In today’s gaming news, learn about how the scientist develop a model that adjusts videogame difficulty based on player emotions. The innovative strategy will contribute to the creation of a better gaming experience for different types of players. Meanwhile, for the final fantasy fans out there. Final Fantasy 7 Remake mod brings back the polygonal look. One that replaces the expressive and high-resolution models of all Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s playable characters for the pointy polygons of the 1990s. On the other hand, Sony pledges $3 million to USC Games Program becoming latest supporter of the Gerald A. Lawson Fund, furthering USC Games’ effort for games industry diversity, equity and inclusion. Lastly, as they try to expand into new game forms, the three largest gaming companies in Asia — Sony, NetEase, and Tencent are continuing their spending binges on acquisitions and investments.
Scientists Develop a Model That Adapts Videogame Complexity to Player Emotions
Original Source: Scientists develop model that adjusts videogame difficulty based on player emotions
Games must balance difficulty. Some favor challenging videogames, while others prefer easy ones. Most developers use DDA to simplify this procedure. DDA adjusts a game’s difficulty according on player performance. If player performance surpasses the developer’s expectations for a specific difficulty level, the game’s DDA agent can automatically increase the difficulty. This technique is useful, but it only considers player performance, not fun.
In a recent study published in Expert Systems With Applications, a Korean research team tweaked the DDA approach. Instead of focusing on player performance, they designed DDA agents that modified game difficulty to maximize challenge, competence, flow, and valence. The DDA agents were trained using data from human players who played a fighting game against AIs and then answered a questionnaire.
Using Monte-Carlo tree search, each DDA agent tuned the opponent AI’s combat technique to optimize a single feeling, or ‘affective state.’ “Our methodology doesn’t rely on external sensors like EEG,” says research author Kyung-Joong Kim. Our algorithm can estimate player states using in-game features once trained.
Using 20 volunteers, the team confirmed that the suggested DDA agents could develop AIs that improved players’ overall experience. First time affective states are directly incorporated into DDA agents, which could be valuable for commercial games. “Commercial game businesses have massive player databases. Using our approach, they can use these data to model players and balance games “Professor Kim’s comments. This technique has possibilities for ‘gamifying’ healthcare, exercise, and education.
The Polygonal Style Has Returned in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake Mod
Original Source: Final Fantasy 7 Remake mod brings back the polygonal look
A recent mod for Final Fantasy 7 Remake replaced Cloud’s high-resolution outfit model with a low-poly one, but now the version we’ve all been waiting for is here: one that replaces all the playable characters’ high-resolution models with 1990s-style pointy polygons. Different from the 1997 PlayStation original, the 1998 Windows version has mouths. Wes Fenlon explored this mystery in Why do they have mouths: a Final Fantasy 7 PC retrospective.
The Polygonal Players mod by FantasyRaider replaces Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret, Yuffie, and Sonon from the Intermission chapter in gameplay and in-engine cutscenes. Cinematics built with higher-definition models will show the remake’s characters. Entertainingly strange, Cloud has Lisa Simpson hair and staircase eyebrows, but wields high-def weapons.
Download the.pak file from NexusMods and place it under FFVIIRemakeIntergradeEndContentPaks. The polygons take up 6.5MB.
Polygonal Players could restore the original’s fixed camera. There are other versions that give Cloud a keytar sword, give Sephiroth clown makeup, and show off Cloud’s washboard abs. Check out the dev console unlocker. All tastes are covered.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will complete the remake trilogy next winter. What will modders do with it? Once they finish enlarging Tifa’s breasts.
Sony Pledges $3 Million Donation to Usc Games Program
Original Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment Pledges $3 Million Donation to USC Games Program
USC Games, ranked #1 in North America by Princeton Review for 11 years, and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced a multi-year relationship today. The PlayStation Career Pathways Program will provide $3 million to the USC Games Gerald A. Lawson Fund. SIE is a major supporter of USC Games’ initiatives to help Black and Indigenous game developers and designers.
Jim Huntley, USC Games professor and school’s head of marketing, said the program shares Sony Interactive Entertainment’s aim to inspire and encourage more diversity in the gaming business. “Gamers need representation. We hope the USC Games Lawson Fund Supported by PlayStation Career Pathways Program motivates other firms, publishers, and developers to invest in tackling an industry-wide problem.
SIE’s fundamental objective is to diversify and include the gaming industry. SIE has launched a PlayStation Careers Pathways Program and a Strategic Partnership portfolio to serve the Black Community. This unique initiative prepares the next generation of Black and marginalized gamers.
“The USC Games’ Lawson Fund is more than a scholarship,” remarked Sony’s Tiffany Johnson. “We’re committed to generating possibilities for Black and other underrepresented gamers. We must create a diverse, inclusive, and inviting industry. This is one of several programs to invest in the next generation of talent and promote underrepresented communities. Donations can be given here to help underrepresented game designers and developers.
The Gerald A. Lawson Fund supports Black and Indigenous students in USC’s game design and computer science programs. Beginning in Fall 2022, the Endowment will assist graduate and undergraduate games program students at the School of Cinematic Arts and Viterbi School of Engineering. Beginning in Fall 2023, SIE will serve incoming students. The funding will also help recruit Black or Indigenous faculty and fund a USC Games racial justice research effort to be revealed later.
