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Game

‘Portal’ will get ray tracing to show off NVIDIA’s 4000-series GPUs

Portal 3 may never happen, but at least we’ve got a new way to experience the original teleporting puzzle shooter. Today during his GTC keynote, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced Portal with RTX, a mod that adds support for real-time ray tracing and DLSS 3. Judging from the the short trailer, it looks like the Portal we all know and love, except now the lighting around portals bleeds into their surroundings, and just about every surface is deliciously reflective. 

Similar to what we saw with Minecraft RTX, Portal’s ray tracing mod adds a tremendous amount of depth to a very familiar game. And thanks to DLSS 3, the latest version of NVIDIA’s super sampling technology, it also performs smoothly with plenty of RTX bells and whistles turned on. This footage likely came from the obscenely powerful RTX 4090, but it’ll be interesting to see how well Portal with RTX performs on NVIDIA’s older 2000-series cards. Current Portal owners will be able to play the RTX mod in November.  

NVIDIA RTX Remix

NVIDIA

Huang says the company developed the RTX mod inside of its Omniverse environment. To take that concept further, NVIDIA is also launching RTX Remix, an application that will let you capture existing game scenes and tweak their objects and environments with high resolution textures and realistic lighting. The company’s AI tools can automatically give materials “physically accurate” properties—a ceiling in Morrowind, for example, becomes reflective after going through RTX Remix. You’ll be able to export remixed scenes as mods, and other players will be able to play them through the RTX renderer. 

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Computing

Neuralink “show and tell” event planned for later this year

Elon Musk, the owner of Neuralink, said the company will be providing an update about its research on October 31. This comes shortly after reports surfaced of Musk’s frustration with the slow progress.

Neuralink aims to develop an interface that allows direct connection of a human brain and computer technology. If successful, you might someday expand your processing capabilities and sensory perception through hardware upgrades. That’s the futuristic angle that Elon Musk pitched when first introducing this new endeavor.

What is more likely to arrive first is medical assistance for people that have some form of paralysis. Bypassing the body’s nervous system, a robotic arm or leg might allow a person with limited mobility to move around and manipulate objects as if using their own limbs.

On October 31, the current state of the Neuralink technology will be demonstrated in a “show and tell,” according to Musk’s Tweet. There might be extra pressure on the Neuralink team to make an impression with this update, since Musk is said to have approached competitors rather than relying solely on his in-house team of experts.

Neuralink progress update show & tell on October 31 st (Halloween)

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 22, 2022

According to a recent Reuters report, unnamed sources say Musk spoke with Paradromics, Inc. in 2020, and more recently, Synchron. Synchron’s Stentrode was the first brain-computer interface to be implanted in a human in the United States, with the operation taking place on July 6.

Musk is not averse to making big changes if new technology or circumstances call for a different approach. Tesla’s switch away from radar-aided, driver-assist systems to completely vision-based, self-driving is a perfect example. Despite radar hardware existing on every Tesla produced before May 2021, it has been switched off to focus solely on the vehicles’ cameras and machine learning systems trained on vision.

If Synchron or other competitors have a better solution, it would not be surprising to learn that Neuralink is changing directions in the future. In the near term, we have to wait until October to find out if Neuralink is sharing any treats.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

How to show the battery percentage of your Mac

The indicator that displays the exact battery percentage for your Mac system is one of the most useful tools available. It lets you know how long you have left before you need to charge it, and over time, it will let you know whether it’s time to think about replacing your MacBook battery.

If you can’t find the battery indicator on your MacBook, though, here’s how to show it.

Enabling the Mac’s battery percentage indicator

There are a few ways to enable the battery percentage indicator for your Mac — it depends on what version of MacOS you’re running. For example, on older variants (Catalina, etc.), it can be switched on via the menu bar directly, while newer ones will require you to use System Preferences.

Step 1: For Catalina users, select the Battery icon on the top-right of your Mac and then choose the Show percentage option.

Step 2: For later versions (Big Sur and Monterey), open System preferences and select the Dock and menu bar option. Now hit both the Battery and Show percentage fields.

Enabling the Mac’s battery icon

If the battery icon is not showing up at all on your Mac, then here’s how to fix that.

Step 1: For those who have Catalina or below, select Energy saver within System preferences, and then tick the Show battery status in menu bar box at the bottom.

The Show battery status option for Mac.

