Eurogamer's Digital Foundry has revealed the specs for Microsoft's next Xbox, codenamed Project Scorpio. Featuring an 8 custom-core x86 CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, a GPU with 40 customized compute units at 1172MHz, 12GB DDR5 memory with memory bandwidth of 326GBs, Scorpio is a beast intended to push 4K gaming and, potentially, VR experiences.
In what may be the most interesting and drastic move surrounds the GPU, particularly the command processor, which is the block of hardware that receives instructions from the CPU and sends them to the graphics core. In some cases developers are seeing their CPU rendering overhead cut by 50%:
Academy Award-winning technology innovator and professor Ken Perlin will be delivering the third keynote at this year's Develop:Brighton conference. His talk, ‘A Visit to Future Reality’, is set to explore how people will use future mixed reality technologies to better communicate and interact with each other when they are in the same physical space. As Perlin discusses his expectation language itself will take on new and rich visual dimensions, live demos will bring the talk to life.
Currently a professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University, Perlin directs the Media Research Lab, and is a participating faculty member at NYU MAGNET. His research interests include future reality, graphics and animation, user interfaces and education. He received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television.
“We’re delighted to announce Ken Perlin as another superb keynote speaker for Develop:Brighton 2017,” said Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events. “His creation of Perlin Noise in 1985 revolutionised computer graphics and development, so who better to talk to us about the future of the space? We’re looking forward to a rare and exciting glimpse into what lies ahead!”
Brenda and John Romero are set to open the conference on Wednesday 12 July with their two keynotes.
Develop:Brighton, Europe’s leading conference for the European game development community, is a three day conference, expo and networking event taking place from Tuesday 11 to Thursday 13 July 2017 at the Hilton Metropole in Brighton.
Early Bird tickets are available until April 26 at http://www.developconference.com/.
GamesIndustry.biz has released an infographic from their recent feature on the global games jobs market. The infographic highlights some of the more interesting findings in their survey, including that 40% of games employees plan to change jobs by the end of 2017, 90% are expected to work beyond their contracted hours of which 75% are not paid, and that the wage gender gap remains significant.
You can get the full infographic by clicking here.
NVIDIA posted a story about how researchers at Alibaba and University College London developed a deep-learning based system that learned how to execute strategies in the real-time strategy game Starcraft.
View the paper at arXiv.
The news rocking the tech industry today is that Apple has informed Imagination Technologies that they will be designing their GPUs in-house. Imagination Technologies is an IP-only company who designs the SGX series of GPUs currently used in all Apple iOS devices, e.g. iPhone, iPad, etc. Apple informed Imagination that in two years they will have no further use of Imagination IP.
Imagination's shares are down 62% today on the news, and they have released a statement where they publicly threaten Apple:
The Economist posted an interesting article about recent economic research that suggests high-quality video games are "contributing to a decline in work among young people, and especially young men."
Using data from 2000 and 2015, they found the employment rate between men in their 20s without a college education dropped ten percentage points, from 82% to 72%.
Unity 5.6 is now available for download. The final in the Unity 5 cycle, this release includes Progressive Lightmapper preview, new Light modes, Vulkan support, new video player, support for Facebook Gameroom, Google DayDream, and much more.
Here are a few of the screenshots and videos they shared:
In his latest tech notes, John Carmack explains the algorithm behind the visual improvements in GearVR's new Oculus Home update, which he says includes a brand new Oculus runtime system. With the buzz-phrase of "Cylindrical TimeWarp Layers", Carmack explains that the visual improvements in the technique bring the quality of mobile VR closer to the expected hardware performance.
From the post:
E-on software, a leading global developer of software for the creation, animation, rendering, and integration of natural 3D environments in the computer graphics, VFX, architecture, and
gaming industries, today announced the immediate availability of Release 2 (R2) of its VUE and PlantFactory 2016 software.
"These new releases reflect e-on software's commitment to bring new features and functionality to VUE and PlantFactory as frequently as possible. We plan to release incremental updates that introduce new functionality every four months," said Matt Riveccie, business development manager, e-on software.
"We strive to engage even more with our users, making sure user feedback is at the core of our development efforts. The coming releases focus on optimizing user experience, strengthening our current technologies, and improving overall performance," added Nicholas Phelps, director, software development, visualization, Bentley Systems.
Together with the new releases, e-on software is shipping free versions of its VUE 2016 and PlantFactory 2016 software. These include the VUE xStream and Infinite 2016 R2 Personal Learning Edition (PLE); the VUE Esprit, Studio, and Complete 2016 R2 trial versions; the PlantFactory Producer 2016 R2 PLE; and the PlantFactory Studio, Designer, and Artist 2016 R2 trial
New in VUE 2016 R2
Epic is kicking off their Spring UE4jam today with a livestream broadcast to Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook starting at 11am PST / 7pm GMT. Contest rules and entry requirements can be found here.
From their announcement:
The broadcast airs today at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm GMT and will be streamed to twitch.tv/unrealengine, youtube.com/unrealengine and facebook.com/unrealengine. More information can be found here.
In the category of Serious Games, a CNN report today highlights a study that shows playing Tetris within hours of experiencing trauma can reduce the anxiety or distress that occurs in relation to a traumatic event, which can ultimately lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
From the article:
devcom is a new game developer event to debut in Cologne within the framework of gamescom on August 20 and 21, 2017. devcom organizers have sent a call for papers to invite industry experts and insiders to submit their ideas, topics and other suggestions for consideration.
