Categories
Computing

How to control all your PC fans using Fan Control

You can control your PC fans through voltage limiters and BIOS tweaks, but an easier and more intuitive method is to use a utility designed to control all your fans at once. Fan Control is a great tool for doing exactly what its name suggests, giving you complete control over your system’s fans, including your CPU and GPU fans, plus any water cooling pumps that you may have connected to fan headers.

Fan Control is an all-in-one solution to system cooling management, and though it’s a little complicated and assumes a certain level of expertise, it’s still relatively easy to learn with a little help. That’s where we come in: Here’s how to use Fan Control to manage all of your system’s fans.

Note: This particular software is available on Github and is developed by an independent developer. We used it for a couple of weeks on a desktop PC running Windows 10 and didn’t face any concerning issues. Having said that, we do not take responsibility for any potential damage that it may cause to your system. Please download and use this software at your own risk.

How to use Fan Control

Fan Control is available free of cost from its release repository on Github. According to the developers, the drivers and the backend portion of the tool have not been created from scratch. Instead, they have managed to repurpose a bunch of existing hardware libraries and simply added a user interface on top. Thus, any hardware compatibility issue completely depends on LibreHardwareMonitor and NvAPIWrapper.

Step 1: Download Fan Control from the official Github release repository. Unzip the package and store all the files in a folder. To run the tool, open the FanControl.exe file.

Step 2: The main home screen of the software is divided into two sections: Controls and Speeds. Each card under the Controls section corresponds to a card in the Speeds section. For instance, the first card, Fan Control #1, should be the control for Fan #1. If you have connected the CPU cooler or a liquid cooler pump to the CPU fan header, it should be Fan #1 by default. The rest should be all additional case fans along with a dedicated card for the GPU fans.

Step 3: Test each fan to ensure that it is performing the correct action by sensing the change in fan noise and airflow. This can be done by controlling the fan speeds manually. Select the Three-dot menu on each fan control card, enable the Manual control option, and then click on the toggle to enable the slider. Use the slider to increase or decrease the fan or pump speed, which will be denoted in the corresponding fan speed card below.

Screenshot of manual fan control on Fan Control software.

Step 4: Once you have checked all the fans, rename them for ease of identification. Click on the title of each card and assign names accordingly. You might also see some additional cards under the Controls section, which are basically the headers on your motherboard that are not in use. You can hide these by selecting the option from the Three-dot menu on the top-right corner of each card.

Screenshot showing renamed fans on Fan Control software.

Step 5: Remember, running your PC fans at their maximum speed might sound like a good option to increase cooling potential, but there are some drawbacks. Increasing the speed of your fans is going to make them noisy, and it affects the overall life cycle of the fans. Additionally, if you have any intake fans, you also bring in more dust, and we know how bad that can be for any electronic item.

Step 6: Apart from manually controlling your fan speeds, you can also create your own fan curves. Fan curves are graphs that show how fast your fan spins when your PC hits a certain temperature, making it easier to customize your cooling based on temperature and noise levels.

To add a fan curve select the Plus button on the bottom right to reveal a bunch of fan curves and temperature sensor options. The Graph fan curve option is the easiest as you can simply assign what percentage of the total fan speed a particular fan should run at a certain temperature.

Screenshot showing how to make fan curve graph on Fan Control software.

Step 7: Once you select the Graph fan, a card should appear under the new Curves section. To configure the curve, we first need to select the source. Select the Temperature source option to reveal a menu with a variety of sensors that are embedded into your motherboard and other connected parts. Considering that the CPU and GPU are typically the hottest components in your PC, it is best to optimize airflow and create fan curves based on either of the two. Learn more about monitoring your CPU temperatures here.

Screenshot showing how to select temperature source for fan curve on Fan Control software.