Step 2: For Big Sur and above, select the Battery icon within System preferences instead. Now choose the Show battery status in menu bar option.

Configuring Energy Saver settings

If you find your Mac’s battery constantly depleted and want to better preserve and optimize the system’s battery usage, then you can do so via Apple’s Energy Saver settings.

Step 1: Select Energy saver from System preferences, and then adjust the settings to your liking. You have a few options to choose from via the Battery tab:

  • Turn the display off after a specific amount of time.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible.
  • Slightly dim the screen when the Mac is not being charged through a power outlet.
The Battery Energy Saver options on Mac.

Step 2: Adjacent to the Battery tab is Power adapter. Here, you also have a few settings you can turn on and off as well:

  • Prevent the computer from sleeping automatically when the display is switched off.
  • Put hard disks to sleep when possible.
  • Wake the Mac for Wi-Fi network access.
  • Enable Power Nap while plugged into a power adapter.
The Power Adapter Energy Saver options on Mac.

Step 3: A Schedule button on the bottom-right of the window can also set an exact time to start up/wake your system, in addition to when it automatically goes to sleep.

The Schedule button for Energy Saver options on Mac.

If you want to see the overall health of your Mac’s battery itself, then be sure to check out our guide on that as well as our article on how to show the battery percentage on your iPhone.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Leaked documents show the hoops Roblox jumped through to do business in China

In late June, Blizzard launch mere days before the game was set to debut in the country after co-developer NetEase seemingly drew the ire of government censors over an ill-advised social media post. The episode was a reminder of the tightrope act foreign game developers often have to pull off to release their games in China.

Now, newly published documents by  offer a rare insight into the steps some companies will take to comply with China’s censorship laws. The publication obtained an internal presentation created by Roblox in 2017 as the company was working toward entering the Chinese market.

In addition to highlighting the lengths Roblox was prepared to go to appease Chinese censors, the documents reveal the risks the company was willing to shoulder. One of the presentation’s more interesting insights is that Roblox expected its game would be hacked, likely by whatever firm it partnered with to bring Roblox to China. “Expect that hacking has already started,” states one bullet point. “Expect it to ramp up after a deal is signed, possibly even by partner.”

There’s no evidence Tencent, the company Roblox eventually partnered with, ever targeted the game, but the company clearly had reservations about working with the tech giant. The slides warn a relationship with Tencent would require Roblox to “keep our guard up.” Additionally, they show Roblox also considered working with NetEase and even had a favorable assessment of the company. “Direct, down-to-Earth, flexible problem solvers, acting in the interests of a joint venture,” one slide states. It’s unclear why Roblox ultimately went with Tencent over NetEase, but the fact the former promised the “fastest way to mega acquisition” probably played a part in the decision.

Roblox did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment, but the company did share a statement with Motherboard.

“The slide you reference was from 2017, before we had a formal joint venture relationship in place,” a Roblox spokesperson told the outlet. “As normal for a company entering into a new market, we consider risks and opportunities and plan for them.” The spokesperson added the company’s policy is to comply with the laws of the regions where it operates.

In the end, whatever plans Roblox made to ensure a smooth entry into the Chinese market were not enough. Five months after Roblox launched within the country, the company temporarily to take “important transitory actions.” If you want to read more about the factors Roblox considered before entering China, make sure to read Motherboard’s full report.

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Categories
Computing

How to set your Facebook Feed to show most recent posts

Facebook’s Feed recommendations aren’t always helpful. The Feed is designed to recommend content you’d most likely want to see, and it’s based on your Facebook activity, your connections, and the level of engagement a given post receives. It’s also worth noting that Facebook is reportedly planning on changing up Feed’s recommendations.

But not every Facebook user cares about seeing the most popular posts or about Facebook’s attempts to understand what you’d like to see. Sometimes, you just want to keep it simple and see the latest posts that have been shared. If that’s you, it’s important to know that you’re not just stuck with Facebook’s Feed algorithm. You can sort your Feed to show its most recent posts — and we can show you how.

Note: While you can sort your Feed to show the most recent posts, Facebook has said that “Feed will eventually return to its default setting.” So, it’s likely that you’ll need to enable it again in the future.

How to view your Facebook Feed chronologically: Desktop/web method

If you use Facebook on the web via your PC, the process for setting up your Feed to be viewed chronologically (the most recent posts) is simple enough. Here’s what to do:.

