Portal coming to NVidia Shield soon

Portal, after warping around various platforms, is now coming to NVidia’s Shield. Landing on Shield also means that Portal will be ported to Android, though since the Shield is a beefy machine; it goes without saying that in all probability devices without Tegra or something similar powering them can run the Android port of Portal.

At the GPU Technology Conference, NVidia announced that they will be teaming up with Valve to bring Portal to Shield and thus by extension to Android. The announcement didn’t detail any specific release date and neither did they say whether there will be any wider coverage of other Android devices. Perhaps this partnership between the gaming companies will move beyond just this one game and will probably bring other PC titles to the Android platform too. This could also be Valve testing the waters in the mobile segment which seems to be one of the fields many gaming companies are gradually wading into.

“NVIDIA has created a very powerful and unique device with SHIELD,” said Doug Lombardi at Valve. “Our companies have a strong history working together and we’re looking forward to Portal‘s arrival on SHIELD.”

Shield currently has over 300 Android games already present on it, with Portal being the first PC game, from Valve no less, to be ported to it. The Shield is a portable Android powered gaming console that is powered by Tegra 4 processor that features a 72-core NVIDIA GeForce GPU and quad-core ARM A15 CPU. In addition the Shield comes with 5-inch LCD Tablet touch display. The Shield has Google Play preinstalled, so you get all your Android games and app ready to go. The Shield also features NVIDIA GameStream that lets you stream games from your GeForce GTX-based PC or GRID cloud Beta.

Source: NVidia Blog

Minecraft cancels Oculus Rift released due to Facebook purchase

In my coverage of Facebook buying Oculus Rift I said that when they bought Whatsapp a huge number of users migrated to much more open alternative Telegram and I was curious if we will see the same ‘Facebook’ effect on Oculus and that’s exactly what has happened. Minecraft has canceled their version for the virtual reality device as soon as they got the news of this acquisition.

Markus Persson aka notch of Minecraft tweeted, “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”

It quite unclear why Facebook has bought a gaming hardware whereas gaming on Facebook has nose-dived at the same time unlike Google Facebook doesn’t really have any plan for post-social networking age and ‘random’ purchases like Oculus doesn’t really tell much what Facebook really wants to do more than showing inverters that they are investing in ‘potential’ technologies.

Since we still don’t know what future holds for Facebook in the post-social network era – one thing is certain that the device which was going to change the dynamics of gaming will certainly go in other directions as well. We just don’t know what those directions will be.

As far as Minecraft is concerned, it will go inside the virtual reality world through other VR products like Project Morpheus of Sony.

Flappy Bird will be back with new improved version

Last month Dong Nguyen, developer of the highly addictive mobile game “Flappy Bird” pulled it out of app stores, to the disappointment of many fans. After killing flappy bird, Dong Nguyen had disappeared from twitter, but he returned this week to confirm that a new and ‘better’ version of flappy bird is in the works.

Nguyen also responded to several questions thrown at him by his followers. He has not given any definite timeline when the new version of Flappy Bird will be released. He said, “I don’t work by plan. I will release it when it is done.” During the tweet session, Dong said that he will include a “warning” to “please take a break” to caution the players addicted to the game.

The original “Flappy Bird” was launched in May 2013, but it rose to popularity in February this year and was reported to bring in around $50000 in ad revenue per day.

In a series of tweets Dong said that sudden popularity of the game had affected his humble life and he could not take it anymore and would remove the game from all the app stores. However, many refused to believe this as the actual reasons and many speculations had developed. Legal troubles and threats to his life were the rumours.

With this new move from Dong where he plans to bring back the game, it makes us think if all the drama that happened with taking the game down from apps stores was just a publicity stunt and the developer was creating a build up for the release of the new version of Flappy Bird.

Source: Mashable

Google Announcing exciting new Additions to Play Games Services at GDC ’14

One of the most venerable achievements of smartphones is making more than 75% smartphone users into gamers. Perhaps keeping this stat in mind, Google has decided to focus on Google Play in their announcements this year. First and foremost is their announcement of the cross platform support for Google Play games, followed by the introduction of tools that will allow users to gift in game items to friends. Rounding up is the integration of the Google Analytics available directly to the Ad Mob interface.

