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Microsoft is experimenting with Steam Deck-friendly “portable mode” for Windows



Increase / The Windows portable mode test concept even has a cute little icon.

The default Linux operating system Steam Deck and the Proton translation layer can run a surprising number of PC games well, but for maximum compatibility and flexibility (and for use as a PC when you’re not gaming), Windows installation is always possible. There are also alternative laptop designs such as AY Neo which comes with Windows by default.

But Windows isn’t the ideal operating system for a Steam Deck, at least not out of the box. Its mouse and keyboard oriented user interface is not comfortable to use on a small portable system like the Steam Deck. Windows 11 makes some adjustments for touch screens, but its buttons and menus are still hard to hit on such a small screen. The controller does not work outside of Steam, including on the Windows touch keyboard, and installing drivers and running games for the first time can be a problem.

Microsoft is aware of the issues running Windows on Steam Deck and other similar Windows portable PCs, and at least some developers within the company have taken the time to think of ways to resolve them. That’s the point of the leaked presentation (published V two parts Twitter user _h0x0d_) about the new “portable mode” for Windows developed as part of a Microsoft internal hackathon in September 2022.

As presented, the portable mode includes several components: a new initial setup screen that simplifies driver installation and configuration; an improved touchscreen keyboard that fits better on a 7-inch screen and can be controlled in an Xbox style with built-in buttons and joysticks; simplified game launcher in the style of Nintendo Switch; and improved controller support for the whole OS thanks to open source Windows Steamdeck Controller Driver Project (SWICD). The presentation also calls for other changes to Windows’ default behavior, such as always opening apps in full screen mode in portable mode, better UI scaling for smaller screens, and “mapping controls to common Windows features.”

While it’s interesting, we have no idea if portable mode will get support from the rest of the Windows team, and it’s not featured in any of the many Windows Insider Preview channels that Microsoft uses to test new features publicly. The Windows 11 interface changes slightly when running on a tablet or convertible PC in tablet mode, but past attempts to bring a completely separate alternative interface to Windows—media center for TVs, the Windows 8 Start screen for tablets—failed.

However, the ideas presented are conceptually interesting and thoughtful, and incorporating even basic ideas such as improved controller support in Windows can greatly improve the Steam Deck experience. Meanwhile, third-party launchers such as Steam Big Picture Mode and LaunchBox Premium can partially solve the user interface problem – although they are primarily intended for TVs, both are simpler controller-controlled interfaces that also work well as game launchers on a small portable screen.

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Game Mess Mornings 24.04.23 – Giant Bomb



Jeff Grubb is joined by TheXboxEra’s Jesse Norris to chat about all the news we’ve received this Monday morning such as: Another Horizon sequel, Star Wars Jedi Survivor disc issues and more!

News expert Jeff Grubb is ready to share all the hottest news!

Apr 24, 2023

Posted By: Jan

Episode Notes:

00:00 – Intro

00:30 – Hey Jessie!

04:38 – Horizon Forbidden West sequel in development, partisan confirms

11:40 – Physical version of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor still requires download

17:57 – Super Mario Bros. Movie now stands at $871 million worldwide, approaching $1 billion.

22:02 – Miyamoto hints at future Nintendo films

26:00 – FTC reportedly wants information from Nintendo on Call Of Duty deal (North America)

31:40 – UK CMA ‘expected’ to approve Activision Blizzard’s Xbox deal this week

35:45 – Blizzard allegedly creates “crisis maps” due to the loss of a large number of developers.

39:23 – Blizzard’s exit from China could cost it $44M thanks to NetEase lawsuit

42:08 – Keiji Inafune is Producer of New Level 5 Fantasy Life Game on Switch

44:49 – Dead Island 2 leads the new top three | UK boxplot

48:17 – Pollllll

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‘Overwhelming’ Sega of America Workers Announce Union Plans



An “overwhelming majority” of Sega of America employees have announced plans to form unions to secure higher base wages, better benefits, and a range of other goals.

This latest unionization event is co-organized with Communications Workers of America, which has previously assisted employees such as Activision Blizzard King and ZeniMax Studios, and represents a wide range of departments and disciplines at Sega’s headquarters in Irvine, California.

In accordance with axiomsThe group, which calls itself the Sega Allied Guild of Improvement Employees, or AEGIS-CWA for short, is made up of 144 employees involved in marketing, localization, product development, and quality assurance.

News Release: Can Zelda be played in Tears of the Kingdom?

AEGIS says it represents the vast majority of employees at Sega of America’s Irvine office and has applied to run for election to the National Labor Relations Board. “We are united in our belief that, together, we can secure a future in which we have the ability to protect ourselves and our colleagues,” the statement said. Statement posted on Twitter.

“In our quest to reclaim our collective power,” he continued, “we have reached out to colleagues within our company to understand our common challenges as well as those unique to each department. For example, nearly a third of long-time Sega employees still do not have full-time status, paid leave, proper training, or even bereavement leave, despite years of their lives dedicated to Sega.”

