Categories
AI

Google is releasing an open source harassment filter for journalists

Google’s Jigsaw unit is releasing the code for an open source anti-harassment tool called Harassment Manager. The tool, intended for journalists and other public figures, employs Jigsaw’s Perspective API to let users sort through potentially abusive comments on social media platforms starting with Twitter. It’s debuting as source code for developers to build on, then being launched as a functional application for Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists in June.

Harassment Manager can currently work with Twitter’s API to combine moderation options — like hiding tweet replies and muting or blocking accounts — with a bulk filtering and reporting system. Perspective checks messages’ language for levels of “toxicity” based on elements like threats, insults, and profanity. It sorts messages into queues on a dashboard, where users can address them in batches rather than individually through Twitter’s default moderation tools. They can choose to blur the text of the messages while they’re doing it, so they don’t need to read each one, and they can search for keywords in addition to using the automatically generated queues.

A picture of the Harassment Manager dashboard as described in the post

Google

Harassment Manager also lets users download a standalone report containing abusive messages; this creates a paper trail for their employer or, in the case of illegal content like direct threats, law enforcement. For now, however, there’s not a standalone application that users can download. Instead, developers can freely build apps that incorporate its functionality and services using it will be launched by partners like the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Jigsaw announced Harassment Manager on International Women’s Day, and it framed the tool as particularly relevant to female journalists who face gender-based abuse, highlighting input from “journalists and activists with large Twitter presences” as well as nonprofits like the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Committee To Protect Journalists. In a Medium post, the team says it’s hoping developers can tailor it for other at-risk social media users. “Our hope is that this technology provides a resource for people who are facing harassment online, especially female journalists, activists, politicians and other public figures, who deal with disproportionately high toxicity online,” the post reads.

A screenshot of the reporting option in Jigsaw’s Harassment Manager

Google has harnessed Perspective for automated moderation before. In 2019 it released a browser extension called Tune that let social media users avoid seeing messages with a high chance of being toxic, and it’s been used by many commenting platforms (including Vox Media’s Coral) to supplement human moderation. But as we noted around the release of Perspective and Tune, the language analysis model has historically been far from perfect. It sometimes misclassifies satirical content or fails to detect abusive messages, and Jigsaw-style AI can inadvertently associate terms like “blind” or “deaf” — which aren’t necessarily negative — with toxicity. Jigsaw itself has also been criticized for a toxic workplace culture, although Google has disputed the claims.

Unlike AI-powered moderation on services like Twitter and Instagram, however, Harassment Manager isn’t a platform-side moderation feature. It’s apparently a sorting tool for helping manage the sometimes overwhelming scale of social media feedback, something that could be relevant for people far outside the realm of journalism — even if they can’t use it for now.

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Game

‘Diablo IV’ lands in 2023 with Necromancers and an open world

Given that Microsoft will soon be the new owner of Blizzard Activision, there was bound to be some kind of Diablo announcement at its Summer Game Fest showcase. While we knew a direct sequel was coming as far back as November 2019, we got yet another deeper look at Diablo IV, which was once pushed back… indefinitely. Now expect to see it land sometime in 2023. 

The developers are promising a different style of Diablo, with open-world exploration, more substantial character customization and what appears to be the ability to switch playstyle with different skills. 

If players clear out the evil from certain areas, and they’ll turn into friendlier places for trade and everything that isn’t hacking away at monsters. Expect to see specific zones for PvP duels, and a kind of adaptive difficulty where talented players will get marked out in the open world.

For anyone not quite taken by the mobile-centric Diablo Immortal, it can’t come soon enough. There hasn’t been a new Diablo game in 10 years. If you have been waiting that long, beta pre-registration is now open here.

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AI

RISC-V grows open source processor membership 130% in 2021

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RISC-V International said it has grown during the pandemic as its RISC-V open source processor membership popped 130% in 2021.

The nonprofit group’s membership has grown from a ragtag group of feisty academics to some of the biggest tech companies on earth like Google. Over the past decade, the group has groomed RISC-V into a viable alternative to proprietary Arm and Intel-based processors, and it appears that a lot of big companies and engineering geeks like what they see.

