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Game Programming Articles


Game on? Netflix hires first videogame executive, signaling a new approach


Netflix . announced its first major videogame hire Wednesday, potentially signaling a move beyond its streaming-video roots. Netflix hired Mike Verdu as vice president of game development, poaching him from . where as vice president of content for Reality Labs, he oversaw Oculus Studios as well as the teams bringing second- and third-party virtual-reality games and other apps to Oculus virtual-reality headsets. Before joining , Verdu was senior vice president of mobile for Electronic Arts . responsible for mobile game studios that operated franchises like “The Sims,” “Plants vs. Zombies” and “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.” News, which first reported the hire, also reported that the move was a step toward offering videogames on the streaming service within the next year. Citing a single source, reported the videogames would appear alongside current programming, and that there are no current plans to charge extra for games. Netflix declined to comment beyond confirming Verdu’s hiring Wednesday. Netflix has dabbled with videogames in the past, producing games with their intellectual property mostly as marketing efforts, as well as offering interactive content on its popular streaming service. As recently as , when asked about an interactive offering and whether it signaled a move into gaming, a Netflix spokesperson flatly stated, “We don’t have any plans to get into gaming.” Executives’ tones have shifted amid greater competition in the streaming-video arena — Netflix is navigating blistering competition from media giants Walt Disney Co. Apple . AT&T . Comcast Corp. and Amazonm . — as well as continuing mass adoption of videogames. In the company’s most recent earnings-related conference call, Chief Operating Officer Gregory Peters, who will be Verdu’s new boss, responded to a question about the potential for videogames by noting Netflix’s early licensing and interactive efforts. “There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and an important sort of modality to deepen that fan experience. So, we’re going to keep going and we’ll continue to learn and figure it out as we go,” Peters said in April. Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings answered a similar analyst question in July by referring to videogames as “a great and interesting area.” “It’s got a number of aspects in terms of multiplayer that are changing, esports that are changing, PC-based gaming. So it remains a very interesting area,” he said. Netflix shares gained % in after-hours trading Wednesday following the news. After spiking along with new subscribers early in the COVID- pandemic, Netflix stock has suffered in recent months as subscription additions slowed down. Shares are up .% so far in , as the S&P has increased .%.



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The Battle For The Edge: Changing The Game For Next-Gen Smart Devices


