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Game

The long-delayed remaster of 1997’s ‘Blade Runner’ game is finally available

The much-delayed remaster of the classic Blade Runner adventure game is finally here. As Polygon reports, Nightdive Studios has released Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition for Windows PCs (via Steam) as well as PlayStation, Switch and Xbox consoles. The modernized version runs at 60 frames per second instead of the original’s 15FPS, complete with updated animations and models. Improved in-game tools help you work with clues as you track down hostile replicants, and gamepad support is available on all platforms.

Westwood’s 1997 game pushed the boundaries of both gameplay and graphics at the time. Instead of the usual fixed plot, Blade Runner changed the replicant with each playthrough while offering branching storylines, different outcomes and characters that operate on their own timetables. You couldn’t just cut to the chase and ‘retire’ the android at the start. And instead of relying on either 2D art or crude 3D, the title used voxels (pixels with 3D attributes) that allowed far more visual detail for the era, including volumetric lighting that mimicked the Ridley Scott movie’s gritty look.

You’ll still notice the limitations from 25 years ago. This won’t control as elegantly as present-day games, and Westwood’s budget limited it to only some voices from the movie cast (including Sean Young and James Hong) and recreated music from Vangelis’ score. Even so, this remains the closest you’ll get to filling Deckard’s shoes in a game while preserving the 1982 film’s atmosphere.

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Game

Cult hit RPG ‘Dragon’s Dogma’ is finally getting a sequel

Dragon’s Dogma didn’t rock the fantasy RPG world when it arrived in 2012, but it gradually developed a loyal fan base. If you’re part of that group, you’ll be glad to hear that Capcom has confirmed work on a sequel as part of a livestream celebrating the original’s 10th anniversary. Not that there are many details, mind you. As Kotaku reports, game director Hideaki Itsuno shared the Dragon’s Dogma II name, a logo and nothing else — don’t expect a release in the near future, then.

The first game was flawed, with an awkward interface and a mediocre open-world experience. However, its wild story, enjoyable combat and extensive customization helped win people over. It was popular enough to warrant an expansion (Dark Arisen), a Japan-exclusive online RPG (Dragon’s Dogma Online) and even a Netflix anime series.

It’s safe to presume Dragon’s Dogma II will target modern consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. With that said, it’s too soon to say much else. A lot has changed in the past decade, and a sequel will have to compete with action RPG rivals like Elden Ring. Still, this might give Capcom more room to address the original’s flaws and otherwise shake up its game mechanics.

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Computing

Google finally makes sharing easier in Docs and Drive

Google rolled out an update to Docs and Drive today that makes sharing files a little bit simpler. As originally reported by 9to5Google, the new Share menu is considerably smaller, and all of its elements are more compact and better organized.

The first thing you will notice is that “Share with people” and “Get link” have been condensed to one box. In the last version, Sharing with individual people was its own stand-alone box, with another box for link sharing directly beneath it. In the new Share interface, the “Get link” box has been entirely removed, and now you can simply copy the link with the button in the bottom left corner. It’s cleaner, removes a lot of needless text, and is far easier to find than before.

The “Share with people section” is largely unchanged. It has been retitled “People with access,” but otherwise the steps for sharing files with individual people are unchanged. Below that is the new “General access” section, which lets users adjust who can view the link. It can be set to restricted (where only the people added can view the link), a specific workspace ( a set group of users, like a company), or to anyone with the link. These settings used to be in the “Get link” section.

The “Copy link” button is directly below general access, as we covered above.

There is also a setting shortcut in the top-right corner that adjusts user settings. Those settings are:

  • Editors can change permissions and share
  • Viewers and commenters can see the option to download, print, and copy

Toggling these off restricts sharing and permission changes to the original file creator, and it restricts viewers from downloading, printing, or copying the document (at least conveniently).

