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NVIDIA 'GeForce NOW Recommended Routers' Program Helps Gamers Choose Networking GearDecember 23 @ 10 PM source

NVIDIA has launched the "GeForce NOW Recommended Routers" program to help gamers choose the best router for them. From a report: "The GeForce NOW game-streaming service has transformed where and how you can enjoy your favorite high-performance games. We've rolled out enhancements during its beta period to improve the quality of service from our data centers to your home. With our recommended routers, in-home network congestion becomes a thing of the past, helping to keep your gameplay silky smooth," says NVIDIA. The gaming company also says, "The latest generation of routers allows you to configure settings to prioritize GeForce NOW before all other data. But we wanted to make it even easier. Recommended routers are certified as factory-enabled with a GeForce NOW quality of service (QoS) profile. It's automatically enabled when you're gaming with GeForce NOW."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Videogame PUBG Bans 30,000 Cheaters, Discovers Professional Players CheatedDecember 23 @ 6 AM source

An anonymous reader quotes Newsweek:
The makers of PUBG sent down the banhammer Thursday afternoon in a ban wave believed to iimpact more than 30,000 fraudulent player accounts. What PUBG Corp likely didn't expect, however, was that its new security measures would also implicate several of the game's pro players.
Like ban waves in most popular online games, technology is at the center of it all. In this particular case, Radar Hacking was the main target. For those unaware of how the method works, Radar Hacks reveal detailed server information and send the collected data to an external device via a third-party VPN. In layman's terms, Radar Hacks allowed PUBG cheaters to see all player positions via a second monitor or smartphone application.... Given what we know now, it appears use of this unsanctioned assistive software was somewhat popular in PUBG's European and North American esports scenes. Over the last handful of hours, multiple apologies, suspensions and explanations have been posted on behalf of players and organizations alike.

Newsweek reports that on at least one team, "Suspicions rose when teammates were admonished for not following in-game calls that didn't align with the information available."

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Fortnite Teen Hackers 'Earning Thousands of Dollars a Week'December 21 @ 5 PM source

Children as young as 14 are making thousands of pounds a week as part of a global hacking network built around the popular video game Fortnite. From a report: About 20 hackers told the BBC they were stealing the private gaming accounts of players and reselling them online. Fortnite is free to play but is estimated to have made more than 1bn pound ($1.25) through the sale of "skins", which change the look of a character, and other add-ons. This fuels a growing black market. Hackers can sell player accounts for as little as 25p or hundreds of pounds, depending on what they contain. The items are collected as in-game purchases but are purely cosmetic and do not give gamers any extra abilities. Fortnite-maker Epic declined to comment on the investigation but said it was working to improve account security. The game has more than 200 million players.

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Nintendo Warns It Won't Make More Retro NES and SNES ConsolesDecember 15 @ 12 AM source

Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime warned that the NES Classic and SNES Classic will sell in the Americas through the holidays, but will be "gone" once they sell out. Engadget reports: If you want to walk down memory lane after that, you'll have to take advantage of the games that come with Switch Online. You might also want to tamp down your hopes for a Nintendo 64 Classic. Fils-Aime added that the existing systems are the "extent of our classic program." That wouldn't be completely surprising given that the N64 was considerably more complex than its predecessor. The executive likewise ruled out additional games for the mini NES and SNES models.

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Discord Store To Offer Developers 90 Percent of Game RevenuesDecember 14 @ 11 PM source

DarkRookie2 shares a report from Ars Technica: Discord has announced that it will start taking a reduced, 10-percent cut from game revenues generated on its online store starting next year, one-upping the Epic Games Store and its recently announced 12-percent cut on the Epic Games Store. The move comes alongside a coming expansion of the Discord Games Store, which launched earlier this year with a tightly curated selection of games that now includes roughly 100 titles. The coming "self-serve publishing platform" will allow developers "no matter what size, from AAA to single-person teams" to access the Discord Store and the new 90-percent revenue share. "We talked to a lot of developers, and many of them feel that current stores are not earning their 30% of the usual 70/30 revenue share," Discord writes in the announcement. "Because of this, we now see developers creating their own stores and launchers to distribute their games instead of focusing on what's really important --making great games and cultivating amazing communities." "Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018," the announcement continues. "After doing some research, we discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them, and give developers the majority of the revenue share."

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Doom Turns 25: The FPS That Wowed Players, Gummed Up Servers, and Enraged AdminsDecember 11 @ 4 PM source

On December 10, 1993, after a marathon 30-hour coding session, the developers at id Software uploaded the first finished copy of Doom for download, the game that was to redefine first-person shooter (FPS) genre. Hours later IT admins wanted id's guts for garters. The Register: Doom wasn't the first FPS game, but it was the iPhone of the field -- it took parts from various other products and packaged them together in a fearsomely addictive package. Admins loathed it because it hogged bandwidth for downloading and was designed to allow network deathmatches, so millions of users immediately took up valuable network resources for what seemed a frivolous pursuit to some curmudgeonly BOFHs.

