26 posts • joined Tuesday 20th March 2012 00:36 GMT
What PC games apart from FPS will actually work well on steambox?
I know that Valve are aware of the problem that a lot of PC games are click fests as they have designed a fancy new controller to enable this in front of the TV but... I just don't see their touch pad controller working anywhere near as well as a mouse.
Also, if I am going to be clicking on small objects on the screen, I prefer to be sat in an upright position with my face about 1.5 feet from the screen, not leaning back on the couch a few meters away.
I think I will always play PC style games at a desk, and console FPS, third person shooters, and driving games on the couch in front of the TV.
I'm happy to be proved wrong by Valve, but this device looks like falling between two stools.
Systems aren't there yet
I think Cage wants to create an interactive drama. But computers and AI can't yet understand a conversation (either spoken or written) anywhere near well enough to enable this kind of game. So instead we wind up with this 'choose your own adventure' style game, but without as many choices.
In a book the author can just describe a new outcome. In a game someone has to create the art assets, record the dialogue, create sound effects etc. Which is why the player just ends up getting funneled down one path. Perhaps in the medium term with a more simulated environment Cage will be able to create better stories. At the moment the best simulated environments/story generators are GTA V and Xcom. And they can only simulate action, not dramatic dialogue.
Wrong solution to the right problem
So Valve are trying to replace a mouse and keyboard with trackpads so that you can play RTSs and Diablo and other PC games in the living room?
And they've taken inspiration from Smartphones, just like the Wii U did.
But... a mouse and keyboard aren't just superior for 'clicking' games because they are more precise than trackpads. The position of the users body sitting at a desk with the screen 30cm away and his elbows and forearms rested on the table is a big part of the useability. This is the reason why people don't just use a wireless keyboard and mouse in their living room.
The problem is that we currrently have one computer (a laptop/desktop) on a desk in our study/bedroom/kitchen table for work and PC style clicking games, and another (a console) sat under our TV for games not involving precise clicking that benefit from the larger screen.
I thought Valve got this, and were going to come up with some solution to use the steam box to power both screens from the one processor. Maybe some special lag free wifi (if such a thing is possible?) or some extended HDMI cable that is easy (without a professional install) to plumb through from your bedroom/study wall to the living room wall behind your TV(again if this is actually possible?).
That way when you want to play Diablo/Rome Total War/World of Warcaft you just use the screen, mouse, and keyboard sat on the desk in your bedroom hooked up lag free to the steam box under your TV, and when you want to play a console style game on your bigger TV screen you do that on the couch in your living room with a Xbox One controller.
This is really stupid
So Valve have decided to bring out a Linux microconsole. Except that there won't even be a standard hardware spec.
Shugyosha is completely correct in that one of the big selling points of consoles is that they just work with no messing about. Trying to judge weather your hardware can run a new game in a decent state because everyone has different hardware is just a headache.
What value does a linux console offer over the PS4 or Xbox One that the PC doesn't already offer?
I can sympathize with Valve's dilemma in that every operating system is now shipping with it's own app store that cuts Steam out of the picture.
But to beat the incumbents they are going to have to do something radical. Apple did it to the smartphone market with the fully touchscreen iPhone and Nintendo did it to Sony's Playstation with the Wii motion controller. A simple 'me too' console product will wither and die.
The only radical things I can think of (which are probably rubbish ideas when you dig into them) are to cool the console with mineral oil rather than air allowing massive overclocking of the current chips, or to somehow keep the simplicity of the console but make it upgradeable once or twice in it's lifecycle like Nintendo tried to do with the memory clip in module for the N64. Perhaps with a plug in memory module and second processor to be released in 2 years time.
The maddness continues
I don't know why Microsoft won't follow the Reg's suggestion and just have two operating systems - Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8?
Both Google and Apple have a mobile operating system that works on both phones and tablets. I don't see why Microsoft can't manage this too?
Why don't they follow the Reg's plan?
And have two operating systems - windows phone 8.1 for ARM devices and windows pro 8.1 for x86 devices?
Also that kickstand sucks and means that the tablet is a horrible blocky shape. Why can't they have a bit of plastic (or metal) that can be pulled out of the back of the keyboard so that it doesn't fall over when the screen is attached? That way they could have a slimmer curved tablet. It's like they are channeling Nokia when they insisted on designing horrible blocky Lumias.
Also I suspect the tablets will only be 1080p when their rivals have already moved beyond that.
Once again Surface will be a day late and a dollar short compared to other offerings.
Fatal flaw, hyperloop is DOA
This thing is a city to city system with no stops along the way in the San Joaquin Valley, meaning that they will see no economic benefit, meaning that this Hyperloop is Dead On Arrival. Musk is a perhaps a bit disingenuous when he states that Hyperloop will be a "statewide mass transit system".
