The world of video game fan projects never ceases to amaze, as gamers everywhere continue to show-off their creativity and imagination by developing the kind of experiences that many of us wish would get an official release.
The latest in this long line of “I can’t believe someone is doing that” projects is called Installation 01, and it intends to give PC players everywhere a proper modern-day Halo multiplayer experience to call their own. You can check out this project’s progress in the developer diary video below:
Installation 01 is currently being developed by a group of 30 fans with various talents that intend for their game to be a largely unique experience in the style of previous Halo titles rather than a direct port of those games.
As part of their compliance with the content usage rules set forth by Microsoft, the Installation 01 team is developing nearly everything in the game (including assets that were previously included in Halogames) from scratch. That means that every character, every animation, every level, and every weapon has been hand-designed by the team. While much of the game is still made to resemble elements of the Halo franchise, the developers are also working on unique levels and weapons that will be exclusive to this release.
By going to such lengths to create everything themselves, the hope is that Microsoft will not shut down the game such as how Nintendo has shut down a few recent fan projects based on their properties. Given the sheer amount of work that appears to have gone into the project (it’s even set to feature its own level creation toolset), it certainly would be disappointing if this was ruled to be a license violation, especially since there have been no talks of porting the Halo franchise to PC since the release of Halo 2 for Windows in 2007.
The group behind this project have made some incredible progress since we last checked in. It’s clear that there’s still a ways to go before its completed, but the Installation 01 developers certainly prove their resolve in this Q&A video about the project:
If that’s not enough to convince you that the team behind this project is dedicated to bringing a complete Halo experience to PC users everywhere, then perhaps this impressive homemade cinematic trailer for Installation 01 may just get the job done with its look at how visceral classic Halobattles can get.
The Arms Global Testpunch demo begins this weekend
It is a 1.4GB download for the Nintendo Switch
It is only available in one hour timeslots
Much like Splatoon 2’s Global Testfire for the Nintendo Switch, Arms is having its own demo with the Arms Global Testpunch. The full game is out on June 16 and in the run up to that, you check out its multiplayer.
ALSO SEEArms for Nintendo Switch: Everything You Need to Know
Arms Global Testpunch for Nintendo Switch timings
May 26 – 5pm PT (May 27 – 5:30am IST)
May 27 – 5am, 11am, 5pm PT (May 27 – 5:30pm, 11:30pm IST, May 28 – 5pm IST)
Like Splatoon 2, Nintendo has confirmed that each session will last for an hour a piece. With the game out in a few weeks this is the best way to get a taste of what to expect to make up your mind.
It’s surprising that there will be only twelve hours of playable time in total — a far cry from weekend long play sessions we’ve seen from other publishers like Ubisoft with Rainbow Six Siege and Ghost Recon Wildlands. Perhaps Nintendo isn’t as confident about the Switch’s online capabilities as it would like us to believe? After Splatoon 2’s resoundingly positive demo we don’t think so.
The Arms Global Testpunch is a 1.4GB download and you can get it via the Nintendo eShop.
We discussed Arms on our weekly gaming podcast Transition. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts orRSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.
I’ve been privately lamenting the lack of PC game demos lately. There was a time when demos were commonplace: a chunk of a brand new game you could try out for free before you bought the full game. Demos gave us a chance not only see what a game had to offer and whether or not we enjoyed it, but also allowed us to continually tweak the settings and try different graphics options to see how our PCs handled it. Plus, instead of waiting months for a sale to try the game without a lot of risk, you could play right when the game came out, while everyone else was still talking about it.
While I was at this past weekend I spent a few minutes talking with Kim Nordstrom, former general manager of Swedish game company King and current leader of Paradox Interactive’s mobile initiative. We chatted about PC and mobile games, and especially about Introversion’s Prison Architect, which is making an unlikely appearance on mobile platforms with Paradox as the publisher. Nordstrom’s plan for Prison Architect provide a few lessons PC games could learn from with its unusual, almost shareware-era approach to pricing.