Jim Xiao is the founder and CEO of Mason, innovator of the fastest way to take smart devices from idea to end user. Smart devices are everywhere — such as your smartwatch, mirror or bicycle that’s replaced your gym trainer to your thermostat that can control the household temperature from your phone. Cisco estimates billion new IoT devices will come to market by . Commodity hardware is fueling the proliferation of smart devices and access to cheaper hardware drives democratization. Piggybacked on this are technological innovations that make it possible to collect critical data and apply ML and AI to improve the lives of people around the world. Today’s smart devices can be used to move physical-world problems — like equitable access to healthcare, clinical trial data collection and air quality monitoring — into the digital world and solve them there. How do we achieve the true democratization of smart devices? The answer lies in which approach will win in the “battle for the edge.” The battle between technology vendors, including public cloud providers, hardware and chip manufacturers, content distribution networks, telecom operators and startups looking to break into a high-potential market, seeks to “bring an intelligence-everywhere world to life.” The traditional approach is composed of an ecosystem of IoT devices, the connectivity and data flows that bridge edge computing to life and the hardware and infrastructure that link the edge to the cloud. Three trends are at the center of this battlefield: reliable access to commodity hardware, widespread prevalence of G and the adoption of low-code application development. Recently, pioneers have invented new smart devices, with competing products nipping at their heels shortly after launch. We’ve seen this in the fitness space e.g., Peloton, MIRROR, home security e.g., Ring, SimpliSafe and merchant services e.g., Square, Shopify. It’s becoming easier to turn a new idea or a copycat idea for a smart hardware company into a billion-dollar business. This stiff competition stems from cheaper hardware, which lowers the barrier to entry for startups and creates opportunities for individuals and companies to innovate. However, the software and supporting infrastructure necessary for smart devices and related services are currently playing catchup to match market demand. There’s considerable fragmentation within the mobile infrastructure space, presenting significant challenges to innovation and inhibiting a company’s ability to get its products to market quickly. Anyone can come up with an idea for a smart device — what makes it a unicorn is expertly marrying the hardware, software, services and support into the best solution in the market. Industry leaders are set apart from competitors by their ability to craft multiple different devices and services into a complete ecosystem — commoditized hardware plays an integral role in developing this ecosystem. The second critical component for delivering next-gen smart devices is G, which will create more base stations, coverage across the world and airwaves that can be utilized for connectivity. G adoption will result in extra capacity and significantly reduce the cost to service devices — it’s basic supply and demand. There are challenges to the widespread adoption of G, including a lack of current global availability, a lack of sophisticated network architecture and platforms to support G deployments and scarcity of G compatible devices. Once fully available, G will make connectivity on the edge ubiquitous and create a stable capacity to handle orders of magnitude more in device bandwidth. This new era of low-cost data transfers means companies and consumers can more economically utilize devices on the edge, essentially “filling up” the extra capacity. Excess supply and lower costs will enable more software to proliferate at the edge and drive demand for low-no-code applications to run these devices at scale. As streamlined supply chains make it easier to make dedicated devices and G lowers the cost to service these devices, simplified software development will be the last piece to fall into place. Custom-designed hardware devices require less intensive development resources to build out the accompanying custom software. This means companies can capitalize on low-code and no-code development platforms to speed initial application development and update rollouts. It’s important to acknowledge that the low-codeno-code application development market is still experiencing growing pains. These tools often lack flexibility and lock out developers when additional customization or debugging is required. Best-of-breed low-code mobile app development solutions need to offer developers the ability to switch between low-code and pro-code interfaces. This provides engineers with templated options for quick programming and a backdoor into the programming interface if they need to change the initial application framework to better fit their unique use case. The proliferation of low-code and no-code application development platforms empowers developers to minimize scripting software programs from scratch and instead provide easy instructions on what functions they want the application to perform on the device. Current examples of smart devices on the market include remote patient monitoring e.g., fall alerts and blood glucose monitors, smart retail management platforms that offer easy payments and inventory management and smart thermostats that help homeowners reduce energy usage. A comprehensive smart device ecosystem influenced by the availability of more commoditized hardware, omnipresent G coverage and low-code application development will usher in new levels of “consumable” AI and ML innovation benefiting both end users and businesses. This perfect storm makes it possible for innovators to create next-generation smart devices and game-changing solutions that will reshape human experiences and provide a better standard of living around the world. The first two steps toward this goal should include seeking a flexible approach for procuring and designing smart devices that provide access to both customizable hardware and software IP, as well as partnering with an organization that can help manage these devices from creation to deployment and ongoing maintenance. Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?





Google Releases Visual Studio Tool for Android Game Development


Google released a Visual Studio extension for creating gaming apps for Android, targeting C++ developers. The Android Game Development Extension AGDE is part of the new Android Game Development Kit AGDK, a bundle of new and existing tools and libraries for full-cycle Android game creation: development, optimization, launching and iteration. While it includes C and C++ APIs, most game development is done in C++, which provides a high-performance, close-to-the-metal alternative to stalwart Android programming languages Kotlin and Java. The Android Game Development Extension AGDE lets you add Android as a target platform in your existing Visual C++ projects, making it easier to write CC++ games for multiple platforms, Google said. Code built for game development. All libraries have been built and tested with performance in mind using C or C++ APIs. Reduce fragmentation. The AGDK tools and libraries work across many different Android versions. Most of these features will work on almost any device in use today. Built by Android, for Android. Features will be enhanced by future Android platform updates, and the libraries will provide backwards compatibility when possible. The AGDE Visual Studio tool fits into the integrated workflow area, along with game engine integrations and plugins. The performance optimization includes GPU profilingdebugging, profiling, performance tuning and guidance, including best practices. Finally, regarding those CC++ game libraries, three new ones have been added to existing frame pacing and high-performance audio libraries: Game Activity is the foundation for C++ game development, providing C interfaces for all the expected Android events from screen rotation to app lifecycle. Google said it minimizes the amount of development time spent working with Java. Unlike Native Activity, Game Activity is compatible with fragments and extendable, making it easier to integrate SDKs. Game Text input provides a stable way to use the software keyboard in C, that is officially supported and will work across Android versions. Game Controller is a way to handle input from game controllers in C, to map their functions and to reconnect to the device when necessary. The new kit and Visual Studio extension were announced during the July - Google for Games Developer Summit, for which more than day videos are available for on-demand viewing. The video for the Visual Studio extension is available here.





