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DroneClash Turns Counter Drone Research Into a Sport

As drones get cheaper and easier to control, security and safety issues related to their operation are becoming more important than ever. While governments are working on drone regulations, and some companies are already selling countermeasures to large organizations, a group of enthusiasts and experts recently decided to turn counter-drone research into a spectator sport. Over the weekend, nine international teams entered a battle to "bring down the rival Queen drone" that was broadcast on the internet, but anti-drone contest didn't stop there. DroneClash organized an event encouraging white-hack hackers to compromise commercial drones, also also hosted a counter drone tech expo. The organizers posted the entire live stream of the competition on their YouTube channel, and you can check out the recap below.

There is not yet a silver bullet for the authorities to safely and effectively down a drone. However, by bringing together the bright minds and enthusiasm of drone developers and hobbyists with the counter-drone industry and the end-users, counter-drone measures can be tested and fine-tuned. In the words of the University's Kevin van Hecke, one of the brains behind the competition: "The solution we are working towards is some sort of mechanical eagle. This year were saw DroneClash competitors replicate the flying speeds, and ramming force of birds of prey. But we still have big steps to take in terms of grasping and safely depositing a rogue drone. We will continue to organise future DroneClash events and evolve the rules to push counter-drone innovation further, faster."

Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 8:34 AM (CDT)

Core Fighters: Free-to-Play Version of Dead or Alive 6 Now Available on Steam

Koei Tecmo Games has released Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters, a free-to-play version of the recently released 3D fighter. This is an ideal way to experience the game for those who quickly grow tired of fighters or merely want to see how good a fighting game can look on modern hardware. It’s also a way to spite the publisher for releasing a game with a $93 Season Pass.

DEAD OR ALIVE 6 is fast-paced 3D fighting game, produced by Koei Tecmo Games, featuring stunning graphics and multi-tiered stages that create a truly entertaining competitive experience. With the help of a new graphics engine, DOA6 aims to bring visual entertainment of fighting games to an entirely new level. The graphics are made to be both enticingly beautiful and realistic, bringing out enhanced facial expressions, such special effects as depiction of sweat and dirt on character models, and realistic hit effects.

Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 1:50 PM (CDT)

"Back 4 Blood": Left 4 Dead Creator Announces New Co-op Zombie Game

Nobody knows if Valve’s Left 4 Dead 3 will ever see the light of day, but the franchise’s original developer may have the next best thing: Turtle Rock Studios announced "Back 4 Blood" this week, a co-op zombie shooter with a campaign and PVP mode that should cater well to L4D fans who have been clamoring for more. "We know we have some big shoes to fill, but we’re going all out to surpass everything we’ve done before."

"We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over 10 years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains. We also have some of the best teammates in the business at WBIE, who understand our development process and are equally committed to our player-first mentality. We love being able to announce, so we can start working with the community right away."

Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 12:30 PM (CDT)

BioWare Warns Hostile Replies Make Developers Less Likely to Engage

BioWare appears to be fed up with the pessimism surrounding Anthem and the antics of its players: in a lengthy post on r/AnthemTheGame offering insight on the company’s lack of communication, community manager Jesse Anderson admitted that many developers have made a conscious decision not to engage fans and answer their questions due to their increasing negativity, which has hit "an all-time high." Some believe BioWare deserves all the hate they can get for releasing a subpar product, while others are blaming gamers for being "entitled."

"Why would a dev team member take time away from working on the next update to post when they know it’s likely to be met with hostile replies, or they get flamed because [they] can’t answer other questions that players are asking? I don’t mind posting here when things aren’t so nice, but that’s because it’s my job. For the devs it isn’t their job, and I’d like to ask that people remember that when replying to them. When some people say ‘be nice or the devs will stop posting’ it’s 100% true."

Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 12:15 PM (CDT)

Tesla Crashes into River, Owner Claims It Accelerated on Its Own

In yet another alleged case of demonic Tesla quirkiness, a Chinese couple in Shanghai claims their Model S lost its mind and accelerated into a river near a Supercharger station with them in it. The owner, Xiao Chen, told reporters he was stepping on the brakes but the vehicle, unexpectedly, "rushed out of control" instead. Electrek suggests they may not deserve the benefit of the doubt, as Tesla has "safeguards to prevent an automatic system to enable a sudden acceleration." Similar incidents in the past also mostly involved "user error."

