Why video game engines may power the future of film and architecture

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Epic Games, the company best known for Gears of War, has a very different plan for this generation of video games — one that expands far beyond what games are typically assumed to be. Founder Tim Sweeney sat down at the annual Game Developers Conference to explain why the company has moved away from expensive boxed blockbusters to its ambitious strategy for the future.

“We realized the world was changing,” says Sweeney. “Last generation Epic was like this badass AAA game developer, but we were pretty remote. We’d ship a game every two or three years, it’d get a huge reception, and we’d go off and build another one.”

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Vanhawks Raises $1.6M To Help Put The Valour Smartbike On The Road

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20141015-086A4712-Edit-Edit-Valour-bl-splash Smartbike startup Vanhawks, part of the Y Combinator Winter 2015 class, has raised $1.6 million from Real Ventures, Olympic triathlon gold medallist Simon Whitfield, Brenda Irwin of Relentless Pursuit partners and various angels. The company will use the funding to help deliver its Valour smartbike, which raised over $820,000 on Kickstarter last year, to its first customers starting this spring. Read More

Nextdoor Joins The Billion Dollar Valuation Club With New $110M Funding

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nextdoor Nextdoor just became the latest private tech company to join the swelling ranks of the billion-dollar valuation club.
The San Francisco startup, which runs a social network for people to interact with others who live in their physical neighborhoods, announced today it has raised $110 million in new funding. Nextdoor has confirmed that the raise was conducted at a $1.11 billion post-money… Read More

YC-Backed Outbound Helps Businesses Message Customers Over Both Email And Mobile

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email-sms-puzzle With the shift to mobile devices, businesses today have a need to reach their customers wherever they are – and that includes marketing to their customers outside of email alone. A Y Combinator-backed startup called Outbound wants to help today’s marketers run campaigns that go beyond just tracking “opens and clicks,” and can also reach customers using… Read More

Microsoft is bringing Xbox games to its futuristic HoloLens headset

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Appearing at Game Developers Conference 2015 today, Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft intends to bring Xbox gaming to the company’s futuristic HoloLens headset. “Gaming and entertainment is going to be critical,” to introducing consumers to such a radically new experience, Spencer said. He revealed that Microsoft’s own first-party development studios are already at work trying to build captivating experiences beyond what we saw in January. But eventually, Microsoft’s going to open the doors to outside developers.

“While there are going to be many uses and industries that take advantage of Microsoft HoloLens and everything that holographic computing has to offer, gaming is a huge opportunity,” Microsoft said in a press…

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The new Audi R8 looks the same as the old Audi R8, and that’s okay

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Apart from fashion, I’m not sure that there’s any industry that’s as insatiably hungry for newness than the automotive world. It’s a devastatingly design-focused business, endlessly devouring itself in the name of creating something unique, something you haven’t seen before. Even the notoriously iterative smartphone market is cut more slack: Apple can effortlessly get away with slapping an “S” on an iPhone’s name and using the body for another year. Cars are different. If you release a new model that looks essentially the same as the one it replaces, you’re going to hear about it. People are going to ask questions. I can’t tell the difference. It’s the same car.

There are, as always, exceptions to the rule. Retro-themed vehicles are c…

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The design studio behind Monument Valley is rethinking in-car displays

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For most, Ustwo is best known for its breakout mobile hit, Monument Valley — but the company is also an accomplished design studio. As part of a partnership with car design consultancy CDR, Ustwo took a hard look at instrument clusters, offering up a few fundamental redesigns for how we interpret speed and other critical information while we’re driving.

The company notes that even in the digital age, instrument clusters are presently quite skeuomorphic — digital speedometers typically resemble analog ones, and so on — but the freedom afforded by an LCD display means that there’s probably an opportunity to try other things that make more sense. It applied what it calls “adaptive hierarchy,” displaying only the most relevant information…

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Garmin Fenix 3 Review: For When You Need To Look Good Tracking Your Activity

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garmin fenix-1 This is common and one of the chief concerns Garmin is addressing with the Fenix 3. It looks and works like a normal watch. Just don’t call it a smartwatch. It sports some basic smartwatch functionality, but it’s mainly a glorified activity tracker. And I like it. After two weeks, I’m still wearing it, which is one of the biggest endorsements I can give a product. Basics… Read More

Microsoft launches Xbox One SDK to let any developer build apps for its console

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Microsoft is finally letting developers build apps for the Xbox One. While the software maker has had a private SDK since the console’s launch, that will start to go a lot more public today. At the Games Developer Conference (GDC) today, Xbox chief Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft is launching its Xbox One SDK today to select testers, with plans to let any developer access the SDK in the coming months.

