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Animal Crossing: New Horizons gets two free events next month

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 16:29

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was already providing us with a ray of sunshine in gloomy times, and there's yet more good news on the way, as the game is getting two free events next month.

The first, Bunny Day, had already been announced via the Japanese Nintendo website, but today's Nintendo Direct Mini revealed it in more detail. Players will receive a visit from Zipper the bunny, who will ask players to collect eggs from the island. Once you've, er, fished these eggs out from the sea, you'll be able to craft lovely decorations with them. Just don't mind the seaweed smell.

Bunny Day will be an annual event, so you'll want to hop into the game between 1st-12th April or face waiting another year. All you have to do is make sure you've downloaded the 1.1.0 update that's been available since launch.

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Categories: Video Games

The Falconeer is absolutely majestic

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 16:00

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

Look at this world! When the clouds roll in, when the sun ignites the tips of the waves that roll and thunder and boom underneath you. Look at this world, when you arc in close to an island freshly delivered out of the mist and you see rickety bridges, broken temple spires, bundles of sticks lost to the froth and surf. Look at this world when you race up and the sky is everywhere, shifting from pearly dawn to burning dusk. Look at this world when you scud over the top of breakers and a whale erupts from the water and splashes back into the deep.

Before I play The Falconeer, I have a half hour chatting to its pretty-much-one-man-developer Tomas Sala over Skype. He looks breezy for someone who's just had a baby. In fact, perhaps breezy isn't quite right. There is a glorious mania here as he tells me about his last few weeks, but also about the world he is making in a back room filled with baby toys, about the bird he has made and the landscape it travels through. Cultures! Factions! Lore! I'm a lore guy, he says, and I believe it. He wants to show me the basics of this game, which is an aerial dog-fighting RPG affair set in a richly detailed fantasy world. But he also just wants to talk about what he's doing, I think. This game! This game is made of love. It is so obvious. Everything he tells me reminds him of something else he wants to tell me. Characters. Missions. Mechanics. Nested campaigns! A map of a world that takes a long time to travel across! The politics and customs!

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Categories: Video Games

Surprise! Watch today's mini Nintendo Direct here

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 16:00

Surprise! Nintendo has dropped what it has called a "mini" Nintendo Direct today, which you can now watch below in full.

The 28-minute broadcast is light on announcements of big new Nintendo games, though there are a few titbits for fans. First, it confirms the next Super Smash Bros. DLC fighter as an unnamed character from Arms (which Martin is very happy about) who will be detailed in full and released in June.

Second, that a new update for Animal Crossing in arrive in April that will feature everyone's favourite garden sloth, Leif (which I am very happy about). There's more on that here.

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Categories: Video Games

CBS Offers a Free Month of All Access So You Can Binge-Watch 'Picard'

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 16:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: If you've been meaning to check out "Star Trek: Picard" or "The Good Fight," but already perhaps have one streaming subscription too many, you can check out CBS All Access for free until April 23rd in the US. Jean-Luc Picard himself (okay, Partick Stewart) revealed ViacomCBS would make it around the time of the show's finale.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Watch Ian play the new Control DLC at 2pm

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 15:02

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions, streaming games and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

Remedy's Control was one of last year's best-loved games, and today it gets a major story expansion in the form of The Foundation. As part of our online games festival Rezzed Digital, Ian was eager to get his hands on it start flinging desk drawers with his mind. You can watch his exploits below, live from 2pm today.

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Categories: Video Games

A Hacker Stole and Leaked the Xbox Series X Graphics Source Code

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: AMD has been having a particularly rough few months, apparently. The chip designer has revealed that a hacker stole test files for a "subset" of current and upcoming graphics hardware, some of which had been posted online before they were taken down. While AMD was shy on details, the claimed intruder told TorrentFreak that the material included source code for Navi 10 (think Radeon RX 5700 series), the future Navi 21 and the Arden GPU inside the Xbox Series X. The self-proclaimed hacker added that she wanted $100 million for the source code and threatened to "leak everything" if there was no buyer. She reportedly found the GPU data in a "hacked computer" in November, although AMD said it hadn't been approached until December. AMD doesn't appear to be bowing under pressure. It believed the stolen code was "not core to the competitiveness or security" of its products, and said there was an "ongoing criminal investigation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Link's Awakening and other top Switch games get price cuts at Currys

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 14:08

A number of top Switch games - including The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Super Mario Maker 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - are now at their lowest ever prices thanks to a new voucher at Currys PC World.

