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Ping 163: Xbox Countdown, Programming language popularity, 3D presentations, Eye controlled computer

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Once again Laura and Paul bring their sharp with, clever commentary and desperate pleas for interactivity to your screens! Join in the fun and tell us what you think about these stories AND our QOTW (Question Of The Week).

The countdown has begun  [04:08]

It's good to be popular  [13:22]

Presenting in 3D  [17:35]

Control it with your EYES  [07:48]

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  • Do we really need a new Xbox? The 360 is still very awesome and the games are getting better and better, aside from the obvious missing Blu-Ray player Embarassed

    A real plus is that the existing Xbox has been so hard for people to mod which makes online play enjoyable as you dont get as many modders and hackers ruining the game.

    If it's not broken dont fix it.

    Thanks for adding fuel to the E3 release of the new Xbox 720 rumour mill, the xbox team will now have to release it then since everyone has built up the hype for them! Crying

    As always loved the show and your energy, keep up the great work and props to the production team as the post-production is always hilarious - well done to all

  • Where to start!

    I agree with JockStrap (nice ID!) XBOX 360 has been going strong for a long time, a Blu-Ray player would be nice though. One of the things that caught my attention with the XBOX early on was the fact that the OS is faithfully updated each year, I look forward to the Beta release every fall. When I first start messing with the XBOX it was more for the entertainment side of things (although Halo keeps me going!). Early on though, the ecosystem and content was not there like I would have liked. So the past couple of years watching the ecosystem improvements come into play and the content improvements has been exciting. The platforms are coming together nice. I hope the current iteration of the XBOX lives on after what comes next. You'll be sure I'm all over what's next!

    What kept me busy over the break? I've been slowly redoing my Man Cave. I finally put some LED recessed lighting in over the break. What really caught my attention with the new lighting though is how much better Kinect was. The family spent time on Kinect Party over the break (awesome game Double Fine). Prior to the lighting and it was cool but after the lighting it was a much better experience, same with a few other games as well. I didn't think that much about the Kinect experience and how lighting had an impact on it but it sure did.

    @lfoy has to start handing out MS Points each time she says her Twitter handle on the show but never tweets. (510 tweets at the time of this writing!)

    Now off to catch up on CES 2013!

     

  • Of course we need a new Xbox. The current console generation are hampering game development for a very long time now. PC gaming has >10 times to power of the consoles, but developers can't really use it because they have to develop cross-platform games that also have to run on those ancient consoles.

    512 MB of combined RAM and VRAM is a joke. Developers can't do anything with it anymore.

    Games like Crysis 2 run with max. 30 fps., avg. 20 and min. 12 fps @ 720p. That's insane.

    We finally need some 64 Bit consoles with DX 11.1 GPUs and lot's of Ram. Preferably 8 GB of it. Once we got those our games would get better immediately.

    You finally get Full HD or even 4k resolution and most likely stereoscopic rendering @ 120 Hz. Games will look a lot better and you'll get new features like the Kinect 2, augmented reality glasses, a holographic projection of the game and a lot more.

    In other words. New consoles are long overdue.

    (It's not like you have to throw your old Xbox out if the new ones come out.)

  • @n0x30n: Good point. I hadn't thought about it from the developers point of view!

  • Srikanth PatelSrikanth​Patel Happy Coding

    Weekend work: Virtual Digital Assistant with speech recog.

    I really suggest C# for starters if they have little OOP basics.

    PowerPoint 3D may see some popularity , if it catches up, Microsoft should build it inside PPT, as its not our daddy's PPT any,ore 

  • Srikanth PatelSrikanth​Patel Happy Coding

    @JockStrap:I vote for Blu-ray player

  • martinminemartinmine I eat C# for breakfast

    I've been really busy during the break since I had an entire month off school. Got a bit into Windows Azure by putting up my own website there, I wrote a C++CLI wrapper for Winsock because the Socket class in .NET was too slow and learned how to debug CLI apps using Windbg by some help from watching the Defrag Tools show here on Channel 9. Also, I got my 9-guys during my break so thanks a lot! Big Smile

    About the new Xbox, I really hope they are gonna ditch the disks (when a new console gets released). The disks are annoying to find, and they can get scratches which makes them unreadable. They also make a lot of noise and are in general slow to read from. Some memory stick solution would be great, it takes a lot less space, they are faster and the lifetime is far longer than the disks. I also hope Microsoft does something with the speed on the friends/messaging system. It is kinda annoying when I accidentally hit the xbox home button while playing Halo 4 and I have to WAIT for the thing to appear and then go away, and in the meantime I got killed. The xbox website is also quite slow, but has gotten a bit faster over the last month. This is something I hope Microsoft soon looks into since it is what annoys me most with the current console. On the other hand, I agree a lot that we do not really need a new console yet. Maybe in a few years when the new 4K tvs gets released which everyone is so hyped about. Oh, and about the bluray players, I don't even buy movies any movies, I stream everything through Netflix so it is kinda useless.