Step 8: To create a CPU fan curve simply, select CPU package denoted under the Temperature source drop-down menu. The graph can be configured by selecting the Edit button. A new pop-up window should appear where you can tinker around by adding points on the graph or just entering the parameters at the bottom. Assign a particular percentage of the fan speed corresponding to the temperature. Once you are satisfied with your fan curve, select OK to save it. Similarly, you can create a GPU fan curve by selecting your GPU as the temperature source.

how to use fan control curve graph

Step 9: After creating the fan curves, you can now assign them depending on the fans in your system. Disable manual control, and the option to select a curve should appear. Assign the correct fan curve for all your fans. The fan(s) on the CPU cooler or radiator and the watercooling pump should be assigned to the CPU fan curve so they behave according to the changes in CPU temperatures. If you have additional fans that pull in fresh air or exhaust hot air away from the GPU, it is best to assign them the GPU fan curve. By doing so, the fan(s) can automatically ramp up when the GPU is under heavy load, especially while gaming.

Step 10: The final step is to save all the configurations you made. Open the Three-dot menu on the top right of the software and select Save configuration. The software will create a configuration file with all your settings that can be easily imported or exported. This is an important step if you don’t wish to lose your settings.

Step 11: There are also some UI options that you can play around with by selecting the Hamburger icon on the top left of the software. It includes settings for colors and themes, enabling column mode, automatically running the software with Windows, and more.

Now that you’ve got your fans all set up, why not try your hand at custom liquid cooling? It’s not as difficult as you might think.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Sonic Frontiers targets Breath of the Wild fans with late 2022 release

As recent leaks had claimed, Sega is gearing up to release another Sonic the Hedgehog game and it’ll be called Sonic Frontiers. The name refers to the nature of the upcoming title, which will be unlike any past installment in the Sonic universe. Put simply, it sure looks like Sega is hoping to draw in Breath of the Wild fans with its next Sonic game.

Image: SEGA

Sonic Frontiers was introduced alongside a teaser trailer at The Game Awards 2021, giving fans their first look at the next installment in the lengthy Sonic the Hedgehog video game series. The upcoming titles will differ from the existing games in one big way, however, by bringing the hedgehogs to their first open-world environment.

Players will be free to explore a vast open world filled with a variety of landscapes, including forests, open fields, waterfalls, deserts, and other regions. In addition to the teaser trailer, Sega has released a handful of screenshots showing the kinds of environments players can expect.

SEGA

Sonic will, Sega says, still have his ultra-fast running ability and players will be tasked with battling enemies spread throughout the open-world environment (Starfall Islands). We see a cinematic version of those kinds of battles in the launch trailer, but Sega hasn’t yet shared any gameplay footage.

Stone structures in flower field

SEGA

Though additional details aren’t yet available — the Holiday 2022 release date aside — it is pretty clear Sega is targeting fans of existing massively popular open-world games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Nintendo raked in tens of millions of sales with its hit Zelda title, with Breath of the Wild proving to be the most popular installment in the game franchise (via Wikipedia).

An open-world environment was one of the rumors that had been circulating since Sega teased a 2022 Sonic game earlier this year. The big question, though, is whether the company can manage to pull off something as excellent as Breath of the Wild. Some early commentary from players points out that while the idea of an open world is great, the actual environment revealed by Sega seems out of place with the cartoon hedgehogs.

Shallow lake with trees

SEGA

We’ve only seen a few screenshots from this world, so it’s unclear how robust it may be and what kind of buildings it may feature. It is possible that Sega plans to bring the classic landscapes from its side-scrolling titles to the upcoming 3D world, but whether it’ll pull off a style that complements — rather than contrasts — the animated characters is another matter.

Sonic’s modern design history has already been filled with some questionable choices, namely the movie version of the character that somehow managed to reach the promotional stage despite looking like, well, this. Hopefully, Sega took notes amid that design debacle and will be extra careful to give players the kind of world they want, not just cartoon hedgehogs in awkwardly realistic biomes.

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Categories
Computing

The Best Gifts for Mac Users: Holiday Gifts for Apple Fans

It’s the time of year to start looking for gifts for all the important people in your life. If you’ve got a loved one who’s a Mac obsessive — or you just want to get a great Mac accessory for yourself — our round-up of tip-top Mac gifts will have you sorted this holiday season.

We’ve put together a range of goodies that’ll work for even the most demanding of Mac users. From mice and keyboards to Thunderbolt docks, microphones, and webcams, there’s something here for everyone.

