such special effects as depiction of sweat and dirt on character models, and realistic hit effects.

Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 1:50 PM (CDT)

"Back 4 Blood": Left 4 Dead Creator Announces New Co-op Zombie Game

Nobody knows if Valve’s Left 4 Dead 3 will ever see the light of day, but the franchise’s original developer may have the next best thing: Turtle Rock Studios announced "Back 4 Blood" this week, a co-op zombie shooter with a campaign and PVP mode that should cater well to L4D fans who have been clamoring for more. "We know we have some big shoes to fill, but we’re going all out to surpass everything we’ve done before."

"We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over 10 years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains. We also have some of the best teammates in the business at WBIE, who understand our development process and are equally committed to our player-first mentality. We love being able to announce, so we can start working with the community right away."

Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 12:30 PM (CDT)

Man Who Made Hoax Call In Deadly Swatting Seeks 20-Year Term

20 years, please: Tyler Barriss, the man responsible for "making a hoax call that led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between two online gamers over $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game," is begging the judge to give him the minimum of his plea deal, which calls for 20 to 25 years in federal prison. According to his attorney, "Barriss never intended for anyone to get hurt and his conduct was an outgrowth of the culture within the gaming community."

Defense attorney Rich Federico portrayed his client as sincerely remorseful for calling Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 2017, to falsely report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita address. A police officer responding to the call fatally shot Andrew Finch, 28, after he opened the door. Finch, who was not playing video games, lived at the gamer's old address. In a letter to the Finch family, Barriss wrote that he thinks every day about how his actions led to his death. He asked for forgiveness and expressed his "hope that my sentence may in some way help you feel better that justice is done," according to the filing.

Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 3:50 PM (CST)

Overkill's The Walking Dead Pulled From Steam

Today, various media outlets reported that Overkill's The Walking Dead has been pulled from Steam. In a press release, Starbreeze says The Walking Dead's IP owner filed a "license related complaint," and claim that they're "in discussions about the agreement and Starbreeze is trying to resolve the issue to find an amicable solution with the ambition to finish and deliver season 2 of the game." However, Forbes claims that the Walking Dead creators pulled the game because it didn't meet their quality standards. Starbreeze filed for "reconstruction" (which appears to be a euphemism for bankruptcy) in December last year, and pulling one of their big releases from Steam certainly won't help their financial situation.

"Our creators and their stories are the core of Skybound, and since 2014 we have worked hard to expand the world of 'The Walking Dead' into an exceptional co-op action FPS," Skybound said in a statement. "We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately 'Overkill's The Walking Dead' did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised."

Posted by alphaatlas February 28, 2019 8:32 AM (CST)

EVO Japan Cuts Sexual Dead or Alive 6 Stream Short, Issues Apology

Too risque, too sexy: fight-tourney EVO president Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar decided to kill a Dead or Alive 6 promotional livestream this week after two Japanese models began jiggling their goods to mirror the fighting game’s physics. Producer and director Yohei Shimbori didn’t help matters when he used the title’s free-cam mode to show off characters in compromising positions. "The DOA ad that aired on our stream does not reflect the core values of Evo or the FGC. We ended the stream temporarily to protect the integrity of our brand. We sincerely apologize to our fans."

What began as a simple stage show demonstrating the fighting of Dead or Alive 6 veered off the rails as the women on stage modeled in clothing that had been torn up to show their cleavage and bras. While waiting for the demo to be ready, the models hopped up and down to mimic the traditional Dead or Alive breast and butt-bouncing physics. It seems the final straw for the Evo Japan broadcasters, however, was when the Dead or Alive 6 producer showed off the game’s photo mode by pausing an attack while the characters were locked in a pile drive move that, when paused, looked like a sexual embrace.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 11:45 AM (CST)

Dead or Alive 6 Hasn't Toned Down the Sexualization, It's Just Tucked It Away

The Dead or Alive franchise thrives on sexy female fighters with skimpy outfits, so longtime fans were understandably upset when Tecmo unveiled the sixth entry with characters who were covered up and "lacking" in certain areas. After months of deflection, DOA6 producer and game director Yohei Shimbori appears ready to admit it was partly a ruse: "at a recent hands-on preview opportunity with a near-final build of Dead or Alive 6, I found female sexualization very much up-front and center, with the franchise's outlandish boob physics easy to see."

