iBuyPower’s Magic makes any game playable through multitouch

3 07 2010

So, you just sprung for a multitouch-enabled Battalion CZ-11, eh? Too bad there’s hardly any software out there for you to take advantage of. Er, was out there. iBuyPower — a company most often associated with new hardware — has just flexed its software muscle by creating a new system that will enable any game to played via multitouch, regardless of whether the game’s creators gave it so much as a thought. Magic, which is short for Multitouch Advanced Gaming Interface and Control, is a proprietary piece of code designed specifically for the company’s own touch-enabled laptops, and it works by linking a multitouch gesture to a command the game already understands, emulating multitouch commands by mapping keystrokes or mouse clicks. Best of all, it’s available now as a gratis download, and we have little doubt that the hackers in attendance will have this working on Dells, Alienwares, Lenovos and HPs before you can spin around twice and add another smudge mark to your LCD.

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Penguin United’s Eagle Eye brings WASD to your PS3 shooters, disrespect to your enemies

3 07 2010

With the PS3’s plethora of USB ports scattered across the front, you’d think it’d be a no-brainer that all shooters on the console would support keyboard and mouse controls to make the FPS purists happy. Sadly that’s not nearly the case, so it’s up to companies like Penguin United (creators of a fine array of silly Wii peripherals) to fill the void. The Eagle Eye is its attempt, a surprisingly sizable box with an unfortunately short 2-foot USB cable and inputs for mouse and keyboard. Using buttons on that box you assign controller inputs to keys and away you go, hunting the Helgath’s worst in WASD. The cost is a bit steep at $60 when it ships later this month, but nobody said having a (possibly imaginary) unfair advantage over the competition would be cheap.





Gaming Nintendo 3DS gets official, includes 3D camera

15 06 2010

nintendo

We’ve been reading about it for what seems like ages, looking over images of the FCC prototype with a magnifying glass, and now Nintendo is showing it off at its E3 press conference. The company that Mario built is trumping up how superior its glasses-free technology is better than others, “a solution that lets you take 3D gaming along with you wherever you go” according to Reggie. The upper screen is surprisingly only 3.5-inches, not the wider that we’d expected. There is a slider on the side that lets you tweak the 3D effect, seemingly enabling you to adjust its depth based on your distance from the screen — or turn it off entirely. As with the current DS, the bottom is a touchscreen, and is not 3D.

That’s what looks to be an analog stick on the side there, as well, that Nintendo is calling a “Slide Pad.” There is a gyro, motion sensor, it’s compatible with DSi games, and has two cameras enabling 3D photos. Nintendo is also talking up partnerships including Disney, games that are said to be playable today, at the show, with one of the highlights being a new Kid Icarus game which looks quite action-packed to say the least — and has better graphics than most of the Wii titles Nintendo has shown thus far. Nintendo has mentioned the 3DS will have the “biggest launch support ever” from third party devs, and a 3D Nintendogs should be a huge seller — if only because it has cats too. Other games include Madden, Ninja Gaiden, Resident Evil, a Batman title, Splinter Cell, and, finally, a Metal Gear Solid entry.

Nintendo is also talking about how the system will seek out WiFi hotspots or other 3DS systems “without you knowing,” which sounds a bit ominous, to be honest. Systems can communicate regardless of which games are being played. It can even pull in new DLC directly from other consoles, all without a monthly fee.

Still no release date or price, but Nintendo is showing off two colors, red and blue, and they’re said to be playable on the show floor. You can be sure we’ll be running there right now.





New Xbox 360 gets official at $299, shipping today, looks angular & ominous

14 06 2010

xbox

At first we were doubtful that a edgy box appearing in a little Flash ad from Italy last night could be legit, but Microsoft just got real with the new Xbox 360. (That’s all it’s officially called — just “the new Xbox 360.”) It’ll launch today priced for $299, while the old Elite will stick around for $249 and the Arcade will drop to $149. The new box is crazy sexy in glossy black with touch-sensitive buttons, and Microsoft says it’s “whisper quiet,” with one large fan instead of two — the new 45nm chipset undoubtedly generates less heat to begin with. On the features front, it’s got integrated 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi, five USB ports, and 250GB of storage on a removable hard drive, although it’s not a standard drive or same drive as the old console, and older Memory Units won’t work, either. Upgraders can use a USB-to-Xbox hard drive connector cable to migrate to the new box, however. There’s also a “custom Kinect port” on the back that looks like an HTC-style ExtUSB port, and it also seems like the power supply has moved inside the case, which is a welcome change. New Xbox 360 units are shipping to retailers now, with availability expected later this week, and MS conference attendees are actually getting theirs shipped today.

If you’re in Europe, don’t fret, as yours is coming soon. Microsoft’s official Xbox Twitter account has confirmed the console hits there on July 16.

Xbox 360 250GB

Xbox 360 is fully loaded with new features and still comes with everything you know and love. Here’s a feature list to make sure you don’t miss any of the newest Xbox 360 250GB parts.

Form Factor: Sleek, lean and gloss black finish with chrome accents. Place vertically or horizontally in any living room entertainment center.

Touch Sensitive Buttons: Turn the Xbox 360 video game system on/off and eject a disc withtthe swipe of a finger.

Whisper Quiet: Whether you’re playing a DVD disc or from the hard drive, or navigating the dashboard, with the all-new and much quieter Xbox 360, the only noise you’ll hear is your own laughing, cheering and playing.

Wi-Fi: Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi for fast, easy connection to your friends and entertainment on Xbox LIVE.

Hard Drive: 250GB internal, swappable hard drive for even more storage. To access, remove the bottom panel by pushing the small tab toward the front of the console.

Kinect-Ready: Custom Kinect port on the back of the console that directly hooks up to the Kinect sensor for controller-free fun.

