HAVANA (Reuters) – Puerto Rico has taken the first steps toward opening a commercial office in Cuba, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said on Saturday, on the sidelines of a Caribbean summit in Havana.
With pre-order woes and supply limits lifting, the opportunities to walk into a store and buy a high-end virtual reality system are on the rise. Oculus has announced some specific in-store demos and purchase opportunities, while its main rival, the HTC Vive, has had fewer hype-building announcements.
Which makes this weekend’s news a little surprising: the HTC Vive is now sitting in a number of Micro Center shops, ready for anybody with $800 (before tax) to spare. The news was announced via an online mailer, and members of the Vive Reddit community have confirmed on-site demos and buyable systems at stores across the nation.
Conversely, these Vive boxes do not appear to be on sale at Micro Center’s online store, but Vive fans have begun to report much shorter time spans between HTC site orders and deliveries since the system’s launch has subsided. Still, there’s something to be said about the combined, real-life experience of the Vive’s headset, tracked controllers, and ability to walk around in games and apps. Doing so at a participating Micro Center demo station will certainly trump reading about it.
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Calling a game “hard” would seem to be a matter of personal judgement. Not so, according to an international team of computer scientists. For the past several years, the scientists have been analyzing Super Mario Bros. as if it were a math problem and beating a particular level is the solution. Now, they’ve extended their analysis to cover any possible arbitrary level, and they’ve shown that Super Mario Bros. belongs to a class of problems called PSPACE-complete.
The team’s work benefits from how much we already know about how Super Mario Bros. operates. For example, every time the game needs a random number, its number generator isn’t actually random. Mario’s number generator starts with a fixed seed that’s updated deterministically each time a scene is calculated. It’s only when a player helps create a particular scene that the scene becomes effectively random—something that’s not at issue when a computer is solving a level.
There are also well-described cases in which, as the authors put it, “the implementation
of Super Mario Bros. is counter to the intuitive Mario physics with which most players are familiar.” These include the ability to pop Mario through a wall or to jump through a brick ceiling, provided there’s a monster on top. And, while the game tracks objects that move slightly offscreen, the game forgets about bad guys who wander too far off the edges.