Logitech MX Master 3 for Mac

Apple’s Magic Mouse is great for MacOS gestures, but its low-profile shape can become uncomfortable to use after a while. The good news is there’s a much better alternative that’s designed specifically for Mac users: The Logitech MX Master 3 for Mac.

This superb wireless mouse is comfy to use and features a clever scroll wheel that automatically switches between precise ratchets and free-flowing movement, depending on how hard you spin it. On the side, there is also a thumb wheel that scrolls your pointer horizontally.

Even better, the mouse comes preloaded with built-in MacOS shortcuts. In Photoshop, for instance, the thumb wheel adjusts your brush size, while the thumb buttons undo and redo actions. Press and hold the button at the foot of the thumb rest, and you can even perform native MacOS gestures — just swipe the mouse as you would on an Apple trackpad while pressing the button. When it comes to Mac mice, there’s simply nothing better.

Logitech MX Keys

Logitech MX Keys Mini charges via USB-C.

The perfect pairing for a great mouse is a brilliant Mac keyboard, and Logitech’s MX Keys is just that. It’s the ideal gift for any Mac user stuck on a MacBook’s older butterfly keyboard or for anyone who is left unsatisfied by Apple’s Magic Keyboard.

Each key is dished slightly so that it comfortably fits your finger with each press. There’s a built-in backlight and full numpad, plus a row of function keys too. It can switch between three different devices — no need to use multiple keyboards for multiple Macs — and if you install the Logitech Flow app, you can copy and paste files directly from one Mac to another. There’s even a smaller MX Keys Mini if you want to ditch the number pad.

If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard to match with your Mac, try the Keychron K8. It’s superbly comfy and reliable and can switch between multiple devices in a snap. And with its satisfying mechanical switches, it’s a great option for someone who spends all day typing on their Mac.

Satechi Aluminum Laptop Stand

The Satechi Aluminum Laptop Stand for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

If you know someone who spends a lot of time hunched over a MacBook, do their back a favor by getting them a MacBook stand that raises their device to a more comfortable height. The Satechi Aluminum Laptop Stand does exactly that.

What it does well is combine style and substance. Its aluminum frame comes in silver or space gray to match your existing Apple devices, and its simple hinge is unobtrusive and unassuming. It looks great and will fit right in on your desk.

It’s solidly built and clever, too. Because it works on a single hinge, it folds down flat and is easy to slip into a backpack. There are rubber strips on the top and bottom, helping to keep the stand in place and prevent your MacBook from slipping. It’s fairly priced, so won’t break the bank either.

Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-C Hub Adapter

The Anker PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-C Hub Adapter.

Apple’s latest MacBooks have finally restored some of the port variety that the company’s laptops have been missing for so many years. While they added HDMI and an SD card slot, you still don’t get any USB-A ports. And if you use an older MacBook, all you have are USB-C ports.

A USB-C hub can go a long way to fixing this problem, and Anker’s PowerExpand+ is a great choice. It adds seven new ports, including HDMI, SD card, microSD, two USB-A slots, and two USB-C ports. One of those USB-C slots supports up to 100W of power delivery, so you can juice up your MacBook via the PowerExpand+ if all your other USB-C ports are in use.

You get all that for $35, which is an excellent price for the frustration it prevents and the expansion options it brings.

CalDigit TS3 Plus

The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock.

If you’re looking for some more serious port expansion, a Thunderbolt dock will be right up your street. Our favorite — by some distance — is the CalDigit TS3 Plus.

Why do we love it so much? It sounds strange, but one of its biggest draws is simply its reliability. When you’re plugging a host of different devices into a Thunderbolt dock, you want them to work properly 100% of the time. That’s surprisingly unusual in the Thunderbolt dock world, but CalDigit’s offering never skips a beat.

It offers a ton of ports (15 in total), including five USB-A, three Thunderbolt 3 (including one that provides 87W of power delivery), audio in and out, an SD card slot, DisplayPort 1.2, Gigabit Ethernet, and more. If you need to connect something to a Mac, chances are the CalDigit TS3 Plus can handle it with ease.

Elgato Wave:3

With so many of us working from home these days, either permanently or temporarily, sounding your best on work calls is essential. The built-in mics inside Apple’s MacBooks are fine, but if you want to go to the next level, the Elgato Wave:3 makes for an excellent gift.

