Tag Archives: Games

Microsoft Research Launch their First Game Project on Facebook

Microsoft Research has launched a Facebook game application, Project Waterloo, that allows users to play the two-player turn-based Blotto game with other Facebook users. Project Waterloo has been developed at the Microsoft Research lab in Cambridge.

project-waterloo

This engaging and addictive game is played by two players; each has 100 troops at their disposal and needs to allocate those troops among five battle fields. Once both players have allocated their troops, the winner is determined by finding which of the two players has won more battles. A battle is won by having allocated more troops than the opponent. The game is complex from a game-theoretic perspective, and is a great test case for studying actual strategic behavior of Facebook users.

The game is the first release under Microsoft Research’s Research Games‘ project. The project aims to discover the behavior of real people in game theoretic interactions on social networks. While a user tests his mental and perception abilities against his friends, researchers try to understand these behaviors that help develop better models of social and economic activities.

Adobe Enters 3D gaming with Flash Player 11 and AIR 3

Adobe Systems has announced Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 software to enable the next generation of immersive application experiences across devices and platforms. Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will allow game publishers to instantly deliver console-quality 2D and 3D games over the Internet to anyone with a PC, tablet, smartphone or connected TV.

By the end of 2011, Adobe expects more than 200 million smartphones and tablets including Apple iOS devices to support Flash based applications via Adobe AIR. Adobe AIR, a superset of Flash Player, enables developers to leverage existing code to create and deliver standalone applications across devices and platforms.

Flash offers the best way for content owners to deliver their most demanding experiences, including games, premium video and sophisticated data- driven apps, to all of their users, while HTML 5 tools such as Adobe Edge and Dreamweaver are ideal to build interactive web pages, rich ads, branded microsites and general-purpose mobile applications.

– Danny Winokur, Vice President and General manager, Platform at Adobe.

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 offer full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics that enables 1000x faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Also, Flash-based applications on Apple iOS devices can now display full frame rate videos using H.264 hardware decoding. Rich applications on televisions will also be  able to deliver HD video with 7.1 channel surround sound.

Adobe Flash Player 11 + Adobe AIR 3

Although facing tough competition from HTML5 capabilities and the non-availability of Flash in browsers on most smartphone platforms, Flash Player is supported on more than 98 percent of Internet connected PCs today. More than 70 percent of casual games on the Web are based on Flash, although mobile-gaming has seen exponential rise in last few years. According to an IDC report from May 2011, total market revenue of casual gaming should rise to $3.5 billion  by 2015 and the number of gamers should rise to 138.2 million.

[Deal Alert] id Software’s Rail Shooter ‘Rage/Rage HD’ Free This Week Only

There is a lot of hype building around id Software’s upcoming post-appocalyptic shooter called Rage. They have been pushing it through social media campaigns for the past few weeks, including one with Facebook. They said that, if their Facebook page got 100,000 likes, they would give away the on-rails version of Rage for iOS for Free for one week.

Well, they hit their goal, and we all win because of it. Rage and Rage HD are both available for free from the App Store for one week only. There are two versions, but they are the same game. If you have a recent generation device (iPhone 4, iPad 2), then you should grab the HD version. Any older, and you should grab regular Rage.

rage-free.png

Fair warning about the game: It’s pretty violent. The idea is that you are a competitor in a game show. The goal of the game show is to earn as much money as possible while shooting mutants. Considering that this is a mobile version of an upcoming M rated game, I wouldn’t let your impressionable child play it on their own.

I spent a little time with the game and I can say that I really enjoy playing it. Its a nice sized game, and that makes it an even better deal during its time as a freebie. I see it having a great replay value, despite only having 3  different  levels. Get it while you can, and then go play!

Let us know what you think of Rage by leaving a comment down below.

The Humble Indie Bundle is Back Again With Five Great Games!

The Humble Indie Bundle is a darling of the internet community. As usual, it is a sale of five great indie video games at the low (or high!) price of pay-whatever-you-want! The success story of the past two (and a special FrozenByte) bundle is quite well known and is worthy of the Internet Hall of Fame (if there is something of that sort).

humble indie bundle

The games on offer this time are as varied as before:-

humble bundle

Cogs: A puzzle game in which time and inventiveness are key! Build contraptions from sliding tiles to solve a level.

Crayon Physics Deluxe: Another puzzle game in which you literally draw your keys to complete each level using virtual crayons. Innovative to the core, the game also boasts of a splendid Newtonian physics simulation system.