Until 31st March, you can use the code 'PICKME' to save £3 off a selection of eligible products on eBay - including console games. For the most part, this three quid discount doesn't really amount to all that much of a saving. However, there are bargains to be found when combined with some already low prices on a number of Switch games.

The best deal of the lot will get you The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for only £32.99. The wonderful remake of the Game Boy classic hasn't been as low as that since launch so now's the time to get it if you don't have that other big Switch game to be playing right now. You know the one.

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Categories: Video Games

Resident Evil 3 Remake physical copies may be delayed, Capcom warns

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 14:04

Boxed copies of Resident Evil 3 Remake may take longer to arrive in Europe, Capcom has warned, as stock suffers from delays due to the global coronavirus lockdown.

But the game's global release date will not change, Capcom has confirmed. It remains 3rd April.

"Some European markets may experience delayed deliveries or availability of physical goods, including disc copies of games," Capcom stated.

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Categories: Video Games

The serene strategy of Wingspan, a game about attracting birds

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 14:00

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

I've never played anything quite like Wingspan and I'm growing rather fond of it. But I am not alone. The board game world has been going cuckoo for Wingspan for the past year. It has flown off shelves and earned the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres prize, and I'm playing the official video game adaptation of it.

Wingspan is a game about attracting birds to habitats. Different birds are worth different amounts of points, and the player with the most points wins. That's it in a very crude nutshell but there are myriad other things affecting it.

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Categories: Video Games

Gearbox co-founder Landon Montgomery has passed away

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 13:29

Landon Montgomery, known for co-founding Gearbox Software and his work on several major gaming franchises, has died.

The news was publicly announced via a statement on Gearbox's Twitter account, which said the studio was heartbroken to learn of Montgomery's death.

"In our earliest years, Landon played a big role in helping to set our path", the statement reads. "We will always be thankful and remember him for being a part of our lives. During this trying time, our thoughts, support and affection are with those who were closest to him."

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Categories: Video Games

Control developer Remedy inks deal for two more games

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 13:02

Remedy Entertainment, the brains behind games such as Control and Alan Wake, has signed a two-game deal with an unannounced publisher [UPDATE 3pm: which has now been announced as Epic Games!]

Both projects will be set within the same franchise - which, as yet, is unstated. One will be the studio's next AAA multi-platform release. The other is a "smaller-scale project".

Both are being developed using the studio's Northlight engine, which powered Control and Quantum Break.

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Categories: Video Games

No Longer Home is a heartfelt goodbye to an important stage in life

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 12:06

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

Bo and Ao's bedroom is a mess. The bed is unmade, clothes litter the floor next to it. When I walk Ao over to the laundry hamper, they think about doing something about its worrisome state before deciding against it. You can find similar signs of apathy all over No Longer Home. Rotting fruit in a bowl. Unwashed dishes. Books spilled all over a desk. It's no surprise to find out that the house I'm exploring belongs to former students - it was clear from the moment Bo said "I feel like I'm always the one emptying the bin", echoed, not much later, by Ao's "I always forget to recycle the empty toilet paper rolls." The familiarity of it all makes me shiver.

I warm to No Longer Home immediately, not just for how it evokes nostalgia by showing the parts of student life I'm definitely not nostalgic for. I'm fascinated by how comfortable it is in taking inspiration from Kentucky Route Zero - from its low poly art style to the way the camera zooms in and retracts to the calming, yet eerie soundtrack that sometimes even brings the Americana-esque twang of guitars to a shared flat in London.

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Categories: Video Games

A Monster's Expedition is simply the most wonderful thing

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 12:00

We're taking Rezzed online over the next few days, presenting sessions and bringing you highlights of what's new and interesting in the world of independent games. You can find more details on exactly what's going on over here, and we'll be bringing you more write-ups over the coming days.

You push over one tree, then maybe you push over another. If you ever do a bit of writing, you might know this feeling. Writing looms very large when you haven't done it. I find that the direct approach rarely works. Instead, I sidle up, almost dreamily. Oh, I'll just start a new document - not doing anything, just a document. I'll write a preliminary note or two. Maybe just a pass at an opening sentence...

A Monster's Expedition is the kind of puzzle game that makes me nervous in principle. It's made by clever people. It's about rolling logs around - a bit like Stephen's Sausage Roll - and that suggests a daunting kind of spatial challenge. So I sidle up. I load it. Oh, the music's lovely and gentle. Oh, green and gold - sun in gently rippling grass. Oh, I can work back mistakes one at a time. I'll just see how movement feels. Maybe I'll try this first island...