RISC-V chip revenues are expected to generate $400 million in 2021 and reach $1 billion in revenue by 2024, according to a prediction made this week by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte. The firm said the ripples of RISC-V could turn into the waves of the future. Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International, said in an interview with VentureBeat that there are 2,4278 members in the group now, up 130% since the start of the year, and 292 companies, up 27.5% this year.

“We’ve increased and grown and we have seen a deeper investment coming in from around the world, as you see that the reflection in our board composition, which is both premier members who are coming in at our highest level of membership, as well as elected representatives of various groups,” Redmond said. “That deeper investment is a reflection of them bringing RISC-V across their portfolio of products rather than just isolated to a few projects.”

The RISC-V membership will be gathering in San Francisco both in-person and online at an event anchored at the Moscone convention center. The members are announcing today that they have ratified 15 new specifications — representing more than 40 extensions to the hardware architecture — for the RISC-V instruction set architecture, which anyone can use for free.

Calista Redmond, CEO of the RISC-V Foundation.

Above: Calista Redmond, CEO of the RISC-V Foundation.

Image Credit: RISC-V Foundation

Redmond said one of the benefits of RISC-V is that it is sanction-free. As an open source platform, RISC-V is not affected by export restrictions. This makes it appealing to companies, especially in China, that have been affected or fear being affected by those restrictions, Deloitte said. Redmond said that the nonprofit had to reboot its entire membership base as it transferred its headquarters from the U.S. to Switzerland in order to erase any doubt that it was independent of geographic borders.

Deloitte said that companies are planning on using it for different storage, graphics, and machine-learning applications. Even Intel’s foundry services division is partnering with RISC-V player SiFive. Arm argues that it has more features and has more support options for developers. Since Arm is based in the United Kingdom and Intel in the U.S., Chinese manufacturers worry that they could lose access to the architectures if trade friction heats up. Nvidia is hoping regulators will approve its plan to pay $40 billion to buy Arm.

Redmond said there are a lot of Chinese members, but overall RISC-V’s base is about a third North America, a third European, and a third Asian.

“We’ve always been global. There is nothing that changed at all in the rules, regulations, or global constructs that we participate in,” Redmond said. “Our move was primarily just to address any concerns that the landscape could change.”

Redmond said that designers don’t have to worry about constraints on what they do and that gives them freedom for innovation.

Deloitte also said that startups care about the royalty-free open source architecture. In the three years between 2020 and 2022, venture capitalists (VCs) will invest about $22 billion into startup chip companies of all kinds, Deloitte said. A million-dollar license fee may not matter to one of the world’s largest smartphone companies, but it does matter for a startup that has relatively little cash and a monthly burn rate, Deloitte said.

The served addressable market (SAM) for RISC-V in automotive alone was 4 million cores in 2020, forecast to rise to 150 million cores in 2022, and to 2.9 billion cores by 2025.

New specifications

Above: RISC-V software is expected to grow dramatically.

Image Credit: Tractica

Mark Himelstein, chief technology officer of RISC-V International, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the specifications cover vector, scalar cryptography, and hypervisor features that will keep extending the reach of RISC-V processors into new markets. Developers will find it easier to create RISC-V applications for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), connected and autonomous cars, data centers, and more, he said.

“The development of these specifications really showcased the incredible benefits of open collaboration across companies and geographies as members worked together to develop novel approaches for the latest computing requirements,” said Krste Asanović, chair of the RISC-V International, in a statement.

Redmond and Himelstein said that RISC-V’s advantages include that designs based on it are easy to modify. As such, they can offer greater flexibility than traditional chip designs.

“All 15 of those specifications have been ratified by the board. They all have passed acceptance criteria. And we’re very excited about that,” Himelstein said. “And we have another bunch on deck.”

The RISC-V Vector specification will help accelerate the computation of data intensive operations like ML inference for audio, vision, and voice processing. With RISC-V Vector, developers can process complex data arrays and scalar operations quickly and with low latency. The simplicity and flexibility of Vector allows companies to easily customize RISC-V solutions for a wide variety of edge computing applications from consumer IoT devices to industrial ML applications.

“The new RISC-V Vector specification will change the way people think about vector designs,” said Dave Ditzel, executive chairman of Esperanto Technologies, in a statement. “With just over 100 instructions, the extension offers a simple and elegant approach to efficiently process the latest machine learning algorithms.”