VVVVVV: A retro 2D platformer that will elicit shrieks of rage from you as its wickedly twisted levels take your patience apart. It’s incredibly addictive and extremely punishing. A must play.

Hammerfight: A steampunk helicopter fighting game. Exactly that.

And Yet It Moves: A beautifully simple platfomer in a world full of ripped paper, this game has gained a lot of acclaim for being a joy to play.

So how much will you pay for these games that you will get DRM-free for Windows, Mac and Linux? Support indie games, readers! You can also donate the money to charity if you wish so. Buy it now!

Social Gaming Powered By Windows Azure

Microsoft has figured out an interesting way to get into the social games business. The social gaming market continues to grow in terms of number of users and profits. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and therefore, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform.

According to the Social Gaming: Marketers Make Their Move report by eMarketer,  the social gaming market will increase to $1.32 billion in revenues by 2012, up from $856 million in 2010. Today, Amazon hosts many online games, including big Facebook games, developed by Zynga and others. Companies like Playdom, the makers of Bola Social Soccer – a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users, are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.

Microsoft is focusing on building tools to help other game developers ramp up quickly, while they host their games on Windows Azure. Windows Azure is built on the principles of on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery. These principles mirror the needs of social games. With that premise, the Windows Azure team has launched a preview of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure whether you want to build social games as a hobby or you want to reach millions of gamers.

The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games allows you to quickly get started building new social games in Windows Azure. The toolkit includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples that you can use in your own .NET or HTML5 game. It enables unique capabilities that are prerequisites for an average social game, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing and so forth.

As a proof-of-concept, the toolkit also includes source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner, a popular game developer. The game is also available online to play for free. The game is built with HTML5 and supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.

The toolkit is available for free, and game developers can use the same to build social games and applications in a short period of time.

Games for Windows Marketplace is now Xbox.com

games-for-windows-live

Microsoft has announced that Games for Windows Marketplace will be fully transitioning to Xbox.com. The announcement was done on the Games for Windows Marketplace website and via the Games for Windows newsletter.

Games for Windows Marketplace is moving to Xbox.com

Games for Windows Marketplace is coming to Xbox.com!

Games for Windows Marketplace will fully transition over to Xbox.com. Now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place. It’s convenient, it’s concentrated, and it’s a whole lot of great games.

Games for Windows Marketplace gave access to the free online gaming service: Games for Windows LIVE, that let users connect and play with friends and millions of Xbox LIVE members. You could shop for your favorite games and also receive automatic game updates and patch downloads for the installed games. However, Games for Windows LIVE brand isn’t as popular as Xbox brand for gaming and consumer entertainment. Microsoft even did a huge overhaul of the Games for Windows website to make it more accessible and attractive for the PC gamers.

Eurogamer has confirmation from a Microsoft spokesperson that the merge will happen on 11th July.

All of the same content from GamesForWindows.com will be available on Xbox.com so members of communities across Xbox 360 and Games for Windows can purchase and get details on their favorite games, all in one place.

All account information will remain the same and community members can still take advantage of their Xbox Live profile in their Windows games and stay connected to friends who are playing on the PC.

This move would be the first step to bring Xbox LIVE on the third screen, PC, after TV and phone. There have been clear indications that Xbox LIVE would be integrated in Windows 8 to provide entertainment and gaming features. Also, Xbox LIVE is already integrated into Windows Phone 7. During previews of the upcoming release of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango, Microsoft announced that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace for apps and games would also be available on the web. Xbox.com could well be that consolidated gaming and entertainment portal.

Samurai II Vengeance Hits the Android Market; Available For Both Tegra 2 And Non-Tegra 2 Handsets

One of the major complaints in the Android eco-system is the lack of quality’ games. Yes, there is Angry Birds and its various versions, but one game alone is not enough to cater to everyone’s need.

Thankfully, the gaming scene of the Android Market has been changing rapidly with new quality games being added nearly every day. Yesterday, Cut The Rope was made available for Android phones, and the day before that N.O.V.A. 2 hit the Android Market.

Today, another quality’ game Samurai II Vengeance has hit the Android Market. The game is about a Samurai who is seeking vengeance from Orochi. It is the sequel to the massively popular Samurai: Way of Warrior game, which is available for iOS, and was also crowned by Apple as one of the best games of 2009.

Below is a small video demo of the game :

Samurai II Vengeance is a quality game in all respect, especially gameplay and graphics. The game is based on the Unity 3D engine and looks absolutely great. The controls are easy to use as well. The game ran perfectly fine without any lags on my SGS II, which is down clocked to 1GHz.