USB Slots: Five USB ports; three in the back of the console and two in the front for easy plug and play.

AV Connections:

AV Cable included for standard definition TV connnection.
HDMI port for high definition TV connection.
Optical Audio out port integrated on back of console for AV system connection.

Power Supply: Smaller and more efficient. Xbox 360 250GB and Xbox 360 Original power supplies are not interchangeable.

Wireless Controller: The award-winning Xbox 360 Wireless Controller matches the console in all black with color-matched thumsticks and directional pad with a touch of gloss and chrome to complete the look.

Backwards Compatible. Your favorite accessories and games will work with Xbox 360 2650GB. (Xbox 360 External Hard Drives and Memory Unites are not compatible.)

Accessories. Customize your Xbox 360 250GB with matching black accessories, including favorites such as Controllers, Wireless Headset, Chatpad, Quick CHarge and Play & Charge Kits and more. Get a look at a few of these today.

Key Internal Components Changes:

Fan: Moved from two small fans to one larger fan for improved acoustics.
Chipset: 45 nanometer and integrated CPU and GPU.
Wi-Fi: Integrated wireless capability.






Play SNES on your jailbroken iPad, with an iPhone as controller

9 06 2010

ipad

Not every Apple addict is lucky enough to own an iPad, iPhone and the means to jailbreak both, but if you belong to that elite group you’re in for a treat: SNES HD for iPad. Built on ZodTTD’s existing iPhone emulator, the new code has Super Mario World looking positively fantastic at the iPad’s 768p. Better still, it works with the ControlPad app for iPhone, giving you look-alike wireless controls alongside the nostalgia of its ROM select screen. “Coming soon” to Cydia.





Sony’s PSN+ Service to Seriously Compete With Xbox Live?

25 05 2010

PS3

According to a rumor over on Joystick, Sony is set to announce PSN+ at E3 next month, a premium version of their PlayStation Network service. The alleged benefits sound fantastic.

• Cross-game chatting
• (Free?) access to rotating list of PSOne Classics and PSP Minis
• Downloading some full retail games from demo titles
• Free PlayStation Protection Plan
• Cloud-based game saves (yes!)

The price was speculated at $10/month by one of the leak’s sources, but honestly, Sony has to know such pricing would be too high. There must be a yearly rate in the works that, hopefully, will be on par with Live. [Joystiq]





Halo: Reach Beta Hands on Preview

22 05 2010

So its just like Halo 3 then? This was a sarcastic question heard from a friend of mine. My reply? Erm, kind of. This is true in some instances.

Theres still quite a lot of jumping, theres still far too many people who can headshot you faster than blink and theres still plenty of grenades flying about the place. But Reach is far more hectic than the traditional multiplayer mechanics, in fact Halo 3 is almost polite and kind compared to the brashness of Reach.

The reason for this is the class system implemented in Reach. In many of the game modes on display you can choose from several classes: Scout allows you to sprint, stalker gives you the power of invisibility, guard gives you temporary invulnerability and airborne gives you a jetpack. Its pretty safe to say that these additions alone change the way you play Halo online completely.

Each ability is balanced with a power bar that depletes as it is being used, so monitoring the use is crucial. Why sneak around cloaked if it runs out just as you approach an enemy? Why guard gunfire when a sticky grenade may stick to you straight after? Its this interplay of ability and traditional skill that takes Reach to a new level and, dare I say, one that supersedes Halo 3.

But its not just the tactics of class selection that pushes Reach to greatness. Theres a raft of new medals for the Halo fanatics to aim for, there are new weapons to use and plenty of game types on the horizon. The weapons alone are sublime. The needle rifle is brutal when used correctly, the handgun is powerful at any range and the new DMR rifle is soon to be a favourite of many players.

The DMR is a scoped rifle that can headshot players easily; the gun soon became a favourite of mine due to its use in team SWAT.

Yes, SWAT is back, as is standard deathmatch and CTF variants. A popular choice currently is the game type, stockpile which sees the map scattered with unclaimed flags and you have a time limit in which to grab them and get them to your base. Such is the genius of Bungies creation each game type is simple to get the grips of and the two maps simply shine under the choice of games available.

There will of course be more released from Bungie as the beta continues but the two solitary maps to be played now are wonderful. Sword Base is a futuristic ship interior set over six levels that gives plenty of verticality.

Glass walkways will allow for views of your enemy and allow you to work around the levels to get the jump on them and a mancannon in the middle will allow for fast movement between floors. SWAT plays very well on this map due to the hiding spots and corridors, but the map falls short on CTF games due to the maze like structure.

Powerhouse is the other map on offer right now and it is fantastic to play. Every game type works well here. It has a central circular structure with a river running into it, surrounding this area is out buildings and a large multi level building. Great for CTF, there are plenty of routes to take and the natural surroundings help with hiding from unsuspecting foes as you jump out and take them down.

And theres still more. Not only do we have well designed maps, great game types and weapons but the matchmaking is better than ever. As Bungie pretty much invented the best matchmaking system on Xbox Live, could it really get any better? Yes. Yes it can.

Choose if you want to play with polite people, do you want to play with team players or lone wolves? Then by all means select it. Want to see what friends are playing? Then its right there on the matchmaking screen, fancy joining them? Just hit the X button. Its simpler than ever to play with friends and enjoy the game together.

When you look at everything that Bungie has implemented in Reach its clear to say that, yes it is similar to Halo 3, but its much more now. Experts will instantly be at home and gain a love for the new shiny things on display and newbies will enjoy the ease of the class system as it breaks down barriers in the online play.

There is so much to talk about that I could ramble on for another thousand words, but I shant. By the time you read this the beta will be live and there will be thousands of people ready to play. So choose your class and jump into the action.