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Sakurai Reveals All About Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS: Slated for Release in Summer/Winter 2014

Sakurai Reveals All About Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS: Slated for Release in Summer/Winter 2014

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

Today, Nintendo has unveiled a large amount of information on the status of Super Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS, in a 39 minute video documentatary.

According to Sakurai, the 3DS version will be released in Summer 2014 release, while the Wii U version will come out in Winter 2014. Along with release dates, Sakurai went in full depth about the gameplay, stages, items, characterrs, and online mode. Out of all the features covered, the online mode seemed to be the most exciting tidbit, as it’s a huge overhaul over Brawl’s (pathetic) online mode. The new “For Glory” online mode is definitely aimed at hardcore competitive Smash players, with restrictions like Final Destination-like only stages and no items.

Although I’m not sure I will purchase a Wii U for Smash, I will definitely be getting the 3DS version when it comes out later this summer!

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/08/super-smash-bros-3ds-launches-this-summer-wii-u-version-due-in

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End of an Era: Farewell XP!

End of an Era: Farewell XP!

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in News | 0 comments

After nearly thirteen years, the curtains have fallen on Windows XP, as XP has reached EOL (“End of Life”) status. After today, Microsoft will no longer be providing any updates or support for Windows XP to the general public. Unfortunately, even after extending XP’s lifecycle a few years, there are many organizations that still run Windows XP (shame on them!). A few government agencies in Europe will continue to receive some support for their XP systems.

Those that are still using XP are recommended to upgrade to a newer operating system, as using Windows XP will become a security liability with it’s unsupported status. Read More

Microsoft Offering $100 to Switch from Windows XP

Microsoft Offering $100 to Switch from Windows XP

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in News, Software | 0 comments

If you’re still using Windows XP, you may want to take notice, as Microsoft is offering $100 USD to switch. The only catch? The $100 credit must be used to purchase a new Windows 8.1 PC/laptop.

The only catch is that you have to upgrade to a new Windows 8 computer.

Those who are eligible for the promotion can redeem the credit at Microsoft’s online store or their retail shops — and the fact that you still use the 13-year old Windows XP is subject to verification by Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500). The offer is good for PCs ranging in price from $599 and $2,299 and will run until June 15.

The promotion is part of Microsoft’s plan to get the last remaining Windows XP users off the operating system before the April 8 end of life date. After April 8, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates to address viruses and exploits to the operating system.

Given that Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014, it is highly recommended to either upgrade to a newer version of Windows, or switch to a more modern operating system. Otherwise, you risk being exposed to a multitude of security vulnerabilities.

Source: CNN Money – Microsoft will give you $100 to buy a new PC Read More

Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC 2014) – Wrap Up

Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC 2014) – Wrap Up

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Gaming, General, Hardware, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

GDC '14 - Bustling with activity at the Career Center.

GDC ’14 – Bustling with activity at the Career Center.

This past week, I had a chance to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a huge annual conference for game producers & developers. As this was my first GDC, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet professionals in the gaming industry, attend seminars on game development, as well as seeing the latest games and technology on display. 

GDC '14 - GDC attendees getting an opportunity to try out Oculus Rift.

GDC ’14 – GDC attendees getting an opportunity to try out Oculus Rift.

GDC ' 14 - Unity promoting the Unity gaming engine to game developers.

GDC ‘ 14 – Unity promoting the Unity gaming engine to game developers.

While the first two days of GDC came and gone with little fanfare, things became a bit more interesting when the Career Center and the Expo Floor opened up on Wednesday. Companies like Oculus and Unity were in full force on the floor. Oculus, riding on the growing interest into virtual reality technology, were demonstrating the full capabilities of what the Oculus Rift VR headset had to offer for the next generation of games. As for Unity, they were heavily touting it’s capabilities as a versatile gaming engine that supports most (if not all) current gaming platforms, as well as high-profile games that were developed with Unity.

GDC '14 - The Sony PlayStation exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – The Sony PlayStation exhibit at GDC.

GDC '14 - Valve's exhibit at the GDC.

GDC ’14 – Valve’s exhibit at the GDC.

GDC '14 - Valve's SteamBox, a PC running SteamOS.

GDC ’14 – Valve’s SteamBox, a PC running SteamOS.

GDC '14 - The controversial SteamOS controller.

GDC ’14 – The controversial SteamOS controller.

Some of the biggest announcements at GDC included Sony’s Project Morpheus, a VR headset similar to the Oculus’ Rift headset.  Another large announcement was Valve’s unveiling of the latest version of the SteamOS controller, considered to be controversial due to it’s unorthodox game controller layout. Along with the new controller, Valve was also demonstrating the SteamOS and the SteamBox PCs over at it’s booth.

GDC '14 - Intel at GDC, promoting it's Iris Pro GPU's abilities.

GDC ’14 – Intel at GDC, promoting it’s Iris Pro GPU’s abilities.

