Games Archive

Discord is nuking Nintendo Switch emulator devs and their entire servers

Discord has shut down the Discord servers for the Nintendo Switch emulators Suyu and Sudachi and has completely disabled their lead developers’ accounts — and the company isn’t answering our questions about why it went that far. Both Suyu and Sudachi began as forks of Yuzu, the emulator that Nintendo sued out of existence on March 4th. ↫ Sean Hollister at The Verge This is exactly what people were worried about when Nintendo and Yuzu settled for millions of dollars. Even though it’s a settlement and not a court ruling, and even tough the code to Yuzu is entirely unaffected by the settlement and freely shareable and usable by anyone, and even though emulators are legal – the chilling effect this settlement is having is absolutely undeniable. Here we have Discord going far beyond its own official policy, without even giving the affected parties any recourse. It’s absolutely wild, and highlights just how dangerous it is to rely on Discord for, well, anything. I wish that for once, we’d actually see a case related to console emulation go to court in either the EU or the US, to make it even clearer that yes, unless you distribute copyrighted code like game ROMs or console firmware, emulators are entirely legal and without any risk. You know, a recent court ruling we could point to to dissuade bullies like Nintendo from threatening innocent developers and ruining their lives because of entirely legal activities. And let me reiterate: don’t use Discord as for anything other than basic chat. This platform ain’t got your back.

Discord turns to ads

Quests are a way for players to discover games and earn rewards for playing them on Discord. We started experimenting with them over the last year, and millions of you opted in and completed them. We’ve heard great feedback from developers who partnered with us to create them and from many of you who completed one. If you didn’t see firsthand, the “May the 4th” Fortnite Quest is a great example. Now, we’re opening up sponsored Quests to more game developers. ↫ Peter Sellis That’s a lot of fancy, hip words to say Discord is going to show you ads. I have an odd relationship with Discord – it holds a special place in my heart because through Discord is how I met my now-wife and mother of our children, so understandably, the chat platform has a special meaning for us. At the same time, though, Discord has been getting steadily worse and less usable over the years, and while my wife isn’t too bothered by that, I certainly am – and so we moved our instant messaging over to Signal instead. My wife still uses Discord with her friends. Seeing a platform that used to be quite usable, and easily the best way to manage a group of geographically spread-out friends, fall prey to the same kind of bullshit so many other platforms have succumbed to. Discord today is almost unrecognisable to what it was like 6-7 years ago, and now there’s even going to be ads – the final nail in the coffin for the possibility of me ever going back to using it.

The hearts of the Super Nintendo

Every computer has at least one heart which beats the cadence to all the other chips. The CloCK output pin is connected to a copper line which spreads to most components, into their CLK input pin. If you are mostly a software person like me, you may have never noticed it but all kinds of processors have a CLK input pin. From CPUs (Motorola 68000, Intel Pentium, MOS 6502), to custom graphic chips (Midway’s DMA2, Capcom CPS-A/CPS-B, Sega’s Genesis VDP) to audio chips (Yamaha 2151, OKI msm6295), they all have one. ↫ Fabien Sanglard I’ve watched enough Adrian Black that I already knew all of this, and I’m assuming so did many of you. But hey, I’ll never pass up the opportunity to link to the insides of the Super Nintendo.

Phil Spencer wants Epic Games Store and others on Xbox consoles

In an interview with Microsoft’s CEO of Gaming during the annual Game Developers Conference, Spencer told Polygon about the ways he’d like to break down the walled gardens that have historically limited players to making purchases through the first-party stores tied to each console. Or, in layperson terms, why you should be able to buy games from other stores on Xbox — not just the official storefront. Spencer mentioned his frustrations with closed ecosystems, so we asked for clarity. Could he really see a future where stores like Itch.io and Epic Games Store existed on Xbox? Was it just a matter of figuring out mountains of paperwork to get there? ↫ Chris Plante at Polygon The answer is yes, Spencer claims. I don’t know how realistic any of this is, but to me it makes perfect sense, and the gaming world has been moving towards it for a while now. At the moment, I’m doing something thought unthinkable until very recently: I’m playing a major Sony PlayStation exclusive, Horizon: Forbidden West, on PC, through Steam on Linux. Sony has been making its major exclusives available on Steam in recent years, and while seeing these games on Xbox might be a bit too much to ask, I wouldn’t be surprised to see storefronts from companies who don’t make game consoles pop up on the Xbox and PlayStation. Games have become so expensive to make that limiting them to a single console just doesn’t make any commercial sense. Why limit your audience?

Sega Saturn architecture: a practical analysis by Rodrigo Copetti

Welcome to the 3D era! Well… sorta. Sega enjoyed quite a success with the Mega Drive so there’s no reason to force developers to write 3D games right now. Just in case developers want the extra dimension, Sega adapted some bits of the hardware to enable polygon drawing as well. Hopefully, the result didn’t get out of hand! ↫ Rodrigo Copetti These in-depth analyses by Copetti are always a treat, and the Saturn one is no exception.