    Oh, and Laura, did you watch CNET's Always On during CES where they did a lot of horrible things to tech products, they actually took a GoPro camera in liquid nitrogen while it was recording, and guess what? It survived! :O http://cnettv.cnet.com/gopro-camera-gets-torture-tested-liquid-nitrogen-ces/9742-1_53-50138568.html Really amazing, they even dropped a Microsoft Surface (torture test) and it was one of the few tech products that actually survived the fall Big Smile What made me scared was that they took an iPad, took it into ice, it turned on, they took it into liquid nitrogen and it turned on while they had it in there, later on they dropped it so it shattered, and then it turned itself on. Freaking zombie tablet.

  • IRBIRB

    Yeah we are now in need of a new console, but they still need to suppose the 360 with new games too.

    I disagree with @martinmine though, It should still have a disc tray and will most probably be bluray. I don't want download only games as I like to trade some old ones in from time to time to buy new ones. You can't do that with digital ones, unless they give us a rental model.

     

    The 3D presentation stuff seems too much like a gimmick to me and wouldn't be useful. Are we talking 3D as in popping out of the screen? if so, do we now all need to go to meetings with those stupid glasses on :/

     

    Over the hols my project was to get the girlfriend into both the excellent Xbox and Lego. It has gone well, we are now happily cooping Lego Lord of the Rings and Batman/Harry Potter are waiting in the wings Smiley

  • @martinmine

    I don't think that you'll get to see flash media as a distribution medium very soon.

    You can press a disk for a few cents at very high production speeds, while flash dirves still cost one or two bucks a piece and require a lot of time to be written. Therefore mass production costs will be much much higher.

    It's far more likely, that you'll get a console without any media drive at all, where you can get your games and movies only by digital distribution.

     

    @IRB

    Gamedevs will still release games for the 360, even if a new consoles are out. The market is still too huge to be ignored.

    For example: DICE already announced, that Battlefield 4 will be out for the Xbox 360, Xbox Next, PS3, PS Next and the PC. It's financially not viable to leave to old consoles behind.

    Smaller developers, who are just gotten familiar with the old consoles, might not even start developing for the new consoles at all and stick with the old ones, because they already invested so much know how in it.

  • figuerresfiguerres ???

    cable card support !!!   take the windows media center stuff and port it to the xbox and then you can watch cable w/o having to rent a cable box from the cable company!!

    sure the providers are starting to offer content on the xbox but only a few channels they pick. With a cable card we can get all the ones we want.

    a cable card will cost about $3.00 to $5.00 US a month from the local cable company. an HD DVR box they rent you is about $16 to $20 US a month and they may also charge for the remote at $3 to $7 a month.

    so the cable card costs you less and you get the same content, the xbox can be setup to do what the hd dvr does and it's yours. 

  • martinminemartinmine I eat C# for breakfast

    @n0x30n:Nah, I think the USB stick production price is about to get so low we are able to distribute games at a cost-efficent way. I rather want it to be on a flash-disk than cloud enabled so friends could borrow my games, as @IRB points out. 

  • As I listened to your list of uses for the Eye Controlled Computer, I was left with the impression you two just really don't get it . . . THIS IS HUGE!

    Stephen Hawking and his grad students not withstanding, that is kind of technology is now becoming main stream and accessible is a wonderful step forward for ALS, Quadriplegic and other folks in similar situations.

    I had a close friend with ALS who was an IT professional.  Loosing the ability to control a computer, even at the simple level of web browsing, so early in the decease was very disheartening for him.  That computer use can be extended for even a year or two is a great step forward . . . particularly in situations where you still have an active alert mind that is trapped in a body that won't work.

    I challenge both of you to consider the following: If you couldn't use your cellphone, PDA, computer or XBOX tomorrow unless this technology was embraced and working . . . how would you have pitched this news in that case?

     

  • The most notable thing I did during the holidays was play with my new Netduino Go. I got a starter kit for Christmas. And I had a good time exploring how it all worked together. At times I also worked on some EF code first models for a project I have going at work.