The RISC-V Hypervisor specification virtualizes supervisor-level architecture to efficiently host guest operating systems atop a type-1 or type-2 hypervisor. Virtual machine implementations require the RISC-V Hypervisor specification. The Hypervisor specification will help drive RISC-V adoption in cloud and embedded applications where virtualization is critical, such as in data centers, automotive applications, and industrial control applications. The RISC-V community has ported KVM and other open source virtual machines on top of simulators using the new specification.

The RISC-V Scalar Cryptography specification enables the acceleration of cryptographic workloads for small footprint deployments. These extensions significantly lower the barrier to entry for secure and efficient accelerated cryptography in IoT and embedded devices.

“The RISC-V Scalar Cryptography extensions allow for implementing standard cryptographic hash and block cipher algorithms that are an order of magnitude faster than using standard instructions in some cases. With RISC-V’s transparent and open approach, anyone can efficiently implement critical cryptographic algorithms in any class of CPU,” said Ben Marshall, cryptographic hardware engineer at PQShield and member of the RISC-V Technical Steering Committee, in a statement. “In addition to the performance benefits, these new extensions are very cheap to implement so companies can integrate popular cryptography algorithms in even the smallest connected devices.”

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Game

Elden Ring Gameplay Trailer Shows Off Its Open World

Today’s first look at gameplay for Elden Ring, FromSoftware’s highly-anticipated upcoming title, is all-encompassing. The 19-minute video from the developer offers details on everything in the game, including the random encounters that players can expect, new gameplay mechanics like crafting and stealth, and the changes that have come from giving players the option to do a little hop whenever they want.

Elden Ring takes place in The Lands Between, and that’s pretty much all we got of the game’s story or setting during today’s presentation. It’s not clear why players will be adventuring through the strange, cursed land or what their goal is. Like the Dark Souls games, Elden Ring‘s story may be told through item descriptions. However, much like a Dark Souls game, there are places scattered throughout the world for players to rest at called sites of grace. Lights from the sky point to these sites, giving players a beacon to head towards if they need to get away from the action.

Elden Ring‘s largest departure from all of From Software’s other games is that it’s totally open-world. Players can summon a spectral horse and ride through The Lands Between, meeting NPCs or taking part in random encounters. One such encounter shown today had a dragon swoop in and attack the player as they were passing a patrol of enemies.

Players will also be able to ambush convoys of enemies, stealing treasure from the carriages they carry. In today’s video, the player accomplished this by sneaking up on enemies and stunning them with a heavy strike before taking them down. Similarly, players can prepare for fights by crafting useful items, including arrows, from the materials they find around the world.

When they approach enemies or the game’s dungeons, players won’t be bound to the same constraints of other Souls-like games, either. Movement in Elden Ring seems to be a blend of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, with fast dodges being available in combat and quick, high jumps performable at any time. Giving players the ability to jump without needing a running start has evidently affected the design of the game’s dungeons as well. Players can take multiple routes through Elden Ring‘s dungeons by climbing across rooftops or into open windows.

Not everything in Elden Ring is different from FromSoftware’s previous games, though. Players can still summon other players for co-op play or invade others to ruin someone’s day.

Elden Ring is set to launch on February 25, 2022, for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Anyone who wants to try out the game early can register for a Closed Network Test slated to take place next week.

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AI

Eclipse Foundation launches open source collaboration around software-defined vehicles

One of the world’s largest open source software (OSS) foundations, the Eclipse Foundation, this week announced an invitation to leaders in the technology sector to join in the commencement of a new working group initiative specifically focused on developing a new grade of open source software-defined vehicles.

Alongside the Eclipse Foundation are several top industry players that are joining the foundation’s open source collaborative effort including Microsoft, Red Hat, Bosch, and others.

“With digital technologies unlocking the future of accessible, sustainable, and safe transportation experiences, mobility services providers are increasingly looking to differentiate through software innovation,” said Ulrich Homann, corporate vice president and distinguished architect at Microsoft. “By standardizing the development, deployment, and management of software-defined vehicles through collaboration in the open-source space, businesses can bring tailored mobility solutions to their customers faster and can focus on innovations.”

