New Need For Speed game announced

Prepare for “The Race for Your Life.”

An EA representative has officially confirmed that the developer will release a new Need For Speed game in November of this year, entitled “Need for Speed: The Run”.

Details are sparce at this early stage, but retailer ShopTo.net has already added a listing for the title, including a teaser trailer and official box art.

Official boxart for "Need For Speed: The Run"

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PSNightmare!!!

Electronics giant Sony is facing one of it’s most embarrassing publicity crises in recent memory, and turned the once revered and acclaimed PSN (Playstation Network), into a laughing stock and a source of much anger for for users around the world.

Now into its 7th day of inactivity, thing have gotten even worse for Sony, as they are now reporting that the hack ould potentially lead to the theft of up to 77 million PSN users’ personal information, including credit card details.

This has even led to the British government launching a formal investigation into the matter, and even US and Canadian government bodies have joined the chorus demanding answers about the exposure, including the FBI.

The PSN nightmare continues for millions around the world

This has probably been Sony’s week from hell PR wise, and if they don’t get it fixed soon, it could lead to one of the biggest digital fraud cases the world has ever seen.

PSN users are being urged to be aware of any correspondence they may receive in relation to their personal details. A Sony statement read:

“For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of e-mail, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information,” the company said. “Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information.”

Users are becoming increasingly frustrated and appauled at the apparent ease with which such a massive programme was hacked, especially one that contains the personal data of over 75 million people.

Reports have already started filtering in of fraudulent charges, leading up to $600 in some cases.

Sony has promised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, but is it too little too late? I can think of 75 million people that probably think it is. The video below answers some FAQ’s that PSN users may have regarding the hack.

The future of gaming……..

Two weeks ago at GDC, Unreal debuted their new update to their Unreal 3 graphics engine, giving us a glimpse into the future of gaming as we know it.

The trailer for the update, entitled simply “Samaritan” as  showcased the potential for Unreal Engine 3 and DirectX 11.

So what does this update mean? Epic released pictures and videos illustrating the potential of the engine, and displaying it’s already impressive capabilities.

“Image-based reflections that allow surfaces of any shape to reflect an approximate version of scenes, with varying glossiness across surfaces, anisotropic HDR highlights and anti-aliasing.”

Reflections are hard to pull of in games. They require a lot of complex algorithims and equations to get right, and if they’re not done properly, the end result can look sloppy and unconvincing. Epic’s solution to these problems is to take a simplified version of the scene around a reflected image, like your character reflected in the surface of  water, and add all of the different effects that you would want to see on top of it. The picture below illustrates what they mean.

[courtesy of IGN]

The graphics look amazing, and I think it’s safe to say that they are the most realistic I have ever seen. Epic went on describing the new technology and its applications, continuing with “subsurface scattering” (SSS).

“Subsurface scattering (SSS) that simulates the light that scatters inside semi-translucent materials (this makes character skin come alive).”

This will mean that the skin of, say, a character in a game, will behave like skin does in the real world. Light isn’t simply reflected off of it; some of it is absorbed as well and eventually reflected back. Think of the difference between the plastic skin of a doll and your own, and that is what Epic are pertaining to.

“Anti-aliased masked materials that super sample the edges of masked and alpha-tested materials (this makes hair more look realistic than ever before).”
Put simply, aliasing is the appearance of jagged edges in game graphics. Hair up close, for exampl, often looks like a lot of horizontal jagged lines joined together, as if someone had created it in Paint on a PC. Epic claim that this will be a thing of the past.
This will mean far more realistic looking characters and environments, something that can decide if a game is a roaring success, or if it is destined for the bargain bin.
The update was released on March 9th, and anyone can download it from www.udk.com.
For now, here is the Samaritan trailer, showcased at this year’s GDC. Enjoy.