USC Games is a cooperation between the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering Computer Science Department. This unified brand allows students and teachers at USC to cooperate on unique games.
USC School of Cinematic Arts program focuses on interactive media and games design and production. Students become creative media leaders fluent in visual expression and narrative with a sophistication in building and developing interactive experiences that enhance interactive art and play across domains such as entertainment, education, health care, and social action.
The Computer Science Games program at USC Viterbi School of Engineering teaches computer science foundations and game development across disciplines. Students gain engineering-oriented game-programming abilities, a comprehension of important technologies, and the capacity to lead complicated technical teams.
In addition to an Advanced Games class, USC Games presents the annual USC Games Expo, a public event showcasing university games, and an industry event during the annual Game Developers Conference. USC Games also interacts with other colleges and universities.
Asia’s Gaming Giants Continue to Acquire New Formats and Markets
Original Source: Asia’s video game giants continue acquisition hunt to expand into new formats and markets
Sony, NetEase, and Tencent continue their purchase and investment sprees as they push into new forms and, in the case of the Chinese giants, expand internationally to offset tighter regulation at home.
Each company’s strategy differs.
NetEase bought French game developer Quantic Dream last week, establishing its first European studio. NetEase has Japanese and U.S. gaming studios.
Tencent, which has invested in smaller gaming studios worldwide, bought a share in FromSoftware. Sony invested alongside Tencent.
Sony bought Helsinki and Berlin’s Savage Game Studios last week.
Recent mergers and acquisitions in gaming starting off 2022. Microsoft offered $68.7 billion for Activision Blizzard in January. Soon later, Sony announced plans to buy Bungie for $3.6 billion.
Three Asian gaming companies have diverse M&A objectives.
Sony’s PlayStation has reigned for years.
Console gaming’s business model has altered. It’s not enough to sell games and hardware. It’s about milking income from games through continuous updates and subscriptions.
Sony’s acquisition of Bungie demonstrates this approach.
“Their goal is to have enough content to motivate users to buy their proprietary hardware, pay a monthly charge for PS Plus, and buy the occasional digital game through the PlayStation Store,” says Tom Wijman, market head for games at research company Newzoo.
“Buying studios is the best way to assure exclusive content for their ecosystem, especially in response to Microsoft’s acquisition spree.”
Sony is expanding beyond consoles. Last week, the Japanese behemoth stated it is putting up a specialized section to handle mobile game production, a relatively new initiative for the corporation.
The mobile game developer Savage Game Studios was also acquired.
Wijman: Sony is leaving its comfort zone to stay competitive.
Mobile gaming accounts for more than 50% of the gaming market, while consoles account for 27%. Sony wants more market share.
Sony’s acquisitions will boost its IP and game catalog as it expands into mobile gaming.
Tencent and NetEase face a tougher local market, increasing the importance of their international investments and acquisitions.
Last year, Chinese censors limited the time under-18s could play online games and froze new releases. In China, regulators must approve games for release and monetization. In April, approvals resumed.
Covid-19’s reappearance in China and subsequent lockdowns have hampered economic progress. That led to the worst quarter of revenue growth for some of China’s technological heavyweights, including Tencent.
Tencent and NetEase have sought development abroad through acquisitions and investments.
Tencent and NetEase built their gaming businesses in China. Wijman said these two companies will speed their global expansion as their home market becomes more controlled.
Tencent owns or invests in Riot Games, developer of League of Legends.
NetEase focuses on purchasing high-profile IP. The Hangzhou-based firm can publish a Star Wars game after acquiring Quantic Dream. NetEase has Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings mobile games.
For the two giants, owning studios behind international major hits in gaming is a critical strategy.
NetEase has been less aggressive than Tencent in deals, although it’s stepped up in the last year.
Both firms’ investment strategies include console ambitions. NetEase and Tencent grew by focusing on PC and mobile gaming, not consoles, which were outlawed in China until 2014.
Both companies are focusing on console gaming.
This year, NetEase hired a console veteran to oversee its Japanese gaming studio. TiMi Studio, a Tencent-owned developer, opened offices in Montreal and Seattle.
Both firms can gain console IP by acquiring and investing in other gaming studios.
Tighter regulation in China and the search for expansion could drive NetEase and Tencent’s investment and acquisition strategies.
If Chinese government regulation continues to squeeze NetEase and Tencent in their native markets, they may be interested in M&A, Wijman added. “Their global expansion plans just began.”
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
Overall, Scientists have created a new method for dynamically adjusting game difficulty based on players’ emotions and in-game data. Their work could balance games’ difficulty and make them more interesting to all gamers.
Also, A previous mod for Final Fantasy 7 Remake swapped the high-resolution model of Cloud wearing a dress for a more low-poly look is here. One that replaces the expressive and high-resolution models of all Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s playable characters for the pointy polygons of the 1990s.
Meanwhile, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced a multi-year partnership starting with a $3 million contribution to support the USC Games Gerald A. Lawson Fund with backing from the PlayStation Career Pathways Program. The partnership solidifies SIE as a major partner of USC Games’ efforts to provide support for Black and Indigenous students studying game development and design.
Finally, Sony, NetEase, and Tencent, three of Asia’s biggest gaming companies, are still on buying and investing sprees. They want to expand into new formats and, in the case of the Chinese giants, go global to make up for the effects of stricter rules at home.