The Eclipse Foundation’s initiative aims to provide “individuals and organizations with a mature, scalable, and business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation,” according to the foundation’s press release.

Benefits for mobility

The new working group will focus entirely on building next-generation vehicles based on open source. By open-sourcing this project, the foundation is hoping to pull solutions and innovation from the best and brightest enterprises and individuals across the globe — and doing so with an eye toward creating a strong foundation for software-defined vehicles and future mobility.

“The software-defined vehicle will play a key role in the future of mobility,” Christoph Hartung, president and chairman of embedded systems maker ETAS, said in a press release. “The explosive increase in complexity can only be mastered by working closely together as we do in this initiative.”

The foundation is focused on fostering an environment from which to pave the way for software-defined vehicles, but it doesn’t stop there. Eclipse is also looking at how both its new working group and the innovation of software-defined vehicles can be used to create robust accessibility options for people with various disabilities and physical needs.

“The transfer of personalized functionality across vehicles and brands will be eased — assume a rental car,” Sven Kappel, vice president and head of project for Bosch, told VentureBeat. “So, in the given hardware restraints, the needs of [an] impaired car user could be far faster retrieved and be met by a large developer base with lower implementation cost than classical vehicle architecture and software developing paradigms.”

A software-defined future

Software-defined vehicles have captured the attention of industry leaders, academics, and the public alike. Next-gen vehicle developers are increasingly looking to provide advanced mobility options to serve the global community, just as smart city technologies and initiatives are similarly on the rise.

The benefits from this open-sourced working group can extend beyond vehicles into other industries as well, including cloud computing and manufacturing. A similar open source-focused working initiative in another industry sector could create benefits ranging from collaborative interdisciplinary solutions to ensuring thoughtful inclusion of anticipated consumer needs early on.

As the automotive industry, like other sectors, continually pivots toward a software-defined future, interdisciplinary collaboration with open source technology will further enable innovation. Manufacturers and suppliers will be better equipped to leverage standards that make innovations available to more people — for the software-defined vehicle space, this means being able to bring customizable features to drivers and passengers at an accelerated rate, Homann explained to VentureBeat via email.

“A global open source community can leverage a wide variety of voices, which can lead to greater participation, such as contributing tools and development principles that can enhance diversity and inclusion,” Homann said.

By building and utilizing a strong, open foundation, vehicle manufacturers worldwide will be able to zero in on key differentiators for customers, like mobility services and end-user experience improvements, at the same time that they are saving both time and cost on the non-differentiating elements, such as operating systems, middleware, and communication protocols, Eclipse’s press release claims.

“Although we have extensive roots with the automotive community, a project of this scope and scale has never been attempted before,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. “This initiative enables participants to get in at the ‘ground level’ and ensure they each have an equal voice in this project.”

The future of software-defined vehicles

The Eclipse Foundation — which has reportedly fostered more than 400 open source projects to date — is eyeing the future as it attempts an open source project unmatched to any of its previous 400. By creating an environment that it anticipates will become “an open ecosystem for deploying, configuring, and monitoring vehicle software in a secure and safe way,” and will assist with achieving a significant transformation for the industry at a large scale.

“The end goal of this project is a completely new type of automobile defined in free, open-to-anyone software that can be downloaded into an off-the-shelf chassis. Adding new features to your call will simply require a software update. An enormous first step in a new era of vehicle development,” a press release from Eclipse stated.

A transportation and logistics report released in August by the market data firm Statista projects that electronic systems will account for nearly 50% of the total price of a new car by 2030. Additionally, the report claims that even before then, by 2025 about 33% of new cars sold will be operated by an electric battery. In fact, the report predicts that within the next decade, the rise of mobility services and autonomous vehicles will launch a revolution throughout the entire auto sector.

In addition, another recent report, titled “Software-defined vehicle Research Report 2021: Architecture Trends and Industry Panorama,” points out that in order to keep up with the Joneses of the automotive industry, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must “open up vehicle programming to all enterprises by simplifying the development of vehicle software and increasing the frequency of updates, so as to master the ecological resources of developers.” This further underscores the Eclipse Foundation’s ultimate goal of inviting industry leaders to collaboratively build next-generation vehicles based on open source.

