Space Pirate Trainer launches out of VR Early Access on October 12

Space Pirate Trainer is finally poised to exit Early Access and release its 1.0 version on October 12, 2017, for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift as well as on the Windows Store for Windows VR headsets (when those are available, of course). There’s a short list of introductory VR apps that I cycle through anytime I’m letting someone try out an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive for the first time. I almost always start with something super simple like Tilt Brush before moving on to things like The Lab (namely the mountain landscape and Longbow) and then into more game-like experiences such as Job Simulator. Depending on personal preference I might load up something more intense, but at some point, usually near the end, I’ll always put people in Space Pirate Trainer. The team at I-Illusions did a remarkable job with Space Pirate Trainer, crafting a game that is dead-simple Read the full article…

Pumpkins, Spooky Fellows And Fall Inspiration For Your Desktop (October 2017 Edition)

    Bright, colorful leaves, rainy days, Halloween. That’s October — at least if you’re living in the Northern hemisphere. To provide you with some fresh inspiration even when the weather is gray, artists and designers from across the globe once again challenged their creative skills to design beautiful, one-of-a-kind (and this time around also spooky) wallpapers for you to indulge in. This monthly wallpapers mission has been going on for nine years already, and we are very thankful to everyone who has and still is contributing to it each month anew. The wallpapers in this collection all come in versions with and without a calendar for October 2017 and can be downloaded for free. Happy October! The post Pumpkins, Spooky Fellows And Fall Inspiration For Your Desktop (October 2017 Edition) appeared first on Smashing Magazine. Read the full article…

CSS Grid Gotchas And Stumbling Blocks

    In March this year, CSS Grid shipped into production versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari within weeks of each other. It has been great to see how excited people are about finally being able to use it to solve real problems. CSS Grid is such a different way of approaching layout that there are a number of common questions I am asked as people start to use the specification. This article aims to answer some of those, and will be one in a series of articles on Smashing Magazine about layouts. The post CSS Grid Gotchas And Stumbling Blocks appeared first on Smashing Magazine. Read the full article…

Tencent has not acquired a 5% stake in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds studio Bluehole

Tencent has not invested in Bluehole Studio, the company that makes PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. News reports out of South Korea yesterday claimed that Tencent had acquired a 5 percent stake in the PUBG developer, but Bluehole confirmed to GamesBeat that those reports are false. This does not mean that Tencent — a Chinese internet behemoth that already owns League of Legends and a piece of Fortnite studio Epic Games — will never invest in the last-player standing shooter phenomenon. Bluehole cofounder and chairman Chang Byung-gyu told Bloomberg that talks are ongoing. Battlegrounds is a massive success in China as well as globally, but Bluehole has only released the game on the Steam PC gaming platform owned by the Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Software. Tencent runs a Steam competitor in China called WeGame. Bluehole announced earlier today that it’s spinning off a new corporation called PUBG Corp that will dedicate itself solely to Read the full article…

Fallout 1 celebrates 20th anniversary, is now totally free to own on Steam

(credit: Bethesda) What’s stopped you from playing the original 1997 version of Fallout in recent years? Can’t find your old install CD? Too busy playing other games? Afraid to once again run into a deathclaw? Bethesda wants to fix that with a 20th anniversary gift: a free copy of the very first Fallout game. The giveaway is a Steam exclusive, so you can’t head to shops like GOG or Humble to claim a copy, but it’s otherwise as simple as logging in and choosing “install game” from its Steam store listing. As of right now, you have a little over 24 hours to claim the freebie, which expires at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday, September 30. (That was the game’s exact release date in 1997, if you’re keeping score.) Sadly, no other games in the series have received a discount to honor the game’s birthday, and Bethesda has not Read the full article…

Amazon commissions three new sci-fi shows: Lazarus, Snow Crash, and Ringworld

(credit: Image Comics) Finally, we have some good news for the end of the week. According to Variety, Amazon is going on a bit of a sci-fi binge. The streaming network, which has already given us delights like The Man in the High Castle and an excellent new version of The Tick, has commissioned three new series: the Larry Niven classic Ringworld, Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk Snow Crash, and (the one that brightened my day most) Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. Assuming all three remain true to their source material, each will be a very different vision of the future. Ringworld takes place nearly a thousand years from now in a post-scarcity culture. Written in 1970 and the first of a long-running series of books, the titular Ringworld is a vast habitat in space. In Ringworld, our hero is a bored 200-year old hired by some aliens to investigate this artificial Read the full article…