Peter Dinklage Reunites With Key ‘Game of Thrones’ Exec for eOne Deal


Peter Dinklage is getting back into business with one of the key HBO executives who developed Game of Thrones. The actor behind Tyrion Lannister and Estuary Films founder has inked a multiple-year overall TV deal with Entertainment One. The deal reunites Dinklage with Michael Lombardo, the former HBO head of originals who greenlit Game of Thrones. Lombardo joined eOne as global television president in June . Under the pact, Estuary — which Dinklage co-founded alongside David Ginsberg — will create and develop new projects for multiple platforms for the indie studio. Estuary Films head of TV Brad Saunders — also a former HBO exec who worked under Lombardo as vp miniseries and Cinemax programming — will oversee the partnership for the production company. “I am delighted to be reunited with Peter and Brad as well as their partner David,” Lombardo said Wednesday. “The team at Estuary has both wonderful creative taste as well as outstanding relationships with the industry, and we look forward to bringing many exciting projects to life together.” Founded in , Estuary Films is in post-production on feature American Dreamer and is in pre-production on Legendary feature Brothers. Both pics star Dinklage. The company also has doc How To Become: A Tyrant on Netflix, with multiple other projects in the works at basic cable networks and streamers. Estuary is also adapting the best-selling graphic novel This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews into an animated feature with screenwriter Will Collins Wolfwalkers, with Dinklage voicing one of the leads. Estuary’s credits also include producing HBO’s My Dinner With Herve, and I Think We’re Alone Now, both of which also featured Dinklage. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Michael and his team at eOne, who are well known for collaborating with talent to develop innovative, premium television for a world-wide audience. We know this partnership is going to be an incredibly fruitful one,” said Dinklage. Dinklage is the second Game of Thrones alum to head to eOne with an overall deal under Lombardo and joins Emmy-winning director Bryan Cogman, who already has multiple projects in the works for the studio.





National Summer Learning Association Kick-starts Summer of 'Game Building' to Keep Kids Learning


