Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 2 minutes of reading
The abs are back in town
It’s time to ring in the new year and with it comes Anji Mito’s birthday on January 1 which of course makes this the perfect time to do a little celebrating in the world of Guilty Gear.
Arc System Works certainly agreed considering they’ve now released the gameplay trailer for Anji as he’ll appear in Guilty Gear Strive with all of the abs and fans that you could hope for in these festivities.
First appearing 20 years ago with the release of GGX, Mito battles using his Zessen fans and traditional Japanese dance steps which appear to be making a full return in Strive.
As one of the few remaining Japanese people left in the world, Anji is a wanted man for both escaping the colonies they were placed into and stealing the Zessen, which so happen to be one of the Sacred Treasures like Sol and Ky’s swords.
Click images for larger versions
Those who’ve been going back to play Accent Core recently will probably notice a complete overhaul to Anji’s animations, which isn’t surprising considering this is his first time fighting in the realm of three dimensions.
Most of his attacks appear to be intact, however, since we get to see his Fuujin special a number of times though we only see what appears to be on follow up for it right now.
One move very noticeably absent right now is his Kai stomps which provided him tons of pressure and mixup scenarios, so it’d be a shame if it didn’t make a return in Strive.
Anji also obviously keeps his butterfly projectile and overall aesthetics because it wouldn’t really be him without along with the Guard Point counter mechanic which is also seen a few times too.
Guilty Gear Strive is scheduled to release worldwide on April 9, 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC though players can get access a few days early by pre-ordering the Deluxe / Ultimate Edition.
While there is no character tease / reveal as to the identity of the final member of Strive’s roster, ArcSys does confirm at the end that the next announcement will be coming in February 2021. You can check out the new trailer below.
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 3 minutes of reading
Nintendo Switch has proven to be a sales juggernaut for Nintendo, outselling every other video game console for the last 24 months. It’s a safe bet that a lot of people received the console as a gift over the holidays, prompting the Nintendo UK Twitter account to ask fans what games they would recommend to newcomers. Unsurprisingly, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate topped many lists, causing the game to trend across social media. Nintendo’s fighting game is easily one of the most popular on the platform, and DLC fighters have helped maintain that interest more than two years after its release. With three playable characters yet to be revealed as part of the Fighter’s Pass Vol. 2 DLC pack, it seems like interest in the game won’t slow down any time soon!
Not everyone took the opportunity to celebrate, however!
You guys can’t be scaring me by making Super Smash Bros Ultimate trending. I immediately thought, “What horrible thing has Nintendo done now.” Who am I kidding, it is only a matter of time before they do something stupid. pic.twitter.com/sdhETg6ACZ
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 2 minutes of reading
SAN JOSE, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — It’s the end of an era on the internet. Adobe will stop supporting its Flash player on Dec. 31, 2020.
Most people won’t notice the change. Apple got rid of supporting Flash on most platforms a decade ago.
Part of the reason to get people to uninstall is that as of Dec. 31, Adobe won’t be updating the security of it anymore. For that reason, Adobe will also block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning Jan. 12.
Flash debuted in 1996 as Macromedia Flash. The tool would go on to deliver animations, videos and other new experiences to the World Wide Web. Adobe announced the end of the platform in 2017.
“Several industries and businesses have been built around Flash technology — including gaming, education and video,” Adobe said in 2017. “But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web.”
According to the company, more than 1.3 billion people across web browsers and operating systems used Flash — 11 times more people than the bestselling hardware game console.
2.2% or 220,000 of the top 10 million websites are using Flash, as of Dec. 31, according to Web Technology Surveys, a site that tracks the top 10 million websites in the world.
How do I uninstall?
If Flash is still installed on your device, you will likely be prompted to uninstall. Browsers like Google Chrome have been alerting users for months.
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 3 minutes of reading
Team Cherry decided to drop an exclusive story in Edge Magazine this week, as they reveal more details about Hollow Knight: Silksong. You’ll have to subscribe to the magazine through the App Store in order to get the full skinny, but from what we’ve been able to gether, this is a much tougher, meaner, and far more sophisticated game than you experienced the first time around. There is no give with this one as it appears to be a blistering but fun experience. Hopefully, we’ll learn more in the future through an outlet that isn’t on an app, along with a release date, which the game still doesn’t have.
Play as Hornet, princess-protector of Hallownest, and adventure through a whole new kingdom ruled by silk and song! Captured and brought to this unfamiliar world, Hornet must battle foes and solve mysteries as she ascends on a deadly pilgrimage to the kingdom’s peak. Hollow Knight: Silksong is the epic sequel to Hollow Knight, the award winning action-adventure. As the lethal hunter Hornet, journey to all-new lands, discover new powers, battle vast hordes of bugs and beasts and uncover ancient secrets tied to your nature and your past.
