Google turns Toontastic into a 3D storytelling app

Google Education has launched a 3D version of Toontastic, almost two years after Mountain View bought the company that created it. The new Toontastic stays true to the original version: it’s still a storybook app, except now kids can work with 3D characters and environments. They can animate short three-dimensional movies by customizing characters and placing them in interactive scenarios, or they can use the tool to make projects for school. Google describes the updated Toontastic as some sort of a digital puppet theater. The app is now out on the App Store and on Google Play for phones, tablets and select Chromebooks.

Mountain View’s Education division regularly works on projects kids can learn from and enjoy, such as initiatives that teach them how to code. Last year, it developed a way to make exploring the Himalayas online more fun with the help of a friendly jetpack-riding yeti named Verne. It also once offered a $30,000 scholarship prize for a Google Doodle contest featuring K-12 students in the US.

Source: Google Education

from Engadget

Windows 10 is about to get a high-performance Game Mode

Microsoft made a big fuss out of the Windows 10 Creators Update’s gaming features, and it’s nearly ready to start delivering on them… including some that have remained mysterious. The company has revealed that it’ll start trotting out a largely unknown Windows 10 Game Mode as part of Insider previews "this week." The improvement won’t be fully functional until later releases, but Microsoft has at last shed some light on what it is: it’ll fine-tune your PC to speed up gaming performance. This mode should help both legacy Windows games (Win32) and modern titles (UWP), so you won’t have to be picky about what you’re playing to notice a difference. You should "soon" hear a lot more about how it works, Microsoft says.

The news comes as Microsoft has detailed some of the already known upgrades hitting both the Xbox One and Windows 10 in the months ahead. Baked-in Beam livestreaming will be the centerpiece on both platforms, giving you a simple way to share whatever you’re playing. On the Xbox One, you’ll also see an enhanced, always-available Guide with faster access to game recording and music controls, an Achievement tracking overlay, a new look for Cortana and a Gamerscore leaderboard.

Both platforms will receive Xbox Live upgrades that help you connect to friends on social networks, a more social-friendly Activity Feed, better tools for Clubs and looking-for-group posts, and the option to start your own Arena tournaments in games like Killer Instinct and World of Tanks. So long as you’re willing to be patient (you won’t get much of this until at least the Creators Update), you’ll have a lot to look forward to.

Via: Mike Ybarra (Twitter)

Source: Xbox Wire

from Engadget