Train2Game News Merge VR Headset

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Walk with dinosaurs or fly into space all from the comfort of your own living room with the new Merge VR headset available to pre-order now, only at GAME.

Priced at only £49.99, the new portable headset is a great, affordable way for families to step inside a whole new world and experience the virtual reality phenomenon.

Compatible with both iOS and Android phones, the Merge VR headset allows customers to enjoy the extensive immersive content already on Google Play and in Apple’s App Store. Play games, explore an unknown world, or watch a concert in your own home just by downloading an app.

On 30th October, GAME customers can be among the first to take home the new Merge VR headset by pre-ordering online or in-store. From mid-October, customers will be able to get their hands on this innovative technology with demonstrations taking place in all GAME stores across the UK.

Charlotte Knight, UK Retail MD at GAME, comments: “Virtual Reality is the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. With gamers eager to see what’s coming next, we’re incredibly excited to give our customers exclusive access to this new technology.

“At GAME we’re passionate about making the latest technology accessible for everyone. The Merge VR headset does exactly that, offering the Virtual Reality experience to gamers and families. For those thinking about Christmas gifting, the Merge VR headset is the perfect present for under £50.”

To make the new headset even more affordable, gamers can Trade-in their old software and hardware in exchange for cash or credit. Customers will also earn 2% back in Reward points on every purchase, which can go towards even more great games, tech and accessories from GAME.

To find out more about the Merge VR headset, head into your local GAME store or visit www.game.co.uk/MergeVR .

Train2Game News ChilliConnect Beta

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ChilliWorks have announced today the global beta launch of ChilliConnect, a cloud based backend platform for connected games.

This latest product in their technology suite – which also includes the open source game engine ChilliSource – places them as a fresh contender in the rapidly growing live games tools market.

ChilliConnect offers a powerful combination of both connected and social game features and analytics platform to provide developers with everything they need to successfully run a live game from a single platform.

ChilliConnect has already been deployed in a number of live service games for clients including Mind Candy, 505 Games and more recently on Activision’s recent mobile title, Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor.

Mike Herron, Head of Product Development at ChilliWorks, marked this first release by commenting: “We believe all games can be improved by connecting players. The ChilliConnect beta release marks the first step on an exciting journey that will see us rapidly increase features, usability and support in the coming months”.

We have already seen first-hand how connected and back-end services can enable games developers to create better games, and generate improved commercial performance. Now we look forward to enabling a much larger number of game creators through the power of ChilliConnect”.

ChilliConnect provides developers with a reliable, scalable system, that includes everything they need to build, launch and maintain a game with live elements. The beta release includes features such as user management, analytics, leader boards and custom event tracking. An exciting roadmap will see ChilliConnect extend the offering with features including IAP validation, push notification and asynchronous multiplayer ahead of the full release in Q1 2016.

ChilliConnect beta is available for free download now from www.chilliconnect.com

Train2Game News Dark Souls 3 at Play Expo

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Today Replay Events are thrilled to announce that Bandai Namco Entertainment UK will be bringing Dark Souls III, the latest game in the critically acclaimed Dark Souls series, to Play Expo this October 10th- 11th.

This will be the first opportunity for the public to play the already lauded action RPG title that sees the return of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki.

Dark Souls III brings the new Battle Arts system to combat which Miyazaki calls ‘an evolution’ as it builds on the series’ trademark sword and sorcery combat and adds a new layer to the combat system. The trademark online multiplayer functionality has also evolved to seamlessly integrate online interactions into the single player story.

Dark Souls III is a turning point for the series and will be released in April 2016.

So don’t miss out on the chance to be one of the first people to play Dark Souls III on PlayStation 4 and book your Play Expo tickets today!

Tickets are on sale at the website: http://www.playexpo.net/tickets/
With further information also available: http://www.playexpo.net/

Train2Game News XBLIG Tribute

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In response to news that Xbox Live Indie Games is closing down, the Indie Games Uprising has returned to shed light on the positive effects the channel had.

As usual with XBLIG, articles have surfaced describing the channel as a failed experiment filled with zombie games and vibrator apps – but that isn’t the whole story!

The Indie Games Uprising Tribute promotion aims to highlight developers who started their career on Xbox Live Indie Games or gained something from publishing on the channel. XBLIG enabled many hobbyists who had no experience in game development to publish games, and in some instances pursue games as a career. XBLIG also attracted AAA veterans who could release their indie games with ease via the channel’s straight forward publishing process. XBLIG changed a lot of lives, and many of us involved with the Uprising don’t believe we’ll see something quite this special again.