NEW YORK, July , PRNewswire -- Today in a coast-to-coast kick off to National Summer Learning Week July -, the National Summer Learning Association NSLA, the nation s only organization dedicated solely to ensuring accessible learning opportunities for children, took over all Clear Channel Outdoor nationwide digital billboard displays, featuring the Game Builder Garage game for the Nintendo Switch system. The new outdoor campaign presents a message calling on parents and students alike to reclaim the joy of summer and learning at DiscoverSummer – a new NSLA online destination, developed in response to COVID-, to help families discover affordable local summer programs, summer meals, parent tips and a sea of resources to keep kids learning, earning, safe and healthy this season. In tandem with this NSLA effort, Clear Channel Outdoor, a longtime NSLA partner, will support awareness for the project by running out-of-home messages today across all its , digital displays, and then, across these same displays nationwide throughout the summer. Together, the organizations will harness out-of-home media to elevate the importance of keeping all kids learning, healthy and safe during summer, while also directing families across the country to the local resources available to nurture the curiosity of their children. NSLA incorporates the fun of learning after a pandemic year that has seen families across the country struggle with isolation, digital deserts, childcare, food insecurities and academic setbacks for some of the nation s most vulnerable children. A large-scale study funded by The Wallace Foundation and published by the RAND Corporation demonstrated that students with high attendance in free, five to six-week, voluntary summer learning programs experienced educationally meaningful benefits in math and reading. This summer will be more important than ever in helping our nation s young people recharge, heal, reconnect with peers, and rediscover the joy of learning, said Aaron Dworkin, NSLA CEO. We re thrilled to kick off National Summer Learning Week with a huge splash across all Clear Channel Outdoor s nationwide digital billboard displays to showcase Game Builder Garage and DiscoverSummer to students, parents and educators, said Aaron P. Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association. From July to July , the NSLA is hosting National Summer Learning Week, a celebration dedicated to elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, active and engaged through the summer months. Nintendo of America is a presenting partner of the STEM Theme Day on July of the week-long virtual event, using the Game Builder Garage game as a way to reach kids interested in learning the basics of coding, game design and more. In Game Builder Garage, kids can go hands-on with interactive, step-by-step lessons that introduce the basics of visual game programming – and no prior experience is necessary! Once kids learn the basic skills from the in-game lessons, they will be able to create their own video games – from side-scrolling platformers, to kart racers, to space blasters – by connecting mysterious creatures in the game called Nodon. Game Builder Garage is designed to make learning about and building video games just as much fun as playing them. In their constant quest for learning and educational equity, NSLA s partnership with Nintendo of America meets children at the intersection of their interests and their educational needs. The bright digital OOH creative features both NSLA and elements of Game Builder Garage to capture audiences out-of-home and drive parents and caregivers alike to DiscoverSummmer, where they can locate resources in their area. We are proud to partner with NSLA and Nintendo of America in this powerfully visible way to help direct families to vital programs in their community to keep their kids learning all summer long, said Dan Levi, EVP & CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor and NSLA Board Member. Never before has the need for educational equity been greater among our nation s most disadvantaged youth. And locally supported community programs, with the support of NSLA, are making a significant difference in closing the achievement gap. About Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, .: Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, . NYSE: CCO is one of the world s largest outdoor advertising companies with a diverse portfolio of more than , print and digital displays in countries across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, reaching millions of people monthly. A growing digital platform includes more than , digital displays in international markets and more than , digital displays excluding airports, including more than , digital billboards, in the U.S. Comprised of two business divisions – Clear Channel Outdoor Americas CCOA, the U.S. and Caribbean business division, and Clear Channel International CCI, covering markets in Europe, Latin America and Asia – CCO employs approximately , people globally. More information is available at investor.clearchannelm, clearchanneloutdoorm and clearchannelinternationalm. About the National Summer Learning Association: The National Summer Learning Association NSLA is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works in summer learning, develops and delivers community capacity-building offerings and convenes and empowers key actors to embrace summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education.



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Video Game Security Should Be Simple for Developers


Video games continue to explode in popularity, and the number of potential attack vectors within games continues to increase as well. In this latest The New Stack Makers podcast cohosts Alex Williams, publisher and founder of TNS and Bharat Bhat Okta marketing lead for developer relations cover why and how video game platforms and connections should be more secure, with guest Okta senior developer advocate Nick Gamb. Also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, PlayerFM, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn The gaming industry has often served as a showcase for some of the industry’s greatest programming talents. As a case in point, John Carmack’s C++ code underpinning “Doom” is considered one of the historical greats of programming, not just for gaming, but for software in general. For Gamb, while growing up, playing “Quake” and “Doom” before studying the code for these games served as his entry point into the software industry. “As soon as the source code for those engines were released, I started taking the games apart, reverse engineering things, figuring out how they worked and adding my own stuff to them at a very young age,” said Gamb. “This is actually how I learned to code and pretty much all of the software development that I’ve done since is built on that foundation.” Despite continuing to attract great software engineering talent, video game companies produce software that is not as secure as it should be. Authentication processes can be complex to implement, especially when there can be millions of connections to manage simultaneously for a given game. For the large game publishers with multiple titles, the number of connections — and thus potential attack vectors — can increase exponentially. At the same time, developers are also generally making performance for users their priority, as is the case with developers in many sectors, so security often remains an afterthought. Most game engines with which Gamb has interacted lack “a concept built in for identity security,” Gamb said. “They have certain recommendations that are pretty generic, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing built-in and what is available doesn’t really follow security best practices, which is kind of a big problem. Developers typically are left trying to retrofit concepts from other development environments that don’t work and they’re using limited or incomplete open source solutions, or are trying to build it themselves with little to no learning resources that are focused on gaming,” said Gamb. “So, that’s kind of the big issue that I’ve been seeing: people are left to their own devices.” Considering that authentication is “a complicated thing,” one of the missions of Okta is to “make it easier” to build in security to gaming platforms and development, especially for authentication. “You take less risk on and we make it easier because you don’t have to learn all these protocols really deeply,” said Bhat.





