Sure, No Man’s Sky finally has a price and release date, but can a game truly claim to have made it without its very own exorbitantly priced special edition? Presenting the No Man’s Sky “Explorer’s Edition,” a limited-run (10,000) version of the game sold exclusively by iam8bit. In it you’ll find a hand-painted cast metal space ship, an enamel pin, a “diorama display backdrop,” and a “mystery item” with a $10 value. Oh, and a PC game code for Steam or GOG. The price for all this goodness? $149.99. That’s pretty high, but iam8bit says the individual components are worth $210.
If toy space ships aren’t your thing, there’s a pretty wide selection of other merch, including a vinyl soundtrack ($35), an Atlas t-shirt ($23) and pin ($10), an art card set ($20), a poster ($25) and a collection of gilcée prints ($50-$65). iam8bit describes this collection as “the first wave” of merchandise, and it’ll ” introduce new products in a way that reacts to in-game dynamics and fan requests.” If none of this interests you at all, then you can just mark June 21st off in your calendar and begin the countdown.
I’m alone on a freezing planet blanketed in snow; pine trees the color of rusted metal hang heavy with white powder. It’s -163 degrees Celsius (-261 degrees Fahrenheit), but my suit keeps me warm. For now. The thermal meter in the bottom-left corner of the screen slowly ticks down, warning me to find shelter or make some with the grenade attachment I recently crafted onto my gun. It shoots orbs of energy that blast through stone like warm butter, sometimes revealing massive underground cave systems dotted with spiky red plants rich in minerals for me to mine.
Or, I could simply leave the planet. I could hop into my ship and blast off into the inky, star-studded universe. I could find a more hospitable planet occupied by strange, dinosaur-like creatures. I could find a more luxurious star system, a more dangerous galaxy, a more exciting adventure. The universe is mine.
Actually, it’s Sean Murray’s. He’s the mastermind behind No Man’s Sky, the creator of this digital universe packed with 18 quintillion planets, each one unique and begging to be explored. No Man’s Sky has captured the attention of the gaming world and beyond — in the past year alone, Murray has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, met privately with Elon Musk and accidentally ignited a conspiracy theory involving Kanye West. Three years after its announcement, thousands of people around the globe are impatiently waiting for the game to finally launch. And it will, on June 21st.
All of this — the media attention, the anticipation, the entire universe — started with four developers working out of a tiny English office in 2009, building a game called Joe Danger.
Life on the edge with Joe Danger
“Actually breaking away and doing your own thing was a stupid thing to do at the time,” Murray says, recalling the early days of Hello Games. Murray, Grant Duncan, Ryan Doyle and David Ream all ditched stable gigs at established studios like Criterion Games and Electronic Arts to go independent in 2009, which was a huge risk at the time. A stupid one, even.
“There was no PSN or XBLA, or they’d just started,” Murray says. “I think like Warhawk had been announced or something like that. People didn’t really understand what that was, that digital, downloaded game kind of stuff…. And there were indie studios, but there were hardly any indie games on Steam.”
Murray worries that this story makes him sound ridiculously old, but this was all only seven years ago. Since then, independent games have become an ingrained, exciting part of the gaming ecosystem and it isn’t odd to hear about AAA developers starting their own studios.
“We were doing it before it was cool,” Murray says. “We were the original hipster indie developers.”
Hello Games’ first project was Joe Danger, a cartoonish, 3D sidescroller about a lovable dirt bike daredevil. For months, Hello Games happily worked on Joe Danger and tried to secure a publisher. Emphasis on tried.
“Everyone turned us down,” Murray says. “Sony turned us down, and Microsoft and so many places.”
Murray attempted to find a publisher for nine months, until the studio ran out of money.
“We actually decided to quit,” Murray says. Resigned to giving up their independent dreams, the Hello Games team went out for drinks. It was the end of an era and a strange kind of celebration – indie development was hard work and after nearly a year in that world, they were done with it. Now, they would get “normal” jobs and move on with their lives.
And then Murray, Duncan, Doyle and Ream got drunk.
“We came up with this stupid idea,” Murray says. “I had a house, and so I sold my house to pay for the rest of development.”
Even once he sobered up, Murray didn’t mind selling his home in the name of remaining independent. “The way I looked at it was like, I had bought that house because I had worked at EA, so it was like blood money. Like a blood diamond. You gotta sell that, that’s bad karma.”
