Tech

Nintendo Switch Spec Analysis

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I’m sorry to hear this :( I was hoping Nintendo would pull of a miracle and surprise with amazing mind-blowing technology inviting hordes of 3rd party developers. Or if not technology horsepower then at least a kind of Android extension/gaming standardization to leverage it’s huge consumer pull to set a standard for gaming and increasing the audience. Seems like they’ve opted instead to go further into their niche.  The question then remains to me: how many Zelda quality games can they release per year?

I wonder if the situation could be saved if as the reviewer implies price is the only problem if they dropped the price 100$ as soon as the initial great excitement/underproduction ends. If now they’re selling as fast as they’re producing but then ramp up production and lower costs they could still create strong 3rd party developer support… but even so, the Fifa example mentioned worries me if developers can’t do multiplatform games but have to do costly custom versions.

World of Horizon Zero Dawn

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I love timelapses and always admire a world alive enough to look good in them.

 

Impressive tech. I can’t wait to see a big open-world Killzone from these devs.

Jedi Outcast – The Movie

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A long time ago, in a galaxy still owned by Lucas….

The 2nd Death Star is destroyed, the Empire is crumbling (spoilers!). A couple of (no ordinary) mercenaries are sent to investigate a remote Imperial Remnant outpost. A menial task, at best… or is it?

Anyone who’s played Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (long title, huh?) remembers the story of the morally-grey, ex-Imperial Kyle Katarn, on his path to enlightenment (only because you can’t choose the dark side in this installment). What if some Australians took it upon themselves to bring the story to the big screens?

The group has disassembled the game’s assets and gave them a modern polish, using Unreal Engine 4 for the entirety of the project (shader, animation, dialogue, camera work etc.). Some assets (such as character animations) are lifted from the KOTOR games.

Apart from the new, modern look, the group has managed to create an “asset shuffler” of sorts, allowing for varied character outfits (Jedi Academy character creator-style).

Adobe’s VoCo is expected to be used for this, and for many such other projects.

It is currently not known when exactly the movie will be released, but, according to the team, “not this year”.

Beautiful Smog

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What an atmospheric world!

Destiny’s Engine GDC Talk

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like … WOOOW… i gotta say it again. WOW!

Dissection of a GTA V frame

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http://www.adriancourreges.com/blog/2015/11/02/gta-v-graphics-study/

Fascinating for the technically curious of the magic behind the curtain.

Creating a Doom-style 3D engine in C

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Fascinating! I had wondered for ages about things like this… if only i could send this video back in time to myself about 18 years :D

SketchUp used in Uncharted 2

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I had no idea. Great to hear Robh Ruppel thinking.

Euclidion SOLIDSCAN

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Very impressive visuals. I’m a little skeptical though. Still I’m very happy to see more technical pushes away from the limitations of polygonal information and into more voxel stuff. I find their move to freely scan monuments a smart one for acquiring cool places. I wonder though how they map everything from a technical perspective. Surely somehow it’s mapped onto polygons… right? I’m particularly curious how they handle cracks and hard to see angles and probably most curious about how they handle the distant trees in a forest. My guess would be they’re somehow floating voxels in space… but our current hardware technology/consoles are so optimized towards polygonal rendering (i remember an old Carmack article where he was talking of when games/hardware could’ve taken a different direction) that changing direction so seriously might be impossibly hard. Still, it’s great to see them try!

Why the shift in creative software sales’ model may affect us for the better

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I’m quite excited. I am truly excited! No, I am deeply excited! There is a progressive shift that is happening in software sales’ model that is going to affect a lot of people: affordable or subscription-based licenses, for high-end, professional creative software in particular. I won’t go too deep into the criticisms and caveats of this shift today, but I’ll rather try to explore how it may affect the creative community, if not every creative person, in a positive manner.