Google Play Game services are available for both Android and Apple’s iOS. Now Google has decided to bring their cross platform service even closer by allowing cross platform multiplayer support for games of both platforms in the form of both turn based and real-time. To further strengthen the cross platform support Google also announced that they will be updating the Play Games Unity Plug In to support cross-platform multiplayer services, and introducing an early Play Games C++ SDK to support achievements and leaderboards, thus further helping with the cross platform development. Along with this, Google is also launching the enhanced Play Games statistics that will allow developers advanced games statistics overview.

In addition to the above announcement, Google also announced that they will be introducing game gifts in their games, through which users can gift virtual in-game items to their friends to encourage them to join them. Also, this service will extend to inviting players for multiplayer invites directly too. For some reason, this particular announcement reminded me of Farmville on Facebook and the tons of invites notifications to games, about whom I couldn’t care less, in my notification tab. Let’s just hope Google somehow integrates something to prevent the annoyance that comes with this kind of invites.

Rounding off the announcements was Google’s final announcement of integrating Google Analytics directly into the Ad Mob interface, thus allow developers to have a deeper insight into how the users are interacting with their apps and thus take appropriate actions to improve the user’s immersiveness with the app.

Source: Phandroid

MantaMod version 1.3 adds 3D support for Android games

3D TVs are gradually creeping in our living rooms, with many options available to the consumers from different TV manufacturers. So apart from the Nintendo 3DS, which is the cheapest way to experience 3D, now Android users have a chance to enjoy 3D too without the need to modify the APK files and all the tinkering. This can be done thanks to a driver called MantMod. The latest iteration, version 1.3 of the driver, now comes with support for displaying games in 3D on full stereoscopic 3D.

The MantaMod driver is a driver that gives the user the ability to seamlessly mod supported games without the need to modify the APK file. This is made possible because the driver works directly at the OpenGL ES stream. In simple terms, the driver works by intercepting the modifications at the graphics level and loading custom textures or shaders before they are drawn on screen, dynamically and during runtime. Thus with this driver, owners of devices like the Ouya, Nvidia Shield or tablets and with access to a 3D TV can easily play games like Angry Birds and Dead Trigger in stereoscopic 3D without any tinkering.

In addition to enabling 3D for the games, the driver also supports other modification support of the games. The driver supports the enabling of a Free-Camera view perspective independent of the player view along with allowing the user to swap the in-game textures with custom textures. More can be found out about this new modding tool for the Android games over at the project’s official github page. MantaMod is free to install and use.

Source: Reddit

Google Acquires Game Controller firm

Ouya was the first to show the world that Android can be easily taken out from mobiles and tablets and put into a dedicated gaming console, which in turn opened up quite a lot of games waiting to be played, already available on the Play Store. Although Ouya didn’t perform as it expected to, other players in the field took note of the action. Perhaps it is because of these observations that Google has recently acquired a portion of a game controller maker company by the name of Green Throttle Games for an undisclosed sum. This move, to which Google hasn’t made any official declaration, seems to point to the fact that Google might be working on console type device.

Rumours have been going round the internet for about a year that Google is working on a Set top box that will also double up as a gaming console. The rumoured project has been dubbed as the “Nexus TV” by many people. Whether the rumours is true or not, has neither been confirmed nor denied by Google, which leads us to believe that Google’s recent purchase of the California based company, which has game controllers circulating in the market, as a move to building their very own micro console.

Google isn’t the first one in the race though, as rumours are going round that Amazon is working on a similar device of their own, according to a leaked image of a controller. Both of them will be Android powered. Although they are consoles in their own right, they won’t be competing directly with giants like the Xbox or the PlayStation, rather, they will start a niche of their own.

Apple is also being thought to focus more on iOS gaming with their latest Apple TV.

Source: BBC

Leaked: Amazon’s Supposed Game Controller

Ever since Ouya, companies have been trying to jump on the Android gaming console bandwagon. Rumours have been circulating for a long time that Amazon was also planning on launching a game console that will come with a dedicated controller and will be able to play the entire catalog on the Play Store out of the box.

Those rumours had been going around for a year and it seems an image leak that was spotted by Zatz Not Funny will finally put to rest the curiosity that this rumour had managed to stir up over the year.

amazon-bluetooth-controller1

The leaked image was traced back to have originated from Anatel, Brazilian Telecommunication company. According to the leaked image, the controller looks awfully similar to the Xbox controller. The supposed controller for the Amazon’s set-top box has the standard four face buttons marked, X, Y, A & B, along with two analog stick.

Interesting point to note the positioning of the sticks is exactly like that of the Xbox controller, with the left one swapping the place with the D-Pad. There’s also a dedicated button to let you connect to Amazon’s Game Circle. In addition to the standard buttons, the gamepad also features music playback button for easy music playback and control. The device runs on double-A batteries and communicates using Bluetooth.

