TODAY: You didn't always have to settle for what Niantic gave you in Pokémon Go — Nvidia trains a neural network to make games from scratch — Valorant will be released for everyone soon
Epic Games will stream a Christopher Nolan movie in Fortnite this summer
As the COVID-19 wreaks havoc with economies and industries across the globe, some of them are starting to invent new ways to stay open for business – and Fortnite is helping lead the charge.
Fortnite has hosted concerts, disabling all the usual looting and shooting in favour of making players part of a live music video. So far these events have been tremendously successful, and now Hollywood wants in on the action.
Movinite: The movie industry has already experimented with simultaneous releases in theatres and streaming services, but what about videogames? The biggest ones can reach humongous audiences, and the Travis Scott event drew 12.3 million conccurent players. In short: it's an untapped audience.
Virtual cinema: An as-yet-unnamed Christopher Nolan movie will be screened in Fortnite this summer. The trailer for Nolan's latest movie Tenet is already showing in Party Royale mode, and if this turns out to be a success there will probably be more to come. Fortnite as the biggest game AND streaming platform? Stranger things have happened!
Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?
What was Conker’s Bad Fur Days called during development?
- Conker's Quest
- Conker's Pocket Tales
- Diddy Kong Racing
- Project Spark
Walk away, get yourself a Pikachu
Around the time Niantic’s hugely successful Pokémon GO was launched, you could exploit a bug to reject Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur and bag yourself a Pikachu right off the bat.
How? Just walk away from the starter spawns four times! It's a bit like the original Pokémon adventures on Game Boy, where you'd need to capture Pikachu out in the wilds. Pokémon Yellow was the first game to offer the electric rodent as a starting companion, and even let him travel alongside you outside the Pokéball!
Nvidia AI creates Pac-Man from scratch
GPU manufacturer Nvidia has turned their attention towards AI, and has trained one to recreate the game Pac-Man from scratch by showing it 50,000 sessions from the game.
They used the so-called GameGAN, a neural network model mimicking game engines through generative adversarial networks. The idea is that two competing neural networks – the generator and the discriminator – can learn how to replicate not just images or video but entire systems.
First of its kind: “This is the first research to emulate a game engine using GAN-based neural networks,” explained Seung-Wook Kim of Nvidia Research. “We wanted to see whether the AI could learn the rules of an environment just by looking at the screenplay of an agent moving through the game. And it did.”
Pac-Man turns 40: “We were blown away when we saw the results, in disbelief that AI could recreate the iconic PAC-MAN experience without a game engine,” Koichiro Tsutsumi of Namco Bandai added. Pac-Man just celebrated his 40th anniversary, and it's safe to assume that his creators didn't expect their work to be replicated by a state-of-the-art artifical intelligence less than half a century later.
Imagine having Shigeru Miyamoto drop by your studio to listen to your tunes
Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the most influential figures in videogame history, and music composers David Wise and Grant Kirkhope reminisce about the time he visited their studio.
Most talk about videogames are about graphics and gameplay, but videogame music has also had a stupendous impact on the broader culture. Wise and Kirkhope worked at Rare back in the 90s, making music for classics like Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye 007 and Banjo Kazooie.
NES, SNES & N64: "Miyamoto-san visited Rare whilst we were developing the first Donkey Kong Country titles," recalled Wise. "It was quite surreal demonstrating music I'd created whilst Miyamoto-san was in my studio, listening." Both Wise and Kirkhope have been scoring videogames since the NES.
Rare had changed: Rare changed dramatically after Microsoft bought the company in 2002, and both composers left Rare in 2009 to go freelance. "Gradually, the style of games changed from what I'd recognize as classic Rare games," said Wise, but he believes the studio has reinvented itself with Sea of Thieves.
What Else Happened Today?
- Typhoon Studios’ Journey to the Savage Planet is out, so check out the launch trailer for the space adventure and pick it up on the eShop if you like what you see
- Riot Games’ online shooter Valorant will be out soon! Executive producer and game director says June 2nd is the big day in a community update video
- Nintendo announces Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open “four weekend tournaments” starting on May 30th featuring a “new format”
- Alan Wake and Cities: Skylines added to Xbox Game Pass to be followed by Minecraft Dungeons on May 26th before five titles are pulled on May 29th
- Obsidian Entertainment’s Grounded will be playable on PC and Xbox One from June 9th until June 14th as part of Steam Game Festival and Xbox Insider
Collection of Mana Nintendo Switch
Square Enix is bringing their Mana series to Switch and right now you can get the Collection of Mana – which includes three Mana games together – on sale for $24.99. The collection includes Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana and has an 83% rating on Metacritic.
This collection brings Trials of Mana to the West for the first time, and the games feature local multiplayer as well as helpful features like quick save to ease you into the old-school RPGs. Sounds tempting? If you buy Collection of Mana through our link, we will earn a small commission, so thank you!
Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?
What was Conker’s Bad Fur Days called during development?
Answer: Conker’s Quest!
We remember Conker as raunchy and vulgar, but he wasn't always such a bad squirrel.
Early on in development, it was known as Conker’s Quest before being renamed to Twelve Tales: Conker 64. Before turning to the dark side, Conker was a pretty typical colorful mascot platformer of the kind Rare was famous for making.
However, Conker didn't really set the world on fire at first. The press thought it looked formulaic and cutesy, which inspired Rare to take drastic measures and turn the formerly family-friendly game into something a bit more South Park. While the tonal shift probably cost it some sales, it certainly put Rare back on the map and became a bit of a cult classic.
Bank Holiday Incoming
Just a little note at the end of today's issue to let all our readers know that Monday is a Bank Holiday in the UK, so there won't be an issue of DailyBits landing in your inbox on this day, but we'll be back with you on Tuesday. Have a fantastic weekend, and thank you for reading and supporting DailyBits!
Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey.