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AMD and The Sony PS4. Allow Me To Elaborate.

amd

Sony gave a sneak-peek at its next-generation PlayStation®4 (PS4) game console coming later this year and, here at AMD, we couldnt be more excited. Bringing a supercharged PC architecture that combines next-gen hardware, software, and the fastest game network in the world. Oh, and this is all powered by a semi-custom designed AMD accelerated processing unit(APU) jointly developed in coordination with Sony!

In fact, the PS4 is the first announced design win based on semi-custom AMD APUs. This further demonstrates our commitment to take AMD technology into adjacent high growth markets as we diversify beyond the PC.

What exactly is a semi-custom APU? Let me elaborate:

At the most basic level, an APU is a single chip that combines general-purpose x86 central processing unit (CPU) cores with a graphics processing unit (GPU) and a variety of system elements, including memory controllers, specialized video decoders, display outputs, etc. Our semi-custom solutions take the same treasure trove of graphics; compute and multi-media IP found in our APUs, and customize them for customers who have a very specific high-volume product that could benefit from AMDs leading-edge technologies.

In the case of the PS4, we leveraged the building blocks of our 2013 product roadmap the same technologies you find in the latest AMD APUs powering PCs, ultrathin notebooks and tablets to create a solution that incorporates our upcoming, low-power AMD Jaguar CPU cores with next-generation AMD Radeon graphics delivering nearly 2 TFLOPS of compute performance! This unique APU architecture enables game developers to easily harness the power of parallel processing to fundamentally change the console gaming experience. Not only creating the opportunity for new possibilities in software design, but also faster and more fluid graphics.

This is going to be a very exciting year for gamers, especially for those with AMD hardware in their PCs and consoles, as we have even more game-changing (pun intended) announcements still to come.

Look for some more exciting things happening at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March when we will provide even more info on how we are working with game developers to make AMD the hardware of choice for running the best games!

Nvidia: Last generation game consoles

In a recent interview with VentureBeat, the CEO of Nvidia Phil Eisler, said the next generation of traditional game consoles will be the last. The Xbox 360 is the market almost 7 years the PlayStation 3 for about six years, and given the great technological progress, their successors, the Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 will be much more sophisticated than their predecessors in their time, will stay on the market almost 10 years. The question of course arises then is whether 2023 will need a console that will be connected to our TV. Probably not, but technological developments are dramatic and very disruptive in the next decade, so every prediction which will be given, is quite risky.However for Nvidia, the next step in gaming is the cloud. O Eisler certainly thinks it is still far away such a development, since looking to spend about 10 years until the possible transition to cloud gaming, no consoles at home. Not so, however, one year when the CEO of the company then provided the after next generation consoles coming in 2019 and is a supercomputer in tiny box.

Uncharted

Ucharted is one of the best games i ever played.According to the awesome graphics and visuals, the beautyfull voice acting and the fantastic feeling of treasure hunting makes this game so remarkable. But there some downfalls that i noticed. The first one is in the gameplay. The covering system is not working quite well, the enemys can really fast surround you because there are a lot of them. And the second one isthe story. Enemys are everywhere when they supposed not to know those places. But ofcourse this a 2007 game. All in all this game rocks and you really love it. I can say in my mind that uncharted is anincrediblegame but the people who were developing it ruinned a bit the game. Hope when the sequel of the game uncharted 2among thieves will be ready the drowbacks will be fixed and ofcourse the visuals should be much better because now is 2009! and i forgot to tell i recently got the platinum of uncharted and dead space. i will post the pics later

Are Games Getting Dumber?

Somewhere between handily completing Assassin's Creed and breezing through nearly all of the missions in Grand Theft Auto IV, it struck me. Have games of today become dumber? This is not to suggest that the stories contained in these games are dumb: Assassin's Creed and GTA have both been praised for their incredible storytelling. What I mean is that it increasingly feels as though game designers feel that we the players are dumb, that we need our hands constantly held throughout a game, lest we throw down the controller in frustration.

These two recent console games, while obvious examples, are not the only offenders in this recent trend of dumbing-down the challenge factor in videogames. The recently released Too Human features automatically scaling enemies so that players will never encounter any foe that is way beyond their level of experience. Fable II will include a "Breadcrumb trail" so that adventurers will never get lost while traveling from one objective to the next in its sprawling fantasy world.

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A bread crumb trail leads the way in Fable 2.