Part of its appeal is how easy it is to get set up and running. For instance, instead of needing to monitor and adjust levels, the Wave:3 has a built-in feature called Clipguard,  which helps combat sudden peaks in volume that can produce rasping or unpleasant sounds. You can tweak levels if required, but it’s nice knowing Elgato’s mic has your back from the off.

Outside video calls, it’s our favorite microphone for streaming, thanks to its Mac companion app that lets you blend audio inputs while your show is live. That makes it a great all-rounder that excels in a number of different fields.

Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro

Logitech Brio
Brad Bourque/Digital Trends

Apple has been dragging its heels in recent years when it comes to webcams, and we had to wait until the 2021 MacBook Pro before we saw the first 1080p webcam grace the company’s portable Macs. If you’re stuck on a 720p MacBook (or know someone else who is), you might be looking for a better webcam to help you look your best on video calls.

If it’s quality you’re after, there are none better than the Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro, which is one of the best 4K webcams you can buy. It offers ultra-sharp 4K resolution running at 30fps, or if you need smoother footage, it also runs at 1080p 60fps and 720p 90fps. There are further customizations for the field of view, ranging from 65 degrees to 90 degrees — depending on what you want to capture.

There’s much more, including RightLight 3 tech that corrects your lighting, HDR image capture, and omnidirectional microphones with noise cancellation. It’s a brilliant gift for someone who needs a webcam that can do it all.

iFixit Essential Electronics Toolkit

The iFixit Essential Electronics Toolkit for repairing electronic devices.

For all the great things you can do with a MacBook, you’ll be hard-pressed to repair it if it ever breaks. Apple packs so much inside its laptops that finding your way around the components, cables, screws, and glue can be a real nightmare. If you’re a tinkerer, there’s a secret weapon that can make things much easier: iFixit’s Essential Electronics Toolkit.

Produced by the famous repair company and used in all its product teardowns, this toolkit contains everything you need to pry open a MacBook and dig into its high-tech internals. You get 16 screwdriver heads of different shapes and sizes, tweezers, a suction handle, a spudger, and more.

Put together, these tools should make light work of the booby traps you often find inside Apple devices. If you’ve been dying to repair your Mac or know someone else who is, this kit makes for a great holiday present.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

A Shiny Pokémon Debate Has Fans Heated Over Legitimacy

Every once in a while, something causes a big, unexpected stir in the Pokémon community. Events like the rise of Pokémon Go and the reveal of the somewhat nebulous quality of Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s graphics have both brought this Pocket Monster-loving community together and torn it apart. The latest item to cause a ruckus was a photo posted last weekend on the Sword and Shield subreddit. User Specialist-Walrus864 shared that they purchased a device called a Switch Up Game Enhancer, a third-party Switch USB attachment that allows Sword and Shield players to automate the search for a Shiny Pokémon. “Shinies” are an extremely rare occurrence in the franchise, giving players a Pokémon with a different color palette than it normally has.

The prestige behind Shiny Pokémon traditionally comes from their rarity. Shiny Pokémon were first introduced in Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal; many a fan has a story of finding a Shiny Pokémon as a child and not knowing what it was or why its colors were “off.” As with anything rare, however, Shiny Pokémon have caused a lot of drama and unnecessary gatekeeping in the Pokémon community, with many taking it upon themselves to decide whether a Shiny Pokémon is “legitimate” or not.

The debate over the legitimacy of any Pokémon is simply ridiculous. Over the past few years, the community has started to take itself very seriously, and the response to Specialist-Walrus864’s photo is yet another example of just how sweaty it’s become. Unless you’re playing competitively in a tournament setting or attempting to damage someone’s game by transferring hacked Pokémon to them, there’s no reason to judge how or why someone obtained a Pokémon.

Gotta go fast?

Specialist-Walrus864’s photo unexpectedly sparked a heated debate from Reddit users, many of whom said that any shinies obtained through the use of the Switch Up (or any other non-natural method) aren’t legitimate. Others argued that some people just want certain Shiny Pokémon without having to go through the hours and hours of grind required. In Sword and Shield, Shiny Pokémon have a base chance of 1 in 4,096 of appearing randomly in the wild. Breeding Pokémon to produce a shiny egg takes an equally long amount of time, which is why many have chosen to speed things up with third-party programs or systems.