Nine months and loads of debt later, Joe Danger came out – and it sold extremely well. Hello Games released a sequel, Joe Danger 2: The Movie, in 2012, and the studio built up its relationship with major distributors like Sony, Microsoft and Apple. And then in 2013, seemingly out of nowhere, No Man’s Sky appeared.
It was vastly different than Joe Danger, a stylish science-fiction exploration game that promised to be as big as the universe itself. Its planets were each unique and filled with fantastical landscapes — tall red grasses, roaming stegosaurus-type creatures, vicious horned goats and towering purple cactuses.
When Hello Games revealed No Man’s Sky during the 2013 VGX show, it was hard to believe this massive, gorgeous project had spawned from the same team that created a series as lighthearted as Joe Danger. But for Murray, No Man’s Sky had always been the goal.
Murray started programming when he was 5. His formative years were filled with sci-fi novels and video games set in space; he devoured the renowned 1984 title Elite. And as a child, he had plenty of time to absorb these interstellar fantasies.
“When I was a kid, my parents traveled around a lot,” Murray says. “I was born in Ireland and I lived in Australia for a good while when I was young. My parents were really eccentric and we lived in the outback for a while on this like million-and-a-quarter acre ranch that we were managing. It was totally cut off from the rest of the world.”
Murray didn’t create No Man’s Sky when he was a kid, but he fantasized about a game like it. One day, he thought, someone would build a game as big as the universe itself. It would be mind-blowing.
“You’re playing Elite and you’re looking up at this incredible sky that you get in Australia at night, and you’re thinking surely these two are going to merge, and I’m going to be able to visit these planets in Elite,” Murray says. “I’m going to be able to land on them. And that seemed really simple to me at the time. I thought that would happen in the next couple of years.”
It did happen, eventually, but only because Murray decided to make it.
The real game
Murray is definitely on to something here. Fifteen minutes into my hands-on demo of No Man’s Sky, I click the center pad of the DualShock 4 controller and the game quietly shifts. The screen zooms out from my tiny spaceship to shows a Galactic Map of the surrounding star system, planets glowing among neon clouds of interstellar dust. A thin line marks a path toward the center of the universe, the place that every player will try to reach. The place that very few people, if anyone, will ever actually find.
That’s all perfectly fine. I scroll through the stars, at first following that thin line before abandoning it to soar freely across new solar systems, breaking through the clouds of purple, blue, green and pink galaxies light-years away from my ship, one right after the other on an infinite journey. I focus my view on a nearby sun and the game’s music crescendos into a rich, deep ringing sound that vibrates beautifully through my chest. This is it. This is the real game, right here: Flying through a digital universe as vast as our own and letting its inconceivable beauty consume you. That’s the heart of No Man’s Sky.
No Man’s Sky, the stylish space-exploration game that’s roughly as big as the actual universe, will reach PlayStation 4 and PC on June 21st (June 24th in the UK), and pre-orders are live today. It even gets a physical Blu-ray edition on PS4. No Man’s Sky is an independent title built by a team of 10 or so developers at Hello Games — but it’s absolutely massive, innovative and highly anticipated, which are a few reasons it’ll cost a full $60 (£40 on PC and £50 on PS4). There’s also a $150 “Explorer’s Edition” courtesy of iam8bit, along with a slew of other game-related goodies.
$60 is the standard price of a blockbuster game like Call of Duty or Star Wars: Battlefront, and No Man’s Sky promises at least as much replay value as those titles. It has 18 quintillion unique planets to explore, after all. Plus, No Man’s Sky has a better name than most AAA games, according to creator Sean Murray.
“The thing I was really going for was something that felt like it could be the name of a book or an album or a band, or something like that,” Murray tells Engadget. “Because games — games are all just called the same thing.”
For example, there’s currently an influx of games named things like Battleborn, Bloodborne, Battlefront, Battlefield and Battlecry, Murray says.
“They all blend into one, and there’s almost a formula and you can just generate them,” he continues. “I find all of them a little bit embarrassing to say out loud…. And I don’t feel that way about games. I’m super proud of them.”