Compare these modern examples with titles that - not too long ago - offered considerably more challenge and really tested both the reflexes and intelligence of players. I grew up with graphic adventure games like Kings Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Conquests of Camelot, all of which are famous for placing taxing levels of difficulty on the player. In a text-based PC adventure game from the 1980s, a typical player interaction might go something like this:

Player: "Get ye flask"
Computer: "You probably can't reach the flask"
Player: "Walk over to the flask and pick it up"
Computer: "Your legs are tired. Perhaps there is another way?"
Player: "For the love of God get ye $#!%#$ flask"
Computer: A lightning bolt appears and incinerates you. You have been returned to your last save point, made 4 hours ago.

Of course, modern developers have argued strongly that some retro conventions - such as text-only input and broken save systems, deserve to be laid to rest. But even beyond those technical limitations, games from that period placed challenges in the way of the player that are sorely missed in the current crop of adventure games. One of the greatest features of early PC adventures was their ability to make the player feel as though he or she were really exploring a new landscape. There were no overhead maps or radar screens, no invisible walls keeping players from wandering into dangerous territory. Gamers had to feel out the landscape on their own, in some cases even creating pen and paper maps in the real world to keep track of their location in the game. That was one of the reasons why we loved Etrian Odyssey, an RPG for the DS that uses the touch screen for mapmaking. But games like Etrian Odyssey are an increasing rarity in a market that seems to reward simplicity over challenge.

How did this happen? How did game developers arrive at the notion that what we really wanted all along was less of a challenge in our videogames? Part of the answer can probably be found in the massive economic success of the video game industry. As the digital entertainment market approaches the popularity of film, games have come to resemble Hollywood movies in many respects. Publishers seek to create games that will have massive appeal with the public -- a public that increasingly includes new and less experienced gamers, as companies seek to reach out to new consumers. The recent game Spore might not be satisfying to hardcore gamers, but it will undoubtedly sell millions of copies by appealing to more causal PC owners like my father, who has never played a real-time strategy game before. Adventure games have definitely suffered from this phenomenon. They are very expensive to make, because of their extensive use of artwork and voice-acting. Because of that, they must be able to appeal to a large enough audience to recoup the initial cost of development. Consequently, developers are taking less risks and designing their games for the lowest common denominator.


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Modern adventure games are expensive to make.


All hope is not lost. A small but vocal resistance has formed, made up of hardcore masochists, completists and those who remember what games were like before they became mass-market commodities. These devoted thrill seekers will actually take great care to make their gaming experience as difficult as possible, even in "nerfed" titles like Assassin's Creed. In that game, some hardcore fans decided that playing with the HUD activated was cheating, so they forced themselves to play without a radar map. By forcing themselves to actually hunt for the next objective, these players argue, the experience is improved, and actually approaches the level of difficulty found in earlier adventure games. The hardcore can also be found on YouTube. These are the ones doing speed runs in their favorite 2D platformers, trying to shave a few seconds off of their previous and untouchably fast performance. And of course, multiplayer shooters like Call of Duty 4 offer unlimited challenge, as gamers square off against human opponents that are just as skilled as themselves.

For a real, challenging adventure game, however, options are somewhat slim these days. I hope that some game designers remember the glory days of adventure gaming on the PC, and seek to implement some of the best features from that era in new projects. Give players a sense of control over their destiny, let them make mistakes and suffer the consequences, and let them explore the virtual worlds you create without limitation. Above all, force players to use their brains to interact with your game, rather than simply spoon feeding them cutscenes. Those things are what make gaming great, after all.

Top Ten Games That Should Be MMOs

# 10 Kingdom Hearts Online

In 2002, the company now known as Square Enix launched a game that combined its popular Final Fantasy series with an unlikely partner in Disney. It melded FF characters with classic Disney characters and settings. While the premise might sound absurd at the outset, audiences enjoyed it and the game spawned a number of sequels.

Kingdom Hearts Online would give both Square Enix and Disney Interactive a new and interesting title to add their MMO libraries.

"Rejected Selection" - Tetris Online

Players can choose from up to seven different classes: Straight Line, L Shape, J Shape, Cube, S Shape, Z Shape and T Shape. Each class has its own role, but players must work together to accomplish their goals. The quests may be repetitive, but players will love the fast paced action.

#9 Madden Online / EA Sports Online

Nobody does sports games as well as EA. They have games in every major sport, headlined by the consistently best selling Madden football franchise. With sport-based MMOs gaining momentum within the genre, it may be time for the Sports branch of the mighty Electronic Arts to try their hands at an MMO.

