Battlefield 4 will 'never force' team play, but will 'encourage' it

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 11, 2013 7:30 AM CDT

Thomas "Thompen" Andersson, Battlefield 4's Lead Multiplayer Designer, has explained how the developer is designing Battlefield 4 to "highly encourage" but "never force" team play in the first-person shooter.

DICE's first incentive for players, involves gameplay mechanics, where he continues on the official Battlefield 4 blog: "We want to promote team play by creating great gameplay mechanics such as Field Upgrades, Commander Mode, and a new range of gadgets specifically designed to expand co-operation in the field. We have drastically expanded on the tools and benefits of efficient team play, and as a result we feel Battlefield 4's multiplayer experience is the deepest, most rewarding, and fun experience in the series."

Andersson said he believes EA DICE can "do a better job ... of letting players make more educated choices in their kit loadouts and combat roles" by showing what gadgets do and allowing gamers to compare weapons.

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Civilization Online powered by CryEngine 3, South Korean exclusive

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 11, 2013 2:34 AM CDT

XLGames and 2K are currently working on Civilization Online, an MMO title which is being powered by Crytek's very capable CryEngine 3. The new Civilization Online will shift away from the usual turn-based strategy game, into a single character within one of four societies.

Civilization Online is still centered around the ideas and characteristics that made Civilization the franchise that it is today, but Civilization Online just takes it from a new perspective. From the start of the game, player's will slot into one of four societies, where their task will be to conquer the world as it progresses through the ages.

Civilization Online is a massively, real-time, open world title that will see huge environments for gamer's to explore. There'll also be crafting PvP, resource gathering and other elements built-in. Traditional combat will be a part of Civilization Online, as will the ability to conduct research, build structures and even access an auction house to get rid of the items you have crafted.

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NVIDIA confirms next-gen Surface, says they're going to "bring it"

NVIDIA have let slip (or have they) by confirming they're working with Microsoft on a next-gen Surface slate. After a three-month stint of beating analysts' estimates, but failing to do anything special on the mobile front, NVIDIA's chief executive, Jen-Hsun Huang spoke with CNET, confirming that they still have a great future ahead of them.

He told CNET: "Now we're going to bring it with the second-generation Surface. We're working really hard on it, and we hope that it's going to be a big success." Microsoft have of course denied the rumors, but so did NVIDIA spokesman Ken Brown, too. Huang didn't confirm whether he was referring to the Surface RT tablet, or the higher-end Surface Pro tablet, I think he meant the latter.

Brown did state that NVIDIA's hardware didn't make it into the current Surface Pro, adding "so make what you will of that." With Microsoft pushed to record a $900 million write-down on the Surface RT, they'll want to not repeat that mistake again and it looks like NVIDIA is now a part of this course correction.

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Lavabit, the e-mail service Edward Snowden used, shuts down

Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | Aug 8, 2013 11:03 PM CDT

Until just recently, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden used the e-mail services of Lavabit. But now Lavabit has shut its doors, with the owner of Lavabit, Ladar Levison, leaving a very cryptic and scary message stating he walked away from his business as he has "become complicit in crimes against the American public."

It gets a little scarier, with the Lavabit owner saying that until real reform happens, he "would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States." This includes most e-mail services, like GMail, Hotmail, and more.

The full message reads:

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Bloomberg buys into the Ubuntu Edge in the form of a $80,000 pledge

Bloomberg must really like Canonical\'s Ubuntu Edge as yesterday they pledged 80,000 to the company\'s crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. At this point, Canonical has only managed to raise about one quarter of its $32 million goal and with just over 12 days left, things are not looking very good for the Ubuntu Edge smartphone.

So what does Bloomberg get for their $80,000 donation? 115 Ubuntu Edge smartphones are included in the deal alongside several best practice workshops, 30 days of online support that allow the company\'s chief information officers and IT managers to integrate the devices into their system, and--of course--free shipping. If the funding campaign is successful, Canonical hopes to have the phones shipped around March of next year.

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Microsoft releases unboxing video of Xbox One in final trim

Charles Gantt | Gaming | Aug 8, 2013 2:05 PM CDT

Today, Microsoft released an unboxing video of its upcoming next-gen gaming console, the Xbox One. While we have seen many images of the new console, most of them are from the unveiling ceremony or E3, and today is the first time we\'re getting a look at what the final design will be.