Previously unpublished talks, panels, case studies and presentations may be submitted up to April 11, 2017. The focus will be on Virtual Reality, Mobile Games, Business and Production. Other topics may include but are not limited to:
In addition to keynotes and panel discussions held as part of the devcom developer conference, devcom will also feature workshops, summits, master classes and matchmaking in its extensive offering.
C++ developers can look forward to official support and new features in C++. Herb Sutter tonight announced on his blog the latest status from the Winter ISO C++ meetings: "C++17 is done!"
From his blog:
Click here to read more.
Qualcomm Developer Network has posted a guest blog from Martin Schubert, who is a VR Designer, Developer, and Evangelist at Leap Motion. In the blog post, Martin describes the possibilities of hand tracking technology, mobile VR, and how Leap Motion is building technology to enable natural interactions with your hands as the controller.
AMD has open sourced Anvil through their GPUOpen initiative. Anvil is a wrapper for Vulkan 1.0 that AMD has been using internally to develop Vulkan applications and is intended to make it easier for bring-up new Vulkan applications. The MIT licensed C++ wrapper is similar to other open source Vulkan wrappers but adds a few additional features, including:
automatic object lifetime management
helper routines for FP16 to/from FP32
automatic generation of descriptor sets
integrated validation support
runtime GLSL to SPIR-V conversion
and windowing system integration for XCB and Windows
From the Github page:
YoYo Games has released GameMaker Studio 2, which is now available from the YoYo Games website starting at $99.99. The global launch follows the successful open beta and gives developers game creation tools to take creative concepts to market quickly.
Game developers on Mac will soon have access to the GameMaker Studio platform as YoYo Games has also announced a closed beta period of the Mac OS version of GameMaker Studio 2. Seasoned and aspiring developers interested in learning more about the Mac Integrated Development Environment (IDE) can get more information at http://www.yoyogames.com/blog/414.
[font=arial]GameMaker[/font] Studio 2[font=arial] builds upon the best of its predecessor with rich new features and functionality that take the 2D game development environment to a new level. Beginners with limited to no coding experience will rest assured as the trademarked Drag and Drop system (DnD
The Khronos Group recently setup a staging area for WebGL-Next proposals on Github, and this morning Mozilla submitted Obsidian as the first proposal. Obsidian is a low-level API intended to provide a maximum features set of the GPU to web applications. Similar to Vulkan, it's designed for WebAssembly, modern GPUs, and a multi-threaded environment.
From the readme:
A report available through the Serious Games Association projects that U.S. revenue for educational games available on mobile platforms for consumers will nearly triple by 2022 to $800.2 million - and grow to a billion dollars by 2024.
"The U.S. market for consumer educational games is growing at a five year CAGR of 24.3 percent," explains Sam Adkins, CEO, Metaari (formerly Ambient Insight), "And market conditions for U.S. consumer-facing mobile educational game developers are quite favorable. I'm betting we will see U.S. revenues in this category comfortably reach a billion dollars a couple of years after that."
Metaari's 70+ page report, "The 2017-2022 U.S. Consumer Mobile Educational GameMarket", covers projected revenue for all the major educational game categories; information on leading developers, publishers and technology developers can use in creating games; market trends; and catalysts driving demands is available for $400 from the Serious Games Association at this link: http://seriousplayconf.com/report-order/
Some key findings in the report:
A high demand for mobile early childhood learning games is driving the fastest revenue growth sector
Extraordinary innovation in augmented reality-based educational games is creating a whole new type of mobile learning product
Next-generation cognitive games and brain trainers have re-energized the market for those products
Location-based Services (LBS) is one of the fastest growing technologies, driven by educational developers integrating it into their learning products
The industry has experienced a recent flood of private investment into educational game companies, suggesting the sustainable growth of this category
The U.S. consumer market is the most concentrated revenue opportunity on the planet for mobile educational game developers
Adkins will be a speaker at the 2017 Serious Play Conference, July 18-20, at George Mason University, where he will preview his annual market report covering eight buyer categories: Consumer, Preschool, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Tertiary Education, Corporate, Federal Governmental Agencies and State/Local Governmental Agencies. Link to conference at www.seriousplayconf.com
Vice's Motherboard posted a story on Friday entitled Game Developers Sail, Swim, and Code at 'Pirate Jam', chronicling the story of American McGee and his fellow developers as they embarked on a 7 day, 5 hour per day game jam of sailing, fishing, diving, and development on the Andaman Sea west of Thailand.
From the story:
The Pirate Jam also has a website at http://pirate-jam.com/ with more information. Also check out the videos below.
The Chromium team announced yesterday that Chrome 56 brings support for WebGL 2.0, a major upgrade to the API which unlocks a variety of new graphics features and advanced rendering techniques. WebGL 2.0 is currently available for Chrome users with modern graphics hardware on Windows, macOS, and Linux, and is coming soon to Android.
From the blog:
Appodeal, an intelligent ad mediation service for mobile developers, is happy to announce the acquisition of Corona Labs, the creators of Corona SDK, a cross-platform framework that allows developers to rapidly create 2D games and apps using easy-to-learn Lua.
Moving forward, Appodeal plans to offer the Enterprise version of the Corona SDK free alongside the options that are already free today.