Developers could focus on their flagship Madden franchise and make a football game, or take advantage of their many professional league licenses to let players try to develop multi-sport talents to compete against the best in the sport of their choosing.

#8 Battlefield Online

The Battlefield franchise has always been about online player vs. player action. Soldiers compete against each other on their choice of a number of maps. Over the game's last few incarnations, moves have been made to add an RPG style experience and levelling system so that players can advance their soldiers, giving them access to stronger equipment and abilities. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to take the RPG transformation one step further and meld the maps into a single world, giving the MMO community an updated modern war game with a familiar face.

"Rejected Selection" - WWE Smackdown vs Raw Online

Create your own wrestler and battle other players for the World Heavyweight Championship. Quests include hitting your friend with a steel chair, keeping Hulk Hogan's ego in check, posing for the crowd and passing your steroids test.

# 7 Age of Empires Online

Blizzard started their move into the MMORPG realm by adapting an RTS series, and Microsoft could do the same with their popular franchise (now that Ensemble has been shuttered). Realm vs. Realm action is a perfect fit as some of the greatest civilizations from Earth's history battle for supremacy.

Historical MMOs don't have a fantastic track record, at least when it comes to Ancient Rome (Imperator, Gods & Heroes), but mix together all of the popular empires within a single era of history, add a little bit of war and violence, a crafting and discovery system, a city building (and destroying) system and Microsoft might be looking at a hit MMO.

#6 BioShock

The massive popularity of 2K's submerged first person shooter alone merits BioShock's consideration to be a candidate for an MMO makeover. If you add on the game's retro flavour, its combination of technology and super powers that look a lot like magic and its well crafted storyline, it becomes a no brainer.

The entertainment world is abuzz these days with prequels, so why not make BioShock Online a prequel that dates back to the 1950s as strife began to grow in Rapture leading to the revolt and eventual breakdown of their civilization?
#5 Nintendo Universe Online

As MMOs aimed at children become more popular, the idea of a game set in the Nintendo Universe becomes more and more appealing. It wouldn't be the first time that Nintendo put their iconic characters together in a game, but this time it would allow gamers to create their own Nintendo alter egos, maybe **** after Mario Brothers, Zelda, or Metroid franchises.

Possible Premise: Join the Nintendo Universe characters as they hunt for the kidnapped Princess Toadstool who seems to be perpetually located in another castle.

#4 Neverwinter Nights Online

This already popular and well known RPG franchise would make a perfect MMO, its multi-player mode could be easily adapted to a more open, MMORPG format to allow players to experience perhaps the most iconic of Dungeons and Dragons game world: The Forgotten Realms.

This idea doesn't take anything away from Turbine's efforts with DDO. Their game takes place in Eberron, the franchise's newest property, while Neverwinter Nights takes place in The Forgotten Realms, one of the oldest and most iconic Dungeons and Dragons settings. It's strictly a setting thing.

"Rejected Selection" Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego

Now players of all ages can be frustrated as a group as the wily criminal known as Carmen Sandiego slips through their fingers despite leaving such tough riddles behind as, "She went to the country whose flag features a maple leaf."

#3 Left 4 Dead Online

The MMO genre is screaming (and running for their lives) for a zombie invasion ****MMORPG, and Left 4 Dead might just be the franchise to do it. The existing game already incorporates a few MMO concepts like small group teamwork and PvP. The game also establishes the fact that cities are in ruin as the zombie plague spreads. Louis, Bill, Francis and Zoey are only a few of the immune survivors and there are undoubtedly more out there, just trying to keep from getting eaten or beaten to death by the undead masses.

Why stop at allowing players to create survivors? Why not make this game a true PvP game and give players access to zombie characters as well? One side tries to live while the other tries to feed.

#2 Grand Theft Auto Online

The Grand Theft Auto franchise is arguably the ultimate in sandbox, open world gaming. Many players have expressed an interest in playing a similar game that goes a bit deeper than even the current multiplayer allows. Questing, PvP, faction building... these are all aspects of the game as it exists. Throw in a persistent world and an interesting advancement system and you've got an MMO worth looking at.

While a Grand Theft Auto MMORPG would most certainly carry an "M" rating, potential loss of a younger audience would be undoubtedly be offset by the massive popularity of the franchise. With apologies to APB, having the actual license matters.

"Rejected Selection" - Leisure Suit Larry Online

Take the Grand Theft Auto Online concept, then remove all elements of the game where the character isn't in a strip club or trying to get laid, and you've got an MMO adaptation of Leisure Suit Larry. You don't get many clothing options (leisure suits only), and quests are often quite linear, but who's going to notice?

