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29
Apr

Flow is a new automation tool just like IFTTT – but Microsoft made it


Microsoft made an IFTTT-like tool. Unfortunately, it’s not quite ready to debut.

IFTTT, also known as If This Then That, is a popular tool that allows you to connect web services to get things done in an automated manner. For instance, you could implement a “recipe” so that whenever you tweet a photo, it gets saved to your Dropbox. The possibilities are endless.

Twitter user h0x0d discovered Microsoft Flow. It’s a preview service that also connects services together. You can connect, for instance, Twitter, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365. Flow also suggests several “flows” (aka recipes), such as “save tweets to a CSV file in Dropbox”.

Microsoft published this blog post about the tool, which is called Flow, and then it removed the post (though you can still access it via cache). Interestingly, it also offers this “Getting started” FAQ page, which will walk you through how Flow works. That page hasn’t been removed yet.

Flow went live yesterday as a preview, and it’s not yet clear when it’ll go public. But you can go to the website now and browse through more than 35 services enabled in the Flow preview. Microsoft plans to add more every week.

READ: IFTTT explained

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29
Apr

‘A Beautiful Planet’ offers a bold new look at Earth in IMAX 3D


IMAX films shot in space aren’t anything new, but with A Beautiful Planet, longtime IMAX director Toni Myers still manages to show us entirely new perspectives of Earth. Shot on the International Space Station by several crews (including internet sensation Scott Kelly) and narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, it’s a groundbreaking film in many respects: It’s the first IMAX space feature to use digital cameras as well as off-the shelf shooters (the Canon EOS C500 and 1D-C). And it’s also the first film from IMAX to use SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to ship equipment to the ISS.

While A Beautiful Planet uses converted 3D footage (it wasn’t shot with actual 3D cameras), there’s still an immense sense of depth to the imagery. The film also evokes the Spaceship Earth concept, which centers on the idea that we’re all traveling together on an organic craft with limited resources. It’s hard not to be taken aback when you see how dry the Colorado River Basin appears from space, which has led to droughts in California and surrounding states, or when you see how much of Brazil’s rainforests have been destroyed. In many ways, the film is a call to arms for the next generation of would-be environmentalists.

Back when the NASA’s space shuttle was running, IMAX was able to get its large 2D and 3D cameras sent up fairly easily. But these days it’s more difficult to get material into orbit, because there’s no space shuttle for sending up large cargo. Luckily, modern digital filmmaking equipment is also far less cumbersome to deal with than it was during the days of the shuttle program. Not only are the cameras significantly smaller, but there’s no need to handle large reels of IMAX film, which weighed around 10 pounds and could record only three minutes at a time. IMAX says the data packs used today are around the size of an iPhone and can record 30 minutes of 4K video. Astronauts were trained to use the cameras by cinematographer James Neihouse, and they were tasked with getting footage from more than 100 targets (though they were also told to “shoot what they saw”).

Though much more convenient, there was a bit of a tradeoff with the new hardware. IMAX’s older film cameras delivered stunning footage with a resolution comparable to 12K. But while the digital cameras might not pack in the same level of quality, their footage still looked astounding when projected in 3D on a full-size IMAX screen at Manhattan’s AMC Loews Lincoln Square theater. And despite the lower resolution, the digital cameras still managed to outdo their predecessors with their ability to handle low-light shots.

“We would not have the nighttime scenes without the digital dynamic range,” Myers said in a statement. “What the digital capture did was totally open up that night world to us, with stars, cities at night, lightning and other phenomena that you see at night, like aurora.”

Those night scenes are indeed stunning. Viewing Earth in daylight conveys the immensity of the natural world, but at night you also see the impact of human civilization in cities ablaze with electricity. It’s also a reminder of how different even neighboring societies can be: South Korea is one of the brightest spots on Earth at night, but it’s almost complete darkness over the border in North Korea. On the natural side of things, the brief glimpses we get of aurora dancing across Earth’s atmosphere look more like computer-generated effects than something organic.

Another first for the film: It took advantage of the International Space Station’s “Cupola,” a dome-like arrangement of seven large windows, giving astronauts an incredibly wide view outside the craft. That was helpful for their own work taking care of the ISS, but it also allowed for a wide variety of angles for recording footage of Earth. IMAX also developed a special shield that protected the windows when they weren’t being used, which the astronauts were able to control.