Discover a whole new kingdom! Explore coral forests, mossy grottos, gilded cities and misted moors as you ascend to the shining citadel at the top of the world.
Engage in lethal acrobatic action! Wield a whole new suite of deadly moves as you dance between foes in deadly, beautiful combat.
Craft powerful tools! Master an ever-expanding arsenal of weapons, traps, and mechanisms to confound your enemies and explore new heights.
Solve shocking quests! Hunt down rare beasts, solve ancient mysteries and search for lost treasures to fulfil the wishes of the downtrodden and restore the kingdom’s hope. Prepare for the unexpected!
Face over 150 all-new foes! Beasts and hunters, assassins and kings, monsters and knights, defeat them all with bravery and skill!
Challenge Silk Soul mode! Once you conquer the kingdom, test your skills in an all-new mode that spins the game into a unique, challenging experience.
Experience a stunning orchestral score! Hollow Knight’s award-winning composer, Christopher Larkin, returns to bring melancholy melodies, symphonic strings and heart-thumping, soul strumming boss themes to the adventure.
Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can’t be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 2 minutes of reading
2020 isn’t the only thing coming to an end Thursday. The last day of the year is also the last day for FarmVille, one of the original addictive Facebook games.
FarmVille, which allowed players to cultivate colorful cartoonish farms by tending crops and caring for livestock, had 30 million daily players at its peak. But game developer Zynga announced in September it would shut down the game on Dec. 31, a victim of Adobe’s decision to stop distributing and updating its Flash Player for web browsers, which in turn led Facebook to announce an end to support for Flash games on its platform.
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The writing has been on the wall even longer. In 2017, Facebook — along with Adobe, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla — announced plans to end support for Flash by December this year.
Once the de facto standard for websites to run games, stream video and deliver animation over browser software, Flash Player has fallen out of favor with many tech companies and organizations, which deride the plug-in as a battery hog and security vulnerability. Its popularity has waned in recent years as more in the online video industry turn to HTML5, a developing language that can run graphics without plug-ins.
And if you really want to keep on fake farming, there are other options. The company will continue to operate FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape and FarmVille 2: Country Escape, and says players can look forward to the upcoming worldwide launch of FarmVille 3 for mobile.
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 2 minutes of reading
The world’s first Qualcomm Snapdragon 888-powered smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi 11, has been released in China. The device boasts an impressive specifications sheet: 6.81 inches AMOLED panel with a 3200 x 1440 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, an under-screen fingerprint sensor, a triple camera system with a 108MP main sensor, a 5MP telephoto unit, and a 13MP ultrawide module, and a 4,600mAh battery with support for 55W wired and 50W wireless charging.
The base variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage costs 3,999 Chinese Yuan (~$612). Western prices haven’t been announced yet.
This makes the iPhone 12 nearly $429 more expensive in China.
Unlike the iPhone 12, the Mi 11 can be bought as part of a bundle that includes a charger at no extra cost.
Per an earlier report, the estimated bill of materials (BoM) cost for the iPhone 12 is $373. The BoM only shows how much it costs a vendor to procure components required to manufacture a product and it doesn’t take into account other expenses such as research and development, salaries, and marketing.
Although Xiaomi hasn’t revealed Mi 11’s BoM, we do know that the company has pledged to keep profit margins low. Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, are known to keep hefty margins on their phones.
Xiaomi’s competitive pricing strategy has helped it find success in two of the world’s largest smartphone markets – China and India. In the third quarter of 2020, the company toppled Apple as the third-largest smartphone manufacturer. This was largely because Xiaomi aggressively tried to seize Huawei’s market share and Apple’s shipments suffered because of the delay in the launch of the iPhone 12 series.
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 6 minutes of reading
Stadia, Google’s still-teething game streaming service, is now over a year old, but it still has many needs and significant room to grow. Here are some of the biggest areas that we see Stadia focusing on for their 2021 road map.
Over the course of 2020, Stadia has steadily caught up with many of the expectations that Google laid out for it at launch. However, there are quite a few “obvious” things that are still tragically missing from Stadia.
The most egregious of these is the lack of any search functionality, both in the Stadia Store and within a player’s library. As Stadia’s marketplace of games and expansions has steadily grown, the task of hunting down the exact game or add-on you’re looking for has grown more frustrating. Even searching for your own games can become frustrating as your library expands. Stadia’s Google Assistant integration helps with this, but unfortunately it’s only available for the Chromecast Ultra.