#1 Starcraft Online

This article began with Blizzard, and it will end with Blizzard. Starcraft, the studio's sci-fi real time strategy series is perhaps the game that MMO players want the most. The reasons are many and varied, but Blizzard's proven track record in moving from RTS to MMO, combined with the game's worldwide recognition and popularity make one wonder why this game has yet to be announced.

For some time now, the MMO community has known that Blizzard is working on a new MMO project. Speculation that the game is going to be an adaptation of the company's Diablo franchise is doubtful given that WoW already covers the fantasy genre. A Starcraft entry into the growing field of sci-fi MMOs though might be quite good for business. Or maybe they'll shock everyone and do something really off the wall. Time will tell.

Video Games Are A Healthy Activity

While it's usually the studies about how video games are dangerous that score all the headlines, there have been just about an equal number of studies suggesting that there are benefits to video games as well. In the past, we've pointed to studies suggesting that video games can improve your health and visual skills. We've also seen studies suggesting that video games are good for kids in challenging them to think and can even be more intellectually stimulating than school. There are also studies suggesting that video games are good in the workplace, as they encourage brain stimulation during breaks and can also encourage teamwork. Related to that, are studies suggesting video games can help make people better strategic business thinkers or better stock traders.

The latest study which suggests that video games are good for people as they help give them a sense of achievement, fulfilling some "deep psychological needs." Of course, these studies pretty much come with as much bias as the studies suggesting video games are all bad. The fact is a game is a game -- it all depends on the person playing the game and how it's used. The fact that the researchers behind this latest study even admit that they were just trying to "normalize" the discussion could raise questions about how objective they were as well. It also raises some questions when they suggest that there have been no other studies showing benefits to video gaming, considering all the others ones we've linked to. The real point, though, is that video games alone are unlikely to be good or bad -- and any study claiming one or the other is probably got some problems.

Denounce video game violence

Video games are becoming more and more violent and they are part of the reason children are doing more violent things.

One example is the study of aggression done by the National Institute of Media and Family, which stated that studies measuring aggressive behaviors after playing violent video games (compared with behaviors displayed after playing nonviolent games) have shown that violent games increase aggression.

In one study of college students, students played either a violent or nonviolent game. After playing this game, they were given a competitive reaction time task in which they played against another student. If they beat the other student, they got to deliver a loud "noise blast," and were able to control how loud and how long the noise blast would be. Students who had previously played the violent video game delivered longer noise blasts to their opponents.

Children with the lowest hostility scores are almost 10 times more likely to have been involved in physical fights if they play a lot of violent video games than if they do not play violent games (38 percent compared 4 percent). In fact, the least hostile children who play a lot of violent video games were more likely to be involved in fights than the most hostile children who do not play violent video games.

Some may say the video game industries should not have to censor video games. Parents need to educate their children and let them know that what they play on video games is not real because as long as children have easy access to these games they will continue to play them.

I propose that the industry makes their games less violent and parents take responsibility and make sure their child doesn't have access to these games.

I believe that if my solution is not put into effect then the industry will continue to sell violent video games and aggression in children will continue to rise. The principle that is at stake is that violence among children needs to be decreased.

Opinion: What's Wrong With Game Music?

Most game music these days is boring. I'm sorry, but it's true.

Music is one of the more pervasive arts. It's integrated into almost all our visual entertainment media, played in stores, supports our advertising, and obnoxiously decorates our social networking pages.

Rare is the person who does not listen to music. So with all this music interaction out there, why is so much video game music so consistently generic?

Music, of course, is very subjective. It may even polarize people's interests more than other traditional arts do, given that listening to music has far more universal appeal than does going to a museum, leafing through an art book, or for many, even watching movies.

Further, it's easy for people to be opinionated about music because all the artists' names are very visible, and much easier to recognize than the names of most traditional artists, and sharing an entire song with someone else is often as simple as downloading it or finding it on YouTube. Knowledge about music is easy to come by, and so too are informed opinions.

There are so many hungry musicians out there looking to get into games at cut rates, and yet I keep hearing the same flaccid John Williams-inspired scores, uninspired breakbeats, and generic guitar solos.

The fact is, these days it's quite difficult to identify one game soundtrack from another, and it didn't used to be so. Every video game fan recognizes the Super Mario Bros. tunes, the stage music from Mega Man 2, the main theme of Monkey Island, or the sweeping tones of Road Rash. Why have we moved away from that?

