Train2Game News: Xbox One SmartGlass app available now

Xbox One SmartGlassThe release of Xbox One is nearly upon us but before Xbox One arrives on Nov. 22, you can download the Xbox One SmartGlass app today.

The Xbox One Smartglass App is separate from the Xbox360 app that you may currently own on your smartdevice. You may remember from the Xbox One launch announcement that Microsoft are planning on making this app a lot more integral to your console experience.

Of course you may wonder what the point to getting the app would be before the console is even released. Until the console is released you may want to try these three things to wet your appetite for the next generation console:

  • Search for the perfect game. Don’t waste any time – search for new Xbox One games so you can jump right in when your console is ready. Xbox One SmartGlass also lets you view information such as game details, achievements and challenges so you’re ready to get going with your favorite games. You can even check out the Game DVR clips already uploaded by the community!
  • Keep up with friends. Connect with friends and the Xbox Live community even before you finish setting up your console. Use the app to see what your friends have been up to, check out their latest achievements, or read your messages while you’re waiting.
  • Personalize your dashboard. Pin your favorite games and apps to the Home screen so you jump into your favorite activities right when you finish setting up your console and log into Xbox Live.

Connecting Xbox One SmartGlass to your Xbox One is easy. Just use the same wireless network on your Xbox One SmartGlass-enabled device as your Xbox One and open the app to automatically connect to your console. Once synced, you can use Xbox One SmartGlass to fly through your console set-up by using gestures to navigate and your device’s keyboard to log in to Xbox Live.

Additionally, Microsoft have partnered with developers to deliver some amazing experiences for movies, games and apps available on day one and beyond worldwide. These include Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast & Furious 6, Dead Rising 3, Just Dance 2014, Battlefield 4, Internet Explorer and Machinima.

The Xbox One SmartGlass app is available for download now on all iOS, Android and Windows 8 smart devices.

Train2Game News: Xbox One Self Publishing

Xbox OneMicrosoft have finally clarified their self publishing plans for the Xbox One, allowing developers to create, sell and market games through the new home console.

All developers accepted for the scheme will receive two Xbox One development kits free of charge, as well as access to the full range of services on offer to games development teams – cloud services, Kinect and the Xbox One toolset, which includes Smartglass, multiplayer, Achievements and Gamerscores.

Applications for the self-publishing service, named ID@Xbox, are being accepted from today, with Microsoft stating that priority will be given to developers with a proven track record in shipping games on console, mobile, PC or tablets and there are no application fees for certification or for title updates.

In order to help with the discoverability issues that trouble all self-publishing stores, Microsoft is promising that all games will feature in the regular Xbox One store and be supported by voice search.

On top of that the store will also feature trending games reflecting what the community and friends are playing, recommendations based on a consumer’s playing habits, spotlighted games and the ability for developers to set community challenges, as well as support the Xbox One’s Game DVR and Upload services.

Phil Harrison, corporate vice president at Microsoft Europe’s interactive entertainment business, revealed that Microsoft will set the price of self-published games after developers have established their wholesale price and that developers are likely to receive an industry standard 70/30 split in their favour.

“The developer can set their own wholesale price and we act as the retailer. So Xbox Live acts as a reseller, and Xbox Live Store will be setting the ultimate retail price to the consumer. That’s the way in which our store has always been structured,” he said.

Independent developers who have already given their support to Microsoft’s new initiative include Chris Hecker, The Behemoth’s John Baez, Paul Wedgewood from Splash Damage, Other Ocean’s Mike Mika, Team 17’s Debbie Bestwick, The Odd Gentlemen’s Matt Korab, Ripstone’s Phil Gaskel and Dlala Studios.

Microsoft has said that eventually it hopes that every Xbox One will become a development kit for self-publishing purposes.

If you are interested in signing up for this you can do so by visiting http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/developers/id

Train2Game News: Unity supports Xbox One and Windows 8

unity-logoMicrosoft has entered a partnership with the makers of the Unity game engine that will add tools and support for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One.

The deal, unveiled at Microsoft’s Build Conference in San Francisco, brings yet another set of tools to reach Microsoft’s new platforms and will see the two companies collaborating to make Windows 8 and Xbox One even more approachable for Unity developers.

Xbox 360 and Xbox One developers who have their games published by Microsoft Studios will be given free access to Unity tools.

“Our vision is to democratize game development and provide opportunity for all developers, from individuals to massive teams,” said Unity CEO David Helgason.

“Our collaboration will help further these goals by empowering our community to create games across Microsoft’s powerful platforms. Their vision to provide the best outlet for games to be enjoyed parallels our own vision to build the best platform for games to be developed and we’re excited to work with them to shape the future of the industry.”

Unity’s support for the Xbox One includes many next-generation features like Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass, and the console’s cloud features.

The Windows 8 support includes a Windows Store Add-on that will be available for free to Unity Pro 4 licensees once it’s launched this summer. The add-on will support both Windows Store apps and Windows Phone 8 apps.

“Unity has established itself not only as an incredible development toolset and engine, but as a significant force for creative freedom and innovation in the games development community,” said Microsoft’s Steven Guggenheimer.

“With Unity’s commitment to support Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox One and Xbox 360, Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem will benefit from the wealth of ideas and imagination flowing from the Unity games development community.”