Big, meaty mobile games have a challenge when it comes to sales. The roots of mobile are in free games, or exceedingly cheap ones: 99 cents, maybe a couple of dollars. Pricing a mobile game at $15 or $20 is a dubious prospect, which is why so many are free-to-play with microtransactions: get the game into players’ hands first, and try to get money out of them later. The issue is that ‘microtransaction’ has become something of a dirty word, and that’s mostly true on PC as well. While there are a number of great free-to-play games on PC like Dota 2 and League of Legends, there are scores more that have left us highly suspicious of the F2P model, with gated progress and gameplay designed around making you so damn impatient you’ll pay just to advance at a reasonable pace.
On mobile, Prison Architect will cost around $15. That feels like a fair price for what you get—it’s a complex management simulation and , —but Nordstrom knows simply plopping it on mobile stores with that price tag probably won’t fly. So it will be free to download, and unlocking the complete game lands somewhere between free-to-play and full-price.
“It’s not a free-to-play with microtransactions, nothing like that, it caps at $15 right now,” Nordstrom told me. “But we basically just made it so anyone can install it, and it’s a try before you buy.”
Nordstrom holds out his hands a few inches apart, then widens them as he describes how the game unlocks more content for those who purchase it in chunks. “And the game size is this big, we offer you this much for free, and then we’re very clear on if you pay whatever dollars, you get the sandbox, if you pay [more] you get the chapters, and if you pay the full price you get the full game.”
So, you get to play a portion of the game as much as you want for free, just like a PC demo. Inside the game itself there’s a store that lets you unlock the rest of the features at certain price points. While that sounds suspiciously like microtransactions, there’s a difference: the total amount you can spend is capped. You won’t be nickel-and-dimed forever. If you decide to spend money, you’ll know exactly how much, in advance, it will cost you, and once you’ve spent it, you’re done. You own everything, and you’re never prompted or even tempted to spend more.
The demo, man
As Tyler concluded recently, big-publisher games can cost a lot on PC, especially when you factor in their many special editions, and that along with having no way to try a game before buying it has kept me away from a lot of games in the past few years. With Steam refunds, you can play a game for two hours before returning it or deciding to keep it but as we pointed out recently with Prey, which had a console demo but irritatingly none on PC, that’s nothing like a proper demo at all. (The reason given by Prey’s co-creative director Raphael Colantonio was “It’s just a resource assignment thing. We couldn’t do a demo on both the console and on the PC, we had to choose.”)
Sometimes there are free weekends for games, which are great, but that’s usually well after launch (this weekend’s Rising Storm 2 beta excepted) and usually long after people are actively talking about the game and your friends are still playing it. I’ve never bought a game just for a pre-order bonus, because pre-purchasing isn’t a great idea and the bonuses aren’t much to speak of (what am I really going to do with a digital art book, besides either flip through it once and forget it, or completely forget to flip through it at all). And pre-orders don’t always include a discount, so there’s rarely any real reason to pre-purchase anything.
We do get a few demos nowadays—though most often they don’t arrive as a game is released, such as Dishonored 2’s demo which came months after launch—but we need more, and more games with something like Prison Architect’s mobile model. If Deus Ex: Mankind Divided had been downloadable for free on day one, with a nice chunk of it playable indefinitely (like Prison Architect’s mobile version), players who were undecided about purchasing it for $60 could have gotten a good long look at what it has to offer. It would have given players like me time to play with a selection of augs and try out different playstyles. And it would’ve provided us with a good chance tweak the settings to see how well the it ran on our PCs, something the two-hour Steam refund window simply doesn’t allow for (and really shouldn’t be used for anyway).
If a potential customer such as myself ultimately decides not to buy the rest, what does the publisher really lose? I know creating game demos means more work, and that it’s not as simple as cutting off a slice of the game and plopping it in a folder. But in addition to demos being beneficial to gamers, developers and publishers can gain valuable information from making free demos available. As Kim Nordstrom told me, there’s value not just in the sales a company makes but in having information about the sales they didn’t make.
