Train2Game News: Valve Virtual Reality first look next week

Valve logo Train2Game blog imageValve is just days away from releasing its own virtual reality software development kit, according to studio game designer Brian Coomer.

Speaking to the BBC, Coomer said the SDK would offer developers a standard method to provide an interface for virtual reality controllers.

Valve is expected to showcase the SDK and release it during the Steam Dev Days Conference next week, which takes place between January 14 and 15.

It is believed Valve is working on its own virtual reality technology, but will also support the Oculus Rift.

“There’s also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design,” he says.

“We are working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements.”

As well as a VR SDK, Valve is expected to release a new toolset to assist developers with the creation of games for its Steam Machines, which uses the SteamOS and a unique haptic controller.

Train2Game News: Facebook gaming rising

facebookToday, Facebook announced that is has made significant updates to its Unity SDK and removed it from Beta.

Facebook is now making it even easier for more than 2 million developers working with Unity to tap into Facebook’s leading social features. The newest version of the SDK makes cross-platform development easier and increases compatibility for apps using multiple plugins. Additionally, the SDK is up to date with the latest features of Facebook’s iOS and Android SDKs.

The updated SDK makes it simple for games to let users share screen shots of their game experience with friends. This feature is very popular among players of Cmune’s Uberstrike, a game that recently integrated our SDK. Users share over 65,000 pictures a day and have shared over 2 million pictures in the last 30 days. Other Unity games using the SDK are also having great success. For example, Madfinger launched its mobile only game, Shadowgun: Deadzone on Facebook and increased its total daily players by more than 75% for the first couple weeks. Since integrating the SDK, Nival’s strategy and combat game, Kings Bounty: Legions, has doubled conversion of Facebook users who install the Unity plugin and start the game’s first fight.

Gaming on Facebook has been gaining momentum throughout the year and there’s never been a better time for gamers and developers to start working with Facebook. In the first half of this year, people spent more than $1.5 billion on games on Facebook, and there are now more than 260 million people playing games on Facebook every month.  Last year, over 100 developers generated more than $1M in revenue from Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook also released Q3 earnings, announcing that it was Facebook’s first $2 billion quarter in terms of revenue. The “payments and other” revenue in Q3 was $218 million and payments revenue from games was up 18% from last year.

Train2Game News: Marmalde SDK helping Windows 8 developers

MarmaladeMarmalade, in partnership with Microsoft is giving you the opportunity to get a free 3-month Marmalade license extension and a Free Windows Phone 8 Device when you get apps approved on the Windows Developer Center.

When you sign up for this program you will receive a free Windows Developer Center token. You’ll need this token to submit your beta app and get your free Windows Phone and activate a free one-year membership for the Windows Developer Center.

After registering at the Windows Developer Center, you can submit your beta WP8 app and then tell Marmalade.

You have 30 days to submit your app in beta mode to the Windows Developer Center. Beta apps are reviewed to ensure that they are suitable for listing on the App Store (once complete) and that they are made with Marmalade. It doesn’t matter if it is not 100% complete, just as long as it shows how your app works. If you are porting an existing app, make sure to mention that.

Once your beta app is submitted on the store, letting Marmalade know can flag it for priority review by Microsoft.

When you’re ready, submit your final working app to the Windows Developer Center and inform Marmalade of the live URL, so they can issue your free Marmalade license or extension, and you can keep your Windows Phone 8 device.

The offer closes on the 31st December 2013 so make sure your app is approved on the Windows Developer Center by then!

To get in contact with Marmalade and start this great opportunity you can visit http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/wp8-hub

Train2Game News: CD Projekt RED releases game creation tools

REDKit BetaCD Projekt RED have announced the launch of REDkit, the ultimate set of tools for crafting non-linear role-playing adventures.

Available for free via its official website, REDkit is based on the development tools used to create CD Projekt RED’s award-winning game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

The editor has just entered its open beta phase, allowing everyone who is waiting for The Witcher 3 to go back to the previous installment of the series and create new, amazing content or just play around with other modders’ creations.

REDkit gives modders of all skill levels the tools, they need to tell non-linear tales full of branching plots, believable characters and far-reaching consequences for player actions. Without learning to program or wrangling with opaque editors, game creators can use the top-quality art and assets from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings or import their own, as well as intuitive tools for environment creation, to craft their own unique role-playing adventures.