Step 1: Open up your favorite web browser on your PC and go to Facebook.com. Once you’re there, log into your account if you haven’t already.

Step 2: Once you’re logged in, the first thing you should see is your Feed. To sort your Feed posts to show the most recent ones, navigate to the left side menu and select the Most recent option from that menu.

Now your Feed is sorted to show you the most recent posts first. The top of your Feed should say “Most Recent.”

If you want to go back to sorting your Feed posts by Facebook’s recommendations (Top Posts), click on the blue Back to top posts link.


screenshot

Step 3: Note: If you don’t see the Most recent option near the top of the left side menu, don’t worry. You should still be able to access it by selecting the See more option from that same menu. Then, after the menu expands, the Most recent option should appear. You may need to scroll down the left side menu to see it.

How to view your Facebook Feed chronologically: Mobile app method

First, a little background: Facebook’s official guide to how to set your Feed to show the most recent posts appears to be outdated (at least for Android devices). But, since Facebook’s current guides for Android and iOS are fairly similar to each other, we can kind of assume that the following newer instructions we’ve written and tested (based on an Android device) will also be similarly applicable to iOS devices.

Here’s how to chronologically view your Facebook feed on the mobile app.

Step 1: Open the Facebook app on your mobile device. Your app should default to showing you the Home feed, which will display all the Top Posts but not necessarily the most recent ones.

Selecting the Feeds tab icon in the Facebook mobile app for Android.

screenshot

Step 2: To see the most recent posts, tap on the icon at the top of your screen that looks like a rectangle with a clock in front of it. This is the Feeds tab.

The Feeds tab has its own subsections that you can select to further narrow down your newly chronologically-sorted feed: All, Favorites, Friends, Groups, and Pages. The Feeds tab will automatically default to All, which will show all your Feed’s posts chronologically, and the All tab seems to be the only one that remains reliably chronological.

Selecting the All section of the Feeds tab in the Facebook mobile app for Android.

screenshot

Step 3: Here’s another way to access the Feeds tab in the mobile app: Open the mobile app. Tap on the three-horizontal lines Menu icon. Then, under All shortcuts, select Feeds.

Accessing the Feeds tab from the Menu option in the Facebook mobile app for Android.

screenshot

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Blizzard will show off more ‘Overwatch 2’ on June 16th

The first  just wrapped up today, and Blizzard is already preparing to reveal what’s next for the game with an event on June 16th. Details about what to expect are fairly thin for now, though the studio will provide some info on the next PvP beta as well as its plan for the coming months.

Blizzard could be hoping to use the event to address some of the criticism about the first beta. Along with and four fresh maps, the beta introduced another game mode, an upgraded game engine, major changes to many heroes and, most significantly, a shift in the number of team members from six to five.

I loved the beta, for the most part (I’m not a fan of the revamped scoreboard at all). It was only a slice of what Overwatch 2 will eventually become, but it still felt fresh. However, some critics felt that the beta after two years without significant content updates for the original game. Others suggested it was .

“Overwatch as a world, as a universe, is deeply personal to the team; something that we pour our time, creative energies and passion into,” game director Aaron Keller . “It can be scary putting something that means so much to you out there for other people to look at. Especially when you know that it’s not finished and you’re asking for people’s real and valid criticisms of what you’ve made. But the reason we do it is important — to make a better game, and it’s our players and our community that make it possible.”

The Overwatch 2 team it focused on testing specific elements in the first beta, such as the new maps, shift to 5v5, balance and stability of the build and servers. It promised that more features, heroes and maps will be introduced in upcoming betas. Blizzard will surely try to convince the doubters that it’s on the right track with Overwatch 2, hopefully by revealing some more major updates next month. 

In the meantime, a new event just started in the original game, offering the chance to snag some new versions of fan-favorite skins and play some limited-time modes. That could help players pass the time until the next beta, whenever that may start.

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Categories
Game

Amazon’s The Expanse hit sci-fi show is getting its own Telltale game

Telltale Games plans to turn Amazon’s hit science fiction series The Expanse into a video game. The announcement was made during Thursday’s The Game Awards 2021 show, and it included a one-minute teaser trailer. Players will, Telltale revealed, operate as XO Camina Drummer aboard the Artemis, a spaceship where “a blood mutiny breaks loose.”