“The problem is that we as a company, we would never learn if we [had] a $4.99 price point in a storefront, or even a $14.99, because we wouldn’t know,” Nordstrom said. “We would just know who bought it, [but] we wouldn’t know who didn’t [buy] it.”
Information on who didn’t buy your game is useful. How many people were interested enough to download it but were turned off by something in the opening hours? How many people were willing to pay some, but not all, of the full price? Plus, it could whet the appetite of some customers who would then buy later during a sale instead of simply forgetting about it. This strikes me as a net positive for both developers and players.
Even if people don’t buy Prison Architect on mobile after trying it for free, Nordstrom says, “…they’ll play the game and if they enjoy it they might get interested in the company, or the brand, or Introversion’s games, and such. And they might spread it in terms of [word of mouth], and some people say ‘Holy crap, this is a great game, I’m going to buy it.'”
For publishers and developers, demos put a game in front of more players on launch day, provides them with additional information on how their game is being played and received, and can increase interest in their games even if not everyone who tries them, buys them. They can even get more technical feedback if their game is having problems on launch day. For players, they’re given a chance to sample more new games, to properly try before they buy, and less incentive to abuse Steam’s refund policy or wait months for a sale. PC demos are good for everyone, and it’s time for them to make a comeback.
Rocket League is coming to the Nintendo Switch
It will be available this holiday season
PS4 owners will not be able to play with Switch, PC, and Xbox One players
Rocket League is coming to the Nintendo Switch. Developer Psyonix announced this at Nintendo’s E3 2017 event with a Holiday 2017 release date. The game fuses together racing and sports as you chase a football in a rocket-propelled car. It became a runaway success when it initially released in 2015 on Windows PC and PS4. Psyonix detailed what’s new and different this time around.
Rocket League Nintendo Switch exclusives
Specific battle-cars and customisation items such as Mario and Luigi hat toppers would be exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.
Rocket League Nintendo Switch content and features
Psyonix confirmed that all of the content, features, and updates the game has got on other platforms like the PS4, Xbox One, and PC will be available on the Nintendo Switch as well.
Rocket League Nintendo Switch mode support
Rocket League will support all of the Nintendo Switch’s play modes including:
TV Mode (docked)
Online Multiplayer (upto eight players)
Rocket League Nintendo Switch cross-platform play explained
Rocket League on the Nintendo Switch will support online multiplayer between Steam and Xbox One versions of the game. Much like Minecraft, PS4 owners will not be able to partake in the fun just yet.
Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest gaming and social media firm by revenue, said it would limit play time for some young users of Honor of Kings from Tuesday, amid claims that children were getting addicted to the popular mobile game.
Parents and teachers have complained that children were becoming addicted to the multiplayer online battle game, which, according to the company, has more than 200 million users, making it the world’s most popular game of its kind.
Users below 12 years of age will be limited to one hour of play time each day, while those aged between 12 years and 18 years will be limited to two hours a day, Tencent said.
The firm also plans to ban users under 12 years from logging in after 9pm (1300 GMT or 6:30pm IST) and will impose further restrictions on how much money younger users spend on the game, it added.
“There are no rules to prevent indulgence in online games in China, but we decided to be the first to try to dispel parental worries by limiting play time and forcing children to log off,” Tencent said on its official WeChat account.
Tencent, which has a portfolio of over 200 games, also said it would upgrade a parental-control platform rolled out earlier this year that makes it easier for parents to monitor their children’s gaming account activities.
It will also step up the requirement of real-name registration for all users, it said.
The fantasy role-playing game based on Chinese historical characters raked in a revenue of more than CNY 5.5 billion ($810.47 million or roughly Rs. 5,247 crores) in the first quarter, Chinese gaming industry database CNG estimates. China’s mobile gaming revenue grew by CNY 4.5 billion to CNY 27.5 billion (roughly Rs. 26,232 crores) over the period, the biggest growth in two years.
