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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.

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

Monster Hunter: World to Receive a 40GB High Resolution Texture Pack DLC

Capcom has announced Monster Hunter: World will receive a 40GB High Resolution Texture Pack DLC. The High Resolution Texture Pack will require 8GB of graphics memory (VRAM) and is free. Earlier this month, Capcom acknowledged that the PC is the 2nd most popular platform for Monster Hunter: World. Capcom's spokesperson was happy that the PC version of the game had broadened its appeal to users in Europe. Capcom has more expansions and content coming for the action game.

"We have announced Monster Hunter World Iceborne and will have more news to share in the future. Given the success of Monster Hunter World, it will be a key project for us," he said. "There is also more to come that I'm not allowed to discuss yet, if you want another interview with me on behalf of Capcom in the future."

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Posted by cageymaru March 21, 2019 3:46 PM (CDT)

Classic World of Warcraft Content Progression Revealed

For many of us, World of Warcraft (WoW) was the first MMO that appealed to us. As the MMO aged, the classic content was ignored or altered to make it easier to attract new players to the game. After years of complaints, Blizzard Entertainment is bringing back Classic World of Warcraft and Community Manager Kaivax has detailed the 6 phase content patch release schedule. For example, progression in the MMO is based on newer raids superseding older content because more powerful items drop in the new raid. In the post, Blizzard details which raids will be available at the start of Classic WoW.

Currently, based on both your feedback and our own deliberations, we're now planning to increase it to six phases. Our focus is still primarily on player power-progression, but we're also aiming to capture what it felt like to play in a realm community in original WoW. To do that, we're planning to mirror the approach taken by original WoW, with patches paired together. We haven't yet determined exactly when phases 2-6 will occur, and PvP content is notably missing from the list above. That's because we're still evaluating our options regarding PvP rewards, as they also changed over time (both in power and in terms of which PvP reward items were available).

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 8:59 AM (CDT)

Intel Might Become the World's Top Chipmaker Again

Many still think of Intel as the top semiconductor manufacturer in the world, but the chip giant actually lost the crown to Samsung back in 2017. The gap only widened in 2018, but, thanks to the cliff DRAM and flash prices are falling off of right now, IC Insights thinks that Chipzilla could reclaim the top spot in 2019. In an update to their 500 page report on the IC industry, the research firm believes that Samsung's total chip sales could fall from $78.5 billion in 2018 to $63.1 billion in 2019, while Intel's ~$70 billion in chip sales should remain relatively flat year to year.

With both the DRAM and NAND flash markets forecast to show big declines this year, IC Insights expects greater than 20% sales declines for the other top-10 ranked memory suppliers (SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba/Toshiba Memory) in 2019 as well. Similar to Samsung, the steep sales declines expected for SK Hynix, Micron, and Toshiba in 2019 are likely to lower these companies' revenue back to, or even below, what they were in 2017. This year will likely prove once again that the infamous volatile IC industry cycles are still very much alive and well in the memory market. The March Update will also examine the latest capital spending budgets of the major semiconductor companies for this year. With the memory suppliers expected to encounter a very difficult year in 2019, large capital spending cutbacks from these producers are likely to drag down worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending by at least 14% this year.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 08, 2019 8:36 AM (CST)

DRAM Prices See Sharpest Decline Since 2011

If you're a regular at HardOCP, you've probably heard that memory prices are dropping like a rock. As we've reported before, a number of factors, including reduced smartphone demand, excess inventory, the Intel CPU shortage, and a stable "bit output" thanks to advancing lithography tech are quickly bringing down DDR4 prices, in spite of manufacturers' efforts to slow down production. However, DRAMeXchange reports that there was a "a most unusual, large down-correction in prices" last February. DRAM contracts are now monthly instead of quarterly deals, and DRAMeXchange revised their first quarter price drop projection to 30%. Looking farther ahead, the market research firm notes that suppliers are holding "around a whopping six weeks' worth of inventory (wafer banks included)," and that the Intel CPU shortage is expected to last until 3Q19, hence the down-corrections are expected to continue throughout the year.

Looking at the DRAM market one or two years into the future, the big trio aren't going to roll over in the competition for market shares any time soon. SK Hynix has recently announced that it will invest 120 trillion won (around US$107 billion ) to build four new wafer fabs as part of its strategy to improve its competitiveness. Micron, on the other hand, doubled down and commenced construction of an IC testing and packaging plant in Taiwan. At the same time, its subsidiary Micron Memory Taiwan ( formerly Rexchip) in Houli, Taichung, is considering building a new 12-inch DRAM wafer fab, which could finish construction as early as the end of next year, and massively contribute to production in 2021. As for the world's largest DRAM supplier Samsung, it is currently building a second fab at Pyeongtaek. "The rich stay rich" - such is the immutable trend of the DRAM market; furthermore, new competitors are aided by a wealth of resources and capital upon entering the market. Hence, if smaller DRAM suppliers don't find ways to catch up on production processes and scale, they may risk being marginalized in the near future.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 8:40 AM (CST)

