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Twitch reveals new feature built for popular Just Chatting streams

Washington Post - Technology News

In the past, Twitch has launched numerous features that make it easier to watch streamers play games together, but this is the first time Just Chatting has taken center stage. Twitch formally established the category -- originally intended for streamers to chill and talk to their viewers -- in 2018. But in the years since, it's grown into a repository for an enormous variety of nongaming activities including regular talk shows, controversial trends and IRL competitions that wouldn't feel out of place on television (as well as actual television). In recent times Just Chatting has proven nearly unshakable as the top category on the once video game only platform, with Twitch noting that since 2020, hours watched in the category have gone up 151 percent, and revenue for Just Chatting creators has grown 169 percent.


A short story on Reinforcement Learning

#artificialintelligence

I hope that you've come across, from algorithms achieving super-human level performance at Atari 2600 games, beating professional players at GO, Dota 2 and StarCraft II and to algorithms controlling nuclear-fusion reactors. These are the success stories of reinforcement learning algorithms combined with deep learning (Deep Reinforcement learning or DeepRL). Google's DeepMind and OpenAI heavily does research in this area and thinks that DeepRL is the future of AI. Some Researchers even think that RL might be the key to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Reinforcement Learning (RL) is one of the paradigms of Machine learning along with supervised and unsupervised learning.


'Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course' is a culinary masterpiece

Washington Post - Technology News

A nifty optional tutorial outside the bakery allows players to gain a level of comfort with Ms. Chalice's Double Jump, Parry Dash, and Dodge Roll. While the original two protagonists can only jump a single time and take damage while dashing, Ms. Chalice's Parry Dash renders her invulnerable when hitting a parry-able object, and her Dodge Roll provides invincibility during the duration. She also starts with four health points as opposed to the standard three. In a title with as many close calls as this, one piece of health can be the difference between victory and crushing defeat.


Pushing Buttons: Happy 50th birthday to Atari, whose simple games gave us so much

The Guardian

Welcome to Pushing Buttons, the Guardian's gaming newsletter. If you'd like to receive it in your inbox every week, just pop your email in below – and check your inbox (and spam) for the confirmation email. This week marks a truly important video game anniversary: it is 50 years since Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney incorporated Atari Inc, the company that laid the foundations for the video games industry. There have been many appraisals of the company and its landmark achievements in the games press over the past few days – from the arrival of a Pong machine in Andy Capp's Tavern in Sunnyvale, California, in 1972, through classic titles such as Breakout, Asteroids and Missile Commands, to the iconic home consoles. But one element that often gets overlooked in these nostalgic reveries is the way in which Atari taught the first generation of electronic gamers how to think symbolically.


AI can now play Minecraft just as well as you - here's why that matters

#artificialintelligence

Experts at OpenAI have trained a neural network to play Minecraft to an equally high standard as human players. The neural network was trained on 70,000 hours of miscellaneous in-game footage, supplemented with a small database of videos in which contractors performed specific in-game tasks, with the keyboard and mouse inputs also recorded. After fine-tuning, OpenAI found the model was able to perform all manner of complex skills, from swimming to hunting for animals and consuming their meat. It also grasped the "pillar jump", a move whereby the player places a block of material below themselves mid-jump in order to gain elevation. Perhaps most impressive, the AI was able to craft diamond tools (requiring a long string of actions to be executed in sequence), which OpenAI described as an "unprecedented" achievement for a computer agent.


OpenAI Introduces a Neural Network That Can Play 'Minecraft'

#artificialintelligence

OpenAI has developed a neural network that can play Minecraft like humans. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) model was trained over 70,000 hours of miscellaneous in-game footage, along with a small database of videos in which specific in-game tasks were performed. Keyboard and mouse inputs are also recorded. OpenAI fine-tuned the AI, and now, it is skillful as a human-it can swim, hunt for animals, and eat. The AI can also do the pillar jump, where a player places a block of material below themselves in mid-air to gain more elevation.


Unity lays off 4 percent of its workforce to realign its resources

Engadget

Unity has laid off hundreds of employees in its offices across the globe, according to Kotaku. The video game software development company known for its popular game engine has reportedly let around 300 to 400 staffers go so far. Layoffs are still ongoing, sources said, so those numbers may be higher by the time the company is done. Unity has confirmed to Engadget that it's "realigning some of [its] resources," which has led to the dismissal of approximately 4 percent of its entire workforce. That's consistent with the report that it has let around 300 people go, since its LinkedIn page lists 8,048 employees.


In letter to board, Enthusiast leadership asks CEO to step down

Washington Post - Technology News

On June 7, Greywood announced it intended to nominate Shinggo Lu, a current Enthusiast employee and the co-founder of U.GG, a "League of Legends" analytics platform and a recent Enthusiast acquisition, to the new board. Lu shared the news in an Enthusiast Slack channel with over 250 employees, entreating other employees to ask him questions, and sparking a spirited but largely cordial conversation between staff and some members of the company's leadership over Enthusiast's direction and treatment of employees, according to messages viewed by The Post.


In 'Hindsight,' players explore memories and comes to terms with grief

Washington Post - Technology News

As the team learned who Mary was, the game's writing also changed. The tone shifted significantly midway through development, Kidwell said. It was initially inspired by Terrence Malik's "The Tree of Life," a coming-of-age story that unfolds as the characters, through voice-overs, philosophize about the meaning of life. The movie's voice-overs are eloquent and emotional but use stilted language, which didn't fit Mary's journey. Ultimately, as the team gained a better understanding of Mary's character, they switched to a more grounded, conversational tone for her voice-overs, Kidwell said, which sounded much more natural.


Blizzard buys 'Spellbreak' studio Proletariat to speed up 'WoW' development

Engadget

The studio has another major release lined up in the form of World of Warcraft expansion Dragonflight, which is expected to arrive by the end of 2022. To help get WoW expansions out on time and ensure they meet the bar in terms of quality, Blizzard bought Spellbreak studio Proletariat to bolster its ranks of developers, as GamesBeat reports. The news comes one day after Proletariat announced it will shut down Spellbreak early next year. The free-to-play game is an intriguing take on the battle royale genre, with players using magical powers instead of guns. The game never took off, though.