"The thing is, DOA was developed with a new game engine, and the new game engine was developed together with the game. So, it was just that the physics weren't ready last year at E3. At Gamescom we gave a sneak peak that there would be some physics to the media. At Paris Game Show we showed there would be some movement. Now, we've reached a different level of realistic movement. This was just a development issue, not an issue of we want to go in another direction. The direction was clear from the beginning, but it just took more time to develop this in a new game engine."

Posted by Megalith January 27, 2019 4:30 PM (CST)

Chinese App Identifies "Deadbeat Debtors" in Area, Encourages Users to Report Them

A court in China has released an app through the WeChat platform that exposes "deadbeat debtors" within a 500-meter range, revealing their name, national ID number, and why they were added to the debtor list. The Higher People's Court of Hebei designed the program in the hopes that Chinese citizens would snitch on one another. "It's a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment," said a spokesman of the court.

News of the app has caused quite a bit of controversy after it was originally reported by the state-run China Daily. It is an extension to China's existing "social credit" system which scores people based on how they act in public. It's no secret that China keeps a very close watch on its citizens, but this new public shaming approach takes it one step further. The app is available through the WeChat platform, which has become immensely popular in China.

Posted by Megalith January 27, 2019 9:50 AM (CST)

Windows 10's Live Tiles Dead? Windows Lite Will Reportedly Feature a New Start Menu

MSPoweruser predicts Windows 10’s Start Menu will be getting redesigned because Windows Lite, Microsoft’s ChromeOS competitor, is getting rid of live tiles in favor of a common, static app launcher. As support continues to decrease from both Microsoft and Windows developers, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to keep the current Start Menu around, the core portion of which revolves around live tiles. Windows Central, which broke the news on Windows Lite, is convinced the concept is dead due to lack of updates.

The reason I bring this up is because I've been speaking to quite a few internal sources about Windows Lite, and it's looking like Windows Lite doesn't even have live tiles. It appears Microsoft is entirely omitting this feature in favor of the more common app launcher with static icons as seen on iOS, Android, and Chrome OS. If Windows Lite launches without live tiles, where is the incentive for developers to continue supporting such a feature on desktop?

Posted by Megalith January 26, 2019 7:15 PM (CST)

Windows 10 Mobile Is Officially Dead

Microsoft has officially signed the death certificate for Windows 10 mobile as it recently posted a "Windows 10 Mobile End of Support: FAQ." On December 10, 2019, "Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free." Microsoft has a suggestion for users of Windows 10 mobile; "move to a supported Android or iOS device."

The Windows 10 Mobile end of support date is the same for consumer and enterprise. Microsoft encourages all customers to move to a supported Android or iOS device. The end of support date applies to all Windows 10 Mobile products, including Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.

Posted by cageymaru January 18, 2019 3:48 PM (CST)

USB-C Audio Is "Dead"

Smartphone manufacturers were confident that USB-C would supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack for users who demanded a wired listening experience, but CES activity has suggested otherwise: USB-C headphones were practically nowhere to be found at the show. Android Authority believes they failed to catch on due to their complexity, which has led to myriad compatibility issues. Audiophiles say they might as well bring the headphone jack back.

Since USB Type-C headphones are on life support, the headphone jack seems more of a necessity than ever. But if it doesn’t return: we’re left without a feasible option for physical mobile audio ports. While Bluetooth is a decent feature, it’s not going to satisfy everyone, and the wireless standard has its issues as well. Ultimately, the USB Type-C headphones endeavor was a half-baked mess of competing standards that led to missed opportunity after missed opportunity.

Posted by Megalith January 12, 2019 5:25 PM (CST)

The Walking Dead: The Final Season Is Now an Epic Store Exclusive

Epic has nabbed another exclusive for its recently launched storefront: the company joined Skybound Games this week to announce that The Walking Dead: The Final Season would be "on PC exclusively to the Epic Games store for all future purchases." Fans who managed to purchase the season on Steam or GOG will receive the final two episodes from those stores as promised, but going forward, the only option is Epic.

"The team at Epic owns a major chapter in the history of the game industry. We’re excited to work together on their latest transformative event with the launch of the Epic Games Store. Epic stepped up to the plate immediately to work with us in order to bring the original team back together and ensure fans will receive the completed season of TELLTALE’S THE WALKING DEAD: THE FINAL SEASON," said President of Interactive Dan Murray and Skybound Games CEO Ian Howe in a joint-statement.

Posted by Megalith December 23, 2018 7:30 PM (CST)