Star Wars: Rogue One's best character was rendered in real time, a cinema first

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Star Wars: Rogue One's best character was rendered in real time, a cinema first

Rogue One: A Star Wars Storys visual effects supervisor, John Knoll, took the stage at GDC today to reveal how Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 allowed his team to approach filming the movie in a way they couldn’t previously.

Knoll spoke at length about how Epic’s engine allowed the ILM team to render the beloved, sarcastic droid K-2SO in real time, bypassing the pre-rendering process. As a result, the team was able to see K-2SO on the screen during a specific scene instead of having to implement the rendering and editing after the fact. Knoll explained that achieving final pixels on screen helped with the production of Rogue One — and it marked the first time the studio was able to work with CGI in the moment. The technique was developed by a team at ILM, modifying Unreal Engine 4’s source code.

PlayStation Plus games for March 2017 include Tearaway, Severed

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PlayStation Plus games for March 2017 include Tearaway, Severed

This month’s PlayStation Plus lineup, which Sony announced today, is led by the launch of a new game: the buzzed-about arcade sports title Disc Jam.

Developed by High Horse Entertainment, a group of ex-Activision developers with experience working on Call of Duty, Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero, Disc Jam is a mix of tennis and air hockey. The game supports one-on-one or two-on-two play with a bunch of characters, each of which has unique abilities, and High Horse has been running a beta that has gotten a very positive response.

Here’s your first glimpse of the Nintendo Switch eShop

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Here’s your first glimpse of the Nintendo Switch eShop

Less than two days before the Nintendo Switch launches worldwide, Nintendo has finally given us a look at the console’s digital store in an informational video.

When you awaken the Switch from sleep mode, you’ll see a lock screen with a sidebar on the left featuring three tiles with the latest “featured news” updates. You can access the Switch eShop through a link in the system’s news feed — a button for which appears on the home screen — or directly from its own button on the console’s dashboard.

Hands-on with Sparc, the ‘vsport’ from the makers of Eve Online

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Hands-on with Sparc, the ‘vsport’ from the makers of Eve Online

CCP, makers of Eve Online and its assorted spinoffs, have a very un-Eve game on deck: Sparc, best described as a Tron-like take on Pong, all in virtual reality. It's coming to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR later in this year.

The game is something first seen at Project Arena at Eve Fanfest 2016. In Sparc, which I played hands-on at GDC 2017, players hurl a ball (each get one, so two are in play) at their opponent, with the goal of striking them.

Nintendo Switch’s Pro controller will also work on your PC

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Nintendo Switch’s Pro controller will also work on your PC

The $70 Pro controller for the Nintendo Switch will be a popular accessory when the console is released, as we’ve found that the standard Joy-Con is a bit cramped for some people. One detail has come to light that may make that price a bit easier to justify, however: The Pro controller also works on your PC.

The controller connects using Bluetooth and can’t be played and charged at the same time, even with a USB cable attached, but it reportedly has no lag when used on PC games. It also works using DirectInput, which means no XInput support at this time, but that’s an issue you can work around.

Why Pokemon Go’s trainers don’t look like the ones you remember

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Why Pokemon Go’s trainers don’t look like the ones you remember

Pokémon Go’s art style noticeably differs from that of the main games in the series, but that wasn’t always the case. Early builds of the mega-hit Pokémon game featured far more familiar-looking trainers, as director of interaction and visual design showed off during Game Developers Conference 2017.

Niantic’s Dennis Hwang, who gave a talk on designing the augmented reality game, showed off several previously unseen looks at Pokémon Go’s design elements. These ranged from different versions of the overworld map and a variety of takes on the appearance of the battle screen, but it was the development studio’s original iteration of the trainer avatar that was most striking.

Nintendo Switch units at Walmart will be available to walk-in customers

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Nintendo Switch units at Walmart will be available to walk-in customers

Walmart is joining Best Buy and GameStop in offering the Nintendo Switch to players who didn’t pre-order the system, and the retailer is asking customers to call their local store to see when the consoles will be made available if their location isn’t open 24 hours a day.

“Starting at 12:01 a.m. (local time) on Friday, March 3, the Nintendo Switch will be available at Walmart Supercenters across the country for $299,” the company announced. “Walmart will have the system available in gray, red and blue colors.”

MLB The Show 17 brings in MLB Network broadcast presentation

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MLB The Show 17 brings in MLB Network broadcast presentation

Sony’s MLB The Show franchise is getting a long-awaited, sorely needed presentation overhaul with the debut of the MLB Network in MLB The Show 17, according to a new developer diary.

Stale audio commentary has long been one of the few shortcomings of The Show, and at the very least this year, it’s going to be a major departure from the past. Matt Vasgersian has served as the play-by-play announcer for every MLB The Show game since the series’ debut in 2006. He will be joined in the broadcast booth by two other MLB Network analysts, Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac, both of whom had long MLB careers as players before they entered the TV world.

Overwatch’s custom game browser goes live on all platforms

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Overwatch’s custom game browser goes live on all platforms

Several weeks ago, the Overwatch team announced the server browser as a means to allow players to share custom game modes with others. At the time, the feature was only available on Windows PC on the game’s public test region, but today, Blizzard launched the feature across all platforms and have redubbed it the Game Browser.

Unlike the standard custom game mode, which lets you change only a handful of features, the Game Browser allows players to radically modify the entire Overwatch experience and lets you easily find other custom games.