You can look at this promotion as a “where are they now?” spotlight. Listed on our site are developers who feel XBLIG paved the way for them to work on exciting new projects on platforms such as PS4, Xbox One and Wii U. There are also links for their old school XBLIG games so you can see where it all started!

The Indie Games Uprising ran annually from 2010 – 2012, showcasing quality XBLIG games that weren’t getting the promotion they deserved. Each promotion was showcased on the front page of Xbox Live, receiving unofficial Microsoft support.

Official Website: http://www.indiegames-uprising.com/XBLIGTribute

Train2Game News UK Top 20 Games – 28.09.15

FIFA-16In a chart that has surprised no one, Fifa 16 is number one, knocking Destiny The Taken King down to second. Skylanders Superchargers comes in at number four this week and Blood Bowl 2, based on Games Workshop popular board game, is number fifteen.

All formats

Week ending 26 September 2015

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 FIFA 16 EA SPORTS
2 DESTINY: THE TAKEN KING ACTIVISION 1
3 FORZA MOTORSPORT 6 MICROSOFT 2
4 SKYLANDERS SUPERCHARGERS SKYLANDERS
5 METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN KONAMI 4
6 PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2016 KONAMI 3
7 MAD MAX WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 5
8 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 7
9 CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS ACTIVISION 14
10 LEGO JURASSIC WORLD WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 10
11 SUPER MARIO MAKER NINTENDO 6
12 DISNEY INFINITY 3.0 DISNEY INFINITY 8
13 MINECRAFT: XBOX EDITION MICROSOFT 12
14 MINECRAFT: PLAYSTATION EDITION SONY COMPUTER ENT. 16
15 BLOOD BOWL II FOCUS HOME INTERACTIVE
16 GEARS OF WAR: ULTIMATE EDITION MICROSOFT 11
17 DISNEY INFINITY 2.0 DISNEY INFINITY
18 RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 BIG BEN
19 TITANFALL EA GAMES
20 UNTIL DAWN SONY COMPUTER ENT. 13
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2015 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact david.smith@ukie.org.uk for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News World of Final Fantasy

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Square Enix Ltd., today released new WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY™ screenshots featuring the heroes Reynn and Lann, as a mysterious woman named Enna Kros guides them into the world of Grymoire.

Along the way, the siblings encounter notable characters, locations and monsters that will be familiar to FINAL FANTASY® fans, including the legendary Lightning from FINAL FANTASY XIII and the town of Cornelia from the original FINAL FANTASY.

The new images showcase Mirages, powerful creatures that can turn the tide of any battle to aid Reynn and Lann. Players can take advantage of the game’s unique stacking mechanic to increase attack power and HP, and unlock special abilities. Among the iconic Mirages are Shiva, Ramuh, Ifrit and Cerberus, ready to wipe out all enemies that oppose the duo. WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY also introduces train travel with the Cactuar Conductor for Reynn and Lann to journey across Grymoire.

WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY, a brand-new title in the FINAL FANTASY franchise, combines classic RPG gameplay mechanics with fresh and imaginative toy-like visuals to welcome both fans and newcomers to the series. Players will lead a pair of twins through varied FINAL FANTASY worlds and capture and raise such adorably familiar beasts as cactuar, chocobo® and behemoth to discover alternate forms and learn new abilities.

WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY will be available in 2016 for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment systems.

Official Homepage: www.worldoffinalfantasy.com

Train2Game News Adventure Time Magic Man’s Head Games music

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Award-winning composer Erik Desiderio is thrilled to share his uplifting soundtrack for Cartoon Network and Turbo Button’s virtual reality take on the Adventure Time universe with a music video reveal that features game footage alongside several musicians who perform the main theme live by combining banjo, harmonica, melodica, accordion and even whistling:

Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games Main Theme Music Video

Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games is developed by Turbo Button and follows Cartoon Network’s Finn and Jake on new adventures in full virtual reality for the first time. Drawing inspiration from classic platformers like  Banjo-Kazooie, players control Finn, while Jake sits in his backpack. Finn can attack enemies with his sword, or use Jake to smack creatures with his his inflated hand. Voice actors from the recent Emmy Award-winning show provide the voices in the game, which is available now.

“I was a huge fan of the show before being contacted about this project,” notes composer Erik Desiderio. “I especially enjoyed the first episode with Magic Man, who acts as the primary antagonist for this game. The playful nature of the  Adventure Time universe afforded me the opportunity to work with some of my frequent collaborators and incorporate lots of fun instruments. Somehow, though, despite their various talents, everyone insisted that they be able to whistle on the soundtrack. I had no choice but to comply and join in myself!”