Shinies, here I come. I ordered one, got 6. from PokemonSwordAndShield

The Switch Up is different from classic cheat devices like the GameShark and Action Replay because it isn’t creating a Shiny Pokémon or hacking the game itself. It simply runs the player in circles at a sped-up rate in a small section of the Wild Area near a Pokémon Nursery, helping eggs hatch faster and speeding up the Shiny-hunting grind. The Switch Up also includes more obvious cheating abilities for other Switch games, but Specialist-Walrus864 insists that they used the device because they simply wanted to find a Shiny faster.

Rarest of them all

Shiny Pokémon are hard to get, cool-looking, and a symbol of status in the Pokémon community — provided you’ve obtained them “legitimately”, as deemed by that same community. Fans generally complain about the time needed to get them, but I’ve always had a hunch that some people secretly enjoy the grind.

To circumvent the time commitment, GameSharks and Action Replays previously allowed players to obtain any Shiny they wanted, shortening the entire process down to the time needed to pick a favorite. Though these devices were fairly widespread and have been in use for a long time, they haven’t decreased the value of Shiny Pokémon or people’s desire to get them “legitimately,” as evidenced by the people who argued against their use on Specialist-Walrus864’s photo. Shinies are still cool, rare, and very difficult to obtain through normal gameplay, even with the existence of out-of-game tools. The existence of Pokémon created or found through third-party methods won’t affect the value of a “legitimate” Shiny.

Not everyone approaches the Shiny-finding process from the same angle. Specialist-Walrus864 said in a follow-up comment that the reason they wanted to automate the process was that they want to spend time with their son rather than be locked in front of their Switch all day. People’s gaming habits change as they go through different phases of life, and not everyone is interested in maintaining legitimacy or status in the eyes of the Pokémon community. Sometimes you just want a cool version of your favorite Pokémon to enter into contests or fight through the Battle Tower with.

A gigantic shiny Azumarill.

This doesn’t even consider folks who are unable to get rare, legendary, or event Pokémon because of where they live or the status of their internet connection. Back in the day, fans who couldn’t get to a GameStop would use Action Replays to get Pokémon they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. If you don’t have a stable enough connection to receive a Shiny event Pokémon over the internet, the Switch Up could be used to legitimately obtain another version of that Pokémon. The idea that people who use third-party devices to assist with Shiny-hunting are always cheating, hacking, or ruining things for other players is borne only of a desire to maintain some sort of status within the Pokémon community.

Just toys

I understand why some people want to take Pokémon so seriously. Nintendo games have always been considered “games for kids” by a large segment of the gaming population, so players of competitive titles like Pokémon and Mario Kart had to fight to get their games taken seriously. The desire to take and be taken seriously has bled down into the Pokémon community, a large chunk of which is now split between ultra try-hards and everyone else.

A shiny Stantler appears!

As wonderful as it is to see video games taken seriously as a medium, we sometimes forget that they’re supposed to be entertainment first and foremost. Allowing everyone to play the games the way they see fit makes for a much healthier community than gatekeeping and attempting to check someone’s enjoyment.

One of the best parts of my life as a kid and early teen was getting to grow up in the golden era of Pokémon. Many of those in the Pokémon community today had similar experiences growing up. If we can all remember that feeling — the feeling of becoming a Trainer for the first time, of getting your first Shiny, of being the very best, like no one ever was — today’s Pokémon community would be much better off than it is now.

We need to let go of the ridiculous standards that we hold other players to and realize that there is no one right way to play Pokémon. We’re all just trying to catch ’em all, so have fun with your Pokémon and don’t worry about the way someone else is having fun with theirs.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Dead Space fans can probably expect some bad news from EA

Last month, Electronic Arts confirmed that the first Dead Space game is being remade for modern platforms. That announcement confirmed various rumors we heard in the lead-up to EA Play Live, but the rumor mill does not stop churning just because something was made official. Eagle-eyed viewers will note that while EA confirmed Dead Space, it didn’t reveal when the game will launch. However, thanks to a new report, we have a better idea of when the Dead Space remake may arrive.