The AEGIS statement also outlines the goals it intends to achieve through unionization:

  • Higher base wages for all in line with industry standards, with allowances linked to cost of living and inflation.
  • Improved, sustainable benefits for everyone, including healthcare, retirement, remote work opportunities and more.
  • Expanded, well-defined opportunities for promotion
  • Balanced workloads and schedules, as well as defined responsibilities for all positions
  • Adequate staffing of departments to end overwork patterns

AEGIS’s unionization bid follows successful unionization efforts by ZeniMax Studios Microsoft, Raven Software Activision Blizzard, and Blizzard Albany. Employees at Activision-owned Proletariat Studios were forced to abandon plans to form a union in January due to alleged “confrontational tactics” by the developer’s CEO.

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Square Enix AI Portopia preview got off to a rocky start



Bots are not talkative

Last week, Square Enix announced a remastered version of the classic adventure game. Portopia serial murder case, that would be a demonstration of artificial intelligence technology. The tech preview is out now and, well, things aren’t going well.

For context, Portopia serial murder case is a classic adventure game from the 80s, authored by DragonQuestYuuji Horii. It’s actually the first official release in the west in years, and comes with a new visual style and layout.

Very similar to the original portopia, this new version is also a text parser adventure. This means you enter commands or speak them using speech-to-text in the new version to explore and explore. 2023 portopia uses the notion that you (the boss) are in command of Yasu, the junior detective. Obviously, he needs a more practical approach to killing.

The preliminary part of artificial intelligence technology is done through NLP or Natural Language Processing. I wrote about it a bit in the Square Enix preview announcement, but it basically means reading and understanding random language and then coming up with the correct answer. Basically, this is what many text adventure games have been doing for a while, starting with Zork up through facade.

This new version will use Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to help the detective understand the player’s instructions. It was originally planned to even generate natural responses for situations where the system did not have a predefined response. However, this was canceled as Square Enix concerned about the risk that AI will generate unethical responses.

So it’s ultimately a redone version portopia with lots of natural language tools under the hood and the ability to convert speech to text. How is it received? Not very good.

Talk to me Yasu

As of this writing, Square Enix AI Tech Preview Portopia serial murder case has a very negative rating on Steam, with only 10% of users leaving positive reviews. Most of them were frustrated with the real AI partner, describing situations in which Yasu just gets stuck in a response loop.

Not one to just read reviews, I decided to go on an AI adventure myself. Everything started fine. A few text bubbles gave me some context, and soon I met Yasu, my business partner. Our relationship was good at first. I asked him some basic questions asked after local suspects. In some cases, I had to revise what I said. But while I was asking the simplest questions in a very robotic manner, I was getting some information.

Then we went to the crime scene.

This is where I got trapped when I asked the simplest questions to Yasu. I can understand some of the difficulty with questions such as “was the murder weapon found at the scene”, although this question can still be answered. Others, such as “whether the victim lived alone”, did not seem to be able to gather any information.

Screenshot from Destructoid

take notes

Here I ran into another major snag. First, there is a list of important topics: suspects, places, and objects. But there is really no “diary” or any other record of what was said. Pen and paper seem like a necessity to remember anything but the most superficial details.

It also seems like the NLU renderer, a tool that Square features in their Steam promo images, would help refine and narrow down my requests. The problem is that I’m using a tiny keyboard without a numeric keypad that doesn’t have a button assigned to it by Square. There is also no key rebinding. So other than assigning a specific system shortcut to the rarely used Pause key, I’m out of luck. From sounds of itit doesn’t look like NLU would have helped much anyway.

Image via Square Enix

Yasu doesn’t help much either. Every time I shook it like a magic figure of eight, trying to get an answer to my questions, I received frequent responses of “Hmmm” or “We should focus on the current task.” Leaving aside the need for odd, specific language in a technical preview meant to emphasize natural language understanding, there is very little guidance to inform you on how best to frame your responses.

V There are threads on the Steam Community Forums aggregation of correct phrases to obtain specific information. But at this point, we’re back to the original text parser problem we were trying to solve. My attempts to use normal language rarely worked, and even specific questions about information I knew Yasu didn’t click if I didn’t ask about them properly. In the end, I found that the best way to get a push in the right direction is to “ask around.” But this is something I would only learn from other players.

New case

Besides, it’s just not a very impressive remaster. I have cited past projects such as Famicom Detective Club who paid homage to their original work. Compared, portopia seems less alive or exciting. A mystery can never be interesting because I’m too busy trying to figure out my wording to be too invested in the drama that’s unfolding.

The characters don’t have much life, the backgrounds are fine, and it’s eerily quiet, which doesn’t feel intentionally creepy. At least it’s free. And if you’re terribly curious, you can have fun trying to get Yasu to tell you where he found the knife. As a technical preview, it still has some wrinkles that need to be ironed out. And as a localized version of a classic, it didn’t impress many people.

Eric Van Allen

senior news reporter

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