Connect with us


Google’s Game Builder turns building multiplayer games into a game – TechCrunch



Google’s Area 120 team, the company’s in-house incubator for some of its more experimental projects, today launched Game Builder, a free and easy to use tool for PC and macOS users who want to build their own 3D games without having to know how to code. Game Builder is currently only available through Valve’s Steam platform, so you’ll need an account there to try it.

After a quick download, Game Builder asks you about what screen size you want to work on and then drops you right into the experience after you tell it whether you want to start a new project, work on an existing project or try out some sample projects. These sample projects include a first-person shooter, a platformer and a demo of the tool’s card system for programming more complex interactions.

The menu system and building experience take some getting used to and isn’t immediately intuitive, but after a while, you’ll get the hang of it. By default, the overall design aesthetic clearly draws some inspiration from Minecraft, but you’re pretty free in what kind of game you want to create. It does not strike me as a tool for getting smaller children into game programming since we’re talking about a relatively text-heavy and complex experience.

To build more complex interactions, you use Game Builder’s card-based visual programming system. That’s pretty straightforward, too, but also takes some getting used to. Google says building a 3D level is like playing a game. There’s some truth in that, in that you are building inside the game environment, but it’s not necessarily an easy game either.

One cool feature here is that you can also build multiplayer games and even create games in real time with your friends.

Traditionally, drag-and-drop game builders feel pretty limited. The Area 120 team is trying to overcome this by also letting you use JavaScript to go beyond some of the pre-programmed features. Google is also betting on Poly, its library of 3D objects, to give users lots of options for creating and designing their levels.

It’s no secret that Google is taking games pretty seriously these days, now that it is getting ready to launch its Stadia game streaming service later this year. There doesn’t seem to be a connection between the two just yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Game Builder on Stadia, too.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Nvidia announces the $399 RTX 3060 Ti—and we’ve tested it



New computer GPUs have launched at a furious pace the past few months, mostly in the $500-and-up sector. This week, we finally see a 2020 GPU arriving at a lower price than a brand-new gaming console: the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti, priced at $399 and launching tomorrow, December 2.

But once again this year, Nvidia is leaving people in the dark about how many of these cards we can expect to reach stores. We know the company manufactured at least one of them, at any rate, because my review hardware arrived last week. The usual gamut of benchmarks confirms performance on par with last year’s RTX 2080 Super, at nearly half the cost.

Like other RTX-branded GPUs, the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti features proprietary processing cores on its silicon—namely, its Tensor cores (for AI computation) and its RT cores (to manage all things ray tracing). To get to a $399 price, the 3060 Ti drops specs compared to its higher-ranked siblings in the usual categories, particularly CUDA cores, but it also severely drops its Tensor and RT core counts. Nvidia’s trick here is that those core types have been updated since last year’s model to do more work per core.

If this were a market where you could easily snap up a $499 RTX 3070, some of these RTX 3060 test results would be hard to swallow, considering the price-per-dollar comparison. But there’s no getting around this new card’s ability to match the RTX 2080 Super (original MSRP: $699) in every category that counts.

Like most Ars Technica GPU reviews, we limit our benchmarks to 4K tests, owing to the fact that lower-resolution benchmarks typically become CPU-limited and thus don’t tell the full story of how a GPU will turn out in your particular PC. (If you’re wondering, my testing rig sports an i7-8700K CPU, overclocked to 4.7GHz, plus 32GB DDR4-3000 RAM, an 850W PSU, and a PCI-e 3.0 SSD.)

Last month, we saw an exception to this testing standard thanks to the 128MB of L3 cache in AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series, which drives improved 1440p performance. But AMD’s cheapest card as of press time, the $579 RX 6800, isn’t a fair comparison with the RTX 3060 Ti. (In other words: yes, its extra $180 delivers more power in 4K and 1440p modes.) Should AMD ever launch a lower-priced 6000-series card, we’ll be sure to go back and test 1440p modes accordingly.

