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From Minecraft to Zoom calls, we've all spent much of the pandemic on our screens. But are we ready for the metaverse?

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

You might not know this, but the metaverse is coming. Where you can live a life that expands on reality and can approach hyperrealism. I just took my next big step toward embracing it – and soon you may, too. Within a matter of minutes, I was reborn as a holographic avatar – a digital version of me – with the help of the Avatar Dimension technicians in northern Virginia, just west of the nation's capital. My virtual doppelgänger is ready to embark on digital adventures, be inserted into a video game, a movie or virtual reality. And it's ready for the metaverse, the persistent alternate reality in cyberspace author Neal Stephenson envisioned in his 1992 science fiction novel "Snow Crash."


Project Magma: The untold origin of Verdansk, the Gulag and 'Call of Duty: Warzone'

Washington Post - Technology News

Patrick Kelly remembers the pitch meeting vividly. The room full of developers and Activision executives had convened at Infinity Ward's offices in Woodland Hills, California, in early 2018. It was time for Kelly and his longtime colleague Dave Stohl, who together serve as co-studio heads for Infinity Ward, to pitch their big idea. The project was code-named "Magma." And the plan was to create the biggest ever battle royale, one tied to the world of the studio's planned 2019 release, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." Upon completion, the project would be re-christened as "Warzone." "Okay, so here's the thing," Kelly said, reenacting his pitch to the room.


Batman is here to help us understand what's going on in 'Fortnite'

Washington Post - Technology News

Batman wakes up time and time again in 22-minute loops, progressively trying to unlock the secret of his situation. He starts writing notes on himself, like "This has happened before," a touch inspired by Christopher Nolan's "Memento." The Dark Knight realizes that some objects retain their permanency. He may not remember who he is or what even happened 22 minutes ago, but like other "Fortnite" participants who retain their skills, he's still the world's greatest detective and he's going to figure it out. He doesn't know who Bruce Wayne is, but he's still got Bruce Wayne's smarts and muscle memory.


Google Search turns Pac-Man and Hello Kitty into interactive AR objects

Engadget

Google is putting a bunch of iconic Japanese characters in Search as augmented reality objects you can interact with. The tech giant is giving you the chance to bring 14 familiar characters from anime, video games and TV shows into your environment, including Pac-Man and Hello Kitty. Apparently, Pac-Man remains the most-searched animated icon on Google, especially (for some reason) in Peru. Its worldwide search interest more than doubles the second-most searched character, Hello Kitty. Aside from those two, you'll also be able to summon Ultraman, Evangelion and Gundam robots, as well as Little Twin Stars characters into your space.


Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang Talks The Powers Of Automation

#artificialintelligence

It's not altogether surprising that a company earning billions of dollars a year making the chips that power today's hyperrealistic video games has a business plan inspired by a science-fiction novel. Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, the nation's most valuable semiconductor company, with a stock price of $645 a share and a market cap of $400 billion, is out to create the metaverse, what Huang describes "a virtual world that is a digital twin of ours." Huang credits author Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, filled with collectives of shared 3-D spaces and virtually enhanced physical spaces that are extensions of the Internet, for conjuring the metaverse. This is already playing out with the massively popular online games like Fortnite and Minecraft, where users create richly imagined virtual worlds. Now the concept is being put to work by Nvidia and others.


Learn to build video games with this stacked training bundle

Mashable

TL;DR: The 2021 Complete Learn to Code by Making Games in Unity Bundle is on sale for £29.01 as of April 18, saving you 97% on list price. Want to start learning how to code your own video games? Consider the Complete Learn to Code By Making Games in Unity Bundle. This collection of classes includes eight courses and over 900 lessons on coding, machine learning, Construct 3, and more. You'll start by learning how to use Construct 3 to create your own computer games by building simple pixel art animations.


Amazon doesn't 'get' gaming. A canned Lord of the Rings is only the latest example.

Mashable

Maybe it's time for Amazon to take the'L' on trying to build a thriving video game business before more jobs are affected? The latest misstep for Amazon's stumbling efforts to build and release its own video games is also a story about The Lord of the Rings. In 2019, the company announced plans "to develop and publish a free-to-play massively multiplayer online (MMO) game" -- think World of Warcraft -- based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy series. Now, almost two years later and with nary a trailer, screenshot, or fact sheet released about the game, that project is canceled. Amazon confirmed as much in a report from Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, who first heard the news from anonymous sources.


Unreal Engine C++ Developer: Learn C++ and Make Video Games

#artificialintelligence

This "critically-acclaimed" and "insanely successful" Unreal Engine course was created in collaboration with Epic Games. The course has been fully updated and remastered to Unreal Engine 4.22 . Existing students get all the new material for free. Get plugged into our communities of amazing developers on Facebook (nearly 20k), in our own TA-curated Community (17k views/day), and our student chat group (10k live at any one time). This course started as a runaway success on Kickstarter.


We're still spending record amounts on gaming, a year into the pandemic

Engadget

Video game sales are still smashing records roughly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic led many people to stay indoors. The NPD Group has determined that video game spending in the US surged 18 percent in March 2021 compared to a year earlier, hitting a new record of $5.6 billion. Hardware sales in particular jumped 47 percent to $680 million, breaking a March record that hasn't been touched since 2008 -- yes, the heyday of the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. It won't surprise you to hear that new consoles helped fuel the hardware surge, but it wasn't all up to the new models. The PlayStation 5 is the fastest-selling console in US history both in dollars and units, NPD said. However, it wasn't the strongest seller in March -- that honor went to the four-year-old Nintendo Switch, which outperformed the PS5 in sheer volume.


Ground zero for gaming memes: 10 excellent video game TikTok accounts

The Guardian

ShelbyRenae – @shelbyrenaeyt A Fortnite Twitch streamer and YouTuber, ShelbyRenae makes hilarious (and often very telling) TikToks focusing on her conversations with the strangers she plays with, mostly teenage boys who chuck out endless bizarre insults and gigantically inappropriate comments. Alisha – @alishakins_ Mainly a Twitch streamer, Alisha makes brilliant little TikToks of her experiences playing Call of Duty: Warzone, providing a turbo-charged voiceover, complete with her own sound effects – mostly, "Pew, pew, pew! The latest video shows the amazing full-size cabinet for Sega's Let's Go Jungle, designed to resemble an offroad truck. DKOldies – @dkoldies Similar to the above, DKOldies is an online retro gaming store and its TikTok shows off interesting items from its vast stock including rare games, ancient consoles and weird controllers. Komazawa Isolation – @kmzwisolation A Japanese YouTuber who makes astonishingly accurate real-life reenactments of games such as Grand Theft Auto and Yakuza.