GamesBeat‘s Jeff Grubb – the person who originally tipped the Dead Space remake – reports that we may not see Dead Space launch until fall 2022, putting it at just over a year away. GamesBeat learned this information from anonymous sources who are familiar with the project. When reached for comment, Electronic Arts simply told GamesBeat that it had nothing to share about the game’s release date yet.

Assuming these sources are accurate, that means we’ve got quite the wait before the Dead Space remake is in our hands. It isn’t a surprise to learn that we’re still a long way off because the remake was only given a brief teaser trailer at EA Play Live that ultimately didn’t show much of anything.

Good news on that front, as Grubb’s sources claim that EA does plan to show more of the game before the end of this year. It’s possible that could take the form of a trailer debut at The Game Awards in December. Whatever it is, we’re hoping that it shows us some actual gameplay footage from the remake.

Regardless, it’s probably a good idea for Dead Space fans to settle in because the release of this remake is likely more than a year away. Then again, if anyone is comfortable with waiting, it’s probably Dead Space fans, considering that the franchise has sat dormant since 2013. We’ll let you know when EA has something official to share about Dead Space, so stay tuned for more.

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Computing

Best Windows 11 Feature? Here’s How Developers and Fans Voted

Windows 11 comes with tons of new things to play with, which is why Microsoft was curious as to which feature Windows users liked best. In the results of a new bracket poll on the Windows Developer Twitter, fans have decided that rounded corners reign supreme over everything else.

Up against features like the new startup sound, new icons, and backgrounds, Windows fans really do seem to like rounded corners the most. Rounded corners narrowly defeated the new Snap Groups feature, which helps improve multitasking in Windows 11. It came home with a 54% victory, according to TechRadar.

And the gold ???? goes to…. rounded corners ????

Thanks to all who voted in our Windows 11 UI Element Bracket! pic.twitter.com/tnhqBl9y1s

— Windows Developer (@windowsdev) August 4, 2021

The results should not be too surprising. Though some might see it as a small change, rounded corners are a signature feature of Windows 11. Rounded corners are present on the Start Menu, Quick Settings, and event the notification center. You’ll find them no matter where you click.

It is a big change from Windows 10, where most of the operating system featured squared-off edges. Microsoft even made some subtle changes in recent Windows Insider builds so rounded corners expanded to more areas, such as the hidden icons flyout in the lower right corner of the Taskbar.

The second-place feature, Snap Controls, is the other defining feature of Windows 11. As we detailed, it lets you create more ways to tile your windows for multitasking so that you can get more work done and stay in your flows. Snap Controls even create Snap Groups in the Taskbar, so you can get back to your apps more easily as you minimize windows.

Windows 11 is still in beta testing with Windows Insiders, and Microsoft is targeting a holiday 2021 release for the new operating system. Other than rounded corners and the Snap Controls feature, it comes with a redesigned Microsoft Store and a Microsoft Teams integration. Microsoft is also bringing the Android app to Windows 11 soon via the Amazon App Store, though it is not yet available for testing.

If you want to experience these features, you can do so in a couple of steps. Just opt your PC into the Windows Insider Program, and join either the “Beta” or “Dev” branch of the Windows Insider program. The Beta branch is more stable, and the Dev branch will get features at a quicker pace.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Pokémon No Day: Why Fans Are Boycotting Pokémon Go Today

Pokémon Go fans are boycotting the popular mobile video game today with a protest dubbed Pokémon No Day. The boycott, which has gained traction on Twitter, is intended to speak out against Niantic rolling back the game’s COVID-19 friendly updates.

As the world fell into a lockdown in 2020, Pokémon Go developer Niantic had to act fast. Pokémon Go used to require that players go outside and walk around to catch some Pokémon. However, with COVID-19 spreading, doing so became dangerous. To keep players playing, Niantic opted to make it possible to play Pokemon Go from home. However, the developer is now rolling back those changes, even as a new Delta variant of the virus spreads. Understandably, fans are not happy and are taking today to boycott the game.