“For CD Projekt RED, RPGs are all about telling amazing stories,” said Adam Badowski, head of CD Projekt RED. “We want to give players the power to tell the same kind of non-linear, branching stories that made The Witcher games so popular. Our fans have helped us for years to make our games the best they can be, and REDkit is part of embracing our community as a partner in game development.”

REDKit features:

• Intuitive tools developed for all would-be storytellers and game designers
• Complex and user-friendly terrain tools, including the SpeedTree foliage system
• Utilize the astonishing graphics and visuals that power The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
• Create a realistic and dynamic day and night cycle in a few clicks
• Implement non-linear stories and quests with a unique quest system that allows player decisions to impact the game world and plot
• Build believable characters, NPCs, and entire communities and set their interactions with the player
• Place dialogue cameras automatically or manually to create a film-like experience

This is excellent news for Train2Game students who want to test what they have learnt on an already established game or just use already created tools to see what your knowledge can create!

Train2Game News: GameStick Kickstarter earns over $600k

GameStickThe Android based GameStick has now finished its Kickstarter and it has made over 6 times more than it needed.

The GameStick is a new portable console that runs the android operating system. It is a very small stick, similar to that of a USB stick, with a HDMI connection so it can plug straight in to your HD TV. The stick can be stored inside of it’s specially made Bluetooth controller to keep it safe and compact. The GameStick will also work with other Bluetooth controllers.

GameStick´s purpose-built game store will be powered by PlayJam´s built-for-TV technology enabling users to browse, download content and interact with the wider GameStick community.

The campaign to fund the production of GameStick, which is set to ship in April 2013, closed on Friday with pledges coming in right up to the last second finishing at 648% of the original target with a total of $648k. Those that missed out on the Kickstarter campaign will be able to pre-order via the GameStick website at www.gamestick.tv.

Anthony Johnson, CMO, PlayJam said “We are overwhelmed, excited, grateful, thrilled and everything in between. The campaign has been an incredible success with support from thousands of backers worldwide but this is just the beginning. The feedback from the Kickstarter community has been invaluable in shaping the final product and we will continue to seek input from those that supported us to ensure continued innovation ahead of a global retail launch.”

Throughout the campaign the team responded to thousands of comments and suggestions from Kickstarter backers that saw the product evolve in real-time as the team scrambled to incorporate a number of requested features from additional memory capacity to support for peripheral hardware via a docking station.

GameStick, described as ‘The Most Portable TV games Console Ever Created’ has been hailed by many supporters as the console to disrupt the games industry. The device has gathered high profile supporters throughout the campaign such as; Jason Kingsley, (Founder of Rebellion), Jason Bradbury (Gadget Show host) Jermaine Dupri (Record producer) and Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball Legend).

You can download a SDK for the new device at www.gamestick.tv and start developing for a new consoling experience.

Train2Game News: Sony hits milestone and launches new service

Sony’s PlayStation 3 has surpassed 5 million sales in the UK and they have launched PlayStation Mobile for PS Vita and some Android devices.

The PlayStation 3 has now sold over 5 million units as of this morning. The company has enjoyed a 138 per cent jump in sales the week of September 28 following the launch of the new PS3 Super Slim. A second edition of the Super Slim, a 12GB edition targeted at casual audiences, is due for general release tomorrow.

PlayStation UK boss Fergal Gara said “It is fantastic that we passed the 5m mark.

“Most importantly to me it is not the milestone itself, but the fact that there is momentum behind it. With the new chassis and the way the market is panning out this year, PlayStation definitely has the momentum.”

Secondly, PlayStation mobile has gone live today on the Vita and certain Android devices.

The service, designed to bring PlayStation style gaming to Android devices, is available in countries including the US, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Germany and Australia with more set to follow. The cross-platform gaming service currently supports Sony tablets and mobiles such as Xperia smartphones, Sony Tablet S and P and HTC smartphone One S, X and V.

The launch-lineup for PS Mobile includes 21 games, featuring titles such as Vlambeer’s popular shooter Super Crate Box, Crash Labs’s puzzle action game Twist Pilot and Albino Pixel’s puzzler Underline.

The Mobile SDK is being released in November for an annual fee. The development kit is set to be released in 11 different regions, appearing in a phased manner to Japan, US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.