"...the owner Xiao Chen had just been rescued ashore, and the gray Tesla was still lying in the river and was soaked in the water. Xiao Chen is still in shock, he told reporters: I was from the beginning stepping on the brakes, and the car suddenly rushed out of control! It turned out that Xiao Chen and his wife drove the car to school in the morning of the incident. After the delivery, they came to the Tesla Supercharger station to prepare for charging. According to Xiao Chen, he kept driving very slowly, stepping on the brakes, but when he got there, the car was out of control."

Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 3:45 PM (CDT)

Man Who Made Hoax Call In Deadly Swatting Seeks 20-Year Term

20 years, please: Tyler Barriss, the man responsible for "making a hoax call that led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between two online gamers over $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty WWII video game," is begging the judge to give him the minimum of his plea deal, which calls for 20 to 25 years in federal prison. According to his attorney, "Barriss never intended for anyone to get hurt and his conduct was an outgrowth of the culture within the gaming community."

Defense attorney Rich Federico portrayed his client as sincerely remorseful for calling Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 2017, to falsely report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita address. A police officer responding to the call fatally shot Andrew Finch, 28, after he opened the door. Finch, who was not playing video games, lived at the gamer's old address. In a letter to the Finch family, Barriss wrote that he thinks every day about how his actions led to his death. He asked for forgiveness and expressed his "hope that my sentence may in some way help you feel better that justice is done," according to the filing.

Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 3:50 PM (CST)

Suicide Instructions Found Spliced into Kids' Cartoons on YouTube, YouTube Kids

YouTube continues its downward spiral: a contributing author for, a pediatrician-run parenting blog, recently discovered that tips for committing suicide were appearing in children’s cartoons on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app. In one video, a man who "resembles Internet personality Joji (formerly Filthy Frank)" shows up on screen and simulates cutting his wrist. "’Remember, kids, sideways for attention, longways for results,’ he says and then walks off screen. The video then quickly flips back to the cartoon."

"I am disturbed, I am saddened, I am disgusted," the physician wrote. "But I am also relieved that I was there to see this video with my own eyes, so that I could take the appropriate actions to protect my family." Those actions included deleting the YouTube Kids app and forever banning it from the house. That particular video was later taken down from YouTube Kids after the doctor reported it to YouTube. However, parents have since discovered that several other cartoons contain information about how to commit suicide, including the same spliced-in video clip.

Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 1:55 PM (CST)

Overkill's The Walking Dead Pulled From Steam

Today, various media outlets reported that Overkill's The Walking Dead has been pulled from Steam. In a press release, Starbreeze says The Walking Dead's IP owner filed a "license related complaint," and claim that they're "in discussions about the agreement and Starbreeze is trying to resolve the issue to find an amicable solution with the ambition to finish and deliver season 2 of the game." However, Forbes claims that the Walking Dead creators pulled the game because it didn't meet their quality standards. Starbreeze filed for "reconstruction" (which appears to be a euphemism for bankruptcy) in December last year, and pulling one of their big releases from Steam certainly won't help their financial situation.

"Our creators and their stories are the core of Skybound, and since 2014 we have worked hard to expand the world of 'The Walking Dead' into an exceptional co-op action FPS," Skybound said in a statement. "We did our best to work with Starbreeze and resolve many issues that we saw with the game, but ultimately 'Overkill's The Walking Dead' did not meet our standards nor is it the quality that we were promised."

Posted by alphaatlas February 28, 2019 8:32 AM (CST)

Beamdog is "Looking Into" Neural Network Texture Upscaling

Canadian game developer Beamdog is the studio behind the PC remasters of classic RPGs like Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment, and Neverwinter Nights. The company recently partnered with Skybound Games to bring the remasters to consoles, and, according to a recent blog post, they aren't done with the PC versions of the the games either. The studio said they've "explored the possibility" of neural network upscaling in their Infinity Engine Enhanced Edition games, though they haven't committed to it yet. While they didn't go into specifics either, I assume they're talking about enhancing in-game textures, as ESRGAN and similar algorithms can't be applied to 3D models and are too slow for anything that has to be done in real time. This is (presumably) the same technique modders are using to enhance textures in Morrowind and the classic Final Fantasy games, and I've personally seen tons of neural network upscaling work being done in Skyrim, Metroid Prime, and other game modding communities. Thanks to /u/rhiyo on on the /r/GameUpscale subreddit for the tip.