Overall, these are useful changes to the sharing UI. Consolidating the Copy link button, in particular, is going to save a lot of people looking around for a commonly used feature.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Ryzen 7000 could finally threaten Intel’s mobile dominance

Ryzen 7000 is due later this year, and we’re expecting a pretty tight race on the desktop between it and Intel’s upcoming Raptor Lake CPUs. But based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re not expecting either company to achieve total victory with these new CPUs.

However, it could be a very different story for the best laptops. Based on what AMD and Intel have disclosed so far, there’s very good reason to believe Ryzen 7000 will give AMD the upper hand when it comes to laptop performance thanks to significantly improved efficiency with Ryzen 7000. Meanwhile, Intel’s upcoming Raptor Lake CPUs aren’t expected to improve efficiency significantly, putting Team Blue in a bad position for the near future.

Ryzen 7000 is already looking good for mobile

MSI/Tom’s Hardware

Although the info we’ve gotten from AMD concerning Ryzen 7000 is largely about desktop CPUs, it’s very much applicable to the upcoming mobile CPUs which are slated to launch in 2023, as both Ryzen 7000 desktop and laptop CPUs use the same Zen 4 architecture.

The key things AMD is promising with Ryzen 7000 desktop CPUs are 15% higher single-threaded performance, 35% higher multi-threaded performance, and most crucially, 25% higher performance per watt. This last point is by far the biggest hint we have regarding Ryzen 7000 mobile performance. Power consumption in laptops isn’t changing, so we can mostly treat 25% more performance per watt as 25% more performance.

Considering the differences between desktop and laptop CPUs, it looks even more positive for Ryzen 7000 mobile. Desktop CPUs tend to be less power efficient than laptop CPUs, because desktop CPUs consume more power to reach high levels of performance. If AMD had tested a mobile CPU, it’s highly likely the company would have touted a figure higher than 25%.

When it comes to improving performance for mobile CPUs, a simple increase in power efficiency is king. Laptops have limited power and thermal profiles, so being able to do more at any given wattage is really good. It’s why Ryzen 4000 and Intel 12th-gen were significantly better than their predecessors.

Ryzen 4000 chip in AMD's CEO hands.

When it comes to news specifically about mobile CPUs, AMD has been tight-lipped. There was one important announcement recently, though — namely, the confirmation that Ryzen 7000 mobile will feature two different CPU families: Dragon Range for high-end laptops and Phoenix Point for the upper-midrange and below. At the company’s Financial Analyst Day event, AMD also confirmed Phoenix Point would be on the 4nm node and would feature RDNA 3 graphics. Given that Phoenix Point is a sub-45-watt CPU, it probably has 8 cores, just like Ryzen 4000, 5000, and 6000 mobile CPUs.

But what about Dragon Range? On the surface, it may appear that Dragon Range is just a powered-up version of Phoenix Point. But if we’re to take AMD’s word for it, Dragon Range might be something much more.

AMD claims it aims to have the “highest core, thread, and cache ever for a mobile gaming CPU.” Unless AMD wants to pretend Alder Lake HX simply doesn’t exist, that means Dragon Range must have 16 cores in order for this boast to make any sense. Dragon Range also uses regular DDR5 instead of the efficient but slower LPDDR5 that Phoenix Point uses.

Raptor Lake doesn’t look like a big mobile upgrade

Someone holding the Core i9-12900KS processor.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

When Alder Lake launched in late 2021, it brought Intel back to parity with AMD. New 12th-gen CPUs power basically all of the high-end gaming laptops and lower-power Alder Lake CPUs dominate the premium segment. Alder Lake isn’t as efficient as Ryzen 6000, but it’s efficient enough to be competitive, and it’s the leader in single-threaded and multi-threaded performance.

But things are probably pretty bleak for Intel in the near future. Intel does hold the lead in single-threaded performance, but this metric is becoming less and less important with each new generation. Since Ryzen 7000 promises a big performance improvement across the board, Intel stands to lose ground if the company can’t match AMD’s pace. Unfortunately for Intel, it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Intel’s upcoming Raptor Lake CPU is basically a refresh of Alder Lake that adds eight E-cores. It might also feature some architectural tweaks and larger cache, but that’s where the magic stops. Crucially for Intel is the fact that Raptor Lake is on the same 10nm node as Alder Lake. It’s unlikely that Raptor Lake will deliver any significant efficiency improvements, which Intel desperately needs for its lower-power CPUs to not only beat Ryzen 6000, but to stand a chance against Ryzen 7000 Phoenix Point APUs.