Samurai II Vengeance is available in two flavors, one for Tegra 2 based devices with optimized graphics, and a non-Tegra 2 version. The non-Tegra 2 version is also optimized for Xperia Play, and supports its gamepad.

The Tegra 2 version costs $4.99, while the non Tegra 2 version costs $2.99. Here is the link to the game.

Gameloft Releases March Of Heroes Trailer; First Unreal Engine Based Game For Android

Gameloft is one of the most popular gaming publisher for Android and iOS. The company offers some of the best gaming titles available for Android including the popular Asphalt 6, Call Of Duty and Spiderman.

Earlier, for some strange reason Gameloft did not release its games on the Android Market. Thankfully, the situation has changed now, and nearly all the Gameloft games are available on the Android market.

Now, Gameloft has released a trailer of an upcoming first-person shooter (FPS) game March Of Heroes for both Android and iOS. The game will be the first game for both the platforms (Android and iOS) to be based on the Unreal Engine.

Below is a trailer of the game :

From the trailer, the game definitely looks stunning! Since the game is based on Unreal Engine, expect most of the low to mid-range handsets not to be supported. At least, we Android users will have something which will be capable of pushing the hardware on our handset to its limits.

At the beginning of this year, Gameloft said that they are working on 4 games based on the Unreal engine for iOS and Android. So, gamers still have some more visually stunning games left to drool over.

Gameloft has not mentioned anything about the release date or the pricing of the game.

iOS and Android Set to Dominate Portable Gaming Market

The iPhone, which was initially meant to be a smartphone, wasn’t meant to support third-party apps. But Apple did launch an SDK and App Store soon after its launch, and it has turned out very well. Wanting to emulate its success, Android also followed on the heels of iOS and launched the Android Market.

As the App Store became popular, game developers flocked to the platform and started churning out cheaply priced games priced at $0.99, $1.99 etc. Soon after that, big game studios started launching major game titles for the iPod Touch and the iPhone. As Android started to pick up steam, many games were developed for it as well.

Both the platforms have been very lucrative for game and app developers, and have made many millionaires, like Rovio Mobile, the creator of Angry Birds, and others.

Games have become a huge growth driver for both iOS and Android, and they have also captured quite a large portion of the portable gaming market. While the portable gaming market actually shrank in percentage terms in 2010, iOS and Android have increased their share of it. iOS + Android now accounts for 34% of the total revenues in portable gaming, while the PSP’s share has shrunk to 9% and the Nintendo DS’ share has been whittled down to 57%.

iOS Android Gaming Share

Since these statistics are in terms of revenues, iOS and Android would actually have a greater proportion of the market in terms of download numbers, since most of the games on these platforms are priced relatively low, compared to the PSP and Nintendo DS. The total revenue generated by iOS and Android games was close to $816 million, while the entire market generated about $2.4 billion.

With the launch of more powerful Android devices like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, and the excellent gaming prowess of the iPad 2, iOS and Android will likely capture a larger share in the future, bringing mobile gaming to the masses.

Statistics via Flurry

Is Angry Birds at Liberty to Make Autonomous Moves on in-app Advertisements?

Angry birds has gone from becoming a simple game to a success story that can pretty much show people how app development is done. The thrilling story of Rovio’s adventurous journey with Angry Birds has become a legend and this has given Rovio enough confidence to perform all sorts of experiments with its business.
angry-birds
iOS uses are extremely specific about the app experience on their devices. We had reported earlier how Angry Birds and Pocket Legends were using in-app purchases and payments to drive profits in the Android world. Apparently, in-game ads are not as welcome as in-game purchase notifications and Angry Birds faced some negative ratings recently, due to an unforeseen move.

Louisgray puts the whole fiasco in one beautiful sentence saying,

The result, the practically permanent high flier has crashed down in a fluff of feathers with a deluge of one-star rants.

Users on the iTunes store already hate the app for pushing ads into pause-breaks in spite of them paying for the app. Some users are even talking about retorting to an earlier version and because of this brewing hated, the app has landed itself into a 3-star rating on the iTunes store.

Angry Birds, has many angry comments to read at the iTunes page. We cannot ignore the fact that with that huge a user’s base, people will still use Angry Birds, ads or no ads. What matters is, whether Angry Birds will choose between lots of positive karma and give up on monetizing itself, or rely on its ever-growing user’s base and keep pushing annoyances like these.