Desiderio-known best for his work in film and on the SMS Racing and This Means War! videogames-was given the freedom to take the Adventure Time franchise into new waters with this soundtrack by including live performances to bring the already quirky and upbeat world of  Adventure Time to life. The featured whistler has sung on other projects and created sound effects with his mouth for the mobile game Stick to It, while the woodwind player recorded flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax, bari sax and also whistled on the soundtrack. The trumpet player performed trumpet and coronet. Finally, Desiderio himself played banjo, fretless electric bass, harmonica, triangle, melodica, accordion, shaker and can also be heard whistling throughout the score.

Learn more about Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games:

Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games on Fortune

Train2Game News Ubisoft Soundtracks

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Sumthing Else Music Works, the premier record label dedicated to releasing video game soundtracks, today announced that it has entered into a multiple-title licensing agreement with Ubisoft, to release physical editions of the original soundtracks from blockbuster video game franchises  Assassin’s Creed®,  Far Cry®,  Prince of Persia®,  Rayman®  and  Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell®.

“We’re excited to be working with Ubisoft in bringing their physical product and lineup of artists and titles to the worldwide marketplace,” said Andy Uterano, President of Sumthing Else Music Works.

Under terms of the agreement Sumthing Else will issue Ubisoft’s music catalog on CD and select titles on vinyl, commencing with the original soundtracks from its historical action-adventure series  Assassin’s Creed®  on September 25. Featuring the music of BAFTA award-winning, Billboard and MTV Video Music Awards nominated composer Jesper Kyd and Grammy award-winning, Emmy and BAFTA nominated composer Lorne Balfe, the first physical soundtracks to be released include:

   *Assassin’s Creed Original Game Soundtrack – Music by Jesper Kyd

BAFTA winning composer Jesper Kyd’s immersive soundtrack evokes the medieval Middle-Eastern setting. Set in 1191 AD, when the Third Crusade was tearing the Holy Land apart,  Assassin’s Creed  enables players to become truly immersed into the mindset of Altaïr, the game’s main character, and the rich environments of the game through Jesper Kyd’s thematic original score. The combination of cinematic compositions with Middle-Eastern acoustic instruments and vocal performances, featuring full choir and soloists, delivers a deeply meditative and spiritual aesthetic.

   *Assassin’s Creed II Original Game Soundtrack (2-CD) – Music by Jesper Kyd

Assassin’s Creed II  features a new hero, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young Italian noble, and a new era, the Renaissance. To reflect the change in character, story and setting for  Assassin’s Creed II, Jesper Kyd took the music in an adventurous and dramatic new direction, crafting a melodic, acoustic and progressive musical palette. The music propels the action, captures the allure and mystery of the story and immerses players in the breathtakingly detailed settings. Kyd’s multi-award winning Renaissance-inspired score features the series’ iconic theme, “Ezio’s Family”.

    *Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Original Game Soundtrack – Music by Jesper Kyd

The third iteration in the critically acclaimed series, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was inspired by historical events during the occupation of Rome by The Borgias in 1503. “Researching the history of the Borgia Family it became clear early on that Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood would require a very dark score in order to match the Borgias’ aspirations to become the rulers of Italy. The music follows the compelling story of Ezio as a Master Assassin going up against The Borgias.” – Jesper Kyd

    *Assassin’s Creed Revelations The Complete Recordings (3-CD) – Music by Jesper Kyd and Lorne Balfe

In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Master Assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of the legendary mentor Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. Introducing the “Assassin’s Creed Theme”, cut-scenes and multiplayer music by Grammy winning composer/producer Lorne Balfe, recorded with a full live orchestra, and featuring a rich, evocative hybrid in-game music score by Jesper Kyd drawing on Greek, Renaissance and Middle-Eastern instrumentation, combining his emotional melodic writing and acoustic/electronic styles associated with the series.

    *Assassin’s Creed III Original Soundtrack – Music by Lorne Balfe

Assassin’s Creed III invited players to experience the untold story of the American Revolution through the eyes of a new Assassin, Connor. Designed from the ground up, Assassin’s Creed III takes one of gaming’s most beloved franchises to new heights with Lorne Balfe returning to helm the original score. “I wanted to create an epic feeling that would complement the grandeur of the visuals. This was the beginning of America as we know it today – filled with cultures from across the world. With such diversity available, I was able to bring Celtic and other musical influences into the game to further accentuate the complexities of the game itself.” – Lorne Balfe

The remaining Assassin’s Creed original soundtracks will be released on CD in October and select titles on vinyl in 2016:

    *Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Original Game Soundtrack – Music by Brian Tyler
    *Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Game Soundtrack Sea Shanty Edition – Various Artists
    *Assassin’s Creed Unity Original Game Soundtrack Volumes 1 & 2 – Music by Chris Tilton and Sarah Schachner

The licensing deal announced today also includes physical releases for the Far Cry®, Prince of Persia®, Rayman® and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell® soundtracks – release dates to be announced.