More affordable, centralized, accessible tools

When Epic introduced their subscription model for the 4th generation of their Unreal Engine, I… actually could believe my eyes. But, I was facing an example of an incredible shift that’s happening in software nowadays: an engine’s source code that used to cost a million bucks was now available to anyone, for 19€ a month? If game creation in general was already accessible, with this new software generation, it is now high end, very technical creation tools that are at every single person’s fingertips.

And it’s not only Epic! On mobile devices and Mac, productivity tools and entertainment apps have shared affordable prices for a couple of years already. But more recently, this movement has started affecting the whole PC world: Steam, a mainstream gaming platform, now features professional grade creation software! It promotes innovative tools that are used on big productions like Substance, Sonar or even 3d Coat. Even the CryEngine was added to the list lately. New tools released there tend to be [relatively] cheap. And not only that, but they generally offer ergonomic User Interfaces. In other words, we’re getting strong tools, smart tools, and cheap tools centralized in a common marketplace.

I like that compact kind of environment, as it brings the developers and users closer together: Steam provides forums, articles, a newsfeed, and links to get in touch with the software authors rather quickly. In other words, we get the benefits of the social functionality of the platform. This facilitates bug reports, feature requests and other kinds of feedback.

Now, don’t get me wrong on this: Steam is far from being the best platforms for software. I would love to see the Steam Workshop and Guide features used more often to share tutorials and resources among users for example, just like it’s done in games. Content presentation isn’t always structured in the most efficient way for professional users as well, who will often favor the tool’s official website. But I do think that this broader diffusion of software represents a solid step towards open tools, accessible tools, thus smarter tools.

Subscription-based models or the promise of faster release cycles

This trend is a more recent one: to ensure user loyalty, regular revenue, and to prevent piracy, the creators of various tools are choosing more and more to use subscription-based licensing. Adobe product users have made some noise when they got forced to rent their software for a monthly fee (that rattle started in 2013, as Adobe stopped to deliver definitive licenses for all of its tools, increasing drastically licensing fees for many firms and individual users). Microsoft already does this with the Office 365 suite as well.

First of all, I do think that the accessibility in terms of pricing is once again synonym of broader communities. Those tools aren’t priced far less than before though: it is a matter of entry price point. Because the subscription is billed monthly, the cost may feel easier to handle. Only a little amount of money is being charged at a time, and the user can cancel after a month or a year if the toolset just doesn’t fit. The cloud-based licensed tools do come along with nicer packages as well: some cloud storage, a limited access to a subset of companion products… even if those features are meant to retain the user within the brand’s environment!

I do think that the steady flow of income the firm gets from it is not only healthy for it from an economic standpoint, but it forces the development team to accelerate the tool’s release cycle.  We can already see it with the Adobe tools, which get a couple of features added every 4 to 6 months (there was only a release per year before). However, I guess that users deserve to have the choice between subscribing and buying a definitive license, which is still too often not the case. But this is a topic for another article!

 

Did this trend in software sales affect the way you use your computer? Did they permit you to get new tools to express your creativity with? Don’t hesitate to share your experience with us and everyone in the comments below! We are always glad to get in touch with you.

You can also message me directly on social networks (facebook, twitter or google plus)!

Unreal Engine 4 Features Trailer

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Exciting tools. Can’t wait for the great artwork games of the future!

3D scanning going mainstream?

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It’s quite exciting to see the popularity 3d printers are getting and today I just found out there’s actually a 329€ scanner out there already. Wuuhuu!! good times in the future :D

And it seems a company even managed to use Kinect for scanning:

Steam Machines

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They look quite cool, I’m just afraid after seeing some eyewatering prices.

3d from photos

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Wow, i had no idead the technology was this far advanced that normal people can do it!

Blender Game Engine Tech Demo

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I’ve been for many years a big fan of Blender and am continuously amazed at how powerful it is and what people use it for. I only think of it as a fantastic 3d suite which happens to not cost thousands of $ but be free, but it seems others use it as a game engine and even for simulations and video compositing. Very awe inspiring!

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