This should be great news for Train2Game students who enjoy creating with the Unity engine. It opens bigger, wider markets to get your work out in to the world.

Train2Game News: Xbox at E3

Xbox OneE3 has begun and the first subject I will report on from the event is the Xbox E3 Conference which was on at 5:30pm GMT, yesterday.

The event began with an incredibly stunning trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, featuring the voice of Kiefer Sutherland. The trailer displayed incredibly beautiful graphics using the Xbox One system and they are truly jaw dropping. The game play its self looks big, epic and is open world. This new adventure of snake uses interesting stealth mechanics and action to achieve your goals.

It was a beautiful start to the conference.

The rest of the conference was full of the new stunning games for the Xbox One for all audiences and fans.

There was another old favourite game returning to console market, Killer Instinct, the beat-em-up game published by Rare and Nintendo that was made popular in 1994, released as an Arcade machine, then later ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Killer instinct was displayed on stage by Double Helix Games, the creators of the reboot.

Games for the younger audience were also displayed. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition looked beautiful some how. I have no idea how the Xbox One has made simple blocks beautiful but they managed it!

One of the more interesting looking games and mechanics was that of Project Spark. You create the game world using the Kinect Voice Recognition, saying phrases such as “Woodland” and the land would be covered in Woodland. You can then go through and shape the world in a way you see fit and give inanimate objects intelligence to fill many roles. The possibilities are truly endless for the game.

Forza 5 was shown at the event and this was one of the most intelligent features I have ever seen in a game. With their feature known as “Drivatar” as you play the game, it will learn what you do and how you race, with what it learns, when you are not playing the game, your friends and people around the world can use your Drivatar to race against. In a way, there is no AI to race against, instead you race against people matched to your level so there is always a challenge through out the game. It is an incredible idea.

With it being an Xbox conference there was of course a few first person shooters.

Battlefield 4 was shown and looked absolutely beautiful, with incredible action and an exciting pace. They didn’t display any multiplayer game play however.

There was also a teaser trailer for the next Halo game that completely blew me away. As I sat there watching the trailer, trying to work out what I was seeing I was shocked and excited to see the Master Chief unveiled, that was one of the best moments of it for me.

There was several other games mentioned through the conference.

The Xbox it’s self was announced to be very heavily integrated with the Smartglass app. Using it from keeping an eye on other players stats to displaying the user interface.

The price was the biggest downfall of the console however. In the UK the console will be £429. A price many aren’t sure is worth it.

Train2Game News: Fable remake coming to Xbox 360

Fable AnniversaryLionhead started off the day by teasing a HD remake of the original Fable for Xbox 360.

The British studio released a video, simply titled ‘Fable Teaser Trailer’, and also embedded it in a blog post titled ‘An Exciting Teaser to Start the Day’, which simply read, “Here’s a sneak peak at a little something we’ve been working on…”

Microsoft has confirmed that the new game from Lionhead Studios will be Fable Anniversary, a HD remake of the original Fable for Xbox 360 including The Lost Chapters, added Achievements, SmartGlass integration, leaderboards, new UI, and a full 1080p HD visual update.

Other new features confirmed for the release include a new lighting system that utilises Unreal 3 to render the lighting, a new facial animation system, new cutscene animations, plus updated textures, models, particle effects, save system and more.

Ted Timmins, the lead designer on the game, calls it “The game that Fable fans have been demanding for years.” He also explained that the new Achievements will try to do something a little different: “Fable has always been about choice and consequence, so we’re trying to put that into our Achievements.”

Interestingly, Timmins revealed Microsoft’s intent to support Xbox 360 into the next-gen following the release of the Xbox One, saying “Obviously the Xbox 360 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s very important, to all of us, that we carry on delivering on it.”

Fable Anniversary is currently slated for a 2013 Holiday release on Xbox 360 only.

You can enjoy the teaser trailer that started the buzz, below:

Train2Game News: Microsoft SmartGlass releases with Windows 8

Microsoft is launching SmartGlass for a number of devices on October 26 alongside the release of Windows 8.

The new feature will mix Xbox movies, media, games and video between tablets, smartphones, PCs and consoles. The service will immediately launch with support for Windows 8, the Xbox 360, Windows Phones and the upcoming Surface tablet.

Pawan Bhardwaj, product manager Xbox Live, confirmed on Monday that “Microsoft wants to add a SmartGlass app to iOS and Android devices”

No release date has currently been set and whether Google or Apple will allow a rival music player on their devices is yet to be seen.

A variety of games and other apps will support SmartGlass functionality at launch. A list of the supported entertainment at launch is listed below:

Games:

  • Ascend
  • Dance Central 3
  • Forza Horizon
  • Halo Waypoint
  • Home Run Stars
  • Karaoke
  • Kinect Sesame Street TV
  • Prima Games

Sports:

  • ESPN
  • NBA Game Time
  • UFC

Entertainment Apps:

  • Elections 2012
  • HBO GO
  • MSN
  • NBC News
  • NOW TV
  • Slacker Radio
  • TODAY
  • Univision

Microsoft has also said that all Netflix films will soon support the service.

The release of SmartGlass and the Xbox music that has launched today with a dashboard update sees Microsoft move further in to creating an all entertainment service.