We've explored the possibility of Catmull-Rom Bicubic scaling, as well as as a few other solutions for scaling (eg. ESRGAN scaling) for the Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions, but haven't pulled the trigger yet on implementing either. We received a number of questions about UI for the Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions games and our plans regarding it going forward. Now that the console releases are announced, we can share that we've been doing extensive updates to our UI system that could very possibly end up paying dividends for the PC versions into the future. For the time being, however, all of the UI work we're doing is centered squarely around the console versions of the games, so any changes to the PC UI won't happen for a while.

Posted by alphaatlas February 22, 2019 12:40 PM (CST)

EVO Japan Cuts Sexual Dead or Alive 6 Stream Short, Issues Apology

Too risque, too sexy: fight-tourney EVO president Joey "Mr. Wizard" Cuellar decided to kill a Dead or Alive 6 promotional livestream this week after two Japanese models began jiggling their goods to mirror the fighting game’s physics. Producer and director Yohei Shimbori didn’t help matters when he used the title’s free-cam mode to show off characters in compromising positions. "The DOA ad that aired on our stream does not reflect the core values of Evo or the FGC. We ended the stream temporarily to protect the integrity of our brand. We sincerely apologize to our fans."

What began as a simple stage show demonstrating the fighting of Dead or Alive 6 veered off the rails as the women on stage modeled in clothing that had been torn up to show their cleavage and bras. While waiting for the demo to be ready, the models hopped up and down to mimic the traditional Dead or Alive breast and butt-bouncing physics. It seems the final straw for the Evo Japan broadcasters, however, was when the Dead or Alive 6 producer showed off the game’s photo mode by pausing an attack while the characters were locked in a pile drive move that, when paused, looked like a sexual embrace.

Posted by Megalith February 17, 2019 11:45 AM (CST)

India Antitrust Commission is "Looking Into" Google Accusations

After a long investigation, Google was slapped with a $5 billion dollar fine from the European Union over anti-competitive practices last year. Now, according to a recent report from Reuters, the same thing might be happening in India. One of Reuters' four sources "with direct knowledge of the matter" said this investigation "Is on the lines of the EU case, but at a preliminary stage." The publication mentions that Google got hit with a relatively meager $19 million dollar fine for "search bias" in India, but that Google appealed the casing, saying it could "cause it 'irreparable' harm and reputational loss." In other words, Google might be worried about more than just the fine in this particular investigation. A separate report said that activists are calling on the Indian government to summon the heads of various tech companies, which certainly wouldn't help their reputation in the country either.

"The CCI will have a tough time not initiating a formal investigation into Google given the EU case, unless they can show the problem has been addressed (by remedies)," one of the sources said.

Posted by alphaatlas February 12, 2019 11:06 AM (CST)

Asus GPU Tweak II Overlay Injects Ads Into Games

Citing post on Reddit, TechPowerUp claims that Asus GPU Tweak II injects what appears to be an Asus GPU ad right into games. But, since Reddit has a habit of blowing up unverified claims, I decided to download the utility myself and see if there's any truth to them. I grabbed the Windows 10 64 bit build of Asus GPU Tweak II Version 19.33 (released 01/16/2019) from the Asus website, installed it, and fired up a game to see what would happen.
As you can see in the picture above (click for the full image), the overlay, does, indeed, inject an Asus GPU ad right into any game that runs the overlay. But, what the Reddit post failed to mention is that it can easily be disabled. It doesn't appear to pop back up during subsequent game launches, but I'm not sure if the ad will eventually re-enable itself, and performance (subjectively) felt worse with the ad active. While some overlays like Origin and Steam show promotions when they're manually opened, this is the first time I've seen an ad that's displayed in-game by default, and I hope this is a trend that Asus and other overlay developers don't continue in the future. ASUS Response: "It is a feature for the beta group testers, not on by default, the image is just a stock placeholder to show how it works if a streamer wants to use that functionality and it can be disabled or repositioned based up on the user settings. " Update 2/4/2019: As it turns out, the image is not an "ad", but a placeholder image for a streamer's overlay. We posted an update on the issue here. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 04, 2019 10:48 AM (CST)