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By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Aug, 2017 At 11:10 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Here is some incredible news.

 

StarCraft II will now be used as an AI Research Environment

 

 

Testing our agents in games that are not specifically designed for AI research, and where humans play well, is crucial to benchmark agent performance. That is why we, along with our partner Blizzard Entertainment, are excited to announce the release of SC2LE, a set of tools that we hope will accelerate AI research in the real-time strategy game StarCraft II. The SC2LE release includes:

  • A Machine Learning API developed by Blizzard that gives researchers and developers hooks into the game. This includes the release of tools for Linux for the first time.
  • An open source version of DeepMind’s toolset, PySC2, to allow researchers to easily use Blizzard’s feature-layer API with their agents.
  • A series of simple RL mini-games to allow researchers to test the performance of agents on specific tasks.
  • A joint paper that outlines the environment, and reports initial baseline results on the mini-games, supervised learning from replays, and the full 1v1 ladder game against the built-in AI.

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For example, while the objective of the game is to beat the opponent, the player must also carry out and balance a number of sub-goals, such as gathering resources or building structures. In addition, a game can take from a few minutes to one hour to complete, meaning actions taken early in the game may not pay-off for a long time. Finally, the map is only partially observed, meaning agents must use a combination of memory and planning to succeed

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Even StarCraft’s action space presents a challenge with a choice of more than 300 basic actions that can be taken. Contrast this with Atari games, which only have about 10 (e.g. up, down, left, right etc). On top of this, actions in StarCraft are hierarchical, can be modified and augmented, with many of them requiring a point on the screen. Even assuming a small screen size of 84×84 there are roughly 100 million possible actions available.

Gaming has come a long way and Blizzard has definitely been a part of that journey. For StarCraft II to be used like this, shows just how well developed and innovative the design was for the game. Hopefully the research that comes from this will be helpful to the scientific progress. Gaming is helping move society forward.
By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 Mar, 2017 At 01:22 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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It has been rumored for a long time and now it is finally revealed to the fans. StarCraft: Remastered is indeed real.

Blizzard Entertainment presents a modern take on the original StarCraft experience in StarCraft: Remastered.

StarCraft introduced many revolutionary new features that have since become staples of the real-time strategy genre: asymmetric factions, meticulous balance, and a strong emphasis on deep strategy and high accessibility. After more than ten years, StarCraft continues to headline gaming tournaments worldwide.

This is absolutely amazing news. The game looks absolutely amazing. Hopefully this isn’t the only remaster, and the rumored Warcraft III and Diablo II remasters are also real. Will you be getting this game? Let us know!

No GravatarIt’s the days after Christmas. You have gift cards abundant and games coming out for all girls and boys. But what can you get? With all the choices lying ahead?

Have no fear, with all the bundles abound, waiting to be found, I got the ones with the most “extra” kick aside from the gaming bit (Sorry for my cheesiness).

 

Tomb Raider Collector’s Edition 

Collector's edition view

First and foremost, I love Tomb Raider, so I had to list it first. It doesn’t have the best content, but I believe it has the most bang for your buck. It includes:

  • A realistically rendered Play Arts Kai Lara Croft figurine approximately 8 inches tall
  • Weapon pack DLC
  • 3 iron-on experience shield badges
  • Tomb Raider soundtrack with 10 songs
  • An Endurance survival tin made to look like it was recovered from the shipwreck
  • 5″ X 7″ Lithographic print
  • A double sided poster with an island map and the box art
  • Access to the Tomb Raider Scavenger Hunt to participate in challenges for prizes and more

I simply love the Lara Croft figure, it’s so detailed and perfectly muddy not getting it would kill me. I hope the DLC weapons are exclusives to these game copies with the collector’s edition to get my money’s worth, and the CD is a nice touch (I legally download all my music).

Price: $99.99

 

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition

Starcraft 2 Collector's bundle

Starcraft is an MMO with its own fanbase, so I listed it mainly so Starcraft fans can assess if the collector’s edition is worth the extra money. All of the great additional merch that comes with the game seems reasonable to me, especially with the extras for other Blizzard MMOs you might play.

  • A behind the scenes DVD and Blu Ray 2 disc set
  • Heart of the Swarm Art Book
  • Collector’s Edition Soundtrack
  • Zerg Rush mouse pad
  • Exclusive in-game content

The in game content includes a Torrasque Ultradisk and portaits in Starcraft II, pet banneling in World of Warcraft, and blade wings and a banner sigil in Diablo III.

Price: $79.99

 

Aliens: Colonial Marines Collector’s Edition

I don’t have much hope for this game except for the fact it’s made by Sega, but because this list is about the extra and not the game itself, it earns a spot. This game has some very good extra content.

  • Resin Powerloader figurine in a limited edition Xeno Hive box
  • USCM Dossier, iron-on badges, and graduation certificate
  • Recruitment card
  • LV-426 Recon photo
  • USS Sephora schematic
  • Mission brief

But this is just physical extras. The exclusive in-game content includes:

  • Four playable movie characters
  • Extra game level
  • Additional Marines character customization features
  • Exclusive multiplayer weapons
  • Sonic Electronic Ball Breakers
  • Phase Plasma Rifle
  • Ripley’s flamethrower
  • USCM Academy firing range

Price: $99.99

 

Bioshock Infinite Premium Edition

Bioshock Infinite Premium

This bundle definitely comes with awesome stuff.

  • Collectible mini edition of The Art of Bioshock Infinite
  • Exclusive digital soundtrack
  • Murder of Crow keychain
  • Handyman figurine
  • Lithographic print of propaganda

It also comes with a gear pack that gives three exclusive power ups in the game.