Switch emulator Suyu hit by GitLab DMCA, project lives on through self-hosting

Switch emulator Suyu—a fork of the Nintendo-targeted and now-defunct emulation project Yuzu—has been taken down from GitLab following a DMCA request Thursday. But the emulation project’s open source files remain available on a self-hosted git repo on the Suyu website, and recent compiled binaries remain available on an extant GitLab repo. While the DMCA takedown request has not yet appeared on GitLab’s public repository of such requests, a GitLab spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that the project was taken down after the site received notice “from a representative of the rightsholder.” GitLab has not specified who made the request or how they represented themselves; a representative for Nintendo was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment. ↫ Kyle Orland at Ars Technica Self-hosting the code repository and binaries is probably the only way the Switch emulator can continue to reasonably exist. The issue with Switch emulation seems to be that the device is current, popular, and still makes endless amounts of money for Nintendo; it’s very different from SNES or Mega Drive emulation, to name a few examples. While I personally don’t think that should make Switch emulation off-limits or any less valid than emulating older systems, I can see how it would draw the ire of Nintendo more readily.

Microsoft announces super resolution DirectX API

We’re thrilled to announce DirectSR, our new API designed in partnership with GPU hardware vendors to enable seamless integration of Super Resolution (SR) into the next generation of games. Super Resolution is a cutting-edge technique that increases the resolution and visual quality in games. DirectSR is the missing link developers have been waiting for when approaching SR integration, providing a smoother, more efficient experience that scales across hardware. This API enables multi-vendor SR through a common set of inputs and outputs, allowing a single code path to activate a variety of solutions including NVIDIA DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX™ Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS. DirectSR will be available soon in the Agility SDK as a public preview, which will enable developers to test it out and provide feedback. Don’t miss our DirectX State of the Union at GDC to catch a sneak peek at how DirectSR can be used with your games! ↫ Joshua Tucker at the DirectX Developer Blog If this aides in making sense out of the confusing mess of terminology and marketing terms surrounding this technology, I’m all for it.

Fully documented source code for Lander on the Acorn Archimedes

This site contains reconstructed source code for Lander, David Braben’s epic game for the Acorn Archimedes, with every single line documented and (for the most part) explained. Lander was the very first game to be released for the ARM processor, and it is both a milestone and a masterpiece. My hope is that this site will be useful for those who want to learn more about Lander and what makes it tick. It is provided on an educational and non-profit basis, with the aim of helping people appreciate the second classic game from this legend of 3D coding (the first classic being Elite, of course). ↫ Mark Moxon An incredibly valuable resource.

The Sega AI Computer (セガAIコンピューター)

Around late 1986, Sega released the “Sega AI Computer”. This is one of Sega’s least well known and rarest systems. Not much is known about this system apart from a small amount of information in Japanese and American flyers and press articles. The information we have is still piecemeal and may be partly inaccurate. Today we are making public, for the first time: all system roms extracted from the Sega AI Computer, data dumps from 26 my-cards and 14 tapes, many scans and photographs, and in collaboration with MAME developers, an early working MAME driver allowing this computer to be emulated. ↫ SMS Power! Incredible. Usually stuff like this is relegated to a YouTube video, with potential archival efforts pushed to the background since it’s boring and won’t get any views. This is an amazing effort.

Ayaneo Next Lite handheld announced with SteamOS Linux

inally we’re seeing another handheld vendor jump in with Linux. The AYANEO NEXT LITE was announced today and much like the Steam Deck, they plan to ship it with SteamOS! AYANEO are one of the top brands when it comes to PC handhelds, so it’s really interesting to see them be one of the first to jump in like this. If Linux is a success for them, no doubt they will do more and other vendors will follow along. ↫ Liam Dawe It was inevitable for SteamOS to spread beyond just the Steam Deck, but an important note to make here is that Ayaneo is not working together with Valve. Instead, they’re using HoloIso, one of the community-maintained variants of SteamOS anyone can use and install. I’m a bit surprised by this, since moving SteamOS beyond just Valve products in an official capacity seems like a no-brainer for Valve; they’re not really in it for the hardware money, after all, and instead earn their money from Steam game sales. I’m fairly convinced this isn’t the last time we’re seeing a non-Valve product with SteamOS, but I’d rather have Valve involved in the process before spending any money on one of these.

Nvidia’s G-Sync Pulsar is anti-blur monitor tech aimed squarely at your eyeball

Motion blur, when it’s not caused by slow LCD pixel transitions, is caused by “the persistence of an image on the retina, as our eyes track movement on-screen,” as Nvidia explains it. Prior improvements in display tech, like variable rate refresh, Ultra Low Motion Blur, and Variable Overdrive have helped with the hardware causes of this deficiency. The eyes and their object permanence, however, can only be addressed by strobing a monitor’s backlight. You can’t just set that light blinking, however. Variable strobing frequencies causes flicker, and timing the strobe to the monitor refresh rate—itself also tied to the graphics card output—was tricky. Nvidia says it has solved that issue with its G-Sync Pulsar tech, employing “a novel algorithm” in “synergizing” its variable refresh smoothing and monitor pulsing. The result is that pixels are transitioned from one color to another at a rate that reduces motion blur and pixel ghosting. ↫ Kevin Purdy for Ars Technica Cool technology, of course, but also another attempt by Nvidia to put Nvidia-specific chips inside monitors to cash in on royalties and tie people to Nvidia GPUs. Their previous attempt – G-Sync – was eventually thwarted, but they’re clearly trying again.