According to the press release, Eclipse plans to create a space fueled by “transparency, vendor-neutrality, and a shared voice” in order to ensure all participants in the open source-driven project have the opportunity to shape the future of the working group — and the very future of vehicle development itself.

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AI

Neuron7 employs open source AI tools for field service across devices

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Neuron7.ai emerged from stealth this week to reveal its platform that combines various open source AI technologies to automate field service across many types of devices. The product’s promise earned the company $4.2 million in seed funding from Nexus Venture Partners and Battery Ventures.

Naturally, there’s already a fair number of organizations attempting to apply AI to a wide range of field service issues, from optimizing traffic routes to encouraging customers to engage bots rather than humans to resolve an issue.

It’s not likely AI platforms are going to replace the need for field technicians anytime soon, given all the issues that might be encountered once a device is deployed. However, AI will clearly play a significant role in enabling a limited number of field service technicians to support a much wider range of devices deployed anywhere in the world.

Neuron7.ai is building a platform that consumes the recommendations created by open source AI engines and models. The aim is to make AI technologies accessible to organizations that typically don’t have the resources required to build AI models that specifically address the unique needs of a field service team, said Neuron7.ai CEO Niken Patel.

Open source AI tools

The Neuron7 platform ingests structured and unstructured data from a wide range of sources, including product and service manuals, knowledge bases, technician notes, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and messaging systems such as Slack. It then applies various open source AI engines based on frameworks such as TensorFlow to determine how to best remediate a performance issue or an outright device failure, said Patel.

Designed as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, Neuron7’s goal is to make AI accessible to organizations that need to optimize field service across an increasing array of devices that require remote support by technicians, Patel said. Technicians can’t be expected to be experts on every potential issue or parameter for all those different devices — “No one can be an expert on every device,” he said.

In addition to aggregating all the data that technicians require to resolve an issue as soon as possible, Patel said, Neuron7 captures the unique knowledge and expertise of the technicians that service the devices to ultimately make the AI platform more accurate. That capability mitigates turnover issues that occur when experienced technicians leave an organization and new ones are onboarded.

Investing in service

Pricing for the Neuron7 platform is based on a subscription model, with tiers that depend on the number of data sets that need to be trained. However, Patel said the company is hoping to shift to a pricing model that is based more on the outcomes enabled by the platform.

Angel investors, early backers, and advisors of the company include Akash Palkhiwala, CFO at Qualcomm; Ashish Agarwal, CEO of Neudesic Global Services; Kintan Brahmbhatt, general manager for Amazon Podcasts; and Anand Chandrasekaran, executive vice president for Five9.

In the age of COVID-19, organizations are looking for ways to automate service management as much as possible to reduce the number of technicians they need to dispatch. Achieving that goal requires organizations to provide customer support technicians with as much relevant data as possible so they can resolve any issues remotely. The challenge is that the devices being deployed in B2C and B2B environments are becoming more complex, Patel said. As more complex devices are connected within an internet of things (IoT) application environment, the need to augment technicians with an AI platform becomes more pressing, he added.

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Game

‘Diablo II: Resurrected’ open beta begins on August 20th

In the midst of a that has engulfed the company in turmoil, Blizzard will give Diablo II fans the chance to play the game’s during two separate early access weekends. The first of those will begin on August 13th at 1PM ET. It will be open to those who pre-ordered Diablo II: Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection, which includes both the remaster and Diablo 3, on PC, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and PS4.

Diablo II Resurrected beta timing

Blizzard Entertainment

If you fall into that camp, you’ll have until August 17th at 1PM ET to play through Act I and II of the story as the Amazon, Barbarian, Druid, Paladin or Sorceress. What’s more, this time around, Blizzard will allow you to play with up to seven other players, with support for cross-progression enabled. Just note that during the early access weekend, that feature will only work on platforms where you’ve pre-ordered the game.

One week later, starting on August 20th at 1PM ET, Blizzard will open the beta to anyone who wants to take part. At that point, you’ll have until the 23rd to see the work the studio has done to update its beloved action RPG. Unfortunately, neither beta will be available to check out on the Nintendo Switch. And if you want to see how the Assassin and Necromancer play in the remaster, you will also have to wait until the game’s date.