A Beautiful Planet gives us a clear sense of what it’s like to be on the ISS working alongside some of Earth’s most talented astronauts. We see them exercise, shower and try to maintain a sense of normalcy in a zero-gravity environment. Sure, they’re in space, but their jobs aren’t exactly glamorous. Much of their time is spent running and maintaining experiments. The astronauts also didn’t get any time off to shoot the film — they worked with what little personal time they had.

At only 45 minutes, the film is more of a showcase for its incredible footage instead of a deep think piece. (At times it feels like it was written mainly for children.) Still, it makes a big impact: You’ll see things you’ve never seen before, and it gives you a broader sense of our impact on the environment. I’m sure we’ll get an even more immersive space experience with 360-degree video or virtual reality eventually (Adr1ft comes close), but at this point, it’s the closest thing to being in orbit.

29
Apr

20th Century Fox will skip Comic-Con to avoid trailer leaks


One of Comic-Con’s biggest draws is always the exclusive trailer screenings for upcoming superhero and science fiction flicks. But now more than ever, those teasers are being recorded and leaked online, much to the frustration of Hollywood studios. The situation is so bad that 20th Century Fox, according to TheWrap and the LA Times, has decided to pull out of this year’s convention. That means no sneaky-peeks of upcoming projects like Wolverine (3?), Maze Runner: The Death Cure or Assassin’s Creed.

A number of trailers leaked at the show last year, including Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and Warner Bros’ Suicide Squad. Teasers that go out ahead of time supposedly hurt the studios in a few different ways: for one, they’re usually uploaded in a lower resolution, potentially sullying people’s perception of the film. For another, they break an otherwise perfectly planned marketing strategy, which again, studios fear dilute the film’s impact with viewers. The counterargument, of course, is that any fan interest should be seen as a positive. If millions watch a leaked trailer, that means millions are now aware and potentially interested in the movie.

A Comic-Con spokesperson told The Verge: “There are a great many things that go into making a great panel presentation. For TV networks and movie studios, sometimes that includes exclusive footage, and while we have been very diligent in trying to prevent footage from being leaked, the truth is today’s technology makes any guarantee difficult. We are working with our friends at the different studios and networks in hopes of finding a remedy that will be beneficial to them, us and most importantly the fans.”

Source: TheWrap, The Verge, LA Times

29
Apr

Cortana won’t let you search with Google in Windows 10


In what may come as no surprise, Microsoft won’t let you use Cortana to perform a Google search anymore. While the digital assistant was capable of using a third-party search engine on Windows 10, the company announced this week that the “result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable.” So, to ensure that everything works well, Microsoft will only allow Cortana to launch the new Edge browser and find answers via Bing.

“Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana,” GM of search and Cortana Ryan Gavin explained in a blog post. “The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser.” In other words, using other apps led to a less reliable experience.

This doesn’t mean you can’t continue to use Google search and Chrome as your primary browser on your Windows 10 machine. You can certainly still do that, and set those and other third-party apps as the default option to hop around the internet. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that Cortana will only provide answers to questions and lend a hand with tasks through Microsoft Edge and Bing.

Source: Microsoft

29
Apr

The director of ‘Madagascar’ takes on the wild west of VR


As the writer/director behind DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar, a blockbuster that spawned five sequels and one TV show, Eric Darnell could’ve easily hung up his hat and basked in his Hollywood legacy. But, instead, Darnell departed the studio he made famous last year to explore the “wild west” of virtual reality with Baobab, an animation studio he co-founded alongside Maureen Fan, the former VP of games at Zynga. At this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, the two debuted their first effort, Invasion!, a VR short featuring a lovable, alien-thwarting bunny rabbit and a prologue narrated by Ethan Hawke.

“He’s a big fan of VR, it turns out,” says Darnell of Hawke’s involvement.

Baobab’s six-minute long computer-animated short tells a simple tale: Aliens come to Earth intent on a hostile takeover and are unwittingly defeated by a cute bunny. With its family-friendly tone, charming characters and clever physical humor, Invasion! is not unlike Darnell’s past work. And it’s precisely that familiarity that should have parents taking off their VR headsets and eagerly placing them on their children’s heads.

“Our goal is to make stuff everybody can enjoy,” says Darnell. “There’s no reason to put in a dirty word or off-color joke if you can do something funny and appealing to a broad audience.”