Beyond “new” features, Stadia also desperately needs to bring its various apps in line with each other. The Android app doesn’t offer party or voice chat capabilities, nothing but Chromecast Ultra offers the Google Assistant, the web app can’t be used to set up a Stadia Controller for the first time, and more.
Another critical goal for Stadia’s road map in 2021 is to expand the playerbase. Over the last few months, Google has put a great deal of effort into making more people aware of the Stadia name, particularly with the recent YouTube Premium giveaway. Then, with the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, Stadia proved it was more than capable of running the latest releases.
Over the next year, Google needs to continue its outreach efforts to ensure that as more games arrive on Stadia, the older games will still have enough players to sustain a community.
One path to expanding the playerbase is to bring Stadia to more countries around the world. By formally expanding into countries like India, Mexico, and Brazil — of which, the latter two have already gotten a taste of cloud gaming through Microsoft’s xCloud Streaming Beta — Stadia could see an explosion of new players almost overnight.
Of course, one of the most surefire ways of expanding the number of people playing games on Stadia is to actually offer the kinds of games that people are looking to play. Google has already made some progress on this by managing to offer entirely free-to-play games like Destiny 2 and Super Bomberman R Online. No doubt games like Fortnite and Apex Legends would bring a massive opportunity for Stadia to gain more players.
A much trickier strategy for Stadia to get more players is to offer the latest “viral” games — think along the lines of Fall Guys and Hades, some of the bigger overnight successes of the year. There’s no denying that Stadia is one of the most convenient ways of playing a particular game, just buy and play. Unfortunately, there’s almost no way to know in advance which game is going to be the next big thing.
Overall, Google needs to put Stadia into position for success by ensuring 2021’s road map is filled with games that have same-day launches on Stadia, instead of the months-delayed launches we saw in 2020.
Typically, each new generation of gaming hardware comes with features that were otherwise impossible on previous consoles — things like ray tracing, built-in streaming tools, or unique controller features. From the day it was first revealed, Google has been touting the unique things that games on Stadia should be able to do either through cloud-enabled features or by integrating with the Google ecosystem. So far, all we’ve gotten are early previews of features like Crowd Play on YouTube and State Share that only work with one game.
And that’s a downright shame considering there’s such an infinite wealth of possibilities to be tapped into. Imagine if a game could be directly tied into the Google Assistant. As suggested at GDC 2019, players could one day ask the Assistant for help with beating a level. But let’s go deeper. A horror game could — theoretically, if given permission — use the Assistant to control your smart home lights to suddenly black out your room in a dramatic moment.
Regardless of the actual implementation, more games should attempt to take advantage of Stadia’s exclusive features in 2021, as it gives players a reason to play on Stadia over other consoles that they may already own.
One of the more unlikely items for Stadia’s 2021 road map is the possibility of a “hardware” refresh. With the latest generation of consoles now in many households around the world, Stadia’s seemingly last-gen performance will not age well, particularly as games arrive that optimize for those new consoles.
For quite some time now, it’s been rumored that something of a “Gen 2” is coming to Stadia, bringing features that we’ve not yet seen. For example, the developers of the upcoming game Chorus have indicated — but later deleted — that the Stadia version of the game will offer ray tracing, a computationally difficult lighting technique not used by any current Stadia games.
It remains to be seen what all else such a “Gen 2” upgrade could bring, but the important thing to remember is that the “upgrade” would be seamless and shouldn’t cost players or even need you to think about it. Since everything is in the cloud, Stadia can simply boot more demanding games on better server hardware.
Android TV support
I’m mentioning this one last as it’s the one thing that’s been outright confirmed. Though the Chromecast with Google TV has been launched as an effective successor to the Chromecast Ultra, the newer Google TV/Android TV powered device is currently unable to (officially) play games on Stadia.
Thankfully, Google confirmed to us that Stadia would be coming to the Chromecast with Google TV in the first half of the new year, with broader Android TV support coming later on. In the meantime, our APK Insight team is closely following the development of Stadia’s fledgling Android TV experience with each update to Stadia’s Android app.
How long will these take?
Unfortunately, for many of these improvements, as well as the ones we haven’t thought of, Google is keeping intentionally tight-lipped about their plans. As outlined by John Justice in a recent Escapist podcast, the Stadia team is making an effort to no longer overpromise on the service’s future. That means we likely won’t know when these improvements are meant to arrive until the day they launch.
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Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 5 minutes of reading
Along with the shift to Apple Silicon, performing things like a restore is different with M1 Macs compared to their Intel predecessors. Follow along for a look at how to revive and restore M1 Macs, what the difference is, when to use them, and what to try before taking those steps.