Things don’t look so good at the high end either. While eight more E-cores sounds impressive, these E-cores aren’t very fast, even if they are efficient. Without a node improvement to go hand in hand with an increase in core count, it’s likely Raptor Lake will need more power to use all 24 of its cores, which means efficiency could go down (a terrible thing for laptops). In an environment where efficiency is king, can 24 core Raptor Lake really stand up to 16-core Dragon Range CPUs? It’s an uphill battle for Intel, even if Raptor Lake surpasses our expectations.

Intel still has the market

MSI Raider GE76 laptop with Fortnite.

The one thing Intel can comfortably rely on is its large presence in the industry, which ensures Intel will get more design wins than AMD even if Ryzen 7000 is more impressive. However, every generation that Intel fails to match AMD is another generation that AMD gains market share in laptops. In some segments, AMD is getting dangerously close to achieving parity with Intel. In 2019, AMD only had 15% share in the gaming laptop market, but in 2021, it reached 32%. AMD is also doing well in other segments, such as the premium laptop segment, where AMD went from 6% share in 2019 to 23% in 2021.

So, if Ryzen 7000 really is as powerful as it looks, 2023 is going to be another difficult year for Intel. It won’t be until mid to late 2023 that 7nm Meteor Lake CPUs arrive, and for Intel’s sake, hopefully it’s not too late by then.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Discord finally brings text chat to voice channels

Discord’s audio chat has sometimes been a confusing experience — as you can’t type in a voice channel, you often have to switch between channels just to share a link or funny GIF. Clarity is coming at last, though. The service has enabled text chat in voice channels across all platforms. Each channel now includes a dedicated section where you can type to your heart’s content. You don’t have to join the call to participate, either, so you can pop in to offer help without too much disruption.

Voice channels now have the same permissions as regular text chats, so moderators can limit the ability to send messages, stickers and other content. Perks from ‘boosted’ servers, like larger file uploads, will carry over to voice channels.

The feature is free for all servers. It’s available now for servers that haven’t been set to “Community” status (that is, only private-use servers), but managers can opt in if they’re comfortable. All servers will have text enabled by June 29th.

Discord’s move could help reduce confusion, not to mention the proliferation of channels created solely to handle text chat for voice users. To some degree, it’s surprising the hybrid of voice and text wasn’t available before. However, it’s likely to be a welcome change of pace. Critics have accused Discord of focusing too much on Clubhouse-like broadcasts, Premium channel memberships and other features that go beyond the company’s original gaming focus. With text chat in voice channels, Discord is going back to basics with a feature users have wanted for a long time.

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Computing

Microsoft could finally kill HDD boot drives for good

Microsoft could have plans to scrap its use of hard disk drives (HDD) among its main storage components on PCs running Windows 11, according to a recent report by industry analyst firm Trendfocus, as reported by Tom’s Hardware.

If Microsoft goes through with its plans, consumers could begin to see solid-state hard drives (SSD) instead, with the exception of dual-drive desktop PCs and gaming laptops, which require multiple types of storage, as Tom’s Hardware noted.

While Microsoft has declined to comment on the matter, the current trends indicate a complete market transition to SSD by 2023. Many PC makers already use SSD as their main storage option; however, it is still not a set standard, especially in emerging markets.

Trendforce claims Microsoft is internally pushing for the switch to SSD as the main storage standard for Windows 11 PCs; however, the brand has not implemented any requirements for computer or laptop makers to follow.

Tom’s Hardware noted that Windows 11 requires PCs to have at least 64GB of storage for installation but does not specify a type of hard drive. The operating system has, of course, been available since last October to both HDD and SSD devices.