Cuphead is the prettiest game to make you throw your controller

Enlarge / No, that isn’t concept art. That’s the actual game. When I was a young boy playing games on the NES, I dreamed of the day when 2D games would grow from the blocky, pixellated graphics of the time to controllable cartoons that resembled the detailed cartoons found in the instruction booklets. Perhaps more than any game that has come before, Cuphead is the realization of this dream; a fully controllable wonderland that plays like a controllable version of an early 20th century animated film short. It’s also a throwback to those 8-bit days of “Nintendo hard” games that extended their limited content mainly by being controller-throwingly difficult. Let’s start with the look, which is the first thing that will attract anyone’s potential interest in Cuphead. An in-game conceit puts a “1930” (sorry, “MCMXXX”) trademark on the entire production, and the animation is an almost perfect throwback to that Read the full article…

Loot boxes have reached a new low with Forza 7’s “pay to earn” option

Enlarge / This is not the way loot boxes work in Forza Motorsport 7. After Aurich’s Photoshop job, however, we almost wish it was. (credit: Turn 10 / Aurich remix) At this point, it would take something monumentally stupid to reverse the “loot box” trend in video games. The practice, which combines real money, virtual items, and random chance, has been found in various free-to-play games for years (and has been showing up more in fully priced retail games recently). The sales pitch, in short: by paying a little more real cash, a player will more quickly unlock a random item in the game (and see a flashy animation of a box opening—that part is apparently crucial). This racket often skates by because game makers say that they’re hiding “non-essential” and “cosmetic” items in these boxes. Game makers also point out that these “random item” boxes can almost always be earned simply by playing Read the full article…

The Overwatch League continues to emulate traditional sports with reveal of first team logo

So far, Blizzard has revealed that 12 teams across 11 cities and four countries will be participating in its upcoming, ambitious Overwatch e-sports league. But we haven’t heard anything about what those teams will look like or what they’ll be called — until now, that is. Today, the Overwatch League’s sole Chinese franchise became the first to reveal its official name, logo, and colors. The Shanghai Dragons will sport a sleek shield icon, and utilize a red, white, yellow, and black color scheme. The branding looks much more like a traditional sports club than an e-sports franchise. The shield is both a dragon and a stylized S, and there are English and Chinese variants of the design, in keeping with the league’s global ambitions. It also… Read the full article…

VRTK helps devs get started in VR with open-source dev kit

What’s becoming clear in VR development is that with the market split across Rift, Vive and PlayStation VR, the developers of some of the most successful apps like Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Raw Data work hard to make their software work well across all three headsets. Even if it is hard to stand out from dozens of apps launching each week, making a virtual world available across Steam, the PlayStation Store and Oculus increases the chances of a developer finding success. Though large teams working with big budgets often turn to the Unreal world engine from Epic Games for building VR products, the very well-funded Unity Technologies is the engine most indie developers use in bringing their products to fruition across multiple systems. Unity is used by a majority of VR developers and its asset store makes it easy for developers to find cheap or free tools with which to build more immersive worlds. VRTK — Read the full article…

Artists turn GIFs into hypnotic artform

A new festival dedicated to celebrating GIFs is about to take place, and with it come 50 exciting and rather artistic animated GIFs that are sure to have you entranced. GIFs are of course a great way of communicating an emotion or sharing a reference (or for extra social media points, both at the same time), but few people would consider them an art form. Noise x GIF Fest 2017 aims to change this by celebrating the artistic worth of GIFs. Get Adobe Creative Cloud The event is well timed. Earlier this year GIFs hit a big milestone as the format turned 30. Traditionally for us humans, turning 30 is a big deal accompanied by appropriately epic celebrations. So it seems fair that GIFs, which have brought so much joy to us over the years, should be treated to a party in the shape of a festival, too. Adeline Tan Read the full article…

iPhone 8 Review

If it appears as though Apple is no longer trying to surprise and excite us with its annual iPhone revisions… it’s because it’s not. Now that the main iPhone has become the standard smartphone rather than a luxury item, Apple has reserved its real ambition for the upcoming iPhone X and its edge-to-edge screen. That leaves the iPhone 8 as an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 7, which was itself an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 6s, and the 6 before that. The fact that you could easily mistake the iPhone 8 for its three-generation-old ancestor at a glance doesn’t mean it isn’t a great phone, because it absolutely is. By nearly every measure it’s the most powerful phone out there, and it matches or beats most of its competition with a high-quality camera (by smartphone standards) and a pocket full of excellent features. What it lacks in razzle-dazzle, it Read the full article…