Performing a restore (factory reset) with Intel Macs uses macOS Recovery. While that’s still an option for doing things like reinstalling macOS on M1 Macs, there’s a different process to fully restore an M1 Mac or in limited cases, the need to revive an M1 Mac.
How to revive and restore M1 Macs – MacBook Air, Pro, and Mac mini
What is an M1 Mac revive?
Here’s how Apple describes when you would need to “revive” an M1 Mac and what it does:
In very rare circumstances, such as a power failure during a macOS upgrade, a Mac may become unresponsive and so the firmware must be revived. A revive updates the firmware and updates recoveryOS to the latest version. A revive is designed to not make any changes to the startup volume, the user’s data volume, or any other volumes.
However, keep in mind that if you need to reinstall macOS after performing a revive, that will erase your drive.
What is an M1 Mac restore?
A restore will erase your Mac’s drive but it also restores the firmware, updates recoveryOS to the most recent version, and reinstalls the latest version of macOS. As such, you’ll want to have your data backed up.
Already tried to reinstall macOS?
If you can boot up your M1 Mac to macOS Recovery, you may be able to reinstall macOS without having to revive or do a full restore which both require a second Mac and Apple Configurator 2. This will erase your drive.
With your Mac powered off, press and hold the power button until you see “Loading startup options”
Choose Options and click Continue
If needed, enter your password
Now choose Reinstall macOS and hit Continue and follow the prompts
What you need to revive or restore M1 Macs
If you can’t do that or know you want to fully restore your M1 Mac, here’s what you’ll need:
If your M1 Mac is unresponsive, you can try a revive first which won’t erase your data. If that doesn’t work or you know you want to erase your M1 Mac, you can perform a restore. Here are the main steps:
Technology / January 1, 2021 January 1, 2021 / 7 minutes of reading
“It took me a long time to recover speech and autonomy,” Ruppert said. “I couldn’t walk for the rest of the night.”
Some games and other forms of visual entertainment involving flashing lights or screen flickering are preceded by warnings for those who are sensitive to such effects. But “Cyberpunk 2077” lacked such a warning and did not include a way to turn off potential seizure-triggering scenes, garnering international media attention after Ruppert authored an article about her experience playing just before the game’s launch.
“Cyberpunk 2077′s” developer, CD Projekt Red, responded to the article with a statement on Twitter thanking Ruppert for surfacing the issue and noting the company was “working on adding a separate warning in the game, aside from the one that exists in the EULA [end user licensing agreement]” and that it would implement a “more permanent solution” as soon as possible. The company would do so with Ruppert’s help after reading her article.
“I honestly didn’t expect anybody to read it because I have written about epilepsy so many times, and I’m just kind of used to it being ignored,” Ruppert said.
In an email to The Washington Post, CD Projekt Red’s North American head of communications, Stephanie Bayer, said that the developers fielded suggestions from Ruppert and “adjusted the entire sequence” to no longer be a seizure trigger.
By release day, a seizure warning was added. A day later, the most problematic scenes, called “brain dance” sequences in the game, were adjusted via a software patch to be safe for epileptic and photosensitive players. These changes were implemented thanks to Ruppert’s article and subsequent consulting with developer CD Projekt Red, work she did on a pro bono basis and for which she was not compensated.
“For those that have been excitedly waiting for ‘Cyberpunk 2077,’ I didn’t want that anticipation to fizzle out because of [an] oversight,” Ruppert said of her motivation to volunteer her time.
“We absolutely did take this seriously and we thanked her for allowing us to correct this,” Bayer wrote in the email to The Post.
Epilepsy, a neurological disorder in which abnormal electrical activity in the brain can induce convulsions, impair the senses and result in a loss of consciousness, affects one in 26 Americans at some point in their lifetime, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. A smaller percentage (around three percent) of those are photosensitive, meaning lights at certain intensities or certain visual patterns can trigger a seizure. The condition can be present at birth, but people can develop epilepsy over the course of their lifetime, as Ruppert did. It affects individuals differently — Ruppert lists heat and stress as some of her other seizure triggers, for example — and seizures can vary in severity depending on the circumstance.
“That made everybody realize, ‘Oh, this is an issue that we have to pay attention to,’” French said.
The video game industry endured scrutiny on this subject earlier. Since 1991, multiple lawsuits have been brought against video game makers alleging that a game had triggered a seizure. And yet (aside from rare, highly specific exceptions, like a video game used in a federal setting) there is no regulation that requires gameplay to be tested for seizure-triggering content. Nor is there a legal requirement to administer a warning of potentially seizure-inducing content. Whether individual platforms, publishers and developers implement policies to design, test or warn for photosensitivity triggers is entirely voluntary.