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Game

Diablo II Resurrected open beta dates and details revealed

The release date for Diablo II Resurrected is quickly approaching, but Blizzard will be hosting a pair of beta tests before the full game arrives. The first is an early access test that will only be available to those who pre-ordered the game, while the second is an open beta test that anyone can participate in. Today, Blizzard confirmed the dates for these beta tests and revealed details about each of them.

The early access beta will be taking place this weekend, kicking off on Friday, August 13th for PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, and PS4 players (sadly, no Nintendo Switch) who pre-ordered Diablo II Resurrected or the Diablo Prime Evil Collection. The beta will begin at 10 AM PDT, though you can see the start time for your specific time zone in the image below. The early access beta will run until Tuesday, August 17th, at 10 AM PDT.

The open beta will kick off on the same platforms a few days later, running from Friday, August 20th at 10 AM PDT to Monday, August 23rd at 10 AM PDT. This beta is free for anyone on the supported platforms listed above to participate in, regardless of pre-order status. Once again, you can check the image below for regional start times.

This will be a multiplayer beta, so you’ll be able to link up with friends, but like the technical alpha we saw earlier in the year, progression through the story will be limited to just Acts 1 and 2. However, there will be two new classes to play this time around, as Blizzard has added the Paladin and the Druid to these betas. They’ll be joining the Barbarian, Sorceress, and Amazon, the three classes available during the technical alpha. Sorry, Necromancer and Assassin fans, but it looks like you’ll need to wait for the full game to play as your class of choice.

Blizzard has put together a lengthy FAQ about these betas, and that can be found over on the company’s news site. Diablo II Resurrected is out on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 on September 23rd, 2021.

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Game

What you’ll get in the ‘Back 4 Blood’ open beta

After playing a few hours of Back 4 Blood, the new co-op survival shooter from Left 4 Dead studio Turtle Rock, I was left with two questions: How is this legal? And, when can I play again? Turns out, right now.

The Back 4 Blood open beta runs from August 5th to 9th, and again from August 12th to 16th, on PC, Xbox and PlayStation consoles. I got a sneak peek at what the beta has to offer on PC, with an emphasis on PvE content, since there were some technical issues with PvP modes during my playtime. Those have been resolved and I’m told PvP is ready to rock for the open beta.

Not that you should expect it to be perfect. Turtle Rock Studios is using the open beta to fine-tune Back 4 Blood ahead of its release on October 12th, and developers are serious about gathering as much feedback as possible. There’s plenty to track: The game uses a Left 4 Dead-style AI director that adjusts the difficulty level in real-time as you plow through hordes of Ridden in your own special way. There’s also a card system that allows players to build decks of class-specific perks, plus corruption cards that apply randomized effects to every level, changing up the gameplay each time. And it’s a true cross-platform game, running across console generations and PC. All of this is on top of a new PvP mode and the core PvE gameplay, which has to feel like butter if it’s going to satisfy Turtle Rock’s Left 4 Dead fans.

I’m one of those fans, and I have to say, I’m enjoying the hell out of Back 4 Blood. Left 4 Dead is a pivotal game of my past, and Back 4 Blood taps into those good feelings in a delicious way.

Back 4 Blood

Turtle Rock Studios

I’m most interested in PvE, since that’s the core of my nostalgia in this case, and I ended up playing about two hours of the main co-op mode with some new friends. The open beta features two PvE maps for co-op runs and two maps for the Swarm PvP mode, where teams of four take turns fighting each other as the Cleaners (the main characters) and the Ridden (the infected former humans). A new character, Mom, joins the roster of playable Cleaners for the first time, too.

One thing that stands out in Back 4 Blood is its sense of replayability. While the levels feel familiar, they’re filled with secrets and they naturally encourage dynamic play, offering various ways to approach any single encounter. The card system adds a lovely layer of customization to the game, while the corruption cards make each new round just a little different, just a little more exciting. There’s a variety of weapons and items to gather as well, and a healthy allotment of ammo drops throughout the maps, especially if you go exploring. 

Shooting the Ridden is immensely satisfying with any gun, while getting snatched up or knocked down by a Special Ridden is shocking basically every time. Meanwhile, the dialogue among the Cleaners is cute, with references to “the new normal,” lizard people in the government and the lamestream media, to name a few joke opportunities. The protagonists of Back 4 Blood aren’t shocked and running for their lives; they’re on a mission to eradicate the Ridden and create safe zones for human life to resume. It’s a refreshing perspective twist.

