For expert players, most video game AI amounts to little more than target practice -- especially in fighting games, where it rarely accounts for the subtleties of human behavior. At MIT, though, they've developed a Super Smash Bros. Melee AI that should make even seasoned veterans sweat a little. The CSAIL team trained a neural network to fight by handing it the coordinates of game objects, and giving it incentives to play in ways that should secure a win. The result is an AI brawler that has largely learned to fight on its own -- and is good enough to usually prevail over players ranked in the top 100 worldwide.
Ever since PlayStation VR, speculation has been rampant: is console-based virtual reality here to stay, or will it die an early death? Apparently, its near-term future is secure. Sony's Andrew House tells the New York Times that the company had sold 915,000 PSVR headsets as of February 19th, just over four months after its October 13th debut. That doesn't sound like much for a company that has sold tens of millions of PlayStation 4s, but it's well ahead of expectations -- Sony had hoped to reach the 1 million mark by mid-April. Sales might have been better still if the company hadn't been purposefully cautious with production, leading to shortages centered primarily in its home turf of Japan.
Humans by nature can be a little bit wasteful. Recycling helps, of course, but some things are too good to throw away. That's where upcycling comes in. Karen has the idea to repurpose laptop screens to create a Legend of Zelda-inspired lamp. However, not just any laptop screen will do. As the team rips apart old hardware they soon discover the different types of panels that have been used in various laptops over the years. With the optimal screens identified, Karen gets down to business with Adobe Illustrator and designs suitable laser-cut frames. Watch the episode to find out tips and tricks to make the perfect design. Have you upcycled any old hardware? Think you could enter your project in a design competition? Find out more on the element14 Community.
While there was no shortage of new Samsung hardware, the company's MWC showcase also had a new Gear VR headset to show off, with a new controller. Adding motion input (as well as a few more buttons) lets you navigate and interact with VR content without having to paw at the headset's buttons like we had to do previous iterations. Alongside a clickable touchpad, there's a trigger, home, back and volume keys. The controller also has an accelerometer, gyrometer and magnetic sensors built-in, and the new hardware will work with Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, the Note 5, as well as the Galaxy S6 series.
Most of the effort in improving virtual reality focuses on the visuals. But what about audio -- isn't it jarring to hear sound that clearly doesn't mirror the world you're in? Valve thinks it can fix that. It just released a Steam Audio kit that lets developers provide more immersive sound in games and apps, particularly for VR. On top of producing binaural audio (reflecting how your body affects listening), it has a particularly advanced, physics-based approach to generating sound effects.
Imagine screaming through deep space, swerving through the wreckage of exploding starships in a high-octane scene plucked straight out of a science fiction movie. Suddenly the universe stops, frozen in time as your body continues to hurl through the void at high speed. Your stomach churns at the realization that it's moving but, somehow, the world around you isn't. That's what happened to me this weekend on Six Flags' Galactic Attack -- a virtual reality roller coaster, available at Six Flags' two California parks, that broke halfway through my ride. Twice.
The Nintendo Switch is finally here, along with its most anticipated launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We're still putting the new console through its paces, but we've put together a quick preview of the hardware and game to tide you over. In short: We're impressed. But the lack of networking functionality, among other features, so close to the console's launch has us worried if Nintendo is totally prepared. Check back for our full review of the Switch and Breath of the Wild next week.
It's been a banner week for Nintendo fanboys and girls, what with the company's new console finally making its way into reviewers' hands -- and giving Nintendophiles their first extended look at the Switch. Naturally, Engadget editors were among the chosen to get some quality time, and early returns are ... middling? Devindra Hardawar is a fan of the system's controllers, and he loved the ability to take the Switch out of his living room and into bed for late-night gaming sessions. But that portability is seriously hamstrung by a screen that's essentially unusable outside and meager battery life (at least when playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild).
So, you stream your gameplays and recently received a lucrative sponsorship offer via email from popular esports platform Team Razer. Exciting, right? Unfortunately, it's nothing but a scam -- that email is actually from a cyber criminal and not a "scouting agent." Team Razer has sent out a notice that scammers are using its brand name to spread malicious software.