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Valve Researching Sign Language for Use in Half-Life 2: Episode 3

100°
271w ago - Valve's Gabe Newell appears to have recently conducted a focus group with deaf individuals in order to learn more about sign language and how it can be applied to games, notably the upcoming Half-Life 2: Episode 3.

Why? To help develop Alyx's character, and further the animation technology implemented in the Half-Life games.

Newell explains, to quote: "[Alyx] had a crush on someone who was hearing impaired, so she taught Dog how to sign so she could practice. Something happened, maybe, the person is off fighting the Combine someplace else, but that's why she and Dog would start signing with each other when they wanted to communicate without making noise, or communicate without other people knowing ... It gave us the excuse to build the technology for signing."

The focus group responds by noting the importance of facial expression whilst signing. While the Half-Life franchise has been known for its believable facial animation, it might take even more to fully realize the nuances necessary for authentic signing. It'll be interesting to see if Valve is up to the challenge.
 

Internet Explorer 8's Poor Reception Not a Good Sign for Microsoft

250°
291w ago - The honeymoon appears to be over for Internet Explorer 8 - and it wasn't much of a honeymoon to begin with, either. Just days after the browser's big debut, its market share has fallen a full 28 percent from its peak.

Alternative browsers, meanwhile, have held steady ground, losing no significant number of users to Microsoft's new offering.

To quote: IE 8 managed to break the 2 percent mark within a day of its release last Thursday, according to tracking data by analytics firm Net Applications. It grew slowly over the weekend, topping out at 2.59 percent of the overall browser market at 3 a.m. (EDT) Sunday. From there, things started heading downhill.

With a steady decline, Internet Explorer 8 dropped down to 1.86 percent of the market by Monday morning. It's bounced up and down a bit since then, but thus far, there's been no sign of a second wave of supporters rushing to make the switch.

Compare that with the release of Firefox 3 last summer: Within just three days of its launch, Mozilla's next-generation browser more than doubled its beta share, jumping up to nearly 19 percent of the market.

"I suppose the kindest description of user reaction to IE 8's first public outing would be 'underwhelming'," says Aodhan Cullen, CEO and founder of online data firm StatCounter.
 

PDP & Hasbro Sign Multi-Year Gaming Product Licensing Deal

50°
294w ago - This new license agreement broadens the already successful business collaboration between PDP, the top gaming accessory provider, and Hasbro, a leader in games, toys, and entertainment products and services.

The agreement includes international rights across many of Hasbro's well-known brands.

Press Release: PDP AND HASBRO SIGN MULTI-YEAR, MULTI-BRAND LICENSING DEAL

New Accessory Products for Gaming, iPods, Cell Phones

Performance Designed Products, LLC ("PDP") and Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) have agreed to a multi-year, international license agreement that will allow for the creation of a new line of video gaming accessories and products for popular gaming devices, iPods and cell phones.

"We are thrilled to enter into this agreement with PDP," said Mark Blecher, senior vice president and general manager of digital media and gaming at Hasbro. "Hasbro's goal as a brand-driven company is to selectively align ourselves with the best possible licensee partners. We have had a very successful relationship with PDP over the last three years and are looking to expand that success with this new deal."

Upcoming projects for the year include video gaming accessories for the Nintendo DS, Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 2 and 3 systems. These projects will include...
 

The New XBox Experience Preview Program Sign-Ups Open

50°
312w ago - Per Major Nelson today: I know that many of you are excited to get your hands on the New Xbox Experience, which will go live all Xbox LIVE regions wide on November 19th.

Well, we're just as excited to as you are so I am happy to announce that I've been working on a little project that I think may interested you.

Working with various teams across Xbox, we've developed a program to allow a select few of you early access to NXE. How do you get chosen? The first step is to head on over to Microsoft Connect, sign in with your Windows LIVE ID and join the "Xbox 360 Fall 2008 Preview Program" by clicking on this link.

Once you do that, you need to fill out the "Xbox 360 Fall Flash Preview Sign Up" survey in order to be considered for receiving the Preview System Update.

We're asking a few questions about where you live, your home network, ISP connection and a few other pieces of information. We are looking for a good cross-section of our members in order to get the best feedback we can.
 

Huge Resistance 2 Sign Attacks Los Angeles

50°
313w ago - Today G4TV reports that some monstrous Resistance 2 advertisements have been spotted out and about in Los Angeles, California despite the earlier Resistance 2 BETA delays.

To quote: Check out the above Resistance 2 billboard. It currently looms over Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, promising us all a good time when this first-person-shooter drops on November 4th on the PlayStation 3.

One picture is below, with the rest linked above.

Enjoy!
 
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