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GDC '09: Sony Upgrades PhyreEngine, Reveals Four New Titles

100°
276w ago - Sony announced earlier that they upgraded their cross platform engine, the PhyreEngine, to version 2.40.

To quote: New features included 'foliage rendering', which allows for more ultra-realistic trees and leaves, best seen in the PSN exclusive title, Flower.

For gamers though, the bigger news is that Sony has seemingly unveiled 4 unheard of games which are all using the PhyreEngine.

These include an unamed title from Australian developer Big Ant Studios, puzzle/platforming PSN title Topatoi developed by Boolat Games, third person action game Strength of the Sword from Invent Studios, and finally, The 7th Seal by Paul Cuisset's (of Flashback fame and Shaq Fu notoriety) studio VectorCell.

Hopefully as GDC goes on, we'll hear more about these titles.
 

Irem Reveals Details of 'Irem Plaza' PlayStation Home Lounge

200°
280w ago - Irem became the latest publisher to join up with Sony's Home virtual world as it offered today a first look at its very own virtual lounge.

Similar to Bandai Namco's lounge, the Irem space is meant to be a general area for the publisher rather than for a particular game.

To quote: Named "Irem Plaza" ("Irem Hiroba" in Japanese), this lounge has been designed in image of a Japanese festival. Visitors will find the types of sights and activities one might find at a Japanese-style carnival, including booths and areas for food, shooting, fireworks, and Bon Odori.

The lounge will also offer a variety of items, including traditional "yutaka" festival clothing for player avatars and R-9 figures from R-Type as furniture items.

The lounge promises four areas from the start:

Observation Deck
Allows visitors to look out onto the beach and see fireworks and the setting sun

Message Board
Details lounge events and information about new stalls

Night Stalls
Players can play mini games and purchase items here

Yagura (Watch Tower)
This is the central area of the lounge where players will gather

The lounge will also eventually be updated with a special game lounge...
 

Microsoft Reveals Details of Gazelle Browser

250°
280w ago - Microsoft researchers are working on a new browser called Gazelle which it promises will have some impressive new features and capabilities.

The firm released a [Register or Login to view links] (PDF) late last week, saying that the new browser would offer significant security improvements compared to other browsers, including Internet Explorer.

"No existing browsers, including new architectures like Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome and OP, have a multi-principal operating system construction that gives a browser-based operating system the exclusive control to manage the protection of all system resources among web site principals," Microsoft said in the report.

The browser will change this tradition by being built on its own kernel, in effect allowing it to operate as an operating system. This means that Gazelle could intelligently identify traffic, and react to anything malicious.

"Our prototype implementation and evaluation experience indicates that it is realistic to turn an existing browser into a multi-principal operating system that yields significantly stronger security and robustness with acceptable performance and backward compatibility," the researchers wrote.

The browser is only open for discussion at this stage,...
 

Namco Bandai Reveals Noby Noby Boy Details, Hits PSN Thursday

400°
282w ago - Today Keita Takahashi of Namco Bandai Games describes the type of game Noby Noby Boy (releasing on PSN this Thursday, February 19) is. To quote:

Basically players can control and stretch Boy, the main character of the game. As players stretch Boy, the lengths to which he grows are uploaded to a persistent character known as Girl, who grows at the same rate as the combined length of all the players in the world.

Girl starts at Earth and expands around the solar system. When Girl reaches a new milestone in the solar system, new areas are unlocked as playable stages for everyone around the world.

One big question most people have asked is, "Why did you want to make such a game?" Seriously, I don't know. When I figure it out, I'll share it on this blog. In the meantime, please take a moment to watch this video.





Well, that's the best that I can do to explain the game, but I know people will still go, "Hmm..."

How come it's hard to explain, you ask? It's because I wanted to make a game that cannot be expressed by words in the first place. By making an undefined and ambitious game, I want the player's reaction to be something like, "I don't know why, but it's somehow interesting. I can't stop...
 

Mozilla Reveals Plans for Firefox 3.2, Ubiquity in Browser

50°
282w ago - Mozilla is planning to include simple-text commands and desktop Web apps in the next version of Firefox. Firefox 3.2 will see the company build the Mozilla Labs project, Ubiquity, into the browser.

Ubiquity allows users to type natural language phrases into the browser to perform certain tasks, such as typing "map 10 Downing Street" to instantly see a Google map of that address, or "share-on-delicious" to bookmark the site you're currently visiting on the social news site.

Ubiquity, which is already available in [Register or Login to view links] form, currently requires users to press Ctrl + Space to enter the text commands, but Mozilla is aiming to integrate the feature into the address bar (or "Awesome Bar") for the next version of the browser.

Firefox architect Mike Connor said it's part of a plan to develop more ambitious features for the browser. "We're looking at where we can incorporate features from Mozilla Labs," he told PC Pro in an exclusive interview.

"We're looking for more pure innovation than just incrementally getting better. It's nice to try stuff where we don't know if it's going to work."

"All the stuff we set out to do in the beginning is already done," Connor, who's been working on Firefox since the days it was...
 
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