Gaming Tech

This category contains 7 posts

Contra now coming to iOS


Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right. Does this seem familiar?

If it does, well surely, you are one of the lucky ones who were able to play Contra back in the 90s. The NES classic was developed by Konami and is an alien and human shooting side-scroller game that is highly addictive and entertaining. I know, because I was really hooked to the game back then.

Anyway, iOS developer CocoaChina/Chukong will be bringing the good old days as they were able to obtain a licensing agreement for the game that will enable them to remake the classic game on iOS. The new game, called Contra Evolution, will be first fully licensed mobile version of the Konami classic.

Already launched in Chine, it will be landing to the US App Store (and hopefully, to other geographies as well) on June 27. The iPhone version is priced at $0.99 while the iPad one is at $2.99.



NSFW: The World’s First Kinect Porn

Spanish artist Alejandro Gomez-Arias is one great pioneer. No, he is not a scientist or an industrialist/inventor. Nevertheless, he and his girlfriend have ushered a new era in digital media and film. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, the world’s first Kinect Porn.

Using Kinect, which was originally developed for video games, he was able to shoot an explicit yet abstract short film titled Love Is All. His 4:30 long film was recently on display at a popup exhibition in Williamsburg, and features a brief strip tease and a variety of sexual positions between a young couple. However, unlike any other porn you might’ve already watched, this one is pixelated, with only hazes of flesh-colored dots arranged into skeletal polygons giving you the impression that something else is happening on the background. If you know what I mean.

The dots that make up the actors’ bodies are derived from Kinect’s infrared camera, which was originally designed for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 system to allow players to interact with their games by jumping around their living rooms, no controller needed.

Kinect uses a technique called structured light to judge where the player is. The machine projects a known geometric pattern in infrared light on to the area it’s scanning and detects how the pattern deforms when hitting objects in space, calculating depth and distance through a triangulation process in conjunction with a normal camera.

Source: Animal New York

App Alert! Man of Steel now on iOS!

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With the nationwide blockbuster showing of the Man of Steel in theaters starting few days ago, it is but timely that Warner Bros has finally released the iOS game that complements the movie. On the said game, you play the role of, who else, Superman as you battle against adversaries with the ultimate goal of facing and eliminating Zod. From the game’s official App Store page:


General Zod has begun the invasion of Earth and only the Man of Steel can stop him. Utilize the powers of Superman to fight your way to victory and save the planet from certain destruction.

-Attack, dodge, block, and utilize various super powers including flight, super speed, and heat vision to defeat Zod and his evil forces.
-Play through an in-depth Story Mode or set a personal high score in the intense Survival Mode.
-Battle a challenging cast of mini-bosses and technologically advanced foes featured in the film.

-Unlock and purchase up to 6 different suits from the Man of Steel movie.
-Upgrade your suits to become a truly unstoppable force!
-Customize your experience by upgrading the specific abilities YOU want to use.
-Embrace the true strength of Superman with bone-crunching combos, all with the swipe of a finger.

-Delivers next-gen graphics on your phone or tablet with beautifully detailed animations and cinematic sequences.
-Fight in a variety of detailed and interactive 3D environments including Smallville, the Kent Farm, and more.

Requires iOS 5 and later

Pricing is at $4.99 for the HD version and $2.99 for the standard one.

Anki: bringing AI closer to YOU


Last Monday, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, a five-year-old startup company called Anki delivered a keynote address about their new app Anki Drive. It is a racing game that pits real cars against players and each other with your iOS device serving as a controller. Although seemingly amusing and innocent at first, most of us would probably miss the bigger picture of such innovation: the company is bridging the gap between artificial intelligence (AI) and real life. As Anki’s Boris Sofman puts it,

“We’re passionate about AI and robotics, and we know these advanced technologies are more than just science fiction. We want to harness them, to interact with them, to be entertained by them, and use them to do things that have simply never been done before. We believe the time is right to bring AI out of robotics labs and research institutions and into life.”