Believe it or not, this fluffy bunny thwarts a hostile alien takeover

Darnell drew inspiration for Invasion! from two classic sources: the original The War of the Worlds movie and Laurel and Hardy. The mash-up is immediately evident as Hawke’s introductory narration is inspired by the H.G. Wells novel that inspired the original film and in the alien duo’s bumbling comedy of errors. But whereas the current version of Invasion! centers on the bunny as the unwitting hero, originally Darnell had built the piece around the two aliens. And in that earlier version, which was available as a preview on Gear VR, the bunny died. It was a decision Darnell chalks up to lack of production time. “We didn’t have time to animate it for the trailer,” he says.

It also proved to be a great lesson in the do’s and don’ts of VR filmmaking for Baobab. Early feedback from parents who’d seen the preview highlighted a key concern: Unlike watching a film in a theatre’s communal setting, VR is an isolated experience which means parents have no way of monitoring and consoling children who’ve witnessed upsetting imagery or storylines (e.g. a dead bunny). Thus making them less likely to allow their children to participate in these VR experiences. And so it was decided the bunny should live.

That commitment to all-ages entertainment forms the backbone of Baobab Studios, which boasts animator Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) and founding members of Pixar, DreamWorks Animations and Twitch as advisors. With that considerable brain trust behind them, Darnell and Fan hope to replicate the high-quality visuals and storytelling-centric ethos Darnell helped foster while at DreamWorks Animation and, in the process, transform VR from a niche novelty to a form of popular entertainment. Currently, the Bay Area-based studio has a slate of 12 projects in various stages of development. But given the early positive responses to Invasion!, Fan says it’s likely the studio’s sophomore effort will be episode two.

Eric Darnell (front left), Maureen Fan (front right) and the Baobab Studios team

“The audience chooses the franchises. We aren’t the ones who choose the franchises,” says Fan. “So by putting out this first one and seeing how much people like it, that’s how we know whether or not we want to continue with additional episodes.”

Indeed, the bulk of Baobab’s output will rely on building strong episodic franchises the studio can continually revisit, though Darnell says longer-form, self-contained pieces are not out of the question. But, before Darnell can get to work on experiences that push past the 10-minute mark, he first needs to get viewers comfortable with the idea of spending time immersed in the virtual world.

“Our goal is to make stuff everybody can enjoy.”

Eric Darnell, Baobab Studios

Much like Oculus Story Studio and Penrose Studios, Baobab has its own suite of proprietary VR creation tools. But where Baobab branches off from the pack is in its in-development conferencing software. Darnell says his team is hard at work on a system that would allow multiple users to collaborate, sketch storyboards, draw models and work on blocking and set design all within the virtual world.

“…As a director, I can point to things and highlight things and ask the modeler to make it 20 percent bigger and move that rock over there,” he says. “And we’re all in the same world. We’re basically authoring our content, our VR experience inside of the medium. And that’s super powerful.”

The Baobab Studios team demos a build of Invasion!

Both Darnell and Fan are extremely bullish on VR’s consumer prospects and are positioning Baobab as a platform-agnostic studio. So when Invasion! and other projects are released, you can expect to see them hit every storefront from Vive to the Rift to PlayStation VR. Just don’t expect to see Baobab’s early shorts released with much controller-based interactivity. Both Darnell and Fan believe that, at least for now, VR viewers still want to be passively entertained at the end of a long day and not overwhelmed with control schemes and physical engagement.

“For me, the magic is really in inspiring the viewer to make their own choice and yet they’re getting the story I want them to get.”

Image credits: Baobab Studios

29
Apr

Netflix is giving the Punisher his own show


Shortly after The Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal was tapped as the Punisher in season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil series, rumors circulated that the character would get its own show. Well, a few weeks after his debut, Netflix made the spin-off official. “The Punisher is back,” a tweet making the announcement reads. “Locked and loaded.”

The Punisher is back. Locked and loaded.https://t.co/nGKCa2taEV

— Netflix US (@netflix) April 29, 2016

Entertainment Weekly reports that Hannibal executive producer Steve Lightfoot will serve as showrunner and yes, Bernthal will return as Frank Castle for the series. Marvel and Netflix have certainly gotten cozy over the last year or so, with the debuts of Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The two also have Luke Cage and Iron Fist shows in the works, as well as a The Defenders miniseries. The addition of a standalone Punisher series brings the total number of projects between the comic publisher and the streaming service to six. Of course, details are scarce for now, so we’ll likely be waiting a bit on a premiere date.