Image: Telltale Games

Telltale has transformed a number of popular shows into fun story-based video games, not the least of which is the Telltale Series based on The Walking Dead. Given its massive popularity, it’s no surprise the company would turn its attention to The Expanse.

The science fiction series started as novels, later scoring itself a television adaptation from Syfy. Despite its very high ratings from critics and viewers, Syfy canceled the show with its third season, a decision seemingly made in light of restrictive streaming rights and a dip in viewership numbers.

As tends to happen when a popular broadcast television show is abruptly canceled, fans rallied around the title and called on streaming companies to pick it up for an additional season. Amazon ended up answering that request, producing new seasons while making The Expanse an Amazon Original on Prime Video.

Amazon made it known months ago that the show’s sixth season — which arrives this month — will bring the series to an end. The series finale will be comprised of only six episodes compared with the 10 in past seasons, leaving some fans skeptical that the show will get a proper conclusion. Amid this, fans have called for an expansion of the sci-fi universe, including potentially into other media formats.

That’s where Thursday’s announcement comes in — if nothing else, fans will get to enjoy the series beyond season six with The Expanse: A Telltale Series from Telltale and Deck Nine Games. Though few details about the title have been released at this time, the company has added a web page for the game on its website.

The video game will be set before the events we see in the television series, though it’ll revolve around the massively popular character Camina Drummer. The series has already established a huge storyline for this character, leaving a number of paths for Telltale to take with its game adaptation.

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Categories
Game

Razer made a Snapdragon G3x handheld to show us Qualcomm’s gaming vision

Since Nintendo put games in consumers pockets with the Game & Watch, gamers have been seeking the ideal mobile gaming machine. From the Nintendo Game Boy to the Sega Game Gear on forward to the NVIDIA SHIELD and the Nintendo Switch, we’ve been seeing the same basic idea played over and over again. The next entry in this device category comes from both Qualcomm and Razer. On one hand we have the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform, a “new category of gaming devices” – on the other, we have a device built with all the best bits of that platform in mind, made by Razer.

Qualcomm wants to show off the powers of their latest generation of processors and tech, so they’ve created a “platform” that manufacturers can use to jump off into a futuristic gaming device with minimal effort. Razer is the first to step up to the plate with efforts that’ve resulted in the Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit.

The “developer kit” in this case is a piece of hardware – made only for developers. It looks like a handheld gaming device, running Android, but it’s not made for the average consumer. This isn’t like that time NVIDIA made the first SHIELD. It’s more like every other time Qualcomm has made a “developer kit” device so that developers can get their hands on the technology that Qualcomm hopes they’ll demand from manufacturers in the near future.

The dev kit

The Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit is a handheld gaming device with a 6.65-inch Full HD+ OLED display with up to 120hz refresh rate and 10-bit HDR. This device is powered by the Snapdragon G3x chipset and represents all the key features and capabilities of the Snapdragon G3x gaming platform.

This device has 5G mmWave connectivity (with the right SIM card, of course), USB-C for accessories, USB-C compatibility with DisplayPort (to HDMI) with support for 4K HDR output (on a larger display).

There’s a front-facing FHD 1080p webcam (5MP), and a set of hardware and touchscreen controls. You’ll find the XYAB control buttons on the right, along with a hardware start button, and both Select and Menu on the left with a cross directional pad. There are two joysticks, and two front-facing speakers supported by Snapdragon Sound Technology.

Inside are “advanced haptics” from Lofelt – with a dedicated Haptics Engine so you’ll feel all the rumbles. This device has support for all the most updated Qualcomm-developed gaming features like Qualcomm Game Quick Touch (touch refresh), Qualcomm Game Color Plus, Qualcomm Game Smoother, and Qualcomm FastConnect Subsystem with WiFi 6E.

How can I get one?

If you’re not a game developer, you might want to be asking: Why should I care about this device and this gaming platform? Qualcomm wont be releasing the Developer Kit to the general public. Instead, developers will get the device so that next-generation high-powered mobile games can be developed, and next-generation game streaming experiences can be envisioned.

Qualcomm’s plan here is to get the developer kit into developer hands, to get developers to create awesome games that work best on this platform, and then, the most important step: manufacturing. Manufacturers – gaming brands, smartphone makers, and others, can create final consumer hardware.

So one day we might have a proper gaming device that uses all the best parts of the Snapdragon G3x Gaming Platform so the everyday consumer can play at home and on-the-go. Until then, there’ll be Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 devices in early 2022 for your not-just-gaming-focused smartphone pleasure!