Hardware companies like Intel, AMD, and nVIDIA were also at GDC, demonstrating what their hardware can do for game developers. With Intel, they were promoting Iris Pro (Haswell’s integrated GPU) and it’s gaming performance. The message that they wanted to deliver was that the Iris Pro was capable of running the latest games (albeit at lower settings compared to nVIDIA & AMD’s GPU solutions).

GDC '14 - AMD demonstrating EyeInfinity with Battlefield 4.

GDC ’14 – AMD demonstrating EyeInfinity with Battlefield 4.

As for AMD, they were focused on promoting EyeInfinity, their triple monitor solution for gaming, as well as Mantle, an AMD API that allows developers greater access to AMD’s GPU capabilities on a lower level.

GDC '14 - nVIDIA's exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – nVIDIA’s exhibit at GDC.

GDC '14 - nVIDIA's GRID rack server on display.

GDC ’14 – nVIDIA’s GRID rack server on display.

Over at nVIDIA’s booth, they were promoting their latest Tegra 4 SOC solution, as well as nVIDIA GRID, a cloud game streaming service that nVIDIA is currently promoting.

GDC '14 - A GDC attendee playing Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat.

GDC ’14 – A GDC attendee playing Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat.

GDC '14 - Bit Bros., a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Nintendo's Smash Bros. series.

GDC ’14 – Bit Bros., a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series.

de with the large game & hardware companies, part of the Expo Floor was dedicated to Independent Game Developers, where the latest and greatest indie games like “Papers, Please”, “Crypt of the Necrodancer”, “The Stanley Parable”, and many others were on display. GDC has always had a large focus on independent game developers, but this year, indie game developers were definitely in force, as many of the indie games on display were quite intuitive and most importantly, fun to play.

GDC '14 - The Videogame History Museum Exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – The Videogame History Museum Exhibit at GDC.

Outside of the Expo Floor, I encountered an interesting exhibit, the Videogames History Museum. It was an exhibit dedicated to the history of arcade and console gaming, with classic consoles like the NES, SNES, Atari, N64, Genesis, GameCube, Game Boy, Virtual Boy, etc. on display. There were several stations where gamers could reminisce and play these classic consoles; I was able to get a chance to play E.T.: Phone Home (a game that was largely responsible for the 1983 video game crash), as well as a few rounds of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The exhibit was definitely a trip down nostalgic road for me.

GDC '14 - Game Developer's Choice Awards

GDC ’14 – Game Developer’s Choice Awards

On Wednesday night, the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2014 was held. It’s similar to the People’s Choice Awards, except that the winners here are games and their developers. A significant portion of the GDC Awards were dedicated to indie games, showcasing how far indie games have come in recent years. What I found surprising is that a large amount of the awards were given to the indie game “Papers, Please”, winning five awards for categories such as Best Narrative, Visual Art, etc. Another big winner was Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”, a great game that rocked the gaming world last year.

With GDC ’14 concluded, I am still in awe over all the announcements, games/tech that were on display, and more importantly, the advice I received from game designers and professionals. As I have started the journey back into software development in the past year, I was initially overwhelmed, as I felt at times if I could ever get back to speed with what game companies are looking for in developers these days. However, I also gained insight and a better direction of where I should focus my software development skills on.

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Google Launches Android Wear

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Hardware, Mobile, News | 0 comments

Today, Google has unveiled Android Wear, it’s take on the smartwatch concept. With Android Wear and like Google Glass, Google brings the Android infrastructure to the smartwatch form factor. Google is also making the Android Wear SDK available today to developers, making it possible to add Android Wear support to existing Android apps.

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2014/03/18/google-launches-android-wear-a-new-project-to-bring-android-to-wearables-like-smartwatches/

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Project Geo Unveiled! Introducing Dragon Geo

Project Geo Unveiled! Introducing Dragon Geo

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

Project Geo, now unveiled as DRAGON GEO today, is an interactive map app akin to Google Maps, but displays maps from Square-Enix’s lesser known RPG series, Dragon Quest. Those of you that have been playing RPGs since the early days of the original NES will better recognize this series as Dragon Warrior. DRAGON GEO allows for viewing world, region, castle, town, dungeon, and shrine maps from Dragon Warrior / Quest I-VI. It also includes maps from the remake versions that later appeared on the Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, and Nintendo DS. As an added nostalgic touch, the entire interface uses the old Dragon Warrior command window style, complete with music and sound effects from the original Dragon Warrior / Quest games. If you’re a Dragon Warrior / Quest fan, you’re in for a big treat!

More about the origin of DRAGON GEO: Project Geo was originally used as a way for me to get familiar with Android development, roughly four months ago from today. During development, I’ve learned quite a bit about developing on the Android platform, such as programming gestures, loading and playing media files, displaying large images, UX design  handling memory optimization issues, and much more. Although I still have far to go in terms of Android development (and mobile development in general), I’m proud to have been able to put out a quality first app that I quite enjoyed working on in the available spare time I had. I’d like to thank the sites & people that have made these maps and sprites available online.  Without them, DRAGON GEO would not be possible:

  • D-Navi
  • Dragon’s Den
  • FlyingArmor
  • King Zenith
  • NES Maps
  • NES SNES Sprites
  • Realm of Darkness
  • RPG Legion
  • Sprite Database
  • x_loto
  • Zophar’s Domain

Also, many thanks goes out to my friends who have dedicated their time to beta testing out DRAGON GEO:

  • Ashwin Kamath
  • Steve Chou
  • Joey Dorpat
  • King Zenith
  • James Spencer
  • Dan Smoliak
  • Jesse Thomas

DRAGON GEO is now available for download on the Google Play Store. If you have an Android device, be sure to check it out! I’ll be making improvements to the app from time to time.

