Games


A Poker-Playing Robot Goes to Work for the Pentagon

WIRED

In 2017, a poker bot called Libratus made headlines when it roundly defeated four top human players at no-limit Texas Hold'Em. Now, Libratus's technology is being adapted to take on opponents of a different kind--in service of the US military. Libratus--Latin for balanced--was created by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University to test ideas for automated decision-making based on game theory. Early last year, the professor who led the project, Tuomas Sandholm, founded a startup called Strategy Robot to adapt his lab's game-playing technology for government use, such as in wargames and simulations used to explore military strategy and planning. Late in August, public records show, the company received a two-year contract of up to $10 million with the US Army.


5 reasons to be excited about Elder Scrolls Online's 'Elsweyr' expansion

PCWorld

I had worried that The Elder Scrolls Online had played its best hand too soon when it released Morrowind as its first "chapter" (or expansion) in 2017, but I'd forgotten about the dragons. The beasts, so loved from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, take flight in ESO's upcoming Elsweyr expansion, and earlier today ESO's creative director Rich Lambert showed audiences on Twitch how dragons would spend the game's next chapter burninating the homeland of the cat-like Khajiit. The new chapter launches for pre-orders buyers on May 20, and here are five good reasons why you'll want to be around in May when the fur and fire starts to fly. Here there be dragons, and frankly it's about time. I'm a little surprised to see them.


Excited and exhausted: The hours before the launch of 'Vane'

Engadget

By the time our Skype call connects and Matt Smith says hello, it's already January 15th at the Friend & Foe offices in Tokyo. After nearly five years of development and public promises, his studio's first original game, Vane, is out across Europe and Asia. It'll go live in the US in about six hours. "[I'm] excited, really excited, exhausted, and kind of nervous as well," Smith said. "I think those are the main three things, but it's just -- the thing is it's kind of hard also to turn away from it. I've got other things I should probably turn my life back to, but there's this draw to continually check Twitter, even though there's nothing interesting, nothing we need to look at there, and we can probably afford to leave it alone for a couple of days and probably should just to recharge our batteries. So, I'm really nervous, and I really want to make sure everything goes well, so I'm sort of obsessively tracking things and checking things."


Why it's a big deal that AI knows how to bluff in poker

#artificialintelligence

As the great Kenny Rogers once said, a good gambler has to know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em. At the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh this week, a computer program called Libratus may finally prove that computers can do this better than any human card player. Libratus is playing thousands of games of heads-up, or two-player, no-limit Texas hold'em against several expert professional poker players. Now a little more than halfway through the 20-day contest, Libratus is up by almost $800,000 against its human opponents. So victory, while far from guaranteed, may well be in the cards.


5G, Robot Delivery Dogs and a Google Ad Blitz: What CMOs Found at CES

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Marketing has become "much more of a technology function," according to International Business Machines Corp. CMO Michelle Peluso. "The intersection of marketing and tech is so critical right now that there's a strong, great reason to be [at CES], to be exploring and thinking about what's coming." Marketing technology accounted for nearly a third of marketing expenses in 2018, according to a Gartner survey of more than 600 marketers in North America and the U.K., up from 22% the year earlier. Anticipation and hype around the ever-closer arrival of 5G wireless service dominated CES this year. The high speed of data transmission via 5G will be transformational across everything from phones to cars to augmented reality, Adobe Systems Inc.


The 'Minecraft' movie will now be directed by Peter Sollett

Engadget

The Warner Bros. Minecraft movie has a new director... again. Variety reports that Peter Sollett is now on board to write and direct the long-awaited movie, which was at one point supposed to be released in May of this year. However, production has hit delays, due in part to director switchups. Previously, Rob McElhenney (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) was set to direct the film, but he left the project last August. And he had taken over from Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) who dropped out in 2014.


Saddle up! Red Dead Redemption 2 to get 'Fortnite'-style battle royale mode

Daily Mail

Critics from around the world have praised the game for its engrossing storyline, rich open world environment and stunning graphics, with many calling it among the best video games of all time. IGN has hailed the game for its'gorgeous depiction' of the Old West with'one of this generation's best single-player experiences' that's'a meticulously polished open world ode to the outlaw era.' Game Informer gave Red Dead Redemption II a perfect score of ten out of ten, saying: 'Rockstar Games has outdone itself again with Red Dead Redemption II. 'The up-close portrayal of the outlaw Van der Linde gang's unraveling is a compelling companion story that blends seamlessly with the original game, and depth and breadth of the open world is a technical triumph that every gamer should experience.' Electronic Gaming Monthly also praised the game for its visuals, storyline and attention to detail, saying: 'This is one of the most gorgeous, seamless, rootinest, tootinest games ever made, and if you voluntarily miss out on it, you're either not a gamer or in a coma.' Another very positive review came from US Gamer, which lauded its'absolutely beautiful open world' with the few drawbacks in the game being the occasional bugs and the somewhat tedious travel across the game world at times.


'Red Dead Online' gets a 32-player battle royale mode

Engadget

Rockstar continues to expand the Red Dead Online beta, and its latest update will seem particularly familiar. The studio has added a Gun Rush mode that's effectively a one-for-one parallel to the battle royale modes you see in Fortnite, PUBG and numerous other titles from the past two to three years. You or your team have to scrounge for weapons while fighting to remain the last one standing in an ever shrinking play area. If there's a major difference, it's the scale -- with a maximum of 32 players, you'll probably finish rounds sooner than you would in the 100-player brawls that define other battle royale titles. There are more updates in the pipeline as a result of feedback, particularly to address griefing.


Sex lives and video games: first exhibition of LGBTQ gaming history opens in Berlin

The Guardian

From Birdo, the 1988 Nintendo character described in the manual as a boy who "thinks he is a girl", to Robert Yang's recent Radiator trilogy, which includes an autoerotic game about pleasuring a gay car, there's a surprisingly rich history of queer content in gaming. However, these instances are rarely portrayed as part of broader LGBTQ culture. Berlin's Schwules Museum has opened a new exhibition called Rainbow Arcade, that does just this. The show leads visitors around a rainbow, each colour a different section, covering the last 33 years of queer content in games through fan art, memorabilia and video interviews with designers – as well as playable titles such as Caper in the Castro, one of the first explicitly queer games. In this 1989 game, based around the famously queer San Franciscan thoroughfare, players take on the role of lesbian detective Tracker McDyke to solve the disappearance of her friend and drag queen Tessy LaFemme.


How the Experts Define Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

Thanks to pop culture, it's not difficult to conjure an image of artificial intelligence. Whether it's WALL-E, R2-D2 or HAL, the technology often takes shape as a thinking, sentient being. AI enables a computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with human beings--such as the ability to have human-like conversations, reason, discover meaning, generalize or learn from past experience, according to George Despinic, senior product marketing manager at Mitel. Already, more than 60 percent of organizations have implemented AI. In fact, many are integrating it into their cloud communications solutions, using the technology to enhance the customer experience and improve productivity.