Microsoft is to open up its Xbox Kinect technology to allow amateur software developers to experiment with it.
The company is to release a software development kit in the spring, which will give developers access to the secrets behind the technology.
For now it will only be for personal use, but Microsoft says it will release a commercial version in due course.
Kinect, which turns the player's body into a game controller, has been a big hit since it launched last November.
It has already captured the imagination of the hacker community, which has been demonstrating various uses for the technology, including 3D photography.
Microsoft is hoping that an army of smarter developers will now find more ways to take Kinect to the next level.
"As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale, the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing," said Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer.
The announcement was made during an open day at Microsoft's research centre near Seattle.
The company is hoping that the success of Kinect, developed by its own scientists, can give it a greater presence in the home entertainment field.
Black's name surfaced recently as a contender to both write and direct the next Iron Man film, but it was stressed that he was not the only candidate for the job. While it looks like he's now locked in to direct, it's not clear if he is also writing the film yet, with a source telling Deadline, "That's not figured out." However, given that Black's background is first and foremost as a writer (with credits including Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight), it would be surprising if he was not also writing Iron Man 3. This will be Black's second film as a director, following Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - which starred Tony Stark himself,Robert Downey Jr. As Deadline notes, the news that Black was even a possibility to take over the Iron Man franchise fromJon Favreau(who is moving on to Disney'sMagic Kingdom, afterCowboys & Aliens) got extremely strong response from fans – which couldn't have hurt his chances of getting the job. It had also been reported that Downey had approval when it came to hiring the director for Iron Man 3. It seems he was as eager to work with his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director again as fans of that beloved cult film were to see them collaborate once more. Before returning to an Iron Man solo film, Downey of course will first reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man in TheAvengers. Iron Man 3 will open May 3rd, 2013.
When the axe sinks into rotten flesh, it buries deep, spraying gore with its impact. The blow cripples the shambling beast, buying precious seconds. But the strike, like its predecessors, is also costly. Repeated contact with ligament and bone has blunted the scavenged weapon. It will need repair soon, and if none can be made, it will be tossed aside in favor of something shiny and new. This is the brutal combat ofDead Island, a world overrun by infected humans. They're aggressive beasties with superhuman strength and a taste for the red stuff. Like other zombie games (and there are many), the players are the last holdouts against the tide of a shuffling undead mob. And while it would be convenient to provide them with a magical room full of firearms with which to dispatch the problem, the makers of Dead Island have settled on a different approach.
The Royal Palms Resort is perched on the remote island of Banoi in Papua New Guinea. It's a tropical paradise turned tourist magnet, remote and exotic. Not the sort of place you'd expect to find scattered caches of weapons, boxes of grenades, rocket launchers leaning against walls, and mounted machine guns. In an effort to preserve that reality, Techland, the developers of Dead Island, have stripped those handy gaming conventions away, leaving a stark reality in their place.
Rather than run-and-gun their way through a meat maze, players will be forced to scavenge for objects and use them to beat their undead foes into submission. There are precious few firearms scattered around the island (and even less ammo), so the majority of the combat will be intimate. Knives, machetes, bats, broomsticks, pipes – these are your defenses against the horde of infected monsters. It's survival horror with a melee action twist, and it's disgusting.
Publisher Deep Silver and developer Techland recently showed me an early build of Dead Island, and the zombies were horrifying in their varying states of decay. With each blow, their already sloughing flesh fell away in sprays of blood, revealing layers of muscle underneath. The publisher describes Dead Island as dark, twisted and gritty, and the tiny sliver I've seen seems to support those claims. This is not the campy world of Dead Rising.
Dead Island's developers call it a "first-person zombie-slasher/action-RPG." That's a mouthful, and it's still unclear what the balance will be among those descriptors. Players will be able to choose from a cast of pre-set characters, including a former rapper named Sam B (the only character revealed so far).
If you have any doubt about how serious the Techland developers are about the setting and storyline they've created, watch the chilling Dead Island trailer. We watch a lot of video game trailers at IGN, but few cause crowds of editors to gather and watch in silence. This was one of the exceptions.
The player is cast as a guest vacationing at the posh hotel. When the zombie outbreak occurs, he and a handful of other guests remain uninfected. They set out on a mission to escape the island, but along the way, they'll uncover the secret behind the mysterious outbreak. Although Dead Island is a story-based experience, it's built for co-operative play, and Deep Silver says up to four gamers can drop in and out of the game seamlessly. But if you don't want to play with friends, you can also play through the game alone.
Although the player starts out as a simple tourist with minimal zombie-killing skills, his traits will improve along the way, thanks to a mini role-playing system built into the game. Although Deep Silver isn't spilling all the details yet, we know there will be a leveling system and a skill tree. As the player progresses, his stats will increase and he'll gain access to new combat abilities and animations.
Beautiful. In a horrible, zombie-ish sort of way.
If Dead Island sounds familiar to you, then you have a good memory. It was originally announced in 2007, but no publisher was officially attached. Techland worked on other projects in the years since, but Dead Island was slowly shuffling along in the background. Now, Deep Silver is on board, and the game seems likely to see the light of day. It's scheduled for a 2011 release on Xbox 360, PC and PS3, but no specific dates have been revealed yet.
Dead Island's concept is striking. Place players on a tropical island; surround them with zombies of varying shapes, sizes, speeds and abilities; place only found objects at their disposal; degrade their weapons over time; and set the whole adventure against a backdrop of mystery and drama. But will a first-person melee combat action game with RPG elements really work?
I've seen so little of Dead Island that it's impossible to make that call yet. The idea of an all-melee zombie game is great on paper, but when the baseball bat hits the bone, will it be exciting enough to sustain an entire game experience?
Will the constant hand-to-hand combat wear thin, or will the collectibles, storylines, environments and tense moments make up the difference?
I'm hoping to see a lot more from Dead Island in the months to come. I've been following its development for years now, and it should be fascinating to see how it turns out. Regardless, it's great to see a developer taking the zombie genre in an entirely new direction. Here's hoping the folks at Techland and Deep Silver are as good at making games as they are at making trailers.
Lindsay Lohanis reportedly under consideration for a major role in director Zack Snyder'sSupermanfilm. According toTMZ, "Lindsay's people have had multiple phone conversations within the last few weeks with the people behind the new Superman reboot. We're told Lindsay is up for a role in the flick -- and while it isn't Lois Lane, we hear it would be a 'major character.' We're told Lindsay is supposed to meet personally with the Superman people soon -- but she might be a little busy with thatfelony grand theft chargething." Rumor has itthe second female lead in Superman will be Ursa, the Kryptonian villainess and Phantom Zone escapee played by Sarah Douglas in Superman: The Movie and Superman II.
The human Breathalyzer will soon trade his Halloween costume for jail scrubs.
Matthew Nieveen, 19, who was wearing a breath-test costume when a Lincoln police officer stopped him for drunken driving after leaving a Halloween party, was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in Lancaster County jail.
In addition to his jail term, which starts Monday, County Judge Jean Lovell revoked Nieveen's driving license for three years and ordered him to pay $1,300 in fines.
The officer who stopped Nieveen's pickup said Nieveen had watery eyes and slurred speech and smelled like alcohol. Police said they found a bottle of vodka, a half-full bottle of Mountain Dew and vodka, and several cans and bottles of beer in his truck.
The officer cited Nieveen and took him to Cornhusker Place, where, a police report says, his blood-alcohol content tested more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent for non-minors. The legal limit for minors is zero.
At trial in January, a jury found Nieveen guilty of driving under the influence, minor in possession, careless driving and having an open container. Lovell later found the DUI to be Nieveen's second offense.