To mirror the Rio Olympics, you may have noticed interactive doodles for the last 16 days on the Google home page. And you could download those games in the Google Play and Apple iOS stores. In some ways more fun, and lots less controversial than the Rio events or all the political games
For decades, Taiwan has been the go-to place for HP, Dell, and others that need efficient production of computers and their components. But with PC sales falling worldwide, many Taiwanese companies are trying to stem their losses by appealing to one group of customers who still rely on desktops: PC gamers who want specialized, high-powered rigs. Some companies are selling models with features designed for gameplay; others are focusing on players who custom-build their PCs.
Gamers care less about price than ordinary PC buyers do. “You want to have the features, you want to have it now, you want to have it just right, and you’re willing to pay for it,” says Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Anand Srinivasan. Computers for gamers account for 5 percent to 8 percent of total PC shipments, Srinivasan says, but average selling prices can be two to three times higher than those for ordinary machines. PC shipments worldwide fell 10.6 percent in 2015, according to market-research firm IDC, in part because of the growing popularity of smartphones.
Jordan built a variety of obstacles, including a deluge of water and walls that collapsed inward, Indiana Jones-style. But what he really wanted was a trap that behaved unpredictably. That would really throw his friends off guard. How to do it, though? He obsessed over the problem.
Then it hit him: the animals! Minecraft contains a menagerie of virtual creatures, some of which players can kill and eat (or tame, if they want pets). One, a red-and-white cowlike critter called a mooshroom, is known for moseying about aimlessly. Jordan realized he could harness the animal’s movement to produce randomness. He built a pen out of gray stones and installed “pressure plates” on the floor that triggered a trap inside the maze. He stuck the mooshroom inside, where it would totter on and off the plates in an irregular pattern.
Presto: Jordan had used the cow’s weird behavior to create, in effect, a random-number generator inside Minecraft. It was an ingenious bit of problem-solving, something most computer engineers I know would regard as a great hack — a way of coaxing a computer system to do something new and clever.
When Cossman went to Ambrym, he and his team used a drone to map out every nook and cranny of the volcano, covering both craters. That map was in turn made into a full three-dimensional rendering. Using the Unreal game engine inside an AvayaLive Engage virtual environment, it's possible for anyone with a login to explore Ambrym from the comfort of their laptop screen. Which is what I'm doing. With a jetpack.
The jetpack is a video game conceit. The crater is full of steep edges, and jetpacks are a simple solution to avoid getting stuck. Even without the difficulty of climbing up, the crater itself is huge. The avatars stand about six feet tall in the virtual environment, and while moving in the game is less physically taxing (not to mention less life-threatening) than crawling around an actual volcano, it’s not much faster if you don't use the jetpack.
In the early days of video games, much of the industry made money 25 cents at a time. But today’s video game moguls aren’t counting quarters, they’re making millions. Some of them rank among the richest people in the world
The difference from past generations of educational software–think programs that teach typing or basic math–is that these apps feel like games, not homework. More than 18 million people have downloaded Lumosity, a puzzle program created by neuroscientists in collaboration with game designers, since it launched last year. Duolingo, an app that teaches foreign languages, grants users experience points and badges as they learn new grammar skills, much as console titles like Call of Duty do. And Codecademy teaches the basics of computer programming in short tutorials.
Jintronix sells the Kinect for the standard $250 and charges $50 a month for its software, which lets physical therapists program routines for patients and adjust the difficulty as mobility improves.
In one game, the player controls a fish and must motion up and down or draw a figure eight to make it eat. A whack-a-mole-style game designed to strengthen leg muscles asks the patient to walk to various parts of the screen when a bunny pops up. As the patient moves, Jintronix tracks whether he’s performing the exercises correctly so therapists can make tweaks. The software monitors each patient’s progress and compares it with that of people with similar injuries and ages. Yannick Belanger, 44, says it has helped him recover some mobility in his left arm since his stroke in September.
There are already legendary islands off China’s southern coast where the millions travel to play games of chance. Soon an additional island (Hengqin) will host throngs of gamers turning out to watch others play Xbox, complete with a 15,000-seat arena.
The arena will be the centerpiece of a $2.8 billion gaming theme park. A Hong Kong-based developer, Lai Fung Group, has just announced plans to build the video game complex. A handful of dedicated facilities for video game competitions have begun to emerge, part of a trend that marks a sort of coming of age for “e-sports.”
A "cognitive activity tracker" developed by Kai Kunze at Osaka Prefecture University in Japan can tell how many words we read, how often and how fast we read, and even whether we are skim reading or actually concentrating on the content. It could also generate summaries of documents as you read them by logging which passages your eyes dwell on.
Such detail about what we look at, whether on a screen or on paper, is being made possible by the emergence of gaze-trackers – devices that monitor our eyes to analyse where we are looking. Swedish firm Tobii Technology is leading the way in commercialising the technology. It has developed a $99 system that uses infrared cameras trained on the cornea to watch for the eyeball's movements. These cameras can be built into a headset, such as Google Glass, or clipped to the top of a computer screen or tablet.