CNN Host Accuses Fox News of Playing ‘Deadly Game’ as Delta Variant-Driven COVID Cases Spike (Video)


CNN s New Day took aim at right-wing commentary networks coverage of COVID-, the Delta variant and vaccines Wednesday, accusing the rival networks of playing a deadly game. We begin with a deadly escalation of anti-vaccine propaganda in politics and on TV that is risking and costing American lives, said morning show anchor Brianna Keilar. Co-anchor John Berman shared alarming statistics about the Delta variant and pointed out, Ninety-nine percent of people dying from COVID right now are unvaccinated, then turned to Fox News and Newsmax: To some, this is just a show — a deadly show. In a follow-up tweet, he criticized right-wing media for playing a deadly game. The CNN program rolled clips from Fox News showing hosts like Tucker Carlson saying the government s push for vaccination could be more about social control than curbing the spread of the virus. Keilar paused the rollout of the on-air moments to point out that , Americans are confirmed dead from COVID-, then moved on to playing Newsmax clips. The inclusion of Newsmax was notable given that last week, new polling released by FiveThirtyEight suggested that conservative viewers who watch Fox News are more likely than their Newsmax or One America News-viewing peers to get the vaccine. To be sure, some programming on Fox News has heralded the vaccine. Daytime anchor Harris Faulkner hosted a vaccine-themed town hall earlier this year and hosts like Trey Gowdy have been open about getting the jab themselves. CNN s Tuesday takedown centered on Fox News primetime hosts and the direct rival of New Day in the morning show space, Fox & Friends. Fox News consistently pulls in more viewers than MSNBC and CNN, but its morning show and primetime offerings are particularly highly-rated.




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GTA 2-inspired cyberpunk action game Glitchpunk hits Early Access on August 11


This top-down action game is inspired by Grand Theft Auto , the weirdest GTA. Set in a neon-lit dystopian city, it s a game about driving cars, brawling with gangs and cults, and causing chaos in the colourful urban sprawl of a dark, distant future. Today, publisher Daedalic revealed that the game would be hitting Steam Early Access on August —and it accompanied the announcement with a new trailer, which you can watch above. It all looks very chaotic and action-packed, but developer Dark Lord promises there s more to Glitchpunk than just explosions and futuristic shootouts. The game also tells a compelling story of transhumanism, xenophobia, and religion, the studio says. You can influence the world around you, make new friends, face off against more enemies than you can count—and perhaps, just perhaps, convert an enemy s aversion to affection. Glitchpunk sees you playing as a glitching android rebelling against its own programming and challenging the tyrannical governments and megacorps of the dystopain near-future. On your journey you ll encounter drug-crazed gangsters and aggressive police, who you can fight with a choice of melee weapons and guns. Pretty standard cyberpunk videogame stuff by the sounds of it, but the pace and brightly coloured violence of the combat looks pretty fun. Glitchpunk s initial Early Access release will contain two cities—Outpost Texas and New Baltia. Then, further down the line, Moscow and Neo Tokyo will be added. That s pretty ambitious for an indie game. Other features include the ability to hack into stuff, including the minds of pedestrians, and levels of police escalation, putting GTA s six to shame. The developer is also promising GTA-style radio stations with a mix of music and fake commercials.



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