Tencent, which declines to provide a revenue breakdown of its games, made CNY 12.9 billion from smartphone games in the first quarter, according to its financial report.
According to mobile data intelligence firm Jiguang, Honor of Kings has become China’s most popular game in recent months, doubling its monthly active users to 163 million in May compared with December. More than half of its users are below 24 years of age, including more than a quarter below 19 years, it said.
China is the world’s largest gaming market by revenue, and is expected to account for roughly 25 percent of global game sales in 2017, according to research firm NewZoo.
PlayLink lets you play games on your PS4 via a smartphone
Titles vary from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes
PlayLink titles include That’s You!, Hidden Agenda
At the ongoing E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California, Sony announced some of its most anticipated games for PlayStation for the year including God of War, Spider-Man and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, to name a few. Console titles aside, the company also introduced PlayLink, which allows users to play games with family and friends using their smartphones and tablets.
PlayLink is aimed at creating a fun, interactive way to play games in a social setting. Based on a video Sony released showcasing the feature, PlayLink requires a smartphone or tablet, a TV, and a PlayStation 4 console, which, when set up, lets you and your group of family or friends play interactive PlayLink titles.
“PlayLink games turn your smartphone or tablet into a versatile controller – you can swipe, pinch, drag, tilt, rotate or even snap selfies and draw crafty doodles, depending on the game. No matter which title you choose from our PlayLink collection, it’s guaranteed to be a slick pick-up-and-play experience,” Sony said in a blog post.
PlayLink titles range from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes. In one of the videos, for example, you see a group of people playing That’s You! – a quiz-based app that “challenges you and up to five friends to get personal and find out what you really think about each other.” This will be one of the first titles for PlayLink and will be available for PlayStation Plus members for free starting July 4.
Another video shows a crime and narrative-based game called Hidden Agenda that allows up to six people to join in. The game requires the players to make tough, quick decisions as the story progresses, which will also influence the way the game moves forward.
Sony sees PlayLink as something that can come in handy during social gatherings as well as rope in new players to video games. It also reminds one of Jackbox Games’ Party Pack multi-platform social games. Some other PlayLink titles that can be expected soon include Knowledge is Power, Frantic, and SingStar Celebration.
New Google Play Music feature now rolling out
Samsung Galaxy S8 users getting the New Release Radio station
Some users able to use the new feature on non-Samsung devices
For Samsung Galaxy S8 users, Google Play Music is the default music player and streaming service. Now, Galaxy S8 users are receiving a brand new feature dubbed New Release Radio, which is a personalised radio station with new music releases and updates on a daily basis.
The latest New Release Radio feature has steadily been popping up on Galaxy S8 devices with “Samsung Exclusive” tagline. The pop-up describes the new feature, “Listen to brand new music, personalised to your tastes and listening history – with new recommendations every day.” The feature was first spotted by a Reddit user, and was reported by Sammobile.
Engadget, however, points out that the feature may not be limited to Samsung Galaxy S8 users as some users have been able to add the “New Release Radio” station to their libraries. Some Reddit users also claim that they were able to add the new feature to their libraries while using Google Play Music Web interface as well as on non-Samsung devices. Unfortunately, there’s no word whether the feature will be kept as an exclusive for Samsung Galaxy S8 (and Galaxy S8+) devices or to be made available to all users in the long run.
We can expect an update on the status of availability of the “New Release Radio” station for non-Samsung devices.
Samsung and Google jointly announced their new partnership back in April, and it gave some benefits to Samsung users. They were allowed to upload 100,000 of their own songs to Google Play Music for free, which is almost double the limit for owners of non-Samsung devices.
Despite not performing as well as many of the other big brands in the smartphone business, Sony has made it clear that it will stick it out in the handset market. The latest reports suggest that the company has two more flagship models heading our way this year.
While still unconfirmed, it appears that Sony is looking to consolidate its premium tier of smartphones with its upcoming releases. A move that I believe not only makes financial sense, but is likely to help the company’s struggling brand awareness too. Even if this means that a few consumer favourites, such as the Compact range, may be sacrificed.