The game was an instant hit -- so much so that within hours of its release admins were banning it from servers to try and cope with the effects of thousands, and then millions of people playing online. It spawned remakes and follow-up games, its own movie (don't bother) and even a glowing endorsement from Bill Gates.

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China To Force Changes To 20 Popular Games, Ban 9 Including Fortnite and PUBGDecember 11 @ 2 PM source

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A panel of censors set up to vet mobile video games in China has signaled it will be hard to please. State media reports that of the first 20 titles it assessed, nine were refused permission to go on sale. The Xinhua news agency added that developers of the other 11 had been told they had to make adjustments to remove "controversial content." The authorities have voiced concerns about the violent nature of some titles as well as worries about the activity being addictive. It was announced in August that a new body -- the State Administration of Press and Publications -- had taken over responsibility for approving games and that it would limit the number of online titles available. And although it has not been specified, some experts are assuming that the new panel will operate under its auspices. Xinhua said it is comprised of gaming experts, government-employed researchers, and representatives from the media and video games industry. But it provided no other information about who they were or the titles they had already examined. UPDATE: The list of games being examined by the ethics panel has been revealed by users on NGA, a Chinese gaming forum. A number of games, such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, will need "corrective action," while others will be "banned/withdrawn" entirely. Some of the most popular prohibited titles include Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).

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Massive Collaborative Text Adventure 'Cragne Manor' ReleasedDecember 9 @ 12 AM source

Long-time Slashdot reader Feneric writes: Cragne Manor , a 20th anniversary tribute to the classic work of horror interactive fiction Anchorhead by Michael Gentry, is now available for free public download. It was written by a collaboration of over 80 authors and programmers organized by Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna. Each author worked on a room in isolation, not knowing the details of other authors' assignments. The result is a sprawling, puzzle-dense game that will at turns delight, confound, amuse, and horrify.

More announcements are available here and here, and an early review is also online.

"Each location is a different author's take on a tribute to Anchorhead," reports the official site, "or an original work of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, or a deconstruction of cosmic horror, or a gonzo parody of cosmic horror, or a parody of some other thing, or a portrait of life in Vermont, or a pure experiment in writing with Inform 7, or something else entirely.

"There are tons of puzzles. The puzzles get very weird."

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DeepMind Produces a General-Purpose Game-Playing System, Capable of Mastering Games Like Chess and Go Without Human HelpDecember 7 @ 2 AM source

DeepMind has created a system that can quickly master any game in the class that includes chess, Go, and Shogi, and do so without human guidance. "The system, called AlphaZero, began its life last year by beating a DeepMind system that had been specialized just for Go," reports IEEE Spectrum. "That earlier system had itself made history by beating one of the world's best Go players, but it needed human help to get through a months-long course of improvement. AlphaZero trained itself -- in just 3 days." From the report: The research, published today in the journal Science, was performed by a team led by DeepMind's David Silver. The paper was accompanied by a commentary by Murray Campbell, an AI researcher at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. AlphaZero can crack any game that provides all the information that's relevant to decision-making; the new generation of games to which Campbell alludes do not. Poker furnishes a good example of such games of "imperfect" information: Players can hold their cards close to their chests. Other examples include many multiplayer games, such as StarCraft II, Dota, and Minecraft. But they may not pose a worthy challenge for long.

DeepMind developed the self-training method, called deep reinforcement learning, specifically to attack Go. Today's announcement that they've generalized it to other games means they were able to find tricks to preserve its playing strength after giving up certain advantages peculiar to playing Go. The biggest such advantage was the symmetry of the Go board, which allowed the specialized machine to calculate more possibilities by treating many of them as mirror images. The researchers have so far unleashed their creation only on Go, chess and Shogi, a Japanese form of chess. Go and Shogi are astronomically complex, and that's why both games long resisted the "brute-force" algorithms that the IBM team used against Kasparov two decades ago.

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Nvidia Uses AI To Render Virtual Worlds In Real TimeDecember 4 @ 6 AM source

Nvidia is using artificial intelligence to draw new worlds without using traditional modeling techniques or graphics rendering engines. "This new technology uses an AI deep neural network to analyze existing videos and then apply the visual elements to new 3D environments," reports Tom's Hardware. From the report: Nvidia claims this new technology could provide a revolutionary step forward in creating 3D worlds because the AI models are trained from video to automatically render buildings, trees, vehicles, and objects into new 3D worlds, instead of requiring the normal painstaking process of modeling the scene elements. But the project is still a work in progress. As we can see from [this image], which was generated in real time on a Nvidia Titan V graphics card using its Tensor cores, the rendered scene isn't as crisp as we would expect in real life, and it isn't as clear as we would expect with a normal modeled scene in a 3D environment. However, the result is much more impressive when we see the real-time output in [this YouTube video]. The key here is speed: The AI generates these scenes in real time.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.