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AMD Unveils the Radeon R9/R7 Radeon Series

AMD Unveils the Radeon R9/R7 Radeon Series

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Hardware, News | 0 comments

At the GPU 14 Tech Day Event in Hawaii, AMD officially unveiled the their next generation Radeon GPU series, the Radeon R9 2xx and R7 2xx series, codenamed “Volcanic Islands.” 

The new Radeon R9/R7 GPU family uses an enhanced GCN architecture (initially introduced in the Radeon HD 7000 series), is DirectX 11.2 compliant, and was produced on the 28 nm process. Some earlier speculations had suggested that the Volcanic Islands family would be on the 20 nm process, but it appears that AMD was able to yield more performance out of the 28 nm process, as the AMD wasn’t ready to transition to 20 nm just yet.

One of the most exciting news about the new Radeon R9/R7 GPU family is the top of the line GPU, the Radeon R9 290X. The Radeon R9 290X is a 512-bit single GPU card, with a transistor count of 6 billion, equipped with 4 GB GDDR5, capable of 5 teraflops, with a total bandwidth of 300 GB/s. These are beastly specs for a GPU, especially in the compute power, transistor count, and the memory bandwidth. Earlier benchmark leaks indicate that the R9 290X beats out the $1,000 GeForce GTX Titan. Even more interesting to hear is that AMD is hoping to price the R9 290X at $600.00 USD, which would seriously undercut nVIDIA’s high-end GTX GPUs.

Another interesting new feature about the Radeon R9/R7 GPU family is “TrueAudio”, a fully programmable audio engine. With TrueAudio, AMD hopes to revolutionize 3D audio engines found in games, as current 3D sound technologies seem to be quite lacking.

With the introduction of the Radeon R9/R7 GPU family, AMD is looking at an October 2013 ETA, with the aims of retaking the GPU market back from nVIDIA.

DailyTech – AMD Soft Launches “Volcanic Islands” GPUs With Programmable Audio in Hawaii
Radeon R9-290X: Hardware specs and benchmarks of AMD’s Titan killer
TechReport – AMD reveals Radeon R9 290X with TrueAudio, Battlefield 4 bundle
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A Tribute to Hiroshi Yamauchi

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

Today is a sad day, as Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who led Nintendo from 1949 to 2002 and transformed Nintendo from a small card company into a mega videogame giant, has passed away from Pneumonia at the age of 85.

During his time at Nintendo, popular gaming consoles such as the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, and GameCube were released, along with the creation of beloved Nintendo characters like Mario, Link, Samus, Donkey Kong, etc. that we have come to know well and love today.

Rest in peace, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Read More

Registrations for Twin Cities Code Camp 15 Now Open!

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in General, News, Software | 0 comments

With the fall season now upon us, the time for the next Twin Cities Code Camp event is coming up pretty soon. Registrations for TCCC15 is now open and like with previous TCCC events, the event is completely free. TCCC15 will be held on October 19, 2013 from 8 AM – 5 PM and will again be held in Keller Hall over at the University of Minnesota. The link to register for the event can be found here: http://tccc15.eventbrite.com/

For those that have never been to the Twin Cities Code Camp event, it is a all-day event filled with seminars about the latest development trends and useful programming advice. In the past, the TCCC largely attracted a .NET crowd, but in the recent TCCC events, there have been an increasing number of seminars focusing on mobile and web development, especially with JavaScript. 

Whether you are an experienced developer or new to software development, there is something to learn for everyone. It is also a great event to meet with local developers in the area, as previous TCCC events have typically drawn in roughly 300-400 people. I plan on attending the event and like with previous TCCC events, I will be covering it in detail. Read More

Android 4.4 Now “KitKat” Instead of Key Lime Pie

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in Mobile, News | 0 comments

Although it has only been a short time since Google released Android 4.3 and has yet to be released for most Android devices, Google today has released some minor details about Android 4.4, specifically in that it will be called “KitKat” instead of “Key Lime Pie.” Apparently, Nestle has given approval to Google for them to allow the name usage of their beloved snack for the next version of Android. 

Android 4.4 - KitKat

The next version of Android… KitKat.

Their reason for the name change? Many of the developers at Google aren’t familiar with the taste of key lime pie, but many at Google do snack on KitKats. While not the Android 5.0 update that many were hoping for, hopefully 4.4 will be a significant update like” JellyBean” was to” Ice Cream Sandwich”.

BBC – Android KitKat unveiled in Google surprise move
Engadget – Google teases Android 4.4 as ‘KitKat,’ passes one billion Android activations

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