Sony has long been criticized for releasing too many smartphones, and this goes right back to the days of the Z1, Z3, and Z3+, etc. Arguably, the situation has become even more confusing in the past year or so, following Sony’s adoption of its Premium and Performance branding.
400 quatloos to whoever can detail the differences between the Xperia XZ, XZs, XZ Premium, X Compact, X Performance, and the regular X model off the top of their head.
400 quatloos to whoever can detail the differences between the Xperia XZ, XZs, XZ Premium, X Compact, X Performance, and the regular X model off the top of their head. Remember, that’s just over one year’s worth of premium tier releases from Sony. While we enthusiasts have the benefit of breaking down spec sheets for fun, imagine how bewildering this range would look stacked up on a physical store display. How would you pick?
It’s no wonder that marketing seems completely absent for so many of Sony’s phones, yet a clear cut message and notable differentiation is essential when trying to market premium tier products to consumers. By cutting out its “Premium Standard” models – which includes the Xperia X and X Compact – Sony will almost certainly see an improvement to consumer understanding of its product range. This instantly helps with marketing and will importantly make its product range easier to breakdown and compare to other flagship models.
That being said, releasing four premium tier products a year is still probably a couple too many. Although if there’s a notable differentiation between some of them, such as a Compact or Phablet model released part way through the year ala LG’s V series or Samsung’s Note, then this might just fly.
It’s time to cut costs
Furthermore, eliminating the diversity of its top-tier products could be a sensible cost cutting measure for a company whose mobile division pulls in considerably less revenue than the likes of Apple and Samsung. We know that Sony Mobile has been underperforming financially for a while now, so this is a much needed move.
Even if Sony doesn’t actually cut down the number of high-end products it releases each year, it’s still looking like four, manufacturing phones with more components in common saves hugely on costs. Component stock can be shared between models, meaning that Sony won’t get caught out holding a lot of mid-tier processors if a phone doesn’t sell. Similarly, software development and support costs and times are lowered, as chip and hardware feature implementations can be shared.
Currently, across Sony’s Premium Standard and Flagship models you’ll find a Snapdragon 650, 820, and 835, combined with a selection of 4K, 1080p, and 720p panels and various Quick Charge implementations. Distilling this down to a single core specification but packaged in different sized units, as Samsung is does with the S8 and S8 Plus, would be more cost effective. But we’ll have to wait and see if that’s actually what Sony has planned.
Of course, such a move makes it inevitable that some of Sony’s more interesting products will disappear. The Compact range remains a favourite of those who want a powerful phone in a small form factor, but it’s always been a more niche product than more profitable phablets. It’s likely that the Compact range will be a casualty if Sony follows through with this plan, unless the company makes an unlikely move and releases a sub 5-inch flagship as one of its two releases reportedly planned for later in the year.
The Compact range remains a favourite of those who want a powerful phone in a small form factor, but it’s likely to be a casualty of Sony’s reshuffle.
Similarly, the value proposition of the Xperia X also looks set to disappear. While this diversity is part of Sony’s problem, there’s something to be said about offering a cost competitive alternative to the big players in order to gain market share. I don’t know how well this would work out for Sony as a Plan A, but the overshadowed Xperia X didn’t exactly seem like a solid commitment that we could use to gauge consumer appetite from. Sony would clearly rather view itself competing at the premium tier rather than fighting it out in the bargain bin.
These and other interesting products, such as the Z Ultra, have previously helped Sony stand out, and there is a risk that simply copying the a formula used by others could cause Sony’s Xperia handsets to become further lost in the crowd, especially if the hardware isn’t all that different between generations.
Could Sony consolidate further?
Perhaps then, simply reshuffling its flagship models doesn’t go far enough to revamp the company’s image and portfolio in a way that will make a meaningful difference. In reality, it looks like Sony is essentially going back to its previous method of two major announcements a year, which will probably be just as infuriating as it was with the Xperia Z series.