Source: Netflix (Twitter)

29
Apr

The best universal remote control


By Darryl Wilkinson and Grant Clauser

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read the full article here.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use universal remote to control up to eight devices, we recommend the Logitech Harmony 650. Seventy-five years after Zenith introduced the first remote control, we’re still waiting for someone to make the perfect one, but the 650 is the best option for most people looking to simplify the operation of their home theater or media system. It’s easier to program than any non-Harmony remote. Its backlit hard-button layout makes it simple to use, and it’s way cheaper than other systems that are equally comprehensive.

Who needs a universal remote?

If sitting down to watch TV or a movie requires shuffling between several remotes, switching inputs, and powering multiple components at the same time, then a universal remote is for you. Though a bad universal remote simply combines the functions of several remotes into one device, a good universal remote not only eliminates coffee table clutter and the remote shuffle but also eliminates button pushes by combining multiple actions into one button press.

For example, instead of having to push separate buttons to turn on your TV, switch HDMI inputs, power on your AV receiver and change inputs there, turn on your Blu-ray player, and then—finally—press the play button to get your movie started, a good universal remote can reduce all of that to one command (“Play Movie”) that you can access at the touch of a single button. Though this functionality used to be reserved for high-end professionally programmed systems, these days a few relatively inexpensive remotes can do the same complex jobs.

How we picked

Something from Logitech’s Harmony lineup is your best option for a universal remote control these days.

A universal remote control has to be universal, meaning able to control all the components an average audio/video enthusiast could throw at it. A typical system will have five or six devices, including a TV (or projector), DVD/Blu-ray player, DVR, surround sound receiver, and maybe a media player (such as a Roku or Apple TV). It might also include a game system or two. A remote that can juggle eight devices at once will cover most systems. And because most devices rely on IR (infrared) control, an IR remote will be sufficient for most people.

The remote should also have a well-organized button layout or on-screen display, with the most important buttons (such as volume, pause, and play) easily accessible. An activity-based design, as described above, is also preferred. Finally, we wanted a remote that was easy to program. If you need a certificate in C++ to program it, that’s too difficult.

If you scan Amazon and other online retailers for universal remotes, you’ll find a lot of low-end replacement remotes. Philips used to sell a series of programmable remotes called Pronto, and Sony previously offered a couple of nice, now-discontinued universal remotes. The company called Universal Remote Control used to lead the pack with remotes like the URC-R40, but the company now focus almost exclusively on control systems for professional installation. We also tried out two app-only remotes, but concluded that a dedicated handheld remote works better for everyday control than a smartphone or tablet app. These days, selecting the best universal remote seems largely a matter of choosing the best Logitech Harmony device.

Our pick

We can’t find anything that beats the Harmony 650 in capability or user friendliness in this price range.

The Logitech Harmony 650 can coordinate the functions of up to eight components, is relatively simple to program using its MyHarmony software, and uses a smart, activity-based interface that simplifies control of your whole home theater. It can control IR (infrared) devices only, but it can’t communicate over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so it isn’t compatible with some recent devices.

Although the competition among good universal remote controls is relatively nonexistent, two of the key features that put the Harmony 650 above its challengers are an easy-to-read, backlit, color display and a built-in Remote Assistant function for troubleshooting. The display tells you what activity mode you’re in (such as Watch TV, Watch Blu-ray, and Listen to CD) and displays icons for your favorite channels, so you don’t have to remember the channel number every time you want to watch SyFy. The Remote Assistant feature is like a built-in help desk. If the remote fails to perform a task you expect it to (such as turn up the TV’s volume), you can follow the Remote Assistant’s guided suggestions to quickly resolve the problem.

For complex setups and non-IR devices

The Harmony Companion is for more advanced home theaters.

The Logitech Harmony Companion (previously called the Harmony Home Control) is a little harder to set up and use than the 650 due to its lack of an LCD display or backlit buttons, but it offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth control (which many newer devices like Sonos wireless speakers and Amazon’s Fire TV use) plus infrared blasters so you can hide your components in a cabinet and still control them. You can also use a smartphone or tablet app to control your system.

The Harmony Companion is made for tech-savvy people, and you can integrate it with several do-it-yourself home-automation hubs and smart devices, such as lights, locks, thermostats, and motorized shades, which is something few other universal remote controls can do. Further, the Harmony mobile app on a smartphone or tablet provides remote control and access to your system and smart devices from anywhere via the Internet. No other remote control we can find offers this much control, connectivity, and compatibility for the money.

