Author: Will Westwater
Every year the Game Developers’ Conference (GDC) gets more exciting, and this year was no exception. Last week in San Francisco, GDC revealed new titles and more impressive technology than has ever been done before at previous GDC years.
Gearbox’s “Borderlands 2” hand-held edition for the PS Vita had a promising demo for play at GDC. Fans of the series will be happy to know that the move to hand-held platform didn’t sacrifice much in terms of gameplay. Some of the only differences seen at this showing were the increased load times and that the bodies of the dead enemies disappeared very quickly. Both are small tolls in the impressive movement from a console to a handheld platform. Seeing a full, relatively seamless, port-to-hand-held of a previous gen console title reminds gamers of how far technology is coming.
GDC had a few game reveals. Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed Unity” was formally introduced, though plot details have not yet been revealed it is clear the game will take place in France. “Assassin’s Creed Unity” will be for this generation of consoles (Xbox One, PS4 and PC), as well as another stand-alone title that is rumored for last-generation consoles.
In addition, Ubisoft’s “Far Cry 4” was revealed and will take place in the Himalayas, complete with ridable elephants. An official reveal is imminent at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June.
In hardware, Valve’s Steambox controller showed some improvement from its last showing at the consumer electronics show; however, those at the GDC claimed players will still have a more than comfortable learning curve.
On the ever-expanding virtual reality (VR) front, the team behind the Oculus Rift (the headset that opened gamers’ eyes to a new virtual frontier) announced their improved iteration of their headset, Crystal Cove. While Crystal Cove is still a prototype, its new features include a depth-sensing camera (in order to fine tune real-world motion into in-game motion) and HD displays in each eye. The improved developer kit of the Oculus Crystal Cove is currently available for pre-order for $350.
Answering all of Oculus’ hype was Sony, who unveiled their virtual reality headset called “Project Morpheus.” “Project Morpheus” fits comfortably over the player’s head, even those with glasses. It was incredibly accurate and incorporated the Playstation move controller. One of the demos gave the players two swords and set them next to a medieval practice dummy made of hay. The move controller captured every single movement of the arms while the “Project Morpheus” headset allowed the player to look around as if they were in the game.
Sony managed to outdo themselves by showing off their new eye-tracking software. After a short calibration, the infrared sensor bar picks up eye movements of the player, so instead of using the right stick to move the camera or to aim an attack, the player uses his or her eyes. The eye-tracking software took some getting used to for those lucky enough to try it out, but in a short time players could start picking off targets with just their eyes.
These technologies, when perfected, could change the way we interact in the virtual plane. Gamers will have to wait until E3 to find out release dates and what is next.
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