However, the publication wonders if Microsoft requiring Windows 11 PCs to have SSDs in 2023 will lead to a list of minimum specifications for computers as a whole, and furthermore, whether device makers would be penalized for not following the list.

Overall, analysts note that Microsoft’s moves are financially driven, with SSDs costing more per unit than HDDs. With the pandemic boom of PCs dwindling and the price of computer components increasing due to inflation. Manufacturers remain uncertain about how they will be affected by global standings, in addition to business.

Trendfocus Vice President John Chen told Tom’s Hardware that 2023 is still not a hard date for the transition to SSD. Some suggestions considered in talks with Microsoft include holding off the transition of emerging markets until 2024 or pausing the desktop switch until that time.

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Computing

Microsoft has finally brought Teams to its own app store

Microsoft has now brought the Microsoft Teams app download to the Microsoft Store, providing a new installation method for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users other than a manual download.

Microsoft Group Program Manager, Mik Chernomordikov shared the news on Twitter on Monday, while publications including OnMSFT and Thurrott have confirmed that the software is near similar to the manual install version of Microsoft Teams, which you can get from Microsoft’s website. The current version is (1.5.00.11163.), OnMSFT noted.

Welcoming @MicrosoftTeams to Microsoft Store on @Windows! 🙌https://t.co/VFpFLIeodT pic.twitter.com/pU01CBP5Nc

— Mik Chernomordikov (@mixen) May 16, 2022

The main difference is that the downloadable version at the Microsoft Store is available only for work and school accounts for Windows 11 since there is already a version of Microsoft Teams available for consumer accounts on the new operating system, Thurrott noted.

Meanwhile, users can download Microsoft Teams for work, school, and consumer accounts.

Microsoft Teams was established in March of 2017 and has been available primarily as a manual download, the publication added. However, Microsoft has spent much of this year discussing its plans to streamline its productivity software suites.

Thurrott also noted that other applications, such as Microsoft Edge, have seen similar transitions, from manual downloads to Microsoft Store staples, as the brand works to transition its image into a one-stop-shop for productivity software.

We expect to hear more news on Teams at the upcoming Microsoft Build 2022 conference, which will take place from May 24 to May 26. Based on the names of the sessions, Microsoft may even discuss developments on how the metaverse might work with Microsoft Teams in professional spaces.

The complete Microsoft Build sessions catalog is now available for public viewing ahead of the conference, with approximately 300 of the 500 sessions having some association with Microsoft Teams.

Registration for The Microsoft Build conference is free and it can be attended virtually.

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Game

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC release date finally revealed

“The Delicious Last Course,” the hotly anticipated Cuphead DLC that has been in the works for years, finally has a release date. Though fans have known for a while that another DLC is in the pipeline, they’ve been left to speculate about when it may finally arrive. That changed at The Game Awards 2021 with a precise launch date.

Studio MDHR Corp.

Cuphead took the video game market by storm when it launched in 2017, introducing addictive and maddeningly difficult 2D gameplay styled after cel-animated classics from studios like Fleischer. The popularity led to an animated TV series based on the game called The Cuphead Show, which will hit Netflix next year.

Studio MDHR, the company behind Cuphead, previously announced plans to release a final DLC for its hit title called “The Delicious Last Course.” Unfortunately, the wait for this release has proven extensive, though that’s not entirely the studio’s fault. In November 2020, Studio MDHR said it had to delay The Delicious Last Course because pandemic-related changes in workflow made it “extremely challenging” to complete the DLC.

The work is nearly complete, Studio MDHR revealed as part of its The Game Awards announcement, and it is finally ready to make a release date known. Cuphead fans will be able to purchase the DLC starting on June 30, 2022, for PC, Xbox One, the PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. The announcement was joined by a new trailer that mixes clay-like animation with the game’s familiar, classy retro style.

The DLC will arrive around five years after the game’s initial launch, which is a considerable time to wait, but all signs point toward it being worth it in the end. Though the DLC will bring Cuphead the game to an end, the Netflix series will give fans a look at the game as an actual cartoon.