According to the company’s official blog, Anki Drive is the first video game that actually runs in the real world. Each toy car is said to be equipped with sensors and intelligent software that makes thousands of decisions every second — similar to the algorithmic calculations a human being does while driving. Sofman adds,

“When we look at Anki Drive, we see the first steps of the future of robotics and artificial intelligence being realized. We see an entertainment experience transformed today, and we see countless possibilities in the future.”

Anki Drive will be available this Fall exclusively on iOS.Before its release, the app is available for download on the App Store for users wishing to better understand the technology behind the game. Everybody is also welcome to sign up for a spot on the game’s beta program.

About the company:
Based in San Francisco, Anki is dedicated to bringing artificial intelligence and robotics to our everyday lives. The company was founded in 2010 by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates who sought to create new consumer experiences using technology that was once confined to robotics labs and research institutes. Its first product, Anki Drive, will be available in North America later this Fall. The company is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures and Two Sigma. Anki (pronounced AHN-key) means “to learn by heart.” To learn more about Anki, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to us on YouTube.

Source: Anki


Zynga lays off 520 employees in cost-cutting efforts

Online gaming company Zynga has announced that they will be laying off 520 staffers, or approximately 18% of its total workforce, in an attempt to trim costs and focus on its mobile strategy. According to the company’s press release, the move is expected to save around $80M in employee costs. Offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas will also be closed. The reduction of 520 employess is said to occur across all job divisions and will be completed come August 2013.

In a memo circulated to Zynga employees, CEO and Founder Mark Pincus wrote “None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth, but I think we all know this is necessary to move forward. The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multi-platform, which is where social games are going to be played.”

Pincus further emphasized on the memo the importance of mobile for the company’s success in the future. According to him, “These moves, while hard to face today, represent a proactive commitment to our mission of connecting the world through games. Mobile and touch screens are revolutionizing gaming. Our opportunity is to make mobile gaming truly social by offering people new, fun ways to meet, play and connect. By reducing our cost structure today we will offer our teams the runway they need to take risks and develop these breakthrough new social experiences.”

Together with the massive layoff, Zynga updated its outlook for Q2 of 2013 to a net loss of $28.5M to $39M, with overall active and daily users down by 13% in the same quarter last year.

Gamers, meet the new Xbox One!

Finally, after much speculation and wait, Microsoft has finally revealed the Xbox One, its successor to the hugely popular Xbox360 gaming console and competitor to rival Sony’s PlayStation4.

With Microsoft aiming to become everyone’s all-in-one entertainment system, does the new console stack up to the challenge? Read on to find out.

Packaged with Kinect, the Xbox One now features a Voice Control feature, which offers a voice-controlled experience from start to finish. Your voice serves as inputs to the Xbox and helps it identify your user profile. You may also dictate activities to the Xbox One, similar to how iOS and Android handles Siri and Google Now. And of course, gesture recognition is still there to control the system with your own hands.

A Snap Mode feature is also available on the new Xbox. Similar to the Microsfot Windows 8 experience, it allows users to run two activities simultaneously. This multitasking feature, which has been mostly reserved for computers and mobile devices, now comes to the gaming console scene and as such, it provides a second screen viewing experience to run alongside anything you are currently doing. For content providers, this should be of interest as they could leverage it to provide additional means to engage audiences losing interest in traditional ads.

Kinect has also been updated, which is now better at recognizing voice inputs and gestures, even allowing the system to read your heartbeat while exercising. It is also now capable of capturing 1080p video, and can detect more points on the body for better recognition. As for the controller, it looks quite similar to the one found in the Xbox360, although now, it features an integrated battery compartment, Wi-Fi Direct and a high precision directional pad.

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For a sample of the Xbox One’s release videos, see below:


Sony releases PS4 trailer on eve of Microsoft’s new Xbox reveal

In a bold and daring move, Sony recently made public a teaser trailer of their upcoming PlayStation 4 gaming console that is set to go head-to-head for console superiority with Microsoft‘s newest Xbox set to be revealed tomorrow. A lot of closeups and geometry could be deciphered on the video, although amidst this, one thing is for sure: the console wars is on and this is just great news for gaming enthusiasts!


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