Sony officially launches its PS5 Access Controller for disabled gamers

The controller, which was created in collaboration with disabled gaming groups such as AbleGamers, Stack-Up, and SpecialEffect, has a unique circular design. The controller comes with a number of different button caps, along with three stick caps that can be changed out to suit the specific needs of the gamer. The controller itself is also designed to rest on a flat surface for players that would require that kind of feature. ↫ John Callaham at Neowin Microsoft has a similar product as well, and it’s great that disabled people who want to play games are being taken so much more seriously these days. Excellent work from both console giants.

My long quest to revive a ’90s Windows gaming cult classic

As 2023 draws to a close—and as we start to finalize our Game of the Year contenders—I really should be catching up on the embarrassingly long list of great recent releases that I haven’t put enough time into this year. Instead, over the last few days, I’ve found myself once again hooked on a simple, addictive, and utterly unique Japanese Windows freeware game from the late ’90s that, until recently, I thought I had lost forever. Pendulumania is a cult classic in the truest sense of the word: Few people have heard of it, even in hardcore gaming circles, but those who have experienced it tend to have very fond memories of it. And while I shared those memories, it wasn’t until this week that I’ve been able to share my effusive praise for a game whose name and playable executable had eluded me for well over a decade. What a great story.

Zork for the PDP-11/RT-11 recreated

We talked about Zork yesterday, and how the code for interpreters for the game was found and published on Github. Today we have a blog post detailing how to actually use one of these interpreters, the one for the PDP-11. Ok so what or where to do this?! First you need SIMH or any other good PDP-11 emulator, a copy of RT-11, and of course the source to the interpreter oddly enough named PDP11.ZIP. Just keep in mind that this is NOT a pk-zip file, it’s a text file. It’s Macro-11 assembler source. And it goes on from there. This is using an emulator, but if you’re lucky enough to have a real PDP-11 you can probably get all of this running, too.

All that Infocom interpreter code

Jason Scott posted the source code for all the Infocom games in 2019. This was pretty awesome. Everybody who is interested in that stuff cheered, and now it’s part of the common knowledge of Infocom. If you’re researching the history of those games, or want to study their design, you can dig in. So the game source was big news. Infocom’s interpreter source, however, remained obscure. This was the game-playing software for each platform: the Apple 2 interpreter, the Commodore 64 interpreter, and so on. A particular Infocom game release (“Zork 3 for the C64”, say) was a floppy containing the C64 interpreter and the Zork-3 game file. Boot the floppy, the interpreter starts up; it loads the game data and the game begins. The code for the interpreter, however, was never released as open source – until now. Andrew Plotkin posted all of the code on Github, followed later by an additional code dump by David Fillmore.

SteamOS will be coming to other handhelds before you can install it on your PC

Will SteamOS ever become generally available straight from Valve, instead of the community builds you can try out right now? “We’re hoping soon, though, it is very high on our list, and we want to make SteamOS more widely available. We’ll probably start with making it more available to other handhelds with a similar gamepad style controller. And then further beyond that, to more arbitrary devices. I think that the biggest thing is just, you know, driver support and making sure that it can work on whatever PC it happens to land on. Because right now, it’s very, very tuned for Steam Deck.” Valve also just unveiled a new and updated Steam Deck, with an OLED display, more efficient processor, and a few other nips and tucks, including making the devices easier to repair, not harder – made available for the same price as the previous model it replaces.

Why Cities: Skylines 2 performs poorly

Cities: Skylines 2 like its predecessor is made in Unity, which means the game can be decompiled and inspected quite easily using any .NET decompiler. I used JetBrains dotPeek which has a decent Visual Studio -like UI with a large variety of search and analysis options. However static analysis doesn’t really tell us anything concrete about the rendering performance of the game. To analyze what’s going with rendering I used Renderdoc, an open source graphics debugger which has saved my bacon with some of my previous GPU-y personal projects. An incredibly detailed look at just what’s going on under the hood to make the new Cities: Skylines 2 behave so poorly.

Frasier Fantasy

Frasier Fantasy is a loving tribute to the show, “Frasier,” in turn-based RPG form. Filled with Easter Eggs and callbacks, this is the game for anyone wondering if Eddie ever blinked first. Yes, a fan-made Game Boy Color game where you play as Frasier Crane. I can’t believe someone went through the arduous process of making this, but I’m glad they did. This is absolutely brilliant.

Publishing my first game using pico-8

I picked pico-8 as the engine simply because I know I work better with constraints and the limited size and capabilities of it would ensure I would not attempt perfection since I know I do not have the skills to reach it anyway. I have been a professional developer for 10+ years so code syntax is not my biggest issue, but knowing how to architect things, deal with the art and sound. By sticking within what pico-8 provides I thought I could achieve this, where I had previously failed with tools like Game Maker. Pico-8 really seems like a great first experience with game development.