A blanket statement about seizure triggers at the start of a game has become a norm for many video games. Ubisoft, for example, adds a warning in most of its video games and standardized testing to remove seizure-triggering scenes as of 2008. The company applied such measures after a 10-year-old had a seizure while playing “Rayman Raving Rabbids.” Ubisoft stated at the time that their testing “showed that no images posed a high risk for photosensitivity epilepsy.”
“Cyberpunk 2077,” during the prerelease review period for journalists, had no warning outside of a brief mention in the end-user license agreement (a primarily legal document that most players won’t read).
This isn’t the first time Ruppert, 33, experienced a seizure while playing a video game. In fact, she said she experienced a second seizure while playing “Cyberpunk 2077,” though not as severe as the first.
“It’s certainly not every flashing light,” French said regarding potential seizure triggers. “It has to be a certain frequency, a certain luminosity. It is much more likely to trigger a seizure if it covers your entire field of view.”
To remove the biggest seizure triggers in “Cyberpunk 2077,” CD Projekt Red, based in Warsaw, spent several days ahead of launch speaking with Ruppert, particularly through text message and email. Taking care to ensure her safety, the developers sent her new animations to fix the “brain dance” sequences, and put her in touch with designers to discuss what other areas of the game need attention. Ruppert took her own safety precautions while playing, including having her husband nearby at all times, and taking medication to reduce risk.
“[CD Projekt Red] was very quick to be like, ‘Let’s set up something this week. Let’s send you some stuff, let’s do some roundtables and let’s talk with the [Epilepsy Foundation,’]” said Ruppert. “They were very proactive about that.”
Shortly after publishing her article about seizure triggers in “Cyberpunk 2077,” Ruppert was harassed online, particularly from disgruntled gamers who expressed fear the attention the article received would lead CD Projekt Red to alter its “artistic vision” of the video game. The harassment was so serious that Ruppert received GIFs with flashing lights, sent specifically to induce a seizure. In one instance, a sender disguised such a GIF as a message of support.
“I don’t think people realize [these safety changes are] as simple as muting a color by just a few shades,” Ruppert said. “Or with the ‘brain dance’ sequence, we changed it from flickering to a transient animation instead, which conveyed the same result, but slightly different.”
Though that sequence has been changed, with lights that flash at a slower frequency safe for epileptic and photosensitive players, several other potentially harmful sequences remain, according to Ruppert, including a glitch effect in the main menu and other cinematic scenes within the game.
Ruppert emphasized that a seizure warning at the start of the game isn’t enough, as many players can overlook it or ignore it. “What I’m hoping for is a toggle option,” she said. “[Independent game developers] really tend to spearhead this, where there are options specifically meant to toggle off certain animation sequences.”
According to French, the Epilepsy Foundation’s biggest concern is primarily toward individuals playing games who don’t yet know they have epilepsy. Being able to toggle off features, especially if someone begins to feel dizzy or confused, can prevent a seizure. French also noted that players can close one eye to keep a seizure at bay.
While the Epilepsy Foundation doesn’t have the knowledge to consult on a technical level, its leadership hopes to help CD Projekt Red, and other game developers, with a broader approach.
“Our goal is to educate and to persuade designers and the sellers of these products of the value, first of all, of the danger to people with photosensitive epilepsy, and then the value of informing the public about them before a seizure incident takes place,” Epilepsy Foundation director Allison Nichol said.
Video game publishers have a certification process that developers must pass to put their games on the market, but accessibility isn’t always a standardized step.
“I can’t speak for CD Projekt Red specifically, but it has been my general experience that issues like that arise from lack of awareness,” Ian Hamilton, an accessibility consultant who has worked on games like “The Last of Us Part II” and “Destiny 2,” said. “While putting requirements on games is a tricky business, I think there are a few things that could be reasonably expected across most games, with consideration of photosensitivity being one of them.”
Tools exist to help developers, filmmakers and creators identify and remove seizure-triggering content from their work as well, including the Harding Flash and Pattern Analyser (FPA). This software program automatically identifies harmful photosensitive content and flags it for removal.
“For wide adoption — especially with small independent developers — the economics and awareness around trigger testing both need to shift,” Hamilton said. “Developers of game engines [the coding scaffolding that most games are built around] are in a really tremendous position to help with this.”
A representative for CD Projekt Red said the company will be teaming up with organizations in the new year to make “Cyberpunk 2077” safer. These partnerships haven’t been publicly announced, but the Epilepsy Foundation confirmed that conversations will continue with the developer to bring more permanent solutions to the game.