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Shenmue 3 footage takes us on a tour of its world

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 13:04

Shenmue 3 is now less than two months from release - and if that makes you very excited, then you'll probably want to indulge in its new Tokyo Games Show trailer below.

Rather than focusing on plot or action, this video takes us on a quiet, three-minute tour of some locations. The official Shenmue 3 YouTube channel describes it as a mood video and, from fan reactions, it is certainly doing the job.

"Shenmue is about a sense of place and this captures that wonderfully," our Matt Reynolds told me, wistfully staring at the trailer's pumpkins and sunflowers. "It's got a lovely countryside vibe which evokes Shenmue more than previous trailers."

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Categories: Video Games

Here's where you can get that glistening Gold Shovel Knight amiibo

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 12:25

After its existence was accidentally leaked earlier this month, the Gold Shovel Knight amiibo has now been officially announced.

The glistening gallant is set to launch alongside the upcoming physical release of the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove for Nintendo Switch on 31st December.

You can use the gold amiibo in both the Treasure Trove and Shovel of Hope to unlock additional abilities and challenges. It's also compatible with Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 to unlock a unique boss battle against the Shovel Knight.

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Categories: Video Games

Yakuza 7 is formally announced, and it's a big departure for the series

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 12:04

UPDATE 12/9/19: Fresh from Tokyo Games Show, we've now got a new version of the Yakuza 7 reveal trailer with around a minute of extra footage. Granted, it's mostly of new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga finishing up some ramen, but the whole rest of the trailer now has English subtitles too.

It's worth a watch to see how the next chapter of Yakuza - turn-based combat and all-new cast included - is shaping up.

ORIGINAL STORY 29/8/19: In an eagerly anticipated event in Japan, Sega has lifted the veil off of Yakuza 7, and shown off a new direction for the series.

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Categories: Video Games

Water Found On a Potentially Life-Friendly Alien Planet

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 12:00
Data from the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed water vapor in the atmosphere of an Earth-size planet. "Although this exoplanet orbits a star that is smaller than our sun, it falls within what's known as the star's habitable zone, the range of orbital distances where it would be warm enough for liquid water to exist on a planet's surface," reports National Geographic. From the report: The discovery, announced this week in two independent studies, comes from years of observations of the exoplanet K2-18b, a super-Earth that's about 111 light-years from our solar system. Discovered in 2015 by NASA's Kepler spacecraft, K2-18b is very unlike our home world: It's more than eight times the mass of Earth, which means it's either an icy giant like Neptune or a rocky world with a thick, hydrogen-rich atmosphere. K2-18b's orbit also takes it seven times closer to its star than Earth gets to the sun. But because it circles a type of dim red star known as an M dwarf, that orbit places it in the star's potentially life-friendly zone. Crude models predict that K2-18b's effective temperature falls somewhere between -100 and 116 degrees Fahrenheit, and if it is about as reflective as Earth, its equilibrium temperature would be roughly the same as our home planet's. "This is the only planet right now that we know outside the solar system that has the correct temperature to support water, it has an atmosphere, and it has water in it -- making this planet the best candidate for habitability that we know right now," University College London astronomer Angelos Tsiaras, a coauthor of one of the two studies, said during a press conference.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Here's nearly an hour of Death Stranding so you can try and figure out what's going on

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 11:32

Hideo Kojima has provided our best look yet at Death Stranding and its sci-fi Deliveroo gameplay.

Kojima appeared at Tokyo Games Show this morning to play through nearly an hour of Death Stranding's campaign. He'll be doing the same thing on Saturday - so watch out for even more footage to appear online then, too.

This is by far the longest stretch of gameplay we've seen so far, and our best look at what Death Stranding is actually like to play, away from its celebrity-laden cut-scenes and dubious cameos.

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Categories: Video Games

A tale of revenge and murder in Rust

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 09:00

We often publish uplifting articles on here about the positive impact of games. Whether that be a Skyrim-playing grandma immortalised in the next Elder Scrolls game, or a memorial to a modder's dog - games have an incredible power to heal and soothe.

This story's about vengeance.