The unboxing features what is being called the Xbox One Day One edition. It will feature a Kinect, Day One branded controller, and the Xbox One console itself. Additionally, the company will include what appears to be a wired mono driver headset that will also come with standard editions of the console.

So what\'s changed since we last saw the Xbox One? The final design features a separate power supply brick, an included HDMI cable, and what the company is calling a \"Liquid Black\" finish. The controller now features a built-in battery compartment that is able to accommodate alkaline or rechargeable AA batteries. Charging can be completed via a built-in microUSB port, which will shut down the wireless radio when plugged in and allow you to continue playing your game through the wired connection.

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Nikon launches 18-140mm lens designed for APS-C DSLRs

Charles Gantt | Cameras, Printers & Scanners | Aug 8, 2013 10:39 AM CDT

This week, Nikon introduced a new wide-angle zoom lens for its DSLRs that feature APS-C sensors--the DX Series. The focal length is between 18mm and 140mm and the company says that it has been designed to be a versatile all-around shooter.

The new 18-140mm lens features Nikon vibration reduction technology, with Nikon promising that photographers are now able to shoot in low light with a shutter speed up to four stops slower and still keep images blur free. The new lens features 17 elements in 12 groups with one extra-low dispersion element and a single aspherical lens element that delivers excellent resolution and contrast while reducing aberration and color dissection.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR retails at an MSRP of $890 and will begin to hit store shelves at the end of this month.

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AOL releases Q2 earnings report, post higher revenue than expected

Charles Gantt | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 7, 2013 4:31 PM CDT

Today, AOL released its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013. The company says that its revenue grew to $541 million, which is up more than 2 percent during the same period last year. This equates to a diluted earnings per share of $0.35.

Net income per quarter was $28.5 million, which was actually significantly lower than the same period in 2012, but AOL was quick to note that this is because it sold $1.1 billion worth of patents to Microsoft in Q2 2012. However, Q2 2013's net income is up $3 million over quarter one 2013.

"AOL takes a major step forward today with another quarter of growth and our agreement to acquire the video marketplace platform that will make AOL a clear global leader in the most important growth segment in our industry - online video," AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in the report. "AOL continued to get leaner during Q2 while growing consumer traffic, growing all advertising revenue lines, and improving our subscription trends."

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Facebook finishes US rollout of Graph Search

Charles Gantt | Internet & Websites | Aug 7, 2013 3:07 PM CDT

Today, Facebook has announced that it has finished rolling out its Graph Search feature to everyone using US English as their primary language. Eight months ago, the company launched the advanced search feature to a handful of select beta testers and then began to slowly roll the service out a few months later.

Graph Search lets users search using common phrases such as "pizzerias in my city that my friends have visited and liked." In the early weeks of the beta program, the service received much criticism as the level of search capable was just to much for some people to be comfortable with.

A search phrase such as "photos of friends of my friends at the beach" would return photos of all the friends of your friends who were at the beach. This became a problem because many of those photos featured women in bikinis. Facebook has since restricted certain search phrases and this issue is no longer a problem.

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LG announces G2, a 5.2-inch Android based smartphone / phablet

Charles Gantt | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Aug 7, 2013 11:12 AM CDT

Today, LG Electronics unveiled its latest flagship smartphone in the form of the LG G2. This is the first device introduced under LG's new "G" series which is reserved for premium devices only. LG says that the G2 is a beautifully designed smartphone that brings together functionality and convenience in a comfortable package.

"Our definition of innovation today is technology that truly resonates with consumers," said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, who welcomed the guests to the event. "We have always listened to and learned from consumers in pursuit of innovation. We took these insights to new heights in developing LG G2, the most exciting and ambitious mobile phone in our company's history."

The G2 features a 5.2-inch full HD 1080x1920 IPS display that packs 423 pixels per inch, and is powered by a quad-core QUALCOMM Snapdragon 800 clocked in at 2.26Ghz. 2 GB of low-power DDR3 800 is present and a 3000mAH battery keep things up and running for quite a long time. A 13-megapixel rear camera handles imaging duties, while a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera is in control of the selfies.

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