I was awful at Halo 2. Walking into walls, shooting at air, trapped in an interminable die-respawn-die-respawn loop. This year was about 2005 and my middle school friends hated playing with me online, which was like half of how we entertained ourselves. I was entirely useless beyond comedic value -- I was truly elite at finding novel ways to get killed. I'd get sniped trying, and failing, at doing something as simple as entering the driver seat of Warthog. I wasn't really against video games but I was genuinely bad at shooters and playing online was an exercise in embarrassment.
But authentic color filters do nothing to hide awkward, stilted animations and the lifeless storytelling of the main campaign. It's only when you ignore these faults, and even the main campaign, when you start to appreciate what "Ghost" offers. When I later found that the game's side quests are written much better, I realized that "Ghost" works better not as a long epic campaign, but as a world filled with some pretty good samurai short stories. Many even have twists that surprised me. If anything, the game would've worked better as a series of short stories.
Minecraft is one of the most successful games of all time and continues to be a fun and exciting space for gamers of all ages all around the world. It's home to thousands of creators who work together to build massive structures and landscapes or just chill out and focus on building their own wee home away from home. But what if instead of humans coming together to build these structures both big and small, we challenged AI systems to do it themselves? This is the focus of the GDMC -- the Generative Design in Minecraft Competition -- where academic researchers are building AI systems that build entire Minecraft villages by themselves. So before we start exploring the AI systems in earnest, let's cover the basics of the competition itself.
With AI often thrown around as a buzzword in business circles, people often forget that machine learning is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. For most companies, building an AI is not your true goal. Instead, AI implementation can provide you with the tools to meet your goals, be it better customer service through an intuitive chatbot or streamlining video production through synthetic voiceovers. To help shed light on some real-world applications of machine learning, this article introduces five innovative AI software that you should keep on eye on throughout 2020. Scanta is an AI startup with a very interesting history.
This is a wonderful time to be a person who prefers watching video games to playing them. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie is officially the second-biggest film of the year worldwide (because it's good, but also possibly because of the lockdown) and, even better, two new TV shows based on video games are on the horizon. The first is HBO's The Last of Us, which – since it's being written and directed by the creative team behind Chernobyl – has the potential to be terrific. The gameplay of the video game was arguably secondary to its characters and story anyway, so, if the series can translate even a modicum of the game's mournful dread to screen, it'll be something worth watching. The other is The Sims, which is coming to screens this week as The Sims Spark'd; a Bake Off-style reality show where The Sims players are judged on their ability to play The Sims.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent the last few hours of my Sunday watching embattled games publisher Ubisoft tease its latest games, including Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, while sidestepping controversy regarding allegations of misconduct, ingrained sexism and sexual harassment. Hours before the showcase, several more senior executives left the company. Given the whole 45-minute stream was recorded in advance, it's disappointing, but not shocking, that the issues weren't mentioned, let alone addressed. The stream didn't reveal any major gaming news we didn't already know about.
The beta will introduce Crown Rush Solo, a free-for-all where 100 players battle one another to win. It's slightly different than Crown Rush Squad, the previously available mode that requires players to team up in squads of three. Additionally, two limited-time modes are coming with open beta as well, including Hack Runner Squad (more focused on "hacks," which are abilities) and Turbo Mode Squad (faster paced with more powerful weapons). Furthermore, the open beta introduces a new hack, Shockwave, and a weapon called a Harpy.
Ahead of Ubisoft's Forward gaming event, the company offered us some remote demos of two of its AAA releases this year. While my colleague had no issues playing Watch Dogs Legion, my substandard internet connection meant my session with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was taxing. After losing its way with back-to-back-to-back releases in the early-to-mid ‘10s, 2017’s Egypt-based Origins was a return to form for the Assassin’s Creed series, followed a year later by the similarly good Odyssey, which mapped mainland Greece and its many Aegean islands.
We are now more than a month past the point when E3 2020 would've ended. It lives in your heart, in your soul, and on your television. Today we finally reached the "1PM Monday Afternoon" slot, a.k.a. Much of what Ubisoft showed at its faux-press conference, we already knew about--Watch Dogs Legion, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and the recently leaked Far Cry 6. But hey, they managed to keep Tom Clancy's Elite Squad under wraps (for what that's worth), and the Assassin's Creed footage looked pretty neat.
Eight abilities can be equipped at once. I recognized some from Odyssey and Origins, like drenching my blade in poison to continuously damage an enemy for a period of time or raining down a volley of arrows. I enjoyed some new additions, like an arrow with a Svefnthorn symbol on it (from Norse mythology) which magically puts an enemy to sleep, as well as an ability that launches axes at a handful of enemies and knocks them back, acting as a great method of crowd control. Enemies may stagger to the ground after a well-placed hit; once grounded, you can finish them off with a brutal final move called a stomp, crushing their head to pieces in the soil.