  • We must not forget the Red Ring of Death!!!  Devil

  • @n0x30n:You are quite right that the specs of the existing Xbox are quite low by what is possible right now however a successful console does not have to have the highest spec'ed components.

    Look with the PS3, far more raw computing power but it has fallen down the list of consoles. Also other powerful hardware like the Commodore Amiga lost the race. 

    My worry would be that even with a new Xbox (720) that it will still be the same Xbox live, Hub, infrastructure etc, the only thing that will change will be the processing power. It will be like the Italian sports car in the suburbs - looks great and everyone wants one but you never get to use the full potential of it because of other constraints.

    You also raise the point of the "developers", many on here are developers and I for one would hate the thought of an entirely new platform to have to learn how to squeeze out the best from. The success of the 360 now is that developers have had years of experience in getting the best out what the hardware has, and knowing that every Xbox is the same. I see where you are coming from that it may be easier for a developer to get a certain minimum FPS with faster hardware but that defeats the purpose of having faster hardware (Wirth's law).

    The rumour mill about what an Xbox 720 will contain is some Intel multi-core beast with loads of memory, sounds just like a laptop in a Xbox case. And to support the existing 360 games there could be essentially the 360 hardware included - Wow how did that work for the PS3, remember they had hardware to support the PS2 games and took it out. All I see is a greater attack surface for modders/hackers and that is why I love the existing 360, it may be lower spec'ed but the system is tight, if they lose that then they lose developers and content providers.

    If I was on the Xbox team I would be pushing for some sort of fast interconnect system (forget USB 3), so that add-on modules can be added to the Xbox - wouldnt it be great to have something like "Sony's Play TV", and a more powerful Kinetic sensor

    The future is streamed content, games on demand and call me old but I cant tell the difference between Black Ops II running at 80fps or 100fps Wink

    Thanks for reading my rant

  • dan_tdtower Surface Fan

    Bring on the new xbox, I say. My 360 is acting a bit flaky so I'm ready for an upgrade.

    Over the break I started playing with the ImpactJS javascript game framework and made solid progress on a Win8 game.

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , JockStrap wrote

    As always loved the show and your energy, keep up the great work and props to the production team as the post-production is always hilarious - well done to all

    Our editor, Bob, always makes it fun for me to watch, too.  Even though I'm there when we film the show, I never know what to expect!

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , Research​Voyager wrote

    @lfoy has to start handing out MS Points each time she says her Twitter handle on the show but never tweets. (510 tweets at the time of this writing!)

    Ha. I wonder if she's forgotten her password by now. Wink

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , 6888 wrote

    Weekend work: Virtual Digital Assistant with speech recog.

    What speech recognition API are you using?

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , n0x30n wrote

    You finally get Full HD or even 4k resolution and most likely stereoscopic rendering @ 120 Hz. Games will look a lot better and you'll get new features like the Kinect 2, augmented reality glasses, a holographic projection of the game and a lot more.

    In other words. New consoles are long overdue.

    Can't wait.  I'm curious to see what the next set of senors/peripherals will be and, in turn, what they will bring to enhance story-telling and game play.

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , martinmine wrote

    I've been really busy during the break since I had an entire month off school. Got a bit into Windows Azure by putting up my own website there, I wrote a C++CLI wrapper for Winsock because the Socket class in .NET was too slow and learned how to debug CLI apps using Windbg by some help from watching the Defrag Tools show here on Channel 9. Also, I got my 9-guys during my break so thanks a lot! Big Smile

    What are you doing that the socket class in .NET is too slow?  Happy you got your 9 guys.  Hat tip to Golnaz for helping out with that.

  • @JockStrap

    You have to consider, that with better hardware you'll not just get better looking games, but also better games in general.
    Nowadays you have a lot of linear games and practically no open world games on consoles. The simple reason for this is the memory constraint on consoles. This forces developers to design their games like small hallways instead of wide open landscapes.
    Now imagine this constraint wouldn't exist anymore and suddenly we would get all kinds of new games where developers could implement all their ideas they had for years now.
    I follow a lot of game developers on twitter and a lot of them can't wait for the new consoles to come out. They are eager to learn something new.
    Programmers don't want to do the same stuff year after year after year. They are happy if they get a new toy to play around with. It's fun for them to fgure out how to get the best performance out of this new thing.

