Tech Talk #9: Valve Letting Off Some Steam, Android Gaming Platform & More

Valve’s Non-Gaming S/W, a $99 Android Gaming Platform, and ubiquitous PC Gesture Control for all.

Valve Released to Let Off More Steam

Valve, the online gaming portal boasting over 40 million user, has now opened it’s Steam platform up to add non-game software to its usual catalogue; hence the following programs are now available:

  • ArtRage Studio Pro
  • CameraBag 2
  • GameMaker: Studio
  • 3D-Coat
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • 3DMark 11

Valved have stated that this software supports Steamworks features: ease of installation, auto-updating, and saving work a personal Steam Cloud account. As an added incentive, all the non-gaming software is discounted by 10% off until 6 PM GMT on Tuesday, 9th October.

A £64 Android Game Console? Oo Yah!!

Open-source Android games device Ouya took over $2 million’s worth of  funding in a single day on technology start-up site Kickstarter. Whilst most mainstream gamers go ga-ga over the marketing machines behind expensive platforms like XB0x 360 or PS3, a few mavericks have waded in to fill the gap of delivering the same experience at a significantly lower cost. One such company is Ouya.

With a Tegra 3 quad-core processor at its heart, this open-source, Android-powered games platform, it aims to give all developers, from big companies to on-man bands, the chance to make and distribute games digitally. The development model is that the $99 machine is its own design kit, and all developers must do is offer a free-of-charge Lite version of each new game introduced.

Even though Ouya claim to have ‘000’s of units on pre-order (running to $millions), many in games industry are doubtful about its viability and aggressive March 2013 ship date. That said, the first Ouya exclusive game is being developed by ‘Call of Duty’s Robert Bowling… which sounds like it has some gravitas.

A Leap of Faith Which is All in Your Hands

If you’ve thrown out your keyboard in the past few years in favour of capacitive or even proximity sensing, then you’ll know that gesture control is the next step in interface evolution. M/S Kinect XBOX have been waving their arms furiously at the screen since the turn of the decade, but in truth, whilst this technology has been showcased in proofs-of-concept, it has largely under-utilised outside of this. Enter stage left, LeapMotion’s The Leap, an almost Apple-esque (in its simplicity & style) USB peripheral that creates a virtual 3D interactive space allowing users to exhibit quite a wide range of executions on a PC using a range of sophisticated hand movements. 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market, it claims to be granular enough (accuracy of 1/100th of a millimetre!) to pick out individual finger movements such as pinch/expand to zoom out/in like on a iPad. Support for a variety of artistic, mapping and gaming apps is planned, and with a suggested US launch price of $70, we can all look forward to being Tom Cruise in Minority Reports.

Source: EuroGamer, Ouya, LeapMotion
Reporter: SilverFox

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