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  • Xbox One's ability to play in-development code has Minecraft-esque implications for gamers

    Xbox One debug functionality has interesting implications for gamers

    The Xbox One‘s retail units will also run in-progress game code and function as debug units for budding devs, but Xbox VP Marc Whitten says not all of that functionality will be available when the console launches this November. More details will be available during Gamescom 2013 this August, but he told us in an interview this afternoon that “some of this won’t be there for launch.”

    Self-publishing for indies, however, is already on the table, though Whitten didn’t provide a specific roadmap for when and how it’ll work. “It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time — how do we shorten that process, how do we automate a lot of the core requirements checking and some of those things. That’ll continue to be our focus around that,” he said. Nor would he confirm the turnaround time, said to be close to Apple’s 14-day turnaround, though he did suggest it could be even shorter. Again, more details will arise closer to Gamescom, but in the meantime Whitten says: “As games move towards games as a service, that becomes a more important part of the cycle. It’s the reason that we dropped the title update fees, as an example. We’ll announce more on the specifics, but our goal is frankly just to minimize that.”

    Beyond benefitting indie devs, Whitten spoke to the implications of retail consoles running in-progress code could have on gamers. “I’m not confirming any feature or anything like that,” he prefaced. But? “This idea of how can [Xbox] Live and the console work on a certain set of code which is what you need to do when you’re the developer. Well that also opens up these sorts of ideas around early access to betas or these types of features, and that’s foundationally what we’ve been working on around the architecture of the system,” he said. As expected, that content won’t live in the same marketplace as completed code (read: finished games), but it does sound like the Xbox One has room for the Minecraft model of game launches.

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  • AeroSee uses drones for mountain rescue, wants you to join the search

    DNP AeroSee uses drones for mountain rescue, wants your eyes to search for lost climbers

    The woods may be lovely, dark and deep, but they’re also dangerously unpredictable. That’s why the University of Central Lancashire is looking to improve search and rescue technology with AeroSee, a project that incorporates drones to locate missing hikers. The lightweight aircraft, provided by E-Migs, are equipped with cameras that transmit video to nearby ground stations. Analysis is then crowd-sourced by search agents, who scour the images for missing persons, like a high-stakes Where’s Waldo. And that’s where you come in. Tomorrow, July 25th at 12:30PM GMT (7:30AM ET), UCLan will launch a simulated mission where you can log in to its site to scour images for a survivor. The fastest virtual savior will top the leader board and take home a sweet prize. Want to sign up for the search? Head on over to the source link below.

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    Source: AeroSee

  • Xbox One retail consoles double as debug units, Microsoft to allow indie self-publishing

    Xbox One retail consoles double as debug units, Microsoft to allow indie selfpublishing

    Microsoft’s Xbox One is getting decidedly more indie-friendly with today’s confirmation from Microsoft that its forthcoming game console will double as a developer debug unit. In so many words, each $500 unit purchased at retail this holiday will also run in-progress game code, enabling developers to get in on the action all the more affordably (debug versions of game consoles cost far more than retail game consoles, and tend to look slightly different from their retail counterparts). “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development,” Xbox corporate VP Marc Whitten said in a statement.

    Of course, such a move wouldn’t make much sense without eased publishing regulations — the Xbox 360 allows for self-publishing only in its ghettoized “indies” section, and all other games require a Microsoft-certified publisher to distribute physically or digitally. Going forward with the Xbox One, developers can publish their own games; Microsoft’s looking at a quick turnaround on that code certification as well, according to reports, though we’re told there’ll be more info at Gamescom come late August. The full statement from Whitten can be found just below the break.

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  • Canon previews a handheld version of its MREAL Mixed Reality tech at SIGGRAPH, we go hands-on (video)

    Canon previews a handheld version of its MREAL mixed reality tech at SIGGRAPH, we go handson video

    As a complement to its MREAL Mixed Reality headset, Canon is showing off a handheld version of the technology this week at SIGGRAPH. The new version functions much like the head-mounted one, enabling the use of markers or (as was the case here) sensors to render images in real space. Something you’ll want to keep in mind: this is still an enterprised-focused device. That said, it doesn’t make the tech demo and usage scenarios any less cool to gawk at. The demonstration we saw here in Anaheim involved a Kabuki dancer out in the center of the demo area. Details like shadows and wrinkles in the performer’s clothes were rendered in real time — just as if a real person were performing. A collection of sensors mounted around the top of the demo stage allowed us to look around the space while the projected image reacted to our position. Not once did we lose sight of the action.

    Two other demos for the head-mounted display (that can easily translate to the handheld unit as well) caught our attention, too. First, a boat motor was projected in real space using augmented reality markers, allowing the user to inspect a scale model of the engine for training or other purposes. The ability to deconstruct the engine and see how different portions of it worked was all available to the user. Next, we saw a set of markers wrapping a rectangle projected a model of a Canon DSLR housing. Both of these scenarios offer a more in-depth look at 3D models before the prototyping phase or any steps are taken towards production. A quick look at the Kabuki demo and our best in-dance commentary awaits on the other side of the break.

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