War Stories: How Forza learned to love neural nets to train AI drivers

Produced by Justin Wolfson, edited by Shandor Garrison. Click here for transcript.
Once an upstart, the Forza franchise is now firmly established within the pantheon of great racing games. The first installment was created as the Xbox’s answer to Gran Turismo, but with a healthy helping of online multiplayer racing, too. Since then, it has grown with Microsoft’s Xbox consoles, with more realistic graphics and ever-more accurate physics in the track-focused Forza Motorsport series as well as evolving into open-world adventuring (and even a trip to the Lego dimension) for the Forza Horizon games.
If you’re one of the millions of people who’ve played a Forza racing game, you’re probably aware of the games’ AI opponents, called “Drivatars.” When the first Drivatars debuted in Forza Motorsport in 2005, they were a substantial improvement over the NPCs we raced in other driving games, which often just followed the same preprogrammed route around the


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1705877

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Xbox Series S confirmed by Microsoft after next-gen Xbox price leak [Updated]

The official Microsoft reveal of Xbox Series S, posted in the wee hours of Tuesday morning after a Monday evening leak. [credit:
Xbox
]

On Monday evening, a floodgate opened about Microsoft’s next-gen console launch plans. Multiple reports, along with a telling video snippet, put an exclamation point on the company’s leaked aspirations to launch the “Xbox Series X” console (announced in late 2019) next to a cheaper, smaller “Xbox Series S” model by year’s end.
Hours after the reports went live, Microsoft confirmed that Xbox Series S indeed exists. Described by Microsoft as “the smallest Xbox ever,” this new console will launch at a $299 price point.
Longtime Microsoft-tracking reporter Brad Sams kicked off the flurry of Monday news with a screenshot showing an apparent Xbox Series S design, colored white and roughly half the size of an Xbox Series X, next to a


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1704312

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One tricky racing sim: Assetto Corsa Competizione is now on consoles

Day or night, rain or shine, we race on. [credit:
505 Games
]

On Tuesday, sim-racing options for the Xbox One and Playstation 4 just got a little more diverse with the release of Assetto Corsa Competizione. The game is a companion of sorts to the well-established PC racing sim Assetto Corsa, developed by Italian studio Kunos Simulazioni. First released on the PC in 2019, ACC is a much more narrowly targeted game than its older sibling—this game is focused on a single category of racing, called GT3, which uses modified versions of exotica you might see on the road (or reviewed here at Ars) like Lamborghini Huracáns and Acura NSXs.
ACC is also the official game of GT World Challenge, a collection of race series held around the world by an organization called SRO. That kind of hyperspecific demographic makes sense in


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1686626

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Creative unveils Sound BlasterX G6 USB DAC for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One

While your computer’s onboard sound might be “good enough,” if you are serious about audio quality, it would be wise to invest in a sound card. USB variants in particular are a great way to easily update your desktop or laptop’s sound. This won’t just benefit listening to movies and music, but in some cases, gaming too. Creative has long manufactured superior PC sound hardware — its “Sound Blaster” products are legendary. Today, the company announces its latest such offering. Called “Sound BlasterX G6,” the USB DAC offers an insane 130dB dynamic range. Best of all, it is compatible with PC (Windows… [Continue Reading]


Original URL: https://betanews.com/2018/08/27/creative-sound-blasterx-g6-usb/

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Xbox One to Add Dolby Vision in Latest System Update

The latest Xbox One system update is rolling out to Xbox Insiders. Of particular interest is the addition of Dolby Vision streaming.
According to this post on Microsoft’s Xbox Wire blog, the latest system update for the Xbox One S and One X is starting to roll out for Xbox Insiders to preview. Among the new features is the addition of Dolby Vision streaming.
The blog post doesn’t have many details. Here is the relevant info in its entirety:
“Xbox is committed to bringing rich entertainment options to our fans. Today we are excited to announce our latest entertainment option, Dolby Vision video streaming support across Xbox One S and Xbox One X! Dolby Vision enables select TVs to take HDR up a notch with scene-by-scene precision and accuracy versus standard HDR which uses one setting for the entire movie/show you are watching. If you have a TV that supports the latest version of Dolby Vision and a Premium Netflix subscription jump in


Original URL: https://www.avsforum.com/xbox-one-add-dolby-vision-latest-system-update/

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Kodi comes full circle, now available for Xbox One

Kodi started life as XBMC (XBox Media Center) and was designed to run on Microsoft’s original Xbox. The software has since then enjoyed a meteoric — and somewhat controversial — rise, and is now available for most platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux. One platform it was missing from was the latest generation of Microsoft’s console, the Xbox One, but that oversight has finally been corrected. You can, from today, install Kodi on both that console and the Xbox One S. Although there is a catch. SEE ALSO: Kodi warns users to update their software and addons for safer… [Continue Reading]


Original URL: https://betanews.com/2017/12/29/kodi-comes-full-circle-now-available-for-xbox-one/

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Microsoft’s smaller Xbox One S launches August 2

It has been a few weeks since we learned about the slimmer Xbox One S, and now we know when eager gamers can get their hands on the new console. August 2 is the big date which also sees the launch of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. As well as being smaller, the Xbox One S also features a built-in power supply (bye bye, power brick!), up to 2TB of storage, and support for 4K Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range (HDR). The newly announced launch date is not just the date the console hits retail stores in many regions, it… [Continue Reading]


Original URL: http://feeds.betanews.com/~r/bn/~3/MYGfaanWjVM/

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Microsoft now lets you turn any Xbox One into a development kit

O92A2929 The Xbox One is about to become a far more interesting (and accessible) platform for indie game developers — and regular users will soon be able to use their console to chat with Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant, too. Ever since Microsoft launched its Xbox One console, the company promised it would allow any developer to develop apps for it — but until now, you… Read More


Original URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/M6P7WJxOFH8/

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Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4: Two Years Later

It’s been nearly two years since the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. With dozens of software updates and a price drop, choosing between the two is much harder than it was in 2013. So, we decided it was high time to compare them now that they’ve hit their stride.

Read more…



Original URL: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/lifehacker/full/~3/II5HWhAX1mk/xbox-one-vs-playstation-4-two-years-later-1738166534

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