Specifically, it's about my adventures in Rust, the survival sim which had a big moment a few years ago and has quietly but consistently bubbled away on Steam ever since.

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Categories: Video Games

Astronomers Have Spotted An Interstellar Comet Flying Toward Earth

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 09:00
A comet first spotted by a Ukrainian amateur astronomer looks to be just the second known object to visit our cosmic neighborhood from beyond the solar system. What could be an even bigger deal is the fact that this one was discovered as it's still approaching us. CNET reports: The comet was found by Gennady Borisov of Crimea on Aug. 30, and went by the temporary name GB00234 until very recently. After being watched by several other observatories over the past few weeks, it was given the official name of C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) by the Minor Planet Center on Wednesday. From the start, the orbit of the comet seemed unusual: It appeared to follow a so-called hyperbolic trajectory, which means it does not orbit the sun and probably originates from far beyond our solar system. This comet is still inbound, and will not reach perihelion (its closest pass by the sun) until Dec. 10. Hopefully that will give scientists ample time to study it, a luxury we didn't have with Oumuamua. And no, there doesn't appear to be any risk that the comet will collide with Earth.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

No Bones About It: People Recognize Objects By Visualizing Their 'Skeletons'

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 05:30
An anonymous reader shares a report from Scientific American: Humans effortlessly know that a tree is a tree and a dog is a dog no matter the size, color or angle at which they're viewed. In fact, identifying such visual elements is one of the earliest tasks children learn. But researchers have struggled to determine how the brain does this simple evaluation. As deep-learning systems have come to master this ability, scientists have started to ask whether computers analyze data -- and particularly images -- similarly to the human brain. "The way that the human mind, the human visual system, understands shape is a mystery that has baffled people for many generations, partly because it is so intuitive and yet it's very difficult to program" says Jacob Feldman, a psychology professor at Rutgers University. A paper published in Scientific Reports in June comparing various object recognition models came to the conclusion that people do not evaluate an object like a computer processing pixels, but based on an imagined internal skeleton. In the study, researchers from Emory University, led by associate professor of psychology Stella Lourenco, wanted to know if people judged object similarity based on the objects' skeletons -- an invisible axis below the surface that runs through the middle of the object's shape. The scientists generated 150 unique three-dimensional shapes built around 30 different skeletons and asked participants to determine whether or not two of the objects were the same. Sure enough, the more similar the skeletons were, the more likely participants were to label the objects as the same. The researchers also compared how well other models, such as neural networks (artificial intelligence-based systems) and pixel-based evaluations of the objects, predicted people's decisions. While the other models matched performance on the task relatively well, the skeletal model always won. On the Rumsfeld Epistemological Scale, AI programers trying to duplicate the functions of the human mind are still dealing with some high-level known-unknowns, and maybe even a few unknown-unknowns.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Most Android Flashlight Apps Request An Absurd Number of Permissions

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 04:20
Out of 937 flashlight apps on the Play Store, Avast Security Evangelist Luis Corrons found that the vast majority requested a large number of permissions, with the average being of 25 permissions per app. ZDNet reports: "There might be variables average users are not aware of and that are needed for these apps to work, but if 408 of the apps need just 10 permissions or less, which seems fairly reasonable, how come there are 262 apps that require 50 permissions or more," Corrons said in a report published this week. The Avast researcher said he found 77 flashlight apps that requested more than 50 permissions, which is about a third of the total number of permissions the Android OS supports. The champions were two apps that requested 77 permissions, followed by another three, which requested 76. But while Corrons said that some apps appeared to justify some of the permissions they asked for, these were only an exception to the rule.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Two Mathematicians Solve Old Math Riddle, Possibly the Meaning of Life

