For some holiday gift shoppers, buying locally is a goal and if video games are on a loved one’s wish list, that won’t be a challenge — especially for those seeking out creative, off-the-beaten track titles.
Dennis Chenard, director of industry relations at the Centre for Digital Media, says B.C.’s smaller game studios have developed a track record in recent years of making those innovative products.
He says for curious gamers, they’re worth a try.
“Supporting not just the local economy but these creative outlets … creates a more playful world,” Chenard said. “It does lead to new and better play experiences.”
Here are five examples of locally-made games available for the holidays.
This game by Vancouver-based Klei Entertainment is a digital version of “the floor is lava.” This game takes it one step forward as you run and jump and do parkour moves in a first-person perspective across platforms on literal lava, racing against the clock. It’s just frustrating enough to make it challenging yet rewarding. Its aesthetic leans heavily into early ’90s nostalgia.
Available on: Steam, Apple Arcade
Stela is a 2D platformer with a horror tinge from Burnaby-based SkyBox Labs. Your character wakes up in a cavern, climbs up a ladder and finds herself in a world in the throes of an apocalypse. In Stela, you solve puzzles, use stealth and sometimes just plain run to avoid carnivorous insects, ghouls and other dangers as you explore the collapsing world. It’s similar to Limbo, another puzzle-platformer. The visual style is reminiscent of the post-apocalypse movie 10 Cloverfield Lane and the sound design is chilling.
Available on: XBox One, Steam (forthcoming)
This is an adorable, zen game in the mold of Minecraft with touches of Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley thrown in. Developed by Burnaby’s Bitten Toast Games, this game puts you in the shoes of a cute woodland animal with a house and shop. You go into the wilderness to harvest plants and other materials to craft items for sale and help build up the town. There are dungeons to explore and monsters to fight. The art and music are warm and relaxing.
Available on: Nintendo Switch, Steam
Qualicum Beach-based Cloudhead games is behind this ultraviolent VR shooter game. You shoot at enemies, dodge their bullets and weave your way through obstacles as you travel on an always-moving platform sort of like a people-mover at the airport. It gives you the feeling of being the star of an action movie like John Wick or Hardboiled. The movements required also give you the sense of being in a deadly dance party.
Available on: SteamVR, Oculus, Viveport, PSVR
This game from Vancouver-based EggNut is more of a belated holiday item because it is not expected to be released until 2020 but there is a free demo available for download. This game evokes point-and-click adventures like Monkey Island but with more action. You play as a raccoon detective in a film-noir-styled vision of Vancouver populated by woodland creatures like otters, squirrels and bears. The pixel art style gives it a striking throwback quality.
Available on: Steam (demo only), other platforms in 2020
U.S. lawmakers urge speedy action on U.S semiconductor chips funding
A bipartisan group of 38 U.S. House lawmakers on Thursday urged leaders in Congress to immediately set a path to advance legislation providing $52 billion for U.S. semiconductor production including $2 billion in support for chips used by the automotive industry.
The U.S. Senate voted 68-32 in June to approve a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology, including providing $52 billion for chips, but the measure has stalled in the House.
The House lawmakers in a letter warned of the “dire consequences the automotive industry as a whole—and the nation—faces if we fail to advance legislation soon.”
(Reporting by David Shepardson)
MacBook Pro's M1 Max GPU is Over 3x Faster Than M1 in First Metal Benchmark – MacRumors
Multiple benchmarks have already given us a general estimate of the CPU performance of the M1 Max chip, but we’ve had little insight into GPU performance. The M1 Max is equipped with up to 32 graphics cores, marking a vast improvement over the 8-core GPU of the M1, which was Apple’s first chip.
The first Metal benchmark for the M1 Max surfaced this afternoon, with the chip earning a score of 68870. Comparatively, the M1 chip in the 13-inch MacBook Pro has a Metal score of 20581, and the Radeon Pro 5600M, which was the highest-end GPU option for the prior Intel-based 16-inch model, has a Metal score of 42510.
Compared to the fastest chip available in Apple’s previous-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro, the M1 Max is 62 percent faster, and it’s 3x faster than the M1 chip in the 13-inch MacBook Pro, based on the Metal score we have so far.
It’s not clear if this M1 Max chip is the 24-core variant or the 32-core variant. This is also just one result, so we should be able to get a better picture of the graphics performance when additional benchmarks are available.
According to Apple, the 32-core GPU in the M1 Max is up to 4x faster than the M1. Apple has said that the chip delivers performance “comparable to a high-end GPU in a compact pro PC laptop” while consuming up to 40 percent less power.
Since we last shared CPU benchmarks for the M1 Max/Pro chip, several additional results have surfaced. Comparing multiple benchmarks, the M1 Max/Pro earns an average single-core score 1742 and an average multi-core score of 12135.
The chip has the highest single-core score of any Mac to date, and it is only beaten in multi-core performance by the 16, 18, 24, and 28-core Intel Xeon chips used in the higher-end iMac Pro and Mac Pro models.
U.S. safety board says driver, passenger seats occupied during fatal Tesla crash
Local police previously said witness statements indicated there was nobody in the driver’s seat of the Model S when it crashed into a tree. The NTSB said a review of vehicle data show “both the driver and the passenger seats were occupied, and that the seat belts were buckled when the (event data recorder) recorded the crash.”
(Reporting by David Shepardson)
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