The Tech World Remembers Jerry Merryman Who Was an Inventor of the Calculator

Born June 17, 1932; Jerry Merryman was a brilliant inventor whom others could call upon for information on any subject. By age 11, Mr. Merryman was the Hearne, TX radio repairman. "'He'd scrap together a few cents to go to the movies in the afternoons and evenings and the police would come get him out ... because their radios would break and he had to fix them,' said Merryman's wife, Phyllis Merryman." He wasn't a braggart or boastful; even though he would work on projects at his home like a motorized telescope that automatically tracked the planets. Texas Instruments hired him and in 1965 his Nobel Prize winning boss, Jack Kilby, presented him with the idea for a calculator. In three days, Jerry Merryman did the entire circuit design for the device that his boss desired to be "as small as this little book that I have in my hand." The three man team had enough work completed to file for a patent in 1967, and revised the final patent in 1974. Merryman said in a 2013 NPR interview, "Silly me, I thought we were just making a calculator, but we were creating an electronic revolution." Mr. Merryman died Feb. 27 at a Dallas hospital from heart and kidney failure after experiencing complications during surgery to install a pacemaker. He was 86. The team's prototype is enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution. This 1997 photo shows Jack Kilby and Jerry Merryman, right, at the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

"I have a Ph.D. in material science and I've known hundreds of scientists, professors, Nobel prize-winners and so on. Jerry Merryman was the most brilliant man that I've ever met. Period. Absolutely, outstandingly brilliant," said Vernon Porter, a former TI colleague and friend. "He had an incredible memory and he had an ability to pull up formulas, information, on almost any subject."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 8:55 PM (CST)

Highlights of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 Presentation at Mobile World Conference

CNET has released a highlights video of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 presentation at the Mobile World Conference. The video shows some of the forward thinking solutions that Microsoft engineers have been working on for years to make working with holograms feel like interacting with objects in the real world.

Microsoft says the new and improved HoloLens 2 makes manipulating holograms feel like interacting with objects in the real world.

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Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 7:51 PM (CST)

World War Z: Zombies Are Coming Trailer

Here is the World War Z: Zombies Are Coming trailer. The game features 6 classes - Gunslinger, Hellraiser, Slasher, Medic, Fixer, and Exterminator to level up; each with their own perks and play styles. Weapons such as rocket launchers, machine guns, and grenade launchers can be customized to survive higher difficulty challenges. Player performance determines procedural enemy and item spawns which adds replay value to the CO-OP experience. Set traps, turrets, barricades, and sentries to survive the waves of zombies. World War Z launches on April 16, 2019 for PC and consoles.

World War Z is a heart-pounding coop third-person shooter for up to 4 players featuring massive swarms of hundreds of zombies. Focused on fast-paced gameplay, World War Z follows the story of a hardened few struggling together to outlive the dead.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 04, 2019 5:51 PM (CST)

AMD Showcases Ryzen V1000 and EPYC 3000 at Embedded World 2019

At Embedded World 2019, AMD unveiled its expanded partner embedded product lines based on its AMD Ryzen V1000 and EPYC 3000 platforms. Embedded GPUs and the SMACH Z handheld gaming console that can be upgraded like a desktop PC were highlights of the event. Advantech announced a partnership between Advantech, AMD, and Mentor, a Siemens business, to make AI technology more accessible and easier to implement. They declared AI technology will take embedded systems to the next level with higher efficiency and smarter systems designed to improve people's lives. The PC Games Hardware interview is in English after the first minute.

Chalk this one up to I did not know that AMD had embedded GPUs, but the segment makes sense. TUL is the manufacturer of the three GPUs based on AMD for the embedded market. These seem to be mostly targeted at multi-output embedded products for features like support for between four and six monitors.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 04, 2019 2:58 PM (CST)

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.

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

The Biggest Problem with Triple-A, Open-World Games: "They're Boring as Hell"

"I don’t wanna do my video game chores": the alleged monotony of Red Dead Redemption 2 has driven The Outline to publish an opinion piece arguing that many of the latest big-budget, open-world video games are technically impressive, but their scale and grandeur is merely a ruse to hide their shallow, dull gameplay. The author admits repetition is fundamental in gaming but claims RDR2 and other "Real World Games" have taken tediousness to a whole new level, in which players are forced to perform tasks implemented merely to inflate the length of a game.

This is the standard experience of playing a so-called Real World Game, which other than RDR2 includes games like Horizon Zero Dawn (2017), and No Man’s Sky (2016) before the developers actually made it interesting. It’s a genre that prizes size over depth. It’s usually open-world, pretty easy to play, has a medium-length main quest that’s typically bolstered by an endless series of pointless side quests and collecti-quests (Collect every trophy! Capture every animal! Step on every plant!) to bolster its total playtime. A Real World Game also prizes supposed verisimilitude at the expense of fun.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 12:20 PM (CST)

Nanoparticle Experiment: Humans Could Get X-Men "Super Vision" to See in the Dark

Chinese and US scientists have performed a successful experiment giving mice the ability to see infrared light after injecting them with nanoparticles, and they suggest human vision could be modified in the same way, allowing people to detect a wider spectrum of colors. "Current infrared technology allows the user to see heat emitted from animals, but its effectiveness is hampered by bulky batteries and interference from visible light."

Lead researcher Dr Tian Xue said the applications include military use and could be adapted to treat people who are colour blind and can’t detect red. "We believe this technology will also work in human eyes, not only for generating super vision but also for therapeutic solutions in human red colour vision deficits," said Dr Xue. "This is an exciting subject because the technology we made possible here could eventually enable human beings to see beyond our natural capabilities."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 11:40 AM (CST)