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Game

Google Stadia is finally available on LG TVs almost one year later

It took the better part of a year, but Google Stadia is available on recent LG TVs. Anyone with an LG set running webOS 5.0 or 6.0 (that is, 2020 or newer) can use the cloud gaming service to play Assassin’s Creed or Madden without requiring a media device or PC as a go-between. You’ll need a compatible gamepad, but that shouldn’t be an issue when the Stadia Controller and common console pads should work either wirelessly or through USB.

Not surprisingly, LG suggests one of its OLED TVs for Stadia thanks to the fast pixel response times, low latency and (for Stadia Pro subscribers) 4K HDR visuals. They’re certainly not required, though, and it’s arguably the lag from game streaming that will make the larger difference.

Stadia is available through the LG Content Store in all 22 countries where the service already exists. You probably won’t buy a TV with Stadia in mind, but this significantly widens the number of sets where native support is an option — you might be more inclined to try it if the barrier to entry is that much lower.

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Game

LG smart TVs finally get Google Stadia support, but only certain models

Google’s cloud-based gaming platform Stadia is now available on certain LG smart TVs. The new support eliminates the need to purchase and use a separate device for accessing one’s Stadia library, though it’s important to note that only newer LG models running specific versions of the company’s webOS support Google’s gaming service.

Ascannio/Shutterstock

LG smart TVs join the Stadia lineup

LG Electronics USA

Unlike a regular “dumb” television, a smart TV features more robust hardware that powers a built-in operating system. Some manufacturers like TCL and Westinghouse bundle their smart TVs with third-party operating systems like Fire TV and Roku OS, while other companies like LG sell smart TVs that feature the company’s own operating system.

LG’s smart TV platform is called webOS; it provides users with direct access to popular streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, apps that provide information on things like the weather, and more. In an announcement today, the South Korean company said some of its smart TVs also now offer Google Stadia (via PRNewswire).

Stadia subscribers can download the app in the LG app store on their smart TV, but only if the model runs webOS 5.0 or webOS 6.0. This means only newer smart TV models support the cloud-based gaming platform — if your model was made before 2020, there’s a good chance it isn’t included. The native support is available in all 22 markets where Stadia is available.

What is Google Stadia?

Google Stadia on devices

Google

Google Stadia is one of a growing number of cloud-based gaming platforms. Rather than purchasing typically expensive hardware like a console to play games, cloud-based services like Stadia allow users to stream content over a high-speed Internet connection.

Because the heavy-duty work takes place on Google’s servers, players are able to fire up their favorite titles — including AAA games — on a huge variety of devices otherwise incapable of running high-end games. Gamers can, for example, play Stadia games on an Android smartphone or tablet, their existing laptop using Chrome, or with the Chromecast Ultra, a 4K HDR streaming dongle that costs $109 USD.

Assuming the gamer has access to high-speed Internet service, Stadia is a great way to play the latest games without spending a bunch of money — and it is particularly great for consumers who already own smart TVs, but only if those models are supported. By adding native Stadia support, LG has given some of its customers the option of joining Stadia at minimal costs, requiring them to merely buy a compatible controller and the games they want.

Beyond Stadia

NVIDIA GeForce NOW on phone

Nikkimeel/Shutterstock

While Stadia is a great platform, it’s not the only cloud-based game streaming service on the market. Last month, LG announced a GeForce NOW app beta test for select 2021 webOS smart TV models, paving the way for access to NVIDIA’s own cloud gaming platform. The GeForce NOW service is particularly useful for gamers who have already purchased a number of titles because the platform connects with existing PC gaming stores.

Consumers who aren’t concerned with native LG smart TV support can also check out PlayStation Now, Sony’s own cloud-based game streaming platform. PS Now provides access to a huge library of PlayStation games dating back to the PS2 era, though they can only be streamed on the PS4, PS5, and Windows PCs. There’s also Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming platform offered as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription, providing customers with access to more than 100 console games on mobile devices and Windows PCs.

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