For more information on Sumthing Else Music Works and its complete catalog of video game soundtracks, visit www.sumthing.com

Train2Game News Game Audio salary increase

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Salaried employees in game audio and sound design earn an average of $10,000 more annually than was reported in 2014.

Freelancers earn an average of $1,000 less per project while the average number of projects for freelancers has risen from 4.6 in 2014 to 5.2 in 2015, according to the Game Audio Industry Survey by GameSoundCon with 591 respondents.

The percentage of salaried workers in game sound design increased from 37% in 2014 to 46% in 2015.  Freelance designers now make up 46% of the game audio industry versus 60% in 2014, demonstrating a previously unseen even split between salaried employees and freelance composers and designers.

Other changes include:

●     80% of game composers reported they also provide sound effects, in comparison to 65% of composers who reported providing sound effects in 2014

●     23% of indie game projects now offer soundtrack clauses allowing composers to profit from soundtrack sales, rising from 18% in 2014.  The percentage of AAA games offering payment for soundtracks remained constant at 5%

●     While game audio and sound design remains a primarily male industry, the percentage of respondents identifying as female doubled from 3.5% in 2014 to 7% today

The Game Audio Industry Survey, conducted by GameSoundCon, tracks compensation, working conditions, contract terms and production information for the game music and sound industry.

GameSoundCon, taking place Nov. 3 – 4 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, offers attendees hands-on training sessions and networking events with audio industry luminaries.

“The changes we observed in game sound design compensation over just one year demonstrate the value of collecting this information,” said Brian Schmidt, executive director, GameSoundCon.  “Our inaugural 2014 survey was meant to illuminate aspects of the game audio industry that Gamasutra’s annual salary survey didn’t focus on.  I’m very pleased to see our efforts continue to bring new findings to light about this group of talented professionals.”

More information about GameSoundCon is available at www.GameSoundCon.com

Train2Game News 5K resolution virtual reality headset

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Starbreeze AB, an independent creator, publisher and distributor of high quality entertainment products, today announced a collaboration with Tobii, the leader in eye-tracking, to integrate Tobii’s eye tracking technology into Starbreeze unique 210-degree field of view, 5K resolution virtual reality-headset StarVR.

Eye tracking is set to further revolutionize virtual reality application where the user’s eye movements and reactions can trigger different reactions and paths in the experience. Most importantly, the implementation of foveated rendering (Gaze Prioritized Graphics), or computational graphics, can occur when the device knows the specific area the user is currently looking. With foveated rendering, StarVR will not need to sacrifice any of its graphics quality or resolution in order to accommodate the large FOV found in VR HMDs, ensuring a consistent, top-quality experience for users.

“We’re still in early development of our StarVR HMD and are therefore looking for best in class solutions to the components that we believe make the best VR experiences there is” said Emmanuel Marquez, CTO of Starbreeze AB. He continued” Eye tracking technology in a VR HMD will let us customize the experiences and enable even further immersion.

“Starbreeze is known for creating killer, high-quality consumer experiences, which is what attracted us to this collaboration,” said Oscar Werner, president of Tobii Tech. “The ambition is to deliver the most immersive and realistic experiences with the highest graphical standards and eye tracking components for an unparalleled VR HMD.”

Examples of Eye Tracking Enhancements to Virtual Reality:

    Gaze-prioritized graphics (also known as foveated rendering) – VR graphics can be improved and optimized by, for instance, rendering graphics with higher resolution in the region where the user is looking.

     VR comfort – Comfort in the VR experience can be improved by more precise graphics rendering based on data about the position and direction of the eyes.

    Gaming  immersion – Harnessing natural eye movement, environments and characters can be made more realistic and interactive in games through:

        -Natural targeting – To pick up or throw an object, instead of pointing towards the object through head movement, users only need to look at the object to interact with it. This interaction is natural, intuitive and seamless because it so closely mimics real life.

        -Eye contact – This fundamental non-verbal communication is critical to our interaction with others. Bringing the same principle to character interaction in a film or game makes users even more deeply immersed. Characters can come to life, interact or ignore you based on eye contact.

        -Immersive graphics and sound – Scary or surprising reactions can be created by knowing what users are paying attention to. Sounds, for instance and characters may appear from where users are not currently looking.