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Tag: Opposable Thumbs (Page 1 of 170)

Report: Valve’s former augmented reality system is no more

CastAR's first prototype. Subsequent revisions brought the glasses' size down and fidelity up, so that its mounted projectors would better convey the feeling that virtual objects appeared on a mat (also known as "augmented reality" or "mixed reality"). However, the project's future is now in doubt. (credit: CastAR)

The future of CastAR, an ambitious augmented reality system that began life in Valve's hardware labs five years ago, is now in serious doubt. A bleak Monday Tweet from a former CastAR staffer was followed by Polygon's Brian Crecente reporting a full company shutdown.

Citing unnamed "former employees," Polygon reported that the hardware maker's primary finance group pulled all funding last week. This was allegedly followed by a full staff layoff and an announcement that the company's remaining assets would be liquidated.

As of press time, neither CastAR nor its affiliated developer, Eat Sleep Play, have posted any confirmation of shut downs or liquidation. Ars Technica has reached out to CastAR co-founders Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson. We will update this report with any response.

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Plug-and-play SNES Classic coming Sept. 29 for $80 with two controllers

Enlarge / Even if you can't buy an NES

Following on the recently discontinued NES Classic Edition, Nintendo has officially announced a long-rumored SNES Classic Edition follow-up will be available on September 29 in a $80 package that includes two wired controllers.

The highlight of the package is the first official release of Star Fox 2, which Nintendo's announcement notes "was created during the Super NES era but never released … anywhere!" While an emulatable, leaked prototype version of Star Fox 2 has been floating around online for years, Creator Dylan Cuthbert confirmed in 2015 that development on a completely finished version of the game was completed just before the project was cancelled, reportedly to avoid competition with the coming Nintendo 64. The SNES Classic will be the first chance gamers have to try this full version of the title.

Unlike the NES Classic, which sold $10 controllers on top of the $60 base package, the SNES Classic comes packaged with two controllers. Even so, only five of the included titles include true simultaneous multiplayer gameplay, with a handful of others allowing for two players to alternate play. The Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro designed for the Wii and Wii U will also work on the SNES Classic Edition, much like its predecessor.

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Monster Hunter: World promises “deep, meaty experience on console”


Monster Hunter's trick—and it's a persuasive one—is to deliver us back to a time when giant lizards trod the Earth, while keeping our current enviable status as masters of the food chain intact. In Jurassic Park, when the dinosaurs escaped their pens, humans became frail prey, cowering in toilets, whispering prayers under trucks. Monster Hunter's vision of the Jurassic-flung human is wildly different. In its reality, we are fearless predators, able to fell a T. rex with little more than a pair of leather sandals, a sword, and a satchel full of health-restoring berries.

For most of its history, the Monster Hunter series has played out this vision on handheld devices, allowing clutches of strangers—Japanese, mostly—to gather in public places and team up to make quick work of the megafauna that roam its bucolic scenes. The series' evergreen popularity in Japan, where handhelds are ubiquitous and where playing video games with strangers on the train, in shopping centres, and at the school canteen is more socially acceptable, has been closely tied to the technology.

The move to consoles (and, at some point, Windows PC) with Monster Hunter: World is a daring one, then. Yet what is lost in portability is obviously made up for in spectacle. In its new, roomy home on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC Monster Hunter has space to flex and sprawl.

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Botched Sega Forever launch blighted by poor emulation

Enlarge (credit: Sega)

The concept behind Sega Forever is a good one: bring a selection of classic Sega games to iOS and Android, and let people play them for free. Unfortunately, the execution has left something to be desired. Following the launch of Sega Forever last week, players have taken to the App Store and Google Play to complain about choppy frame rates, out-of-sync audio, and input lag, even on high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel. Ars' own testing yielded similarly poor results, with none of the games reaching the required 60FPS of the original Megadrive (Genesis) hardware.

Sega's performance issues stem from the use of a new emulator based in Unity. Older mobile versions of retro Sega games were either direct ports—as in the case of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic CD—or used a native emulator, instead of one passed through Unity. Players that already paid for one of the launch games—Sonic the HedgehogPhantasy Star IIComix ZoneKid Chameleon, and Altered Beastalso suffered from issues, including the inability to remove advertisements from the game.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Sega Networks' chief marketing officer Mike Evans blamed "fragmentation" for the wobbly launch, and defended its use of Unity instead of an alternative emulation method.

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Single-player modding returns to GTA V after publisher takedown

Enlarge / This image represents Take-Two saying "Well, I guess, there's nothing illegal here after all. Never mind that legal threat." (credit: Take-Two Interactive)

When popular Grand Theft Auto V modding tool OpenIV was taken down by a cease-and-desist request from publisher Take-Two earlier this month, the fan reaction was fast and blistering. Players bombarded Grand Theft Auto V with thousands of negative reviews on Steam, and over 77,000 people signed an online petition demanding the tool be restored.

Apparently, those gamers' cries have been heard loud and clear. As of yesterday evening, OpenIV is once again being updated and distributed by its creators.

While publisher Take-Two has been going after cheating tools in GTA Online of late, developer Rockstar long ago said it wouldn't go after Grand Theft Auto V players for using single-player mods. That's why Take-Two's sudden legal threat against the single-player-focused OpenIV earlier this month was a bit surprising, to say the least.

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