Hands-on with the smaller, less expensive 7-inch Wikipad (video)

Handson with the smaller, less expensive 7inch Wikipad

When the Wikipad went from 10.1-inches to just 7-inches earlier this year, subsequently cutting its price in half alongside the size reduction, the gaming-centric Android tablet went from riskily priced potential failure to affordable item of interest in one swift move. $500 for a 10.1-inch tablet with a proprietary gaming controller peripheral? With a Tegra 3, no less? That already sounds outdated, and at $500, it sounds outright crazy. Though Wikipad promises a 10.-1-inch version is still in the works, the 7-incher is headed for retail in the coming weeks, with the aforementioned Tegra 3 quad-core SoC, a 1,280 x 800 IPS screen, Jellybean 4.1, and that enormous detachable game controller (12 buttons in all!). At last week's Game Developers Conference, we had a chance to check out the latest version of the Wikipad just ahead of its retail launch -- for more on that meeting, join us beyond the break.

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Hands-on with Divekick’s minimalist two-button controller (video)

DNP Handson with Divekick's minimalist twobutton controller video

Just a couple days after we got our hands on Tenya Wanya Teen's crazy 16-button arcade stick, we were treated to its polar opposite; Divekick's two-button controller. Created by Iron Galaxy Studios just to show off the game at PAX East, the controller consists of two buttons slightly larger than the palms of our hands; the yellow one denotes a jump or dive, while the blue corresponds to a kick. As a parody of the fighting genre, Divekick's gameplay avoids complicated combo moves, is incredibly simple and immensely enjoyable, if we do say so ourselves.

Unlike traditional fighting games, the health bars are essentially meaningless, as a single power hit can take down your rival. Therefore you're focused on just the most basic movements -- a common one involves jumping in the air, tapping the other button for the downward kick, and then tapping it again to fly backwards. As for moving your character about, a jump and kick combo will get you charging towards your foe. Some characters let you fly when jumping, while others reward pressing buttons simultaneously. From our few minutes mashing the controller, it seems that timing and position are more important than ever with such fundamental mechanics, and ones that we picked up pretty quickly. We especially enjoyed kicking our adversary in the head to make them dazed and vulnerable in the early seconds of the next round.

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NASA JPL controls rover with Leap Motion, shows faith in consumer hardware (video)

DNP Controlling a NASA rover with the Leap Motion controller and beyond video

If you think using the Leap Motion controller for playing air guitar and typing without a keyboard was cool, try using it to control a NASA rover. Victor Luo and Jeff Norris from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab got on stage at the Game Developers Conference here in San Francisco to do just that with the ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer), which was located 383 miles away in Pasadena. As Luo waved his hand over the sensor, the robot moved in kind, reacting to the subtle movements of his fingers and wrists, wowing the crowd that watched it over a projected Google+ Hangout.

We spoke with Luo and Norris after the panel to gain further insight into the project. As Luo explains, one of JPL's main goals is to build tools to control robots needed for space exploration. Seeing as the gaming industry is already rife with user-friendly controllers ripe for the plucking, it made sense to harness them for the job. "We're very used to the bleeding edge," he said. "From the Kinect to the PlayStation Move, they represent major investments into usability." Hit the jump for our impressions of the simulation software, a look at JPL's grander goal and for video clips of the demo and panel itself.

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Source: NASA JPL

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In conversation with Epic Games’ Mark Rein: Unreal Engine 4 support for Oculus Rift (and everything else), and thoughts on next-gen

In conversation with Epic Games' Mark Rein Unreal Engine 4 support for Oculus Rift and everything else, and thoughts on nextgen

Epic Games isn't just offering up its ubiquitous current-gen game creation tool Unreal Engine 3 to Oculus Rift developers, but also its next-gen tool, Unreal Engine 4. Epic Games VP Mark Rein told Engadget as much during an interview at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, repeatedly stating he's "super bullish" on the Rift, all the while rocking an Oculus pin on his exhibitor lanyard. "Oh, for sure," he said when we asked about UE4 support for the Rift. "We're working on that now." The Rift dev kit was demoed at CES 2013 running Unreal Engine 3's "Epic Citadel" demo, and Epic's offered support to the Oculus folks since early on, making the UE4 news not a huge surprise, but welcome nonetheless.

