Tag Archives: Gaming

Feel the Heat with Vortx from Whirlwind FX at CES 2018



The gaming experience has steadily improved since Pong. Each generation of console and processor brings more detailed graphics, faster framerates, improved sound, force feedback vibration, VR, AR…. They’re all designed to make games more immersive and realistic without actually injuring the player. The latest addition to the gaming word is Vortx from Whirlwind FX: Todd takes the heat with Timothy, Founder and CEO.

The Vortx brings greater realism to the player by blowing hot and cold air in reponse to on-screen action. Imagine a demon throwing fireballs. As the player dodges a fireball, the Vortx blasts hot breath at the player as the ball slips past. Or imagine an adventure game, climbing through frozen mountains. The Vortx chills the air as the player climbs higher. It’s impressive.

About the size of a desktop speaker (9″ tall), the Vortx connects to a PC via USB and works with the Whirlwind FX engine. It uses object recognition and analysis to automatically trigger heat or cold, so Vortx can be used with any PC game without modification.

The Vortx is available for pre-order now at US$119, with shipping expected soon.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Star Wars: Battlefront II Trailer Leaks Ahead of Official Release



Star Wars BattlefrontSince Lucasfilm sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney, the new owners of the Star Wars brand have been busy producing new media across the spectrum of movies, television, novels, comic books, and video games. The first big post-Disney video game based in the Star Wars universe was Star Wars: Battlefront, a game that allows players to experience a number of team-based combat scenarios based on events depicted in the Star Wars films.

The original Battlefront was a massive success, prompting the development of a sequel, Battlefront II. One of the big features fans felt was missing from the first Battlefront was a single-player story mode. A trailer for Battlefront II that recently leaked online will make those story-mode missing fans very happy. The trailer (which has since been taken down) appears to show a playable female character, believed to be a downed Imperial pilot. The implication of the short dialog snippet included in the trailer is that Battlefront II will cover this character’s story. It’s also believed that the events depicted in the game take place in the Star Wars timeline after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and before Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

No release date for Battlefront II has been announced. The first Battlefront game was released in November, 2015, just ahead of the release of The Force Awakens. It’s likely that Battlefront II will see a similar release window, as the next Star Wars movie, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, will be released in December, 2017.


SwiftPoint Z is an Award-Winning Gaming Mouse at CES



SwiftPoint logoFor most computer users, a mouse is a pretty boring input device that has probably two buttons and maybe a click wheel installed. But there’s a whole world of high-end computer mice out there, many of them aimed at the gaming market.

Todd spoke with Grant from SwiftPoint about his company’s latest gaming mouse known simply as Z. SwiftPoint’s Z Mouse has more buttons than a typical mouse, allowing for up to 50 different click-based actions. Z Mouse has a built-in gyroscope that makes it easy to control things like pitch and yaw used in flight-sim games, replacing the need for a joystick or other type of controller. Z Mouse is being brought to market thru a successful Kickstarter campaign. Once the campaign is fulfilled, the mouse is expected to make it to the retail market in March of this year, where it’ll retail for $229.

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Razer’s Project Valerie Triple Screen Laptop at CES



One of the best things about motor shows are the preposterous concept cars that will never see the light of day and serve only to showcase the manufacturer’s technology. Razer are verging into this territory with a bonkers triple 4K screen laptop, codenamed Project Valerie, where the three screens combine to give a whopping resolution of 11520 x 2160. And get this….the screens will automatically expand and collapse – so cool. Aimed at the (very) serious gamer or esports player, it’s totally awesome and no doubt will have a price tag to match when (if?) it goes on sale.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Windows 10 Update takes down professional gamer live on Twitch



Microsoft logoA lot has been made about Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 10. Many people prefer it over the operating system it replaced, though that isn’t necessarily saying much. The big problem people have with this latest platform is how much Microsoft is pushing it, and doing so hard.

The latest problem that Microsoft’s relentless pushing has caused happened to professional gamer Erik Flom, and it was live on the game streaming site Twitch.

This isn’t the first time such an incident has occurred, we recently saw during a TV news broadcast when the weather map was suddenly overlaid by a prompt to upgrade to Windows 10. While that incident was taken good-naturedly by the meteorologist, this one did not meet with the same reaction. There was cursing involved and video of the whole incident has gone viral thanks to Reddit.

In this case, it was not a message prompting the upgrade, Flom already was using the OS. But getting it doesn’t solve the problem of Microsoft inserting itself into people’s lives. Updates to Windows 10 can also be forced. There’s an obvious reason for that — security vulnerabilities.

But as security firm Sophos points out “Unfortunately, cyberattackers don’t need to rely on zero-days, where a security patch isn’t available, because so many users remain unprotected against security bugs with fixes that are available – and have been for weeks, months, or even years”.

While Microsoft pushing these updates can be looked at as a good thing, perhaps there could be a better way, such as doing so when a PC is inactive.


VRGO Moves in VR at Gadget Show Live



VRGO logoAR and VR are lining up to be the next big thing and the headset space is filling out with plenty of competitors from Oculus Rift to Google Cardboard. Less obvious in the space are the motion controllers and other gadgets helping to make VR an immersive experience. Into this category falls the VRGO Chair, a hands-free motion controller that takes advantage of what we humans often do all too well – sitting down. Joe from VRGO gave me a demo of the VRGO Chair.

Originally a Kickstarter campaign, the VRGO was successfully funded back in December 2015, and won the second prize in the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live. Looking not too dissimilar to a flat-topped Weeble, the idea is that the VR player sits on the VRGO and controls their movement in the VR world by tilting or rotating the VRGO. It’s pretty cool and totally intuitive after only a few seconds.

VRGO Chair

The VRGO chair uses low latency Bluetooth to communicate with VR headsets, PCs, tablets and smartphones. The VRGO can mimic both analogue (joypad) and digital (keyboard) controllers, and simplistically the further you tilt, the faster you move. Sitting on the chair leaves the player’s hands free for other controllers.

The VRGO will be delivered to Kickstarter backers within the next month or so before going on sale at around GB£250. A lower cost version is in the works, aiming for a price of about £100.


Playbrush Brings Fun to Toothbrushing at Gadget Show Live



Playbrush LogoGood oral hygiene is important for everyone but getting children to brush their teeth can be a bedtime battle. Playbrush should help win the war, bringing fun into the bathroom. I get the toothpaste out with John to find out more about Playbrush and continue coverage of the British Inventors’ Project.

The Playbrush is small bulbous gadget that slips over the handle of a manual toothbrush and turns the toothbrush into a game controller. Communicating via Bluetooth, the toothbrusher plays a game “Utoothia” on their tablet or smartphone, encouraging correct brushing technique and duration. The Playbrush can be shared among a family with game apps supporting up to six people. It’s rechargeable and will last around four-to-six weeks on single charge, depending on use. The games are in both the Apple and Google app stores.

Playbrush with app

Originally a Kickstarter Project, the Playbrush launched back in November and is available now from the Playbrush store for GB£31 (says the store). There’s a bathroom kit for an extra £8 which is a vinyl pocket to hold the smartphone during brushing and keep it toothpaste free. It sticks to tiles or a mirror using suction cups.

I think this is neatly executed idea that’s very affordable, especially as it can be shared with more than one child, though I think Playbrush need a neutral colour that’s not blue or pink!