For theater enthusiasts and serious smart-home tinkerers

The full-featured Harmony Elite.

The Harmony Elite is Harmony’s flagship remote, and its standout feature is its built-in color touchscreen. Instead of pressing hard buttons for movies, TV, or music, for instance, you scroll up and down on the screen for your activity and tap that. The screen then switches to pages customized for that activity, and the control options can go satisfyingly deep. And you can even customize all the activity names. This is also the remote for you if you have a lot of gear—it can control up to 15 devices, potentially replacing up to 15 other remotes.

Although the Elite is a pleasure to use, it also costs around $200 more than the Companion. It’s the king of do-it-yourself remotes, but it comes with a kingly price.

A cheap universal remote

The Harmony 350 controls eight devices at a cheaper price than the 650.

We think the 650 is a great value for what it offers, especially for something you’ll be using multiple times per day, every day. If its price is too much of a stretch, the Harmony 350 also controls eight devices and is very similar to the 650. However, the loss of the screen means it isn’t as simple to use. Plus, its buttons aren’t backlit and it also lacks the interactive help feature.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

29
Apr

Samsung brings nightly storytime into VR for busy parents


Parents don’t always have a chance to read to their kids at night — especially if they’re traveling, or working late. Samsung is working on a potential solution for this modern dilemma: BedTime VR Stories, a new Gear VR app that lets parents experience a story together with their children. At first, it might seem like a dystopian realization of a sad, disconnected future (especially when the mother and daughter in Samsung’s video try to hold hands, only to reach out into nothing). But there’s certainly potential, especially for busy parents who want to do more than just video chat with their kids before bed.

Of course, you’ll need two Gear VR headsets to use the app, as well as two Samsung phones to shove inside them. (Check out the entire story in 360-degree video on YouTube). It’s only being tested in the UK right now, and there’s no word on how the company plans to release it on a wider scale.

There’s one major problem with Bedtime VR Stories, though. After testing the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for several weeks, I noticed they wreaked havoc on my sleep cycle. It’s bad enough staring at blue light from your computer screen or phone at night — shoving a bright OLED screen against your eyeballs right before bed is a recipe for sleepless nights. That’s not the sort of thing parents would welcome for their children.

Source: Samsung

29
Apr

The curious case of ‘Quadrilateral Cowboy’


Game developer Brendon Chung is an easygoing guy when it comes to the creative process. He doesn’t make elaborate plans regarding the scope of his projects; instead he goes wherever the flow takes him. It’s been working out for him: His completed games — namely, Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving — are quirky experiences heralded for their punchy, emotive narratives, and they each took about six months to complete. Chung assumed his latest game, Quadrilateral Cowboy, would take roughly the same amount of time.

That was in 2012.

“This game has been six months away from completion for about three years now,” Chung says.

He’s been working on Quadrilateral Cowboy for years, but it’s finally, actually going to hit PC, Mac and Linux later in 2016. Chung is in the final stages of fixing bugs, tweaking features based on feedback from playtesters and setting up Steam integration. It’s his biggest project to date.

“This is going to sound kind of artsy-fartsy, but I get this feeling sometimes when I start writing, that it’s not me anymore,” Chung says. “The piece that you’re writing just starts to kind of steer itself, in a way. The game did that to me.”

Eager fans have been messaging Chung, asking when Quadrilateral Cowboy will finally be done or wondering if it’s dead. There’s demand for this game, and not just because Chung has a history of developing rich narrative experiences. He took Quadrilateral Cowboy on a whirlwind press and demo tour in 2013, earning the IndieCade Grand Jury Award, an honorable mention in the IGF Excellence in Narrative category, a spot at the prestigious E3 Horizon conference and a ton of attention from the media.

A lot of the buzz stemmed from Quadrilateral Cowboy’s unique gameplay mechanic: coding. It’s set in the clunky cyberpunk world of 1980s computer hacking, and players complete missions using a “top-of-the-line” rig with a 56.6k modem and a “staggering” 256K RAM. You’ll solve puzzles by lugging the portable hacking deck to various locations and typing in lines of code to switch off alarm systems, open doors, deactivate lasers and generally sneak around collecting sensitive intel for clients. It’s a mixture of a puzzle game and a quick-and-dirty programming lesson, set in a blocky, retro-tech world.

During Quadrilateral Cowboy’s Great 2013 Press Tour, Chung really thought he would finish the game within six months. With a supposed launch imminent, he wanted to drum up excitement and ensure he had some sort of marketing presence — aspects of game development that Chung underestimated when he first entered the industry.