Some Initial Caveats

Of course, it's not as if someone simply stood up and declared, "let's not have interesting music."

One reason people remember the soundtracks of those venerable old titles is because of repetition. As an industry we seem to have moved beyond punishing difficulty as the default level of challenge in order to accept more players, and rightly so, I think.

But part of the reason we remember these songs is because of what Jesse Harlin cautions you to avoid in Aural Fixation in the April issue of Game Developer magazine - user fatigue.

Back then, due to a combination of difficult levels that players are forced to restart, frequent replays, or simply small ROM sizes, we heard these songs over and over, and they burned themselves into our brainstems. And where repetition once carried the responsibility of providing replay value, multiplayer gaming now takes up that mantle.

Another reason may be that there's a lot more going on in games now. When Mario was just jumping on the heads of Goombas and breaking blocks, he could only perform two or three actions at a time, and everything was clearly represented visually. In contemporary games, like an FPS for example, players are required to focus on multiple actions simultaneously-running and aiming in 3D space, while also firing and scanning for cover or reloading.

It stands to reason that you want there to be as few distractions for the FPS player as possible. Music needs to be in the background in this scenario, if it's there at all.

Where's That Melody?

So rare is actual melody in games that when I heard the opening riff for Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, I was shocked - a real tune! It wasn't just a random guitar solo, someone had written a song for this game. Series like Resistance and Call of Duty are all good fun, but it's unlikely that you'd hear the music out of context and recognize it -- and to me, that feels like a failing.

A lot of music is licensed now, which could be a contributing factor, but if you consider a game like Fallout 3, which has licensed tracks from the days of yore, when you're out of range of the in-game radio, an atmospheric and entirely appropriate post-apocalyptic soundtrack kicks in, hammering home the desolate and lonely nature of the harsh environment.

This doesn't happen in nearly enough games. Music is so powerful and emotive that simply recreating an operatic chorus with the same notes you hear everywhere is a terrible waste of aural space.

I can hardly remember the themes of any American game titles from the last two console generations, even in cases where melody would be warranted. I recently played Peggle DS, which is very good fun, but the music literally sounds as though it came from a vintage porno, complete with fuzzed-out bass synth and the stereotypical wah pedal guitar.

Casual games, with their simple, bright graphics, have the design space to use melody and more dynamic themes, as Mario did, and yet by and large they don't. Try the Ookibloks advanced course video on YouTube as a counter example. The music is distinctive, and perfectly integrated into the casual nature of the gameplay.

Out Of Your Hands?

Games often use temp tracks as they come together, and developers can become quite attached to the sound. This leads to requests for the music to sound, essentially, like every movie trailer and cliche soundtrack everyone's ever heard, because that's what's often in the temp files.

People put those tracks there for a reason, obviously. A lot of people like the stuff everyone's already heard, so maybe what I'm asking is unreasonable.

But if you consider player responses, you'll often hear things about how great the graphics are, or how the environments are destructible -- but you hardly ever hear about how great the music is. That's because it's so often generic that it can't stand out as interesting. Too much "dramatic" music ruins the drama.

It is very telling that Halo and Gears of War sport two of the most iconic soundtracks of the current generation, considering each has only one or two recognizable themes or melodies-the rest of it is filler. These days, all it takes is a little effort to make the music sound like something, and you can stand out from the crowd.

Yes, We Can!

When I asked Game Developer's audio columnist Jesse Harlin about this phenomenon some time ago, he mentioned that distinctive music can be created by playing against convention. Mario's themes are memorable in part because who expects swing music in an action game?

People remember BioShock's licensed music because it was so counter to the norm. So maybe when you're placing those temp tracks into your early builds, try a little Afrobeat, or a Celtic reel, or some Norwegian black metal -- something different. It might yield some interesting results when creating the final tracks.

And isn't standing out what we all want our games to do?

Ultimately, it may simply come down to a lot of folks simply having generic taste, and that's not something you can change. Players most likely have generic taste as well. But there's so much opportunity here, that it seems as though whomever is dictating what music is going into the game should be a big music fan, even if that person is not the lead designer or producer.

Often, all it takes to get interesting music in your game is a hint of the unexpected. Many players love and remember the Katamari Damacy soundtrack -- and the reason is that the team trusted the composers to come up with something interesting and engaging, rather than simple filler. It takes a little more foresight, and just maybe a little more trust in your composer.

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