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Age of Empires IV and Real-Time Strategy Games' Rocky History

WIRED

Real-time strategy is having a moment. And gaming's largest companies, including Microsoft and Tencent, are bankrolling studios behind new RTS entries like Age of Empires IV, which is set for release on October 28. This resurgence is good news for fans of real-time strategy games, but the genre must adapt to tastes of modern gamers. Fortunately, the developers behind tomorrow's blockbuster real-time strategy games are mindful of the genre's past mistakes. The seed of the real-time strategy genre was planted when Chris Crawford published a treatise on the future of real-time gaming, titled "The Future of Computer Wargaming," in the debut winter 1981 issue of Computer Gaming World.


'Guardians of the Galaxy' turns family into a game mechanic. It's clunky, but it works.

Mashable

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy took me by surprise. I've played plenty of games over the years that boast thematically appropriate mechanics, but I can't recall any that slid this easily into a story-driven action game. On its surface, Guardians should feel immediately familiar to Marvel fans of all stripes, including those raised on a diet of only MCU movies. The titular super-team's lineup and interpersonal dynamics in many ways mirror those we've seen in director James Gunn's films. That means lots of contentious sniping between Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and Rocket, whose disagreements always seem like they're on the brink of tearing the team apart.


Why detective video games are the perfect way to experience a mystery

The Guardian

In one of her best books, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie puts these words into the mouth of her least favourite character, Hercule Poirot: "Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to seekers after it." All detective stories are an attempt to reflect this. Uncovering the truth through clever reasoning, observation and logic is wondrous. You are forced to look at the world anew: a misplaced chair is no longer just a chair, but indicative of a killer's escape; a removed lightbulb tells us the killer did not want to be seen.


The Grand Theft Auto trilogy remake becomes a cartoon in our first look at gameplay

Mashable

I wasn't expecting much from the upcoming re-release of the series-altering Grand Theft Auto trilogy, where 3D worlds and design twists took over from GTA III on to GTA: Vice City and finally GTA: San Andreas. These games can't possibly have aged well on the story side, but Rockstar Games' upcoming refresh release, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy, injects a new look into the trio of classics that has a distinctly "late '90s computer animated kids' cartoon" vibe. The difference, based on this trailer's first look at gameplay, is most evident in character designs and faces. They look more like cartoon characters than very old video game character models. Even if the story and gameplay mechanics -- the GTA series hasn't ever been a masterpiece of video game feel, let's be honest -- end up feeling a little dated, fans should get a kick out of returning to each game's massive virtual cities, which are absolutely characters unto themselves.


The creator of 'Stardew Valley' announces his spooky new game: 'Haunted Chocolatier'

NPR Technology

Today in video game news: Pixelated ghosts who carry artisan chocolates. Game designer Eric Barone, who works under the alias ConcernedApe, announced Thursday that the game was in development, releasing a trailer and several colorful screenshots. Barone describes the game as being about "magical haunted ghost chocolate." Barone describes the game as being about "magical haunted ghost chocolate." Details on the project are scarce, but the gameplay video shows a mysterious castle filled with moody lighting and a chocolate shop attended by little ghost employees shaped like bonbons, carrying actual chocolate bonbons over their heads.


Is Low-Code Poised to Outpace Traditional Development?

#artificialintelligence

Low-code development, with its graphical interfaces and tools that enable the development of applications with minimal coding, is gaining ground. These platforms provide organizations with greater agility – when a problem arises, an organization can deploy an app to solve it more quickly and with less friction than through traditional development. After a rocky 2020, businesses know first-hand how important it is to be able to adapt to changes in the market and to customer demands. Reportlinker's report adds that some platforms are designed for niche use cases, such as business process management (BPM) or customer relationship management (CRM). Malcolm Ross, Vice President of Product at Appian, says, however, "Low-code application platforms are going to become more diverse with specialties in select areas. There will be low-code tools for mobile applications, automation, and even video game development. While we currently see over 240 software vendors advertising themselves as'low-code,' that number will most likely double 2021 and include a variety of platforms employing low-code design."


These PlayStation Plus bundles include VPN protection, game design courses, and more

ZDNet

The holidays will be here before you know it, so why not treat yourself to a Playstation Plus subscription? We've listed nine of the best bargains available, so you can choose the one you like best. And since you love gaming, you may want to consider starting the New Year with a new career by training at your own pace to become a game designer. Is there anything better than getting a great PlayStation Plus bargain? Well, yes, when it comes with unlimited access to courses that could lead to a new career and powerful VPN protection.


What Happens When AI Tries To Review A Video Game

#artificialintelligence

It's a comment I've seen hundreds of times, or variations of throughout my time here at Kotaku: internet complaints about the quality of reviews. "A bot can do better than this," some would cry. So let's put that to the test. I've run this test before, although last time I fed Kotaku Australia comments into the machine learning model. That was run using a free online version of the GPT-2 language model, although the more powerful GPT-3 model is available now if you're willing to pay to access the API. So I did that, specifically through a tool called Shortly. We got some fun responses last time the AI pretended to double as a commenter.


Updated GeForce Now service fixes the MacBook Pro's gaming cons

ZDNet

Apple's MacBook Pro Unleashed intro included enough performance multipliers to shame a pinball machine. We learned that the M1 Max has 4x faster GPU performance than the M1 -- and that the M1 Max's memory bandwidth is 2x that of the M1 Pro and 6x that of the M1. Furthermore, the M1 Max has 3.5x the transistor count and 4x the unified memory of the M1. Apple noted that the M1 Max's GPU performance is more than 2.5x that of a compact pro PC laptop when running on battery and over 3.3x faster than a high-end PC laptop on battery. Machine learning models perform on average of over 3x faster on the new chips than on Apple's fastest Core i9-based MacBook Pro, with some models performing over 20x faster!


'Metroid Dread' struggles to communicate the series' true, lasting appeal. Let us help.

Washington Post - Technology News

Professional speedrunners and Metroid fans have already cracked open the game, finding what's called "sequence breaks" in which players discover new ways to navigate the planet and earn power-ups to access more areas of the map at earlier points in the game. While I'm still chasing a run under four hours, players like Samura1man, a Finnish speedrunner, have beaten the game in under an hour and a half and are still finding new ways to shave off time. Just on Monday, Samura1man achieved what was then the world record, beating "Dread" in one hour and 27 minutes. That record was beaten by approximately half a minute later that same day. On YouTube, his latest run clocks in at one hour, 26 minutes and 9 seconds.