Last year, Niantic rolled out a suite of features that made it easier for Pokemon Go players to play from home. The developer let players access raid battles from their couches instead of rushing to meet other players in a single location. However, the biggest change made to the game came to its Go Battle League. Previously, this feature required players to walk a whopping three kilometers to participate.

These changes, and others that let players access Pokéstops, are now being rolled back by Niantic. Speaking to Polygon, the company explained that “Going outside and spinning PokéStops and Gyms is important to our mission because it encourages exploration of the world. These locations are local points of interest in a community and could be historical landmarks, art installations, local businesses, and more.”

It's unfortunate that @NianticLabs has decided that the pandemic is over, that we're no longer in danger, and that the disabled folks who were finally able to take part no longer are welcome.

Well then.

They get no more of my money, or my ad clicks.#PokemonNoDay#PokemonNoGo https://t.co/qK6LAxAKbK

— Moon-faced Assassin of Joy (@NomeDaBarbarian) August 5, 2021

However, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away just yet. The virus’ new Delta variant, which proves to be more transmissible and can even infect vaccinated people, is currently spreading across the U.S. It’s worth noting that a majority of the victims of this version of the virus are unvaccinated, and that vaccinated people have a largely reduced chance of being hospitalized or being seriously ill. Regardless, the virus is still here and represents enough of a clear and present danger that multiple states across the U.S are reinforcing mask mandates. Some are taking precautions a step further, like New York, where in New York City customers cannot enter movie theaters, gyms, or restaurants without proof of vaccination.

Still, Niantic is determined to roll back its COVID changes to Pokémon Go, and as a result, players have started Pokémon No Day. For today, players are staying off the game, with some promising that they are dropping Pokémon Go altogether. For now, it doesn’t seem like the boycott is going to receive much attention from Niantic, with the reinstatement of former COVID-19 adjustments to the game increasingly unlikely.

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

Sun Haven is an adorable farming sim for fantasy fans

Sun Haven is a farming-based life sim from Pixel Sprout Studios. It’s currently available in Steam‘s Early Access program and will release later on Switch.

The game’s been called Stardew Valley meets Dungeons and Dragons, but it seems like that’s more of a shorthand way of saying it’s a farming-based life sim with fantasy elements.

Quick and dirty version: This game is good; one day it’ll be great; some of you will want to buy it today and others should wait.

If you’re a seasoned veteran when it comes to games such as Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, My Time At Portia, and Graveyard Keeper, you’ll find yourself right at home with Sun Haven.

The Good

Pixel Sprout’s painstakingly captured the essence of these games and it’s quite obvious the company isn’t trying to shy away from comparison. When you fire up Sun Haven you’re treated to an extremely familiar opening scene (unless this is your first genre title, in which case: enjoy the trope) and then you’re dropped off in a town that has a nearly identical layout to the ones in Stardew and Keeper.

This is a good thing. The familiarity not only helped me acclimate to some problems we’ll get into later, but it made the differences between Sun Haven and similar titles even more startling.

In Sun Haven you’ll go through the same farm and village-building routine as you always have, but you’ll also experience roleplaying elements typically not present in those other games.

Experience points are used in a branching tree of unlockable abilities providing a layer of player progression I don’t think we’ve seen executed as well in the genre before.

What’s more, the developers also differentiate Sun Haven from similar titles by catering purely to the player. This game is dripping with quality of life tweaks on the decades-old formula.

These include the removal of arbitrary “stamina meters” whose purposes are better served by utilizing the in-game clock and day/night cycle, introducing ranged and magic combat options that actually make killing things easier, and absolutely filling the world with methods by which the players can permanently and endlessly upgrade their character’s abilities.

In some respects, the game can feel a bit too nice, but this is countered by its immensity.

The game has a lot going for it in sheer terms of scope, scale, and size. There are more than a dozen romanceable characters, the map is relatively large, and I felt as though I barely scratched the surface after 16 hours of gameplay. There’s a lot to do.

The not so good

Unfortunately, the game’s in Early Access because it’s not ready for a full release yet. And when I say it’s not ready, I mean it.

I’ll call it playable in its current state because I never experienced a crash while playing and, so far, I haven’t experienced anything that made it impossible for me to move forward in-game.