Early in development, Murray had to fight to call this game No Man’s Sky. The Hello Games team has a system for choosing names: Write ideas on a whiteboard and cross out the ones no one likes until there’s a clear favorite. No Man’s Sky was almost called Voyager, White Space or Horizon, to name a few rejected options. Even Sony warned against naming it No Man’s Sky, largely because of Twitter. The name wouldn’t go over well in hashtags, the company argued.
“We were told by so many people, by people at Sony and stuff, ‘Do not call it No Man’s Sky,’” Murray says. “Do not have anything with an apostrophe in it because, they were like, that will kill Twitter.”
Murray glances over at the Sony PR person sitting just across the room. He drops his voice to a faux-whisper. “We trended on Twitter for three days straight. Take that.”
One of the best treatments for patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an atherectomy, where doctors use a cathetar to gouge out plaque inside blood vessels. The problem is that so far, doctors have only had X-rays and their own sense of touch to guide the delicate tools, and a wrong move can damage a blood vessel. However, the FDA has just approved a new type of atherectomy device from a company called Avinger that will help surgeons to literally see inside blood vessels. The “Pantheris” has a built-in camera that lets doctors image arteries in real-time, then use the device to shave away plaque with more precision than ever before.
The tool uses “optical coherence tomography” to image the structure of blood vessels and any plaque inside. “For the first time, we are able to see exactly where we are removing the plaque, and are better able to leave the healthy artery alone,” says Dr. Thomas Davis from St. John Hospital in Michigan. He added that the device should also reduce physician and patient X-ray exposure. For those who suffer from blocked arteries, treatment with the device should ease the cramping, discoloration and numbness of PAD while reducing possible side effects. Also, who doesn’t want to have a video of their arteries being unclogged for their grandchildren? Judging by the video below, ew, not me, actually.
Back in February, Adobe updated Lightroom mobile for Android to include the ability to open, edit and export images at their full resolution. Now, the same feature is available inside the iOS version of Lightroom. The app can output any full resolution image that was either captured with the mobile device or added manually. And yes, this means that you can transfer directly from a camera over WiFi or nab a file from the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and other cloud-based repositories before doing your edits.
Unfortunately, full resolution doesn’t mean RAW. In fact, the iOS version of Lightroom doesn’t play nice with Adobe’s own DNG RAW format like the Android version does. The company says that full-on RAW support for the app is something users have been clamoring for, so maybe it’ll arrive in the future. In addition to the new full resolution output, Lightroom mobile for iOS has expanded the use of 3D Touch to include that handy peek and pop image preview in the Camera Roll. If you’re looking to take advantage of the new stuff, the update is available in the App Store now for both iPhone and iPad.
Water lily beetles are little speed demons, flitting from one pad to another at half a meter (1.6 feet) per second. Now, thanks to a study conducted by Stanford bioengineering assistant professor Manu Prakash and his students, the secret to its mode of flight has been unraveled. Turns out the insects (Galerucella nymphaeae) perform a routine before their flight, wherein they step on the water before lifting their legs one by one so that only their tips touch the surface. They then raise their middle legs high up in the air while their wings flap, making it look like they’re sprinting across the surface.
Their bodies move up and down with the beating of their wings, so much so that they probably feel “as though [they are] on a pogo stick.” But they remain stable throughout their flight, because the water’s surface acts like some sort of a magnet sticking to their four remaining legs. The team had to video their lab beetles while they darted to and fro inside their aquariums, as well as create mathematical models to figure out the physics behind their movements. It’s a very complicated process, as you can tell, but it pays off for the little guys: Prakash says this mode of flight is “one of the fastest-known locomotion strategies on the surface of water.”
Now that we know how they move, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone somewhere decides to make a robotic version of the creature. Until that happens, you can watch some real, living water lily beetles ski across water in slow motion below.
As the craze over both augmented and virtual reality heats up, it looks like another big name tech company is stepping into the fray. Wall Street Journal reports that Intel is working on an augmented reality headset of its own, looking to employ its RealSense 3D camera tech to help the device stand out. If you’ll recall, the company’s imaging tech is already being used to improve the vision of drones and object detection in phones. According to WSJ, the augmented reality project will help Intel further expand beyond the confines of personal computing, following its big push into wearables over the last few years.