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 03:40
pgmrdlm shares a report from Live Science: In Douglas Adams' sci-fi series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," a pair of programmers task the galaxy's largest supercomputer with answering the ultimate question of the meaning of life, the universe and everything. After 7.5 million years of processing, the computer reaches an answer: 42. Only then do the programmers realize that nobody knew the question the program was meant to answer. Now, in this week's most satisfying example of life reflecting art, a pair of mathematicians have used a global network of 500,000 computers to solve a centuries-old math puzzle that just happens to involve that most crucial number: 42. The question, which goes back to at least 1955 and may have been pondered by Greek thinkers as early as the third century AD, asks, "How can you express every number between 1 and 100 as the sum of three cubes?" Or, put algebraically, how do you solve x^3 + y^3 + z^3 = k, where k equals any whole number from 1 to 100? This deceptively simple stumper is known as a Diophantine equation, named for the ancient mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria, who proposed a similar set of problems about 1,800 years ago. Modern mathematicians who revisited the puzzle in the 1950s quickly found solutions when k equals many of the smaller numbers, but a few particularly stubborn integers soon emerged. The two trickiest numbers, which still had outstanding solutions by the beginning of 2019, were 33 and -- you guessed it -- 42. Using a computer algorithm to look for solutions to the Diophantine equation with x, y and z values that included every number between positive and negative 99 quadrillion, mathematician Andrew Booker, of the University of Bristol in England, found the solution to 33 after several weeks of computing time. Since his search turned up no solutions for 42, Booker enlisted the help of Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematician Andrew Sutherland, who helped him book some time with a worldwide computer network called Charity Engine. "Using this crowdsourced supercomputer and 1 million hours of processing time, Booker and Sutherland finally found an answer to the Diophantine equation where k equals 42," reports Live Science. The answer: (-80538738812075974)^3 + (80435758145817515)^3 + (12602123297335631)^3 = 42.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

In Resident Evil spin-off Project Resistance you can play as Mr. X

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 03:00

After the breakthrough global success of Monster Hunter World, the tasteful handling of Mega Man's return and the course correcting for Resident Evil - which, in the remake of 2, artfully managed to blend Resident Evil old and new, resulting in perhaps the greatest series entry yet - we now have this. A team-based shooter that leans heavily on asymmetrical play, and pushes the Resident Evil formula to odd extremes.

And, having played Project Resistance for a couple of hours, I can say, hand on heart, that it's by no means a bad game - even if it does initially conjure up grim flashbacks to the miserable Operation Raccoon City and Umbrella Corps (and of course Resident Evil Outbreak, which is a slightly kinder comparison). You can sense a slight nerviness about Project Resistance at Capcom, and the reveal is accompanied by a number of caveats.

First, that word 'project' in the title is there for a reason. This is a prototype, being made in the RE Engine by an internal team alongside the Taipei-based NeoBards Entertainment, a studio that previously worked with Capcom on Onimusha Warlords. It's a project that, they're openly saying, might never even make it to release - there's a closed beta running from October 4th to October 7th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year, after which opinion will be gauged and a decision made as to whether there's enough here to justify pushing through to release.

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Categories: Video Games

Taylor Swift Reportedly Threatened To Sue Microsoft Over Racist Twitter Bot

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 03:00
When an artificially intelligent chatbot that used Twitter to learn how to talk unsurprisingly turned into a bigot bot, Taylor Swift reportedly threatened legal action because the bot's name was Tay. Microsoft would probably rather forget the experiment where Twitter trolls took advantage of the chatbot's programming and taught it to be racist in 2016, but a new book is sharing unreleased details that show Microsoft had more to worry about than just the bot's racist remarks. Digital Trends reports: Tay was a social media chatbot geared toward teens first launched in China before adapting the three-letter moniker when moving to the U.S. The bot, however, was programmed to learn how to talk based on Twitter conversations. In less than a day, the automatic responses the chatbot tweeted had Tay siding with Hitler, promoting genocide, and just generally hating everybody. Microsoft immediately removed the account and apologized. When the bot was reprogrammed, Tay was relaunched as Zo. But in the book Tools and Weapons by Microsoft president Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne, Microsoft's communications director, the executives have finally revealed why -- another Tay, Taylor Swift. According to The Guardian, the singer's lawyer threatened legal action over the chatbot's name before the bot broke bad. The singer claimed the name violated both federal and state laws. Rather than get in a legal battle with the singer, Smith writes, the company instead started considering new names.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

It's Not 'X', It's 'Cross' -- the PlayStation Joypad Revelation That's Caused an Outrage

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 02:20
An anonymous reader shares a report: A fortnight ago, Twitter user @drip133 asked a seemingly innocent question above a photo of the joypad: "Do you say 'x' or 'cross' button?" There were hundreds of contradictory responses, which became increasingly furious as the week wore on. Some insisted that because the other buttons are named after shapes -- Triangle, Square and Circle -- logically, the "X" button must be called "Cross"; others pointed out that as 'X' was the common usage, this was the only acceptable pronunciation. [...] Then, in a shock move, Sony itself became involved. On 5 September, the official Twitter feed of PlayStation UK stated: "Triangle. Circle. Cross. Square. If Cross is called X (it's not), then what are you calling Circle?" The scrap is a rare event in the world of video games as console manufacturers usually name buttons after numbers, unambiguous letters of the alphabet or colours. The groundbreaking Nintendo Entertainment System pad, for example, went with A, B, while the SNES added X and Y (a configuration also used by Sega and Microsoft), and in this context, it's clear that "X" is X. Years ago, in an interview with the now defunct video game website 1UP, Sony designer Teiyu Goto explained how the buttons came to be named: "We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward. I gave each symbol a meaning and a colour. The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one's head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent 'yes' or 'no' decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively." Sadly, this doesn't really help because in the quote he has characterised the "X" button with an "X" symbol and who knows whether that was actually him or the journalist who wrote the piece.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Objects Can Now Change Colors Like a Chameleon

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 01:40
The color-changing capabilities of chameleons have long bewildered willing observers. While humans can't yet camouflage much beyond a green outfit to match grass, inanimate objects are another story. From a report: A team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has brought us closer to this chameleon reality, by way of a new system that uses reprogrammable ink to let objects change colors when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) and visible light sources. Dubbed "PhotoChromeleon," the system uses a mix of photochromic dyes that can be sprayed or painted onto the surface of any object to change its color -- a fully reversible process that can be repeated infinitely. PhotoChromeleon can be used to customize anything from a phone case to a car, or shoes that need an update. The color remains, even when used in natural environments. "This special type of dye could enable a whole myriad of customization options that could improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce overall waste," says CSAIL postdoc Yuhua Jin, the lead author on a new paper about the project. "Users could personalize their belongings and appearance on a daily basis, without the need to buy the same object multiple times in different colors and styles." PhotoChromeleon builds off of the team's previous system, "ColorMod," which uses a 3-D printer to fabricate items that can change their color. Frustrated by some of the limitations of this project, such as small color scheme and low-resolution results, the team decided to investigate potential updates. With ColorMod, each pixel on an object needed to be printed, so the resolution of each tiny little square was somewhat grainy. As far as colors, each pixel of the object could only have two states: transparent and its own color. So, a blue dye could only go from blue to transparent when activated, and a yellow dye could only show yellow. But with PhotoChromeleon's ink, you can create anything from a zebra pattern to a sweeping landscape to multicolored fire flames, with a larger host of colors.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

DCMS Committee recommends UK Government regulates loot boxes under the Gambling Act

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 01:08

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee has recommended the Government regulates loot boxes under the Gambling Act.

It also recommends the Government order publishers to strip loot boxes out of games aimed at children, and tell PEGI to slap games with loot boxes with an appropriate age rating.

In a stark report following the Committee's inquiry into the growth of "immersive and addictive technologies", the DCMS issued a raft of recommendations for Government, which marks a step-change in the thinking around loot boxes in the UK.

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Categories: Video Games

Trump Calls On FDA To Ban All Flavored Vapes After Mystery Lung Illness

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 01:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: In a surprise meeting on Wednesday, President Donald Trump pushed to ban all non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from the market. Trump discussed the proposal during a meeting at the White House after discussing the move with advisers like Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Norman Sharpless, Bloomberg reported. "Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect for children," Trump told reporters. He continued, "We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it." Secretary Azar said the FDA would soon issue regulatory guidance to remove flavored vaping products from the market. The secretary cited statistics showing five million children using e-cigarettes of some kind, a number he found "alarming." In December, the US Surgeon General declared underage vaping "an epidemic," laying the groundwork for future regulatory action. Last week, federal officials announced that over 450 people across the country had grown sick with deadly lung illnesses that have been linked to e-cigarette use.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Open-Source Database Scylla Gains DynamoDB Compatibility

Slashdot - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 00:20
urdak writes: Four years ago, ScyllaDB introduced Scylla -- a new open-source NoSQL database, compatible with the popular Cassandra but 10 times faster. Today, the project announced support for the DynamoDB API as well. This will allow applications that use Amazon's DynamoDB to be migrated to other public or private clouds -- running on Scylla instead of DynamoDB. Beyond the added choice, large users may also see their cloud bills drastically reduced by moving to Scylla: ScyllaDB reported in the past that the total cost of running Scylla is only one seventh the cost of DynamoDB.

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Paladins, Smite, Realm Royale all finally getting cross-play support on PS4

Eurogamer - Thu, 12/09/2019 - 00:10

Hi-Rez Studios is finally bringing Paladins, Smite, and Realm Royale players on PlayStation 4 into the cross-play fold, and those on Sony's machine will be able to team up with - or battle against - those on Switch, Xbox One, and PC starting today.

Hero shooter Paladins, its battle royale spin-off Realm Royale, and MOBA Smite all received support for cross-platform play between Switch, Xbox One, and PC earlier this year. Around the same time, Hi-Rez Studios' CEO, Stewart Chisam, fired shots at Sony on Twitter, writing that "It's time to stop playing favourites and tear down the crossplay/progression wall for everyone." Chisam told Sony it had versions of its games "ready to go when you are."

Now, some seven months later, the studio has announced that, following work with Sony, cross-play support is now live for Paladins on PS4, with updates for Smite due on 17th September and Realm Royale in "early October". To celebrate, Hi-Rez has release this thing:

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Categories: Video Games

Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Is Triggering 'Fear of Holes' Or Trypophobia In Some

Slashdot - Wed, 11/09/2019 - 23:40
dryriver shares a report from the BBC: People with a fear of small holes have claimed the design of Apple's iPhone 11 Pro is triggering their phobia. At its unveiling on Tuesday, many found their attention drawn to its "ultra-wide" rear camera, with three high-powered lenses packed closely together. The lenses sit alongside the handset's torch and "audio zoom" microphone. And hundreds of smartphone users now claim the new design has triggered their "trypophobia," an aversion to the sight of clusters of small holes. The term "trypophobia" was first coined in 2005 in online forum Reddit and it has since become widely talked about on social media. American Horror Story actress Sarah Paulson and model Kendall Jenner are among those who say they have the condition. Vision scientist Dr Geoff Cole, at the University of Essex, was part of the first full scientific study of trypophobia, working with his colleague, Prof Arnold Wilkins. "We have all got it, it's just a matter of degree," Dr Cole told BBC News earlier this year. The response to seeing small holes can be very extreme, their study suggests. Dr Cole and Prof Wilkins reported testimonies from some people who vomited and others who said they could not go to work for several days. "It can be quite disabling," Prof Wilkins added.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Australian House Committee To Look Into Age Verification For Porn

Slashdot - Wed, 11/09/2019 - 23:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Australia is once again deciding to follow in the tracks of the United Kingdom, with the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs to look into age verification for online pornography and online wagering. The matter was referred to the committee by the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator Anne Ruston and Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety, and the Arts, Paul Fletcher. The terms of reference for the inquiry state that it will be looking into age verification under the auspices of protecting children online. The committee will look into "the potential benefits of further online age verification requirements, including to protect children from potential harm, and business and non-government organizations from reputation, operational and legal risks," the terms state. Potential risks and unintended consequences for age verification will be looked into as well, the terms state, including privacy breaches, freedom of expression, false assurance, and whether adults are pushing into "unregulated/illegal environments or to other legal forms of these activities." The committee will also examine the economic impact of age verification, and the impact on "eSafety resourcing, education, and messaging." The UK's age verification system for online pornography became mandatory on July 15.

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