Otherwise, there’s not a ton to say about RTX 3060 Ti that hasn’t been spelled out with its costlier siblings. DLSS still impresses as a proprietary upsampling and anti-aliasing system, and that, combined with solid ray-tracing tech, continues to make Nvidia cards a tantalizing option—especially when clock speeds and CUDA cores have been reduced to hit the $399 sweet spot while still otherwise looking quite performative.

Meanwhile, if your favorite games don’t tap into DLSS, you should expect to tinker with their settings to maximize their 1440p or 1080p performance levels—and I can’t help but imagine AMD has a response to this exact use case with any future lower-priced RX 6000-series GPUs. But nothing of the sort has been announced yet, so for the time being, Nvidia takes the lead at this price point.

Listing image by Nvidia

Continue Reading


AR Mario Kart anchors Universal’s Super Nintendo World in February



It’s been over five years now since Nintendo first announced plans to collaborate with Universal Studios on a real-world theme park. Now, Universal has announced a February 4, 2021, opening for the Japanese edition of Super Nintendo World in Osaka and is showing off some of the attractions in detail for the first time.

Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge is one of the highlights of the new Nintendo-themed area of Universal Studios Japan. Housed inside an intricate model of Bowser’s castle, the ride puts four attendees in a replica kart, complete with augmented reality glasses to help them be “fully immersed in the game.” While the kart is on rails that prevent free driving around the track, augmented reality glasses should let players actually see shells being thrown to take out opponents.

Universal also announced a Yoshi’s Adventure ride, featuring Captain Toad and a quest for hidden colored eggs. Both attractions last about five minutes.

Attendees at Super Nintendo World can also purchase a “Power-Up Band” for ¥3,200 (about $30) to “keep score” as they punch ?-blocks, collect virtual coins and keys, and “using their entire bodies in dynamic activities throughout the land,” Universal said in a press release. At the end of the quest, Power-Up Band purchasers will face “a dramatic boss battle with Bowser Jr.”

Delays and international launches

Universal Studios Japan originally planned to open Super Nintendo World in the summer of 2020, to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Both events were postponed, though, as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world this year.

Universal Studios Japan is still operating at a reduced capacity due to those pandemic restrictions, with policies that “ensure ample personal space and wait times for popular attractions are comparatively short,” according to the company. Japan had had a relatively low coronavirus death rate across its population through the summer, though confirmed case and death rates have recently been increasing, particularly in the Osaka area.

The first teaser attraction for the Japanese Super Nintendo World, a themed Mario Cafe & Store, opened last month, complete with the requisite exclusive merchandise and themed food items. Construction of a similar Super Nintendo World section for Universal Studios Hollywood began in August, ahead of an opening expected sometime in the next few years. Super Nintendo World will also be part of Universal’s upcoming Epic Universe park in Orlando, Florida, sometime after its planned 2023 opening.

Listing image by Universal Studios Japan

Continue Reading


An extended Blade Runner interview with Westwood co-founder Louis Castle



Edited by Jeremy Smolik. Click here for transcript.

As 2020 draws to a close, we’ve still got a couple of extended-edition “War Stories” videos to release, and this one’s been a while coming. We had a great time last year talking to Westwood’s Louis Castle—so much so that we actually got two videos out of him instead of one. In addition to discussing the 1997 adventure game genre swan song Blade Runner, we also got him to spill the beans on the wild development ride that was Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
Today we’re happy to finally be able to publish the extended edition of Castle’s Blade Runner interview. To recap from the short version, Castle and his team faced a series of very high technological hurdles in bringing the dark and expansive world of future Los Angeles to the small screen. The challenges weren’t limited to storytelling and design issues, either, though those were substantial (the developers had to create a branching narrative where there weren’t just multiple endings, but multiple interpretations of different events in the game, including swapping around who is and isn’t a replicant—writing a story with that many moving parts that remains coherent throughout is hella difficult). No, the biggest challenges were of the engineering type and required creative solutions—like inventing a way to weld together dynamically lit voxel characters with pre-rendered backgrounds or planning out a data storage strategy that made the game’s huge files work with the limited IO bandwidth available to contemporary CD-ROM drives.

If a deep dive into the mechanics of programming a massive adventure game on late-’90s technology (and pulling it off spectacularly!) sounds interesting, then this video was made for you.

Continue Reading