The next-gen game engine was being shown off at GDC 2013 with a flashy new demo (seen below the break), as well as a version of its "Elemental" demo running on a PlayStation 4 dev kit (shrouded behind a curtain, of course). Rein was visibly excited about that as well, unable to contain random vocal outbursts during the presentation. "It's a war out there, and we sell bullets and bandaids," he jokingly told us in an interview the following day. The quote comes from coworker and Epic VP of business development Jay Wilbur, and it's fitting -- Epic only makes a handful of games, and the company's real money comes from game engine licensees. In so many words, the more platforms that Unreal Engine variants can go, the better for Epic (as well as for engine licensees, of course). "It's a good place to be -- we try to support everything we can. We have to place some timed bets on things that we feel are gonna be the most important to licensees, and also to us where we're taking games. But because the engine is portable -- it's written in C++ -- a licensee can take and do whatever they want," he said.

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AMD Radeon HD 7990 says hello, plays a bit of Battlefield 4 at GDC

AMD Radeon HD 7990 says hello, plays a bit of Battlefield 4 at GDC

Gamers were down-right spoiled at this year's GDC with a full 17 minutes of beautiful Battlefield 4 in-game footage. Minds blown, AMD took responsibility for the part it played in the mess, admitting the demo was running on its Radeon HD 7990 graphics card. It's the first time the company's confirmed the existence of the long-fabled card, and went as far as calling the case-busting monster "the world's fastest." All we know is the card combines two of the HD 7970's Tahiti GPUs -- AMD's not sharing the full specs -- but the eagle-eyed folks at AnandTech have plucked a few extra details from the limited pictures available. They note the open-air cooling, which would require a drafty case but mean the fans should run fairly quiet, and that power consumption is likely to be no more than 375 watts. Not much to go on, we know, but we'll be waiting eagerly for AMD's full reveal. Now, your BF4 video awaits. (Warning: the game dialogue contains a few naughty words).

[Image Credit: AnandTech]

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Via: AnandTech

Source: AMD Gaming (Facebook)

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OptiTrack debuts $3,700 PRIME 17W mocap cam for small spaces

DNP OptiTrack shows off $3,700 PRIME 17W mocap cam, ideal for small spaces

Independent creators keen on motion capture have had affordable solutions like cheaper sensors and Kinect-based implementations for awhile now, but a large space for moving around has usually been required. OptiTrack has come up with an answer to that problem, however, in the form of the PRIME 17W mocap camera that it introduced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The 1.7-megapixel lens has a 70-degree by 51-degree field of view that promises to capture motion in a relatively small space, which also means you need fewer cameras to get a full 360-degree shot. Other features include a global shutter, high-speed 360 FPS capture and low distortion, enabling UAV and sports tracking. At $3,700, it's still not exactly cheap, but it's certainly affordable enough for indie engineers and animators with space constraints to get started in the mocap biz.

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Source: OptiTrack

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The final OUYA retail console is ready, we go hands-on

The final OUYA retail console is ready, we go handson DNP

It's been a long time coming, and now the Android-powered, Kickstarter-funded OUYA video game console is finally heading to backers. Sure, the final retail units for non-backers won't be available until June, but around 50,000 lucky folks who pledged over $99 to OUYA's massively successful campaign will be receiving their units in the coming days. We've already heard what developers have to say about it, but this week we got our first hands-on with the miniature, Tegra 3-powered game console we've been hearing so much about since last summer.

Is it the "best Tegra 3 device on the market," as OUYA's claimed? Let's find out!

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OUYA available at retail on June 4 for $99

OUYA available at retail on June 4 for TKTK DNP

The Android-powered $99 OUYA game console becomes available at retail on June 4th -- a date which was revealed this week during the Game Developers Conference. OUYA's calling June 4th its "official launch date," despite Kickstarter backers receiving units starting this month. Essentially, the two month waiting period between Kickstarter boxes and retail availability is being used as a consumer beta, giving OUYA time to adjust its software after getting feedback from early adopters.

It's not clear if bundles will be available, but the game console itself and a controller (as well as power and HDMI cables, plus two AA batteries for the controller) are included in the $99 package. Major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and others are on board, so it shouldn't be too hard locating one in June should your interest be piqued -- and yes, pre-orders are available. Of course, it's a pretty small game console, so it might be a bit tough locating the thing with your eyes.

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YouTube API will allow video games to more easily stream in-game content

YouTube tweaks will allow video games to more easily stream ingame content

What's YouTube doing at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco? Talking about integration with video games, obviously. More specifically, the company is hoping to expand an idea we first noticed in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, whereby users could easily stream in-game content to YouTube. Clearly, the company worked in concert with Activision to make that possible, but forthcoming APIs will enable game developers far and wide to add the same functionality to other titles. Unfortunately, details remain murky regarding availability, but we are told that these new tools won't be limited to just consoles -- it sounds as if PC and mobile games will too be able to take advantage.

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Source: The Slanted, CNET

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