“I find that making people know that I exist is one of the more difficult things to do,” he says. “You can make something really cool and you can make something people will like, but if people don’t know how to find it and support you with money and income, then you’re not going to make a second project.”

Chung was spending nearly half of his time handling media requests and making sure people knew Quadrilateral Cowboy existed, which made it difficult to actually finish the game. Eventually, he took a break from marketing and went heads-down on development. That’s when he realized it was a much larger project than he’d anticipated.

“The way I work is very organically, I guess is the nice way to put it,” Chung says. “I don’t really plan out what I want to do. I’ll just make something and put it on the screen and see how it makes me feel, see how it plays, see how it feels.”

Quadrilateral Cowboy felt big. As he worked, hype around the game crescendoed and then fell to a low hum. Suddenly, three years passed and Chung found himself answering inquiries about the game’s death from fans. (The first question in the game’s FAQs tries to head off those emails and tweets: “Is Quadrilateral Cowboy still being worked on?” Answer: “Yup!”)

Aside from growing in size, the game hasn’t changed too much from what Chung showed off in 2013. But, that year, his working situation shifted in a big way: He used to program at home, in his living room, but his personal and professional worlds started to bleed together in unhealthy ways.

“After a few years of doing that, it kind of started to — ah, what’s the word? — it started to destroy me,” Chung says. “It was all jumbled up in this big spaghetti pile. I just couldn’t turn it off. Work was always available and thus I was always working.”

A handful of his developer friends in Los Angeles found themselves in similar situations, so they pooled their resources and rented out a space in Culver City that they called Glitch City. It’s now a hub of independent development and collaboration, churning out games like Hyper Light Drifter, Donut County, Last Life and, of course, Quadrilateral Cowboy.

“It pulled me out of that hole that I was falling into and now I have these very clear lines between work and not work,” Chung says.

With an actual release approaching in 2016, Chung will probably try to get the Quadrilateral Cowboy hype train rolling again in the coming months. He built up buzz once, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to do it again.

“There are some things that I have control over in my life and some things I don’t,” Chung says. “I can control how good this game will be. I can control how much effort and energy I put into it, but as to how will people like this thing? Argh.”

Chung has a clear picture of his audience, at least. He knows some people are intimidated by a game that asks them to code, but he’s confident that anyone can pick up Quadrilateral Cowboy and have a great time with it. Really, anyone.

“My favorite thing at these shows is when kids come up to play it — like 10, 11, 12 years old,” he says. “They don’t have these preconceived notions that programming is this thing for geniuses or brilliant people….They’ll just sit at the keyboard, they’ll start banging on it, and they get it. They pick it up because they don’t have all this baggage about what programming is. It’s amazing. That’s what I want.”

29
Apr

‘Doom’ creators pull ‘Blackroom’ Kickstarter after four days


That lasted long. John Romero and Adrian Carmack, founders of the Doom and Quake developer iD Software, have already pulled the plug on their new Kickstarter project. The Blackroom campaign had been running for four days when the pair decided to press “pause,” citing the need to make a gameplay demo. That’s most likely so that their new, rebooted campaign can adhere to Kickstarter’s own rules, which require “explicit demos of working prototypes” for any proposed physical product. The pair say finishing an early slice of Blackroom will take longer than the current campaign, which is why they’ve decided to end it so prematurely.

“We believe, however, it is the right choice,” Carmack and Romero explain on the Blackroom Kickstarter page. “We know you do, too.”

Blackroom was pitched as a “visceral, varied and violent shooter” inspired by the games both men worked on at iD Software. The Kickstarter had some early concept art, but otherwise it was just Carmack and Romero explaining what it would be about. You would take on the role of Santiago Sonore, an engineer at a fictional company called Hoxar. In the future, this firm develops a technology that can create ultra-realistic holographic worlds. When the simulations begins to mesh with our reality, it’s up to Sonore to investigate and vanquish increasingly horrific aberrations.

While Romero and Carmack say they’ve decided to “suspend” the campaign, that’s not technically possible on Kickstarter. They will, therefore, need to start again with a brand new campaign once their initial gameplay demo has been completed. The developers promise to honor backer achievements in their next campaign and say they’ll be offering an extra something for those that decide to carry their pledge forward.

Via: Rock Paper Shotgun

Source: Kickstarter

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