But that’s where the laurels end when it comes to the game’s level of polish.

First off, the controls are abysmal. The only way the game was playable for me or my review partner/fiancée was to utilize an uncomfortable controller-mouse combo where you do actions and selections with the mouse in one hand and use the left stick on a gamepad to control movement.

You can certainly just use keyboard and mouse, but the movement felt much better with a controller (note: we had to set the controller up in the Steam menu, the game itself doesn’t offer any apparent native controller support).

The bad

It gets worse. You can’t map any controls in game. This was pretty close to a deal-breaker for me. Nearly every game Sun Haven competes with makes controller support seamless while simultaneously nailing keyboard and mouse controls. This game feels like it was made by people who’d never used either, and that doesn’t make any sense.

This absolutely needs to be fixed, and fixed well before anyone can justify the $25.99 price tag this Early Access game ships with.

Moving on, there are other problems with the current game state that make it difficult to understand its developmer’s priorities. One of the best things about the game is discovering new gear options that change game mechanics or offer new features. Unfortunately, getting or using a fancy new treasure would often inexplicably result in a previously gained treasure or item disappearing.

It’s great that I found a magical book, but why did my hard-earned, badass, super sword disappear the moment I switched to it in my hotbar? These kinds of issues happen far too frequently.

And there were scores of instances where I simply didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t be sure whether the game was buggy or I was just being dense. I spent 15 full minutes trying to figure out how the hell to plant seeds – literally the first quest in the game. And I still don’t understand.

Check out this screen shot:

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Call of Duty League is bringing fans back to live events

Sixteen months after the last event with a live crowd, the (CDL) is once again opening its doors to fans. The Stage V Major tournament takes place at the end of the month, and it will host the league’s first live matches with fans since March 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything.

All 12 CDL teams are expected to take part in the tournament, which runs from July 29th to August 1st. It takes place at Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas, home of the 2020 season champs Dallas Empire. Fans will be able to attend during the final two days, with a weekend pass costing $59. The league without fans last month.

The CDL and the (OWL), both of which are run by Activision Blizzard, planned to hold matches in each team’s home city in 2020. That format didn’t last long before the leagues were forced to to for the season. That was a significant blow for both, but perhaps more so the CDL, which had only just started its first season. Esports are far more enjoyable with a crowd, and the future’s looking rosier for live events.

OWL, meanwhile, is running a few events with fans in China this season. Envy Gaming, which owns Dallas Empire and OWL’s Dallas Fuel, at Esports Stadium Arlington last month with the Fuel playing on stage and Overwatch League fans in attendance.

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Game

Fallout fans are making a mod that takes the series to post-apocalyptic London

With Bethesda hard at work on Starfield, a new single-player Fallout game is likely years away. But fans of the series have something else they can look forward to in the meantime outside of more Fallout 76 DLC. Just as the curtain was closing on E3 2021, a team of passionate fans released a trailer for Fallout: London, a “DLC-sized mod” of Fallout 4.

An FAQ offers additional details about the project. The mod will take place in 2237, putting it between the events of Fallout and Fallout 2. With an entire ocean between London and the continental US, many elements from the mainline Fallout games won’t prominently feature in the mod. For example, the forced evolutionary virus hasn’t made its way across the pond. That means you won’t face off against enemies like super mutants and deathclaws. “We will have a version of a vault, but it will be entirely different from that of Vault-Tec, except that it is a shelter, beneath the ground,” the Fallout: London team adds.

As you might imagine, the change of locale also opens the door for interesting factions to occupy the game world. The mod’s website currently lists seven, including one called Camelot that draws inspiration from the Knights of the Round Table. You can see them in the trailer fighting mutants with swords and plate armor. How very British of them.

According to the team, the condensed version of London they’ve created is about the size of the Commonwealth in Fallout 4 before Bethesda released DLC to make it bigger. Expect to visit post-apocalyptic versions of famous London boroughs like Hackney and Camden as you go about your adventures.

Fallout: London currently doesn’t have a release, but if you want to help make the project a reality, the team is accepting applications. In the meantime, the mod team says you’ll need the PC version of Fallout 4 and all of the downloadable content Bethesda released for the game to play Fallout: London once it comes out.

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