Developers will be able to create apps using the Windows 10 universal app platform that spans across PCs, tablets, phones, and the Xbox One. Microsoft demonstrated a Windows 10 app running on the Xbox One earlier this week, and it looks like it’s going to be fairly simple for developers to target the console alongside other devices….

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John Carmack says Samsung will put its full strength behind the Gear VR later this year

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Samsung and Oculus haven’t pushed the Gear VR too hard just yet — but that’s going to change later in 2015. Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack just said that the formal strategy for his company is to put all of Samsung’s considerable marketing muscle around Gear VR later this year, during Samsung’s next big release cycle. “We’ve got a plan now, we’ve got a date, you can mark this in the calendars,” Carmack said. “Oculus is going forward as hard as we can, trying to sell as many units as possible with the next Gear VR.”

Carmack noted that he couldn’t discuss unannounced Samsung products — but then said that history has shown Samsung has two big releases per year. During the next one Gear VR would receive the full weight of…

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Xbox One wireless controller adapter for Windows arrives later this year

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Microsoft is planning to release a wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers later this year. If you’re a fan of using an Xbox One controller on PC, then this will allow you to play games without a USB cable. The software maker had a similar adapter for the Xbox 360, and this timely release comes alongside Windows 10. Later this year you’ll be able to use the Xbox app on Windows 10 to stream Xbox games on PC all with an Xbox One controller, so this adapter will come in handy if you hate cables.

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HBO’s streaming service is reportedly called HBO Now, costs $15 per month

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HBO’s subscription streaming service will be called HBO Now and is expected to cost $15 per month, according to the International Business Times. The report says that HBO is targeting a launch for Now in early April, ahead of the start date for Game of Thrones. While Game of Thones would be a great way for HBO to drive subscriptions to the new service, it’ll have to be careful if it plans to do that: last year, HBO’s online streaming option for cable subscribers, HBO Go, wouldn’t work for many who were trying to watch during the premiere. That would be a very bad look for a new service, and the Times says that HBO doesn’t plan on launching until it’s satisfied that it can do so without issue.

Apple is reportedly one of the partners that…

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The New Frontier Of Telemedicine Is Drug Stores

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drugstore Modern medicine has seen some amazing technological advances. Heart surgeries that used to be all day open-heart procedures requiring long hospital stays can now be performed as arthroscopic outpatient procedures in a few hours. Tattoos can monitor vital signs, and contact lenses can monitor glucose levels. In a third-world country, you can get the results of an AIDS test in minutes at the cost… Read More

Nvidia’s Shield Set-Top Box Could Finally Make The Stream Dream Real

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shield-streetfighter1-compressor This new gadget is called simply the Nvidia Shield, which means the company probably wants it to lead the lineup that also includes the Shield Tablet and Shield Portable, and it’s powered by the new Tegra X1 processor Nvidia debuted at CES this year. More important than all that, however, is that it’s a delivery mechanism for Grid, the streaming game service introduced by Nvidia… Read More

Google’s Cloud Pub/Sub Real-Time Messaging Service Is Now In Public Beta

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Google Google is launching the first public beta of Cloud Pub/Sub today, its backend messaging service that makes it easier for developers to pass messages between machines and to gather data from smart devices. It’s basically a scalable messaging middleware service in the cloud that allows developers to quickly pass information between applications, no matter where they’re hosted.… Read More

Oculus CTO John Carmack Says Gear VR Gets A Full Launch With Samsung’s Next Cycle

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Gear_VR_Still Samsung and Oculus have been treating Gear VR and the Oculus Rift in a similar manner, meaning both pieces of hardware are clearly labeled as developer or enthusiast devices, and not meant for the general public. Oculus CTO John Carmack said Gear VR will get a proper, full consumer launch with Samsung’s next hardware cycle, however. This was Samsung’s desire with the most recent… Read More

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