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Categories: Video Games

Social Distancing Is Slowing Not Only COVID-19, But Other Diseases Too

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 12:00
"As governments around the world have pushed their citizens away from populated places to slow the spread of Covid-19, they may not have realized that they were also combatting other infectious diseases, such as the seasonal flu," reports Quartz. The data comes from Kinsa Health, a company that collects anonymized thermometer readings from its active user base to estimate the share of people that are ill in different geographies. From the report: By comparing current thermometer readings to historical trends, researchers have used Kinsa's data to predict flu outbreaks weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's surveillance program, which uses hospitalization records. Recent data clearly show the spread of Covid-19. On March 19, the share of Americans with temperatures indicating they had flu-like symptoms was about 4.9% when it typically would be expected to be about 4.0%. This was likely a result of the spread of Covid-19, according to Kinsa's researchers. But by March 23, it was down to 3.3%, when it would typically be at 3.7% (the share of fevers decreases quickly at this time of year because of the end of winter). The drop -- from 0.9% above typical flu-like illness rates to 0.4% below -- in just four days is the largest one Kinsa has ever observed in such a short period of time, according to Kinsa CEO Inder Singh. "There is no known precedent for this type of extensive social distancing in recent time," said Singh. "We have nothing to compare this to, but this extreme drop is exactly what we would hope and expect with the measures currently in place."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Bleeding Edge review: fun fighting let down by a bare-bones launch

Eurogamer - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 11:11

Bleeding Edge poses a question I hadn't considered before: what if the combat from Devil May Cry met Overwatch? A modestly-sized development team at Ninja Theory, spearheaded by DmC Devil May Cry combat designer Rahni Tucker, has worked for the past four years to come up with an answer. The result is a mixed bag. Bleeding Edge is, fundamentally, a fun experience, but it is a tad bland. And this launch on Xbox One and PC feels bare-bones, to put it lightly.

Here's the setup: two teams of four work together to knock lumps out of each other while fighting for control points or, in the second of the two available game modes, energy canisters. There are 11 characters at launch, categorised into one of three roles: damage, support or tank, and already just two days after Bleeding Edge's release that doesn't feel like enough. The diverse roster of augmented heroes (augmentation is a theme, here) is made up of a few Overwatch-alikes and a handful of really quite impressive designs, all drenched in a sort of Borderlands meets '90s sci-fi aesthetic that rekindles memories of hazy summers spent listening to Garbage. One of the characters is called Zero Cool, a nod to Jonny Lee Miller's character of the same name from that most wonderfully crap mid-90s cyber thriller, Hackers.

I find myself gravitating towards a few of the characters in particular, the ones that work a little differently to the rank and file. Maeve is a granny (you don't see many older women in video games - nice one Ninja Theory!) from Wicklow, Ireland, who is a cyber witch ranged assassin who rides a hovering bauble. The trick with Maeve is to perfectly time her traps and land killing blows, the latter of which resets her abilities. Struggle with this and Maeve's a lightweight. But if you can dip in and out of combat, snatching last hit after last hit, she's a beast.

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Categories: Video Games

Scientists Reveal How Proteins Team Up To Repair DNA

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 09:00
Scientists have revealed an important mechanism in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks, according to new research published today in eLife. Phys.Org reports: One of the main DNA repair processes is called homologous recombination (HR). This repairs a severe form of DNA damage where both strands of DNA are broken. A protein called Rad51 orchestrates HR, and Rad51 itself is supported by several 'helper' proteins. The researchers started by using yeast cells to study Rad51 and its helper proteins, called Swi5-Sfr1. They genetically engineered yeast cells so that they lacked either Module 1 or Module 2 of Swi5-Sfr1 and found that this prevented DNA repair by HR. This shows that both modules are needed for Rad51 to switch on HR repair. Next, they purified the Swi5-Sfr1 helper proteins from cells to identify the precise regions within Module 1 that attach to Rad51. Then, by mutating the protein sequence, they were able to modify these regions in a way that prevents Swi5-Sfr1 from attaching to Rad51. Surprisingly, they found that although the mutated helper proteins could not switch on Rad51 in a test tube, yeast cells with these mutations were still able to repair their DNA without problems. This led the team to speculate that another group of helper proteins, which are present in the cell but absent in the test tube, was rescuing the DNA repair process. Previous genetic studies have shown that there are two HR sub-pathways in yeast -- one that depends on Swi5-Sfr1 and another that relies on molecules called Rad51 paralogs. To test whether it was this other HR pathway that was rescuing DNA repair, the team used yeast that lacked the Rad51 paralogs. The results were striking: in yeast with mutant Swi5-Sfr1 and no Rad51 paralogs, the DNA damage was much more severe. This suggests that the damaging effects of mutations to the Swi5-Sfr1 helper complex are suppressed by a second group of helper proteins.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