    Regarding the streaming idea. I don't think, that streaming is the future. In times where players complain about pings greater then 20 ms, monitors with input lags due to overdrive techniques and jerky mouse movemovements because the 125 Hz polling rate of the usb bus isn't high enough, you can't stream games with latencies up to 100ms or even more. It's simply too laggy.
    It would work fine for games like The Sims or Chess, but definately not for First Person Shooter games. Just ask gamers about their experience with OnLive.
    Also. Not everyone has a high speed Internet connection. A lot of people still just want to play offline.


    BTW: Have you seen this video about Illumiroom?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re1EatGRV0w

    That's one of the new features the Xbox will probably get. I guess it will be optional, but i think it's awesome.
    The Kinect scans your room and a projector is then able to project game content into your room as some kind of an perifferal effect. It's even able to render around or directly onto your furniture if you want.

  • martinminemartinmine I eat C# for breakfast

    @Paul II: It caused a memory issue when it started allocating a huge bunch of thread contexts and other stuff which could simply be reused. I didn't really care much about if the async send operations was successfull or not on the EndSend since the connection would error when I try and send a ping packet or the receive method would go hay wire Smiley Boosted my 64-bit server application a lot though ^^

  • Paul MestemakerPaulMest Former Ping Co-host

    , fmerrow wrote

    As I listened to your list of uses for the Eye Controlled Computer, I was left with the impression you two just really don't get it . . . THIS IS HUGE!

    Stephen Hawking and his grad students not withstanding, that is kind of technology is now becoming main stream and accessible is a wonderful step forward for ALS, Quadriplegic and other folks in similar situations.

    I had a close friend with ALS who was an IT professional.  Loosing the ability to control a computer, even at the simple level of web browsing, so early in the decease was very disheartening for him.  That computer use can be extended for even a year or two is a great step forward . . . particularly in situations where you still have an active alert mind that is trapped in a body that won't work.

    I challenge both of you to consider the following: If you couldn't use your cellphone, PDA, computer or XBOX tomorrow unless this technology was embraced and working . . . how would you have pitched this news in that case? 

    You're right, fmerrow... we barely touched on the life-changing aspect of what this would be like for people who cannot use their hands.  This would clearly be very empowering.  It reminds me of this story that came out in December that was a bit of a tearjerker:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogBX18maUiM

  • Justin M. SalvatoJustin​MSalvato Microsoft junkie

    First off, welcome back Laura & Paul!  Glad your vacation is over Wink

    The next Xbox is a MUST!  The current device is not a multi-tasking device, apps are slow to load, and is behind in terms of processing power.  Yes, it is indeed awesome, but the hardware is behind the times. 

    As a collector of vintage computers and gaming consoles, I'm looking forward to having my Xbox 360 join my ColecoVision, NES, Sega Master System, etc..

    Bring on the next Xbox and hopefully IllumiRoom!

     

  • Python is the easiest language I've used. I don't think it would help much in mobile though, unless Android supports it. I agree that C# is a great choice for beginners.

    Tobii Rex gaming idea - 1st player Medusa game. Combine with kinect technology to roam about/shoot arrows and turn that sissy Perseus to stone.

  • Thanks and you make some very valid and well researched comments.

    I guess it does depend a little on your prespective whether a new console is needed or just wanted because its new and faster. There are a lot of factors to consider aside from the hardware, and particularly when we are taking about a possible major.architecture change here with the xbox.

    One thing we can be sure of - we wont hear anything offical until its officaly as that would really slow the sales of current gen xbox 360s.

    , n0x30n wrote

    I follow a lot of game developers on twitter and a lot of them can't wait for the new consoles to come out. They are eager to learn something new.
    Programmers don't want to do the same stuff year after year after year. They are happy if they get a new toy to play around with. It's fun for them to fgure out how to get the best performance out of this new thing.

    @n0x30n:

    Dont we all love to play with new stuff?

    The cold hard reality is that game dev is a business and business wants sales with the highest profit margin (or atleast to make a profit).

    Sure major gaming houses and game engine developers may be looking forward to a new console and no doubt if there is a new console coming they will already dev consoles to be working on, but the smaller indie players will be put further behind and certainly wont be the ones on twitter that are heralding the new dawn if they have already made a significant investment in the existing space. I think the only ones on there saying it is good will be the ones with badly performing software that are seeing a boost in hardware as the messiah that is going to lift some of the restrictions they have to work in at the moment.

    I still think +1 for a high speed interconnection on the xbox that is not USB to allow for external modules to be built unfortunately I dont see it happening.

  • It's glad to know that the Ping Show is still ongoing. Keep up the good work. Happy New Year, guys.

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