One of the reasons that the proposed high speed train is so slow and costly is all the stops and stations in the valley. An ideal futuristic system would allow fast LA to San Diego transport, but would allow people to get on and off along the way, perferably with the 'train' not having to stop at each station. Something like that proposed docking trains by Priestmangoode:
Underpowered, and with a gimick that's not fooling anyone
The Wii was underpowered, but cheap and with a gimick (control an onscreen avatar 1 to 1) that looked amazing on TV spots.
The Wii U is underpowered, and it's gimick doesn't look interesting on TV spots (what is interesting to joe public about 2 screens?). And it is not as cheap as a Wii was due to the cost of that second screen.
Releasing a console only as powerful as a PS3 or 360 was a huge mistake too.
Ninty can't go ahead and release a new more powerful console (or could they?). I think Ninty have painted themselves into a corner this generation, and need to just hang on until the next hardware refresh.
Microsoft is making the same error with Kinect 2, most of the public expect it not to work (and if it is not allowing 1 to 1 tracking with no perceptible lag, then it isn't working). Luckily Sony have learnt the lessons of 'gen 3' and look set to clean up in 'gen 4'.
Why own two devices?
I think Chromecast has a more basic problem as well for a lot of people. As a console owning gamer I will always have a console in my living room. This throws up videos onto my TV nicely, in addition to playing games. So I have no interest in Chromecast, even if it is free.
It's like digital cameras and mobile phones. Every mobile now has a camera in it, so I won't bother to own and carry a separate digital camera.
Chromecast does do one new thing, it lets you stream video from your mobile to the TV more easily than current solutions, but I don't store that much video on my phone. It sits on my laptops hardrive.
The Reg is spot on in predicting that this will be another flop. I don't know why Google, Microsoft etc don't hire you guys as consultants to give the thumbs up or down on their proposed new devices/services?
Why isn't this being done in the UK?
It seems George Osbourne wants to spend money on expensive offshore windmills instead. Even with the R&D costs these molten salt or travelling wave reactors would probably work out to be way cheaper. And a working prototype was already built and tested in the middle of last century. Energy policy in the UK boggles the mind.
Why can't Blackberry produce a landscape qwerty slider like the old sidekicks?
I know that the portrait sliding torch didn't sell very well, but firstly it was a portrait slider, and secondly its keyboard was rubbish compared to the bold.
The loss of the trackpad on such a phone where you are supposed to actually want to input text is a huge loss. As you rightly point out it makes editing text super frustrating.
The other thing that never seems to get mentioned, but was super important, was that with BIS sending an instant message on BBM was like sending an instant message on a computer. You knew that the other person you were chatting with was getting your message instantly. With text messages or OTT messaging apps there is a delay most of the time. This impedes communication. Proper instant messaging was one of the reasons that BBM was better than any other mobile social network. Now that is gone. Foolish.
I thought Blackberry's CEO understood this when he said Blackberry devices were about being more than consumption devices. But failure to address the above three points shows that he doesn't.
Re: Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed
On a 120hz screen 60 frames are used to project the image to the right eye and the other 60 frames are used to project the image to the left eye.
For two views you need a 240hz screen to give each of the 4 eyes a 60hz image. 4 people requires a 480hz screen etc.
You've got to have some device that converts a regular LCD screen into a 'lightfield' screen for any form of holographic TV. The Seereal demo unit that BBC Click and Edge Magazine looked at was just a high res Visio medical monitor with a lenticular screen slapped on it. WIth a lenticular screen there is only a narrow 'viewing cone' or cones. So you could not really move your head from right to left to look around any displayed objects from different perspectives.
Re: Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed
Looks like Holografica are trying to display true holograms (that is pump out the correct image in all directions at once) on there website they are bringing out a 91 megapixel screen (even 8k UHD screens will only be 31 megapixels).
I don't know how they are dealing with the computational requirements for generating such an image in real time.
I can't see any prices quoted on their site for the systems.
Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed
Seereal technologies has developed a pseudo holographic television system. It cuts down the incredibly high pixel density needed for a true holographic display via an eye tracking camera and only projecting an image onto your left and right eye. Although the resolution still needs to be about 10 times that of a standard 1080p display.
In order to control the direction of the light rays coming through the LCD cells, they've proposed putting a half oil filled half water filled cell in front of each pixel. Although no one has built a working prototype of this system. So that is the first stumbling block to this becoming a reality.
Microsoft is taking a different approach to controlling the direction of the light rays coming through the LCD cells by using an LED light source and bouncing those rays through a specially shaped wedge that would replace that standard backlight on an LCD screen. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/419342/3-d-without-the-glasses/page/2/?a=f
As someone noted in the comments above, you also need a large screen to avoid ruining any 3D effect, so until 80 inch screens become affordable, that is another stumbling block.
Just fix the goddamn internet
I can tell your analysts one thing - the internet in Australia currently sucks.
Using mobile networks to provide high speed, reliable, internet to households is currently pie in the sky. It may be possible one day, but certainly not right now.
Hopefully fibre to the premises will provide low lag internet. Lag is the real enemy.
Why not have both higher resolutions and higher frame rates? If we are going to build improved data networks that can handle one or the other, why not bite the bullet and make it good enough to support both?
The network is the computer?
I think I recent trend is towards smaller, less powerful, cheaper devices with all the processing taking place at a data center.
Of course how far you can go with this is limited by latency. Currently having my email application (Gmail) managed in some data center is fine, as this doesn't require fast responses, but good luck on trying to do the same with a FPS game.
What I never see in discussions about the NBN is what the goals are on lag?
Fatter pipes may be less important than less laggy pipes.
Xbox One still needs a price drop of $50 from $499 to $449, a memory speed bump from DDR3 to GDDR5, and the option for indies to self publish games and updates without fees or QA. Then it will be competitive with the PS4.
It would be really really useful if this podcast where divided into skippable sections as a lot of music podcasts are so you can skip through the songs they play.
Not to be rude, but I am not always interested in everything you guys have to say, but then have to spend time searching for the bit I am interested in (easier said than done).
Keep up the good work.
Maintenance costs slain by electric motors?
The reason we don't all have a personal helicopter in our back yard are:
1 ~ They are difficult to fly. But this may be taken care of by advanced autopilots.
2 ~ VTOL needs a much more powerful engine than taking off an landing from a runway. Hence almost all helicopters use turbines, which are very costly due to the maintenance required. Also the mechanical transmissions used to transfer all that power from the turbine(s) to the rotors are very maintenance heavy. Terrafugia is proposing that they can get around these problems using electric motors... but if it was that easy then surely the military would already have gone down this route?
Forget about the graphics
I got a completely different impression of what this research was about when viewing the BBC video clip versus reading this Reg article.
Everyone seems to have latched on to using this technology to make a text message spoken, which is pretty pointless.
The first commentator was bang on the money. The interesting thing about this piece of research is that it is taking written text, and then using a form of markup, it producing a face that reads that text with realistic facial expressions and voice tonality. Sure, plenty of characters in video games do this already (while having more realistically rendered faces), but with those characters the facial movements and voice where recorded from an actor in a motion capture studio. In this case the facial movements and voice tonality are being procedurally generated. Do this realistically enough and you won't have to get an actor to pre-record everything you want a character to potentially say.
So this research is basically looking to improve the 'speech output' side of computer interactions/games. Good luck on solving the speech input side though. We'll probably be using dialogue wheels for input for a while yet.
Weight and thinness
You can hold a tablet in one hand to read it because it is thin enough and light enough.
The current windows 8 laptops with rotating or sliding screens are too heavy and thick to do this. Only when they are thin enough and light enough to hold and read with a single hand will there be much point to touchscreen folding laptops.
Reverse Augmented Reality?
Here is Theregister's original article about the Sony VR Goggles at http://www.reghardware.com/2011/10/21/sony_3d_goggles_get_priced_up_for_uk/ (sorry I can't put in a link till I have 100 posts).
In this article the author stated that a big problem with the goggles was that he could no longer see the gamepad, which he needed to look down at occasionally to find some of the buttons.
Sony might be able to get around this problem using augmented reality. But rather than overlaying a virtual object over real world video, they would overlay a video image of the gamepad into the virtual world seen by the goggle wearer. They would have to do the same for the wearers hands. Or if they could create a virtual image of the gamepad in the virtual world that the wearer could look down to see. Of course this would probably require pretty accurate and lag free tracking of both the gamepad and users hands... which doesn't seem possible at present.
This is progress, but its still not quite a fun game...
Back in the early 90s a VR LCD (I think) headset controled by a hand controller cost in excess of $100,000. And the 3D graphics were rubbish and weren't even steroscopic.
This guy has knocked up his own system for around a couple of grand. Which is huge progress.
There are still two major hurdles that need to be overcome:
1. The walking is bloody ridiculous. This problem was solved by the gaming rig built on the BBC's gadget show, but that multidirectional Swedish treadmill cost tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds. So until someone makes one of those for around 800 pounds you can forget about VR home gaming.
2. Neither Wii MotionPlus, Sony Move, or MS Kinect can achieve proper lag free 1 to 1 tracking on the players hand in order to properly control the sword. Until this happens all the player is doing is effectively pressing an attack button by waving their arm. It is anyones guess how long it is before we see someone achieve proper lag free one to one tracking. But given that there is now a lot of competition and innovation in this space, I'd bet on years rather than decades.
If you get those two things sorted, and improve the body tracking and speech recognition a bit then you could have a pretty fun VR game (although improving the body tracking and speech recognition may prove much more difficult than either 1 ro 2).
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