World's Wind Power Capacity Up By Fifth After Record Year

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The world's wind power capacity grew by almost a fifth in 2019 after a year of record growth for offshore windfarms and a boom in onshore projects in the US and China. The Global Wind Energy Council found that wind power capacity grew by 60.4 gigawatts, or 19%, compared with 2018, in one of the strongest years on record for the global wind power industry. The growth was powered by a record year for offshore wind, which grew by 6.1GW to make up a tenth of new windfarm installations for the first time. The council's annual report found that the US and China remain the world's largest markets for onshore wind power development. Together the two countries make up almost two-thirds of global growth in wind power. GWEC had expected 2020 to emerge as a record year for the rollout of wind energy projects, and forecast growth of 20% in the year ahead, but it said the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic was as yet unknown.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Massive US Coronavirus Stimulus Includes Research Dollars, Some Aid To Universities

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 04:02
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: The $2 trillion stimulus package that the U.S. Senate is working to approve today is aimed at helping the country cope with the massive impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But it also includes at least $1.25 billion for federal research agencies to support scientists trying to better understand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition, it extends a financial hand to universities that have shut down because of the pandemic, some of which could go to support research that has been disrupted. Details of the legislation have yet to emerge after Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress worked out their differences in negotiations that ran into the early morning. But a 22-page summary (PDF) released by the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning contains these highlights: - The National Institutes of Health would receive $945 million for "vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic research" on COVID-19 as well as on "the underlying risks to cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions." - The National Science Foundation would receive $76 million to supplement an ongoing program that allows scientists to jump into the field for pilot studies on all manner of natural disasters. - The Department of Energy's Office of Science would get $99.5 million to cover the additional costs of operating user facilities at its national laboratories, including support for equipment and staff. - The U.S. Forest Service would get $3 million to "reestablish experiments impacted by travel restrictions" stemming from the pandemic, including an ongoing forest inventory. In addition, three research agencies would receive a total of $86 million "to support continuity of operations" affected by COVID-19. NASA would receive $60 million for the costs of rescheduling scientific missions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would get $20 million to supplement "life and property related services" within its National Weather Service, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would receive $6 million to support "research and measurement science" aimed at developing better diagnostics and testing of the coronavirus.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

DoNotPay's New Service Will Try To Help You Get Bill Extensions Due To Coronavirus

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 03:25
DoNotPay is ready to help you out if you need to delay your rent, credit card, or utility bill payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The company, known for its legal aid chatbot, is launching a new service that requests waivers and payment extensions from companies and landlords. The Verge reports: The new product allows the service to identify any bills such as utilities and rent that are eligible for an extension or a late fee waiver. DoNotPay will then reach out to the company to make a "compassionate and polite request." If the request is denied, the service will send out a second letter citing relevant local and state laws. DoNotPay says it will use the "full force of the local and state laws" for states with no related coronavirus laws or orders in effect. Right now, this service is only available in the US, but DoNotPay founder Joshua Browder told The Verge that the company is looking to bring the service to other countries, such as the UK. When it comes to credit card bills, Browder told The Verge that extensions or waivers for these matters are a "negotiation process." Some companies, such as Apple, are allowing card holders to skip their March payment, but Browder said a majority of businesses are treating business "as usual," requesting customers pay their statements on time with no extensions or waivers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook's Portal TV Video Chat Device Was Mocked -- Now It's Completely Sold Out

Slashdot - Thu, 26/03/2020 - 02:45
jmcbain writes: When Facebook launched its Portal hardware product line for in-home video communication in 2018, people accused the company of being tonedeaf to the privacy uproar stemming from the Cambridge Analytica controversy. Tech reviewers almost universally dismissed the product, saying "No one should buy the Facebook Portal TV," "Trust Fail," and "Is it really a good idea to pitch people on a Facebook-powered camera and microphone in your home?" However, during this period of shelter-in-place, Facebook's previously-beleaguered product has found an opportunity to shine. CNBC reports that "with people stuck indoors and seeking the best way to stay in touch with family and friends, the Portal TV is completely sold out on Facebook's website and from retailers such as Best Buy." Facebook further mentions that "We're pleased that we can help people connect with family, friends and colleagues during this time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
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