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Categories
Game

Netflix’s ‘League of Legends’ show is getting an immersive IRL event

The animated series Arcane will and Riot Games is marking the launch with an in-person immersive experience connected to the series. The publisher teamed up with Secret Cinema to host the Arcane experience, which will only be available in Los Angeles.

You’ll get to explore the Undercity, where you’ll delve into the origins of two LoL champions. You’ll take on missions, find secret hideouts, form alliances and evade enforcers. The ending of the story will be different depending on the choices you make, so Arcane might encourage repeat visits.

Riot is pushing into another realm of entertainment here. “For the launch of Arcane, we really wanted to find the right partner who shared our vision for bringing such a rich IP and to life in an interactive, immersive way,” Brandon Miao, cross-product experiences and partnerships lead for Riot Experience, said. “Bringing players new, authentic out-of-game experiences that tie back to the narrative of the show is a first for us, and something we are incredibly excited to share with players as we expand to entertainment.”

The Arcane experience will debut on November 21st and tickets cost $70. You’ll get your first chance at snagging a ticket through a presale that starts on October 13th at 3PM ET. You can sign up for ticket alerts . General admission starts 24 hours later.

Secret Cinema has built a reputation for creating immersive experiences based on movies and, more recently with its Stranger Things adaptation, TV shows. This is the first time it has taken on a project with roots in gaming.

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Categories
AI

Nvidia benchmark tests show impressive gains in training AI models

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Nvidia announced that systems based on its graphics processor units (GPUs) are delivering 3 to 5 times better performance when it comes to training AI models than they did a year ago, according to the latest MLPerf benchmarks published yesterday.

The MLPerf benchmark is maintained by the MLCommons Association, a consortium backed by Alibaba, Facebook AI, Google, Intel, Nvidia, and others that acts as an independent steward.

The latest set of benchmarks span eight different workloads covering a range of use cases for AI model training, including speech recognition, natural language processing, object detection, and reinforcement learning. Nvidia claims its OEM partners were the only systems vendors to run all the workloads defined by the MLPerf benchmark across a total of 4,096 GPUs. Dell, Fujitsu, Gigabyte Technology, Inspur, Lenovo, Nettrix, and Supermicro all provided on-premises systems certified by Nvidia that were used to run the benchmark.

Nvidia claims that overall it improved more than any of its rivals, delivering as much as 2.1 times more performance than the last time the MLPerf benchmarks were run. Those benchmarks provide a reliable point of comparison that data scientists and IT organizations can use to make an apples-to-apples comparison between systems, said Paresh Kharya, senior director for product management for Nvidia. “MLPerf is an industry-standard benchmark,” he said.

Trying to quantify the unknown

It’s not clear to what degree IT organizations are relying on consortiums’ benchmarks to decide what class of system to acquire. Each workload deployed by an IT team is fairly unique, so benchmarks are no guarantee of actual performance. Arguably, the most compelling thing about the latest benchmark results is they show that systems acquired last year or even earlier continue to improve in overall performance as software updates are made. That increased level of performance could reduce the pace at which Nvidia-based systems may need to be replaced.

Of course, the number of organizations investing in on-premises IT platforms to run AI workloads is unknown. Some certainly prefer to train AI models in on-premises IT environments for a variety of security, compliance, and cloud networking reasons. However, the cost of acquiring a GPU-based server tends to make consuming GPUs on demand via a cloud service a more attractive alternative for training AI models until the organization hits a certain threshold in number of models being trained simultaneously.

Alternatively, providers of on-premises platforms are increasingly offering pricing plans that enable organizations to consume on-premises IT infrastructure using the same model as a cloud service provider.

Other classes of processors might end up being employed to train an AI model. Right now, however, GPUs — thanks to their inherent parallelization capabilities — have proven themselves to be the most efficient option.

Regardless of the platform employed, the number of AI models being trained continues to steadily increase. There is no shortage of use cases involving applications that could be augmented using AI. The challenge in many organizations now is prioritizing AI projects given the cost of GPU-based platforms. Of course, as consumption of GPUs increases, the cost of manufacturing them will eventually decline.

As organizations create their road maps for AI, they should be able to safely assume that both the amount of time required and the total cost of training an AI model will continue to decline in the years ahead — even allowing for the occasional processor shortage brought on by unpredictable “black swan” events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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