“We have to build the entire experience ourselves before we can convince the ecosystem,” RealSense chief Achin Bhowmik told WSJ. He explained that Intel has a habit of creating devices to show off new tech to get other companies to adopt the goods. According to the report, Intel plans to offer the headset to other device makers rather than release the final product itself. Back at CES, Daqri showed off a high-tech hardhat that packs in augmented reality features to increase workplace safety. That helmet makes use of Intel’s RealSense technology.
Intel’s take on the augmented reality comes on the heels of Microsoft’s HoloLens headset. Redmond’s device went up for presale earlier this week for developers after making its debut at an event months ago. In fact, Intel’s headset is said to get a boost from collaboration with Microsoft, but details are scarce on the partnership for now. Intel’s developer conference is set to take place later this year, so perhaps we’ll hear more about the company’s augmented reality plans then.
Source: Wall Street Journal
With the announcement of two new Echo speakers, Amazon also revealed that those voice-controlled devices (and the Fire TV) now play nice with Nest thermostats. According to Recode, the Google-owned connected home company thought about making an Echo-like of its own, but scrapped the idea due to concerns over privacy. Nest thought that consumers wouldn’t think too highly of a device with a virtual assistant that was tied directly to Google. Of course, there’s no telling how far along those plans were. What’s more, the company’s CEO Tony Fadell addressed privacy concerns when Mountain View bought Nest, explaining that the smart home outfit would remain a separate entity.
Recode reports that Nest representative didn’t elaborate on upcoming products, other than there are new gadgets on the way. However, they did confirm that an Echo-like device isn’t part of the company’s plans. Like Amazon has done with the Echo and its Alexa virtual assistant, Nest has a Works with Nest initiative to sync up with other connected home products. Amazon’s speaker already worked with smart thermostats from other companies, along with a number of other household gadgets. Now it looks like Nest is content to leave the virtual assistant part of the equation to Amazon and others rather than develop a similar feature for its gear, at least for now.
You know that it’s a topsy-turvy year when John McAfee isn’t the most preposterous candidate vying for the White House. The antivirus millionaire has been talking up his chances with US News and believes that he’ll have “no problem” becoming president. He feels that America’s dissatisfaction wth the current political process gives a third-party candidate like himself a genuine shot at the title. In fact, he feels that if he can’t win in 2016, then “the Libertarians should just give up.”
McAfee’s speaking in the run up to the Libertarian Party convention this May when it’ll pick its candidate for the election. He’ll be going up against ex-New Mexico governor Gary Johnson for the nomination who was selected to run in 2012. McAfee also has a reputation as something of a colorful candidate — offering online tutorials on how to uninstall the software that made his name. In addition, he produced a series of comic videos poking fun at his image as a paranoid gun-obsessed lunatic addicted to bath salts.
McAfee believes that his tech savvy and distinctive past will help to win over voters that, he feels, are stuck with a difficult choice. In 2013 he told The Engadget Show that he dealt drugs during the ’70s and had to evade the Mexican authorities. He was also arrested in Guatemala after fleeing Belize while under suspicion of murdering his neighbor. Since he’s not yet won the backing of his party, he’s not currently included in our Election Guide, but we’ll lay out his stance on the issues should he succeed in May.
Via: The Hill
Source: US News
If you’re making the trek to a Six Flags park this summer, virtual reality will be an option for some roller coasters. The company teamed up with Samsung on a number of virtual reality roller coasters that offer a more immersive experience thanks to Oculus-powered Gear VR headsets. A total of nine rides spread across the US will have the new option, and six of those will show a “New Revolution” futuristic battle to save Earth from an alien invasion. The other three will serve up a Superman-themed VR experience where riders must defeat Lex Luthor during a tour of Metropolis.
While Six Flags touts its collection of coasters as the first in North America to feature VR, similar rides have been announced in other parts of the world. Alton Towers in the UK will open the Galactica VR roller coaster in April that also uses Samsung’s Gear VR headsets. At Thorpe Park, plans are in motion for a ghost train that uses the HTC Vive to offer a particularly spooky ride.
At Six Flags, season pass holders will get first dibs on the new roller coasters during a “technical rehearsal” before opening VR up to the public. The company says that each ride will be equipped with enough Gear VR devices to allow for cleaning between runs. Six Flags also claims that you won’t have to worry about motion sickness as the visuals are synced with the movement of each roller coaster. Unless you splurge for a season pass, you’ll have to wait a bit to give it a shot, but you can catch a glimpse of what to expect in the video below.