I ran into a few issues during my time with Back 4 Blood’s open beta content, but nothing that felt insurmountable at this stage of development. Essentially, I trust Turtle Rock to take the feedback from the open beta and apply it to the game in the smartest, most gory way possible for its launch in October.

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Categories
Computing

How to Open the Nvidia Control Panel in a Few Steps

The Nvidia Control Panel allows you to access all the features of your graphics card, so knowing how to open the Nvidia Control Panel allows you to quickly change your monitor and graphics card settings.

Although the Nvidia Control Panel isn’t readily apparent on your desktop, opening it is simple. We have a handful of ways to access it, as well as some tips for how to get the most out of the software.

How to open the Nvidia Control Panel

Before getting started, make sure to download the latest version of Nvidia Control Panel. Even if you have a previous version installed, we recommend selecting the Clean Installation option to make sure you don’t have any conflicting drivers or software.

If you’ve recently updated your graphics card drivers, you shouldn’t need to worry about that. When you update your drivers, Nvidia Control Panel should automatically install. Regardless of how you got it, you can open the Nvidia Control Panel by following these steps:

Step 1: Right-click anywhere on your desktop.

Step 2: (Windows 11 only) Select Show More Options. 

Step 3: Select Nvidia Control Panel. 

That’s the quickest and easiest way to pull up the Nvidia Control Panel, but there are a few other ways to access it. It should be open any time you’re using your graphics card, so you can also find it by following these steps:

Step 1: Expand the system tray in your taskbar.

Step 2: Find the Nvidia logo (called Nvidia Settings).

Step 3: Right-click it, and select Nvidia Control Panel. 

You can also find the Nvidia Control Panel through the Control Panel in Windows 10. However, recent versions of Windows have adopted a different look, making this route the most difficult. If you’re a hotkey fanatic, you can also use Windows Key + S and quickly search for the Nvidia Control Panel to pull it up.

What you can do in Nvidia Control Panel

Nvidia Control Panel is focused entirely on your graphics card. That includes the card itself, how it uses settings in games and applications, and how your monitor behaves. It’s a dense piece of software, so we can’t cover everything here, but we’ll hit the most important parts.

The Manage 3D Settings area is where you’ll spend a lot of your time. Here, you can tweak global settings like your antialiasing mode, max frame rate, and if you want to use G-Sync with your monitor. You can change these setting globally or on a program-by-program basis by switching the tab.

Resolution settings in the Nvidia Control Panel.

After that, the Change Resolution section is very important. As the name implies, you can change the resolution of your display here. More importantly, you can also change the refresh rate and color settings of your monitor. It’s important to check this section out when you buy a new monitor, especially if it has a high refresh rate.

Finally, the Set Up Multiple Displays option is critical if you have a multi-monitor setup. It allows you to quickly identify displays and drag them around to match how they’re sitting on your desk. You can also manage Nvidia Surround settings here if you want to stretch applications across multiple screens.

Nvidia Control Panel vs. GeForce Experience

The games page in Nvidia GeForce Experience.

If you install Nvidia Control Panel with a GeForce graphics card, you’ll get GeForce Experience as well. Unlike Nvidia Control Panel, GeForce Experience is focused on gaming. You can’t tweak your graphics card or display settings. Still, GeForce Experience unlocks all the features available on Nvidia graphics cards.

The most important area is the Drivers tab, which allows you to see and install the latest drivers. We recommend checking here often, as new drivers add support and additional features to games as they’re released. If you’re experiencing a problem with your graphics card, this is the first place to look.

Over in the Settings area — found by clicking the cog icon next to your username — you’ll find a host of useful information about your PC. In addition to your specs, you can see if features like Nvidia GameStream, Ansel, and Freestyle are working on your graphics card. If you have one of the best graphics cards from the last few years, you should have all the features available.

Also in this area, the Games & Apps section is important. Here, you can point GeForce Experience to where you install your games and apps. GeForce Experience will automatically optimize your settings in supported games, so it’s worth scanning your computer for new additions occasionally.

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