Kinect for PC Announced

Microsoft has announced that in 2012, they will release a commercial version of their Kinect motion and voice sensing platform for the PC, first introduced as an add-on to the Xbox.  Kinect gamers interact with games by moving their bodies around instead of pushing buttons on a controller.  A non-commercial development kit has been knocking around since June.  The platform will consist of new Kinect hardware, USB connectivity, an improved close-range camera, and further enhancements of the software to optimize it for the Windows PC.

Microsoft also has just launched a new initiative, the Kinect Accelerator incubation project.  This initiative through BizSpark will help software startups by providing access to Microsoft software development tools, connection to key industry investors, and by providing marketing visibility.  The Kinect Accelerator will give 10 tech-oriented companies using Kinect an investment of $20,000 each, plus a number of other perks.  Applications are being accepted through January 25th, 2012.  At the end of the program, each company will have an opportunity to present at an Investor Demo Day.

It will be interesting to see who brings me my Minority Report inspired Air-User interface first!   BRING IT!!

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Crytek Plans Indie Game Dev Friendly CryEngine Licensing

Been a while since I posted anything on the gaming front.  I guess I have some time on my hands to pull back a little from the security and IT focus.  All work and no play…

According to Shack News, Crytek is planning a low-cost version of its CryEngine, likened to Epic’s Unreal Development Kit.  The business model is expected to be “extremely user-friendly”, lowering the barriers for entry, and perhaps even free 8).  Details are not completely hammered out, but I like what I’m hearing here.  This is a powerful engine, and I would love to get my mittens on it for a couple of concepts that I’ve been rolling around for a number of years with my limited little 3D Game Studio scripting engine.

Epic Games’ Unreal Development Kit is a standalone version of the popular Unreal Engine 3, which is free for non-commercial and educational use.  It’s also used by indie developers for commercial titles, as developers can start work without paying hefty licensing fees up front.  Instead, they accept to pay a 25% royalty rate on sales past the first $50,000.  Eye candy laden mech combat FPS Hawken is one commercial UDK project.

Time to revisit the UDK project page, and add Crytek to my engine monitoring list!  Woohoo!  I can’t wait to get one of these engines up and working.

Thar Be Pirates – BulletStorm

It seems that last weekend the in development games Killzone 3 and Crysis 2 were both been leaked onto popular torrent websites.  The Killzone 3 leak was the full game, while Crysis 2 was the unfinished, unpolished, beta code.  The single-player game was completely playable from start to finish, though.  Or so I hear…

Today, gamrFeed has learned that Bulletstorm is popping up on the same torrent sites.  Torrent users are boasting on forums that they have pirated versions of Bulletstorm up and running on the Xbox 360.  These appear to be the full retail copies of the game.

Seeing as this is the second game being published by EA Games to be leaked in such a short time span, could this be an inside job? Is someone at EA doing this?  Sounds like they need to hire a game loving, intellectual property protecting, incident response experienced security guy that can help them install DLP and monitor communicaitons on their networks!!  I just happen to know one.  He might even volunteer to help out, as long as it wouldn’t impact his EI cheques and job search…

Bulletstorm is scheduled for a release date of February 22nd in North America for PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360.  The game will launch on February 25th for Europe.

Open Source Kinect Developments Continue

There have been a number of exciting developments in the last few days related to XBox Kinect.  Kinect is a brand new interface to the Microsoft XBox games console. allowing users to interact with games without using a controller.  By using infra-red light, the device is able to map the environment and recognise gestures (using software).

Hector Martin released a quick hack three hours into the European launch and released his results and code into the wild – named ‘libfreenect’.  The NUI Group plan to release their driver as open source once their $10k donation fund is filled up.  Shortly after,  Theo Watson ported it to OSX.

Won’t be long we should be seeing some very interesting applicaitons for this Kinect.  Since several sites have been listing the part loads for duplicating this product from scratch at around $60, I expect to be using one in the new year for motion capture for character animation, as well as 3D scanning for character creation once the quality or output improves.

More at CreativeApplications

Tradewars Rising on Facebook

Got Facebook and some time to kill? Want to take a stroll with me back to the 70s and 80s?

TRADEWARS RISING

See you out there. . .

Remember the days of yore when there was hardly an IP packet transmitting around the Internet? Do you recall a thing called a modem, and the communities of geeks and nerds that frequented Bulletin Board Systems at all hours? If you do, then you are going to love this!!! I used to host the Blue Moon BBS out of Brampton, Canada. I had a registered copy of Tradewars 2002, and had about 100 – 200 regular players. I recently got in touch with the author of that old and wonderful game…

Turns out Sylien Games has brought the old Tradewars BBS game to Facebook. Now, this is not the same ascii and ansi graphics presentation (which I personally enjoyed), it has all been reworked and built from the ground up! If you prefer to play outside of Facebook, check out the Sylien website. They host free and premium games, just like the old days. Look for me. I’ll be the noobish looking fella in the shiny new escape pod…

 PLAY TRADEWARS® RISING WITH FRIENDS
Our purpose is to increase how much fun players are having in the game. A big way to do this is to increase the amount of people playing, so what we’ve done lately is to create the Tradewars® Rising Facebook application. Using this tool, you can easily invite a lot more people to the games you are playing, hence more fun!

Since this is a new application, it may still have a few odd bugs in it, so were asking any able player out there to check for odd behavior and report them to us by e-mail. For now, we’re considering it BETA.

First thing to do is INSTALL THE APPLICATION. It takes only a minute.

Then, send us an e-mail at support@sylien.com after you have done the following:
• Played a the game a while within Facebook
• Published a promotion or a player kill to your Friends walls
• Invited some Friends to install the application
Giving us feedback on all three points will help us improve on the application. In return for the feedback, well give you 30 days Premium time (or extension).

The more players we have in games, the more fun they will be! So lets all use this new tool!
Next step for us will be to fix a few bugs that our wonderful community discovered over the last while, so stay tuned for bug and feature fix updates.

STAYING IN TOUCH
Often we leave hints and other more up to date news directly on the Tradewars® Rising website, so visit it often to stay up to date.
To keep well informed, you may want to follow us on Twitter.

Play, have fun, and be creative, always!

The Sylien Team 

TRADEWARS

See you out there. . .