  • Bull rush: Sprints become melee strikes and can knock down enemies
  • Extra! Extra!: Audio logs give “Silver Eagles”
  • Betrayer: In the PC game causes possessed enemies to explode once you kill them. In the PS3 you get Bioshock Infinite themes. The XBox 360 players get Booker and Elizabeth avatar costumes.

There is a way more costly bundle that costs $70 more. What’s the difference? It comes with a Songbird statue. You must really really want that figure to spend so much money for the Ultimate Songbird Edition of the game.

Songbird figure

Price: $79.99

 

God of War: Ascension Collector’s Edition

God of War Ascension Collector Edition

The God of War franchise has outdone itself with this beautiful pre-order which includes:

  • An exclusive 8 inch Kratos statue
  • Premium Steelbook case
  • Digital game soundtrack
  • Multiplayer Double XP unlock
  • PS3 Dynamic theme and PSN Avatar pack
  • A pass for all future DLC

The last perk seems very promising.  Especially since I don’t like always paying for future DLC.

Price: $79.99

 

This is the best of the best I’ve gathered so far. I hope as the year reveals more new games to try out, they come out with more tempting bundles like these.

By OSkG_Pinto On 6 Jun, 2012 At 04:03 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar After ten long years, the wait is finally over, Diablo III is a fact and many of us have been stomping through the content like professional demon exterminators. After a mysterious comet fell from the sky  it’s up to you to find out what the “Hell” is going on in Sanctuary. You take on this titanic quest as a powerful Wizard, determined Demon Hunter, bloodthirsty Barbarian, disciplined Monk or wacky Witch Doctor. Get ready to slay thousands of minions from Hell, gather a gazillion shiny pieces of loot and tinker around for hours with the many different skills you can customize your class with. The road to Inferno is long and very hot indeed!

GAMEPLAY| Diablo III is all about questing, slaying and looting. You can do this alone, with three friends or three random people in the so called public mode. Players start with the normal difficulty and unlock new difficulties as they progress. (Nightmare, Hell, Inferno and Hardcore) The level cap is set at level 60 and this is where the real fun actually begins. You’ll get access to “Inferno gear” and will be able to unlock your hero’s true potential. Boss fight’s get really challenging and working as a team will be the only way to succeed and loot those shiney legendary weapons.

Each class has unique skills and runes that create a warrior that can adept to any situation.The classes you can pick are:

  • Wizard: A powerful master of the Arcane arts that uses numerous lightning and ice based spells to inflict massive damage from a safe distance. As you progress you will also be able to mix in some fire magic, spectral blades and a whole bunch of other devastating skills. Certainly one of my favorite classes.
  • Demon Hunter: The hunters are all about speed, laying traps and shooting from a distance. Skills like Vault and Caltrops are awesome abilities you can use to escape dangerous situations and arming yourself with explosive bolas and grenades will make you a force to be reckoned with.
  • Monk: These masters of Martial Arts are so much fun to play with. You just pound and kick the snot out of any undead that is standing in your way. The Monk is all about speed and power and can be a bit challenging to master. Practise makes perfect though!
  • Barbarian: The bloodthirsty warrior from the North is a demon wrecking ball thanks to his devastating attacks. Barbarian + Mobs = Destruction! Running a Barbarian/ Wizard co-op team has been a real fun experience and I recommend it to players that prefer co-op play.
  • Witch Doctor: A shaman with knowledge of the dark arts. Summon a bunch of spiders or zombie dogs to take care of your enemies, while you casually shoot at them from a far with poisonous darts. You also get to use fear and many other handy crowd control spells.

What I like about the control of Diablo III is the simplicity. You have your left and right mouse buttons for your primary and secondary attack/ skill. The primary attack gaines you energy that you spend by using your secondary attack and signature skills. Finding a good balance between the two is the key to spamming devastating abilities without worrying about cooldowns or resources. Signature moves are placed on the 1,2,3 and 4 keys of your keyboard and are easily accessed.

(TIP!  Players get to place numerous powerful secondary skills on their hotbar by activating the so called “elective mode” in the options menu. This could lead to an unbalanced character build, but is really fun when done correct.)

 

CONCLUSION| One of the things about Diablo III that really impresses me is the fluid drop in/ drop out co-op functionality. Playing solo is fun, but the game really shines when you play with three friends or a bunch of random people in public mode. The epic hack & slash gameplay feels so much better when you’re surrounded by a dedicated fellowship of like minded demon slayers.

The other thing I love is the replay value of this game. Finding loot never gets old because you get to transfer every piece of loot you find to your other characters.  This is done by placing your loot in special “stash”  boxes you can find in the major hub cities. Loot you can’t use can be salvaged into crafting materials to make even better weapons and armor. When you finally get a hero to level 60 the fun really starts. Inferno is where you will find all the good stuff.

As a retired World of Warcraft player I do miss some of the character customization options in Diablo III. You don’t get to pick any facial features, haircuts, etc. Luckily the plethora of gear gives most players their own distinctive look. The use of different dyes also let’s you change the colors of your gear, so this does add some customization. The graphics look really good too, beautiful particle effects and rich environments. Armor and weapons look very detailed and are very rewarding for the loot addicted players amongst us.

Diablo III is a true Blizzard game and players (such as myself) will be sucked into the game immediately by the epic cinematics and solid storytelling. If you like  to play hack & slash games with a bunch of friends I highly recommend taking a look at Diablo III. It is a game that will keep you occupied for months and possibly destroy your social life, but the epic boss battles, shiney loot and eternal war songs might be worth it!