'Fortnite' is back online after a day-long blackout

about X hours ago from
'Fortnite' is back online after a day-long blackout

The popular game Fortnite is finally playable across all platforms after a server outage and emergency update took it offline for almost a day. According to a Reddit post by a company employee, a "critical failure with one of [the] account service databases" made the login and matchmaking systems unstable. But for their trouble, Epic Games is giving players of both the game's battle royale and tower defense modes free in-game loot.

'Hearthstone’s first big expansion of 2018, ‘Witchwood,’ is live

about X hours ago from
'Hearthstone’s first big expansion of 2018, ‘Witchwood,’ is live

With the release of the Witchwood expansion just now, Blizzard's card game Hearthstone has officially ticked over into a new year. That means all of the cards from 2016 have rotated out of the competitive Standard mode -- good riddance, Yogg Saron and Barnes -- to make room for new ones. As was the case in previous years, this first new set of cards for the year is the best time for interested players to get in the game.

ESPN missed a big eSports opportunity with its new streaming service

about X hours ago from
ESPN missed a big eSports opportunity with its new streaming service

ESPN has a tumultuous relationship with professional gaming. Today, the sports-media giant has a digital vertical dedicated to eSports and it covers the industry in-depth, with player interviews, on-the-ground reporting from major tournaments, power rankings and analysis. ESPN has even aired a handful of eSports tournaments on its cable channels, and this year it signed a deal with Electronic Arts to host Madden NFL tournaments on Disney XD, ESPN2 and other stations.

PUBG tweaks 'zone of death' pacing in major new update

about X hours ago from
PUBG tweaks 'zone of death' pacing in major new update

In its latest update, PUBG has tweaked gameplay to make it faster paced, more tactical and more violent. The main tweak to PC 1.0 Update 10 is timing in the "Blue Zone," a shrinking death region that forces players together as they die off. As many requested, it will contract at a faster speed early in the game, reducing the ability of players to linger and gather loot. At the same time, speeds later on have been slowed, with damage ramped up in the final stages.

Blizzard gives 16-year-old 'Warcraft III' a widescreen makeover

about X hours ago from
Blizzard gives 16-year-old 'Warcraft III' a widescreen makeover

When Blizzard launched a public test realm for Warcraft III last year, it became pretty clear that the developer still has plans for the 16-year-old game. Now, Blizzard has rolled out what could be the biggest Warcraft III update in years -- and it's also the last version to support Windows XP. The update finally comes with aspect-correct widescreen support, allowing you to make full use of flat screen displays without the ugly stretching. According to Blizzard's notes, it got rid of the stretching by tweaking the interface a bit, adding a few elements to create a cleaner UI.

'Fortnite' has been down for hours, but don't tell Twitch

about X hours ago from
'Fortnite' has been down for hours, but don't tell Twitch

Yesterday Epic Games delivered the big 3.5 patch for its popular battle royale game Fortnite, but within hours users started having trouble logging in. Around 6 PM ET yesterday the servers went down for good, and later the team tweeted "We're bringing the servers offline for emergency maintenance. We apologize for this inconvenience. We currently have no ETA on when servers will be back up." The game's status page has been updated several times since then referring to a database problem, but there's still no word when it will be back up.

'God of War' returns to form with good ol' father-son bonding

about X hours ago from
'God of War' returns to form with good ol' father-son bonding

By the time 2010's God of War III wrapped up, the bottomless pit of anger at the heart of protagonist / anti-hero Kratos had played itself out. The pantheon of Greek gods was destroyed, and Kratos was either dead or had disappeared -- and it almost didn't matter which. Over the course of three games, he had gone from a flawed, murderous but sympathetic character to rage personified. Without that anger, what was left to say about Kratos?

AI stuntpeople could lead to more realistic video games

about X hours ago from
AI stuntpeople could lead to more realistic video games

Video game developers often turn to motion capture when they want realistic character animations. Mocap isn't very flexible, though, as it's hard to adapt a canned animation to different body shapes, unusual terrain or an interruption from another character. Researchers might have a better solution: teach the characters to fend for themselves. They've developed a deep learning engine (DeepMimic) that has characters learning to imitate reference mocap animations or even hand-animated keyframes, effectively training them to become virtual stunt actors. The AI promises realistic motion with the kind of flexibility that's difficult even with methods that blend scripted animations together.