Although the look is that of the Xbox controller, the console isn’t poised to compete with next-gen, but rather be a sub $300 set-top box that adds an additional entertainment value to the living room TV.

Source: IGN

Google speeds up Nexus TV goal with new acquisition!

Google seems to be prepping up for the launch of its Nexus TV, which will be a Android-powered set-top box this year. Now the latest news is that the search giant has acquired parts of Green Throttle Games gaming company, further confirming the Nexus TV rumours.

It was in late 2012 that Green Throttle Games launched its Android Bluetooth gaming controller but it failed to create much frenzy. It was criticised for being late in the game. While it was dying a slow death, reports suggest that it has been silently picked by search giant, Google. The makers removed its Android app in last November, making the hardware useless.

According to a report in PandoDaily, two of the three co-founders, Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend have also joined Google as part of the deal. It is believed that Charles Huang still holds some rights over the gaming.

Reports suggest that Google is working on a new set-top box that will stream video services along with a few video games. There were also reports claiming the set-top box could also have a Kinect-like motion sensor. It will be controlled with an Android smartphone.

Besides the hardware acquisition, what’s interesting to note is that Google is strengthening its hardware talent by bringing names that are outside of smartphones and web services.

Source: The Verge

Smash Hit: A Queer game to hit the Play Store

Quite often than not you come across a game that at first glance seems to be a simple game with a simple concept, but then when you start playing it you just get sucked into it. A case in point would the Angry Birds franchise. It was simple concept of flinging birds to attack pigs and break stuff, who knew it would spawn its own following and even an entire series! Smash Hit from Mediocre Games is another example of yet another queer game on the Play Store that’s steadily working its way up.

Unlike the company name, the game’s name isn’t a misnomer. In this game you are given a fixed amount of balls and set to move room from room made with glass in first person. While moving you are presented with targets, which if you hit you get new balls. But while moving if you hit glass with your balls you lose them. Once you run out of all your balls you lose the game. So an accurate aim is pretty essential.

The game boasts of a very good glass breaking physics, which means that the glasses won’t always break with just one ball’s single hit. So if your aim isn’t good you will be losing balls to glass and will have nothing left to throw at the targets. The game has a subtle and well balanced background music that has this techno feel which goes really well as you go about breaking glasses. The game also has a wonderful audio effect to accompany all that physics so you get an immersive experience. There are about 50 different rooms with 11 kind of glasses to be broken in a variety of fashions, ranging from DNA double helix to even ceiling fan blades!

The game is free to download, but players can pay $1.99 for a premium version that grants you additional benefits like cloud saves and restarting from checkpoints among other things.

Source: Play Store

The Walking Dead confirmed for mobile platforms

The Walking Dead is a TV series that, perhaps, most of the people have at least heard of. It is the number one TV series for a second season in a row among adults 18-49 and also has a very strong fan base around the world. AMC, along with Next Games, recently announced that they will be bringing this beloved franchise to the mobile by developing a new mobile game that will coincide with the release of new season.

The Walking Dead already has quite a fan following on the PC segment thanks to the games developed by Telltale Game, but sadly there hasn’t been any proper game on the mobile segment. This new game will be the first time a game is being built exclusively for the mobile segment. The Finnish development house chosen for this project, based in Helsinki, is also kind of dream team too. It has designers from famous companies like Rovio, Disney and Supercell, so AMC is pretty confident and excited about the upcoming game. Next Games too is also very confident that this new game will be able to live up to the quality in both the gameplay and narrative that the TV series’ fan has come to expect from the franchise. Judging by the fact that it isn’t just going to be a blatant port of the game from some other platforms, rather a new game built from the ground up for the mobile segment, this game might just be what they are promising it to be.

Although no additional details, like the series itself, have been released it, the game, however, is said to be developed with smartphones and tablets in mind. The main focus of the team is to build an engaging narrative driven free to play game that will match “against-all-odds action and moment-to-moment tension” of the TV series, according to Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO at Next Games. They are confident enough to even boast that this upcoming game will be like nothing fans have seen on both the home and mobile hardware before. Charlie Collier, AMC president, said, “We’re thrilled to be part of this next wave of games innovation and participating in a project that – like the show itself – is in service of the fans.”

Details are still sketchy at best, but both AMC and Next Games promises to release more in the coming months.

Source: Next Games Press Announcement