Instead, I think Sony could do with being bolder, releasing yet fewer products but with a clearer purpose to each. Really, only one major flagship per year is required, with perhaps a secondary product released to maintain momentum. Apple, Samsung, LG, and to a lesser extent Huawei have done quite well using this model.
I would quite happily take a bells and whistles flagship Xperia launch at the start of the year, followed up by a compelling aggressively priced S or Compact model part way through the year to cater to those who didn’t fancy splashing the cash on one of the year’s flagships. Two meaningful handsets that don’t cannibalize each other and that could be marketed with a suitable budget to finally give the brand some much needed recognition. But what do I know?
Running Android apps on Chromebooks is still a dream—a dream in extended beta, that is. After promising the feature earlier this year, Google has pushed out the release date.
While a select number of Chromebooks can access Google Play right out of the box, more adventurous Chromebook users will need to run the developer beta of Chrome OS to experience Android apps. After spending time with a number of Android apps that have become Chrome-friendly, I actually prefer some Android versions on Chrome over the web-based versions, as mobile apps can be refreshingly simple and uncluttered.
To get into the beta channel, go to your Chromebook’s Settings page and click About Chrome OS. Next, click Detailed build information, then click Change Channel. There, you can switch from the stable channel to the beta channel. You should steer clear of the developer channel, however, as that will definitely be unstable.
The 10 Android apps below represent how good it could be on Chrome once everything becomes official. Just remember, this is beta software, so tread carefully. If things go awry, you can always go back to stable channel or Powerwash your Chromebook and start over.
Sure, Gmail is great and all, but like many you might have an Office 365 email address assigned by your company. If that’s the case, you’ll want to grab the Microsoft Outlook Android application for your Chromebook. Unlike the web app, you can use Outlook to manage multiple accounts and access your messages offline. It even handles Gmail accounts if you want to use Outlook as your all-in-one email application.
Perhaps you want to extend the capabilities of your email app by connecting it to your favorite services. Newton Mail (formerly CloudMagic) has several built-in plugins for common services like Trello, Todoist, OneNote, and Salesforce. You can quickly zap emails over to those apps with just a couple of taps.
Newton Mail is clean and works well, but don’t get too attached unless you want to pay the $50-per-year fee for full access.
Delhi University (DU) has released the much awaited first cut-off list for the admission in various courses for the year 2017-18 today evening.
All the candidate can check the cut-off list on the official website, the link for which is du.ac.in
Now, the fight over seat in undergraduate courses at DU will begin.
(Read: DU First Cut-Off List 2017 : List of documents required for UG admission )
Shri Ram College of Commerce has set the highest demanding 97.75 per cent for BCom (Hons). SRCC is one of the top ranked commerce colleges in the country and has been in the spotlight for last couple of years for setting unusually high cut off for B.Com. (Honors).
This year, however, the cut off has not reached the touchdown mark of 100 per cent as was the case in 2011. This year the cut off for B.Com. (Honors) at SRCC is 97.75 per cent.
(Read: Delhi University SOL Admissions 2017 begin at sol.du.ac.in: How to apply )
This is the second consecutive year of the online admission process for UG admissions unlike previous years when it used to be both online and offline.
The DU admission process for its 60 undergraduate programmes in 62 colleges with around 54,000 seats began on May 22.
Acid attack survivors, thalassemia students to have reserved seats in DU:
Moving a step towards giving disabled students an equal opportunity to study, Delhi University has announced that it will also reserve seats for acid attacks survivors and students with thalassemia and dwarfism.
As reported, this move from the varsity comes after recently adopting the revised Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
Percentage of reservation:
Further, the law gives at least 5 per cent reservation to students with disabilities
By following this act, it means, DU will reserve at least 2,500 seats for differently abled applicants
In the last academic session, DU had reserved only 3 per cent of its seats in all colleges and courses for PwD applicants.
Document verification: June 24 to June 28
Second cut off list: July 1
Document verification and admission approval: July 1 to July 4
Third cut off list: July 7
Admission approval and document verification: July 7 to July 10